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The Internet Government Politics

Canadian Groups Call For Massive Net Regulation 318

An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist is reporting that Canadian cultural groups including ACTRA and SOCAN have called on Canada's telecom regulator to implement a massive new Internet regulation framework. This includes a new three-percent tax on ISPs to pay for new media creation, Canadian content requirements for commercial websites, and licensing requirements for new media broadcasters, including for user-generated content."
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Canadian Groups Call For Massive Net Regulation

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  • No Seriously (Score:4, Insightful)

    by schlick ( 73861 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @05:29PM (#26039347)

    Blame Canada

  • What are these organizations? TFA doesn't elaborate.
    • Re:ACTRA/SOCAN (Score:5, Informative)

      by 8127972 ( 73495 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @05:32PM (#26039395)

      For those who aren't familiar with the groups referenced in TFA:

      ACTRA: []
      SOCAN: []

    • Re:ACTRA/SOCAN (Score:4, Informative)

      by Oh no, it's Dixie ( 1332795 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @05:33PM (#26039405)
      ACTRA and SOCAN are Canada's recording industry associations. They parallel the US's MPAA and RIAA.
      • Re:ACTRA/SOCAN (Score:5, Informative)

        by Rary ( 566291 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @06:03PM (#26039863)

        ACTRA and SOCAN are Canada's recording industry associations. They parallel the US's MPAA and RIAA.

        Not quite. CRIA is Canada's RIAA.

        SOCAN is a performing rights organization, so it parallels the US's BMI and ASCAP.

        I know nothing about ACTRA.

        • Re:ACTRA/SOCAN (Score:5, Informative)

          by someguyintoronto ( 415253 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @06:42PM (#26040449)

          More than not quite. More like completely different than MPAA and RIAA.

          As stated above, SOCAN is a performing rights organization. Specifically they handle the authoring and composition royalty of a piece of music. So I write a song, I become a member of SOCAN (as a Canadian), they track the usage of that song (typically radio play only) and they pay out a royalty for the authoring (lyrics) and composition (music) of the song.

          ACTRA represents musicians to broker the royalties as they relate to (what is defined in Canada as) Neighbouring Rights ( which is essentially the "performance" of a recorded piece of music. So I play as a musician on a recorded piece of, it gets played (again, typically on the radio) and they pay out based on my performance on this piece.

          This later concept differs greatly in the US, where terrestrial (AM/FM) radio does not owe "performance" royalties. SoundExchange via a whole heck of congress lobbying is the closest equivalent to ACTRA (or the two other Canadian associations that deal in these royalties), however, it only deals in Internet streaming and satellite radio. And, yes they totally fucked up.

          SOCAN and ACTRA have historically helped to look after the little musicians. They are not inherently evil despite what the likely opinion on slashdot will be.

          Now, as a musician, in Canada, who writes songs, gets airplay and, yes, has leftish values, I think that this is an acceptable compromise. Bars, restaurants, dentist offices, etc all get surcharged for playing music in Canada at their workplaces (as music is seen to add value to their business). The same argument can apply to ISPs who have more demand/usage by people looking to listen and become exposed to music. I think ultimately the impact to consumers will be negligible in terms of a rate increase (which is likely to be also monitored by the CRTC).

          • Re:ACTRA/SOCAN (Score:4, Insightful)

            by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Monday December 08, 2008 @07:14PM (#26040877) Homepage

            As the only other Canadian on slashdot, I second these opinions.

            SOCAN isn't anywhere near as evil as the RIAA. The CRIA on the other hand, they're a bunch of creeps serving the big distributors, and the CRTC is the industry's sock puppet. Those last two don't add much value for Canadian artists, not unless you're a platinum-selling act who can afford to buy one of their reps.

            • Re:ACTRA/SOCAN (Score:4, Insightful)

              by gwait ( 179005 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @08:04PM (#26041457)

              I'm also a Canadian on Slashdot, and a hobbyist musician.

