Why the latest incident of TIME-WARNER and (click to read 5/12/2000 article) its heavy handed tactics got the wrath of the FCC down on them for using the public (their customers) as pawns in their money grabbing attitude (this time they were caught).
(following quote taken from recent 5/12/2000 article "Time Warner Cable committed a clear violation of FCC rules," FCC chairman William Kennard said in a statement last week. "Unfortunately millions of consumers paid the price." Federal rules prohibit the deletion of a local commercial television station during its sweeps period.)
One wonders why TIME-WARNER would want to remove this free alternative to the PORNO business that is thriving on the Internet today. Does TIME-WARNER have a vested interest in the PORNO industry through shadow companies they own? It would not be so unusual for a company like TIME-WARNER owner of CNN, HBO, Warner Brothers, Time Inc/People Magazine, Cable TV franchise, DC-Comics and possibly other ventures all used to add to their bottom line profits/losses. The multi-billion Dollar Porno Industry would be a very good source of revenue for a company like TIME-WARNER Inc which specializes in publishing and entertainment.
They claim that the comics on these pages infringed on their copyright rights and produced unfair competition (see details in the letter from DC-Comics). In regards to their paragraph of reaching an amicable resolution, all of their demands were met except they found out that not a single penny was being made on this site. One assumes that their current actions were taken since their extortion attempts failed. No money, we will get you.
How can they make any of these claims on comics purchased over 35 years ago (out of print collectors issues) when at that time the copyright laws only protected and extended to 28 years. If one entered an agreement with DC-Comics 30-40 years ago not to reproduce these comics for 28 years, then that agreement was kept and should be binding for both parties. Congress has changed that law in 1978 but that is after these purchases/agreements were made in this particular case. (U.S. Copyright Office General Information and Publications ). In this case one must also consider the "fair use" doctrine in section 107 of the Copyright Act for out of print documents.
In regards to unfair competition, DC-Comics was informed that as gesture of good faith, if any of the 30-40 year old Comics now in The Vintage Comics Viewing Room which are being sold by DC-Comics at this time, would be removed so as to not affect their sales and profits. (no response from them).
One must ask themselves, why remove this Web Site from the Internet, where freedom of speech and expression was supposed to exist and not controlled by Large Corporations. This Web site was free, wholesome and promoting Comics as an alternative to other Web site. You might consider greed, control and lawyers as the motivating force.
The Viewing Room was set up like a Public Library for people to visit, borrow, and read a comic or two. (I believe TIME-WARNER has not shut down Public Libraries yet but it could be on their agenda).
Even though Corporations like TIME-WARNER would like to control who, what, and when you can use or see things on the Internet plus of course pay for the privilege, one needs to remember the Internet was developed with Federal Funding (through public taxes) years ago and until the Government relinquishes your freedoms and rights to Corporations like TIME-WARNER, your rights are still intact.
This fight has just begun.
If you want your comics returned to its original site and feel like you participated in doing it, click here or If you don't care about the future of the Internet and your rights, then surf onward looking for other free sites before they to disappear one by one or are taken over by the pay to view Corporations. Apathy will get no sympathy when all is lost.