“‘Collective Licensing or Media Levy’ Is a Euphemism For Turning Creativity Into A Socialist Gulag”

So says Jim DeLong.

Someone better tell the artists represented by collective rights
organizations ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.  Do they have any idea how they’re being oppressed?

Artists must rise up and stop Marybeth Peters, whose proposed reform “effectively substitutes
a collective licensing structure for the existing Section 115 compulsory
license.”

Perhaps Delong was only referring to compulsory licenses or
“Alternative Compensation Systems.”  I guess I missed the part in
Professor Fisher’s book where people are worked to death in prison camps.

Come on, guys – do we really want to throw around terms like gulag?  Haven’t we just been over this?

In a related situation, Glenn Otis Brown pointedly framed what’s distasteful about casually using such loaded terms:

“I get sad when people cheapen words like ‘communist’ or ‘fascist’ by
throwing them around recklessly, especially given what those words
meant in the not-so-distant past,” Brown wrote. “My father was a CIA
Cold Warrior for 35 years of his life; he wasn’t fighting against GPL’d
software. Stalinist purges, the Berlin Wall, tanks in Budapest —
that’s communism.”

4 Responses to ““‘Collective Licensing or Media Levy’ Is a Euphemism For Turning Creativity Into A Socialist Gulag””

  1. Ed Bott
    July 6th, 2005 | 3:26 pm

    I agree with everything you wrote EXCEPT for the inappropriate reference to Sen. Durbin’s remarks. Let’s be clear: Sen. Durbin was referring to an actual prison camp run by the United States Government which is credibly alleged by the FBI and other sources to have engaged in actual torture. The prisoners in that camp have been spirited away with no due process and still have only the most limited access to the rights we as a society cherish. Stalin’s gulags may have been on a much grander scale, but the behavior is repulsive and disgusting.

    By contrast, Delong is talking about the rights of creative people to get a check. This is clearly an inappropriate use of the term “gulag” and he should be called on it.

    Please, though, don’t create a false equivalency with Sen. Durbin’s remarks. His political opponents may have done a masterful job of fogging the story and distracting attention from their offenses, but there’s still a legitimate story there.

  2. Anonymous
    July 6th, 2005 | 3:46 pm

    I take your point, Ed. My basic point though was this: having just witnessed the Durbin fiasco, I would think that we’d all be hyper-aware that care is required when making comparisons to gulags and such. Use of the term should not be taken lightly.

  3. Seth Finkelstein
    July 6th, 2005 | 7:55 pm

    Ah, but you proceed from a false premise, that there is a single standard, as opposed to “It’s OK If You’re A Republican”.

    Durbin’s sin was not the Gulag comparison itself, but applying it to a US-run prison – as opposed to such thoroughly acceptable targets as feminists (recall the expression “feminazis”) or liberal college professors.

    Remember the “VCR == Boston Strangler”! I don’t see that that speech ever did Jack Valenti any harm.

  4. Ernest Miller
    July 7th, 2005 | 1:47 pm

    Never did him any harm? Perhaps not immediately, but it will be what he goes down in history for. Hardly the epitaph he hopes for, I think.