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RIAA Chief Whines That SOPA Opponents Were "Unfair" 525

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the unlike-the-misinformation-in-print-media dept.
First time submitter shoutingloudly writes "In a NY Times op-ed today, RIAA chief Cary H. Sherman accuses the opponents of SOPA of having engaged in shady rhetorical tactics. He (wrongly) accuses opponents such as Wikipedia and Google of having disseminated misinformation about the bills. He lashes out at the use of the term 'censorship,' which he calls a 'loaded and inflammatory term.' Most Slashdot readers will get the many unintentional jokes in this inaccurate, hypocritical screed by one of the leaders of the misinformation-and-inflammatory-rhetoric-wielding content industry lobby." A gem: "As it happens, the television networks that actively supported SOPA and PIPA didn’t take advantage of their broadcast credibility to press their case. That’s partly because 'old media' draws a line between 'news' and 'editorial.' Apparently, Wikipedia and Google don’t recognize the ethical boundary between the neutral reporting of information and the presentation of editorial opinion as fact."
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RIAA Chief Whines That SOPA Opponents Were "Unfair"

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  • by bonch (38532) * on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:24PM (#38968669)

    I didn't like the legislation either, but isn't this headline and summary kind of biased? I don't know...I just feel uncomfortable having the submission frame it specifically to make me react a certain way. I mean, it flat-out states how "most /. readers" will respond. I'd rather just read what Cary Sherman has to say and come to my own conclusions, which will likely align with others here, but at least I arrived there on my own.

    Maybe it's just me. Carry on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:29PM (#38968737)

    You're new here aren't you ...

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:29PM (#38968741)
    Yes, calling a bill that requires ISPs and search engines to block access to certain websites a "censorship" bill is obviously bad -- it gets people angry! We should just sugar coat it and hope that nobody notices that the bill pushes for censorship.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:31PM (#38968769)

    Slashdot is unbelievably biased. The submitter simply recognizes and embraces that. It's only a problem if bias is denied or unrecognized.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:32PM (#38968783)

    If you haven't come to a conclusion about the RIAA, then by all means go and read what he has to say too. Most of us weren't born yesterday and don't need to hear another round of lies and diversions from the people who would turn off the internet to save their business model if that were at all possible.

    To Mr. RIAA: Censorship is a loaded word? Guess what, censorship is even worse when implemented and not just talked about, and we just need to talk about it because you're trying to actually DO IT!

  • by PortHaven (242123) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:32PM (#38968787) Homepage

    Seriously, RIAA has some balls....

    Piracy - originally a violent theft (usually at sea). Equivalent of a mugging. But they've changed it to simply mean unauthorized use.

    Theft - the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. Wait, have the downloaders deprived ANYONE of any tangible property? Nope...once again, RIAA has changed meaning to unauthorized use.

    So if "unauthorized use" can mean theft and piracy. Then SOPA can mean censorship.

  • Come on (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:33PM (#38968795)

    SOPA sucks, but the opponents *were* unfair. Nerds love to break free from their boring lives and pretend that they're freedom fighters, and companies like Google played along because it made the nerds happy--never mind that Google didn't shut down their services like a lot of places did, so they cynically got their cake and ate it too. Same with Slashdot. Slashdot is an advocacy site that gets its page views by stirring up the emotions of a particular demographic, and "first time submitter shoutingloudly" pushed all the right inflammatory buttons up there.

    I'm all for changing the legislation, but can we stop with this goofy bogeyman stuff against the RIAA? There are valid reasons to fight against piracy. It ruins the argument to be so silly and inflammatory.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:33PM (#38968805) Journal
    After all Slashdot didn't write any of that opinion, it was shoutingloudly so you should have known that it was just an opinion or editorial in response to the editorial. Wait, you mean you didn't read it as such? That's odd, I guess that was just confusion. Sort of like, you know when one of the 'old media' news channels has one of those bullshit talk shows like Glenn Beck that they play on their "news network" where he has free reign to act like a newscaster. And then when he says something completely false, they throw up their hands and go "It's just his opinion that happens to closely align with what we want people to believe. This show is entertainment, not news we just happen to have the Fox News Channel logo at the bottom of the screen at all times."

