News that President Obama has gone back to his Hollywood well to promote ObamaCare enrollment is another reminder of why the GOP is often called the “stupid party.”
The “Stupid Party” Carries Hollywood’s Water
Hollywood and the recording industry are the backbone of the Democrat party. They can always be counted on for campaign contributions and support. During the last presidential campaign, the “stars” raised and donated tens of millions of dollars for the Obama campaign, allowed the campaign to use their names for promotion, and hosted fundraisers across the country. From music to movies, the content industry is the Democrat Party.
Considering these facts, why on earth would Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) include in his faux border security amendment a special giveaway to Hollywood? Why would Republicans on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees continue to carry water for Hollywood on issues of copyrights? Why would so-called conservative groups come out and oppose efforts to get government price-fixing out of Internet royalty pricing? The answer is obvious: Money. But unlike the Democrats who get millions from the industry, the Republicans are willing to sell out and do their bidding for crumbs off their plate.
Late last year, a staff member on the House Republican Study Committee, Derek Khanna, wrote a paper outlining his opposition to Hollywood’s copyright agenda. Entitled” Three Myths About Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix It,” Khanna described how today’s strict copyright system hampers progress and runs contrary to constitutional principles. “Today’s legal regime of copyright law is seen by many as a form of corporate welfare that hurts innovation and hurts the consumer. It is a system that picks winners and losers, and the losers are new industries that could generate new wealth and added value,” he wrote. He went on to advocate lighter penalties for copyright infringement and an expansion of fair use.
He was summarily fired. Word on Capitol Hill was that Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a water-carrier for the music industry, pressed for his removal. Rather than supporting the free exchange of ideas and supporting a constitutional conservative, Blackburn and her allies in the content industry got her way.
The same reaction was seen when conservative Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) introduced legislation to help Internet radio stations that are drowning under a price fixing regime established by the government. The government established a price for music royalties for songs played on the Internet six times higher than for other mediums. Companies like Pandora are forced to give over 50% of their revenue back in royalties because of a dictate from the Library of Congress. Chaffetz’s bill would allow Internet radio stations to negotiate performance fees under the same process used for cable music channels and satellite-radio providers. But out of the woodwork came a handful of Beltway conservative groups to oppose the introduction of market forces in the price negating process. Seems clear that they are doing the bidding of the big boys.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has a chance to do what Corker and Senate Republicans apparently couldn’t– demonstrate that he is not part of the “stupid party.” Goodlatte has pledged to review the issue of music royalties and copyrights, and perhaps we will finally have a leader in the House willing to stand up for free markets and technology by telling Hollywood and the content industry to take their price fixing schemes elsewhere. He may lose a few campaign contributions in the process, but he would be doing the country a big favor.
Photo Credit: Kiran Ambre (Creative Commons)
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