F*ck Big Media: Rolling Your Own Network
by Mark Pesce Lecturer, Interactive Media, AFTRS
The worldwide consolidation of media industries has led to a consequent closure of the public airwaves with respect to matters of public interest. As control of this public resource becomes more centralized, the messages transmitted by global media purveyors become progressively less relevant, less diverse, and less reflective of ground truth.
At present, individuals and organizations work to break the stranglehold of these anti-market-media-mega-corporations through the application of the courts and the law. However, because of the inherent monopoly that anti-market media maintain on the public mindset, legislators have been understandably reluctant to make moves toward media diversification. We are thus confronted with a situation where many people have interesting things to say, but there are progressively fewer outlets where these views can be shared.
The public airwaves, because they are a limited resource, are managed by public bodies for the public interest. While honorable, the net effect of this philosophy of resource management has been negative: a public resource has become the equivalent of a beachfront property, its sale generating enormous license revenues, but its transfer to the private domain denying the community access to the sea of ideas.
If a well-informed public is the necessary prerequisite to the democratic process, then we must frankly admit that any private ownership of public airwaves represents a potential threat to the free exchange of ideas. Now that private property has mostly collectivized the electromagnetic spectrum, and with little hope that this will soon change, we must look elsewhere to find a common ground for the public discourse.
We are fortunate that such ground already exists.
QUOTESThe airwaves are held in trust by our governments for the common good of the people. Or so we are told. The truth, as we all know, is that they're held by the government for the profit of the anti-market forces which have become entrenched and enriched by these resources. The public airwaves were saved from the "tragedy of the commons" by government regulation, which only produced a worse "catastrophe of the commons," creating a media plutocracy in place of an anarchic free-for-all.
"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face
-- for ever."
George Orwell, 1984 For the last twenty years, ever since the military industrial complex fled Los Angeles for cheaper digs in the American South, Los Angeles has been a company town, home to an ever-dwindling number of media megacorporations. These corporations produce 92% of what Australians see on the movie screen, at least 50% of what you watch on the telly, and about 80% of the music that you hear. These megacorps have an ever-growing array of subdivisions invading every area of the mediasphere.
[... " when the power of the market is used to prevent the free and fair exercise of market forces, a market becomes an anti-market. You can call it a cabal, or a cartel, or a conspiracy - but if you want to describe it by its function, you'd have to say that an anti-market exists to prevent free exercise of market forces."]
P2P Flixble TV is going to wreck commercial TV as we know it.
"It takes about four hours between when an episode of The Sopranos premieres on HBO and when it premieres on BitTorrent. Which is just about long enough to convert the broadcast from a fat MPEG2 file to a slimmed down DivX recording."
" never again will a television broadcaster be able to dictate to you what you can watch and when you can watch it."
"That means cable as well as free-to-air broadcasters, because cable will also be competing against this Internet-based television."
"Now let's take a look at some techniques to accelerate the inevitable collapse of the media megacorps."