              I have no issue with Socan collecting royalties when someone plays Canadian commercial music for financial benefit.

              What I don't support is the blanket coverage "guilty until .. nah, guilty" that they promote along with the CRIA.

              For example: anytime someone books a local hall for rent, you have to pay a couple hundred bucks to Socan, even if you were playing your own originals, or perhaps you're a Beatles cover band etc.

              They don't send these royalties to non Canadian artists, only to Canadian Artists with a "recognized commercial recording contract", who recorded and produced their music in Canada,
              proportional to the number of record sales said artist has, so Celine Dion rakes in lots more free cash, and little or no benefit to independent or self published artists.
              A similar thing happens to the tax on blank CD's etc.

              This is utter socialist bullshit.

              Considering nowadays people can create their own music for under $1000.00 and promote it on the internet for free, this welfare system for commercial artists is quite ridiculous.

              The commercial recording industry is an obsolete and dying business model that should be taken off of the government provided life support, and they know it. It's a good time for them to try to get a new source of income from the government, while said government is in a shambles.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by firefly4f4 ( 1233902 )

            So you're OK with taxing (if I read the article correctly) EVERYTHING that goes through an ISP regardless of the fact that the vast majority of it has nothing to do with what they're trying to protect?

            I'm sorry, as a Canadian, that's overkill.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Curtman ( 556920 )

              So you're OK with taxing (if I read the article correctly) EVERYTHING that goes through an ISP regardless of the fact that the vast majority of it has nothing to do with what they're trying to protect?

              Why not? They already tax our blank CD/DVD media. I've probably burned 5 or 6 audio cd's in the last 5 years, but I pay tax to starving artists every time I buy one regardless of what I put on it. They could tax water while they are at it. We all obviously sing in the shower, and some Canadian artist sho

        • by msobkow ( 48369 )

          SOCAN is one of the driving forces behind the Canadian content regulations that led to such forgettable series as 90% of the CBC's production roster. Thanks to their beggaring demands, quality is sacrificed for quantity, and even the most dreadful sludge imaginable gets funding from the public trough because it's "Canadian".

          Needless to say I'm not a fan of CanCon regulations. There are enough quality Canadian shows that have made sales overseas and in the US markets to demonstrate that quality sells.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by AJWM ( 19027 )

          ACTRA is the Association of Canadian Television and Radio Artists (or used to be, I think they've modified what it stands for since I knew any actors). It's essentially an actors' union.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Misch ( 158807 )

        ACTRA and SOCAN are Canada's recording industry associations. They parallel the US's MPAA and RIAA.

        No, SOCAN is more along the lines of BMI and ASCAP. They represent artists and songwriters, not movie studios and record labels .

        • by hurfy ( 735314 )

          Now explain the acronym ...

          Society Of Composers, Authors and music publishers.
          Ok, I imagine SOCAMP got vetoed ;)
          N for noise makers in place of Music Publishers i guess :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I used to work for my uncle who had video games, pool tables and jukeboxes. One bar bought a jukebox off my uncle and the next week I went back they told me SOCAN had been flipping through the songs to see which were Canadian and then making the bar pay a license fee for them, I haven't worked there since 2002 and this was long before that so at least ten years ago.

        Even the bands that played were made to pay up for any songs written by Canadians or rather considered 'Canadian content' meaning the a

    • by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Monday December 08, 2008 @05:43PM (#26039589)

      According to this site. [] They are apparently some sort of order founded around the worship [] of dolphins [].

      Or, possibly they are just a bunch of special [] interest [] groups similar to the RIAA in the US.

      I'm trending to the Sancta Orca theory myself.

    • TFA or TFAA?
  • Nothing good can come from this. Notice, tax and spend. New tax, and spend on a new program. Don't the "Do Gooders" ever learn?

    Why can't they (the gov) just let us be! DAMN IT!!!

