Fw: Joint Statement Regarding PIPA (S.968) & SOPA (HR 3261)

Rich Kulawiec rsk@GSP.ORG
Tue Jan 24 21:40:19 EST 2012

Albert Einstein is often quoted (although, perhaps, apocryphally)
as saying that if he were given one hour to save the world, he would
spent 55 minutes defining the problem.   That's good advice: we often
find that we're rushing headlong into "solutions" when we really don't
know what we're solving.

Applicability in this case?

There is no evidence -- NONE, ZERO, NADA, ZILCH -- on the table that
copyright infringement via the Internet is hurting musicians.

There are many allegations, but allegations are not evidence.  There's a
lot of heated rhetoric, but heated rhetoric is not evidence.

Ah, I hear you ask, but what about the studies that show this
is the case?

Well...those studies fall squarely into two classes:

        1. Those conducted by the RIAA, the MPAA, or their shell
        companies, or their astroturf organizations (e.g., Creative
        America).  I think it's obvious to everyone that these are
        scams -- that the conclusions were written first, and then the
        facts cherry-picked and manipulated to support them.  They not
        only may be discarded, they *must* be discarded: they're crap.
        I wouldn't accept this kind of junk from a freshman.

        2. Those conducted by the government.  Except...THEY NEVER
        EXISTED.  See:


So before we sit down in an attempt to "fix the Internet", someone needs
to demonstrate -- rigorously -- that it's actually broken.  They need to
prove that there's a problem and that it's substantial enough to merit
attention -- because we already have a pretty full slate of problems.

Am I saying that people aren't infringing copyright?  No, of course
I'm not.  People are doing that right and left.  What I'm saying is that
nobody has yet made a clinching case that this, in the aggregate, when
added up worldwide, actually hurts musicians.  There is some evidence that
it does -- but there's also plenty of evidence that it benefits them. [1]
Nobody (well, nobody independent) has yet conducted a thorough study which
weighs these factors and tries to work out what the actual impact is.

And until we know that, any attempt to "fix the problem" is premature:
we don't even know if we *have* a problem yet, what it looks like,
how big it is, or anything else.


[1] If you're not aware of these, here's a starter read:


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