Chris Dodd: The Internet Developed Because Of Strict Copyright Enforcement

from the keep-digging dept

It’s really quite amazing just how badly Chris Dodd still doesn’t seem to get what happened in the SOPA/PIPA fight. Every time he opens his mouth to “explain” what happened, he just looks less and less and less aware of what actually happened.

His latest discussion on the topic came at the National Association of Attorneys General meeting in Washington DC — a “friendly” audience for Dodd. His discussion starts around the 2 hour, 10 minute mark if you want to fast forward the video. For reasons that are unclear, CSPAN has disabled embedding on this video. Either way, Dodd continues to show off that he has no idea what happened. The specific “panel” that he’s on is (of course) pretty one-sided. It involves him, old friend Rick Cotton from NBC Universal (“just think about the poor corn farmers!“) and then two university officials to talk about how they’re forced to censor the internet because of draconian laws that the MPAA pushed through (where there’s at least a little pushback on the ridiculousness of copyright law, but just barely).

Dodd does his usual nod to the fact that the MPAA is “pro-internet” and “pro-innovation” and how any “solution” has to keep a free and open internet. That’s funny, because the proposal he backed over the last year didn’t actually do that. So, it’s a bit late to say that now. And, next time, if he really wants to protect the free and open internet, perhaps invite some of the folks who actually built it to the table, rather than shutting them out, calling them liars and trying to dismiss their concerns. It might help people take him more seriously when he talks about how much he loves the internet.

He goes on to talk about how an example of “good” legislation was the kind that the MPAA shoved through a few years ago, forcing colleges and universities to become copyright cops. Not surprisingly, Dodd happens to leave out the part where the MPAA was so egregious in lying with bogus stats to get that law passed that it eventually had to admit it lied. Of course, that didn’t stop the law from passing.

From there he launches into a defense of SOPA without naming SOPA. He takes us on a tour for the ages of bogus, debunked or misleading stats, in talking about just how evil “foreign rogue websites” are — leaving out the actual facts, including that existing laws seem to be doing just fine in tracking those guys down. He neatly conflates counterfeit drugs and bulletproof vests with people downloading movies. Funny, because I don’t think anyone’s ordering bulletproof vests from On top of that, he claims that (unnamed) search engines are reaping billions in profits from these sites, which is flat out bunk.

He concludes by asking the assembled attorneys general for “help” in dealing with this “ever growing problem.” Wait, I thought that the MPAA was insisting that the “problem” was getting under control… but now they’re admitting that it’s “ever growing”? Yeah, okay…

Rick Cotton’s talk is no less ridiculous. He kicks off by telling the attorneys general that it’s time to end “the wild west” of the internet, and that we can’t think of the internet as “Somalia” any more. This is, of course, totally and completely ridiculous and Cotton should be ashamed for such blatant misinformation. After all, he’s been a key player in helping to pass many of the 15 different copyright laws in the past 30 years targeting “piracy” — with many focused directly on the internet. To pretend that the internet is “the wild west” is just flat out ridiculous. He quotes the bogus Mark Monitor report claiming tons and tons of traffic to infringing sites. And while he admits that Megaupload has been shut down, and that it represented a huge portion of that traffic, he ignores the point that this was under existing laws. And yes, he says this right after insisting the internet is lawless.

Rick Cotton is shameless in his disinformation efforts.

When they get to the question section, the first question is to Dodd about SOPA (which neither he nor Cotton mentioned directly). Dodd starts out with his usual talking points about how this was unprecedented — that the bill had tremendous bipartisan support, and how SOPA was just about foreign sites (ignoring that the original draft of SOPA was not limited to foreign sites — yay misinformation!). Dodd pretends that a bunch of these sites “learned” from the “over 300” domain seizures to set up in foreign territories — ignoring that most of the sites he’s complaining about have been around for much longer. He also skips over the bogus seizures and the questionable legality of the seizures themselves. Minor details, apparently.

He then states that it’s unlikely that these bills will move forward this year, but “there are efforts underway” and he’s hopeful that solutions to “this problem” are being worked on.

And he concludes on the doozy that I point out in the title, claiming that the internet itself would have been at risk if the tech industry had “the same attitude” to copyright as they do today:

The internet itself would have been in deep trouble, if you’d had this attitude about copyright twenty years ago — where the very ideas that gave birth to this industry would be at risk.

