Hollywood v Silicon Valley in US piracy battle

Jan 21, 2012 by Leila Macor
Technology organization New York Tech Meetup protest against proposed laws to curb Internet piracy, in New York. The anti-piracy battle gripping Washington and the Internet pits two US West Coast power bases directly against each other: Hollywood is taking on Silicon Valley over the right to make money online.

The anti-piracy battle gripping Washington and the Internet pits two US West Coast power bases directly against each other: Hollywood is taking on Silicon Valley over the right to make money online.

Backing two controversial pieces of draft anti-piracy , the Los Angeles-based entertainment industry is calling for non-US websites to be held to the same standards as US ones.

But a couple of hundred miles up the coast, the giants at and are resisting at all costs moves which they claim will stifle development of the Internet -- on which their own future, and income, depends.

On Friday, US congressional leaders put anti-online piracy legislation on hold following a wave of protests led by Google and Wikipedia denouncing the bills as a threat to .

Senate majority leader Harry Reid said he was delaying next week's vote on the Protect IP Act (PIPA) and House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith said he would "revisit" the House version, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

In a joint statement Friday, the American Federation of Musicians, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild and other entertainment industry groups called on US lawmakers not to bow to pressure.

"We fought for this legislation because illegal Internet businesses that locate offshore expressly to elude US laws should not escape the very same rules of law that currently apply to illegal US websites," they said.

Fact file on the proposed US Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The anti-piracy battle gripping Washington and the Internet pits two US West Coast power bases directly against each other: Hollywood is taking on Silicon Valley over the right to make money online.

"They should not be allowed to reap in profits if they knowingly sell or distribute illicitly gained content and goods which they had no role in creating or financing to the American consumer," they added.

The has won the backing of Hollywood, the music industry, entertainment giants like Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., angered at the enormous income lost from online streaming and downloads of their products.

But the bills have come under fire from online companies and digital rights groups for allegedly paving the way for US authorities to shut down websites accused of online piracy, including foreign sites, without due process.

"We want a world in which creators are properly compensated for their work, everybody is in favor of that," Corynne McSherry, lawyer for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which promotes free speech online.

But "the right answer to that is not legislation, that's never going to happen in Washington DC, it has to happen via innovation, not legislation," she told AFP.

And she said: "Fighting the internet doesn't work. The answer is to embrace a new business model, that's the only thing that ever worked."

She cited the case of VCR technology, followed by DVDs, which were initially fiercely resisted by Hollywood, but in the end were accepted and turned into a huge new source of revenue.

A January 18 screen grab of the Wikipedia home page. The anti-piracy battle gripping Washington and the Internet pits two US West Coast power bases directly against each other: Hollywood is taking on Silicon Valley over the right to make money online.

The six-strong Hollywood grouping acknowledged that the question is complex.

"We recognize that we are currently part of a complex and important debate about the future, not just of the Internet but also of creativity, the American economy, free expression, and a civil society," its statement said Friday.

"We hope a new tone can be set that does not include website attacks, blacklists, blackouts, and lies. We believe an Internet that does not allow outright stealing has to be the Internet of the future or all the promises it holds will be unrealized."

On Wednesday, the English-language version of its online encyclopedia shut down for 24 hours to protest the legislation and hundreds of other sites joined in the protest.

On Thursday, US authorities shut down Megaupload.com, one of the world's largest file-sharing sites, and charged seven people in what they called one of "the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States."

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) said last week that the US government has to act.

"On behalf of the 2.2 million Americans whose jobs depend on the film and television industries we look forward to the administration ... working with us to pass legislation that will offer real protection for American jobs," it said.

But EFF lawyer McSherry was not convinced, saying the needs "a new leadership that is more focussed on innovation than saving yesterday's industry."

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User comments : 21

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Feldagast
4.2 / 5 (10) Jan 21, 2012
Why don't they enforce the Copyright and Trademark laws already on the books instead of trying to create new ones?
pokerdice1
5 / 5 (8) Jan 21, 2012
Are they putting as much effort into the ID thft problem?
Telekinetic
3.3 / 5 (7) Jan 21, 2012
Why don't they enforce the Copyright and Trademark laws already on the books instead of trying to create new ones?


Enforce the laws? The majority of homicides are solved by anonymous tips to the police, and that still leaves a huge backlog of unsolved murders. Which do you think is the priority for already overburdened law enforcement agencies, closing a homicide case or arresting someone for downloading the new "Harry Potter"?
Doug_Huffman
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 21, 2012
Copyright has little to do with it beyond being a lever. RIAA-Hollyweird is pizzed to the max that their market regards their product as worth stealing only.
cmn
4.8 / 5 (4) Jan 21, 2012
Yes, let the US enforce it's laws in every country! That's the answer!

The US has a huge deficit and it can't solve it any other way except by stifling the things that it hopes will create immediate tax revenue. Meanwhile, it kills freedom and growth down the road for everybody. The same old ponzi scheme.
plaasjaapie
4.4 / 5 (7) Jan 21, 2012
The IP companies simply want the federal government to use the police power of the state to protect their market share instead of having to respond properly to competition and new technology. This is pure crony capitalism and should be treated with the utter contempt it deserves.
Charles_Rovira
3.8 / 5 (4) Jan 21, 2012
SOPA/PIPA are actually attempts to get the enforcement mechanism government caught up in an intercine war between the 14 major labels represented by the RIAA and the few remaining movie studios represented by the MPAA against the thousands of indie labels and producers because the discovery and distribution of content no longer depends on the old guard intermediary "gate keepers".

It costs virtually nothing to distribute media as a file over the internet so the indie label or studio is no longer at a disadvantage when getting an artist's content to their readers/audience/viewers.

