As we have come to expect, the anti-property rights Amen Chorus in the “blogosphere” have jumped on the Commercial Felony Streaming Act with the usual nastiness that is overtly or indirectly insulting to individual creators. It’s the kind of thing you expect to see from certain fringe types, but it is quite beneath the more serious folk like the 1709 Blog–yet in the confusion of a loose scrum, who will ever catch you giving your opponent a hard kick in the…back?
You know what you’re doing is working when opponents try to ignore you and marginalize you out of existence. Our opponents in the anti-property movement manipulated by the Big Tech business sector advise avoiding any discussion of individual creators–and that any discussion of indies by trade association is itself manipulative: “Often representing the world’s biggest multinational corporations, they hijack a narrative that belongs to poor artists struggling in garrets and use the considerable profits they have made from exploiting these artists in the twentieth century to access the corridors of power and make their case….And as the [Open Rights Group’s UK] campaign suggests, [anti-property] campaigners are often faced with simple, instinctually appealing messages from the other side (“artists need to get paid”) that are difficult to beat with a focus on the IP mechanism.” (From The Open Society Institute’s Winning the Web (www.soros.org)
Lessig routinely demeans artists (see “The Starving Artist Canard“ and his “don’t break the Internet for this tiny industry” stump speech distributed by the UK Pirate Party). We have often heard that the reason we have the black eye is our own fault for not “innovating” faster than we are being stolen from, the reason we have the black eye is because we fell into a door.
So nothing undermines this anti-artist attack more than artists speaking for themselves. In the free-agent creative community, it is ultimately the artists who have the greatest influence. It may take a while, but even the biggest companies do come around.
The artist platform of course pales by comparison to the strong and influential voice that programmers have in Big Tech. Yes, the rights that programmers enjoy in their work product and the proceeds derived from exploiting their work product is the shining example for all to emulate in the international human rights community.
Oh, no, wait. That’s wrong. They have no voice. Just ask the code monkey in the cubicle next to you who you found laying on the floor naked on top of a pile of empty Snapple bottles and Ring Ding wrappers mumbling to himself after finding out that your company just recapitalized and washed out the common holders. Union? He don’t need no stinking union. Or at least that’s what his Big Tech managers tell him.
The American Federation of Musicians (AFM), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Directors Guild of America (DGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States (IATSE), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT), and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) [on June 16] released the following statement:
We commend the Senate Judiciary Committee for passing S. 978, the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, out of committee. This marks the second time in three weeks that the Senate Judiciary Committee has taken decisive action to approve legislation that can make a significant difference in fighting the scourge of online content theft.
We congratulate Senator Klobuchar, Senator Cornyn and Senator Coons, who introduced the Commercial Felony Streaming Act, for recognizing that digital content theft via streaming is just as illegal as digital content theft via downloading, and for leading the charge to apply the same criminal penalties to illegal streaming that already apply to illegal downloading.
As the Guilds and Unions that represent more than 400,000 entertainment industry workers including craftspeople, actors, technicians, directors, musicians, recording artists and others whose creativity is at the heart of the American entertainment industry, we are dedicated to the passage of strong legislation that will help us to protect the jobs, residuals and pension and health benefits that allow our members to make a living creating the movies, television shows and sound recordings that are enjoyed by millions around the world.
The Commercial Felony Streaming Act, together with the PROTECT IP Act that was also passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee three weeks ago, is critical to the ability of law enforcement to actively and effectively combat the online theft of our members’ work. Make no mistake: the illegal streaming of content for commercial or financial gain is a crime, and the Commercial Felony Streaming Act places the appropriate criminal label on the activity. This legislation is an important step forward in our efforts to stem the rising tide of Internet theft that threatens our members’ very livelihoods.”