Thanks to my friend Jesse for bringing this up last night at dinner.
In the middle of all the market mayhem here in the US, did you know that we now have a Pirate Czar? (Yarrr!) All thanks to the Pro-IP bill signed into law on Monday. Another “triumph” for the Bush administration.
So the Department of Justice is supposed to vigorously pursue copyright infringement cases under this new law, under the direction of an “IP Czar,” a cabinet-level position. Isn’t it great the Department of Justice has time amidst all the other crime — like investigating and prosecuting the folks responsible for shady deals behind subprime mortgages and some of the other skullduggery behind our current financial morass, not to mention racketeering, organized crime, drug overlording, and domestic terrorism — to do pro bono work for the RIAA, MPAA, and so on? Oh wait, they don’t.
Well, at least the Democratic Party will save us from this nincompoopery, or so the conventional wisdom seems to go. Hang on, what’s that? Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) wrote and sponsored this legislation, along with Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA)? Huh. Well, not surprising given that they both received hefty bumps in their 2004 election campaign kitties from the industry.
Did you know that the entertainment industry is the 10th biggest campaign contributor in the US (vs. other industries)? So certainly they must be using that money to line the pockets of the Bush administration and its cronies. And Barack Obama will put a stop to all this, with his vocal dedication to the kinds of issues that make us free software people pretty happy.
Except for the fact that the entertainment industry had given his campaign over $5,800,000 as of a couple weeks ago. That wouldn’t buy them a seat at the table, would it? And certainly not in light of Joe Biden’s record of anti-encryption legislation, skepticism on Net neutrality, and general water-carrying for the industry. In the meantime, they’ve only given a “measly” $964,000 to John McCain thus far.
My loathing for the Pro-IP law is pretty intense, but to make matters worse, I’m shocked, shocked and dismayed I tell you, to find that such scandalous kowtowing and general obliviousness happens on both sides of the aisle! Like I said to Jesse last night, no matter who wins elections these days, we all lose.