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Fox Explains Why SSSCA Is Bad 739

Posted by Hemos
from the making-it-clear dept.
corbettw writes "Fox News is running an article that slams Sen. Fritz Hollings ("The Senator from Disney") and the Democrats (with the notable exception of Rick Boucher) as having betrayed their principles. More importantly, the article explains why the SSSCA is so bad, in language any American can understand. It's nice to see someone in the mainstream media taking this beast on before it becomes law."
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Fox Explains Why SSSCA Is Bad

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  • by Mordain (204988) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:08PM (#3126077) Homepage
    I would be really dissapointed if Hollings is ever re-elected. The point of an elected government is to get rid of those who want to lower our freedom, and this guy is definetly going down that road, and dragging everyone he can with him.

    We can rant and rave on /. all we want, but if we don't send the message in our ballots also, we have given up the battle.

    I sincerely hope that the people in his district are well aware of Sen. Holling's attrocities.
    • Don't forget Kelly (Score:5, Insightful)

      by slugfro (533652) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:13PM (#3126131) Homepage
      The article also mentions Hollings teaming up with Democratic Senator John Kerry (CA) who has plans to run for President in 2004:
      Hollings was joined by Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer of California and John Kerry of Massachusetts, both of whom are heavily reliant on entertainment-industry money (with Kerry sure to become even more so if he runs for President in 2004, as expected).
      Sending a message via our ballots will become even more important if he really does run for president!
    • According to the article, it doesn't matter whether we get rid of Hollings. There are plenty more in line behind him to take his place in the back pocket of the music and movie industries.

      We'll be lucky to ever get a "non-biased" politician in a position of power. To get elected takes a lot of money (to get your name out there in advertising, etc.). Real people don't have that kind of money. So where does the money come from? Big industries like these. After their elected, they can't stray from what these industries what because they'll need their money to be re-elected in a few more years. There is no forseeable end to the cycle.

      There is no "good guy" any more is there? A politician's a politician.
      • If more "real" people gave a bit of money -- keep in mind that the per-candidate and total limits restrict how much any one company can contribute -- then Congressmen would be more free to ignore industry contributions.
        • by osgeek (239988) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @04:18PM (#3126660) Homepage Journal
          But when you've got "real" people give money to both sides, you just have an escalated arms race.

          The only way to reduce the political dependence upon money is to reduce the power of the government. Reduce the power of the government, and you reduce the number of people (corporations) who want to control it. Reduce the people trying to conrol it, and you reduce the amount of money flowing to politicians.

          If the Federal government scaled back services to those specified by the constitution, a lot of the money-chasing and corruption problems would disappear.
        • How about if it giving any money to a politician, for any reason, was declared to be bribery, like we all know it is.

          Then the state funds everyone who gets a certain number of signatures at exactly the same level.

          Toss any politician who accepts bribes, and the heads of any company that offers them, into jail for a while.

          That'd really straighten things out.
          • The difficulty with a signature-based system is that it favors a) incumbents, since they have the name recognition and existing machinery, b) ideologues with highly motivated power bases, c) the independently wealthy who can run on their own. A newcomer who's insufficiently fiery (or bizarre) to energize people might have trouble getting name recognition.

            The current matching-funds system isn't particularly great (it's still tough on newcomers) but they do have some chance at least. Of course, one might have separate rules for newcomers and for those running against the wealthy... hrm. I wonder if those would pass Constitutional muster.
        • by elb (49623) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @05:16PM (#3127060)
          An interesting point, I think, is why corporations and businesses are allowed to make such large political contributions -- at the heart, why are corporations considered to be people in the eyes of the law? IANAL, but originally the courts held that corporations were people so that they could be named in lawsuits. Frankly, this led to a logical slippery slope that has gotten us into many present-day conundrums.

          Corporations and organizations are much different from individuals ("natural persons" as the law puts it). They have different lifespans (indefinite) and different primal motivations (fundamentally businesses are entities for creating wealth, generaly of the monetary kind, but sometimes also the social kind). People's actions are tempered by the fact that your life is finite and the demands of the human psyche for things like love, social contact, happiness, etc. We act towards our physical survival, but once that's taken care of, most act towards -- dare I say -- spiritual survival as well. Corporations don't.

          Why not just ban corporations from participating in political discourse at all? Corporations should get no say in how my government regulates my life; I chould have perfect free choice (using amount of money spent) about how much influence any corporation has over my life. The individuals making decisions at corporations will have as much of an opportunity to participate in the political process as anyone else, but they will have to do it as individuals.

          You could also play around with this idea and see where it takes you in the realm of copyright law. Should corporations be allowed to hold copyrights at all? Or perhaps we should have some fundamental notion that only the individual creator can be the ultimate holder of a copyright, and corporations are thus more limited in how much control they can have over your MP3s and computers and CDs. The creators of the work are legally protected from having to relinquish total control over their creations in order to merely do business with the rest of the public.

          "Corporation" is an entity different from "person"-- not an inherited class. Clearly corporations require certain rights and have certain obligations/responsibilities, but these should be assigned based on corporations' nature as wealth-creating entities rather than assigned just because human beings have those rights as well.
          • I think corporations have the right to make contributions to elected officals just as normal citizens.


            If corporations can not make donations, what about sole owner or LLC?


            I just think you are hampering free speech by making limits.


            Why not make it a requirement that ALL donors and their contributions are provided to the public? Maybe have a rule that elected officals, their political parties (soft money), and people running for office have to maintain lists of donors and their donations amounts.


            my two cents.

      • by crotherm (160925) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:30PM (#3126305) Journal
        That is why campain reform is a MUST if USA is ever to see a goverenment that really looks out for the good of the people, and not just the good of the rich and powerful.

        Write and phone your congresscritters NOW.

        • Tell me how you would regulate contributions and I'll tell you how it would just make matters worse. Go ahead be clever
          • Rule 1: Forbid for-profit and tax-exempt corporations from participation in the political process. Corporation may not contribute to political campaigns, lobby government officials (elected or appointed), or pay others to do so. This would mean that if Michael Eisner chose to testify before Congress, Disney would need to record that time against his vacation or paid sick time, or not pay him for that time at all.

            I think this would go a long way towards taking politicians out of corporate pockets.

