Monday, March 7, 2011

A Blogging Hiatus

When I started this blog in December 2008, I said I wanted to counter the “shocking lack of balance in discussion of copyright and related issues on the Internet.” For almost two and a half years, I’ve tried to do just that. Armed with nothing but free Blogger software and a not-so-free PACER account, I’ve done my best to provide copyright owners’ side of the story on the major anti-piracy cases of the day, while countering the misinformation about copyright that too often dominates the blogosphere. And, thanks to help, tips, and encouragement from countless others who fight in obscurity for creators’ rights – not to mention the antics of Joel Tenenbaum, Jammie Thomas-Rasset, and most of all, Charlie Nesson – it’s been a blast. And hopefully I’ve done a small part to demonstrate why, when the studios, record labels, and music publishers go to court to enforce their rights, they usually win.

So it’s with a sense of accomplishment but some regret that that I’m putting the blog on hiatus for the foreseeable future. On February 28 I started in a new position as Content Protection Counsel at the Motion Picture Association of America, where my primary responsibility will be litigating anti-piracy cases on behalf of the MPAA’s member studios. For reasons that I think most litigators will understand, I’ve concluded that it won’t be possible to continue the blog in my current role; the issues of privilege, confidentiality, and conflicts, even if ultimately surmountable, are simply too dicey to worry about day-to-day. I plan to leave the blog up as long as Blogger will host it; the disclaimer that I’ve posted since the beginning still applies: “This is Ben's personal blog and does not necessarily represent the views of any past, present, or future clients or employers.”

I encourage anyone and everyone who knows and cares about these issues to speak out, blog, comment on other blogs, and do whatever you can consistent with your day job. There is plenty of room out there for thoughtful commentary; I’d particularly recommend readers bookmark Terry Hart’s “Copyhype,” which since last summer has been providing rigorously researched debunking of some of the copyleft’s latest tropes.

Thanks again to everyone who has helped out over the past couple years. I’m still reachable at copyrightsandcampaigns [at]


  1. Sad to see you go on hiatus, Ben. Thanks for the great blogging while you were able to do it. Eric.

  2. Ben:

    Even though there was lots to disagree with, you were rarely disagreeable. And often very well informed.

    Wish same could be said for some others on your side of the issues.

    Good luck in the new job. Go easy on suing your industry's's bad for business.

  3. I'm sorry to hear that you'll be on hiatus from the blog, but I of course understand. I'd just like to say that this particular copyleftist has enjoyed and very much appreciated your well-reasoned coverage and analysis.

  4. As an opponent, I have appreciated the level of discourse and debate on this blog.

    Given your new position, I'm not sure I can say "Best Wishes..." :-) but thanks for the time you have spent with us and the insights you have shared.

    - wallow-T

  5. It was great to have you out and blogging. Filthy lucre strikes down another great independent voice :-)

  6. Thanks, Paul. But I assure you all of our lucre here is squeaky clean...

  7. Ben,

    Perhaps a big favor to ask, but it would be quite interesting to see your take on the pending T, JRT and (?)[innocent infringement] as the cases further develop. You have devoted an inordinate amount of time to keep up with each, and I for one would hate to see all of your expertise going lost.

    Mike Slonecker

  8. I want to support the side and position of copyright holders, I myself am an artist and poet. But I continually disagree with the exclusion of closed captioning on internet video streams and online movie distribution points. I object to the notion that withholding the captions used as an effort to sell more DVD copies. Can the industry not use equal access material for the sensory disadvantaged necessity for that and use further extras special features, bundles, etc..


Comments here are moderated. I appreciate substantive comments, whether or not they agree with what I've written. Stay on topic, and be civil. Comments that contain name-calling, personal attacks, or the like will be rejected. If you want to rant about how evil the RIAA and MPAA are, and how entertainment companies' employees and attorneys are bad people, there are plenty of other places for you to go.