Circumventing the upsell, but not all of it. Responding to the recent post about cable service a la carte, alta writes "I got a response from Jane Black (who wrote the original article) and she said slashdot jumped the gun. You can not pick and choose which channel you want. You can just choose to get basic limited and premium without getting the 2 steps in between. Here's the actual piece of law:
Read it all here. Here's what Jane said:"Buy-through of other tiers prohibited - A cable operator may not require the subscription to any tier other than the basic service tier required by paragraph (7) as a condition of access to video programming offered on a per channel or per program basis. A cable operator may not discriminate between subscribers to the basic service tier and other subscribers with regard to the rates charged for video programming offered on a per channel or per program basis.
If you still need it, you can find more about the law here. Just type 543 in the "Section" field. The citation is: Section 623(b)(8) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended. Found at volume 47 of the US Code Section 543(b)(8)"'But please make sure you understand the rule (Slashdot's headline was misleading indeed.) You can't just choose which channels you want. The new rule says that you can get basic (the network and cspan etc) plus HBO/Starz/Showtime *without* having to buy the standard package as well. If you want AMC, Lifetime, whatever, you still need to buy the whole package. Make sense?'
The Salon dilemma. A Slashdot post last week reported that Salon was in serious financial trouble, and had dropped its premium section and instituted giant ads. Salon has now moved to over-the-counter trading. "While we valued the prestige of a NASDAQ listing, this move to the OTC market should not affect our core business," says Salon's president and CEO in the story. Update: 11/26 00:42 GMT by J : One correction: Salon has not dropped its premium section.
Dole, or Hormel? MacAndrew writes "As briefly discussed in slashdot a few weeks ago, Senator-elect Elizabeth Dole has been sued by a constituent who received eight unsolicited emails from her. He claims $100 damages including "emotional distress for having received spam from someone who should know better." Salon has now published an article focusing on the critical political versus commercial speech aspect of the case. Courts have recognized political speech as the innermost circle of free speech protection, and groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation believe spam laws that interfere with it may be not just unwise but unconstitutional."
Surely, someone's wallet will end up fat. In reaction to the recent story about provisions of the DMCA being used to prevent the posting of post-Thanksgiving sales prices from large retailers, Brian McWilliams writes "I finished up my story about FatWallet after you posted that link on Slashdot. Might help explain some stuff."
Well, we thought this here panopticon would be a nice idea ... McLuhanesque writes "DARPA has posted the architecture for their Total Information Awareness Systems , the uber-database that purports to suck in every scrap of electronic information about everyone, mix in some Human ID at a Distance technology, among other stuff, and profile ... well, just about everyone. More of their proposed fun and games are listed here." And Declan McCullagh writes: "Just posted the transcript of the Pentagon news briefing (worth a read) on Politech. Note this is on the TIA program, not 'eDNA.'
$10,000 is nothing to sneeze at. The idea of buying code into the world of Free software (aka code Ransom, as mentioned on Slashdot a few days ago) is drawing interest. waxed writes "FreePepper is an effort to collect enough money to purchase the source code for the multiplatform text editor Pepper from its author, Maarten Hekkelman, who has ceased development of it and re-release it under a BSD-style license. Donations may be made via PayPal or cheque."