Oh really? Which ideas? Ideas about freely sharing information and code? Ideas about not caring if anyone could copy your source code — in fact requiring that such copying be allowed? To claim that the internet industry’s view on copyright law has somehow shifted from being protectionist to not just shows, yet again, how Dodd has absolutely no clue what he’s talking about on this subject, and should maybe take some time to talk to people who actually work in the industry before he makes a bigger fool of himself.

From there Mark Shurtleff, Utah’s Attorney General, blamed the whole SOPA/PIPA situation on a “well-orchestrated” online campaign that was based on pure lies. Um. It’s ridiculous to hear him say this after sitting through nearly an hour of lies from the pro-SOPA/PIPA camp. He even admits that his own kids argued against him. Perhaps he should listen to them, because it appears they were a lot better informed than their father. He notes that he’s now afraid that any attorney general that tries to “stick his or her neck out” on these issues will get similar SOPA/PIPA treatment — so he asks Chris Dodd and Rick Cotton to come up with “a plan” to help them.

That, right there, is pretty incredible. A US state attorney general, asking private industry how to help them avoid having to deal with the public speaking out against plans to censor the internet and attack internet openness. Wow.

Dodd responds by saying that the movie industry “needs to move into the social media space. We were not in that space at all.” That’s pretty ridiculous. The MPAA has a blog. I mean, they don’t allow comments on it, and it’s sort of the laughingstock of anyone who actually understands these issues, but they have that. They also funded and supplied the key employees for “Creative America” — the astroturfing group that supposedly is trying to round up supporters for SOPA and had an active Facebook page and blog… though the Facebook page mostly involved discussions about just how laughable Creative America’s positions are.

SOPA supporters had an online and social media presence. It’s just that they didn’t have reality on their side. That’s the problem. If Dodd and the MPAA ever bothered to understand what actually happened perhaps he’d stop making these crazy claims.

Either way, the clear conclusion from this talk is that folks like Dodd and Cotton still have no clue what happened and still don’t understand the issues at hand. They’re still approaching this from the old way of doing things, where it’s politics as usual. They’re not interested in really understanding what the public was concerned about and they have no intention of actually listening to what was said. All of the strategies discussed were about “reloading” on their side, not about actually talking to the people who understand the internet. It’s sad, but it means that SOPA and PIPA will be back, though as Dodd explicitly says “hopefully it won’t be called SOPA any more…”

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Comments on “Chris Dodd: The Internet Developed Because Of Strict Copyright Enforcement”

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xenomancer (profile) says:

Dear Chris Dodd

How are you? I haven’t heard from you in quite a while. Most of your brethren appear to have moved on and now service the next generation by powering vehicles and co-gen plants. In other words, they have become useful again by participating in a larger scheme that benefits everyone by relinquishing their stake in a grand timeshare. So, please be useful. Please help out the newer generation. Please go die in a fire and take your ignorance with you.


Anonymous Coward says:

Copyright enforcement just didn’t exist on the internet for a period of about ten years because, well, for one, the bandwidth just wasn’t there (dialup and ISDN for the most part), and two, there really wasn’t a good way to share content. People shared stuff over Usenet and public FTP (still do, in fact) but for the most part that was about it. Once Napster/Limewire/Kazaa came along and made it easy, it enabled infringement on a scale that really made people sit up and take notice.

PaulT (profile) says:


“Copyright enforcement just didn’t exist on the internet for a period of about ten years”

I bet you really believe this as well!

“for one, the bandwidth”

So, text and images aren’t counted as copyright infringement any more? Cool!

“there really wasn’t a good way to share content”

My recollections of newsgroups disagree.

“Once Napster/Limewire/Kazaa came along and made it easy, it enabled infringement on a scale that really made people sit up and take notice.”

So did cassette tapes, CD-Rs, photocopiers, VHS, radio, etc. Did the relevant industries lose or gain money after they finally gave in and embraced the existence of these tools?

rubberpants says:


If they could just get a law in place to allow more control over the Internet then the MPAA and the government won’t have to worry so much about online backlash against laws that allow them more control over the Internet.

Everybody wins! (For certain definitions of the word “everybody”)

Once again, we see how much they just don’t get it. They think the SOPA protests were all coordinated from some central source. There doesn’t need to be a central source. Everyone online can have their own voice. That clearly scares the crap out of them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Dodd is nothing less than a lying arse hole. everyone (including himself) knows it! so why is it that he keeps getting the opportunity to spout such BS? haven’t people gotten fed up of listening to his same old whining and realised what he comes out with is the same old self-pitying crap? no one from the anti-copyright side ever gets the opportunity to give even an interview, let alone to keep on and on about it!

bob (profile) says:

He's right.

