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One Woman's Fight to Save P2P 122

jalefkowit writes "I'm a writer for the Online Community Report, and in our last issue we ran a story I wrote that might be of interest to the Slashdot readership. Slashdot has already mentioned the campaign of Tara Sue Grubb to unseat Howard Coble in North Carolina's 6th congressional district. We thought this story merited some deeper analysis, so I put together a piece entitled "Tara Sue Takes Aim" that ran in the latest issue of OCR. I'd love to hear the community's opinion of our take on the significance of her campaign."
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One Woman's Fight to Save P2P

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  • by GreyDuck ( 192463 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {kcudyerg}> on Saturday September 21, 2002 @06:45AM (#4302441) Homepage
    My take on it? Snowball's chance in hell. Not her fault, or Dave Winer's, just how it's going to play out. The piece is worth reading anyway, both for some choice rhetoric and a few bits of background info for those of us who aren't Radioland devotees or political pundits.

    All of those nationwide supporters aren't going to help unless they all have close friends and relatives in the district of contention, now are they? Combine that with the widespread voter apathy in this country and... feh.

    (Side note: The recent mail-in elections here in Oregon barely stirred the needle above "Total Apathy," even with parents who had very vested interests in the school funding measures! "Oh, the measures won't pass anyway, so I didn't bother." You said WHAT?!? Grrrr.)
    • by testadicazzo ( 567430 ) on Saturday September 21, 2002 @06:55AM (#4302459) Homepage
      All of those nationwide supporters aren't going to help unless they all have close friends and relatives in the district of contention, now are they? Combine that with the widespread voter apathy in this country and... feh.
      Well, I agree with you on the first point. But the second point: well, because of the widespread voter apathy in this country, you only have to get a small populatin of the people to actually give enough of a shit about an issue to get a victory. It makes it easier. So if you give a damn, vote!
      • It's not that small. Maybe 30% turnout? That's still only a third the normal number of Republicans.

        Maybe if she can get the Dems to climb on a *moderate* Libertarian, villify Coble.

        Here's luck to her -- one Libertarian wouldn't upset the boat too much, and it would get a lot more attention given to online/tech types.
        • No offense, but if anymore out of state money/intrest is poured into my state's elections this year I think people are going to scream. We already have the damn President campaigning for Libby our wonderful prodigal daughter who's not been in NC since she became an adult.
          This years elections have already been screwed by the Republicans. The last thing I need to hear is about an "outsider" coming to "fix" things.

          Sorry for my rant, but I had to blow off some steam and give an insiders point of view.
      • Well, I agree with you on the first point. But the second point: well, because of the widespread voter apathy in this country, you only have to get a small populatin of the people to actually give enough of a shit about an issue to get a victory. It makes it easier. So if you give a damn, vote!
        (I did, thanks. *grin*) Thank you for putting a hopeful and more positive perspective on voter apathy. I wish I'd thought of that, but ... hell, being up at 3am did allow me to not-quite-first-post this article but it also robbed me of many normally-functional brain cells. I won't bore the crowd with why I was up at that hour.

        Of course, you have to stir the right chunk of apathetic voters, but the basic principle seems sound... to someone with absolutely no political background like myself, mind you. ;-)

      • Unfortunately due to apathy you mentioned above, she will probably just tip the race to the liberal hollywood loving democrats. If enough people stand up then maybe she may make a difference but she will only steal votes from the more individualistic republicans.
    • CNN [] is running this story [] about an "American Idol"-like TV show to find a Presidential candidate. How's THAT for optimism?!?
      • The sad thing is, this could be very successful. Politicians are already phony enough (boy do I sound like Holden Caufield), it wouldn't be much of a stretch. People don't want substance in their political leader. If you watch enough TV you probably don't even know what substance is.

        Presidential campaigns are practially American Idol today. Scripted trash read by shallow, pretty people.
    • by seven89 ( 303868 ) <rc.m3peeps@org> on Saturday September 21, 2002 @09:43AM (#4302720) Homepage
      My take on it? Snowball's chance in hell. Not her fault, or Dave Winer's, just how it's going to play out.
      . . .
      All of those nationwide supporters aren't going to help unless they all have close friends and relatives in the district of contention, now are they?

      It isn't necessary to win an election in order to win one specific issue. If the funding and other support Grubb gets from bloggers is enough to enable her to capture, say, 20% of the votes, then Coble might decide that further services to the entertainment industry would be a political liabiliy.

      A "losing" campaign can also accomplish a great deal in terms of organizing -- getting people involved and enthusiatic and working together and learning about issues. This could lead to more powerful challenges in subsequent campaigns and perhaps, ultimately, victory at the polls.

      These days, most political campaigns are based on "big money" which is spent on TV ads, etc. But a true "grass roots" campaign can do enough on-the-ground, door-to-door work to make up for low levels of funding.

      If outside support merely buys some miniscule amount of local advertising, then it won't make much difference. If it used to support local organizing, e.g., to pay for flyers that campaign staff go door to door handing out, etc., then it might make a lot of difference.

    • The reason for the widespread voter apathy on this issue is just that they don't realize they're getting screwed. If they catch on things could change.

