This afternoon, you can watch me on TechTV’s The Screen Savers. Then tonight, I head into the DNA Lounge in San Francisco to defend your right to free speech and parody on the Internet as I go toe to toe with Barney in a celebrity boxing match brought to you by the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Chilling Effects project.
If you’re in or near San Francisco, and your value your rapidly diminishing rights of free speech and free expression, I encourage you to come and check it out.
However, if you can’t be there, for whatever reason, here is a copy of the speech I’m giving tonight.

“Copyright law is a good idea. It allows actors, writers, and musicians to create and own intellectual property, and hopefully derive a living from their creations.
As an actor and writer, I have a personal stake in making sure that Copyright law is enforced. If I can’t own the works I create, then I can’t feed my family.
The music labels, publishing houses and studios who release our creative works would have you believe that unless we strengthen copyright laws, their clever euphemism for eroding your rights to parody and free expression, all artists will suffer.
Don’t you believe them. As a negotiator for the Screen Actors Guild, I have firsthand experience with these men who claim to care so greatly for artists, and I call shenanigans. The greatest danger to musicians is not Gnutella. It is the label. The greatest danger to actors and film makers is not DeCSS. It is the studio. These corporate masters care little for the artists who are filling their 4 car garages with new Porsches and filling their private jets with fuel and “hostesses.”
What they do care about is controlling how you listen to music, or watch movies, and, increasingly, how you discuss and react to our creations.
Copyright law was best described as “a balance between expression that the owners can control and expression that is left open to the commons.”
Right now we are facing the complete destruction of that delicate balance. Corporations, and their congressional lap dogs, are doing everything in their power to ensure that the “expression left open to the commons” is forever removed, leaving only “expression the owners can control.”
That is a truly terrifying statement, which bears repeating: “expression only the owners can control.”
Do you want your freedom of expression controlled by a studio, record label, or multi-national corporation? Do you want Sony’s goons kicking in your door because you dare call Shakira SUCKira? Do you want Paramount to have the right to tell you that you can’t write that Star Trek fan fiction you’ve been working on while your wife is asleep? You know, the one where you’re the captain and Counselor Troi is giving you a “special session?” Do you want Best Buy telling you that you’re a criminal for expressing, on your website, your opinion that, “Best Buy sucks?”
Of course we don’t. We all value our freedoms of expression and our rights to satire and parody. Can you imagine a world without “The Onion,” or “Satirewire?” Area Men everywhere would be slienced. I don’t want to live in that world.
Corporations know that they’re wrong. They rightfully fear the Internet, and those of us who know how to use it. They don’t like it when we step outside of the narrowly defined, consumer culture they’ve created for us.
They have seen “expression left open to the commons” running counter to “expression that the owners can control,” and rather than respect our rights, they are working feverishly to destroy that all-too-delicate balance.
Corporations regularly abuse copyright law to silence dissent. Best Buy, Wal*Mart and Starbucks have all sent Cease and Desist letters to angry consumers who feel that they’ve been ripped off, and, like me, taken their case to the public via the Internet.
So they are shoving money at congress, and sending lawyers after us.
Our fundamental rights are under attack by a terrified cabal of corporate monsters, who have bought and paid for the DMCA and CARP, and I say that the erosion of our rights stops right here, right now.
I will continue to parody public figures and cherished icons.
I will state, on my website, in 100 point flashing red type on a blue background: “Barney sucks! Best Buy sucks! Sony Sucks! Microsoft sucks, Bill Gates is the anti-Christ and John Ashcroft can kiss my ass!”
I will promote artist’s rights. I will educate, enlighten, and empower. I will write, call, FAX and email congress.
Copyright Law is not a tool of repression granted to an unaccountable corporation by a corrupt congress at the expense of an ignorant public.
It exists to protect and promote artists. Don’t ever forget that.
Tonight, we are ignorant no longer, and as ignorance goes, so goes complacency. The EFF has created an online library where you can research your rights, at chillingeffects.org. Get online, get educated and get involved.
Individually, we can get angry. Together, we can, and will, make a difference.”

152 thoughts on “H.”

