Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Broadcast Flag Sneaking in the Back Door 364

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the try-try-again dept.
ZeissIcon writes "Public Knowledge.org is reporting that the oft-defeated broadcast flag DRM scheme is being sneaked into Senator Steven's Telecommunications bill. Aside from the fact that it has no business being in that bill, and making no exceptions for fair use, this particular version calls for an Audio Broadcast Flag that would affect digital and satellite radio as well. The bill goes to committee on Thursday, so there is still time for public comment."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Broadcast Flag Sneaking in the Back Door

Comments Filter:
  • by demongeek (977698) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:48PM (#15578508)
    Aside from the fact that it has no business being in that bill

    Obviously you must be new here...
    • Re:Obviously... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd.yahoo@com> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:36PM (#15578785) Homepage Journal
      Obviously you must be new here...

      Because I'm not - and I hope no one else is - surprised in the least. I'm actually surprised it's attached to a telecommunications bill at all. I expected that the oft-defeated broadcast flag would be snuck through in a farm bill, or a bill that feeds homeless children (you wouldn't vote against a bill that feeds homeless children!!)

      Washington sucks. Once an idea is shot down, it shouldn't be legal to attach it to another bill. Why did line-item veto's fail again?

      • Re:Obviously... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DigitalRaptor (815681) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @06:11PM (#15578996) Homepage
        Nothing should be attached to any bill. Every issue should have to stand on it's own merits.

        And there should be a law that any time a new bill is passed, 2 old bills / laws have to be removed. That way government is ever-shrinking instead of ever-growing.

        Washington sucks big time...

        • Re:Obviously... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Cadallin (863437) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @06:37PM (#15579138)
          That second part is really kind of silly, better would be if all legislation had to have a Constitutionally mandated and specified sunset clause. Then all legislation would be like the federal budget, having to be periodically checked over. If it was 6 years or something similar (same as senatorial terms). Also it would help to remove cruft from the law books. On the other hand, it does make certain things rather volatile, but that might actually be a good thing.
        • by doodlebumm (915920) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @06:44PM (#15579172)
          Congress will never enact a line-item-veto, nor get rid of these attachments to bills. That is because they cannot guarantee to the corporations that buy them (the congressmen and senators) that they can get something passed. You can't line your pockets if you can't get elected. You can't get elected if you don't have campaign contributions. You can't get campaign funding if you can't guarantee getting a bill passed for some group/corporation. You can't guarantee if you can't deliver crap through the back door. Evil men have taken a well designed system (what the founding fathers created) and perverted it into a sickening mess.

          The only way to get rid of the current corrupted system is to vote out EVERYONE in Congress, and vote in just about anyone who's platform promotes campaign reform, line-item-veto, Congressional term limits, and (my one of my personal favorites) no salary raises for congressmen currently in office (they only go into effect for the next guy to take the office - nobody in government should be in charge of their own salary). Then if they don't follow through, recall or vote them out in the next election.

          • by Talchas (954795)

            no salary raises for congressmen currently in office (they only go into effect for the next guy to take the office - nobody in government should be in charge of their own salary)

            This is not only currently law, but part of the constitution. See the 27th amendment [wikipedia.org]. Unfortunately they ignore this repeatedly with by calling it a cost of living adjustment, and the courts back them.

          • Congress will never enact a line-item-veto

            Congress did enact a line-item veto, during the Clinton administration. The first time he tried to use it to get rid of some frivolous spending item, the state in question (New York I think) brought suit, and the line-item veto was struck down by the Supreme Court as violating the doctrine of separation of powers. In my opinion, that's the correct decision, since it essentially gives the President some amount of direct control over the contents of individual b

            • by RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @10:02PM (#15579980) Homepage Journal
              A line item veto doesn't give the President any more direct control over the contents of bills than a total veto does. Congress retains the power to legislate that line item in another bill. When invoked, the line item veto simply forces a majority in congress to explicitly validate what some legislator wanted to have quietly enacted on the merits of another issue.

              By the same note, the way riders are currently used in practice essentially gives congress an end run around the Presidential veto, by holding important or popular legislation hostage to distasteful items that are completely unrelated to the main issue a bill addresses.

              A fair compromise would be to limit the line item veto's power with a test of how integral the item is to the purpose of the bill. A President shouldn't use such power to redesign the main provisions of a bill, but given today's congress, I would take that defect over the current situation.

              • by quantum bit (225091) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @10:04AM (#15582114) Journal
                By the same note, the way riders are currently used in practice essentially gives congress an end run around the Presidential veto, by holding important or popular legislation hostage to distasteful items that are completely unrelated to the main issue a bill addresses.

                Any president who wasn't a spineless pawn of a political party wouldn't let himself be held hostage by that. A smart one would turn it around and hold the pork barrelers hostage.

                The proper response is to have a strict policy of "Any bill with unrelated crap attached gets automatically vetoed. No exceptions.". Given the current way Congress likes to operate, that would mean that everything would be vetoed and the government would come to a screeching halt unless they shaped up.

                A good speech is all it would take to have the public on the side of the ballsy president for standing up to the political machine. If somebody did that they would sure as hell have my vote...

                Unfortunately in a two-party system it would never happen.
          • by Jeremi (14640) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @08:20PM (#15579583) Homepage
            The only way to get rid of the current corrupted system is to vote out EVERYONE in Congress, and vote in just about anyone who's platform promotes campaign reform


            Hm, you forgot (or at least didn't mention explicitly enough for my taste ;^)) the most important thing: public campaign financing [wikipedia.org]. Seriously -- running for elections is a required part of any politician's job, and any system that requires candidates to campaign but doesn't give them the resources to do so is doomed to corruption. It's like a 3rd world country hiring policemen but then not paying them enough to be able to buy food or equipment -- the honest people will quit because they aren't able to do their jobs, and the dishonest people will find "creative" ways to get the money, and we are back where we started.


