Saturday, April 2, 2011
It's a fun movie that I'm certain you'll enjoy - please be sure to watch it.
So, for this week's post, discuss how this unit has extended your understanding of copyright issues, and particularly if these new readings and the movie have changed your thinking at all since our earlier study of copyright. Do you see evidence of the music industry being hurt by piracy? Do you see benefits to artists as the result of piracy? Where do you stand on the RIAA's efforts to curb illegal downloading?
Since college students are often the group doing the most music downloading (as many of you noted in your earlier posts!) they are also often the most likely to be hit with lawsuits or fines, so this topic particularly affects you!
Thursday, March 31, 2011
In the Henry Blodget article we read this week, he puts forth the argument that the net neutrality crowd is just a bunch of self-serving zealots looking out for their own interest. My answer to that, which is the one he used in defending the companies who want to dismantle net neutrality, is, “So what?” Why is it the big corporations can try to advance an agenda consistent with their self-interest, but as consumers we can’t?
The moral foundation for self-interest in a free market goes all the way back to Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations in 1776. He predicted that a self-interested free market led to specialization, which in turn led to greater choices for consumers, which in turn led to lower prices and more growth (really, really short version). I feel fortunate to have been able to watch this phenomenon in action over the last 20 years in the form of the explosive growth of the Internet. Here we had a market economy void of a lot of regulations, where people could advance their own self-interested agenda, specialize in a particular task, and by doing so, benefit all. Just think of all the operating systems, coding languages, and other advances in technology that have propelled us along during the last 20 years. The technological wonder that is the Internet is due to self-interest and limited government regulation.
Just as Adam Smith predicted the growth of a free market due to self-interest, he also predicted that the next logical step would be self-interested attempts by large companies to use their money and political influence to change the rules of the free market to benefit them. We see the beginning of this happening now as companies are lobbying the government to stay out of the way, don’t impede the free market, and let the chips fall where they may. This sounds noble, but when big corporations get the unrestricted power to dictate terms in a free market, it’s the consumer who suffers.
To combat the rising tide of corporate control in the Internet market, we must use our self-interest as consumers to balance out their power. Just as they may have the freedom to change prices or terms, we still have freedom of choice. A choice to do business with only those companies that embrace net neutrality. Hopefully, it won’t come to all that, and that the big companies will see the folly of their plans, but unfortunately there is a fine line between corporate self interest and greed, and that line seems kind of blurred together now.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
"Imagine if the Post Office (or FedEx, or UPS, or DHL, or any trucking or transport company) were legally prohibited from charging more for delivering some stuff sooner than other stuff."
What exactly is the cause to block apps? What "unique technical issues" do wireless companies have that wireline companies don't have? It seems it would solve all of our problems if we left things up to the users of the internet. Keep content free to live up to the expression of democracy. People will still be willing to pay to use the internet, but paying more to get specific sites will not do.
The web is meant to be open and free! How can companies limit access to something that is put out there for the public to browse for FREE!? how do you limit the WORLD WIDE WEB? In that sense I definitely do not agree that companies have the right to charge for access to certain sites. As far as certain speeds go though, I think that can be understood. I like the example the writer gave in the SFGATE-BUSINESS INSIDER article, about the post office: You pay more for overnight or 2day shipping. If you want the higher speed broadband then you simply pay slightly more. That’s business. That is the Internet providers personal service, not them blocking out someone else’s website/business.
I am not exactly sure how net neutrality should be legally applied to the web. I think the Internet should remain neutral all around–the end. Even after reading all of our articles, I don’t understand why the government would want it either or why companies would try to do this. I just don’t understand WHY. If website content is free then why limit us to that free website by charging us a fee?
I think it is going to be impossible to do this anyway. Seriously, every single day, every single hour, people are coming up with ways to get around websites and emails and viruses and hacking and the list goes on and on…Even if net neutrality was to be triumphed upon, there would be a way around it. The Internet is an open source, the millions of users would just thrash it one way or another. Do we really need to deal with more legal issues with something like the Internet, when we’ve got bigger issues to kill? I mean, they’ve already got us being tracked and privacy issues are being challenged, so much openness with so much blockage doesn’t work. It’s one or the other. You track us or block access. I don’t know, just a thought, the worldwide web cannot be limited. It is infinite.