  1. while i was unable to actually see your speech in person, i am glad i got to read it here. for what my opinion is worth, i have to say that it was incredibly well written. it’s refreshing to see somebody on your side of the table make a pro-consumer (for lack of a better term) argument while sounding intelligent at the same time. as a musician working with a small label, i try to do my best to keep the balance between my rights and the listeners’ rights as stacked towards the listeners’ rights as possible. perhaps if people like us keep fighting the good fight, one day radio and tv will be made more for the sake of art/entertainment and not exclusively to make the corporate types richer.
    also, good job giving barney the beat down. bastard deserved it.
    also, i thought i’d point out that i was listening to 46&2 when i visited your site, and when i saw that headline it made me laugh. the funny thing is that i couldn’t decide whether to listen to 46&2 or H.

  2. As a working musician who makes his living through his art and enjoys cashing his royalty cheques every bit as much as the next guy I have this to say to your little rant…

  3. – QUOTE
    I will state, on my website, in 100 point flashing red type on a blue background: “Barney sucks! Best Buy sucks! Sony Sucks! Microsoft sucks, Bill Gates is the anti-Christ and John Ashcroft can kiss my ass!”
    You have used Microsoft (Bill Gates) Windows did you say?
    And that you also ACCEPTED a gift in the mail: a (SONY) Vaio computer. Working or not, you did take it home and TRY to make it work – yes?
    Guess that makes you about as big a hypocrite as anyone else I’ve heard. Pretty speech, though. Grow up, Willy.

  4. Hey Wil,
    Well said. I think copyright enforcement is good, but I will not supply all the untalented millionaire musicians and actors by buying their CDs and buying their DVDs.
    The entertainment industry should be restructured. Until a CD’s price is above 5 dollars and a DVD above 7 dollars I am not ready to pay for it. I am not a cheap man, I just can’t afford it here in central Europe.
    But if you guys pull the plug for kazaa and gnutella, we won’t be able to get the new TV shows from the States and no new music either.
    Until the entertainment Industry produces so many millionaires I will continue downloading everything I can get my hands on.

  5. Like Mrs V and others, I think the 70-year rule is insane. There are people born in the freaking 1840s whose work is still copyright.
    If you’ve ever read a book published by Oxford University Press, you will know that “‘Oxford’ is a trademark of Oxford University Press”. Which means that you must always give it a capital letter…

  6. Someone on the Planet Mu BB, in a discussion on this very subject, noted the simple yet extremely elusive point: none of this would be a problem if artists owned their own works.
    The reason the present system exists — and thrives — is because artists need economic capital to profligate their works on a mass scale. In return for the resources of major corporations, they forfeit their rights to their creations. It doesn’t sound entirely heinous on paper, really, but the fact that we now have completely fabricated, synthetic artists like Britney Spears (who is the Whore of Babylon if ever there were one) is endemic to this sort of paradigm; by combining the talents of many artisans — studio engineers, remix DJs, plastic surgeons, graphic designers, etc. — the artist becomes a conveniently disposable accessory to the process.
    More later.

  7. Hey will they show a re-run?, because iwasn’t at home i was at my my Aunt’s house when they showed it.

  8. Not to dis you, Wil, but doesn’t the Actors Guild (and other artistic unions, like ASCAP and such) issue restrictions on who can and can’t be in films, work in “union shops” and otherwise participate in artistic endeavors? Heck, if the union decides something and an actor doesn’t follow the rules, they get fined by their union and risk losing their union membership, which would effectively kill their ability to work in their chosen industry. You can excuse one side for controlling and limiting people’s opportunities, while condemning the other? Freedom of speech is hampered by the union’s heavy hands as well.

  9. Good stuff. Nice to someone who actually creates something speak his mind.
    Questions: How common is it for artists/actors/entertainers to retain copyright to their work, in their name? Is such a stand compatible with steady employment in your industry?

  10. Thank you so very much for your campaign. I run a Star Trek web site where I parody Trek episodes. Do I hate Star Trek? Absolutely not! Quite the contrary. I parody because it is fun and because I believe it adds to the enjoyment of those who watch the shows and read my parodies.
    That is one thing these money grubbing corporations don’t seem to have the intellegence to understand. Pissing off the fans is not a good thing and in no way protects their interests. Can Paramount, Fox, or Disney show where they have lost one red cent from fanfic or parody? I don’t think so. Without the fans, what do they really have of value? As Shatner would say, “Get a life”
    Keep up the good work.

