Category: ‘Politics and Law’

Letter To NewsOK Regarding Ballot Access In OKlahoma Compared To Egypt

June 20, 2012 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Every once and a while, I send a letter to the editor of the Daily Oklahoman (or rather NewsOK.com). I think I have only ever had one turned down since it was too close to the last one I sent in. But I am always interested in seeing what edits they make before publishing the letter. Back in May, I wrote one about the state of ballot access in Oklahoma compared to Egypt. Here is the letter I sent to NewsOK:

During the week of May 21-25, Egyptians will get the long desired and much fought for opportunity to elect a new president for their nation. They paid for this opportunity with their blood. We as Americans and specifically Oklahomans cheered them on through their trials and protests to gain that right. As a result of their efforts, their blood, they will have the opportunity to choose a new President from a slate of thirteen candidates. Thirteen! How wonderful it must feel for these people to choose a president from such a wide array of view points representing the wide variety of people in their nation.

While we applaud them on in this wonderful demonstration of democracy in action, Oklahoma’s Senate is once again sitting on an opportunity to bring similar democracy to Oklahoma. For many years, the Oklahoma Legislature has been presented with bills that would have brought Egyptian level democracy to this state. Yet, every time it has been brought to a vote, someone stands in its way. This year, this has happened again.

This November, when Oklahomans take to the polls to elect the President, they will be presented with a ballot containing a grand total of two candidates for President. Two! What a contrast. Why should Egyptians be cheered on as they vote from thirteen candidates while we stand complacent voting from two? Why are we complacent in the illusion of democracy in this fine state?

This is the letter that was actually published:

Egyptians recently got the long-desired and much fought for opportunity to elect a new president for their nation. They paid for this opportunity with their blood. We Americans and specifically Oklahomans cheered them on through their trials and protests to gain that right. As a result of their efforts and their blood, they’ll have the opportunity to choose a new president from a slate of 13 candidates. Thirteen! How wonderful it must feel for these people to choose a president from such a wide array of viewpoints representing the wide variety of people in their nation.

While we applaud them on in this wonderful demonstration of democracy in action, Oklahoma is once again sitting on an opportunity to bring similar democracy to Oklahoma. For many years, the Legislature has been presented with bills that would have brought Egyptian-level democracy to this state. Yet every time it’s been brought to a vote, someone stands in its way. It happened again this year.

This November, when Oklahomans take to the polls to elect the president, they’ll be presented with a ballot containing a grand total of two candidates for president. Two! What a contrast. Why should Egyptians be cheered on as they vote from 13 candidates while we stand complacent voting from two? Why are we complacent in the illusion of democracy in this fine state?

Not really a bad edit job. I hope to write more to them and I need to write more here and on the other sites I run. Getting out of practice.

 

All Elections Shall Be Free And Equal, But Only If You Are A Democrat Or Republican

May 25, 2012 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Great Seal of The State of Oklahoma - 1907

All elections shall be free and equal.” – Oklahoma Constitution, Section III-5

There was a time once, when I thought that phrase meant something. Back when I was going to school learning about the political process in Civics class. You know, when you sit in learn about the American Revolution and what those Founding Fathers committed treason to obtain. They risked their lives and the lives of their families in order to bring about a system of government in which the people of the 13 Colonies could choose the people that represented their interests.

Can you imagine the pure determination and fear that must have run through the hearts and veins of those men as they each signed onto the Declaration of Independence? By signing that letter, they were putting themselves onto the top of England’s most wanted list. A list that was titled ‘Wanted, Dead or Alive.” These men then fought in a war to solidify their determination, their love of liberty, their desire to be ruled by the people for the people. Many people died in support of these treasonous heroes.

What would these men have to say if they were to have witnessed the actions of the Oklahoma government? What would they have said had they been in the room in 1974 when the Oklahoma Legislature wrote into law the Democratic and Republican parties? What would these men have said had they been in the room as those same people who were elected to represent the people of Oklahoma changed what was once a reasonable and fair law regarding the formation of new parties into the bastardization of the idea of fair representation we have now? What would these men have said as they witnessed the Oklahoma Legislature trample, ridicule and ignore the plight of Independent voters in this state? Perhaps they would have said something along these lines:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

That is certainly what they said when the English government repeatedly refused to acknowledge and listen to the pleas and petitions of the American people. Would they have said the same thing as they witnessed Oklahoma’s government do the same to the people of Oklahoma? I certainly think so. At the time, the English Government wasn’t a harsh ruler doling out punishments at will. No, it was simply an apathetic government which ignored the American Colonies in order to focus on building up the English Empire.

