Barack Obama Declares; Techies are Amped

barack obama

Obama’s statements on broadband and net neutrality are being picked up appreciatively among the digerati:

Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age. Let’s set high standards for our schools and give them the resources they need to succeed. Let’s recruit a new army of teachers, and give them better pay and more support in exchange for more accountability. Let’s make college more affordable, and let’s invest in scientific research, and let’s lay down broadband lines through the heart of inner cities and rural towns all across America. We can do that.

Full transcript of the speech. Streaming video.

* BoingBoing
* SlashDot

See also:

Obama’s Remarks at TEchNet 2005

Obama Podcast on Net Neutrality

Also noted, Obama’s social networking concept at My.BarackObama.com

More here.

Steve Jobs Calls For an End to DRM

Following up on the few comments in class on DRM (Digital Rights Management)-protected files, Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrote a lil essay today titled “Thoughts on Music.” Web users and digital media companies have been calling for an end to DRM for some months now as has nearly everyone short of the RIAA, which represents the big 4 labels comprising the recording industry oligarchy.

There has been a flood of blog posts today that try to decipher exactly what Jobs is getting at. Is this a mea culpa? Chest-beating? A cryptic call to direct negotiations with the majors?

The biggest nugget in the essay is Jobs’ claim that, should the labels agree to drop current DRM, the iTunes store “switch to selling only DRM-free music,” which means it would be compatible with all music players, among other things. Personally, I’d be shocked if the labels and the RIAA agreed to anything close to this. On the other hand, after the success of the iPod, Apple really has the consumer in it’s core — does Jobs have the entire entertainment industry up his sleeve as well? We shall see. He’s already down with Disney, and a copyright/content deal with the majors (like Google/YouTube recently did) is not an impossibility.

Other reasons Jobs is making what appears to be his first ever blog post could relate to a digital music antitrust lawsuit alledging that Apple “locks” consumers into its platform. Jobs lays out these three scenarios:

1) stick with DRM. Apple keeps winning.

2) Apple licenses its FairPlay DRM system (which was devised at the behest of the labels).

3) The music industry agrees to license their music to online stores without DRM.

Below is a bit more from Jobs’ essay:

…Some have called for Apple to “open” the digital rights management (DRM) system that Apple uses to protect its music against theft […] Today’s most popular iPod holds 1000 songs, and research tells us that the average iPod is nearly full. This means that only 22 out of 1000 songs, or under 3% of the music on the average iPod, is purchased from the iTunes store and protected with a DRM. The remaining 97% of the music is unprotected and playable on any player that can play the open formats.

Cory Doctorow and others are optimistic about this “big news.”

UCLA Taser Victim Files Suit

mostafa tabatabainejad ucla taser incidentMostafa Tabatabainejad, the 23-year-old UCLA senior who was tasered repeatedly after he refused to show his campus ID at Powell library, filed a federal lawsuit today.

Tabatabainejad alleges the campus officers used excessive force, and that they violated the Americans With Disabilities Act. He is seeking unspecified damages.

Tabatabainejad said he “felt utterly humiliated in front of my fellow students at the library that night and terrified because I knew something horrible was happening to me.’

“We need campus officers to protect us, but we need individuals who perform those tasks with sensitivity, understanding they work on a university campus and are dealing with students,’ he said.