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MPAA’s Marching Orders to Obama/Romney

In a memo to “Candidates, Interested Parties,” subject line: “Public Policy and the Entertainment Community: Five Important Things to Know About the Impact of the American Film and Television Industry on the US Economy” (available at MPAA Tells Candidates That Anti-Piracy Legislation Remains A “Critical” Priority; h/t Skip Oliva), the MPAA repeats a confusing mishmash of propaganda to keep the fascist copyright system strong.

First, the memo tells us of all the money the television and film indusry pours into the national and local economies:

Film and TV production takes place in all 50 states across the country. … The American film and television industry is a massive contributor to the US economy, generating $42.1 billion in wages from direct industry jobs and distributing $37.4 billion in payments to nearly 278,000 businesses around the country in 2010. … When shooting on location, major motion pictures contribute an average of $225,000 daily to the local economy.

Fine. But this doesn’t justify copyright law!

Then they start praising free speech and free expression—and then they dishonestly blend copyright with free speech, as if they are the same, while in the same paragraph implicitly admitting the tension:
Copyright law, which is enshrined in our constitution, protects those who create everything from books to movies, from songs to software. Copyright is not censorship. Rather, it incentivizes innovation and creativity; the Supreme Court has called copyright the “engine of free expression.” Free speech is vital to creators and innovators, and the movie business wouldn’t exist without freedom of speech and expression. In fact, the motion picture industry has fought aggressively for freedom of speech on behalf of its storytellers for over a hundred years.
Yes, free speech is vital for innovators. But how is this connected to the idea that copyright “incentivizes” innovation? The implication here is that copyright and free speech go together; but then why do they need to assure us that copyright is “not censorship”? Why quote the Supreme Court—they are not the deciders of morality. And so what if copyright is provided by the Constitution? That doesn’t make it right; in fact, copyright violates the free speech and free expression rights of the First Amendment (see Copyright is Unconstitutional). This paragraph is schizophrenic: it says free speech is vital, and that Hollywood has fought for it; and it simply intersperces this with assertions that copyright is not censorship and is needed to incentivize creativity. Even if this is true (it’s not), that does not mean it’s not censorship. And while it may be true that the movie business wouldn’t exist without freedom of expression, this does not mean that copyright—which limits expression—is justified.
The memo then informs us that we have to have a “balance” beween freedom of expression and the censorship of copyright:
It is critical to the entertainment community that we protect the free flow of information on the internet while also protecting the rights of artists and creators.
So they are for freedom of expression—until we have to curtail it to give Hollywood private censorship monopolies.
Then, the MPAA repeats the dishonest Commerce Dept. Study:
The internet must be a place for investment, innovation and creativity – that’s critical not just for our industry, but for intellectual property-intensive industries around the world. In April, the U.S. Department of Commerce released a report that found that intellectual property-intensive industries – including film and television — support at least 40 million jobs and contribute more than $5 trillion dollars to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). That’s 34.8 percent of US GDP. Simply put, protecting American creativity from theft is critical the U.S. economy – and so is protecting the freedom to express creativity online.
IP intensive industries support 40M jobs and contribute $5T to the economy: that does not mean that this is because of copyright and patent; in fact, it is despite it (see USPTO/Commerce Dept. Distortions: “IP Contributes $5 Trillion and 40 Million Jobs to Economy”).
And then the memo closes with an endorsement of TPP and ACTA (I guess they were afraid to openly advocate SOPA).
The MPAA is evil. At this point I’m with Cory Doctorow:

… Now, take $300m CGI summer blockbuster films: if the producers of these things are to be believed, the ongoing capacity to produce glitzy, big budget productions demands that services like YouTube be shut off (see, for example, Viacom’s lawsuit against Google over YouTube).If this is true – I’m no movie exec, maybe it is – then we need to ask ourselves the “balance” question: YouTube’s users produce 29 hours of video every minute and the vast majority of it is not infringing TV and movie clips, it is independently produced material that accounts for more viewer-minutes than television. So, the big studios’ demand amounts to this: “You must shut down the system that delivers billions of hours of enjoyment to hundreds of millions of people so that we can go on delivering about 20 hours’ worth of big budget film every summer.”

To me, this is a no brainer. I mean, I love sitting in an air-conditioned cave watching Bruce Willis beat up a fighter jet with his bare hands as much as the next guy, but if I have to choose between that and all of YouTube, well, sorry Bruce.

Update: See Mike Masnick’s thorough takedown: MPAA Sends Five Key Propaganda Points To Politicians.

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To the extent possible under law, Stephan Kinsella has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to C4SIF. This work is published from: United States. In the event the CC0 license is unenforceable a  Creative Commons License Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License is hereby granted.