Look at the major content sites today: Yahoo, NY Times, Huffington Post etc. If there were no threat of copyright enforcement, their content would be cloned everywhere and they wouldn’t be on the web. They would have taken one step onto the web, made zero revenue and that would have been the end of it. They would have run back to AOL or MSN. The Internet would just be a bunch of USENET sites and cat videos.

Making the web safe for real contributors is what made it possible for it to be so open. It let people experiment by promising that they would have control over their creations. It may not be perfect control, but it was control none the less.

Otherwise it would have been Minitel, MSN, AOL and Prodigy duking it out to have the best content.

Machin Shin (profile) says:


You really seem to have missed out on a lot of fun. I remember their being plenty of infringing stuff online all while using dialup. It was slow transfer speeds sure, but when what you are downloading is small enough to fit on a few floppies (remember those?) it did not matter much.

I remember finding and downloading lots of things that looking back I now know were infringing, back then I was young enough I did not know anything about copyright nor did I care. (try and find a 5 year old that gives a damn about your copyright)

Anonymous Coward says:

He's right.

“Look at the major content sites today: Yahoo, NY Times, Huffington Post etc. If there were no threat of copyright enforcement, their content would be cloned everywhere and they wouldn’t be on the web”

But their content IS cloned everywhere. Isn’t that why the NY Times wanted a paywall in the first place? And, shocker, they are still around.

So much for that logic…

Machin Shin (profile) says:

He's right.

I will take a free internet of usenet and cat videos over a regulated censored internet. We do not need their precis content. In fact over the last few months I have become so disgusted I don’t even want to touch any of it. I find myself thinking about going to the movies and then want to vomit having thought about giving them any of my money.

I for one vote that if the internet is censored it should be censored of ALL THEIR CONTENT. Just kick the danm MPAA and RIAA off the net along with all their content, see how many movies and records they can sell out of the fucking brick and mortar stores.

Anonymous Coward says:

Perfect Placement

With Chris Dodd and Cary Sherman’s vocal public assessment of what happened and where it all came from, I just figured out where they belong – on their own late night public access TV show with the rest of the tinfoil hat wearing producers of that particular genre of comedy gold right next to Alex Jones. That is the perfect place for them to espouse their accusations of Google being a purveyor of misinformation and public manipulation. I’ll make the popcorn!

Rikuo (profile) says:

He's right.

NY Times is a major content site? By what metric are you basing that on?
I would think something like Youtube would be something better to measure by. Sooner or later, everyone on the planet with web access will use Youtube one way or another. However, you can’t say the same for the NY Times (I’ve never read any of their articles and I’ve been online for oh, six years now).
The internet being free and open is what led it becoming the giant it is today. If Tim Berners Lee had patented it, nobody would have invested in internet infrastructure or services of any kind, because the cost would have been far too high.

As for the threat of major sites having their content cloned – that’s already happened, even with major copyright enforcement. In France, they’re now in the process of disconnecting people off from the Internet entirely (still not sure exactly how that plays out, are they going to have someone following them 24/7 to stop them using the free web access in libraries?).
The concept of retaining control of media is fast becoming a threat to democracy. Since people like you bob love to use real world analogies, let’s say I buy physical widget X. I can use it anyway I want, short of something violent and/or dangerous. But, for some reason, the movie studios can sell me discs with digital data on them and tell me I’m only allowed use them using pre-approved machines X, Y and Z. If I attempt to do Something Else, no, that’s illegal.
Hell, just yesterday, there was an article about how Warner Bros want to charge people to make digital copies of physical DVDs: this a method of control and double dipping, completely unncessary, when people can easily do this at home, were it not for the ridiculous laws pushed for by Hollywood.

el_segfaulto (profile) says:


As much as I hate to admit it, the AC is kinda right about this one. I remember when Napster first came out it took the better part of 3 hours to download a single song. Now with my 30mbit connection I can download everything an artist ever did in the amount of time it takes me to make a coffee.

Another limiting factor was/is storage space. My freshman computer had a whopping 8GB of hard drive capacity and I simply couldn’t afford to devote much of it to music.

