Thursday, May 04, 2006

Colbert as Meme

I think it's safe to say that the attempt to marginalize Stephen Colbert's speech has failed. It's now a full-on Internet-fueled viral meme.

Plus, it's also raised the profile of the increasingly ubiquitous television hosting sites like Youtube and Google Video; although YouTube's decision to take down the content is somewhat disappointing, the damage was done.

Actually, that raises an interesting point. The revisions to copyright law in the United States are making the laws against breaking DRM schemes so vicious that it would actually be preferable to simply steal a DVD/CD instead of copying it. Fine, but what does this do to the Internet's ability to break down the "gatekeeper" role of the media? There's no question that there has been a push to bury Colbert's speech, and the Internet has essentially kept it alive.

Considering that there are clear public policy reasons to keep the speech available, and dubious justification for removing it, are we seeing a case where DRM doesn't just hurt the creative process, but the democratic process as well?

I'm not the biggest fan of draconian IP laws already, but this is making me wonder whether or not the interests of American democracy will, ironically, push people to open up offshore servers.

Edit: Looks like that's not necessary just yet. IFilm has the speech here.

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