Big Content's moneymen speak out: We expect our politicians to stay bought, dammit

Markos of DailyKos tears into Democrats who lack the fortitude and intellectual honesty to oppose SOPA, and continue to back it because they fear losing the campaign funding that comes from Hollywood. PNH sez, "Markos highlights a couple of paragraphs from a Politico story assessing the landscape following the SOPA/PIPA protests:"

Leo Hindery, a major Democratic donor whose New York media private equity firm owns cable channels, said Obama might have reason to worry about his entertainment industry fundraising base. “[The bill] is an issue that has no business being decided politically – by anybody on one side or the other – and the fact that it might be becoming a political issue is unfair to the content producers,” said Hindery, who’s contributed more than $3 million to Democratic candidates and groups.

"An issue that has no business being decided politically." I can't recall seeing a purer expression of the idea that certain decisions ought to simply be reserved for whoever shows up with the largest bag of cash. Not that the world is like this, but that it's right and just that it should be like this.

It's very illuminating to hear people like this speak frankly.

Hollywood bought its politicians, and it expects them to stay bought (Thanks, PNH)


  1. Whores are supposed to provide the service they are paid for. Note that I don’t use this term for sex workers, who I respect far more than I do politicians.

    1. Yeah, but water doesn’t usually go out in public being like “you know what is the best part of me?  Drowning stuff.  Man, drowning, floods…oh, when I freeze & there is an Ice Age, oh all the giggles.”

  2. And this is why the protest of SOPA and PIPA can’t stop even if the bills suffer setbacks or are stopped entirely. The web-based community that mobilizes over these types of issues will never ultimately mean anything if it doesn’t transfer into votes. Once politicians fear our power to remove them from office if they do not represent our interests, we will actually be moving towards a democracy. If the causes that the people supports are just, there is no reason that the amount of money coming from these powerful lobbies should mean shit. We still have the votes. We are still able to mobilize and get to the polls. The internet has removed the excuses that anyone can have about not becoming an informed voter. In this era we truly get the government that we deserve. In this country, if we don’t vote in droves, we don’t matter. 

  3. This is pretty normal back and forth talk in any situation where you have different interest groups within a party coming into conflict over some issue.  “Stop politicizing the issue!” is a pretty standard refrain from anyone coming out on the losing side of something, even when it’s not a big money sorta issue.  And I’m sure Kos knows that.

  4. It’s high time Google and Facebook open their rich purses to buy a good chunk of Congress. Many IT companies make more money than the entire movie or recording industry, so it’s not like they can’t afford it. Yes, it would all be better if the game was different, but it’s not, so you gotta play with the same rules as everybody else.

    Oh, and nobody talks about the big elephant in the room: the copyright mafia gets all the flak, but Microsoft, Apple, Adobe etc, i.e. the “old school” technology companies, are paying for this act as much as anybody else, because at the end of the day they still hate the goddamn internet like it was 1995.

    1.  apple must surely hate it in such deeply strange ways. iTunes, the app store, net-only releases of OS X Lion … yessir, no internet for them.

      1. Apple is pretty much already SOPA-compliant.  The app store is a closed garden environment where prospective applications are pre-screened for IP violations, and they don’t generally allow apps that facilitate file sharing.   When one sneaks though, some reporter or blogger will eventually figure it out, make a stink, and Apple will pull it quickly. They would do just fine on a censored Internet.

        Apple may even profit off it when people decide the circumvention effort in a guaranteed-to-escalate war isn’t worth it and just buy the stuff from Apple.

        1. toyg claimed that apple hates the internet. for a company that hates it so much, they have certainly made a huge amount of money from it. this observation is independent of whether or not they would be affected by the SOPA/PIPA nightmare. i have a hard time believing that a company that made this much money from the internet “hates” it. they may be ambivalent about the changes SOPA/PIPA would imply, but hate the net? i think not.

          1. Apple’s concept of “the internet” is the app store, .mac, iCloud: closed, tightly controlled networks that would have looked right at home with AOL , compuserve and that other walled-garden crap Microsoft was pushing back then.

            Of course they make money from the internet, it’s what their customers ask for, and they’re better than others at understanding (and defining) what their customers want. This doesn’t mean they love the concept behind it, the wild and *uncontrollable* meshing of networks and information. They are about proprietary formats, the internet is about common standards. They are about personal hardware, the internet is about location-neutral information. They are about control, the internet is about randomness. See their new authoring tool for ebooks, which does not allow to redistribute your files anywhere but on the Apple store: “you made it with our tools, you better give us a piece of your goddamn pie; screw the network!”

