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. icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), 28 Nov 2011 @ 5:54pm

    Re: SOPA

    Thank you for participating in this discussion Ms Rosen.

    The copying of a song and posting it somewhere is not a digital analog for the physical shoplifting of a shirt from the GAP cause you're pissed the one you wanted isn't there.

    In the case of your illustration there is one less shirt, a physical entity, at the GAP. In the case of a digital copy of a song on the internet the original still exists and can still be sold, which it most often is and copies of that are sold repeatedly by members of the Industry group you formerly headed at a tiny fraction of the cost of pressing an extra copy in the world before the mp3. (Sonic cesspools that they are notwithstanding.)

    My biggest problem with the playing of the artist card by the RIAA and MPAA is that they both have a track record of moving heaven and earth not to pay the artists they now claim to want to protect. Enough do to maintain the fiction that one can make even a lower middle class existence as an actor, writer or member of a band but that doesn't change the reality of what has frequently been called "creative accounting" by the RIAA, MPAA publishers and others who employ artists. I'm not asking you to defend such practices nor wanting to start an argument about it but let's be honest here and state that the RIAA and MPAA and publishers are interested only in their own existence and the artists themselves are not part of the equation. The only job a privately owned company has is to make a profit which is then shared with its shareholders. I doubt there's many artists as shareholders in member companies of the RIAA, for example.

    So if I take the liberty of rephrasing "To the recording company who who makes their money on SALES, it is stealing." I would have more sympathy with the statement though I'd then want look into whether or not digital copies are actually depressing sales or increasing them in the long run. I strongly suspect the latter. That, though is a discussion for another time.

    The matter at hand is SOPA and proposed laws like it are an over reaction to a still rapidly changing marketplace or not. Not too surprisingly for me, they are an over reaction. Not only that but they amount to protectionist legislation interested only in protecting the members of the group you used to head, for example, than the artists the group claims to represent. These laws are being put in place to protect the profits of the likes of Universal or EMI and not the income of artists. Some or maybe a lot of us see through the smokescreen.

    The only thing that the member companies of the RIAA can be legally concerned with is making a profit for their shareholders being publicly traded. It's those profits the RIAA is attempting to protect not artists or musicians.

    I would hope that the large ships of the entertainment industry weren't attempting to navigate in a stream though it would go a long way to explaining the staleness of product coming out the pipe to consumers long before piracy became an issue. It may, as well, explain the RIAA member companies inability to adapt to changing technologies and methods of communications.

    As for Google, at least they understand that should SOPA pass that in the long run it's pointless. Just as it was pointless for opponents to free speech and other changes wrought by the printing press were pointless as governments attempted to control them by criminalizing a number of activities associated with them.

    All messing with DNS does, for example, is mess with a "direction sign" on the internet which is something easily overcome and all, in the long run, telling payment agencies not to deal with something does is cost them money both in the short and long runs.

    Bills whose collateral damage includes censorship by design or accident do nothing to bring "tech fans" or the public onside with ever tightening copyright laws. Taking these laws far beyond their original intent won't do anything other than broaden and stiffen resistance to them far beyond the "tech fan" group and well into the public realm as the laws as represented by SOPA bring things like the administration of justice into disrepute and respect for it reduced. It was tried with the printing press and it failed. It will fail here for much the same reason.

    The people that will pay the price are employess and shareholders of member companies of the RIAA and MPAA and, should the rejection be strong enough THEN we'll be forced to start again with copyright so that the artists do, actually get paid. I don't want that to happen but I'm historian enough to see the wave coming on shore again because people forget history's lessons.

    By the way I am a writer and I do like to get paid for my work from time to time. But this is the wrong way for me to get my cheque because that cheque probably won't ever come. It does now.

    One cannot "steal" a lost sale, incidentally. There are plenty of songs that don't sell for reasons far beyond piracy and plenty of books, poetry and other written works that aren't ever sold for reasons far beyond piracy.

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