            And just to head it off the "why should taxpayers have to pay for lousy elections?" response ... the answer because someone is going to pay for the elections, and the candidates who win the elections are going to be serving the interests of that party. So that party ought to be us, the taxpayers.

            • by dada21 (163177) *
              Terrible idea. Campaign finance reform only creates cronyism and preferential treatment of a select few (2 party system). How I spend my money is how I express myself, and it should be completely unregulated. There are 3 reasons why we have a 2 party system: 1: the debates are closed, 2: the money that is acceptable in a campaign is heavily regulated to prefer the 2 main parties and 3: it is harder to get a third party candidate on a ballot in terms of ballot signatures.

              Campaign finance has only made it
        • Re:Obviously... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mOdQuArK! (87332)

          And there should be a law that any time a new bill is passed, 2 old bills / laws have to be removed.

          I think I mentioned this idea in another thread, but _my_ daydream proposal is to limit the total # of words in all valid laws to some maximum number N (where hopefully N is something reasonably small). When a legislator proposes a change to the laws (either by adding new ones or amending existing ones), the change would have to result in the total # of words fitting under the limit, otherwise the change wil

        • Re:Obviously... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by trickonion (943942) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @07:46PM (#15579452) Homepage
          Okay, here is something like this in action. I live in WA state, and I love to read constitutions (yes yes my state is the one that make online poker illegal, regardless).
          Refer to our constitution here, specifically section 19
          http://www.courts.wa.gov/education/constitution/in dex.cfm?fa=education_constitution.display&displayi d=Article-02 [wa.gov]

          SECTION 19 BILL TO CONTAIN ONE SUBJECT. No bill shall embrace more than one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title.

          that's the good shit maynard, some congressman with some balls needs to make that Amendment 28 (after pinning some stupid shit to the proposed amendment, cause Washington appretiates irony)
          • Re:Obviously... (Score:4, Informative)

            by AnyoneEB (574727) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @12:24AM (#15580524)
            Article. V.

            The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

            The Congress need not have anything to do with a new amendment. In fact, if the amendment is going to restrict the power of the Congress, then it is ridiculous to expect them to propose it. If you want it to happen, then talk to your state legislature. It is a lot easier to get heard by a more local representative anyway. Good luck, you will need it.

      • Re:Obviously... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @06:32PM (#15579110)
        Why did line-item veto's fail again?

        Because in a "Feeding Homeless Children Act," the broadcast flag provision wouldn't be the line veto'd.
      • Why did line-item veto's fail again?

        Because otherwise legislators would have no way to sneak their otherwise unpassable legislation into other bills and get it passed. It's akin to a filibuster in that it is an annoying thing to do practically, but the ability needs to be there for the rare cases when it's the only way to get something done. (I would argue, though, that filibusters are used for useful things, while sneaking unrelated amendments into bills is rarely used for anything that isn't evil.)

        I agree with a sibling post that says line-item vetoes should be allowed if the line item is unrelated to the bill itself. I would go as far as to say that amendments to a bill should be required to be related. If they're not, they simply don't belong there. End of story.

      • Re:Obviously... (Score:5, Informative)

        by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @07:14PM (#15579327) Journal
        Why did line-item veto's fail again?
        Well, it's actually a pretty funny story.

        Remember, the line-item veto was part of the Republican "Contract with America" back in '94, I think. It was going to control spending by giving the Executive branch some control over congressional spending. Personally, I thought this was funny. It was essentially the Republicans playing the pitiful role of the serial killer pleading with the cops to make him stop. "Please! Stop us before we spend again!"

        It passed easily, once Republicans had control of the House and Senate. It was signed into law by President Clinton. However, the first time he used it, the Republicans whose spending additions got dinged immediately ran to the Supreme Court to petition that the line-item veto--that they voted for--was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court agreed and struck it down.

        This is why I laughed when President Bush mentioned the line-item veto recently, since it was his party that brought it up initially, passed it into law, and had it struck down.
    • by Yogler (984129) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @06:18PM (#15579036) Homepage
      Farther on down the comment list, there is a comment with a simple script and a list of who to call [slashdot.org]. It took me all of 45 seconds to call my senator.

      Don't just complain. Do something. It's your right, and it's your duty.
  • by GonzoTech (613147) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:51PM (#15578522)
    ... As DC Circuit Judge pointed out at oral argument, the broadcast flag regulation would give the FCC the authority to regulate washing machines, if they were connected to a home network.

    So I won't have to do laundry anymore? Why is this a bad thing?

    I'm all about pushing this bill through now!

    • by stratjakt (596332) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:02PM (#15578605) Journal
      You're unduly optimistic. They would mandate laundry, and if the far-lefties got in charge, they'd mandate that we all do China's laundry in a poorly thought out effort to reverse past stereotypes.
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@TIGERgmail.com minus cat> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:51PM (#15578523) Journal

    Doesn't feel like it's going in the back door.

    -Ben Dover

    No, all seriousness aside, I see this eventually being a great bill for me as I would soon be able to divest myself of all of my technical artifacts and once again be a free human being. I can eBay my tivo (maybe), my comcast box, get rid of all of my mp3 players.

