Apple’s struggle for closure – by “Ben S”

I’m in love with my Droid.  I ordered it the first day they were available, even putting up with my unusable Samsung Juke and its shattered screen for an extra week, just so I could get my hands on what I saw as the first tenable challenge to the iPhone–one of the main draws, for me, at least, was the fact that anyone could design apps and put them on the “Android Market” without putting them up for review before some ominous Comité de salut app.

One of the biggest shortcomings, however, was the lack of Adobe Flash, which, Android owners kept being promised, was “coming,” and after waiting months, the news in June that Flash 10.1 had finally been released and was Android-compatible was somewhat muted by the fact that it was actually compatible with Android 2.2, whereas all Droid users were still stuck with 2.1 for the foreseeable future.

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/
Finally accurate

So while at this point I could have manually rooted the “Froyo” update to my phone and used Flash to my heart’s content, a call to Verizon confirmed what I had suspected–any manual installation of the new OS from a source other than Motorola or Verizon would void my warranty (which, when buying a phone with a plan allows you to get it at 1/5 of the non-plan cost, is a real consideration).

And so I waited, patiently, until late August to get my update, download Flash, and then find out Hulu was blocking all mobile phones from viewing videos anyway.

So, although iPhone users all over the world are likely still more than a little heady about the Librarian of Congress’ clarification to the DMCA allowing for, among other things, “jailbreaking” the device, it is certainly worth noting that, while Apple can no longer use the threat of legal action to keep all its devotees in line, it still has a plethora of tools at its disposal to discourage users from straying from the Way of Apple, including, yes, voiding your warranty:

Apple’s goal has always been to insure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience. As we’ve said before, the vast majority of customers do not jailbreak their iPhones as this can violate the warranty and can cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably. [Emphasis added]

http://www.cultofmac.com/
It’s not that they’re controlling, it’s just that they know what’s best for you!

To be fair, they have a point–there have been instances of jailbroken phones being exposed to vulnerabilities, especially those that use SSH and don’t change the password from the default.  Naturally, the more open a technology is, the more risk there is for malicious attacks–and when the openness is not officially sanctioned, Apple has little reason to fortify the rogue phones against attacks.

Indeed, though there is absolutely no indication that they plan to do this, Apple could even, if they so chose, develop viruses themselves that specifically target jailbroken phones, or, more legally ambiguously, introduce some internal fuse designed to detect modification, and, if any such modification occurs, melt the phone.  Not, of course, that Apple would ever deliberately introduce defects into their products

But back to the probable: Apple has absolutely no incentive to provide any sort of support for those who use the phone in ways that Apple has said it should not be used–and while communities of jailbroken iPhone users will certainly continue to grow and evolve, coming up with patches and fixes themselves, what, ultimately, is the point in taking technology from one of the most closed consumer technology companies in existence and trying to make it open?  Why not just get technology that is open in the first place?

So, in short, if you want an open, generative phone, then buy an open, generative phone (one that you can also hold any way you like).  Don’t be a putz.



Leasing Ourselves Away – by “Sabina M”

Using and demanding more DRM-free services like recently launched UrFilez or Ovi Music will make you not only 300% cooler, but a responsible citizen.

Imagine this: sometime during the night, half your books have been pillaged. Not by vikings, but by Barnes & Noble.

Imagine this: law enforcement shows up at your doorstep. You have attempted to glue Lego to your science fair project (or hair) – but Lego has very strict ideas about how, where, and for how long Lego can be used.

Imagine this: you have taken apart your CD player to figure out how it works. You do – and you even figure out a way to make it sound better, and maybe be used for time travel. Naturally, you show all your friends how to repeat this miraculous feat. Shouldn’t have done that: get ready to drop the soap.

Maybe the examples are a bit hyperbolic. Or maybe they are all too realistic, if used as an analogy for how the products we purchase digitally are protected by both copyright law and DRM (digital rights management) technologies. Last year, DRM “protection” was the backdoor that made possible the Amazon deletion of eBooks from customers’ Kindles (because the “digital age” is an ironic one, it had to be 1984 – so funny that it’s not). DRM is being used to prevent you from playing movies, music, and games or using software on just any machine or number of machines: on just any operating system (read: anything beyond Apple or Microsoft); in any geographical locality or for any amount of time.