        • by msaavedra (29918) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @05:25PM (#3127111)
          That is why campain reform is a MUST if USA is ever to see a goverenment that really looks out for the good of the people

          If we want a government that looks after the good of the people, we need citizens who take an active interest in the government and vote according to principle. After all, Disney, Microsoft, et al don't have a single vote in the elections, so who cares how much money they donate? The only reason they have any power over the politicians is because we the people are morons who don't vote, who simply toe the party line, who vote for the candidates with the best commercials, the fullest head of hair, the greatest height, the best-sounding name, etc, etc.

          We need to throw the politicians out on their asses when they put Disney's interests above the people's. Nothing will improve until we do this. Campaign finance reform will not help. There will always be loopholes, unless you are wiiling to completely eliminate the first amendment.

          I honestly think we get the quality of government that we deserve, and our current government doesn't say much about us as a society.

    • by ZaMoose (24734) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:17PM (#3126175)
      Senat-ah Fahritz Hawllings (if you've heard the man speak, you'll know what I mean) brings home the pork to the residents of S.C. Same reason Strom "Life Support" Thurmond, Ted "You Open the Car Door And Float To The Top" Kennedy and Tom "Puff Daddy" Daschle keep getting elected.

      'Course, it's interesting to note the changes in Congress over the last 20 years (and particularly since the "Republican Revolution" of '94 and the Newt-ites). Most concepts of seniority have been thrown out the window and senators (in particular) have become less "gentleman statesmen" and more like the party hacks that fill the House. "Tow the party line and nobody gets hurt" has become the de facto philosophy of the Senate, rather than the classic "let's all be gentlemen and discuss things in a rational manner" way things used to be done. (I think shadows of this change were visible back during Tip O'Neill's tenure and even before).

      So it becoms an issue of senators not taking views too far out of line with a) their party platform and b) their constituents' views, so as to not appear in the national press, except when signing bills or slinging mud at the party in power.

      It may be this "keep your head down, get re-elected" shift that will oust Hollings, Daschle, et. al. (It certainly cost Gary Condit his job...)

      Just my $.02
      • by cje (33931)
        It may be this "keep your head down, get re-elected" shift that will oust Hollings, Daschle, et. al. It certainly cost Gary Condit his job...

        Huh? Fucking around with an intern that ended up missing (and presumed dead) is what cost Gary Condit his job. Stonewalling the police and the press didn't help anything, either. If you paid any attention to the media over the course of the past couple of weeks, Gary Condit did anything but keep his head down.
        • If you paid any attention to the media over the course of the past couple of weeks, Gary Condit did anything but keep his head down.
          Yeah, but at least this time he's digging his own grave.
      • Before you get too sentimental for the senate of yore, let's remember reality. I believe that the main reason the senate of years past has the reputation of being more 'gentlemenly' is because it was (and continues to be, but to less of an extent) the most backwards, shadowy and exclusive 'good ol boys' club in the country. Lest us forget that Senators have only recently been elected by popular vote, legislation could be passed and bills discussed without the public having any idea what was going on because most meetings were held behind closed doors. Governmental accountability=0

        With Watergate came a major public outcry for opening the processes of government up generally. Seniority rules were rewritten, committee meetings (with the exception of a few national security-types) were opened up and so on. Heck, senators rarely returned to their home districts! So yes, if advances in media and transportation make government more open, I think that this is generally a good thing.

        So, if senators appear more politically influenced these days it's probably because they are forced to deal with popular demands moreso than they've ever had to do before. Does this have its downsides? Sure. But to claim that the senate is less democratic today than in the past is just rubbish.

      • > It may be this "keep your head down, get re-elected" shift that will oust Hollings, Daschle, et. al. (It certainly cost Gary Condit his job...)

        Gary Condit didn't lose his job because of any failure to keep his head down.

        I could speculate on whose head went down, how far it went down, and how long it had to be held under, but I won't. A (+1, Funny) isn't worth a lawsuit, and a (+1, Informative) isn't worth finding out first-hand what it felt like.

    • I sincerely hope that the people in his district are well aware of Sen. Holling's attrocities.

      Well, he did initially raise the Rebel Flag over the state house as S.C. governor to protest the civil rights movement.

      Hollings routinely refers to blacks as "darkies"

      A search for "KKK" and "Hollings" on google will link to numerous articles and postings substantiating these facts.

    • by pangur (95072) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:23PM (#3126226)
      I lived on SC for four years, and let me tell you something. They are allergic to change.

      Sen Hollings has been in the Senate for something like forty years. He is the longest running junior senator ever. At forty years of continuous service, he is still the young'un from SC.

      The senior senator is Strom Thurmond. He's 99. He said that he won't run again when his term ends in 2002. He was elected again, mainly on the idea that he would die in office and that he should be allowed to do so.

      Also, remember that the longer your Senator serves in Congress, the higher his seniority. If you elect someone else, you lose all special privleges there. For example, Shaw AFB is never included in base closings, because Sen Thurmond would crush any Senator that voted to do so.

      Basically, Sen. Hollings could parade naked down Huger St. in Columbia SC, and the Republican party would run commercials on how the Sen. must have nothing to hide.

      • by the gnat (153162) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:54PM (#3126505)
        Hollings is certainly a poor senator and a relic. However, the first poster in this thread referred to his "atrocities". Take a closer look at his voting record:
        [issues2000.org]
        http://www.issues2000.org/Senate/Fritz_Hollings. ht m

        I wouldn't characterize him as an ideologue or a tyrant. He's probably just not a very effective representative and one of the "old school" types who feel they have a responsibility to create a "healthy bidness climate" (to paraphrase Molly Ivins). He's certainly relatively conservative, but he did oppose Ashcroft, and support hate crimes legislation that includes sexual orientation. Honestly, I'm not wild about the latter (based on principle, not moral/religious beliefs), but given that Hollings is from S.C. I think his vote indicates that he's willing to act on principle sometimes.

        The Fox article was right to point out that the Democrats are really fucking up here. I've been reading Politech articles about this, and several Republicans have gloated over this. I'd prefer Hollings stay where he is, given that no credible Democratic challengers can unseat him. The Republicans may be right on this case, but their leadership is still a bunch of homophobic racist bigoted hypocrites, and I have no doubt that they'd support this bill too if Disney was lining their pockets.
      • Slight corrections (Score:3, Informative)

        by Zoop (59907)
        Basically, Sen. Hollings could parade naked down Huger St. in Columbia SC, and the Republican party would run commercials on how the Sen. must have nothing to hide.

