No iPhone for me, thanks to AT&T!

Summary:Not content to simply spy on Americans without a warrant, AT&T has taken a bold move forward and decided to work with the MPAA and RIAA (two of the most hated organizations on the planet), to eliminate copyrighted materials being transmitted between parties on their network.Tip o' the hat to Doc Searls suggestion...

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Not content to simply spy on Americans without a warrant, AT&T has taken a bold move forward and decided to work with the MPAA and RIAA (two of the most hated organizations on the planet), to eliminate copyrighted materials being transmitted between parties on their network. Tip o' the hat to Doc Searls suggestion... why not drop AT&T right now and send them a message that this isn't okay. Before I go to far into this story, let me just go back a little bit personally. Recently I had come to the conclusion that Comcast was the worst company in the world, if not the dumbest. They've been over-billing me for five months, regardless of how many hours I spend on the phone with them...and the countless times they tell me it is fixed...only to receive another over billing that I have to pay or get disconnected. Good times. I was about to make the leap to AT&T because they offer pretty competitive rates bundling Internet with VOIP, and whatnot. Plus I've recently become less skeptical about the iPhone and thought about switching from T-Mobile to Cingular...which is now AT&T. But I've changed my mind and I suggest you do the same. From the LA Times piece (requires registration):
AT&T Inc. has joined Hollywood studios and recording companies in trying to keep pirated films, music and other content off its network — the first major carrier of Internet traffic to do so. The San Antonio-based company started working last week with studios and record companies to develop anti-piracy technology that would target the most frequent offenders, said James W. Cicconi, an AT&T senior vice president.
If only I had Cicconi's email address so I (and by "I" I mean "we") could voice my great displeasure. Steve Jobs, perhaps you could chat with your new AT&T buddies about this, since you've just lost one iPhone sale and likely more to follow? I mean who knows more about dealing with piracy and the value of copyright than you folks at Apple and Disney? Could you possibly give them some insight into how stupid this move is? ----- Technology-wise I just don't see how this is feasible. In fact I think it is likely impossible, so it could just be empty rhetoric from one company trying to appease the companies who they are in bed with for their fledgling cable TV operation. However, this isn't just a black eye for AT&T now, but imagine the vitriol that will come from the inevitable mistakes they'll make. We saw this back when YouTube was "forced" to remove thousands upon thousands of videos that Viacom had claimed were a violation of their copyright. However, what actually occurred was that YouTube removed tons of legitimate content from their servers that Viacom did not own the copyright to, pissing off countless users. With all of the pressure the RIAA/MPAA are feeling of late, this new AT&T strategy was likely conceived in some dark room full of the media illuminati to get some other company to do their dirty work and take the heat off of them. Great idea RIAA/MPAA! Apparently you've been watching more Sopranos episodes of late (legitimately I hope). ----- But before you judge AT&T too harshly, they aren't completely heartless. They are donating 10,000 prepaid phone cards to military families. From their press release:
In the coming weeks, the USO will help AT&T distribute the phone cards to troops throughout Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, South Korea and Japan. Each donated phone card will provide 20 minutes of free talk-time from Iraq to the U.S.
Wow...20 whole minutes!!! That's super cool! Wait...that snippet isn't very clear...do you have to go to Iraq to use them or can you use them in any AT&T military calling center? Don't worry though...if those 20 minutes run out, they still let you call collect. Sorry...did that come off sarcastic and cynical? It's just that I kinda think it would mean more if they kept their silly little 20 minute calling cards and just gave our military families free calls all the time between Iraq/Afghanistan and the U.S. They've built all these AT&T calling centers on military bases...can't they just give free phone calls? I think our soldiers deserve free phone calls don't you?
I mean considering that AT&T has received billions of dollars in government contracts over the years ($1 billion in the past 4 years alone). And hey look...once again they've made the Top 100 in government contractors. BTW...go read the press release...it reads like gibberish. ----- Well Comcast and T-Mobile...looks like yet another marginal year together! sigh

Topics: iPhone, AT&T, Mobility

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