Technology isn't quite the same, of course, but certainly exposure to the actual, visceral experience of the ways in which technology transforms one's notion of cultural production does wonders for the policy-maker. That's why this is a brilliant idea
Senator Stevens, the 82-year old Committee [on Commerce, Science, and Transportation] chairman from Alaska, surprised the audience by announcing that his daughter had bought him an iPod, and suddenly Stevens had a much greater understanding of the many ways innovative technology can create choice for consumers. Content industry representatives at the hearing found themselves answering much tougher questions than they typically receive.Because most policy- and law-makers seem to have little time to play with the sorts of things that more geeky types play with, like Creative Commons produced works, blogs as conversations and amplification of voice, fundamental reversals of the basic institutions of society in a UCaPP environment - stuff like that - giving them the toys that create new awareness of these changes goes an awfully long way in undoing the types of gifts that some (former) parliamentarians receive.
That's why we think all Senators ought to join Stevens' esteemed company as iPod owners. Rather than wait for every Senator's daughter, we're taking matters into our own hands and buying a video iPod for the campaigns of Senators who work on legislation affecting technology. Plus, we're going to pre-load each one with examples of the cultural richness made possible by sharing and collaboration - public domain content, Creative Commons content, and audio messages about the importance of balanced copyright policy.
[Technorati tags: ipod | creative commons | intellectual property | content industry]