  11. Thanks Will,
    You rock.. It’s great to see some sanity about copyright laws. Sorry to add a “ditto” …but I just wanted to add my two cents..
    Kevin-John Black
    Pacifica, CA

  12. I need to side with “BILL” on this one, Wil. In addition to his (or her) observation(s) of your lack of consistency in your words against your own actions in your daily life practices, I can’t help but also notice that you seem to like PLAY STATION 2 — is that NOT a SONY product?
    Additionally I also wonder about all of your PC work through the years. You clearly make $$$ off of the use of your PC, e.g.: writing scripts/skits, selling an action figure on e-Bay, heck you even make a little bit of $$$ from your TIP JAR. Curious: Has ANY of this been done on PCs with ANY Microsoft products? Now be honest, here. And did you REALLY get a free PC in the mail?!? Wow! Gotta love America — eh, Wil?
    Not trying to bust your little balls, dude. I can see you have a need for folks to see what a real every day kinda fella you are. You got the house, the wife, the step-kids, a real modern day American story — and an edgy kinda fella to boot. But your words and show of support toward extreme causes don’t always seem to align with your life at times. You see, that’s what’s so difficult about Jesse Jackson’s life or even Bill Clinton’s; they like to preach to folks how to live/lead their lives — but in their own private world, the brothas need to smack that ass on occasion — and not necessarily their own wives’.
    Basically, if you’re gonna preach vegetariasim, besides your diet, be careful as well not to wear any clothing that an animal had to die for you to wear. Otherwise, some may think you a hypocrite. Just be true to yourself!
    It’s hard serving several gods. I say, pick one, serve it and be consistent about it.
    But that’s just one guy’s thoughts.

  13. RDEAN and Bill are missing a small point… and it’s something i hear all the time in the form of “if you don’t like America, move to Russia” which is the most assinine statement ever. A person can have opinions on things and have a will to change them without becoming abstinant to them in some cases as long as there is an effort to do something about it. The fact that i dislike a lot of MS practices doesn’t change the fact that i have to go to work and use their products every day. The fact that Sony’s licensing schemes are sometimes f’ed up doesn’t change the fact that i have to go to work and work on a PS2 based game. Idilic statemets like yours generally don’t hold up in the real world in this society. Sometimes they do. I guarantee the both of you are hypocrites in your own light by your own definition… pretty much everyone is. Wow, it’s late and that was terribly worded. Weeeee!

  14. I’m not out and about taking positions in a public forum with ANYTHING I can NOT stand behind whereas Uncle Willy is making a big stink about stuff he indorses — without necessity at times, e.g.: SONY, (some) MS products. Look, I’m a SW ENGINEER for a major CORP and every time someone in my lab bitches about MS, I can’t help but point out that some of MS’s products are giving them a pay check. I mean, I need to feed my family as well as have some principals. I just don’t go around making a stink about ANYTHING unless I am at least 100% behind it and free of inconsistency in my stance.
    Hypocrite? Me? Sure. I’d NEVER deny that. However, I’m not mouthing off in areas for how it suits me one day then using the very targets of my speeches to my advantage the next. There’s a difference right there between myself and your bud, Wil. I recognize how screwy MS and other big time CORPS out there are (at times) — but I don’t bite the hand that feeds me. At any rate, MS is also making some sweet $$$ for yourself and others — yes? I mean I’m certain LOGJAMMING (free plug) is making use of at least some of the many MS products out there. I mean how many of your users out there use MS products to upload their web pages to your servers? Wow! Gotta love America Loren. However, if you’re going to use MS (or others) as a punching bag, then I’ll call you on it. Either boycott ’em altogether or shut up and find a more diplomatic solution other than mouthing off like an Oregon tree hugger/anarchist. And frankly, I’d prefer you (and Wil) to visit Afghanistan for a week rather than move to Russia forever. Me thinks without your lofty life styles and your PLAYSTATIONS for a week that you’d both be a tad bit more tolerant of your youthful views.
    Seriously and my bottom line; stop (100%) using the products of ALL of the companies you despise so much for just one year and then maybe I’ll see your point. Until then, you’re just a bunch of mouths flapping in CYBERville.
    Your move.

