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“Our industries do something that no one else can do,” the Motion Picture Association of America’s Fritz Attaway said at the Association of…

Copyright stamp at laptop computer
photo: VIPDesignUSA / Shutterstock

“Our industries do something that no one else can do,” the Motion Picture Association of America’s Fritz Attaway said at the Association of American Publishers annual meeting this morning. “We create content that people want to have.”

On a panel called “Content Industries in Digital Transformation,” Attaway was speaking for himself and others: moderator and AAP president and CEO Tom Allen, Business Software Alliance’s Robert Holleyman and Recording Industry Association of America’s Cary Sherman, all of whom grappled over whether legislation or collaborative approaches are the correct response to piracy.

“Among my friends in Congress, there is some alarm about what happened [surrounding SOPA and PIPA],” said Allen, who was previously a Maine congressman. “The woman who replaced me in the first district of Maine got 800 e-mails in two days, every one of them opposed to the bills. How in this environment can our respective industries do more to defend the principles of copyright when we’re confronting this wave of the public that goes every day to the Internet and downloads and reads all sorts of stuff for free?”

In general, panelists came down on the side of collaboration — though not necessarily collaboration with the consumer.

SOPA/Pipa Protests: A “Digital Tsunami”

“Right doesn’t always prevail,” Attaway said of SOPA and PIPA. “This time, it didn’t, because our opponents were able to energize a grassroots response. In my view, and I think all of us would agree, [the protest against SOPA and PIPA was spread] primarily through disinformation and spinning their interest in a way that captured the attention of a number of consumers.”

He added “we’ve been rather successful in negotiating with ISPs and other best practices that help protect our content on [user-generated content] sites….I’m very optimistic about our future.”

The Business Software Alliance, however, did not support SOPA or PIPA. “There was a tremendous amount of opposition and we can discuss how it was or wasn’t generated,” Holleyman said. “Shared responsibility and working with other industries is going to be the best, and maybe the only, solution we have, at least for the next several years. I hope we can build a climate where the rhetoric can be lower.”

The RIAA’s Sherman hopes further copyright discussions will be more “rational” than the debate over SOPA and PIPA. “The digital tsunami we encountered with SOPA and PIPA — we’re not going to get the same kind of engagement when we talk about statutory damages or open works,” he said. “We’ll have the opportunity for a more rational discussion. At the same time, I think we actually need to engage. We have criticized the other side for just saying no. We have an enormous piracy problem, and any solution we propose, they just say no. We [also] need to engage and not just say no.”

No, You Can’t Do Whatever You Want With That Movie

The music industry’s Copyright Alert program, which addresses piracy on P2P networks, will begin operation in the second quarter of the year, by July at the earliest, Sherman said. The software crawls P2P sites for pirated content, then works with ISPs to send notices to subscribers alerting them that they’ve been identified as possible copyright infringers.

“This is a concrete example of where we could go, and we would love to be following in your footsteps,” said the AAP’s Allen.

“Education is key,” Attaway said. “It is absolutely ridiculous that a movie that cost $100 million to create, a copy of which you paid $20 for, to say that you own that movie and should make any number of copies you want to. The intellectual base of the Copyleft is pretty flimsy, and we need to do a better job of pointing that out to the public. We need to do it from a grassroots base of the millions of people whose livelihoods depend on copyright protection. [Paying $20 for a movie] doesn’t mean you have the right to make all the copies you want and share them with all of your friends.”

  1. Honestly a LOT of people were monitoring this LONG before Wikipedia and others got involved to finally kill the bill. Hell the people who invented the internet hated the bills, the leading experts thought the bills could actually compromise the internet’s security and stability.

    People did their homework. The bill was scary not just for its content but for the force and secrecy with wich it was brought forward. SOPA and PIPA were downright dangerous. The spin here just offends me, i find their statements offensive.

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    1. “the people who invented the internet hated the bills”Your right.  Al Gore came out against SOPA:mashable.com/2012/01/06/al-gore-sopa/

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  2. I think p2p sites should outline in their terms of service and robots.txt file that MPAA and RIAA related crawlers are not allowed, and then sue them for harm when they use the sites resources to search for infringers…  get them at their own game.

    When the jail time for downloading Michel Jacksons song is longer then the time you get for killing him, you know you have something wrong with the system.

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  3. “Our industries do something that no one else can do,” the Motion
    Picture Association of America’s Fritz Attaway said at the Association
    of American Publishers annual meeting this morning. “We create content
    that people want to have.” 

    KISS MY BUTT MAFIAA.
    Millions of us out here create Content and we do not need RIAA & MPAA to do this.Once again you make statements that are outright lies and mis-information.

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  4. “It is absolutely ridiculous that a movie that cost $100 million to
    create, a copy of which you paid $20 for, to say that you own that movie
    and should make any number of copies you want to.”

    I “own it” because the advertisements on television say I do.  Watch just about any commercial for a DVD and after telling you all about the movie, they say “own it today”.  Perhaps they should scrap that line and say “license it today” because in reality that is what you are doing.  You are not buying the content, you are licensing it.  Let us start with truth in advertising first otherwise you will go on telling people to “own it” when they really don’t.

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    1. Sounds like class action suit material to me…

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  5. “Right doesn’t always prevail,” Attaway said of SOPA and PIPA. “This time, it didn’t, because our opponents were able to energize a grassroots response. In my view, and I think all of us would agree, [the protest against SOPA and PIPA was spread] primarily through disinformation and spinning their interest in a way that captured the attention of a number of consumers.”
    The RIAA and MPAA really don’t get what their SOPA loss was all about. They have exhibited a profound lack of vision over the past decade in dealing with the impact of new media on their membership. It is about time they realize that they cannot effectively combat piracy by trying to purchase the legislative and legal process. The industry cannot litigate away their piracy problem by scaring people with draconian enforcement measures. They have purchased the Justice Department with campaign contributions. They have tried to coop Congress by purchasing Senator Chris Dodd. Now they are having a hissy fit that the public refused to surrender their online freedom to protect the entertainment industry’s flawed response to a changing marketplace. If they want to have a meaningful public debate about fair and effective copyright enforcement they should start by acknowledging the legitimacy of the fair use doctrine, call of their attack dogs from the Justice Department and exercise a modicum of discretion in their Spanish Inquisition litigation strategy.

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