        I'm guessing you meant =~ s/Republican/Democrat/ on that one, 'cuz a Huger (prn. Yoo-GEE, to show my local quals) street parade would actually cause the Republicans to trumpet it as much as they can, but it would do no good "because my Daddy voted for Hollings and Thurmond, and if it was good enough for my Daddy, it's good enough for me!"

        Also, Strom has not yet been re-elected this year, and in fact there are Republicans contesting for his seat, including Mark Sanford, who actually stuck to his "two terms and I'm out" congressional pledge.
      • by pmz (462998) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @05:58PM (#3127274) Homepage
        Why does Mr. Hollings spend so much time on this SSSCA crap, when South Carolina needs:

        1) Real schools. Southern schools generally suck (I mean really really suck), unless you live in a rich suburb of Atlanta or Charlotte or Chapel Hill.

        2) Roads. The roads in South Carolina suck, unless you are traveling to/from a rich beach town. Many roads haven't been updated in years, so that they are carrying several times the traffic they were designed for with potholes and no paint much of the way.

        Cover the basics, first, Mr. South Carolina. The people need you.
    • by homer_ca (144738) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:56PM (#3126518)
      Just remember. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Republicans aren't opposing SSSCA because they love freedom. The Wired article has an interesting take on it. They're opposing the Democrat-backed SSSCA because the Democrats opposed the Tauzin-Dingell bill, which gave away the store to the Baby Bells.

      From Wired [wired.com]:

      One explanation for the opposition to Hollings' approach may not be principle but politics. The House this week voted 273-157 for a Republican-backed broadband bill -- the Tauzin-Dingell legislation -- that Hollings has vowed to block in the Senate.

      During last Thursday's hearing in the Senate, it was the Democratic members of the committee who proclaimed the need to legislate -- while Republican senators such as John McCain (R-Arizona) and Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) said they "would be extremely hesitant regarding any proposal for government to mandate copy-protection technology."

  • by Mr_Matt (225037)
    I understand that Fox News likes to portray itself as the "alternative" news source, free of "liberal bias" (but only because they wouldn't be able to compete with other real news organizations if they didn't do something to distinguish themselves :) but did anybody else find this article more of a hatchet job than an intelligent article about the SSSCA?

    I mean, c'mon, linking to a Wired article and then speaking endlessly about "opportunities for Republicans" doesn't sound like an informative article about the evils of the SSSCA. Maybe they forgot about the other evil crap that John Ashcroft has brought us: the PATRIOT Act, monitoring of cable modems, what have you. It's clear that neither party is wholly clean of messing with our rights, but this article just skews the discussion into endless political ranting. Kind of like this topic will devolve into, I foresee. :)
    • Well Fox has hired many people from both sides of the spectrum and are basically told not to hide their feelings and say what they really think. So you do hear extremly right wing and left wing beliefs. As opposed to more news orginizations which tend to lean to the left but try their best to hide that fact.
      • Pfft! Oh sure, make me spit my coffee.

        The "liberals" they bring on are just to the right-of-center. I have *never* seen a liberal slant on any Fox news reporting, counting the local dreck. Now, conservative slant, that's a different story.

        I take real issue with anyone that does this, then goes out of their way to advertise how balanced they are.
    • by Stonehand (71085) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:13PM (#3126135) Homepage
      That's because it's NOT an "article", it's an opinion piece. Look closely at the page; it's called "Straight Talk", and it's in the Views section, and it was submitted by a law professor.

      This is an opinion piece, not an article. They're not claiming journalistic objectivity here.
      • ...and yet it on Slashdot it's presented as "Fox says SSSCA is bad." Nowhere do I say that Fox has to maintain "journalistic integrity" (if such an abstract notion of human nobility exists or has existed since Watergate) but I do take issue with the opinion piece being presented as a list of reasons why the SSSCA is bad.

        Maybe I should have clarified that by not using the word "article" in my post, but the gist of my idea is the same: we've been slipped an opinion piece under a headline that suggests otherwise. Just thought I'd point the incongruity of that out.
    • Exactly what I was thinking. There was one paragraph free of political rhetoric, but the rest was just dem-bashing. Which is great for the right-wing hard-liners, but does little to attract anyone else.
      In fact, it hurts the cause, because any democrats reading it will be so turned off by the ranting that they'll ignore the issue. I want the card-carrying democrats to kick Hollings out, and pieces like this ain't gonna do it.
    • by medcalf (68293)
      The article was not about "the evils of the SSSCA," but instead was about "opportunities for Republicans" to take advantage of a political position taken by the Democrats that goes against the Democrats' normal instincts. Given your tone, I wonder if you would consider the article a rant if the parties were reversed?
      • Watch the name-calling bucko - morons have already flamed me four times as a liberal, perhaps because they only see the world in black-and-white, and if I scoff at a pro-Republican hatchet job being presented as fact, then I must be a Democrat, right?

        Wrong. I'm pointing out that an opinion piece need not be an informed argument against the SSSCA, as this op-ed piece isn't. Were the parties switched, I'd say the exact same thing. You have some preconceptions that would better be left behind, it seems.
  • "So championing the cause of the little guy only counts until the bidding gets high enough."
    "This partiality is a betrayal of principle."
    "Talk about screwing the little guy:"
    "denouncing the "spyware" already on Windows Media Player "
    {a few snips from the article} Can I get an AMEN! It is now offical, I am becoming a republican. ;).
    To bad there a 'cowboynealican' party...
  • Correction.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gergi (220700) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:10PM (#3126097)
    The article only mentions Sen. Fritz Hollings ("The Senator from Disney") and two other Democrats, not the whole party as the article title seems to suggest. Then the article makes a blanket statement about how much money the entertainment industry gave to Democrats (which I will will admit is a little suspicious).

    On that note, I'm not defending these Democrats that are in the pockets of the MPAA, et al, but this article is a very left-ist piece of FUD.
    • by Mr_Matt (225037)
      ...but this article is a very left-ist piece of FUD.

