Category Archives: Film

Pirates of the Duopoly: AT&T Plans Anti-Piracy Content-Recognition

attseal.jpg Yo ho:
Remember YouTube’s content filtering system? AT&T is mulling setting one up across its whole network. BusinessWeek’s reporting AT&T’s in talks with NBC Universal and Disney to possibly use content-recognition tech developed by Vobile—a company they’ve all invested in—to block pirated material from being sent to and fro along its network. Net Neuterality: AT&T Considering Scary, Content-Recognizing Anti-Piracy Filter for Entire Network, Gizmodo, by Matt Buchanan, 8 Nov 2007

Perhaps Disney, NBC, and AT&T have forgotten that Disney has made pirates very popular.

Meanwhile, it’s one thing for YouTube to do content filtering. It’s quite another for AT&T, as one of the duopoly of Internet access in most of the U.S., to do the same. You know, the same AT&T that censored Pearl Jam and other bands for expressing political views.

I wonder how big a backlash there will be when AT&T’s customers discover more false positives than fingerprints?


Content Protect v. Internet Freedom

content_protection.png Here’s another view of what the telcos and cablecos have in mind for us, or, rather, what they want in our minds: approved content. This is substantially different from the Internet freedom we have today to look at whatever we want to and to publish our own content.


AT&T Inc. has joined Hollywood studios and recording companies in trying to keep pirated films, music and other content off its network — the first major carrier of Internet traffic to do so.
Get ready for the Amazon Channel or settle for Internet Base Service. Continue reading

Russian Roulette

michael_copps.jpg FCC Commissioner Michael Copps has a way with words. Last year he said we should be talking about Internet freedom rather than net neutrality. And now he says we’re
playing Russian roulette with broadband and Internet and more traditional media

FCC Commissioner: US playing “Russian roulette with broadband and Internet” By Nate Anderson, ars technica, August 03, 2007 – 09:20AM CT

And the Russians are winning. Continue reading

Education Entertainment

EDUCAUSE is up in arms about a proposed amendment to the Higher Education Reauthorization Act that the Senate is supposed to be considering today. It basically makes the Secretary of Education an arm of the MPAA and requires institutions of higher education to police file sharing. I think this is the most interesting part of the amendment, where it’s saying it will:
(1) the 25 institutions of higher education participating in programs under this title, which have received during the previous calendar year the highest number of written notices fromm copyright owners, or persons authorized to act on behalf of copyright holders, alleging infringement of copyright by users of the institution’s information technology systems, where such notices identify with specificity the works alleged to the infringed, or a representative list of works alleged to be infringed, the date and time of the alleged infringing conduct together with information sufficient to identify the infringing user, and information sufficient to contact the copyright owner or its authorized representative; and

Text of Amendments, SA 2314, Congressional Record — Senate, 17 July 2007

So universities are supposed to keep lists of allegations against their students (or staff or faculty) and those lists can be used to determine their funding. Allegations, mind you, not convictions. This is once again the entertainment industry tail wagging the dog, in this case higher education. Hm, I suppose that’s a bad analogy, since the entertainment industry seems to only understand the big head, not the long tail….

And as if to demonstrate Republicans have no monopoly on horribly bad ideas, this amendment is proposed by the Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid. Is the Internet really that hard to understand?


Global Media Consolidation

mediabrands.jpg In case you thought media ownership in increasingly fewer hands was a uniquely U.S. problem, here’s a handy graphic illustrating its worldwide scope. There are links to the research behind it.


AT&T Attacks Content

Copyright is not just for Internet radio anymore:
AT&T Inc. has joined Hollywood studios and recording companies in trying to keep pirated films, music and other content off its network — the first major carrier of Internet traffic to do so.

As AT&T has begun selling pay-television services, the company has realized that its interests are more closely aligned with Hollywood, Cicconi said in an interview Tuesday. The company’s top leaders recently decided to help Hollywood protect the digital copyrights to that content.

“We do recognize that a lot of our future business depends on exciting and interesting content,” he said.

AT&T to target pirated content, It joins Hollywood in trying to keep bootleg material off its network. By James S. Granelli, L.A. Times, June 13, 2007

Now it’s for Internet video. Which is what “James W. Cicconi, an AT&T senior vice president,” meant by “exciting and interesting content.” Nevermind participatory customer-generated content, or that customers might not want AT&T monitoring their content. Continue reading

Media Ownership

media-ownership.gif While we’re on the general subject of postal and Internet rates and a free press,, let’s look at who owns the U.S. media:
In 1983, 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the U.S. … When the 6th edition of The Media Monopoly was published in 2000, the number had fallen to six. Since then, there have been more mergers and the scope has expanded to include new media like the Internet market. More than 1 in 4 Internet users in the U.S. now log in with AOL Time-Warner, the world’s largest media corporation.

In 2004, Bagdikian’s revised and expanded book, The New Media Monopoly, shows that only 5 huge corporations — Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) — now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric’s NBC is a close sixth.

Number of corporations that control a majority of U.S. media, Media Reform Information Center, accessed 21 June 2007

This might be worth remembering the next time you hear that the market will sort out any problems and there’s no need for regulation. Would that there were a market so that that could be true.