What we have right now in Oklahoma is an apathetic government. One that ignores the plight of the Oklahoma people in order to maintain and build up the empire of the two major parties, the Republican and Democratic parties. Let’s pause and think about the poetics of those two names. Both names are derived from the same roots of two words used to describe our system of government. A Democratic government is one in which all the people ruled under it have an equal voice in the affairs of the state. A Republic government is one in which the people elect representatives who represent the ideals of those who elect them. Both systems of government are built around the idea of equal representation. The Democratic government in which every voice is equal; the Republic government in which every person has an equal opportunity to elect a representative.

Think about that as you witness these two political parties usurp the will of the people. Think of that as you watch these two parties continually deny the people an equal voice in the affairs of this state. These two parties have become destructive to the unalienable rights of the people of this state. These two parties have decided that not everyone is created equal. These two parties have decided that they no longer derive their power by the will of the people. It is time we stopped them. It is time that we as a people, united, declared our independence from the rule of tyrants. It is time that we as a people, united, declared that we will no longer be satisfied for second class status.

I am tired of waiting for the Oklahoma Government to decide that it wants to give me back my right to be represented in our government. I am tired of sitting back and waiting for these two parties to decide to invite Independents out of the goodness of their hearts to participate in this Republic. It is time to declare our independence.

We have a system in this state in which the people can propose laws and the people can vote to enact them. This system was designed for times in which the people felt that the government could no longer be relied upon to do its duty. There are over 200,000 registered Independents in this state. We only need a bit over 100,000 signatures to declare a state question in which we can revert our election laws back to what can truly be called “free and equal”. We have the infrastructure to do this. It can be done.

What we need to do is put together an initiative petition to strike out the language that wrote the Republican and Democratic parties into law. We need to then revert the petition requirement to the original 5,000 that was required prior to 1974. Two very simple changes that will bring about a mountain of change in this state. That is my declaration of independence.

The State Of Elections In Oklahoma

April 26, 2012 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

The filing period for candidacy in Oklahoma ended on April 13 this year. I decided to take a look at just what type of November ballot we will have in Oklahoma this year. What I am going to do is go through each office and list the numbers of elected officials who will be “elected” at which stage of the process. For these purposes we have three stages:

  1. Uncontested – These are those who will take office simply because they filed for candidacy and no one else did. These are uncontested seats.
  2. Primary – These are those whose only challengers are within the same party. This means they will have won their seat after primary votes are cast.
  3. November – These are those who have a challenger outside their party and will be decided in November.

For statewide or federal races, I will actually list each office and when it will be decided. For state house and senate seats, I will simply list the abbreviated total results. You can see a list of all those who filed for candidacy at the State Election Board. Let’s get busy:

US Representative

  • District 1: November. 2 Republican, 1 Democrat and 1 Independent.
  • District 2: November. 6 Republicans, 2 Democrats and 1 Independent
  • District 3: November. 2Republicans, 2 Democrats and 1 Independent
  • District 4: November. 2 Republicans, 2 Democrats and 1 Independent
  • District 5: November. 1 Republican, 1 Democrat and 2 Independents

Corporation Commissioner

  • Long Term: Primary. Republican
  • Short Term: Uncontested. Republican

State Senate

The following is a list of all uncontested districts. All Uncontested districts are going to Republicans this year:

Districts: 19,21,23,29,35,47

The following are all districts that will be decided in the primaries. All these are going to Republicans this year:

Districts: 17,25,33,37,45

The following are all districts that will be on the November ballot. I have noted if there is an Independent on the ballot (I) or whether there is no Democrat (no D). All districts have at least on Republican running:

Districts: 1,3,5,7,9,11(I),13,15,27(I, no D),31,39,41(I),43

State House

The following are all uncontested Republican districts. 34 in all:

Districts: 5,9,10,11,30,31,33,35,38,40,41,43,46,50,52,54,55,57,58,61,62,67, 69,74,75,80,81,85,90,91,93,95,96,98

The following are all uncontested Democratic districts. 19 in all:

Districts: 1,4,6,7,8,13,15,17,19,24,34,44,65,73,77,89,92,94,97

The following are all districts decided in the Republican primary. 13 in all:

Districts: 25,39,49,53,59,63,64,68,70,79,82,84,100

The following are all districts decided in the Democratic primary. 1 in all:

District: 18

The following are all districts that will have a November election. 34 in all:

Districts: 2,3,12,14,16,20,21,22,23,26,27,28,29,32,36,37,42,45,47,48,51,56,60, 66,71,72,76,78,83,86,87,88,99,101

There are no Independents running in the State House.

