It’s not just about the money

23Nov09

Hopefully we’re seeing the beginning of the end rather than the end of the beginning as media companies align themselves with incumbent politics to suppress the new freedoms of the Internet in order to maintain their outdated business models. Locally we have the Digital Economy bill, full of dreadful stuff that has emerged in the wake of Mandelson ditching the bothersome and inconvenient consultation process for the Digital Britain paper. I notice echoes of Andy Burnham’s ridiculous desire for a ‘child safe internet‘[1] also re-emerging. How about we concentrate our efforts first on having an internet without crime. On the broader stage we’re getting ACTA, where the media companies are trying to enact an international fiat rather than fight it out in their home political environments.

It’s easy to write this off as greedy and corrupt politicians being bought off by the big companies (which after all happens all the time), but there’s more to it than that. The media companies hold the reigns to the stars, and the politicians need those stars to endorse their campaigns and make them seem popular – you like this music/actor/whatever, and they’re friends with us, so you like us…! I suspect that whilst the media distribution companies are throwing every carrot/cent they can at lobbying, campaign contributions etc. there’s a stick in their hands in the form of be nice to us or we won’t help you look good to a celebrity enchanted public.

First they came for the ‘terrorists’, and I did not speak out—because I was not a ‘terrorist’;

Then they came for the ‘child pornographers’, and I did not speak out—because I was not a ‘child pornographer’;

Then they came for the ‘pirates’, and I did not speak out—because I did not consider myself a ‘pirate’;

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

With apologies to Martin Niemöller

[1] I once had the misfortune to hear Burnham the buffoon speak about this in person, and unfortunately it was the wrong sort of venue to argue back (and I fear that it would have been like trying to argue with a dining room table). It’s the most atrocious form of sound bite politics, and about as realistic as child safe motorways (the Internet is after all the ‘information super highway’, though that’s also a label I’ve considered to be nonsense since the first time I heard it).



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