Report: Obama VP Choice Biden is Anti-consumer on Tech Issues

CNet’s Declan McCullough reports that Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) has an anti-consumer track record when it comes to technology.

In the past the Democratic VP nominee-apparent has stood with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) on copyright issues.

From the Cnet report:

[Biden] has spent most of his Senate career allied with the FBI and copyright holders… ranks toward the bottom of CNET’s Technology Voters’ Guide, [his] anti-privacy legislation was actually responsible for the creation of PGP [encryption]…


Biden became a staunch ally of Hollywood and the recording industry in their efforts to expand copyright law. He sponsored a bill in 2002 that would have make it a federal felony to trick certain types of devices into playing unauthorized music or executing unapproved computer programs…


A few months later, Biden signed a letter that urged the Justice Department "to prosecute individuals who intentionally allow mass copying from their computer over peer-to-peer networks." Critics of this approach said that the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, and not taxpayers, should pay for their own lawsuits…


All of which meant that nobody in Washington was surprised when Biden was one of only four U.S. senators invited to a champagne reception in celebration of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act hosted by the MPAA’s Jack Valenti, the RIAA, and the Business Software Alliance. (Photos are here.)

McCullough reports that Biden has "steadfastly refused" to answer Cnet’s questions on his tech voting record.

GP: It’s ironic that Biden has chosen to portray himself as an intellectual property rights champion. He has twice been outed for plagiarizing.

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  1. desperad0 says:

    Thanks good job;

    Btw, I think Atari and Midway will drop out too, but mostly travesti because  these guys have done nothing travesti or little and need to start saving costs. and dizi izle


    Now I don’t have to get off my ass for the important shit anymore!

    Whats next, ordering pizza from Xbox live?

    Wait… I think that sounds like a good idea.

    But I think voting should MAKE you get off your ass, and see outside or a second while you go vote. I mean, your picking the president of the United States of America for God’s Sake… least you can do is drive down there and punch out a card.

  2. oto kirlama says:

    Gallagher can araç kiralama say all he wants, but I strongly rent a car believe it’s due to his crappy leadership and E3 being a joke. ESA’s Board of Directors need to find a way to get out rent a car of this horrid contract with this Bush cronie before there’s no one left on the Board.

    Btw, I think Atari and Midway will drop out too, but mostly travesti because  these guys have done nothing ttnet vitamin or little and need to start saving costs.


    Now I don’t have to get off my ass for the important shit anymore!

    Whats next, ordering pizza from Xbox live?

    Wait… I think that sounds like a good idea.

    But I think voting should MAKE you get off your ass, and see outside or a second while you go vote. I mean, your picking the president of the United States of America for God’s Sake… least you can do is drive down there and punch out a card.


  3. Anonymous says:

    As Krono points out, my point is that the IP in all of my examples there was that Disney was able to make those movies because the IP was in the public domain. But Disney is one of the strongest fighters for longer copyright terms, and was one of the chief engineers of the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998. Disney freely makes use of public domain works to tell stories, but seeks to deny others the ability to use THEIR works as springboards for creativity. In other words, they take from the IP community (many Disney films working off of Public Domain works effectively shut anyone else from doing the same for a while, because the competitors would be perceived as copying Disney), but they don’t want to give back.

    Before you get the impression that I’m trying to vilify Disney, let me explain a few things; that’s not the case at all. Disney, like any major corporation, has one major goal: to make money. If it doesn’t make money, it stops existing. Once a corporation gets above a certain size, amoral actions start to be made on the corporation’s behalf that are good for the corporation, but bad for the community at large. Decisions that are made purely with a profit motive, without considering the greater ramifications of the actions following the decisions. But you can’t really point a finger at any one person for these actions and decisions (aside from blaming the CEO, who usually doesn’t actually have much culpability for it at all).

    Disney is doing what Disney must: Making money. If I were to try to demonize them for that, I’d have to demonize every corporation around the world, and that would be a paranoid, foolish stance to take. But the extension of Copyright to such an extreme degree is shortsighted, and damaging to the IP community as a whole. Duration needs to be made shorter – much shorter – not longer.

  4. How does anti-piracy equal anti-consumer? I’ve looked at all of the legislation he was trying to pass here and it was all anti-piracy, and I’m starting the get the impression with the attitude portrayed in certain recent articles that GP is a proponent of piracy.

