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Savebetamax.org National Call-in Day

timothy posted about 10 years ago | from the they-want-to-save-the-boston-strangler dept.

United States 249

Rinisari writes "Savebetamax.org, a project of Downhill Battle, has set up a national call-in day for September 14th. They ask that on that day, each person signed up call a specific congressperson about the INDUCE act in an effort to keep a steady stream of calls all day. The "Save Betamax" nomenclature comes from the fact that the INDUCE act could reverse the decision in the 1984 Sony v. Universal case regarding Sony's Betamax VTRs and copying of copyrighted movies."

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249 comments

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I think the message I saw is apropos (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231016)

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

Yawn! Who cares?

Wrong! (5, Insightful)

BalorTFL (766196) | about 10 years ago | (#10231058)

This is perhaps one of the most important legal battles in this area for quite a while. If the Betamax decision is overturned, it will be an enormous setback to proponents of fair use. As for the INDUCE act? Not only is it full of ridiculously vague wording, but it boggles the mind in terms of the rights it would take away. If it passes, things could change in a big way . . . and not for the good of the people, but for the good of the big corporations backing it.

Re:Wrong! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231180)

Get real. The real constituents of Congress are the rich and powerful mafi^H I mean "entrepreneurs". Don't think for a moment that calling or writing your congressmen will do any good. You see, most congressmen are businessmen, or at least have strong ties with businessmen. As consumers, they share the pain of the laws they pass. Writing to them will tell them what they already know. Unlike you, they will gain financially by passing these laws. If they are convinced that passing stricter copyright enforcement laws will make them (indirectly) rich there's nothing your little letter will do. That's the truth, plain and simple.

Happy 9/11!

Finally! (5, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | about 10 years ago | (#10231018)

A chance to slashdot congress!

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

i love pineapples (742841) | about 10 years ago | (#10231049)

A chance to slashdot congress!

Well, just think... I know not everyone here on /. is an American, but if we can take a server down, we're very likely to get somebody in Congress's attention.

Re:Finally! (1, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | about 10 years ago | (#10231374)

But that "somebody" will be not a senator, but just a lowly sysadmin. And that sysadmin will not even report the problem upstream because then he will be blamed for inadequate maintenance and configuration...

Re:Finally! (3, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about 10 years ago | (#10231386)

RTFA. :) It's a phone-in campaign. Unless he also works the phones, the sysadmin will not notice.

Re:Finally! (4, Informative)

Jordy (440) | about 10 years ago | (#10231450)

What is really annoying is that this Act is supported by Barbara Boxer (California Democrat). For some reason California's Senators are extremely anti-tech industry and yet they keep getting elected. The movie/music industry is big, but it doesn't hold a candle to the tech/consumer electronics industries in CA.

I just don't get it. I hope we do slashdot them. Heck, you can hit the EFF Action Center [eff.org] and faxslashdot them.

I tried to publicise it. (1, Informative)

caluml (551744) | about 10 years ago | (#10231019)

I modded this comment [slashdot.org] up, but some kind souls modded it down again.

Re:I tried to publicise it. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231185)

By "publicise", do you mean, "I modded up a comment I posted as Anonymous Coward?"

Re:I tried to publicise it. (1)

Aero Leviathan (698882) | about 10 years ago | (#10231254)

Yes... I believe that's what he means. Why?

Why? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231025)

I mean who cares, it's dead technology, superceded by many other forms of recordable media.

RTFA and blurb (2, Informative)

frankthechicken (607647) | about 10 years ago | (#10231072)

Then read the actual ruling [findlaw.com] .

It would be madness if Hollywood et al got their way, if only because as the article stated, Hollywood benefitted enourmously from sales of VCR.

Re:RTFA and blurb (3, Insightful)

buford_tannen (555867) | about 10 years ago | (#10231241)

It would be madness if Hollywood et al got their way, if only because as the article stated, Hollywood benefitted enourmously from sales of VCR.

Yes, it would be madness. But Hollywood doesn't care.

Now it is possible for them to sell read-only playback devices (such as the DVD) and if they ban all DVD-R, CD-R (+/-RW etc etc) then it won't affect their bottom line in the least. They can still profit from home videos that people can still play, but no one can record anything, except the organized criminals with their shops full of equipment... and people with legacy equipment. And once NTSC and PAL have been replaced by newer digital formats, that legacy equipment will become mostly useless. Hollywood would like nothing better.

