We’ve grown accustomed to assuming that computerized devices are always better than older technologies. That’s true of most devices, but it’s probably not true of voting machines. When it comes to our elections, it would be a good idea to follow the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Is Google News’ rejection of conservative websites censorship? And do we even want an impartial news selection service?
Why does Steve Jobs insist on keeping all songs on the iTunes Music Store priced equally at 99 cents? Has he never heard of supply and demand?
The advocates of network neutrality regulations are working very hard to create a sense of crisis, but is there really a need to regulate the Internet?
France recently mandated Apple to open up its iTunes technology. But the right approach is for the state to remain neutral, neither forcing companies to open their proprietary technologies to others, nor preventing rivals from building compatible devices if they can figure out how to do so without the incumbent’s help.
Just like news and opinion is free on the Internet today, so will new music be tomorrow.
A new telecom bill would probably make things worse than they already are. For supporters of free markets, the best telecom bill is probably no telecom bill.
If it’s absurd to require newspapers to sell their news, sports, and business sections separately so that consumers can get just what they want, how is forcing cable TV to offer channels “a la carte” any less nuts?
Hollywood movies are replete with bad guys nefariously plotting to control the world, but these days, music and movie industry associations are looking awfully like power-hungry villains themselves as they attempt to assert control over the devices that play and record their content.
Security researchers recently discovered that digital rights management (DRM) software bundled with some of Sony BMG CDs will, among other things, send information about the user’s listening habits back to remote servers. This is simply not a good business strategy. Smart businesses treat their customers as cherished assets.
In the battle over control of the Internet, it’s not that the U.S. government manages the Internet better than other countries would, it’s that it barely manages the Internet at all, and it’s important that it stay that way.
A review of the new book, Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution, by Ron Bailey.
Banning technologies through legislation is not the answer to piracy. Copying is here to stay, so companies must change their business models if they hope to cope.
Copy protection in iTunes and iPods treats honest customers like criminals while locking them into Apple products. So why does the recording industry insist on it?
Does copyright infringement involve creating an unauthorized copy, or accessing that copy once created? If mere copying is copyright infringement, then Google Print is illegal–and so is the Internet for that matter.
Paypal shut down a good Samaritan’s Katrina fundraising drive because the federal government and the states–including Louisiana–has forced the company to treat its customers like criminals.
Does banning cell phones in cars really improve road safety? How about banning chihuahuas?
Does Microsoft hold the patent on the iPod’s click wheel even though Apple invented it?
Google Print will let you search the full text of every book ever printed–unless the law gets in the way, that is.
Boxers now know that they’ll be banned from the sport should virtually any sort of brain injury come to light. As a result, they’re going to be much less likely to seek diagnosis and treatment.
They say sunlight is the best disinfectant, which is why getting modern information technology to dissidents abroad can help shine a bright light on oppressive regimes everywhere.
Embryonic stem cells do show more promise than their opponents would have us believe.
Mandatory “net neutrality” rules are unnecessary because good old-fashioned competition is sufficient to ensure an open future for the Internet.
Now that the FCC’s “broadcast flag” has been struck down, broadcasters would do well to stop obsessing over exaggerated piracy threats and focus on competing with cable and satellite.
The FCC might soon be regulating speech on cable and satellite TV, but the fact that over 85 percent of homes in the U.S. subscribe to those less-regulated services shows that consumers are willing to pay for programming that is racier than traditional broadcast TV.
Last year the Ninth Circuit accepted Grokster’s argument that because it has no knowledge of what files are traded and no ability to filter them, it cannot be held liable as Napster was for infringement. The Supreme Court should not be so gullible.
Digital rights management technologies may yet prove an effective piracy deterrent, and companies should be free to deploy them. But requiring customers to comply with them on pain of criminal penalties is a step too far.
Federally mandated electronic medical records may sound wonderful, but before rushing to put a system in place, we need to consider the downsides.
European consumers, like their American counterparts, have every opportunity to choose the media platform that best serves their needs. EU bureaucrats should get out of the way and let them do so.
As more and more people turn to the Internet for their news and information, it is vital that online journalists not become second-class citizens.
The mass theft of music and movies through online file-sharing may remain illegal, but the law will sadly be unenforceable.
The 2000 Florida voting fiasco required a solution. And clearly, the solution would have to (A) come from Congress, (B) increase the federal government’s role, and (C) involve computers.
Although privacy activists have been up in arms about RFID technology in consumer products, the real threat lies in government snooping.
The answer to the Internet’s spam infestation isn’t a government ‘do not spam’ list, but making sure you PC doesn’t become zombified.
The hit movie Mean Girls showcases the problem of bullying, but it will take more than talk to combat teen terror online.
Is a paperless, digital government bureaucracy something to aspire to, or an expensive pipe dream that should be avoided?
A techno-literary reaction of horror and shock to the Abu Ghraib scandal, which has been inescapable and immediate in this networked age.
The federal government regulates e-mail spam because legislators want Americans to know that they care about what Americans care about.
Lawrence Lessig is giving away his new book for free on the Web, and he might just show us how “free” could also mean “profitable.”
Governments are switching to open source software to save cash, but the key assumption that it’s cheaper might be flawed.
A preview from the Winter 2004 issue of Doublethink: Intellectual property and the open source movement.
Downloading copyrighted material for free is no big deal… until you find someone has stolen your own work.
Celebrities love alternative energy sources… just as long as it’s not in their back yards.
If we ignore the warnings, new electronic voting will be doomed to repeat disasters, like the 2000 presidential election, that old punch machines gave us.
Claims that environmental protection has been under siege in America since the Bush Administration took over are exagerated at best.
The federal “Do Not Call” list is unlikely to put an end to the irritating marketing tactics of Optima Dog Food, Allstate Insurance, or Disney Cruise Lines. These telemarketing pests are now moving to “phase two” of their operations, and will continue to hassle the disinterested general public despite, or perhaps delighted by, the pariah-like [...]
As the Federal Communications Commission prepares to vote today on relaxing cross-ownership rules for media conglomerates, critics have been ominously warning that the action would allow an oligopoly to influence how Americans think by controlling everything from what we watch, to what we read, and what we hear. This is not only disingenuous, it is [...]
Developing search engines almost cost four college students $97,800,000,000. That’s 97.8 billion dollars–the amount the Recording Industry Association of America requested for damages in a recent lawsuit against the four (more than the sales of the entire recording industry in one year). The students’ crime? Facilitating music piracy and copyright violations by operating search engines [...]
The latest asbestos boondoggle involves the Saddle Brook, New Jersey inventor of Bubble Wrap and an activist judge whose specialty is fortune-telling. Were this a Tom Wolfe novel, a promising young Congressman might champion decent reform and win, but alas, in real life we are stuck in Senate limbo. < p> Sealed Air Corp., of [...]
This week, the Supreme Court will listen to oral arguments in Eldred v Ashcroft. I don’t blame you if you haven’t heard about it; the case has not been publicized much outside the tech press. Nonetheless it’s a landmark case that will decide the future of intellectual property. Most notably it will decide whether Mickey [...]
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Kathlyn Ehl
Source: AFF Doublethink Online | Jacob Hayutin