    • Re:Nothing Good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nos. ( 179609 ) <andrew.thekerrs@ca> on Monday December 08, 2008 @05:35PM (#26039441) Homepage

      First, ACTRA and SOCAN are not the government, they are special interest groups. Secondly, given the current political situation in Canada... don't expect this to go anywhere in the near future.

      • by Adriax ( 746043 )

        Butbutbut, taxing the general populace and giving it to people who sit around and "represent" artists, lightening their workload in the process, will create jobs! Honest!

    • O thats alll I nead, I am in canada and the red tape here and fourms and crap are nuts and now they want to add more for really what I can see as no good reason. The tac for example will be passed right on to the consumers and then they have to pay for new content, um the content is usually FREE. Next thing they will say is the content to someone house in canada has to be at least 20% Canadian, fine we have that for radio stations and such which don't work out to bad. But for the internet, ya enforce that.

  • by stonecypher ( 118140 ) <stonecypher@gmail. c o m> on Monday December 08, 2008 @05:31PM (#26039391) Homepage Journal

    I wonder how Canadians would react if the other industries that get pirated off of the internet started getting a cut, too. Start snapping up 2% to movies, 3% to games, some money for tv and radio, et cetera. Then maybe pornography could get a free slice, then the books and magazine articles who are getting wholesale copied, et cetera. Suddenly people might start saying "hey, I've never pirated one of those, I don't even play games" or whatever. It's not like music is significantly more pirated than other things are.

    I honestly don't understand why the music industry gets to tax Canadians as a whole for the behavior of a few. Why do media sources get different treatment than the other industries? Shouldn't canadians be paying a Photoshop tax at this point?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Well, it's like the tax on CD-Rs, isn't it? Clearly, they're just adjusting to the increased bandwidth and HDD space to legalize copying and sharing music and movies.

      Er... right?

      • by Frymaster ( 171343 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @06:02PM (#26039841) Homepage Journal
        and the tax on cd-rs is such a wild success.

        witness my band. we suck. people hate us. no one comes to our shows. so, we release a cd. since we're not big enough to be granted an exemption, we pay the cd-r tax on all the blanks we use (and, yes, we used a legit duplication plant). of course, our cd sells miserably and we get nowhere near the beak-even point.

        which means.... we lose $300 putting out our cd, and the tax we paid on the blanks goes straight into the pockets of a big-name canadian act. perhaps avril levign. that's right: levign makes more money off my artistic creation than i do.

        thank you socan!

        • by The Dancing Panda ( 1321121 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @06:36PM (#26040339)
          Well there's your problem. You're trying to promote yourself. You need to become recluses, only playing shows every so often so that very few people can figure out that you guys actually suck (or even who you are).

          Then, become friends with a series of emo, or even better, kids that call themselves "scene". Ask them if they have heard of your band (without making note of the fact that it's your band). Inevitably, they will not have heard of it. You will then be the coolest person among this crowd for knowing a band that no one has heard of. From there, make a CD of your shitty music, and give it to them.

          At this point, you sell your CD. Never perform a show again, but always make dates around town to perform, and then bail (if you like the club owners, tell them you're not going to show up in advance, and just put a poster on the door). You'll sell at least 1000 CD's before your manufactured unknown band fad bubble pops. Then, your band "breaks up", you form a new band with mostly the same members, and you do it again.

          I've never had the patience to deal with emo kids but if you do this could end up making you millions.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by billcopc ( 196330 )

            I hope you have deep pockets, 'cause <blink>you just won five thousand internets</blink>

        • Well yes, but the very first thing you said is that your band sucks. Do you think the government should give you money for sucking ?

          Maybe you should figure out why nobody likes your music, fix that, and then get in touch with A&R people that just might give you the promotion you need to blip on SOCAN's radar.

