Required reading for creatives who take their rights seriously.

Very important webcast of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Hearings. You can watch it online HERE.

Details:

NOTICE OF COMMITTEE HEARING

The Senate Committee on the Judiciary has scheduled a hearing entitled “Targeting Websites Dedicated To Stealing American Intellectual Property” for Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

By order of the Chairman.

Witness List

Hearing before the
Senate Committee on the Judiciary

On

“Targeting Websites Dedicated To Stealing American Intellectual Property”

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 226
10:00 a.m.

Tom Adams
President and CEO
Rosetta Stone Inc.
Arlington, VA

Scott Turow
President
Authors Guild
New York, NY

Christine N. Jones
EVP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
The Go Daddy Group, Inc.
Scottsdale, AZ

Thomas M Dailey
Vice President and Deputy General Counsel
Verizon
Arlington, VA

Denise Yee
Senior Trademark Counsel
Visa, Inc.
San Francisco, CA

Patrick Ross blogs live from the proceedings:

The overarching theme of the hearing was so-called rogue sites, criminal offshore websites offering streams and downloads of copyrighted, creative works without permission or compensation. These sites use credit cards to process illegal payments from unsuspecting consumers, putting them at risk of identity theft. U.S.-based Internet registers and registries provide them domain names and host their sites. ISPs connect them, and online ad brokers sell them ads from legitimate companies.

A few days before, Patrick blogged about his arrival in DC, and discussed an excellent article by Authors Guild President Scott Turow.

The day before the hearing, Mr. Turow joined with Paul Aiken and James Shapiro in an editorial in The New York Times titled “Would the Bard Have Survived the Web?” They wrote that Shakespeare and his peers were able to pursue their craft because of a clever innovation in East London — walls around theaters permitting a charge of a penny to go see a play. “Almost overnight, a wave of brilliant dramatists emerged, including Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Kyd, Ben Jonson and Shakespeare. These talents and many comparable and lesser lights had found the opportunity, the conditions and the money to pursue their craft.”

Direct link to Turow’s New York Times article, “Would the Bard have Survived the Web?”:

At day’s end, actors and theater owners smashed open the earthenware moneyboxes and divided the daily take. From those proceeds dramatists were paid to write new plays. For the first time ever, it was possible to earn a living writing for the public.

Money changed everything. Almost overnight, a wave of brilliant dramatists emerged, including Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Kyd, Ben Jonson and Shakespeare. These talents and many comparable and lesser lights had found the opportunity, the conditions and the money to pursue their craft.

The stark findings of this experiment? As with much else, literary talent often remains undeveloped unless markets reward it.

Every creator, wherever you stand on the subject, must understand the legal process. Blogs and tech sites (especially those which profit from the illegal use of other people’s labor,) routinely post false legal information, and anti-creator rights advocates use ridiculous “protect the children” scare tactics to attempt to sway public opinion while obscuring the legal facts. These matters are not going to be decided by shrill bloggers, paid corporate shills, and internet mob rule. They’ll be decided in court.

It’s your responsibility to understand these matters and express your views with your representatives. Preferably with a degree of civility.