Tales of the Sausage Factory

Look Who's Talking 700 MHz: Edwards, Bloggers, and Moveon, Oh my!

[Channeling Our Great Master, Stephen Colbert]
In an obvious attempt to curry favor and win the valuable “Tales of the Sausage Factory” endorsement, John Edwards released a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin the day after I announced I was scoping out his campaign. The Edwards letter endorsed three key policy positions of the Public Interest Spectrum Coalition: open access, network neutrality, and — my all time favorite and beloved of intensly geeky issues no one else gets — anonymous bidding.

That’s right! The Edwards campaign is actually cluefull enough and willing enough to get “into the weeds” to the point of endorsing anonymous bidding. Of course, the Edwards letter does not actually mention “ToTSF” or even PISC by name, but I’m sure that was just an oversight from the amazing speed with which they rushed to endorse the PISC positions after hearing that I was “checking them out.”

So, for all you folks from the Edwards campaign no doubt hanging on these words, all I can say is — well done! A tremendous Tip of the Hat to all of you. Still, in fairness to the other candidates (both Republicans and Democrats), I will need to wait to see whether they chose to endorse the PISC proposals before giving an official ToTSF endorsement.

[End Colbert]

Of course, Edwards isn’t the only one to start talking about the 700 MHz auction and what it means to our broadband future. For who else is talking about PISC proposals and the impact it appears to be having on Washington, see below . . . .

Read More »

Posted in Spectrum, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Here's blooking at you, Harold!

According to this post in the Sydney Morning Herald, books derived from blogs–inevitably given the doubly-condensed appelation “blooks”– are the hippest thing in publishingdome:

blooks – books based on blogs or websites – are beginning to reap returns for publishers. From the moment the adventures of Belle de Jour, the diary of a London call girl, jumped off the computer screen and onto the page, publishers saw the potential in dishing up our favourite on-screen pleasures in book format.

I know that our own Harold “Tales of the Sausage Factory” Feld has been toying with the idea of slapping printouts of his Wetmachine posts between two covers & selling the resultant, umm, blook, at a decent markup. Perhaps this article will inspire him to actually do it. But here’s my little bit of publishing advice, Harold: since “sex sells’, even in the blook world,

whether it’s the slightly grubby thrill of Girl With a One Track Mind (the ”diary of a sex fiend“) or a dip into Frank Warren’s PostSecret (a collection of anonymous postcards on which people reveal a secret), readers seem happy to buy them

be sure to give your blook a title that hints at something having to do with sex and secrets. Might I suggest, ”My Big Sausage, Just For You, Baby!”?

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Also tagged | 3 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Shout Out for New Econ Blog

For those who subscribe to Tales of the Sausage Factory but not Wetmachine Main, I thought I would let you all know that my friend and ace economist Dr. Gregory Rose has started a new blog here at wetmachine called Econoklastic. You can read his first post here. Regular readers will recognize Greg’s name as the author of several spectrum studies that I quote incessantly, such as the ones describing how SpectrumCo and its wireless allies blocked competitors from getting licenses in last year’s AWS auction.

As you can tell from his first post, Greg is quite contrarian and willing to grind more than a few sacred cows into hamburger. It’s why we like to keep him around.

Stay tuned . . . .

Posted in General, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , | Comments closed

Tales of the Sausage Factory

RIAA v. XM — Hard Cases and Clueless Judges Make for a Dangerous Mix

[Update: I’m aware the Audio Home Recording Act does not apply to video recordings. See my more detailed update here]

It’s an old cliche in Lawland that “hard cases make bad law.” To which I will now add: “and when you throw in clueless judges, the mix becomes positively toxic.”

Case in point, the recent decision by Judge Deborah Batts to deny XM Radio’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit by the RIAA for copyright violation. This case turns on the rather difficult interplay between the sections of the Copyright Act that provide a license for satellite radio, the immunity granted to equipment manufacturers under the 1992 Audio Home Recording Act, and the nature of the service offered by XM. It doesn’t help that, at the “motion to dismiss” phase, we gave the complainant (here the RIAA) the benefit of every doubt. To win, XM Radio would need to persuade Judge Batts that there is no set of provable facts under which the RIAA has a case.

