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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Monday, July 14, 2003


Dean blogs about the FCC

posted by Aziz P. at Monday, July 14, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Dean has posted his first entry to Lessig's blog, addressing the issue of FCC and media deregulation. Rather than excerpt it, I encourage everyone to read it in full - it is well-argued and Dean makes his point effectively.

However, I confess to being somewhat surprised. This is Lessig's blog, after all - and while the media deregulation is a problem, it's also somewhat tangential to the issues that Dean could be addressing (and the ones that he needs to address, if he wants to court the Slashdot demographic).

Here is my comment to his post:


It’s a privelege to be able to discuss these issues with you, and I greatly appreciate the opportunity.

I agree that the FCC-sanctioned media consolidation is a threat, but there will always be other information channels. In fact, most interest groups tend to simply flock to channels that reflect their own views rather than search out any truly independent medium - this is the sole reason for FOX News vast success, not any FCC actions per se. With former Vice President Al Gore proposing a liberal cable news channel, the trend is reflected on the opposite side of the partisan divide and there’s no intrinsic reason that media consolidation needs to be a threat to liberal ideas alone.

A much greater threat, IMHO is that of copyright abuse. As you are no doubt aware, Professor Lessig has been extensively discussing how copyright extensions pose a serious threat to the inventive engine of society, on this blog and in his book, “The Future of Ideas” (which I assume you’ve read). Today the DMCA and the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act, tomorrow the Thou Shalt Not Reverse Engineer Act and the end of the public domain as we know it.

What is your position on the threat to the public domain? And what policies do you intend to support to address that threat?

Regards, Aziz H. Poonawalla
Dean Nation 2004 blog

What do you think? Is Lessig's blog the right place to be talking about the FCC? Is the FCC more important than the DMCA and the SBCEA?

On my original comment post to Lessig's blog, I mistakenly called Lessig's book "The End of Ideas" instead of "The Future of Ideas." I've corrected it above. Though with the current atmosphere of silencing fair use, it might amount to much the same thing.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.