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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."
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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 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 CanEHdian ( 1098955 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:25PM (#38970731)

        Welcome to the NBC Evening news.

        Today, RIAA chief Cary H. Sherman courageously outed the opponents of SOPA as having engaged in shady rhetorical tactics. Last month, Wikipedia and Google disseminated misinformation about the bills SOPA and PIPA, bills introduced to protect badly needed American jobs against rogue foreign piracy websites. Especially the use of the term 'censorship,' clearly a 'loaded and inflammatory term, was used by Mr. Sherman to illustrate his point.

        In other news,

      • 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 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 eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (> 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 s73v3r ( 963317 ) <> 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.

      • 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, 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 [].

        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 AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:37PM (#38970873)

          This. CNN didn't even cover it before the plans for the blackout solidified, and even then, there was only a couple articles in their "tech" section. Until the actual blackout on January 18th, then they actually had an article on the main page about it, and the article was pretty simplistic at that. The actual reasons for opposing SOPA were all but ignored...

          At least they admitted their parent company, Time Warner, was a supporter of SOPA/PIPA. It got all of a single line in the article, but they admitted it. How many other "news" organizations admitted their own involvement in the creation of these bills?

          This entire situation only got coverage in the MSM when they were forced to cover it due to the opposition online. If not for the blackout, they wouldn't have said a word, despite the fact that there was serious opposition going on for weeks before that point...

        • 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?

    • 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 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 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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

      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.

    • 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 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 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 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 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.

    • never was. never will be

      of course, in the past, they TRIED to be unbiased, but those with vested interest sensed plots and subtle bias nonetheless (unconscious, unpurposeful, or illusionary)

      and so the new landscape (same as the old landscape: see "yellow journalism") is pure unadulterated bias all the time everywhere

      i actually like it: keeps your bullshit filter healthy... why is your instinct that a media source SHOULD be unbiased? just assume it isn't always, and filter appropriately. depend upon YOURSELF

    • by bzipitidoo ( 647217 ) <> 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?

  • 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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pope ( 17780 )

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

    • 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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sdguero ( 1112795 )
      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 web
  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:27PM (#38968715) Homepage

    Well, it would be the sound of the world's tiniest violin playing a sad song, but due to copyright restrictions I can't actually post a link to it.

  • 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 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 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 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.

    • Don't forget that it would require the blocking based on *allegations* of copyright infringement. Because, of course, waiting for due process takes too long! (See the RIAA's opposition to OPEN.)

    • by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:47PM (#38969045)

      The part I found the funniest was the "gem"

      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."

      I am not sure what retcon he is trying to inflict. I saw a lot of news broadcasts, tv shows, entertainment programs, some owned by "Pro SOPA" organizations, actually supporting the frigging anti SOPA movement! If "old media" is so right, then... SOPA is indeed bad!!! But no. He just relies on the old "lets tell them no one talked about it and hope they don’t remember that 'old media' did speak about it."

    • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <> on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:11PM (#38969473) Journal

      From now on maybe we should call censorship "marshmallowship" or "kittencuddleship."

    • 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 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.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:43PM (#38968985)

      So, the RIAA was around in 1654?!

      From OED, definition fo Piracy:

      "2. The unauthorized reproduction or use of an invention or work of another, as a book, recording, computer software, intellectual property, etc., esp. as constituting an infringement of patent or copyright; plagiarism; an instance of this.

      [1654 J. Mennes Recreation for Ingenious Head-peeces clxxvi, All the wealth, Of wit and learning, not by stealth, Or Piracy, but purchase got.]
      1700 E. Ward Journey to Hell ii. vii. 14 Piracy, Piracy, they cry'd aloud, What made you print my Copy, Sir, says one, You're a meer Knave, 'tis very basely done.
      1770 P. Luckombe Conc. Hist. Printing 76 Theywould suffer by this act of piracy, since it was likely to prove a very bad edition.
      1855 D. Brewster Mem. Life I. Newton (new ed.) I. iv. 71 With the view of securing his invention of the telescope from foreign piracy.
      1886 Cent. Mag. Feb. 629/1 That there are many publishers who despise such piracydoes not remove the presumption that publishers and papermakers have been influential opponents of an equitable arrangement.
      1977 Gramophone Apr. 1527/3 Governments have begun to realize that unauthorized reproduction of records (so-called piracy) adversely affects also the rights ofcomposers, authors and performers.
      1996 China Post (Taipei) 1 May 16/3 Authorities here said they have cracked down on piracy in recent years, but foreign computer firms claim they are still soft on piracy."