    "As it happens, the television networks that actively supported SOPA and PIPA didn’t take advantage of their broadcast credibility to press their case. That’s partly because 'old media' draws a line between 'news' and 'editorial.' Apparently, Wikipedia and Google don’t recognize the ethical boundary between the neutral reporting of information and the presentation of editorial opinion as fact."

    And when does Cary Sherman recognize the ethical boundary of paying off the people who vote on this bill -- a bill which clearly serves his interests?

  • by Brain-Fu (1274756) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:34PM (#38968821) Homepage Journal

    Since you could, in theory, take politically-impactful action, every person with a political agenda has a direct incentive to influence your opinions. Writing a piece that tells you what your emotional response should be is a common way of doing that.

    There is nothing wrong with complaining about this, of course, but don't expect it to change. Better to maintain eternal vigilance in your guardianship of your ability to form independent conclusions, especially when confronted with such biased information sources.

  • by mdwstmusik (853733) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:36PM (#38968843) Homepage

    Yep, using the term "censorship" is "loaded and inflammatory"...unlike the term "pirate."

  • by Anrego (830717) * on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:36PM (#38968851)

    I agree.

    Most of the slashdot crowd would probably come to this conclusion anyway and discussion would have centered around the stated ideas, however having it so blatantly and "matter-of-fact"ly stated in the summary comes across as very unprofessional in my opinion.

  • Re:RIAA Thief (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:42PM (#38968929)

    I actually sometimes wonder about the individual people involved in big media.

    I mean we like to personify the RIAA and friends.. talking about it as some kind of big bad pure evil entity, but it's actually a huge collection of people all doing their individual (evil) parts. I wonder if these guys actually take these attitudes home with them, or if they just play the part at work/in public.

  • by RobinEggs (1453925) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:44PM (#38968995)
    Please remember that a good paper publishes relevant opinions, not just ones they agree with. I've seen abortion opponents, global warming deniers, and all kinds of whackos published in their letters section, and you can be damn sure the paper doesn't agree with them. I'm not sure they ever publish full-length editorials they truly disagree with, but you still can't take the presence of this piece as the Times endorsement of Sherman's viewpoint.

    So please calm down and stop saying things like "I won't click the link. I don't want to in any way encourage the Times to print this stuff". Censorship isn't just suppressing the very existence of opposing views in the media, you know, you can also censor yourself by refusing to even acknowledge and examine the viewpoints of people who disagree with you. You even ultimately censor your friends and peers to some degree when your behavior leads them to stop thinking and automatically ignore data from certain sources or types of people.

    So click the damn link. Know what was actually said rather than just knowing the summary opinions and selective quotations from someone who did read it and already thinks like you. Understand that encouraging full-length discourse over sound bites is always a good thing, even if it it means encouraging lobbyists and liars sometimes.
  • by Kemanorel (127835) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:44PM (#38968997)

    Or the terms "stealing" and "theft," when copyright infringement in no way removes the original items from the copyright holders. Yes, it is infringement, and yes, it probably does impact their bottom line in some way (I tend to believe in more positive ways than negative than they realize), but copying an item is far different than taking it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:44PM (#38969001)

    > the television networks that actively supported SOPA and PIPA didn’t take advantage of their broadcast credibility to press their case. That’s partly because 'old media' draws a line between 'news' and 'editorial.' Apparently, Wikipedia and Google don’t recognize the ethical boundary between the neutral reporting of information and the presentation of editorial opinion as fact.

    I wonder how the 'old media' that was so gallant about guarding the journalistic integrity would react if, say, a bill was introduced that allowed tech companies the right to pull the plug - for example, by shutting down transmitters - on any broadcaster that the tech companies *thought* was using unlicensed software. Think BSA on steroids. You want fair? Let's see that bill.

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:45PM (#38969023)

    That’s partly because 'old media' draws a line between 'news' and 'editorial.'

