Saturday, February 14, 2009

ASCAP hope to pop a cap in copyright carpers

Ben Sheffner has some fun with the idea that ASCAP is campaigning to "shut up" campaigners for a looser copyright regime:

ASCAP is out to "shut up" its ideological opponents by sending out an email with links to articles and commentaries that support its point of view! And criticize a book by a law professor with different views on copyright law! Scary! Perhaps next week, in another bold move to silence the copyleft, they will organize a panel discussion on issues that affect songwriters and publishers. And my super-secret ASCAP sources tell me that the final stage of the "shut up the copyleft" strategy consists of drafting an op-ed to run in Billboard. With all this shutting-up going on, it's a miracle ASCAP is even allowing Techdirt to go on publishing...

It's probably fair to say that Techdirt would have been better to say "drown out" than "shut up" - after all (for the moment) ASCAP and its chums have deeper pockets than the copyleft campaigners.

On the other hand, while Sheffner is having his yuks, he does forget to engage with the sharper points in the original Digital Music News story on which TechDirt was commenting:
In a letter emailed to members, longtime ASCAP board member (and distinguished songwriter) Dean Kay stamped on the Lessig ideology. But instead of directly countering core Lessig points, Kay offered a collection of articles, reviews, and even a video interview with Stephen Colbert to undermine the less-restrictive copyright thinking that Lessig espouses.

They're using The Colbert Report as the basis of their case? What, couldn't they find a Saturday Night Live sketch that shared their views?

It's easy for Sheffner to make fun of TechDirt's histrionics; it's easy for ASCAP to assemble a few pieces on the web that don't actually consider Lessig's arguments. It's just kind of funny that neither seem to want to directly debate.