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Friday, 10 October - link

email the government

A few months ago I finally joined the EFF. I was primarily interested in their struggle to preserve the rights of people with computers to continue to express themselves freely, and to share those expressions online.

There's been an unending series of sad legislation coming through the US and EU congresses/parliaments, threatening to limit these freedoms. Perhaps the internet will continue to treat censorship as damage and route around it. But there is a mightly load of money, fear and recalcitrance working to curtail the potential of digital citizens. In case innovation needs some help, I lended my voice to a recent campaign to stop the "broadcast flag" legislation:

The best inventions of humanity are made by people with access to tools and ideas. Those people make life better for everyone when they are able to share the results of their experiments.

There is a legitimate commercial interest in buying and selling media. But the primary interest of people is to solve our problems, together. I am concerned about upcoming legislation like the FCC-mandated adoption of "broadcast flag" technology for digital television. I worry that legislation like this will restrict our access to tools and ideas in favor of commercial interests, and this will slow the development of technology and culture.

At best, other people and other countries will step in to take America's place as a leading home for free thinkers. At worst, we will lead the world with blinders and earplugs, aware primarily of the loudest and largest things on the screen. There is a lot that is human and important in the margins.

American media companies, and media companies worldwide, have managed so far to keep up with a incredible torrent of technological change. They should learn to work with their audiences to make more exciting means of telling stories, instead of asking the government to help them tithe and restrain citizens from thought and commerce that comes naturally with our new and exciting machines.

This proposed broadcast flag technology is trying to solve a problem of values. Perhaps taxpayer money and political time could be better spent endorsing the importance of shared intellectual property. A discussion of the importance of the stories undergirding this culture might lead people to treat media differently, with more respect. With more participation! It seems reasonable to believe that respectful participation should be among the highest goals of this democracy. Certainly that makes more sense than trying to legislate morality with regards to media production.

Please do not mandate broadcast flag technology for digital television. Thank you for your time.

Lend your voice as well! Email the government.

Posted on 10 October 2003 : 13:37 (TrackBack)
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Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.