The caveat is that sharing was rampant back then as well. It may not have been done via residential connections, but as an undergrad I had plenty of friends bring their laptops over for LAN parties and we’d swap around whatever media we wanted. Sharing culture is NOT going to go away. You can try to demonize and criminalize it as much as you want, you simply cannot change a basic aspect of primate behavior.

V (profile) says:


Sounds like he is cookoo for cocoa puffs.

This is something we (as informed, intelligent, non-sheepeoples) need to be constantly wary of… the re-writing of history by Big Media/Big IP to suit their purposes.

Remember, what most sheepeople don’t remember is that talk is cheap. Sadly, most of the sheepeople think that just because someone says it… or writes it… that it must be true.

They blindly follow Big Media/Big IP because they lack the will to actually look up things for themselves.

That is why there is not more of a public outrage on the draconian copyright laws and extensions. People actually believe the politician when they say things like “it won’t change anything” or “it doesn’t impact our existing laws”, etc.

Trust no one Mr. Maulder.

Ninja (profile) says:

I’ll blatantly copy an insanely funny and yet very insightful comment that appeared here in TD in an article about – surprise! – Dodd ranting on how SOPA is good, Google is bad and the protests were undemocratic:

Reality is known for having a frequent anti-MAFIAA bias.

I took the liberty to work on it and generalize, add some more humor and stuff (oh I’m a filthy pirate making derived works from other creators, shame on me).

I think we should start another online protest called something like, “Wake up, Dodd!” using that funny piece as a catchphrase. Dan Bull could help with some lyrics and music (how dare he make his music available for free, the terrorist!). I’m sure Mike would gladly help. And TD usual critics can provide the much welcome comedy for the whole mess. And hopefully it’ll go viral and ppl will start playing the theme song when Dodd gives any speech or something.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

“we can’t think of the internet as “Somalia” any more.”

So your going to call off your hired mercenaries and end the famine of content availability?

I applaud your bold stance decided that actually considering the wants of consumers, and meeting that demand.
It should have a significant impact on what you claim is “piracy” in your business model, when you stop using 17th century pejorative terms to cover up your industries failure to adapt.
One can hope that your new found enlightenment might mean and end to the overblown sense of entitlement that is so pervasive in your industry.

Anonymous Coward says:


I take that back.
Wow, he lays it on thick, and are we suppose to take all those slurs on the basis of his word, and the facts and figures, saying “we have done studies” to take that as obvious evidence of prove

This seems to me like a slur campaign, im not saying there is nothing wrong, im saying, that this to me feels more like slur campaign under the guise of “educating”, for the benefit to those in the public who neither question the truth, the understanding or the ethics of a government/corporation representative, those who automatically assoiciate goodness and truth to governments, maybe not so much corporations.

Ninja (profile) says:

He's right.

Srsly? There are PLENTY of clones of Facebook and some are actually better. Companies are born, create something nice and most of the time get used to being the center and end up digging their own graves. Kodak. Myspace (ok, not dead but largely irrelevant nowadays). Fotolog (same as my space and was some fever a while ago). Orkut.

Now Orkut is a nice example. Facebook is a clone of Orkut and it was irrelevant near Orkut at first. If Dodd and you were right, Facebook wouldn’t have taken the lead because it was irrelevant. No service starts well known and trusted by everybody. And a lot of services will be better than what is out there today, even if they start as clones. Live with that.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Thanks for pointing out this C-SPAN link to us, but you missed the boat by simply pointing out Chris Dodd’s lies.

There’s a lot more to this video than that. What Dodd and Cotton say in this video is exactly Washington’s view of the internet. I’m sure they believe the only reason people go online is to access the media created by the major content companies, be they newspapers or movie studios or the music industry.

Storch and Conrad make feeble attempts to show that universities have been addressing the issue and the problem isn’t as bad as the storm and rhetoric that Dodd and Cotton spew (liberally laced with the references to counterfeit pharmaceuticals and child pornography that for some reason always accompanies discussion of copyright infringement in Washington).

But Conrad summed it all up in one sentence:

“Our goal is to change people’s behaviors.”

That is the goal of Washington and the MPAA and the RIAA. It is a monumental and probably impossible goal, but they will make every effort to accomplish this goal despite all consequences and collateral damage. They will persist in pushing legislation for years and decades. All the protests and internet blackouts in the world will not stop them.

