There Is No Cat

As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

Friday, May 3, 2002

Eat them up, yum!

I don't watch TV. So I don't have a TiVO or a ReplayTV. Good thing, too, now that the courts have ordered ReplayTV to batter down your door and watch everything you do with your TV. Oh wait, they don't have to, you brought them into your house thinking they were harmless. And they would be, if it weren't for fµckwitted judges and the companies whose bidding they do. Disney, the Most Evil Corporation On Earth, claim they need this information to prove that ReplayTV incites users to steal free TV by skipping the ads. Next Disney will be posting armed guards in front of your refrigerator and bathroom to prevent you from skipping out during the ads. (Found via Scripting News and a bunch of other weblogs, which means you've already read it. I'm sorry. I don't usually like to link to things that everyone else is linking to.)

What is it about Michael Eisner that makes him think he can dictate the way people use entertainment? Disney seems to be behind so many of the anti-consumer moves being made by Congress and the courts these days. They were one of the prime movers behind the royalty rates that seem likely to destroy online radio by the end of this month. They fought and won extensions to copyright because they didn't want Mickey Mouse to enter the public domain (he wouldn't have, but some of his early films would have). They have ripped off the rightful owners of Winnie the Pooh, to the extent of destroying documents subpoenaed in a court case after they had been subpoenaed (shades of Enron!) They're behind the SSSCA, which became the CBDTPA, the bill in Congress that would destroy the high-tech industry by mandating the universal incorporation of digital rights management software of a level of security that doesn't exist and is likely impossible to create.

The purpose of copyright is "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". That's what it says in the Constitution. The means of promoting this is "by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries". Copyright has always been a limited right, as well, with fair use exemptions to make copyrighted material more useful to the people who use it, thereby promoting progress as the Constitution dictates. To create laws for the purpose of enriching content creators at the expense of consumers goes against the express purpose of copyright as laid down in the most basic law of the land.

When people think of Disney, they think of a mouse, but a more appropriate connection would be an octopus. They are extending their tentacles into every form of entertainment they can. They own ABC, ESPN, The Family Channel, Lifetime, A&E, Touchstone Pictures, Miramax, Discover magazine.... The list goes on and on. They license their properties to appear on clothing, cereals, toothbrushes. They're omnipresent.

Because of this, they see us as sheep to be herded wherever they think we belong. We're baby birds, waiting in the nest for Momma Mickey to bring us sustenance, craning our necks and opening our mouths.


Any company that treats its customers with such contempt and has such a condescending opinion of them does not deserve our custom. I'm starting to think Disney is more of a threat to the American way of life than Microsoft.

I'm going to miss the only thing I watch on TV, college football, but since Disney broadcasts a huge percentage of the football that appears on TV on its ABC and ESPN networks, including most of the games of the teams I'm interested in in the Big Ten conference, I won't be watching this fall, not as long as Michael Eisner is in charge at Disney. Fish rots from the head. So, apparently, do mice.

Posted at 3:30 PM


Note: I’m tired of clearing the spam from my comments, so comments are no longer accepted.


This site is copyright © 2002-2018, Ralph Brandi.

What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio

There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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