Skip to main content

Quietly making decisions





Tech activists protest anti-copying



Enthusiasts of free software disrupted a Commerce Department meeting Wednesday, insisting on their right to debate the entertainment industry over anti-copying technologies.
It seems the only way some activists get heard is by being obnoxious. There was the recent spat at the AIDS conference in Spain. The difference there, of course, was that they targeted a single representative--from the US--rather than the conference as a whole. In this instance, this was a group that was protesting their exclusion from the discussion.



I especially got a laugh out of Brett Wynkoop sneaking onto the panel and joining the discussion. I can imagine the faces when someone realized, "Just who the heck are you?"



Jack Valenti, movie picture flack, was gratious enough to allow the protestors to participate, at least to an extent. But his past history catches up with him, showing a consistent cry for government control and unwillingness to consider new modes of doing business. Valenti, in the early 80's, was out-spoken about the VCR, saying that "the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone."



Very open minded of him.



The "modest royalty fee" proposed at the time was between $25 and $50 per blank tape. Needless to say, the VCR industry would have been stillborn. Today, it's a revenue source worth billions to the entertainment industry. If they had had their way in 1982, who knows.



And so it is today with computers, the Internet, and broadband access. Only they don't see it that way because the only way they know of doing business is the way they've done it for years. Ownership, copyright, control.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Not the Hero We Deserve, But the Hero We Need

The Dark Knight is the best film I’ve seen in years. Not just the best “superhero” film, but the best film of any type. It’s not perfect, not quite a masterpiece, but it’s flaws are, to me, tiny and overwhelmed by the time the film ends. While relatively bloodless, it is consistently brutal, not just in what it depicts but in the themes that drive it. TDK is a film for adults, please leave the kids at home.Let’s deal with those “flaws” first, the largest being the character Rachel Dawes. In Batman Begins, I blamed Katie Holmes. Her acting was weak, to say the least, which is regrettable in that who she is and what she says and does are important to the film. Critics agreed and either for that or other reasons, Katie was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal, who is a better actress. Yet here she’s weak, real weak. Maybe it’s the character, not the actress, which is frustrating because Rachel is a pivotal character. The film, at almost two and a half hours, might be a shade long. Having said t…

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I went and saw The Last Jedi shortly after it came out and at first I didn't really feel like writing a thing about it. Why? Because the film just left me apathetic; I just didn't care. But I've been seeing arguments and counter-arguments fly back and forth, especially the aggregate professional critic (very high) versus the aggregate viewer (pretty low) scores. So, what the heck, here's my two cents' worth. And because I want to work myself up to a proper, full venting, there will be spoilers a-plenty.

We join the action shortly after the events of The Force Awakens. The Resistance (with no clear idea of what they're actually resisting) is fleeing from the relentless pursuit of The First Order (with no clear idea of what their order actually is). Death is closing in on our less-than-plucky heroes. Much running ensues.

And that's it, the entire plot in a nutshell. Yes, Rey (Daisy Ridley) goes off to receive training from Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). But it…

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

With its release on home video, we come to the unsurprising and yet still bitter disappointment that is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Unsurprising, because of a lousy director. Disappointing, because it should have been great. To explain further will involve light spoilers; I will avoid larger giveaways. In a galaxy far, far away, the Empire continues to consolidate its power after the fall of the Republic (see Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith). Toward that end, they are assembling a giant battle station, the Death Star. The Rebel Alliance plots a way of finding out what’s going on and perhaps, in the process, save their collective butts. Rebellious galivanting ensues. All of the elements necessary to craft a good story are here, yet none of them work. The blame lies almost exclusively at the feet of director Gareth Edwards. This is his third film (after Monsters and Godzilla) and his failings as a director stand out in each. The major problems with each film involve the peopl…