    I once again spend time bike riding; canoeing; horse-back riding; picnicking; sightseeing; hiking; (starting to sound like a Tampax commercial, isn't it?)... all things I used to do in bulk and before I turned into a skinny pasty-skinned freak in front of my computer all day long.

    God Bless you Senator Stevens!

    • by Karl J. Smith (184) * <karl@onetruekarl.com> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:19PM (#15578705) Homepage
      You may be kidding. I'm not. I've got lots of (legally purchased) games, movies, cds, etc. I looked at all the money I could be spending on a new HDTV, PS3, Blue-Ray, HD-DVD player, etc. They're all more hassle (due to DRM, crippled HDMI outputs, not-working-on-Linux, etc.) than fun for me at this point. After the Sony CD rootkit fiasco, I stopped buying Sony products. Even people I know with new Macs (that they like) are starting to complain that they're on machine #4 of 5 for their iTunes limit, and it seems like they didn't really buy any songs after all.

      My solution: I bought a skin-on-aluminum frame folding kayak instead. Geek factor - high. DRM factor -low. No monthly upgrades to keep track of. I can do anything I want to modify it without any silly broadcast flags. All fun.

      Congratulations media companies - you declared war on your paying customers and I surrendered. I won't buy your products any more, I'll do something else instead.

      • Even people I know with new Macs (that they like) are starting to complain that they're on machine #4 of 5 for their iTunes limit, and it seems like they didn't really buy any songs after all.

        Don't tell them (since it's good that they're upset about DRM), but it's possible to deauthorize an old computer before getting rid of it by using the Prefernces screen in iTunes. If they no longer have access to the computers, it's also possible to reset the iTunes account to zero authorized computers and start over

    • by StikyPad (445176) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:26PM (#15578736) Homepage
      That's just because Mike Cox is so small.
  • by dubmun (891874) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:52PM (#15578532) Homepage Journal
    with our legal system: When random crap like this DRM can get implanted in the middle or a totally unrelated bill.

    Has anyone contemplated legislation to stop this from happening?
    • No, because then they'd just sneak DRM into that bill too!
    • by nbannerman (974715) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:55PM (#15578550)
      One of the obvious differences between the US system and the system here in the UK is that bills are typically introduced on a single issue. Amendments are discussed and then voted upon, but it is rare to see seemingly unrelated points being tacked on to bills.

      As for legislation being introduced, the ruling party has no interest in introducing measures to curb it's own power, so I can't see how you'd get such a thing to pass.
      • Mod parent up! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:00PM (#15578585)
        As for legislation being introduced, the ruling party has no interest in introducing measures to curb it's own power, so I can't see how you'd get such a thing to pass.
        So, Party A passes a law to curb this ... and abides by that law.

        Eventually, Party B becomes the majority ... and they pass a law allowing it again.

        So ... because Party A was "good", they don't get all the benefits (attaching riders to unrelated bills to make campaign contributors happy) but they do get all the responsiblity.

        A two party system sucks. This will, eventually, always happen.
        • Re:Mod parent up! (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Haeleth (414428)
          So, Party A passes a law to curb this ... and abides by that law.
          Eventually, Party B becomes the majority ... and they pass a law allowing it again.


          I thought you Americans had a neat system specifically designed for making laws to limit government power, whereby a law could be passed which needed more than a mere majority to overturn, making it more resilient to power shifts. It's called the Constitution.

          I guess the problem there is that you need a supermajority to get an amendment made in the first place..
          • Re:Mod parent up! (Score:5, Interesting)

            by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @06:08PM (#15578974) Journal

            Well, you need a supermajority, but not necessarily at the federal level. If you can get two thirds of the state legislatures to call for a constitutional convention, you can bring in an amendment in that way. This probably just requires a simple majority in at least 34 state houses. It would probably be a lot easier to conveince the state government to rein in the feds than to convince the feds to do it themselves....

            Just because it hasn't ever been done doesn't mean it can't or won't be done if the federal government takes things too far....

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:05PM (#15578627)
      Not at a national level. In the state of Minnesota, there is a well-upheld part of the constitution dictating that all state laws must be written on bills covering a single subject. For example, a law castrating the ability of law enforcement to deny gun permits was tossed out because it was appended to unrelated legislation. (Of course the folks who think that everybody should have a right to a concealed carry permit got it pushed through as it's own law the next year.) But the idea is there --- thou shalt not embed earmarks at 1:32AM. It also makes it harder to weld on controversial bits to slam-dunk bills.
  • Sneaking? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:52PM (#15578535) Journal
    If it was being snuck in how'd you all find out about it?

    " I would like to add an amendment to the bill, 100 million dollars for the perverted arts. ..."

    I say so what, let them pass it into law. Not letting people watch TV or listen to Radio can only server to raise the average national IQ. They should tack it into the next education bill, "No Child Left To Sit On His Behind"

    I don't give a fuck anymore if I can or can't Tivo "CSI: Des Moines" in 1080p resolution.

    But that's just one little bear's opinion.
    • Re:Sneaking? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Vancorps (746090)

      Yeah, everyone was smarter back before TV and there was no such thing as thalidomide babies and lake Michigan never caught on fire. They also fought their wars like men standing in a line and marching toward the enemy firing their weapons taking the hits.

      Regardless of what you think about TV/Radio stupid people have always existed and always done stupid things. People today are generally smarter than the times before tv. Look at the number of people who can read today versus the number who could read in t

  • You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by One Childish N00b (780549) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:53PM (#15578537) Homepage
    You know, it would be nice, just once, for those we entrust with ensuring the country is run for the good of it's people actually worked for the people who vote for them, rather than constantly trying to sneak pieces of legislation into any bill they can in a bid to force it through because it is clearly so unpalatable to everyone else that every time anyone spots it in the wild they beat it to death and chuck it to the kerb?