    They say they do, but did they ever?

    they play fast and loose about this too much. I think every subculture group thats ever been covered in the news can attest to this. They have a great way of influencing court decisions by assuming guilt or lack there of on the onset, and using "news" articles to cater to their opinions.

    just because they keep the TONE quasi npov(less and less these days), doesn't mean the content is in any one bit NPOV. When they mean "fair and impartial" they just mean they "dead pan" it to have the stylistic elements of being "fair and impartial". Anyone who's ever watched cable news know how skewed it is, and how news broadcasters use heavy bias in their reporting.

    FOX News

    MSNBC

    CNN

    Even before this, they had a long history of skewing the news in any dirrection they like. They NEVER lived up to the standards they pretended to. Like the rest of their arguments, its a bold face lie. This is about command and control, and their made up authority.

  • by LordZardoz (155141) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:46PM (#38969035)

    I do not mean in the 'bubble boy' sense. Specifically, I do not think that Sherman interacts with anyone not in a position where piracy has caused real damage to their income, or who does not have a personal interest in maintaining the current copyright laws. There is no one who Sherman is talking to who is going to say anything negative about copyright.

    Talking to Sherman about the privacy situation is like trying to talk to your grandmother about the internet. You may work with the internet every day and you may be aware of what Meme's are, you have an opinion on Facebooks privacy policies, and you know enough not to click on links to a certain .cx domain. If you work in that world every day, and all of your friends work in that world every day, it gets harder to relate to people who chose to live a life without an internet connection.

    I have no doubt that Sherman was truly surprised at the amount of visible and high profile backlash because in Shermans world, he cannot understand why a 'normal' every day person would have a problem with SOPA and PIPA. So clearly someone else must have manipulated the agenda to turn the masses against his agenda. So I bet that Sherman is certain that once he carefully explains his position that everyone will understand why SOPA / PIPA is a good thing.

    END COMMUNICATION

  • by saveferrousoxide (2566033) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:48PM (#38969067)
    it's really hard to say POIFCTAPKP so it can really stand no serious chance as a law
  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:49PM (#38969085) Journal

    Complaining about this is a way of maintaining that eternal vigilance. If people don't regularly point out dirty tricks, people will stop noticing the dirty tricks.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:51PM (#38969115) Homepage

    Direct bribery/payoff of politicians is sooooo much more ethical than using shady rhetoric!

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:51PM (#38969125)

    They have moved on to calling it theft now that "pirate" has been ingrained in the public mind. Maybe in a few years it will be called copyright rape or intellectual property murder.

    It is all part of a war on language to guide the arguments, demonize those who would defend sharing (like Jesus?), and brainwash people into being incapable of forming a rational opinion on the subject.

  • Re:Come on (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dkuntz (220364) <douglas...kuntz@ ... shnetworks...com> on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:53PM (#38969137) Homepage

    There are valid reasons to fight against piracy.

    I agree... I hate it when my ship gets boarded by skallywags and they take all my stuff... and shoot at me too! It's very depressing.

  • It's not property. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by trout007 (975317) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:54PM (#38969159)

    "Policy makers had recognized a constitutional (and economic) imperative to protect American PROPERTY from theft, to shield consumers from counterfeit products and fraud, and to combat foreign criminals who exploit technology to steal American ingenuity and jobs."

    From the Constitution Article 1 Section 8 - Powers of Congress

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

    It's not theft of property. It is a violation of your Congressionally granted limited monopoly.

  • RIAA's position (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gmaUMLAUTil.com minus punct> on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:55PM (#38969173) Homepage Journal

    We have record profits but want more money. This is a crucial issue that Congress needs to tackle, because record profits aren't enough. To that end, we think that we should have the right to seize personal property without due process. And even though we're currently abusing the DCMA (filing mass take-downs for content they don't own or review), we feel we need more power and promise not to abuse it for censorship.

    Why wouldn't people support that?

    The RIAA holds artists back from making more money by fighting the adoption of digital music. As content becomes more convenient to digest, people will consume more of it. Stop fighting consumers and embrace them. That is the way to combat piracy. Just look at iTunes, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime streaming, HBO Go, Spotify, etc. etc.

