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Media Monopoly: Thomas Edison to Hillary Rosen 189

An anonymous reader writes "George Ziemann has posted two excellent articles that explore the early days of the recording and music industry, how their attempts to monopolize their respective mediums in the past failed, and how their attempts to do so strangely mirror those presently being undertaken by contemporary media conglomerates to control digital distribution over the Net. Seems the two industries back at the turn of the century tried to pool their patents to block out competition like the RIAA and the big media companies today pool their copyrights. The first article "The Dawn of Recorded Music and the First Pirates" focuses on early collusion in the phonograph industry. The second "Music, Movies and Monopoly" on Thomas Edison's failed attempts to restrain fair trade in the two new media he gave commercial rise to."
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Media Monopoly: Thomas Edison to Hillary Rosen

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 01, 2003 @03:49PM (#6091152)
    Those who don't learn by history are doomed to repeat it. Why oh why don't they freakin' learn?
    • by Fulcrum of Evil ( 560260 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @05:04PM (#6091450)

      Those who don't learn by history are doomed to repeat it. Why oh why don't they freakin' learn?

      Because History class in high-school is largely a pack of feel-good lies and, besides, they rarely get much past the civil war anyways.

      • by einTier ( 33752 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @08:13PM (#6092217)
        Isn't that the truth. In the whole of my history classes, I got to World War II only once -- and that was in college. Only one of the other classes made it to the 1900's.

        On top of that, anything truly interesting (read controversial) was simply glossed over -- with the exception of slavery, where I was told that I was responsible today for the sins of my great, great, great grandfather 150 years ago. I shouldn't have to say that he wasn't even in America, and the first of my ancestry to set foot in America married a Native American.

        History isn't about learning, if it ever was. It's all about indoctrination.
      • I was a history major and I think the curriculum is mostly fine the way it is. In order to intelligently discuss why things happened, you first needs to know what happened. While analyzing, say, the Spanish American War, you need to know what events happened in what order and who was involved. Also, a basic, simplistic version of why things happened. This is what grade school and freshman / sophomore highschool history is for. Once you know the facts of the situation, you can begin examining those fact
        • If you don't get into examining the facts and synthesizing until upper-level high-school, you are far behind where you should be.

          We should be reading _source_ documents in gradeschoool (although translated).
        • I was a history major and I think the curriculum is mostly fine the way it is. In order to intelligently discuss why things happened, you first needs to know what happened.

          Well, my gripe is with highschool-level History, in that it largely fails to tell you about important things that happened, or distorts the facts (and debate) out of all sensibility.

          Once you know the facts of the situation, you can begin examining those facts in the light of cultural development, economic considerations, perceive

    • by kbonin ( 58917 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @05:06PM (#6091467) Homepage
      They have learned that:

      1. There's a sufficiently long interval between when a monopoly begins flexing its control and when it is either stopped by antitrust law or made irrelevant that an obscenely large amount of money can be made, and

      2. Changes in law have reduced penalties in most cases to forms like "rebate coupons", allowing the guilty to effectively keep all the proceeds.

      Its like Microsoft - technically they're just playing the system, and don't forget that the US has the best government money can buy...
    • by JamesOfTheDesert ( 188356 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @08:21PM (#6092239) Journal
      Those who don't learn by history are doomed to repeat it.

      Well, look on the bright side: repeating history will be forbidden unless you own the copyright on it.

    • by gabec ( 538140 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @10:58PM (#6092867)
      Seems the two industries back at the turn of the century tried to pool their patents ...

      Funny, I don't remember reading about this three years ago.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 01, 2003 @03:52PM (#6091168)
    Did anyone else read that as Pornography Industry?
  • Ted Turner's opinion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fatcat1111 ( 158945 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @03:55PM (#6091179)
    Here's Ted Turner's letter voicing opposition (!) [commondreams.org] to increased media consolidation.
  • What else is new? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SamBC ( 600988 ) <s.barnett-cormack@lancaster.ac.uk> on Sunday June 01, 2003 @03:57PM (#6091187)
    Isn't it both a matter of study and anecdotal evidence that corporations (and sometimes individuals) generally try and stifle competition in a new industry, to their ultimate disadvantage?
  • by Freston Youseff ( 628628 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @03:57PM (#6091188) Homepage Journal
    is that they tried to "dominate" a tangible market.
  • Con Edison (Score:5, Funny)

    by h00pla ( 532294 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @03:59PM (#6091204) Homepage
    Gives new meaning to that term, doesn't it

