Say That Again

by Mike Masnick

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


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. icon
    Violated (profile), 16 Feb 2012 @ 3:27pm


    This is a rather complex subject.

    There were plenty of official sources giving out usually factual details on SOPA and those were scary enough. Many tens of thousands of us directly rallied against SOPA because of this.

    Then there is another element in this when I have seen my own ideas travel about to thousands of people. My rallying theory is the not untrue claim that these laws are an attack on the Indie market and an Internet land-grab.

    The general population don't want a technical breakdown of what this exactly means when they just want some basic concept that they can rally behind. Something that can scare them into thinking "this is just not right"

    So right here [wave] is one of their reasons. There are of course plenty others when I certainly cant cover every community but I did at least rally a few thousand.

    I can certainly do the same for ACTA and to give the world a horror story that would rally them. Let me scare you...

    1. Under international law a trade agreement overrides national laws. This is why it has been often said that ACTA will stop Congress setting the IP laws it wants.

    2. ACTA contains many points that are very vague and open to different interpretations. It would be nice for each country to set its own definition but this certainly wont happen.

    3. International law is very clear when it comes to the clarification of vague points then it says to refer to the points made during the original discussions. Those discussions we know were conducted in secret.

    What this means is that countries have signed a very vague trade agreement that NO ONE KNOWS THE TRUE MEANING OF WHEN THOSE CREATION DOCUMENTS ARE HELD IN SECRET.

    This also means that only once ACTA has been ratified by these countries and court case start will some of those documents be released. When it comes to vague terms like "commercial infringement" then clearly we have a big problem.

    This is certainly all true & somewhere here are my notes which prove it. Maybe this situation explains why the United States long refused to make ACTA public denying any such request as "harming national security"

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