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[ NNSquad ] Re: Thomas Edison's plot to hijack the movie industry

Of course there's the obvious analogy with DRM and the DMCA but it's useful
to think about the other big story about Edison -- his fight against Tesla's
AC. Edison created a complete silo business based on providing light using
Direct Current. DC had many limitations but unlike AC it could be used to
power motors. Tesla solved that problem. AC's big advantage was to allow for
long distance transmission at high voltage thus laying the ground work for
today's grid.

Edison's associates agreed AC was better but he put his short term business
interests before anything else and even killed an elephant to "prove" that
AC was too dangerous. His big success was in getting the NYS prisons to use
AC for the electric chairs.

It wasn't until the 1960's that Avenues A B and C in NYC went fully AC.

The comment on the Sherman Antitrust suit is important. Today we have silos
playing the role in controlling the distributions system. The antitrust
effort came from a recognition that locking down the infrastructure so that
it can only be used for a narrow purpose causes harm.

What is missing is the recognize that this is still true when we have
companies with the similar business models each controlling their own
infrastructure as a silo (or controlling the value chain). It's as if there
were two Edison's who succeeded in controlling the their own supplies of
film stock while also controlling the distribution system so that no
upstarts could show movies in their theaters.

Even if they gave some concessions to new entrants by selling some film
stock at high prices they could argue they shouldn't have provide so much as
to threaten their business model. And they would probably get away by
arguing that two silos are real competition even though the resources are
still under tight control.

What will it take to get people to see that silos are today's equivalent of
the trusts of Edison's days?

-----Original Message-----
From: nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org
[mailto:nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org] On Behalf Of
Lauren Weinstein
Sent: Thursday, September 02, 2010 01:50
To: nnsquad@nnsquad.org
Subject: [ NNSquad ] Thomas Edison's plot to hijack the movie industry

Thomas Edison's plot to hijack the movie industry (not only a great read,
but relevant to our technologies today):

http://bit.ly/clDDt3  (ars technica)

NNSquad Moderator