You are here
Brito & Google: BlameThePiracyVictims.org – Part 17 Google Disrespect for Property Series
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Thu, 2013-10-17 19:07
A more apt name for Jerry Brito’s new website, PiracyData.org, would be BlameTheVictims.org.
In a tweet trumpeting the purpose of PiracyData.org, Mr. Brito exclaimed: “Here’s why Hollywood should blame itself for its piracy problems – [link] Thx to @binarybits[Wash-post blogger] for this write up!”
Mr. Brito’s website effectively frames the most important piracy question to ask as: “Do people turn to piracy when the movies they want to watch are not available legally?” And adds: “We’re building a dataset to help answer that question.”
This odd, upside-down, blame-the-victim, “research” approach to “piracy data,” which presumes piracy is more the fault of the content creators, than the pirates, isn’t so odd when one realizes a key purpose. It greatly helps advance Google’s top piracy recommendation that “the best way to combat piracy is with better, convenient legal alternatives;” i.e. promoting Google-YouTube’s world-leading, free-content, piracy-enabling, global-distribution model over much smaller copyright-respectful distribution models.
The website -- despite a hard-to-find “FAQ disclaimer” that the site does not mean to justify piracy -- practically does justify piracy, because what most everyone now sees is a not-so-subtle cudgel to weekly pound Google’s message that piracy is the fault of content creators. That’s because they won’t self-eviscerate their business model by giving Google-YouTube free access to first-run content on Google’s unilateral terms. The website also helps distract the media from Google’s misleading and deceptive anti-piracy efforts and Google-YouTube’s longstanding anti-competitive, willful blindness to piracy.
In his own words, Mr. Brito said he said was inspired to create the site in response to public criticism of Google’s policy of piracy enablement, because he thinks that since “the MPAA is asking Google to take voluntary action to change search results, it may well be with the movie studio’s power to change those results by taking voluntary action themselves.”
In essence, Mr. Brito is using his free speech right to imply a moral or ethical equivalency between asking Google to voluntarily do the right thing and not promote or advertise illegal pirated content, with Google asking content providers to voluntarily forfeit their legal copyright to control the sale of their property as they see fit, knowing that Google has a free-content, dominant online-advertising, business model that would most benefit from that copyright surrender.
They are not equivalent. Every major religion and code of ethics recognizes that taking others’ property without their permission is stealing, and is wrong, and every nation with a market economy understands enforceable property rights are integral to the functioning and integrity of a market economy.
In a blog post that people visiting piracydata.org would not see, Mr. Brito defends himself by saying: “I make it clear that there is no excuse for piracy. Piracy is illegal and wrong and copyright holders should be able to exercise their exclusive rights as they see fit during the term of their copyright. I don’t know how much more explicit I can be.”
If Mr. Brito’s is “open” to suggestions about how much more explicit he actually can be, try this: state prominently at the top of the PiracyData.org home page in the same font as the other headlines what you said to some in your most recent blog post: “Piracy is illegal and wrong and copyright holders should be able to exercise their exclusive rights as they see fit during the term of their copyright.” Why not do it?
My philosophical objection to the practical thrust of PiracyData.org, and Google’s self-serving first principle of fighting piracy by demonizing the free exercise of property rights, puts a bright spotlight on the “freedom” tension between the “Two Concepts of Liberty” brilliantly explained in philosopher Isaiah Berlin’s seminal essay of that name.
The practical public message of PiracyData.org implies support of a “positive” coercive liberty notion over a “negative” non-coercive liberty” notion, that is playing out in the code war over an Internet commons -- between “rule of code” supporters and “rule of law” supporters.
Simply, rule-of-code cyber-utopians, like Google, tend to embrace “positive” freedoms to coerce others or to take from others without permission, where rule-of-law proponents and property owners tend to embrace the American Constitutional construct of “negative freedom” from coercion, in order to keep what one naturally has – like property and privacy.
Notably, Mr. Brito and Mr. Dourado, co-creators of the PiracyData.org website, just last month were two of four individuals nationally to win an “IP3 Award” from Public Knowledge for advancing Public Knowledge’s Internet commons view of the “public interest,” i.e. that content generally should be shared publicly for free online.
In sum, Mr. Brito’s self-defined purpose behind this website that – “Hollywood should blame itself for its piracy problems” --is very troubling, because it tries to create the impression that content creators deserve to be stolen from, if they profit maximize by exercising their property rights to decide if, when, where, and at what price they sell their property. This legally-protected business freedom provides the incentives and resources to produce the best content in the world.
Never forget Google-YouTube’s not-so-subtle business agenda here is to cause the collapse of the proven content-value-creation model of windowing content over time at different price points, because Google’s billion viewer audience is unmatched -- making it the only game in town for a fully-collapsed video windowing model.
Mr. Brito understands this fact very well saying: “…it’s not clear to me why search engines should be in the business of ensuring other industries business models remain unchanged.”
Google’s misleading and deceptive anti-piracy efforts and Google-YouTube’s longstanding anti-competitive, willful blindness to piracy, expose that Google arguably benefits more broadly and completely than any entity from rampant online piracy. Whether or not Google was involved directly with this website, or the PR promotion of its findings, they are the biggest beneficiary of its existence.
Finally, if the creators of the PiracyData.org website genuinely believe that piracy is “absolutely not” justified and that piracy is “illegal and wrong,” it is easy to prove that sentiment by prominently stating at the top of the PiracyData.org home page what Mr. Brito has said elsewhere: “Piracy is illegal and wrong and copyright holders should be able to exercise their exclusive rights as they see fit during the term of their copyright.”
Google Disrespect for Property Series
Part 1: Google TV: Dumb Content vs. Content is King [10-7-10]
Part 2: Why Google's Motorola Patent Play Backfires [9-9-11]
Part 3: Google 21st Century Robber Baron [9-19-11]
Part 4: Google's "Infringenovation" Secrets [10-3-11]
Part 5: Google's Piracy Liabilities [11-9-11]
Part 6: Grand Theft Automated! Online Ad Economics Fuel Piracy, Oppose SOPA [11-30-11]
Part 7: The Evidence Google's Systematic Theft is Anti-Competitive [1-20-12]
Part 8: The Real Reasons Google Killed SOPA/PIPA [1-24-12]
Part 9: Google's Rap Sheet [6-4-12]
Part 10: Googleopoly IX: Google-Motorola's Patents of Mass Destruction [7-10-12]
Part 11: Four Under-Appreciated Implications for Google from Apple-Samsung Verdict [9-5-12]
Part 12: What Made Apple's Steve Jobs So Angry with Google-Android? [9-6-12]
Part 13: Google News-ster, Google Book-ster, YouTube-ster, Android-ster [11-2-12]
Part 14: Google's Content Settlements are a Tacit Admission It is an Essential Facility [2-11-13]
Part 15: Google protesteth Larry Ellison too much that Google does not steal [8-28-13]
Part 16: Special Report: Google on Piracy: Not Telling the Whole Truth [10-4-13]