* Posts by Andrew Orlowski

1166 posts • joined 6 Sep 2006

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Chill, luvvies. The ‘unsustainable’ BBC Telly Tax stays – for now

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: Am I the only person...

@sed gawk

"For 4p a day..."

Bloody hell, I hope you don't teach maths.

14,450 / 365.25 = 39.56p a day.

You're off by a factor of 10.

You make a lot of interesting points but none of them address the objections to the BBC that have been raised. Just repeating that's its traditional and that you like it hasn't stopped other institutions getting shafted. They were traditional and well-liked too.

Also, you could have declared that you worked for the BBC.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

"But would I think lead to less people subscribing as and when they needed to tighten their belts for whatever reason"

But the number of "it's worth it for Radio 4 alone" comments here shows how much more revenue it could get.

You can do the modelling for yourself on the back of an envelope. We've done it before (search for Elstein). Even with 20-30pc refuseniks you're looking at a lot more money, because it's cheaper than all the other subscription services. Would you cancel the BBC before you cancelled Netflix.

It's smart to jump before you're pushed sometimes. But if you were smart you probably wouldn't be in BBC strategy.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: re - Much quoted now is Whittingdale’s view ...........

@Alan Denham

The sources for all the numbers are in the story, you can look them up yourself. The ones you doubt were compiled for the BBC Trust.

You seem a bit concerned that the poor (with their ghastly satellite dishes) might move near you, possibly lowering your house price. But at the same time you're happy for them to subsidise what you use.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Am I the only person...

"I. I'd pay a chunk of the license fee for Radio 3, and I only regularly listen on a Saturday morning.

2. I'd pay almost all of the license fee just for Radio 4. It's great, really. I'm not a heavy user but there's no commercial equivalent.

3. I'd pay the license just for 6 Music, and would do so just for Radcliffe & Maconie."

Great post, Andrew.

From your numbers it looks like you'd pay almost 2x the current license fee to get services you value, maybe £250-£300. I know some people who'd pay even more.

Even at £500/yr it's still much cheaper than Sky.

This is a compelling case for the middle class users paying subscriptions - it suggests the middle class don't pay enough. Until that happens though, the poor who don't use it subsidise your media habits.

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EU geo-blocking: Ansip's crusade liable to disappear through 'unjustifiable' loophole

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Sorry

"Sky certainly should not be allowed to be a pay TV platform (in many countries) AND ALSO have control of Pay TV channels. They must divest Sky1, Sky Sports and Sky News etc, or be a content provider and divest of the Satellite Pay TV platforms."

I think beer should be free, and benefits the population enormously. That doesn't mean its going to happen.

Europe isn't the USA, Europeans aren't going to abandon 40 languages for slacker English, and have the same income across the EU. Well, at least not overnight. So in the mean time, we can expect that attempts to coerce a single market into existence by dictating the terms of trade that result in harm, are going to meet resistance.

Ansip didn't spend any time listening to small indies, but took what the soap-dodgers told him on trust.

If you think that is weird, check out the stuff about how the cloud makes us E400bn richer ... just like that.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: There should be no loopholes at all.

Like the USA?

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Welcome, stranger: Inside Microsoft's command line shell

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

+1 for 4DOS. It was the first thing to install on a new box.

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What is the REAL value of your precious, precious data?

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: It's the Difference Between Data and Information

This isn't a argument over whether our personal data has value when processed. Tim says none of the value accrued by the processing should go back to the people who contribute it. There shouldn't be an economic relationship or a market in data.

Obviously, thermometers are not really in a position to bargain.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: NO.

"Tim's argument works only if the individual are able to control"

should read:

Tim's argument works only if the individual is UNABLE to control'

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: NO.

Tim's argument works only if the individual are able to control either your privacy or your property rights.

As DropBear and others have pointed out (better than I can), merely being able to withhold the data, and to name a price, makes you an economic participant. You'd have a market for that data.

So tech companies would have to bid for your data, or induce you to part with it in other ways.

Of course this is the last they want. Silicon Valley isn't really all that innovative - it's extremely lazy, and basically relies on legal loopholes, and the bet that people won't assert either privacy or property rights.

File Tim's pieces under "Free Marketeers Who Hate Free Markets".

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Ex-Windows designer: Ballmer was dogmatic, Sinofsky's bonkers, and WinPho needs to change

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: So blameMicrsoft because it doesn't innovate...

