I got an email today from the Digital Freedom campaign. I found out about this organization about a year ago, after hearing that they had a huge pimped out booth at CES. I was immediately suspicious as free culture organizations are few and generally poor. I tried to do some digging around who was funding them and what their mission statement was. There was nothing on their website at that time and they didn’t answer emails.
The email I got today (a generic mailing list blast – they added me to their mailing list without my consent when I emailed them asking about their funding and mission) was hosted by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), and had CEA contact information at the bottom of the email.
They still don’t have a mission statement on their site. They call themselves a “campaign” rather than a nonprofit. They have no list of employees or funders. Their blog posts don’t have authors. This implies to me that they exist merely to push consumer electronics to free culture people. Take this blog post for example:
We told them there was money out there just waiting to be made if they were willing to think outside the box, or in this case, inside the X-box, PlayStation 3, and other video gaming systems. The popularity of gaming and the incorporation of music into those games, are providing a valuable new revenue stream for artists, songwriters, and yes – even music labels. The numbers are remarkable and very telling. We have known for some time that the music industry ignored the potential of technology and innovation at their own peril – but now there is a very real example of what the future could look and sound like.
Them? They? Microsoft is a member of the CEA. Sony is a member of the CEA. This is self promotion masquerading as revolutionary politics!
The only positive explanation I can imagine for this “campaign” is that electronics organizations are sending a message to record companies to lighten up on consumer restrictions. But CEA members are some of the worst DRM-loving anti-consumer user-exploitative corporations on the planet! So that explanation doesn’t seem to make sense.
I’ve put attributes on all the links in this post so that we won’t increase the pagerank of these shady organizations. I would be happy to remove them once I know the funders, employees, and motivations behind this “campaign”.