You better stand up for your rights, or they're gonna kick you in the scrote.

Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen

Re:Why? (1)

A1kmm (218902) | about 10 years ago | (#10231075)

It is also a supreme court precedent which defends some quite reasonable fair use rights, such as the right to record and time-shift a broadcast.

already signed up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231028)

i'm calling at 3:20 pm this tuesday

Obligiatory Simpsons Quote (-1, Offtopic)

ryg0r (699756) | about 10 years ago | (#10231030)

Snake: Ughhh, Beta.

In all honesty, it just shows that the better format doesn't always win. This can be linked very easily to the Ogg vs MP3 debate, the CD vs Vinyl war and the water colour vs Oil Pastels.

Re:Obligiatory Simpsons Quote (5, Insightful)

atrader42 (687933) | about 10 years ago | (#10231085)

And this, boys and girls, is why we at least read the description of the article, even if we don't RTFA. We're trying to save the right to fair use on media, not trying to save the abandoned video format.

Re:Obligiatory Simpsons Quote (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231128)

Way to be a dumbass, dumbass!

Read the damn article next time.. hell, read the damn slashdot synopsis.

Retards are all over Slashdot!

Re:Obligiatory Simpsons Quote (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231171)

Damn straight! I'm always getting pissed off at those uppity neighbor kids who act all high and mighty with their fucking pastel paintings. My water colors kick their asses!

Re:Obligiatory Simpsons Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231262)

It's more like Digital 8 vs. MiniDV, or Minidisc versus, well, whatever the various alternatives are. It's another case of Sony creating a proprietary format that may be superior to the competition, but is only available with Sony machines so is doomed to fail.

First thought... (5, Funny)

chill (34294) | about 10 years ago | (#10231032)

...was "damn, are they DECADES to late! These Sony BetaMax nuts are worse than Mac people or Amiga owners -- and that is saying something."

Re:First thought... (0)

SimonInOz (579741) | about 10 years ago | (#10231110)

Er - have you actually read what this is about?

It's got NOTHING to do with Betamax, the long-dead (who cares now if it was technically superior?) format.

It's about keeping the rights to record stuff.

In case you haven't noticed, Hollywood is trying to take the limited rights you currently have away. They want CONTROL over every recording of everything in the world. Even if the artist is long dead (eg Walt Disney .. I haven't heard about them trying for Shakespeare, but it's only a matter of time, surely)

And that's what this is all about - try reading it.

Re:First thought... (1)

MrP- (45616) | about 10 years ago | (#10231210)

Maybe you should try reading reading the posters subject "First thought...", it was his first impression, he knows what it is..

Maybe you should also aquire a sense of humor

Re:First thoughtless (1)

SimonInOz (579741) | about 10 years ago | (#10231409)

Oh, sorry. That was my first thought on reading [reading .. is there an echo in here?] that comment ...

I should aquire [shouldn't that be acquire - sorry] a sense of humour? Oh, so you know I'm not American then?

Could the come up with a worse name? (4, Insightful)

MarkusQ (450076) | about 10 years ago | (#10231437)


Honestly, could they come up with a worse name? (Well yeah, now that I think about it, I guess they could. But still.)

The names (downhill battle, save betamax, etc.) almost sound like they're trying to turn people off to their cause--which, by the way, I agree with. Why couldn't they call it "Fair use" or "Save our constitutional rights from corporate greed!" or something.

Even "File swappers for truth" or "ShareOn.org" (both of which suck) would be better names than what they're using.

-- MarkusQ

Actually Beta is quite Popular (1)

acomj (20611) | about 10 years ago | (#10231546)

Beta Max is used all over for TV news. (Although there switching.)

I've been at CBS NY and AP/TV London and almost all the editing decks are beta.

They also have a new "digital Beta" or something like that. Equipment costs are so much most stations are switching to other stuff..

They'll call this terrorism. (5, Funny)

rokzy (687636) | about 10 years ago | (#10231034)

a conspiracy to affect communications and actions of the country's leaders.

who the hell do these people think they are anyway deserving the attention of congressmen? they don't even pay the campaign bills.