    Also, to those who say tech issues shouldn’t be a concern among voters, what about the people who work in the tech industry, whose lives and jobs depend on the outcomes of some of these issues? I’m one of them, and tech issues are very high on my priority list. To shoot down an issue because it’s a weak point is just blinding yourself to what other people are going to see as important.

  5. Merc25 says:

    Umm… That’s is plagiarizing, unintentional, but plagiarizing nonetheless. If I did in a college paper it would called plagiarizing, and I would be severally castigated for it.

  6. Kincyr says:

    don’t forget that Gore’s running mate was Lieberman who, ironic in a way, wanted to ban all videogames because some of them had gore in them.

    岩「…Ace beats Jack」

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hey, it could have been much worse:  It could have been the Clinton-Lieberman Ticket.  Both of whom, have tried and ultimately failed to pass legislation to regulate what the game developers are allowed to put into their games.  I did my high school senior project on this issue 2 years ago.  And the situation is only spiralling more and more out of control.

  8. Neeneko says:

    Relative issues asside, his stance on IP says a lot about what he MIGHT do, even on those other issues, and it isn’t positive.

    Siding with the RIAA/MPAA/DMCA is a huge glaring ‘I pass laws based off entenched money rather then help consumers’.

    So war.. he will probalby help defense contractors.  oil and global warming? expect him to be in the pocket of entrenched energy companies.  Healthcare? Same deal.

    Basicly, biden is demonstrating that he will NOT be on the side of the little guy and won’t even take balance into account.  He will do what the entrenched companies say to do.  He is anti-individual-rights, pro-corperate-rights.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The wars (plural) and economy do matter a great deal and that is why you should vote against Obama/Biden.  I’d also throw in the fact that the next pres could have at least two Supreme Court posistions to fill. 

  10. Krono says:

    I believe those were his points. That Disney did not invent those stories, and Disney was able to make their versions because those stories were in the public domain.


  11. GRIZZAM PRIME says:



    Thank you for your time.

    -Entertainment isn’t the reason the world sucks. It’s the reason we know the world sucks. For information on games and psychology, look up: Jonathan Freedman(2002)Block & Crain(2007)Grand Theft Childhood, by Harvard researchers Larry Kutner&Cheryl Olson

  12. Conejo says:

    1. Disney did not invent any of those stories.

    2. all of those stories ARE public domain and anyone can make a movie, story, picturebook, etc. about them.

    if you’re going to accuse someone of something, at least do it correctly.

    Here are we — and yonder yawns the universe.

  13. scribe999 says:

    Just to provide equal billing here, McCain also supports the DMCA (though his campaign repeatedly violates copyrights which is odd) and opposes Net Neutrality. Also, he agrees with Ted Stevens that the Internet is a series of tubes that moves information packages from one place to another with steam power.

  14. scribe999 says:

    Biden’s going to shoot more than ONE hunting buddy in the face? Maybe he’ll cuss out Sen. Leahy too. Or expose a CIA operative’s identity. Or continually make opaque planning sessions with energy industry reps to push policy.

  15. Thad says:

    It stinks, but he was the best choice out of the field IMO.  And it’s not like he’s going to be the one writing Obama’s copyright policy — it’s going to be a long, long time before we see another VP with as much power over policy as Cheney has.

    While the anonymous poster above who said "you’re a [sic] immatre [sic] idiot if you base your vote on wether or not it will be legal for you to burn music" betrayed a stunning lack of understanding of the issue (as well as the English language), I fear there’s some truth to what he said: as much as I hate, HATE taking it on the chin any more for consumer rights, we’ve got people dying in Iraq and losing their jobs in America, and those should be our priorities right now — and Biden’s a good pick on those issues.

    I just wish that someday we wouldn’t have to choose.  I agree with the other posters that it would be good to have some viable third parties to challenge the big two — I voted Nader in 2000 and was hoping we could build the Green Party into something viable, but all that came out of that was Democrats blaming him for Gore losing Florida.  And say what you like about Nader, but there’s absolutely nobody better on consumer rights.

  16. Chalts says:

    Useful positions help solve problems. Whether I personally agree with them is irrelevant.

    For example, Obama wishes to pursue a world without nuclear weapons. I’d love if the world was devoid of nuclear weapons; but this isn’t a useful possition because it’s a pipe dream, something that we can’t enforce. The fact remains that if we don’t have nuclear weapons, then we’ll be vulnerable to the not-so-nice countries that DO have them.