  • by s73v3r (963317) <[s73v3r] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:55PM (#38969179)

    You essentially said, "Its ok for us to do it because Fox News does it too!" That excuse really doesn't fly.

  • Re:I won't do it. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pope (17780) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:56PM (#38969183)

    Yeah, wouldn't want to step out of the echo chamber.

  • Re:Well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:58PM (#38969215) Journal

    Or "steal". You wouldn't steal a car....

    The music and movie industries have blatantly twisted word to their advantage for far too long. The only reason they are "surprised" and "shocked" now is that after decades of the general public just rolling over, the industries finally woke the sleeping giant, which they expected to remain asleep despite their incessant poking.

  • by s73v3r (963317) <[s73v3r] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:59PM (#38969239)

    I can see their point on this, but no. The right to due process is far more important to preserve than their ability to block a site in the US.

  • Re:Come on (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bonch (38532) * on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:00PM (#38969255)

    So I can steal GPL code then? Technology lets me do it, after all.

    Not to cut in on the INFORMATION-WANTS-TO-BE-FREE rant, but culture can't survive in the long term if its creators don't get rewarded for their work. Just because something can be done technologically doesn't mean it justifies itself. Some people, who are often new to OSS, get confused over the fact they can download Linux software for free and end up thinking everything should be free. As the saying goes, it's free-as-in-speech, not free-as-in-beer. If someone wants to sell their software, they have that right too. Would you like it if your boss withheld your paycheck and told you your code "wanted to be free" and that you were a casualty of technology changing the world?

    You have to be rational and fight against overreactions like SOPA while acknowledging sane solutions for compensating content creators so that we can continue to enjoy cool shit in our society.

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:02PM (#38969293)

    Even most newspapers aren't neutral and you demand neutrality from a site based on user submissions? If you don't care about the opinion of others why come to /. in the first place, you could just read the sites where the articles come from.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:04PM (#38969319)
    Oh no, there is new technology and old ways of monetizing creative work are failing! How dare people use their computers without paying authors?! Let's write a bunch of laws that criminalize common and widely accepted activity, so that an old business model can remain profitable in the face of a changed world!

    The copyright system was established at a time when most people could not make large numbers of copies of creative works using the equipment in their homes; only specialized industrial equipment could do that. Now the world is different, and the law needs to be restructured to reflect the new realities of the world.
  • Re:Come on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamstar7 (694492) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:09PM (#38969427)

    There are valid reasons to fight against piracy. It ruins the argument to be so silly and inflammatory.

    Sure there are. For one thing, it causes a menace to navigation.

    By redefining 'piracy' as 'deliberate copyright infringement through means up to and including downloading digital copies off the internet without buying a license to do this', they lower the threat of those Somali gentlemen who recently made the news. After all, if a software/music pirate doesn't pack a gun, shouldn't we expect those same Somali gentlemen to be similarly unarmed? The point is, downloading a file off the internet isn't piracy, it's copyright infringement. If RIAA put the legislation in those terms, nobody would take them seriously. By redefining it as 'piracy', they can get sentiment whipped up a lot easier in their favor.

  • Re:I won't do it. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:11PM (#38969477)

    What's the matter? Afraid of contrary opinons? /. is Fox News for nerds.

  • by zooblethorpe (686757) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:14PM (#38969529)

    Cary Sherman still thinks this is a battle between "Google and Wikipedia" vs "Media Companies". And that the only reason his companies lost is because the other companies had better PR.

    He still doesn't get that what happened was the people who consume the content - content linked to by GOOG, content distributed by Wikipedia, and content licensed by RIAA and MPAA - who finally got off their duffs and exercised their rights as citizens to demand that their elected representatives actually represent them.

    No, I think he really does get it -- but it's easier to build a case against Google and Wikipedia as the next big evils to legislate against. Google, Wikipedia, and the open Internet in general are anathema to the old top-down television-and-radio style of content provision. I don't think he's trying to sway public opinion, he's making a calculated misrepresentation to emphasize the perceived danger of these two with Congress and thereby pave the way for the next round of paid-for dubious laws that help narrow the competition. The more the MAFIAA can turn the Internet into just another TV channel, the more they can extend their ride on the gravy train.