          I don't necessarily agree with the blank media levy, but I certainly don't agree with the idea of giving welfare handouts to shitty artists, and they already do too much of that.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by afxgrin ( 208686 )

          This is exactly what I've been arguing since they made this idea public: How does the money get spread? Who does it go to? The labels? The artists? Is it strictly on radio play and the charts? Or does the number of times a song gets downloaded come into play? How the fuck are they going to make this fair at all??! And how do they plan on monitoring this without blatantly spying on everyone using the Internet? And if it comes down to the number of times a song is downloaded, what stops someone from f

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by philspear ( 1142299 )

      I honestly don't understand why the music industry gets to tax Canadians as a whole for the behavior of a few. Why do media sources get different treatment than the other industries? Shouldn't canadians be paying a Photoshop tax at this point?

      More to the point, why should they get to collect a toll off the internet but not me? I didn't make any music that is getting pirated by a few individuals, and neither did these guys.

    • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @06:27PM (#26040203) Homepage Journal

      I wonder how Canadians would react if the other industries that get pirated off of the internet started getting a cut, too.

      Why stop at "industries"? Every person capable of holding a copyright to anything, should get a cut.

    • by gwait ( 179005 )

      Now you've done it!
      It's as if the executives of a thousand industries suddenly looked up with a gleam in their eyes!

      Actually, without electricity, none of this would be possible, so I think they should just go right to the source and put a 100% blank tax on power lines,
      and give it to all Canadians! (umm.. wait..)

  • Honestly I don't see the point. Why use taxpayers money to create an infrastructure that is easily circumvented?
    Think of the children? Please. If some creepy dude wants pictures of children he'll a proxy.
    As far as schools go, it should be on their shoulders to filter what their students should or should not be able to view. This is the concept of gun control all over again - it hurts the honest man, as lawbreakers will easily find a way to circumvent it.
    • If some creepy dude wants pictures of children he'll a proxy.

      You accidentally the whole thing.

  • Earlier today there was a slashdot story about how Obama was critical that "it is 'unacceptable' that the US ranks 15th in broadband adoption."

    I don't think he has to worry about the Canadians.

    This includes a new three-percent tax on ISPs to pay for new media creation,

    This is stupid. People around the world are creating content daily. Did the Bushes move north?

    Canadian content requirements for commercial websites,

    This is no different than their TV, I doubt it will really hurt anything... except for that tax

    • Re:Oh, Canada (Score:4, Informative)

      by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @05:43PM (#26039573)

      The government is not saying this. This is SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) and ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) proposing this.

      It's analogous to the wailing the RIAA and MPAA put up in the US, aside from that it doesn't get as much traction up here.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        It's analogous to the wailing the RIAA and MPAA put up in the US, aside from that it doesn't get as much traction up here.

        More ice, eh?
    • I guess nowhere's safe from rich, egotistical, authoritarian idiots.

      Let's all move there then.

      On a more serious note, living in international waters may be possible. Or maybe some of the northernmost regions of Antarctica? Korea's Demilitarized Zone?

  • I don't like it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oqnet ( 159295 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @05:40PM (#26039525)

    I live in Canada and we have a simular thing with radio. They have to play X amount of hours of Canadian content, which is good because it gives the local artists some play(usually unless they blast Celine Dion *winmper*). But to do this for Candadian websites seems just weird. How is this going to benifit Canadians to have X amount of Canadian content on the sites. I don't see why it needs to be regulated any further than not allow children from seeing explicit material(excess violence and sexuality), which probably doesn't stop most children anyways(didn't when I was 16), but I can see it's usefullness.

    Regulation of the internet in any way takes away apart of what the internet is. Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and rarly do you have to listen to someone bluber an idiotic viewpoint. Regulating the internet goes against what it has come to represent raw informtion. Not always accurat not always sensable but I wouldn't change it for anything.

    If people are afraid of the internet so much that they want to change it, I would like to ask them why? Why do they need to confine Canadian websites to having a certain amount Canadian content when it's a global community. The content shouldn't be limited because of the location the domain is in. Places like and are always going to have the canadian content I want. all have local content for me if I need them. People do a good job of keeping canadian content and other out there for everyone because it's in their best interest.

    This group is silly and I would like to know if there is somewhere I could send a letter telling them as much.

