Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
The Media Your Rights Online

RIAA Chief Whines That SOPA Opponents Were "Unfair" 525

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

RIAA Chief Whines That SOPA Opponents Were "Unfair"

Comments Filter:
  • I won't do it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by apcullen ( 2504324 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:27PM (#38968709)
    I won't click the link. I just don't want to in any way encourage the Times to print this stuff.
  • Pot meet Kettle (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:37PM (#38968867)

    In a NY Times op-ed today, RIAA chief Cary H. Sherman accuses the opponents of SOPA of having engaged in shady rhetorical tactics

    Fortunately, the RIAA and it's brethren always engage in reasoned, non-iflammatory rhetoric when presenting their case. After all, it's a well documented fact that every unauthorized, err illegal, d/l of material they own directly results in a terrorist organization receiving money.

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:39PM (#38968899)
    From TFA:

    But what the Google and Wikipedia blackout showed is that itâ(TM)s the platforms that exercise the real power. Get enough of them to espouse Silicon Valleyâ(TM)s perspective, and tens of millions of Americans will get a one-sided view of whatever the issue may be, drowning out the other side.

    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.

    I can't be too hard on him. When I ask "Who does Sen. or Rep. X represent", my answer is typically a company or group of companies that funded his/her campaign, and/or hired the lobbyists to write the bills that the politicians sponsor.

    To put it in language that Sherman can understand, it's not that Rep./Sen. X changed from (R/D - MPAA) to (R/D - GOOG). It's that, this being an election year, and there being tens of millions of active internet users who are also eligible voters, Rep./Sen X represented (R/D - wishes of their constituents as tallied by their staffers, regardless of donation size).

  • by theillien ( 984847 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:42PM (#38968945)
  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:55PM (#38969171)
    So where are the "anti-SOPA" opinions in the New York Times? Where are the opinions of people like Cory Doctorow? Where are the calls for rethinking the copyright system, the arguments against artificial scarcity, or the opinions of people who question the very premise of SOPA/PIPA/ACTA?

    Maybe I just do not read the New York Times enough, but I cannot remember seeing such opinions being published.
  • by Ynsats ( 922697 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:57PM (#38969201)

    First off, the "author" (used loosely) unfairly lumps the ENTIRE population into the category of gullible schlubs lapping up the misinformation spread by Wikipedia and Google. He assumes (which is par for the course for RIAA and MPAA) that the consuming public is completely made up of blithering idiots and thundering morons and that none of us are capable of understanding any piece of legislation that isn't presented to us in a manner that we "can understand". That destroys any credibility to his statements.

    So I'm going to largely ignore what was said in the article because he largely ignored that I leaned about SOPA when the legislation first came about and read up on it for the length of time it was being deliberated in Congress. PIPA as well. Wikipedia only made it stupidly easy to contact my representatives...which I had already emailed about 9 times each concerning SOPA and PIPA prior to the day of protest.

    I'm all for protecting intellectual property. But there are serious concerns with those bills that money-grubbing windbags like my senator, Frank Lousyberg, don't see. SOPA and PIPA are both bills intended to prevent people OUTSIDE the U.S. from stealing U.S. property. Great! I love it! But, explain to me HOW a U.S. law will apply to a jurisdiction outside of it's reach like, I dunno, Russia? China maybe? How are you going to punish Oleg in Moscow for a crime against the U.S. using U.S. based legislation without Russian buy in? Simple, you're not. The legislation will only serve to watch and punish U.S. citizens, the ones they say it's going to "protect".

    SOPA and PIPA give FAR too much control to non-law enforcement bodies like the RIAA and MPAA by allowing them to get websites and even domains shutdown with "evidence" that amounts to "Hey, that looks like my words "the" and "and" on that webpage! I'd better tell a judge and get them shut down so I can investigate further!" (yes, I know it's exaggeration but it's used to show the absurdity) Once you prove that the ass trumpet that went to court and got the order is wrong, you can get your site turned back on and BAU it all day long. BUT! You have to prove your innocence first.

    Let me restate that. You have to PROVE YOUR INNOCENCE FIRST.

    What happened to innocent until proven guilty, in a court of law, by a jury of your peers? When did the RIAA become a law enforcement body with judicial responsibilities and furthermore, my peer? In most court rooms, someone with an invested financial stake is tossed off the jury or even reassigned because of a POTENTIAL conflict of interest. Not even an actual conflict, just the potential to have one.