    He really does get it. And that makes him more dangerous.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:16PM (#38969569)
    Authors could try to model that has been working for Pioneer One. Or they could publish books chapter by chapter, and not publish the next chapter of a book until enough money has been raised.

    There, two ideas from me that allow authors to publish books at no cost using the Internet while still being compensated for the time they spend on their books. Maybe it is not perfect, but at least I did not throw my hands in the air, demand that everyone be labeled a criminal, and buy off a bunch of politicians to further my agenda.
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:20PM (#38969639) Journal
    But complaining about it is an example of another commonly-used tactic -- diversion.

    Bonch has successfully diverted the discussion at the top of the comments for regular viewers into a discussion of whether it's appropriate to editorialize when presenting news items. He's changed the nature of the discussion, whether intentional or not, into one that has fuck-all to do with the subject of the article.

    Just thought I'd point out the possibility that another dirty trick may be in use here.
  • by Blue Stone (582566) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:21PM (#38969655) Homepage Journal

    Cary H. Sherman [...] lashes out at the use of the term 'censorship,' which he calls a 'loaded and inflammatory term.'

    Unlike "Piracy".

  • by Blue Stone (582566) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:22PM (#38969683) Homepage Journal

    OH ... and "Theft".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:22PM (#38969685)

    Have you not been reading the news? The RIAA uses ONLY fabricated info in every and all of their releases. No hyperbole is necessary. So of course it is an utter joke when an RIAA exec bemoans the spread of disinformation. There's no way a sane person could read the statement in the article and keep a straight face.

  • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:29PM (#38969817)
    I know it's a sign of weakness to do a line-by-line rebuttal of flamebait, but TFA is seriously pissing me off.

    Policy makers ... knew that music sales in the United States are less than half of what they were in 1999, when the file-sharing site Napster emerged, and that direct employment in the industry had fallen by more than half since then, to less than 10,000.

    These statements are not backed up. Given the industry's history of exaggerating their claims, I put the onus on them to prove that these numbers are in any way correct.

    Consider, for example, the claim that SOPA and PIPA were “censorship,” a loaded and inflammatory term designed to evoke images of crackdowns on pro-democracy Web sites by China or Iran.

    Yet the author's use of "theft" and "piracy" are totally neutral, without any intent to evoke particular emotions in the readership?

    When the police close down a store fencing stolen goods, it isn’t censorship, but when those stolen goods are fenced online, it is?

    This is being purposefully obtuse. The claims of 'censorship' were about collatoral damage: that the laws would have a chilling effect and would be open to abuse. No one was directly equating "shutting down online counterfitting sites" with censorship. (Although, of course, the difference between shutting down a physical store and an online presence is indeed that the Internet is all about communication/data-transfer, and curtailing communication is essentially censorship.)

    They also argued misleadingly that the bills would have required Web sites to “monitor” what their users upload, conveniently ignoring provisions like the “No Duty to Monitor” section.

    This is an interesting claim. But if the author is sure that the "No Duty to Monitor" section protects conveyors of content, then why not spell that argument out in detail? Why not quote from the bill, and explain how this protection works? That is the very crux of the disagreement, it would seem, yet the author just mentions it in passing.

    Apparently, Wikipedia and Google don’t recognize the ethical boundary between the neutral reporting of information and the presentation of editorial opinion as fact.

    This is perhaps the only valid point in the entire piece. It is true that Wikipedia and Google (in very different ways) strive for some measure of neutral transmission of information. I can see how one could argue that using their position as trusted sources of information to spread their own viewpoint is an abuse. However:
    1. This is begging the question, by assuming that what Wikipedia and Google were reporting was incorrect. But that is precisely what the debate is about: is it true that SOPA/PIPA would lead to collatoral censorship? If the claim is true (and as far as I can tell, it is), then Wikipedia spreading that information was just another manifestation of them spreading truthful statements.
    2. These entities do have a right to let their opinion be known.
    3. The opinion piece provides no reason why these companies would be misinforming the populace. What is it they hope to get out of it? Their stated reason is simple: that they wanted to stop the legislation because they couldn't continue operating under the legislation. The author provides no evidence, not even spurious reasoning in fact, for any other motivation. So, one could accuse them of being mistaken, but to accuse them of pushing an ideology is wrongheaded.