The much more attainable and needed goals of creating a reasonable copyright law, codifying a liberal fair use policy, giving culture back to the public domain, or as Storch weakly argued, making content more accessible and changing business practices as a response to piracy, will never be put on the table in Washington.

It all just makes me want to pirate out of spite.

John Fenderson (profile) says:


The scale of copyright infringement in the Internet is limited to the availability of computers connected to the internet,

True, but self-evident. The scale of any activity on the internet is limited to the size of the internet.

But copyright infringement was just as prevalent before the internet altogether. Pre-internet, it was still easy to get pirated copies of software & books. Not music & movies so much because storage space couldn’t accomodate them.

saulgoode (profile) says:

The B Side

Copyright enforcement just didn’t exist on the internet for a period of about ten years because, well, for one, the bandwidth just wasn’t there (dialup and ISDN for the most part), and two, there really wasn’t a good way to share content.

Nor were those same bandwidth limitations conducive to revenue generators such as Itunes (25% of all music sales), Spotify, and Netflix/Hulu/Amazon (which, near as I can figure, bring in more money than DVD sales).

John Fenderson (profile) says:

He's right.

Making the web safe for real contributors is what made it possible for it to be so open. It let people experiment by promising that they would have control over their creations. It may not be perfect control, but it was control none the less.

Except that everything you’ve asserted was already disproven by the internet itself years ago. I’m not sure why you bring up Minitel, MSN, AOL and Prodigy, as they were always jokes, even in their prime. They never had the “best content”.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:


I guess you actually believe this nonsense.

If you wanted what is now called piracy in before the Web came along all you had to do was drop into Compuserve (aka Compu$pend) and you could get just about anything you wanted. Pictures were low density GIFS, for the most part, movies were cut into pieces which you had to assemble yourself and people would spend hours on the phone downloading cracked copies of Lotus 1-2-3 and other “contraband”. Oh yeah, and you could get songs too!

The same sorts of things were going on at AOHell at the same time.

I first heard of Napster before there was any widespread penetration of broadband in North America so people were swapping songs with 56K modems rather than broadband and doing it quite happily.

Now, I know history isn’t your strong point but REASON Napster and the like got started was the stark refusal of MPAA member companies to release singles. Remembering that this was in an era when, if you were incredibly lucky, most CDs had one or two decent tracks and 16 or so tracks of elevator music, at best. That, as much as anything, had people not buying music in the same quantities that they used to and the fact that we Boomers now had other priorities like sending kids to school, maintaining houses and all the day to day stuff that translate into money pits. Oh yeah, CD’s that were 80% crud and that there were only so many Led Zep Greatest Hits CDs Remixed that anyone was capable or wanted to buy. There were and ARE limits to how much “classic” rock one can take.

So services like Napster showed up for those who just wanted the singles the labels no longer wanted to provide. So the Web and its users routed around that problem and assembled the singles the labels weren’t interested in providing.

By the way, the bittorrent protocol came about because Linux and BSD distributions wanted more efficient ways to distribute new editions, updates and bug fixes that existed before it. I doubt anyone sat down trying to figure out if what they’d built do move Apache fixes back and forth could also move music, at least until someone wanted to share a song with a buddy.

(In that sense I’m SHOCKED that you and Chris Dodd don’t cry about at the loss of innovation because of the existence of FOSS because the licenses there actually ask you to pirate! What else could it be if the licenses actually invite someone to download, change and release pirated copies back into the wild! All still accompanied by those pesky BSD, GPL, LGPL, CC and other licenses which do, Mr Dodd, express copyright of the works in question, how they may be used, improved, mashed up and re-released and other than that have at em.)

By your logic FOSS must encourage piracy though out of it has come the operating system that powers the internet, the applications used to keep the internet working, the Mars rovers running and who knows how much else.

What the root cause of piracy has been has been the refusal of RIAA and MPAA member companies to release digital works that people could download, listen to or watch on what, in those days, was more than likely the single computer in the house. The thinking was that shiny plastic disks would reap more profit that interacting with consumers whee the consumers were.

Fans of the music and movies got it other ways, often hoping the labels and studios would release “authorized” copies and then saying “Fuck ’em” when they didn’t.

That’s the classic origin of black and gray markets. And it did.

I am glad you said infringement rather than the other loaded words tossed about.

At the end of the day the industry only has to look in the mirror to see who is at fault for this. In a free market consumers will find the same or similar product at a lower price or greater convenience or both.

