Obama and SOPA

Obama and Google's Eric Schmidt

The White House has weighed in on the Online Piracy Act. They are clearly walking a tightrope between two competing powers, both of which have traditionally supported Democrats. On one side there is Hollywood and the music industry and on the other is Google. There has been an incredible amount of misinformation floating around about piracy for years and of course there are also some real bully boys who will threaten anyone who opposes their right to “free culture.” We have had these battles for two years on this blog. So here is my thoughts about all of this.

Google– The world’s largest search engine has made hundreds of millions allowing makers of pirated or counterfeit goods to advertise using Google Ad Words. It signed a non-prosecution agreement with the Federal Government and agreed to forgo $500,000,000 worth of counterfeit drug advertising. Google does not want to stop the worldwide revenue it gets from pirated content advertising. Google and it’s competitors could eliminate the need for Piracy legislation by immediately adopting the following rules:

  1. We won’t sell advertising on pirate websites.
  2. We won’t have our search engine link to pirate websites that can’t prove they have legitimate licenses to the content they host.
  3. We will stop pretending we can’t control what gets posted on You Tube.

Hollywood and the Music Business– What I can’t figure out is how did movies and music get to a position that the public feels they are entitled to these works for free? So you never feel you are entitled to a meal at a restaurant for free, do you? What is it about digital entertainment: movies, music, TV and very soon, books that makes them special? Why should the worker in these business not get paid? We built a knowledge society, and the best products we export are all digital objects of desire. But no one seems to care about the notions of intellectual property. It’s so self destructive.

So the President has to thread the needle. That’s why the statement yesterday from the White House was important.

We expect and encourage all private parties, including both content creators and Internet platform providers working together, to adopt voluntary measures and best practices to reduce online piracy.

Google could begin these voluntary measures listed above and reduce the pressure to push a flawed act through Congress. Without some middle ground this whole discussion is going in a very stupid direction.

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38 Responses to Obama and SOPA

  1. Fentex says:

    What I can’t figure out is how did movies and music get to a position that the public feels they are entitled to these works for free?

    The inability of content gate keepers to keep up with the implications of the technology.

    Distribution today should be immediate and everywhere, and if the owners of easily duplicated content aren’t going to be the providers, someone else will be.

    As many people note when they are at home of an evening and contemplating watching a topical movie they ought be able to buy it via the services (such as Netflix, Boxee etc) they may have availabel to them.

    Companies that insist on distribution windows, blocking content from online distribution unitl months after movie theatres have access, are just demanding their content be pirated and subsidising the creation and embedding of networks for unauthorised distribution.

    The experience provided by services like Spotify demonstrate that legitimate commerical distribution can compete with pirated options through the simple expedient of providing a vaulable service – until being hamstrung by distributors who seem more interested in controlling access than selling product.

    stop pretending we can’t control what gets posted on You Tube.

    There’s two big problems with demanding this. There are real technical problems with identifying infringing material but more importantly the publics expectation of copyright is radically removed from it’s current state and at odds with the concept of always, everything, ownership of expression.

    The public expects and finds it entirely reasonable and acceptable that dubbing some easily accessible music over a video of their children dancing should be allowed. And if somehow considered improper that the resolution ought not be their being bankrupted by legal sanctions of hudreds of thousands of dollars.

    The extremeist attitude of punitive beggaring of people who thought they were honouring art they appreciated does nothing by instill wide spread disdain for the businesses demanding the sanctions.

    Even if people were to support wide spread sanctions for unauthorised copying they would be well advised to make the punishment reasonably proportional – say the cost of buying the commerical product plus a few weeks income. That would at least encourage cooperation by the wider public that wouldn’t fear being conspirarators of draconian tyrants.

    But more sensibly would be an industry that realised that the internet is a horn of plenty that they had best work with than resist. People are more interested in assured prompt access of media they applaud than getting anything cheap.

    Quality does compete with free, and it;s the answer to piracy.

  2. Fentex says:

    A great example of how it’s not about free is Louise C. K’s recent experiment. He writes about it here.

    He paid for the recording of a show then made it availabe in non-encrypted form for $5 to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

    And in two weeks took in something like a million dollars, a success well beyond his expectations and did not require him signing any rights away to any distributor.

