Jonathan Weber on diversity of content [cr-95/11/26]


(I'm not talking as moderator here, just reporting my own

When a business newsperson writes as if he's been reading several
years' worth of newsletters from Computer Professionals for Social
Responsibility, it's worth a note.  Jonathan Weber writes for the Los
Angeles Times, but I saw his op-ed "Venture could alter the net as we
know it" in the Sunday Boston Globe.

The basic thesis is one that CPSR people have often warned about: that
traditional TV broadcasters and similar big-media will take over the
Internet and turn it into another sterile, rigidly controlled medium.
Weber talks about (AT)Home, a planned service that will use the
Internet to deliver text/graphics/etc.  It will try to be fancy and
attractive to average people, but space on it has to be rented at high
rates.  Thus, it is more like a glorified cable TV service than the
Internet we all know.

The free-and-open Internet doesn't have to disappear; it will co-exist
along the commercial services and probably be able exchange material
with them (because they all will use the same protocols).  Personally,
I still have hope for a free exchange of views, because if people find
out there's real life out there on the true Internet they won't be
satisfied with the pay-for-a-sound-bite pseudo-Internet.

There will be a problem, I think, if the pseudo-Internet costs
significantly less than the true one.  But a service that has to offer
video-on-demand or some other form of enchantment should cost more
than one that offers text at a slow rate.

Weber makes another minor point.  All the new graphic capabilities and
complicated programming techniques are beginning to differentiate
low-cost sites from high-cost ones, and possibly draw attention away
from deserving non-profits and grassroots efforts toward glitzy
entertainment companies.  Once I again, in my opinion, we have to let
people know where the real fun lies.


 Posted by Andrew Oram  - •••@••.••• - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
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