Contrary to some of my colleagues (such as the eloquent and brilliant Art Brodsky in this post on the Public Knowledge website), I don’t think this was a slam dunk for XM. I actually think there is a complicated legal question here that needs to go forward for further analysis. That’s why I’m hiding over here on Sausage Factory for this one (if you check the Technorati rating for PK v. that for TotSF — you’ll understand what I mean by “hiding”).

Unfortunately, the language of Judge Batts opinion has — IMO — really, really, really bollixed things up badly. It calls to mind the awful results driven analysis in Jews for Jesus v. Brodsky when judges didn’t know squat about the internet and domain names, but sure knew they didn’t like these evil “cybersquatters” and boy were they gonna show ’em a lesson! The devil with the actual law or understanding the technology — we got us a heapin’ gavel of JUSTICE to whack you’re ass!

Batts opinion reads rather the same way J4J did. She doesn’t understand the technology and doesn’t feel any need to do so. All that matters is that someone seems to be making money that she thinks should go to the music mafia instead, and by God is she gonna get ’em! So she fixes on the wrong details and creates potential havoc for the likes of Tivo or anyone else making a PVR integrated into a receiver that picks up a subscription video or audio service.

The real issue in the RIAA v. XM case, and where Batts goes horribly, tragically, gut-churningly wrong, below….

Read More »

Posted in Fighting the IP Mafia, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

I succumb to Technorati peer pressure

This post is to claim Tales of the Sausage Factory on technorati. Please ignore. Technorati Profile

Posted in Tales of the Sausage Factory | Tagged | Comments closed

Tales of the Sausage Factory

ABC Wins First Ever ToTSF “Sleaze Whiz” Award

As you might have heard, ABC will join the “Cynically Exploit 9-11 Crowd” and provide us with a “dramatization” of events that culminated in the attacks called The Road to 9-11. That wouldn’t win any awards, as just about everyone is doing something to cash in on the fifth anniversary of 9/11. What wins ABC special recognition, as reported in the San Jose Mercury is claiming to base the “dramtization” on the 9/11 Commission Report, then including a whole bunch of stuff not in the Report and fiercly denied by the historic participants. It gets sleazier when it turns out that (a) all the new “drama” stuff tilts toward making the Clintons and Dems generally look like wussy screw-ups interfering with out noble covert ops forces who could have “taken out” Osama before 9-11 happened; and (b) carefully pre-screening it to conservative pundits and bloggers to generate positive buzz, mobilize an army of defenders, and guarantee a huge audience share.

By happy coincidence for the Republicans and their true believer audience (who, thanks to Disney’s clever marketing strategy, will now watch this TV show in unprecedented droves), a depiction of the Clinton Administration and Democrats generally as standing in the way of our our heroic covert forces (portraying the Dems as such craven traitors to America they even refused to give the go ahead to our noble covert ops heroes to “take out” Osama Bin Laden over such silly qualms as the morality of assisination and operating cladestine ops on foreign soil — WUSSSES!!!!) is coming out when? Why, it’s coming out right before the mid-term elections! What a lucky break!

See, now this is the kind of multi-win sophisticated sleaze that rises above mere cynical exploitation or standard corporate suck-up to the powers in charge. It cries out for recognition! So please join me below as we give Disney/ABC the first ever Tales of the Sausage Factory “Sleaze Whiz” Award.

Read More »

Posted in Tales of the Sausage Factory | Tagged | 4 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

This Time, We Spank the Telcos

If anything can warm my sad, cynical heart here in the Sausage Factory, it’s seeing people rise up and reclaiming their power and responsibilities as citizens.
So when I saw the House Judiciary Committee voted 20-13-1 (one voting “present”) to send the the Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act to the floor of the House for a vote, a stunning turn around from last month’s Commerce Committee approval of COPE, I get quite giddy about the prospects for legislation that reflects more than just refereeing industry food fights.

