24 August 2010

Just how Broken is Our Government?

Well, how about a lobbying group brazenly using its ability to bribe members of Congress in an attempt to get an industry to target its own customers with onerous positions:
The Recording Industry Association of America said on Monday that current U.S. copyright law is so broken that it "isn't working" for content creators any longer.

RIAA President Cary Sherman said the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act contains loopholes that allow broadband providers and Web companies to turn a blind eye to customers' unlawful activities without suffering any legal consequences.

This seems like innocuous whine, the sort that we have heard from the RIAA, the MPAA, the BSA for years, but it's the threat that caught my eye:
In response to a question from CNET, Sherman said it may be necessary for the U.S. Congress to enact a new law formalizing agreements with intermediaries such as broadband providers, Web hosts, payment processors, and search engines.

The RIAA would strongly prefer informal agreements inked with intermediaries, Sherman said: "We're working on [discussions with broadband providers], and we'd like to extend that kind of relationship--not just to ISPs, but [also to] search engines, payment processors, advertisers."

But, Sherman said, "if legislation is an appropriate way to facilitate that kind of cooperation, fine."
The basic attitude here is that they can ask Congress to jump, and the only response will be the query, "how high?"

It is a revolting state of affairs.

It should be noted that RIAA chief Cary Sherman later "clarified", saying that, "A broader law enacted without their cooperation isn't what the RIAA wants," which really more a restatement of the the threat than anything else.

I hope that attitudes toward IP, and IP absolutism, are changing slowly. It seems to me that they are, largely as a result of the Blackberry case, when a patent troll nearly shut down the Blackberries in the US, in fact RIM's inability to separate commercial users from government users is in large part why the troll finally settled, they realized that judges deprived of their "Crackberries" can get stroppy.


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