Why a pro-SOPA MPAA technologist changed sides and went to work for ISOC

My latest Guardian column is "Why did an MPAA executive join the Internet Society?" which digs into the backstory on the appointment of former MPAA CTO Paul Brigner as North American director of the copyright-reforming, pro-net-neutrality Network Society group, which manages the .ORG domain name registry.

I asked Brigner whether his statements about DNS blocking and seizure and net neutrality had been sincere. "There are certainly a number of statements attributed to me that demonstrate my past thoughts on DNS and other issues," he answered. "I would not have stated them if I didn't believe them. But the true nature of my work was focused on trying to build bridges with the technology community and the content community and find solutions to our common problems. As I became more ingrained in the debate, I became more educated on the realities of these issues, and the reality is that a mandated technical solution just isn't a viable option for the future of the internet. When presented with the facts over time, it was clear I had to adjust my thinking.

"My views have evolved over the last year as I engaged with leading technologists on DNSSEC. Through those discussions, I came to believe that legislating technological approaches to fight copyright violations threatens the architecture of the internet. However, I do think that voluntary measures could be developed and implemented to help address the issue.

"I will most definitely advocate on Internet Society's behalf in favor of all issues listed, and I share the organization's views on all of those topics. I would not have joined the organisation otherwise, and I look forward to advocating on its behalf."

Update: Joly sez, "After his appointment we (ISOC-NY) did pull Paul up on the carpet to explain himself - you can find the salient MPAA passage here

Why did an MPAA executive join the Internet Society?

(Image: Stop SOPA!, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from 51295441@N07's photostream)


  1. I can barely listen due to his entirely inappropriate and incessantly belying chuckles. He’s either a tool or out of his element, regardless of his IETF work. 


    That said, if you dig the Inside Baseball of digital copyright and shizz, Joly’s video is a must-see.

  2. The Creative Commons licensed image with bootleg Calvin and Monopoly Guy images is just precious. I’d wonder if it’s meant to be ironic, but given that the rest of his Flickr photostream is un-altered album covers he’s also released as (CC BY 2.0) I’m guessing it’s not.

    1. I found the headline picture striking, too.  How did that pre-internet meme, the pissing Calvin, end up within the parameters of the Creative Commons license, and so long ago to boot?

    2.  Calvin and Hobbes is much more special than a picture of Calvin pissing. I doubt it is ironic as well.

      1. I’m thinking of who “pissing Calvin” usually resonates with – and I’m not connecting with why it’s on there.   Too bad Bill Watterson can’t use some “moral rights” there to stop a “derogatory treatment” of his work.

      2. What did it say on McSweeney’s?  If your favorite rock band is Van Halen, you probably have a pissing Calvin sticker on your Jeep Cherokee.

    3.  Forget about the irony, the thing is bloody hideous.  Looks like a clipart collage from a 7 year old, created in MS word.

      Seriously, it put me off the whole article.

  3. And who exactly is going to be “volunteering” for those “voluntary measures”. Verizon, presumably. And that’s supposedly better than a legislative approach?

  4. And I tell you that there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. 

    Actually, it looks as though this guy had just gone in the wrong door by mistake one morning.  Happens more often than you might think, especially when we live in such a polarised world these days (the “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” sort of thing.)  Holding a nuanced position on something is getting increasingly difficult.

  5. One thing i find wondering tho, was his earlier MPAA statements redacted once he found them to be flawed? Or do MPAA still use them?

    1. It all depends on the situation and which would be better. 

      Consistency you demand? HAW HAW!

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