    “old media” draws a line between “news” and “editorial.”

    This is laughable. Mainstream media has a well-documented history of injecting bias into their reporting (everything from their selection of what to cover, to how events are described, to thinly-veiled ed

  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:41PM (#38970055) Journal

    I don't see the summary like that at all. We all know the MAFIAA is reactionary, brutal, and flat wrong. They thoroughly deserve that reputation. They earned it by suing thousands of ordinary people, in an attempt to terrorize us all into giving up the Internet. And by trying to impose DRM on the public. The Sony BMG Root Kit fiasco alone is enough to condemn them, but they've tried much more than that. And they earned their reputation still more by bribing and suborning our legislators into supporting their insane vision, and attempting to hide what they do. Their motives in trying to keep ACTA secret are painfully obvious. They've shown no regard whatever for the damage they've done to the public and artists, while screaming very loudly and selfishly about the supposed damage done to them. At the very least, holding back public libraries from going digital costs us all huge amounts of money in maintaining, housing and tracking "dead tree" copies. Yet the damage they've done is as nothing to the damage they would do if they could.

    No, it isn't bias to call it like it is. I don't feel there's much left to debate except the details of what will replace copyright, and so what'd I'd like to do is move on to that, not keep rehashing this controversy that's become almost as fake as the controversy between Creationism and Evolution. They of course refuse to admit it and want to keep it alive, to "teach the controversy", and they have some success because there are a lot of uninformed people who haven't heard or thought much about the issue. Moving on, how can we once and for all end this threat to our freedoms? Shut down this attitude so hard that anyone who ever again dares to raise it will find themselves sidelined in the same way that flat-earthers and other kooks are? A "Freedom of Knowledge" constitutional amendment perhaps?

  • Re:I won't do it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davydagger (2566757) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:46PM (#38970143)
    ok, lets be fair here.

    the NY times is a very reputable paper. They've allowed an OP-ED from the head of the industry under assault to defend his position in an essay, which is more than reasonable.

    Even if it is a 1. blatantly false 2. nothing more than propaganda.

  • Re:I won't do it. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:47PM (#38970149) Journal

    There's an echo chamber more isolated than the NYT? I'd think you'd need total sensory deprivation for that. It's kind funny to see this rant in the pages of a paper whose political bias while reporting knows no bounds. But the NYT has every right to be totally in the bag for their favorite political causes, and Google has ever right to do the same - that's exactly freedom of the press.

  • Re:Come on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lgw (121541) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:52PM (#38970255) Journal

    Not to cut in on the INFORMATION-WANTS-TO-BE-FREE rant

    Information wants to be free like water wants to run downhill. That quote has never meant "I want information to be free" but rather "information is always one leak away from freedom".

    The simple technological truth is, there's no way to force someone to pay for the use of digital goods. You may think of that as morally Good or Evil, but it won't make it false. Any successful model for rewarding creators will account for this fact (and likely won't include any of the middle-men currently fighting for survival - they're history).

  • Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thestudio_bob (894258) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:01PM (#38970377)

    So, correct me if I'm understanding this correctly, the RIAA and MPAA are upset because they:

    • a) Tried to pay off politicians to pass laws which they knew would be unpopular to the citizens.
    • b) Tried to do it in secret, because they knew it would be unpopular to the citizens.
    • c) Are trying to have the U.S. create, and have other countries sign, treaties that they know will be unpopular to the citizens.

    And they're upset because some organizations put a spotlight on their activities and now they are crying because they didn't get their way? I really don't want to live in a world where these guys have their way.

  • Yes, you can. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by langelgjm (860756) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:04PM (#38970427) Journal

    So I can steal GPL code then? Technology lets me do it, after all.

    Yes, you can.

    Well, technically, no, you can't--you can violate the copyright license under which GPL code is distributed, but you can't actually steal it, unless you're physically taking away the author's hard drives, etc.