The Internet has produced great things, things which would be impossible without having full access to its power. Access defines the internet in my mind, it is intrinsic to the web. Without it your web browser would no longer be a door to infinite possibility but rather a locked gate, with only one key: money.
While visiting Thailand, I remember connecting to the web and trying to check something on YouTube, but the government had blocked the site entirely. Aside from being an annoyance, it made me think about how fragile our links are to the wonderful world of web. There are only few channels to go through to access it. Government control is bad indeed, but control by businesses who dictate what they do by how many coins they can snatch up is just short of fascism.
Just because there is potential for profit in something, doesn't mean that something should be exploited for the sake of profits. This may seem naive, particularly to those mired in corporate greed, but naivety is a staple of the internet. The internet may not seem innocent in terms of content, but it is innocent in its nature. It is a passive entity to be use any way one chooses. So, a little naivety is warranted.
ISP pipelines are, at the moment, passive too. They freely allow unaltered information to flow to the their users. The ISPs, like any other corporation would, has seen an obvious money making tool here. The ability to squeeze the pipes, to degrade QoS to force you to find alternative sites, ones they sponsor, or to restrict access all together.
"Closing" the internet will, for lack of a better phrase, piss everyone but the ISPs off. For it to work, any noteworthy websites will have to pay a fee to the ISP for their site to freely flow through their pipes and reach an audience. The audience it reaches, the users, will also have to pay a fee to the ISP to have access to that website, and the websites will now have a better reason to also charge the users because of the money lost from them having to pay the ISP in the first place. Everything gets more expensive for everyone, but only the ISPs really gain.
As it is now, the internet is a great tool for education. Whether you're reading essays on metaphysics or watching a YouTube video on how to open a locked car with a tennis ball, there are benefits to be had. A "closed" internet would be like having library card and only having access to half a dozen classics, while having to pay premiums to get what you actually need.
Needless to say, much innovation on the net comes from user generated content. A "closed" internet would threaten this. ISPs would, of course, not only have a tight grip on what's coming to you, but also what is coming from you. If these practices of a "closed" internet take off, I can see everything needing to be approved by the ISP. In essence would be another layer of needless censorship. Not only that, the audience of user content will be greatly reduced because only those with the same ISP would be able to view it, they may also have to pay for whatever website the content exists on.
The internet from its conception has always been a tool for information, this takes precedent over all else.
"Boy, I can't wait for the first ISP to abandon net neutrality! I'm going to sign up with them ASAP!" Not exactly the responses you get from most people when they learn about net neutrality and the danger of losing one of our freedoms. Net neutrality is the principle that internet access should not be restricted in one form or another via ISPs or the government. According to "What is Net Neutrality?" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L11kLmWha6o), "Companies want to set up a restrictive fast lane on the internet, but only for their partners and services. Only sites that pay them a huge fee would be allowed to use it." This would be a direct infringement on the current state of net neutrality, and is cause for some concern.
After reading and watching this week's material on the Net Neutrality debate, I would have to say that I would agree that keeping the Internet free from regulation from wirless and wireline providers. By allowing provides to restrict and/or charge for specific internet applications we rob the Internet of what I believe to be its intent-to facilitate the flow of information and to inspire the technological creativity of the public for the betterment of human society. The Internet has created new avenues of communication and technological innovation that has become invaluable to our nation and the world, both socially and economically, that would never otherwise have been possible. Allowing users to access the full range of Net applications only advances the growth of the Internet and all of its capabilities without favoring specific sites or applications. John Borthwick notes in, Neutrality or Bust, that "the lack of basic rules of the road for what network providers and others can and can't do is starting to hamper innovation and growth." If innovators become stifled, valuable creations may remain in the realm of the unknown. Would there be a Google today if such restrictions by providers were implemented in the past?
In his article FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules, Brian Stelter quotes President Obama as saying that with the passage of new rules protecting the Neutrality of the Net (December 2010) "The Democratic spirit of the Internet remains intact." If Internet providers are allowed to regulate which programs or applications their customers can use, they effectively take away our democratic right to the free domain of the Internet. Apparently the FCC and the Federal Government both agreed. Matthew Lasar, in his article It's Here: FCC adopts Net Neutrality (see 'net neutrality order' link in his article AT&T/TMobile)notes that the new Neutrality laws are "based, in part, on the Telecommunications Act [of 1996] which requires the FCC to encourage the deployment of advanced telecommunications to all Americans." Clearly, even in the early stages of the global phenomenon know as the Internet, the powers that be deemed it necessary to protect the democratic rights of people to be able to access all "advanced telecommunications" and, as Borthwick describes, "the freedom to create...and evolve ideas" free from restriction of service providers. Let us hope that these laws can remain in place.