  15. Yeah, I’m no big fan of Bill Gates (have to give him credit for running his company so well) but I still use Windows. Linux doesn’t give me acess to Photoshop and all the games I like. It’s really hard NOT to own products made by companies you might not like.
    One thing that gets me. These right-leaning guys saying that they agree with Wil but also saying don’t be so hard on companies. Who do you think is doing this bad thing that you are agreeing with Wil on?
    You seem to forget what a company’s primary function is: to turn a profit. Most corporations have nothing to do with making a quality product or living up to a mission statement. It’s how their stock is performing. And some of them are willing to achive these goals by any means possible even if it means causing harm to the public.
    The goal of governement is the protection of it’s citizens, not just by having a military, but guarenteing the rights of individuals and defending them as well. When companies over-step their bounds and cause harm, that is where such things has law and regulation come in to defend the populace.
    Now, I’m not going to say that they’re all bad or that any of them is evil. I’m saying some are just too greedy and need to be reminded of who’s in charge here. The government is more powerful than they are, and through the vote we control it. In otherwords, they play (or should) by OUR rules, not theirs.
    You need to realize that a lot these guys are only out for themselves. If we are to not be stepped on by them then we’ve got to do the same and look out for ourselves. They can, should and have every right to do business. They just need to realize that I’ve got my rights too and if they step on them they need to realize that I’ve still got my vote.

  16. RDean said:
    >> Either boycott ’em altogether or shut up and find a more diplomatic solution other than mouthing off like an Oregon tree hugger/anarchist.
    May I take your order?

  17. when you get to the point where it’s all or nothing…black or white…and no shades of gray…then you’ll never find an agreeable solution to anything…just because you use a corporations product doesn’t mean you have to like everything about them…the original vw beetle was commissioned by adolf hitler…if you don’t like hitler…does that mean you should not buy a beetle.

  18. Big Corporations suck. If that’s not what his blabble was bout, but I’m sorry I didn;t read what he wrote. I just saw Walmart. . and it’s a big corporation, and like I said Big Corporations suck. ASS.

  19. is there a way to make your comment section thread on topics like a newsreader? all of these comments are great, but it’s hard to keep up with follow-up posts.

  20. You the man!!!
    Now if only the politicians can figure out how to work the remote/keyboard to find out what’s really going on in the world outside their little shell.

  21. I am just a worthless liar.
    I am just an imbecile.
    I will only complicate you.
    Trust in me and fall as well.
    I will find a center in you.
    I will chew it up and leave,
    I will work to elevate you
    just enough to bring you down.
    Trust me Trust me Trust me TRUST ME!
    Believe in the Wil. He will show us the way.

  22. Hiya-
    Mike P., I’ll have to find my book about copyrights and such. I could have sworn I was right… I’ll look for it.
    Wil, I took a peek at the pics from your fight with Barney. Judging from how many people looked at photos of Anne as compared to the other photos, it seems that many of us- including myself- wanted to see what the lucky lady looked like. She’s just as outwardly beautiful as I expected! And if you love her, she must be inwardly beautiful too. Good going! :) That’s all for now- have a great day!
    Love, Alicia

  23. Wil,
    just stopped by to see if there was a new update.
    Guess what, there isn’t so I will wait here all alone till one pops up, or I may go farking.
    I know I need to get a life but, oh well.
    Till your next post……

  24. Wil,
    you have got to check this link out if it is the last thing you do. http://www.insanity-inc.org/homepage/private/menu.htm Here is the history behind this. I was kinda bored today so as I was surfing the internet and linking off of your site at various places I caught a link to losers.org. Now here is the good part at Losers.Org I started with couples and started scrolling down killing time, reading about these pathetic people. Then it hit me this one site hit me where this one loser said her favorite site was http://www.wilwheaton.net. If you go to the above mentioned site you can click on Shawnas bio and, Poof!! there it is, all about this 5’2 280lb woman that is into the wildest shit I have ever heard of, that has a crush on you. Did I mention she was 5’2 and 280LBS if not I’ll through that in at no additional cost. If ever you want to tick away a moment that makes up a dull day as you say, then there is one place to do it. She even has a place where she defends being fat and says she likes being Hobbit like since she is a Lord Of The Rings fan. She even runs a site for gay Lord Of The Ring fans. UGHHH!!
    Well, just thought you might enjoy that one. I know you can sleep easier knowing there is this hobbit like woman out there that wants to see you with no shirt on, I think I forgot to mention that part, but I’ll let you read about that on your own.
    I’ll leave you with this thought
    5 foot 2 inches 280 pounds DAMN!! Hunk of burning love.
    Take care, Wil, and have a good day.
    Till your next post……

