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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

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February 28, 2008

Last night's 7.30 Report discussed the problems of restricting access to the Underbelly series, currently banned in Victoria because there are trials pending. Naturally Victorians are very happy about being able to circumvent the ban via the internet. Writer and journalist John Sylvester points out that while journalists are prevented from naming names, the name in question gets 7,500 Google results and a whole Wikipedia entry.

Margaret Simons noted a similar situation when media bending Corey was facing charges and she wasn't allowed to mention his name, yet all of us internet types were wondering whether to call him Delaney or Worthington and his MySpace was roaring along.

The disappearing of Tim Dunlop's piece from his News Ltd blog all that time ago excited more interest at the time than the piece itself, which was probably read and commented on by more people than it otherwise would have, and despite the fact that it didn't say anything that hadn't already been said hundreds of times over.

The demise of Napster saw the emergence of Kazaa and naughty file sharing has proliferated regardless, just a bit more sophisticated than holding the old tape deck up to the radio speaker to make gritty, amateur compilation tapes.

Via Cam, Dans Data has the pathetically low uptake of the previous government's porn-blocking software offer, which turned out to be 1.2 percent of the target 2.5 million anticipated wholesome, porn-hating Australian households. The estimated cost of that adventure is cranky-making.

Is it just me, or is there a pattern emerging here? Is the boot of access and surveillance now on the other foot, or do The Authorities and us lumpenproles now have one boot each? If so, The Authority boot seems to have a few stones in its sock. Although the analogy's a problem given that the proles' foot seems to be streets ahead. Maybe the prole foot has amputated the Authorities' foot and made off with the body.

It's hard to imagine any solution that will restore the power distribution to its old shape. Would it even be possible to hold bloggers to the same legal requirements as journalists? What of commenters? Are they not also publishing in this textual environment?

What do you do when it's impossible to find a jury that doesn't know something possibly prejudicial to a case? What do you do with a nation that refuses to deny itself access, which is essentially what kiddie-safe filters and other contraptions are asking us to do? It's not about the porn or the copyright protected music and movies, or the Victorian underground or, astoundingly enough, Corey's innate fabulousness. It's about our newfound ability and perhaps expectation that we can access these things, whether we actually do or not.

Truth be told, it would probably turn out that most of us are not all that interested in the stuff we're not supposed to see. Until someone tells us we can't.

There's a small sense of getting away with something a bit naughty just watching the Sydney ABC news, in daylight savings free zone Qld, an hour earlier on pay TV, even if we already know what's going to be on because we read about it when it happened on the internet. I can only imagine the thrill of explaining to a jury selection panel that I'd already made up my mind having seen the documentary and learned the accused's mother's maiden name at Wikipedia and just by the way if you ever need advice on jury selection I know of this fantastic website. And did you know of the blog run by the bloke who lived next door to the accused for the past 5 years that's been documenting his movements all along? And one of the regular commenters there is a friend of the accused's wife's sister who says they're also running a porn site that gets around filtering software and selling pirated music and movies at eBay.

| Posted by Lyn at 5:39 PM | | Comments (4)


I haven't watched any of the Underbelly series and guess what? I didn't drop dead. But should I choose to I am glad to know that today The Bulletin wrote a story about all these naughty people who have been illegally downloading the series AND gave me 3 web sites where I could too(illegally) as proof that it was being done AND even gave me an estimated download time so I wouldn't have to inconvenience other PC users in my household. Wasn't that nice of them?

As for the hoo ha lets not forget that what happens in the courts is real and what happens is TV drama land is entertainment. Real is more important.

I've been watching Underbelly on free to air and the Sopranos it ain't. Pity. The material was there to explore a Melbourne gang cuture as a way of life. I just watch it to try and figure out what the gang warfare was all about.

The days of good TV being made in Australia are well and truely over.

I haven't watched any of it either, but I probably would if I was a Victorian trying to get out of jury duty.

What's the Bulletin on about? Are they saying you can download the whole series now instead of waiting for it to go to air? Gary says it's crap so maybe it's rating poorly up here.

The article in yesterdays paper said that people were downloading episodes that had not been screened yet.
There are plenty of p2p places to get it from. mininova seems to be the popular one.