Speech delivered at the BCLA Information Policy Conference
Vancouver, 27-28 October 1995

© COPYRIGHT 1995 By Dan Schiller


The ability to function as an Internet service provider can be created for about $100,000, with an additional $50,000 a year in maintenance costs2; more limited levels of participation, obtained through shared use of a server and software 3 may be had for only a couple of hundred dollars. Barriers to entry into this vibrant new medium, therefore, are today drastically lower than they are for any of the established major media: consider, for example, that a single local broadcasting channel annually costs an estimated $3 to $4 million to operate; that the Washington Times is said to have lost $100 million since its inception in 1982; and that Rupert Murdoch is reported to have lost $250 million before turning a profit on his nationwide startup, the Fox television network.4

History teaches that at such rare moments when - for any of a number of reasons - barriers to entry drop, media often lend themselves to a wholly unaccustomed range of political causes and ideological perspectives.5 Is the Internet a case in point? Not a few critics and activists certainly think so. They can point to such phenomena as the National Public Telecomputing Network, or the Association for Progressive Communications - which collectively manages a variety of interlinked systems such as Peace Net, connecting activists round the world.6 Citing the Internet's utilization by insurgents in Chiapas, Mexico, Howard Frederick and others argue that "the advent of decentralizing communication technologies such as computer networking" marks the emergence of a significant new force in international relations, which "circumvents the hegemony of markets and of governments."7

It would be curmudgeonly to scoff at such assertions; more important, it would be wrong. The Internet is far from impervious to alternative and oppositional activity; and we must try to keep it as open and accessible as it now is.8 Are we entitled, however, to abstract from the undoubted occasions when Internet access has furnished new leverage against social domination, toward a projected new era of decentralized, democratic interchange?

The ideologues of the I-Way are unrelenting on this point; scarcely a week goes by that we do not hear from one pundit or the next that we are sliding effortlessly into a state of informational plenitude. Newt Gingrich heralds the virtues of what [in a curious image] he proclaims will be "a world that is bathed in information."9 U.S. Vice President Al Gore is no less insistent that his vision of a global information infrastructure - "the heir to the great breakthroughs in thought that have transformed mankind," as he modestly terms it - centers on making information "an abundant rather than a scarce resource."10 Following in the train of writers such as Alvin Toffler, George Gilder and Peter Huber, John Perry Barlow, one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, asserts that computer networking is "the most transforming technological event since the capture of fire." Barlow goes on to suggest that the basis for his optimism about networking, in contrast to books or broadcast media, is that "between the word that I type into my computer and e-mail to you and the word that comes out on your end there's nothing but the digital transformation taking place. It's not mediated."11

"It's not mediated" - but this is an astounding assertion, even among these masters of hyperbole! Do computer networks indeed function simply as transparent media of direct exchange? Are the ideologues of the I-way right to imply that computer networks will transcend at a keystroke the prevailing structures of cultural production? In the face of new kinds of "native form" and "native content," will the pressures and constraints that have come to dominate publishing, film, musical recording, television and the rest of the "traditional" media industries give up the ghost? For too many enthusiasts of the I-Way, it has been all too convenient to bypass these questions12 - usually by implying that vast increases in available bandwidth make all comparison to past practice simply irrelevant.

This is not to say, on the other hand, that information production in a networked environment is not likely to be visited by dramatic change. But to get at these shifts we will have to recognize that between individual users of computer networks there do indeed intervene a host of crucial social and historical mediations. Understanding communications technology development in general, and the Internet in particular, requires that we attend to these mediations - to ascertain how network development has been guided and shaped, and to learn how the needs of dominant institutions have impinged, and continue to impact, on it. Only thus will we be in a position to evaluate the more central claim: that, as a result of computer networking, society is becoming an informational cornucopia. It is to these crucial mediating factors, therefore, that I will devote the following discussion; and I begin with an assessment of presentday "access" to computer networks.


The Internet's predecessor was inaugurated in 1969 as a US Department of Defense project, intended both to innovate new techniques of interconnecting computers, and to improve and increase computer research productivity through resource sharing; although the project from the beginning envisaged "a significant eventual impact on the use of computers in both the public and private sectors," only later - and above all after management of the Internet was shifted from the U.S. National Science Foundation to nongovernmental operators and restraints on commercial utilization were loosened - did it become a platform for general-purpose applications.13 The current relationship of the U.S. military to the Internet remains debatable. When we contemplate the latter's explosive growth, however, its topdown military origin is too often made to seem incongruous - or worse, insignificant. In fact it is crucial, for it underscores that the Internet's surging accessibility is a recent, and perhaps momentary, historical opening or window.

Before turning to the question of how long this window may remain open, let us supply a few details about who is in a position to look in or out of it, and - most important - to build its frame. For I should underscore that there are two distinct levels of network access: first, access to individual users, which is achieved by setting up a home page or network host or a computing service; second, access by individual users to such systems, which may be obtained simply by subscribing to one or another network service. Although both levels of access permit a degree of active information provision, the capacity to set up a network, a web server, or even a home page, confers a markedly more expansive and significant level of participation than simple subscribership.

We have all heard tales of the Internet's growth rate - its user population is currently estimated to be increasing by about 10-15% a month - and we must credit this movement with a significant international impetus. The expansive territorial reach of computer networking is of course a leading factor in the perception that it portends an electronic global village. China, by one estimate, had two host sites early in 1994, but 593 a year later; Argentina's increased from 1 to 1415 over the same interval; Japan's mushroomed from 38,267 to 99,034. Network subscribership, on the other hand, has become a routine accompaniment of the ongoing spread of worldwide computerization. In Brazil, for example, computer hardware and software sales reached $9 billion in 1994, as the total number of PCs in that country approached 3 million; and the market is growing by 30% annually. Demand for Internet linkups for home and office users, though just beginning, is said to be "voracious."14 Accepting the growth and the significance of computer networking's "horizontal" - that is, territorial - sweep, we must still also ask about its vertical or social diffusion. Here, very clearly, computerization is a phenomenon associated almost exclusively with elites and their affiliates, including above all exploding global middle classes.15 With a worldwide installed base of PCs estimated at around 180 million in 1995,16 and a global population of perhaps six billion, something like 3% of the world's people enjoyed this form of potential access.