      Funny, sounded kinda right-wing to me. :)
    • I see your point but dont't forget that the article mentions that one of those two other Democrats that you mention is planning on running for President in 2004.
      Hollings was joined by Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer of California and John Kerry of Massachusetts, both of whom are heavily reliant on entertainment-industry money (with Kerry sure to become even more so if he runs for President in 2004, as expected).
      Then the fact that John Kerry is backed by the entertainment industry will become very important indeed.
    • Leftist? Have you ever *seen* fox news? Also, I would have to say it's not traditional left-ist tactics to smash the Democrats' policies while giving Republicans tips on how to exploit them to win votes.

      I do wish there were a more vivid description of what the SSSCA is trying to do - legislate that every computer and operating system and piece of software be engineered to prevent illegal copying of every bucket of bits, even though it would prevent much legal copying as well. This would also require that Linux and other free OSes be outlawed and require massive re-engineering of nearly every piece of consumer software, thus greatly increasing the cost to the consumer, while simultaneously giving record companies and movie studios a number of interesting ways to squeeze more dollars out of consumers for the privilege of enjoying goods they already bought.

    • oops... too much mtn dew... i meant right, left but thanks to all the people who rubbed it in that i'm a moron :)
  • This is a first... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PenguinX (18932) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:10PM (#3126103) Homepage
    Few journalists will get the chance to report on the SSSCA - even fewer will understand what it is like this reporter. I often find myself being overly cynical about journalism for a number of reasons, but this article hits the issue right on the head.

  • by DarthWiggle (537589) <sckiwi@NosPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:11PM (#3126105) Journal
    You know, it used to be that Fritz was just a nice old man. And he really is. He's a smart guy, too. But I'm beginning to wonder if the pressure of being the World's Oldest Junior Senator (Strom is ahead of him) is beginning to make him bitter.

    Frankly, I'm not so worried about the implications of this legislation. If it passes (unlikely), it'll just get attacked in the House or defeated in the courts if it somehow makes it past Dubya's desk.

    It's more that SC (and the US in general) has a gentleman like this steering legislative policy on something that didn't even exist when he was celebrating his 60th birthday. I'm not saying older folks can't learn, but in this case, I think it's safe to say that SC is not going to become a technology center (nor will the United States remain one) as long as its legislators insist on kissing up to interests that have less consideration for the proper deployment of technology than they do for the protection of their short-term revenue streams.

    Anyway, God help us all. Fritz is a nice man, but he should be ignored on this issue.

  • Opinions, opinions (Score:5, Informative)

    by Frater 219 (1455) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:12PM (#3126118) Journal
    Please note that the linked article is a partisan opinion piece by a law professor. It isn't the work of a Fox columnist; it doesn't necessarily represent the opinions of Fox or its affiliates. Nonetheless, it is quite refreshing to see cogent arguments for freedom in the "mainstream" media.

    FWIW, the "partisan opinion" in question is small-"L" libertarian Republican. What the author is arguing isn't just that the SSSCA is bad. It's that Republicans should take advantage of the fact that Democrats' support for the SSSCA makes Democrats look to be in bed with Big Business. I, for one, find it nice when either of the duopolistic parties adopt pro-freedom positions. It gives me hope that someday they might do so out of principle rather than just because it makes them look good. Is a pretense to virtue a possible antecedent to true virtue? I don't know.

    • "a pretense to virtue a possible antecedent to true virtue? I don't know." A US Representative, Barney Frank (D), was recently quoted during the campaign finance debates as saying: "Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue." Neither party's hands are clean when it comes to the current Orwellian state of affairs in the US. It's a shame that people are ready to throw away 200 years of hard fought battles defending civil liberties, all because of fears of terrorism and a digital economy. The framers of the consitution were defining guiding principles, not specifics. They must be "rolling over" in their graves.
      • With the amount that our founding fathers are rolling over in their graves, you would figure we could hook up a renewable energy generator to them...but NOOOooo...
  • by Latent IT (121513) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:12PM (#3126119)
    Take from the article, for instance:

    Despite being illegal, payola is rife, keeping interesting artists off the air in favor of the manufactured hitmaker of the week.

    Okay, assume that statement is fully true, and major labels pay radio stations big bucks to play their manufactured hitmaker of the week. This is keeping the interesting artists off the air?

    Wrong.

    Somebody listens to it. Someone buys the albums. N'Sync didn't get big because of major label payola, they got big because some clown looked at a shelf in a record store, and said, 'I want THIS one!'

    The same with Hanson, Britney, 98, blah-de-freakin'-blah. Someone's listening to this crap. And you know what? It's trendy to call it crap. But when a radio station, that makes money off ad revenue, has to choose what to play, it's either going to choose the mainstream 'crap', or the indie 'interesting' stuff. The rest of what will happen is left as an exercise for the reader.

    Other things pointed out in the article are just plain criminal, however:

    Record companies regularly deduct 15 percent off the top of sales as an allowance for "breakage" -- a survival from the days of shellac records that now simply serves to reduce artist royalties by that amount

    and

    And now, record companies -- who have allied themselves with the just-as-bad motion picture industry - want to make it a felony for you to own a computer that is capable of copying music from a CD to your portable player without paying them money, even though courts have held that such copying is entirely legal.

    Blame the MPAA for a lot - the DMCA, copy protected CD's, starving artists that sell more than 50,000 records, but not for the bad taste of the little girl down the block.

    • Chicken or egg? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PhilMills (209855)
      You assert:

      Okay, assume that statement is fully true, and major labels pay radio stations big bucks to play their manufactured hitmaker of the week. This is keeping the interesting artists off the air?
      Wrong.
      Somebody listens to it. Someone buys the albums. N'Sync didn't get big because of major label payola, they got big because some clown looked at a shelf in a record store, and said, 'I want THIS one!'

      Wrong.
      Think about this: why do people say "I want THIS one!"? I don't know of anyone who trolls the local music shop buying albums because the cover art is keen or because the band has some uber-cool name like "59 Pink Wallabies". People buy records from music stores because they say "Hey - I recognize the name of that band. I heard them on the radio on the way to work yesterday." Give the local "interesting" stuff some air time and their albums (assuming they aren't crap) will go flying off the shelves, too!


      philmills

    • Which came first, the chicken or the egg?


      People buy what they hear, whether they heard it on the radio or on MTV or in their best friend's car. Studies have suggested (I wish I could find a reference now;-) that with the first listen to a song, a person may not like it - but with each subsequent listening, the chance that they will like the song actually goes up. What is played on popular stations will become popular. If "payola" gets it played often enough CDs will sell, arenas will sell out, posters, paraphernalia, etc...