Under Steve Jobs, Apple didn't do any UI testing. So doesn't your third paragraph contradict your second?

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

When Bell uses jargon in the AMA (which isn't very often) he explains what it means.

https://medium.com/i-have-no-idea-what-im-talking-about/i-have-no-idea-what-im-talking-about-microsofts-rumored-spartan-browser-5a046e3079b5

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: I don't get the hate

Speculative. The opposite was actually true, as we've reported.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/29/revealed_the_secret_apple_deals_that_squeeze_rivals_and_tax_you/

Nokia/Microsoft couldn't compete with the strongarm tactics of Apple, which had trouble shifting the 5c, and the spiffs that Samsung threw at the channel. Smaller vendors couldn't get release slots - literally.

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The content business wants Netflix out of Australia

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Just give me a decent legal way to download.

Uh, you do know that the RIAA doesn't represent the movie industry, but the music industry?

You want the other Ass.

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Labour policy review tells EU where to stuff its geo-blocking ban

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Meanwhile, in the real world...

"Either taxpayer money is always found to "fulfill a pressing need for local cultural diversity" (aka. vote buying of the "creative types" because no-one is actually interested enough for the product to make economic sense) or else the market is totally not as bad as continually portrayed."

Well everyone likes a good whinge. There is a market for niche stuff today, I doubt if all of it would be viable if territoriality was abolished.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: It's just like DVD region coding...

Not really, the objection is at the B2B level.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: How does this affect micro-businesses?

"No you don't have to sell to anyone - you just can't limit the license to certain eu countries."

Same difference. It means that in the EU you'll have to er, sell to anyone.

Even if I improve your shop analogy to say "I cannot charge French people more" it doesn't hold up, because by opening a shop you're obliged not to discriminate. Whereas price discrimination is absolutely essential in this market.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Probably because the headline is misleading - we'll fix it.

What's called (propaganda-friendly term) "geoblocking" really means "freedom of licensing". The EU wants to stop this.

Of course if you think Europe is one country with one language, it's logical. If you think Europe is lots of countries with even more languages, then the reform is coercive.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: It's just like DVD region coding...

"...release the same content at a *lower* price in other parts of Europe, while keeping prices hiked up for the local audience? Then that's just market abuse."

No, it isn't. It's bog standard price discrimination. If you sold stuff then you'd want to do this too.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: I don't get it...

"Why would the removal of geo blocking hurt niche/local producers (which seems to be one of the arguments here). OK, they can't restrict which areas they sell their content to, but why does that hurt them?"

Because they can't maximise the price of their goods. If you RTFA it's quite informative - follow the link to the Rivers study for the European Commission, it's quite a readable analysis of price discrimination.

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Streaming tears of laughter as Jay-Z (Tidal) waves goodbye to $56m

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Damned if you do, damned if you don't

"Doesn't un-recouped just mean that you royalties have not exceeded your advances?"

Sales royalties, yes. There are other royalties that the record company cannot control.

"Conventional wisdom is that you enjoy a lifetime in music not by making royalties on music sales so much as by touring, selling merchandise, etc."

Conventional wisdom from ... who? People quoting 20-year old Steve Albini and Janis Ian articles on Slashdot? Or from people who have helped destroyed sales, who have absolutely no vested interest at all in telling you that artists should sell more T-shirts?

Sales were once at a level that a sick artist didn't have to go on the road even though they have cancer, like Levon Helm had to:

https://vimeo.com/122361826

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Damned if you do, damned if you don't

"I'd feel more charitable if the Tidal crowd on that stage made music that I'd want to hear. Why would I want to encourage more of that that garbage?"

OK. We get it. But there are two things here, 1) liking/trusting the music that the people involved, and 2) the viability of their proposition that someone can do better than Spotify.

"How could I trust these identikit-surgeoned airheads to promote original bands?"

Because Jay Z has quite a good track record doing so?

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Damned if you do, damned if you don't

Like you say Dabbsy, the megastars behind Tidal have done better from streaming than anyone else - they are not in the long tail and have deep back catalogs. So for them, the micro pennies add up.