The internet needs to remain open at all costs. Everyone has their own preferences for what search engine they use, which video service they watch Rebecca Black on, and even VoIP, as mentioned in the net neutrality Youtube video. Lets say I prefer to use Youtube, which is true, over other video services and I have an AT&T U-Verse bundle. One day, AT&T and Google have a dispute which turns ugly, not unlike verbal sparring matches between executives at Apple and Google. AT&T decides to create their own video service, and with no net neutrality laws, they begin throttling down download speeds for Youtube videos. It gets to the point where it literally takes a half hour to load up a 3 minute video. Finally, you give in to all of the TV advertisements and postcards from AT&T telling you about their service, and watch David After Dentist 20 times.
This scenario, while theoretical, is the exact type of scenario that could come into play unless the government puts net neutrality laws in place. Steps have already been taken and as the NY Times put it, the FCC passed "net semi-neutrality" laws which block "unreasonable discrimination of websites or applications by fixed-line broadband providers." In that same article, it is mentioned that the FCC law does not ban faster transmissions on sites paid for by companies, which is known as "paid prioritization." While this law specifically applies to wired internet, passing this law and hopefully more that encompass a broader spectrum of net neutrality is a step in the right direction, and hopefully one that leads to the neutrality of wireless internet as well.
But it's worth calling out the tech industry's passion for the latest cause, "net neutrality," for what it is: self-interest. This quote I picked from Are Bits are NOT Created Equal. I agree it is self interest. I do not get why we are going to all this grandstanding on Congress about net neutrally.
When really why we cant keep things the way it is?
The internet will continue to get bigger and sites are charging for content. So if companies are making money why want more for the same information?
If it this happens it seems to me that it starts a windfall of controlling behavior. I do not want to say it is 1984 or anything but I liked one of the comments I saw on a article. It says this.
1. Start an ISP and offer services based on your own principles of network management.
2. Buy shares in an existing ISP and implement your own principles of network management.
What you don't have the right to do is to tell a company which you don't own, what kind of product you must offer. Imagine what kind of can of worms that would open up. HP could ask the government to force Apple to sell HP computers in Apple stores, based on "neutrality" and Peet's could force Starbucks to sell Peet's coffee in Starbucks based on "neutrality" and so forth. Heck, government could choose our spouses, because if we made the spousal choice ourselves, we would be biased, as opposed to a government bureau which would be "neutral" about the matter.
It is a scary thought.
Per the Wikipedia, Net Neutrality; is a principle proposed for users' access to networks participating in the Internet. The principle advocates no restrictions by Internet service providers and governments on content, sites, platforms, the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and the modes of communication. Many believe net neutrality to be primarily important as a preservation of current freedoms. This freedom has already been taken away to a certain degree from each of us.
As we already pay a fee to use the internet at our home, and depending on how much bandwidth and what service provider each user wants is already a different price. As noted in the article sfgate.com "Just like the Post Office (or FedEx, or UPS, or UPS, or any trucking or transport company) were legally prohibited from charging more for delivering some stuff sooner than other stuff." It is no different; there are some sites already that charge you to get full access. The question is Do we want to have to pay for every site we go to or every YouTube videos we watch? How often we go to that site?
I believe that net neutrality is important to have. If we think about it like businesses along a road, then the road is the Internet and the businesses the content. The road itself doesn't discriminate against any business and ISPs should not discriminate against content. Sure, parking spaces and land design might give one business an advantage over the other, but that advantage is being paid for with money. This relates to the Internet access and bandwidth for websites and such that a business might pay for.
If we lose net neutrality (and wireless access is getting closer to it) then we lose a huge part of what the Internet is: freedom. With our Internet access so slow and fractured compared with the rest of the world we as a country can't afford to slow down any further. Would small websites be able to function at all if they didn't pay so their patrons could have decent access? Would the price be prohibitively large? Who decides what a good price is? I'm sure most ISPs would balance out their prices with the competition and denying access to content would certainly make them less popular, but they're still businesses: it's all about the money.
