Former 'Representative From Disney' Howard Berman Makes It Official: Starts Lobbying For Hollywood

from the hollywood-howard-gets-his-payday dept

For years, Hollywood's biggest player in Congress when it came to copyright policy was Rep. Howard Berman. He was often referred to as the Representative from Disney for his willingness to always push for more expansive copyright policies. While he was sometimes called the Rep from Hollywood, I believe his actual district was "adjacent to" Hollywood, though it "included parts of" Hollywood as well. Either way, in 2012, thanks to redistricting, Berman went up against another longterm LA Representative, Brad Sherman, and lost. Berman quickly became a lobbyist, and now it's come out that he's officially lobbying for the MPAA on "issues related to intellectual property protection" because of course he is. Not much else to say about this other than it's yet another example of the revolving door and the nature of back-scratching that happens in DC.

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  1.  
    identicon
    Whatever parody, Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 12:00pm

    but ... but ... but ... this is a democracy! This is what the people want!!! It is just your opinion that the political system has been bought and paid for, my opinion disagrees with you and the courts and the political system itself disagrees with you.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 12:06pm

    and of course you already have that other prat, Dodd there, ready to employ as many 'lobbyists' as possible!!

     

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  3.  
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    lucidrenegade (profile), Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 12:42pm

    Need less back scratching and more back stabbing.

     

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  4.  
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    David, Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 12:44pm

    Well, what do you expect?

    The U.S.A. is a society based on capitalism. Any sin can be forgiven if it earned you enough money. The U.S. were founded and built based on theft and genocide of the natives, and the more reckless your forefathers were, the more renowned and influencial you became.

    Those are the values the society was made from, and being sort of a republic with sort of democratic procedures, the values that the voters adore become amplified in the values of their representatives.

    This is what you have learnt to admire and respect. As long as a billionaire earns more respect than a college professor and a successful arms trader has higher social standing than a conscientious objector having served a prison term for his convictions, this is what you'll get.

    If you want this to change, stop adulating big money. Stop respecting those who got a good price for selling their conscience. As long as their choice to join government-controlled organized crime organizations does not lead to social ostracism, there is no reason for them to stop.

     

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  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 12:52pm

    I don't get this Masnick. Berman does a good job championing an issue that is important to the largest industry (and employer) in his district and you castigate him for for continuing that work after leaving office? Would you object to US Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, VA working for the American Coal Council after he left office? For someone who purports to value individual freedom within the workplace (and elsewhere) you seem totally blinded by your loathing of copyright.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 1:10pm

    Re:

    The question (in Berman's and Griffith's case) is whether their efforts to champion a cause in office is in any way influenced by their desire to get this sort of job afterwards.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 1:20pm

    Re:

    The problem is he is meant to be representing the people of his district, and not just the employers.

     

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  8.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 1:23pm

    Re:

    They have both. Back scratching among themselves, back stabbing when it comes to the public.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 1:24pm

    Re:

    "For someone who purports to value individual freedom within the workplace (and elsewhere) you seem totally blinded by your loathing of copyright."

    There is a difference between valuing freedom within the private sector and being critical of potential conflicts of interest between government employees and industry. Someone working for the private sector is implied to do so to maximize their own personal profits and further their own interests. Someone working for the government should do so to serve the public interest. When their personal interests conflict with the public interest that is something that should be very carefully looked at.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Re:

    In both cases their constituencies (corporate and individuals) are significant stakeholders in the causes they took up. Berman got put into a D vs. D election due to redistricting. He was trying to continue to serve in Congress but lost. It's hard to see that there was an agreement while he was in office. The fact is that while in office he became very knowledgable of the issues and familiar with the agencies and key people that surround the issue. He is valuable to the MPAA. Griffiths is still serving. By the end of his tenure he will occupy the same space as Berman on the coal issue. He'll be extraordinarily valuable to the Coal Council.

    When you get hired by another company, it is likely because you have developed an expertise while in your former job. You have a skill set that is valuable to your new company. It's really not very different. And remember that the game is played on both sides of the issue. Guess who work's for FCC chief, Tom Wheeler? Masnick's friend Gigi Sohn, the former Executive Director of Public Knowledge. Interesting that she appears to be on board with tiered service.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    None of which answers the original point about things involving IP swinging towards the exclusive favor of the corporations, such as copyright terms lasting until infinity.

    But of course, you don't care. Cocksucking copyright seems to be how you get your meal ticket.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 8:46pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "The fact is that while in office he became very knowledgable of the issues and familiar with the agencies and key people that surround the issue."

    Politicians shouldn't (be allowed to) run for office so that they can become more familiar with how to game the system effectively giving them the knowledge to disproportionately influence politics. That's not fair to yhe people that government are supposed to govern.A politician willing to use his knowledge that he gained in office to then betray the American people by trying to help an industry interest get disproportionate representation is probably a politician that should never have been elected in the first place. This should not be permitted.