  17. Chalts says:

    I didn’t say Obama hasn’t taken any positions. I said he hasn’t taken any USEFUL positions.

  18. Anonymous says:

    God, not this again. The ”Obama hasn’t said anything” meme is just as false as the ”secret muslim ” bullshit. He and his campaign have put out dozens of policy papers on almost all the issues, and in fact have a entire book of policy papers being released next month. Shit, even going to wikipedia and clicking on ”political positions” will show you that they’ve taken stances on a most of the issues. But you know, god frobid that you actually attempt to inform yourself, and doing anything other than occasionally watch snippets of news.

  19. Ben says:

    Sorry! I read that too fast, and pathetically failed to realize that you said he was falsely accused of it. I apologize for my rudeess, and the three consecutive posts!

  20. Ben says:

    In case you didn’t read the article, yes, GP did say that he was accused of plagiarism. Also, how on earth is that headline sensationalis? Its the truth.

  21. Ben says:

     In case you didn’t read the entire article, yes, GP did say that he was accused of plagiarism. Also, how on earth is this sensationalism? Its just fair reporting.

  22. Inkscribe says:

    Do any of you realize that Biden was falsely accused of plagiarizing? He had credited the sources multiple times and just forgot to do it one time, and people go crazy. And to call him anti-consumer? That’s like the pro-lifers calling the dems anti-life. I would expect less sensationalism from GP, its almost like they learned how to make headlines from Fox.

    Anyway, if you are voting for or against Obama/Biden on gaming issues or the legality of P2P then you seriously shouldn’t even vote. I think the war & economy matter a great deal more than any of this BS. 

  23. Jonesy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Biden is one of the things thats gonna cost him the election. It helps the republicans define him as just another old fashioned liberal. He had a chance with his vicce pres pick to position himself as a new kind of democrat and he missed it.  He better make a great speech thursday and make it clear that Biden is just about foreign policy or he’s going to lose.

    And the reason I think its important for Obama to win as it reagrds to video games is he would make much better picks for the supreme court (and lower federal courts) that would be much better on free speech issues than McCain would.


  24. TheEdge says:

    Hey,Obama needs the foreign relations expertiece this dude provides.Besides,he could’ve chosen Hillary,am I right?

  25. Nekojin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well, you know, some of us have broader views than just what we can put on our iPods. IP laws are an important benchmark about the overall health of our society, and how it directly affects us. If they’re too weak, there’s no incentive for people to create. If they’re too strong, there’s not much incentive for successful creators to KEEP creating. Is it really rational for corporations to still be living off of IP that was written decades ago? For a creator to write something, and get sued because it’s too similar to something that hasn’t been PUBLISHED in decades?

    As the Information Age marches on, it becomes more and more important that copyright expire FASTER, not slower, to allow creators the ability to create, without too much fear of stepping on hidden toes. As long as companies like Disney can sit on something for over a century and still have total control is unconscionable.

    Let me ask you something. Have you enjoyed movies like Robin Hood, Alice in Wonderland, Snow White, and Mulan? If so, you should be in favor of shorter IP terms. All of those are tales whose copyrights have expired (or never existed, in the case of folk tales like the latter two). Disney was able to use other people’s ideas to tell – and alter – other people’s ideas and stories without having to dance the legal tango over it.

    This doesn’t mean that I want to run out and start writing Harry Potter books, of course, but perhaps I’d like my children to vaguely remember it, and someday write stories about kids attending a school of magic… something that will now be much, much harder thanks to the success of Harry Potter. Even if their story doesn’t bear any relation to Harry Potter, the similarities could be enough for them to be sued into oblivion, even if they win the lawsuits.

    And that, more than anything, is what this is all about. Creative freedom. Not the ability to pirate music.

    If you haven’t read it already, I strongly encourage you to read Spider Robinson’s excellent short story, Melancholy Elephants. ( ) It’s a terrific piece about how strong copyright (especially long duration) harms creativity. In keeping with the spirit of the story (and how strongly Spider feels about the subject matter), Spider has made the story public domain – anyone can copy it, distribute it, and so on, without any fear of reprisal from him or his publishers.

  26. Chuma says:

    "Biden would be a worse VP than Cheney."

    Er, no.  No no no no no.  Let’s keep things in perspective shall we?