            The same goes more or less for Microsoft, Adobe and all their BSA friends, who’d love nothing more than to go back to the good ol’ days of shrinkwrap software, when things were easy and competitors were few and far between. At the end of the day, money talks: the BSA exists because of these companies, and SOPA exists because of lobbies like the BSA. Love Apple as much as you want, but they *are* part of the problem.

          2. toyg: i was around when networks used proprietary protocols. nothing that you’ve said about apple is factually incorrect (“walled garden”, etc. etc), but i can assure you that they have zero interest in returning to that kind of world. do they care if SOPA/PIPA shuts down boingboing? probably not. do they want a world without TCP/IP/DNS/http/css/… ? i think not.

  5. I hate SOPA / PIPA as much as the next guy, but I don’t think this is a great argument against it, or evidence of wholesale corruption. They way the MPAA folks see things this is about property rights, and in general when making rights based arguments, we accept that they shouldn’t be politicized. i.e. It doesn’t matter that group X is unpopular, they’re allowed to do Y because it’s a fundamental right, a majority of people opposing them is immaterial. I don’t buy that this really is a rights based argument for lots of other reasons, but this behaviour is consistent with that rhetorical position.

    1. I don’t actually see the MAFIAA being prevented from doing anything at all. It seems they want to stop others from doing things, even if they need to set fire to the entire internet to do that.

      1. That’s fine, I agree with you, Big Content is wrong on this one, but they’ve been using arguments that conflate physical property rights with “intellectual property” for years and years. The error is in the premise of the argument i.e. stealing and redistributing physical widgets does not equal copying and redistributing information. However, the point of this post was that congress members have been bought and paid for, and that politics (read democracy) shouldn’t come into it. I’m just saying that this isn’t really evidence for that case, their behaviour proceeds logically from their flawed premises, if someone really were stealing their widgets it wouldn’t matter if widget stealing were politically popular or not, and the behaviour of the democratic donor being discussed here is consistent with that.

        1. Even accepting that world view, it’s like an old man demanding that the pavement be removed because those damn kids use it to get to his lawn.

          1. Again, I agree, but in general we assume that that old man is out of touch and wrongheaded, not corrupt and malicious.

        2. Domain owners hold a property right to those domains, right? Seizing or blocking those domains without providing, in advance, a trial with the opportunity to confront the accused and examine evidence is a violation of due process. Blocking someone’s Internet presence is a violation of free speech rights. All of those are fundamental rights. 

          That means that the arguments over SOPA/PIPA are a discussion of which rights are more important, and that’s a political discussion. Hindery is arguing that the RIAA/MPAA’s interpretation of their property rights are so important that nobody else’s rights count, basically because they’re big rich guys. 

      1. It’s a fundamental tension in a democracy, if the U.S. constitutions allows inalienable rights, those are not political in the sense that they’re not subject to democratic will, you can’t vote them away. In practice their implementation is political, but that’s a bug, not a feature.

  6. A digression, but relevant. Radiohead and Louis CK can bypass the middle man. But I worry about unproven talent.

  7. It’s not like the folks up in DC came up with this bill on their own.  Hell, most of them have copped to neither reading nor really understanding the bill when asked directly (and many of the rest have avoided being asked on record).  And I can’t imagine that it percolated up from us unwashed masses – you know of anyone in your ‘hood (including the content creators) who was calling their elected official to get them on this issue pronto with everything else going on?

    Sorry MAFIAA – you guys brought this on yourselves by crafting this dreck through your lobbyists.  Just because it didn’t turn out the way you hoped, doesn’t mean it’s unfair that it’s become a political issue.

    And again, show us the “content” that most of you folks in the cartels “produced.”  Spreadsheets, lawsuits and proposals don’t count….

    1. Spreadsheets are very important! See, if they have to make spreadsheets that claim massive losses from piracy, they have to divert their attention to doing THAT instead of going out and finding yet more talented young artists to exploit with attractive-looking-but-extortive contracts! Time is money, and time spent making shit up about losing money is time spent not making money from fresh meat!

      And don’t forget Powerpoint presentations for the lobbyists, too. Spreadsheets and powerpoints, how’s a guy supposed to earn a slimy buck with all this nonsense?

  8. i love when people say shit like, ”
    [The bill] is an issue that has no business being decided politically – by anybody on one side or the other – and the fact that it might be becoming a political issue is unfair to the content producers.” go back to civics class moron. a bill in congress is political in its nature. sorry you aren’t getting everything you want out of life. welcome to reality. 

  9. Did you read the MPAA Press release? I can’t help but think that the last part as a thread to politicians (to lose money). If not it would just be a bubble of air, which is quite different to the rest of the angry statement.