  25. Hey Will, you don’t think that all that the activity of:
    “They have seen “expression left open to the commons running counter to “expression that the owners can control,” and rather than respect our rights, they are working feverishly to destroy that all-too-delicate balance.”
    will eventually backfire with a massive consumer shift?

  26. As an inveterate ficcer and slasher, I’ve always been mystified by studio opposition to fic. (Slash they always hate just out of homophobia — they can bite me.) They want us to see their shows, but they don’t … want us to enjoy them? This is how I and my circle of friends *ENJOY THE SHOW*. We fic it. We share stories about Mulder and Skinner (or more often Krycek), Jack and Daniel, Luke and Han, Picard and Q, Bashir and Garak, Xena and Gabrielle. It’s why we watch. It’s why we buy the DVDs and tapes. It’s how we ENJOY THE SHOW.
    (Or at least with me, it was until the shows uniformly tanked in just about all cases. Now, it’s PBS and little else … )
    How we enjoy the shows — how we discuss each episode and keep ourselves occupied for the six days a week when it’s not on — involves our own personal correspondence, which is none of the business of multinational corporations, no matter how lengthy.
    But they want us to watch the show and then instantly erase it from our brains and not think about it or talk about it with anyone. It all boils down to the fact that they don’t want us to enjoy the show — because this is *how* we enjoy it.
    They own the show. They do not own the firing pattern of the neurons in my brain when I watch it, nor do they own my sharing that with anyone else. They own the characters of Jack and Daniel or Bashir and Garak, but they do not own me when I watch and go, “Oh my GOD, they are SO doing it!” and then proceed to share that with my friends.
    They seem to want to protect themselves … from their audience. This is sort of a stupid thing for an audience-based industry to do, ya think?

  27. Wil, your postings always come across as a nice even-tempered guy even when you are tired from all your travelling, not like that bad-tempered grouchy Chris Pirillo on his blog.

  28. I might just email this to wil… but I’d figure it’s better to post it here and get more people to see it…
    Rant Radio’s Sean Kennedy is doing a radio type show about “Tales from the afternow” and it has everything that wil’s talking about, and stuff he’s written has been starting to come true. He brought up the concept of a liscener’s liscence, now there’s books out there that have lisceneces before you read them.
    So, uh, here’s the link, the show airs every tuesday night at 11pm/est, or you can download them.

  29. I think it’s nice of oldtraveler to say nice things about this site and to Wil, but awful rude to put down Chris Pirillo. *Especially* on this site. This is not the place for it. If you have a complaint with Chris and his attitude, take it to http://chris.pirillo.com. The beautiful thing about this thing they call the Internet is that everyone can have a space to post their own opinions. Let’s be nice to each other, for there is enough other shit going on in the world that us geeks need to stick together. We’re all we have.

  30. well I believe in copyright laws but do go fro the sex fiction that is sick and gross. Plus Richard Dean Anderson even agree it was sick .

  31. It’s difficult to stay upbeat in today’s world, but people like you give me hope that the Good Fight can be won.

  32. Gosh, some guy on TV said sexfic was “sick,” so it must be true!
    Hon, famous people are no different from anyone else, only we know their names and what they do for a living. They are as likely to be brilliant or off-base as any other chump on Usenet with a keyboard and a cable modem.
    Good lord n’butter, people can’t imagine that just because someone is on television that they are closer to the truth, can they?
    Besides, that guy may look hotter than hell, but think about it: he’s all anti-violence and he plays hockey. If that’s any indicator, he’s not exactly best friends with the concept of thinking things through. :-)

  33. Richard Dean Anderson said sex fiction or whatever you guys call it was sick I am not lieing he said it in an interview with techtv when they interview him on site screen savers show.

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