Academic Copyleftists Unintentionally Bolster Constructive Termination Charge in Firing of Register of Copyrights

<publicity images of Bridy and Butler”hot linked” from UVA and Stanford servers were deleted after Bridy and Butler expressed displeasure with the article and use of images. >

In defending the questionable dismissal of Maria Pallante as Register of Copyrights are copyleft academics Brandon Butler and Annemarie Bridy actually bolstering the case for action against Dr Hayden the Librarian of Congress for retaliatory constructive termination?

If you weren’t aware the newly appointed Librarian of Congress “reassigned” Maria Pallante the Register of Copyrights to a ambiguous new position that included “point of sales” at the Library gift shop.   This was a major screw up by the new Librarian Dr. Hayden. You see, if instead of firing someone for cause, you instead assign them to a new position well beneath their status, secretly hoping they will quit, this is generally termed “constructive termination.”  Constructive termination is a kind of wrongful termination and it is conceivable that the LOC could be investigated or hit with some sort of lawsuit.

Read more on the dismissal and Google angle here:

“Maria Pallante served for more than five years as the U.S. register of copyrights, a division of the Library of Congress. Two weeks ago Ms. Pallante was reshuffled to an advisory post for “digital strategy” she never sought, a job that included expanding the library gift shop. Three days later she resigned in a letter to the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, who had been sworn in mere weeks earlier. What happened?”

@wsj: A Copyright Coup in Washington: The new Librarian of Congress ousts a federal copyright defender [Congress should investigate]

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Recently we noticed a couple of remarkably similar pieces defending the actions of Dr. Hayden.

One is from law professor Annemarie Bridy who is a fellow at the Google-funded Stanford Center for the Internet and Society.   Here she makes an “uniformed guess” as to why Hayden may have justly terminated Pallante.

“The new librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, made a rational executive decision to protect the structural integrity of her organization in the face of a fairly brazen internal challenge…When she arrived on the job, she was confronted with the uncomfortable fact that the director of a major unit within her organization — the Copyright Office — was in the process of actively trying to withdraw that unit from the organization, of which it has been a part since 1897. During her tenure, Pallante made no secret of her displeasure at having the Copyright Office operate under the umbrella of the Library of Congress.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/10/31/murder-or-not-at-the-library-of-congress/

There are two major problems with Bridy’s statement.   First, if Hayden had cause to terminate Pallante why did she resort to reassigning her to a demeaning position?   Isn’t Bridy  actually bolstering the argument that this was constructive termination?  Second,  Bridy correctly notes that Pallante’s insubordination (proposal to move the Copyright Office out of Library of Congress) occurred under the previous Librarian of Congress, not under Hayden.  However Bridy conveniently ignores the fact that the proposal to move the Copyright Office out of the Library of Congress was floated with the blessing of the previous Librarian of Congress.   So Pallante wasn’t behaving in an insubordinate manner by doing this was she?   Her actions only became problematic ex post facto, that is when Dr Hayden arrived.   Bridy seems to imply that Hayden came into the library predisposed to firing Pallante who had done nothing wrong.  The problematic attitude and actions seems to rest with the Librarian of Congress not with Pallante.   Again this bolsters the case for constructive termination.

Then there is this guy:  Brandon Butler the Library of the University of Virginia First Director of Information Policy (hmm wonder who ponied up money for the creation of a new position?).  Butler was formerly at the Google-funded American Research Libraries.  Not necessarily all a bad bunch but definitely part of the “do gooder” copyleft that doesn’t seem to realize they are further enriching the $400 billion Google at the expense of creators by further expanding fair use. More troubling is Butler’s close association with Jonathan Band a lobbyist and a named member of the Oracle v. Google  Shill list. 

Some of Band’s humility seems to have worn off on young Brandon:

“We Jeffersonians know better. Copyright is not a natural right, entitled to protection at the expense of the public good.”

That’s right, this DC  elite now  a carpet bagging  UVA “Jeffersonian” has apparently been appointed to decide what is in the public interest and we lowly creators can just settle for table scraps.

