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Archive for January, 2006

Your Senator Needs an iPod

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

iPAC (an organization fighting for balanced copyright) thinks that Senators will understand our side of the digital music story if they owned and used an iPod. We believe them.

“Senator Stevens, the 82-year old committee chairman from Alaska, surprised the audience by announcing that his daughter had bought him an iPod, and suddenly Stevens had a much greater understanding of the many ways innovative technology can create choice for consumers. Content industry representatives at the hearing found themselves answering much tougher questions…”

Check out this hot new campaign from IPAC

Read more about what happened…

(then go to iPAC and support the campaign)

Hollywood Canada loses election

Wednesday, January 25th, 2006

Sam Bulte, a Canadian MP who was bought and paid for by Hollywood, lost the election! Congratulations Cory! More info from the man himself.

Here’s our previous post on the topic.

Lawrence Guyot Makes a Call

Wednesday, January 25th, 2006

The eminent Civil Rights leader and co-organizer of the Eyes on the Screen campaign in 2005, Lawrence Guyot gave me a call the other day. It was great to hear from him as we have been quite a team together. We were pretty happy about what has happened with the Eyes on the Prize documentary this year; EOTP received big funding and is slated for release on DVD. In case you don’t know what the conundrum is — Eyes on the Prize only came out on VHS, was a seminal educational resource on the civil rights movement and never was able to renew its copyrights. As a result, EOTP was not able to move away from the dying VHS format, until this year.

He called to let everyone know about the few places where you can get some free American History documentaries. You can get these documentaries and see how you like them. Here are the numbers:

For “And the Children Shall Lead”, call 662-915-6727.
For a few other documentaries, you can call 202-518-5954.

Lawrence is an extremely strong voice in organizing revolt where revolt need be. We’re so glad he’s on our team.

For those of you wondering what will happen with Eyes on the Screen: we won’t be running another campaign this year. Eyes on the Prize seems to be doing pretty well without any help at this point. And we hope that the spirit of remembering our history and folding these lessons of history into what we do this February continues. Many people are writing to tell us that they’ll be showing EOTP in the next couple of weeks — this is exactly what should continue to happen and it’s great to have EOTP become a staple part of discourse again. When it comes out on DVD, be sure to get it.

Sam Bulte, Hollywood Canada, faces the music

Thursday, January 12th, 2006

This is how to do it. Sam Bulte is a Canadian MP who’s been bought by Hollywood and been transformed into a copyright zealot. Now her shady fundraising dealings have been exposed and the fight is on to reveal her agenda and get her out of parliament. As usual, your boy Cory Doctorow is holding it down with comprehensive reports on Bulte. Digital Copyright Canada is organizing for Peggy Nash, Sam’s opponent in the current election. Joey deVilla made a great Dr. Seuss parody book cover about the scandal, this Toronto record store has a anti-Bulte sign on their window, and Bulte is getting hammered on the issue in public forums. Online Rights Canada is pulling it all together and will show you how you can help.

We’ve been a little quiet on the scene for the past few months since we’ve been working on PCF. But we want to say that we are so, so psyched about the shit storms that have brewed around the Sony Rootkit stuff and now Sam Bulte. This is very, very effective politics in both cases– rapid, loud, and focused responses, coming from all directions. It’s beautiful. Most politicians still think that copyright is an obscure issue that no one cares about– so why not take Hollywood’s money and do what they want? But now if Sam Bulte loses this election (and even if she doesn’t) every canadian politician will be on notice and that will change how they govern for the better. Can we get a little of this goodness in the USA already??

CD Sales Falling Faster

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

In July I noted that CD sales were down 7% for the first half of 2005, the death of the CD seemed near. Now the numbers are in for the full year– CD sales dropped 8% compared to 2004. That means that the trend sped up slightly as the year went on. The drop is almost certain to continue and likely to speed up even more. We think big box stores like Best Buy will soon start allocating less space to CDs and carrying fewer titles, creating a downward spiral of consumer satisfaction with CD purchases.

Of course, it’s no surprise that CDs are being replaced by new technology, that’s how new technology works. The crucial question is the same as it’s been for years: will the major record labels be able to create a monopoly in the online music industry the way they have done for decades in the traditional, offline industry? If they can’t, they will crumble, because their current bloated infrastructure can’t survive real market competition from independent labels.

Here’s a good rundown of the industry sales numbers in 2005.

Filesharing Guides Get Locked Out

Wednesday, January 4th, 2006

From a great activist and friend of Downhill Battle:

The good folks at Finland-based AfterDawn.com have for years offered the best place for people to get the tools and information they want to make backups of their DVD’s, convert files to other formats, and generally use their media as they see fit.  Naturally, the media industry hates this, and the industry conned the Finnish government into passing a “draconian and vague” new law that goes into effect Jan 1, 2006.

From the site:  “The law has phrases like “Offering commercial services that allow circumventing technical copy protections … is illegal.” But doesn’t provide any guidelines on what is considered to be “commercial” and what type of service the law is talking about. Our and our lawyers’ analysis is that as we’re a commercial company, having ads on our site, and providing guides — written by our paid staff members — and tools that help breaking protections like extremely weak CSS found on virtually all DVD-Video discs, we can be sued.”

So the bad news is, AD is removing many of its very best tools and guides.  The good news is that the site licensed some of the removed guides under CC, so that they could spread virally.  And users quickly compiled the soon-to-be removed guides and software into two torrents, with promises that there will always be at least one seeder, so this finnish law won’t have quite the chilling effect that big media wants.  Spread the word, share the love, and happy new year!

More on the torrents (from the comments section of that link):



Thanks, Jason.

The Patti Santangelo Fight Goliath campaign

Monday, January 2nd, 2006

p2pnet along with our buddy Jason Rohrer have launched the Patti Santangelo Fight Goliath campaign to raise money for a working mother who’s fighting back against the an RIAA filesharing lawsuit. You can donate with this button and get a similar one for your own site at the link above:

Learn more about Patti’s fight.