When it comes to digital goods, we have implicitly come to accept the idea that we cannot do just whatever we want with the products we have purchased – and perhaps even more worrying, that we can never truly own digital media. We have accepted, perhaps without being aware of, the fact that we are only renting it and so have to submit to any specific conditions the provider specifies, including the possibility of having our product deleted or made less functional at a whim.

Don’t even think about tinkering with your new copy of, say, Microsoft Office Word: and if you do, do not share your discoveries with anybody. Although tinkerers – or people unwilling to be held hostage to a specific service provider – have recently won a small battle this past summer as such alteration was extended legal permissibility (if not permanent protection) when it comes to phones, the fundamental issue remains. Legal bright spots aside, DRM technology explicitly aims at making the cracking of the proverbial CD player near impossible, even at the cost of practicality. Imagine the CD player, telephone, or Lego blocks of your childhood being 20 pounds heavier just so you couldn’t use them in weird ways: imagine your CD player working less well or ceasing to work altogether if it suspected you were using it in non-correct ways (and then imagine it did this anyway: see the Spore case), all as a trade-off in the name of being more difficult to tamper with.

We (us nerds anyway) instinctively find something unnerving about the idea of someone stealing or blacking out large parts of our books, of the CD player company preventing us from tinkering with our bought property and using police as their proxy – basically, of someone watching over our shoulder when it comes to what we do with the things that are our own. In contrast, the response seems much less visceral, and much more confused, when we talk of DRM. And there are some perhaps justifiable reasons for this ambivalence: but, mainly, a terribly bad one, namely the idea that digital products are, and should be treated as, fundamentally different. For who? For the companies.

After all, is it not the right of developers to keep their code a secret? In this lies part of the crux. With software, the ideas and design are the product. Furthermore, many of these “new” types of products – that is, digital media – are increasingly being couched within a larger framework of a continuous and larger service (see iTunes, Amazon’s Video on Demand, Blizzard’s online RPG).

One way to think of this dilemma and why it came to be so dilemm-ish is this: you could take apart a CD player, sure, knock yourself out – but you could not, in practice, by yourself, replicate the finished product and so displace the monopoly the production company had on designing, manufacturing, and delivering that product to you. If that had been possible, tampering with the interior workings of tech products would have become an issue far earlier – in the digital ownership of digital products, it is all too easy to threaten the profitability of a product by making the company obsolete as a supplier (or sole developer, as the case sometimes is when protected software is cracked in order to be enhanced and, inevitably, spread).

There is undoubtedly truthiness to these facts. Yet surely we can all agree that there are concessions that are unacceptable, even in the name of protecting the economic viability of software companies, when those concessions concern the basic rights of being human – of being curious and inventive – and the basic rights we associate with democracy, namely those of free speech and perhaps to private property. These questions must be asked regardless of how unpleasant the answer might be to commercial interests. (And with DRM, it might not be so at all: it is unclear just how beneficial DRM protection has been for companies, all considered).

As someone with an unhealthy relationship with the Internet and nerd culture, I am squarely on the side of copyleft, open source, creative commons, and so on. But I do not want to ignore the fact that companies are inhabiting a very peculiar space when it comes to purely digital products. If before it was no biggie to lend my SNES game to my neighbor, today it is – because my neighbor next door has suddenly become the entire internet-browsing public. Free speech in the sense of spreading an idea, lending a creative work, instructing others in how things work even when companies would rather we not, discovering and tampering with code (which I would argue rightly deserves to be defined as speech) – yes, free speech and tinkering has become complicated for everyone involved. But this does not mean we must compromise it to the tune of private corporations too worried about their short-term profit to realize the long-term consequences of the laws and practices they have begun to implement and entrench into society as a de facto necessity.

My heart weeps for these producers, or at least sniffles because my head tells it to, but it recoils at the idea of DRM and its supporting social, legal, economic structures evolving further in the direction it has. What do I mean by social and economic structures? I mean the slow transition we are witnessing from physical to digital product: our thinking of digital products as not-quite-goods: the lack of uproar over how the key cultural and other products of our age are coming to be accepted as simply services, things we use on a lease and with a leash.

The heavy media giants – companies like Sony, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon – have begun to construe many of their products as services, period. Services are subject to change. Services can be terminated. And so it comes to be that only the bookstore of a fascist state can enter your house and steal your books in the middle of the night, while Amazon can do so in broad daylight. As Amazon customers that had their Kindles “bricked” (in an ongoing debacle separate from the 1984 deletions) can testify, simply purchasing an eBook is no guarantee for keeping it.

