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Old 25 September 2002, 08:47   #1
Fred the Fop
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The continued rape of the common man

The big corporations continue to pull the puppet strings of our "democracy" here. The tyranny of the capitalist continues, guys.
Full length article here, from the New York Times. faascinating, especially because I am in the market for a new TV set, and this article popped up.

Hearings Set on Measure to Promote Digital TV

By AMY HARMON


The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold hearings today on a bill intended to spur the development of digital television. It would render most current televisions obsolete by 2007 and require the Federal Communications Commission to support copy-protection technology designed to prevent consumers from copying and redistributing digital television programs.
Tomorrow, the House Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property has scheduled a hearing on another bill, introduced by Representative Howard L. Berman, Democrat of California, that would protect entertainment companies that begin technological attacks against people trading copyrighted material over the Internet.

Digital delivery through broadcast and the Internet is seen as a potential boon to the economy. Wider adoption of broadband Internet services would help the beleaguered telecommunications industry, and the government plans to auction off billions of dollars of analog TV spectrum for other uses as soon as broadcasters make the switch to digital signals.

But consumer groups contend that the proposals signal a troublesome willingness in Congress to favor the interests of copyright holders over those of consumers in the face of new technology.

"Here we have technology that was supposed to enhance the consumer experience, expand their ability to use media, and now we find we're going in the exact opposite direction," said Mark Cooper, research director at the Consumer Federation of America.

Mr. Cooper's organization argues that the draft bill on digital television circulated by Representative Billy Tauzin, Republican of Louisiana, would make millions of existing videocassette recorders inoperable and force consumers to pay for more expensive equipment.

But Mr. Tauzin said the real harm to consumers came from struggles among broadcasters, cable operators and entertainment and consumer electronics companies over how to make the transition to digital television. Digital TV promises to improve picture quality markedly and provide viewers with CD-quality audio, more channels and interactivity.

"Time is passing," said Mr. Tauzin, who has urged industry representatives to reach a solution themselves. "We obviously want people to come in and tell us if this is not the right solution, can you find a better one? And by the way, can you find it soon?"

Neither measure is expected to pass before the November elections, but the debate that unfolds in this week's hearings is viewed as a marker for legislation to come up in the next term of Congress.

The Tauzin proposal would force broadcasters to stop sending conventional analog television signals by Dec. 31, 2006, and its deadline could not be extended. Under current law, TV stations may continue using airwaves earmarked for analog signals until 85 percent of households in their market have digital TV sets.

But the transition has been slow. Only about three million digital sets which currently can cost thousands of dollars have been sold, and fewer than one-third of broadcast TV stations are transmitting digitally.

To speed things along, the F.C.C. last month ordered TV manufacturers to install digital tuners in most sets by 2007. Some TV makers have said they will fight the move, which they say will drive up the price of the average television set by more than $250.

Because that debate is likely to unfold in court, consumer groups are focusing on the provision in the Tauzin proposal that would require the F.C.C. to support copy-protection technology known as a broadcast flag. Designed to prevent TV viewers from redistributing material over the Internet, the technology could also be used to prevent consumers from recording shows or watching them where and when they choose.

The trade-off between thwarting Internet piracy and impinging on the way consumers interact with technology is also at issue in the Berman bill. Under the proposal, copyright owners would be free to use any technology to disable, block or impair their works from being pirated on a file-sharing network, provided that they did not damage users' computers or block other files.

"Will consumers have any reasonable recourse if they are the target of such an attack?" said Alan Davidson, associate director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a consumer rights advocacy group. "All of these may be very well-intentioned bills, but they have far-reaching impact on how consumers watch television and use phones and computers. We have to find a way to have a dialogue that has not taken place so far on Capitol Hill on what those implications are."





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Old 25 September 2002, 10:45   #2
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This was indeed an interesting article Frederic

Quote:
which they say will drive up the price of the average television set by more than $250
After reading the article I was left pondering is this really about (C) infringement or just about more companies making more money selling us things we don't really need ??

The way things are going next thing they will be discussing is Paying for internet downloads :eek

Quote:
Under the proposal, copyright owners would be free to use any technology to disable, block or impair their works from being pirated on a file-sharing network, provided that they did not damage users' computers or block other files
This however I feel is OK, afterall if a product is good then surely it's worth buying ?

There again now we are left with the problem of companies overpricing for their products like Microsoft do and with the new rules about piracy in place we would be forced to pay full price for their products
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Old 25 September 2002, 12:14   #3
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That's not surprising. After all Internet killed HDTV as a home enrettainment solution before it was born.
 
