Songwriters, performers, authors and creators meet your new copyright overlord: Eric Schmidt of Google.
These are dark days for all creators and copyright holders. After a two month campaign by Google funded astroturf group Public Knowledge, the newly appointed librarian of congress Carla Hayden (herself a Schmidt/Soros acolyte) has fired Maria Pallante the register of copyright. Pallante was the only one standing between Google and what is left of the copyright system.
This firing is virtually unprecedented in US history. The Librarian of Congress generally leaves the Register of Copyrights to run the affairs of the copyright office. However in the last two months the main Google mouthpiece in Washington DC Public Knowledge has been clamoring for her head. Why?
Mainly because she has been a fierce advocate for creators. But over the last year she had the courage to stand up to Google and Public Knowledge as they attempted to make two different end runs around the constitution, drawing the ire of Public Knowledge and Google.
First it was the Google backed “100 percent licensing rule” for songwriters which was rammed through the antitrust division in an extra-constitutional manner by a former Google attorney at DOJ. (A federal court has since blocked it’s implementation and Songwriters of North America are challenging it on constitutional grounds) The copyright office under Maria Pallante had opposed this new rule questioning the legality of the rule and noting the ensuing chaos it would cause in the music licensing space. It would however benefit Google in their billion dollar dispute with Global Music Rights (Pharrell vs YouTube).
Second the Copyright Office also weighed in on the Google version of the “Unlock the Box” proposal before the FCC. Ostensibly this proposal would allow consumers to replace the set top box with new hardware and even software apps. However it appears that Public Knowledge larded the proposal up with all kinds of goodies that would benefit Google. The copyright office again questioned the FCCs legal authority to intervene in private contracts between copyright holders and broadcasters without a legislative mandate. Public Knowledge went apoplectic on the Copyright Office after this.
Now they appear to have gotten their way. In fact the first leak of the news was through a tweet by Public Knowledge. How did THEY know so quickly. Google runs our fucking government.
This should concern every american as the staff at Public Knowledge harbors an extreme far left agenda. The co-founder of Public Knowledge fancies himself a sort of telecommunications/copyright Che Guevara. No seriously he sells T-shirts of himself as Che Guevara. See below.
Creators are going to have to mobilize quickly. We need congressional investigation into this firing. And we need to prevent Google and Public Knowledge from getting their candidate in to the copyright office. Stay tuned for more.
8 thoughts on “Google and Public Knowledge Coup, Register of Copyrights Fired, Dark Days Ahead”
This is beyond belief. as you say. So how do we organize the creative community to take some action on this? I , like many am willing and ready to join the fight on this one.
working on it. Details soon.
I don’t think that ‘Public Knowledge’ hold a hard left agenda of any sort. Whilst the iconography that they appropriate might point that way, it’s just another manifestation of how they like to misappropriate and decontextualise the intellectual property of others. What they are, is hard libertarians, who use the conflation of civil libertarian values and freedom of speech to push hardcore corporate libertarian principles.
As someone who’s own politics could be construed as ‘hard left’ by some, my own position, in common with most others on the left is one of defending the rights and conditions of workers, regardless of whether they’re industrial workers, agricultural workers, third world workers or workers in the creative industries.
Yes Mark, I agree that this is not really about left or right. You could say they are extreme left with how they see the property rights of creators, but they are hard right with their own property. Google is in the top ten companies as far as the number of patents acquired each year. The fact that they are getting patents instead of sharing their ideas shows that they are quite protective of their own intellectual property. It is not about ideology, it is about what is good for Google. What Google wants, Google gets.
Mark, you’re correct but a lot of the left has lined up with the Creative Commons, Lessig, EFF, Google-astroturf position on copyright, it’s almost a communist -like idea that music, film, etc., should be shared by all for free, while expecting the creators of that content to still somehow function in a capitalist society. The people on the left tend to see it only as big bad corporations trying to extend copyright for ridiculous periods of time in order to maximize profits, and see the other side of the coin as a utopia where people get to do cut up, collage, sampling, unlicensed YouTube acoustic cover versions, etc. , while completely ignoring the realities of the pirate economy.
Thanks for covering this. This is potentially huge, why isn’t this being investigated by your national media?
I read the remarks on the far left agenda as ironic. If it’s libertarian I don‘t know. It disregards the artists’ liberties. So how would a truly libertarian artist view these things?
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