I own an impressive amount of useless TV shows through Amazon on Demand. Yet, if I want to watch them, I have to make sure not to leave American soil: licensing issues. Hopefully Europe will sort those out some ten years down the road, but the point is, Amazon has without warning taken away my right to use these purchases of mine because they deem I do not have the – apparently far more important – right to digitally watch them beyond the U.S. So what then? Do I purchase every episode all over again, but on a DVD? Why are digital copies of an episode more acceptable to, in effect, control the content and presentation of than physical ones – mere practicability is not it (and one might well wonder when DVDs will begin to have automatic IP blocking and such, also).

The issue seems to lie more in the aesthetic feeling of digital goods somehow being fundamentally different in every single way: it is almost as if a digital product is not real. “That’s ridiculous, nobody can take back my purchased DVD” versus “Hey, Amazon is blocking me from re-watching the Battlestar Galactica season finale, I guess that’s just how it works”.

It only works this way because we let it: and my point is, we shouldn’t. We can’t allow the law to codify our digital goods, especially expressive ones, as second-class expressions or property. Yes, we can buy a hard copy of a DVD. But in – twenty? Ten? Five? years from now, will hard copies still be there? Probably not. But we would still be stuck with legislation that presupposes a digital book does not deserve the same protections against theft and censorship the “real” equivalent does. This is what DRM is: anti-license to do whatever to your goods, but also anti-protection against what the private company you got it from can do to it in turn – remove, censor, alter. And the problem stretches not only to purely digital or software goods: PS3 has removed features from already-bought consoles, remotely (like prior support for Linux). With the internet, boundaries between hardware and software are thinning.

Take a look at Sony’s license agreement:

Some content may be provided automatically without notice when you sign in. Such content may include automatic updates or upgrades which may change your current operating system, cause a loss of data or content or cause a loss of functionalities or utilities

[…]

You may not sell, rent, sublicense, modify, adapt, translate, reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble any portion of the Property. Except as stated in this Agreement or otherwise expressly permitted by SCEA in writing, you may not reproduce or transfer any portion of the Property. You may not create any derivative works, attempt to create the source code from the object code, or download or use any Property for any purpose other than as expressly permitted. You may not bypass, disable, or circumvent any encryption, security, digital rights management or authentication mechanism in connection with Sony Online Services or any of the content or service offered through Sony Online Services.

http://us.playstation.com/support/termsofuse/

Do things look this cyberpunkly bleak only to the people that really, really care about full control of their software and media? While not all of us may feel this to be a great threat to democracy, it very well might become if we do not begin debating this issue on a level more profound than “WTF $ONY DONT L3T ME HAVE LINUX…. >>” or “APPEL WHY DOES MY CELINE DION MP3 NOT WOERK SOMETIME”. Our society has changed. We cannot just shrug it away and assume the free market will take care of everything, that we will end up with well-functioning, reasonable DRM and copyright policies. Companies are, by definition, for-profit entities that have no incentive to think ahead and take principles of democracy into consideration. They want to make money, and keep making money. Why should we allow private corporations to dictate the terms of our future relationship to the culture and technology we come into contact with?

Don’t click away your rights. You are human, or possibly a transhumanist. The only thing that makes man better than a monkey, even when the monkey is cuter, as is the case with many nerds, is our curiosity: our ability to learn, then take the knowledge we just gained and build upon it. So the next time you’re skipping through a license agreement, take the time to read it: because we need to have the sanctity of the bookshelf, we need the freedom to tinker, and we should never compromise away our right to share knowledge, however threatening to commercial interests.

When will it end? – by “Jeffrey Z”

I remember when I first discovered BitTorrent. It was just too good of a deal to pass up. All I had to do was go on Mininova, find whatever video games that I wanted, and click on the tracker link. That’s it. No hassle, no waiting (except for the often horrendously slow download rates when people don’t seed!), and most importantly, no money for titles that would retail for over $50. Unzip the file, upload the disc using Daemon Tools, and within 10 minutes after the file finished downloading, I was playing Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War. Just like that.  But even with increasing public focus upon media piracy, to some degree, piracy still remains unfettered, especially within the realms of video games.

