Hollywood and Whine: Why are Democrats helping the entertainment industry stamp out new technologies that fuel economic growth? by Brendan I. Koerner at Washington Monthly.
Same old, same old:
It's a political tale as old as Capitol Hill: A lumbering industry selects a certain corporate-friendly party to be its Beltway patsy. In exchange for the requisite campaign donations and other perks, members of said party use their clout to push through the industry's legislative agenda--an agenda that would rip off consumers and harm the overall economy but enrich the corporate string-pullers immensely. Pundits and public-interest types grumble over the bald-faced cronyism, but as long as the money keeps flowing, the beneficiaries don't seem to care a whit.
Sounds like the buddy-buddy relationship between Republicans and the energy industry, right? The characters cited in the above scenario, however, are the Democrats and Hollywood, one of Washington's coziest couples. For years, Hollywood has poured money into the Democrats' campaign coffers and been rewarded with indispensable assistance on the industry's crusade of the moment--squelching new technologies that allow the dissemination of digital content in ways Hollywood can't control. One bill being hatched by Democrats would allow media companies to hack into networks like KaZaA, a file-sharing service which has replaced Napster as the most popular MP3 clearinghouse on college campuses. Another would outlaw high-tech devices that don't come equipped with government-approved hardware to make it impossible to copy digital media. And yet another would strip consumers of the right to play their legally purchased CDs on multiple devices. The Democrats' Pavlovian alignment with the grossest impulses of the entertainment industry was even written into the Democratic platform back in 2000, when the party urged "all steps necessary" against the leakage of copyrighted materials--a plank pushed on them by Hollywood.
Conclusion, the Dems can afford to lose some entertainment support in favor of new tech support, because it is the future, and the way to innovating news jobs and culture.
Posted by Mary Hodder at February 23, 2003 08:41 AM