I hate to tell Mr Dodd this but until his 2yo cry of “it’s mine, it’s mine” becomes more adult and his industry actually practices what it preaches in regards to artists actually, really getting paid for their work, grab things from the public domain and slap a copyright over their interpretation and then claim any interpretation that follows of the same thing from the public domain somehow violates their copyright and…..well, some of us here would say the sense of entitlement never ends with this industry

In the meantime I’ll buy from iTunes, Amazon and other legal and NEVER from any sites run my MPAA or RIAA member companies. I’m not giving my custom to someone who is convinced I’m a thief.

Ed Allen (profile) says:

He's right.

By your logic Free Software is a ten year old ongoing anomaly.

Assholes who think that any idea not hoarded and charged for is a travesty are why Richard Stallman invented Copyleft which later spawn the Free Software movement.

And lest you think “but software is different” google for Open Publishing where scientists and professors are relearning that sharing is how Science emerged from Alchemy in the first place.

Every idea cannot be worth an eternal tribute. Else nobody would be able to improve anything because the innovation would need to prove itself more valuable than what it is improving or it would never get made in the first place and, of course, we all know how accurate our judgement of value of unmade things has always been.

Copyright and Patents were “for limited times” precisely because that burden becomes greater the longer their term is so they stop promoting and start hindering Progress when it is too great.

We have extended that term without any concern from the extenders that the crossover might have been passed. I think it is time we be shown some evidence that it has not.

Ed Allen (profile) says:


Restrictions to change behaviors are such rowsing successes are they not ?

Just think of the glory of “The War On Drugs”. Lots of Politicians make millions from that.

Of course Prohibition was repealed because the corruption was causing society to break down. Not such a good example there.

As for stronger enforcement being “The Answer” just look at prisons. No movement without supervision, random searches of persons and their living areas. No drugs or sex in prison, right ???!

So much for “all we need is better enforcement” under the title of “education”.

artp (profile) says:

Wild, Wild West

The only Wild, Wild West that I see is Dodd and his cronies holding up the stagecoach. “Throw down those strongboxes.. and the saddlebags.. Empty your pockets!”

Copyright – 28 years, not transferable, no exclusive licensing allowed. No works for hire, the rights go with the person who created the work. Because corporations do not create anything! THAT would benefit the artists more than the current arrangement does.

Mr. Bad Example says:

Hard to Believe

Yes, it’s hard to believe that this guy was a serious candidate for President of the United States as near as 5 years ago. If he’s this clueless and delusional about this topic, how distorted is his view of reality overall? Come to think of it, though, maybe there is some merit to a long, drawn-out political campaign-obviously the voters in the early Democratic primaries in the 2008 elections felt that Dodd was NOT presidential caliber, as his organization spent an abnormal amount of someone else’s money for the paltry number of votes he got.
One has to wonder how many syncophants and gofers are hanging around the MPAA offices, justifying their jobs by “taking care” of “problems” for the boss while telling him how right he is in his delusions. Of course, when you wonder that, you also wonder how much of the $11 a ticket you’ve just paid to watch a new version of the crap studios are putting out now goes to support these brown-nosers.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

He's right.

Oh why, oh why, do you keep forgetting the big guy out there at the time which was Compuserve (Compu$pend). Which is the one that had the most major newspaper content from North American and the UK which no one bothered with because it was so awkward to read and find cross links, something the Web made possible.

And I DO remember a time where these newspapers weren’t on the Web and I hate to tell you this but there was plenty of content, enough that search engines were appearing, and it was good content.

Not as pretty with as many pictures and dancing bear animated gifs but content was there. Mind you there WAS plenty of porn just like there was on Yahoo, Compuserv, IRC, usenet and just about anywhere else you cared to look. Says something about human nature and the power of sexuality that does. And the human need for portrayals of it even though I’ve felt it’s much better as a participatory “sport” than a spectator one.

The first attempts I remember to “monetize” the net came from those who tried to put up Web analogues of places like bricks and mortar malls. That failed, I can tell you.

The first attempts at ads were just terrible, bits of them loading down with your page that it slowed down the entire page load till you shrugged and went somewhere else. Didn’t take webmasters long to see that the ads weren’t bringing in people, quite the opposite and that no one was ever clicking the ads cause the damned things never finished loading. Additionally they were poorly made clones of television ads put up by the same agencies who, at that time, didn’t understand either the web or the internet. If you want to know where Google’s idea of text ads came from look no further than there. Web users at the time wanted noting to do with ads and would actually punish sites that had them. Using 48K and 56K modems meant you weren’t hanging around a site long enough for ads about deodorants to load on sites about wildlife. Then, in those days, there was also the question of whether or not you trusted the site or the “payment” processor enough to give them detailed information on your credit cards or bank accounts. (Say hello, PayPal!)

