by Mike Masnick
Thu, Feb 28th 2013 4:06pm
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 31st 2013 1:55pm
from the ouch dept
You see, CNET's "Best in Show" award wasn't just for CNET itself, but for the official CES show. Part of CNET's deal with CEA was that its picks for "Best of CES" were the official awards for CES. Until now. CEA boss Gary Shapiro first slammed CBS in an editorial, and then CEA followed that up by officially ending CNET's position as the official picker of the "Best in Show" for CES. In trying to save face, someone from CBS told The Verge (in the link above) that it "had already determined it would not attempt to partner with CES for the awards again." Yeah, sure.
Oh yeah. CES also has now officially named the Dish Hopper with Sling as "Best of Show" saying it's now the "co-winner" with the Razer Edge gaming tablet that CNET chose after CBS suits stepped in and decimated their editorial independence.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 11th 2013 5:44am
from the count-the-ways dept
But, in a moment of pure stupidity, some very short-sighted suits at CBS made a really silly decision. As you may or may not have heard, CES -- the massive consumer electronics show -- has been going on all this week in Las Vegas. I just got back from there myself. At the show, Dish announced another merging of some of its products, adding its Slingbox (who they bought years back) to the same basic setup. Slingbox, of course, is for "place shifting" what the DVR is for "time shifting." You hook it up to your TV and it lets you access what's playing on your TV via the internet (so, via your computer, phone or tablet). It's hardly surprising that this is where Dish was heading.
And... the early reviews and buzz were definitely strong. For example, CNET wrote a glowing review in which executive editor David Carnoy suggested it may be the best DVR out there these days. The CNET crew liked the thing so much that they nominated it for their "Best of CES" award.
Editors' note: The Dish Hopper with Sling was removed from consideration for the Best of CES 2013 awards due to active litigation involving our parent company CBS Corp. We will no longer be reviewing products manufactured by companies with which we are in litigation with respect to such product.This is monumentally stupid, for a variety of reasons. Let's see how many we can come up with.
- Hello Streisand Effect. There were approximately one gazillion articles this week about products coming out of CES, and the place was wall to wall with journalists -- probably half of whom were coming up with their own "best of" lists. Most people were completely saturated with CES stories and would barely glance at such a story. Except... now, tons of people are suddenly finding out about this awesome Dish DVR, the Hopper with Slingbox. In fact, they're hearing that the damn thing is so good that CBS is trying to block any news of it from getting out. Talking about increasing the awareness... I have no clue whatsoever what product CNET -- or any other publication -- awarded "best of CES" to. But I sure as hell am well aware of Dish's new DVR.
- Goodbye to the wall that separates the suits from the journalists at CBS/CNET. CBS execs have just confirmed that they don't want their journalists and reviewers to cover things based on the merits, but rather on what it means for their corporate masters.
- Hello slippery slope. Is it really that hard to see where this heads next? Is CNET still allowed to report on the lawsuit if CBS loses? If they can't talk about the products, what about the legal issues themselves?
- Goodbye journalists with credibility. Frankly, CNET has always had some of the strongest tech reporters in the business. For many years I've considered it one of the top tech news sites out there. I have tremendous respect for many of the reporters there. But, now I have to wonder how much the suits are interfering with their ability to report things accurately.
- Goodbye to principled journalists who want to work for CBS. If I'm a journalist at CNET right now, I'd be seriously considering quitting in protest. This move seriously harms the brand and reputation of the site, and this is the kind of thing that journalists should stand up against. Having the suits interfere with what they can write about is generally seen as a massive offense to journalists. I would bet this leads to some of the best, most principled CNET reporters jumping ship to elsewhere.
- Good luck to CNET hiring new journalists. Who wants to jump into that toxic situation?
