Podcasting Receives Stay of Execution.
I would like to give mad props to "Mad Elf" and his Off Topic Talk podcast. Mad Elf is new to the podcasting scene, but he's really diving into the data stream with both feet. I've been entertained, and gotten more than one good reading recommendation from his cast. He has also helped spread our own particular meme. Kudos Mad Elf.
People like him embody the typical podcaster. No big production budgets, crews or marketing campaigns. Just individuals with computers, microphones and good ideas. These are the people that may very well be ground under the heel of bad copyright law if WIPO has it's way. The UN's World Intellectual Property Organization is in the process of trying to pass a large bill that includes ridiculous stipulations even by current copyright standards. In regards to webcasting, what this law would do is give the host of any webcasting content a FIFTY YEAR copyright on that webcast. Meaning that if you hosted your podcast through Blogger or Yahoo, they would get a defacto half century copyright on your material. Even if your cast was specifically Creative Commons licensed or public domain. The law also has strict Digital Rights Management requirements that would prevent unapproved aggregating, linking or recopying the webcasts without the permission of the host. This sort of terrible law making does nothing for the rights of content creators. It is pure business model protection for companies like Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL and Apple. Coincidently, these same companies are the ones who proposed this legislation, and they are supplying the big money lobbyists to make sure it gets passed.
No longer content with breaking our televisions, radios, and computers, these companies now seek to break the back of the Internet itself. That is something that all of us, be we podcasters, bloggers or surfers, should take personally. And yet some how this is happening under our radar. When is the last time you heard some one bring up WIPO in conversation, or saw something about it on the news? Fortunately, we aren't alone in this. A horde of nations disagree with the webcasting provisions proposed by WIPO. Countries without entrenched multi-billion dollar media conglomerates have railed against this death sentence on creativity. Along with the staunch support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, they have succeeded in getting the provision moved off onto it's own separate bill. Which moves it from the fast track to a more reasonable slouch toward bedlam. So what can we do now that the Internet's protectors have bought us a little more time?
Get involved, join the EFF. If enough dissenting voices are heard together, it's no longer dissent. Even if you cant spare them some much needed financial contributions, at least put your name on their roster and show your support. Something else you can do is get the word out about this. Let this meme out into the wild and encourage it to thrive. And most importantly continue podcasting, linking, aggregating, copying and creating content. Show them that we have no need of big media to shepherd our information and entertainment. We are all interconnected now, and the time of One-To-many is drawing to a close, but only if we make it happen. Together we have the power to replace the old guard of the Internet. And that's exactly what they're afraid of. [Inspired by BoingBoing. More information on WIPO's latest evil here.]
"This is our world now... The world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals." - Hacker Manifesto