Archive | July, 2003

More Motion to Delay and Block New Media Ownership Rules

Just to show you that our elected representatives aren’t 100% bought-and-paid -for, there are thirty-five Senators trying to use a little-known maneuver to block the implementation of the FCC’s new loosened media ownership rules. According to the Washington Post,

“A ‘resolution of disapproval,’ which is permitted under the Congressional Review Act, has been placed on the Senate calendar for expedited consideration because it has more than the 30 signatures required to move it out of committee without a vote. … The measure would require a simple majority of the Senate for passage.”

For its part, the House Appropriations Committee yesterday voted to block the raising of the national TV ownership limit to reaching 45% of US TV households. But that was the only rule that they touched, leaving intact the rules allowing TV-newspaper cross-ownership and ownership of multiple TV stations in a market.

Meanwhile, the FCC’s Democrats continue to beat their heads against the Powell wall. On Tuesday, Commissioners Adelstein and Copps asked Chairman Powell to allow a commission vote on a temporary stay of the new rules. The new rules go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, which is expected within weeks. Powell is as likely to consider that as is he to consider giving up the smug look on his face.

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Attention California and Michigan — Time to Kick Your Hand-Maiden Reps Out of Congress

Another bill has been introduced into Congress to turn every 15-year-old kid with a CD burner and cable modem into a criminal. Reps. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and Howard Berman (D-Calif.) have written legislation that makes uploading a single copyrighted song punishable with a 5 year prison term and a $250,000 fine.

Nevermind that you can do less time for manslaughter, beating someone senseless, or even being CEO of Enron (hey, wait, that guy isn’t doing ANY time!).

I don’t care what party these bozos belong to, they need to be voted out of office. They’re making it clear who butters their bread and tosses their salad, and it sure ain’t their average constituents or you and me.

What’s the value of one mp3? A buck, if that? So uploading that gets you a fine worth 250,000 times its value?

Just imagine if Enron management or the head of a busted savings and loan could be fined for 250,000 times the value of what they bilked investors, employees and the public out of.

But, of course, that will never happen. Because that mp3 uploading kid never sauced on the campaign contributions, junkets and gifts like a greedy, snaky CEO.

These sorts of bill just demonstrate ever more strongly that any connection there might be between morality and law is utterly illusory. If this law passes (and I sure bet against it), I hope their kids and grandkids get nailed uploading the new Eminem mp3 on Kazaa. Wanna bet those little tykes would never see the inside of a jail cell or that big old fine?

Conyers and Berman, along with any other double-dealers who sign on to this legislation, should be bonked on out of Congress, and then sent up the river for 3 years to see what it feels like.

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Raise The Fist Webmaster Getting Screwed Again by the Courts

The LA Weekly covers the June 30 court appearance of Sherman Austin, webmaster for RaisetheFist.com, an anarchist who faces federal charges for distributing various information on his website, including some instructions on bombmaking. Back in October of last year Sherman made a plea agreement with the Federal prosecutor which astonishingly was thrown out by the Judge in the case who said it was too lenient.

Sherman and the Feds came to a second agreement for more much jail time and the Judge still balked, suggesting at least eight to ten months is more appropriate. All this, mind you, for simply publishing some information that is probably available at your public library, and without otherwise committing any kind of violence or other “crime.”

Anarchogeek gives some thought as to why Sherman is facing such severe repression while “other sites like protest.net, riseup, infoshop, tao, resist.ca, burn, earthliberationfront.com, etc.. haven’t.”

He suggests that

“The critical issue is that Sherman is a younger activists who doesn’t have many connections with other activists. He lacks an inherited security culture and support network which function to protect other radical websites. It seems like he’s alternating between radical fuck the state anarchism and listening to non-politicized adults in his life who are telling him to settle and plea bargain. When more experienced anarchists in Los Angeles tried to contact Sherman they were unable to connect so that he could network to get the support from the activist community. …

“I think it’s a mistake of the activist community that we haven’t been able to do more to support Sherman. It sets a precedent in which anarchist speech can start to be criminalized. “

Previously:

  • Charges Against RaisetheFist Webmaster Dropped. What’s Going On? 2/18/02
  • RaiseTheFist.com Webmaster Arrested in NYC 2/6/02
  • Mainstream Reports on RaisetheFist Bust 2/4/02
  • Indymedia.nl Slapped by Netherlands Court 7/3/02

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    Using the Net to Distro Indy TV

    Wired News has an article about how independent and community media activists are using the net to distribute programming. What’s interesting to me is that the focus is not just on streaming video, but also on using the net to distribute video from producers to public access TV stations.

    The video group at the Urbana-Champaign IMC is currently trading programming with other producers around the world via snail mailed videotapes. On top of the time and cost of int’l snail mail, we have to deal with the problem of different TV standards (PAL and NTSC). This article reminds me that with a little more bandwidth and server storage we could set up a independent video archive similar to the A-info radio archive.

    Especially with video, the last mile is still a problem. While a growing number of people are getting broadband Internet in the devleoped world, its penetration doesn’t come near matching TV and cable TV. But using the Internet as a medium for getting video from producer to TV stations helps leverage the net to close that gap.

    I think it’s important to not always see the Internet as the end-medium, but to realize it’s potential to hook up and network traditional media, like print, radio and video.

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