    • Re:Con Edison (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mooncaller ( 669824 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @05:07PM (#6091476)
      Edison was a true pioneer. He took FUD to new hights. He used paten portfolios to styfle competion in ways never dreamed of by his predicesors. He accuired the ownership of patens in very unsavory ways. He was one of the first to enslave inventors (read developers). Between him and Standard Oil, they wrote the book on monopolistic tyrany. Bill Gates is just extending the techniques pioneered by Edison.
      • by Snork Asaurus ( 595692 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @06:24PM (#6091822) Journal
        Edison was a true pioneer. He took FUD to new hights. He used paten portfolios to styfle competion in ways never dreamed of by his predicesors. He accuired the ownership of patens in very unsavory ways. He was one of the first to enslave inventors (read developers). Between him and Standard Oil, they wrote the book on monopolistic tyrany. Bill Gates is just extending the techniques pioneered by Edison.

        Please insert obligatory "Miscrosoft never does anything original" comment here.

      • Re:Con Edison (Score:2, Interesting)

        by decaf_dude ( 171976 )
        True, fire which burned down Tesla's lab was attributed to Edison even though nothing was ever proven.
        • "True, fire which burned down Tesla's lab was attributed to Edison even though nothing was ever proven."

          As ready as I maight be to believe most any old bad thing about Edison, I'm inclined to doubt this one. The stuff Tesla worked with was probably more than capable of starting a fire with the least bit of carelessness or inattention and, having been involved in at least one fire himself, I suspect Edison would have hesitated to use that particular dirty trick against anyone else.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 01, 2003 @04:08PM (#6091243)
    Fox News Channel [foxnews.com]

    Enough said.
  • A Convo (Score:5, Funny)

    by CptChipJew ( 301983 ) <michaelmiller@@@gmail...com> on Sunday June 01, 2003 @04:09PM (#6091253) Homepage Journal
    Thomas Edison: Hillary, you need to lose weight seriously. My left ear is deaf and I can still hear the walls move when you walk.

    Hillary: }=(
  • by BabyDave ( 575083 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @04:11PM (#6091261)

    Why don't we get Parker Brothers/Hasbro/whoever to make a "Media Monopoly(TM)" - instead of streets, you buy towns/cities, with houses representing newspapers, radio stations etc, and a hotel being a TV station or something. We could have Chance cards along the lines of "A new file-sharing app is launched. Lose $200,000,000" or "The American legal system develops collective insanity and passes the DMCA. Collect $5 billion", "The IRS finds out about the $10 billion stuffed down the back of the CEO's sofa, go directly to jail" etc etc.

    Come on guys! If we put our heads together, we could probably come up with decent analogies for the utilities, stations, free parking etc, then launch the game in a blaze of publicity, giving the profits (excessive optimism, probably ...) to the EFF or something.

  • Starr-Gennett (Score:5, Informative)

    by jwilcox154 ( 469038 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @04:14PM (#6091282) Homepage Journal
    Seems the two industries back at the turn of the century tried to pool their patents to block out competition like the RIAA and the big media companies today pool their copyrights.

    Because of those patents, Starr-Gennett [starrgennett.org] "along with several other companies" were sued in the early Nineteen-Twenties, which the the American Graphophone Company (Columbia) and the Victor Talking Machine Co. Lost.

    The Second Circuit Court of appeals held the patent void for lack of invention and for abandonment.

    Not only did the lawsuit effectively end the majors' monopolization of lateral recording, it formed a bond between the smaller companies which had joined the Gennetts in the legal battle. Leasing arrangements between the companies followed, eventually involving hundreds of masters.

  • by ksheka ( 189669 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @04:16PM (#6091290)
    ...What, like three years ago? Oh, you mean the *previous* century...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 01, 2003 @04:17PM (#6091297)
    Don't really care for him
    Credited with lots of nice things of course.