The "new" record business is even less fair than the "old" one, because the "old" one was basically a socialist model. It used the windfall profits from Jay-Z and Madonna and redistributed them to support the Middle Class and blue collar artists: the "99 per cent". A lot of artists failed to recoup their advance but still enjoyed a lifetime in music. For example David Lowery never recouped but had a twenty year career thanks to a minor hit. That's better than twenty years behind a Tesco checkout desk.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/07/08/david_lowery_interview/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/06/04/lowery_on_the_music_business/

Lowery: "I know this is probably really confusing to you civilians. Am I really saying it’s better to be un-recouped as an artist? Yes it is. Quantitative finance geeks will see this as selling a series of juicy “covered calls”. Being un-recouped means you took in more money than you were due by contract. You took in more money than your sales warranted. And there was a sweet spot, being un-recouped but not too un-recouped. For instance I estimate that over my 15 year career at Virgin/EMi we took in advances and royalties equivalent to about 40% of our gross sales. In other words we had an effective royalty rate of 40%, despite the fact that by contract our rate was much lower)."

This is no longer possible for a few reasons, one of which is that the superwealthy (eg Madonna) can break away and sign their own 360 deals, so the windfalls are not redistributed. The megastars backing Tidal say they want a fairer system, with larger payouts for all, and if they make good on their promises to invest in new talent may be they will achieve that. It takes a lot of commitment and I don't know if many of them have that.

But we knock them (rightly) for sitting around and moaning about the unfairness of the world yet doing nothing about it. Then we knock them for trying to do something about it. The buggers can't win.

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EE springs Wi-Fi phone calls on not-spot sufferers, Tube riders

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: "Seamless?"

"As I understand it, you use the normal phone app to make the call, rather than for example O2's ToGo app, "

Yes it uses IMS not an OTT craplet. Cuddles needs to RTFA.

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'Modernise' safe harbour laws for the tech oligarch era – IP czar

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Safe harbour is doing fine. Takedowns are broken.

"The idea that big copyright holders have that they must attack the infrastructure is both disgusting and disturbing"

Well, two points.

1. It's little copyright holders (and that includes you) - should you ever do something as post a photo online - who get screwed today. That's if you want to own and control your own stuff, such as pictures of your family.

2. So called Safe Harbour liability limitations were never intended to shield criminal behaviour, but protect honest operators from being clobbered unfairly. They're obviously being used for a bit more than that. So something will need to change.

Whether we need a standing army of copyright cops is another matter. Not one many readers would want, or one I think is necessary.

Pretending there isn't a problem makes it more likely you'll get a standing army, though. Just saying.

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Europe could be drowned in 'worthless pop culture' thanks to EU copyright plans

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Languages

The current trading system is based on the principle that you know how best to market your stuff - who to sell to, and where. No coercion is required. Coercing people to trade with people they don't want to trade with is very risky, and Ansip doesn't really get this, yet.

Perhaps in the future people won't remember where they're from, Europe will be one big happy country, and we will all speak the same language... and this won't be an issue.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

I was watching Top Gear dubbed into Polish at a mate's house the other day. Poles here don't have any difficulty getting Polish cultural goods under the current system. It's all licensed.

Cyborg Ansip doesn't seem to have realised what he's stepped into.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

The argument for enforcing a pan-European license is that the bigger market makes up for the lower returns from your home market. With some goods like football, this might be true. For others it isn't, for obvious reasons, mainly language. Your entire market for the Albanian equivalent of Sex Lives Of The Potato Men lives in Albania, pretty much.

The European Commission has just spent a few years looking at this. Barnier found that territoriality would diminish cultural diversity. Kroes leaked his report, then refused to endorse it. Juncker instructed Ansip to bring this regardless.

14 years ago a compromise was devised (see Santiago Agreement) which was a pan-European license but administered in the home territory. The EU didn't like it, and here we all are.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

So you sacrifice cultural diversity for peace.

Can you explain how this works, exactly? I've never understood it.

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This ISN'T Net Neutrality. This is Net Google. This is Net Netflix – the FCC's new masters

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: So the FCC set up a fight between ...

Google own the largest private network in the world.

I'm sure the FCC rules mandate that others have access to it, on fair and reasonable terms. They do, don't they?

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: First part was better.

"Who are the new slaves?"

You are, obviously.

You can't own or control your own stuff. Which means there is no real functioning market for stuff. The terms of trade are set by others.

The tech oligarchs take the place of the market, set the terms, control the price, etc.

This has been their greatest achievement: persuading people to act against their own economic interests.

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Google wins fight to keep Adwords FBI drug sting docs secret

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Repeating the smear on Hood, out of context, suggests you have real difficult with the context of this story.

You can read the request from Hood and the Attorneys to Google yourself. It's 72 pages. Look where copyright or IP figures in it. Look what they're really after.