I believe the net should stay neutral, however I fear it will not. I can see it being like the story of TV. At first you didn't have to pay anything to get every channel in the area. Then cable came out and charged you to see more channels. Eventually you would have to pay for your local channels, national channels, premium channels, and music channels. With each addition it would cost you more. I can see this happening with the net, right now everything you can access is free. In the future you may have to pay for additional features, like Youtube, VoIP, Netflix, or even Facebook.
The basis behind net neutrality is should the protocols by which you receive information be changed per website. Like if Bright House gets paid by Microsoft to have Bing as the preferred search engine, BH might in return make Google slow enough to the point you'll go to bing or another search engine.
Right now the Net is working well without any interferences. If it comes to a point where you'll have to pay different rates for different activity most likely we'll just say ok and pay. We do now when it comes to speeds of the internet. When I first got HSI it was 7Mpbs, after a couple of years the internet at home seemed slower than at school or for my father, at work. So we ended up paying $10 more a month to get speeds up to 20Mpbs and now they have 40Mpbs for another $10. lol
Net neutrality is very important to the public. Allowing ISP's to control your bandwidth will limit your ability to use the internet too much. By slowing down the use of big sites that everyone spends a majority of there time is unfair. People use the internet to be open and allow them access everything that they want fairly. Limiting the use of higher traffic sites is ridiculous and should not be allowed. Doing this will cause a outrage among people who have no clue about this happening. If the public was made to know about what could possibly happen then i think that congress would care more about passing the law and keeping the population happy.
Not only is the internet a major highway of information shared between millions of people worldwide, but it has been engraved and etched into cultures and connects people to sites in ways unimaginable.
For example, imagine an avid YouTube user being forced to pay just for viewing videos when that stipulation didn't previously exist. It would change their entire online experience. Therefore, axing net neutrality doesn't only seem unethical, but wrong as well.
According to Henry Blodget, "Tech folks are up in arms at the thought that new laws might allow Internet Service Providers to charge more to deliver some bits than others--including offering "premium" tiers in which some folks can pay to have their bits delivered faster than other bits."
Because I use the internet on a daily basis, I couldn't help to think why someone would want to make money charging people to roam certain websites at certain speeds.
Then I thought... greedy business owners, corporate CEOS, and conglomerates alike.
For one, it's already a hassle for some people to acquire and have internet access in the first place, and now the idea of charging for site access (when this already occurs) just adds another level of absurdity to the mix. Since many of these owners and CEOs are already banking a ton for the success of their businesses, it doesn't seem right just because they simply want to add more dollars to their accounts.
They need to take a chill pill and understand that stipulating net neutrality would also increase the burdens on people who already struggle paying for internet, especially when they may need the internet (i.e. to work, etc). It would be a burden to those who use the internet for daily leisure since their lives would be altered drastically too.
In today's world, free use of internet is a way of life for many people. Why change it? It's like making someone pay for brushing their hair, cleaning their shoes, or even going to sleep.
Network Neutrality is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet for a reason. It only makes sense that Internet service providers (ISPs) may not discriminate between different kinds of content and applications online. Guaranteeing a level playing field for all Web sites and Internet technologies, net neutrality should be sustained for an encyclopedia of reasons. The internet was designed as an open medium. Let's leave it that way.
Watching online video, listening to podcasts, searching, e-mailing and instant messaging is a fundamental enjoyment of the web. Making our online experience better is something internet users already pay big bucks to do (i.e. upgrading internet plans, buying modems, routers, etc).
It's clear that we, the people, can handle it. Network owners should leave it be.
As Blodget said, "It's worth calling out the tech industry's passion for the latest cause, "net neutrality," for what it is: self-interest."
Self-interest never gets anyone anywhere. All bits are NOT created equal!
The openness of the internet has allowed for business, creative, and democratic growth. Openness is what has driven the internet to being such a useful tool for everybody, not just the financially able. Net neutrality is central to keeping the openness that has allowed the worldwide connectivity that characterizes the info age. This openness to information has allowed for business, creativity, and democracy to flourish. By eliminating net neutrality the info world would de-evolve, and become just another service like cable TV. It will also affect business growth sparked by the web.
