Thursday, January 10, 2008

Corporate Big Brother

First off, a disturbing story about a cabal of ISP and IT companies that have met with the evil empires known as RIAA and MPAA about the possibility of Internet Filtering...

“What we are already doing to address piracy hasn’t been working. There’s no secret there,” said James Cicconi, senior vice president, external & legal affairs for AT&T.

Obviously such poor, hard-up companies such as AT&T that can out-bid anyone for the rights to a phone thats in Beta stage (iPhone), certainly can claim that those evil computer pirates are causing them to lose money right?

Where does this type of corporate thuggery end? The idea behind the internet was a vast free-flowing network of information spreading the world over. Why is it ok all of a sudden to just start clamping down on portions of it because some corporations aren't getting the type of market share they wanted and relied on?

What happened to the ideas of the free-market and supply and demand? If a product's cost is not prohibitive, or is worth the cost assigned to it, then people will still buy it regardless of whether they can get it for free. I for one would MUCH rather pay a decent price for something rather then waste hours or days of my life trying to find it for free...

I'm not advocating that copyright holders shouldn't be well compensated for the time and effort they put into a product, whether it be music, software, porn, whatever. What I'm saying is that people will pay for a product rather then download it if you price it such that it is not worth their time to go hunt for this crap... Industry really does underestimate how much our time is worth to us sometimes (and how horrible our attention spans are)!


Dewey, Cheatem, & Howe said...

I don't like the idea of allowing a service provider playing nanny here, especially in the civil liberties sense. It's just a small step to go from monitoring for copyright infringement to monitoring emails and things for the gov't. And let's not even get into the potential for consumer fraud here if AT&T gives one greedy IT nerd access to folks' personal info.

Blah, I hate/love computers.

Shane Rollins said...

You can't trust the companies period. They have colluded with the government to read your emails and website (good morning agent 1432778) and collude with the RIAA and such because they don't want to be named in lawsuits.

The funny thing is when it comes to music the things that are pirated are rarely the new music, it's older music. Why, because there is no more good music.

Dewey, Cheatem, & Howe said...

I don't know if there's no good music being made out there any more. I like to believe human innovation extends beyond creating more technological crap and weapons and that folks are writing great new songs and books, but I know what you're getting at. I think that there's good music out there, but we never get to hear it because record companies are deathly afraid of stepping outside of musical conventions that sell, unless they can peddle it through an "independent" label to eleven kids in Westchester or Beacon Hill who'll pay thirty bucks an album.

All that said, "corporations" aren't bad, they're just a business structure. When they were first formed, they were hailed as a way for the common man to raise himself up, and that could still be true. They've just been infused with too much power.

I'm becoming more of a libertarian every day.

Dews said...

Welcome to the dark side! :)

Corporations became bad once they (in these larger examples) were able to leverage their success with power to stifle opposition and use their newfound wealth to pay the system to play nice according to its rules...

The system can work, if Corporate interests don't exist, or have no teeth... Now how do you go about doing that?

Shane Rollins said...

Yes, I should have clarified myself better. The music labels don't release good music anymore. There are some great bands out there, and most of them give you their songs for free. Former great bands became "commercial" and greedy and pissed on everything that made them what they are (read Metallica).

I've been known to go on an anti-corporation rant from time to time, much to the annoyance of CityCat. It isn't a specific person or people, or even a specific company. It's the nature that the beast has created. Energy companies should have no say in energy policy. Media companies should have zero say in media consolidation. Communication companies should have zero say in Net Neutrality.

We are where we are right now in certain areas because the slack jawed hookers here on Capital Hill will do whatever you want them to do for the right price. The Million Dollar Man runs Washington DC and Congress since every man has a price.

Dewey, Cheatem, & Howe said...

The problem with saying that energy companies should have no say in energy policy is that energy companies have the most expertise in the area. They also contribute in the form of taxes (well, yeah, that might get a laugh) and license fees, so they are owed a say.

The problem is that "say" has often been transformed into "dictate" in the regulatory realm. It's the problem inherent in the system. If you never critique people with the most experience, you'll never be able to separate the wheat from the chaff, and you'll end up screwed in the end.