In The past fortnight two “coalitions” announced themselves, espousing principles like “compensating artists” and “supporting a pro-innovation, pro-creator, pro-consumer” copyright agenda. Sounds like the members must be artists and other music creators, right? (WRONG!) Being that we are talking about the largest cesspool of corruption in the world that is called Washington, and if you are thinking it might be exactly the opposite, you are correct.
In fact, “mic” and “Re:Create” are two new coalitions whose real goal is to limit the rights of artists and songwriters, and to reduce their compensation for the commercial benefit of businesses who distribute music and other copyrighted content.
This is very much a coordinated and well thought out effort ( actually not that well thought out as they have now been busted in the act of ASTROTURFING!) to put government price controls on music.
Case in point: radio broadcasters — yes, the broadcasters! – are members of the new “mic” coalition whose stated doctrine includes “compensating artists.” Seriously? Could these be the same broadcasters who have for decades vigorously fought against paying artists anything at all when their music is played on AM/FM radio? Another member, Pandora, refuses to pay musical icons of the 50s, 60s, and early 70s for their recordings. Right now, in fact, Pandora is in the middle of court and administrative proceedings in which it’s attempting to lower the royalties it pays to all songwriters and artists. This doesn’t even pass the straight face test.
Ironically, many of the multi-billion dollar behemoths bankrolling these coalitions would not exist without the music they seek to devalue. How many people do you suppose would tune in to iHeart Radio or Pandora if they didn’t offer music? Music drives much of the businesses of tech titans and the culture that fuels them. Just look online – music is one of the most talked about subjects and musicians are among the most “followed” and “liked” on social media networks. Tech companies want music on their platforms because it makes them more appealing to the users who attract the advertisers who pay them vast sums of money. An unhealthy music industry is bad for everyone, not to mention the negative economic ripple effects on broader parts of our economy, our culture and our national identity.
Take a look at the list of groups that united to form this new, anti-copyright effort:
American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries, Center for Democracy & Technology, Computer and Communications Industry Association, Consumer Electronics Association, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Media Democracy Fund, New America’s Open Technology Institute, Public Knowledge, and R Street Institute.
If you really want to understand what the goals of this nascent coalition are,simply follow the money.
The same cast of characters–led by Google–seems to appear repeatedly. Whether it be through slimy, backdoor means or endeavors like the ALA’s Google’s Policy Fellowship, there’s no denying the ever-present funding (and influence) bought by big brother tech. Could their coalition be anything other than a gigantic exercise in ASTROTURFING?
While lobbyists for a number of these groups are actively working to dismantle copyright protections–and in the process undermine the livelihoods of filmmakers, musicians, authors and more–it’s worth noting many of these anti-copyright organizations seem to pay their employees pretty well–much better than non-profits
It’s also worth that at the same time the ReCreate Coalition announces its stepping into the ring, another astroturf entity, The Mic Coalition sprouted up alongside. In lock-step with the ReCreate mission, this Music Innovation Consumers coalition pretends to have the interests of creators in mind, but of course it’s simply more disingenuous posturing.
Notice, how they deftly employ the magic tech abracadabra word “innovation” in their moniker. After all, who can argue with magic that is innovation right? To appreciate the true extent of the baloney proffered by the MIC coalition, excellent posts on the subject can be found on The Trichordist blog. Here’s just a sampling:
Oh Golly gee wilackers this wasn’t coordinated at all. Two new Astroturf (squared) organizations in two days (with the same web designer?) The day after the announcement of the the new ReCreate Coalition, an AstroTurf organization composed almost exclusively of Google connected Astroturf organizations, some of the same companies plus The National Association of Broadcasters, I Heart Media (Clear Channel) Pandora and NPR have announced the creation of the MIC-Coalition in order to lobby AGAINST fair digital royalties to artists; AGAINST terrestrial royalty for performers, and to keep songwriters under the oppressive and unconstitutional DOJ consent decrees. Read the website it’s unbelievable.
The real joke, and unfortunately it isn’t a funny one at all, in Washington D.C. or elsewhere, who takes these groups seriously. Apparently there’s a plentiful supply of b.s. to fertilize an endless supply of Astroturf in Washington D.C
Google Connected Astroturf “Lobbying” Organizations: