Hollywood Steps Up Its Assault on the Net While Webcasting Death March Claims KPIG

The list of dead web radio signals now includes the Linux-powered KPIG and too many other victims to count. Meanwhile, Hollywood's anti-Net campaign is winning the fight for hearts and minds of lawmakers and regulators. What's our response?

Doc Searls is the Editor in Chief of Linux Journal


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Re: Hollywood Steps Up Its Assault on the Net While Webcasting D

Anonymous's picture

Call me an old fogey (35!) but I like to hear the sounds of yesteryear rather than the rivers of drivel that is necessarily generated these days (all ages produce drivel from which something good is distilled of course, but I don't want to do the sifting myself!).

A naive question:

Is there such a thing as music collections in the public domain and outside the control of the various regulatory bodies?

I would make a special effort to listen to a station whose policy was to only put out such material. For instance, I would love to retire to the BBC sound archive and dig out the weird and wonderful that often escapes onto BBC radio.

I do not think the world desperately needs Hollywood's output - let the passage of time distill what it will and in the meantime enjoy what has gone before...

Re: Hollywood Steps Up Its Assault on the Net While Webcasting D

Anonymous's picture

Why don't you come out and say something against DRM in principle? Your comments on the website seem vague on this.

Where you are clear is on law. Most people are not surprised that stupid politicians and lobbyists will produce flawed DRM-related legislation. Legislation is an easy target. If you are not opposed to DRM in principle, then the task really becomes one of: "here's how we can help legislators come up with better DRM law that won't unreasonably constrain "freedom of speech".

Re: Hollywood Steps Up Its Assault on the Net While Webcasting D

Anonymous's picture

hp guy: "the content producers have a right to get paid for their content."

doc: "As if Linux users don't buy DVDs"

me: "as if that makes it okay for some other Linux users and other people to copy DVDs from friends."

we--the ones who know what it means to live and work in freedom and know why the Internet was built to serve those same purposes--So what, times change, so will the internet.

The other side's purpose is plain.- to make a profit. Just don't buy music that you don't want to. Enough said about that. They want to ..."clear rights" to ... intellectual property... that will flow from ... producers to ... "consumers" through ...regulated ...controlled distribution pipes.Sounds reasonable if you delete your rhetoric. Why won't people simply produce their own movies and give them a DRM flag set to "totally unfettered" and distribute them over the internet. Are you trying to suggest that this kind of use of the internet "commons" is threatened? It would be good if you would write something arguing against applying DRM in principle, rather than DRM as it may be applied given politics and self-interested companies. We can always go back and fix bad laws. I tried to read your article carefully but I just don't see why you are so worried. Perhaps you could make it more plain.

Re: Hollywood Steps Up Its Assault on the Net While Webcasting D

Anonymous's picture

OK, much as I hate them they must have some effect because they keep showing up, so maybe it's time to enlist them on our side. "They" are political ads that go something like this (insert appropriate music):

This country was built on the idea of freedom and security. Sadly, US Representative Howard Berman wants to legislate away the freedom of his constituents, and everyone else in America, to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Representative Berman has introduced a bill that would allow corporations to invade, disable and steal files from your personal computers.

Call Howard Berman at (xxx) xxx-xxxx and tell him you don't want him legislating away your Fourth Amendment rights.

Paid for by www.(insert URL here).org, John Q. Whatever, treasurer.

This is the short version. The real version would of course be 30 seconds long, much more fleshed out and properly produced, meaning it would cost some money to do so (and to run the ad, of course).

An ad like this does several things:

1. It paints a positive picture -- Mom and Pop Voter and the kids happily sitting at their computer going about their private business.

2. It then paints a negative one -- evil forces disrupting the positive picture by breaking into this Rockwellesque picture of domestic tranquility. You don't even necessarily have to say who the evil forces are, so long as they're out there. (Focus on the legislation, not some Hollywood Is Bad mantra. To Mom and Pop Voter, Hollywood is not bad, it should be the legislation that is bad. They can learn about Hollywood later.)

3. It paints Howard Berman as the bad guy for proposing legislation that allows the evil forces to do this and puts that meme into the viewer's mind.

4. It gives a phone number to call to try to change Berman's mind. While this would be a worthwhile goal, my take on these commercials is that it probably seldom happens -- #3 is the more important goal. Even so I'm sure it would be a Good Thing(tm) for Berman to hear of his constituents' displeasure.