Conclusion

Based on these numbers, it seems that when it comes to State politics, the vast majority of Oklahomans are not all that politically active. Just based on the State House numbers, Republicans are guaranteed a 47% presence in the house with the possibility of snagging another 34%. This means that Oklahoma will continue to have a Republican controlled House. It is not too surprising to see Democrats in the minority in all races this year. They will have only a guaranteed 20% presence in the House. They may capture some of the 34% up for grabs in November, but I doubt it will be enough to counter the guaranteed presence by the Republicans.

The 2010 election set Republicans in the majority in the Senate. This election looks to seal that majority for another 2 years at least. With 11 of the 24 seats going directly to Republicans with most likely a majority of the November elections going to Republicans, it will be difficult to out the Republican majority in 2014. Essentially, all the 24 seats in 2014 would have to go to non-Republican candidates in order to break their majority hold. Unfortunately, if this year and 2 years ago are any indication, that will be near impossible as most seats are either decided at filing or in the primaries.

Of all races this year there are only 9 Independents running, with 6 of those for US Representative. The state of Independents in this election is most likely a symptom of Oklahoma’s harsh ballot access laws. Since Oklahoma makes it prohibitively difficult to form new parties, many Independents are probably jaded toward the election process. This jaded attitude probably also explains why it has been so difficult to pass ballot access reform as well.

In the end, one thing is for sure, Republicans will continue to control the state government in all branches. We will continue to see a push furthering the Republican agenda. Some of it will be good. Some of it will be bad. But unless we can get a more politically active populace that is willing to challenge the status quo, we will not see real change in this state for at least another 2 years.

The ECA Hits The Streets Of DC

April 12, 2012 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Jenn, Me And Hal

From Left to Right: Jenn Mercurio, Me, Hal Halpin

Reposted from Game Politics.

In the last week of March, the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) took to Capital Hill to meet with members of Congress about SOPA, PIPA and other issues that effect gamers and game developers. The trip was spearheaded by ECA President, Hal Halpin, VP, Jennifer Mercurio and Advocacy Manager, Brett Schenker.  I had the opportunity to come, along with James Portnow of Extra Credits and Trevor and Josh Hughes of Add A Tudez Entertainment. Coming out of it, I think the event was very much a success.

While SOPA was one of the primary focuses of our various discussions, we did have some time to talk about other issues that effect gamers and game developers. So rather than just file down through everything that happened, what I would like to do is share a few things that really stuck with me after the event.

On the topic of SOPA, we had some very good discussions with the offices of key members of the SOPA opposition. These was a staff member from Zoe Lofgren‘s office, Representative Jared Polis, and a staff member of Jason Chaffetz‘s office. The discussions we had about SOPA were very encouraging. Each person we talked to expressed their desire to continue the fight against SOPA like legislation. They all expected it to come back in some form or another, so they want us all to be aware and keep watch. They know that it was the efforts of the wider internet community that made the difference back in January.

On to the subject of PIPA, the Senate’s version of SOPA, the only player from this side of the debate that I had the opportunity to visit with was a staff member of Senator Tom Coburn‘s office. If you recall, Senator Coburn was one of the supporters of PIPA prior to the January protests. Right around the time of the protest, he pulled his support for the bill. This was a major blow against the bill, as Coburn sits on the Technology Subcommittee. Based on the discussion we had, it would seem that Coburn pulled his support because he did not fully appreciate what was in the bill. The conversation was primarily a fact finding mission from his office. They wanted to know more about piracy and how it affects game consumers and game developers big and small. In the future, I think we could probably count on Senator Coburn to be a voice of reason in the debate.

Now onto some other points of interest.

