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Commerce Department Pushing For New "Copyright Czar" 294

TechDirt is reporting that those all-too-familiar "stats" surrounding the cost of piracy are being trotted out in an attempt to push through a new "Copyright Czar" position. "In urging President Bush to sign into law the ProIP bill, which would give him a copyright czar (something the Justice Department had said it doesn't want), the US Chamber of Commerce is claiming that 750,000 American jobs have been lost to piracy. Yet, it doesn't cite where that number comes from."
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Commerce Department Pushing For New "Copyright Czar"

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  • 750,000?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jgtg32a ( 1173373 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:29PM (#25275119)
    Are there even that many people working in the music and movies/tv industry in this country?
  • Uh huh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xeth ( 614132 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:35PM (#25275189) Journal

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 383,000 people employed [] in the Motion picture and sound recording industries in September 2008.

    My money is on the idea that they took the amount the industries estimate they lose from piracy and then divided that by some moderate wage.

  • Obama (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:52PM (#25275401)
    That number will come up when Obama is in office and they start pushing real copyright legislation. Obama and friends will fuck you thieves in the ass.
  • Re:Uh huh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by halcyon1234 ( 834388 ) <> on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:55PM (#25275441) Journal

    Heck, think about it this way:

    There are about 300 million (thousand thousand) people in the States

    According to All Knowledge Ever [], 24.6% are minors, and 12.7% are of retired age. That means there are only 188 million "employable" citizens.

    The same BLS says the unemployment rate is 6%. That means there are 11.3 million unemployed citizens

    If every single one of those lost jobs resulted in a currently unemployed person, then 6.65% of all unemployed persons were from the entertainment industry.

    Now, assuming that their number isn't complete and utter bullshatistics-- nah, I think I'll just call BS and be done with this one.

  • Inefficency (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Wildclaw ( 15718 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @01:57PM (#25275457)

    claiming that 750,000 American jobs have been lost to piracy

    Overexaggerated number for sure, but jobs may very well have been lost because of piracy. But, so what? Let me formulate the matters in another light.

    750,000 American jobs would have been wasted if piracy hadn't existed to combat the inherent inefficencies in the copyright and IP systems.

    Jobs are good if they actually produce something useful to society. Otherwise they are just a big waste, and do little more than shuffle resources around because the current system don't have a better way to allocate it.

    Even if more actual intellectual property were produced with stronger IP laws, it still isn't sure that it would be a better idea. The real value of IP isn't how much is produced, but how much is produced times how well spread it is among the population. Also, that total value has to be balanced against the cost of producing it.

    Say that 700,000 more jobs would be created. That is a multi billion cost. And what would be the gain. More tv? More music? More movies? It isn't like there is a lack of choice right now.

  • by Khisanth Magus ( 1090101 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:04PM (#25275557)
    Although it is more in the thousands, possibly as high as ten thousand, it is true that there has been a significant amount of job loss due to piracy in the companies that bring japanese anime over to the US. I've talked with voice actors as well as people who run those companies, and piracy really has hurt them. Some companies are closing up shop, others are just having to severely cut back to make ends meet. This was never a large profit business in the first place, and with people downloading it so much as opposed to buying the DVDs they can't manage to squeak by.

    The irony of this is that the "copyright czar" would probably just ignore this as the MPAA and RIAA aren't involved. Not that I'm advocating law suits against people who do pirate it, as I think that is way over the top, just pointing out that people HAVE lost their jobs due to piracy.
  • Re:Henry Paulson (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:12PM (#25275647) Homepage Journal

    Thanks for not linking his wikipedia entry. Unfortunately for me, I looked him [] up. Do not click that link! Jesus Christ but that's one freaky looking fuckweed! In order to save you the horror of seeing that man's face (makes goatse look like it came from a children's book) I'll quote wikipedia's entry on who he is:

    Henry Merritt "Hank" Paulson Jr. (born March 28, 1946) is the United States Treasury Secretary and member of the International Monetary Fund Board of Governors. He previously served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs.