      The reason congress treats copyright law the way they do is so they can get re-elected. Copyright laws aren't even a big issue in nearly all elections so congress can quietly screw the general public (by lengthening copyrights by about 100 years and ensuring that there will be no public domain material for a while) and the entertainment industry will give them free money.

      Until the general public catches on and possibly even starts financing candidates who represent us instead of the entertainment industry, people running for congress will continue to take money from the entertainment industry and to be swayed by their arguments without bothering to consider the other side.

      (On a side note, I think if a performer can be paid for a recorded performance for the next 100 years that ditch-diggers should earn residual income as long as their ditch is in use. After all, they should get paid for their work.)
      • "(On a side note, I think if a performer can be paid for a recorded performance for the next 100 years that ditch-diggers should earn residual income as long as their ditch is in use. After all, they should get paid for their work.)"

        A BRILLIANT observation!

        Here's another example that applies to most of us:

        A network engineer should get paid for as long as the network he designed is in use...

        If the RIAA's model were imposed though, the employer of the network engineer would receive that royalty, as well as royalties on every job the engineer ever did, for perpetruity. If the network engineer left the company he'd not have the right to ever design another network again in exactly that way.

        Makes no sense, doesn't it? The touchstone of any fair deal is to reverse it and see if it seems just as fair. Or to apply it to another similar circumstance.

        Here is the copyright provision from the Constitution:

        "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries..." U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 8, clause 8."
    • > All of those nationwide supporters aren't going to help unless they all have close friends and relatives in the district of contention, now are they?

      Unless, of course, they donate to her []. She has plainly stated she needs $5000 to make TV comercials to reach the voters. Kick her a few buck and scare a Congressman or two.

    • Perhaps there's voter apathy because no one cares about the issues being discussed?

      Now, I know this is kind of a chicken and egg syndrome, but my generation (X) is constantly accused of not getting out and voting. Consequently, the politicians don't pay attention to us and don't appeal to things important to our lives.

      This last presidential election, there were two main candidates (yes, I know about Harry Browne, I voted for him), and as far as I was concerned, there was little difference between them. Oh, sure, there were small things, like Al Gore being contemptous and G.W. Bush being a bit slow on the uptake -- but on the issues I cared about, they seemed to be the same person.

      I heard endless debates about medicare and social security and I think education and tax cuts and the environment. First, I could care less about social security. I've been told since the day I was born that it wouldn't be there for me when I die. So, if it isn't there -- no big loss. If it is, great. Now, if you want to talk about giving me that money back now, I'm all ears. However, it was all just about where we're going to put that money and how much more they might need out of my paycheck -- and how it still might not be there for me. Wonderful.

      Next. Education. Tax cuts. Everyone loves education, everyone loves tax cuts. Everyone knows schools suck and they pay too many taxes. So, naturally neither candidate talked about how they were going to raise taxes or give students less education. Though there was much debate about this, essentially, they both want the same ends. Considering anything that gets done has to also pass Congressional approval, I don't think the methods are the important thing here -- what do you want to accomplish?

      Oh yeah, the environment. Now, granted, the environment isn't a big issue to me. I think that Bush is perhaps a bit too lax, and Gore a bit too militant, but in my world, it's definately a secondary issue.

      I didn't hear one word about the Drug War, about where all that tax money is going -- which is far greater than any tax cut, or how me might "win" or some alternate tactics to get more bang for our buck, or even if we might just call it a huge failure and scrap the whole project. No words on copyright issues. Nothing really about the internet or computers other than Gore's wonderful "I invented the internet." Nothing about campaign reform or the way that big business has their hands in everyone's pocket, not just the party you happen to hate, and that something needs to be done about it. Nothing about gun laws, which I know the two candidates differ on, but happens to be a very touchy subject. Nothing about scaling back military operations in other countries and focusing on where we're needed. Nothing about privacy laws or how we're making the constitution into toilet paper.

      No, we appeal to families and old people -- because these people vote. Avoid any hot topics or touchy issues because you might lose a vote or two, and besides, your opponent probably wants the same thing if it doesn't come down to the voters. Appeal to me, and I'll vote. Keep appealing to my parents and I'll never vote.

  • We'd have a Political Action Committee. We're geeks, we're well paid, and there's about 250k of us who read this website daily. Even if we only averaged a $100 contribution each per year, that's still 25 million dollars annually. We could buy ourselves a good handful of key legislators with 25 million dollars, outlaw MS in government, protect business models that compete against RIAA and MPAA, and keep that bloody spam out of my mailbox.

    The NRA has huge amounts of political clout, and I'd like to think that geeks are at least as numerous, wealthy, intelligent and organized as gun owners. Maybe it's time we stopped bitching and got off our asses and did something about it?

    • No kidding. At LEAST become an "armchair activist" -- you can attempt to change the status quo from the comfort of your computer desk!

      Working for Change [] lets you e-mail the appropriate elected officials for your area. It's easy -- they provide a pre-written, customizable e-mail that you sign. Click send, and it automatically goes to your appropriate representatives. It also attaches your appropriate information (name, address, etc) so they can determine that you're actually a constituant (which is very important to elected officials).

      Usually, you'll get a snail-mail reply from the people you write to. It's kinda nice to get something in the mail besides bills, AND feel like you're helping a cause at the same time...

