Mega-agent Ari Emanuel (you know—the conceited big shot who Jeremy Piven played in the hit HBO show “Entourage“) just wrote an open response to Google asking for the company, along with Silicon Valley and Hollywood, to join forces and develop a solution to the country’s piracy and copyright issues.
Emanuel appeared at the AllThingsD D10 Conference with hosts Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher on Wednesday, where he called out Google and YouTube during the interview for filtering child pornography, but allowing pirated media content.
In lieu of Emanuel’s assertions, Mossberg asked Google’s advertising head Susan Wojcicki today why the search engine does not find and filter copyrighted material. She called Emanuel “very misinformed,” and then said the problem with filtering content is not technical, but rather a complicated business problem.
“The problem is identifying which copyright belongs to who… is very complicated [...] At the end of the day, in order to know what to do with that content, we need to hear from the copyright owner,” explained Wojcicki onstage.
According to AllThingsD, Emanuel could not let the sleeping dog lie and quickly wrote a response to the SVPs of Google. He took it a step further, however, by inviting the company to “collectively resolve this problem’:
I am misinformed about a lot — just ask my wife — but I’m not misinformed about this: One of our last remaining dominant American exports is our creativity, no matter how you define it, either as a story or as an algorithm. There is equal genius behind companies like Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google as there is behind artists who create stories that resonate around the world. We need to protect America’s intellectual property and Hollywood can’t do it on its own. I understand that the onus is not entirely Google’s, but let’s stop talking at each other and get in a room with all parties to figure this out. To be clear, I don’t want to rehash SOPA as we can all agree that was a reflection of Southern California’s arrogance, and let’s also not pretend that we’re working together on this issue because we have Youtube channels together. This is a larger conversation. It’s time for Hollywood, our government and Silicon Valley to step up and collectively resolve this problem. Let me know where and when and I’ll be there.Ari
The drama does not end there. The Verge’s Joshua Topolsky asked Emanuel during the interview’s Q&A session why he thinks it is Google’s responsibility to create a roadblock for copyrighted content. Emanuel’s response, as Topolsky explained it in a blog post today, resorted to “what amounts to an ad hominem attack”:
Here’s the thing: he didn’t like the question because he didn’t understand the analogy I was making. And he didn’t understand the analogy, because he doesn’t (or doesn’t want to) understand the basic mechanics of how both copyright law and the internet work. And that should scare the shit out of you. With the stakes as high as they are — and I do mean stakes as high as whether or not we’ll continue to have a free and open internet — not understanding is the most dangerous thing you can do right now. Ari is not some small time guy — he’s a titan who not only backed SOPA, but essentially admitted on stage that Hollywood paid for the bill through “fund raisers” for politicians. His brother is Rahm Emanuel, current mayor of Chicago, and former White House Chief of Staff to President Obama. If there’s anyone in Hollywood with pull that can go beyond the sun-kissed shores of LA, it’s Ari Emanuel.
This isn’t the last you’ve seen of him — it’s the first.
Topolsky further claimed Emanuel does not really want to change Hollywood’s business model to solve the pirated content and copyright issues, because he wants to protect it. Whether or not that is true, this corporate-Hollywood-blogging feud is now out in the open, and it will be interesting to see if a meeting between the content and Internet kings actually comes to fruition.
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