6 Reasons The Removal of The Register of Copyrights by New Soros Backed Librarian of Congress Should Terrify Creators

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In a move with no historical precedent Dr. Carla Hayden the newly appointed Librarian of Congress has removed Maria Pallante the Register of Copyrights. (Hayden testifying before Senate at confirmation hearing).

  1. The New Librarian and Soros anti-copyright money:
    The new Librarian of Congress, Dr Carla Hayden is the former CEO of The Open Society Institute a George Soros funded group.  Why does that matter?  Like Google,  The Soros foundation money regularly finds it way to groups that wish to further weaken or abolish copyright protections for authors all together.  Soros is very careful to put his money in places that match his ideology.   For instance the Soros family supports the pro-piracy anti-copyright ideologue Lawrence Lessig in his pivot towards campaign finance reform.  Regardless in 2014 Lessig’s Mayday Super Pac (SuperPac to end all SuperPacs) couldn’t resist  funding a South Dakota Senate candidate that apparently trolled for a copyright lawsuit by recording and broadcasting an unauthorized “reinterpretation” of a  Bob Dylan song. Dylan was smart enough not to take the bait.  The loudest and most ridiculous example of Soros funding groups seeking to weaken copyright is the bat-shit crazy bunch over at Fight For The Future.  This group (run by Google lobbyist Marvin Ammori)  is opposed to fixing the loophole in copyright law that allows services like YouTube to host our work without a permission unless we repeatedly tell them to take it down.  An endless game of Whac-a-Mole.  In response to a Copyright Office public consultation on this matter, Fight For The Future used a “comment bot” to post 86,000 identical canned comments to the regulations.gov website in opposition to the fix.   Fight For The Future then bragged about crashing the Copyright Office servers.  That’s right this Soros backed group bragged about mounting a DoS attack on a federal agency. This was an attack apparently designed to drown out the first amendment protected voices of authors  with spam. This was very simply a hack of our democratic process.   Even the Pirate Party would not dare mount an attack like this on the Copyright Office.  Creators should be concerned that Dr Hayden’s long association with Soros indicates she harbors a deep anti-copyright agenda or at the very least is hostile to the rights of authors.  Certainly firing the sitting Register of Copyrights in her first 6 weeks of her tenure does not bode well.
  2. Orwell’s lexicon: Not a removal it’s a reassignment! 
    The new Librarian of Congress is already demonstrating the Orwellian tendencies of the copyleft.   The new Librarian of Congress termed the removal of Pallante as a “reassignment.”    According to various reports Pallante arrived at the Copyright Office and found herself locked out of her computer. Clearly Pallante was unaware of her “reassignment.” Does this sound like she was willingly reassigned? Clearly she had no clue she was being “reassigned.”  And why would the most powerful government copyright official in the world willingly give up her job to be “Senior Adviser for Digital Strategy.” I spent an hour searching US government websites and other sources and the position does not exist. What the fuck?  It sounds like the fancy title you give the intern that manages your Twitter and Instagram accounts.   Tellingly there is no statement from Pallante accepting such a “reassignment.”   Does it trouble anyone else that the Library of Congress, the greatest repository of knowledge on earth, is now headed by someone who’s first big public act appears marred by doublespeak and “truthiness?”
  3. Take out the Trash Day.
    Everyone knows Friday afternoon is take out the trash day in Washington DC.  If you need to take out a particularly stinky bit of trash, make it a Friday before a holiday or during the MLB playoffs when the Cubs and Indians look like they are finally going to get in the World Series.    Taking out the trash day by definition is something you don’t want anyone to notice you are doing, because you really shouldn’t be doing it. Removing the Register of Copyrights without cause?  Make the announcement late Friday right before the big game!
  4. The Register of Copyrights went against Google/Public Knowledge  on 100% licensing and “unlock the box.”
    The Register of Copyrights has recently earned the ire of Public Knowledge, a Google astroturf group hostile to copyright.  The Copyright Office sensibly pointed out that the Public Knowledge backed 100% licensing rule for songwriters, would unconstitutionally interfere with private contracts and lead to licensing chaos (A federal judge subsequently agreed). Public Knowledge had a hissy fit.  Similarly the Copyright Office had weighed in negatively on the Google backed version of “Unlock the Box” at the FCC.  While on the surface the “unlock the box” set top box reform proposal seems sensible, The Public Knowledge/Google version is apparently larded with goodies for Google, like a compulsory licensing type scheme for video content that likely violates separation of powers doctrine.  In reaction to these two events Public Knowledge wrote this hatchet job on the Register of Copyrights calling for Pallante’s removal.   Perhaps it’s just coincidental but it sure looks like Dr Hayden is doing the bidding of a Google astroturf group.  Certainly it’s worth some questioning.
  5. There is something not right about the timing of this article: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/10/27/new-hillary-library/  ostensibly a review of a book, the author of the article Robert Darnton imagines the Library of Congress as a sort of Pirate Bay of Books:  “One fantasy could de-demonize Google and revive its original project: digitize all the books in the world and make them available to all the readers in the world—not for money, as Google intended, but for free. Suppose that the new librarian of Congress decided to open the Library to everyone by digitizing all its holdings and making them available from a National Digital Repository.”  Sure , defund the entire book publishing system (indie and corporate) leaving  only authors with rich sponsors (Koch? Soros?)  the resources to write and publish new books.  Sounds like a great idea!  But aside from that Darnton spends considerable amount of time pumping up the new Librarian Dr Hayden while demonizing Pallante.  In fact, if you read the article without seeing the title you would be forgiven if you thought this was about Hayden and Pallante.   And when was this article published?  Within a few hours of Pallante’s removal.   And the author?  Robert Darnton of Harvard led the putsch to get rid of the old Librarian of Congress Billington.  And Darnton and Hayden the new librarian know each other. They both served on the DLPA steering committee.   Just a coincidence?  I don’t think so.  How much you wanna bet that Darnton and Hayden discussed firing Pallante?
  6. Always follow the money.   And this is the money:
    Around the time the new Librarian of Congress was sworn in,  Google and Amazon  started filing millions of  compulsory licenses for songs, using a process that should only be reserved for “address unknown” works.  You know like when you really really, can’t find the author of a work after searching all available records (including your own).  Look at the screenshots below.  Do you think Google really couldn’t find the publisher for the entire Beach Boys catalogue?   Or Porgy and Bess?  It is now 2016, I can’t imagine that Google and Amazon have yet to pay a single songwriter royalty on these songs. Surely the rights holders are in their payment records.  But even beyond that , these songs are easily searchable in the BMI/ASCAP databases. And there is no excuse for Google especially as it also owns a rights licensing company called Rightsflows that purports to pay  most YouTube songwriters and publishers.  They don’t have any records for the Beach Boys and Gershwin?  Even worse it looks like Google is sending licensing notifications for what appears to be unlicensed uploads (bootlegs) of the songs to YouTube.  Compulsory licenses are not available for unauthorized releases. If you really think some unknown company called “Fresh Spring Music”  licenses all these famous recordings  I’ve got some swampland in Florida I want to sell you.   Someone “green lighted” this process and it is unlikely to have been the Copyright Office as the copyright experts at the USCO know this is not the intended purpose of the “address unknown” filing.  None of this bodes well for the new librarian’s  tenure.
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About Dr. David C Lowery

Platinum selling singer songwriter for the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven; platinum selling producer; founder of pitch-a-tent records; founder Sound of Music Studios; platinum selling music publisher; angel investor; digital skeptic; college lecturer and founder of the University of Georgia Terry College Artists' Rights Symposium.