Old 25 September 2002, 16:44   #4
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I'm too tired and have too little time to read the article thoroughly but I think I know the case in question which probably never changes for whatever thing it's about, namely anti-copying at the cost of users who actually pay for it while those who pirate still circumvent the measures. Corporations keep pushing their profits at the cost of the people who pay giving those who pirate less incentive to actually pay for what's good.

Before long the entertainment industry will probably have lobbied through a law which means they could go into any person's house at their leisure to search for anything illegal, be that copied stuff or just stuff which doesn't feature copy protection and thus is potentially copyable stuff.
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Old 25 September 2002, 19:13   #5
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"beleaguered telecommunications industry" Good grief! Ummm, beleaguered mostly due to their incompetence and greed

What's at stake here is fair use. That's something we've enjoyed for a very long time now. From library books to CDs we've had this. Where is this going to end? As far as TV goes we pay already even if the show is recorded and watched later. Between the commercials and the satelite/cable fees we are paying. To combat TIVO and commercial skipping they incorperate ads right into the shows. There's no end to the greed of this industry.

I don't watch much TV anymore. Most of it's BS. Even channels like TLC (The Learning Channel) and Discovery are oxymoronic at most times. At first PBS looked like it'd die... now it looks like it'll be the place to actually watch factual science.

.02
 
Old 27 September 2002, 06:17   #6
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I barely watch TV anymore. I find the amount of actual decent show compared to repetitive, brainwashing commericals to be far too low to bother. I'd rather download my tv shows than submit to a front lobotomy from the EVIL GLOBAL ADVERTISING MEGACORPORATIONS.
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Old 27 September 2002, 08:15   #7
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*Shakes hand with comrade Dalai*
I agree. I have watched maybe 10 hours of telly in the last year. I miss none of it and cancelled my cable TV last June.
Pete! You are so right. Once great, intellectual fare as Discovery, A & E and TLC have turned into complete garbage. Dumbed down for the peasant minded common American.
Worthless stuff on Biography of rock stars, science of Star Trek, Hollywood stunts, etc. What filth.
PBS is a shining beacon, but the scum Republicans want to cut back. I fear America is ruled by the powerful cabal of war mongers and the military-industrial complex, far right religious Christian groups (shudder) and the Big Blue Chip corporations.
Piracy forever!!!!
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Old 27 September 2002, 14:35   #8
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I realy realy hate the movie/music industry/tv industry.

Everything is so cookie cutter anymore, nobody takes risks of doing anything original because of the money involved. I havnt watched network tv regularly ever since seinfeld went off the air. I will see some letterman or SNL once and a while but nothing on a regular basis except for cable channels like HBO (soprano's, curb your enthusiasm, comedy specials, movies) History channel, discovery etc.

The networks dont want you to copy any of thier tv shows anymore because they want to sell you the entire season on DVD.

Movie makers are worried that if all the movies are shown on tv at HDTV resolution and sound that is as good or better then DVD people will just make thier own perfect digital dvd's from the boradcast and they will lose sales of dvd (the fact that HBO shows movies quite a while after its been on dvd/tape and network tv screws up movies with a shitload of commercials doesnt get factored into the equation)

Then we have tv manufacturers bitching about including digital tuners they rape us for now in a standard tv set. Once you make any tuner in the millions required for tv sets a year the cost goes way down, but so does the profit per each unit. Face it the standard tv is mostly a commodity just like vcr's and dvd's and computers. The sony vega's of the world are nice but most people buy the cheap panasonic/rca's anyway.

And the legislation for HDTV has loopholes to get all the people off the hook. Making it so 85% of your market must have digital before analog goes away means analog is here to stay. 85% of the people dont even have cable tellivision and thats been out since 1970's.

Why not just manufacture 1 standard digital to analog tuner with multiple outputs so that we can watch tv and still be able to record on our vcr's and keep our current tv's. if you make enough of them they will cost maybe $50 a piece. that way we can go digital in a year and everybody could save up for a box by then. Dont forget the standards have changed since HDTV was first announced and the early adopters got screwed in the resolution they can display on the $10K they purchased. If you want the 1040i resolution buy a new all digital tv (and alot will) but all current tv's will display the lower resolution digital resolution converted to analog (same as a dvd with svhs output).
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Old 30 September 2002, 11:42   #9
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You know, you can stop the mega-corporations from pushing through their opinions. How? It's called voting.

