Monday, December 31, 2007

The Morals of a Weasel

Thanks to RIAA general council and, at the time, Penn State Trustee Barry Robinson, Graham took an early interest in illegal file sharing as the first co-chairman of the Joint Committee of Higher Education and Entertainment Communities. Graham saw, or at least portrayed, P2P file sharing as moral issue.
Yet despite these educational efforts, despite our compliance with DMCA, and despite our technical interventions, it is probably fair to say that thousands of our students illegally download some amount of copyrighted material. They are typical of college students nationally in this regard and are party to a practice that is morally wrong, is damaging to the entertainment industry, and is inconsistent with the values of honesty and integrity that students more typically profess.
One of Graham's last acts before relinquishing his co-chairmanship was to lend his name and visage to an hilarious RIAA scare-video.

What Graham didn't see as morally questionable was the bullying of students by the RIAA which has threaten numerous lawsuits against students that they have identified as illegally downloading music, but has only taken one suit to trial. The obvious moral position for Graham would have been to stand up early to the RIAA thugs, but he would rather stand by his crony on the BOT than do the right thing.

Now the RIAA has made a move that only the most obtuse would fail to see as thuggish act.

...[H]ardly a month goes by without a news release from the industry's lobby, the Recording Industry Association of America, touting a new wave of letters to college students and others demanding a settlement payment and threatening a legal battle.

Now, in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

It is now time to get Congress to act. The DMCA must be revised to stop this sort of behavior on the part of the RIAA.

Oh and now Graham might even see this way. He has signed a letter concerning another matter with respect to the RIAA.
This entertainment industry proposal which may be under consideration by the House Education and Labor Committee would establish the Secretary of Education as an agent of the entertainment industry by requiring the Secretary annually to create a list of the 25 colleges and universities with the highest levels of unauthorized peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, based on data supplied by the industry. The list of the top 25 violators provides no logical basis for initiating federal action. It does not reflect a universal census of violations, nor even an appropriately designed random sample of violations. Rather,
the entertainment industry gets to decide who is a "violator." The entertainment industry assuredly would make these choices to maximize the political and deterrent impact, but the fact remains that the 25 colleges or universities so identified would be designated by the entertainment industry. The Secretary would be required, under the language of the proposal, to act on the entertainment industry's information and direction. This clearly is an inappropriate role for a Cabinet officer of the Federal government.
As we all should know, if you don't stop a bully before he gets you in his sights he'll eventually come after you. But for Graham this was never really about moralityor doing the right thing. It was about looking out for his narrow self-interest. When that interest called for him to side with the RIAA, he willing did. Now it calls for him to oppose the RIAA and he has. This is the essence of the character of Graham: high rhetoric and weaselly actions.

1 comment:

Gavin said...

Love the video.