Jay Fenello on 3 Nov 2000 01:33:05 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] As Worlds Collide (was: Re: <nettime> Napster, intellectual property

and the attention economy)
Date: Wed, 01 Nov 2000 02:05:12 -0500
approved: social

Well, it's a little late, 
and a little different.

Comments welcome...


As Worlds Collide
    By Jay Fenello 
       An Aligning With Purpose(sm) Column

As I sit here and watch the days go by, I am constantly 
amazed at the many ways that the Internet is changing our 
world.  Today, most of these changes are subtle, and not 
so easy to recognize.  Tomorrow, these small changes may 
quickly lead us into a brave new world.  Just what this 
world might look like, remains to be seen.  

For example...

Today, I can legally record a song off of the radio, and 
give it to a friend.  I can legally record a TV show when 
I'm out, and watch it when I return.  Tomorrow, I may not 
-- Napster is challenging our concepts of copyright 
protection and "fair use" in a digital world.  

Today, I can legally write almost anything I want, and 
distribute it to thousands of people for $19.95 a month.  
I can legally use almost any word in a sentence, without 
worrying about my entire article being censured.  Tomorrow, 
I may not -- the trademark lobby is challenging our concepts 
of trademark use on the World Wide Web.

Today, I can vote for someone to represent me in the world's 
first Internet governance body.  Tomorrow, I may not -- 
ICANN is challenging our concept of self governance in 

What we have here is a collision between two worlds -- 
the "real" world and the "cyber" one.  And even though 
these worlds are similar, what seemed to work in the 
real world, doesn't seem to apply in the cyber one.  

Is it because the Internet allows us to see things we
never saw before?  Is it because the Internet includes
people who never participated in these decisions before?

Whatever the reason, trying to solve our cyber-world 
problems with traditional real-world solutions, often
results in more questions about both!

As an example, and in case you haven't heard, for the 
first time in recorded history, people from around the 
world have voted for someone to represent them in a 
world governance body -- namely, ICANN.  

Now granted, ICANN is a very bad form of governance.  It 
makes its decisions in smoke filled rooms, it pursues an 
agenda that favors insiders, it makes up the rules as it 
goes, and it changes the rules it doesn't like -- usually 
after it has already violated them.  

Even so, the vote was relatively fair (as certified by the 
Carter Center), and it was relatively surprising -- out of 
the five designated regions, two of the representatives
elected have been labeled "radical" by the press.  By 
radical, I presume they mean someone who wants to 
drastically change the current situation.  

But what's so radical about protecting people's rights, 
anyway?  About following rules, and living up to people's 
best expectations?  

Why are *these* radical concepts?  

If they are radical concepts, what does that say about 
our "traditional" values?  And if they aren't, what 
does that say about our press?

Once again, when we try and solve our cyber-world 
problems with traditional real-world solutions, we 
often end-up with more questions about both!

Why did we elect radicals to the ICANN board?

Maybe it was because we had a choice -- not just a 
few token candidates dressed up in different parties 
(i.e. the Gush and Bore syndrome).  Or maybe it's just 
a backlash against the corporate excesses that have 
driven the ICANN takeover to date.

Or maybe, it's because we are about to go pop!  We 
are about to understand things about our world, that 
we have never understood before.  

And maybe, just maybe, we are about to create a 
better one along the way.

Until next time . . .


Jay Fenello,
New Media Strategies
http://www.fenello.com  678-585-9765
Aligning with Purpose(sm) ... for a Better World
"Wake up, Neo...  The Matrix has you..."  -- Trinity

Copyright (c) 2000 Jay Fenello -- All rights reserved

Permission is hereby granted to 1) redistribute this 
column in its entirety via email, discussion lists, 
and newsgroups, and 2) publish this column in its 
entirety on non-profit web sites.

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