Ex-RIAA Boss Ignores All Criticisim Of SOPA/PIPA, Claims Any Complaints Are Trying To Justify Stealing

from the this-is-how-you-got-into-such-a-mess dept

Over the long weekend, Jay Rosen was kind enough to tweet out a link to my recent "definitive" post highlighting all the problems with SOPA and PIPA. Lots of folks picked up on it, but the one that struck me as the most interesting was from Hilary Rosen, who tweeted back:
The Definitive Post?? Think analog. If a store doesn't sell u what u want, u are justified stealing it?
Hilary Rosen, of course, spent many years as the CEO of the RIAA. And while she hasn't been in that job since 2003, she presided over the Napster lawsuit and the beginnings of the Grokster lawsuit. I believe she left just before the RIAA started suing individuals for file sharing. She also appeared to have second thoughts about the strategy she led while in charge of the RIAA. However, this comment suggests otherwise.

Thinking analog has been the major problem that the RIAA (and MPAA, among others) have had for a long, long time. Rosen's big mistake when she was in charge of the RIAA was that she kept thinking analog. Isn't it time, perhaps, that she started thinking digitally?

But, even more to the point, it's getting ridiculous how many people defending SOPA/PIPA are doing so using this logic. They brush off all of the specific concerns, the highlights of problematic language, and they conclude "why are you justifying theft?" Of course, that's ridiculous. Beyond the fact that "theft" and "infringement" are very different (don't get me started), nothing in anyone's complaints about SOPA or PIPA have anything to do with "justifying" infringement. In fact, in the post that was being discussed, we clearly noted that infringement is a problem. We just disagree that PIPA and SOPA are reasonably, or even effective, solutions.

It's really quite ridiculous to lay out in such great detail all of the problems of the bill, only to have someone -- and someone who is partially responsible for the mess the record labels are in today -- brush off the entire thing by falsely stating that we're "justifying stealing." Unfortunately, this kind of "debate" is all too common. It seems that almost no one is interested in actually discussing the problems of the bill. They just insist that if you highlight problems in the bill you're trying to justify something.

Filed Under: copyright, hilary rosen, pipa, protect ip, sopa
Companies: riaa


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  1. identicon
    Stephen T. Stone, 28 Nov 2011 @ 5:33pm

    Re: SOPA

    Ooooh, an actual RIAA-type person willing to put a name to their post! This is exciting; I've never gotten the chance to openly debate one of you before. Let's begin!

    [M]y response was "Think analog" not as in analog policy vs digital policy but think of the real world we live in and the ethical issues we face every day.

    In the real world, the RIAA has screwed over numerous artists with its favor-the-label accounting practices and copyright trickery (especially in regards to sampling), sued its own customers for daring to not go through a paywall to experience new music, and attempted to prevent MP3 players from becoming popular before they were popular. How's that for some real world ethics, hmm?

    I have pirated music. I'm not afraid to admit it right to your face. But regardless of what you and the RIAA cronies might say about pirates to Congress or the Supreme Court or any other political forum, I don't do it to slight artists or "stick it to the man" -- I do it because I want to experience new music, and up until the proliferation of iTunes and Creative Commons-licensed music, I wasn't able to do so in a easy and timely manner. Napster -- the first P2P network I ever used -- made it easy for me to find new music (and old music), including obscure works by artists that the RIAA either passed over or forgot existed. I still pirate music from Japan on an irregular basis because, excluding buying said music from super-expensive CD importers, there is no legal method of obtaining this music in the United States.

    If you want to talk about ethics, let me know what kind of ethics make the RIAA want to continually push copyright forward into infinity and make it harder for people to legally purchase/support musicians from around the world.

    I don't think that gives me the right to take any of their clothes without paying just because I am an unhappy customer.

    Simple question: when I pirate a song from SoulSeek, what have I taken? Has the original master recording of a song disappeared from its storage place? Has the artist behind the song lost the ability to perform it? What is being stolen when I pirate a song?

    Oh. Right. "Theft" is a metaphor that you and the RIAA use to conflate stealing a physical product with illegally copying a copyrighted digital file that doesn't disappear when I download it off a server or someone else's computer via P2P. That's just the ethical thing to do, though, right?

    (Note that I am not condoning or supporting piracy. I know it's illegal. I just choose not to give a flying goddamn about copyright law because I believe that copyright law only serves the interests of the corporations who rely on copyright law as a way of avoiding adapting to new business models.)

    Do I think that the content industry has moved way too slowly in putting their content online? Absolutely. Do I think they could have been and should be more innovative? of course. But I also know that these are huge ships turning around in creeks and however easy the answers seem to you, they are often really hard.

    Gee, I can't imagine how it got that way. It couldn't have anything to do with the RIAA bogging the waters with copyright law, bad accounting, and not giving a damn about artists' rights -- right?

    [T]here is also stealing. Pure old simple unethical stealing.

    Yeah, I bet that the RIAA can't stand it when technology steals the opportunity to set up a new walled garden for music.

    To the writer or songwriter who makes their money on SALES, it is stealing. (Even if they might be thinking about making their money another way.)

    "I was telling kids, 'Download it illegally, I don't care. I want you to hear my music so I can play live.'" ~ Kid Rock (an artist contracted by an RIAA label, last I checked)

    I have no patience for big companies like Google who not only throw huge sums of money out there buying professors and economists and think tanks to kill any effort at copyright protection, they make a fortune on search advertising for those same illegal products.

    Technology companies like Google should just be good little bitches and get back in the RIAA's kitchen, right? They should just lie back and take having their technology and their innovations stifled and legislated out of existence by politicians who are bought and paid for by the RIAA and the MPAA and other big media companies, right?

    This sounds like more of those RIAA "ethics".

    I have no patience for the finger pointing and nastiness of the so called tech fans in this debate.

    We have no patience for people who support legislation that will fundamentally alter the foundation of a global communications network to protect a few legacy business models that said businesses can't (and won't) fix without being forced into it.

    We have no patience for people who support the most heinous attack on the First Amendment in years just because they want us to "think of the artists" (the same artists that the RIAA has metaphorically bent over a chair).

    We have no patience for people who don't want to see the future. We have no patience for people who want to revert technology back to the past. We have no patience for people who have no idea what the hell they're doing.

    We have no patience for the RIAA. We have no patience for the MPAA. We have no patience for their lobbyists and their paid-for political representatives.

    We have no patience for you and your kind.

    The world has changed. The Internet has changed it. If the RIAA and the MPAA and the other big media corporations refuse to change with the rest of the world, then I believe that they should start digging corporate graves for each other.

    We have the power to communicate, to share, to enable new experiences and come together as a society thanks to the Internet -- and the RIAA wants to destroy how the Internet works just to make sure Lady Gaga's next single doesn't get downloaded by even a single person?

    You might want to rethink your "ethics", Miss Rosen.

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