August 8, 2004  ·  Tim Wu

I’m pleased to remind everyone that Congressman Rick Boucher will be running the Lessig Blog this week. Rep. Boucher is a hero to many for his opposition to the DMCA and authorship of the Digital Media Consumer Rights Act. And yes this is a Virginia conspiracy.

I will return next week, and special guest Judge Richard Posner will close out the month, starting August 23. Goodbye till then, and thanks for all the comments and feedback.

August 2, 2004  ·  Tim Wu

Jack Valenti says goodbye in the LA Times today, rating his career “AE–always exciting.” A few better and less-well known Valentisms from the King-Kong of lobbyists:

On the nascent cable industry, in 1974
“[Cable will become] a huge parasite in the marketplace, feeding and fattening itself off of local television stations and copyright owners of copyrighted material. We do not like it because we think it wrong and unfair.”

On the dangers on media concentration, 1984 Op-Ed
“Will a democratic society allow just three corporate entities to wield unprecedented dominion over television, the most decisive voice in the land? There are now only three national networks …. There will never be more than three national networks.”

On the public domain, 1995
“A public domain work is an orphan. No one is responsible for its life. But everyone exploits its use, until that time certain when it becomes soiled and haggard, barren of its previous virtues. How does the consumer benefit from the steady decline of a film’s quality?”

On the meaning of Copyright, 1983
“[We face a threat to] the life-sustaining protection, I guess you would call it, on which copyright owners depend, on which film people depend, on which television people depend and it is called copyright.”

On Foreign Policy, 1984
“We hit Jamaica over the head with a two-by-four.” [After successful efforts to restrict U.S. foreign aid unless Jamaican studios began paying royalties].

On the VCR, 1983
“We are facing a very new and a very troubling assault … and we are facing it from a thing called the video cassette recorder and its necessary companion called the blank tape.
We are going to bleed and bleed and hemorrhage, unless this Congress at least protects one industry … whose total future depends on its protection from the savagery and the ravages of this machine [the VCR].”
“[Some say] that the VCR is the greatest friend that the American film producer ever had. I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.”

On the meaning of value, 1983
“Nothing of value is free. It is very easy … to convince people that it is in their best interest to give away somebody else’s property for nothing, but even the most guileless among us know that this is a cave of illusion where commonsense is lured and then quietly strangled.”

On the Internet versus Intellectual Property, 1996
“[If Congress fails to act,] the information superhighway … will collapse the great wonder of intellectual property. The country will be the loser. Big time.”

On potential copyright immunities for ISPs, 1996
“This is a loophole larger than a parade of eight-wheelers through which a dam-busting avalanche of violations can rupture the purpose of your bill every day.”

On lobbying
“I like to pour all the blood, muscle and sinew I can into a fight… downplay your own self-interest and make a senator look like a hero for voting with you.”

And the Valenti slogan
“If you cannot protect what you own, you don�t own anything.”