The next time there's an election in your country, vote for a party that are sceptical of (or opposing) large corporations and corporatism itself.
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Old 30 September 2002, 12:08   #10
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Hmm I really would like to think like you puzzle, but democracy is practically, a lie. Humans advanced little in other areas than technology, we're still brutal self-centered beings, just smarter. Oh I can speak for days about it but I'll keep this message in a few sentences instead. I don't believe in civilization at all
 
Old 30 September 2002, 14:45   #11
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Democracy means you have the option of buying from 100 brands of breakfast cereal. You also get to cast a vote that has become more meaningless every 4 years.

If you wanted to make the president of the US a better position make the term last 10 years with NO re-election chances. That way the prick doesnt have to worry about getting re-elected and can concentrate on LONG term planning for the country. Foriegn policy here is a mish mash of ideas that change every 4 years.. hasnt been a long term strategy in quite a while. Would also be nice if the population had the option of emergency elections to impeach the president if he was doing a bad job during his 10 year term (keeps the prick honest and working for US).

The 2 major parties are more alike then different, and they all kiss big buisiness ass. Any attempt at a real 3rd part (something that has worked long ago in the history of the USA) has to contend with millions of dollars of TV and Radio airtime from the other 2 parties trying to ruin it.

There are 2 ways to make alot of money in the world these days:
1: Run a company into the ground and rape it along the way
2: Get elected to a high government position and take bribes from everybody while your in office.
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Old 30 September 2002, 15:00   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Puzzle
You know, you can stop the mega-corporations from pushing through their opinions. How? It's called voting.

The next time there's an election in your country, vote for a party that are sceptical of (or opposing) large corporations and corporatism itself.
You know why you vote for officials instead of every single law passed? Because the officials are to take care of all the voting by being representatives. Just too bad that money make a very very persuasive argument. I can't remember his name but he gives talks about free software and such. He described the current situation when discussing laws in the making : If you're explaining you're losing.

You might be as right as you want, have a politic as close to the one the officials got elected for. As long as you don't have money incentive or a marketing division to come up with a slogan you ain't got a chance getting anything changed unless you amass a massive demonstration, which would probably be ignored. Here in Denmark to take an example there have been cases where a local law would be passed, or some other decision. Some people start collecting signatures against it. Even though they in a limited time reach over 25% of the population in the area the effect would cover it'd still be described as "a few people who are unimportant but entitled to their opinion".

Let's take another example. Most of the EU countries were just forced to get the Euro currency. Denmark was one of the countries where the population actually got to vote, the result was a no. Shortly after politicians started messing about with a workaround but were luckily stopped before finding a workaround which would go around the population. Let's ask all the Euro residents here how many of them would've voted yes had they gotten the choice?
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Old 30 September 2002, 15:11   #13
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The people dont get to vote on every law because they dont want a military draft, dont want to spend a large amount of our wealth on the military, do not want to get taxed, and for the most part dont care what is going on in the world that doesnt directly affect them. But government needs to be able to pass those kind of laws to be able to function. If people got what they wanted there would be no USA at this time, and half the current country would still be trading slaves from africa and flying a different flag.

The problem is democracy means the people get to vote, and capitalism means the rich get thier way. So when you combine the 2 you get only the rich people getting a real vote.
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Old 30 September 2002, 15:19   #14
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Well said Unknown_K. Anarchy seems to be the only real solution where people could do what they want without being affected more by others oppinions than they want to themselves.

But if you take financial politics at least they could lay out different suggestions and people could vote on the one they'd think was best. They do that internally when discussing finances anyway. When the internet have become rolled out enough to say most everyone would be able to do so they could start votes over the net making it faster and easier to have a democracy where people would get to have say in more than just a decision between people.

Last election race here in Denmark has 2 front figures battling most of the time. Their politics on the different debatable items were almost similar. They both had (according to them) a good plan on how to finance the stuff they were talking about but none would actually go into depth on it, or actually answer on it. Thus the guy who said "no more raised taxes" won. People then realized just how much would need to be cut down and at least last week kindergarden workers were on strike because of cutbacks even though one reason for the cutbacks there would be that there would be fewer kids needing a kindergarden.
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Old 30 September 2002, 16:52   #15
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Everybody likes saving where there is a redundancy, unless of course your job is the one redundant.

Its funny how most of the companies around here want to slim down by getting rid of redundant workers. They try to make short term profits by reducing staff and making them work harder. The problem with this is that the more people that make a decent income, the more money they have to buy products they produce. Henry Ford I was smart enough to overpay his workers so they would have money to buy his cars making him more money.
So jobs are cut, people dont have money to buy expensive goods, sales go down, people are cut... and the cycle continues.
I think that is one reason the governments are so inneficient.. all the extra spending supports the economy and keeps people working and buying and most importantly paying taxes.
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