      Fact is, payola is still a part of the business. It won't make people love crap, but it gives a new group a chance.

      Now breakage charges - someone deserves to be beaten!

      • by jsprat (442568) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:43PM (#3126417)
        Here is a quote from a Kelly Research study:

        Radio Play Plays a Big Role in Music-Purchasing Habits

        A new study by the Philadelphia-based Kelly Research shows radio has the greatest impact on rock music purchase decisions among listeners ages 16-39.

        The nationwide survey of music buying habits surveyed 428 rock music listeners. Sixty-one percent rated radio airplay as "very important" in determining what they will buy. Videos were cited as very important by 37%, concerts were cited by 32%, and 7% cited critics reviews.

        Radio is also influential as a music advertising medium, according to the study. Fifty percent of survey respondents cite radio spots as influential in their buying decisions. Television spots are important to only 39% of those surveyed, and print ads influence 30%.

        According to the study, 49% of males ages 16-24 first hear of music they buy "from friends" more than any other source. In the male 25-49 category, that figure drops to 16%. Among females 16-24, 35% first hear of music they buy "from friends," but only 14% of women ages 25-39 cite friends as a source.
    • by Evangelion (2145) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:34PM (#3126344) Homepage

      What you are ignoring is the simple fact that the MPAA members, and everyone else in the music industry, learned a long, long time ago -- what people hear on the radio (and later, see on video channels) is what they buy. That's the truth -- you can argue how it's not strictly true in some ideal, controlled circumstance, but that's irrelavent. In the real world, what people hear on the radio, is what they buy.

      (Again, whether it's directly true is irrelevant -- alot of kids might listen to stuff because thier friends do. But somewhere along the line, someone is influenced by all the radio play and promotions that the record companies pay for.)

      The system of payloa that is currently in use right now is kind of fucked, because payola is strictly illegal -- a record company can't just send a check to the radio stations for airplay. They have to go through an inderect level of "independant" promoters who decide what music to push, and get paid based on whether or not "thier" radio stations play any of "thier" music. So by adding a layer of indirection, the system avoids the old payloa laws (which are there, because it was recognized that paying to get stuff on the air makes people want to buy it -- this is an observed fact.)

      This is one of the reasons why the MPAA doesn't like mp3's at all. Because it puts the power of what to listen to into the hands of the consumers. If people can just sit down at thier computer, and listen to whatever-the-hell they want to, from all the music in the world, that shoots the record company's biggest weapon -- control of what's played on the radio -- down. If people want to listen to Cool Indie Band, and they start passing around Cool Indie Band's track, this means that they're more likely to go out and buy Cool Indie Band's album rather than an album made by an MPAA artist.

      That is why the MPAA is attacking mp3's and p2p file sharing systems, not because of the arguable amount of revenue they loose because people get thier music for free -- but because it takes control of what people listen to, and what influences people's purchasing decisions, away from them, and puts it back in the hands of the consumers.

      This is a huge factor in the equation, and brushing it off by saying "people buy what they want" is simply ignoring the reality that people, en masse, are manipulated into wanting what the MPAA wants to sell to them, via radio.

      • by ajs (35943) <ajs@ a j s . com> on Thursday March 07, 2002 @04:30PM (#3126749) Homepage Journal
        Obvious point about MPAA vs RIAA asside, this is an excellent overview of the problem vis. radio. The article that Slashdot references here also point out some others in the retail area.

        However, I think you're ignoring the number one problem in the music marketing industry today: the labels are free to pay MTV as much as they like. They're also free to pay the teenie show of the week on WB as much as they like. So they do, in exchange for featuring their bands.

        This leads us down the road where there's a constant assualt on TV viewers with paid ads (videos, interviews, guest appearances). This gives the labels huge power to invent fads. N'Sync (you UNIX types may know them as XNSync()), Brittany, Christina, Spice Girls, etc, etc were created this way. I find Brittany to be the most illuminating example. Most young girls are attracted to her as a role model because she's famous and seems happy and comfortable with her fame. Try to find someone who will say "I was a Brittany fan before she was famous" (and doesn't just mean they saw her on TV before their friends) and you'll be looking for a long time. Why? Because she was introduced with a massive media blitz that was designed to make her seem "already famous".

        So, the payola situation in the Radio industry is silly (even more silly because of the very tiny number of independant stations), but TV makes it look like an honest day's work.
  • FOX has a rep for being to the right and this tends to back up that perception.

    Many here will love the article because they agree with the conclusion that the law is a bad one but overall the article has little to do with copy right protection.

    The author is merely reflecting on poliitical ramifications for the Republicans and Democrats. In the process we see that Washington no longer worries about right vs. wrong- but rather solely on what will bring in votes and or money. Here the democrats have a bit of a pickle because they may have to choose rather than have both.

    I remain confident that the American people will be screwed regardless-- while the parties fight over their little kingdoms.

    .
  • Slashdot, as can be found out by looking at the Presidental poll from the 2000 election, is mostly democrat. Yet, the bad guy in SSSCA is a democrat, and the Republicans for the most part think the bill would wrong the American public.

    Republicans help big business! Democrats help the common man! Perhaps we should re-evaluate their views.
    • Name one Republican who has gone on record as saying that this bill would be wrong.
  • by WinPimp2K (301497) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:13PM (#3126137)
    That is indeed a good slogan. But they could draft Charlton Heston as a spokeman too.

    How about:

    "Keep your stinking laws off my computer you filthy apes!" (the real "Planet Of the Apes")

    "Pop culture is people!" ("Soylent Green")

    There have to be some good possibilities from "the Ten Commandments" and "The Omega Man", but I just can't think of them...

    It's a pity those quotes couldn't be used while playing the clips from the movie they almost came from - it wouldn't quite make the fiar use criteria. :(
  • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:14PM (#3126146)
    To paraphrase Gore Vidal, the Democrats and the Republicans are both branches of the property party. The only difference is each party has different industries providing core corporate sponsorship.

    This is all great news anyway - the best way to stay away from corporate ownership of your computer and data is to stop buying their crappy content, which will have the beneficial side-effect of promoting indie artists.

