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Dianne Feinstein, friend of the intellectual-property rentier

By Michael J. Smith on Sunday January 14, 2007 10:36 PM

I realize this is my own personal hobbyhorse -- but still, you know, it really tells the tale of whose side they're on.

The RIAA (the lobbying group for the recording industry) has Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Joseph Biden (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) carrying their water again in the new Congress. They're sponsoring the "Platform Equality and Remedies for Rights Holders in Music Act" (PERFORM), which was introduced (and died in committee) last year, and re-introduced last week.

The bill requires Internet "broadcasters", as they are drolly called, to "use reasonably available and economically reasonable technology to prevent music theft," and it makes the Federal government responsible for determining the royalties paid to music companies for the use of music libraries over the Internet. It also requires all Internet, satellite, and cable "broadcasters" to implement "digital rights management", or in other words, pay attention to the infamous "broadcast flag," or something like it, presumably in every file they transfer. What exactly this means in practice is unclear -- the language is very vague and obscure. But the record rentiers have always wanted to make every Internet business -- or site, for that matter -- into a draftee intellectual-property enforcer, and that appears to be the thrust of this bill as well.

This is wild, overreaching, midsummer madness on the part of the copyright owners. It's hard to convey just how crazy it is. It's very much like Will Rogers' old joke about defeating U-boats by boiling the ocean -- then they'd have to surface, you see. Or King Canute telling the tide not to come in -- and this time Canute has a nice bipartisan consensus behind him, with Hollywood Dianne Feinstein sternly wagging her finger at the oncoming surf.

Quite apart from the craziness, there's a very stark confrontation here between property and people. It makes me think of the 18th-century enclosures of common land -- another historical moment when property owners, feeling their oats and giddy with the possibilities of plunder, undertook to fatten their purse by depriving ordinary people of rights they had long enjoyed.

And note, of course, that the Democrats are right there in the forefront -- not on the people's side, either. Surprise, surprise.

Comments (5)

js paine:

behold the lords of creation
for they are mighty
and lo
they must be paid

send in their rents
ass holes....now
in full...B4 we ....

js paine:

the threads here are very short

are we all in the same choir

so we sing the same lyrics
and in sync ???

we need some
storm and drang
'round here keeeeedz

i'm going to start being
a dlc rooter

NO better yet

straight shot of
eau d' clinton

call me francis
a talking mule

this site sucks tums

its as full
acid reflux
a soviet banquet hall ...

yada yada yada bing


Where on earth did you find that beautiful picture?


Popped right up on Google. Nifty, huh?


Now, I ain't gonna say I worked for Google image search for a bit, but I ain't gonna say I DIDN'T, if you know what I mean...so you're welcome.

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