Video game developers, unlike the music industry or the film industry, lacks a protective headline institution like the RIAA and MPAA. They don’t often actually take the time or resources to file lawsuits against simple copyright infringement, only aggressively pursuing action when the copyright infringement could disastrously hurt their income.  So many video game developers, rather than working have turned towards more sophisticated ways of preventing piracy.

Many developers, corporate and indie alike, have turned towards online integration as a way to ensure everyone playing has an unique copy of the disk. Blizzard announced, not without much anger and resentment from gamers, that Starcraft 2 would not have LAN (Local Area Network) support, forcing all players to play online, ensuring that Blizzard could ensure unique CD keys. Indie developer Notch, responding to the piracy of his popular indie game, Minecraft, says that “instead of just relying on guilt tripping pirates into buying, or wasting time and money trying to stop them, I can offer online-only services that actually add to the game experience.”

But with each generation with increasingly complex DRMs, there has been just as fervent response on the pirate side. Almost immediately upon release, hackers have worked on methods on cracking new DRMs, a process not to different from jailbreaking the newest iPod firmware.  It’s almost like a Q&A session, responding as if each new generation of DRM was a challenge for them.

I guess the real question soon becomes apparent. How far can this go? How long can developers keep on developing technologies to dissuade piracy? When will it end?

At some point, a balance needs to be struck.  Video games developers cannot be expected to produce quality products yet constantly shovel money towards developing stronger piracy protections.  Will video game developers begin turning towards methods like those that the RIAA uses against copyright infringement?  With growing acceptance of video games as a serious market influence, it’s become a definite possibility.

Why Open Source is the future and how to stop big corporations from destroying it – by “Maria A”

This blog entry is being typed using Open Office. When I bought my macbook in 2008, I was both too lazy and too cheap to download Microsoft Office (I was also at the stage where I was rejecting Microsoft and the thought of a windows application for a mac was a bit unnerving). Open Office looked like Microsoft Office down to the file menus and fonts, but it still took time to get used to. Besides, it had a tendency to crash sporadically (Read: every day), which since then has been fixed in OpenOffice3.2.

Since then, I’ve been trying to advocate the use of Open Office to many of my friends. I’m usually met with skepticism followed by a request for the link to download Microsoft Office through Yale. Well, I truthfully don’t even like Open Office that much. But I believe that open source programs are the future of the internet sharing community.

First developed in 1998 by such individuals that later took over the Linux systems and Netscape, open-source programs are different from their closed-source predecessors in many ways. These programs are usually free and open to download for the entire public (though in some cases, donations are encouraged). Websited like sourceforge.net also provide the entirety of the code that goes into the development of the infrastructures and also allows third parties to develop and build upon the concepts. Most importantly, few open-source are copyrighted, giving the public free reign over the use and distribution of this software.

Such software such as Open Office, Firefox (which was debuted in 2005 by Mozilla Inc. and in August of 2010 accounts for 45% of all web traffic), WordPress, and Ubuntu has become almost ubiquitous in everyday life. However, the concept of Open Source is still yet to reach the general public. Many download Firefox without thinking much about it; others think that operating systems such as Ubuntu are for tech geeks and can’t be used by the general public.

Now that’s all fun and good, but what does open-source software have to do with copyright and the law? Am I just using this blog to shamelessly spread my affection for this type of programs?

Well, perhaps.

But there is also a fundamental debate taking place about the legitimacy of such software. One of the founding principle of open-source is that it will provide a free alternative to familiar software and allow others to build upon their ideas free of charge. And they’re pretty successful at what they do. According to the Standish Group of Boston, Open source programs take away an approximate $60 billion in revenue from companies annually . This figure is significant enough for the US Trade Representatives (USTR) to put such countries as Canada, Brazil, and Indonesia on the Priority Watch List merely for their support of open-source software.The USTR is, in fact, comparing the downloading of completely legal free programs equivalent to pirating licensed software.

The RIAA and the MPAA have already declared that Open source is equivalent to Piracy. They believe that new works are only to be distributed as for-a-fee, closed-source software, as the opposing side “weakens the software industry and undermines its long-term competitiveness by creating an artificial preference for companies offering open source software and related services, even as it denies many legitimate companies access to the government market” (They are basically angry that their money is not put into their own pocket).

Many companies are already investing significant capital and resources into battling piracy through the illegal downloading of their software. Now, they’re targeting companies that offer free alternatives to their own brands. And not only this, the USTR is saying that merely promoting open-source as the choice for software is enough to encourage piracy and that giving preference to these companies stifles innovation.