Skews in Internet development, however, perhaps can be seen most starkly by returning to the prior level of access: hosts. The vast majority of Internet host computers were located in North America and Western Europe. As of January 1995 the breakdown looked like this: North America had 3,372,551 hosts; Western Europe 1,039,192; the Pacific Rim 192,390; Asia 151,773; Africa 27,130; Central and South America, 14,894 [this figure for January 1994].17

These disparities in turn both expressed and contributed to a further series of familiar inequalities: the predominance of urban over rural applications; the intermeshing of the I-Way with the encompassing circuits of transnational capital investment; and, not least, the global dominance of the English language. In one estimate, U.S. vendors of packaged computer software accounted in 1993 for no less than 74% of the worldwide software market - valued at $72 billion.18 The United States also provided by far the largest number of electronic databases, with 66% of the world's 1993 total of 7,538.19 Cyberspace, in other words, is largely an anglocentric phenomenon: With between 20 and 40 million users globally, the number of Internet sites per thousand people is 10-18 in the US, the Nordic countries, and Australia; 5-10 in Canada and parts of Western Europe; and 1 or fewer in Latin America, Africa [with the exception of South Africa], the Middle East and Asia [including the countries comprising the once Soviet Union]. Indeed entire countries in Africa, the Middle East and even South America remain shut out from the Internet.20

At the level of simple network subscribership, however, these same disparities only recap longstanding inequalities in telecommunications. In 1995, a small number of wealthy countries, with 15% of the world's population, enjoyed no less than 71% of the world's main phone lines - those that link subscribers to central switching offices. More than half the world's population has indeed never even used a phone; in 47 countries there is less than one telephone line per 100 people; and the International Telecommunication Union reflects this reality in defining universal service as "when everyone in a country lives within five kilometers of a phone."21 Far from comprising a universally accessible technology or system, therefore, the restrictive contours of access to computer networking are, in terms of subscribership, still largely a function of longstanding patterns of transnational capital investment.

As we will see later, international investment in telecommunications and information systems - in what is called "infrastructure" - has today begun to accelerate at a wholly unprecedented pace. With the massive rebuilding of the world's telecommunications infrastructure, will not international inequalities of subscriber access tend to even out?

For privileged strata across the globe, access to computer networking is certain to increase. In itself, this comprises a vital development - not least for the process of social class formation on a world scale. But we must never forget that, even in its very heartland, Internet access remains highly skewed and stratified.22 Of the roughly 40 million US computer households by 1995, some 20 million were equipped with modems, but by one estimate less than half of these were actually online. On-line households thus comprised perhaps ten percent of all US television homes.23 True, market researchers and corporate strategists can continue to gloat over the explosive growth of the home PC market; while some 27% of U.S. households then had a PC in 1993, an additional 31% of households without a PC were planning to buy one.24 [Statistics Canada relates that nearly 25% of Canadian households had PCs in 1995. The proportion was higher among those families with children.25] The PC penetration rate was expected to hit nearly 50% of U.S. homes by 1997, surpassing the status of, for example, video-game machines.26 PC access, however, remains grossly stratified by social class - according, most recently, to a U.S. Government study of 54,000 US households. For households with less than $10,000 in yearly income, between 4-8% had computers; indeed, even for those earning around the median annual household income [$35k], only around 20-30% had a computer. Rural and central city minorities - African-Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans - were, correspondingly, much less likely than whites to have home computer access [although, interestingly, among the less favored strata that did have PC access, modems were also nearly as common as they were among white PC owners].27 It is only among the better-off - households with $75,000 or more in annual income - that PCs have become routine, with a 60-65% penetration rate.28 Business analysts estimate, finally, that PC market growth overall "will hit a wall when penetration gets to 65%"29 [around the same point where cable television has stalled out in the U.S.]. Even the experience of the most favorably endowed zones in the global political economy therefore does not warrant optimistic projections of universal network subscribership. Even here, in North America, the level and character of "access" remain largely a function of entrenched disparities in income and cultural competence.

Let us suppose that I am wrong about this crucial point. For the sake of argument, let us suppose instead that access to computer networks expands beyond any previous estimate. At that hypothetical point, will anything stand in the way of realizing the pundits' promises of generalized access and unfettered interchange? This is not a simple question, for the social forms and, in particular, the economic bases, of networking and of cultural production more generally are themselves presently undergoing a dramatic metamorphosis. It is to the nature of this very transformation, therefore, that we must now turn our attention, for this ongoing overhaul of the economics of networked information provision heralds an extraordinary chapter in the annals of capitalist creative destruction.


The forces that are redefining the I-Way have been set in motion principally by private businesses - enterprises whose attempts to secure information-age bases for profit maximization clash at key points with librarians' cherished goal of maximum information accessibility. An emerging new set of pressures and limits on computer networking serves generally, in turn, to enlarge and extend processes of information commoditization which are themselves of long standing.

For big business, the Internet today constitutes what journalist John Verity calls "the place to be today if you want to learn how to do business in the 500-channel future." Between July 1994 and July 1995, the number of commercial addresses registered with Network Solutions, Inc., a for-profit corporation that registers Internet addresses [and which itself has just been permitted to charge users $50 each for the privilege], increased from 18,000 to 82,600.30 As the Internet is redefined as what one executive calls "a fundamentally new product opportunity," attempts to exploit it have quickly begun to draw "the brightest technical talent, the most ambitious entrepreneurs, the sharpest marketers, and the savviest managers."31 One example: When the Netscape Communications Corporation, which produces a program permitting networkers to find their ways through the World Wide Web, listed its shares on the nation's stock exchanges in August, 1995, an investor frenzy gave the stock the best opening day in Wall Street history for an issue of its size.32

In this process, the Internet is rapidly metamorphosizing, so that the search for profit, rather than democratic informational interchange, becomes its prime institutional axis. To explicate this crucial point, let us take a closer look at the changing structural basis of computer networking.

The balance of power in computer networking is shifting, I believe, in part in response to the companies who control the telecommunications infrastructure through which alone the Internet can be reached.33 Let me underline here that the growth of the Internet has been anomalous: it is a quasi-public system, which has been funded mainly by tax-supported government and academic institutions. Its development, however, has occurred amidst - and, crucially, increasingly athwart - a massive secular enlargement of privately owned telecommunications networks, both inside and outside the United States.

The U.S. commitment to private ownership of communications technology systems is the single most important and consistent historical feature of its policy in this crucial area.34 That same commitment continues today to suffuse official thinking about the National and Global Information Infrastructures.35 Vice President Al Gore, the Administration's point man on information issues, has recently been at pains to reiterate that "private investment" is the first of five "values" that should define and guide development of the GII.36 Here he is only echoing what the information technology industry insists must remain a nonnegotiable demand. The Telecommunications Industry Association, for example, in a White Paper on the Global Information Infrastructure, recently reemphasized that the private sector must play the lead role in development and deployment of the GII, that policies to promote private investment be emphasized, and that universal service and access be sought only within a context of "market-driven innovation."37 Executives from the information sector concur on the primary need: liberalized market access to global telecommunications services and infrastructure.38 European Teleommunications Commissioner Martin Bangemann declared in February of 1995 that the Information Society will only be achieved "if we release the forces of the market," a "precondition" for which "is the removal" of existing national monopolies in telecommunications services and network infrastructure operation.39 With one dissenter, Canada's Information Highway Advisory Council has been of like mind: the very first substantive policy recommendation made in the Council's Final Report this past September, is unequivocal: "The private sector should build and operate the Information Highway."40

