Tuesday, February 21, 2006

If Comcast Managed the Public Library System: A Hypotheticl One Act Play

News Flash: US Government Signs 10 Year Contract with Comcast to Maintain the Public Library System.

For an undisclosed amount of money, Comcast has agreed to develop and maintain the Public Library system: all buildings, land, and access routes. However, in the agreement, library systems and librarians will continue to be responsible for all book and media purchases.

Comcast chairman promises “easy, fair and unfettered $49.95 access for all, brightly polished door knobs, and most importantly, clean bathrooms” Additionally, he says the company has promised the government to expand the system to meet consumer demands, with the help of continued and plentiful subsidies, grants, and tax breaks.

Inside of Comcast Corporate Office:

Corporate Lackey #1: “Look at this, it says here on page 2 that “Content Providers and Publishers are growing exponentially to meet accelerating customer driven, and there’s been an upsurge in related stock prices--creating Instant billionaires across the nation”

VP of Business Strategy and Corruption: “Hmmm, “I’d sure like a piece of that action, who doesn’t want to be a billionaire? But, how is the question?”

Corporate Lackey #1: How about….

VP of Business Strategy and Corruption :( interrupting) Shut up, I’m not talking to you, you peon. I’m simply scheming out loud. Hmmm., Now let’s see, If I could find a way to charge those wealthy publishers and content providers loads and loads of money for the privilege to get their books on “MY” library shelves, why, why, why, that would be lucrative AND fiendish”

Cut to Comcast Boardroom:

VP of Business Strategy and Corruption: “So I was thinking, If I, I mean, we could charge the publishers loads and loads of money to carry their books on “My, I mean, OUR” library shelves, why, why, why, that would be lucrative AND fiendish, no, Mr. Chairman?

Comcast CEO: “Lucrative Yes, Fiendish, Yes, However, I’m afraid we only maintain the buildings and the land. From my recollection, the library systems and the librarians are responsible for all book and media purchase, as requested by customers. For us to decide what content gets into the system would be pretty risky: People would cry ‘foul, censorship, monopoly, Microsoft”

VP of Business Strategy and Corruption: But what if we charge those greedy publishers every time they come to the library to deliver their goods into the system, that surely that would be legal? Who could argue with that? Those who pay more get more: expedited access for our preferred publishers.

Comcast CEO: Legal Counsel?

Legal Counsel: “I think that would still consitute censorship if we don’t allow access to those can’t pay, or won’t pay. But perhaps we could instead grant them limited access to the public libraries when business is slow.

Comcast CEO: A fine and brilliant idea. Put it in the minutes those who don’t pay our ransom can come and deliver their wares to the system on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Legal Counsel: But, sir, the public library system is closed on those days. That wouldn’t fly to give them access on those 2 days only

Comcast CEO: How stupid of me, you’re right, that wouldn’t fly. Let’s give them Thanksgiving, Christmas and the 4th of July, Independence Day.