    Yet few of the people who purchased from him had to do so if all they wanted was free media as he had made it trivial for copies to be distributed separate from his business.

  3. Fentex says:

    Here’s someone else making the point quite elegantly about how odd and counter-productive (encouraging piracy) restricting distribution is.

  4. JTMcPhee says:

    So is there some possible change in the wind, in the peculiar notions of “property” derived from ancient common and code law and tradition, ideas that descended to and extended the Curious Institution of Slavery (which of course still prospers in many quarters today?) Or at least the development of some new traditions and behaviors (since “the law” is the “property” of those already owning most of the stuff, including, of course, legislators?)

    There’s many sources of “law,” of course, and many parallel systems of rules and enforcement. Ask the drug dealers how things work in their system, or street gangs, or prep schools… The major heading in the course outline in Law School is “Intellectual Property.” Ain’t it wonderful how much highly emolumentative, indecent, unproductive energy, working down the sub-heads and branches of the outline, goes into squeezing, by acts that so often look like garroting, the last tiny drop of money out of that “bundle of rights” that “property” is supposed to convey, and ensure, like “socage” or my favorite, pimp tenure, some singularity of “ownership.” Oh, I know, without the power of “intellectual property law,” there would be no Innovation. Ask Wozniak how that worked out for him, in his time with Saint Jobs…

    Change is indeed a bitch, especially at times when the old is so massive and strong, and the new has not yet felt all the strength in its sinews…

  5. len says:

    Did you ever think there would come a day when it is more important to be shared on Facebook than have major airplay on an LA radio station? Sam Phillips said it: “Mash me, please!” Kate Bush has broken all the rules yet she may get a very prestigious award in Britain soon. She decided that her success was not a fortune in other men’s eyes but in retaining her right to load her own dishwasher and “hoover” her own carpets.

    The hard decision is how much is enough. If the tradeoff to having more is to make it more difficult for others to have anything, one has to question one’s values. That said, I’ve neither seen nor heard any new issues on this topic. T-Bone sells albums in Starbucks. Smart. Apple iTunes is paying. Salient. If quality makes a difference, The Secret Sisters are worth buying. And Aretha Franklin is humping across the country with a new fella she will marry. Sexy. It seems to me people are getting what they want without SOPA. Do we stand on principles and get left behind or accept that the big money has to be more equally apportioned and actually live the values we sing about?

    It makes very little difference to me. I simply want to keep making things that make people smile or think even if “just a glimpse”. I got what I wanted: I know how to do it and do. No one can predict success that accurately. If someone had told me my most downloaded work would be Schubert’s Ave Maria sung as a male soprano with Mother Teresa interleaved, I would have shrugged it off but it is so. And that’s the truth: we don’t really know what the best thing is to do except to keep doing. Let the fans decide.

  6. len says:

    And Google did try to put ads on the Ave Maria claiming it is a copyright work that gives them the right to do that. When I pointed out the composed has been decomposing for a very long time, they promptly backed down. It was the same story for Danny Boy. But they did ask, they did accept the evidence and they did do the right thing both by me and the fans. What more can we ask and have a reasonable right to expect?

  7. John Papola says:

    No needle to threat, except in terms of corporatist campaign contributors. He should veto it. Period. It’s terrible. How do I know it’s terrible (other than the direct facts of what it seeks to enable)? Chris Dodd is pushing for it.


  8. Jon Taplin says:

    You guys all ignore the fact that the artists you really admire are basically indentured servants to the major media companies. You know that when the yearly royalty checks show up in the mail. So John P would never be for Chris Dodd and his employers because they are the big bad Hollywood studios. But they are also the paymaster for artists who worked their ass off and deserve to get paid.

  9. Fentex says:

    You guys all ignore the fact that the artists you really admire are basically indentured servants to the major media companies.

    This is the very thing an unfettered Internet over turns. The example of Louis C. K. is a demonstration that success no longer relies on selling ownership of your labours to media conglonerates.

    SOPA and PIPA are more about media conglomerates trying to retain their grasp on others opportunities than protecting starving artists. The corporations are fighting to avoid becoming servants of artists as the disintermediation of the Internet ought make them.

