28 January 2006

Why Openness Will Prevail

A telling story here. A US Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the Broadcast Flag - which threatens to close down various kinds of content fair use - left the tracks when one of the committee suddenly got it.

He realised that the proposal that was being glibly presented to them by the RIAA representative would stop him using his shiny new iPod in the way he had quickly become accustomed to - things like recording from the radio and listening on the road. The RIAA is now in big trouble, at least as far as this committee is concerned, because they have been rumbled.

The key lesson to learn from this is the importance of getting people - especially politicians - to understand, viscerally, what is at stake. Once they do, those pushing to close down our options don't stand a chance.

This is why openness will prevail: it is its own best weapon.

Update: As a result of this incident, there is now a project to give an iPod to all US Senators. Fighting ignorance with education: now there's an idea....

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