      That said....

      So when's a Slashdot reader gonna run for office?!? Unfortunately, I'm not quite old enough to run for President yet -- you have to be 35 and I'm about a decade short...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The NRA DOES NOT have huge political clout, because they were stupid in the late 70s and threw in almost 100% with the Republican party. This allows the Republicans to treat gun owners as Democrats treat blacks. "Fuck you and shut up, you have nowhere else to go." Doubt me? Try this thought-experiment.

      ALGore wins in Florida, and is president. Sept. 11th happens exactly as it did (like Bush, he'd hire cops who were more interested in the tax-&-spend drugwar). Now it's the aftermath of 9/11, and Gore happily talks of fighter jets with sidewinder missiles downing future hijacked planes, but God FORBID a .38 in the pilot's flight bag! Imagine the noise! It took a FUCKING YEAR to get Bush to say maybe a few pilots should get guns if trained in an overexpensive and useless program, but there's no WAY AlGore would have been able to get away with that shit. Face it, we gun owners are the Republicans' niggers. sigh.
    • The EFF [] is a good start. Are you a member? How many slashdot readers are? I've always wanted a poll done on that. The dues are only $75 per year.

      They even have a web site that makes it trivial for you to write your congress folk. They supply text which you can modify or rewrite entirely. They then look up your representatives according to your zip code and will send the text for you. Couldn't be simpler.

      So what are you waiting for?


      • I highly recommend it. They should have a "wow, thanks!" page with membership numbers though, after your card is charged, instead of just a reciept & a sitemap link.

        But anyway, I feel better, and I know that will be the most effective $500 I've ever spent.

    • Well paid? Well, I'm not. But I do do some political work.
    • These people [] are trying to set one up. They're affiliated with the American Open Technology Consortium []. If I understand the relationships, it's sort of like the Sierra Club's political wing as opposed to their lobbying/educational wing.

      Unfortunately they don't seem to have their act together yet. For instance, I sent the AOTC some seed money about three months ago and the check hasn't been cashed yet. Their manifesto [] shows them only having received three pledges, which I think means it hasn't been updated in several months. GeekPAC is still working on authority to operate as a political action committee (there's a lot of legal mumbo-jumbo involved), but is taking donations [] on the assumption that approval will be granted.

      And, my final gripe is, the name GeekPAC has to go. It's fine as a nickname among geeks, but outside the community the name "geek" carries some prett negative connotations. Might as well call it "WeirdoPAC" or "GoonPAC" or something.

      Don't get me wrong, I hope these are just growing pains on the way to an organization that can play with the big boys and occasionally win.
    • Well, this is a good point. Is EFF the way to go? Or is it about time the /.ers start really pulling together? Plenty here pay dues to EFF, yet feel lost in the crowd. We write and write, and wonder if we even make a dent. I am about to send $$ to a woman [] in another state on the slight gamble that she might be able shout louder than us. Should we focus on one area or spread ourselves around? This is a political battle and I am not a political person, so I will listen to all theorys on the best approach out there.
  • P2P A.K.A client-server has been around since the dawn of time, and is doing just fine. I dont think it needs saving.

    Now companys that encourge and enable piracy definately need saving, and probably a lot of money to make bail for that matter.

  • by Shalome ( 566988 ) on Saturday September 21, 2002 @06:47AM (#4302447) Homepage
    All P2P issues aside, it's fascinating to think about what this form of campaigning means to the American public. Ponder for a second the legions of disaffected Americans who sit at their computers daily, reading blog after blog. Wouldn't you like to read a blog written by, say, your elected official? Not some slick press-release from the public relations branch of said official's staff, but an actual blog -- real thoughts and opinions. Would you be more inclined to vote? I hope to see more of this in the future. Most Americans don't vote because they feel so distanced from the political process, and from the politicians themselves. Most of us don't even really know the views of the people on the ballot (since we're all too smart and hip to buy into the media mudslinging and muckracking that campaigning has turned into.. right? RIGHT?) If more officials did something as courageous as putting their thoughts and opinions out there in the ether like Ms. Grub, can you imagine how the political process might change? Geeks might vote! Intelligent people might get elected, not just ones who can afford a good PR department! And wouldn't that make the world a better place?
  • We need $5000 to produce commercials to throw these guys out of the water. Donate to this campaign.

    Not even a please? Awww....

    I can't see her getting far, but I wish her good luck! We need more people like this!

    Perhaps a little less demanding tho :)

  • by ites ( 600337 ) on Saturday September 21, 2002 @06:50AM (#4302453) Journal
    In "Ender's Game", Orson Scott Card depicted a world in which a few individuals could influence society simply through the power of their words, via the Net.
    Something like this is starting to take place. The online word is almost powerful enough to counter traditional political forces: the backroom politics arranged over a handshake and a drink.
    This fight is attracting those with an interest in P2P and the Net. Tomorrow's fights will be more broad based.
    But, please, someone find a better term than "Blogging"!
  • by HerrGlock ( 141750 ) on Saturday September 21, 2002 @06:53AM (#4302458) Homepage
    Has everyone who is part of Tara Sue's campaign written, on paper, with envelope, Howard Coble to complain about the idea of MPAA or RIAA being able to hack at will?