Re:They'll call this terrorism. (3, Insightful)

Virtuoso(ViP) (812450) | about 10 years ago | (#10231325)

Maybe because the congressmen are supposed to represent the people who elected them and not the people who bribe them?

-Virt

Not the INDUCE act again... (5, Insightful)

Silverlancer (786390) | about 10 years ago | (#10231045)

Considering what the RIAA is doing, music, movie, and other media companies shouldn't be given any privledges at all, nevermind the ability to veto technologies because they don't like them...

Re:Not the INDUCE act again... (2, Interesting)

Ironsides (739422) | about 10 years ago | (#10231322)

Have you ever heard of Larry Niven's "ARM"? In his stories they are the technology police of the UN (who run the planet) and are charged with suppressing all new dangerous technology. (Read as any new technology period). They are the most corrupt organization in his stories.

On Slashdot! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231047)

I have been waiting for this to get to slashdot! Now we should have enough calls on Tuesday

What happens then? (2, Funny)

usefool (798755) | about 10 years ago | (#10231048)

If Betamax was really saved by this project, what's going to happen?

Re:What happens then? (1)

wwwillem (253720) | about 10 years ago | (#10231517)

If Betamax was really saved by this project, what's going to happen?

Then we'll get all our TV broadcasts in LDTV :-). A bit more seriously, Betamax probably failed by superiour quality and lack of porn. At least that's what happened to the V2000 system (the third one in this battle) brought to the market by Philips (my employer). Superior quality, but the traditional family owners didn't want to support "pink tapes". Result: the technology failed.

Uhhh (5, Funny)

Frogbert (589961) | about 10 years ago | (#10231050)

Umm the 80's called... they want their format back.

Re:Uhhh (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#10231069)

We have to admire Betamax. It died way too young... but without what it did at the Supreme Court, VHS and DVRs might not be considered "fair use" and therefore might not have even been born.

Ummm, the 90s called... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231086)

...they want their joke back.

Uhhhh, a mime called... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231281)

Re:Uhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231440)

This is only funny the first million times. Jesus.

Re:Uhhh (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 years ago | (#10231536)

soon they'll call and want their freedoms back.

We've heard this song before... (5, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#10231051)

We've heard from these Downhill Battle people before. They proposed the a scheme to try to collect Apple/Pepsi winning-cap codes for iTunes downloads [studioqb.com] that neglected the fact that there were limits to how many songs a given person could download, neglected the fact that the rules said non-transferable, and that the group didn't disclose just how they selected the artists they wanted to favor.

In short, these guys come up with nice ideas that don't work due to real world constraints.

Re:We've heard this song before... (5, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | about 10 years ago | (#10231491)

In short, these guys come up with nice ideas that don't work due to real world constraints.

Oh, they're libertarians?

Re:We've heard this song before... (1)

tycheng (812904) | about 10 years ago | (#10231520)

I don't think the point of the iTunes Recycler was to play by Apple's rules, although they did have a plan to do the recycling and to pick the artists, so that's not the point of the project. I think the point of Downhill Battle projects is to get people involved and to show that working together on a project could make a really big statement to the big guys and actually do something, while messing with the big guys' games.

Why all in one day? (4, Interesting)

A1kmm (218902) | about 10 years ago | (#10231053)

Wouldn't it be better to spread it out over a long period of time, otherwise they will know it is an organised compaign and will just disregard the calls? Is there any advantage to do this all in one day whatsoever?

Re:Why all in one day? (3, Insightful)

i love pineapples (742841) | about 10 years ago | (#10231111)

Wouldn't it be better to spread it out over a long period of time, otherwise they will know it is an organised compaign and will just disregard the calls?

I agree; Correct me if I have a fundamental misunderstanding of how calling a politican works, but if 1,000 people call Mr./Ms. Senator in a day, whoever records these types of calls will probably end up becoming annoyed/overloaded/whatever and is likely to dismiss the high volume... If the 1,000 calls are made over, say, a few months' time, wouldn't it be more likely that each call is recorded and reported?

