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The Justice Department - brought to you by the letters ORLY?
January 10, 2009 12:31 AM   Subscribe

The Justice Department - brought to you by the letters ORLY? The left gets to hate him because he "is the RIAA's favorite lawyer". (Note however, that the RIAA has still never actually won a judgement against a file sharer.) The right gets to hate him because he was the lawyer for Terry Schiavo's husband. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce Thomas J. Perrelli, Obama's selection for associate Attorney General.

Also announced was the appointment for the number two spot at Justice; David Ogden, who successfully defended extending the Copyright Act, and who fought tirelessly against the ACLU to implement the Child Online Protection Act.
posted by dejah420 (32 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
The left gets to hate him because he "is the RIAA's favorite lawyer"

The left, at least the Democrats, has been one of the music biz's biggest supporters, and of course the music biz has reciprocated. Neither political party has been particularly friendly to music thieves. They have both been more than happy to take the industry money and thus allow the industry to dig its grave ever deeper.
posted by caddis at 12:41 AM on January 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm confused. Hooray?
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:03 AM on January 10, 2009


David Ogden was probably just doing his job to the fullest regarding COPA — Congress passes shitty legislation and he had to defend it.

He's lawyered for the other side too: "Obtaining on behalf of booksellers, artists, and internet associations a permanent injunction holding unconstitutional a state statute regulating speech on the internet"
posted by blasdelf at 1:06 AM on January 10, 2009


Neither political party has been particularly friendly to music thieves

Really!?!? Whose been stealing music?.... Oh, you might mean people infringing copyright....yeah.
posted by MikeKD at 1:07 AM on January 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


No, you meant "Who's been stealing music?", where "Who's" is a contraction of "Who has." "Whose" is a possessive.
posted by Ryvar at 1:18 AM on January 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


The left gets to hate him because he "is the RIAA's favorite lawyer"

The anti-copyright, anti-digital rights crowd are hardly "left". They are more Libertarian than anything else.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:19 AM on January 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Excellently crafted post!
posted by dawson at 1:26 AM on January 10, 2009


The anti-copyright, anti-digital rights crowd are hardly "left".

aka Inevitablists.
posted by ryoshu at 1:51 AM on January 10, 2009


If you looked at Obama's website during the campaign, you'd see one of his "Technology Issues" was "protect Intellectual Property at Home" (as opposed to abroad, where it also needed protecting, apparently)
Intellectual property is to the digital age what physical goods were to the industrial age. Barack Obama believes we need to update and reform our copyright and patent systems to promote civic discourse, innovation and investment while ensuring that intellectual property owners are fairly treated.
Whatever that's supposed to mean.
posted by delmoi at 2:04 AM on January 10, 2009


The anti-copyright, anti-digital rights crowd are hardly "left". They are more Libertarian than anything else.

Well, you see a lot of that sentiment on sites like DailyKos, at least you used too when I bothered to read it.
posted by delmoi at 2:05 AM on January 10, 2009


No, you meant "Who's been stealing music?", where "Who's" is a contraction of "Who has." "Whose" is a possessive.

thanks ryvar. i've been wondering about that.
posted by Philby at 2:20 AM on January 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


David Ogden was also a real dickhead to Hawkeye and Radar.
posted by Optamystic at 3:25 AM on January 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Intellectual property is to the digital age what physical goods were to the industrial age. Barack Obama believes we need to update and reform our copyright and patent systems to promote civic discourse, innovation and investment while ensuring that intellectual property owners are fairly treated.

Whatever that's supposed to mean.


What's that you say? Copyright extended by another 100 years? You bought it, you've got it!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:13 AM on January 10, 2009


Yeah, well, Larry Lessig was also a big supporter of Barack Obama, and an informal adviser to the campaign. Lessig for (a newly created national) chief technology officer or chair of the FCC would be sweet. Might happen, too.

This guy has to be better than Gonzo.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:31 AM on January 10, 2009


Also, while I'm on "the left," and the libertarian left at that, and have come around to, basically, sharing Lessig's view of the copyright-in-the-digital-age situation (basically, let's scrap this shit and start fresh and open-source), don't count me as a friend of people who break the law and pirate music either for profit or to avoid paying for it. Don't like the law? Work to change it. It's not civil disobedience to have 200GB of music you obtained illegally. Unless you post your name and the contents of your hard drive publicly to the internet and invite the trouble that will follow.