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Nokia boss smashes net neutrality activists

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: Tosh

"In many areas of the USA there is exactly 1 ISP (occasionally 2) available to connect to."

89 per cent of Americans have a choice of five broadband providers, wireline or wireless.

http://www2.itif.org/2013-whole-picture-america-broadband-networks.pdf

You wouldn't think so from comments left on message boards, etc, but in my experience, some people prefer complaining to being active consumers, campaigning and switching.

"It's no real surprise to find out that incumbent telco ISPs pretty much throttle VOIP out of existance"

Really? Someone should tell Skype!

"https://wiki.openrightsgroup.org/wiki/Net_Neutrality"

ORG. 'Nuff said.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Are people even reading the comments?

"ISPs are artificially creating service differentiation"

I can't think of a single instance of this ever.

"In summary, NN says paying more money should be about buying more infrastructure at the ISP end..."

That makes no sense at all. It's about paying for peering (what Netflix had to do, because it had tried to do OTT video on the cheap) vs. using a third party vs. building your own network (what Google does with YouTube).

You can monitor peering in real time:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/09/net_neutrality_explained_and_how_to_get_a_better_internet/

Your comment is a fantastic illustration of the ignorance often exhibited in such discussions.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Semantic confusion

+1

I'm not sure a single constituency anywhere in the world would vote for or support "net neutrality" (defined for the sake of argument as pre-emptive technical regulation on speeds, services etc).

It's really only a minority within a minority within a minority who give a crap about this. 75 per cent of American voters have never even heard the phrase "net neutrality", and most Democrat voters care about the economy and jobs.

Unfortunately net neutrality activists live in a bubble world, and only ever meet people just like themselves.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: Hmmm

"Bloke on the intertubes uses a deliberately emotive argument, however much he knows it's not really valid, to try to gain favour from the non-technical masses for his own agenda which is the sale of equipment to produce a tiered internet."

Maybe.

Or maybe the internet is already "tiered" (aka polyservice), was designed to be "tiered" from 1981, and so should be regulated using business and competition regulations rather some genius with dandruff trying to predict what will be "fair" in 20 years time?

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Corporate shill and blithering idiot.

"Net neutrality can accommodate protocol priorities"

Not by most definitions of net neutrality in current use by net neutrality activists. All packets must travel at the same speed, they insist. (Eg, Franken etc).

This isn't actually how things work, and if it was strictly imposed the internet would be a smoking heap.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: He seems to have failed to understand

"What net neutrality is. It does allow for the prioritisation of packets."

Not by Sen. Al Franken's definition. Or <insert idiot here>. When one packet is being prioritised, that means another packet is going slower, which means "discrimination" is taking place, which is evil, which means we need new laws to stop it.

"If VOIP packets get priority then ALL VOIP packets are treated equal, no matter where they came from."

Yes, that's what some people want, and it's marginally less bonkers than Franken/Public Knowledge's interpretation - but it still puts consumer Skype packets the same speed as real-time applications - in the same slow lane.

If you give a monkey a loaded machine gun, the chances are it will eventually shoot you. That's where the "net neutrality" debate has reached. The activists are complaining the monkeys have really bad manners.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Preposterous

"Indeed, net neutrality doesn't stop ISPs from selling different speed, different contention, different download limit services even from the same service. "

That's exactly what net neutrality activists want to stop. You've summed it up nicely.

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Netflix: Look folks, it's net neutrality... HA, fooled you

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

There is a potential competition issue when "big OTT video" (eg Netflix) muscles out "small OTT video".

Google is "big OTT video" too, but spent billions building out its own private network, right into the ISPs.

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City broadband ISPs: PLEEEEASE don't do 'Title II' net neutrality

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: we've seen it before

Title II means you're probably going to be stuck with Comcast forever. It'll be around in 100 years time, as a price controlled, regulated giant.

But that's OK. People love Comcast.

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Google gets my data, I get search and email and that. Help help, I'm being REPRESSED!

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

@Gordon 10

"Now Im hoping that increasing valuation of data is an indicator that the Tech giants are going to get a shock - but the realist in me suspects its going to be over a very long timescale."

What makes you think the value of that data will increase? Supply and demand tells me it will only go down.

The problem is that inferred data is nowhere near as valuable as revealed preference data. If I sell yachts, and I know you've bought two yachts in the past, I don't really care what your inside leg measurement is. It's the yacht purchasers that matter.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: yeah but, no but

" It's just a pseudo-random figure that some "experts" pulled out of their backsides"

No, the figure is the selling price of that data, in an open transaction. It's what people said they would sell for.

