Monday, January 23, 2006

EFF: New Senate Broadcast Flag Bill Would Freeze Fair Use

EFF: DeepLinks

Big media screams "the sky is falling" and tries to legislate the future.

It is interesting when other industries cry "we're loosing profits" they are told "oh well", but when big media is loosing profits it becomes a need to pass bad legislation. Let me give you a hint - if there is a need to change how media is handled someone will invent it. Just because we pass stupid laws in America does not mean other countries will follow suit. And trust me no amount of trade agreements will smooth this over. We keep this up and people will pull out of those agreements.

Take a look around people - the economy sucks. Gas is estimated to go over $3/gallon again. Guess what happens when gas is that much? People don't spend as much on stuff like CDs or DVDs. We don't go to movie theaters and wait for it on DVD. Many people are not BUYING CDs but instead are RENTING their music through legitimate services like Napster. As has been pointed out many times - why pay $15-$20 for 1 CD when that same amount will let you load up an MP3 player full of different music, and you can keep getting different music all through the month.

We pay $30, $40, $50 or more for cable/satellite TV. Now instead of "13 channels of shit on the TV to choose from" (to quote Pink Floyd) we have 70, 80, 200, or even more channels of shit. With all these choices we do not have to even rent movies or music sometimes - so much stuff is available to the consumer without even having to leave the house.

The problem is with so much spectrum to fill, you tend to get a lot of "lowest common denominator" stuff to fill the gaping void. Problem is - we are tired of it. How many more Britney Spears clones are you going to send our way (who, to me at least, is a clone of Madonna, but I digress)? How many more "reality" shows? I really paid attention to what I want to watch weekly - about 9.5 hours of TV that I REALLY want to watch. Given that 2 of those hours are reruns of shows that I really like that leaves 7.5 hours of original programming a week. One of those shows is Monk (which I download from iTunes now) that is only on 16 weeks a year. The 3 hours that I would consider "prime" TV (8-11) is 21 hours a week. I have 22 stations (including some shop-at-home stuff), which means I have the potential of 462 hours of entertainment a week. If you have one of the local satellite's 150 channel package that is 3150 hours of entertainment. I think I had 65 channels which was 1,365 hours. Of that I found 9.5 hours of entertainment, which is why I am now on the cheaper cable package.

Then there is Netflix. Last I heard they had some 50,000 titles. You local video store may have, what, 5000 titles? 10,000 titles? Netflix can get those little rented titles, like the entire Sundance Film Festival line up, that your local Blockbuster cannot. Yet more choices...

Now enter the internet. Aside from the music services above, ANY musician, video producer, or other content provider can make stuff available to the public. This makes places like CD Baby possible. This opens up the flood gates. You no longer need to go to a big label to get your music/video out - you can market directly to your fans.

And maybe that is the problem. Not only are the middlemen being squeezed out but also the top of the food chain, so to speak. We can find great music (or at least music like what we already have) that is completely independent of the RIAA. We can get movies that are as good as anything put out by MPAA members. We can get radio shows that are as good as anything on the air - terrestrial or satellite. Some for free, some for money, but all not controlled by the powers that be. Face it, every time we spend money on an independent artist we take money out of the pockets of the RIAA/MPAA members. It is all legal, but non-RIAA/MPAA.

Blogging started the wedge to break up main stream media, podcasting got the crack formed, and I think the powers the be see video podcasting (or whatever you want to call it) as splitting the dam wide open. Face it - we don't need "them" any more. So instead of trying to learn the new game they want to make the new game illegal.

Thanks to Todd (I think) over at Geek News Central

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