To say I’ve been dissapointed with certain aspects of our new President would be quite the understatement. No, I don’t think he’s about to bring the American way of life to its knees or send us all to some form of doom and darkness as a lot of Republican pundits seem to believe, but I do find some of his early choices eerily striking to other politicians who have made a career out of limiting freedoms. It started with him appointing several RIAA key lawyers to top spots in the Department of Justice. This is a group of lawyers who seem to think that the law doesn’t apply to their own clients. Their crusade against the evil people of America who are setting out to bring an end to the noble and ethical recording industry (please not the substance dripping from your monitor is indeed sarcasm) has gone far beyond a misuse of justice. Sure, I believe they have every right to make a profit and to defend their copyright. Downloading copyrighted material without the right of the copyright holder is against the law and I have no beef with that. I do have a beef against the tactics used in targeting lower and middle income families who can’t mount a proper defense on their own behalf. I have a problem with their unethical use of private investigation companies who have been found guilty of breaking laws throughout various states, yet arguing that whether the evidence was gained legally or not doesn’t matter.
Obama’s most recent Supreme court justice nominee seems to be falling right along with all his other legal picks. Perhaps the thing I find the most appalling in these trials is the ludicrous damages awarded to the recording industry. While, if found guilty, I do believe that damages should be awarded, I am alarmed by the amount of said damages. Rulings that awards tens of thousand of dollars per song downloaded in damages, in my mind, fits the definition of a cruel and unusual punishment. In fact the Obama administration supports the $150,000 dollar per song maximum under Copyright Law. Charging the guilty the full retail price for each album they downloaded seems a much more reasonable course of action – or if the goal is to really punish perhaps double the albums retail value even if the entire album, only a couple of song, were downloaded from it. There is no validity that anyone has been able to show that suggests one person downloading an album illegally causes the recording industry to lose tens of thousands of dollars. In truth, if the people didn’t download them, a large percentage of them probably wouldn’t have purchased the album anyways. The math, the arguments, the logic, it’s all wrong. What does any of this have to do with Obama picking Sonia Sotomayor to become a Supreme Court Justice? She has ruled in favor of excessive damages in Copyright infringement cases throughout her career. With a challenge to these damages potentially appearing before the Supreme Court in the near future her appointment would only further Governments support of big business and its continuing trend of putting the people that elected them in second-class role.
I never expect politicians to speak much truth, especially during an election, but Obama seems bent on going out of his way to contradict his idea of being a man of change. Things seem pretty status quo to me.