    “It is our hope that the White House and the Congress will call on those who intend to stage this “blackout” to stop the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy.”  Our hope (who is we? Perhaps all the MAFIAA?)

  10. Is this the part of the movie when the moguls so overplay their hand that Washington turns their back on them and champions the little guy? Because that means the movie is almost over.

  11. I find it interesting that Moulitsas takes this position in the post excerpted here, given the fact that for the past several years his website (DailyKos) was partly responsible for the election of the kind of Democratic congresspersons [e.g. Webb (VA), Tester (MT)] who often vote for bad legislation like PIPA, while ridiculing those [e.g. Kucinich (OH-10)] who usually oppose them. Maybe ‘kos’ needs to give his head a shake.

    1. SOPA/PIPA directly threaten The DailyKos as well as basically every other website built since 1997; party loyalty is an afterthought when your back is up against the wall.

      This Congress/Senate has demonstrated that they do not work for the people–they are in the pocket of corporate interests by a significant majority. What you see now are the voices of Americans penetrating the bubble of money that insulates the lawcritters from the real world, and some of them are realizing that money can’t buy them votes with all this noise going on. Neither party is representing Markos’s interests right now.

    2. Kos, and Dailykos have more issues to worry about than one single law.  
      They also have to operate in the real world, where getting a fairly centrist Democrat who votes with us 80-90% of the time like Tester (who is my Senator) elected in Montana is a massive accomplishment.  And he’s certainly better than leaving his predecessor in power, who was the sort of guy who went around telling nigger jokes at campaign stops.  On purpose.  Repeatedly.

      Now if you want to lay out a plan for getting someone on the far left elected in Montana, feel free.  I’d love to hear it.  I suspect it might involve unicorns and pixie dust though.  

    3. Kos, and Dailykos have more issues to worry about than one single law.  

      They also have to operate in the real world, where getting a fairly centrist Democrat who votes with us 80-90% of the time like Tester (who is my Senator) elected in Montana is a massive accomplishment.  And he’s certainly better than leaving his predecessor in power, who was the sort of guy who went around telling ni**er jokes at campaign stops.  On purpose.  Repeatedly.

      Now if you want to lay out a plan for getting someone on the far left elected in Montana, feel free.  I’d love to hear it.  I suspect it might involve unicorns and pixie dust though.

      1. Why am I not surprised that you invoked the ‘pragmatism not idealism’ argument on behalf of DailyKos while using the words ‘unicorns’ and ‘pixie dust’?

        Kos? Is that you?

        1. I’m not Kos.  I’m a Black guy living in Montana who grew up hearing my congressman telling ni**er jokes in public.  I understand pragmatism, and I understand compromise, and I understand that you’re never going to get a guy here who’s better than Tester.  

          Which makes it rather hard to listen to people whine about him when he deviates from the far left line, because it’s clear the people doing the whining have absolutely no clue as to the alternatives, or what getting a better Democrat in this state would entail (magic, pretty much).  

          1. Is it really that clear? What else can you divine from a pseudonym? My political ideology? My lived experiences? Do you find the “unicorns and fairy dust” schtick effective when discussing issues with folks whose ideas differ from your own?

        2. Relax, and stop getting hung up on unicorns and pixie dust. This is Boing Boing, after all. I find Gideon’s answer well written, and a fair assessment of what Markos has advocated all along: as far back as 2003 he stated he was for Democrats, not progressives or liberals.

  12. It comes down to this: The rights of Hollywood are more important that anyone else’s rights.

    All of this is bought and paid for.  It does not matter which party you are in, all of Washington loves celebrities and the assumed power they have. Those celebrities bring in votes. The owners of those celebrities use that for their own ends.  You are stuck with whatever they decide is best for you.

    We are all criminals now.  Better learn how to hide what you do before they come after you too.

    1. Sometimes I almost wish that the US would actually succeed in self-nuking their internet, so that Silicon Valley would relocate somewhere closer to me.

  13. If Mr. Hindery doesn’t think his issue has any business being decided politically, he had no business going to Congress for a solution. If he needs a hint: where does “adjudication” happen?

  14. I can’t help but think that if all of us “techies” staged our own “blackout” of technical services to these money-grubbing poop-weasels for… oh… about 2 weeks… they’d all be sitting in the dark trying to figure out how to access their money without ATMs and on-line banking, while their stock values headed south at about Mach 5 and their spouses bitched incessantly about not being able to watch their favorite shows on Netflix or download new books to their Kindles…

  15. Wait a month. They will just wait until the hubbub has died down, and then reintroduce (maybe call it something different), and change their vote.

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