  10. len says:

    The major artists have lawyers for renegotiating the terms of contracts where once they were beneficial, have fallen behind the times. Google and Apple store and others have already made agreements with the major labels for paying them including revenues for pirated material where identified.

    As I understand it, SOPA was written to cover OCONUS internet sources which most parties realize IS a drain on recoupable monies. The objections are that it is written so broadly as to allow shuttering of any site. So it is viewed as encroaching on Constitutional rights. We’ve had quite enough of that lately.

    Had the major labels via RIAA not made such a stink with their lawsuits and the unreasonable terms, this would be a better situation. As t’is, they have no friends among their customer base.

  11. Morgan Warstler says:

    Modern Economics is about grasping unlimited wants in a world where the atomic is scarce BUT the digital is infinite.

    This is truly a fundamental change to econ. If people could copy food or oil, there would be riots in the streets if people tried to stop them.

    Not admitting this, mars you.

    It will only get harder, both education and medical treatment are about to see significant improvements as the cost of digital delivery drops to 0.

    So don’t think it is only Hollywood getting gutted. There are plenty of viable biz models, just not as lucrative on a per US fan basis as in the past.

  12. Alex Bowles says:

    @Fentex I agree.

    The Fed’s General Accounting Office has already recommended against the inclusion of industry-supplied piracy figures in consideration of legislation for the simple reason that the industry has a long and sordid history of just making stuff up. And not small distortions either. These are monumental whoppers.

    There have been many dissections of these numbers. One of the better ones is here.

    Further support fot the idea that piracy is a red herring comes from the MPAA’s response to The OPEN initiative. This was an alternative to SOPA that focused on the nominal aim of the bill (cutting off rogue sites overseas), while avoiding the slew of issues related to the ‘unintended’ consequences that opponents were pointing out. That went down in flames.

    I think this is the point when the whole “Congress is just clueless” idea died, along with the notion that the bills were just accidentally bad. Seeing a clear improvement get killed removed any pretense about the drive being anything but a direct assault, enabled by representative who were only too willing to see it through.

    And that’s when the anti-competitive nature of what was actually being advanced really crystalized in the minds of a lot of people running entirely legitimate operations online. Suddenly, this became the (Not So) Firmly Established Middlemen of 2012 Act. Real Empire Strikes Back stuff. And you summed up their motivation very nicely.

    “The corporations are fighting to avoid becoming servants of artists as the disintermediation of the Internet ought make them.”

    The irony is that the role they’re twisting themselves in knots is likely to be vastly more profitable than anything they’ve known to date. Of course, this will require a whole new school of management- folks focused on customers first, and maximizing quarterly returns later – but really, this fight is in the best interests of everybody, including those who are resisting it so furiously.

  13. Alex Bowles says:

    Oh, and add the site of one more artist (Peter Gabriel) to the list of those going dark tomorrow.

  14. Alex Bowles says:

    I should rephrase the prior comment – this fight is in the best interests of everybody, including the shareholders of those who are resisting it so furiously.

    I mean, that’s the real irony of shareholder capitalism. Though the machination are all in their nominal interest, actual shareholders are treated like mushrooms (kept in the dark and fed shit) by senior managers who “massage” earnings to hit WS targets, and secure their own “performance” pay. In truth, the “supremacy” of shareholder interest is a fig leaf for the kind of short-term thinking favored by imperial management that extracts pays itself tremendous sums while externalizing any and all costs possible, regardless of damage done to markets, customers, employees, environments, and – yes – shareholders themselves.

    I would be remarkable if the colonization of the cultural sector by this style of management proved to be its Waterloo.

  15. len says:

    @alex: “Let Evolution Succeed. Let the dum dums die.” – The Great Gazoo

  16. Fentex says:

    I think it’s important to notice, with regards to YouTube and Google, that there are multiple issues regarding avoiding copyright breaches.

    I think Jon is most concerned with the wholesale copying of media such as a movie, TV episode or music video. But there’s also the problem of mashing media into a new expression – music dubbed over a home video of children dancing, simply video of actions in a public place where the audio captures copyrighted music, or the flip side of some dubbed commercial video – such as the many parodies using video of Hitler in his bunker from Downfall.