    • Somehow freedom of speech, freedom of expression don't apply to radio according to you?

      • Re:I don't like it (Score:4, Interesting)

        by orclevegam ( 940336 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @06:35PM (#26040319) Journal
        Not that I necessarily agree with him (or don't), but I think his point was something along the lines of Radio being a somewhat localized medium, requiring a certain amount of local content makes it easier for local performers to get exposure. The internet on the other hand, being massively non-localized and more or less free to everyone, it makes no sense and serves no purpose to require "local" websites to carry a certain percentage of local content, as the location of the servers hosting a website makes no difference to the content of that website, nor where it can be accessed from (barring local regulations, censorship, or routing issues).

        The worlds copyright and patent systems are in need of massive reform, as they don't seem to be living up to the ideals they promised (namely providing incentive for the production of new works). Rather in most cases modern copyright and patent seems to function primarily as a crutch to prop up record companies (as opposed to artists), and as a stick that corporations can beat each other with. Does copyright and patent have some good ideas and good uses? Yes, but nowhere near as many as the abuses it seems to be put to lately.

        Unfortunately I don't have a better system to propose, nor even a set of suggestions on how the current one can be fixed, other than perhaps by reducing the span of copyright to something like say 10 years, and putting more stringent requirements on the issuing of patents. What I do know is that the current system doesn't seem to cut it, and hopefully we can come up with something better.
  • by Arthur B. ( 806360 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @05:41PM (#26039541)

    It will be disguised as "net neutrality".

  • by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @05:42PM (#26039559)
    Actra is a performers union and socan is basically an artists union. Socan actually got a law passed that taxes blank media that supposedly gives money to the artists that lose money from IP theft. So don't underestimate these bozos. The key is that the internet allows us to do an end run around the stupid laws that keep forcing crap content onto Canadian TV and radio. What the hell would be Canadian content on the Internet? The whole idea of these stupid can con laws was to put Canadian artists on a "level" playing field with the US. But with the Internet a level playing field would basically be a combination of bandwidth and a lack of stupid laws. So if they create a bunch of stupid laws then Canadian web sites would be disadvantaged not helped. The only winners would be these organizations that collect these fees. I wonder how much of the present money collected from the media tax goes to artists when calculated as a simple percentage of monies collected and not a number generated by some convoluted accounting. If you are Canadian, write your MP and tell them that this will hurt Canadian IT badly.
  • Gawd... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @05:46PM (#26039621)
    As a Canadian, allow me to say these people need to fuck the hell off.


    What? No need for me to be rude...
    • Re:Gawd... (Score:5, Funny)

      by euxneks ( 516538 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @06:00PM (#26039815)
      As a true Canadian, you would have known to say:
      "As a canuck, let me say these hosers need to Piss off eh!"


      Just doing my part to help spread stereotypes.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      As a Canadian, allow me to say these people need to fuck the hell off.

      Babelfish doesn't have an option to translate to American from Canadian. Does it mean the same thing here?

    • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @06:38PM (#26040375)

      Canadian Groups Call For Massive Net Regulation

      . . . and, from the posts from the Canadian folks here:

      Canadians, on the other hand, call for massive re-regulation, of Canadian Groups.

      Re-regulation, with extreme prejudice.

      Michael Moore argued that Canadians are more armed to the teeth than US Americans, but are not nearly as trigger happy.

      I now think that the Canadians have been wisely conserving their ammunition, for times of ideas like Internet Cultural taxes.

  • by RichMan ( 8097 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @05:49PM (#26039659)

    How many copyright porn movies/images get copied over the internet.

    How much of this money would be funneled directly to the porn industry compared to other copying.

    Make that number public it will quickly be pushed under the table.

  • by earthforce_1 ( 454968 ) <> on Monday December 08, 2008 @05:55PM (#26039733) Journal

    With our embattled prime minister basically shutting down Parliament until end of January, at which time he is likely to get turfed in a confidence motion, I don't think this proposal will see the light of day.

