If you were following the Twitterverse during last weeks IP Subcommittee hearing on fair use, you got an idea of where the EFF activists were really at. After the hearing, two EFF tweeters posted this piece on the “Personal Liberty Digest” a blog hosted by the “Personal Liberty Media Group” run by Bob Livingston:
Bob is an ultra-conservative American who has been writing a newsletter since 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs as well as issues of privacy (both personal & financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.
I wonder if Bob Livingston knows this about the EFF (from Roger Parloff writing in Fortune):
If the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the nation’s preeminent digital rights nonprofit, had disclosed last year that it received a cool $1 million gift from Google — about 17% of its total revenue — some eyebrows might have been raised. The group typically describes itself as “member-supported” and, like most nonprofits, it treasures its above-the-commercial-fray, public-interest-group aura and reputation for independence.
And I also wonder if Bob knows that the Electronic Frontier Foundation was prominently mentioned in an Oracle filing, popularly referred to as the “Google Shill List”:
Google has contributed to the EFF for years before the complaint in the case at bar was filed .
And who got one of the most breathtakingly sweeping mass digitization “fair use” decisions right before the hearing?
And who spend big bucks trying to prevent small content creators from suing as a class against mass digitization?
And whose former anti-artist commendante supremo aka Fred Von Lohman is now working for Google?
So after witnessing the massive government taking of authors rights in the Google Books case without any–any–compensation, you have to laugh at the double entendre when you see these Google shills in the EFF planting a story entitled “Government Views On Fair Use Troubling For Small Content Creators”. Yes, the government’s views on fair use are troubling for small content creators, but not for the reasons the EFF–or their benefactor Google–wants you to believe. And you have to wonder why Bob Livingston is promoting these running dogs of the crony capitalist statist technocrats in his personal liberty newsletter.
Here’s how the EFF shillsters described David Lowery’s testimony (testimony in which he defended fair use protection for parody, criticism, documentary films and academic research, by the way):
But to listen to some of the panelists Tuesday, the notion seemed to be that if anybody is making money, rightsholders want a cut—or worse, the power to veto the use in the first place.
That’s David, but realize that David was answering a question from Chairman Goodlatte–so if the shillsters have a problem, they need to take it up with the Chairman. Not only that, but the “veto” that David discussed in his testimony was this:
My final point…is what’s so hard about asking permission? As an artist I only expect to be treated as I would treat other artists. I believe that permission, or the legitimacy of consent, and doing unto others are the foundations of civilization.
And one of the foundations of this country–of our personal liberty–is the takings clause in the U.S. Constitution. You know–no exploitation without representation.
But now we see the real concern of the EFF in the next sentence in their propaganda piece:
The definition of commercial use, too, was stretched to its breaking point: according to one panelist, an otherwise non-commercial video remix can be tainted with the label of commercial as soon as it is posted to an ad-supported platform like YouTube.
Here’s what David actually said:
I am not concerned with parody, commentary, criticism, documentary filmmakers or research. These are legitimate fair use categories. I am concerned with an illegal copy that masquerades as a “fair use”, but is really just a copy. This masquerade trivializes legitimate fair use categories and creates conflict where there need be none.
In his response to Chairman Goodlatte’s question, he simply said that while the fair use defense might be available to protect the act of creation of a “remix” or “fan fiction”, entire businesses are built on commercializing those works. And here is where Google gets very nervous and sends its shills out to the ramparts. This is how these shillsters described David when they wanted Bob Livingston to republish their propaganda:
That same panelist—the songwriter and copyright expansion activist David Lowery—also repeatedly raised hip hop as an example of copyright working effectively without fair use because the genre has managed to achieve popularity despite often requiring licenses for musical samples. Of course, this characterization overlooks how licensing schemes limit what sorts of creativity are sanctioned under the law, and that seminal works in the genre simply could not be made under today’s understanding of sampling.
First, realize that David’s presentation concluded with this statement:
In conclusion, I respectfully request that the Members of the Subcommittee review the practical history of the application of the fair use defense to see that it is working as intended. I hope you will agree with me that no legislative expansion or government intervention is needed at this time.
I’m not sure how the EFF got to “copyright expansion activist” from that statement. But let’s look at how these Google shills actually described David:
Mitch Stolz is one of the authors of the post that Bob Livingston republished. You wouldn’t know it from this tweet but the article that Stolz is linking to is by Dave Allen (who himself has some connections to Google money that David Lowery has questioned) which is titled The Internet Could Not Care Less About Your Mediocre Band. So that is the message that this shillster was sending to David Lowery–a vicious and personal attack against David by Dave Allen.
What the EFF does not seem to be aware of is that Dave Allen’s employer posted an apology to David Lowery promptly after Dave Allen’s post which included this statement, distancing the company from the post:
Dave is passionate about the issues, as we are. As a result, his post included some personal opinions about David Lowery that were less than kind. For that, we sincerely apologize and regret the distraction.
There’s quite a literature of people taking shots at David Lowery–you have to wonder why the EFF picked the one that required an apology? Perhaps the blood lust was running high.
And then there’s this race-baiting comment by the other author of the post that Bob Livingston republished:
So I have the same question for these two shills that I had for Michael Petricone and some other self-appointed experts on clearing samples for hip hop records–ever cleared a sample? And that’s a yes or no question. Ever been sampled? That’s a yes or no question, too.
And then there’s this one by another EFF person:
So this is what these people actually think of David. Don’t be fooled by the lobbyist’s veneer. And this is the classic load of horse dung from these people, back in the Bob Livingston story:
Taken together, these two themes represent a pernicious misconception that there are “legitimate” works—the ones presented by companies that belong to lobbying organizations with multi-million dollar budgets—and “illegitimate” ones that require permission to be created or commercially exploited.
David Lowery is an independent artist and songwriter and the EFF gets millions from Google. It is the height of hypocrisy that the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group in the paid service of a company that has more lobbyists and consultants than there are Members of Congress, participates in this charade.
What they really want is for artists like David Lowery to shut up and sing.
Sorry Charlie–last time I looked, David Lowery is the one testifying and you are not.
For a change.
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