Like Tim, everything is for the best and you just don't want to look the Gift Horse in the Mouth. You do sound very eager to rubbish any evidence that might contradict this view.

My position is not that "Google is evil", but that there are also many costs to the enormous consumer surplus generated Silicon Valley companies giving away services (and other people's stuff) for free. They don't do it because they're nice, you know.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Nice analogy.

People don't think about the value of the data most of the time Have a look what happens when they do:

"Survey respondents said the most valuable data was personal income, followed by the email addresses of close friends and family. Demographic data is less highly valued, although it’s incredibly valuable to fraudsters. The total value however is significant: £140 (€170) per consumer"

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/10/01/personal_data_priced_and_its_a_lot/

Tim doesn't want to look the gift horse in the mouth. But when we do just that, the proposition doesn't look like such a fabulous deal. And that's counting the opportunity cost of market destruction.

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A year with Canada's Volvo-esque smartphone – The BlackBerry Z30

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Data contract requirements?

Do you mean like a specially provisioned SIM? No.

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Cheer up UK mobile grumblers. It's about to get even pricier

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Seriously?

No, of course not.

But Ryan Heath (author of "Steelie Neelie: The Best of @NeelieKroesEU" and her spokesperson at the time) told me that any MEP who voted against the Telecomms Package would have to face to the wrath of the voters. He genuinely thought that when people vote in European elections, this is how they base their decisions.

I'm making the comparison to show the difference between how Eurocrats think the world works, and what really happens in real life.

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FERTILISER DOOM warning! PESKY humans set to WIPE selves out AGAIN

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Re: Even if true, addressing individual symptoms is not going to work.

"Fluffy Bunny" - your views are indistinguishable from fascism. As a rich white guy, the only you offer the poor are coercion or death.

Population falls to > below replacement levels < as soon as living standards improve - so why not just say you want the poor to stay poor?

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Arrr: The only Pirate in European Parliament to weigh in on copyright

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

"And for the last time, copyright infringement is NOT theft. Read carefuly, NOT THEFT."

Try infringing a dubstep album, then popping along to Tottenham or Peckham to tell the guys who made it what you did, and that it is harming them.

Please do that.

I'll hold your coat.

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Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge
Big Brother

Re: Copyright contract with the public is broken.

Hello, Jeremy. Shouldn't you declare your own dirty secret? You failed to mention it in your post.

First off - as you and Eben told me many times, the GPL depends on strong copyright law. The GPL would not survive if property rights could not be asserted, then defended, in Court. The GPL survives because of the respect Courts have for property rights. You also need strong contract law, which you don't get in a banana republic - but you can't even get into court without the property right.

In fact, I think you were the first to point this out. Or Eben. I can't remember.

I can think of a "shittier situation for all concerned" - and it looks like individuals losing control of our pictures and words - so that only giant corporations can profit from our work. "Copyfighters" can whine all day about the length of copyright, but if it can't be asserted, the law is merely decorative. It doesn't matter if copyright terms are 1,000 years or a million years - if they can't be asserted, they are meaningless. If you can't assert (C), then pop goes the GPL. Along with much else.

The Public Domain Day backfired badly, because no matter how you slice it, it means privileged white college kids want to stop paying black people. Living black artists.

https://twitter.com/dgolumbia/status/550678771901427712

https://twitter.com/dgolumbia/status/550679167172636672

The dirty secret of "Jeremy Allison" these days is that he works for Google. A corporation worth $468bn. The biggest corporate lobbyist in the USA. A corporation built on not paying other people for using their stuff. So I think you need to put in a disclaimer when you comment on copyright issues.

"These views do not reflect the view of my employer. It's just a coincidence that my employer, Google, lobbies to destroy your digital property rights, and your ability to control your identity."

So, how is life on the plantation, Jeremy?

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Ireland: Hey, you. America. Hands off Microsoft's email cloud servers

Andrew Orlowski
(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: This, and Google's fight against the MPAA/Hood are important.

Google funds far more lobbying and astroturf than its competition across various industries. Google is now the biggest corporate funder of political activity in the USA.

I doubt you would support a smear campaign against Hood and his silencing using lawsuits by Goldman Sachs, or Microsoft, but maybe you would.

I'm sorry I knocked your conspiracy theory over, I can see how that hurts, and that you want it back.

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