Re:Why all in one day? (2, Interesting)

qbwiz (87077) | about 10 years ago | (#10231223)

Isn't it likely that if the phone calls were spread out over time, they would be more likely to be forgotten and underestimated? If the previous phone call about an issue was a few days ago, you might not really link the two in your mind and figure out the strong support for an issue. If they all come at once, it's relatively easy to notice that there is strong support for an issue - you've been dealing with people who care about it all day.

Re:Why all in one day? (3, Insightful)

i love pineapples (742841) | about 10 years ago | (#10231484)

If they all come at once, it's relatively easy to notice that there is strong support for an issue - you've been dealing with people who care about it all day.

True, if the phone calls are few and far between. If the phones are ringing off the hooks for days, then maybe the congressperson might take notice, but wouldn't a single day of calls be forgotten after weeks of relative silence? I'd think a steady stream of daily calls would be much more memorable, and much less likely leave a negative impression. Remember that the person answering the phone is probably some underpaid staff, and as another poster said, it's bad idea to piss off the congressperson's staff.

Re:Why all in one day? (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#10231114)

If Congress was actually in session, it might cause congresscritters to talk about the fact that their office phone people are getting overloaded.

Of course, annoying a congresscritter's staff is a good way to NOT get whatever you want. Staff members sometimes have the critical influence over the congresscritter they work for on technical issues they don't understand.

Re:Why all in one day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231255)

If the goal is to maximize publicity for your "organization" then you would prefer not to spread them out.

Re:Why all in one day? (1)

realdpk (116490) | about 10 years ago | (#10231329)

"Is there any advantage to do this all in one day whatsoever?"

Well, as it is completely futile (unless you can figure out how to send a big check immediately while making that voice call), it makes sense to get it over with as quickly as possible.

I just signed up.... (3, Insightful)

Rageon (522706) | about 10 years ago | (#10231060)

Call me crazy, but wouldn't it have been usefull to have listed the time zone the assigned time is for? You think that might come in handy for something like this.

Re:I just signed up.... (1)

Zathras26 (763537) | about 10 years ago | (#10231108)

This type of phone call usually (not always) goes to your legiscritter's office in Washington, DC, so East Coast time, most likely.

Coral cache (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231079)

http://www.savebetamax.org.nyud.net:8090/ [nyud.net]
http://www.downhillbattle.org.nyud.net:8090/ [nyud.net]
http://www.virtualrecordings.com.nyud.net:8090/bet amax.htm [nyud.net]

c'mon people.. we talk about using coral to prevent killing webservers, then we don't use it in the main post.
get with it! =)

Re:Coral cache (2, Informative)

realdpk (116490) | about 10 years ago | (#10231406)

The last half dozen coral links I've used, for slashdotted articles and non-slashdotted articles, have been basically down or so extremely slow as to be not worthwhile.

So, this means (4, Informative)

jdreed1024 (443938) | about 10 years ago | (#10231081)

... I can watch my old Betamax tapes again? Good, I hate Congress interfering with my video formats. Next thing you know, they'll make DVD+R illegal, and only DVD-R formats will be allowed!

No, seriously, they could have chosen a better name. "Save Betamax" doesn't mean shit to Joe Consumer (How many people actually remember that decision?). If you phrase it as "They're going to make it illegal to set your VCR to tape a show while you're away on vacation", that'll mean a lot more, although it would be a crappy domain name. But I'll be calling anyway, and you all should too. Write letters to the editors of your local papers,while you're at it.

It's hard to fight (3, Insightful)

thewldisntenuff (778302) | about 10 years ago | (#10231083)

800,000 geeks vs $800,000 (campaign donations?)

It's be great if it'd work, but it's hard to beat the money of the big corporations....The more I read the news, the more I see the big boys on the hill getting in on this....

Scary stuff it is...

Re:It's hard to fight (4, Interesting)

MrP- (45616) | about 10 years ago | (#10231109)

800,000 geeks vs $800,000

Why don't each of us donate $5 or something.. i think $4,000,000 is a little more than $800,000 =P

Re:It's hard to fight (1)

DrEldarion (114072) | about 10 years ago | (#10231249)

Because getting even 1/100th of those to actually call would be a challenge, let alone getting people to actually put their money where their mouths are.

