Hollywood’s Obsolete Business Model Smearing Protectors of Internet Free Speech

Mike Masnick

When the entertainment industry got the usual suspects to push the PROTECT IP Act forward, the story around DC was that this bill was a slam dunk. Who was possibly going to resist a bill against evil “rogue” sites that were stealing our jobs and “ideas?” When Senator Ron Wyden put a “hold” on PROTECT IP, we were told by supporters of the bill that this was just a phantom protest and the bill was going to pass easily. It might still… but, it appears that some are beginning to get worried. After all, since the bill came to light, the complaints against it have been pretty clear and pretty loud — and not from lobbyists, but from the actual people who understand it (much of the “support” from the bill comes from lobbyists).

Indeed, we’ve seen some of the most well-respected technologists, some of the top funders of innovation, biggest names in the news business and most recently, some of the most respected legal scholars all come out against PROTECT IP. And they’re not all complaining about one small problem with the bill, but a series of them.

But, still, the folks who support the bill like to cling to the idea that the support for the bill is widespread and strong, and it’s just a small minority against it. And, now, they’re ratcheting up smear campaign attacks on those who see the problems with the bill. And, of course, Senator Wyden is apparently target number one. Take, for example, this hilariously weak attack on Senator Wyden from something called “The Chilling Report” — a weak takeoff on “Chilling Effects,” which is really a front for MiMTiD, an “anti-piracy” outfit we’ve written about before, due to it’s laughable claim that forwarding on its takedown notices to sites like Chilling Effects was, itself, infringing (it’s not). It appears that MiMTiD’s John L. DuPuis is no fan of Senator Wyden, though, you won’t get a coherent explanation of why from the blog post. But let’s tackle some of the nuttier claims.

Of course the Rhode Island Senator [Sheldon Whitehouse] was referring to the total destruction of U.S. intellectual property over the past ten years.

Hyperbole much? Considering that actual research has shown greater creative output than ever before, how can anyone make such a claim with a straight face? If anything has been destroyed, it’s the credibility of John L. DuPuis. “Intellectual property” continues to be created at record levels. Now, DuPuis might be just sloppy, and he could actually mean “intellectual property laws,” even if he left off the “laws” part. But even then the statement doesn’t pass the guffaw test. Over the last few decades, all we’ve seen are those laws (specifically copyright, since that’s what we’re really discussing) tilted further and further in favor of one party (and not the party that copyright laws were most designed to benefit). The 1976 Act was a massive expansion of copyright law. Add to that the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, the DMCA, ProIP and a few other changes here and there and all we’ve seen is the continuous expansion of copyright law.

The most vocal opponent of new common sense legislation by Congress is Senator Ron Wyden…. His views concerning the Internet are the most pernicious for copyright holders today

“Common sense” legislation is not legislation that censors free speech, puts liability on unrelated third parties, messes with the DNS system and is wide open to massive abuse. Seriously, DuPuis, just because you call something “common sense” legislation, that doesn’t make anyone who understands the bill suddenly believe it. The bill is seriously broken.

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