Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way!

I just discovered an interesting bit of protest poetry on Tim O’Reilly’s blog at O’Reilly Radar. It seems David Isenberg gave a talk at the O’Reilly Emerging Telephony Conference. It’s a Dr. Suess style rhyme about protecting our Freedom to Connect to the Internet and it’s called Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way!. It also happens to be a advertisement of sorts for the upcomming Freedom to Connect conference in Washington, DC on April 3 & 4, 2006. Click the more link to read the whole rhyme.



My O’Reilly Etel Talk

by David Isenberg
With apologies to Dr. Seuss
(a talk at O’Reilly Etel by David S. Isenberg January 26, 2006)

When Ed Whitacre, the head of AT&T, says,
“They’re not going to use my pipes for free”
he’s not talking about Them, he’s talking about Me.
He’s talking about Us, it should be plain to see.

When Whitaker says “free” he’s not talking about beer.
It’s our Freedom of Speech that’s at stake here.
Whitaker wants to privatize our right to express.
And he’s even got some laws in front of the US Congress,
Bad laws.
Laws that would make everybody with a public hotspot register with the FCC.
Laws that would let the telephone companies discriminate
Information that is dangerous from info that is safe
But who are they to decide?
The Free Internet gives *us* that right.

Now the law has a flaw, or so they say
So the telcos send our data to NSA
As if we’re all Osama and we might get away

Freedom to connect,
it’s like every other right.
We’ve got to fight,
Or they’ll come and take it from us
in the middle of the night.

The Bells want to split the Net in two,
Keep one part the same and give it to you.
A sliver of bandwidth that stays the same,
Even as Moore’s Law continues to change the game,
Until “our Internet” is a rutted dirt road,
And their piece is a turnpike with heavy, heavy tolls.

Google and Yahoo and Microsoft and Skype,
They’re already successful, they can make deals for those pipes.
But when I want to publish stuff in my blog
It will not be OK for you to once again pay.
We already pay for our Internet connection.
We don’t need to subsidize a dying industry’s obsession!
If looking at my blog cost you an extra dime
You’d probably find another way to spend your time.

More importantly, when you hackers field a fragile new app
You don’t want it blocked by Ed Whitacre’s crap,
Cause when Whitacre says, “They’re not going to use my pipes for free”
He’s not talking about Them, he’s talking about Me.
He’s talking about Us, that should be plain to see.

Freedom to connect,
it’s like every other right.
We’ve got to fight,
Or they’ll come and take it from us
in the middle of the night.

Internet freedom is Freedom of Speech.
You don’t need it if you’re just engaging in pleasantries.
But you do if you want an educated pesantry.
If kleptocrats are stealing, it’s important to know it.
If the mendocrats are lying it’s important to show it.
If you’ve got a whistle, you can’t ask their permission to blow it.

Today Information is struggling to be free
So we can protect what’s left of Democracy.
Us little guys, we’ve got pieces of information
About who’s been holding back our once-and-future nation
From broadband penetration.
This information will never be on TV,
Another reason the Internet has to be free.

When you sit there at your keyboard
and you struggle with the bugs,
You know creation is a process
not much different than love.
It is fragile as a flower in the morning dew
So you don’t want big brother fucking with you.

If they fuck with you, you’ve gotta stand up and say.
Give me a Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way.
The author of this saying is our own Tim Bray.
Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way.

I’m taking my bad poetry to Washington DC.
I’d like everybody in this room to come with me.
April 3 and 4 in Washington DC,
Freedom-to-Connect will be The Place to be
If you want the Internet to stay free.
I’m partnering with Pulver, and I’d like to get Tim,
And I’d like to get you, and her and him.

In another revolution, Ben Franklin said,
“We must hang together or assuredly
we shall all hang separately.”
This statement is still true.
I trust you see its importance to you.
The Name of the Conference is Freedom to Connect.
April 3 and 4 in Washington DC,
Freedom-to-Connect is The place to be.
April 3 and 4 in Washington DC
We’ll take it home to Congress and the FCC.

Freedom to connect,
it’s like every other right.
We’ve got to fight,
Or they’ll come and take it from us
in the middle of the night.

So let’s finish with the words of Tim Bray,
Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way.

When we write to our congressman, what do we say?
(audience) Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way.

And when Whitaker says “Pay again” what do we say?
(audience) Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way.

And when BellSouth blocks our cities from doing WiFi?
(audience) Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way.

And when the telcos own your statehouse, what do you say?
(audience) Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way.

And when China blocks it bloggers, what do we say?
(audience) Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way.

And when the NSA spies on us what do we say?
(audience) Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way.

And when the FCC shuts down your ISP?
(audience) Fat Pipe, Always On, Get Out of the Way.

Thank you. I hope to see you in Washington DC,
April 3 and 4