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OP-ED | MPAA Overreaches in Attempts to Thwart Piracy

by | Dec 12, 2011 6:30am () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Congress, CT Tech Junkie, Opinion

The late Steve Jobs’ negotiations with the recording industry are now the stuff of legend. He famously told clueless music executives who refused to offer their product digitally that they had their “heads up their asses” and needed to start selling their content in the least restrictive way to save their industry.

It took the music industry nearly a decade to even offer digital downloads, and another five years to finally understand that customers will gladly pay for their music if it is sold without copy restrictions and made available through high quality subscription streaming services. Along the way, however, the record companies sued children for millions of dollars in damages, vilified their fans and alienated the very people who helped to build and support their industry.

With broadband speeds now allowing for the rapid distribution of movies, The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is taking a similar approach by threatening to turn the Internet into a corporate police state. MPAA Chairman and Former Senator Chris Dodd, whom I have tremendous respect for, is actively working to convince Congress that the only way to solve the piracy problem is to impose a layer of private regulation on the Internet that will employ the same censorship practices the Chinese government uses on its citizens.  The MPAA’s proposals will change the very fabric of how the Internet operates and threatens free speech by placing a tremendous amount of power into the hands of private corporations.

Two bills, one called the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) and the other the “Protect IP Act” (PIPA), give copyright holders the ability to block foreign and domestic websites from public view by forcing Internet service providers to “de-list” sites with the Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS). The bills also give corporations the ability to go after publishers who link to the alleged infringers in any fashion, and force payment processing and advertising networks to immediately cut ties with alleged violators under threat of federal charges.

Click here to continue reading Lon’s report.

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(2) Archived Comments

posted by: Disgruntled | December 12, 2011  9:35am

You lost me right away with this comment about a person who should be doing serious time in a Federal penitentiary. Hopefully you were being facetious:

“Former Senator Chris Dodd, whom I have tremendous respect for…”

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | December 12, 2011  12:16pm


The music industry hasn’t quite recovered from digital piracy.

There are a number of issues that need revisitng including copyright laws and automatic royalties.

The entire concept of Public Domain needs revisiting. The changes in the Sonny Bono act were designed to protect a handful of artists estates (Gershwin for example) and large publishing houses with old copyrights - Sir Paul MacCartney and Michael Jackson owned huge music catalogues of older material. 95 years of ownership took 99.9% of the material out of public domain for an extra 20 years to protect the .1% that still earns money off the Great American Songbook.

The answer today could be that public domain is 30 years but royalties during the first 30 years of release are much higher than today and permission alone is the artists right after 30 years.

For all purposes no one watches television programs from before 1980 or movies for that matter—not in the quantity that makes ownership or copyright of thousandsof programs that should be public domain. Instead, the laws protect the occassional classic from before 1980 (Godfather, Star Wars, Star Trek series). 1% of the material released during that era still sells and airs in any volume and the rest is tied up in copyright protection wars instead of free distribution.

For all purposes the government could preent corporate ownership and buy the copyright and ownership of material greater than 30 years old for little money (compared to defense spending and the $1.6 Trillion Deficit).

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