One common defense of the State that has long been fed to public government school students is that it’s necessary for administering “public goods”. Remember that one?
Shorter RIAA/MPAA: “Treating a sizeable chunk of the public as criminals for our own benefit is a public good! Honest!”:
It only took a few days after politicians returned from their summer holidays for Hollywood and the major record labels to resume their legislative push to rewrite and expand digital copyright law.
The Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America are lobbying for a pair of bills that enjoy bipartisan support. Both are designed to give the federal government more power to police copyright violations, and both are likely to run into opposition from political foes of the RIAA and MPAA.
On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the so-called Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act, a 46-page bill that was introduced in July by Vermont’s Patrick Leahy and Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter, the committee’s top Democrat and Republican.
The measure represents a fusion of previous bills, including ones that have enjoyed support in both the Senate and House of Representatives, and one that Leahy introduced in November 2007. One of the more controversial sections of the latest version would permit the Justice Department to file a civil lawsuit against “any person” committing a copyright violation–which would include thousands, or perhaps millions, of piratical peer-to-peer users.
A group of librarians and nonprofit groups, including the American Library Association, Public Knowledge, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, sent a letter (PDF) to senators on Wednesday that says copyright holders–and not government lawyers funded by tax dollars–should be the ones filing the lawsuits.
Considering that by their logic someone posting a grainy clip of their favorite bit of a show or old video is equivalent to an armed robbery, this is quite ironic.
Here’s a counter-lesson: Political power, as always but even moreso in modern times, involves large amounts of money. Organizations with large amounts of money have incentive and means to seek access to this power as a result — which they use to hold up their wealth and subsidize their operating expenses on our backs. The popular myth of respresentative government is built on the assumption that one person = one vote, and those votes are critical to the innerworkings of “our” political system. In reality, the true decisions are made well above the pay grade of 99.999% of the population. Therefore, it does not matter that there are more of “us” than there are of “them”, they have the connections, you don’t. If they want to dig in your pockets they will do it, damn whether you actually want to give them anything or not.