    In fact, (crosses fingers) I don't think given how the opposition finally grew some gonads and ganged up to toss him out of his chair, he will dare re-introduce a C-61 clone either.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      Unless of course we have an election and the idiots who don't understand how parliament works and are angry over Harper getting booted turn around and give him a majority. Which really seems like the most likely possibility at this point.

  • Seriously, this is really stupid. If they add 3% to the cost of 'Net content in Canada, it will just go elsewhere.
  • OK, wait a minute... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by theoriginalturtle ( 248717 ) <.moc.godsselthgiew. .ta. .eltrut.> on Monday December 08, 2008 @05:59PM (#26039809) Homepage

    Canadian content requirements for commercial websites? What, so would have to sell at least 80% hoser merchandise? The Globe and Mail website would have to feature at least 75% Canadian news even if nothing happened in the Great White North that day?

  • I thought Rush had split up?
  • Minority Mandates (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DynaSoar ( 714234 )

    Canada has a proud heritage of this. One province forced the entire country to have to be effectively bilingual. Then when that province wanted to secede, the First Nations who owned the land that 2/3 of their hydroelectric power came from, regardless of actual population numbers, refused to go along, and stopped it cold. So I've no doubt this could actually go into practice in the Great White. I also have no doubt that nobody can require an artist to conduct their business from any given country without f

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      One province forced the entire country to have to be effectively bilingual. Then when that province wanted to secede...

      That's just so completely inaccurate and misleading. Even in my home province of Alberta, about as redneck and xenophobic as Canadians get, has several francophone communities. There were a lot of reasons to become officially bilingual. Not everything bad that happens in Canada can be blamed on Quebec. 30%, tops.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SpiderClan ( 1195655 )
        Being redneck and xenophobic has nothing to do with what language you speak. There are plenty of parts of Quebec and the rest of the world where people who don't speak a word of English fit both those descriptions perfectly.
    • Re:Minority Mandates (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lord Satri ( 609291 ) <alexandreleroux&gmail,com> on Monday December 08, 2008 @06:45PM (#26040489) Homepage Journal

      One province forced the entire country to have to be effectively bilingual. Then when that province wanted to secede, the First Nations who owned the land that 2/3 of their hydroelectric power came from, regardless of actual population numbers, refused to go along, and stopped it cold.

      Are you trying to be funny? You've got modded "Interesting", so let me set some records strait. First, the "entire country" is not "effectively bilingual". It is officially bilingual as a whole, yes, but try speaking French in most parts of Canada outside the Province of Quebec... Even in several areas of Montreal, the biggest city of the francophone province (where I live), it can sometimes be hard to be served in French!

      Second, as a French Canadian myself, I'm convinced First Nations did not play a big role at the last referendum. Sure, they were part of a very large equation, but clearly did not "stopped it cold" as you claim. And they don't "own" the 2/3 of electricity-providing land of the province.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by kwandar ( 733439 )

      Who modded this rant as +5? Mod this down ... way down! Outside of the fact that this rant is completely off topic, it is also completely inaccurate:

      - There are at least 4 multilingual provinces, including the two largest. This bozo has obviously not been to Northern Ontario where french is as common as english. No, Quebec did not force other provinces to be blingual.

      - There has NEVER been a vote that permitted succession in Quebec. So again, the First Nations/hydro electric is crap

      - This isn't about fo

  • by MarkvW ( 1037596 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @06:18PM (#26040049)

    I, for one, welcome my Canadian Cultural Overlords!


  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @06:32PM (#26040281) Homepage Journal
    why is it that such greedy corporate shill organizations always come out of north america and try to scuttle even the biggest inventions mankind made, just for their own shitty gain ?
    • by mrbcs ( 737902 ) *

      Dennis Leary said it best: "I'm an asshole!"

      Seems the whole world is full of em now. Never seen so many pissed off people for so many different reasons in my life.