Of course, they were probably thinking that Dish would likely use the reviews from CNET as evidence in the lawsuit, which very well may be true (and could still happen since the review did go out). But it's not hard to get around that, since the legal impact of a single review is near zilch. In the end, they didn't stifle the review, they made it more well known. They didn't do anything that helps them in their lawsuit. And they're left with an undoubtedly pissed off set of journalists who may now question how free they are to actually report the news.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 12th 2012 9:46am
from the like-the-kkk-complaining-about-discrimination-against-it dept
There are far more SOPA/PIPA opponents than supporters on hand here, as one might expect. The RIAA, however, is also on scene this week at the show -- and a spokeswoman expressed concern about the conversation so far. "It sure seems like the deck is stacked to ensure no meaningful or balanced debate occurs on an issue that is very important to American jobs and our economy,” the spox said.Are these guys serious? First of all, the attendees at the show are overwhelmingly against the bills from everything we've seen. Seeing Ron Wyden and Darrell Issa get standing ovations for opposing the bills should say something. And it's not that "the decks are stacked" against them through some nefarious means, but that the majority of people are against them because they don't like these bills. More SOPA supporters -- including RIAA/MPAA/US Chamber of Commerce folks (all of whom are here) -- could have come, but it appears not many did. And that's because not too many seem to support these bills.
But, more to the point, who the hell does the RIAA think it's kidding? "The deck is stacked"? At a trade show? How about back in Washington DC where this bill was written? In that case, the MPAA/RIAA folks were very, very active in the very creation of the bills in question. The tech sector? NOT ALLOWED at the table. The Judiciary Committee hearings? Stacked five-to-one in favor of the bill, and the "one" against the bill was Google -- who is Congress' punching bag, and was put there so that Congressional reps could grandstand against the company and pretend that only "evil Google" is against the bill. Plenty of us involved in the actual innovation economy -- the startup entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who create all this innovation offered to step up and meet about these bills -- and we were denied.
The deck is stacked? Hell yes, it's stacked. It's stacked almost 100% in favor of rushing through a bad bill that fundamentally alters both the legal and technical underpinnings of the internet, making the innovations we all want and need -- including the innovations that are already helping musicians and filmmakers and other artists -- much, much more difficult to get off the ground.
The deck is stacked? When Hollywood outspends all of those opposed on this issue with their lobbying dollars 10-to-1, and Congress simply ignores the widespread outrage and legitimate concerns of those opposed to the bill, you'd better freaking believe that the "deck is stacked." It's stacked in the other direction entirely.
So, boo-freaking-hoo to the ridiculous folks at the RIAA. So damn sorry that once you leave your DC bubble and come out to the real world where innovation actually takes place you find reality is against you. But if you want to talk about how "the deck is stacked," let's take a look back into the DC echo chamber where these bills have been crafted and are being pushed through. Yes, the deck is stacked -- and it's stacked completely against innovation and openness. So forgive us for not shedding a tear at the fact that your poor, overly-sensitive lobbyists have to hear some of the real world concerns about this bill.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jan 11th 2012 2:47pm
from the are-they-serious? dept
Ironically, her favorite talking point, which she repeated every time she was challenged on just about anything, was to accuse everyone else of empty rhetoric and hyperbole about the bill. Except... everyone else on the panel was talking specifics, backed up by fact, while her claims didn't even pass the laugh test and seemed like pure rhetoric. She kept insisting that Lamar Smith's "manager's amendment" had fixed all the problems (which is funny, since it sounds like we're about to get a "manager's amendment" to the manager's amendment).
There were two specific claims that needed to be addressed, though, because they're totally divorced from reality (which is all too common from SOPA/PIPA supporters). The first was in response to a question from Andrew Bridges about specifically which sites Sandra thinks SOPA/PIPA need to be gone after. After all, we keep hearing that the bill is needed to go after "foreign" rogue websites that can't be gotten at by today's law. But, as we've noted, sites like The Pirate Bay, Rapidshare and Megaupload all use .coms or .orgs... which are exempt from SOPA/PIPA. Furthermore, Bridges pointed out that US companies have already filed lawsuits against Rapidshare, Megaupload, Kazaa and many other "foreign" players... and have brought many of them to US courts (in fact, Rapidshare was declared legal, which throws a wrench in the whole "rogue sites" thing).
Amazingly, Aistars insisted that those were exactly the sites they were targeting! Yes, the same sites that can and are being sued under existing US law and which are immune from SOPA/PIPA. It makes you wonder if she even knows what's in the bill, or how the bill defines "foreign" sites.