    Things which U.S law might arguably consider fair use but which service providers cannot accurately determine given the complexities of legislation and amount of conflicting case law.

    SOPA and PIPA do nothing to resolve the fundemental disconnect copyright law now has with public expectations of what is reasonable in manipulating the increasingly digitalised environment we inhabit.

  17. Alex Bowles says:

    Publisher Tim O’Reilly – who has obviously got a lot of skin in the publishing game – expands on the idea that SOPA/PIPA supporters are doing themselves more harm than good by focusing on government intervention when they should be concentrating on delivering better service at more attractive prices.

    His crucial point is the latter choice promises higher profits, but only to senior managers with the guts and vision to evolve in sync with the market. Those who are not up to the task, and respond to social and technological development by attacking it are serving no interest beyond their own.

    Beyond all the discussion of “business models” lies the deeper reality that these models and the law that governs them are inextricably linked. You cannot develop one without the other. And in a functioning democracy, you cannot preserve an outdated model by retarding development of necessary law. Attempts to do so are going to result in bruising political fights – which is exactly what’s happening now.

    As we all know, copyright has been evolving for three centuries now. But at no prior point were duplication and distribution anything but (very) capital-intensive occupations. In other words, this law has had about as much direct effect on the general public as FAA regulations concerning the operating ceilings for private jets. So this has always been industrial law, and anyone dealing with it needed suitably trained lawyers on the case. Those aren’t appropriate assumptions any longer, and nor is any law that makes them. More to the point, if the power to duplicate and distribute had always been as ubiquitous as it has just become, copyright would look nothing like it does today.

    Now that copyright law suddenly has some direct bearing on people’s lives, the stage has been set for a very different trajectory. Given how one-sided the law has become, it’s safe to say that modernization will entail a massive reduction in the power it grants rights-holders. Less so, one hopes, when it comes to limiting what non-humans (i.e. corporations) can do, but certainly when it comes to governing individuals and they way they handle media.

    This cannot be anything less than traumatic for those who dominated the world that is now ending. I get that. But for better or for worse, their time has come and gone. What O’Reilly points out that this is their problem exclusively. Larger fears about the culture itself imploding are completely overblown.

    Indeed, the effective (if illegal) expansion of creative activity undercuts every notion that presumed the existing rules were indispensable incentives to creative work. As it turns out, creative work results from a set of incentives and motivations far more varied and complex than the promise of a (not-so) limited monopoly over duplication, distribution, and derivatives.

    Can these monopolies still meet the basic terms that permit their existence by “advancing the useful arts and sciences”? Perhaps, but certainly not in the form they currently take. The form they should take is what demands discussion. But for the past decade, the copyright protected industries have successfully suppressed and avoided efforts to have this debate in the open. Instead, when advancing their legislative interests, they’ve managed to do so in near-total secrecy, and in contravention of normal legislative channels (e.g. ACTA).

    This is no way for ethical, socially responsible, or forward-thinking business to operate. And the general public has ever right to become deeply suspicious of those that do. When people find out what they’ve actually been up to, the reaction is one of deep and immediate hostility. As well it should be. In the words of one group opposed to S/P

    In just 7 days, the Senate will vote on forever altering the free and open internet by instituting a new regime of extra-judicial, corporate-led website takedowns. This is a fundamental fight about who has power in society — the people with the means to communicate freely or the governments and corporations that feel threatened.

    I’ll be the first to admit that new business models remain uncertain. And I’m concerned about the inability to command prices in line with the hard costs of creation. But I recognize these problems as inevitable byproducts of law that remains in force, but obsolete. We really need an open discussion about the value and limit of copyright in the 21st Century, because that is the starting point for viable law. Only then can we develop sustainable modes of trade. For the duration of this interregnum, anything that does work well will inevitably be provisional or transitory.

  18. Jon Taplin says:

    To everyone-This is really good feedback. Let me just pose some queries. Much of what Fentex says is true for the music business, because the cost of producing a world class record is something a good artist can afford. The movie business is different. Even Stephen Speilberg does not have the money to produce War Horse. How are you going to make movies without the intermediary?