The old guard, as represented by the RIAA and the MPAA, are TERRIFIED of what is happening to their old business model, their influence and their clout.

They are not required anymore and they're standing on the shore yelling at the tide to stop.

Its pathetic really.

Stop trying to shore up, defend and enforce an outdated business model.

comment are too damn short
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (9) Jan 21, 2012
Without a business model that allows producers to make a profit on who will produce?

MediocreSmoke
5 / 5 (1) Jan 21, 2012
Why don't they enforce the Copyright and Trademark laws already on the books instead of trying to create new ones?


Enforce the laws? The majority of homicides are solved by anonymous tips to the police, and that still leaves a huge backlog of unsolved murders. Which do you think is the priority for already overburdened law enforcement agencies, closing a homicide case or arresting someone for downloading the new "Harry Potter"?


The priority is which one makes more money, the government is a business too. And unfortunately, the "Harry Potter" thief is probably worth more than a murderer, especially since that prisoner will cost the state/federal government money to incarcerate or prosecute.
Telekinetic
3 / 5 (2) Jan 21, 2012
Why don't they enforce the Copyright and Trademark laws already on the books instead of trying to create new ones?


Enforce the laws? The majority of homicides are solved by anonymous tips to the police, and that still leaves a huge backlog of unsolved murders. Which do you think is the priority for already overburdened law enforcement agencies, closing a homicide case or arresting someone for downloading the new "Harry Potter"?


The priority is which one makes more money, the government is a business too. And unfortunately, the "Harry Potter" thief is probably worth more than a murderer, especially since that prisoner will cost the state/federal government money to incarcerate or prosecute.

Not if it's a twelve year old girl. That just embarrasses the enforcers and doesn't play well in the press.
Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (9) Jan 22, 2012
To the filthy Libertarian mind, money is the motivation for all things.

"Without a business model that allows producers to make a profit on who will produce?" -RyggTard

The rest of us know that true art is produced by those who love the creative process.

Like all other Libertarians, RyggTard froths at the mouth when spouting personal Liberty, but will put an end to that Liberty once it starts to reduce the profits of his Corporate Masters.

Filth.
jsa09
5 / 5 (1) Jan 22, 2012
I have watched a couple of movies that I downloaded for free. It was not worth the effort as they were rubbish movies anyway. The only reason I watched them at all was because I had downloaded them and felt obliged. Luckily I can run movies at fast forward, to get through them sooner. If I had to borrowed them from the video shop for $1.00 per week I probably would not have bothered. often I will wait till a movie comes out on free-to-air network.
RayW
5 / 5 (1) Jan 22, 2012
The RIAA and the MPAA, along with SOPA/PIPA, can be stopped by a large boycott of PPV & theaters. Within a few weeks new titles are usually available on premium networks, so a minor delay in viewing cuts 2 of their major revenue streams.

Silicon valley providing a low cost site for original artists for free over IP supported by non-tracking & non-intrusive ads, without the malware & low quality of file-sharing, could replace the old business model.
Callippo
2.5 / 5 (2) Jan 22, 2012
The RIAA and the MPAA, along with SOPA/PIPA, can be stopped by a large boycott of PPV & theaters

Nope, they cannot and the people will not boycott them anyway. Dreams are dangerous, because they're only dreams.
finitesolutions
3.4 / 5 (5) Jan 22, 2012
Who gives a crap on what is going on in USA. They can enact any laws they see fit ... but it all ends at their borders.
Internet can be without US sites and servers.
Bittorrent creators are planning to create a p2p parallel DNS system that will make official DNS servers redundant.
Doug_Huffman
2.8 / 5 (5) Jan 22, 2012
Without a business model that allows producers to make a profit on who will produce?
Production does not necessitate remuneration even, let alone profit. Marxist economics dream that the labor-time is the value but that is not so. Democratic-capitalists (oxymorons!) would allow the producers a living-wage to be stolen from the market place.

Capitalism functions properly only in an educated and skeptical marketplace.
Callippo
2.8 / 5 (4) Jan 22, 2012
They can enact any laws they see fit ... but it all ends at their borders.
As the latest case of MegaUpload indicates already. How is it possible, the German citizen can be prosecuted with USA FBI for company based in Hong Kong and Dotcom domain residing at in New Zealand?
donjoe0
not rated yet Jan 24, 2012
"The rest of us know that true art is produced by those who love the creative process."
Hear, hear!

"Like all other Libertarians, RyggTard froths at the mouth when spouting personal Liberty, but will put an end to that Liberty once it starts to reduce the profits of his Corporate Masters."
Not like ALL other Libertarians, only like right-wing pseudo-libertarians. There are such creatures as Left-Libertarians and they certainly do not talk like RyggTard.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Jan 24, 2012
Production does not necessitate remuneration even, let alone profit.

Only if customers are willing to pay for the production.
USSR failed partly because they disconnected the market feedback signal called price. The state ordered production of products no one wanted to buy.
Just like the US govt is doing with its Govt Motors Volt. No one wants to buy one and dealers don't even want one to show.
Deathclock
1 / 5 (2) Jan 24, 2012
Who gives a crap on what is going on in USA. They can enact any laws they see fit ... but it all ends at their borders.
Internet can be without US sites and servers.
Bittorrent creators are planning to create a p2p parallel DNS system that will make official DNS servers redundant.


How quickly the rest of the world forgets who invented... everything. You should care what happens to the US, since, statistically speaking, the next big things will be developed here.
ryggesogn2
1 / 5 (2) Jan 24, 2012
On the flip side, why must US cable subscribers be forced to pay for content they don't want?