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
    Mike Masnick (profile), 29 Nov 2011 @ 3:03am

    Re: SOPA

    I see lots of others have replied (busy day), but wanted to chime in as well:


    My point was that I can be pissed that the GAP doesn't have an outfit that is as stylish or fit as well as I want. And I can think that they arent serving their customer when they give me ugly clothes that dont fit well. ie: their busiess model sucks. But I don't think that gives me the right to take any of their clothes without paying just because I am an unhappy customer. That was my ONLY point.


    As others have pointed out, this does not clear things up, and only makes the issue more muddled for a variety of reasons.

    1. Nowhere in my post did I say that not offering something justified breaking the law to get it. Reading that into what I wrote just doesn't make any sense.

    2. No one's talking about taking something away from a legitimate seller. They're talking about making a copy. Multiple people here have already explained the difference. After so many ears in this battle, I can't believe you still don't understand the difference.

    3. If the business models enabled via all this makes the artists' better off in the long run, is there really a moral question?

    4. People aren't "pirating" because they're "unhappy customers." They're pirating because they're underserved customers so they go to look for the same product elsewhere. If I don't like the pizza at the corner shop, and I go and eat at the competitor across the street, have a "robbed" the corner pizza shop? Based on your reasoning, I have. That's ludicrous.

    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.

    No doubt. But these industries have had over a dozen years and *their only choice* is to adapt or drown. I recognize that it's difficult in practice, but if you don't turn it around, you drown. At some point, you would think that you and your friends would STOP BLAMING THE PEOPLE SHOWING YOU HOW TO TURN THE BOAT AROUND and would start listening as we guide you into making that difficult turn.

    BUT, there is also stealing.

    There is infringement. Which is illegal -- we agree. But it's not stealing. Using that language does not help. It's like arguing that you won't use the ropes we're throwing you to help turn the boat around, because it's made of a fabric you don't like. Closing off your best option to turn the boat around because you have a preconceived notion that something is "bad" is not a way to adapt.

    Pure old simple unethical stealing.

    Except that it's not.

    To the writer or songwriter who makes their money on SALES, it is stealing.

    No. It is not. It's a changing marketplace. And those who have adapted are doing better than ever. That certainly suggests that it's not stealing at all. It's a marketplace challenge. Some are adapting. Some are failing. Blaming the failure on "stealing" when there's proof all around that others have adapted seems pretty pointless.

    And while I love the dialog by for and about consumers and fans on these issues, 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.

    Not this myth again. The RIAA/MPAA folks always attack Google, but this is barely a Google issue. And, honestly, pulling out the "buying off" people claim is pretty ridiculous for the RIAA and MPAA who have a LONG history of doing much more than Google has ever done.

    Many of the people protesting these bills have no connection to Google whatsoever.

    And as for "the fortune," that's a joke. Look: Google Adsense doesn't generate much revenue at all -- especially among "pirates." These people are not clicking on Google ads (trust me, many read this site, and we make bupkis from Google ads -- you and I could sit down for a nice dinner with my last month's Google check and we'd still have to top it off with some cash from our own wallets). Google only makes money when people click. And people aren't clicking on ads on pirate sites.

    I don't know why the RIAA/MPAA's of the world continue to believe this myth, but they do. It just shows how little they understand of how the internet works, or how Google works.

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

    The fingerpointing has been almost entirely in one direction. ANd it's all at Google. And it makes no sense if you actually understand what's going on. Best I can figure, a bunch of folks in the entertainment industry are jealous that Google is successful, upset about their own failures, and through the magic of correlation, they assume that Google somehow "took their money." This is laughable if you understand how these things work.

    You should know better than to go down that road.

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