  19. Ken Ballweg says:

    There you get into an arguments of whether great movies require block buster budgets, and whether independent movies have broad enough appeal to be a sustainable medium. Answer: it depends.

    Frankly, the vast majority of money in the film industry is akin to it’s mates in the stock and commodities markets, it’s a giant crap shoot put up by opportunists that don’t give a rip about serving art, culture, or humanity. It’s all a roll of chance, a lottery ticket to potential fast bucks that seldom wins.

    The movie industry is different only because the existing distribution channels require certain levels of cash flow to exist, but as home theatre units get more like the mega-plex experience, and on demand distribution alters the range of what a person can access, the accepting of crap, because that’s what’s available, is changing. Movie profits are down because of the economy but also because people just aren’t as apt to go because there’s no alternative.

    On the plus side, the failure of the obscure because it can’t get distribution is changing too. Check the Sundance schedule for this year and you will see a lot of interesting fare that clocks in, budget wise, at a pittance of Warhorse.

    People who love great music loath the over compressed sound of CDs and MP3s, but the vast majority of people can’t hear the difference. The requirement that film needs a big screen and an audience is becoming comparable in that cinephiles needs that, but most people don’t see much difference between whether it’s at the theatre or on their wide screen telly.

  20. Fentex says:

    How are you going to make movies without the intermediary?

    Star Wreck, in the Pirkining was basically a private exercise that ended up being a profitable ventyure and has lead to the creation of Iron Sky – a featrue movie made with about $8 million in funding raised by various methods on the back of Star Wrecks reputation.

    This is an example that even special effects heavy movies are getting a lot cheaper than they once were. So some of the assumptions about budgets may not be as straight forward as one may think.

    Putting that aside research shows the most pirated movies are the most succesul and profitable. The piracy doesn’t stop people from wanting to buy quality copies or watch a big screen.

    It’s a fundemental mistake to think every unautrhorised copy is a lost sale. It isn’t. The actual sales that are made are what counts and finding ways to increase them through the expanded options new media and distribution channels offer is what business should be doing.

  21. Pingback: Ph.D. student Leavitt summarizes SOPA and the “Internet blackout” | Inside Annenberg

  22. len says:

    “I’m concerned about the inability to command prices in line with the hard costs of creation”

    That’s the poser. On the other hand, a bettor at a Vegas table has no guarantees. The audience has become the house. The fans will choose and just as the major recording studios have diminished, so will the big budget movie makers who can’t convert the investment to returns by exploiting the new means of distribution. It’s tough to beat Netflix and the Apple Store for convenience particularly where the target audience is less than 30 years old. Understanding that a song is going to be heard on a cheap MP3 player and that a new release movie will be headed for that 55 inch big screen TV is required. That’s just the way it is.

    On the next to last time we did this topic, T-Bone said the recording price of a quality release for an album is still between a quarter and three quarters of a million. Not cheap. Yes it can be done it for less but only by cutting down a lot of intermediaries and getting less than the best in the studio. On the other hand, there are lots more players and lots more small studios and that’s just the way it is. And the same studios that produced major hits forty years ago, (think Muscle Shoals Sound) are now in new hands producing boutique works. Costs? Likely less. Distribution is still a headache but as I saw in Starbucks, Burnette’s company is finding new channels.

    I can’t see how this works for those still expecting the same monies for similar work. I can see this working for those who have learned what to remove from the process, how to keep a high quality team on board, picking projects astutely, doing more faster and perhaps being a little less focused on a single genre and style palette.

    And write better law.

  23. Alex Bowles says:

    Certain films and styles of film making may become emblematic of their times, like the epics of David Lean and the proverbial cast of thousands. So if the question pertains to sustaining that kind of production when the economic, cultural, technical, and legal underpinnings have all moved on, the short answer is “I don’t think you can”.

    Indeed, I think the close connection between certain films and the moments they mirror is what gives many their kind of value that spans generations. Their value is unique. But for the same reason, we need honest reflections of our own unique moment so that future generations can begin to understand what makes their time special. We cannot make 21st century media when we’re hobbled by 20th (nay, 18th) century law.

    On a more practical level, I think that studios need to retreat from the home market as their primary source of revenue. At that stage, the tools of duplication and distribution are too far out of their control for them to control with any degree of finesse. And bringing ham-fisted thuggery into people’s living rooms – literally – is a sure way to infuriate the public.

