back to article RIAA-led mob threatens innovation, Senator warns

Attempts by the content industry to pass legislation like the Protect IP Act are the greatest threat to technology innovation, a senior US Senator told delegates at the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco. Ron Wyden, the senior Democratic senator for Oregon, was scathing in his criticism of organizations such as the RIAA for their …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Cluster Bomb?

    Cluster fuck more like. Either the whole world follows the US down this particular pan or the oppression emanating from that side of the pond will lead to a gradual quarantine of the US, as nations realize that their ability to innovate and communicate freely is being eroded by the influence of the corps.

    Either way a really interesting future will be stifled.

    I sound like an anti-capitalist, but I'm not. I believe in IPR and the right to be rewarded for what you create. But I believe in democracy and freedom from unnecessary control first of all. They used to say decades ago that the US was run be the corporations, but it wasn't true. 'tis now, it seems.

    1. dave butler

      gradual quarantine of the US

      The quicker and further the better......

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Yeah, cut off little million+ / year companies like mine, who do most of their business overseas, because we'll be subject to a whole bunch of -other- problems due to the issues in this article. Awesome. A 'quarantine' won't hurt the big companies a bit; nothing ever does... but it'll screw everyone else to the wall.

        I wish people didn't think that Exxon and Microsoft and Goldman Sachs are the only kind of corporate entities in the world. I'm the CEO of a corporation, but believe me - I ain't flyin' no private jet.

  2. Zippy the Pinhead

    a partial solution

    ""Citizens United basically took the doors off the democratic process. The idea that powerful special interests, across the board, doesn’t even have to identify itself when spending these huge sums is a moral blot""

    Since Corporations and other Special Interest groups are actually the voice of the people leading them.. just make it illegal for these any and all of these groups to contribute politically. Likewise also ban lobbyist as they have access to the political process that the average citizen of the US does not have.

    1. The Cube

      Pinhead indeed

      The problem he is referring to is that very American process where special interest groups like oil companies who want to poison Alaska and the Gulf for a few dollars or the RIAA run TV advertising campaigns supporting specific candidates.

      This is not a donations issue as donations are disclosed, this is the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by "friends of ...." to prop up whichever politico they have managed to buy or blackmail.

    2. Tom 13

      Um... It doesn't work that way after SCOTUS speaks.

      The whole point of Citizens United is that it is unconstitutional for Congress to pass such a law.

      Interestingly, Citizens United does not make unconstitutional for Congress to require that corporations and unions disclose where they make their political expenditures. Such requirements would remove the usefulness of astorturfing because you could trace the money back to the donors. My suspicion is they don't want one of those laws because it would expose the hypocrisy of the Progressive movement which is funded by even bigger fat cats than politicians who are allegedly bought and paid for by the lobbyists.

  3. WonkoTheSane

    Not the only problem...

    It would help if O'Bama would stop appointing MAFIAA lawyers to the Supreme Court!

  4. James Hughes 1


    A US senator who appears to know what he is talking about, and has his own mind, rather than spouting forth corporate speak. Well done that man.

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Once senator seems to have his head screwed on right. Just one, out of how many?

    I wonder if there is hope or if it is already too late.

  6. Figgus

    Ban corporate money...

    ...and ban UNION money too!

    If one side of the equation is muted, BOTH sides need to be.

    1. kellerr13

      Ban it!


    2. chr0m4t1c

      Wrong plan

      Any politician taking money for lobbying should be made to wear the company logo whenever they're working or appearing on the media like racing drivers and their sponsorship.

      We're not likely to be able to stop the corporate lobbying, but it will help if we can see who's been paid for and by whom. Oh, and the size of the logo should be proportionate to the size of the funding.

      Plus it would be quite funny to see someone trying to talk about how music piracy is plunging the music industry into bankruptcy while covered head to toe in a Sony logo.

  7. Cunningly Linguistic
    Thumb Up

    I'd vote for him if I could!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The fact that one senator comes forward like this should show people that, they are not all traitors, but the fact legislation like that even exist should show that some of them are.