    Congress tends to blow off email, like it or not, and pay a lot more attention to written letters and more even to handwritten letters outlining the person's stance on whatever issue.

    A quote that stuck with me from a Congress person's interview, "People don't contact their congressmen anymore. Hardly anyone writes letters, or even calls. As little as 12 letters has directly influenced the way I handle issues and represent the people... I can only assume if those dozen people care enough to write, there are thousands of people I am representing that care just as much, but never took the time to write."

    Write, write, write. Email, and call as well, but write. If the Rep then ignores the letters, then by all means set up an alternative for voting, but while the election is there, write as well.

  • As much as we think you can't be more famous than when you're mentioned in Slashdot, not everybody reads this site. I think anybody who lives in or near her District and care about her goals should go out and help, print out posters and informational leaflets about her/her campaign and DDoS the real world with it. But ask her first if it'd be okay.

    Coble's website [] got nothing compared to hers, and looking at her photo doesn't scare me away either.
  • ...and manages to save P2P (while getting elected to Congress), does that mean that the truth about JFK, Hoffa, Roswell and other "conspiracies" will be available to download on NeoNapster? Just search for "" and viola! We know that Kennedy was killed by a young Osama bin Laden, Hoffa is in a hubcap rolling around on a 79 Ford, the Vulcans crashed in Roswell, and an MP3/OGG of the missing 18.5 minutes of the Nixon tapes reveals that "Deep Throat" was Slick Dick's favorite DC hooker.

    Ah shit. I'll BRB, the Feds are at my door asking how much I know...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 21, 2002 @07:15AM (#4302489)
    This is a REPUBLIC my friends. My rights end where your rights begin.

    On P2P, Privacy rights far outweigh copyrights. There is always an alternative. Coble and Berman want to portray us as pirates because they know the average individual is smart enough to see this bill for what it is. Who's gonna listen to a pirate, right?

    I'm no pirate. I've never stolen anybody's eight cents. I'm protecting our right to privacy. I'm doing Mr. Coble's and Mr. Berman's job---pro bono! These boys need to head back to law school. They just don't get it.

    The Coble/Berman camp thinks Libertarians should support this bill. There are many issues surrounding P2P other than privacy and IP. If it passes, this bill will set a dangerous precedent for the future of our privacy. Show me a law that hasn't been abused by a lawyer and his client somewhere.

    There is another important point champions for free markets support. There are several extremely successful business models that have demonstrated the advantages in file sharing. Phish and the Grateful Dead are the two largest "cult" bands in history. They encourage their audience to share their music. They have record sales and performances. They have a real touch on what it means to participate in a free society.

    The goal of a free market is to weed out the weak. It's ridiculous for industries to yell "foul!" when a new industry hits the scene. It is not government's place to ensure any particular entity's market. That priviledge belongs to the consumer. In this case the consumer is telling the industry what it wants. Berman & Coble are saying they don't have to listen.

    The manner in which the entertainment industry has chosen to compensate for its weakness is beyond deplorable. I myself was the recent victim of a virus or hacker. These are very bad, but if you contribute to the Coble/Berman campaign, it's ok. These double standards are outrageous.

    Another issue is the trade off of privacy for protection. The author of "Let Hollywood Hack" (one of the articles on Mike's blog) James D. Miller, says:

    "While we should regret any loss of privacy, fighting crime often requires reducing the privacy rights of innocents. For example, our privacy is violated when we walk through a metal detector or are searched by airport security Indeed, NASA may soon even scan the brains of airline passengers in efforts to detect terrorists. Surely, scanning hard drives is far less objectionable than scanning brains."

    I am almost reluctant to respond to sophmoric arguments such as these. I am not convinced that the need to fight this crime outweighs our right to privacy. And I don't see that it ever could. Miller compares this issue to airport security, which of course is beyond ludicrous. First, lives are not at stake in P2P. Secondly, scanning a citizen's personal computer is far more intrusive than walking through a metal detector. Allowing Hollywood to arbitrarily hack into a PC, not knowing the user and actual perpetrator is unjustified. And third, comparing the scanning of hard drives to the future of privacy violations is senseless. Of course scanning hard drives is less objectionable than scanning brains, but that is not happening. A reasoned argument does not throw out some unrealized, futuristic possibility to shock and amaze in order to lessen the gravity of our situation.

    In addition to all of this, sacrificing privacy has not ensured one ounce of protection, it has merely provided the illusion of its existence. As we know, metal detectors don't stop terrorism. The P2P bill won't stop file sharing. In fact, it will increase any perceived loss and add to consumer contempt. This because two men hadn't the nerve nor the wit to protect the constitution and encourage good business. That is the real casualty.

    Libertarians aren't sell outs. That's why it takes so much of YOUR effort to put them into office and that's why I don't support this bill. It reaks of corporate favortism at Liberty's expense. And every person I talk to understands this.
  • Two-party system (Score:4, Interesting)

    by photonic ( 584757 ) on Saturday September 21, 2002 @08:36AM (#4302583)
    This might get the discussion a bit off-topic, but i think you should concentrate a bit more on the root cause that prevents getting this kind of sane people in congress instead of supporting a probably hopeless battle against big money.