Back in Representative Lofgren’s office, one of the topics that came up was a general reform of copyright, particularly revolving around the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). We were asked what we would want to see happen with the DMCA and copyright to bring it back into balance with the public. One of the key points was reform of the DMCA takedown process. Right now, this process is very much weighted against fair use and free speech. There is also very little in the way of discouraging abuse of the process. Based on the conversation we had, I would hope to see some reforms being introduced in the near future. Of course, like any reform of copyright that is not 100% in favor of large entertainment companies, this type of reform will be fought hard by the MPAA and the RIAA. So when we do see it introduced, we need to show our support for it in much the same way we showed our opposition to SOPA.

The next really interesting bit of discussion came while visiting with Representative Chaffetz’s office. While we were talking about SOPA and other issues, Chaffetz’s staffer told us a story that recently happened on Capital Hill. Nintendo was there, presumably about the recent DMCA anti-circumvention exceptions approval process. As you may recall, one of the exceptions asked for this year is the ability to jailbreak a game console to allow for extra functionality to run on it. Nintendo was there showing off how DS carts like the R4 work and trying to explain how evil they are. While they were showing it off, Chaffetz’s staffer was looking at it and thought it was a pretty neat device. He then asked Nintendo’s reps if they have similar functionality available legitimately for the handheld. When asked that, Nintendo’s reps looked at him as if he asked them something completely insane. Our conversation with the Staffer then went on about how jailbreaking and things like the R4 allow for so much more than just piracy. Things like homebrew software, other operating systems, importing games and format shifting legally owned games are all possible. This really interested the staffer. So while we still don’t know if we will get an exception for jailbreaking game consoles, we now know just how much effort console companies are putting in to put a stop to it.

So those are the most interesting things that I got to participate in. There was another set of visits that I didn’t get to attend that probably have their own cool things discussed, as there were two teams holding meetings. Perhaps James, Josh or Trevor will have something to share from their points of view. I think the trip was fun and very much worth it. When the ECA plans another one, I hope to be able to attend that one as well.

Check out Josh Hughes’ write up about our trip to DC.

Why I Dropped Godaddy Like A Plagued Rat

December 27, 2011 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Back in 2006, I registered my first domain, this one you are reading on. I wanted a website to show off the work I have done and promote myself to future employers. I decided on the name fairly easy based on some advice from my father-in-law. Once I had figured out what domain to register, I chose my registrar. Because of my fairly naive nature at the time, I chose Godaddy. Not because I liked its service over the competition, but because it was the only registrar I really knew of at the time.

Over the years I registered several other domains through them. I was fairly happy with the level of service Godaddy provided. Sure, the UI was clunky and convoluted, but it was usable at least. I never had a real reason to complain. That changed in the last couple of years though.

Over the last few years, I really learned just how anti-consumer Godaddy was. There were rumors that Godaddy was driving the cost of domain auctions up. They also had a propensity to block access to domains under dubious circumstances, such as RateMyCop and PhotoAttorney. Then there was the controversy of Godaddy CEO killing elephants, although the actual events didn’t bother me as much as the downplaying that followed.

But all that was just a prelude to the real problem. Even with all that controversy and all those problems, I never really had a strong resolve to transfer all my domains away. That is I didn’t have that resolve until this year. You see, this year came the horrid tripe of a bill called SOPA. Yes there is also an equally bad version in the Senate called Protect IP (PIPA). Both of these came with it strong support from one major domain registrar, Godaddy. Yes Godaddy supported SOPA/PIPA.

It was this that led me to finally make the move and transfer my domain. As of 12/27/2011, My domains are in the process of transfer. I am just waiting for Godaddy to finalize them. Now I realize that Godaddy, after seeing the outrage from domain owners, has “changed” its mind on the subject. While their lip service is nice and all, it lacks any meat that would help rectify the concerns of the greater internet community. Take the following paragraph as an example:

“Fighting online piracy is of the utmost importance, which is why Go Daddy has been working to help craft revisions to this legislation – but we can clearly do better,” Warren Adelman, Go Daddy’s newly appointed CEO, said. “It’s very important that all Internet stakeholders work together on this. Getting it right is worth the wait. Go Daddy will support it when and if the Internet community supports it.”

Just looking at that paragraph, it clearly shows that Godaddy still supports the general idea behind SOPA and is willing to try to work to make it more palatable to the internet users. However, there is no way to change SOPA that would appease those that create the useful services online. There is certainly nothing that could be done to appease me. Next we have this little gem:

“As a company that is all about innovation, with our own technology and in support of our customers, Go Daddy is rooted in the idea of First Amendment Rights and believes 100 percent that the Internet is a key engine for our new economy,” said Adelman.