    Reality is almost always in the middle. Some good people, some bad people. But the Supreme court ruling in question is definately on the side of the criminals. In fact the chance of you or I winning an election is so slim because only those with the most money win, and you can only get that if you are in the pocket of the corporations.

    I suspect violence will soon erupt. I hope not.

  9. Christoph

    Short term profit grab, long term decline

    The US depends heavily on innovation. What happens to them when they force all the innovators to move to other countries?

    "The Captains and the Kings depart..."

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wyden is an idiot. The RIAA clearly missed a payment.

  11. Bill Stewart

    Citizens United was a correct decision

    Wyden's right about lots of things.

    But <i>Citizens United</i> was a correct decision by the Supreme Court - if whiny liberals like Michael Moore can make movies about how evil the Bush Gang was, then whiny right-wingers can make whiny right-wing movies about how evil Hillary Clinton was. If it's ok for media-focused corporations like MSNBC, NPR, and Fox Noise to express political preferences in their news/entertainment programming, it's ok for non-media-focused corporations to do so also, and if blocking the media corps from having opinions is obvious censorship, blocking the non-media corps from doing that is also censorship.

    And yes, that means I'm saying it's wrong to censor those evil right-wing greedy thug corporations. And while NPR is mostly in there as a throwaway line, if you don't think they and the BBC are biased pushers of The Establishment's worldview, you haven't been listening very critically.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge

      Technically correct law does is not the same as justice

      I'm all for free speech, and I think you're missing the point in saying this is purely a free speech issue. Allowing a mega-corporation to donate mega-bucks to a politician who supports positions that favour their business is free speech. However free speech is not the only pillar of democracy. Another one is openness and freedom of information, which decidedly does not exist.

      I suspect that peeking in behind the closed doors behind which deals and laws are made would reveal that corporations don't support politicians who support positions favourable to their interests, but rather support politicians whose positions (and votes) can be influenced by huge campaign contributions. And THAT is bribery.

      There's way too little known about what happens behind those closed doors, and the reality is that it doesn't matter what public opinion is about any issue in the US, what really matters is the lobbying. Any number of issues on which the American public has a strong majority support is blocked by minority interest lobbying (more taxes on the rich, comprehensive tax reform, medical insurance reform, liberalisation of drug law etc etc ). And every time a congressman or senator or government official who has contributed to some cause end their government stint, they end up with a cushy post on the board of said mega-corporation.

      The system needs more accountability, not less

      1. Tom 13

        Then you completely misunderstand corporate lobbying.

        Corporation lobbying is a byproduct of statist policies. With so much power concentrated in one easily accessible location, corporation have to buy seats at the table for issues which affect their business. Sometimes that means they are trying to move things forward, mostly it means they are just trying to make things not a bad as they otherwise would be. Yes it is extortion in a moral sense, but only religions know morality while governments only know laws and "ethics", and the politicians make the laws, the politicians aren't going to make laws against themselves.

        I'm all for accountability, but that comes from disclosure, not abridgement of speech rights.

  12. earl grey

    up against the wall

    now....let's clean house/

  13. JaitcH

    What a refreshing blast of fresh air

    Give this man a medal!

    US politicians seem to have one purpose in life - collecting money. The RIAA has bought off many politicians, the most prominent of them is VP Joe Biden who his always talking up the RIAA.

    In most jurisdictions all this money would be called 'bribes', in the US it is called 'contributions'.

    Americans should support this man, at least he has peoples interests at heart, rather than companies.

  14. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Good laws are the most prifitable

    Remember the 'golden rule'

    (Those with the gold, rule)

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. 2cent

    Corporate Government

    If you had to vote for the RIAA to run your world, would you?

    Corporations that want to run the show without the responsibility of democracy.

    If they want to run the world, they will have to step and get on the list or step back.

    I voted, albeit, within a very constrained list and I think it should count for something.

    The RIAA was not in the list, but seams (pun intended) to be in charge.

    NOTE: Democrat vs. Republican is a flagrant aberration of this process.

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