By Popular Demand: Gary Shapiro’s Comment on “Google Fires Head of US Copyright Office”

[Editor Charlie sez: A number of readers of the viral post “Google Fires Head of U.S. Copyright Office” suggested that we post Gary Shapiro’s comment as its own post.  Chris’s “Reply to Gary Shapiro” now will link back to this post.  This post is the entirety of Mr. Shapiro’s comment with one exception.  We could not resist adding the animated gif courtesy of Rachel Whetstone, Google’s former head of communications.  (Rachael Marjorie Joan Whetstone is now head of communications for Uber, so yes, Austin residents, she’s responsible for Uber’s blindingly failed Proposition 1.)  As Chris explains in his post, the Mr. Shapiro is the head of the Consumer Electronics Association, the massive lobbying effort of Big Tech that is itself a part of the even more massive lobbying effort of  Even Bigger Tech called the MIC Coalition.  


The MIC Coalition is, of course, dedicated to stopping fair compensation to artists for radio play, bringing antitrust actions against SESAC’s merger with the Harry Fox Agency to offer one-stop licensing, and every anti piracy bill ever introduced in Congress.  Since he’s a lobbyist, you’ve probably never heard of Mr. Shapiro, but you have now.

Microagression Warning:  We read this post to be essentially a defense or at least a rationalization of what is increasingly appearing to be a retaliatory constructive termination of Maria Pallante.  Draw your own conclusions.]



This “article” is a half true hit piece. If true, it only tells part of the story. The content community has bought Washington for years and scores of content lobbyists moved from Congressional staff and sdministration positions to the MPA, NMPA, RIAA and other groups. Ever hear of Sen. Dodd? Look up Mitch Glazier and how he wrote copyright legislation one week, and days later doubled his salary at the RIAA. And didn’t Nmpa head David Israelite come from the Justice Department? Speak of the pot calling the kettle black.

And the political funding from content creators is huge..some of it isn’t even measured. What is the value of getting Barbara Streisand or other stars to sing at our even appear at a fundraiser? Ever wonder why ASCAP and BMI never bring or threaten lawsuits when members of congress use their music without authorization?

And the content world wants its bought politicians to stay bought. After the arrogance and sudden failure of SOPA PIPA, one visible content lobbyist actually whined to the press about congressmen accepting political contributions and then backing off SOPA PIPA legislation.

And the ethics of these content industry representatives is questionable. Google did everything the MPA requested but then the MPA held back the expected press release welcoming Google’s action. Why? The MPA had contributed mightily to and then drafted a spurious complaint for the Mississippi attorney general writes a spurious complaint to file against Google which he did..hours after Google complied with the MPA request. Nice. But stand up for the free speech? Not when Sony Pictures was hacked by the Koreans. MPA radio silence.

Even if everything about Google alleged in this article is true, my view is that at worst Google is simply trying to mimic the content lobbyists techniques ( other than than buying politicians which they don’t ). Think about it, the multiple extensions of copyright term, the huge copyright infringement penalties, and the expansion of copyright did not happen without a massive Washington content political effort.

I will disclose that for many years, I have engaged against efforts of the content community to choke fair use, ban products we love (from the vcr to the Internet) – and thankfully we won many battles as new forms of technology created huge new opportunities for our members…and for content creators.

And yes Google is one of 2200 corporate members of the Consumer Technology Association, the group I head. Google provides a fraction of one percent of our revenue.

You can read Chris’s reply to Mr. Shapiro here.