    When the public retaliates – which they are already doing – it won’t be with the aid of precision guided missiles or ‘surgical strikes’. Rather, they’re going full-nuclear, and damn the consequences. Realizing that “Intellectual Property” has already become a dirty word for an entire generation, studio heads and their Congressional supporters would do well to leaf through collections of photos from Hiroshima and Nagasaki before deciding to pull another pre-emptive strike like SOPA, PIPA, or, well, Pearl Harbor.

    No, the only safe place to build a business that caters to the public is in public. That means theaters. And there’s simply no way that the current model – which masks declining attendance with escalating prices – is going to cut it. Instead, the studios and exhibitors would be well-advised to embrace the MoviePass model that they’re currently resisting.

    This is, in essence, Netflix for seats. For $50, is gives people unlimited access to the theater of their choice. Obviously, this removes a huge amount of friction from the decision about whether or not to go to a theater, reversing the popular flight from the one place where they can actually make money in a relatively straightforward way. Variations on this plan also give theaters a way to keep seats filled on a more continuous basis. For example, they could offer a $25 pass that’s only Monday -Thursday, or a $15 pass for matinees only.

    Beyond making actual movie-going popular again, my suspicion is that a wholesale change in theater-going behavior would lead, inevitably, to a change in the kinds of stories that get told. And though I doubt we’d return to anything quite like the halcyon days of the pre-War period, I can see how theaters with much more open access could play an important part in general civic development. New forms would inevitably emerge from this milieu – especially if the stories they tell merge with the wireless, digital infrastructure filling pockets and purses by the billion.

    After times change again, the best of these films would crystalize into records for yet anther chapter in history. But the more immediate point is that evolving with the times is a great way to benefit from broader developments that are presently being retarded by a refusal to evolve – not just with the market, but with society itself. For a business that is, ostensibly, a feature of the culture this is the vital heart of it’s singular relevance.

    The fact that this even has to be mentioned is testament to how bad our situation has truly become. The only reason that the copyright protected industries feel that evolution is optional (or at least, something that can happen on their terms exclusively) is because of the unholy degree of control they’ve gotten in Congress. But of course, this puts them on the wrong side of a much bigger problem. Given the emergence of legalized corruption as a pre-eminent political concern of the day, they’re casting their lot in with forces that the culture is gearing up to purge with extreme prejudice.

    For what it’s worth, Mark Zuckerberg has just come out against SOPA, PIPA, and any future legislation that resembles these acts. His Senators (Boxer and Feinstein) support PIPA. Of these three, I wonder who will still have a job after the next election?

  24. Alex Bowles says:

    I’ve seen lots of SOPA / PIPA analysis. These 14 minutes form Clay Shirky (via TED) are, by far, the best.

    This isn’t aimed at Google, or Yahoo!, or Twitter, or any other online company. It is aimed directly and deliberately at us, We The People.

  25. Alex Bowles says:

    On a more positive note, consider this:

    This is the Radiolab effect extended: expect less pretension to authority, greater understanding of one’s nodeness, but greater respect for the production culture of the pre-web era.

    The copyright cartel doesn’t (can’t? won’t?) understand the first two parts of this equation. If people can develop greater respect for old-school production culture by involving themselves in media, why can’t media companies develop a greater respect for networked culture in general?

  26. len says:

    They don’t really have a choice. Just as the music industry had to adapt to the price problems, so will movie makers. Jon is part of the Young Turk era that stepped in with lower budget movies when the big productions failed to recoup and he does have a track record of success doing that. I’m mystified that he is mystified. Better stories filled the gap between Hello Dolly and Star Wars. Technology will continue to fall in cost and the stars that have demanded more money per release, the producers, the distributors will all find ways to reduce their own demands or production costs.

    Meanwhile, new young turks, the web generation are fighting back with fresh talent and technology and not too shabbily (link snapped to prevent embedding):

    http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=hi4kfTah7yI&feature=g-all-lik&context=G2187998FAAAAAAAACAA

  27. Morgan Warstler says:

    Wait, false choice.