    But seriously, I think the reason most folks on /. have a problem with GPL violations is because of the hypocrisy involved. Companies viciously enforce their copyrights, but then violate copyright law when it's convenient for them to do so.

    Hatta's comment might be flamebait, but it's also pretty much true. Virtually costless, anonymous duplication fundamentally alters the economic underpinnings of modern intellectual property law, and there's really no going back. It doesn't matter how many op-eds Cary Sherman or the Author's Guild publish about how it's unethical to violate copyright... when you confront humanity with the ability to duplicate something of value at essentially no cost, there's only one reasonable result to expect, and it isn't self-control. This doesn't justify the behavior, but reality doesn't need a justification.

    IP law needs a total and fundamental reworking to remain relevant in the next century. Whether or not this happens, culture will survive... how creative works are created and disseminated may change significantly, but culture existed long before IP was even a concept.

  • by spire3661 (1038968) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:08PM (#38970489) Journal
    "The bottom line is, if you do a good job and request a fair payment, people will gladly pay" This is the best statement in the whole thread. We have to dispell this notion that every artist must receive payment for every mind touched and anything less then full payment for every single head is a crime
  • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:17PM (#38970601) Homepage Journal

    Here's a "news" flash for you - Beck isn't on Fox anymore. The advertisers all left due to pressure from a campaign led by Change.org, so now he's only on the Roku. But complaining about Beck in this context is pretty ironic, considering that all the other MSM "news" outlets kept mum about it, but Beck was complaining about how bad the bills are [glennbeck.com].

    But of course that's the part that is really disingenuous about Sherman's claim. The MSM completely blacked out the story - they didn't talk about it at all. The bills were already written and ready to go, so the way to promote it is to simply ignore it as a news story, and don't even mention that there may be some controversy over a Congressional moving that's boiling over on the Internet and social media. Note that this isn't typical of them. News and conflicts that arise on the Internet are very often picked up by the MSM television news, so it's not that they didn't know about it. They were, in fact, supporting the bills by proactively ignoring the story.

  • by icebraining (1313345) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:19PM (#38970639) Homepage

    Even most newspapers aren't neutral and you demand neutrality from a site based on user submissions?

    Who says parent doesn't complain about newspapers too?

    If you don't care about the opinion of others why come to /. in the first place, you could just read the sites where the articles come from.

    Kinda strawman-ish, no? One might like the opinion part as long as it's kept below the summary.

  • by tbannist (230135) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:32PM (#38970809)

    Lying by omission is NOT lying, so long as all the statements are factually correct.

    Sorry, if you intentionally leave out material information, it is deliberate deception and thus morally equivalent to lying.

    After all, by your reasoning saying "It's perfectly safe" isn't lying as long as I'm only leaving out the words "as long as you don't fall into the pit of rabid wolves".

  • by conlaw (983784) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:33PM (#38970825)
    IMHO, the important words in trout007's quotation from the Constitution are: "for limited Times." Once Congress passed the "Let's Protect Steamboat Willy while Pretending We're Doing Something for Sonny Bono Act," the time limitations for copyright protection became ludicrous. Unfortunately, a law that fails to make sense to ordinary individuals becomes virtually impossible to enforce without continually adding new and more draconian punishments. SOPA and PIPA were the Congressional equivalents of "those who laugh on the Sabbath day shall be confined to the Stocks for eight hours" and thus deserving of the reactions they induced.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:51PM (#38971079)

    Slashdot has never been a pretended to be a site fo unbiased 'news' over 'editorial'. Ever. And that's fine because at least we all know it.

    It would be dishonest if anyone was suggesting otherwise, with constant dogging about being "fair and balanced" or claiming to be a "no spin zone".

  • by Avarist (2453728) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:17PM (#38971407)

    When did "we" ever make any pretenses about being journalists or any sort of NEWS organization?

    Well, you know.... like: "News for nerds, news that matters" perhaps?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:35PM (#38971731)

    Why is world of goo, a widely acclaimed game, available for $20 or less widely pirated?

    The same reason why the likes of Beethoven and van Gogh, etc. were poor. The same reason why American Idol exists and could theoretically run forever.