You see, if Godaddy really felt this way, why would they even support SOPA in the first place. Even in its current amended form, it still harms the innovation and security of the internet. It was even worse 3 months ago when Godaddy supported it. Why would it just now suddenly see the light? Oh. That’s right, 10s of thousands of domains have been transferred over the last few days. Finally, we have this little number:

In changing its position, Go Daddy remains steadfast in its promise to support security and stability of the Internet. In an effort to eliminate any confusion about its reversal on SOPA though, Jones has removed blog postings that had outlined areas of the bill Go Daddy did support.

While i feel that any company or person can run their blog the way they want, I think deleting the entire blog posts on the topic of SOPA support was a bad move, It would have been far better if they had simply left them be with a simple redaction at the top pointing to the most recent blog posts on why they changed their minds. It would have certainly let people make a more informed decision on whether to continue to support Godaddy.

With all that said, I am still transferring my domains. Godaddy will no longer get any money from me. I recommend that all that currently do use Godaddy to transfer their domains and support a business that truly supports the internet and those that make it valuable.

If you need help in the transfer process, my friend, John Paul Sherman, pointed me to this article on the transfer process. While that article transfers domains from Godaddy to NameCheap, I transferred mine to Dreamhost, which strongly opposes SOPA, because I have my hosting there and have already registered a domain with them.

So when it comes down to it, SOPA is bad and it makes toxic any company that supports it. It doesn’t matter what happens afterward, that company cannot be trusted ever again.

Why Is Our Logo Censored?

November 29, 2011 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

You may have noticed that our logo is censored with a link pointing to American Censorship. You will see the same thing at Divine Knight Gaming, Random Tower and Mormon Libertarian.There is an interesting story about it.

What is happening is the US government at the behest of a number of media companies such as the RIAA, MPAA and the ESA are working to pass some of the worst copyright legislation in US history. These two bills are titled “Stop Online Piracy Act” in the House and “Protect Intellectual Property Act” in the Senate. What these bills hope to accomplish is a reduction in movie, music, game and software piracy as well as reduce counterfeit goods from entering the US.

They hope to achieve these goals by giving sweeping power to the US Attorney General and copyright holders the ability to prevent ad providers, credit card processing firms and DNS providers from working with websites that are “dedicated to infringing activities”. These bills would also make it illegal to stream or upload any video or song that is covered by copyright that you do not have rights to.

Sadly, these bills will be used to censor a lot more than copyright infringement. Under these bills, sites like YouTube, Twitter, Flicker, Facebook  and any other site that allows users to upload content will be liable if anyone uploads copyrighted materials without permission. That means that if someone uploads a video to YouTube that infringes a copyright, movie studios would be able to have all of YouTubes services cut off and whole swaths of legal content will be censored as a result.

That isn’t even the worst of it. Currently under the DMCA, copyright holders can only ask for certain content to be removed. If the site owner removes said content they maintain what is called “safe harbor” protections. This prevents the site owner from being sued for copyright infringement for something a user of the site did. This is a good thing for sites like YouTube because safe harbors have allowed it to continue to operate and be a vessel of free speech for millions of people.

Under SOPA, all that goes away. Now, it doesn’t matter what the site owner does, they will have no safe harbor to protect them. If only one person uploads a copyrighted song or video, the whole site is gone even if the rest of the millions of videos are perfectly legal.

Additionally, SOPA and PROTECT-IP have no punishment for false accusations. A copyright holder can have a site removed and if it turns out to be a completely legal site, there is no punishment for the false takedown. Nothing happens to that copyright holder. That is beyond bad. There should be some kind of punishment such as a fine of $150,000 per false takedown. But no. They can get away with it.

One last thing I would like to share is that under these laws there is also no court involved. Copyright holders can just fire off letters at will to ISPs, DNS providers, Credit card companies and ad companies and those companies have to follow the law or they can be prosecuted for copyright infringement that had ZERO to do with them. This is absurd on a major level. These companies are completely neutral in all this but they run the risk of being prosecuted themselves if they don’t comply. Not with a court order, but with a letter from some random person or company. If a court were involved, these copyright holders would have to prove that the site is actually infringing before anything could happen, but the content industries don’t want to have to get a court order. They feel it is too much work.