    In my opinion this is the district-system. If votes are counted only in small regions that yield only one seat, you effectively create a two-party system. These two usually keep each other in close balance: you stay in power until you screw up and then the other party gets its chance for a few years.

    Here in Europe (except for England and France?), the votes are usually counted in the whole country (usually with a threshold of a few percent). Most countries therefore have a mix of parties (green, labour, liberal, christian, ...) which represents the general opinion more closely. This might also reduce the chance of big money influence.

    • there is a good argument for encouraging a two party system, imagine a scenario like this ....

      liberal #1 party has 16% of voter support
      liberal #2 party has 16% of voter support
      conservative #3 party has 16% of voter support
      conservative #4 party has 16% of voter support
      neo nazi party #5 has 17% voter support
      neo nazi party #6 has 17% of voter support

      The neo nazi's win even if you have runnoffs, even though most the people hate them.

      BTW, I'm libertarian.
    • I'm speaking out my ass here, but bear with me:

      At the national level, isn't the population roughly what it would be for Pennsylvania, New York, or Texas? IOW, there is a large block of voters. These people vote for ~30 representatives, 2 senators, and one governor. I would think that this would mirror the European situation more closely. But the results and number of 'third party' people in these groups is still small. There's probably some other cause to the two party system than what you've suggested.

      (Yes, being a stupid American, I have no idea what the relative population levels of Germany, the Netherlands, etc. are.)
    • Here in Europe (except for England and France?), the votes are usually counted in the whole country (usually with a threshold of a few percent). Most countries therefore have a mix of parties (green, labour, liberal, christian, ...) which represents the general opinion more closely.

      Yes, then those wonderfully diverse parties assume office and, in order to get anything done, must form coalitions with OTHER random parties, trading away all but the smallest shred of their platform in the process. You haven't ended compromise in politics (go figure), you have simply moved it upstream, away from the voters and into political backrooms. I think America's system works just fine.

      And why on Earth would we want to divorce money from politics? A man should be able to spend every last one of his pennies advocating whatever political cause he sees fit. And, not being a rich man, I am only going to be able to speak if I can accept pennies from others.
  • Political muscle (Score:2, Interesting)

    by octalgirl ( 580949 )
    Once again the Internet proves its power with regards to public communication and information. When the subject is right, peoples voices will be heard. She is getting much more publicity than my congressman, for that I am certain. How intriguing that through a simple electronic payment that was not easily conceived only a few years ago, that I can now offer support for someone who is not even in my district. The more she gets noticed, the more everyone standing up for our freedom of speech, online and off, gets noticed. A win for her, or at least a very public loss for her there, seems like it could benefit us all. The more her status gets raised, congress in every state will take notice. She seems somewhat of a net newbie, but many are voted into political office with little experience other than the desire to listen and act for the people.
  • Underdog congressional candidate Billy Bob Budweiser is making waves with his renegade single-issue campaign platform: free beer for everyone.

    Across America, millions of beer lovers have coalesced behind his effort to put free brewskies in every refrigerator. The incredible outpouring of support for the little-known but aptly named candidate has all the markings of a movement, maybe even a revolution, that could change the System forever.

    Even though he doesn't have any money, Billy Bob has asked his supporters to send him the cap from every beer they drink to indicate their support for his campaign. So far he's collected several million caps, which he says he plans to take to Washington and "leave 'em in a big ole pile on the President's desk. That'll show 'em!"

    Budweiser's opponent, a 30-year incumbent with a multi-million dollar war chest, said he isn't concerned about Budweiser's beer-based campaign. "People in this district prefer Miller Lite," he said. "It tastes great and it's less filling."

    Political pundits say Budweiser has no chance whatsoever to win the race, but that hasn't dimmed the frothy enthusiasm of his beer-addled supporters. "Ah'm a-gonna keep shendin' Billy mah beer capsh," said one wildly intoxicated supporter, who claims to have drank more than 40 cases of Budweiser in the last two weeks. "If everbuddy wood jess shend Billy their capsh, them fellersh that runsh the gubbament wood hafta lishen! An if they don't, me an Billy gonna go up dare ta Warshinton and kick shome ash!"

    Of course, the voters in Budweiser's district will have the last word. The latest poll shows Budweiser is likely to top out at 3-5 percent of the vote. Budweiser says he isn't worried. "If I lose, I'm gonna take these here bottle caps to the aluminum recycler. That should get me a good $20 or so. Then I'll head over to the Do Drop Inn and get a good buzz on. That's what America's all about, ain't it?"
  • I have often thought that when we finally get to the point where everyone is wired we should make some serious campaign reform. Creating a website is pretty cheap and we should restrict a candidate's campaign communication medium to a publicly offered website that the candidate or his staff can maintain. This would ensure a level playing field for all candidates and take much of the power away from the major corporations. Running a campaign wouldn't cost anything more than time to set up your website and the application fee so a candidate would not be obligated to seek funding for election and could spend time actually figuring out what his constituency's priorities were. Do you want to know who your canidatates are and what their positions are? Go to

    Of course restricting a candidates campaign medium would take a constitutional amendment but when the time is right that shouldn't be a problem. People were able to ratify a constitutional amendment banning alcohol. Once the critical mass is there on the internet it shouldn't be a problem coordinating an amendment movement.


