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]