The second stunning claim was in response to a series of quite reasonable questions about why backers of the bill feel the need to conflate things like counterfeit drugs with music downloads, despite them being totally different. Multiple people asked why not craft specific bills to deal with each thing. The usual response to this kind of question is to claim that they're "both the same kind of violation," which is not accurate at all (as we'll explain in a moment). But Aistars took that to the next level, claiming that it was the same sites who were doing both things. To which all we can say is: which sites are involved in both selling fake pills and offering music/movie downloads? Someone on Twitter suggested that I had obviously missed "thepirateviagrabay." So, there's that.
But, really, as pretty much everyone else in the room seemed to understand, the two situations are extremely different. Trademark/counterfeiting laws are about consumer protection against people being fooled by "fake" products with real brands on them. They involve sites that are selling physical goods in exchange for money, where actual product needs to be shipped. Cyberlockers, torrent trackers, search engines and the like -- whether you agree with what they do or not -- have nothing to do with any of that. All of them provide a service for people to upload/download content (some infringing, some not). They're not "selling" the infringing works and they're not "tricking" people into believing a fake product is a real one. The circumstances are entirely different.
Of course, as someone else on the panel noted, we all know that the trademark holders (some of whom support SOPA/PIPA) are not driving the legislation. It's totally being driven by the MPAA/RIAA. The only real reason to lump the two very different things together is so that supporters of efforts to crack down on services that enable some infringement can pretend that there's real "harm." You see it all the time (and Aistars did this as well). Any time people bring up harm, you talk about fake drugs or counterfeit products. But any time people talk about the size of the "problem" they focus on how much traffic goes to cyberlockers. The two things are very different, but by conflating them, they can pretend the problem is both "dangerous to consumers" and "big." But the only way to do that is to ignore the fact that the part that's dangerous to consumers is actually a very small issue, and the part that's big isn't clearly harmful to consumers.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jan 3rd 2012 4:08pm
from the your-choice dept
- First up, we've got Las Vegas for CES, where I'll be speaking on what looks to be a fantastic panel about "the content industry" in the digital age. The other panelists will be Hank Shocklee (Bomb Squad/Public Enemy), Julie Samuels from EFF and Paul Geller from Grooveshark. That's Tuesday January 10th at 2pm. If you're coming to that, I also have to recommend that you show up early for the panel right before ours (starting at 12:30pm), which will be all about SOPA, and will include some Congressional staffers (Ryan Clough from Rep. Zoe Lofgren's office and Jayme White from Senator Wyden's office), as well as Christian Dawson (of SaveHosting), Casey Rae-Hunter (from Future of Music Coalition) and Laeff Mtima, a professor from Howard University who has done fantastic work on how IP laws have been used to stymie social justice.
- Also, if you are going to CES (even if you don't come to the panel), I want to invite you to a special private party being hosted by our partner SAY Media at the brand new 10oak at the Mirage. This club just opened on New Year's Eve, so you'll be one of the first to check it out, and there will be a performance by the awesome indie band Givers, along with tons of great people around, some cool tech giveaways (of course) and cocktails (also, of course). If you've never been to a SAY Media party, you're missing out. They know how to throw a good party. Since it's a private party, you'll need to RSVP and have a CES delegate's badge. To RSVP you have to send an email to CESParty@saymedia.com with the code TD VIP to get onto the guest list. If you're not on the list, you won't get in... Update: Just realized it might help if I said when the party is: it's Tuesday, January 10th, 8pm until midnight...
- After you're done with Vegas, head over to Washington DC the following week, for the Congressional Internet Caucus' State of the Net event, which runs January 17th and 18th. I don't think the full schedule is out yet, but I'll be speaking on a panel about SOPA/PIPA in the main hall on the 17th. I imagine that will be a fun time for all involved...
- Jump forward to January 29th and jump across the Atlantic to the MIDEM conference (the big music industry trade show) in Cannes and I'll be doing a few things there including some mentor sessions, a "MIDEM Academy" one hour session about new business models on Sunday January 29th. Then, on Monday at 12:20 pm (precisely, so don't be late!) I'll be doing a "Visionary Monday" presentation about both the state of the the entertainment industry, including where the big opportunities are. Think of it as the sequel to the big CwF+RtB presentation I did a few years ago...
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jan 7th 2008 8:33pm