  • While there's no doubt that the Democrats mentioned in the article are hardly acting with consumers' best interests in mind, it's laughable to believe that Republicans are going to lead the charge in the other direction as the author seems to suggest. Both parties are so in bed with big business that the difference between the two is is like vanilla vs. french vanilla.
  • by jhaberman (246905) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:15PM (#3126157)

    C'mon folks... you absolutely have to "follow the money" when looking
    for political motivation. From Enron to SSSCA. Nobody should be shocked when
    they hear something like this. Its just an extension of the old golden rule...
    he who has the gold, makes the rules. Unless the people (perhaps with help from
    the hardware manufacturers) vehemently make their views known, there will be
    people like this who try to run through legislation designed to screw the little
    guy.


    We obviously don't count as much in the process. Voters are needed to be elected...
    but MONEY is needed to get voters to vote for you. They don't get money from
    the voters. Besides... they figure we'll forget and just vote for the incumbent
    anyway.


    I'm babbling...


    Jason

  • by loosenut (116184) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:17PM (#3126174) Homepage Journal
    Do something about it!

    Visit the EFF:
    http://www.eff.org/alerts/20010921_eff_sssca_alert .html [eff.org]

    I used that page to send a few emails to my Congresspeople. And they are listening!! I got this reply from Senator Maria Cantwell:

    Dear ---:
    Thank you for contacting me about the Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA). I appreciate hearing your concerns.

    The SSSCA has not yet been introduced in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives, nor does it exist in final form. My staff has been in contact with the Senator Hollings' office, one of the authors of the SSSCA along with Senator Stevens. I was informed that the SSSCA is yet to be completed, and the timeline for the introduction of the SSSCA is uncertain at this point. The early draft that was made publicly available on the Internet, to which your comments are likely directed, may be significantly different from the legislation that may be introduced by Senators Hollings and Stevens. You may be interested to know that Sen. Hollings held a hearing in the Senate Commerce Committee to address this issue on February 28 (To view statements and testimony from this hearing, see: http://commerce.senate.gov/hearings/hearings.htm)

    I understand your concern that we must work to achieve the right balance between protecting copyrights and remunerating the creators of those works and reasonable consumer use of copyrighted works. Indeed, the pace of innovation requires a diligent consideration of both of these interests. I believe that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) passed in 1998 helps to accomplish this goal. I feel we need to continue to encourage innovation in technology while protecting the intellectual property rights of inventors, artists, authors and musicians. The DMCA prohibits circumvention of technological protection measures and the trafficking of such technology. Thus, the law facilitates legitimate distribution of copyrighted work by allowing for the use of technological measures by the copyright holder and providing legal protections for those measures. However, you should know that I will not be supportive of legislation that unduly limits technological innovation or consumers' rights.

    At this relatively early point in the development of digital distribution of copyrighted works, the U.S. Copyright Office has recommended that Congress make no significant changes to copyright law right now. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over copyright law, I will be actively considering these issues. Please be assured that should the SSSCA come before the Senate, I will keep your concerns in mind.

    Again, thank you for contacting me, and please do not hesitate to do so in the future if I can be of further assistance.

    Sincerely,

    Maria Cantwell United States Senator
  • by mikeboone (163222) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:19PM (#3126193) Homepage Journal
    This was a good article. Congressmen were just as easily bought by the entertainment industry as they were by Enron. Makes you wish you could "reboot" the government and start with some people who don't expect money from corporations.

    Anyway, I was thinking that a huge part of the problem is that the public in general is looked upon solely as consumers of entertainment. It's as if we can't think for ourselves...we must be fed entertainment by corporations.

    While I enjoy TV shows and movies and music, I spend a lot of time trying to create my own "content." I take photographs and post them on my website. I write travelogs about my trips, and post those too. I fool around with my guitar, though I'm not very good at it. I write software. Basically, I think this serves two purposes. It is time spent that I'm not "consuming" the coporate-fed entertainment, and at the same time it's more home-brewed content out there, for someone else to look at and ignore the output of big companies who want to control their works with an iron fist.

    So get out there and publish your own content. Just don't do it with the idea that your heirs will still be profiting from it in the year 3000.
    • The reboot switch is found near the Libertarian candidate on the ballot. It's usually a small lever or a checkbox, or a place to punch a "chad" out.
    • by medcalf (68293) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:30PM (#3126310) Homepage
      Makes you wish you could "reboot" the government and start with some people who don't expect money from corporations.

      You can:

      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
    • by gilroy (155262) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @04:00PM (#3126546) Homepage Journal
      Blockquoth the poster:

      Anyway, I was thinking that a huge part of the problem is that the public in general is looked upon solely as consumers of entertainment. It's as if we can't think for ourselves...we must be fed entertainment by corporations.

      Here's the true threat of the Internet to all the content providers, the movers and shakers, the Content Cartel: The Internet, through the Web, makes everyone a publisher. There are no modes of distribution, no official channels, no place for the middleman to snag a piece of the action. We are liberated from the drivel pushed in the name of mass appeal. We look up. We thrive without them.


      Digital copying is just the vector through which this enters. The true threat is human creativity, unchained and untrammeled and unfunneled through the corporations.

    • I produce 'content' a lot. Recording my songs (also a guitar player), writing fiction and technical essays, writing software, etc...

      But, this shouldn't be about me. Neither you :-)

      The deal is to make people understand that all of these creations should be made for your own, or your friends, pleasure.

      Like you said, our society less often thinks about other impact of an action than the monetary one, or corporative power.

      For example, all those 'self-help' books while preaching you must be strong, have confidence, live a health life, etc, are geared to one objective. To be _sucessful_. And they sell a lot, just check any bookstore chart.

      This desire for sucess is really a double edge knife. On ancient times, you had no option. You slowly gets power by just getting older. After, we had several dominant types of success. Religion was, sadly, one of them.

      But today, as always IMHO, what constitutes sucessful is how much _others_ think you are. But there's a major problem, we create and destroy celebrities fast. One day you are god, next you are a perverted drug addicted.

      This fast dominance wave creates several interesting effects on people. First, sucess is easy to achieve. Year after years, thousands of cases are created and succumb.

      Second, sucess is imitable. Britney Spears is, even on surface, the same women as Aguillera, J-Lo, etc... There are minor discrepances about what they say while talking to the public. Their music looks the same, their hair, their bodies. It sends you a message that you can achieve higher society positions if you do it like them.