     

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  13.  
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    Rekrul, Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 8:58pm

    Former 'Representative From Disney' Howard Berman Makes It Official: Starts Lobbying For Hollywood

    Starts? Isn't that what he's been doing all along?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 9:14pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "He is valuable to the MPAA."

    Which is partly why he should not be allowed to work for the MPAA as a lobbyist.

    "You have a skill set that is valuable to your new company. It's really not very different"

    It's very different. A skill gained in the public sector should not be used to help a company you were regulating better game the system. This should not be permitted. When a politician leaves office they should be forced to make an honest living. It is dishonest to get elected so that you can use what you learned in office to become a lobbyist and game the system. If you honestly can't see the difference then you are mentally retarded. However I think it's more of a case of you being morally lacking.

     

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  15.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 9:51pm

    Re:

    Officially lobbying, it didn't officially count as lobbying before, as he wasn't officially employed by Hollywood at the time.

     

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  16.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Jul 23rd, 2014 @ 9:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    When a politician leaves office they should be forced to make an honest living.

    Talk about teaching someone to swim by throwing them in the deep end, I mean, it's not like they'd have any experience in 'honest' anything, how are they supposed to know how to 'make an honest living'? /s

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 2:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Guess who work's for FCC chief, Tom Wheeler? Masnick's friend Gigi Sohn, the former Executive Director of Public Knowledge. Interesting that she appears to be on board with tiered service."

    So how is this relevant? Oh, wait, don't tell me. This is another one of your Public Knowledge is secretly working for and being funded by Google conspiracy theories right?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 4:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No Derpsley, it merely goes to show that advocates on both sides of an issue seem to make their way into official Washington. Try to pay attention.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 4:47am

    Re: Re:

    Someone working for the government should do so to serve the public interest.

    That may be true of a bureaucrat, but not a member of Congress. They are there to represent the interests of their constituents- not the broader public interest. That's why you will never see nor should expect Rep. Griffith to be an advocate for cap-and-trade or other climate change measures. His constituents are in cal country.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 4:51am

    Re: Re:

    I don't think you realize the importance of the motion picture and television industry in his district. There are tons of people who make their livings that way in the district. Not rich actors and producers but grips, makeup artists, prop makers, cameramen, drivers, extras, etc. Without the employers they don't have jobs. And these are good middle class jobs that come with health insurance and pensions.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 4:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    A skill gained in the public sector should not be used to help a company you were regulating better game the system. This should not be permitted.

    Members of Congress are not really "regulating" anyone. What you are talking about is like the head of the USDA's meat inspection program going to work for the Beef Council.

    Members write and vote on laws. Between the House and Senate, there are over 500 people voting on an issue. Its not a cozy as you suggest.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 5:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Members of Congress are not really "regulating" anyone."

    Oh, so we are just electing them for no reason then? We should just get rid of all Congress members since they don't regulate anyone or anything.

    "Its not a cozy as you suggest."

    You sure could have fooled me.

    What kinda dumb response is this?

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 5:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Which is not what trying to stop a revolving door is trying to prevent.

     

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  24.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jul 24th, 2014 @ 5:57am

    We need Mr Norris to slam that revolving door.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 6:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I understand that way too many Congress members are often in office to represent themselves and their own personal interests but the point is that they should be serving the public interest. At least if we are to believe this is a democracy and their decisions are representative of what the people as a whole want. Otherwise you are just admitting this is not a democracy (or a constitutional republic) and our laws may run counter to the public interest.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 6:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The argument that the shills around here come up with for allowing the revolving door to continue seems to be that because being in office has helped give them skills and connections to better game the system for the industries they were regulating we should then allow them to use those skills and connections to better game the system. Such skills and connections are very valuable to those industries that want undemocratic laws passed.

    The main reason that the revolving door should not be allowed to continue is because it creates a potential conflict of interest between politicians and the industry interests they were allowed to regulate. This potential conflict of interest maybe abused by industry interests wanting to game the system. That should not be permitted. That those politicians have additionally acquired the skill set and connections to better game the system as an added bonus is not reason the revolving door favor should be allowed to continue but it's even more reason the revolving door problem needs to be fixed.

    and for the shills to not see the difference between a skill gained in a private sector job being used by someone who moved from one job to another and a skill gained in a public sector job being used to betray the public that the politician is supposed to represent while in office for personal gain is disingenuous.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 6:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh wow, when I first read your first post that got flagged by the community I actually thought it was sarcasm. You were actually being serious?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    God are you stupid. Agencies and commissions regulate. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, USDA, EPA, etc. They enforce the laws that are passed by Congress. Since you clearly don't understand how it works, please feel free to stop demonstrating your ignorance at every opportunity.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re:

    So basically he was a slut before, and now he's a professional escort?

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I understand how it works. They both regulate in that they both pass laws and regulations. Instead of changing the subject and arguing inconsequential and miniscule semantics (and still being wrong about that) why not focus your attention on addressing the issues being discussed. Stop having to be spoon fed every little thing.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 24th, 2014 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    (and I understand that the distinction you are trying to make is between a 'legislator' and a 'regulator' but you should also consider the context of the post).

     

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