    What must happen before the people we elect realise that when a piece of legislation is slapped down as often as this one has been, that the people don't want it, and that if the people don't want it, it shouldn't be a "tough shit, we'll just try again when you look the other way" thing? (and before you answer, I already know the answer - campaign 'donations' matching those the media companies chuck at them - when did democracy turning into 'the rule of those who can buy the elected rulers the biggest, most expensive lunch'?
    • Re:You know... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by johneee (626549) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:01PM (#15578592)
      It always seems so strange to me that politicians would do that.

      I mean, (and I don't mean for this to become a "rah rah Canada" post) it doesn't seem to happen here, and I have to wonder what we're doing differently to make this kind of thing not happen. And why nobody in the US has ever done anything about a practice that really does smack of the worst kind of dirty and underhanded politiking.

      I think getting rid of this piggybacking practice would really do wonders to start to change people's opinion of the political process. But perhaps that's just my simple-minded naivety.

      • Re:You know... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Yo Grark (465041) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:41PM (#15578809)
        http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_1236.aspx [citynews.ca]

        Oh yeah, in Canada. They'd never get a bylaw through that would Ban:

        Toys with electric motors
        (explain THIS to a powercar kid)
        Prohibited: 9pm-7am, and before 9am on Sundays and stat holidays.
        Loudspeakers or other amplification devices

        Prohibited: 11pm-7am and before 9am on Sundays and stat holidays.

        Release or venting of air, steam or other high pressure noise creating material
        (But that's when I have all the good fights with my wife!)
        Prohibited: 11pm-7am and before 9am on Sundays and stat holidays.

        Loading or unpacking containers of materials
        (You listening people who move in too late over a weekend?)
        Prohibited: 11pm-7am and before 9am on Sundays and stat holidays.

        Using any power-driven device Prohibited: 7pm-7am, and before 9am on Sundays and stat holidays.
        (Sorry Granny, You have to walk)
        Power tools, lawn mowers, (excludes snow blowers)
        (WTF, you're ok with Snowblowers which are 10 times as loud, but I can't get cracking on a backyard project on the few days I get free time?)
        Prohibited: 9pm-7am and before 9am on Sundays and statutory holidays.

        Security alarm running for more than 5 minutes.
        (Crooks will LOVE this one)
        Prohibited: at all times, seven days a week.

        Vehicle repairs
        (Sorry hobbyist, you can't work in your garage until everyone's at work. You have a job too? Oh boo-hoo)
        Prohibited: 9pm-7am, all day Sunday and statutory holidays.

        Playing loud music
        Prohibited: 11pm-7am, and before 9am on Sundays and statutory holidays

        Now this is how I see it. Most people like me who have projects to do around the house and in the backyard NEED stat holidays to actually get to the projects. I can't believe the government went and snuck this into a completely separate bylaw brought up by old people who hated barking dogs.Yeah, this would NEVER happen in Canada.

        Yo Grark
        • Re:You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by wish bot (265150) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @06:59PM (#15579266)
          Some of us - you know - need or expect some uninterrupted sleep after 11pm or before 7am without some random jock sawing up bits of steel outside our windows.

          It's because of inconsiderate yobs like you that these laws are passed in the first place. If you had an ounce of respect for anyone other than yourself, and maybe discussed or negotiated with your neighbours for the few days you felt possessed like a madman to be working on 'projects' in your yard before 7-fucking-am, then the world would be a better place with LESS restrictions.

    • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:06PM (#15578633)
      You know, it would be nice, just once, for those we entrust with ensuring the country is run for the good of it's people actually worked for the people who vote for them

      But they do. Big business votes for them -- assuming they push the right bills.

      You don't seriously think they actually count all those ballots every four years, do you? Nah. They just invite GM and Microsoft and Exxon (etc) to the secret White House Underground Command center and discuss all nice and civilized who's turn it is in the Captain's Chair.
    • Re:You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:07PM (#15578636)

      "You know, it would be nice, just once, for those we entrust with ensuring the country is run for the good of it's people actually worked for the people who vote for them..."

      You are coming from a false presumption--that the majority of their constituents do not want the broadcast flag. Many people don't even know who their elected officials are--much less what a broadcast flag is and what it means to them.

      I think sometimes here on /. we assume that the stories we read have the same relevent meaning to the rest of the populace. Sure, it's news for nerds. Stuff that matters...to nerds. It's like RSS discused in the Neilsen interview today. Ask the jow blow user what RSS is and they probably don't know. Ask 'em what a news feed is and they probably still don't know, but it's more meaningful than some obscure acronym meaning Really Simple Syndication.

      </Stepping off of soap box>
      • Re:You know... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@nOSPAm.yahoo.com> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:45PM (#15578840) Journal
        Pshaw. Just because they don't know about the issue doesn't mean they wouldn't care if they did know. I have explained this issue to non technical people, and everyone I have talked to about it (okay, less than a dozen non-nerds) is against it once they understand it. People don't like being screwed out of things they have become accustomed to. Just because your date used rohypnol and you didn't realize you were being screwed doesn't mean it wasn't rape.
    • by roman_mir (125474) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:10PM (#15578665) Homepage Journal
      Nothing short of a revolution can change the status quo.

      The revolution must be then used to dump the current laws and remove those, who are currently in power, and update the constitution to include the new realities and possibilities and to prevent as much as possible of this degradation of human rights and of this invasion into individual freedoms.

