Feeds

State Attorney – the MPAA's man – urges P2P ban

Elected official flaks for Hollywood

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The democratic veneer over the business of buying the legislation you want has never looked thinner. California's State Attorney General Bill Lockyer has been caught acting as a public relations front for Hollywood's big money copyright holders, only on the public's dime. Nominally, the role of Attorney General is to act on behalf of all citizens of California, including consumers and recording artists.

Lockyer called for a ban on peer-to-peer file sharing software, in a letter issued to other attorneys general, obtained by Wired. But earlier revisions of the Microsoft Word document indicate that the author was "stevensonv". This is believed to be one Vans Stevenson, the Motion Picture Association of America's senior vice president for legislative affairs, and one of its most visible lobbyists.

(This isn't the first time residual metadata left in a Word document has embarrassed its author. Two years ago, the UK Treasury accidentally revealed some of the deliberations behind the annual budget by failing to remove redacted portions from the public release. Few people are that Microsoft recently released a tool to remove metadata from Office documents.)

The pigopolists have been generous and consistent supporters of Bill Lockyer. His primary fund-raising vehicle, the Lockyer Committee, received four contributions from the MPAA in the 2002 Election Cycle totaling $4,500 and two from the RIAA, totaling $16,000. But these are complemented by corporate and private donations from the major studios, including The Paramount Pictures Group, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Warner Bros PAC, AOL Time Warner. Senior executives, such as Alan Horn and Howard Welinsky, respectively CEO and senior VP at Warner Brothers, have contributed too.

(This list is not exhaustive: for example, we haven't counted copyright-friendly affiliates such as law firm Manatt Phelps and Philips, which describes itself thus: "We are litigators, deal makers, lobbyists [our emphasis] and practitioners before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, the U.S. Copyright Office, the FCC and the United States International Trade Commission." Spontaneously, 55 employees of Manatt Phelps and Phillips each decided to make contributions to Lockyer's 2006 campaign.

Lockyer has been in trouble over campaign contributions before. He was obliged to return $50,000 to Oracle to remove any impression of impropriety after the database giant was awarded a $95 million no-bid contract. Four officials were sacked as a consequences, but a recent investigation concluded that Lockyer hadn't acted illegally.

A Modest Proposal

It leaves a nagging question, however. Why not bring some technocratic rigor to the proceedings, and "disintermediate" the public officials and politicians completely? The lobbyists could simply be allowed to create their own legislation through some form of electronic voting; a much simpler and cleaner process that would remove any pretense of acting in the public interest. A few citizens itchy for the mechanical business of exercising choice could simply be wired up to vote in TV reality programs. A win-win for Hollywood, we suggest. reg;

External Link

"P2P in the Legal Crosshairs" - Wired News

Related Stories

MPAA seeks P2P Enforcer for antipiracy ops
California offical in court over Oracle mega-deal
Treasury leaks Word of Budget revisions

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
MI6 oversight report on Lee Rigby murder: US web giants offer 'safe haven for TERRORISM'
PM urged to 'prioritise issue' after Facebook hindsight find
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Right to be forgotten should apply to Google.com too: EU
And hey - no need to tell the website you've de-listed. That'll make it easier ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Seattle children’s accelerates Citrix login times by 500% with cross-tier insight
Seattle Children’s is a leading research hospital with a large and growing Citrix XenDesktop deployment. See how they used ExtraHop to accelerate launch times.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.