Say That Again

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
duped, lies, pipa, sopa, taylor hackford

Companies:
dga



Directors Guild Boss Insists That Everyone Against SOPA/PIPA Was Duped

from the wanna-run-that-one-by-people-again? dept

We're still waiting for the supposed "new tone" of the conversation from Hollywood following its failed attempt to expand copyright/anti-piracy laws for the 16th time in the last 3 decades. There were some early claims that the widespread protests had made Hollywood realize that rather than passing bad legislation by working out deals with "friendly" Congress people in backrooms, it wanted to have a "conversation" with those who opposed SOPA/PIPA.

Well, Taylor Hackford, the head of the Directors Guild of America, apparently has a different opinion on all that. He went on the Pat Morrison radio show to go off on a wild rant about how everyone against SOPA/PIPA were duped via lies from companies like Google who want to protect all their profits. What was amazing was the number of blatantly false statements Hackford made in making his argument. Beyond the fact that he ignored tons of very legitimate concerns from engineers, online security experts and First Amendment scholars who clearly were not "duped," he also makes a bunch of statements that don't pass the laugh test.

For example, he repeatedly claimed that the movie industry employs two million people -- and he mocked the tech industry for not employing many people at all (and implying that they mostly employ people outside the country). According to the Congressional Research Service, the movie industry actually employs 374,000 people. Further research showed that jobs in actual film and movie production have been growing. Meanwhile, a recent study showed that just the Facebook apps economy alone created nearly 500,000 jobs. That second number may be exaggerated somewhat, but comparing how many jobs the movie industry has created with how many the internet industry has created isn't going to make Hackford look very good.

Then there was the specific attack on Wikipedia, where he first said that Wikipedia was a "stalking horse" (and he suggests an unidentified "they" convinced Wikipedia to shut down). Then he says that by shutting down:
"They robbed the public of important information in order to make their point"
The "they" is still not identified, but a good way to demonize opponents is to take away any identifying marks, so it's this mysterious "they." But, seriously? Robbed the public? This from an industry which has repeatedly pushed for extensions to copyright term -- something that actually does take away content that the public was supposed to have a legal right to? I recognize that Hollywood has trouble understanding what "robbed" actually means, but Wikipedia blocking access didn't rob anyone of anything. But, if we're going to go with Hackford's claim that withholding content from the public is theft, then, as Derek Kerton suggests, doesn't that mean that the movie release windows that Hackford and his buddies in Hollywood rely on are "robbing the public"? After all, it's withholding information -- and it happens for a lot longer than the one day that Wikipedia went dark (and for which there were easy workarounds).

Of course, even more ironic was that while Morrison's show is nominally a "call-in" show... people who called in were told that Mr. Hackford was not allowing any calls during his segment. Instead, people were left to comment on the radio show's website... where the vast, vast majority of folks were quick to pick apart Hackford's ridiculous claims and ask the station why it didn't have anyone expressing a counterpoint.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Feb 2012 @ 8:15am

    So you complain about someone making up employment statistics, and to back up your claims, you cite a study that estimates job creation based on the number of want ads that appear.

    And to top it off, you compare the number of people directly employed full-time in the film industry (as counted by the 2500 employees of the Bureau of Labor Statistics on an ongoing basis) to the number of jobs which may have been created in the "app economy" based off of a one-time estimate by a single company. The amount of jobs created gives no indication to the amount of jobs sustained or the number of people employed; someone can very easily bounce from job to job as new ones are created and old ones disappear.

    And as a cherry on the top, you then take that estimate of 466,000 and call it "nearly 500,000", thus creating another 30,000+ jobs out of thin air.

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