Category Archives: copyright

Senators/Hollywood Move to Censor Internet

I was reading about this new “Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act” and getting a bit scared. This bill, sponsored by a group of scallywag scamp-ass senators would evoke a structure that allowed web sites and services to be blocked on major internet service providers if they are deemed to be dedicated to infringement. Salon has an interesting piece on this bill, which I think you should definitely check out.

This legislation would essentially set up a blacklist of thousands of websites to be disallowed to Americans, I daresay in a manner similar to the way in which communist China restricts their users to content deemed appropriate by the government. As with many laws, those considered to be infringing will be generally the ones with the weakest voices and least connections to the pockets of, I imagine, senators. Although some would argue in favor of the need for this legislation, following Hollywood’s lead on copyright issues is a tenuous path at best(click for a list of technologies that would have been banned by this bill over time).

We have included the text of the Bill for you below. Is this perhaps a response to what some people are seeing as a slipping of American intellectual property capital in an increasingly globalized market? I recently read an article about the counterfeit shoe industry in China, from the NYT. The article talks about the widespread practice of counterfeiting American brands and points to many of these Chinese factories hope to use their bootlegging as an eventual springboard to legitimacy. I guess my question is whether this bill is a late reaction to music and movie piracy, or if the fears expressed here are more deep-seated. Take a look:


Black Sunday

Why they gotta call everything that’s bad ‘black’? Ninjas find that quite disrespectful.

case in point
Anyway, I didn’t want you all to think that the politrickal brain of mnp is sleeping while the rest of the site chugs along. So, in that spirit, today I’m providing you with some linkage to information about this so-called Black Sunday for internet radio.

Basically, the Record Industry, back in the proverbial day, created this group called SoundExchange, the purpose of which is a non-for-profit organization for the collection of artist royalties. So SoundExchange has been lobbying the Copyright Royalty Board of the Library of Congress to increase the amount of royalties paid to artists and record companies. The CRB finally agreed in March to do just that, tripling the amount of royalties needing to be paid for internet radio. Needless to say, mad little indy internet radio stations shut down in anticipation of the rise in fees.  This past Sunday was supposed to be the day.

The four largest Internet-radio providers — Pandora, Yahoo, Rhapsody and Live365 — have tens of millions of channels among them. Pandora can afford to pay fees on Sunday but will continue to lobby Congress for changes, said founder Tim Westergren.

“This is just about the artists getting paid fairly,” said Richard Ades, spokesman for SoundExchange. “Artists and labels just want a fair share of the pie.”

Washington Post

Well, the lobbying continues, but, it’s definitely scary business for all the people out there doing some amount of internet broadcasting. The record companies keep digging themselves a deeper grave because of their inability to match the pace of technology with innovation, effectively using the internet to generate their much sought after income. I agree that artists should be paid fairly, and, I would even go as far to say that intellectual property is extremely important for the maintenance of our capitalist system. Still, it’s total BS that there’s now ay to make a system where people have a large amount of public access to music, and everybody still makes their money.

In my humble opinion, this is another instance of them not thinking hard enough. It’s preposterous to even suggest that any legislation can stop people from broadcasting illegally; it simply belies a true understanding of both technology and human nature. But the arguments from the record industry are always the same: insulting to the intelligence, as if music hasn’t been around since humans have; as if they have facilitated all music ever.

UPDATE: It appears that Sunday won’t be so black after all for Internet radio stations. A new bill was introduced in Congress last night that would give parties 60 days to continue negotiations. According to an update in the Radio and Internet Newsletter, SoundExchange Executive Director John Simson says there’s no reason for small Webcasters to stop streaming on Sunday.

Diaz @ Washington Post

I dont see any black people

Thanks to Diaz’s blog we know that negotiations are ongoing and the destruction of the earth is not yet at hand. We’ll try to keep you updated on this issue, even as we prepare our REACH special report and the Drug Extravaganza.