Re:It's hard to fight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231324)

i wasnt being serious, i dont even know where he got that 800,000 number from, only like 1300 people signed up at the site last time i checked

i was just trying to point out that there should be something better than a call-in day

Re:It's hard to fight (4, Insightful)

jeffkjo1 (663413) | about 10 years ago | (#10231258)

800,000 geeks vs $800,000 (campaign donations?)

It'd be great if it'd work, but it's hard to beat the money of the big corporations....The more I read the news, the more I see the big boys on the hill getting in on this....


Ask any politician which he would prefer: 1000 voters going to the polls, or $10,000 (extra '0'.) You'd be hard pressed to find one that would take the money. Interest groups for corporations hold power, but there aren't 1000 Jack Valenti's in each and every district to vote for Congressman X.

Easier to lose a political fight by never trying. (1)

jbn-o (555068) | about 10 years ago | (#10231373)

What's easy is getting someone to lose by giving up before they have tried doing anything to fix the situation. After all, laziness and apathy pay off now. Trying may never pay off.

Here's hoping that there are many people who understand that political activism requires more direct action than spouting off on Slashdot. Calling and writing your Congresspeople are a step in the right direction.

Well, what do you expect? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231121)

The public has been behaving very badly with respect to acknowledging the copyright of the hard working people in the movie and music industry. It's not surprising or unfair that they're reacting in this way. You've all been given a chance to use digital copying technology in a responsible way, and you've failed miserably. Like gun control, it is sometimes necessary to protect consumers from their own destructive and self-serving tendencies that threaten to destroy our society. With freedom comes a degree responsibilty, and unless and until the public proves it can be responsible with the technology, they shouldn't be allowed the privlege to usilize it.

Re:Well, what do you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231202)

When a record exec can't afford a third mansion the terrorists win!

Intent of the law (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231139)

I hear alot of people claiming that the intent of the law is only to go after so called bad actors, and will not be used against VCR makers or computer makers. What those people forget is that in court, the intent of the law doesn't matter, only the actual wording. Anyone using the intent of the law as a defense in court will lose and possibly be laughed out of court. That means this law will be used to sue Apple, Intel, IBM, and Microsoft for making general purpose computing hardware. Even with the new wording, the EFF mock complaint against the ipod is still valid, as apple could have used "reasonable measures" such as only allowing the ipod to play DRM encoded files and have Itunes verify the CD is a pressed CD and not burned before allowing any ripping. The same applies to general purpose computers, which could have been locked down like the Xbox to only run OSes and software that use strong DRM and require checking with central servers before a document or whatever can be transfered (to prevent a user from retyping a copyrighted work like a book by hand). Keep in mind no one intended the DMCA to be used against third party printer cartriges, but it was.

Downhill battle? Or is it uphill? (0, Troll)

Gentlewhisper (759800) | about 10 years ago | (#10231147)

I don't know.. but I think it is really going to be pretty tough.

Since when does the government of the US of A listen to its people?

When USA invaded iraq, did the govt listen to the people?

When PIRATE act was enacted, did they listen to the people?

When PATRIOT act was passed, does the people seriously think it is for their own good?

The problem nowadays is people are too darned complacent, and too lazy to do anything about it. They will just sit there as their civil liberties and rights get gobbled up, and finally when they realise what has happened, it is already too late.

Re:Downhill battle? Or is it uphill? (1)

VoidWraith (797276) | about 10 years ago | (#10231200)

I don't know why that got modded down, I would personally have left it be, because while its "insightful" its also "offtopic" but not "flamebait."

Write-in Day? (0, Troll)

MrP- (45616) | about 10 years ago | (#10231149)

I have social anxiety disorder and can't call.. Can I write instead?

Where do I get my congresspersons address?

Also, I suffer from chronic laziness.. can someone write the letter for me?

Hmm.. Is there a site where I can just type my name and they send it for me? Maybe fax it?

Re:Write-in Day? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231236)

Canned faxes, letters, etc. are more likely to get tossed and ignored than a personal call or letter.

Re:Write-in Day? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231279)

Just how many posts are you planning to make in this thread, sir?

Re:Write-in Day? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231309)

One

that was my primary post, the rest are just replies

I wouldnt talk mr Anonymous Coward, ive seen millions of posts by you!