      Of-course it is the most important job of the corrupt government to prevent such a shakeup by all possible means including dumbing down the population, removal of all individual rights and even responsibilities (those who understand their responsibilities also insist on their rights,) introduction of laws that take away all freedoms that really matter and nurturing the environment of conspicuous consumption, which is enough to satisfy the current bodily needs and to substitute any mental needs/activities.

      As it is right now television is great for mass control and the Internet is terrible at it. What the US government doesn't understand is that by creating tight regulations around usage of the TV programs, they are just pushing people to use more of what the Internet offers. If I was the government, who wanted to keep tight control over population, I would promote more cheap and accessible TV for everyone and would discourage usage of the Internet.

      Maybe the equation will balance itself out, or maybe those in power will try to control the Internet in the same manner as the TV (this will be much harder.)

      The Internet can lead to organization of opposition and may even be able to provide the means to conduct something of a revolution for the future generations.
      • by evilviper (135110) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:57PM (#15578923) Journal
        Nothing short of a revolution can change the status quo.

        Yes, a revolution is the perfectly rational thing to do, in the face of being unable to copy media with your home-made tivo. That was why they wrote The Declaration of Independence in the first place, wasn't it?

        I mean, sure, a few million people will have to die in the revolutionary war, and it will throw the country (and yes, the world) into a depression unlike any that has been seen before, but that's a small price to pay for my satellite radio copies.

        The alternative... starving the media companies by NOT BUYING ANYTHING FROM THEM AGAIN, is too horrible to even contemplate. You can't expect me to watch PBS. I'm not an animal!

        And don't even discuss the idea of voting against those senators (like Feinstein, CA) who have been the most corrupt politicians for years. I mean... VOTING?! Good God man! Don't you dare suggest it.

        • Yes, a revolution is the perfectly rational thing to do, in the face of being unable to copy media with your home-made tivo. That was why they wrote The Declaration of Independence in the first place, wasn't it? - let me be perfectly clear on this: I don't care about media controling mechanisms, I actually believe DRM can be a good tool for certain tasks. I am not really talking about the broadband flag here either, I am talking about degradation of human rights and freedoms that we have been observing for
        • by jez9999 (618189) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @06:31PM (#15579107) Homepage Journal
          Well I think the revolution leading to the Declaration of Independence was largely sparked by having to pay taxes. Significantly more serious than the loss of freedom to use your digital media, and the monopolistic prices you have to pay for it? I think many would say no, especially when media is so important to many in this day and age.
    • when did democracy turn into 'the rule of those who can buy the elected rulers the biggest, most expensive lunch'?

      Answer: July 4, 1776

    • These people are professional politicians. They are beholded to special interest groups. They only acknowledge the people who voted for them every 6 years. When the 17th Amendment effectively removed the appointment of Senators by State Legislatures if started a downward spiral. Now they were not beholden to the State they served and soon they became even less enamored with following the direction their state took. Now they care little what the people in each of their respective states thinks. Its all
    • by Stickerboy (61554) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:18PM (#15578698) Homepage
      The problem is that legislators work for only the people that vote for them, not the other way around. Are you the Senator from California, home of Hollywood? Gee, I wonder how you stand on extending copyright terms. The representative from Iowa? Please, don't surprise me on your position on increasing farm subsidies. A Congressman from Texas? What, you voted for tax breaks for energy companies? Shocking.

      You may find it absurd that anybody would support the oil companies (THEY MUST HAVE BEEN BRIBED!), but then have you lived in an oil-rich state? Some Representatives have the fortunes of large portions of their constituency revolve around those of the oil companies.

      It's called Bringing Home The Bacon. And that's exactly what most of those legislators were elected to do, and they are very, very good at it. Bring money to your district; keep money in your district; punish competitors in other districts/states/nations.

      The quid pro quo game, which allows everybody to Bring Home The Bacon, is why you get stupid crap like the broadcast flag inserted everywhere. If Senator Stevens can promise an appropriate number of other Senators that he'll vote for their own Bacon, eventually it'll get passed.
    • Re:You know... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wildclaw (15718)
      A big part of it is the result of the "Elite" mindset where the common citizen is seen as stupid and needs someone smarter and more intelligent to decide for him. The most common argument used to support this theory is "The tragedy of the commons"

      Instead you get the opposite, "The tragedy of the wealthy", where all those not rich gets hurt by the decisions of the few rich in power.

  • Gee... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@NOSPAM.optonline.net> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:55PM (#15578549) Journal

    I don't remember this from Schoolhouse Rock [schoolhouserock.tv].

  • Public Comment? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Unlikely_Hero (900172) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:56PM (#15578556)
    Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I've never been able to find how to "publically comment" on these bills.
    Not to mention, I have a strong feeling that the congresscritters probably don't even read the comments. How can we forcibly say to congress that we don't want this passed? (before anybody says writing them, etc, you really think they read the letters?)
    • Re:Public Comment? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:03PM (#15578610)
      How can we forcibly say to congress that we don't want this passed?

      Nothing says "hay guys, listen up!" like a vest that goes BOOM.

      (you did specify "forcibly", which is a funny word to use. Since force is also the reason laws are obeyed.)
    • Re:Public Comment? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Fallingcow (213461) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:04PM (#15578624) Homepage
      At this point, it looks like they're going to be tenacious enough with this thing that it'll pass eventually.

      Get someone to write it in to enough unrelated bills, and it'll pass.

      We'll never get enough interest in the issue to counter a determined, monied, well-connected foe like this one.