Now, back up a second. Copyright laws were created to be finite in order to promote competition and the creation of new ideas. They’ve since been abused into being laws that keep profit in the hands of a select few. The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) has its own agenda. One of its business organizations, the Business Software Alliance, is complaining over the lost revenue that open-source software brings.

Most of the market of the software produced by prominent companies comes from the trust and power of the brand name associated with them. People are reluctant to let go of their allegiance to software and venture into an unknown territory of new and little known developers. However, as the media revolution of the internet continues, many are breaking away from the norm and downloading free open-source in the stead of the more known brands. This is the threat that copyright-heavy corporations are trying to combat.

This of course makes me realize that I should stop using OS X and opt out for Ubuntu from that free disk that I got. But another part of me is reluctant. I also have a way to go before I learn.

Artist + Record Label + YouTube + UGC + Promotion + Copyright Law = …Confusion? – by “Mark B”

On September 12, Lady Gaga picked up eight awards at the MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles.  She is arguably the first real superstar musician of the digital age.  She continues to tour relentlessly, capitalizing on the tremendous wave of commercial success that she is riding and, in doing so, is working hard to ensure her continued ubiquity.

Her acceptance speech for the ‘Best Female Video’ award was, typically ludicrous costume aside, especially notable for one line in particular.  After thanking various parties for their assistance and support in producing the video, she makes a point of paying special tribute to “all the gays for remaking this video over and over again”:

MTV VMAs 2010 – Lady Gaga Best Female Video Acceptance Speech

Of course, it’s not just “the gays” who have provided a take on the song in question.   A simple search for the phrase ‘Bad Romance’ on YouTube returns a veritable slurry of user-generated content uploads from an intriguing blend of celebrities (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), other bands (30 Seconds To Mars), acapella groups, aspiring singer songwriters, the kids from the TV show “Glee” and various groups of individuals of all shapes and sizes parodying or paying tribute to (depending on your interpretation) her version of the song.

Harmless, right?  Well, it essentially depends on your interpretation of “fair use”.  The question of whether or not each of these unauthorized video posts that are now all over the internet constitutes a breach of copyright protection is the subject of a degree of legal ambiguity.  Amongst the considerations for determining what constitutes “fair use” listed under the Copyright Act is a clause that allows consideration for the “effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.”  This is a somewhat subjective measure of determination.

Having worked for two major record labels, with a number of recording artists and a corporate law firm to date, I can just imagine the mixed reactions that each party might have had to Lady Gaga’s expression of thanks to those who have remade her song and shared it on the Internet.  Some will see it as a straightforward breach of copyright (artist or record company owns copyright, user makes public his own version of the song without permission from the copyright owner thus breaching copyright) but taking legal action against such users might come at the expense of a degree of promotion for the song in question.  After all, the viral nature of such videos undoubtedly adds to the aforementioned ubiquity that such artists as Lady Gaga enjoy in the digital age.

How then do you reasonably draw a distinction between those user-generated videos that help promote the song, increasing demand for it, and those that might instead have a negative effect on demand or that might be more damaging to the artist’s reputation more generally.  Should it be the copyright owner’s right to decide?  Should record companies step in to play the role of ‘monitor’ on behalf of the artists that they represent?  Should an artist be encouraging such user behavior?  Should Lady Gaga (given her 6.3 million Twitter followers, 18.2 million Facebook ‘likers’ and audience of 11.4 million at the VMAs) be advocating her view on the issue given that other owners of similar copyrights (such as Prince, as detailed in the case of Lenz v. Universal Music Corp.) might well not feel the same?  Should the law draw up a more concrete definition of “fair use” to set a blanket standard or should the determination of “fair use” remain circumstantial?  Who is right?  With whom should responsibility lie?  You decide…

The Ultimate Showdown: Blumenthal v. Craigslist – by “Thad D”

“Seeking Partner In Crime”

“looking for fun”

“Looking for some ACTION!!!!!!”

Ranging from apparently harmless to incredibly graphic, the “Adult Services” section of Craigslist has long provided people far and wide with the ability to search for and find others looking for “adult services”, whatever that may mean.  That is, until last week, when Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, along with 17 other state attorneys general, told Craigslist to permanently remove their adult services section worldwide.