  27. Shih Tzu says:

    Obama himself, at least, has a strong commitment to tech policies that give priority to the consumer over the industry.  From Randall Munroe (creator of webcomic xkcd):


    "Obama has shown a real commitment to open government. When putting together tech policy (to take an example close to home for xkcd) others might have gone to industry lobbyists. Obama went to Lawrence Lessig, founder of Creative Commons (under which xkcd is published) and longtime white knight in the struggle with a broken system over internet and copyright policy. Lessig was impressed by Obama’s commitment to open systems — for example, his support of machine-readable government information standards that allow citizens’ groups to monitor what our government is up to."


  28. Dav3rage says:

    You know I could care less as long as it is not Hillary.I hate the feminist who wont vote for obama for being so called sexist when they are doing it not voting for him because he didnt pick a women….I got a question what is the male version of a feminist..a shovanistic pig …

  29. Austin_Lewis says:

    Joe Biden is a liar and the kind of person who is part of the politics as usual crowd.  It’s amazing to me that Obama, who claimed to be all about changing things, would choose a man who fights change every step of the way.

    Biden would be a worse VP than Cheney.

  30. Anonymous says:

    With so, so, many more important issues, like i dunno war, oil, global warming, and healthcare in this election, you’re a immatre idiot if you base your vote on wether or not it will be legal for you to burn music.

  31. Anonymous says:

     So you’re some collosal supergenius who can automatically tell what will ”solve problems”? And pursuing a world without nukes doesn’t mean destroying all of your weapons all at once and assuming the rest of the world will do the same. it means signing treaties like S.A.L.T.

  32. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    That South Park episode was on last night, haha.  A Turd Sandwich or a Giant Douche, haha.

    It is all a game to these A-holes, and none of them deserve the position.  At least it is better than a Turd Sandwich, a Giant Douche, and Hillary Clinton…  That would suck.

    That fact that some dumbasses are voting for McCain when they were going to vote for Hillary proves they don’t care about the issues.  I would understand if Obama and Hillary werent so close on every single item they stand for, but to jump ship to McCain?  These people shouldnt even be allowed to vote…  as if they should be allowed to if they were going to vote for her in the first place…

    This isnt some black guy who has no international experience or a old war vet that is on his death bed and will most likely pass the torch to his VP.  It is about who the hell is going to be the best for the job…  If McCain chose Romney and would be told that he has a year to live right before I vote, I would definitely vote for McCain, haha.  Joe on the other hand…  We all know the JT antics that guy supports.  I supported Romney since the start for the Republican’t party and Edwards for the Democraps.

    If it is McCain and Joe VS Obama and Biden, then I am voting for myself, Lewis Black, the next person I see on the I’m a Member ad on my screen, or Jack Thompson just for laughs.  The fact that even had a chance of being Hillary VS McCain shows how stupid our country is.  I hate how groups are siding with who is most like them physically instead of based on where they stand on the issues.

  33. Anonymous says:

    "It’s ironic that Biden has chosen to portray himself as an intellectual property rights champion. He has twice been outed for plagiarizing."

    No it’s called being a politician. It’s why no matter who is running the choice is always between two piles of ****.

  34. Thad says:

    So wait, let me see if I’ve got this straight…

    You hate legislation like the DMCA, that puts all the power in the hands of corporations and gives no regard to consumer protections…

    …so you’re a Libertarian?

  35. shady8x says:

    and that is different from Republicans and Democrats how exactly?


    The repubs and dems are basically saying if we give the government the power over all these things and take it away from the people then everything will be alright, except that so far people still run the government and now there is fewer of them involved and they have a bigger incetive to game the system at everyone’s expense…

    I don’t agree with Libertarians on everything but their philosophy seems a lot more in tune with reality then the alternatives oops sorry I meant alterantive(singular cause cause R&D are basically working on the same things now…)

  36. Anonymous says:

    But what about the main problem with the Libertarian party – that their philosophy is based in fantasyland?

  37. gs2005 says:

    I’m an active voter and have been since age 18, and I was with the Republican party until Bush 43 came into office.  The Republicans used to mean "smaller government", but it’s now out of control, and then of course, there is the lobbying problem.  When the DMCA was passed, to my astonishment, I became permanently agitated (along with software patents).  So I started to look for an alternative, and the Libertarian platform is really where my values are now (I support the ECA and the EFF for starters)-less government is better.  IMHO, the real power in voting is at the local level, where your vote means a lot more, but you have to participate at the Federal level anyway to get that power.