Re:Write-in Day? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231364)

Why was i moderated as a troll? Yeah it kinda looks like one towards the end but its a serious question and i do have social anxiety disorder so i cant call in

Betamax eh? (0, Offtopic)

digitalgimpus (468277) | about 10 years ago | (#10231158)

Well the only thing more annoying than betamax IMHO is those 3/4 inch tapes [labguysworld.com] . For some reason they are still used by some media companies internally, and B2B. Large, heavy, and the decks [ung-tv.no] are a real pain in the ass to operate. Not to mention dub to another tape, and quite a bit of quality is lost.

Ah quicktime, the ideal video format for transfering video across offices.

---

Was my post Informative? Help me get an iPod, by signing up [freeipods.com] and completing an offer. Get a cool eBay credit card and help me out!

Re:Betamax eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231460)

3/4 is rugged as hell. Try tossing a 3/4 and a Beta tape up against the wall, see which one can take a harder hit before being smashed.

Clarification on Betamax decision (4, Interesting)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 10 years ago | (#10231159)

From the story summary:
1984 Sony v. Universal case regarding Sony's Betamax VTRs and copying of copyrighted movies
Not exactly. It covered time-shifting, of which copyrighted movies were a particular example. The Supreme Court was almost at a loss of what to do due to ambiguity of Copyright law and the lack of widespread VCRs in the home when the last major Copyright law was written (1976). They dared to divine the intention of Congress by saying that time-shifting constituted fair-use, and hinted that Congress should follow up with a more specific law in the future. Now Congress is doing the clarification, and it looks like it won't be in the consumer's favor.

Shameless plug: this was covered almost a year ago in my blog article U.S. corroborating with WIPO to overturn Betamax decision and also eliminate public domain [underreported.com] (which I've shamelessly plugged here before).

More trivia: before the Betamax decision, movies would come on HBO before videotape release (prime example: Star Wars -- HBO copies for a time were the only way to get a Star Wars videotape). Due to the assumed illegality of taping off HBO, movie studios considered HBO airing to constitute less ownership than selling videotapes. The Betamax decision reversed this notion, and thusly also the order of release.

Slashdot, remove your heads from asses please. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231164)

I've submitted this story since the 9th and nobody would post it. Pull your heads out of your pretentious assholes Slashdot moderators. This kinda stuff is why I don't really read here anymore.

Re:Slashdot, remove your heads from asses please. (1)

uberdave (526529) | about 10 years ago | (#10231342)

Moderators have absolutely nothing to do with whether or not a submitted story gets accepted.

What This Actually Means (5, Informative)

danger_boy_13 (775935) | about 10 years ago | (#10231166)

For those of you who don't want to read the decision or Downhill Battle's site, the Betamax decision is what basically allowed us the technology of DVD/CD burners, tape recorders, and VCR's (along with possibly P2P networks) by saying that, just because some people are using them (VCR's at the time) to participate in illegal activities (copying copyrighted movies or shows), the technology itself is not the culprit. Therefore, the technology is legal. This is a vital decision for the technological world and a good thing to get involved in if you can.

and campaign for shorter movies too! (1, Funny)

myowntrueself (607117) | about 10 years ago | (#10231170)

Should really campaign alongside this for the movie industry to make shorter movies (so they will fit on a betamax tape).

Yeah I know, RTFA, but *still* betamax???

Not too worried - I live in a free country (5, Insightful)

dr_skipper (581180) | about 10 years ago | (#10231181)

Man, the US... Land of the free.

I'm not too worried, I live in Canada. It's a little better here.

Maybe Canada will have to occupy the US soon to liberate it. =P

Re:Not too worried - I live in a free country (1)

strike2867 (658030) | about 10 years ago | (#10231464)

Uha right... Hey Bush, I think I saw some oil barrels sitting over there, get the A-Bomb.

Can we take a pass on Quebec? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231482)

Why don't you Canucks just let them go?

Re:Not too worried - I live in a free country (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231535)

I for one, welcome our new Canadian overlords, eh.

cut it out, guys.. (2, Insightful)

peculiarmethod (301094) | about 10 years ago | (#10231192)

You know.. if we keep up this annoying nonsense of protesting to our elected leaders via the phone, they're gonna include the telephone as a weapon of mass destruction in the newest Patriot Act. _Then_ what are we gonna do? I suppose we could take to the streets.. then that will be made an act against the state. You see my point. We should just forget it all, and go back to our T.V.'s.