If the tempo of the liberalization/privatization waltz in international telecommunications has been accelerating for nearly a generation, it has now reached a feverish pace. The European Union is slated to open telecommunications provision to competition in 1998; and, with dozens of privatizations over the last decade or so, no less than 26 additional phone-company sell-offs are scheduled for the next three years in emerging markets. Transnationalization of corporate telecommunications investment, a longtime laggard in this area when compared with other industries, is also rapidly increasing. To take a few prominent examples, consider: Motorola, a supplier of telecommunications equipment, now runs 20 telephone systems in the developing world, mainly with local partners - and, more speculatively, hopes to find $3.4 billion with which to send 66 small satellites into low orbits to provide mobile voice and data services around the world.41 A consortium led by AT&T, on the other hand, plans to ring a submarine cable around the entire African continent.42 GTE - a company not unknown to denizens of British Columbia - is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into cellular and other telecommunications systems in Europe, China, and Brazil, and has major ownership interests in Venezuelan, Argentinian and Mexican telecommunications as well.43 In the market for global satellite-delivered video and computer services, more than a dozen U.S.-based entrants, including GM's Hughes Electronics, AT&T, General Electric and other goliaths, have unveiled combined investments projected to be worth some $23 billion over the next six years.44 [AT&T's prospective global satellite service venture intends among other things to bypass local phone companies.45] Annual investment by U.S. computer firms in overseas operations has averaged more than $21 billion since 1990.46 Behind these developments, there is the stupefying $1 trillion investment in information technology made during the 1980s by corporate America.47

Private ownership of the underlying facilities which comprise the platform for the I-Way, in short, has already become the new global norm; what one analyst calls "a fully commercial information infrastructure"48 is today the only type of social organization that is tolerable to business elites. What does this seachange imply for the structure and operational purpose of computer networking? Who - and how many - will staff these emerging systems, and over what range of employment will their effects be felt? What, moreover, will be the consequences for pricing, content, and service availability of this selfsame unprecedented capitalization of information systems? Will the companies that gain or enlarge their existing control over the telecommunications infrastructure harmonize with or subvert the goal of free and equitable information access?

"Basic access to the Highway should be as universal and relevant to Canadians as telephone and television services are today," the IHAC admonishes.49 A thoughtful analyst has recently insisted, however, that "Unless affordable access to a basic set of communication networks and services is ensured through policy, there is a very real risk that a large number of Canadians will only have limited access to, or be excluded outright from, the Information Highway....Universal basic and essential service at affordable rates for any basic utility option should be established through public oversight, public consultation and regulation."50 What is the likelihood of robust adherence to this elemental democratic prescription, when the character of network development is now all-too-evidently to be given mainly as a function of unrestrained corporate ambition and private design? How can the Information Highway Advisory Council's call for "non-market ensure universal access to essential Highway services at affordable prices"51 be aggressively pursued, when the momentum of the I-Way is entirely in the opposite direction?


Nor are these the only questions posed by the ongoing privatization of the transnational telecommunications infrastructure; for momentous changes are occuring in the nature of information provision in a networked environment. Until the last couple of years, proprietary online services - rather than the Internet - dominated computer networking: although by 1995 there were 23 national online service providers in the U.S., in one estimate, the big three - America Online, H&R Block's CompuServe, and the IBM/Sears joint-venture Prodigy - had the lion's share of the business, serving around 8 million paying customers. Signing up thousands of content providers - CompuServe has amassed about 3,000, ranging from United Airlines to most of the major computer software and hardware companies - the proprietary online services are in effect middlemen who thrive by imposing substantial markups, that is, by sharing only a fraction of the money they collect from subscribers with IPs.52

By 1995, however, substantially more people - in one estimate, 5.8 million U.S. adults - were connected directly to the Internet, than utilized the commercial online services alone [3.9 million].53 With this propulsive shift, the "middleman" strategy pursued by commercial online service vendors began to erode. By 1995, on one hand, some companies were bundling basic Internet service as a [temporary] giveaway with long-distance service or specialized software programs.54 On the other hand, the established proprietary online services also began to be challenged by new and bigger entrants - Microsoft, MCI, and AT&T - with their own more or less distinct visions of how to profit from computer networking.

There are two major and obvious sources of revenue for I-Way information providers - as, indeed, there have been two chief historical routes to information commoditization for previous media.55 The first involves the direct sale of content, be it in the form of a book or recording, a ticket to a film or play, or a pay cable subscription. For would-be I-Way information providers, such sales of information are already taking a wide variety of forms. The Microsoft Network allows each content provider it contracts with to charge whatever it wants, by the page or by the hour; furthermore, not only will Microsoft allow its IPs to present their material in any font or format they choose [unlike the standardized displays and icons of the big 3], but it will retain "only" a 30% commission and pass along the rest to the IP.56 Like MCI, AT&T is pursuing a different strategy; rather than still compete with the Internet through a proprietary system, the telecommunications companies aim to harness the Internet itself - alongside its vast customer databases, reservoirs of experience in billing structures, and huge investments in telecommunications network infrastructure - for commercial purposes.57 However, Microsoft, MCI and AT&T alike are showing every sign of wanting as well to become significant information providers. MCI's corporate tie with Murdoch's News Corporation allies it to one of the principal purveyors of mass media content worldwide. AT&T, in contrast, even as it hives off its traditional equipment manufacturing activities, has simultaneously set up a new subsidiary for content provision [although it aims initially to aggregate rather than to own content itself].58 And - to the chagrin of many librarians - Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft Corporation, continues to amass electronic rights to an enormous variety of materials, notably through his recent outright purchase of the Bettmann Archive and its 16 million images.59 Not the least troubling aspect of this ongoing effort to enclose information for private profit is the support it can obtain from leading institutions in the public sector. A suggestive instance of such collaboration came recently, when the U.S. Library of Congress signed a contract to license its name and possessions to Whiteman World-Wide Marketing Corporation, the intent of which was to raise money by hawking "high quality, education-oriented gift, collectible and home decor products."60

For this form of information commoditization to succeed, what entrepreneurs deem to be a thorny problem will have to be faced and resolved. The existence of points of legally free network access - such as libraries, schools, or universities - coupled with continuing popular nonchalance regarding private property rights in information, mean that, absent more stringent restrictions and enforcement, illicit copies of proprietary information will continue to be made and distributed without gain to copyright owners. Fortune Magazine estimated recently that the world average of illegally acquired software as a percent of the total in use was no less than 49%.61 As corporations flood onto the I-Way, business anxiety in regard to the security of the digital world has accordingly escalated: press accounts have insistently focused on the problematic status of network security safeguards, but the less-well-covered question of how to extend copyright protection to this new and problematic medium is, from the perspective of commercial information providers, merely another side of this same issue.62 Says one recording company executive, confronted with the idea of selling music over the Internet: "If you can get one copy of a record on your computer, how do I know that your machine can't make 300,000 copies at the same time? We're having enough problems with bootlegging right now."63

The radical ideological shift that underlies this intensive effort to enclose and exploit64information for private gain should be made manifest. No less an information democrat than Thomas Jefferson, the author of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, wrote to a correspondent about "the action of the thinking power" in August 1813:

He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should be freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property. Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility, but this may or may not be done, according to the will and convenience of the society, without claim or complaint from any body.65

