Hollywood Union Members Sign Petition Asking MPAA & Hollywood Unions To Stop Supporting PIPA/SOPA

from the losing-your-own-members dept

The opposition to SOPA and PIPA continues to come from all sorts of places. The latest interesting one? Union members who work on movies and TV... whose bosses signed them up as supporters of SOPA and PIPA against their wishes. They've put together a petition urging the MPAA, IATSE, IBT, WGA, SAG, DGA, and AFTRA to formally oppose both SOPA and PIPA, noting that it would be a barrier to innovation that Hollywood desperately needs, wouldn't actually stop infringement, and would also be an online security nightmare. The groups listed in the petition are basically all of the groups that have been major supporters of the bill, but as some of the signatories note, they want no part of this. Just a few examples:
I'm a proud Local One and USA829 member, and am appalled to find my union supporting this act. While I agree that piracy is bad, this act is ill-designed by legislators with no clue how the internet works, and guided by greedy corporations who have ulterior motives, and who have a track record of abusing the DMCA the same way they'll abuse this.

It will do nothing to stop it, will give unfettered power prone to abuse to corporations who don't deserve it, will short circuit due process, and will have huge unintended negative effects on the internet as a whole.
And, another one from a studio grip:
Proud Local 80 Motion Picture Studio Grip and I'm signing because these bills go too far. I'd like to think that IATSE is just trying to do what's best for its members. But, I think once they dig past the surface they will see the same thing I did. And that is that these bills need to be quashed. We need another way to deal with piracy.
Once again, for all the talk of widespread "support" of SOPA and PIPA, it seems to be crumbling in every direction, including from within the groups who have acted as if these bills were absolutely necessary.

Filed Under: hollywood, pipa, protect ip, sopa, unions
Companies: aftra, dga, iatse, ibt, mpaa, sag, wga


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  1. icon
    cosmicrat (profile), 4 Jan 2012 @ 2:09pm

    Underwhelming

    "So how many people signed the petition? How many members do those unions have? How many people who signed petition are actually members of those unions?"

    Yeah, the tidal wave of opposition is overwhelming...



    It would be difficult to design a petition that validated each signature as a bona-fide union member, but if you look in the comments with many of the signatures you will see people giving the number of their local. Also note that there is no facebook or twitter share links on the petition (a convenience I have come to consider a norm, and the reason I haven't shared it yet). If this petition was being emailed to every union member's inbox you can bet there would be a lot of signatures!

    "Teamsters don't care about copyright.
    They move furniture and drive."

    But they like their entertainment as much as anyone else. I'll bet the majority of teamsters have listened to some kind of copyright infringing work on the job in the last year, whether it's a CD a friend burned them or some mp3's on someone's player. Like I say, they are not known for being tech-savvy or politically sophisticated though.

    "Actors are more concerned about residuals than copyright."

    Basically the same thing for purposes of this discussion.

    "There are plenty of people who earn their living working in the content creation industry who support SOPA."

    This is true, and one of the things I've been wondering is do they constitute a minority or a majority? I'm pretty sure it's a minority but I have no way of validating that. I'll confine my comments to blue-collar workers in the movie and TV industry since that's where I work: I would like to see a referendum vote taken, of the rank and file union members as to whether they support SOPA, BUT ONLY AFTER the opposition of SOPA has a year to freely distribute literature, talk openly, educate people as to the drawbacks, hold public debates, spread propaganda etc., JUST LIKE THE PROPONENTS HAVE done through union channels. People like me are afraid to even speak about the issue on the job because we're afraid of getting fired (I work for a major studio who is very much a SOPA supporter), but the proponents can express their views openly with the blessing of the employer! How could anyone propose to take a fair referendum vote under these circumstances? (Not that anyone is moving to do that, just hypothetically).

    Actually I think it's very telling that so many union members are staying silent on the issue given the amount of pro-SOPA/PIPA propaganda that has been directed at them.

    "Actually, the part of SOPA that will make an impact is holding the payment processors and ad services accountable....Get rid of the easy money and the legitimate access points will not have to compete with free"

    I somewhat agree. The OPEN proposal also aims to choke off the payments and does it with (arguably) a much better regard for due process. I (tentatively) support OPEN. I disagree that torrents will not be an ongoing issue, though, because once the video streaming and file-locker sites have been tamped back a bit we will see torrenting make a comeback, aided by easy to use clients that make the interface as simple as the sources they replace. Torrents are the biggest economic problem in fighting piracy; since it is so cheap to facilitate them people do it as a hobby, a few banner ads can support the bandwidth for an index site. I don't think there's any way to stop torrents cold either (and why would we want to...they have many good uses including making "Internet 2.0" faster...). I think there will be a lot of collateral damage trying to stop torrents though, I can't see any next step in this DNS blocking madness other than outlawing encryption, and by extension privacy in general.

    I'll be interested to see if the numbers on this petition improve any over the weekend.

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