The Political Promise of the Internet

Mitch Kapor writes about Korean politics, where a two year old party, The Uri (Our Party) decisively took over the National Assembly in last week’s elections:

It was done using the Net. It is no accident that the political coming-of-age of the Net came about in Korea where almost 70% of its households are broadband connected. Starting as a social movement organized through the Net, the new Uri party became a political phenomena.
In December 2002, the Uri party used the Net to go around Korea’s traditional political structures and elect Roh Moo-hyun President. Korea’s national politics have traditionally been regionally based. However, using the Net, the Uri put together a new political coalition based not on geography, but age, bringing together those under 30. Paradoxically, the Uri also used the Net to involve citizens at local face to face meetings.
The Net was used to begin to break the overwhelming political influence of Korea’s giant corporate conglomerates, the chaebols, who funded (both legally and illegitimately) much of Korea’s politics. The Uri use the Net to help fund their campaign with tens of thousands of small contributions.

Key Points: The Uri used the internet to route around the establishment (including entrenched media companies who have an interesting in keeping the establishment in power). Here’s a Saudi Blogger’s “diary of life in the “Magic Kingdom”, where the Religious Police ensure that everything remains as it was in the Middle Ages.” via Jeff Jarvis.

The Copyright Killing Fields

J.D. Lasica writes about copyright law and its challengers:

For years, all was peaceful in the house of Horowitz. Jed Horowitz, a 53-year-old New Jersey entrepreneur with sharply chiseled features and gleaming bald head, had been running a small video operation called Video Pipeline that took Hollywood films, created two-minute trailers to help promote them, and distributed them to online retailers such as Netflix, BestBuy, and Barnes and Noble, as well as public libraries. Then one day in 2000, the Walt Disney Co. sent a cease-and-desist order, charging that Horowitz’s company was violating Disney’s copyright by featuring portions of their movies online.