5. It supplies a URL for the viewer to contact for further information. Usually the support messages are along the lines of "Paid for by Citizens for Fair use, John Q. Whatever, treasurer," but I don't know of any law that says you can't name a political action group www.fourthamendment.org or something similar.

We geeks can scream and holler until we're blue in the face, but until we start getting the public on our side, or at least that 31% of the public that votes (or whatever the number is), nothing will happen.

Re: Hollywood Steps Up Its Assault on the Net While Webcasting D

Anonymous's picture

(From Tom Matrullo): Just a modest footnote to this whole mess. The roots of the caste system go deeper than Hollywood or the pockets of folks like Howie Berman. The publishing industry is very much involved - like an animal eating its own tail, it's preventing the free and creative use of published material, thus stupifying us while undermining the power to refer which is basic to new creation. More on this here.

Re: Hollywood Steps Up Its Assault on the Net While Webcasting D

Doc's picture

Thanks, Tom.

Let me second your pointer to the story you put up here.

If publishers were half as organized and connected (and gaga-inducing to lawmakers) as Hollywood, the Net would have been deeply fucked years ago. As it stands, the Web' commons is merely strewn with gopher holes like the one you mention involving quotations of Yeats (which you can put freely on the Web, while the author in question can't do the same in a book). What's happening with radio is like what happened in England with the enclosure acts, when the common lands were appropriated to serve the purposes of powerful and well-connected interests. As of today, broadcasting on the Net for all but the well-connected (the few who worked sweetheart deals outside the CARP process) is on its way to becoming an enclosed and empty space.

Re: Hollywood Steps Up Its Assault on the Net While Webcasting D

Anonymous's picture

No question but that the laws of caste are powerfully at work within Hollywood and broadcast, Doc. I think the varied efforts of publishers to put their stuff on the net, and then to protect us from it via subscription models, pay-thru-nose-per-view, 4,762 pop-ups, etc., offers a pretty clear indication of how far this foolishness of trying to turn a web into a collection of tupperware containers will succeed. Instead of attempting to put the lid back on Pandora's box, why not let whatever is trying to develop do so? There will always be smart folks to create a healthy revenue model from it.- tom.

Re: Hollywood Steps Up Its Assault on the Net While Webcasting D

Anonymous's picture

And as a follow-up to saying "no" to Hollywood, maybe the techies that help them make all these flashy movies will be able to walk away (slowly at first) from the industry that is attacking them at their basic freedoms.

Or at least they could start raising their rates to help fund the victims of their lobbying in Congress.

say no to hollyweird

Anonymous's picture

A lot of talk going on about how Hollywood and big corporate are assaulting i-net freedoms. I've turned off the cable, turned off the tuner, don't buy any new music or movies, and simply stopped feeding those who are trying to do me harm. I make almost no difference whatsoever, but I feel a little better.
If you watched the elections and forgot for a while about political parties, you saw how it's all just a money grab backed by legislation. Still, we support the very groups that are doing us the most harm. Why? I suspect because Hollywood is so good at telling a story in an entertaining and compelling way - regardless or often in spite of reality - and we're so dumb we climb into the pot and wait until we're cooked.
While an old capitalist pig like me supports the idea of a fair profit, I don't buy into the idea that unlimited profits, unfettered by ethics and enforced not by the market but by paid politicians courts, is what I know as a free market.
At the bottom, though, is that those who have their hands on the levers will only act when the money is right. That being the case, the only real solution is to find a way to get into their pockets. Any other solution is merely daydreaming and ineffective. So how does that happen?

Re: Hollywood Steps Up Its Assault on the Net While Webcasting D

Anonymous's picture

Just say "no" to Hollywood. If they are so concerned about their trashy content (and most of it is), then let them have it, and we will try to pretend their offensive material doesn't exist.

Re: Hollywood Steps Up Its Assault on the Net While Webcasting D

Anonymous's picture

Doc says we still live in a democracy. This has never been a democracy. We have a representative form of government. The fundamental flaw in a representative form of government is the concentration of power into the hands of too few people, and the ease with which that power can be corrupted.

The technology is pretty much in place. What we need now is the awareness that we can and should re-constitute ourselves as a direct democracy.

Don't Trust Industry to Help

Anonymous's picture

These are civil rights issues and it FOOLISH to expect corperations to help in these property rights matters.

The burden to protect property rights in the digital age lays at the feet of you, the Free Citizen

DRM is THEFT, and We are the Stakeholders.