  • by vegetablespork ( 575101 ) <> on Saturday September 21, 2002 @09:48AM (#4302730) Homepage
    . . . has anyone been able to get a straight answer from their U.S. Senator as to how he or she would vote on the CBDTPA (or other anti-digital freedom legislation) if it came to a vote today?

    My Senator, Jean Carnahan (D-MO), dodged the question with some flowery language about how she wanted "to encourage the adoption of broadband," which tells me she'd vote for it. (My letter was obviously opposed.)

    I just sent an email asking the question point blank to Sen. Carnahan, and also to her Republican challeneger, Jim Talent.

    Any reports from other states?

    • I was surprised that out of the two Senators and one House Representative I contacted, one of them (Sen. Pete Domenici, [R-NM]) actually even wrote back, saying that he would take my letter into consideration when voting on the bill, but you're right, I never did get a completely straight answer.
    • "My Senator, Jean Carnahan (D-MO), dodged the question with some flowery language about how she wanted "to encourage the adoption of broadband," which tells me she'd vote for it. (My letter was obviously opposed.)

      I just sent an email asking the question point blank to Sen. Carnahan, and also to her Republican challeneger, Jim Talent."

      AFAIK, the only guy who has publically come out against what the RIAA is doing is Rick Boucher, a Republican from Virginia.

      Other than him I'm not aware of a SINGLE Congressman who is on our side.

      This is an issue where Democrats (who ARE the party of Hollywood), and Republicans (the party of corporations) will march in lock step.

      The only alternative is to get the Libertarians into some power. Geeks number large enough to do so. The Libertarian party is the SOLE party that stands for reducing the government to it's Constitutionally defined responsibility.

      Passing laws allowing people to invade property on a whim seems to me to be a clear violation of the Constitution. For one, there IS a right to property expressed in the Bill of Rights. Also, the power to authorize some to violate property of others is not an ENUMERATED power of the Federal Government.

      Remember, the 10th Amendment forbids the Feds from excersing ANY POWER NOT SPECIFICALLY GIVEN them by the Constitution!

      We've allowed the Demopublicans to violate this for so long, it's become taken for granted that Congress can pass any law it wants to. It can't.

      IMO, the ultimate solution that will bring balance back into our system is criminal penalties for legislators/executives who vote for, impose/enforce illegal law (laws that are Unconstitutional).

      Why shouldn't they be held personally to account for the laws they pass? After all, ignorance is not a defense for the 300 million of us who are subject to many thousands of thousands of laws that it'd be impossible to know.
      • Okay. And then try to explain it to Joe Sixpack, who (maybe)
        has a Windows 98 computer with AOL in which he send-receives
        his mail and a bunch of simple Windows games. He is a republican/democrat (he knows only that two parties because they are advertised in his TV).
        • "Okay. And then try to explain it to Joe Sixpack, who (maybe)
          has a Windows 98 computer with AOL in which he send-receives
          his mail and a bunch of simple Windows games. He is a republican/democrat (he knows only that two parties because they are advertised in his TV)."

          Explain to him that when he gets digital TV, which is mandated by law and the FCC, he will be getting (possibly) better picture and sound, but will be giving up the ability to record anything to watch over.

          And that his computer may become illegal, just as analog TV is set to become useless, and that his new one will by law REFUSE to play any game he's "copied" or not bought, registered, activated (including giving away email address and other personal info to SPAM lists).

          All brought to you by the Demopublican Party.

          The only alternative is to vote for Libertarians. Libertarian=Liberty, Liberty=Freedom, get it?

          Or was that too complicated?
    • Same essential reply from my congresscritters (Senate: Harkin R-IA and House: Latham D-IA) -- they're concerned about "personal privacy" or somesuch, but no cut and dried statement for or against. Grr...

      Grassley (R-IA), our other Senator, didn't even respond, but I just sent e-mails so I'm probably lucky I got anything at all.
    • Santorum (R-PA) was right up with the best of them in being as vague as possible. I am so not voting for him next time. I just hope the LP puts a candidate up.
  • Now that people know she's serious, it be more tha a little helpful if she had an organized website built around her blog. I can approximate a sketch of her political beliefs by her libertarian affiliation, and at the end of her "about me" page, she talks about laisez faire economics... but that's it. Even if she wants to be seen as a "one-issue" candidate, she still needs to look better organized and, well, less ranty.

  • WHAT can we do to wake up "Joe 6 Pack"?

    He's the one who is apathetic. But he has just as much to lose as we do.

    As recently demonstrated by "accident" in New York, the next generation of TV, Digital TV, which has DRM mandated into it by the FCC, itself is to be forced down everyone's throats before the end of this decade, WILL have the ability to forbid recording off TV.

    Recording shows off TV has been a right taken for granted by analog VCR owners since the early 80's. Virtually EVERYONE has recorded a show on a VCR, even if they are recording inane crap like "Bassmasters" or "Friends" instead of "Star Trek" like we geeks do ;)

    That soon will end. Given their blatantly stated attitudes, I cannot for one second believe that Hillary Rosen and Jack Valenti won't order cable companies and broadcasters to "throw the switch" shutting off virtually all recording once DTV has been forced into homes.