    • Maybe because you're not paying attention to the rest of the world?

      Australia is as bad as any of them. The UK is comparable. Germany and France keep going back and forth. The rest of western Europe has varying track records.

      Fundamentally, it's free-market capitalist societies that suffer from this sort of thing, because in authoritarian countries, it's not tolerated. On the other hand, neither is unrestricted access, generally.

      It's not that one is better than the other, it's just that the shit stinks differ

  • by Eil ( 82413 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @06:44PM (#26040481) Homepage Journal

    Over the past decade or so, I've noticed a trend. I'm not terribly bright, so I don't think I can be the only one who has noticed it but regardless, nobody is saying anything about it. No Slashdotters or bloggers ever raise this point, no journalists write explicitly about it even though it's right there in the news almost every day.

    Let's say you're a huge government entity or industry coalition. You want a law (or series of laws) put into effect that, if passed by congress, would net you huge amounts of cash, power, or both. The problem is that almost everybody who hears about it is going to oppose it because they'll probably see it for what it is. Lobbyists are worth their weight in gold, but lobbyists don't outweigh enormous opposition from the press and public.

    How do you get this extremely profitable but unlikely law passed? The solution turns out to be relatively easy:

    1) Submit the bill for vote.
    2) When the public outcry inevitably happens, reaffirm to the public that the bill must be made into law. Make a couple of unimportant token conciliatory changes and make a big deal about how you're willing to compromise.
    3) Resubmit almost the exact same bill.
    4) Watch it pass.

    I've seen this happen in the U.S. for every almost single major unpopular bill that's been passed recently. The wall street bailout is the number one perfect example. This bill was an undisguised farce from the beginning. As dim as the American public tends to be, even they saw the evil in handing out hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to Wall Street millionaires as a thank-you for screwing the world's economy while those who were *really* hurt (and without homes to boot) received not a single dime out of the deal. They presented the bill, the press and public said, "No effing way!" They presented it again with practically no changes and it passed with flying colors. Tell me, how does that happen?

    I haven't been able to figure it out myself, but I wager it's to do with human psychology. You expose someone to an extreme idea once. After they get all done with being shocked and appalled, you expose them to it again (or to a slightly less shocking one) and they'll readily go along with it. Maybe when the idea is presented the second time, they think, "hey, it's not as bad as that first proposal." Or possibly people are just lazy and give up the fight after expending so much energy in the first opposition. I dunno. Another interesting point is that the more shocking the first presentation, the better the chance it has succeeding the second time around.

    We're seeing it again with the Detroit bailout. The car companies made such an incredibly poor show the first time around, that Congress will probably say, "Well, they rode over in limousines this time at least, we should probably give them a few billion dollars to keep making shitty cars."

    There's definitely a psychological effect and it's one that we, the public, would do well to wise up to soon because this is one tactic that's nearly 100% effective and has no effective counter-strategy because no one seems to be paying attention.

  • Terrible news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eravnrekaree ( 467752 ) on Monday December 08, 2008 @07:26PM (#26041025)

    There should be no regulation of what content flows over the internet. particularly these are attempts by an ever paranoid government to shut down dissent and monitor its opponents. Monitoring and censorship such as this is a sure sign of an end to a democratic, free society and one where people live in shackles, are arrested for any reason, have no privacy and are afraid to say anything, living in constant fear of the government. Regulation, by ISPs or government is unacceptable, this includes any blocking or monitoring of content. Net Nuetrality is designed to basically prevent regulation or censorship of the internet by prohibiting ISPs from blocking access to certain web pages or impeding or altering content. We need to assert our free speech rights and not allow these to be taken away by big corporations or government.

  • Artistes and Politicians. Two elite groups of narcissistic parasites, who thrive on sycophantic praise and have no morals to speak of--just an insatiable desire for money. We have the same problem in the U.S. Good Luck!
  • Huh? We are supposed to subsidize an industry we arent a customer of?

UNIX is many things to many people, but it's never been everything to anybody.