      Honestly, 50%+ of the electorate is too dumb to understand this (or has so little understanding of the supporting concepts behind it that it'd take WAY too long to bring them up to speed), and another 48-49% just don't care, or at least they don't care enough to make it an issue in an election.
      • Re:Public Comment? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ntk (974) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @06:11PM (#15579002) Homepage
        >
        > At this point, it looks like they're going to be tenacious enough with this thing that it'll pass eventually.
        >

        Well, bear in mind that the lobbyists have been trying to get this into the books for years, and still haven't succeeded. And there is a time limit for the broadcast flag law. If they can't get it passed before the analog cut-off date (or the point at which a large number of voters have broadcast flag non-compliant digital TV technology), there's simply no point in continuing to lobby for it.

        In general, the longer time goes on, the harder it is to get a bill passed. You're not the only one thinking "My god, are they trying to get this through again?". Staffers in Washington feel the same way. If they can't get this through this year, in the words of one knowledgeable Washington commentator, "it'll be postponed until next year. Which is to say, never".

        There's also the question of opportunity cost. The more effort the entertainment industry has to spend on each of the laws it tries to pass, the less it has to pass other, draconian bills. If the broadcast flag had passed on one of the other occasions that it was attempted, the MPAA would be free to throw all its weight on analog hole legislation by now. Politicians are waking up to the fact that these regulations are unreasonable -- and that there's more political capital lost to appearing to kowtow to special interests than they thought.

    • Re:Public Comment? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bergeron76 (176351) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:19PM (#15578702)
      Writing _does_ work. Political Leaders know that for every letter they receive, there are 20,000 (or some other number more appropriate for their district) other people that feel the same way. It's just the person that wrote the letter felt strongly enough about it to write the letter.

      Emailing them may work also, but I don't think it has the same significance as a letter in hand.

  • by Skadet (528657) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:57PM (#15578560) Homepage
    ...Sneaking in the Back Door

    I tried that once. My girlfriend didn't appreciate it.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:57PM (#15578564) Homepage
    We all need to know about this stuff each and every time. And for anyone who is in this particular senator's constituency, I urge you to send a strongly worded letter (complete with a copy of voter registration if you have it) that he is INDEED being watched and that it will be made clear and obvious to all where his money is coming from and what laws it is being used to pay for.

    I believe all of congress and the senate need a wake-up call when it comes to these practices. They should all be put on notice that there are people who are watching, and the numbers are growing.
  • You know what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy@@@tpno-co...org> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @04:58PM (#15578569) Homepage
    I say let it. Let's vote in all this DRM and sneaky sneak violations of rights in the name of corporate interests. It's a lesson we are bound and determined to learn the hardway, so let's get this over with.
    • Re:You know what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Volante3192 (953645) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:16PM (#15578684)
      Seriously, the public outnumbers congressmen around 525,000 to 1.

      Time for some civil disobedience. The jails can't hold all of us if we break this crap. Courts would be tied up for eons, putting precious patent cases on the back burner even if they DID start waving jail time. Citizens that actually have clout would get burned eventually.

      I'm getting very comfortable with the idea of letting Congress passing whatever crap the corporate culture pushes under their noses because eventually a substantial portion of the public will get pissed off and force them to change.

      To paraphrase Gandhi, "535 Congressmen and assorted CEOs cannot control 280 million Americans if those Americans refuse to cooperate."
      • Re:You know what? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kcbrown (7426) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @06:39PM (#15579145)
        To paraphrase Gandhi, "535 Congressmen and assorted CEOs cannot control 280 million Americans if those Americans refuse to cooperate."

        They can if they have control over a modern military with a few hundred thousand troops and lots of big guns.

        And don't give me that bullshit about how the military won't be willing to fire on its own civilians. Thousands of years of history have shown otherwise, and there's no reason at all to believe that the U.S. military is so special that it's an exception.

        • Re:You know what? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by TheoMurpse (729043) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @02:16AM (#15580847) Homepage
          And don't give me that bullshit about how the military won't be willing to fire on its own civilians. Thousands of years of history have shown otherwise, and there's no reason at all to believe that the U.S. military is so special that it's an exception.
          I'll agree with you on this; the military would simply send soldiers from NY to CA, from CA to TX, and from TX to NY. These staters don't see the respective states as the same people anyways. A New Yorker would be much more willing to shoot someone who lives over a thousand miles away rather than someone who may be a neighbor. I think the Romans used to do this to quell uprisings, but I'm not sure. However, it would be nigh impossible to truly occupy and be victorious over a state like Texas, where so many residents possess multiple guns. You think Iraq is bad? Try taking a state full of your own citizens, armed more heavily than Iraqis, with a better health infrastructure than Iraqis. I'd be willing to bet that Texans on the whole are better-trained as well, what with many of us growing up really using our guns on a weekly basis to hunt and kill (admittedly not humans).

          I'll admit that I really have no idea about the training of the average Iraqi, but I'd be willing to bet that more Texan women can use a gun than Iraqi women due to religious practices. Texas is also larger than the whole of Iraq by a good 100,000 km^2 or so.

          Just chalk this whole post up to statist pride ;)
  • by Bruce Perens (3872) * <bruce@perens.com> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:01PM (#15578597) Homepage Journal
    The Committee markup of this bill is on Thursday, and your
    Senator is on the Commerce Committee. One last push from
    you could get Congress to remove the entertainment industry
    mandates from the bill.

    IF YOU HAVE FIVE MINUTES

    Please call your Senator (numbers below). Here's a sample
    script:

    STAFFER:
    Hello, Senator Lastname's office.