And <sigh> once again: Jefferson has nothing to do with the copyright clause. James Madison and Charles Pinckney were the authors of the copyright clause.  Further the “committee on detail” were given a choice and selected Madison’s more “natural right” phrasing and not his more “government grant economic license” phrasing.  It’s not a perfect argument, but certainly one is on more stable ground when arguing for a “natural rights” interpretation of constitutional copyright than otherwise.  Mr Butler and his fellow Jeffersonians in fact do not “know better” and it’s a shame that an at best moderately successful indie rocker is the only one pointing this out to the UVA  Library Director of Information Policy.

Forget “fake news”  this is fake history with a corporate friendly agenda from a high ranking employee at one of our most revered public institutions. Who’s doing the hiring over there?

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Jefferson:  “Dude, I didn’t have shit to do with the copyright clause.  I was partying in France. Well, mostly France,  one time me and a bunch of other Cavaliers went up to The Bulldog in Amsterdam! I got so fucked up I barely remember anything. I may have like invented the Dutch beer bike! I was that wasted!”  

But I digress.  Let’s look at what our Google chum and  “Jeffersonian” young overlord has to say about the retaliatory constructive termination of Pallante:

“I don’t have access to any insider info, but I don’t think I need it: former Register Maria Pallante didn’t think she should be working for the Library. The Librarian apparently agreed. The end.”

http://thetaper.library.virginia.edu/2016/11/14/working-the-ref-on-copyright-office-reform.html

This is a remarkable simplification that leaves out (once again) the  fact that Pallante proposed moving the Copyright Office with the blessings of the former librarian.  But let’s take this statement at face value. Butler suggests that the Librarian knew that by reassigning Pallante from Copyright Office to working directly for the Librarian overseeing “point of sales” (and a questionably legal “orphan works” project) Pallante would resign.  In other words assigning Pallante directly to the library produced the intended resignation. That is the very definition of retaliatory constructive termination.  You sure you want to defend the Librarian in this manner?

For this reason The Judiciary Committee should investigate the reassignment.   And If I were Pallante I’d sue the librarian. But that’s just me.

(If you want to encourage the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property to look into this “retaliatory constructive termination”  matter that would be helpful.  I suggest a polite and respectful note to your favorite representative on the committee. Remember many of these representatives are quite sympathetic to authors. Contact here .   Also support their proposal to have congress not Librarian appoint the next Register).

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But before we wrap this up let’s just look at one more thing that our elite “Jeffersonian” seems to be directing at me. It reads as a threat:

“The Librarian of Congress is a tough lady; as her city erupted after the death of Freddie Gray, Hayden supported her staff’s impulse to open the doors of the Enoch Pratt Free Library to create a safe space for folks to gather, talk, and heal. She doesn’t seem like someone you can bully, and suggesting she’s a puppet for Google or George Soros or whomever is maybe not the way to her heart.She has an opportunity to choose a Register that serves all of us, and I hope she will. “

As far as I know, I’m the only one who has pointed out her connections to George Soros.  Her connections to Google are well known and well reported.   So I’m gonna assume this is directed at me.   So basically what Butler is saying is: If I don’t keep my mouth shut they are gonna appoint a register that will go against the rights of authors. So I’d like to address Butler directly.

Bring it on dude.

First, if an individual blogger calling a powerful public servant to account for actions that appear to benefit crony capitalists is a form of “bullying” then we should just wrap up this entire experiment in democracy and freedom of speech and go back to our caves.

Second, the tone is clearly authoritarian.  Last I checked the Librarian of Congress works for the people.  Now maybe you “Jeffersonians” haven’t noticed but the populace has taken a very Jacksonian turn. On both the left and the right.   They are in no mood to be governed by elites who hand down edicts that benefit a tax avoiding, privacy violating, government corrupting multibillion dollar corporation like Google. There are millions of songwriters and authors who feel quite Jacksonian at the moment. Maybe we should just get rid of the Library of Congress?  It seems like an anachronism in this day and age. Don’t we already have the internet?   Put those old maps in one of the Smithsonian buildings.

Third, the Librarian has already pissed off members of the Judiciary committee with her handling of  Pallante.  The  Librarian by law answers to congress.   So nothing would help the cause of authors more than the LOC appointing a copyleft register of copyrights.  Can you imagine how quickly we’d be able to get her in front of a committee or two?   Think those pesky FOIA laws are bad?  Wait until the US Congress starts subpoenaing the Librarian.  I’d suggest they start by looking for communications between Public Knowledge, DPLA, ARL, and members of Stanford’s Center for the Internet and Society.   All funded by Google. Even the UVA library may be implicated as there are connections galore between yourself  and Google. And you appear to be using UVA resources to advocate.  Hope your bosses are happy with you a year from now.