      Third, sucess, while instantenous, lasts forever (?). Most people haven't realized this yet, but we are recording what we do more often, and we are storing this information in such a way that it will last longer. TV can save their content forever, copying from place to place. So can music, photo, software, etc, etc...

      This feeling that your achievements can be eternal is a strong reason for people to jump on the pop bandwagon.

      This might sound like a rant, but it's not. To achieve a society where people care less for money, we should attack these simbols and paths to our current sucessful values.

      After they are destroyed, we can begin to enjoy our content.
  • This article made me think of something. Maybe the political makeup of the major parties have changed again. Used to be Federalists against Democratic Republicans, then turned into Democrats (supporting the common people), and the Republicans (supporting the richer people). Now it seems to have turned into Democrats (supporters of the entertainment industry) and Republicans (supporters of other big businesses).

    Maybe they need to change the party names to the Hollywhigs and the Oilies?
  • by rtos (179649) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:26PM (#3126265) Homepage
    The article was written by Glenn Reynolds. He also maintains a rather cool weblog at Instapundit.com [blogspot.com]. More information about him can be found here [blogspot.com], from which I will blockquote:
    "
    WHO IS GLENN REYNOLDS? I'm a law professor [utk.edu] at the University of Tennessee. I write various law review articles, opeds, and other stuff. My most recent book is The Appearance of Impropriety: How the Ethics Wars Have Undermined American Government, Business and Society, (The Free Press, 1997) coauthored with Peter W. Morgan. For something completely different, see Environmental Regulation of Nanotechnology: Some Preliminary Observations, from the April, 2001 Environmental Law Reporter. (Sorry, but most law review articles aren't on the Web).

    I'm interested in everything, but my chief interest is in the intersection between advanced technologies and individual liberty. The vast majority of my writing touches on this in one way or another.

    I'm also very interested in music. I produce, write for, or perform with a number of bands (but not "Pachyderm Party" -- that's a different Glenn Reynolds), including Mobius Dick, The Nebraska Guitar Militia, and the Defenders of the Faith. I own a small record company (it's not organized as a nonprofit, but it might as well be) with my brother and another guy, called WonderDog Records. Some of my favorite acts are Cecilia Noel and the Wild Clams, BT, The Supreme Beings of Leisure, and, of course, Creedence Clearwater Revival."


    And he may be one of the few columnists out there that hates the RIAA as much as the Slashdot crowd.


    I thought a little background on him would be appropriate since all the claims of conservative bias and such started being flung around.

  • This is a new one for me:

    Record companies regularly deduct 15 percent off the top of sales as an allowance for "breakage" -- a survival from the days of shellac records that now simply serves to reduce artist royalties by that amount.

    Ok, I guess I can understand if they're shipping fragile records. (Still wouldn't you take better precautions?) But CDs? If 15% of the CDs you ship are defective when they reach the consumer's CD player, something in the chain from CD press to consumer needs to be re-examined. Of course, the RIAA isn't *really* claiming that 15% of the sales are of "broken" merchandise, it's just a good way to say: "Hey Mr. Artist, we're only paying you for 85% of the royalties we owe you."

    Then again, if they introduce copy-protected CDs in wide release, this breakage number might just skyrocket.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:38PM (#3126377)
    Being Caught with 1 "illegal" copyright work: $25,000
    Being Caught 3 years later with an "illegal" copyright work: $75,000
    Total: $100,000

    For 1000 mp3s: $100,000,000 (100 million)

    And according to the SSSCA, an illegal work would be an mp3 of a song on a CD that you yourself bought. Or when the "secure content checker" written about in the SSSCA is on all computers, an illegal work is a work it doesn't recognize, such as a term paper you wrote 5 years ago.

    $100,000 for trying to read your own paper.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:44PM (#3126433) Homepage Journal
    Interesting to see them run Op-Ed from a lawyer witha grasp on the issue. Of course, Republicans can stand to capitalize on ubiquitous, enencumbered digital media as "Bread and Circuses", while pursuing the corporate agendas of Big oil, etc...

    Vote Repulsocrat!

  • SSSCA (Score:3, Informative)

    by maxwells daemon (105725) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:50PM (#3126477)
    Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA), a version of which is posted at http://216.110.42.179/docs/hollings.090701.html [216.110.42.179] Think of your reader.
  • by amacbride (156394) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @03:52PM (#3126491)
    Here is the text of a submission I just made to Barbara Boxer's website.

    (If you're going to write, PLEASE be a grownup: typical Slashdot flaming gets us nowhere.)

    ----

    Dear Senator Boxer,

    I was a bit surprised to hear that you are favoring Senator Hollings' SSSCA bill. While there are real concerns about illegal file-sharing, an overly-broad and intrusive bill like the SSSCA is absolutely not the way to go about it.

    As a technical professional (software architect, security and database systems), I strongly believe that putting hardware copy-control devices into general consumer PCs is a terrible idea, one that will help stifle creativity in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. Code is speech, and there are many people who are quite passionate about this issue, and others having to do with free and open access to technology. I, for one, am made very uncomfortable about mysterious black boxes, legislated into hardware, over which I have no control.

    The problem is that the PC is a very general device, and requiring "certification" for every operating system/hardware combination will merely enrich the mainstream at the expense of the cutting edge. This sort of legislation is very dangerous to the continued health of Silicon Valley innovation. Our neighbors to the south in Hollywood have legitimate concerns, but harming one signature California industry to help another strikes me as the wrong approach.

    Thank you for your attention,

    Andrew MacBride
  • by interstellar_donkey (200782) <pathighgate.hotmail@com> on Thursday March 07, 2002 @04:14PM (#3126631) Homepage Journal
    Is how the article touches on corruption in the recording industry.

    If a big deal was made about how record companies were not only exploitive, but participating in illegal activities, it would cut the legs out from under their arguments.

    Payola and 'breakage' are just the tip of the iceberg. Lets hope a more credible news source picks this up and turns the big labels into the next Enron.
  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Thursday March 07, 2002 @04:41PM (#3126826) Homepage Journal

    One paragraph of the article said:

    Talk about screwing the little guy: audits of record companies routinely indicate "errors" that are always in the companies' favor. (Recording artist Peggy Lee just won a big judgment, and many other artists' lawsuits are pending)

    This brought back some memories of conversations I had while consulting for one of the major record companies. Not only is the slanting of "errors" in the favor of the companies common, it's completely intentional and so common that the industry has a name and an acronym for it.

