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Globe columnist despises filesharing, but now supports VCL

Tech columnist Hiawatha Bray at the Boston Globe has literally been the most fervent and vocal opponent of filesharing in the mainstream American press, but as of today he’s on our side, at least in practical terms.

The Boston Globe is a semi-local paper for us (I used to deliver it when I was a kid) so we’ve been really tempted a few times to spend afternoons taking him to task in letters. But now in his latest column, he basically agrees with the practical side of our platform: he opposes the INDUCE Act because of the huge damage that repealing the Betamax decision would wreak on the tech sector, and he supports the EFF’s proposal for Voluntary Collective Licensing (just like us). Check it out.

None of his columns are still online, as far as I can tell, but seriously: up until now he’s been dripping a pool of venom on the floor whenever he mentions the word “filesharer”. And in his first column on the INDUCE Act, I believe, he was making Fred Von Lohmann from the EFF out to be paranoid. All you college kids and corporate types with lexis-nexis accounts should run a search for “Hiawatha Bray filesharing” to see the older columns. This is a huge about face for a very prominent mainstream commentator.

File this one under “music monopoly eats INDUCE Act backlash”. The RIAA lobbyists may have overplayed their hand. The problem is, a few powerful people in Congress could still pass the thing, even if nearly everyone in the public interest, tech, and independent music communities oppose it.

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