3 Jun 2007 3:30 PM
p2pnet.net news:- The Consumerist, whose readers recently voted the RIAA the Worst Company in America, has another interesting post, this time observing the RIAAWarner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG's RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) wouldn't get very far without the active and enthusiastic help and support of various (and many) politicians.
"But wait, aren't these representatives supposed to work for you?" - it wonders in a question also asked by many people in many places at many times.
"Do you believe some politicians are actually, or in effect, being paid by the labels to represent their interests?" - and, "If so, is that acceptable?" - p2pnet enquired of Jim Griffin, at the time ceo of Cherry Lane Digital and who's now also a member of the EFF's (Electronic Frontier Foundation) advisory board, a long time ago.
Of course it is actually happening and of course it is acceptable. Our United States Supreme Court is clear and I agree with them: Money is speech.
What can you do if you disagree with the labels? There is more money on the side of customers and technology than on the side of media, and history reflects the imbalance that runs counter to your suggestion that record labels' interests are overly represented in Washington or Brussels or other law making capitols."
Collectively, 'consumers' do indeed have the money and the power to compel the labels, studios and software companies to dance to their tune, and that's the way would be if consumers were in any way organised. However, that isn't the case, although thanks to the growing popularity of the Net, which gives people everywhere, the ability to communicate instantly with each other, without the interference of the corporations, the picture is rapidly changing, to the extreme alarm and consternation of said corporations.
But as things presently stand, unlike the labels, ordinary people singly or en masse don't have teams of expert PR hacks behind them, or highly placed, highly paid, spinmeisters - call them lobbyists - whose sole purpose in life is to pressure politicians in the halls of power, and behind closed doors, with self-interest points of view, day in, day out.
The same applies to the small, independent technology companies. It's a sad reality that breakthroughs likely to benefit consumers at the expense of the entertainment cartels are greeted with shock and horror by the corporations. Instead of trying to the enlist innovators and creators to help expand the envelopes of technology and knowledge, the industries all too often sue the embryo companies, acquire the technology and re-offer it in emasculated form..
Don't get me wrong: Griffin is one of the most experienced, brightest and most articulate people working on the music scene, his views are, to a very large extent, representative, and I have tremendous respect for him. But ..........
Back to the The Consumerist post, it's compiled a list of 50 congresspeople, "who took campaign contributions from the RIAA in the last election cycle" and has also linked their contact information, "so that you, as their constituents, can inform them that they're taking money from the 'Worst Company in America,' and that's going to cost them your vote."
Good job, guys.
Money speaks. Loudly.
Ever since it went online in 2002, p2pnet has been highlighting the financial interests of many US politicians who seem to have a marked and unhealthy interest in entertainment cartel affairs. What do they have to do with p2pnet which is, after all, only a small Canadian site?
Politicians representing CanAmerica, as it's rapidly becoming, bow without shame to interests represented south of the border, and as I say here in my purely personal opinion, "Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG, on the record label side of the fence, and principal Hollywood studios Time Warner, Viacom, Fox, Sony, NBC Universal and Disney, with the Bush administration in lock-step, have totally overpowered Canada's weak-kneed, weak-minded political leaders. It's not merely embarrassing, it's an international disgrace."
So what happens in America ultimately has a profound impact on events not only in Canada, but in other so-called democracies around the world.
Here, we expand on five politicians (upper right) featured by The Consumerist list, thanks to the excellent OpenSecrets (OS) run by the Center for Responsive Politics to track money in politics, and its effect on elections and public policy.
In order of appearance:
Lamar Smith, Republican.
$7,500 Click here
OS - Campaign Finance Profile, 2002 TV/Movies/Music $24,812
OS - Campaign Finance Profile, 2004 ditto $66,583
OS - Campaign Finance Profile, 2006 ditto $65,900
Orrin 'Terminator' Hatch, Republican
$6,000 Click here
OS - Campaign Finance Profile, 2002 TV/Movies/Music $175,322
OS - Campaign Finance Profile, 2004 ditto $183,428
OS - Campaign Finance Profile, 2006 ditto $140,894
Dianne Feinstein, Democract
$4,000, Click here
OS - Campaign Finance Profile, 2002 TV/Movies/Music $242,066
OS - Campaign Finance Profile, 2004 ditto $294,816
OS - Campaign Finance Profile, 2006 ditto $284,844
Hollywood Howard Berman, Democrat
$3,500 Click here
OS - Campaign Finance Profile, 2002 TV/Movies/Music $222,791
OS - Campaign Finance Profile, 2004 ditto $144,000
OS - Campaign Finance Profile, 2006 ditto $180,550
John Howard Coble, Republican
$1,000 Click here
OS - Campaign Finance Profile, 2002 TV/Movies/Music $38,483
OS - Campaign Finance Profile, 2004 ditto $24,250
OS - Campaign Finance Profile, 2006 ditto $19,000