Godwin's Law - RIAA's Big Push to Copy Protect Digital Radio
Immediately below is the text of the joint resolution by RIAA and other groups, asking Congress to copy-protect radio (which has never been copy-protected before). Following that is RIAA's "one-pager" outlining for Congress the reasons RIAA offers for Congress to authorize the FCC to put in place a copy-protection scheme for radio. (Note the use of the term "HD Radio" -- implying that there's something "high-definition" about digital audio broadcasting, even though everyone who knows anything about digital audio broadcast content knows it's of much lower quality than that of audio CDs.)
It speaks volumes regarding the legitimacy of Big Content's position when they consistently
shade the truth, oh hell, lie when they push legislation or regulation designed to shore up their business model at the expense of innovation in technology and consumer electronics.
Whereas American arts and entertainment industries account for 6% of the American Gross Domestic Product and employ 2.6 million Americans;
That seems an implausible number. In 2003, the last year for which comparable numbers are avaliable for all industry sectors, the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis says that Publishing, Sound recording and motion pictures, Broadcasting and telecommunications, as well as Arts and entertainment accounted to 5.1% of the GDP. That number is clearly an overestimate, as the "Publishing" component, representing 1.1% of that total figure, also includes the software industry, the "telco" component of "Broadcasting and telecommunications" (worth 2.6% of the total) includes the contribution of companies like Cox, Verizon, or AT&T, and the "Arts and entertainment" industry includes live sporting events, and gambling revenues.
I can't even imagine the RIAA et al would be brazen enough to throw retail contribution to GDP in there, simply because music retail is a puny slice of the overall number.
Obviously, Big Content accounts for nowhere near the 6% of GDP they claim.
Whereas digital theft of music has caused extreme harm to the American music industry over the past five years;
A questionable statement on many levels: does "digital theft" really exist? Making a copy of something and stealing are two different things. As to the "extreme" harm, and attribution thereof, it's not clear that other explanations for the music industry's doldrums aren't also to blame (and in far greater proportion than this idea of "digital theft"): cartel-like price-fixing behavior, poor product pricing, competition for discretionary spending, overall economic conditions, poor product mix (such as fewer singles), and simply bad product.
Whereas the digital theft of music stifles the careers of new artists, betrays the songwriters and recording artists who create it and threatens the livelihood of the thousands of working people—from recording engineers to record-store clerks—who are employed in the music industry;
If "digital theft" existed, I guess that would be bad. On the other hand, file sharing and other forms of digital distribution have certainly enhanced the careers of artists like Wilco, Pearl Jam, DJ Danger Mouse, and others.
Sure, it's not hard data, but I'll take my anecdotal examples over Big Content's straw man any day.
Whereas the United States Supreme Court ruled in MGM v. Grokster that it is illegal to engage in digital theft directly or to encourage or induce digital theft;
I am not a lawyer, but this one also seemed fishy. Grokster, as I read it, isn't quite that cut-and-dried. First of all, "digital theft," like Pamela Anderson, is a distortion emanating from Los Angeles. The term doesn't appear in the SCOTUS opinion. It's not a minor point. Grokster doesn't define a different standard for liability for digital forms of infringement (in other words, they didn't undo Sony). What they did was create a netherworld with an new "intent" standard that will now have to be painfully clarified by trial (literally) and error.
Whereas Korean and Australian courts followed with similar rulings preventing the establishment of business models predicated on digital theft;
I notice India, with their thriving intellectual property industries (pharmaceuticals, films, music, software) isn't on this list of worthies. Why so picky?
Whereas public broadcast spectrum is granted by the U.S. government to be used in the public interest;
Finally, a factually correct statement.
Whereas the public interest is not served by the allowance of digital theft;
Again, if "digital theft" existed, this might, or might not, be true.
Whereas Congress has stated that radio broadcasts should not facilitate or result in the digital theft of music;
Whereas the Federal Communications Commission promulgated rules to protect digital video broadcasts from illegal redistribution over digital networks;
Whereas the Federal Communications Commission is examining the promulgation of rules to protect digital audio broadcasts from illegal copying or redistribution over digital networks;
Whereas the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently vacated the Federal Communications Commission’s ruling on digital video broadcasts based on a need for a direct Congressional grant of authority;
Whereas given the breadth of this decision regarding the Commission’s scope of authority in this area, any direct Congressional grant of authority should include both digital video and audio broadcasts;
Whereas Congress is considering efforts to expressly grant such authority to the Federal Communications Commission;
Translation: our buddies at the MPAA got screwed when they tried to end-run Congress and go straight to the unresponsible (in the political sense) bureaucrats of the FCC. As long as they're asking you for their Broadcast Flag, we'd like one for radio, too. Thanks.