....LMB: "Recording Industry Joins Axis of Evil"....

July 24, 2002

In the weeks following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, corporate bullshit artists stormed Congress and tried to force their agenda onto the nation, making up crazy reasons why giving their industry huge tax breaks and dissolving all regulation would protect America from terrorism. It was literally sickening, the eternally greedy driving their fangs into the necks of a population to grief-numb to notice.

Two of these attempts struck me as particularly nauseating. The first was a garment industry push for a government crackdown on bootleg t-shirts (because fraudulent name-brand goods might, could potentially, theoretically, may be linked to groups that fund Osama bin Laden's terrorist network).

And the second disgusting 9/11 lobby effort has come back, and might get passed.

In mid-October 2001, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) attempted to have the USA Patriot Act amended to make it legal for the RIAA to hack into your computer. The amendment would have exempted the RIAA from harsh anti-hacker penalties if it were attempting to stop people from trading copyrighted mp3 files over the internet. Go read the text of the proposed amendment. It'll make ya mad.

What a bunch of fuckers.

Anyhow, the amendment was denied, but the RIAA, in conjunction with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), has re-introduced the idea into the US House of Representatives.

According to the Cnet article on the issue, "the draft bill doesn't specify what techniques, such as viruses, worms, denial-of-service attacks, or domain name hijacking, would be permissible. It does say that a copyright-hacker should not delete files." Which pretty much means they could do whatever the hell they wanted.

All these organizations need to hack you up is a "reasonable basis" to believe that you are pirating music or movies. And if they were wrong, or do your system significant damage, you can't sue them without the permission of the US Attorney General. And you could only do that if they did more than $250 in damages.

Do I even have to point out how warped this proposed bill is? The analogy these big corporate copyright-holders use is to compare piracy to theft. Using that example, this law would give a victim of theft the right to break into the house of anyone the victim had "reasonable basis" to believe had stolen their goods, and smash up their house.

All of this is based upon the idea that the record industry is in serious trouble, and that file-trading hurts them. But musician Janis Ian has penned this quality article which refutes a number of RIAA claims, and argues that file-trading is actually good for musicians. But perhaps most importantly, Ian attacks the RIAA claim that they represent musicians. They don't. They represent record labels. Labels and artists do not always share interests. Ian also lists a number of ways that the RIAA could help artists out if they really did care about them.

Anyhow, the geniuses/shills behind this corporate hacker bill are Reps. Howard Berman and Howard Coble. Go get em.

Posted by Jake at 10:20 PM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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