    Furthermore, P2P sharing is definately NOT just for geeks. Plenty of Joe and Jane Averages have been buying computers and internet JUST FOR THIS for the past 3 years. There are millions more file sharers than there are geeks.

    Filesharing is no more a crime than taping songs off the radio (likely to be impossible when radio goes digital, also something mandated by the FCC by the end of the decade). Who DIDN'T trade dubbed casettes with people back in high school?

    I did so quite alot. It never stopped me from buying albums whenever I had the money to. Just as my collection of over 10,000 MP3 song files doesn't stop me from buying albums of artits I like (such as Avril Lagigne, the "Anti-Britney" who's album is most definately worth buying). I don't download Britney. I download mostly pre-1990 stuff, a LOT of it being out of print.

    The RIAA/MPAA "Hack Act" would create mass chaos on the Internet. ANYONE can whistle, play a kazoo, hum, etc random noise into a casette recorder, make a MP3 of it and have a "copyrighted" song (and it would be at about the artistic level of Britney/BSB/NSync, et all), place it on your computer and then have cause to hack the RIAA "just to check".

    The RIAA/MPAA have no idea what they are asking for... Because for the law to be written only to apply to THEM would cause it to be tossed out as discriminatory. So it must apply to everyone who owns ANY copyright. Their technical expertise and resources are also vastly inferior to those of the geek community.

    They'd be starting a war with a nuclear power when all they are armed with is rocks and pointed sticks.

    The result would be total chaos on the net. And, you know, I'm not so sure they aren't aware of that... CBDTPA DRM computing, using MS Palladium would take control of our hardware and software from US, making it impossible (theoretically) for us to resond in kind to RIAA hack attacks.

    But, I digress... What will it take to get Joe and Jane Average to realize what is being done to THEM? Will it be the first time they can't record "Oprah"? Will it be when they discover their PC has been "accidently" erased by some amateur RIAA hacker? Will it be when they buy a new PC with Palladium and it won't play their MP3's?

    Sooner or later, I believe it will happen. There is a LOT of hostility in the general public towards corporations. For some reason, Hollywood and the Record Industry have escaped general wrath, despite the fact that what they rake in makes overpaid athletes (whom the public often bitch about) look like Wal-Mart greeters.

    • I don't think you realise this, but taping off TV and the radio has always been illegal (technically). There was a big court case in the 80's - Sony vs. Universal Studios - they tried to stop Sony from making their Betamax recording machines because people used them to tape movies off of television. (Yes, Betamax is dead now, but not for this reason.) It was decided that Sony was not responsible for what the consumers did with the machine. This is all changing with the advent of P2P systems - Napster was judged to be responsible for what consumers did with its service. Fair? Hardly. But copying music and movies is still illegal (without the consent of the copyright holder), whether P2P is used, or you're just taping songs off the radio.

    Anyone checked this out yet? An unorthodox but likely sucessful way to raise money... I've never seen Demopublicans look that good.

    And they are for freedom to boot!

    This is raising money for the NC libertarians.
  • We'd have a Political Action Committee

    We have GeekPAC [], founded by the guys who do The Linux Show [] and it needs your support.

  • ladies of liberty (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dr. Awktagon ( 233360 ) on Saturday September 21, 2002 @11:59AM (#4303178) Homepage

    Don't forget to pick up a copy of your Ladies of Liberty Calendar []...

    Introducing the North Carolina Ladies of Liberty Calendar! Their turn-ons are long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners and free-market economies. Yes, the Libertarian party has some righteous BABES!

    Are all libertarians this attractive and intelligent or is there something in the water in NC?

  • ...politely and articulately expressing my disdain for the bill he's co-sponsoring and urging him to drop his support. Not surprisingly, I have yet to receive a reply.

    What baffles me is that nowhere in Coble's constituency is there the slightest motivation for this legislation. Therefore, whatever, Coble's motivation, it must come from outside his constituency. In a sense, this is par for the course among politicians who seek to grasp and become a part of issues they do not understand so as to bask in the limelight of national publicity.

    However, it is also dangerous when politicians allow their personal ambitions to cloud and color their political agendas. Coble has his Democratic counterparts, to be sure (an old and genteel southern Democrat from South Carolina whose name I cannot quite recall at the moment, who clearly does not distinguish between a ram chip and a disk drive, is also using anti-computer, anti-geek sentiment to propel himself into the national limelight. Ok, now I remember. His name is Hollings.)

    Anyway, assuming that these people are merely using these issues as political footballs for their own personal gain is the lighter side of the assumption. We're indeed in trouble if there's more to it than that.

    As to the Grubb-Coble faceoff, the issue here is really over the Coble legislation. Should Coble quietly withdraw his support, I fear poor Ms. Grubb would soon go unappreciated.
  • by firewort ( 180062 ) on Saturday September 21, 2002 @01:22PM (#4303617)
    I'm running for the NC State House as the Libertarian candidate.

    I've been a /.er for a few years and decided it was time to get involved as opposed to only replying on /. -

    See my site at [] - unfortunately you won't see my stance on IP issues/copyright law on that page, simply because as a state representative, it's a non-issue- those laws are made in US congress, not the state legislature.

    Instead, state legislatures get to deal with laws concering EULAs, ( [] ), laws concerning model health acts , ( [] ) and other threats to our rights to live our lives without intrusion.