Fourth as we’ve noted elsewhere we believe that he Librarian is already in deep shit by allowing “mass NOI” filings for compulsory mechanical licenses. Too complicated to explain here but it looks wrong and possibly criminal.     Songwriters have awoken and are already suing the DOJ on constitutional and administrative grounds.  BMI’s first challenge to the Google inspired DOJ 100% licensing rule was successful.  Songwriters are pissed and there are millions of us. I can almost guarantee you that the mass NOI filings will meet a similar response.

So I’d  be careful about threatening a songwriter.  Songwriters can easily paralyze the LOC with just the the “mass NOI” issue. What if we went farther and  started a campaign asking authors, songwriters, film makers and fine artists to stop donating works to the LOC?   You know we creators give the LOC  those works right?  The LOC doesn’t have to pay for them.  We can certainly change that.

House Judiciary Committee Proposes Copyright Office Reform That Makes Register of Copyrights Independent of Library of Congress

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Faux revolutionaries like Harold “Che Guevara” Feld of the Google Funded  astroturf group Public Knowledge, appear to have overplayed their hands and given creators an independent Copyright Office. 

The House Judiciary Committee is for all practical purposes making the Copyright Office independent of the Library of Congress. We know the devil is in the details.  However this looks like  a victory for creators.   For this will make it that much harder for Google, Silicon Valley and the copyleft “useful idiots” at Ivy League institutions to install an anti-creator copyleft puppet as a Register of Copyrights.  We certainly won’t see a repeat of the retaliatory constructive termination of the Register of Copyrights by a bush league Librarian of Congress.   This is a complete repudiation of the Google/Soros backed Librarian of Congress.

We really should all thank Dr Hayden,  Google and their funded/directed astroturf groups like Public Knowledge,  DPLA, Stanford CIS and EFF for overplaying their hands.   In the end they have given the fired Register everything she wanted.

Read the proposal below.

copyright-reform

 

Good News: Sirius XM Settles Pre-1972 With Turtles! Bad News: Settlement Slashes Sound Recording Royalty 50%

Listen to Music Tech Policy podcast with Chris Castle and Henry Gradstein 

This is a complicated one.  And I honestly don’t know how I feel about this.  I’m glad to see the Turtles win this case. Glad to see that Sirius is willing to pay on these pre-1972 recording,  not just for past plays but also going forward.  This was a tough fight for the the Turtles and lead attorney Henry Gradstein.   It’s rare to find artists and attorneys willing to take on a 3-5 year lawsuit like this without the backing of a major law firm.    All should be commended for their persistence.

However,  I also find what appears to be some bad news here.  About 2/3 the way through the podcast Henry Gradstein states:

“Everyone is gonna do very well with this settlement, just do the math”

Well I did the math and this is not necessarily true. I mean it is true in the sense that something for pre-1972 recordings  is better than nothing.  But what the proposed settlement does is apply a pro rata royalty rate of 5.5% of revenue to pre 1972 masters.   This  is kind of screwed up because the compulsory rate set by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) for post 1972 masters is 11%.  Maybe I’m misunderstanding something but it looks like now we have  two different royalty rates for pre and post 1972 recordings with the pre-1972 artists getting a raw deal.  Further what happens when Sirius turns this in as “evidence” at the next CRB rate court hearing for satellite rates?  The CRB could slash EVERYONE’s rate, including post 1972 recording.

