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The pop group, the press release and global warming

Green bid to save the Net not what it seems?

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Few of the press releases pumped out on a daily basis actually make it into news articles, but when The Register received an announcement about a cyberspace day to save the environment, our interest was peaked.

What an amazing notion - an environmentalist group in the US was declaring that the Internet was on the verge of a meltdown, and was organising a mass log-out in April to save bandwidth. "Cyberday 1.0" would alert the world's surfers to the dangers the Net posed to global warming, it claimed.

"Internet usage may seem innocuous enough," the savecyberspace.org site, mentioned in the release, warned. "But the servers that feed this information to the public run on real power. And most of this power gets generated by burning fossil fuels which pumps tons of green house gases into the atmosphere.

"This in turn aggravates the already critical Global Warming situation."

The site states that, unless surfers were prudent with dwindling Internet resources, the Net may not survive. "And even if it does, the planet's ecosystem may be severely damaged. Conservation now may be the only way we can save Cyberspace for the rest of the world and for our own children," it warned.

The organisation behind the site, Concerned Citizens to Save Cyberspace, said the way to alert the world to the threat was to get Netizens to log off the Internet for an hour at noon on Monday April 23.

"Imagine the internet bandwidth that will suddenly be available as the burden on CyberSpace is lessened. So log off your computer for an hour, go outside and get some fresh air," it stated.

Concerned Citizens to Save Cyberspace had even selected a song to mark the event caled "Bandwidth Conservation Society". This was hailed in the release as "the latest single by the popular indie rock group, Emmett Brown".

Emmett Brown is a pop group made up of three brothers in Florida called William, Dan and Charles Cote. (Store this information away, it will come in useful later).

"We're honoured to be the official band for a movement as important as this one," the band's bassist/vocalist Charles Cote was quoted as saying. "Each member of Emmett Brown is deeply concerned that excessive bandwidth consumption poses a serious threat to the future of the Internet. We want to make sure Cyber Space will be around for our kids."

Well, it was a press release sent out on businesswire.com, so it must be true, right?

And the site provided lots of ideas to help surfers conserve energy and cyberspace, including the following gems:

  • Get family members to surf together, "kind of like car pooling"

  • Print out frequently visited web sites for later reading. "You can easily keep them organized by purchasing a file cabinet and folders to create a filing system"

  • "Try reading more books. The public library is full of them"

  • If you get an email you want to share, print out the letter and mail it

When we tried to track down the origins of the press release we came across the most peculiar aspect of the environmental appeal. It concerned the owner of the domain name savecyberspace.org.

According to Network Solutions, the URL is registered to none other than William Cote (you remember him, of Emmett Brown 'fame').

Nice try lads.

According to fellow Cote brother Charles, the organisation is real, and it did ask Elliott Brown if it could use the song (written by Charles "in jest" four years ago). Although Charles is a bassist by night, he is a Web designer by day - hence the involvement in the site. He said the band helped the organisation design the site, and registered it in William's name.

"The movement is real, but we are not involved in it," he told The Register.

"When you're marketing your music, it's difficult to tell people the entire story. Musicians have to spin Webs," he added. ®

Related Link

Cyberday "Press Release"

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