Jefferson, as the Supreme Court pointed out in a famous decision of the 1960s, thus "rejected a natural-rights theory in intellectual property rights and clearly recognized the social and economic rationale of the [intellectual property - DS] system." This meant, in turn, that the grant of an exclusive right to a creative work "was the creation of society - at odds with the inherent free nature of disclosed ideas - and was not to be freely given." Only an overriding societal purpose, such as the need to further science and the useful arts, for Jefferson "justified the special inducement of a limited private monopoly" of this kind.66

Jefferson's considered commitment to informational abundance contrasts dramatically with the declared position of today's information industry and its allies. Jefferson's presentday successor as U.S. Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks - Bruce Lehman - claimed summarily, for example, in a recent videoconference, that the "National Information Infrastructure will not realize its full commercial potential" - a possibility he evidently deemed so inimical to national wellbeing that it didn't require further comment - "unless copyright protections are extended" to digitized computer networks.67 The hacker slogan "information wants to be free" remains in wide currency, but for information's contemporary corporate proprietors, attempts to enlarge, or even protect, that freedom constitute subversive infringements on the rights of private enterprise. Trade groups such as the Association of American Publishers shrilly insist that social goals above and beyond profitmaking should be suppressed or, at least, harshly restricted and contained. It is not going too far, indeed, to claim that the prospective utilization of computer networks to further the goal of information plenitude has become the information industry's worst nightmare; the latter therefore devotes unabating effort to forestalling and deflecting any such outcome. The battle to preserve "access" to the I-Way, in turn, will stand or fall in part with the success of the copyright industries in imposing a draconian regime over the uses of intellectual property in an electronic environment.

Corporate information providers' fears about putting their wares onto computer networks absent a casement of enlarged and expanded intellectual property protections must vie, however, with their own rapidly escalating cupidity. The "animal spirits" of capitalist entrepreneurship which have been so much in evidence of late have spawned a much-heralded search for "killer apps" in the pages of the business press; lying just beneath the highsounding flourishes of such talk lies a prosaic effort to identify new, or repackage old, sources of information for electronic exploitation. I would suggest [in agreement on this point of fact with Canada's Information Highway Advisory Committee] that education is the most likely and significant current candidate for this form of corporate enclosure. Behind AT&T's recent offer to help connect the nation's elementary and secondary schools to the Internet, to choose a single topical example, was the chance for AT&T "to develop business in schools and display new products to parents."68 Librarians also have pointed out, for nearly a generation now, continuing corporate attempts to profit from privatization of other tax-subsidized information streams, notably government information.69


There is also a second historical avenue to information commoditization; one on which the U.S. broadcast television industry, for example, has long been entirely dependent. Some of the most striking indications that the moment of relatively unconstrained I-Way access is coming to an end stem from vigorous intervention by the century-old advertising and marketing complex - which comprises the historical spearhead of consumer capitalism.

It was just 17 months ago - in May 1994 - that the chairman of the world's largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, shocked the US advertising world in a speech to the American Assocation of Advertising Agencies.70 Edwin Artzt stated that, in any given year, P&G "has to sell 400 million boxes of Tide - and to do that, we have to reach our consumers over and over throughout the year.

Frequency and depth of sale in advertising are critical to preserving loyalty to frequently purchased brands like ours. For example, in any given month, P&G brands like Tide and Crest and Pantene will reach more than 90 percent of their target audience six or seven times.

The only way you can achieve that kind of impact is with broad-reach television - which is why we spend almost 90% of our $3 billion advertising budget on TV...71

However, he continued, in the near future "There is a very real possibility that the majority of programs people watch will not be advertiser supported."72 Time-shifting, channel surfing, video games, pay-per-view programming, and Internet access make it "harder than ever before just to reach consumers with our advertising, much less reach them with the frequency and regularity we need to build loyalty to our brands." Artzt takes the longer view in assessing the situation, and in trying to craft a strategic response; Procter & Gamble's viscerally hostile reaction toward even the prospect of information plenitude is again highly instructive:

Advertising started in print. When radio came along and we all had to buy time as well as space - and sell with words and music and no pictures - we, the advertising industry, took control of our environment.

We created programming. We molded the environment to fit our needs. We were no longer dealing just with newspapers and magazines that people bought and read every day. We had to create listener loyalty to programming we sponsored. We created soaps, comedy shows, variety shows, and mysteries. We made listening to radio every Sunday night a family institution.

Those were days when the advertising industry grabbed technology change in its teeth and made it the greatest selling tool ever conceived.

Then along came television and everything changed again - back to pictures, the era of visual demonstration, a boom time for the advertising industry. With television, we could do more than describe the benefits of our products. We could show those benefits - we could make cakes rise, stains disappear, dirty floors become clean again.

And again, the advertising industry grabbed the technology in its teeth and turned it into a bonanza for advertisers. The first 40 years of television could be called the 'Big Brand Era,' a period in which advertising could create Tides and Tylenols, Pampers and Pepsis - almost overnight, by harnessing the dynamic power of mass audience reach, the drama of moving pictures, and the repetitive force of immense audience loyalty to programming.

Now, we're going to have to grab technology in our teeth again and make it work for us. But it isn't going to be as simple as it was to adapt to radio or TV, where everything favored the advertiser. Now, we've got competition, not just among traditional, ad-supported media but from unadvertised programming, as well - entertainment and information that will represent an entirely separate source of revenue for media suppliers and programmers alike.

This is the real threat. These new media suppliers will give consumers what they want, and potentially at a price they're willing to pay. If user fees replace advertising revenue, we're in serious trouble.

But I don't think that's going to happen. If this industry does what it's done before, you will turn this threat into an enormous opportunity.

Just think of some of the opportunities we've not had before:

We can use interactive technology to engage consumers in our commercials.

We can provide direct consumer response. If a consumer wants to know which Cover Girl nail polish matches the lipstick she saw in our commercial, we can tell her on the spot.

We can target not just demographic segments but individual households. If a family has a newborn baby, we can make sure they get a Pampers commercial.

We can use games, infomercials, video shopping malls. We'll have a whole bag of tools to engage and inform consumers, and if we do that right we can keep people in their seats when the commercials come on.73

What "tools" did big consumer products companies think to employ to safeguard communications technology for advertising and advertisers? Artzt underscored three.

First came industry collaboration to define and map out a competitive strategy. Second, he said, we've got to borrow a page from our own history and start getting control of the new environment. The whole idea of this new technology is that it makes it easier to divert revenue away from advertising into fees. There's nothing wrong with that. It gives the consumer more choice and it forces us to be more creative. Remember, consumers are on our side. They would rather have their home entertainment free.

