Senator Thom Tillis has been a good friend to artists and those who care about artist rights. He’s gone way out of his way to hold hearings on how to make copyright law better.
It’s no surprise then that he opposes Gigi Sohn’s nomination. Gigi has been on the wrong side of every artist rights issue since I first ran across her in 2006. And it’s not just that she was on the wrong side, she opposed us joyously, whistling while she did her dirty work with what I perceived to be a kind of sick euphoria like some other people I could think of who got themselves sideways with at least one judge.
Gigi Sohn has managed to get herself sideways with a bunch of Senators and Senator Tillis makes the case for why she should not be confirmed. This is not a partisan issue. She lacks the temperament to be a diligent public official–because there is absolutely nothing in her background that suggests she intends to be one. She brings an agenda that she intends to shove down everyone else’s throat.
Don’t we have enough going on? America needs unifiers, not Fifth Columnists working to advance the agenda of Big Tech. I know that all the little Public Knowledge acolytes have their hair on fire because she’s the first of their group to be up for a big government job and if she goes down, they will likely go down, too. This is what happens with mean spirited virtue signaling is turned into a way of life and funded by the biggest corporations in commercial history who just happen not to be the hated banks but are way more powerful.
It’s not personal–I wouldn’t want some loudmouth music lawyer or brittle vindictive industry lobbyist coming out of the shade thinking they should have a confirmable government job. Those types are equally ill-suited.
Not to worry, though, the grundoons and schmendricks at the Big Tech “public advocacy” shilleries will outlast us all, just like the cockroaches if cockroaches got the Google money. There will be plenty of roles for them to play in advancing the Silicon Valley agenda, just not at the confirmable level for they really should all be unconfirmable. There’s a reason why Ms. Hesse was always the “acting” head of the DOJ Antitrust Division. She could do plenty damage, so don’t feel bad.
It’s just another day in the Goolag. Tote that barge, lift that bale.
Washington, DC—February 17, 2022—Today, the Copyright Alliance released the following statement in response to the news that the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled in favor of the Association of American Publishers (AAP), granting a preliminary injunction that suspends the eBook licensing law at the center of the AAP v. Brian Frosh case:
According to Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid, “We are thrilled to learn of the Maryland court’s decision in granting a preliminary injunction in the case involving AAP challenging the state’s unconstitutional eBook licensing mandate, and in concluding that AAP has clearly satisfied the four preliminary injunction factors. We have believed all along that the eBook legislation would be preempted and that the court would reach the right decision, as it has clearly done.
“The bill would have forced publishers to license their eBooks to libraries on terms that are determined by the state of Maryland (not by publishers). The court explicitly recognized that this sort of forced transaction between publishers and libraries would effectively strip publishers of their exclusive right under the Copyright Act to decide whether, when, and to whom to distribute their copyrighted works.
The court also made clear that forcing publishers to offer licenses for electronic literary products on terms that would enable public libraries to provide library users with access to the electronic literary product will not necessarily increase access to those products for library users over time, and that it is only through the protection of copyright law that books and other creative works may be generated and distributed at all.“In its decision, the court recognized that, ‘The economic philosophy behind the [Copyright] [C]lause…is the conviction that encouragement of individual effort by personal gain is the best way to advance public welfare through the talents of authors and inventors’ and that ‘[C]opyright law serves public ends by providing individuals with an incentive to pursue private ones.’ We agree with the court’s decision and offer our thanks for it coming to the right conclusion.”
ABOUT THE COPYRIGHT ALLIANCEThe Copyright Alliance is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest and educational organization representing the copyright interests of over 1.8 million individual creators and over 13,000 organizations in the United States, across the spectrum of copyright disciplines. The Copyright Alliance is dedicated to advocating policies that promote and preserve the value of copyright, and to protecting the rights of creators and innovators. For more information, please visit https://copyrightalliance.org.
[This is a big win for sanity against the Google & Co. shills at American Library Association as well as what sure looks like a proxy price fixing campaign leveraging the huge market controlled by librarians aka Big Tech’s human shields.]
Publishers scored a win yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland when the court granted their request for a preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of the Maryland Act, which essentially calls for compulsory licensing of electronic literary works to libraries on “reasonable terms”. The law went into effect on January 1, 2022.
If you ever thought we were too aggressive in our campaign to end the 15 year freeze on statutory royalties for physical, consider the situation of songwriter Hugh Prestwood and his wife, photojournalist Judy Ahrens. Songwriters and photographers are two occupations that are devastated by the digital blight that has visited apocalyptic devastation on creators.
As Hugh says in their GoFundMe page, his songwriting income was destroyed by the massive change in the economics of songwriting that split apart the album format with no commensurate increase in songwriter royalties. Songs became a major driver of wealth for hardware manufacturers and Internet providers (remember dancing cows chanting rip, mix, burn?) in the 2000s, and streaming drives wealth for catalogs and platforms. The doubling effect of Moore’s Law imposes a halving effect on creator royalties. Hugh and Judy are living proof of what happens to an aging population of creators who could not have possibly planned around the digital blight–other than learning to code, I guess.
The Copyright Royalty Judges need to understand that there are real consequences to real people when they freeze mechanical royalties. While the Judges are not responsible for all the harms that accrue to songwriters in the rigged statutory licensing and royalty scheme, they do play a part and they can make a difference. Songwriters may not expect the Judges to fix their problems, but they do expect them not to make it worse. Freezing rates for 15 years makes it worse.
The Judges should also understand that they have an opportunity to do something to add fairness back into the system that the Judges effectively control. Creators like Hugh and Judy will never appear in their courtroom alongside the well-heeled lobbyists and lawyers who make millions off of the rate proceedings and the black box in what has become a laughingstock.
Congress, too, needs to listen up. It is well past time for a songwriter advocate to be a permanent part of the Copyright Royalty Board proceedings for mechanical royalty rate settings. A songwriter advocate would speak for people like Hugh and Judy. As Linda said of Willie Lohman in Death of a Salesman, “Attention must be paid.” I’m not asking that songwriters should be able to overrule the lobbyists, although that’s not a bad idea.
But at least hear them out before they’re all gone.