Last week the White House published a white paper with several recommendations on how to make copyright law compliant with the digital age. Among other things, it suggests classifying unauthorized streaming of copyrighted material as a felony and to allow for wiretaps in copyright related cases.
The white paper along with its potential impact has since been widely discussed in the media, but apparently only a select few have the capacity to properly assess the consequences of an eventual change in copyright law. Music industry expert, book author and Grammy winner Moses Avalon is one of them.
“Here’s one story you won’t see going viral on a geek blog near you: the Obama administration is going to make torrent streaming, also known as P2P sharing of music, a felony,” Avalon wrote – four days after we covered the news.
Being the music industry and copyright expert he is, Avalon carefully explains how the White House recommendations will change the Internet as we know it. Not only will unauthorized streaming of copyrighted material become a felony, new legislation will also shutter legal music services that rely on P2P technology, and news sites that dare to mention the P word in public.
Although the White House white paper isn’t really about P2P at all, but about streaming, Avalon foresees a major change in the use of P2P technology on the internet, legitimate or not. In his list of services that will have to close, Avalon mentions the licensed streaming service Grooveshark and the RIAA-approved P2P service iMesh.
Despite the fact that Grooveshark and iMesh pay the music labels, they will have to go since the mere use of P2P and online streaming will soon be against the law, Avalon claims. And then there’s TorrentFreak, a site that has never encouraged readers to commit copyright infringement, but recognizes the benefits of P2P technology while rebutting entertainment industry propaganda.
TorrentFreak will have to change too, or be gone, Avalon says.
“You’ll start seeing less and less positive spin on P2P almost immediately,” says Avalon as he muses on the aftermath of the new legislation.
“Blogs who play fast and loose with copyright ‘facts’ and assert that P2P is OK because soon the music biz will be dead anyway, are going to get strangely quiet on the subject,” he writes.
Again, the above has very little to do with the White House announcement, which said nothing about P2P. In fact, encouraging people to commit copyright infringement through P2P services is already against the law. However, Avalon takes it up a notch claiming that writing about infringement and P2P will soon be a no go.
“What will they write about next? Who knows and frankly who cares. These guys are no different in my view than racist blogs inciting gay-bashing, and Antisemitism or ‘Freedom’ blogs that are vestibules for home-grown terrorism,” he notes while pondering the future of TorrentFreak.
And we’re not the only news sites who will be forced to change our tune, according to the expert. We’re in good company. Fine outfits such as Wired.com, Techdirt, Slashdot, Silicon Ally Insider and the blog of copyright lawyer Ray Beckerman will be affected too.
Let’s take a deep breath.
We honestly believe that Avalon’s writings are too absurd to respond too, especially coming from someone who previously said that Napster was the scapegoat of the music industry. And yes, Mr. Avalon was also the one who fiercely defended Eminem for rapping about wanting to see the president dead. Freedom of speech, he said at the time, only to now argue that writing about P2P technology is a crime.
But Avalon’s words do have impact, he thinks. He features all his TV appearances on his own YouTube channel and claims that his blog is read by 100,000 people, something he takes extreme pride in. When lawyer Ray Beckerman commented on his absurd writing, Avalon told him that he should be happy to be mentioned because it would get him some traffic. When responding to other commenters he simply ignores what’s being said, and changes the topic to himself and his outstanding writings.
You don’t have to be a psychologist to see that Moses Avalon shows signs of having a narcissistic personality disorder, to say the least. Should Mr. Avalon read a bible, he might honestly believe himself to be the Moses who is so often referenced.
As for his writings with regard to TorrentFreak, the recommendations put forward by the White House do of course have no impact on sites that discuss P2P technology. And no, streaming and P2P services that distribute licensed content will not disappear either. It’s just the rambling of a pitiful person who just hit the narcissist jackpot with this article. Congrats!