So, we've got to get involved in programming to make certain that advertisers have access to the mass audience and to the best properties.74

All this in turn increased the need "to form working alliances with the new make sure they understand what we can bring to the table."75

Finally, declared Artzt, there was a need "to put together a legislative and regulatory game plan." The plan's "Number one priority" would be, to "protect universal access to advertiser-supported media."76

Artzt was not to be disappointed on any of the three counts. An ad-industry coalition [CASIE - Coalition for Ad Supported Info and Entertainment] was established and, in a typical outburst of self-congratulation, quickly thanked itself for the fact that "members of the Clinton administration and Congress are listening to the advertising industry's position on a range of media issues. That was not happening a year ago. This activity has been critical."77 Concerned that a flood of new media with less room for advertising might leave it no place to run its commercials unless it acquired a major ownership interest in programming, in March 95 P&G teamed up with Paramount TV group [Viacom] to develop network and syndicated TV shows, at an estimated initial cost to P&G of $120 million.78 The new venture gave P&G access to ad time in each jointly funded series throughout the life of the program, including network, syndication and international distribution, as well as profits from the show, when a hit is produced.79 Procter & Gamble has not been alone in such endeavors. A consortium of nine major advertisers, including AT&T, Coca Cola, Macdonald's, Reebok, Coors, Sears Roebuck and GM, committed $30 million to make movies, specials and limited-run series.80

What Artzt called "protecting broad reach TV" in fact comprised only one part of the big advertisers' strategy. A second and intertwined effort was to gain entry to new media,81 including commercial online services like AOL, Prodigy, and CompuServe - each of which had learned to accept advertising by October, 1995. P&G, for example, commenced discussions with Hollywood studios in August 1995 further to expand its TV programming activity, so as to create interactive content spanning online services, the Internet, CD-ROMs and interactive TV.82

Over a mere span of months, the Internet accordingly went far toward being transformed from a scientist's research tool into a consumer medium. The advertising community stormed into computer networking, to "build a new industry" by extending an all-too-familiar infrastructure. Efforts began to be made by Visa and MasterCard, with other companies, to devise software standards for secure online payments and financial transactions using credit card accounts.83 Online sales were expected to generate no less than $1 billion in 1995, up fivefold over the previous year.84 IBM, Ford, AT&T, Dun & Bradstreet, J.P. Morgan, J.C. Penney, were among those corporations testing these electronic waters. Already comprising what BW calls "a hotbed of advertising and commercial activity," the Internet began to play host to a dozen ad agencies ready to assist clients in creating campaigns and strategies. Their impact quickly became palpable. Almost from the moment of its introduction, a hot new software language [Java], created to link incompatible operating systems, thereby allowing programs to "leapfrog the walls that now keep many computers from interacting easily with each other," began to be coopted by advertising agencies looking for "a way to cobble together little animated ads that people can easily download from the Web; a Coke ad, for example, might appear on the screen as a bottle cap, which when clicked with a computer mouse might turn into the cola-guzzling polar bear."85

AT&T, as part of its move into Internet services, created a subsidiary - Hosting and Transactions Services - to help its 800- business customers [its largest revenue generator] develop electronic storefronts and services on the World Wide Web, in effect migrating 800 service from voice to data.86 Electronic shopping networks began to spring up, of which the Internet Shopping Network, bought recently by TV's Home Shopping Network, is one of the most prominent. By one estimate, early in 1995 the Internet boasted no less than 2,300 commercial services provided by businesses ranging from Mark Kay Cosmetics to Andersen Consulting and Hewlett Packard.87 The introduction of mass market advertising techniques on the Internet was almost at once accompanied, as well, by the entry of more than a dozen companies, notably including Nielsen Media Research - the originators of the TV audience-measuring peoplemeter - to measure Internet advertising audiences and sell the data to Fortune 500 clients.88 Advertisers loved online demographics, and forecasts began to suggest as early as 1994 that ad sales could grow from nil to 30% of online revenues in only five years.89 It was, finally, "a measure of how seriously the major networks view on-line services as both potential enemy and ally that both NBC90 and ABC were putting considerable resources into branded 'areas' on computer networks. By clicking in, viewers can pick up tidbits about their favorite shows and actors, download photos, catch up on the soaps and even 'talk' live with actors and producers on chat lines....Moreover, on-line services are beginning to be seen as a slightly less technologically advanced model on which to gain practice for advertising and marketing on interactive TV."91 There are those, including industry insiders, who scoff at the ability of advertisers to make the Internet a new fiefdom. But others are more confident that, over the longer term, advertisers will make computer networking a paying proposition. The history of radio and cable television, for example, gives them good reason to be optimistic.

In 1995, scarcely a year after Artzt's initial doomsday prophecy, Ed Meyer, Chair and CEO of Grey Advertising in New York, was asked by Advertising Age whether marketers and advertisers have an important role to play in "building, funding and shaping the culture of the so-called information superhighway? Are they in danger of being left behind?" His answer was unequivocal: "New-media applications cannot be economically delivered to consumers without advertising subsidizing its delivery. More importantly, advertisers and their agencies will be the leaders in shaping new media."92 By Fall, 1995, even the advertisers' accustomed lamentation - that ad prices had grown too high - had made the move to the World Wide Web.93

All too evidently, the sponsor system has commenced its long march into the heart and soul of another new medium. The price exacted by this banal incursion, however, will be anything but trivial. Advertising seizes and reorients the general social purpose of whichever media it can make dependent upon it. Three quick examples, from conventional media, may serve to make this point. When The San Jose Mercury News last year published an article showing how to read the fine print of dealer invoices, so as to help consumers negotiate lower prices when purchasing a new auto, area car dealers pulled $1 million worth of advertising from the paper. The response of the publisher was to write an exhaustive - 23 paragraph - letter to dealers hoping "to improve our relationship," and to offer the dealers discounts on advertising. The Mercury News likewise ran an ad, at its own expense, giving readers "Ten Reasons Why You Should Buy or Lease Your Next New Car From a Factory Authorized Dealer": "Dealers are committed to the community and participate in civic, cultural and charitable activities. They value relationships with customers and a variety of businesses to build your trust and loyalty," said this craven piece of puffery. The San Jose Mercury News is owned by Knight-Ridder, long considered to be one of the more "responsible" U.S. newspaper chains.94 The sorry history of press dependence on tobacco company advertising furnishes an even more sobering caution; a 1992 University of Michigan study of 99 American magazines found that those magazines without cigarette advertising were 40% more likely to run stories on smoking and health. For women's magazines, those not reliant on tobacco sponsorship were 230% more likely to run stories on this subject. Such is the power of the conglomerates that control the tobacco industry - and the pliancy of broadcasters who depend on these same diversified companies for advertising revenue - that, in what the New York Times characterized as "an extraordinary act of contrition," ABC News publicly apologized to Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds for asserting in a news program that these giants add extra nicotine to their cigarettes.95 But it is not only the exclusion of particular kinds of content that advertising puts at issue; it is also the character of the content that is purveyed. My third example of advertiser-influence comes from primetime network television, which - according to John J. O'Connor - has "callously written off" older viewers, in favor of a monomaniacal fixation on the 18-to-49 crowd desired by sponsors: "Seinfeld," "Friends," "Mad About You," and "Hope and Gloria," being just one network's [NBC's] cases in point.96

But then we do not need these extraneous illustrations to demonstrate the biases inherent within the system of advertising sponsorship. Procter & Gamble's own announced policy for many years held that "There will be no material that may give offense either directly or by inference to any commercial organization of any sort. There will be no material on any of our programs which could in any way further the concept of business as cold, ruthless and lacking all sentimental or spiritual motivation....Members of the armed forces must not be cast as villains. If there is any attack on American customs, it must be rebutted completely on the same show."97


So long as pressure is systematically introduced to arrange knowledge so as to profit a single interest - business - the idea of broadening informational access will remain inspirational. If this ideal of democratic informational interchange is to prove more than a mere pundits' fantasy, however, we will have to make a concerted social effort to realize it. That is the difficult - but eminently worthy - challenge we now face.