      • by b4dc0d3r ( 1268512 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:38PM (#38969995)

        Oh good, you took everything out of context to prove your point. Usage in that sense came from the actual "pirate at sea stealing things" sense.

        And in every example you have given except for 1996, these are the "traditional" meanings of piracy. Even the 1996 entry probably relates to selling counterfeit software, which is common in poor parts of Asia. A physical good is either copied mechanically or reproduced on another medium. Of course the 1654 quote is not long enough to tell if it involves ships.

        I don't see any evidence that anyone but the BSA / MAFIAA and media printing MAFIAA quotes have brought "unauthorized use" into the common usage of the word "piracy" until the pre-BSA did in the 1970's. The very concept of copying without using a physical medium did not exist until the digital age.

        Copying a disc and selling the disc, whether it's music or software, or movie, meets the pre-MAFIAA definition. But it does not meet the "downloading without paying for it" definition from the 1970's, and I draw a clear line between monetary gain and gainless copying.

        Piracy is a subset of copyright infringement which downloading is not a part of, and this overloaded usage equates violently storming a ship at see and plundering its booty with clicking a link and having something without paying for it.

        I believe in the evolution of language, but this is not an acceptable overload of the word. We should not accept such usage.

        In US law, which is what the MAFIAA follow and what we are discussing for SOPA/PIPA, Piracy is almost always either accompanied by "profiteering" in the sense of counterfeit or otherwise copied tangible items, or specifically qualified as in "Cyberpiracy" such as 15 USC 1129.

        The RIAA website answers the "Piracy" question with specifics using "copyright infringement" and "unauthorized", not "piracy" []

        A report to Congress summarizes the usage of the term "piracy", and software/music/movies are not mentioned. []

        It has only caught on in sound bites from MAFIAA, therefore I don't accept the redefinition.

    • 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 Nugoo ( 1794744 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:44PM (#38969013)
      What are you talking about? Those are totally different. The RIAA had to redefine theft. SOPA is practically a textbook implementation of censorship.
    • by kipsate ( 314423 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:46PM (#38969041)
      You're making it sound as if it is a stretch to call SOPA censorship. It is not.
  • by Dr. Tom ( 23206 ) <> on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:34PM (#38968817) Homepage
    Mr. Sherman: You made a good point in your conclusion, "we need reason not rhetoric." That's exactly why it was a terrible idea for you to have written this rhetoric-filled inflammatory piece /we're done here
  • by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:36PM (#38968841)

    No refunds.

  • 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 Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:02PM (#38969287)

      He still doesn't get that what happened was the people who consume the content

      Don't forget: quite a few of the people who actually create that content(as opposed to simply distribute it) opposed it too.

    • 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 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 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



    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.


  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:48PM (#38969061)

    Did you know that, in the 12 hours since Cary Sherman posted his editorial, over 10,000 Americans have lost their jobs? Clearly this man must be stopped before he destroys our economy! And that's why I urge you to support the Stop Cary Sherman/Super-Patriot/I Love America/Support Out Children Act. To do anything less is to deny our children a future of hope and prosperity!

  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:50PM (#38969105) Homepage

    ... We here at the RIAA prefer the term: Corporate Approved Network Demarking and Inhibiting. After all, who doesn't like a nice piece of CANDI?

  • 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.

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

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> 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 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?

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:15PM (#38969547) Homepage Journal

    Even screwballs like this guy are entitled to an opinion.

    The problem is he's not satisfied with having an opinion -- he's trying to change the law to suit his screwed up world-view. You can't have someone who is clearly on acid making decisions about the legal structure of nations.

  • RIAA chief gets his head handed to him by the Internet. He feels compelled to reply, and his choice of venue is...

    An old-line media outlet that loses relevance every time one of its articles slips back inside its paywall.

  • Simple Solution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HikingStick ( 878216 ) <> 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 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

  • 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.

  • by sacremon ( 244448 ) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:06PM (#38970449)

    "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. "

    Having just read through HR. 3261 (SOPA), the only mention of "No Duty to Monitor" applies to Payment Network Providers (the people who process credit card charges) and Internet Advertising Services (services that send ads to various websites). There is no "No Duty to Monitor" at all for Internet Sites, Internet Search Engines or Service Providers.

    So, no, they were not conveniently ignoring those provisions, because those provisions do not apply to Web sites.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!