    I should note, I did work as a volunteer for H. Ross Perot, and voted for him when Bush 41 tried to get re-elected in 1992…

    It’s better to vote SOMETHING than not vote at all.

  38. Krono says:

    So who is the Libertarian candidate anyways? Regardless of the effectiveness, voting third party makes for a far better protest vote than not voting at all.


  39. Krono says:

    Well, to be more precise, he called him not ready for the job, criticized his lack of foreign policy experience and judgement, and so on and so forth. Basically a whole bunch of "I know better than him." criticism. You think someone like that is going to be a yes man? With all the commentary about Biden "strengthening the foreign policy of the ticket", personally it seems to me like he’s more likely to argue with Obama because he’s "experienced".


  40. Black Dragon says:

    Wait, seriously? He called Obama inexperienced, and that’s "challenging his views"?

    That isn’t challenging an opinion. He was just leveraging a simple and legitimate point about Obama’s ability to do the job he’s running for. Unless Obama "views" himself on being experienced, which is ridiculous.

    Not that it particularly matters. I don’t think Biden is going to change/make up anybody’s minds. Then again, I was McCain man before any of the nominations were finished, so I’m biased.

  41. Anonymous ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    See, I liked a lot of what he said, but then at an event with the candidates a question was asked to each of them, then Ron Paul went off in a totally different direction.

  42. Korrd says:

    Maybe it makes me a tool as well, but I’d never even registered to vote until Ron Paul gave me a reason to.

  43. Anonymous says:

    It feels so much like a tool for saying this, but Ron Paul was the only person who wasn’t death for this country and our rights =/

  44. ZippyDSMlee says:

    meh they are all out of touch the problem with he 2 party system the last party has been in control for 8 years and raped the cotry left and right, while a lesser evil is not change it will slow the limb loping madness awhile.


    Besies outside of 1 or 2 thigns the prez and VP are mostly front men and unless they want to involve themselfs with goverment (like chainay did) they nromaly jsut let the cabniet and party run things.

    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    (in need of a bad overhaul)

  45. Anonymous says:

     I doubt it will have much of an effect… most voters don’t do a great deal of research on politicians and base most of  their thoughts on what is reported by the present news (don’t talk about something and people tend to put it in the back of their heads). I doubt Biden will make copyright a campaign issue and i doubt Mccain will attack his history with it (it’s a rather minor issue compared to everything else)… this is one those positions that most voters will probably not hear about or care enough about to change their vote. 

  46. Neeneko says:

    I wonder how much Biden is going to cost Obama with the youth vote.

    It is generally younger voters who have been up in arms against the RIAA and MPAA, and while the bulk of the voting public might not care, once you hit college students and that general age group awareness of copyright muck becomes surprisingly common.

  47. gs2005 says:

    Until lobbying money is banned, the DMCA is permanent.  The majority of American’s don’t care about the DMCA.  Hollywood spends a great deal of money lobbying, and congress critters love their lobbying money.  I’m not 100% sure I will vote for Obama, but it’s mostly because he granted the telco’s immunity, more than his pick of Biden that bothers me.

    That doesn’t mean I will vote for McCain-as a registered Libertarian, I may vote along my own party lines for the presidental canddate, even if it means my vote is basically useless.  I already know, I won’t vote for Feinstein and probably Boxer, since they voted for the DMCA back in 1998, now that I’m aware of this…

  48. black manta says:

    Could have been worse, I guess.  Obama could have gone with either Bayh or Sebelius, who both were on record for sponsoring anti-games legislation.  As far as I can tell, Biden never has.

    Either way, I don’t see Biden’s becoming VP as being a big hurdle to overcome in overturning the DMCA.  Time, and technology, are not on their side on this.  Eventually they’re going to realize that this stupid act is going to do a lot more harm than good.

  49. Anonymous says:

    Of coarse he is, did anyone expect honestly think Obama was telling the truth when he said he wanted someone who would chalange his views?


    What he should have done thought is chose a female, then his supporters can say it is sexist not to vote for him >_>

  50. Krono says:

    You think Biden doesn’t challenge Obama’s views? Remember Biden’s criticism a while back of Obama being inexperienced as so forth? Yeah.


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