    I guess a shitload of money, federal friends, a huge orange lab in New Jerz and a billion people doing the research and studies FOR you really lets you invent tons of stuff.

    My geek god is Nikola Tesla. He is a straight up ballin G.
  • Monopoly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by khalido ( 601247 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @04:23PM (#6091318) Homepage
    You know, with the advent of services like iTunes, and others like Sony, etc etc. It is quite possible that a monopoly will finally be established by the RIAA. It is so convenient to buy music online from someplace like iTunes that people over the years will shift to buying their music online. Everyone wants their favourite music and all the copyrights are owned by the big labels. Any service to attract users will have to have a contract with the RIAA so they can sell all the golden oldies. I mean, if some service pops up and they just have a bunch of unknowns not many people will buy from them. Its the Bruce Springsteens and the Beatles of the world who move music.
    As for Kazaa and others, hell they'll keep going strong but they will get harder and harder to use as the RIAA cracks down. I do not forsee my parents using Kazaa. They used it, and the fact that half the songs are low quality and u get many different results for a single song.. Well they don't care, all they want is to put in the name of a song and get back ONE result which they KNOW will work. Kazaa and napster to them are not worth the effort of searching and seeing if the songs are good quality and error free. They will however happily use iTunes. And that is why iTunes and similar vendors are going to make it big in the next 5 years as normal poeple start using them and discover how convenient they are. It is not the ubergeeks sitting downloading tons of music from kazaa and irc. Hell they can do that all they want it still won't detract from the ever increasing success of pay music. I predict that in the future, people will be like: Yeah, the smiths are really poor, they still use kazaa!
    Many different online vendors | all having to deal with the RIAA implies a possible monopoly especially with DRM techonology maturing.
    • Re:Monopoly (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MacOS_Rules ( 170853 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @05:44PM (#6091642) Homepage
      I would like to stongly disagree with you. Everything you say is absolutely correct sans one minor detail: the indies. Steve Jobs/Apple PR have numerously explained that the courting of the big-five was necessary for iTMS to just get off the ground. Now is the time that the indies are courting Apple. Imagine a store, iTMS if you want, where all Artists, be they members of major labels or not, show up on the same page. Combine this with the 30 second previews, and all of a sudden, everyone can hear *any* band; the absolute success of a band will no longer depend on labels (though I'm sure influence will be strong depending who you're signed to).

      If you consider the indies less money hungry (due mostly to their size & efficiency), there's a good chance that those songs/albums offered to you by iTMS will be less expensive than the 99cents/track, $9.99/album. The almighty dollar probably will win out here, generating more interest in the indies.

      If anything, I believe such services as iTMS (if successful) will lead to eventual decentralization of power in the music industry. =)
      • Re:Monopoly (Score:3, Interesting)

        by edverb ( 644426 )
        I hope you're right Mac, I honestly do.

        At the risk of sounding redundant, I'll say it: The historical music distribution model is a dying species. Currently the model is in the control of 10 or so huge corps (including radio/concert promotions). The sooner these corps are forced to stop clinging to a half-century old model while strangling the music-over-IP baby in the crib, the better for musicians and music lovers everywhere...out-of-print catalogs can be made available again, and consumer choice in m
      • Imagine a store, iTMS if you want, where all Artists, be they members of major labels or not, show up on the same page.

        Imagine the major labels denying such a store their licensing...
      • Imagine a store, iTMS if you want, where all Artists, be they members of major labels or not, show up on the same page. Combine this with the 30 second previews, and all of a sudden, everyone can hear *any* band; the absolute success of a band will no longer depend on labels (though I'm sure influence will be strong depending who you're signed to).

        Yes, and then the RIAA says, "Post our music above theirs (or worse, don't post theirs at all) or else we won't let you sell our music anymore." That's when

  • by Enrico Pulatzo ( 536675 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @04:31PM (#6091348)
    His tech was better fidelity, less backing by popular artists, and less accepted by the public. The book "The Invisible Computer" really does a good job of telling Edison's story, I highly suggest you read it.