    Born in Palm Beach, Florida, to Marianna Gallaeur and Henry Merritt Paulson, a wholesale jeweler,[1] he was raised in Barrington Hills, Illinois. He was raised as a Christian Scientist.[2] Paulson attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.[3][4]

    A star athlete at Barrington High School, Paulson was a champion wrestler and stand out football player, graduating in 1964. Paulson received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Dartmouth College in 1968;[5] at Dartmouth he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was an All Ivy, All East, and honorable mention All American as an offensive lineman.

    He met his wife Wendy during his senior year. The couple have two adult children, Henry Merritt III and Amanda Clark, and became grandparents in June 2007. They maintain homes in Washington, DC and Barrington Hills, Illinois.

    In 1970 Paulson received a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School.[6]

    He is, in short, an anti-nerd. He is the complete and polar opposite of you and me.

    I think it's obvious now why the banking industry crashed and the stock market is crashing. It's because of people like Henry Merritt "Hank" Paulson Jr. who will not lose their jobs and homes and who will NOT go hungry as a direct result of their actions, as you and I may. Not as a result of our actions, but as a result of HIS and the actions of people (and I use that term loosely) just like him.

    If you fear people like Osama Bin Laden more than you fear people like Henry Merritt "Hank" Paulson Jr., IMO you're brain dead stupid.

  • Re:The real costs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cliffski ( 65094 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:28PM (#25275805) Homepage

    if you take what you want anyway, where is your incentive to get a better job, earn more money and grow the economy?

    Signed, someone who works hard, pays for everything he buys, and is sick of subsidizing leeches who expect the world to pay for their lifestyle.

  • Re:The real costs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:33PM (#25275843) Homepage Journal

    YOU could turn on a radio

    And sample it. [] Three or four hours of top-40 radio will have all the hits on your hard drive. Piracy? It's label-sanctioned piracy! []

    Steal it if you want to, don't steal it if you don't want to

    Stealing: You walk into Best Buy or Walmart, stick a CD under your coat, and walk out.

    Copyright infringement: Uploading your CD collection as MP3s on Kazaa. Or downloading with Morpheus and letting the downloads go into your "share" folder.

    Stealing: misdemeanor retail theift, small fine.

    Copyright infringement: Civil suit with a huge payment.

    Downloading without sharing; sampling the radio, downloading or buying indie music: PRICELESS as it helps drive the copyright cartel out of business. I, for one, wish to see Sony and the other three evil mainstream labels GO UNDER. They are hindering the creation of art, hampering the independant artists who aren't in it for the dough.

    They are, in my opinion, EVIL and should die horribly.


  • Re:Inefficency (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:41PM (#25275933)

    It is not the same old complaint. He is just making a case that piracy may be good for the economy, by allowing consumers to spend their money on more beneficial markets.

    It makes perfect sense, and the only argument against it is the sense of entitlement for your own creative works. Make no mistake, that sense of entitlement is unnatural, and is only tenuously supported by copyright as granted by the constitution.

    It certainly isn't outlined as an unalienable right. And more to the point, the right for profit isn't either.

  • Re:Easy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:58PM (#25276113)

    Who am I to tell someone they can't destroy their own body? Seriously though, if you look at this history of drug laws, they are based in racism. You know.. blacks had a hard enough time not raping poor defenseless white women, and when they were on cocain, well watch out!

  • Re:Easy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:20PM (#25276361) Journal

    Clearly, the business model is flawed and needs to be replaced with one that meets the social goal of providing for those who are valued creators without requiring artificial scarcity to implement it.

    History is full of such models. The BBC and the CBC are both good examples. And if you compare the quality of such with Fox News and CNN, you find that they also produce superior programming.

  • Re:fp (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:29PM (#25276451)

    Like recession? Then you'll love Obama!

    While that was an ad-hominem, and was modded as such, it should be noted that Obama would be more likely to support a Copyright Czar than McCain. Dems are owned by big media [], who're the ones pushing for this. Also note that Bush turned down [] the idea of "Copyright Cops."

