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
    Dave, 28 Nov 2011 @ 9:42pm

    Re: SOPA

    I think, Hilary, (may I call you Hilary?) that you seem to have a fundamental disconnect in your thinking. Every time you create an analogy to support your point of view, you use physical property as your example. This Gap analogy is a perfect case in point. Ignoring the fact that there wouldn't even be a reason to shoplift from a store that has nothing you want, it still just doesn't fly. If you take a shirt from the Gap, it is gone. They no longer have it. The materials, the labor, the transportation costs that have been sunk into that particular *actual* shirt is now gone.

    Now, let's contrast that with digital goods. Whether you want it or not, you own the copyright to your post. I just copied it into twelve different notepad windows. Did you notice? I then saved the copies. Zipped them up and emailed them to ten different people. Still your post remains. Did you feel anything as I violated your exclusive right to distribution? A great disturbance in the force, maybe? I'm guessing, no. However, anyone who has inventory records for the Gap store can verify if each of the shirts that are now gone have been paid for or not.

    To really understand the issues of "analog policy vs digital policy" you have to wrap your head around a key point: Any comparison of intellectual property to actual physical property will fail. Ultimately, if you are trying to make your thought patterns say "copyright infringement = stealing" you have warped your thinking to a point where you just won't understand what is happening in the real world. Which, by the way, includes the so-called "digital world", and denying that also warps your thinking. But that's another post.

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