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Labor kleptocracy

By Michael J. Smith on Thursday November 17, 2011 12:10 AM

This just in, from the AFL-CIA:
Illegal Downloads Steal Wages, Benefits From Workers

Too few people who download entertainment illegally recognize that they are stealing wages and benefits from workers, Paul Almeida, president of the AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees (DPE) told a bipartisan Capitol Hill press conference today.

Almeida joined with members of Congress and business leaders to discuss the continuing harm illegal downloads and other online infringement or counterfeits pose to American jobs and the economy.

This is all in aid of the House's Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill, an even more insane counterpart to the Senate's PROTECT-IP bill -- I can't even remember what that stands for, but you get the idea.

The details are obscure and tedious, but the bottom line is that both measures require internet service providers (ISPs) and search engines like Google to deny any access to any site that a court -- or in some versions, the Justice Department -- has decided infringes somebody's copyright on something.

In practice, this means that your ISP -- Time Warner or Verizon or your campus network or whoever -- would have to tell you, when you navigate to some supposed 'pirate' site, that there is no such site. ('Navigation' includes clicking on a link in some otherwise innocuous Web page.) And Google would have to excise any references to such putative pirate sites that might turn up in its search results, before delivering them to you.

The ban includes sites hosted outside the US, in places where such activity may be perfectly legal. (For those of you who care about legality.)

I note with amusement that the Senate version is sponsored by that fine liberal Democrat, Patrick Leahy of Vermont. The House version is sponsored by a nice bipartisan list of bargain-basement vendible lickspittles:

  • Lamar Smith [R-TX]
  • Rep. Mark Amodei [R, NV-2]
  • Rep. John Barrow [D, GA-12]
  • Rep. Karen Bass [D, CA-33]
  • Rep. Howard Berman [D, CA-28]
  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn [R, TN-7]
  • Rep. Mary Bono Mack [R, CA-45]
  • Rep. John Carter [R, TX-31]
  • Rep. Steven Chabot [R, OH-1]
  • Rep. John Conyers [D, MI-14]
  • Rep. Ted Deutch [D, FL-19]
  • Rep. Elton Gallegly [R, CA-24]
  • Rep. Robert Goodlatte [R, VA-6]
  • Rep. Tim Griffin [R, AR-2]
  • Rep. Peter King [R, NY-3]
  • Rep. Ben Luján [D, NM-3]
  • Rep. Thomas Marino [R, PA-10]
  • Rep. Alan Nunnelee [R, MS-1]
  • Rep. William Owens [D, NY-23]
  • Rep. Dennis Ross [R, FL-12]
  • Rep. Steve Scalise [R, LA-1]
  • Rep. Adam Schiff [D, CA-29]
  • Rep. Lee Terry [R, NE-2]
  • Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz [D, FL-20]
  • Rep. Melvin Watt [D, NC-12]
Of course we all knew that, as Mark Twain observed, we have the finest Legislature money can buy. But the AFL-CIA's sign-on, even to me, still seems a bit more startling, though one has seen for decades that there is no depth to which these depraved parasites won't happily sink.

Ah, the American labor movement: let's turn our handful of members into rentiers.

Comments (11)

Overheard on the Capitol steps: "So I says, I says, damn it, that Russian three-penny music and movies site has taken almost one one thousandth of a percent of the profit overflow which should have ended up in the rightful, just, true, and legal accounts of Disney-Touchstone-Miramax. What we'uns should do is like totally criminalize half the activity currently occurring on these here intertubes and webs, and make sure grannies and six year olds can face fines in the thousands of dollars, and prison sentences if they ain't flipping on their kids and cousins. That'll scare off those dirty Russians. I mean, I mean, this ain't about making it wicked easy to police content, block users, ghettoize online dissent and run a dragnet which scoops up digital terrorists and pirates by the boatload. Nah, t'ain't that. That's all secondary to getting all our rightful currency back in its pen."

How could that backfire? But seriously, how could rehabilitating the word pirate and running the risk of radicalizing kids who just want to download the latest unthinking pap from Ratner or Bay have any unintended consequences?

Al Schumann:

This name, Rep. Robert Goodlatte, is just begging for a copyright infringement and brand defamation lawsuit.

And Reps Marino and Owens may find themselves explaining to lawyers from the NFL and Viacom why it is they have pirated the names of famous sports and broadcasting brands, Al.