    I know everybody loves Obama, and loves to hate McCain. But on some issues, Obama isn't the best choice, harsh but true.

  • Re:Easy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PotatoFarmer ( 1250696 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:33PM (#25276495)
    Yeah, thank god we've never tried to legislate against booze. Imagine how bad that would have turned out...

    As an aside, the 18th amendment was repealed during a period of unrest involving a major economic downturn. Would be interesting to see if history repeats itself this time around with regard to the war on drugs. I wouldn't expect heroin to be available at your local grocery store, but I could certainly imagine less restriction on "soft" drugs like marijuana.
  • 750k Jobs Lost (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @04:02PM (#25276865) Homepage Journal

    Sure, its a lie, but since when did the facts ever get in the way of congress trying to pass laws?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06, 2008 @04:05PM (#25276901)

    I agree here. If the industry is losing out to piracy it is because they aren't adding anything of value. In fact, they often take away value.

    The dubs often follow a bastardized script made to lip-sync well to the original video but not keeping with the original script. There are also a variety of changes to eliminate any cultural nuance of interest.

    Sometimes there is only one subtitle track and it follows the VO script. If you actually listen to and understand the Japanese you see that the translation is just wrong. I recall they did this to The Cat Returns (Neko no Ongaeshi).

    If you want to make money, you will need to offer licensed subs for cheap download, using something like iTunes. You would want to ditch the DRM of course. The selling point is that the translation is "official" and that the creator gets a cut.

  • Re:Easy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by OVDoobie ( 887621 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @04:29PM (#25277125)
    I bet your relationships are based on scientific method, so you are certainly qualified to make this assertion. /sarcasm

    As I said, I was not equating (or equaling for those lesser skilled in engrish) drug consumption to piracy. I was equating the enforcement of the US drug policy to the potential enforcement of this piracy policy.

    The problem with "NEW" science, is that it is often quickly refuted. There is also the fact of funding, frequently science can come to the conclusions desired by the folks who fund the research. While I don't know for certain that is the case here, it certainly could be.

    Lets not even get started on the War on Terror, the enforcement in that area could certainly be applicable here. Then there is the almighty "think of the children" congratulations on being a meme king btw.
  • Re:Easy (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06, 2008 @04:37PM (#25277237)

    Ever stop to think that they actually had smoked pot to deal with the paranoia and mental deficiencies they had to begin with? There is much research (go find the articles yourself, I don't have enough time to waste on you at the moment) that shows that many people who consume copious amounts of said substances do so in an effort to self-medicate and deal with these internal problems that they have. Think about it for a sec, unless you have research documenting extensively their mental states before they started engaging is such activities, the research is just blowing smoke up everyone who reads it collective asses.

  • Re:Henry Paulson (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @05:18PM (#25277667)

    From TFLA []: Rhetoric aside, the argument turns on a simple question: In the current mortgage meltdown, did lenders approve bad loans to comply with CRA, or to make money?

    IMHO, the article is wrong to assume that the CRA had little nothing to do with it (it was at the start of the whole process even though it wasn't wholly was the second step on the road to where we are now if you will with the Great Depression and the New Deal creation of Fannie Mae being the first) and the correct answer is really both. The banks made the loans both to comply with the provisions of the CRA and also with subsequent laws and pressure from community organizers (lawsuits and political pressure cost money too you know, just like bad loans) AND they also wanted to make money of course (since if you are not earning interest then you are losing money because of inflation).

    Ask yourself this question: Would the deposit banks in the United States (and elsewhere), which have a long history of mortgage lending and experience in that business, have loaned to the subprime borrowers if THEY had to hold the loan paper and suffer the loss if the marginal borrower defaulted? Perhaps more personally, would you loan $1000 to your coke-head do-nothing uncle (or other irresponsible family relation) given what you know about his lifestyle, financial history, and credit worthiness (or lack thereof)? Of course not and it is the same situation with these banks. Now, what if the government said that they would take that loan to your uncle off your hands for face value (i.e. they assume the risk and pay you your profits up front) or let you resell the loan as AAA debt without having to disclose the details? Well then it is a whole different ballgame.

