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
    jupiterkansas (profile), 1 Dec 2011 @ 1:18pm

    Re: SOPA

    Thank you, Hillary, for opening up a discussion with us mere consumers of media. This is exactly the thing we need the most: An open discussion with all players involved.

    We consumers are not allowed to have any input on legislation like the DMCA or SOPA, but self-interested parties like the RIAA and MPAA get full access and even get to help draft the legislation. Yet they wonder why pirates don't care about copyright.

    The politicians never get to hear talk about more relaxed copyright laws so that it's something a consumer can respect. All they hear about is making it stronger so RIAA and MPAA members can make more money, because politicians equate more money with more jobs (which isn't true at all). Yet they wonder why pirates don't care about copyright.

    I never hear about the government investigating the deceptive accounting practices of the movie and music industry, or any official uproar over the multi-page user agreements one must unconditionally agree with just to legally purchase a single song on iTunes. Yet they wonder why pirates don't care about copyright.

    Nobody in Washington talks about how a century of culture - which defines who we are, shapes us, and gives us unity and identity and is shared by all - is owned by a handful of multi-national corporations and will be for the rest of our lives. Yet they wonder why pirates don't care about copyright.

    Politicians don't talk about how much of the profits on copyrighted work from artists long dead is only benefiting the lawyers and accountants and CEOs of these corporations, when those works should be available to the public at large. Yet they wonder why pirates don't care about copyright.

    All the government seems interested in is addressing the whims of big business - the RIAA or Google. There seems to be no interest anymore in helping the regular consumer. I guess it's because big business hires people like you to keep constantly knocking on their door to push their agenda - something regular consumers can't do. Yet they wonder why pirates don't care about copyright.

    There's no question that large scale infringement is happening online. The question is what to do about it. SOPA is not the answer. How about we start with some copyright laws that everyone can respect? Maybe then we lowly consumers will have some sympathy for the RIAA and MPAA's woes.

    You want to bring ethics into this, there's a few places to start. That's analog thinking.

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