    Jon digital distribution doesn’t equal PIRACY.

    It means the guys who make War Horse, don’t get to make MORE than they used to, BUT everyone on the globe gets to see it.

    The ROI is the same. They can easily make the same profit today.

    The profit per viewer is lower. Which is how it is SUPPOSED to be.

    Digital = the more people to see it the cheaper it is for those people.

    The problem is right now the studios want some upside from the digital and they can’t have even 1 cent of it.

    Also note: the larger the audience the more upside there is to the actors on the fame side. We see this now in music.

  28. Fentex says:

    For anyone curious about the arguments against SOPA and PIPA here’s a nice summary that goes into, clearly presented and comprehensible detail, of all the problems.

    Written by a video editor, who’s income is on the line if TV can’t make money.

  29. Armand Asante says:

    hi Jon,

    Remember me? I’m an artist. I don’t make money from IP, but you do. I remember. You have IP that’s actually worth something. IP that you were going to license to Sony or Apple or whatever. Yet whenever you defend IP you hide beind creators’ skirts. As if opposing IP or copyright hurts artists, cretors, movie-makers and not people like you – who don’t create but actually profit from copyright censorship laws. Which is what intellectual property means – laws limiting (censoring) how others use ideas that you legally own. Jon Tapllin owns ideas. nice.

    As you said “the best products we export are all digital objects of desire”. That’s because America no longer has any tangible industry to speak of. The US only has the past glory of Hollywood at its back. So why should the rest of the world pay for America’s failure of industry?
    Why should we keep paying for Hollywood movies made over 28 years ago?

    The net worth of IP money will be going to the US, though nowadays US/Hollywood is producing the cheapest, least-desirable culture in the world. Yet we would be paying for America’s past greatness while they keep cramming their new empty bell-and-whistles “objects of desire” down our throats – for they own the blacklists.

    As Peter Chernin once told you, when you asked him if he thought an ISP tax was a good idea, he told you it was a good idea for the music industry but it was “politically unfeasible” (actual quote). Guess what? It still is politically unfeasible.

    This isn’t a battle between Google and Hollywood – though you’ve said either the law passes or Google starts censoring content voluntarily (ie. non-legally). That makes it a battle between moneyed-interests and internet freedoms. A battle between corporate-controlled governments and the people. A battle for freedom of speech, democracy and freedom to share our ideas (even if Hollywood put a “c” on them – they’re still ours).

    Jon, you used to claim you are from the flower generation – the 60’s. you do your generation shame. You even claimed to know Dylan:
    Your old road is
    Rapidly agin’
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can’t lend your hand

    You’re on the wrong side of history.

    and here’s a piece of art I helped create: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJVY6-Jx5Pc
    I designed, modeled, storyboarded and art-directed large parts of it. I’m not getting any money from my copyright in it. Others are. You don’t care about my freedoms? I don’t care about your profits. Doubly so – since you don’t care about my profits either.

    Interregnum? Morbid symptoms? yup!

    you old pal,

  30. Morgan Warstler says:

    wait, wait AA!!!

    Jon isn’t an old man who only kinda gets digital. No, no young people are all jealous of the awesomeness of his generation!

    All the debt they spent was SMART, it was super smart investments that will pay off for the children long after Jon is dead.

    just you wait! 20 years from now we won’t all be dancing on the baby boomers graves, we’ll be wishing they were around to keep eating more than they planted.

    Their cause was just, no matter the price.


    ROFL. I make me laugh.

    Jon, just repent. Say states rights and stick with it. Stop protecting the income streas of old hippies in art and education. SACRIFICE their income, let them have smaller homes, eat more Ramen noodles, take no more vacations.

    Consider it you own kind of World War sacrifice. Those old Japanese men who went and cleaned up the nuclear waste dump? Find your place in that kind of narrative. Just make sure there’s no price tag attached to it.

    you can do it!

  31. Morgan Warstler says:

    AA, I like your art.

  32. Armand Asante says:

    Who knew?
    Web Sheriff claims the copyright to Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-changin’

    well, they certainly are changin’
    thank you Web Sheriff, thank you DMCA, thank you Google,
    You guys own Dylan and only you set the price for hearing his message. You truly are the befitting custodians of Dylan’s cultural legacy. may your SOPA bubble reign supreme. Now and forever.

    ps. Web Sheriff, DMCA and Google – Jon says you’re not doing enough. Shape up.