1I would like to acknowledge the collegial support of Ronald Bettig, Susan Davis, Dee Dee Halleck, Bruce Jones, Robert McChesney, Vincent Mosco, Andrew Reddick, Anita Schiller and Herbert Schiller.

2JamesFlanigan, "Don't Believe All You Hear on Media's Future," LAT 30 July 95: D1-D2. Outlays are needed for: scores of phone lines, which cost about $10 apiece to install and about $15 monthly each to maintain; annual Internet access fees, which have just risen to $15,000 - from $10,000 previously; and equipment [a communications server, a router and modems, in addition to a suitable computer, perhaps a Sun SPARC], the latter at about $10,000. Karen Kaplan, "Internet for the Masses," LAT 27 Sept 95: D1,D4.

3One advertisement offered consumers a "Web site construction kit" containing graphics, forms, CGI scripts, software and 5 Megabytes of Web space, as well as one full year of Internet access, for $295. "Internet Powerstation" [ad], San Diego Union-Tribune ComputerLink 3 Oct 95: 4.

4Raymond Snoddy, "Broadcasters dish up a revolution," Financial Times 6 Oct 95: 13; Robert Parry, "The Rise Of The Right-Wing Media Machine," Extra! March/April 95: 7; Mark Landler, "So You Want To Start A New Network?" Business Week 3 Oct 94: 86.

5For example, James Curran in Newspaper History; Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside Down; Robert W. McChesney, Telecommunications, Mass Media and Democracy: The Battle for the Control of U.S. Broadcasting, 1928-1935. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

6Or perhaps to nonprofit Free-Net systems, which boast nearly 500,000 registered users on 65 networks worldwide [an additonal 20 nodes are scheduled to come online by the end of 1995], and whch are said to comprise the fourth-largest consumer online service in the world. Kaplan, "Internet for the Masses."

7Howard H. Frederick, "Mexican NGO Computer Networking and Cross-Border Coalition-Building," in Mashoed Bailie and Dwayne Winseck, Eds., Democratizing Communication? Comparative Perspectives on Information and Power. Hampden Press, Forthcoming. See also Susan O 'Donnell and Guillermo Delgado, "Using the Internet to strengthen the Indigenous nations of the Americas," Media Development XLII, 3, 1995: 36-38.

8The most cogent discussion of this important point is offered by Robert W. McChesney, "The Internet and U.S. Communication Policymaking In Historical and Critical Perspective," forthcoming. See also DeeDee Halleck, "Close Comfort: Soft Ware For Hard Times," mss.

9Newt Gingrich, To Renew America. New York: HarperCollins, 1995: 56.

10Office of the Vice President, "Remarks As Delivered By Vice President Gore To The Networked Economy Conference," 12 September 1995: 2.

11"What Are We Doing On-Line?" Harper's Magazine August 1995: 36, 40.

12If they did address them, after all, they might also have to face up to the rapid and dramatic increases in media concentration that have occurred over recent years and months.

13BBN Communications Corporation, Report No. 4799, A History of the ARPANET: The First Decade. April, 1981. Prepared for: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency: II-2, II-7,8; Peter H. Lewis, "U.S. Begins Privatizing Internet's Operations," NYT 24 Oct 94: D1, D9.

14Andrew Pollack, "A Cyberspace Front in a Multicultural War," NYT 7 August 95: C1, C6; William R. Long, "Brazil Hungry for a Byte," LAT 31 July 95: D1, D4. Until three years ago, Brazil enforced a "market reserve" policy for computers, making this nation of 155 million legally inaccessible to the transnational computer industry.

15Rahul Jacob, "The Big Rise," Fortune 30 May 1994: 74-90.

16According to the International Telecommunication Union, as reported in Alexander G. Higgins, "Multimedia readiness of U.S. ranked No. 1," San Diego Union-Tribune 3 Oct 95: C2.

17Amy Harmon, "Planting Net Seeds in Third World," LAT 6 July 95: D1, D11.

18S&P Industry Surveys, "Computers: Software Industry," November 24, 1994: C108. See also U.S. Dept of Commerce, U.S. Global Trade Outlook 1995-2000. Washington, D.C.: USGPO, March 1995: 135.

19The second and third largest database producers were also, respectively, the United Kingdom and Canada. U.S. Global Trade Outlook 1995-2000: 181.

20Pollack, "A Cyberspace Front": C1, C6.

21Catherine Arnst, "The Last Frontier," Business Week 18 September 1995: 99. Also see Mark Landler, "Have's and Have-Not's Revisited," NYT 9 Oct 95: C4.

22See also Peter Golding, "The communications paradox: Inequality at the national and international levels," Media Development 4, 1994: 7-9.

23"Digitizing Desire," Forbes Asap, 10 April 1995: 72; Elizabeth Weise, "3.7% of U.S. adults on-line, survey finds," San Diego Union-Tribune ComputerLink, 3 Oct 95: 3; Peter H. Lewis, "Most Go On Line at Home, Study Finds," NYT 23 Oct 95: C6.

24S&P Industry Surveys, "Computers: Software Industry," November 24, 1994: C121.

25Ottawa Citizen, 19 September 1995: C11.

26Gary McWilliams, "PCs: The Battle for the Home Front," Business Week 25 September 1995: 114.

27US Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Falling through the Net: A Survey of the "Have Nots" in Rural and Urban America. July, 1995.

28McWilliams, "PCs: The Battle for the Home Front": 114. One recent survey found, indeed, that no less than 67% of those with direct Internet access were men, over half of whom were between the ages of 18 and 34. Their median household income was between $50-$75,000, and most worked in professional, technical, educational, and sales occupations. Lohr,"Who Uses Internet?"

29McWilliams, "PCs: The Battle for the Home Front": 114. See also Stuart Elliott, "Advertising," NYT 25 Sept 95: C9. It is interesting that pay cable penetration, involving an average monthly charge of only some nine dollars by 1990, has increased far more slowly than basic cable - to less than 30% of the U.S. population by 1989. Janet Wasko, Hollywood in the Information Age. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1994: 90.

