Call your congressman and tell him to pull his head out of his ass.
The big tech issues and concerns at the moment involve congress passing laws that would either outlaw standard practices, or require new regulations or inhibitors that would effectively give one organization or industry control over an entire range of media.
Ain’t nothing but a business thang.
There is no way — no way — this is anything but beneficial in the purely economic sense for big businesses. At no time in history, has the strict control over the manufacture of any item been in the end beneficial to that business. Inevitably, either the product stagnates, or the rest of the world will move on without you.
Look at my beloved Macintosh computer. You may think that right now they are relatively well off. But in 1979, they had a 81 percent market share. 8 out of every ten personal computers sold was made by Apple, who has almost always maintained a monopoly on the manufacture of their equipment. Two years later, IBM introduced their first PC and licensed it to all interested parties, and every consecutive year after that Apple’s sales have declined by half.
These bills before congress are all form an economic standpoint of what is best for a specific industry at this exact moment. But no major societal advancement has ever come from a product or good.
Despite what you were told in history class, the invention of the printing press did very little by itself. You could print all the materials you wanted at the time, but they were all in Latin; a language totally illegible to the majority of people alive at that time. It wasn’t until several people, at the risk of their very lives, translated the Bible and other major church documents into the common tongue of the area, that substantial amounts of people realized they had been lied to all their lives by elders and ministers.
The Internet existed for decades without critical acclaim, before a group of scientists decided they wanted it to be easier for each other to have access to their research and papers. This desire to improve access to their educational information spawned the World Wide Web, and with it, an entry point to global communication for every redneck with an income tax refund check.
The current crop of lobbyists, if they’re anything like their predecessors, are shooting themselves in the foot with all their demands. The movie industry has lobbied against TV, against movies on TV, against movies on VHS and on DVD. Every single time, they luckily lost, and proceeded to make more money than anyone ever imagined in that new field.
Even when a industry group manages to be one step ahead, they will use that advantage to trip up the person (I will not use the term consumer). When it became obvious that CD burners would become widely available, and people would be able to aggregate whatever content they wished, many countries granted the music industries a tax on the price of blank CDs, to offset what was bound to be a loss due to people copying music from one CD to another. (Since so many people photocopy the work I do, does that mean I should collect money on every sheet of paper sold?) But now the RIAA is claiming that music sales are unexpectedly suffering due to the exchange of music via the digital medium.
They are trying to screw you with a 12-incher. But take heart. While corporations are legally considered living beings, they must be George Bush’s dumber half brother. They are continually blind to emerging trends. They are continually outsmarted by 12 year old children with a little creativity. They take years to introduce anything different, and even then, it is never new.
Advancement does not mean that a new product cycle is coming. Choice doesn’t mean I have to pay you or you. And the next time someone tells me they use a particular computer or listen to certain music because everyone does, I am going to shoot them between the eyeballs and cleanse the gene-pool just slightly.