One thing became clear in the wake of our recent article on Pam Samuelson – she has a number of fans on “academic Twitter.” Several academics commented on our piece – some apparently without reading it – and challenged our facts and conclusions. We’ll stand by our facts.
Her supporters called her “fair,” “kind,” “generous,” even the “voice of our generation.” Unsurprisingly, some of her most passionate defenders are also among the loudest academic opponents of strong copyright protections. But in fairness, others spoke out in her favor too.
Professor Samuelson clearly has a number of friends. And she is clearly a powerful influencer – which is exactly our point. Her public record on copyright indicates that she is not “fair, kind, or generous,” in thought, word, or deed, in her attitude toward America’s creative community. And that is our beef with her.
We’re also unhappy because she asked Microsoft why their logo was on CreativeFuture’s website. In response, Microsoft emailed us asking us to remove their logo. Of course, we did so.
We don’t know Prof. Samuelson. But if she is as fair, kind, and generous as her supporters say, we’d like to see her rethink her positions, and the harm she and her followers are doing to creativity in America.
Maybe she will speak out in support of the rights of creatives who are watching the value of their work dissipate as commercial piracy operations around the world appropriate revenue that is rightfully theirs.
Maybe she will call on Congress to close the “streaming loophole” that facilitates commercial piracy on a global scale, with pirate sites proliferating like cockroaches, beyond the ability of the copyright community to obtain effective enforcement.
Maybe she will call on YouTube to do more to protect the interests of smaller copyright owners, working people who have neither the time nor resources to chase after the rampant piracy of their works that YouTube enables.
Maybe she will demand that Cloudflare stop hosting pirate sites and hiding their true identity and location, further complicating effective enforcement.
Maybe she will stand up at the next EFF board meeting and declare, “No, we will no longer be a party to disingenuous and uninformed attacks on the CASE Act. Let’s be principled and get behind this balanced Bill that is fair both to small creatives and to those who are alleged to have engaged in copyright infringements.”
Maybe she will speak out against the frequent scurrilous attacks on creatives by many of her friends and fans – and criticize the deliberate efforts by some of them to paper over the negative effects of piracy. The data is readily available and convincing – showing that millions of Americans who make their living in the creative industries suffer real losses from the proliferation of online piracy.
Maybe she will do those things. And, if she does, we will thank her. And, we will gladly eat our words. Every. Single. One.
Because our goal is not to write snarky prose – our goal is to protect creativity. Our intent was not to have the tone obfuscate the issues.
This is a chance for Prof. Samuelson, and her supporters, to be more fair, kind, and generous in their attitudes toward America’s creatives. Will they do so?