30Peter H. Lewis, "Technology," NYT 14 August 95: C5. See also McChesney, "The Internet." A newletter published on the World Wide Web reported recently that Network Solutions, Inc. had been acquired last spring by defense contractor Science Applications International Corp - a closed held firm whose board sports numerous former intelligence and defense officials. The newsletter inquired as to whether SAIC was fronting for the intelligence agencies, and quoted an anonymous source as saying that the military is "trying to maintain control over the Internet." The charge drew an oblique acknowledgment from the executive director of the Internet Society, Tony Rutkowski: "Even if you think about worst-case scenarios, it's not clear that the U.S. intelligence community or SAIC or anyone else is really buying anything" by gaining control over the domain name registry. Glenn Simpson, "Internet Users Spooked About Spies' New Role," WSJ 2 Oct 95: B1, B2.

31John W.Verity, "Planet Internet," Business Week 3 April 95: 118-124.

32Laurence Zuckerman, "With Internet Cachet, Not Profit, A New Stock Amazes Wall Street," NYT 10 August 1995: A1, C5.

33John Markoff, "AT&T May Have Edge in Future On Line," NYT 21 August 95: C1, C4,

34Dan Schiller, Telematics and Government. Norwood: Ablex, 1982; Herbert I. Schiller, "The Global Information Highway: Project for an Ungovernable World," in James Brook and Iaian A. Boal, Eds., Resisting The Virtual Life: The Culture and Politics of Information. San Francisco: City Lights, 1995: 17-33; McChesney, Telecommunications, Mass Media, and Democracy.

35For overviews of the NII discussion, see William J. Drake, Ed., The New Information Infrastructure: Strategies For U.S. Policy. New York: The Twentieth Century Fund Press, 1995.

36"Remarks as Delivered By VP Al Gore," 2,3.

37"EIA, TIA Advocate Open Competition To Develop GII," Telecommunications Reports 28 August 95: 24."

38"Global Business Leaders Urge Fast Action on GII," Telecommunications Reports 61, 23, 12 June 1995: 13.

39"G7 Meeting Maps Global Paths to Info Society/GII," Telecommunications Reports 61 [9], 6 March 1995: 19.

40Connection Community Content: The Challenge of the Information Highway. Final Report of the Information Highway Advisory Council. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services Canada, September 1995: x; see also 93. For the dissent, see Appendix IV, "Minority Report by Jean-Claude Parrot": 215-227.

41John Markoff, "AT&T Plan Links Internet and Satellites," NYT 4 Oct 95: C1, C4; Mark Landler, "Satellite Services Hear the Naysayers," NYT 4 Oct 95: C4; Jube Shiver, Jr., "Stakes Are Sky-High as FCC Considers Satellite Service Plans," LAT 5 Oct 95: D1, D6.

42Arnst, "The Last Frontier": 101; Drusilla Menaker, "Hello, Africa? Have We Got Phones For You," Business Week 18 September 1995: 114; "The Big Deals," Wall Street Journal, A Report On World Business, 2 Oct 95: 12; Mark Landler, "Can U.S. Companies Even Get a Bonjour?" NYT 2 Oct 95: C1, C2.

43John J. Keller, "GTE Plans a Global and Wireless Drive," WSJ 6 Oct 95: B14.

44Jeff Cole, "In New Space Rae, Companies Are Seeking Dollars From Heaven," WSJ 10 Oct 95: A1, A10.

45Markoff, "AT&T Plan"; Bart Ziegler, Jeff Cole and Quentin Hardy, "Satellite Plan Would Let AT&T Bypass Local Networks - If It's Ever Launched," WSJ 5 Oct 95: A4

46U.S. Global Trade Outlook 1995-2000: 122.

47Howard Gleckman, "The Technology Pay-Off," Business Week 14 June 1993: 58. It is worth noting that Internet service provision itself is also predictably becoming subject to transnational corporate consolidation, as when U.S.-based Uunet bid $153 million to acquire Unipalm, a UK-based Internet service group. Paul Taylor, "Uunet bid values Unipalm at 97m," Financial Times 12 Oct 95: 15; Louise Kehoe and Paul Taylor, "Internet providers come of age," Financial Times 12 Oct 95: 18.

48Mary Beth Peters, Keynote Speech, "Multimedia Fair Use Guidelines: The Educational Gateway to the Information Age," 21 September 1995: 10:00 a.m. Presented by PBS Adult Learning Satellite Service; Produced by Consortium of College and University Media Centers.

49Connection Community Content: xiii.

50Andrew Reddick, "The Information Superhighway: Will Some Canadians Be Left On The Side Of The Road," Ottawa: Public Interest Advocacy Centre, September, 1995: 2, 4.

51Connection Community Content: xiii.

52Jube Shiver, Jr., "A Software Sell," LAT 23 August 95: D4; Nikhil Hutheesing, "Who needs the middleman?" Forbes 28 August 95: 110-111; Peter Lewis, "Technology," NYT 31 July 95:

53Steve Lohr, "Who Uses Internet? 5.8 Million Are Said to Be Linked in U.S.," NYT 27 Sept 95: C2.

54John W. Verity, "Everyone's Rushing The Net," Business Week 5 June 1995: 116-118.

55I am leaving out of this discussion a third and crucial aspect of I-Way profitability: its use to cut or offload costs, and to permit new forms of interaction between businesses, and between businesses and individuals.

56Hutheesing, "Who needs the middleman?": 111. With this move, online economics begin to parallel those of cable television, in which system operators typically keep 50% of pay service revenues, while the remainder goes to the program supplier. Wasko, Hollywood in the Information Age: 89-90.

57Telecommunications companies plan to profit in the first instance by generating traffic for their networks. Whether the overall tendency is to flat-fee or usage-sensitive charging schemes remains debatable. Peter Coy, "Whither The Net, When It's Pay-As-You-Go?" Business Week 3 April 95: 122-123; Cf. Frances Cairncross, "Telecommunications," The Economist 30 Sept 95: S5-S28.

58"Big Companies' Internet Service Wars Could Raise Demand Throughout Online Industry," Telecommunications Reports 21 August 1995: 7-9.

59Steve Lohr, "Huge Photo Archive Bought By Software Billionaire Gates," NYT 11 Oct 95: A1, C5. "Not All May Enter Brave New E-World," Kenneth Frazier [letter], NYT 16 Oct 95: A10: "In the experience of the University of Wisconsin libraries, electronic information is often more expensive than its printed counterpart. Unless the public interest is protected, the new electronic world will create greater disparity between rich and poor, rather than an enriched democracy of ideas and artistic expression."

60"Washington Insight Library Sale," LAT 26 Oct 95: A5.

61Thomas A. Stewart, "What Information Costs," Fortune 10 July 95: 119-121.

62Safe commercial transactions on the Web were estimated in Spring 1995 by Ad Age to be still "at least a year away." Debra Aho Williamson, "Building a new industry," Ad Age 13 March 95: S4. Yet further confirmations of Internet vulnerability in regard to electronic commerce came still more recently. First, a security flaw was discovered in Netscape - the most popular software for computer transactions over the WWW. Then, the basic architecture of the Internet itself was said to be open to a fundamental flaw from the perspective of secure transactions. John Markoff, "Security Flaw Is Discovered In Software Used in Shopping," NYT 19 Sept 95: A1, C10. John Markoff, "Discovery of Internet Flaws Is Setback for On-Line Trade," NYT 11 Oct 95: A1, C3. See also Carla Lazzareschi, "Wired: Businesses Create Cyberspace Land Rush on the Internet," LAT 1994: D1, D2; Jeff Leeds, "Cyberspace Copyright Proposal Draws Praise," LAT 8 July 94: D1, D12; United States Information Infrastructure Task Force, The Report of the Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights,Intellectual Property And The National Information Infrastructure. September 1995; "Better Copyright Protection Urged for Electronic Networks," NYT 6 Sept 95: c5.