    Edison's story teaches me that in emerging technology, one must establish a monopoly if there is to be any stability in future markets. If one standard is not a clear winner, the consumer is the clear loser. Consumers will sacrifice quality for market saturation every time.
    • Yeah, but his electricity distribution system was shit. It was backed by everyone(who could afford it) at the time, and was well accepted. One could say he had a monopoly on the system, but that was only because there was nobody competing against him. Then came Tesla, with his superior system. Look where that got us. Edison is full of shit.
    • by Amiga Trombone ( 592952 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @05:31PM (#6091580)
      His tech was better fidelity, less backing by popular artists, and less accepted by the public. The book "The Invisible Computer" really does a good job of telling Edison's story, I highly suggest you read it.

      Well, that wasn't all there is to the story. Actually, the "phonograph wars" were in some way comparable to the PC vs Mac wars.

      Edison == proprietary, Victor, Columbia, etc, == open standard.

      It is true that Edison's Amberol cylinders and Diamond Disks had better sound quality than the competing flat discs produced by Victor, Columbia, etc.

      Two problems; first, Edison's formats were proprietary, and as noted, Edison was vigorous in enforcing his patents. The only media available was from the Edison Co., and every recording they issued was subject to the personal approval of Edison himself, so consumers were limited to what was available by Edison's personal tastes,as opposed to the plethora of music available to owners of Victor, Columbia, Zonophone, etc. phonographs (technichly gramaphones - a phonograph is a cylinder machine). Also there were a number of 3rd party recording companies that produced records for the gramaphone format that weren't available for the Edison machines. Second, the cylinder format was inconvenient to use, and only allowed for one song to be recorded per record. The plaster core of the Amberol cylinders had a tendancy to swell, making them difficult to mount properly on the mandrel of the phonograph.

      While the technical issues were addressed by the Diamond Disk format, by that time the flat disk (Berliner format) had become the standard, and also, the Diamond Disk was again a proprietary format, available only from Edison.

      There was a reason Edison wasn't as well accepted by popular artists, too. He was a cheapskate. In those days, recording artists weren't paid by royalties, they were paid only for their performance for the recording session. After 1912, rather than pay the artists to record both a version for cylinders and Diamond Disks, Edison would pay the artist only for recording the Diamond Disk master, and then record the cylinder masters from the Diamond Disk. This also accounted for the reduction of quality in cylinder recordings after 1912.
      • The biggest drawback in the phonograph wars on Edison's side was the fact that he thought the consumer wouldn't care who was singing, as long as they got to listen to music. Contrasting this with today's top 20 makes me really wonder if we've changed, or if he was just dense when it came to his customers.
  • by geekee ( 591277 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @04:41PM (#6091377)
    "like the RIAA and the big media companies today pool their copyrights."

    The RIAA members do not pool their copyrights. If they did, you could buy Britney Spears from any number of labels for next to nothing. The RIAA members only pool resources to fight common problems, like piracy. In all other respects, they compete against eachother, label B trying to find the next Britney Spears to sell to the teens and take label A's profits. This is the way it should work. Without the ability to monopolize an artist, a label cannot make money, since all the cost to promote an artist and make him famous can't be recovered if anyone else can sell copies of the album or if people can download it for free.
    • Right ... record companies are not in competition with each other.

      If you want to see fierce competition, look at soft drinks or snack foods or beer -- notice how there is so much fierce advertising, and price wars going on. Also each company is always trying to come up with something new.

      In the record industry there are no price wars. Prices are actually going up ... and going up in unison. Whenever you see all the market participants raise their prices in unison without any apparent reason you dont have
    • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @04:55PM (#6091423) Homepage
      You dont know what you're talking about.

      Disclosure: I produce music.

      Big Five labels regularly infringe on each others copyrights, most commonly in not clearly all samples on albums (practically all musicians, like Sarah McLaughlan, use samples, usually to beef up the beat .. you rally do need samples today to supply the kind of sound that consumers demand) .. there is a silent agreement that theres no need to go after the people *in* the monopoly to begin with. Labels only go after groups not in the monopoly to begin with, for increasinly obscure/nonobvious use of copywritten material. Furthurmore, since the RIAA is the group that goes after copyright infringers, they *do* pool their copyrights in the sense that the RIAA does not differentiate between label A being infringed and label B when they go after groups or individuals.

