Here's the latest example. On Jan. 22, Digital Media News ran a short item reporting that ASCAP would host a lunch meeting "to discuss a number of top issues." Those issues include:
licensing and rate proceedings in the digital area, the new Congress, and working together to counter the growing prevalence of the "copy left/free culture" pontificators in the public discourse about creators rights.Sounds exactly like what a group like ASCAP is supposed to do: advocate on behalf of its members. So how does Techdirt -- a copyleft-friendly group blog -- interpret this routine meeting? "ASCAP Working To Shut Up Free Culture Supporters." You got that right: "working together to counter" its ideological adversaries on copyright issues actually constitutes "working to shut [them] up." Of course, nothing in the original DMN story, in my follow-up, or in the lunch invitation itself (which I have read) contains the slightest hint that ASCAP is seeking to shut anyone up. Of course, ASCAP is simply saying that it wants its own voice to be heard in a world where the copyleft dominates the discourse in academia, "public interest" groups, and the blogosphere.
ASCAP deserves kudos for doing more to speak out on copyright issues from copyright owners' and creators' perspective. If the other side "pontificates," they should pontificate right back. (I'm a blogger, and therefore a big fan of pontification from all sides.) And Techdirt should correct their absurdly wrong headline.
One final point: Techdirt's story paints ASCAP -- which represents songwriters, composers, and music publishers -- as a "confused" group of music business neanderthals, fighting off all promising "new business models." Funny, when reputable journalists examine the music publishing business, they come to a quite different conclusion.
UPDATE: lively discussion here, featuring Techdirt's continued insistence that "counter" means "shut up."