63Val Azzoli, president of Atlantic Records, in Neil Strauss, "Records at Your Tapping Fingertips," NYT 1 Oct 95: Section 2, Arts and Leisure: 39.


65Merrill D. Peterson, The Portable Thomas Jefferson. New York: Penguin, 1977: 529-530.

66Graham v. John Deere Co. [1966], 383 US 8-9.

67Bruce Lehman, Keynote Speech, "Multimedia Fair Use Guidelines: The Educational Gateway to the Information Age," 21 September 1995: 10:00 a.m. Presented by PBS Adult Learning Satellite Service; Produced by Consortium of College and University Media Centers.

68"AT&T School Offer: Free Internet Access," NYT 1 Nov 95: C5.

69Connection Community Content: xv-xvi, 6, 57-68, 126-127. Recent outcroppings of conflict around this issue have a different twist. Following a similar move by the Securities and Exchange Commission in regard to corporate filings, when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced its plan to make abstracts - not full texts - of the nation's patent database freely available via the Internet, the project was immediately denounced by private publishers who currently sell patent information to business markets. In one account, more than 30 companies that resell the patent information they purchase from the PTO were exerting "pressure" on the agency. John Markoff, "Patent Office Is Planning to Supply Abstracts Free on the Internet," NYT 27 Sept 95: A15. For an earlier study of information privatization, see Herbert I. Schiller, Who Knows: Information in the Age of the Fortune 500. Norwood: Ablex, 1981: 47-78. For a editorial dissenting from the widespread claim that wiring up schools will somehow magically allow them to provide an adequate education - "the fact that our political leaders have made the Internet an educational issue shows how shallow our national conversation about education has become" - see Michael Schrage, "The Networks of Educational Hell Are Wired With Good Intentions," LAT 8 Oct 95: D2.

70Edwin L. Artzt, "The Future of Advertising," Vital Speeches of the Day LX [22], 1 September 94. P&G spent $3 billion a year on advertising.

71Ibid.: 685.

72Ibid.: 686.

73Ibid.: 687-688.


75Ibid.: 688.

76Ibid.: 688.

77Edwin L. Artzt, "Artzt enthusiastic about CASIE gains," Ad Age 13 March 95: S-24. [One feature of this intervention is intriguing, in light of the telecom legislation of '95: Last year, for example, the NTIA...was exploring approaches to ensure universal service and open network access to the information superhighway. They appeared to believe that the best way to ensure universal access was a combination of traditional telecommunications regulation and a complex system of cross-subsidies and taxes. "Clearly, we had a different point of view - and, through CASIE, we were able to make our case that universal access will take care of itself if the government pursues effective competition and open access while avoiding taxes, cross-subsidies and other regulatory policies." Edwin L. Artzt, "Artzt enthusiastic about CASIE gains," Ad Age 13 March 95: S-24].

78An existing P&G Productions subsidiary produces specials such as "The People's Choice Awards" and miniseries, and 765 hours annually of "The Guiding Light," "Another World," and "As the World Turns" - as it has for four decades.

79Paulette Thomas and Elizabeth Jensen, "Procter & Gamble Forms an Alliance With Paramount to Develop TV Shows," WSJ 3 March 95: B2.

80Zachary Schiller, "And Now, A Show From Your Sponsor," Bus Week 22 May 95: 100-102.

81For the growing significance of advertising for a different medium - cable television - which was also the object of unremitting fantastic projection in its youth, see Janet Wasko, Hollywood in the Information Age. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1994: 88.

82Debra Aho Williamson, "P&G goes Hollywood for interactive ally," Advertising Age 21 August 95: 1, 8.

83John Markoff, "Microsoft Joins Visa to Propose a Standard for On-Line Paying," NYT 28 Sept 95: C1, C20. See also Peter H. Lewis, "On-Line Middleman Opens for Business," NYT 2 Oct 95: C5.

84Strauss, "Records at Your Tapping Fingertips."

85John Markoff, "Making the PC Come Alive," NYT 25 Sept 95: C1, C4.

86Peter H. Lewis, "AT&T Says It Will Offer Internet Access Service," NYT 16 August 95: C1, C2. Markoff "AT&T May Have Edge."

87"On The Internet," CHE 24 March 95: A24.

88Rex Weiner, "Nielsen Soldiers March On Net," Variety 11-17 September 1995: 39; Stuart Elliott, "Advertising," NYT 3 Oct 95: C5.

89Jared Sandberg, "Purists Beware: Ads Have Invaded On-Line Services," WSJ 23 August 94: B1, B5.

90Marc Gunther, "Trying to Bring Journalism With Capital 'J' to Cyberspace," NYT 28 Aug 95: C7. NBC has shifted, with its parent GE, to Microsoft Network.

91Richard Rapaport, "Digitizing Desire," Forbes ASAP 10 April 95: 68-69. Actually, CBS and Fox also involved in interactive, as are innumerable cable TV channels. Joe Mandese, "Snags aside, nets enamored of 'net," Ad Age 13 March 95: S20.

92"InterViews," Ad Age 13 March 95: S-26. When this ad agency CEO was asked "what are the key issues that must be resolved or at least explored in the coming year with regard to new media?" his answer was: "One of the biggest issues is how we get women to use new-media applications and embrace these new technologies. With 70% of traditional advertising directed to women, it's vital to the success of new-media opportunities to appeal to and be used by women." Ibid. This comment needs to be contextualized in reference to the significant gender imbalance that continues to skew the demographics of computer networking: Women represent only around one third of Internet users. Calvin Reid, "New O'Reilly Survey on Internet Size, Use," Publishers Weekly 21 August 1995: 12

93Debra Aho Williamson, "Score one for ESPN, Starwave," Advertising Age 2 October 95: 34.

94Anthony Ramirez, "Advertising," NYT 2 Aug 95: C3.

95Michael Schudson, "A Lot More Apologies Are In Order," LAT 30 August 95: B9; Mark Landler, "ABC News Settles Suits On Tobacco," NYT 22 Aug 95: A1, C6;

96John J. O'Connor, "Who Loses in the Battle for TV Ratings?" NYT 19 Oct 95: B1; Andy Meisler, "To Reach Generation X, Hire Generation X," NYT 25 Sept 95: C7.

97In Michael Parenti, Make-Believe Media: The Politics of Entertainment. New York: St. Martin's, 1992: 186, as quoted by Gerald Sussman, Communication, Technology and Politics. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, in press: Mss. Chapter 2, p. 86.

This page last updated 31 January 1996.

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