US Vice President Joe Biden today hosted a roundtable looking at the so-called ‘Piracy Problem’. The summit was not as ‘open’ as promised a year ago in the presidential campaign though. Only copyright industry representatives were present, further reinforcing the belief that Biden sits firmly in the pocket of Big Copyright.
Copyright is an issue that affects everyone. Every word, image and expression of thought is copyrightable. It is a system of law that places restrictions on the fundamentals of civilization – communication and expression. So when it comes to policy talks involving that subject, it would seem only natural that representatives of the people of the United States are involved. Not so in the modern day world.
When it comes to copyright policy, there appears to be only one set of people the government is willing to listen to, and that’s the copyright lobbyists groups. Groups that don’t represent the creators as much as those that manage the creators; the middlemen. And so it is with the attendees of today’s meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden, whose political career – like many US politicians – has been partly funded by pro-copyright groups, came out to say that he is offended by the “flat unadulterated theft” some call piracy. A bold statement, but not really that surprising when you take a look at the one-sided list of attendees.
There are no consumer groups, no technology companies, and few representatives of the artistic creators themselves. There are plenty of are representatives of middlemen companies though. Companies that make their money from managing, distributing and promoting, tasks that are increasingly being made obsolete with technological progress.
We’re talking about the likes of Sony’s Michael Lynton, who on behalf of an industry that’s having one of it’s best ever years, plead poverty less than two months ago. And Edgar Bronfman, head of WMG – you remember, the company that claimed copyrights that aren’t theirs.
What will have been on the agenda? Well, probably no items on how factually inaccurate the recent CBS piece was, or how anti-piracy studies would be improved with the release of supporting data. Instead, it will be the likes of future anti-piracy laws such as ACTA, and questioning the ability to introduce similar legislation to France and the UK.
Not that we will find out though, as apparently the press has been kicked out. Perhaps, like ACTA, this is a national security issue too. After all, who says terrorists don’t download Die Hard films for training purposes?