Needless to say, the opponents of network neutrality find themselves stammering in amazement and groping for alternative explanations. Surely it must be a turf fight, or an effort to extort more campaign contributions from telcos and cable cos! Surely it must be Google money financing things! Could Moveon.org really make common cause with the Christian Coalition, the Catholic Church and, well, Common Cause? Could the dry bones of democracy again be given flesh? Could the couch potato masses remember their strength and rise again as citizens reborn? Hallelujah!

Well, maybe not quite so dramaticly Biblical (must be working too much with all those religious groups), and we’re not out of the woods yet by a long-shot. But the last few weeks have definitely thrown up roadblocks in the telco victory march through Congress. My analysis, including a Colbert-esque “Tip of the Hat” to Free Press’ Ben Scott for his amazing Senate Commerce Committe testimony and a “Wag of the Finger” to Libertarian Reporter Declan McCullagh for this rather shameful bit of editorializing in the guise of reporting below.

Read More »

Posted in Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , | 3 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Debunking some Telco Disinformation.

Given the success of recent pro-net neutrality videos, it comes as no surprise that the telcos have launched their own. You can watch their cartoon on the Hands Off the Internet website (direct link here).

As one might expect from an org primarily funded by cable and telco groups, it contains a few exagerations, misstatements, obfuscations, and the occassional outright lie. My friends at Mediacitizen have written this rebuttal. Savetheinternet.org has also posted a page on the telco anti-NN cartoon, with a link to this point by point response.

But, for those readers seeking more indepth analysis of just how much nonesense the “dontreghulate.org” cartoon dishes out — combined with the trademark snarkiness you’ve come to expect here at “Tales of the Sausage Factory” — please read below. Takes me back to my old days watching Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Read More »

Posted in Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Welcome Boingers and Sundry Wetmachine Virgins!

Step right this way!

If you’re looking for what Cory Doctorow calls my “gonzo hacker novels”, you are almost there. Click on the images on the top left of this page.

The creator of the illustrations for The Pains, Matthew Frederick Davis Hemming, is selling prints of the illustrations. Check out his site too!

Speaking of Cory, check out the podcasts of his interview with me:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three

If you care about holding onto democracy and yer constitutional rights in today’s modern digital-futuristic world of today, check out Harold Feld’s Tales of the Sausage Factory. He’s written a lot of good stuff lately — on net neutrality, on the new FCC chairman, on collusion in FCC auctions, on municipal wireless & democracy. . . When Harold writes something it’s usually well written, informative, funny, and very important.

If you’re a software geek, check out Howard Stearns’ Inventing the Future. Howard is one of the lead developers on the Croquet project.

Speaking of cool web n+1 software, isn’t about time that you checked out OpenLaszlo?

In conclusion, let me beg for money. Please buy one of my books (or make a paypal donation as a token of value received for the free downloads).

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

Tales of the Sausage Factory

Anonymous bidding and not so anonymous shakedowns at the FCC

Say what you like about Martin in other areas, but he is (so far) sticking to his guns on whether to require anonymous bidding for the upcomming AWS spectrum auction. MAP has actively supported this proposal, because it will make the auctions work better and facilitate entry by minority owned businesses and new, disruptive competitors (I’m stuck with them by statute, so I may as well try to get them to work right).

In perhaps the most telling evidence that anonymous/blind/sealed bidding (in which the identity of the bidder is not disclosed during the action) is a good idea, every incumbent (except VZ Wireless, which has been “targeted” in certain auctions) is lobbying fiercly against it. My favorite little tidbits of when the Sausage Factory turns nasty below.

Read More »

Posted in Tales of the Sausage Factory | Also tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed
  • Connect With Us

    Follow Wetmachine on Twitter!

Username
Password

If you do not have an account: Register