  33. Morgan Warstler says:

    “How does an aspiring artist bridge the gap between distribution and commerce?
    We have to be very clever about those things. You have to remember that it’s only a few hundred years, if that much, that artists are working with money. Artists never got money. Artists had a patron, either the leader of the state or the duke of Weimar or somewhere, or the church, the pope. Or they had another job. I have another job. I make films. No one tells me what to do. But I make the money in the wine industry. You work another job and get up at five in the morning and write your script.

    This idea of Metallica or some rock n’ roll singer being rich, that’s not necessarily going to happen anymore. Because, as we enter into a new age, maybe art will be free. Maybe the students are right. They should be able to download music and movies. I’m going to be shot for saying this. But who said art has to cost money? And therefore, who says artists have to make money?

    In the old days, 200 years ago, if you were a composer, the only way you could make money was to travel with the orchestra and be the conductor, because then you’d be paid as a musician. There was no recording. There were no record royalties. So I would say, “Try to disconnect the idea of cinema with the idea of making a living and money.” Because there are ways around it.”


  34. len says:

    Artists? Well, Dolly Parton is a businesswoman too. Enuff said.

    It’s a collect vs misery incurred quotient. How much do you have to get to afford to make other people miserable rather than happy? Purely hypothetically, ff you were Paul Simon and going after the lady who put the video of the park bench with ghostly figures for Old Friends on YouTube instead of negotiating better terms with Google for ad money, I’d say that’s increasing misery in a bad deal with someone who loved his music enough to say it is emblematic of their own lives, claiming it as zeitgeist communion.

    Isn’t that the highest acclaim there is for an artist? Even if there is a way to stop it but it comes at the cost of those expressions of love, who wants that? Have a care for eternity. Where there are no guarantees that we remain, what do does in these acts of love and misery. What love have we for those past our time with them may be the most important choices we make and the unknowability of the truth of that is what makes it most important. What love is better than that we commit in the face of the unknown?

    And selfishly, if YouTube goes away, so does the accesss to a world audience for any and every crazy wonderful amateur or professional who has a thing they have to do not because it makes them rich but because it makes them happy and out their happiness with surprising regularity, something brilliant is made and shared. That’s the beauty of it. Who will in the face of the unknown, refuse a certain beauty because once done, the ugly certainty takes its place.

    A Hong Kong merchant knocking out subquality reproductions of the original recordings and selling them off the books is another topic. A multi-million dollar website hawking downloads without deals inked and signed is another topic. This comes down to national resources and national resources are best defended by national resources. Call that a shot across the bow to the trade amabassadors.

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  36. Morgan Warstler says:

    “But who said art has to cost money? And therefore, who says artists have to make money?”

  37. JTMcPhee says:

    @Morgan Warstler
    Sayeth the Breitbart minion and junk mail nobility. Who, one can be sure, would NEVER take advantage of nominally illicit freebies from some artist off the ‘net. Since EVERYTHING has a PRICE, and should be RENTED and PAID FOR. Unless he can get it for less, without personal consequences…

    The thing about the Few is that they do not give a shit about what comes after. It’s all about THEM, and maximizing their personal pleasure in the NOW. In their belief structures, even amongst the Forgiven Reprobates like Gingrich, (who my Fundamentalist Christian friend is convinced on his view of Revelation is one of the Antichrists, to be applauded for bringing all of us one step closer to that longed-for Armageddon End Time and that Rapture he is just sure is waiting for him) all the up-sides are in favor of using it up and wearing it out, and grabbing all you can off the plates of others. With the assurance that God Loves A Thief or Fornicator Who Repents. And of course setting things up so that down the road a bit, while yet they live, they can cash in for even more. And the true atheists, for whom there is not even a faint fear of brimstone and judgment, have zero reason to give a crap about suffering they cause now, let alone in the future after they are dead and totally beyond retribution.

    Ask the Kochs how that works. Or John Galt.

  38. Morgan Warstler says:

    Careful now JTM, now Jon likes Breitbart.

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