Corporate Media Conglomerate HOWTO
Feature written by on Wednesday, January 26, 2000
The world is scary place out there for you, the media executives, and the companies you serve. The big bad Internet threatens to allow every average joe out there to actually say something without your permission! How can you fight back? Well fortunately, the Recording and Movie Industries(tm) have already laid the groundwork for you to maintain your iron grip on freely available and widely adopted technology and information. Here's how:
Step 1: Sue Everybody in Sight!
Yes, I mean everybody. Sue Slashdot. Sue Humorix -- they've got a direct link to the DeCSS source code, those bastards! Sue that guy over there! It doesn't matter who you sue; it just has to be someone with a heartbeat. Did they at any time utter the letters "D", "V", or "D" in public at any points in the past? That's all you need for an injunction to silence them forever. It's that easy!
Get the judge to issue a court order banning a form of free speech or another from every website in the world. Jurisdiction issues? Not a problem at all. The Global Media (namely you) will report the injunction as though it were actually binding, regardless of whether the court in question even exists in this space time continuum. While nobody in the world could force someone located in another country to remove something from a website because of a law that only exists in the U.S., you can sure make the public believes it's not only possible, but that it already happened. This brings us naturally to Step 2.
Step 2: Propaganda Wars... For Dummies
Hey, you are the media, right? You can use your ill-gotten powers to crush all those who oppose you, regardless if the opposer is a rival advertising firm or a 16 year-old kid in Norway. Did he use to play computer games as a kid (or still does)? Hey, now you can call him a "hacker"! Pepper press releases with the word "illegal" (about 15,967 instances per press release should about do it, but you can never be sure... the sky's the limit).
Have your buddies over in the press room convey you as the "poor well-meaning corporation being held victim by terrorist organizations such as the LiViD group, et al". I mean, they deserve it, right? They didn't want to use an "approved" media player that you so generously gave to them, so they should pay the price for trying to do something about it. Who cares if their "Linux" thing can't play DVDs? Everybody knows (and if they don't, you'll be sure to tell them) that only evil hackers, terrorists, and anarchists use such underground software anyways.
It helps of course to completely ignore the arguments of your opponents. Don't let anyone think for a second that you're actually taking those little twerps seriously. Simply repeat your party line over and over again. Repetition is a hell of a lot more effective as a rhetoric technique than is logic, consistency, honesty, or even sanity!
Step 3: It Worked for Kevin...
Hey, did you know that you can actually employ the police to do the dirty work for you? Back in the bad old days, corporations had to hire thugs to keep the local populace at bay. Now, the police are more than happy to haul away to jail those who theoretically caused you trillions of dollars in damages by figuring out how your precious hardware works! And don't just stop at the perpetrators. Arrest their dad, their mom, the uncle, or their niece's nephew's former roommate. Arrest everyone with any sort of relationship to your enemies, because hey, you never can be too careful out there.
Step 4: Free Speech is for You, not Them
Defend your rights to the death by trampling on everyone else's. Civil liberties abuses and overachieving lawyers are just a couple of useful items in your legal toolbox. Make sure you employ every means to silence those who disagree with you. Force linking to a page on the web to be illegal! Get a judge who is more than sympathetic to your cause (Preferably you want one who works in a courthouse with a statue of a big bag of money in the lobby as opposed to that really lame statue of that blind-folded lady holding the balancing scales; I mean do you really want your opponents to fight back in a court that holds fairness above all other values? Yeah, right!).
Oh, and make sure you toss around the term "immediate incarceration" around at dinner parties. That will get them to shut up (hey it even worked for 2600.com so it should work for everybody!). Imagine the looks on their faces when FBI agents show up at their door to confiscate their equipment and haul them away to jail. It's enough to give any media executive a feeling of warm fuzzies. You can sleep easy knowing that your opponents are staying up until 4:00 AM every night working on their case because they can't afford the expensive lawyers you've got!
Step 5: Let's All Go to the Lobby and Get Ourselves a Stash!
A Congressman is the best investment you can make. Or better yet, buy several of them. The going rate for a veteran Senator is rather steep because of the booming economy, but the rewards you'll reap when the "It's For The Children & Movie Industry Act of 2000" is enacted into law will make it all worth it.
Lobbying (or as you should call it, Enlightening Your Representative) is the best tool you can use in the battle against your enemies. With a Senator or two in your pocket, you'll be on Easy Street when Congress passes a bill requiring a five day waiting period and background check for all DVD player purchases. Or a law that provides billions in "corporate welfare" for the beleagured American movie industry that's being victimized by the evil Norwegians and Finns.
And remember, this is what democracy is all about.
The world is a great place to be in if you're a media executive. Not only does the world come to you on a golden platter, but you can immediately destroy anyone who thinks that you deserve less! This guide will help you amass wealth that the robber barons of old would drool over. Use this advice willingly and overzealously; it's the only way to go.
Oh wait, you already are!