This is not far fetched.  We watched Pandora use this exact same tactic on the low wattage  bunch over at MERLIN.  Essentially MERLIN cut a deal with Pandora for lower royalty rates for their independent labels in exchange for more airplay.   Then Pandora took this deal to the CRB and used that as a marker and set all rights holders  rates lower.  If you do the math on the Merlin deal it will cost ALL rights holders nearly $1 billion over 5 years. Read here:

Charles Caldas of MERLIN: Independent Labels’ Minus $15 Million Dollar Man

Billboard Finally Agrees the Pandora-Merlin Deal Could Cost Rights Holders A Billion Dollars in SoundExchange Royalties

This is where i’m deeply conflicted.   If you are the Turtles and Gradstein you are truly in a David and Goliath fight.  A company like Sirius could simply delay, delay and delay until your law firm runs out of money.   Gradstein may have spent millions of dollars at this point.  The legal fees and research that goes into gathering evidence for a case like this is shocking.  I myself spent three years doing research for  a class action against a music service.   Legal fees were the tip of the iceberg.  Hypothetically if one suspected a streaming service of illegally (peer to peer) copying, streaming and displaying your work without authorization one might have to hire forensic computer experts to “packet log” and otherwise document unauthorized copying, performance and display of 100s of tracks in dozens of US states and foreign territories.  This is not cheap!

So if you consider the fact that Gradstein was looking at the possibility of never recouping the money he spent on this lawsuit you can see why he might accept a less than perfect deal for the pre-1972 recordings.   Yet the fact remains, we are left with the troubling situation that post 1972 masters are worth 11% of gross revenue,  but pre 1972 masters are worth 5.5%.   This will not stand, Sirius would be stupid to not to use this to argue for a royalty rate reduction for all master recordings at current CRB hearings.  Further they have the fiduciary responsibility to their share holders.

I have a bad feeling about this.

 

MUST READ: Two Former U.S. Copyright Heads Defend Maria Pallante from Sacking by Rogue Librarian of Congress

This is quite an extraordinary statement by the two previous Registers of Copyright.  The call the dismissal unseemly and the ask the members of The Judiciary Committee  to Investigate!

“Two former heads of the U.S. Copyright Office sent the following letter to the chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees in sharp criticism of the abrupt and possibly actionable sacking o…”

Source: MUST READ: Two Former U.S. Copyright Heads Defend Maria Pallante from Sacking by Rogue Librarian of Congress

Electioneering Over, Songwriters No Longer Needed, Obama DOJ Gets Back to Suing Songwriters for Google

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Obama like many political leaders has relied upon songwriters to shape his public persona and image.  But Obama has also allowed his antitrust division to relentlessly persecute songwriters in ways that benefit Silicon Valley firms that are among his largest campaign donors. 

Politicians, especially democratic politicians have always appealed to songwriters and performers for help campaigning and in shaping their images.  But once the election is over we never see anything in return. Not even a “thank you.”  But our long running abusive relationship with politicians seems to have hit a new low. It appears the Obama DOJ purposely waited until after all those celebrity/songwriter/performer campaign rallies were finished before they renewed their “100% licensing” legal crusade against songwriter non-profits BMI and ASCAP.

And I do mean “purposely waited.”  Let me explain.

In late July the DOJ ordered songwriter organizations to offer “full work licensing” even on works that they didn’t completely control.  The DOJ claimed that 70 year old antitrust consent decrees required this of songwriters.  However this goes against standard co-writing convention and private contracts that often stipulate each songwriter license his/her share of a work.  For 70 yeas the DOJ never once objected to this practice by songwriters.  Why now?  It was only after the Google backed MIC-Coalition (an astroturf lobbying group that represents… well… Google) wrote and asked DOJ Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse (herself a former Google lawyer) to require full work licensing of songwriters.  Hesse agreed and tried to force the change on songwriters performing rights organization.

BMI a non-profit that licenses and collects performing rights royalties for songwriters asked a federal judge to block the DOJ from enforcing this new rule.   On September 16 2016 Judge Stanton blocked the new rule.  Blocked is perhaps too soft,  maybe better: it was a complete and devastating smackdown for the DOJ.  Judge Stanton barely spent half a day on the matter.   In no uncertain terms the Judge told the DOJ the consent decrees said nothing about 100% licensing and to knock it off.

Although the DOJ indicated they might appeal, they went quiet.  The election heated up.  Obama hit the campaign trail for Clinton and other democratic candidates.  Performers and songwriters as they usually do, made many appearances on behalf of  (mostly) democratic candidates.  Wednesday morning we awoke to President-Elect Trump and by Friday the Obama DOJ was back to suing songwriters.

But here’s the kicker: the DOJ  filed a one sentence note to the court of appeals,  appealing Judge Stanton’s ruling.  ONE FUCKING SENTENCE! Are you telling me it took 8 weeks to write a one sentence notice?  No, of course not.  They could have filed this notice back in September.  Songwriters, face it, we got used.  We got rope-a-doped.  We got played like suckers.  Like we always do.