      But the issue about them turning a blind eye to their own infringements and then creating an umbrella group to go after people *not* in the circle is clearly an abuse of power, and does show you how they do pool their IP together. You're simply taking the word pool all too literally to see the bigger picture. Most musicians can see this plain as day.
    • This is the way it should work. Without the ability to monopolize an artist, a label cannot make money, since all the cost to promote an artist and make him famous can't be recovered if anyone else can sell copies of the album or if people can download it for free.

      Promoting someone who has no talent but just a body that would appeal to most customers in the target group (according to research) to perform songs that have neither innovative music nor significant lyrics but would appeal to most customers in

      • Promoting someone who has no talent but just a body that would appeal to most customers in the target group (according to research) to perform songs that have neither innovative music nor significant lyrics but would appeal to most customers in the target group (according to research) is the way it should work?? Maybe these so-called artists are promoted too much with too much money?

        Sure, that's the way it should work. If that's what the customer wants then that is surely what should be provided.

        What's
    • It doesn't cost anything to promote an artist and make them famous. If not a cent was spent, some artists would still become both popular and famous.

      It does, however, cost a lot of money to promote a BAD artist and make them popular.

      That's why bad music costs so much money!
    • Another point that the poster gets wrong is that the monopolies in the article weren't fighting piracy, they were fighting unlicensed competition. In a way, they were really much worse. There would be a parallel if, say, the RIAA owned all patents on electronic music distribution and tried to shut down all independents that chose to distribute their music that way. It's absurd to claim that the RIAA is afraid of Kazaa because they're afraid of *others* using it to distribute their own music, when in fact
  • Edison (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EverDense ( 575518 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @04:59PM (#6091436) Homepage
    So society is just being subjected to the same old mistakes of the past?

    Why is the name Thomas Edison so revered?

    In 100 years, will all the anti-competitive crimes of Microsoft have been forgotten? and
    will Bill Gates be "remembered" as the "inventor" of so many key parts of computer systems?

    Thomas Edison, like Bill Gates, was first and foremost a businessman. Yet, he gets "remembered"
    as the "inventor" of many things that OTHER people actually discovered.

    The genius of Edison and Gates _was_ in making inventions practicable through their employees.
    • In 100 years, will all the anti-competitive crimes of Microsoft have been forgotten? and will Bill Gates be "remembered" as the "inventor" of so many key parts of computer systems?

      Why wait 100 years? It's being revised now. On Law&Order a few eps ago, one of the DA's got something off the Net, and the head DA (Fred Thomson) comments, "Somehow, I doubt that this is what Bill Gates intended."
    • Re:Edison (Score:3, Insightful)

      by zakezuke ( 229119 )
      Actually you are very much correct. Edison made a business out of invention, which can be, arguably, be associated with software. Bill Gates made a business out of software, something back in the 1980's was joked about.

      "How the hell can you make a profit out of something you can so easily copy" was a common statement regarding MS dos which was released with no form of copy protection. Before microsoft, operating systems were typicaly made by the respective hardware companies, and were practicaly impossi
    • I think it's because society is quick to romanticise the "inventor" when what they really value and remember is the "innovator". Invention is about creating new ideas, innovation is about taking ideas, old and new, and making them useful to people today.

      Edison's real accomplishment wasn't inventing electricity, there were many others working on the same stuff around the same time. I'd say his accomplishment was building the beginnings of several industries, notably electricity (and General Electric).

      In
    • Re:Edison (Score:2, Insightful)

      Why is the name Thomas Edison so revered?

      Because he was a bloody brilliant guy who accomplished a lot in his lifetime, and those accomplishments affected a large group of people... and he's from an age where a ton of cool stuff was coming out of america.

      Him being revered doesn't negate other brilliant people of his time, such as tesla, or marconi. Nor does it make him a good person... most people have no knowledge of his character, business tactics and other such bits of history.

      He's revered in the same
    • Why is the name Thomas Edison so revered?

      Just to put an international perspective on this, neither I, nor my wife were taught about Edison in school, and we went to schools on differnet continents.