    YOU:
    Hi, I'm a constituent, and I'd like to let the Senator know
    that I don't think the broadcast and audio flag provisions
    belong in S. 2686, the Communications, Consumers Choice and
    Broadband Deployment Act. These are anti-consumer
    provisions, which would give the FCC far-reaching powers,
    and give the entertainment industry a dangerous veto over
    new technologies. I hope the Senator will insist on
    excluding these provisions on Thursday.

    STAFFER:
    Okay, I'll let the Senator know. Thanks.

    Chairman Ted Stevens (AK), (202) 224-3004
    John McCain (AZ), (202) 224-2235
    Conrad Burns (MT), Main: 202-224-2644
    Trent Lott (MS), (202) 224-6253
    Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), (202) 224-5922
    Gordon H. Smith (OR), (202) 224 3753
    John Ensign (NV), (202) 224-6244
    George Allen (VA), (202) 224-4024
    John E. Sununu (NH), (202) 224-2841
    Jim DeMint (SC), (202) 224-6121
    David Vitter (LA),(202) 224-4623
    Co-Chairman Daniel K. Inouye (HI), (202) 224-3934
    John D. Rockefeller (WV), (202) 224-6472
    John F. Kerry (MA), (202) 224-2742
    Barbara Boxer (CA), (202) 224-3553
    Bill Nelson (FL), (202) 224-5274
    Maria Cantwell (WA), (202) 224-3441
    Frank R. Lautenberg (NJ), (202) 224-3224
    E. Benjamin Nelson (NE), (202) 224-6551
    Mark Pryor (AR), (202) 224-2353

    IF YOU HAVE ONE MINUTE:

    Go to our Action Center, and send a letter to your Senator
    explaining why he or she should insist on the removal of the
    flags:
    <http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=223> [eff.org]

    Text of the Bill:
    <http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s10 9-2686> [govtrack.us]

    To learn more about the broadcast flag:
    <http://www.eff.org/broadcastflag> [eff.org]

    To learn more about the audio flag:
    <http://www.eff.org/IP/digitalradio> [eff.org]

    From EFF

  • by Serveert (102805) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:01PM (#15578600)
    Nowadays when you try to sneak something like this in the rascally public can learn about it in a matter of minutes. :(
    • I'm pretty sure that if politicians enact laws allowing backbone providers to decide what data passes over their backbone and how fast, it will take at least ten minutes to load any page critical of said politicians.
  • by hambonewilkins (739531) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:03PM (#15578614)
    Someone please remind me how this, alongside his plans to have the FCC regulate cable television, help his constituents in Alaska? I know there's a lot of scum out there, but Stevens has got to be one of the biggest Senators For Hire I've seen in a while. In the industry I follow, Stevens' bullying work on PET imaging (positron emission tomography) is truly stunning. How many PET centers/suppliers/manufacturers do you think there are in Alaska?

    What a corporate tool.
  • Worst Congress Ever (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Stalyn (662) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:03PM (#15578615) Homepage Journal
    They spend days arguing about Gay Marriage instead of Energy Policy. They refuse to do anything about Immigration. They vote down the Voting Rights Act in committee, they vote down Net Neutrality. Then they resort to what could be deemed "political masturbation" when they argue about resolving Iraq.

    Seriously I know the Dems aren't much better but the only other alternative is to lynch them all. Which is getting more appealing everyday. Yeah.. yeah 3rd parties, well I wish getting voted in America had nothing to do with money but it does. 3rd parties will never succeed until either the average US citizen gives a crap or we publically finance campaign elections. Both will never happen. Maybe I'll just move to Sweden.
    • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@ ... a - h u dson.com> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:16PM (#15578686) Journal

      Reform the process:

      1. Politicians salaries capped at the AVERAGE income of their consitituents. This way, its in their best interests to make sure that people have decent jobs, with decent incomes. Also, when a recession hits, they'll also feel some of the pain, instead of being insulated from it.
      2. Spending of $0.50/voter maximum for any election.
      3. No contributions from business.
      4. Maximum contribution of $1k/year from any voter, to be split among ALL contributions they make to all politicians.
      5. No more voter registration along party lines. Either you're elligible to vote, or not. Who you vote for, what party you want to be aligned with, etc., are all your own bloody business.
      6. Designate certain bills as "government confidence" votes. If the bill (budgets are good for this) isn't passed, the government falls, and a new election is held.
      • # Politicians salaries capped at the AVERAGE income of their consitituents. This way, its in their best interests to make sure that people have decent jobs, with decent incomes. Also, when a recession hits, they'll also feel some of the pain, instead of being insulated from it.

        This won't work - it means they'll bring home more bacon to pad their consituents, or they'll bail to the private sector sooner / for less. Seriously, it isn't easy to be elected if you aren't independently wealthy or in a job you ca
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@TIGERgmail.com minus cat> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:04PM (#15578625) Journal
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @05:58PM (#15578931)
    If you follow the link [publicknowledge.org] from the main article you find an even more interesting article laying out other problems with the bll. Not only does it bring back the broadcast flag but it also really doesn't do anything to help Net Nutrality in the first place!

    If you have senators on the comittee don't just tell them about your dislike for the broadcast flag, tell them the whole bill needs to be scrapped.
  • by pkulak (815640) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @06:00PM (#15578943)
    Kent: With our utter annihilation imminent, our federal government has snapped into action. We go live now via satellite to the floor of the United States congress.

    Speaker: Then it is unanimous, we are going to approve the bill to evacuate the town of Springfield in the great state of --

    Congressman: Wait a minute, I want to tack on a rider to that bill: $30 million of taxpayer money to support the perverted arts.