The massive content and openness of the internet changed the way we used to receive information, communication, and entertainment. The internet wasn't just another service like cable TV or the newspaper. It was a revolution of information, access, and outreach. This revolution allowed for business access online. In the status quo you are able to pay your bills online, order from far-away companies, and reach overseas customers. Facebook and ebay are great examples of how the internet has advanced business. Needless to say, net neutrality allowed for business growth. Further, sharing information enabled ideas and information to expand creativity. For example, forums, videos, and info websites have allowed further creations to emerge. Youtube has helped spread ideas about music, political systems, and even ecological innovations. Creators are able to use the openness of the internet to share ideas and also to acquire them. This creativity also helps business growth. Lastly, the internet has allowed freedom of speech to become a worldwide phenomenon, even in censoring countries. Although having to go underground, citizens of oppressive nations are able to share their experiences and ideas and rally against their governments. Even in the U.S., the internet has allowed groups to find each other and unite for common causes affecting them. Net neutrality has allowed democratic values to spread around the world, even if at a dangerous pace.
If net neutrality is eliminated business, creativity, and democracy will suffer at the expense of a few companies. The restriction of having to pay to have access to other business would deter people from becoming potential customers or entrepreneurs of online business. This damages business growth. Creative ideas would not be able to be shared to further creative pursuits. Thus, inventions in all realms would potentially be undermined. Creators without the financial means to be paying for each service would lose opportunities that have the potential of being capitalized. Due to restrictions of access countries with repressive governments and without democratic values may take longer if at all to open to the capitalist market. Protesters or people interested in bringing about change in these countries would have a harder time gathering support from the global community. Companies lobbying to eliminate net neutrality will enjoy greater profits, yes. However, at their expense lays the opportunity for unprecedented capital growth in other areas such as small businesses, creative ideas and inventions, and the spread of democratic values, which, in and of itself, could allow for even more business expansion. As a result, eliminating net neutrality is more damaging to a capitalist market than a few monopolies not enjoying greater profits.
The U.S. telco's have had it good, collecting massive monthly payments from millions of Americans, while finding ways to convince their customers that they are getting lightning fast speeds. The truth is that, "The US is now 22nd in terms of downstream broadband speed, behind Latvia and the Czech Republic," according to John Borthwick in the article entitled, "Neutrality Or Bust."
The article from the SFGate really got me thinking- why shouldn't an ISP be able to charge different prices just like the postal services do? Oh yeah, because everything that is running through their super expensive(yet still dated when compared with the rest of the planet) fiber optic lines is all the exact same thing, little pulses of energy. Unlike physical mail which needs to be treated carefully, packages even more so, and depending on the contents only delivered in certain climates or conditions, data has no such restraints. 1s and 0s all cost the exact same to transmit, whether they be for facebook, pirating media, or personal blogging.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
I am a firm believer in freedom. Net neutrality protects that freedom. It allows me to open up my web browser, type in any URL and visit any website my heart desires. I'm not limited, and I'm not charged extra by my internet provider.
I think it should always be that way. It is incredibly important for free speech that the internet remain open. If we can't access the sites we want with any service provider, then it isn't free, which violates the FREE in FREE SPEECH. If, for example, Comcast doesn't allow access to Google just because they have a contract with Yahoo, then we would have limited access to the materials that show up when searched. Yes, Yahoo does provide searches, but they won't bring up the same results as Google every time. Having those differences allows for a much more full and detailed search.
“There is a reason that so many giant phone and cable companies are happy, and we are not. These rules are riddled with loopholes,” Andrew Jay Schwartzman, the policy director for the nonprofit Media Access Project, said in one representative statement. “They foreshadow years of uncertainty and regulatory confusion, which those carriers will use to their advantage.” from F.C.C. Approves Net Rules and Braces for FightNew rules have recently been put into place, protecting net neutrality. But the above quote tells us why those rules were so easily accepted by the major providers: loopholes. The rules are also weak when it comes to governing wireless providers, such as Skype, which can still block access to certain apps.
Because of these loopholes, I've tried to come up with a way to justify a major internet provider wanting to choke the internet. I'm not a business major, but the only thing I can come up with is that providing internet is a business. You have to buy and sell goods/services, and the goal is to make the most money and have the most customers. It would make sense for the biggest ISP and search engine to team up, blocking out use of other search engines. For example, ATT teams up with Google, ATT blocks Yahoo and all other related search engines, which will frustrate the user because they are so slow, causing them to search out the fastest engine. While this argument doesn't bode well for the customers (higher prices and limited access is in our future), it does seem to make sense from a business standpoint, and that is the only way it makes sense to me. Otherwise, give me freedom!!!