Re:cut it out, guys.. (2, Insightful)

peculiarmethod (301094) | about 10 years ago | (#10231350)

i don't mind burning a few points.. I think we always need a little reminder that we're at war for our rights. Otherwise it wouldn't make headlines so often. We seriously need to all activate and make the phone calls that we believe in. And _that_ is no joke.

One question.... (1)

thegoogler (792786) | about 10 years ago | (#10231227)

Is it against the law to phone-spam congressmen like this?

Last time I checked... (1)

mrscott (548097) | about 10 years ago | (#10231565)

It sure as hell isn't illegal to call our elected representatives who, in theory, represent the people. We're losing things left and right, but the ability to actual make our voices heard is still here (for now).

What about the manufacturers? (1)

rubberbando (784342) | about 10 years ago | (#10231250)

What about the manufacturers of these devices?

Does anyone really think they would just sit on their hands and take this big of a hit?

It's way too late to outlaw current and past technologies that are already all over the place.

Future technologies on the other hand....

sorry for them... (3, Interesting)

ezonme (671218) | about 10 years ago | (#10231260)

Their business model is history... If they win this battle the RIAA/MPAA will know how it feels like to shoot themselves in the foot when they realize that they lost a powerfull distribution/advertising channel like the P2P networks. The indies will always find a way to get their productions to the people, they don't need p2p, just a website.

What's next?

Lost Cause (5, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 years ago | (#10231261)

While I also support our 'data rights', this is a lost cause at this point. Its over, and we have lost.

Congress does *not* give a damn about the citizens, they are only concerned about the people that line their pocketbooks ( i.e. the 'media' and other large corporations ).

The very structure of this country has changed, and the citizens are going to be mowed over.

Fight it all you want, but id rather pick battles that aren't lost already.

The 2nd revolution is long over due, before the "American experiment" fails, and its remains fall into hardcore socialism.

Re:Lost Cause (0)

tftp (111690) | about 10 years ago | (#10231463)

its remains fall into hardcore socialism

Not socialism but fascism, just because the latter is far more profitable, and the current profiteers have plenty of control to have it their way.

Socialism in Russia came to be just because the capitalists, who hasn't escaped, were mostly shot. It didn't happen in Germany because the capitalists there ran the show.

But outside of this little difference, both outcomes promise equally little to an average citizen. In both cases The State 0wnz him in any way it wants.

You're mostly right (4, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 10 years ago | (#10231480)

The structure hasn't changed though. Do a bit of digging and you'll find the common man has never had any real power except right after WWII (and only then because there was a shortage of workers thanks to your friend and mine, the Machinegun). _All_ complex societies throughout history have been centered around satisifying the wants of a lucky few. Ours still is, it's just that technology and Globalism has expanded the number of Lucky ones, and the losses of WWII allowed the unlucky ones to make out OK for a while.

Trouble is, just about every single poor and middle class bastard wants to join the oppressors. And every time you add an oppressor, you've got to add some oppressed. This is just the way human economy works. As soon as the masses make some gains, along will come someone to take them away so he can join the ranks of the wealthy and powerful. There is a way to stop this: forced birth control. Either that or War, famine and disease will work just as well. So long as there are too few people to effectively oppress. Capitalism needs lots of cannon fodder.

Oh, and give me Socialism over capitalism any day. Adam Smith envisioned a world of small time shop keepers and factory owners with a stake in thier communities because they lived there. Globalism breaks all that. What's been keeping your job from going overseas is isolationism broght on by the Cold War. Now that that's over capitalism's busted. Capital will flow where ever labor's cheapest, and that flow will keep standards of living down. You're not gonna feel this too bad, but you're children will. Their lives are gonna suck.

Corporate bridge burners.. (3, Insightful)

Gentlewhisper (759800) | about 10 years ago | (#10231353)

Well, let's just say that hollywood only has tunnel vision and can't see any potential for growth beyond their current business models.

That was why they sued sony back then, they were scared shitless by the prospects of their property being stolen!

