Muni WiFi Censorship in Metro L.A.

Culver City is one of many municipalities in metro Los Angeles offering some form of free wifi network. Culver City’s system has been thought of as the first, city-owned free system and other cities including Burbank, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood followed suit by providing free public wireless access in localized areas, primarily to promote tourism and the business districts.

But it turns out Free wireless access doesn’t exactly mean “free access.”

Culver City, which, incidentally, is home to no fewer than three motion picture studios (including — yup — Sony), has implemented filtering that blocks users on its municipal wifi network from accessing p2p sites, porn, and other “questionable content.” The incriminating “nannyware” in this instance is CopySense.

Mack at LAVoice has a bit more on this here.

And Sacha Meinrath at MuniWireless.com warns:

While the telecommunications battle of 2006 has been all about Network Neutrality, a storm is gathering for 2007-8 to be the war over Digital Rights Management.

Originally published August 24 2006 in the Set-Top Cop blog.

Just Say No… to Downloading

From Boing Boing:

The RIAA has just released a back-to-school propaganda video called “Campus Downloads” that is full of lies, half-truths, omissions, and intimidation aimed at convincing students to stay away from file-sharing.

This is so utterly reminiscent of the Just Say No campaign of the 80’s and the pre-Bush-era policy of educating the youth on the importance of safe sex. I just began taking a grad school course on DRM and copyright in the Internet age, etc, taught by Cory Doctorow, who opened the class by screening the aforementioned video, interspersed with his own p.o.v., the facts and a brief introduction into the saga of DRM and emerging copyright implications and developments in technology and the internet.

A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal of all places pointed out the utter ridulousness of these so-called “legal” file-sharing systems to which access is purchased by Universities, and of course then factored into students’ tuition fees.

Assuming you haven’t already seen this scare-piece — produced by the RIAA’s own campus outreach propaganda wing, stylishly named CampusDownloading — at freshman orientation, it is provided below in the spirit of helping the blood-money-hungry RIAA (though they did drop their suit against a dead man) in illegally disseminating their BS.

And just in case they come for you, Grant Robertson recently published “A Layperson’s Guide to Filesharing Lawsuits.”

Smithers: Not Gay?

This breaking news just in from LAist:

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation released a study today about the decline of gay characters in network television, the LA Daily News reports, and the results are shocking. Apparently GLAAD does not consider long-time Simpsons regular Waylon Smithers a homosexual man!


Tony at LAist proceeds to list several examples of Smithers flaming homo-mediocrity. Here’s the online guide to Smithers’ sexuality. Quite frankly, I’m shocked… could poor Waylon Smithers be asexual?

The controversy continues here. More Smithers audio here.