Monday, August 30, 2010

Commerce Secretary rails against 'scourge of music piracy'

In a speech today in Nashville, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke promised action against the "scourge of music piracy," repeating Vice President Biden's proclamation that "Piracy is flat, unadulterated theft," and vowing that "it should be dealt with accordingly." Locke said his department is "conducting a comprehensive review of the relationship among copyright policy, creativity, and innovation in the Internet economy" and reiterated the Obama Administration's support for the Performance Rights Act, which would require terrestrial radio stations to pay royalties to owners of sound recordings. The current state of affairs, where songwriters and composers, but not recording artists, get paid for airplay, "makes absolutely no sense," said Locke.

Go read the whole thing, including Locke's entreaty to "content owners and Internet service providers [] to work collaboratively to combat intellectual property infringement online" and "[e]specially to combat repeat infringement."


  1. For some reason, the Commerce Department is not making that speech available at the link you provided.

  2. "content owners and Internet service providers [] to work collaboratively to combat intellectual property infringement online"

    I didn't bother to read the paper, sorry, because I fail to see what ISPs can do when the file transfers between peers are encrypted. Let's consider Gnutella, from which I downloaded my GNU/Linux distro: almost all the traffic is encrypted via TLS.
    The ISP can guess that it's Gnutella traffic, know when, how much traffic et the IP addresses of the peers. But unless there's a breakthrough in mathematics, they just can't break the encryption and check whether or not the content is legal in their jurisdiction. And there's a good bunch of free works out there (I seed only legal stuff and my upload is at its maximum all the time My ISP is probably in deep love with me). The same also works with BitTorrent if the DHT on the client software is enabled.

    Instead, the Commerce Secretary, if the lobbies that put him there allow him to do so, should probably see how the technobrega scene works in Brazil. A wholly different business model, one that actually works without lawyers.

  3. Core copyright industries generated approximately 1 trillion dollars in GDP for the US in 2007 and will soon constitute double digit percentages of the national economy. The US is the largest IP exporter in the entire world. Given the importance of IP (yes, that includes music), if anyone thinks that the laws are going to grow more relaxed to allow the wholesale misappropriation of that property, they are living in fantasy land.

    As for ISPs, it's easy. They don't need to break encryption to identify the patterns in the traffic. And if I were running the ISP, I'd either just block all encrypted traffic or require an additional service level agreement to allow it through. Mark my words though, ISPs will become the copyright filters.

  4. You know, piracy isn't all that bad. For indie artist, as another blogger put it, it can even be an effective way for them to gain some notoriety:


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