    Tara really latched onto Coble's prominent "I've-been-bought" issue, and has done well with it- however, the Coble bill isn't going to go anywhere- even Republican candidates I know are writing Coble telling him to put it to rest.

    Vote Libertarian! []

  • I admire her bravery, and her willingness to fight the good fight against Howard Coble - an obnoxious fool if I ever saw one - but get real.

    I used to live in Greensboro, NC, part of Mr. Coble's district. In fact I spent most of my life in that part of NC, and several years working in politics in NC.

    I can tell you from first hand experience, working in past political campaigns there, that he is completely safe from any challenge. His district is drawn in such a way as to guarantee his re-election.

    Which is sad, cause the fat bastard really is an almost completely-ignorant jackass, but it's also the reality on the ground.

    The people of Guilford County by and far don't really care about these issues. They care about textile jobs going to Mexico (and now to China), and furniture plants closing and moving overseas as well. Unfettered P2P won't pay the mortgage.

    Her cause might be noble, but is it really worth it? I think we would be better off fighting his idiotic bills, and picking our battles more intelligently.
  • Paypal Contribution? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Mabidex ( 204038 )

    Hey I read the article, then went to the Tara For Congress [] Site.

    She's fighting for something I believe in, and I admit I do like her position on other things. I found her Paypal contribution button..

    So screw it, I know it's a good cause... I sent her $25 cash via PAYPAL Contribution []:

    Transaction Details

    Web Accept Payment Sent (ID #9WL51528E6024712A)

    Name Tara For Congress (The recipient of this payment is Verified)


    Amount 25.00

    Send her some cash guys! Are you waiting for the tooth fairy to fight for you?

    If you don't support what you believe in...

    then you don't really believe in it, do you?


  • Is it just me, or is this the same thing that 20 years ago happened to satellite TV? At the start of satellite TV, people were able to take their dishes, point them, and watch some of their favorite shows, such as the late-night variety shows like The Tonight Show, unedited and without commercials. That was soon put to an end with encrypted signals. Throughout the 80's and into the 90's with the introduction of DSS, satellite providers couldn't provide local channels because the cable companies lobbied for bills to outlaw it, giving them an edge in the marketplace. If someone in Washington would get their head out of their ass and realize that the RIAA is going to be the death of music here in America and most of the western world, they will come up with a way to deflate their power.
  • []endorses Tara Sue Grubb. If North Carolina's 6th district Slashdotters will get out and tell all their neighbors why they are voting for Tara, she has a chance. All it really takes is name recognition. Don't tell the old timers she not a dem or repub. Just tell them her name, and that we need people who understnd technology in congress, not just white haired old men with VCRs flashing 12:00
  • Thanks are due to Jason A. Lefkowitz for spreading awareness about Ms. Grubb, but his article is a textbook example of hyperbole. He takes four reasonably long paragraphs to get to ANY level of factual information. I can understand laying out a few facts and THEN telling us how she and/or her campaign are going to change the world, but it took a good deal of skimming to get around all the hot air he's put in there.
  • The intended purpose of copyright law was to provide stimulation to authors to create new works. There is a simple trade at the heart of this proposition -- society offers to enforce copyright, for a limited time, at its expense. In exchange for that free protection, the author will cede the work into the public domain.

    Somehow the idea that the author and publisher of a work is entitled to free protection of that work has taken hold. Current copyright law has eliminated the ceding of works into the public domain. Society is now in the position of providing unlimited protection, at unlimited cost, for works in perpetuity, without receiving any returned benefit. This is a ridiculous situation.

    If the record companies and movie companies think that their works are going to be stolen if the public communications mechanisms are used (internet and so forth), then they should not release those works in digital form. The media companies want the taxpayer to secure and entrench their business model for them, paying through the nose for it, and sacrificing a whole series of privacies and capabilities on the way.

    The thing is, what the media companies want is to reduce the capability of our devices. General purpose computation is their enemy -- they don't want devices that can be programmed and altered to be available to the consumer. It's the only way that their precious content can be fully controlled. And it won't stop with simple digital rights management -- the next step will be to impose monitoring. I find that unacceptable.

    Imagine a world where CB radios have special circuits in them that, every time you push the "talk" button, check to see if the contents of your transmission match against known music. If your transmission matches, it prevents your broadcast and reports you to the authorities. It sounds silly, but this is exactly what the media companies want for your computer, and for you.

    We have to preserve the purity of our communications channels. If the media companies think the digital world is too dangerous and unpredictable for them, they shouldn't play. And they shouldn't be permitted to destroy or belittle the internet because it makes their profiteering more complicated.
  • "Yes, let's consider," said Bruno, putting his thumb into his
    mouth again, and sitting down upon a dead mouse.
    "What do you keep that mouse for?" I said. "You should either
    bury it or else throw it into the brook."
    "Why, it's to measure with!" cried Bruno. "How ever would you
    do a garden without one? We make each bed three mouses and a half
    long, and two mouses wide."
    I stopped him as he was dragging it off by the tail to show me
    how it was used...
    -- Lewis Carroll, "Sylvie and Bruno"

    - this post brought to you by the Automated Last Post Generator...

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?