    If lending standards had not been lowered by the government (they very arguably encouraged bad loans with CRA by signaling that the Fed would not deny the banks access to overnight loans for making irresponsible loans to subprime borrowers who met CRA requirements) AND the government had not made things even worse by having Fannie and Freddie buy up and guarantee a large part of the bad loans themselves, then the subprime mess would never have become large because banks and investors would not have loaned to people, at least not on a large scale, that they KNEW were not going to repay and THEY (the banks) were going to be left holding the bag.

    Remember that it is the government (and to a lesser extent those banks which can borrow from the Federal Reserve) that creates money in the fiat money [] system here in the United States so if the government tells the banks that it is OK to lend to marginal borrowers AND then agrees to take the loans off the bank's hands OR allows them to sell them into the securities market as AAA packages then of course they are going to do it (As long as the banks aren't forced to hold the bad loans themselves). They cannot afford NOT to participate in what is essentially an expansion of the money supply with lots of NEW credit (if they did sit it out then their competitors would increase their share of the money supply while their own pre-expansion holdings would decline in value because of all the new money being created).

    If the government had not interfered in the housing market, beginning in the 1930s and continuing until today, for essentially political reasons then we would NOT now be having the financial crises that we are having today because private investors don't generally lend money at low rates to bad risk borrowers. The present situation is the inescapable result of decades of poor government financial policies made for political reasons. Does this mean that we should have zero regulation? Of course not, but there is a big difference between having the government regulate and mandate full disclosure of relevant information and directly supplying the capital and altering the lending s

  • Re:Easy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @05:37PM (#25277861) Journal

    Who am I to tell someone they can't destroy their own body?

    You are a taxpayer and you have to cover the social costs of drug use.
    Yes, there are social costs for [drug] that you think isn't all that harmful.

    Legalize and require that drug users to be bonded & insured, then let them go wild, because they'll be directly responsible for the costs of their actions. Can't afford to be bonded and insured, then don't take [drug].

  • Re:Easy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Reziac ( 43301 ) * on Monday October 06, 2008 @06:48PM (#25278603) Homepage Journal

    Exactly the same war is being waged against dog breeders and livestock producers by various "animal rights" interests (CA Prop 2 is one such example).

    Extending civil asset forfeiture to extremes like taking the cars from people who merely WATCH a street race is another example.

    We seem to be returning to a Puritan culture, where "anything *I* don't like, YOU can't do either!" whether there's a logical reason for that or not. And if you can't jail someone for some such offense, taking his property for that offense is ... well, not the next-best thing; it's probably "even better" because it's profitable!

    We've also entered an era of finding ways to ALWAYS ensure that any person of interest can be convicted of a felony. CA Prop 6 does this by requiring gang members to register with the police (in blatant disregard of our Constitutional Right of Assembly). Arrest some kid without enough evidence of a crime? no problem... chances are he never registered as a gang member; GOT HIM!

    The RIAA's desired incarnation of copyright is similiar: Did you even THINK of perusing that material? then PAY UP! and if you don't, we'll send Vinny and Guido to confiscate your computer (that way we can be sure what IP address to tie your "crime" to). The moment we have a "Copyright Czar" you can expect the "war on piracy" to escalate to levels very similar to the "war on drugs" -- with equally negative effects. Imagine raids on average citizens for the crime of copying a disk they got from the library...

    Personally, I believe the "war on drugs" is encouraged and even partly funded by the drug lords, to keep prices artificially high. One could draw similar parallels to the RIAA cartel.... as to drugs, I'm all for legalize/regulate/tax. It's relatively easy with hard goods like drugs. How could we do that with content -- to legalize, regulate, and tax, so everyone gets their cut yet no one (short of "smugglers") can be hauled in for a "crime"??

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein