CreativeAmerica: When Major Hollywood Studios Set Up Bogus 'Grassroots' Campaigns

from the don't-make-me-laugh dept

For a little over a week now, we've been receiving emails from various actors and musicians, telling us that they've been getting emails from various entertainment industry giants, telling them to join a new "grassroots" coalition called CreativeAmerica, whose main purpose is to advocate for passing the PROTECT IP censorship bill. The whole thing is clearly an astroturf campaign. It was registered via domains-by-proxy to hide who really bought the domain name. It highlights the video that was secretly created and owned by NBC Universal. It includes the totally false claim that "there's no such thing as a free movie."

If you dig into the website to figure out who's really behind it, it claims that it's a "grassroots organization," but fails to name a single creative individual who was behind putting the group together. Instead, it lists out the following companies and organizations who really put the site together (amusingly, they even block you from cutting and pasting this part, so I just retyped it -- meaning I circumvented their DRM... come at me, entertainment industry):
CBS Corporation, NBC Universal, the Screen Actors Guild, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Viacom, the Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros. Entertainment
Well, well. That's not a grassroots effort, folks. Now, the site also includes various unions, including the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild and IATSE (stage hands, etc.). But these are the old school, out of touch unions that who have done little to nothing to help their members adapt to the times (often doing the opposite). Do we see any of the actually creative folks who have embraced new technologies, new methods of distribution and new business models? Nope.

In the meantime, how can the website seriously claim that it's a grassroots effort when it has every single major Hollywood Studio behind it. Do they think that people are stupid? And should we remind people that these are the same studios who have all sorts of scammy tricks for "Hollywood accounting" to make sure even the most successful films are never seen as profitable, allowing them to avoid paying royalties to the actual creative folks.

Next, if you dig into the website, they have a "send a letter to your elected officials" thing. And the real evidence that it's not a real grassroots effort? Just like other faux grassroots efforts, those agreeing to send the letter have no option to edit the letter. When groups like Demand Progress and EFF let you send letters about PROTECT IP, they let you edit them to your liking -- trusting people to express themselves.

But, this "Creative America" apparently does not trust its own members to be creative. The letter is 100% locked down. You can only send their text. Honestly, if a group supposedly representing creators won't even let its own members express themselves freely, you know that it's not actually about protecting "creative" America.

This is not a grassroots effort. This is not about protecting "Creative America." This is about protecting a few megacorporations who are scared of new innovations, afraid of their dwindling monopoly rents, and trying to force the rest of the world to go back to the way things used to be.

Filed Under: astroturf, creative america, grassroots, hollywood, protect ip, studios
Companies: cbs, disney, fox, nbc universal, news corp., sony, viacom


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  1. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 21 Oct 2011 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Most Americans are Creative Americans

    Most Americans are Creative Americans


    Agreed. So why do you only support the views of a few gatekeepers who make it nearly impossible for most of those people to make money?

    To hear this blog spin it, most of America is just sitting on their couch waiting for the latest torrent to download. Anyone who hates on torrent freeloaders is hating on America.

    Have never made any such suggestion. In fact have regularly argued the exact opposite: technology today shows that most people are creative and creators. But the laws we have today limit that. They make simple things like communicating with others and sharing cultural experiences and building on them infringement. They pass laws that only protect big companies -- the companies who work hard not to pay the actual creative folks.

    Perhaps, but many of the folks I know actually create things from time to time. They like the idea that their letters, posters, drawings, songs and other creations are theirs until they make a decision how they'll be distributed. They like keeping control.

    But under the system you like, they don't have control. Creative people are continually forced to give up control to big gatekeepers, who then take nearly all of the profit. The fight today is about letting THEM keep control.

    It has nothing to do with the actual creative people. They're getting fucked over by these companies.

    Now they may choose to release their creations under a CC license or they may want to put up a big paywall to ensure that everyone who sees it pays a small bit. Or they may want something in between. But they like control.

    "Liking control" is no basis for a legal or economic regime. I would like you to learn basic economics and logic. Should I be able to have a law passed to make that so, or should we just admit that your ignorance is allowed?

    This blog space is filled with creator haters who are playing right into the hands of Big Search, Big Hardware and Big Piracy. All of the rhetoric here is dedicated to stripping creators of their rights. Every argument here is meant to make creators feel guilty for doing anything but helping Big Search sell more ads.

    I spend a ridiculous amount of time helping content creators make money, and I take serious offense at the idea that I'm a "creator hater." Hell, just last week we released an entire platform to help creators make more money, and you still sit here -- as a nameless ignorant "bob" and claim that I hate creators?

    I never try to strip creators from their rights. I try to help them make more money by recognizing that playing into the desires of the big gatekeepers is not in their own best interests.

    That's why I think you're wrong about the needs and wants of the consumers.


    Wait, because some big gatekeepers want to keep raping artists? Huh? Try again, bob.

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