    I for one am not happy about any of that. I think the legislation is self-serving and far too open for interpretation. I don't even care about what Google and Wikipedia were on about. I don't care if they were spread "misinformation" or not. What I care about is some windbag, crybaby in L.A. putting out BS articles like this because legislation serving his personal agenda was shutdown by a government for the people and by the people because THOSE people think it sucks.

    BTW Mr. Sherman, your profits and sales are down since 1999 because you make a shit product. Nobody wants to pay for your over-priced, overly produced, auto-tuned schlock. Piracy isn't destroying your business, your customers are. If my company lost 50% of it's market share over the last 12 years we'd be out of business...mainly because we don't have half of Congress in our back pocket to prop up our sucktastic business model and mediocre product line. I guess it's easier to point the finger away than to look at your sniveling, self-serving mug in the mirror, huh? So, tell me, what happens when you do actually get to stop piracy (good luck) and you're still hemorrhaging money and market? Who are you going to blame then? Or will we all still be stupid and not know a good thing when we are told to like it?

  • Simple Solution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HikingStick ( 878216 ) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <remeir10z>> on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:19PM (#38969621)
    Let's take a step back and imagine what a reasonable solution looks like, one that balances IP and fair use. When CDs were the primary media format, it was lawful (under the Copyright Act of 1983, if I'm remembering correctly) to make a tape from a CD, so long as the tapes were distributed for free, or a nominal fee not more than the cost of the tape transfer process ($1?). Why can't we do that now?

    Establish a bit rate threshhold for music (resolution/fps for video) and allow people to share files in those "less than perfect" formats, just as we once could with cassette tapes. Anything above that threshold would require a purchase/license. Heck, I'd be fine if a minimal fee (fractional pennies to pennies) were imposed on each and every media-capable player or storage device (much as blank CDs had such fees built in).

    Just realize that it is entirely natural (and, as shown repeatedly, good for business) to let people share. That's how I got introduced to most of the music I learned to love over the years. Stop trying to fight the concept of sharing, and establish some reasonable parameters that regulate sharing.

    Regarding eBooks and similar formats, I love their convenience, but hate their limitations. I believe the First Sale Doctrine (the idea that rights holder get paid their share only on the first transaction--not with each subsequent change of ownership) is one of the greatest concepts in the legal sphere. Since eBook publications are typically licensed to a single user, the provisions of the First Sale Doctrine don't apply. I can understand more objection to its applicability with eBooks, because, unlike books, electronic editions should never deteriorate (that will remain to be seen). Once a physical book is worn enough, you need to buy another copy if you want to read it again. If the First Sale Doctrine applied universally to digital media files, then the need to ever replace a copy of a work is greatly reduced (perhaps only when dealing with physical loss, or system malfunction).

    Okay, I'll get off my soap box now before I bore all of you to death.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:30PM (#38969833)

    I'd rather just read what Cary Sherman has to say and come to my own conclusions

    Why should that even be mentioned? Are their times when you don't do that or encourage others not to do that? It is not just headlines this has to be done with, it is stories from a friend about getting into a car accident, a company that "messed up on a bill", getting a traffic ticket from a cop, the reason you are late for work, your boss who is an idiot, your neighbor knocking over your fence etc.. There are two sides to every story and 99% of the time, the person telling it is giving their specific version only either subconsciously or consciously to swing opinion.

    I've personally read many of your submissions and comments and I've seen the same thing.

    On that note, I read his editorial. He left out a lot of what that bill would have done and the shift in responsibility for policing content. He also comments on jobs and american money lost but he does not give any actual hints to how those are connected to the bill. The biggest thing I find with his rant is that is the speaking for the RIAA on behalf of the RIAA but not much about the bills advantages he touted related to his organization. He mentions foreign counterfeit goods, pharmacuticals, foreign knockoff etc. He does mention P2P but only how it was hurting him, not how or what the bill had to do with reducing P2P sharing. I wonder why he did not go into details why or how the RIAA would benefit?

    Another thing, I think he seems pissed that campaign contributions and a heavy inside hand in controlling the media and news organizations he and others have enjoyed for so long was thwarted by sources outside his direct control. He is not happy with dealing with that obstruction.