In the end, these laws are not about stopping piracy. These laws are about unloading the burden of policing the content of copyright holders like those under the RIAA, MPAA and ESA onto third parties that have absolutely no power to control what users of the internet do. They don’t want to have to do the work themselves.

These bills need to stop now before they can be voted into law. Using the link provided at the beginning of this post and that can be found by clicking the black bar over our logo, you can contact your Senators and Congressman and tell them not to vote for this legislation. Tell them that you like our internet as it is.

You can also Contact those in Congress and support an organization that is dedicated to gamers by visiting the ECA:

Don’t Let Congress Censor the Internet

You can find more information about these bills at the following location:

The Definitive Post On Why SOPA And Protect IP Are Bad, Bad Ideas
Congress considers anti-piracy bills that could cripple Internet industries

This Week on Techdirt: Nov. 21 – 23

November 26, 2011 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

This week was a short week because of Thanksgiving but I did manage to get out 4 posts and a mention in the favorites post by Mike Masnick. So here they are:

Potential Patent Infringement Threatens To Doom Highly Anticipated Open Source Project

John Carmack had plans to release the source code of Doom 3  to the open source community, but it was delayed because of an old patent infringement threat. Everything worked out in the end because he was able to work around the code. The same can not be said for Linux and Android who are being threatened by Microsoft over patents it refuses to disclose.

How Do You Promote A Bad DRM Scheme? With A Bad Movie Of Course

Warner’s Ultraviolet DRM is a piece of crap and in an attempt to promote its use, Warner decided to give away free digital copies of Batman Forever with the video game Batman: Arkham City. No joke.

New Research Shows Movie And Game Piracy On The Rise, But Won’t Tell Us How It Knows

Research firm Evisional has released some piracy statistics for the UK and found that game, movie, tv and software piracy is on the rise. Music piracy is on the decline. Sadly, there is no information on how they determined this so we can’t verify the numbers.

Game Developers Sue Baidu Over Links To Infringing Content

A bunch of Chinese game developers are suing the Chinese search giant Baidu for copyright infringement. What is Baidu’s crime? Linking to games that can be downloaded. There are no files hosted with Baidu. The links just show up in search results. The game developers need to learn from the music industry which entered a licensing deal with Baidu.

So that’s it for this week. Keep an eye out for more.

This week on Techdirt: Nov. 14 – 18

November 19, 2011 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

This week is a rather short week. I didn’t have a lot of time to write new articles. So, there are only two of mine and one from the ECA. Doesn’t really change the importance of the topics discussed, so let’s jump right in.

Gamex Pulls The Welcome Mat Out From Under The Pirate Party

The Swedish Pirate Party was invited to the Swedish game show Gamex. Just a week before the show, after they have paid for  their booth and have been featured on advertising for the show, the people running the show told them they weren’t invited. Apparently someone wasn’t very happy about the Pirate Party’s presence and pressured the show to lock them out. It wasn’t a blanket ban on political speech as another political group was allowed there.

Everyone Freak Out! Gangs Have Discovered The Internet!

Yes. Gangs have discovered the internet. The National Gang Assessment Center does an annual study on gangs and what they are up to. This year got some attention in the game world because the study mentioned Second Life, a popular MMO, as a tool gangs use to communicate. I delved in a bit deeper into the whole section on technology that basically says that gangs are using the internet to communicate. You know, just like everybody else. This isn’t some new thing, it just seems the federal government is a few years behind everyone else in figuring this out.

SOPA/PROTECT IP Would Be Hideously Bad For Video Gamers

This one wasn’t written by me. This is from Jennifer Mercurio of the ECA. I had asked the ECA to write up a guest article on why SOPA would be bad for gamers and this is what they sent over. Great stuff. I am extremely glad that I had the opportunity to work with the ECA for a number of years and still keep in touch with them. It’s nice to have connections.

So that’s it for this week. I have a few new articles lined up for next week so keep an eye out.

This Month on Techdirt: Oct 10 – Nov 9

November 13, 2011 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

So I have been bad. I meant to focus on these articles on a weekly basis and have been slacking this past month. It is not that I have not been busy, but I have neglected my blog for the most part. I did get out an announcement of my new book, Random Battles, and write an open letter to my Congressman and Senators. So there is that. Plus this month had a whole lot of articles on Techdirt. So here we go.

