GC, I think you may be putting a bit too much faith in copyright as a source of income. Does it play a part? Sure. The real reason that millions of dollars and thousands of man hours are put into making movies and TV shows is that people want to watch them and are willing to either pay or watch commercials to get them. The millions and thousands would still be spent, even if there were not copyright. It's not that great of an incentive.
I was pretty thrilled to see this statement. I've not been impressed by the actions or rhetoric of Victoria Espinel to date, but this seems like a positive step. One of the really important parts of the response is that the White House is encouraging me, and those like me, to not just try to stop things, but to work on what needs to be done. From the letter "Where do we go from here? Donít limit your opinion to whatís the wrong thing to do, ask yourself whatís right."
What's right? What needs to be done?
1. Let's deal in facts, not speculation. If there is real and serious harm being done to American industry by overseas rogues, it should be quantified. This has to be the starting point of any serious discussion about the issue. Unless real numbers are used that are impartial and objective, there can never be anything like consensus on the issue.
2. Punishment should be proportional to the infraction. It is a reasonable idea to come up with ways to mitigate or reduce real harm, if it in fact exists. While we are at it, let's make sure that we're looking at harm on both sides of this debate. Allowing abuse of the legal system (ala Righthaven) or abuse of the DMCA or using an elephant gun to hunt mosquitos (ala Jamie Thomas) really needs to be addressed as part of the reform being sought.
The concept of theft is conflated with the idea of copyright infringement, to the detriment of everyone involved in the discussion. If Jamie Thomas (or Lamar Smith) happen to infringe on something that could be outright purchased for under a dollar, there should be no way that the remedy for that situation should cost more than a new car. Or a house. It should not be possible for the stakeholders in this discussion to ruin the lives of people in hopes of proving a point.
3. Put some incentives in place to be accurate. Bogus takedowns, speculative lawsuits and extortion by legal threats and intimidation should all have serious consequences. It is becoming increasingly obvious that DMCA abuse has become commonplace. Rightsholders believe they are entitled to pull stuff (such as the MegaUpload song) off of the web simply because they don't like it. There should be some significant consequences for bad faith action such as this that encourages responsible behavior on the part of those who are so quick to lecture the world about their behavior.
4. Transparency. It is inexcusable for government to engage in dealings without allowing the public to understand and participate in the process. There may have been a time when this was acceptable. That time is over. From ACTA, to SOPA/PIPA, to whatever goofy scheme the captains of industry decide is the next battleground against our freedom, the discussion MUST involve the people that will be impacted by it from the very beginning.
I'm a little disappointed that there isn't much discussion yet of the historical/constitutional angle on this issue. Very similar to the oft quoted "core motivation" for IP monopoly law in the US (to promote the progress...) was the idea of the outright constitutional ban on taxation of interstate commerce. There is a really distinct reason this scheme was created in the first place, and it arguably has been a much better and more effective idea than the IP monopolies that get so much discussion.
My understanding of the idea is that you want the conglomeration of 50 separate state governments to come together and work as a federated whole. One of the best ways to do that is to prevent them from having petty trade wars with each other and constantly throwing up tariffs on one thing in response to some perceived wrong on another thing. This whole idea seems reasonable to me, and also appears to have worked well to date. I can't recall the last time Nebraska retaliated against Idaho over a trade dispute.
I think we should be careful to not get distracted into discussions over efficiency and inevitability on this issue. Our track record on creating efficient tax collection systems is abysmal (e.g. toll roads, or the IRS), so that's not too promising of a road to go down. I don't get the impression that efficiency is high on the list of goals for most of our government entities.
Amazon seems to have caved in to the pressure on this question, but that is a business decision about whether it's more effective to fight or to join the other side. What is best for the country, and what is the "right" thing to do is another question entirely. I don't fall into the camp that says since it was written on parchment 200 years ago, it must always be so. I do, however, think it would be ignorant of us to lose sight of the reasons it was done to begin with.
Coming back to one really relevant point at the top of this thread, it is kind of funny/ironic that they have named this thing E-PARASITE. I particularly like the way that the acronyms collapse together so well - the PROTECT THE-PARASITES act. Finally, some truth in labeling for horrid legislation.
This does seem like an idea that could get some uptake. It probably doesn't have much to do with financial results or stopping piracy. It strikes me as the new version of "no brown m&m's in our dressing room". Artists LOVE to think that every single word that slips from their lips is complete gold - lightning in a bottle. If it requires a triple-secret handshake and a press pass just to hear me fart, well, I must be really important.
Expect more of the same. You can't make much better of a bet than to guess that famous people will spend money on anything that boosts their ego.
Apparently being funny and having the governor's social media experts get confused was enough to get the account killed. I can't find the @NYGovernor account now, other than in a couple of search results that have noticed that the account disappeared.
It seems that the most effective countermeasure to this stupidity is to use it against the powers that think it is such a great idea. The only real "public awareness" event that I have seen so far is when John McCain's campaign videos were taken down.
Can we not raise up some kind of grass roots "kill em all" campaign where everything that WMG and/or the congress and/or the white house cares about is taken offline? I think that it is stupid to discuss ways to skirt the issue, let's take the problem directly to the people causing it.