    Most artists don't make the big bucks. There's more supply than demand out there (hence American Idol always have more fodder to go through), and many artists won't ever "make it" and have to give up the dream. Being in the "arts" business (or most other business) is not a ticket to instant fame and fortune

    I don't believe every author/artist/game maker deserves compensation, but I do think that when they deserve compensation they should get it.

    Oh they are. It's just not as much as they (whether it's the creator or the middlemen) think they "deserve"

  • Re:I won't do it. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @04:50PM (#38971945)

    You've never actually read the NYT, have you? I know of precious few sources which have more diversity of opinion. Among other things, they run a regular (almost daily) feature called "Room for Debate", in which people with widely varying opinions respond to a central question. Here's the one on SOPA/PIPA [nytimes.com]. I linked to an opinion you'd probably agree with, but you'll find several others.

    You can disagree with them all you want. But when you start complaining that they post opinions you don't like while simultaneously calling them an echo chamber, you're just being a hypocrite.

  • by hazydave (96747) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @05:17PM (#38972379)

    Yup.. Slashdot is inherently biased toward intelligence and freedom. Amazing as it may seem, many Slashdot readers actually understand the technologies under discussion at a very deep level. And many of us understand that the best laws err on the side of freedom; my ability to maintain control of my IP is important, but not as important as ensuring that some uninvolved entity can't use my copyright as an excuse for site-level censorship. The needs (and rights) of the many must always triumph, regardless of the size of their bank accounts.

    And in fact, there are plenty of smart guys at the RIAA and MPAA. And they're looking at these laws as a power grab, not just a way to protect their IP. Unfortunately, the legislators really don't seem to understand any of the issues... heck, there are plenty of Congresscritters who've demonstrated an abject ignorance about all things digital and connected. So they can't really tell a law designed to be effective against piracy (which many Slashdot readers would support, myself included) versus a law designed to give media companies unprecedented powers of censorship, but do virtually nothing to actually stop piracy.

    Fortunately, the tech community spoke up this time.

  • by hazydave (96747) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @05:33PM (#38972645)

    BIAS isn't BAD. Not even remotely.

    The great Hunter S. Thompson created the notion of Gonzo Journalism as a mean to expose the inherent bias of any journalist as part of the story. Pretending to be unbiased is at worst a best a lie, at worst a sneaky means for a mega-rich media conglomerate to sway public opinion.

    Understanding of Bias is the key here. The bias of the average poster on Slashdot isn't hidden... this is a major outlet of the Open Source (aka, FREE software) movement. I would not expect a great deal of community support here for a pro-censorship article. On the other hand, we'll probably have more respect for IP than, say, a similar forum on a Pirate Party site.

    And we know from where the RIAA/MPAA folks get their money.. they have an just as much bias, but it's directed very strongly in a different direction. The typical representative of this crowd will have no problem with the idea that a few accidental censorships are no big deal if the end result is protecting their IP better. Personally, I liken that to other aspects of the law: it should be totally unacceptable to suggest convicting a small number of innocents is a proper price to pay for getting more bad guys.

    I have not done studies, but I would bet that most /. readers would agree with Blackstone's formula: it is better to let ten guilty men go free, than let one innocent suffer. That's the problem with the RIAA/MPAA/etc. written laws that our highly lobbied legislators are selling here... they don't care one iota how many innocents get punished, as long as the guilty are stopped.

    I'm an engineer, writer, and musician... I have the utmost respect for rational IP laws. But as such a person, I value freedom even higher. As in all things, I won't trade even a small bit of freedom for a large bit of additional security. This is exactly the argument that these pro SOPA/PIPA/censorship agencies are selling... your freedom isn't that important, our IP is more so.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @05:50PM (#38972905)

    Completeness is far more useful than "lack of bias".

    Perhaps you are unique, but in practice, completeness increases the acceptance of incorrect information. When you give "fair and balanced" exposure to the Flat Earth Society, then people begin to think that there may be something to that Flat Earth idea. Further, that the "other" networks don't give equal time to a provably false idea is proof that Flat Earth is true and it's a conspiracy to keep the truth from us.

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