Al Schumann:

When the "Do Not Fly" list started snagging some of the legislators who voted for it, I thought there might be some small chance they would reconsider their enthusiasm. Anal sadistic, lottery-style collective punishment isn't supposed to backfire on its architects. But of course my speculation was totally off base. There are many ways for them to work around any nuisance they create. When they think at all about unintended consequences, they turn to egregious privilege and brutal cops as the answer to the problem they create.


excellent post

"... the 23 unions that are members of DPE, nine represent hundreds of thousands of creative professionals and other workers in the arts, entertainment and media industries. "

the dirty DPE pie card's words:

"My message is simple. For these skilled professionals, online infringement is wage theft. In these unique industries, many hard-working professionals depend on residuals and royalties for much of their incomes. Backend payments from repeated showings of films and televisions shows, and royalties from recordings, keep them afloat between projects. Those payments also fund health insurance and pension programs."

here's the union side
of this all too usual
protectionist industry union alliance :

a joint statement, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Directors Guild of America (DGA), Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and Screen Actors (SAG) :

"Illegal downloading and streaming of the content made by our members poses a devastating threat to the future of the hundreds of thousands of working men and women who make up the American entertainment industry – and by extension, the millions of people working in jobs at ancillary small businesses and in cities and states across the country that support the production of the films, television programs and sound recordings."

i hasten to add labor think tank renigade dean the dream baker
is most effective at demolishing this sort of protectionism

the very deepest guild roots
of the organized present labor movement
bloom here

we need to throw up alternatives
that resolve this intra class contradiction
and not thru collaborationist opportunist
rent sharing with the ghouls of the "industry"


but the implied blanket anathema here ..

"the American labor movement: let's turn our handful of members into rentiers"

father have you become a wobbly ??

or worse still
a squalid sectarian ....DUAL UNIONIST ???

why if so ..
then ....well ...
the spectre of bill foster
oughta haunt your sleep
not just to nite but every nite


You're scaling heights of Commie erudition unknown to me, Owen. Dual unionist? Perhaps I should have said the 'actually existing American labor movement'. Certainly it has had finer hours than its present sorry pass, and let's hope it will have them again. Maybe the Occupations will put some militant iron in its spine.


"Maybe the Occupations will put some militant iron in its spine. "
i think that is indeed a real possibility
if you couple it with "madison"

its an odd pair of motors
ketchup and the daughters of al shanker
but such is Clio's casting couch

the lesbian bitch !!!!

we must ourselves act if we want to shape eh??

i'm older then king nestor
in some hollywood production of the odyssey

my council as buffoonish as polonius
my hospitality not worthy of Captain Cuttle

ah a final passivity
that state above the reach of impotence

requires a constant exercising of the will
to stay up there
i lack that will

so unlike Job
i'll just have to keep believing
Clio knows what she's doing
and she's up to doing good ...in the end

a kind if clever author
a butch jane austin


from mjs' old haunt u of chicago comes this
baby splitter of a solution
to the innovation incentive crux

"What is the best way to reward innovation? While prizes avoid deadweight loss, intellectual
property screens out projects generating low consumer surplus per unit sold. We propose
a stretch parameterization of demand under which innovations di er in both the size of the
market they create and consumers' average willingness-to-pay for them. We solve the resulting
multidimensional screening problem by decomposing the analysis into a separate choice of the
level and structure of rewards for innovations. Optimal policy generally calls for some market
power but never full monopoly pricing. The appropriate degree of market power is determined
by a value-weighted average of the innovation supply elasticity multiplied by the log-variance
of the ratio of the monopoly prices to quantities, opening our analysis to empirical calibration.
Our results also shed light on the pricing of platforms, incentives within rms for product
development and public infrastructure."



Ah, a whiff of that rare Laputa air. How it takes me back to my own dear old floating-island days.


Eh, this is just the logical next step of business unionism, since US corps don't produce that much in the way of value (in the Marxist sense) these days, and largely get by on rent charges from stolen and hoarded loot.

Anonymous posts this link:


Anonymous, we speak plain english around here. Well... mostly. Well, certain exceptions apply but I won't get into that.

The document you point to is a masterpiece of obfuscation and jargon. I gather that is your point. Point taken.

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