A rainy Saturday in Los Angeles seems like a good time to put down some random thoughts.
The SOPA Battle
So SOPA is dead, and as I said earlier in the week, it was a fatally flawed piece of legislation. But before the Free Culture crowd gets too self-righteous, please consider your new hero and spokesperson, Kim Dotcom.
Kim’s a fun loving guy with 30,000 square foot mansions in three countries, a fleet of Ferraris all made possible by selling stolen content from artists around the world. A bunch of the musicians I worked with in the 1960′s and 1970′s, who made wonderful records that are still on everyone’s I Pod, have seen their royalties cut by 80%. Not enough for a retired 70 year old to live on. American’s are truly stupid when it comes to discussing this issue. The one thing we make that everyone else in the world wants to get a hold of–our music, our movies, our video games—the knuckleheads on the copyleft want to fight a death match to make sure they are free to the whole world. Of course these same people don’t mind paying an arm and a leg for their German car or their Japanese TV. Read more…
Categories: Afghanistan, Art, Barack Obama, Education, Energy Policy Afghanistan, Barack Obama, China, Credit Crisis, Music, Politics, Ron Wyden, SOPA, Stock Market
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:
- We won’t sell advertising on pirate websites.
- We won’t have our search engine link to pirate websites that can’t prove they have legitimate licenses to the content they host.
- 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.