Unfortunately for them, they lost, but even then they still managed to get a new cash cow out of it. Home videos.

But with the coming of DVDs, they decided, "hey, we needed home videos no more, now that we got these new high tech media like DVDs and CDs that can only be pressed at the factory, why not we make all recording mediums illegal eh"

And if this law passes, the implications are powerful. With CDRs, DVDRs, videos, cassettes, maybe even video cameras all outlawed? Guess who are the only ones with access to recording equipment?

Just because they produce some lousy stinking movies doesn't mean they produce ALL the material in the whole wide world. What about people making home videos of little nelly celebrating her first birthday? Or can you imagine needing to procure a license from hollywood in the future just so you can make a video recording of big nelly's wedding?

No good would come out of this man.. no good at all..

How about a "Read the damned thing" day instead? (-1, Troll)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | about 10 years ago | (#10231359)

This Act is only a couple of short paragraphs, in fairly clear language. I don't see anything in it that would reverse the Betamax decision (or ban iPods, or any of the other "sky is falling" stuff that has been claimed, for that matter).

Anyone care to explain? Don't bother with explanations like the EFFs, which require an interpretation of words like "intentionally" that are totally at odds with how those things are interpreted in hundreds of other laws.

It would be far better to spend time trying to overturn bad existing law, like the DMCA, than arguing against this harmless thing.

Re:How about a "Read the damned thing" day instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231424)

You are wrong on that. There are two intent standards, specific intent and the logical result of one's actions. In some states, second degree murder is a general intent crime. A person who drives drunk and kills someone in a car wreck can be charged with second degree murder even though the intent of the drunk driver was to get home safely, not to kill anyone. However, in many (all?) states, first degree murder requires specific intent, the person actually has to intend to kill the person who was killed. As specific intent is not specified as the standard, the general intent standard based on the logical result of one's actions is assumed to be the one used. If you actually knew much about the law, you would know that intent and specific intent are two different things.

No one's listening. (2, Informative)

hotspotbloc (767418) | about 10 years ago | (#10231403)

I'm sorry and hope I'm wrong but IMO they're not going to listen. They didn't listen to us over the PATRIOT Act, Carnivore, electronic voting or the DMCA. The politicians will pay a little lip service to the media saying they're "still investigating" the bill in question and haven't made up their minds while in reality they've already cast their lot to the highest bidder.

Let's face it: the politicians stopped listening to their constituents a long time ago.

If I may quote the great FZ from "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing":

You say yer life's a bum deal

'N yer up against the wall ...
Well, people, you ain't even got no kinda
Deal at all
'Cause what they do
In Washington
They just takes care of NUMBER ONE
An' NUMBER ONE ain't YOU
You ain't even NUMBER TWO

Re:No one's listening. (3, Insightful)

Adam9 (93947) | about 10 years ago | (#10231542)

This is the attitude that allows them to think that we don't give a damn. I bet you don't even vote in the general election either.

Futility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231441)

For one, has a campaign of this sort ever been proven to get results? I didn't think politicians ever paid attention to organized campaigns unless a) their mainstream popularity was at stake or b) there was money in it for them.

In this case the money's in it for them -- to push this law forward. Honestly, if politicians were afraid of harassment or ill will from geeks this bill wouldn't exist. There is no motive for your congressman to reject the INDUCE Act, unless he happens to agree with you already.

And, what does it say about checks & balances in the US when everyone, past recent IP-related bills considered, thinks this is the last resort? Is there no chance that the President might veto it, or a judge might see the light?

Attn: Slashdot - link the counter graphic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231466)

Hey Slashdot! Do the right thing and put the graphic counter [savebetamax.org] up! People need to see this; plus a running update wouldn't hurt anyone either.

Re:Attn: Slashdot - link the counter graphic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231487)

Same poster. By the way, the bandwidth is most likely put out there to be used heavily so that people are informed. We are the major group of people who will really help see that this is stopped. Spread the word or we'll lose the ability to use any kind of recording device!

Waste of time? How about the assault weapons ban? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10231531)

Betamax? Who cares honestly...

Things like this are a waste of time. It's better to call your congressperson and have them renew the ban:

http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/09/12/gun.ban.ap/inde x. html
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