Dear Mr. Powell,

Dear Mr. Powell,

: Doc Searls has two magnificent posts directed to Federal Censorship Commission boss Michael Powell. The first is a rant, the second is a patient effort to explain why this new thing you’re using right now isn’t a medium with content. It’s new, damnit, it’s new. From the rant Doc wrote after reading a hamhanded speech of Powell’s (with my button-pushing so as not to get on the wrong side of the FCC):

Reading this s*** just brings out the Jersey Guy in me…
Excuse me, dude, but I’m not just a f***ing “consumer” and I don’t just want f***ing “access.” Me and my friends here want to want to blow up the whole f***ing system you’re protecting. You’re a nice guy and all, and have some nice things to say, but you’re fucking in the way. Please step aside.

This revolution is about the demand side getting the power to supply. That’s what the Net, free software, Linux, open source, blogging, podcasting, indy music, indy movies and every other movement growing out of connected independence is about. The Net is a whole new marketplace, a land of the free and the home of the smart, the talented and the enterprising. It doesn’t matter how big and fat and old and well-connected your industrial system is. If it doesn’t adapt to the Net’s environment, it’ll choke on its own exhaust.

It would help to have an FCC that understands the nature of this new place. Michael Powell showed some positive signs a few years ago, but now he doesn’t. Freedom of “access” is bulls**t. Freedom to speak, produce, write, perform and do business is what it’s about. Maintaining the old one2many plumbing mentality is a shame and a sham. And worse, delusional.

Doc is cute when he’s mad.

He then sat down and tried to explain it all in terms that even a politician and bureaucrat could understand:

The way we describe the Net (and the Web) is primarily in place terms. We have “sites” that we also call “locations” with “addresses.” We often talk about the Net as an “environment” or a “habitat.” For regulatory purposes, the best description we use is “commons.” All of those terms derive from conceiving the Net as a place, rather than as a transport system.

In this place we’re writing, speaking, talking, inventing, innovating and doing business. We’re not just “consumers” looking for “access” to “content” from “producers” or “providers,” though many of us do only that. The Net is so broadly supportive that any of us can as easily supply as demand. And we’re doing exactly that. This may be scary to established media and other businesses, but it’s the way things work in free markets (which I know you appreciate), and nothing supports those better than the Net….

Our biggest challenge

  • http://journalism.nyu.edu/pubzone/weblogs/pressthink/2004/07/07/blog_boston.html Jay Rosen

    “This revolution is about the demand side getting the power to supply.”
    Jeff, that was brilliant.

  • AlanC

    “…a politician or bureaucrat could understand:”
    Oxymoron alert!
    As was so aptly stated “I can explain it for you, I can’t understand it for you.”
    A large part of their problem is that this paradigm shift makes their whole raison d’etre disappear. This is the luddites reaction. The lifestyle and all of the support network that has provided the validation of their career is going poof almost overnight. Few among us are equipped to deal rationally with such occurances. Especially when we have been hiding in the echo chamber that is DC and didn’t see it coming.