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Fight the (European) Broadcast flag - and learn something about mass communication on the way ... | Nicole Simon's Useful Sounds

Fight the (European) Broadcast flag - and learn something about mass communication on the way ...

23.06.2005 - 01:11 / filled under default

The short version: go read

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And know for my longer take on that ;): If you know me for a bit longer, you might have learned that I am quite opinionated about some things. At the same time I feel quite unsure about 'the facts' of some of the topics I am passionated about.

The whole international copyright / free speech stuff is such a thing. Don't get me wrong, I am quite aware of the fact that I know more than the usual person about it.

Informing my clients about "do you know what your Nutzungsrechte (= the German type of usage licences for artistic work) are?" is one of my favorite questions. My personal stats: 90% don't have a clue what those licences are and why they need to pay them. The rest are people who want to receive those. And I tell both groups, that copyright and equivalents are a basis for negotiations. Not "I'm artist, you pay!".

In this line, as some people might tell you, I am also very interested in free speech - especially because I am not American, but many things are influenced by results in this country. Free speech also like in "please be aware of the fact, that your understanding of profanity and decency does not necessary reflect my country's / cultural view.".

With this kind of interest - not so much for the politics but for the implications to my life - I of course was highly interested in Cory Doctorow's presentation at recent reboot conference. If you don't have any clue about the Broadcast flag and why this is relevant for you if you live anywhere in America or Europe - go listen to the audio file.

In this presentation (28 min long, Cory's part starts of at 3:45) from 10 day ago, he talked about 'we fought back the US broadcast flag' and the danger of the European flag coming.

But on Monday, a news hit the blogosphere, that somebody wanted to reintroduce it through the backdoor, which lead to:
"Forty-Eight Hours To Stop The Broadcast Flag"

Now, 48 hours does not seem much. Anybody watching West Wing ;) will know, how difficult it is, to stop something in such a short time. But, times have changed. And I was very pleased today to read in the EFF newsletter that the action has gone 'viral'. I give you the complete news, because it is too good, but you can also visit the EFF site:

Donna sez, "EFF Activism Coordinator Danny O'Brien shares inspiring stats from the 48-hour campaign to stop the Broadcast Flag:

At the beginning of this week, we learned that a Broadcast Flag amendment might slip past the gates in an appropriations bill. It's easy to see how this could happen. Despite strong opposition to the flag in the Internet community, in many circles it's still considered "non-controversial."

But that was Monday evening.

Within the space of a few hours, the committee was Slashdotted, BoingBoinged and Instalanched.

By 6 p.m. on Tuesday, the 27 members of the Senate Appropriations Committee received more than 11,000 emails and faxes. That's nearly 500 faxes an hour. Dianne Feinstein alone received more than 2,600 messages in her inbox. Kay Hutchison, the senior senator for Texas, received 1,441 letters.

And these are just the numbers EFF has. We don't track telephone calls. But we do know that many of you listened when we joined Public Knowledge in urging you to call your senators directly. If you tried to call and the line was engaged, it was likely occupied by someone else griping about the same amendment. Staffers say they were "swamped."

Today, the phone calls, email messages, and faxes continue to flood in. This is a mass protest even without voices from many of the more populous states, which don't have senators on the committee.

Suffice it to say that you don't get that kind of reaction except for very controversial bills. You did it. You got the attention of every senator on the Appropriations Committee.
If you read it, please note on those figures "that are just the numbers EFF has".

In a connected world, every single person has some power. Perhaps not always, perhaps not every time, but many times and most of the time. Contribute a story to boingboing (100k subscribers to the feed, not to think of the normal visitors), or slashdot etc and you get the connection power of blogs, mailing lists and chats.

Don't be mistaken, that is not victory. There is still a long way to go. But every time, a politician gets this kind of results in such a fast time, they will start to take notice. Because obviously, there are people out there who have the power to connect voters. The next election is always ahead.

If we see lobbying as one way to 'inform' the other side, it was up to now only possible for the bigger companies to have a steady impact on all those different levels of influence. Through the net we can show "this is a game for more than just one party."

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I am Nicole Simon, 34 years old and located in Lübeck, Germany. This is my English blog with the Useful Sounds podcast which is now newly located at usefulsounds.com)

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