HuffPo, if you cast your memory back long enough was the target of a lot of complaining about cut and paste then link “journalism” rather than “real” journalism when it got started. It was only after all the bitching and some threatened lawsuits from the likes of AP, the New York Times and others that HuffPo began to acquire it’s own writers as well as the deliberate decision to endorse then hype Barak Obama in the 2010 election. If anything HuffPo started off as the biggest “news pirate” there’s ever been.

The NYT, Boston Globe and even HuffPo earned money when advertisers figured out that Webizens hated ads but would tolerate ones that didn’t make mess on page downloads. Soon after that came ad blocker add-ons to Firefox.

It’s not as much copyright enforcement that brought the big players on line as that they thought they could sell ad space the same why the do in the “real world”. That and the niggling thought they might be missing out on something. That and they weren’t on AOHell or MSN anyway to any great extent.

So, anyway, there was plenty of content on the Web before your biggies appeared. And there will be plenty of content if they decide to leave for whatever reason or build castles and moats around their content so that only the “elect” can get in to see inside their “holy of holies”. Won’t happen with HuffPo because HuffPo is a web only business and they know better than that. As, incidentally, does Yahoo who started out as a search engine. So unlike the NYT there is no “real world” presence.

By the way, as long as you want to pretend that you have some knowledge or experience of the new biz there is no such think as cloning an article or a story. For a whole variety of reasons in the newspaper biz it’s called “cut and paste”. For radio from wire services it’s called “rip and read” when you grab something off a news service and rush on air with it without just a little bit of rewrite and so on. So please get the terms right.

It’s not so much a matter these days of the web being a safe place (safe for what????) but that for anyone wanting to be taken seriously in the news biz you MUST have a web presence safe (???) or not. That’s where the eyeballs are. The same applies to other “content” makers as well though the RIAA and MPAA seem to think differently.

Let me assure you that there will be plenty of content if the NY Times decides to hide behind an even bigger paywall. Or if more of your precious “content” companies decide to ignore the irritating fact that the web exists.

And it’s funny (peculiar) and funny (LOL) that two of the “content” companies are web only and one of them has been accused of varieties of wanton piracy in the past and sometimes still is.

The Web abhors a vacuum. Content will appear. It’s that simple. Not being on it and having a presence is like someone saying “this isn’t paying as well as I want it” and going back to quill pens and parchment 50 years after Gutenberg’s press appeared. Not gonna happen.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Hard to Believe

I’m thnking of all the ex politicos who were on the boards of banks that were too big to fail four years ago. Or the ex politicos who populate the boards of various other companies in the United States, Canada, the UK and other places. For the star power I bet! Certainly not for dubiously legal lobbying, inside contacts and invitations to parties inside the Beltway where, it seems, a lot of bills get written after everyone is well and truly lubircated. That’s where it seems they’ve been written, doesn’t it?

Oh, I better go take my anti-cynicism pill.

Cowardly Anonymous says:

Wild, Wild West

May be exclusively leased for a maximum of 3 years at a time. A lease may not be renewed without negotiating a new contract with the rights holder. Termination of a lease contract by the right’s holder carries a maximum penalty equal to the percentage of time remaining in the contract multiplied by one and half times the monetary compensation paid in obtaining the contract. This penalty is to be reduced as per judicial discretion should the contract holder to be deemed to have acted in a manner justifying the termination.

Because some people do benefit more from a single sale, and we should give them some mechanism to continue with approach if they want to. Consider it backwards compatibility.

Karl (profile) says:

He's right.

Look at the major content sites today: Yahoo, NY Times, Huffington Post etc. If there were no threat of copyright enforcement, their content would be cloned everywhere and they wouldn’t be on the web. They would have taken one step onto the web, made zero revenue and that would have been the end of it.

Except that all of those entities put their content on the web long ago, and it was shared and copied widely and quickly. And they succeeded because the content was shared.

In fact, the major tech and content firms got together and invented open standards (RSS and Atom) whose sole purpose was to syndicate and aggregate news articles for free.