Re: Don't Trust Industry to Help

Anonymous's picture

Thanks, Ruben. I was remiss in not putting NYLXS on that bottom list.

Great work in D.C. on 7/17 too, by the way. Sounds like it rocked.

And keep us posted on what you guys are up to.

Power from the people!

Re: Don't Trust Industry to Help

Anonymous's picture

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war. . .testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated. . . can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . . we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth.

Re: Hollywood Steps Up Its Assault on the Net While Webcasting D

Anonymous's picture

Doc makes some valid points, but if we loose this battle, it's our own fault. We refuse to do what's neessary to raise the issue. In fact, half our community fights against efforts to raise these issues.

Every lug needs to start today to put preasure on their local congressman to be proactive in this matter.

NY Fairuse http://www.nyfairuse.org , is the example which others must emulate.

Re: Hollywood Steps Up Its Assault on the Net While Webcasting D

Anonymous's picture

Although I think this is a very important concern, I think its time to think in other issues. The main concern should be "what kind of society are we building?". The copyrights laws your "democratic" government want to make, are no different than other positions you have taken regarding other world problems. Just look at the Kyoto agreement or International Criminal Court. Hollywood companies are no different than your (as a country) own view of the rest of the world. If the rest of the world start acting as you do then we all are in trouble. Hopefully Europe will stop following your steps (wich I really don't believe..) and start to give a better example.


Re: Hollywood Steps Up Its Assault on the Net While Webcasting D

Anonymous's picture

I totally agree. Hopefully our new (if it ever comes through) 'European Army' will give the European countries the guts to say no to 'big bad USA'


Re: Hollywood Steps Up Its Assault on the Net While Webcasting D

tompoe's picture

Hi: What a marvelous capture of our present situation. So much has been left out, yet the piece is complete, concise and leaves the impression that something has to be done.

HP has committed virtual treason with its' actions. Nothing less, to censor with the threat of loss of job to Bruce, should he speak up. Our country is not built on censorship. It's built on the freedom to speak our minds. Research is censored effectively, throughout academia with this most recent act. The pattern is repeating itself, and there's no denial that corporate greed will censor without hesitation, and our universities are "de facto" silenced at this point.

Yet, for all that's happened, I find that our brethren, our clued in Bloggers are beside themselves with joy over being able to do the work of the RIAA, Hillary, Hollings, Berman, by excitedly offering free RIAA artist CD's for download. Why? Why is there still support from those who should understand the problems and issues surrounding the Internet and our freedom to engage in a Civil Society?

In a matter of weeks, Open Studios expects the Creative Commons Project to be open for business. At that time, recording artists, bands, authors, research scientists, technical engineers, academia throughout the world, will have a place to register their works in the Public Domain. They will be able to place restrictions on those works, and to pursue careers in the Arts & Sciences without reliance on Copyright as Hollywood depicts it, Disney depicts it. They will use the Public Domain as it was intended, and replenish our precious Public Domain, revitalize our precious FAIR USE Doctrine.

This event will mark the Battle Cry! Take Back The Internet! We will hear the Battle Cry, and will then have to decide, do we pay the price for freedom for our Internet? Or, do we buckle.

The Internet is free to all who choose to use it. Some have to pay a monthly fee to have access. Others pay by the bit. Still others pay by the minute. The Internet, however, is capable of being free to those who use it. How?

Each work that is registered with the Creative Commons Project will be given a corresponding "Tag", along with a recorded "Deed" to clearly identify it as a Public Domain registered work. Open Content Network is working to make these machine-readable tags capable of being displayed and used by a browser. This enables each one of us to search and find those tags. In essence, to restrict our Internet usage to those sites who are displaying the Creative Commons "tags" for works in the Public Domain.

The Battle Cry! says, don't give the enemy any slack. If you can't find what you need on the Public Domain Internet, you don't need it!

Bloggers can serve the world's army of free Internet users, by assisting them in locating information they need. By coordinating and making available a world of Public Domain supported sites, not the sites sponsored and paid-for by corporate greed and tyranny.

My suggestion for moving this war forward, is to enlist the world community in a boycott to end all boycotts. When the technology companies want to market their products, they'll have to place public domain tags on their sites, or lose their market place. When they abuse the privilege of the public domain tag, the world community will blast them off the Internet! It's a necessary step, and it will be fun, too!


Tom Poe

Reno, NV

Open Studios