I’d love to see the emails between AG Lynch, Renata Hesse and the other lawyers in the Antitrust Division of the DOJ.  I believe this was a pure political calculation with the election in mind.

If you want to FOIA the DOJ  Antitrust Division you can do that here:

https://www.justice.gov/oip/department-justice-freedom-information-act-reference-guide

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NY Grassroots Musicians Action Statement on Removal of Maria Pallante from Position of Register of Copyrights

Great statement from a true grassroots organization, Musicians Action NY, see here:

We at Musicians Action are very concerned about the recent removal of Maria Pallante from the position of Register of Copyrights. Not only is such “reassignment” unprecedented in U.S. history but the timing is particularly alarming. It happened right after Maria Pallante opposed Google’s corporate agenda that would sweep intellectual property and creators’ rights under the rug. In the recent months, she questioned the legitimacy of the notorious “100 percent licensing,” the Google-inspired rule that defied both common sense and human decency, and sent waves of disbelief and outrage through the entire community of working music creators. She also opposed the “Unlock the Box” proposal from the FCC that was crafted to benefit Google.

Musicians Action Statement on Removal of Maria Pallante from Position of Register of Copyrights

 

Authors Guild on Pallante Removal

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The new Librarian of Congress Dr Carla Hayden in what can only be described as a vindictive move tried to demote the Register of Copyrights to a position that among other things oversees “point of sales” at Library of Congress.   That would be the gift shop.  Constructive Termination?

The Authors Guild has countered with a blog post outlining the Register of Copyrights many accomplishments during her tenure:

Upon taking office in 2011, Pallante outlined an incredibly ambitious set of Priorities and Special Projects which she proceeded to fully execute—and even exceed—something especially noteworthy given her relatively small staff. Among her many achievements, the Office in just five short years conducted comprehensive studies and issued policy reports on:

The Making Available Right in the United States (February 2016); Orphan Works and Mass Digitization (June 2015); Copyright and the Music Marketplace (February 2015); Resale Royalties (December 2013); Copyright Small Claims (September 2013); Copyright Protection for Pre-1972 Sound Recordings (December 2011); Legal Issues in Mass Digitization (October 2011); and Marketplace Alternatives to Replace Statutory Licenses (August 2011).

https://www.authorsguild.org/industry-advocacy/unprecedented-removal-register-copyrights-causes-consternation-copyright-community/

Arrogant New Librarian of Congress Told Register of Copyrights: Go sell T-shirts

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Hayden to Pallante: Go Sell T-shirts.

The tired advice used by the anti-copyright-industrial-know-nothing complex is that musicians should not worry about the unlicensed uses of their works and  “you know, just go on the road and sell more t-shirts.”  This “brilliant new business model” pedaled by the digital know-nothings is actually something musicians have been doing since the early 1970s.    It’s become such a cliche that musicians have taken using it as a joke.  For example last time I went to SXSW a panelist was complaining that digital music services weren’t profitable because of “high royalties paid to musicians.”   Someone in the back of the room shouted “Tour! Sell more T-shirts!”  There was much snickering.  Nevermind that the company in question will pay 140 million dollars in stock compensation to senior executives in 2016. So selling T-shirts, merch and swag is the most cliche of all bad tech advice. It’s the music tech conference equivalent of drunkenly shouting “freebird” at a concert.

So check out this unbelievable bit of arrogance from the new Librarian of Congress Dr Carla Hayden.   She reassigned the US Register of Copyrights to a position called “Senior Advisor to the Librarian of Congress”  but in the description of her new job, it appears one of her main new duties is -wait for it- LOC  retail and licensing!  As in swag, merch and “point of sale.”   Yes, that point of sale part would be the US Library of Congress Gift Shop.   The most powerful copyright official in the world was “reassigned” to run a gift shop.   Pallante didn’t quit.  She was forced out by what can only be described as the US Government’s most condescending and arrogant public servant.  And that in and of itself is quite a feat.  By any objective measure Hayden is off to a terrible start.

Here is an excerpt from the reassignment letter from Dr. Hayden describing Pallante’s new duties:

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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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