None of the surviving content creators succeeded because they enforced copyright. The succeeded because they encouraged sharing of their content.

Furthermore, Dodd was probably not actually talking about “content sites” like the NY Times. He seems to be talking about the software that runs the web itself.

And here he demonstrates his sheer and utter ignorance. None of the major software that runs the web is, or ever was, proprietary.

Apache? Open source. PHP, Ruby, Perl? Open source. MySQL, PostgreSQL? Open source.

You don’t need a license to write HTML, or create Cascading Style Sheets, or code JavaScript.

Even web browsers are moving towards open source. Internet Explorer, which ten years ago had a near-universal market share because it was bundled with Windows, is now used by less than 50% of the people browsing the web. Most are using open-source desktop browsers (Firefox, Chrome) or are browsing on cell phones using open-source browsers.

On the other hand, you know what Mintel, MSN, AOL, and Prodigy all had in common? They were closed systems. That fact (and the fact that their services sucked) are the reason they’re not around anymore.

In fact, if any generalizations can be made, it’s that the web is only successful because copyright was not enforced. Chris Dodd is absolutely, 100% wrong.

And so are you. You’ve been coming on here for a few weeks now, and I have yet to see even a single post where you have said anything whatsoever that is factually correct.

You would do yourself a favor if you actually did even a tiny bit of research before you posted here.

Andre says:

He's right.

On the other hand, you know what Mintel, MSN, AOL, and Prodigy all had in common? They were closed systems. That fact (and the fact that their services sucked) are the reason they’re not around anymore.

Actually, the fact their services sucked and the fact that they were closed systems might even be connected to one another. If you have a service that could be useful, but sucks, people will come and create a similar service that sucks less. If you’re closed, that means you now have a competitor that is better than you. If you’re open, then they will probably build upon your service. There will still be a competitor that’s better, but that competitor will partly still be yourself.

More concrete: When you think that Internet Explorer sucks, you get another browser, when you think that Firefox sucks, you first install some plugins. When a closed communication system sucks, people will build their own communication system instead, when an open communication system sucks, people will build their own interface to that communication system.

Simple Mind says:

Dodd the Clod

Here is the guy most responsible for the financial crisis we are now in. Why, because he gave banks everything they wanted without thinking of the consequences. Actually I am not sure from his behavior that the guy even can think. Finally his constituents wised up and got him out of political office. But now he has managed to worm his way into something else he can screw up with massive consequences for everyone. If Dodd wasn’t completely ignorant I don’t think he could look himself in the mirror every morning.

hemo_jr (profile) says:

The Internet is a Naturally Collaborative Environment

I cannot think of a more naturally collaborative environment than the Internet. Restricting that collaborative nature by an overly strict imposition of artificial monopolies on words, sounds and images is anathema.

Chris Dodd and Lamar Smith have made themselves two of the most hated men in America by their attempts to restrict Internet freedoms. The sooner that fact sinks in for them, the better for all.

Robert Clouse (profile) says:

President Obama's little copyright violation

On January 19th, at a Campaign Event, Obama sang a bit of Al Green’s 1971 Song, ‘Let’s stay together’. You can find the video of it in Youtube, Hulu, CNN, AP, and Metatube right now.

As Al Green is still alive now, it was a Copyright violation to sing any of this song. As his singing the song has raised the sales of that Al Green song by %490, I very much doubt that he will press charges for this.

President Obama signed the ACTA, making his singing that song then it going online, a open international violation of Al Green’s Copyright by that Treaty that the American People had no say about at all.

Now by that list of events, Obama can be charged in violation of the Law that he signed into effect, and every Website that has carried Obama singing that song can be blocked from entering the Internet, and any website that connects to any of those websites are required by that internation treaty to remove all links to those web sites as well. The Associated Press is linked to more than 1,700 Newspapers, more than 5001 television and radio broadcasters, in more than 120 nations. With ACTA that Obama signed, all other nations that joined it could cut the news services of their nation off the internet for his little song!

Obama singing that song would also be a violation of SOPA and PIPA if the internet protest had not work to greatly delay Congress from putting those laws into effect.

BTW, PIPA ansd SOPA are still alive, and no steps have been made to make them better or correct by the US Constitution in any way. Even ACTA is in violation of the Bill of Rights. I guess they are waiting until a political group with a Web site, like this one, is cut off for a copyright violation before a Supreme Court case can shot all three of them down. That might a bit too late.

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