      I think that it's more of a US perspective where Edison is revered. For the rest of the world, he's just another foreign inventor. People tend to learn about their local inventors and are told how great they are, and gloss over the foriegners.

      As an example, I bet no-one from the US knows who invented that grea
  • You know, the record companies and Hollywood want complete control over technologies that were invented over 100 years ago. That's the weakest part of their argument. If they're so hot to control a technology, why don't they go and invent a new one, like hologram projection? Then they'd actually have a patent.
  • Phonograph history (Score:5, Informative)

    by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @05:17PM (#6091520) Homepage
    There's a long story there, and that article only covers a bit of it.

    Edison's invention of the phonograph was a huge breakthrough. There are no antecedents. He himself said, in later life, that it was the only truly original thing he ever invented.

    There's a complicated story here, involving cylinders vs. records, vertical recording vs. horizontal recording, and some related technical issues. Originally, there were only original recordings. It took a while to figure out how to duplicate records. Early schemes involved one phonograph playing into the recording horns of many others, sort of like VHS duplication with worse generation loss. Then there was a scheme for duplicating via electroplating. It years to find a set of materials that allowed good pressings.

    A more music-industry like issue is that Edison's record company decided that, rather than recording big-name musicians, they'd find less famous ones that sounded just as good. This turned out to be a major marketing mistake. The Victor Talking Machine Company started to gain market share because of this.

    On a related note, the history of the incandescent lamp is usually misunderstood. The way to make an incandescent lamp is to find some material with a high melting point, draw it out into fine wire, make a coil out of it, put it in a bulb with vacuum or inert gases, and power it up. This was known before Edison. Swan made light bulbs before Edison, but he used platinum. All bulbs today use tungsten, which was tough to make into wire. General Electric Research, the successor of Edison's lab, solved that problem. It took years and sizable resources.

    That's not what Edison invented. He invented a way to make low-cost bulbs with carbonized paper filaments. That was a mediocre technology, but way ahead of gas lamps. It was good enough to get the electrical industry going, and it was phased out as soon as tungsten technology worked. Sort of like CP/M or MS-DOS.

  • yeah (Score:5, Funny)

    by machine of god ( 569301 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @05:18PM (#6091521)
    Edison, that monopolistic bastard.
  • After Monday, the only impartial media out there will be public radio and television.

    Support it, or it will die.
    Find your local radio [npr.org] or television [pbs.org] station and join up.
  • Ancient Proverb (Score:3, Interesting)

    by General Sherman ( 614373 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @05:47PM (#6091654) Journal
    Only the ignorant and stupid repeat the mistakes of others.
  • by Master of Transhuman ( 597628 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @06:03PM (#6091723) Homepage
    "Many of the early independents were resilient film exhibitors who ventured into production when they found their supply of film threatened. Carl Laemmle (Independent Motion Picture Company or IMP), Harry E. Aitken (Majestic Films), and Adolph Zukor (Famous Players) were among the pioneering independents who protested the Trust, and then laid the foundation for the Hollywood studios. Having entered the business through exhibition, they determined that they liked production better, and got out of the theater business as the nickelodeon boom ended around 1911."

    In other words, the movie studios WERE STARTED BY PIRATES! (i.e., independents who were defying the copyrights and patents of the companies described in the articles).

  • by Brian James D'Astous ( 672877 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @06:58PM (#6091948)
    Rosen is a lot like Thomas Edison... except for the whole part about Edison being a brilliant inventor who applied for intellectual property protection ON HIS OWN WORK. On the contrary, it is quite clear that Rosen is actively working to prevent the development and introduction of innovative new technologies. Bottom line: regardless of his flaws, DO NOT compare Hilary Rosen with Thomas Edison.
  • It's almost acceptable to use "media" as a singular, but completely and utterly wrong to use "mediums", unless you're discussing gypsy fortunetellers.
  • Webdev 1: Hey ... let's make a webpage explaining Edisons' fight with pirates ...

    Webdev 2: Ok ... but how are we going to pay for the bandwidth after we get Slashdotted?

    Webdev 1: No problem ... we'll hawk Apple's iPod on top ... and Philips PSA MP3 player on bottom ...

    Webdev 2: ... Cha Ching ...

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