Monday, July 05, 2010

Fail Quote of the Day: Biden gaffes about “media piracy”

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Vice-President Joe Biden
Vice-President Joe Biden

Vice-President Joe Biden is renown for his knack for making verbal gaffes every now and then, but I didn’t think it would get as bad as to merit him his own Fail Quote segment. When speaking at a press conference back on June 17 on the subject of the Obama administration’s toughening anti-piracy measures:

But piracy is theft. Clean and simple. It's smash and grab. It ain't no different than smashing a window at Tiffany's and grabbing [merchandise]."

I literally facepalmed.

Because, of course, expressly downloading some songs, software, games or movies off the Web is exactly the same as smashing windows and robbing the joint. After all, it’s perfectly normal to conflate the two – clicking a link and streaming copied digital media vs. wanton vandalism and material theft; they’re practically interchangeable. Hell, whenever I try to download the latest movie theater release, I often end up in the middle of the street, hurtling a brick through the nearest boutique window at the first sight of anything shiny. Don’t you?

The tendency for making such astoundingly moronic comparisons like this is one of the (many) reasons why copyrights warriors and their arguments hold no water for me. If you can’t even put a moment of thought into your arguments, then it reflects rather poorly on your ability to construct a credible argument. Not that filesharing opponents have much of a leg to stand on either way, considering all the their claims are revealed to be based on incomplete and thoroughly unreliable research. (And add the common sense argument that filesharing actually acts to increase artists’ popularity – and subsequently, album and ticket sales – and you assuredly end up with more pros than cons for filesharing.)