Otherwise, meh. Take your chances. You'll probably get away with it. It's trivial in the big scheme. But don't cry about it when you're sued.

Would I like to see the current regime collapse? Absolutely, and it's happening quickly. But as someone who made his living as a musician for years, and with many friends who still do, I can't reconcile the way my friends are being screwed by record companies *and* illegal downloaders with any concept of "justice."

*I will not engage in the same old argument about this. Positions on this subject, around here, as many places, are hardened and irrational and abusively expressed. I hate the f'ing RIAA as much as anyone. But I hate music pirates who steal for profit just as much.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:38 AM on January 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


The anti-copyright, anti-digital rights crowd are hardly "left". They are more Libertarian than anything else.

Libertarians are strong believers in private property; perhaps you are thinking of anarchists?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:30 AM on January 10, 2009


ZenMasterThis:

That all depends on whether you consider "Intellectual Property" worthy of the name "property"...
posted by leviathan3k at 6:54 AM on January 10, 2009


Really!?!? Whose been stealing music?.... Oh, you might mean people infringing copyright....yeah.

Oh, Jesus. Yeah, we can hear you singing the song of angry men from here, champ.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:21 AM on January 10, 2009


This is interesting. Most of Obama's other picks have clearly telegraphed (or at least feinted in the direction of) what the President-Elect has in mind for the next few years. Partially due to the nature of lawyers, whose efficacy can be known but not often their political outlooks, here we have only mystery.

I desperately hope that we see some rational copyright reform: that seems like the easiest bit compared to the others. Be nice to see our "War on Drugs" wind down. Like to see our basic civil liberties get some more love.

I don't think any of these three will happen.
posted by adipocere at 8:43 AM on January 10, 2009


Whose been stealing music?....

A shitload of people who moan about RIAA, TBH.
posted by Artw at 8:53 AM on January 10, 2009


Be nice to see our "War On Drugs" wind down.

Obama's team has very clearly said this will not happen.

I've been completely unimpressed with Obama's picks for key positions. The message is consistent and clear: "business as usual (except with more competent people)". Aside from the competence factor (which is huge) I don't expect to see any "change" at all. We know the war in Afghanistan will escalate - if anyone really believes that Obama will be out of Iraq by the end of 2009, raise your hands. We're going to continue with the War on Drugs; we're going to continue with the War for Copyright; we're going to continue with the War on the Poor, filling the jails and the ever-less-sustainable welfare roles; we're certainly going to continue with Israel's War on Arabs.

There were some encouraging signs but I still believe we won't see many if any Bush officials get arrested and charged; we won't see any of our our bailout money back, and only a few of the most egregious financial criminals charged.

God, I hope I'm wrong.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:34 AM on January 10, 2009


The anti-copyright, anti-digital rights crowd are hardly "left". They are more Libertarian than anything else.

Libertarians are strong believers in private property; perhaps you are thinking of anarchists?


I'm thinking of the BoingBoing crowd.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:24 AM on January 10, 2009


Obama's legacy is going to be "the more things Change, the more they stay the same."
posted by five fresh fish at 11:25 AM on January 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


fourcheesemac, thank you for your insightful post. You rock.

One nitpick with the FPP: the RIAA has won a judgment, which was later revisited by the court. I can't find the actual judgment on WestLaw, but the document exists and is referenced as "the October 5, 2007 Judgment (Doc. No. 106)" by the Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Judgment in Capitol Records v. Thomas, 2007 WL 4586691 (D.Minn.) (for those who have WestLaw access).