    The term is "settle on audit" and the acronym, obviously, SOA. What it means is that if a particular clause in an artists contract is too much of a pain to apply correctly, or even if the company just feels like it, they deliberately choose to err in their own favor, with the idea that when (or if!) the artist chooses to pay a third party auditor to come look at the books, they'll just negotiate a settlement.

    In some cases, the contract clauses are so bizarre and impossible to apply that this actually makes a twisted sort of sense (what would really make sense is to write contracts that can actually be executed), but the record companies apply this technique in lots of other situations as well.

    And, if that weren't enough, they also make absolutely no effort beyond the minimum required by the contract language to facilitate these audits. One common practice is that when the auditors request sales records, rather than giving them the information in a nice, easily-manipulable electronic format (which is what the companies use to look at and process the data themselves), they print it all out and provide it in paper format, sorted in some less than ideal way. For a major artist that has sold millions of CDs these paper records can fill dozens of large boxes -- truckloads of paper. And the auditor is paid by the artist, typically by the hour.

    I guess in one way all this chicanery is actually in the artists' favor: The artist never has to wonder whether it's worth it to pay an auditor, because however much the auditor charges, they can always be sure that the record company has screwed them for worse, so they'll come out ahead in the end. I pointed this out and the folks I was talking to said that there was some debate over that point, that maybe they'd be better off playing it a little closer so that some sizeable percentage of audits showed no underpayments. But they're pretty sure they get to keep more of the artists' money this way.

  • Enron Boy Scouts? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by justin sane (185041) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @04:57PM (#3126930)
    what a load of BS, Enron did far more damage but sicne *they* gave money to Republicans, Fox calls them Boy Scouts compared to Entertainment Industry. As far as I can tell, the ET hasn't been shredding documents, wiping out retirements accounts, pleading the Fifth, and holding secret metings with the Vice President. What balanced objective reproting--NOT!
  • by maetenloch (181291) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @05:16PM (#3127062)
    I'm disappointed in Slashdot's readership.

    A lot of the comments so far are just reactions to where it appeared - not what it says.

    Whatever you think of FoxNews, try to read the article without projecting on it what you think it's going to say. Note that it's really an opinion piece, apparently part of Fox's Straight Talk feature - corbettw mislabelled it in his summary.

    The article in my view is really just analyzing the political risks and possibilities for both parties here. The reality is that both the Democrats and Republicans support constituencies at times that are at odds with the philosphies they publicly profess. In this case it's the support that several heavyweight Democrats have been giving to the recording and movie industries for the SSSCA. Glenn Reynolds (the author) really would like to see the SSSCA buried and all he's really doing here is pointing out is that the Republicans could help kill it AND potentially score political points for doing so.

    Glenn Reynolds also produces music in his spare time when he's not teaching law. He also runs a 'blogger' website with nearly hourly comments. He's also a Slashdot reader and poster (which is how I first heard about his web site InstaPundit [blogspot.com]). I've been reading his site since just before 9/11 and he's been consistent in criticizing the record industry for its corruptness and sneaky ploys to take advantage of the consumer. He's hardly a ideological Republican. Mostly he's libertarian and anti-Idiotarian in his viewpoints. In this, I don't think he's that far off from most Slashdot readers. That is, if they can overlook their media outlet biases.
  • by rlp (11898) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @05:24PM (#3127107)
    I recall reading an article about Winston Groom - the author of Forest Gump. He had cut a deal with the studio for a percentage of the profit from the movie. The movie generated revenue of over $600 million, but according to the studio, did not make a profit. So, when Valenti states that only 2 out of 10 movies generate a profit that's probably true. Hollywood's accountants may well be the most creative people in the entertainment industry.
  • by _bug_ (112702) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @05:26PM (#3127120) Journal
    I enjoyed reading an article from mainstream media that, for once, gets it almost right when it comes to the entertainment industry's attempts to manipulate and encroach on the rights of consumers.

    I say "almost" because I don't feel turning the story into an angle for the Republicans is the correct way to go about this. I think this approach gives the appearance that Republicans should approach this case with an eye for strengthening their political power rather than to show their concerns for the consumers (the "little guys"). This article would probably turn away a significant number of readers who would invalidate the article in their minds as some sort of Republican "propaganda".

    Also, I don't think enough information was conveyed regarding what exactly the SSSCA does, except that it has something to do with "computer laws". By putting such a broad generalization on the SSSCA you water down the effect the article has on the readers. In the past several laws have come to pass which many individuals and organizations within the technology industry have vehemently fought against and lost when the safety of children or safety from terrorism was made as a major point behind the bill. This is not happening with the SSSCA, however there's been such a saturation of computer laws dealing with terrorism and child safety in the past that the general public will probably gloss over any new story on the subject. To most individuals it's just another story on their local news to ignore.

    Perhaps that this article appears on FOXNews.com is something like preaching to the converted? At any rate, I think this story could have focused more on what the SSSCA is and why it's bad for consumers, rather than just telling the reader that it's so.

    I think getting more information out to the general public, in terms they can understand, is really the only way to approach the SSSCA and other such acts.
  • by BigBir3d (454486) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @05:35PM (#3127160) Journal
    They make a lot more sense now, don't they?

    Should be some sort of limits as the maximum amount of money that can be used, as well as maximums from any one source, as well as industry. Of course, industries will collude together, and offer contributions that "have no monetary value."

    It could be a start though.

    Of course, it is hard to find enough Republicans and Democrats that would be willing to give themselves such cuts...

    Heck, we might even get ourselves into a position where there is more than two major, influential, political parties in the United States!
  • How hypocritical! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cozimek (191874) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @05:45PM (#3127212) Homepage
    I couldn't believe this when I read it. I'm a public policy student doing major research on high tech's influence in DC. The Digital Rights Management (DRM) debate was brought to Hollings not by Disney alone, but by News Corp. as well (FOX)! News Corp, and its movie production studios stand to win equally as much as Disney in this debate. I've spoken with hardware makers government affairs spokesmen, and they're ready to fight this to the hilt...and they have DEMOCRATS supporting them!

    Talk about bad journalism...

    -Ozzy

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