Before delving into the obvious issues with censoring Craigslist (net neutrality, questions of jurisdiction, website application immunity), it’s important to understand what Craigslist is and its history.  Founded in 1995 by Craig Newmark, Craigslist is a website that serves as a sort of virtual bulletin board for local postings.  With subdomains for major metropolitan areas around the world, users can post solicitations for anything from old TV’s, to job inquiries, to requests for relationships.  Listed as the most used classifieds service in any medium, Craigslist sustains its operating revenue mostly from small fees required to post job openings in major metropolitan areas.  The site’s annual net income is undisclosed.

However, the seemingly noble intentions of Craigslist have not stopped many from abusing its site.  For example, in early 2009, Julissa Brisman, a young masseuse, was murdered in a hotel room by a man who hired her through Craigslist.  Then, earlier this year James Sanders, a father and devout Christian, was gunned down in his home by criminals who responded to an ad he posted on Craigslist to sell his wife’s diamond ring. (Credit to NBC and NewsRoomJersey)

Three weeks ago, 17 state attorneys general jointly wrote to Craigslist telling owner Craig Newmark to permanently remove its adult services section worldwide.   Two weeks after that, four other private, Washington D.C. based non-profit organizations spoke out about their disapproval of the site’s adult services. In response, this past week Craigslist put a black and white “CENSORED” bar where the adult services hyperlink had previously been.  However, as of today, the black and white bar has officially been removed and there is no adult services section on the site’s home page.

Craigslist Adult Services Section Censored
Wait, You Didn't Want to Remove Your Adult Services Section?

So, now that we’re all on the same page, I would like to throw something out there: I believe Richard Blumenthal is putting up this huge front in order to be elected to the U.S. Senate.  What?  “No!” You cry out, “This cannot be!”  Well, consider the following conversation between two average voters:

Joe the Plumber: Gosh, the Senate election is coming up, soon.
Bob the Builder: Well, who’s running?
Joe the Plumber: Looks like it’s **Googles for ten seconds** Linda McMahon and Richard Blumenthal.
Bob the Builder: Wasn’t she a wrestler?  And who is Richard Blumenthal?
Joe the Plumber: I don’t know.  But apparently **Googles for five more seconds** Blumenthal is really against prostitution and human trafficking on Craigslist.  And Linda McMahon never said she didn’t like prostitution or human trafficking.  Looks like I know who I’m voting for.
Bob the Builder: I second that.  I am no fan of the Internets or prostitution.

Take it for what it is, that is my personal opinion.  Beyond the questions of political pandering and insincerity raised by the timing of his attack on Craigslist, Blumenthal’s offensive raises several other important issues.  Unfortunately, I do not have time to discuss all of them, but I would like to discuss what I think is the most important: net neutrality.

What do we mean when we use the term net neutrality?  Generally network neutrality means that for any network (be it peer to peer or the Internet), the principal service provider (i.e. Comcast, Charter), the government, or any other regulatory body should have no right to censor the content posted by members of the network.  In fact, the original design choices of this Internet such as decentralization and the FCC’s Broadband Policy Statement lend the Internet to being an open, neutral network.

Blumenthal and the attorneys general joining his suit are directly challenging the fundamentals of net neutrality by forcing Craigslist to remove its adult services section.  I want to make a very clear and unequivocal distinction.  Telling Craigslist it needs to seek out and remove postings soliciting illegal activities such as prostitution or human trafficking is NOT challenging net neutrality.  Without the rule of law, the Internet would become a safe haven for criminals and create an environment no one would feel comfortable entering.  However, Craigslist should not be told to remove a whole section because certain users abuse the site’s services.

If users demanded content controlled by a single source, with government interference and site material changing based on mere political whims, everyone would still be getting their Internet content from Compuserve.  Think I’m wrong?  Why do we have Google, Facebook, MySpace, Amazon, ESPN.com, streaming video of any sort (thanks porn industry), or all of the amazing web applications we have today?

For now, Blumenthal will not let sleeping dogs lie.  Although Craigslist has removed the whole adult services section Blumenthal insists, “Simply removing one portion of your site where you permitted and profited from prostitution ads is insufficient if ads go elsewhere.”  (Credit to The Associated Press)

Vinton Cerf, father of net neutrality and, the best thing it brings with it, competition on a previously unparalleled scale, we salute you.  Richard Blumenthal may be thinking that Craigslist is “thumbing their nose at the public interest”, but let’s be honest: since when did a 64 year old whose alma maters include Yale and Harvard ever represent the public interest?