Netflix Kills Qwikster Before It Has A Chance To Live

Netflix made the mistake of trying to break its DVD by mail service from its streaming service without taking into consideration what their customers actually wanted. That turned out to be a bad idea and they backed out.

Barnes & Noble Doesn’t Get Digital DC Comics, Throws Hissy Fit

Barnes & Noble and Amazon are in a bit of a war over digital comics. Amazon won exclusive rights to a segment of DC’s digital line. So in retaliation, B&N removed all the physical copies of those comics form their shelves citing a policy of “make available any book, anywhere, anytime” Yeah, I don’t get how tis move complies with that either.

Universal Backs Away From Planned $60 VOD Release Of Tower Heist

Who knew that charging $60 to watch a movie one time was a bad idea? Oh, right, everyone except Universal. (more…)

Open Letter On E-PARASITE/PROTECT IP

October 27, 2011 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

Dear ‘Representative’,

I know you really don’t care about looking after the interests of the people of this nation. You continue to pass regulations that kill jobs, destroy our Constitutional rights and slaughter our economy. I have already expressed my frustration to you by sending a letter explaining why I will not vote for you and will actively campaign for those who truly wish to uphold their oath of office to uphold the Constitution and defend our rights. You do not deserve another term in office and will not get one.

The actions of you and many of your colleagues in office have shown further proof that you are corrupt and beyond repair. Recently, you voted to extend the PATRIOT Act to continue the erosion of our Constitutional rights. Most recently, you have shown a disregard for the public by ignoring the protests throughout the nation and failing to put a stop to the abuses by the state and local governments who continue to target citizens of this nation for exercising their Constitutional right to peaceably assemble and petition the Government for a redress of their grievances.

But most recently, your colleagues in Congress have put together a bill proposal that seeks to implement one of the most Fascist laws to date. This bill is known as PROTECT IP and/or PIPA in the Senate and is now known as E-PARASITE and/or SOPA in the House. This bill seeks to implement a China/Iran/Syrria style internet firewall around the US. Not under some grand scheme to protect our national ideals or interests, but to prop up the failing business models of legacy copyright middlemen and protect them from international competition. Do you really want the US to be compared to those nations or do you want the US to be the standard bearer of freedom that we once were?

For as long as copyright has existed, those who build their business around the monopoly control of the same have railed against new advances in technology that threaten that same control. The earliest known examples are the scribes who made a living off hand writing copies of documents and books when Gutenberg introduces the printing press. Other examples include the gramophone, the player piano, the radio, film, television, the VCR and now the internet. PROTECT IP/E-PARASITE is nothing more than the death throws of a legacy industry whose business is built around 100% of the production and distribution chain of entertainment, has been threatened by advances in internet technology. Entertainment itself is not threatened. There is more movies, music, games and books being produced today than ever before. But if you only listen to legacy gatekeepers you would not believe such.

The internet has led a revolution of content production that we never would have dreamed of 30 years ago. More people can produce today and get instant access to an audience because of the way the internet currently functions. This is what has the legacy industry scrambling to pass E-PARASITE/PROTECT IP. This ability for music/movie/game/book creators to self publish through a myriad of internet services both US based and internationally based is costing the legacy gatekeepers money. Regardless of their rhetoric, they are not seeking to do anything that benefits the creators of entertainment, they are seeking to prop up their gatekeeper status for a few more years.

If this bill passes, we will see a destruction of the growth in entertainment as the tools and services that self published entertainers rely on are blocked for US consumers. Those who want to connect directly with fans without having to rely on legacy gatekeepers will be shut off from many of the most popular means of distribution all because you as our ‘Representative’ want to continue the failed policies of crony capitalism rather than let the free markets work as intended. The Free Market has already all but disappeared in the physical realm and now you are seeking to do the same in the digital realm.

If you value your position in Congress in any way, you will vote down this latest attempt to trample to rights of US citizens and cull yourself of all traces of crony capitalism. You are beyond redemption in my eyes at this time, but every effort you take to make the job of cleaning up your mess from the true patriot who is elected in your place will be greatly appreciated.

Once again enjoy the time you have left in office.

Zachary Knight

Sent to Senators Tom Coburn, James Inhofe and Representative Tom Cole

For more information on just how bad PROTECT IP/E-PARASITE is check out these articles on the topic at Techdirt.