From the motion:
On October 4, 2007, the jury impaneled in this case returned a verdict against Defendant, finding that Defendant willfully infringed 24 of the copyrighted sound recordings owned by Plaintiffs in this case. (Doc. No. 100). The jury further awarded statutory damages under 17 U.S.C. §504(c) to Plaintiffs in the amount of $9,250 per sound recording infringed by Defendant. ( Id.) On October 5, 2007, the Court entered a Judgment (Doc. No. 106) against Defendant in this matter, ordering Defendant liable for the following damages:

“Judgment is entered in favor of plaintiffs and against defendant as follows: Capitol Records, Inc. - $9,250 for 1 sound recording; Sony BMG Music Entertainment - $9,250 for each of the 6 sound recordings; Arista Records, LLC - $9,250 for each of the 2 sound recordings; Interscope Records - $9,250 for each of the 3 sound recordings; Warner Bros. - $9,250 for each of the 3 sound recordings; UMG Recordings, Inc. - $9,250 for each of the 9 sound recordings.”
A judgment is the end of a particular lawsuit, though not necessarily the end of the underlying controversy. While a judgment may be overturned or revisited in any number of ways (not least of all motions to amend the judgment, as above, or declarations of mistrial, also as above, but also appeal), it remains a judgment.
posted by jock@law at 11:30 AM on January 10, 2009


On a side note, it's at least conceivable that Obama is planning to look at both sides of every issue and trying to work out a compromise. That's what he has always said he would do, it's how he got things done in Illinois, and it's a drastic change from the Way of Bush. Having both Perrelli and Lessig in the Obama Administration is consistent with that interpretation.

Also, the issue of music piracy is relatively niche compared to, oh, the conduct of actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, practices at Gitmo, Federal recognition of same-sex civil unions, gays in the military, embryonic stem cell research, having actual scientists as advisors, ending abstinence-only sex education, and a lot of other issues. I don't think picking one man for a DOJ position means that things will "stay the same."

posted by jock@law at 11:37 AM on January 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Really!?!? Whose been stealing music?.... Oh, you might mean people infringing copyright....yeah.

No, I'm quite sure there exist people who go into stores and shove CDs down their pants and walk out with them, and neither political party has been very friendly to those people. I'm not really sure what that has to do with the RIAA and their copyright lawsuits, though.

Fun Fact: Glenn Danzig actually once tried to claim that low sales for one of the more recent Danzig albums was due to people literally stealing it, i.e. shoving it down their pants and walking out of the store with it, as it came in some weird packaging that was supposedly easy to remove from the plastic security thingy. It couldn't possibly be that all his albums since Lucifuge have sucked progressively more each time.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:40 AM on January 10, 2009


Libertarians are strong believers in private property

It's not private property if it's digital and easily duplicated.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:47 AM on January 10, 2009


Having both Perrelli and Lessig in the Obama Administration is consistent with that interpretation.

So, does Lessig, or someone like him, have a spot yet where they have any clout?
posted by weston at 12:38 PM on January 10, 2009


Glenn Greenwald on Obama's impressive new OLC chief, Dawn Johnsen.
posted by homunculus at 1:01 PM on January 10, 2009


You could still argue that someone walking into a store and grabbing a physical CD is stealing a case, disc, artwork, and a license to use the music, as transferrable from that CD. Digital copies are a weird thing. If I grab a digital copy of the album art from somewhere, am I stealing part of what I would have in the store? What if I download the album, but pay for an empty sleeve, as some record labels would let me do?

What someone is actually buying, or stealing, varies a lot. It's a question that the market and the laws are finally starting to address, but not fully.
posted by mikeh at 1:27 PM on January 10, 2009


Frankly, I'm alright with "the RIAA's favorite lawyer" being the new AG, in light of the fact pointed out in the post - they haven't won a single case against a file sharer.

Also, this talk of "it isn't change; it's the same thing only with competent people" confuses me. I know some people like to take the oversimplifying "Reps and Dems are the same" perspective, and there's not a lot you can say to people who are convinced this is so. But Alberto Gonzales was wholly competent in the strictest sense of the world - it was his attitude about his position, those under him, and laws both domestic and international that made him despicable. Let me know when Perrelli calls the Geneva Convention "quaint" or engages in politically-motivated firings of federal attorneys.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:03 PM on January 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Looks like Obama is gearing up to try and actually enforce this fun-filled piece of legislation as posted previously on Metafilter.

I'm still looking forward to how far they're going to get when they send their anti-filesharing representative to Canada. Maybe our privacy commissioner will eat them. Here's to hoping.
posted by Pseudology at 2:06 PM on January 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


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