    Speaker: All in favor of the amended Springfield-slash-pervert bill? [everyone boos]

    Speaker: Bill defeated. [bangs gavel]

    Kent: I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply doesn't work.
  • by Wylfing (144940) <`brian' `at' `wylfing.net'> on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @06:11PM (#15578999) Homepage Journal
    I just did it. Here is the HOWTO:

    Step 1: Go to www.senate.gov and look up your 2 senators. There are 2, and you need to contact both of them.

    Step 2: I like to prepare for an important call by taking 3 deep breaths and reminding myself that I am in control. Sometimes I drink a shot of vodka, because I know I am little more loudmouthed that way, and in this case that is a good thing. (Trust me, my brother was a Senatorial aid for a long time. Loudmouths get attention.) These calls are actually extremely easy to make -- the aids get these kinds of calls all the time -- so there is really nothing to worry about, but I prepare anyway to make sure I am a calmer and/or prepared to be loudmouthed.

    Step 3: Make a note of the bill. In this case, it is S.2686. This is very important.

    Step 4: Make a note of why you are objecting/agreeing to the bill. In this case, you are objecting because there is a rider regarding the broadcast flag. That is all you need to say: "I object to this bill because there is a rider having to do with the broadcast flag." The good Senator will do the rest.

    Step 5: Dial the number of each Senator and an aid will answer, e.g., "Hello! Senator Kohl's office!" they will say in an alert-sounding voice. Your immediate response should be: "I am a long-time supporter of Senator X, but I would like to voice my objection to a bill that is before the Senate." It doesn't matter whether you have supported this Senator or not, just say that you did. Nobody knows -- it's an anonymous system.

    Step 6: State the name of the bill you are objecting to: "I am opposed to bill S.2686, because there is a rider having to do with the broadcast flag. I am very much opposed to that."

    Step 7: The aid will ask you for your name and address. The reason they do that is to verify whether you can actually vote for the good Senator or not (oddly Senate offices from, say, Texas get calls from Idaho, so they want to filter that). Give them accurate information. It's not a harm in this case.

    Step 8: Thank the aid for their help. They will probably thank you too.*

    Step 9: Bask in the knowledge that you helped democracy.

    *Despite the fact that the aids get 2,000 calls per day voicing all kinds of f'd up opinions, as long as yours is stated clearly and has specifically to do with a certain bill and this specific Senator, the aid will form an opinion about that bill, and will communicate that opinion to the Senator. I kid you not, this system works, just pick up the phone and call.

    • Step 0: Read the bill first!

      Specifically section 454.c.1.B which requires that a review board create regulations that respect fair use for audio broadcasts. I don't see a reference to a video broadcast flag being enacted by the bill, just a requirement for commissions to make some more rules. It also recommends that the commission investigate abuses of Internet routing under Title 9: "Net Neutrality". The commission will be composed of IT, software, recording, broadcasting, satellite, and consumer electro
  • Already There? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nurbles (801091) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @06:41PM (#15579158) Homepage

    I regularly use XP/MCE to record StarGate and DrWho on SciFi channel with no problem. A few weeks ago, Media Center stopped recording the first half of the DrWho season finale about 30 minutes into the episode. XP/MCE logged a reason of:

    Doctor Who was not recorded.
    Recording of this content is prohibited by the content provider.

    So far, that was the only episode this has happened with, but XP/MCE flatly refused to record the episode on any of its repeat airings, citing the same reason. Since then, XP/MCE has recorded the second half episode and some repeats without a problem. I'm wondering if this might've been a test of the infamous broadcast flag or if there's something worse afoot in the part of Microsoft that is beholden to the Hollywood Nazis.

  • Broadcast flag. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PrefersVMS (968732) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @07:00PM (#15579271) Homepage
    OK. quit griping. quit flamin'. DO something constructive. How about going over to the EFF site https://secure.eff.org/site/Advocacy?JServSessionI dr003=0qdwvz7h91.app6a&cmd=display&page=UserAction &id=223 [eff.org] Fill in the info, and send it off. If all of us would do this EACH AND EVERY TIME Hollywood tried this, it just might make someone sit up and take notice. Although I did add a few sentences that I'm sure will make my Senators & Representatives sit up and take notice. If they don't stop monkeying around and playing buddy-buddy to these repressive ideas, then perhaps it is time to recall all of the senators and representatives from Washington. Put limitations on terms -- no more than 8 years of service. Not just continous or fragmented, but total years of service. No more big cars. No more living in mansions. No more junkets. No more "special" retirement fund -- they get social security, just like the rest of us. No more special privileges. Perhaps a pay cut back to realistic levels. You get the idea. If they want us to swallow their bull, then they will have to face the consequences. YOU. The voting public have the power AND the inclination to affect change. If you don't take action? Then Hollywood wins. So quit your whining and do something about it.
  • Futile. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wolfkin (17910) on Wednesday June 21, 2006 @07:50PM (#15579467) Homepage
    The good guys have to succeed every time. The bad guys only have to succeed once. Eventually, the good guys will fail.

    It's important to internalize that enough to prepare ahead of time for when whatever you want to do ("X"; it doesn't matter what "X" is) becomes illegal.

  • by Symbiosis (39537) on Thursday June 22, 2006 @01:18AM (#15580683) Homepage
    Looks like Senator Sununu is proposing an ammendment to strike the broadcast and radio flags from the bill. Call up your Senator and get them to support it!

    http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/479 [publicknowledge.org]

1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.

Working...