Monday, May 07, 2012

naming names - the free culture witch hunt is on

Canadian free-culture lobbyist, Howard Knopf has loaded an astonishing bit of video onto his website.

For the life of me, I can't figure out what Mr. Knopf believes he is proving with these video selections - perhaps something to do with the influence of the Hollywood lobby on the recent SOPA annd PIPA legislation debacle in the United States. Whatever Knopf's point, it would take someone completely blinded by ideological zeal to think that the sight of a US Congressperson browbeating a witness and demanding names is the kind of thing that helps the cause of "free" culture.

So, here you go... here's Representative Zoe Lofgren questioning Ms. Maria A. Pallante, Register of Copyrights for the U.S. Copyright Office concerning statements Pallante made about copyright and the SOPA and PIPA bills. Rep. Lofgren is the Congresswoman for California's 16th District, which includes Silicon Valley, home base for all of the large, corporate tech firms who lobbied so hard against legislation designed to stop online piracy and protect intellectual property. This questioning took place last month.

I couldn't be more impressed by Ms. Pallante's calm and courageous responses to the increasingly insulting and accusational tone of the questioning she endured. Rep. Lofgren's insistence on knowing the names of everyone present at all of Ms. Pallante's meetings implies that some present  may wish to hide their involvement, which is absurd. After smilingly admitting to the constituent pressure she herself is under, and reading copyright opinions that come straight from Silicon Valley's free culture manual, it takes some kind of shamelessness for the Congresswoman to suggest there was undo influence on a public servant who is appointed rather than elected. As well, Ms. Pallante showed impressive restraint in not simply laughing at the question about copyright law being for authors first, instead directing Rep. Lofgren to the section of the U.S. Constitution, supporting legislation, and Supreme Court decisions that support her view.

But, wow, how did Ms. Pallante manage to stay in her seat when Rep. Lofgren introduced, from left field, totally unrelated information about an alleged sexual discrimination case in the Library of Congress, having nothing to do with any of the people present or the topic at hand? This is where Silicon Valley is going with their free cultural revolution? Public shaming and witch hunts? I offer this possible answer for the next time Ms. Pallante finds herself in such a ridiculous line of questioning.

Thanks for the video clips, Mr. Knopf. Keep digging up this ugly, terrifying stuff from the very, very bottom of free culture's barrel. People need to know what's actually happening in the name of free movie downloads on Swedish torrent sites.

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1 comment:

Sandy Crawley said...

Poor Howard is indeed showing signs of desperation...