  • Re:Come on (Score:4, Interesting)

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:31PM (#38969855) Journal

    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

    Please tell me how cave-dwellers who painted on the walls of their caves were rewarded? Did Michaelangelo get a cut of the entrance fees to the Sistene Chapel? Yes, artists need to live, but over history, the idea that artists get royalties is very modern. There are many ways that artists can be paid.

    What is going on is that the economic value of music publishers has been destroyed by the Internet. There is no need for the RIAA member companies to exist -- they provide very little value. They are the buggy whip manufacturers of the 21st century. They have been replaced by alternative methods of distribuiton such as iTunes.

    Most of the people who create music today make money from their live perfornamces. Mass copyright violations don't affect this -- in fact, studies have suggested that the effects of P2P sharing of copyrighted music is actually the opposite -- it increases the artists' income.

    Oh, and since you seem to get the first (or almost first) post on many discussions : GET A JOB!

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

    by sdguero ( 1112795 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:50PM (#38970209)
    Here! Here!

    As much as I dislike how politicized the summary, and the issue has become, I followed the link. And good god man! Terrible article and the comments section really made me angry. It was locked to new comments, I read the most recent 50, 49 of them were anti-SOPA/PIPA. The one comment that supported the RIAA stance had a shiny little NYT stamp of approval next to it, So, obviously that publication still doesn't get it. I just wrote them letter in response and said I will never visit the NYT website again and definitely won't ever pay for a print version of any of their publications. So I guess I'm now a NYT enemy for life...
  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:33PM (#38970823) Homepage

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

    If an article is detailed enough, I can sift through the bias. I can create my own informed opinion given enough information. Any article that skimps on the details does not allow for this.

    So in truth, an "unbiased" article is more of a problem. It's much more likely to constitute a "lie of omission" by leaving out key details.

    In true Newspeak manner, it will be the "unbiased" article that actually represents the greatest bias.

  • by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:37PM (#38970889)

    And story tellers used to retell old stories continually, in an endless succession of chinese whispers like mutation. Such retellings and changes influenced and were influenced by the host culture in a myriad ways.

    Take for instance "the bear king valamon" from norway. It has at least 8 related, and well recorded stories that are clearly influenced by (influencing?) It.

    This form of copying and adaptation is as old as humanity itself is, and possibly older. The strict denial of that activity is comparatively young, and I would argue deleterious to the culture, for the benefit of a single person, or group of persons.

    I find that to be illogical, and do not buy the "without those protections, people won't tell stories anymore!" Party line, because it is clearly invalidated by more than 6000 years of recorded instances of literature and rhetoric holding prime cultural realestate without them.

    "Well, I'm an author and I would have to do something other than write my books to live! Is that what you want!?"

    Yes. Yes it is. You make stories, and the stories are special, but once you give birth to them on paper, they belong to themselves, and travel the world on their own merits. No more than people should crank out babies so they can be forced into prostitution as a matter of the parents vocation should literary or artistic works be similarly abused and monopolized for money. That's my opinion on the matter. You are free to disagree, and argue the merits of the prostitution angle, but I am not alone in that view.

    It is important to stress that I don't feel I am entitled to your work. On the contrary. I feel your work is entitled to influence me, and cause me to create in turn. Art forms are memes. Memes don't live unless they spread and mutate. The same is true of more complex memes, such as narratives, imagry and songs. I don't want free reign to hoard songs, images and stories. I want those things to have free reign over the whole world as an audience, and not just rich patrons of whatever publisher you are prostituting the work through.

    So, beautiful madame of the brothel, stop telling me that my desire to see your daughters be free to pick and choose for themselves is just my own greedy desire to have them for myself without paying. The truly greedy one here is you, who concieved them for the sole purpose of prostituting them for your own enrichment at their expense.

    I appreciate the art, not the artist.

  • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @05:22PM (#38972453) Journal

    This is part of the bias of the MSM that most people who say "what bias?" don't get. It isn't always what news is presented and how it is presented, it is just as often what is NEVER mentioned. If a (R) says something stupid and wrong, you blast it all over the place and repeat it until it becomes fokelore, but if a (D) says something stupid and wrong it goes without even a glance.

    It isn't always about the "truth" of what is being reported, but often about what is, or isn't covered. That and creative editing to "frame" a story to illicit a certain response. THAT is the bias.

    Complaining about Beck is just a classic example of bashing someone, just to bash someone, because they seem like an easy target. And as you pointed out, Beck was against SOPA even before it was popular in the press. I guess a broken clock is right twice a day huh?

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay