188 posts • joined Thursday 18th June 2009 15:27 GMT
Put down of the day for me, thanks! :-D
Re: to Johan
"I wish there was a treatment for me so that I could become one of them."
As good as it may sound, by the time you were one of them you'd be barely human. There is more to life...
Re: "bling blong! Expensive"
I agree, it is truly disgusting! I still don't understand what exactly they were granted a patent for though. Revolving doors have been around a long time now!
Is the editor off this week?
Re: Harmful... harmful to whom?
Thanks for the J.S. Mill quote! His work is fast being forgotten and the principles he stood for and which have informed much debate on statute down the years are fast being eroded, from minimum pricing on alcohol to freedom of thought.
The minister added:
"the complexity of dealing with harmful online content is not an acceptable reason for the current situation to persist."
These people just do not 'get it'. They are fascists in all but name. I can't even form the words to express my repugnance at this way of thinking!
Yup. Sounds like a brand of female condoms to me.
Re: Strange Days
Strange Days started brilliantly with a great concept but it's trawling the depths by the end with the most ridiculous conspiracy theory dénouement.
Gattaca is a great shout. You could have mentioned Forbidden Planet had the first entirely electronic soundtrack (which wasn't released as 'music') and, what's more, was composed by a woman, Bebe Barron.
Dark Star, Silent Running (flawed), Dune (seriously, but again flawed) and Alien might have been candidates for me. I think Alien in particular, although being as much horror as SF, raises some serious themes (genetic adaptation/dystopian future/corporate exploitation/human flaws/woman as heroine) and spectacular plot twists/shocks (chest burst scene/Ash as a robot) that were so new and influential at the time that they have coloured everything since and detracted from its radicalism today.
Guilty pleasures - Them, Rollerball, Robocop.
It's amazing that only 5% of us are at it! In fact I don't really believe that, if we all paid for what we consume we'd be impoverished, e.g. you'd have to be a millionaire to fill an iPod. And the 'legitimate' income streams denied to the distributors isn't somehow wasted, it all goes back into the economy in other ways, not many paytards seem to acknowledge this (OK, some might go on recreational drugs). Hopefully it will stay this way and the intransigence at Westminster will continue. I reckon most of their disinterest is down to them not having the first fucking clue about how the Interwebs work, their ignorance is certainly apparent when they have to discuss it (cf. DEB). That and the fact the PM's wife isn't a performing artist (to whom could I be alluding?).
If we are to be mothered, mother must know best. . . . In every age the men who want us under their thumb, if they have any sense, will put forward the particular pretension which the hopes and fears of that age render most potent. They ‘cash in.’ It has been magic, it has been Christianity. Now it will certainly be science. . . . Let us not be deceived by phrases about ‘Man taking charge of his own destiny.’ All that can really happen is that some men will take charge of the destiny of others. . . . The more completely we are planned the more powerful they will be.
. . . .
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.
—C. S. Lewis, God in the Dock
I'm not a fan of American foreign policy but North Korea really is a wacky place. I don't understand why we provide them with food aid, whilst they pursue ballistics and nuclear research. If we stopped providing aid and the country eventually fell apart is this scenario really scarier than the present regime? Surely China would step in anyway?
As far as Iran goes I entirely understand their perception that they need nuclear weapons, most of their borders are with countries either under direct occupation by the US, with a US presence or under the influence of the US. The US have also armed their mortal enemies in the region and Syria is no longer a powerful ally to them. However at least they can feed their own people and afford a space programme at the same time!
It's in the first line
"With the British economy now increasingly dependent on "intangibles" - brands, designs, patents and copyright"
Instead of, er, making stuff? Thatcher ripped the soul out of this nation, Blair violated the open wounds, now we're all busy trying to sell branded coffee to each other (with all proceeds going straight to the Caymans). Technology has devastated the ability of monopolists to create artificial scarcity in media markets. That's a genie that's not about to go back in the bottle any time soon, perhaps the IPO simply realise this.
Have a nice day now!
Re: Pricing Blows
Agreed, out and out greed. The move to digital publishing should have been smoother than that of digital music but it seems no one learned anything, if anything it's been worse with format wars and next-gen DRM. Again and again we hear of examples of corporations showing their true colours, i.e. they're out to gouge you wherever they can. Digital publishing offered certain 'opportunities' and they just couldn't help themselves. It must also be said charging VAT on eBooks is a major, major fail.
Re: Back to the future
Is that the view from the TARDIS' window as you are transported to the relevant marketing era?
Tyranny of the do-gooders
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured' against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals."
Re: A lot of indignation here...
One could argue that the reduction in tobacco consumption is as much or more to do with a change in attitudes and awareness of the health dangers than the pricing. Besides there is a roaring and ever-increasing black market in tobacco now. That complicates health studies, deprives the treasury of income and funds other smuggling activities (some you may approve of but these are not nice people ultimately!).
I'm sure I remember someone telling me that in Turkey committing a crime whilst drunk is an aggravating factor. Here, drunkenness is sometimes offered as an excuse (at least for a lack of recall) and may be a mitigating factor in crimes, in Turkey the logic is that being drunk makes the crime even more irresponsible and the sentence will be even more severe. Even if I was being led up the garden path, this logic makes sense to me. It's fine to drink but drink responsibly, it's even fine to be completely bladdered, just do it quietly. If you look at other countries it's clear to see that most of our problems with alcohol are not with the alcohol per se but are social and relate to our attitudes to and expectations of alcohol, it's our culture that needs to change.
Finally, Andrew, we agree on something...
For a paytard, you do at least acknowledge the lessons of history. And as far as taxation on alcohol goes I am with you, and John Stuart Mill who condemned the prohibitionist doctrine as:
"A theory of "social rights," the like of which probably never before found its way into distinct language: being nothing short of this—that it is the absolute social right of every individual, that every other individual shall act in every respect exactly as he ought; that whosoever fails thereof in the smallest particular, violates my social right, and entitles me to demand from the legislature the removal of the grievance. So monstrous a principle is far more dangerous than any single interference with liberty; there is no violation of liberty which it would not justify; it acknowledges no right to any freedom whatever"
In Scotland the otherwise populist SNP are pushing forward with minimum pricing, I only hope they founder in the European courts (the Scotch Whisky Assoc. has already moved to challenge it). The SNP point to the infamous Sheffield University study for the touted social benefits but, as we know, that is based on pseudo-science and the original findings have now been reined back. Minimum pricing will simply provide the stimulus to black market booze that we have seen with tobacco market and will end with people simply turning to illicit sources and/or other drugs. I shouldn't care, I like expensive ales and whiskies, but I'm a libertarian and I do.
Re: Tell him to go fuck himself.
"Our very economies rely on the notion of being able to own stuff we can't see or touch."
Well that's fine for those people who say that this ephemeral 'stuff' that they assert a claim to has a value defined by them and that everyone should pony up for it on a piecemeal basis. It's also fine for them as long as they can assert control over the reproduction and distribution of said stuff. In your world everyone just needs to play along nice!
In reality copyright law is (in some contexts) justifiable and workable in a world of physical products and distribution networks. In your quote however you unwittingly touch upon the game changer. Electronic products are by their very nature capable of being infinitely reproduced and distributed for a cost that tends towards zero. You, and the banger in the article, need a reality check as everything has changed and the genie is not going back into the bottle. The social and economic costs of enforcing old school copyright law in this Brave New World simply isn't worth it. Instead of asking for copyright laws to be applied to the information age, this guy should be exploring alternative ways of exploiting the biggest opportunity since the industrial revolution.
On holiday in Greece once with a satellite service, I laughed for hours watching the religious channels, evangelist preachers with their non sequitur logic, imam call-ins with worried punters asking if they were allowed tassles on their prayer mat, etc. If you ever think you're taking life too seriously it's just the tonic!
That's not to say wall to wall channels of utter pish is what we want, but!
Re: I'd like them to stop region control
Did you even read the article? Media companies can't stop people looking into other people's gardens any more and stuff like staggered releases and region control merely pisses off potentially legitimate customers.
The USPO can lick the sweat from my balls!
You can't take obvious affordances, albeit in a new medium, and patent them. It's as ridiculous as saying that, in the early days of radio equipment, buttons and sliders could be patented. They can't (or shouldn't be) because they are the only obvious solutions to the technical problems they address. The US patent system is becoming as laughable as the copyright regime and is in dire need of reform.
IANAL but I believe it actually isn't illegal to park your car on the pavement. I think it's illegal to 'drive' your car on the pavement but, if it's just parked there, that's fine. The police will only move your car if it is causing an obstruction. Of course, if there are double yellows on the road you are still liable to be ticketed, but it can be useful where there are no lines and some idiot at the council has built out a bit of pavement purely as a nuisance (I'm sure we can all testify to this phenomenon).
An unwitting physical manifestation...
of our surveillance culture! Iconic!
Re: So what's the solution?
"very few people have any credible solutions for what should be done to fix things"
Your request for a solution pre-supposes that there is a problem. Until music could be recorded there was no problem, musicians earned a living by performing. Until movies came along actors made money in the theatre. Until TVs were common film studios made money through cinema distribution and still do. At each stage, in each form of media, there were business opportunities created by the ability to disseminate content through reproduction and distribution models that could be controlled. These conditions were created organically, just as the Internet has created a situation where the reproduction and distribution costs are tending toward zero and it has become (almost?) impossible to "protect" a viable economic model based on these models. I would ask why we should lament that? There are plenty of other industries that went to the wall because their business model didn't stack up any more - coal mining, steel etc. If you want to preserve the creative "industries" why don't we copy the EU Common Agricultural Policy and have a Common Creative Policy, where we all pay our taxes to subsidise a bunch of self-entitled, loss-making creative types? Of course I'm being facetious but, after all, agriculture is a broken business model too isn't it? We only protect it to avoid dependence on imports and prevent third world countries developing lucrative commodity markets.
Copyright is actually a grant of a monopoly on distribution, its there to protect the distribution model, not primarily the artist or creator (though Thoreau's amendment allowed certain controls on reproduction). That is why this article pays scant regard to the actual artists and creators. However creating art in its truest sense is more of a human instinct or compulsion, rather than a productive capitalist activity. I have faith that whatever economic conditions prevail, whatever the viability of creative activities, real artists will create, regardless!
...by any other name.
"But a copy is a copy, and without a licence to make a copy (outside of a few special cases), courts don't have much choice other than to treat it as infringement."
One day we will look back and laugh, or despair if it all escalates out of control!
These days there is an opt-out
"Can't even watch the game or the Sugar Ray fight"
Grandmaster Flash - The Message (1982)
If you're that disgusted why not just take it for free? There are plenty of streams available. Personally I think sport is the most monopolised and over-priced form of content available, more than films, music, games, etc. There's no accounting for (or competing with) the fanaticism of some fans and their willingness to spend half their income on event/season tickets, PPVs, Sky subscriptions or £45 for a nylon t-shirt. It's close to (an evangelist) religion for many. People with a love of sport but who also have some worldly perspective simply won't subject themselves to this extortion.
The real shame of Sky et. al. is that these sports become detached from, and neglect their grass roots, particularly football, which was a working man's game. The growth of value in the game is a story of disenfranchisement for everyone except a handful of people at the top of the game (FA, FIFA, players, agents) and Sky shareholders of course. We saw recently with the Karen Murphy case how viciously determined these people are to keep milking their monopoly.
Gimp for Sky subscribers.
Re: dammed if you do
Agreed, it's harsh, but who cares if the BPI Web site is taken off line?
GATT, TPP, ACTA and all that
The US relentlessly and ruthlessly pursues its commercial and foreign policy objectives and it doesn't give a shit about the collateral damage or anybody else's interests, their hypocrisy is without equal. The watchlist mentioned in the article derives from the Advisory Committee on Trade Negotiations (ACTN), which sparked into life in the early 80s, mainly in response to America's decline as a competitive manufacturing nation (and the rise of Toyota, it's always the cars that get to them!). By renegotiating international trade treaties and threatening 'trading partners' with 'sanctions', the US uses its economic might and foreign policy objectives to redefine the value of it's own IP on it's own terms thus applying a patina of legitimisation to its activities, whilst arriving at lopsided outcomes. It's a virtual rerun of the actual gunboat diplomacy it used to use, e.g. against Japan where in 1853 the US Navy 'Black ships' steamed into Uraga harbour and demanded Japan open up to trade. Well hell, they're trying to run an empire here!
Gimp because we've been taking it in the ass from Uncle Sam since Suez.
This is where the cloud comes in?
My workplace is developing a series of apps for iOS and Android so that we can use our smartphones to access corporate services. There is also a Citrix-style thin client tool for accessing VDI sessions from your home PC. However they don't support the user devices, they just provide secure access to the network. Over time, combined with hotdesking and home working, there must surely be savings? Essentially they're pushing the point-of-access infrastructure support costs onto their employees, though of course they don't pitch it like that ;-)
Quite! The implications also point to NI support for the Tories and a smear campaign against Gordon Brown being sewn up prior to the election with the quid pro quo being the docking of Ofcom's and the BBC's tails and the ushering through of the BSkyB deal.
Of course, this is all hearsay and the trails so far stop one layer short of Hunt and Cameron, but the timings of certain emails, meetings and announcements are almost ridiculously conspicuous. We all know this is the Realpolitik but we are as close as we have ever been to having it all laid bare before us.
I almost wonder if Murdoch's comments are a shot across the government's bows?
Re: Not the absolute worst
Thought I should add that another film well worth watching is Tim Burton's eponymous biopic of Ed Wood, starring Johnny Depp of course but, for once, wonderfully cast for the ham he is! I loved the scene where, dressed in a frock and wig, he bumps into Orson Welles - hilarious!
I don't need no steenking title!
Did anyone see Daybreak this morning? I can't remember the specifics but they wielded a red top headline claiming our kids are all accessing adult content online and trotted out some interest group saddo (Mum's Against Filth or something like that?) who *actually* brought with her a teddy bear. She said she had brought the bear specifically to evoke in our minds the image of a 10 year old's bedroom with pile of teddys on the bed (awww!) - while at the same time the inquisitive Herbert is busy accessing filth on their PC. It was a classic 'think of the children' moment!
I wouldn't even know where to start, but suffice to say no 10 year old should be getting unfettered and unsupervised access to an Internet-connected PC in their room! What world do these people live in? And why should I have to pay (via ISP fees) to prevent this scenario occurring? The mind boggles!
When tech was more about mechanics and electrical engineering Sony was a player. Now that software is more important, Sony's UIs lack usability and their hardware is less differentiated and more relatively expensive.
I once saw a documentary about Chinese counterfeiting, it made my jaw drop. Whole shopping malls selling ripped DVDs and fake designer goods and the police turned a blind eye.
Burberry was used as an example of what can happen. They closed their Welsh factory and moved production to China where the 'official' factory was effectively cloned and an entire black market operation was set up, based on the Burberry blueprints and flooding eBay with fake products. On the one had I had no sympathy for Burberry, their mark-ups don't justify such greedy cost-cutting and I felt sorry for the Welsh workers. On the other hand the programme went on to look at the fake trade in cosmetics, medicines and contraceptives to East Africa and that was just scary!!!
They even found a workshop where some guy was knocking out fake eggs! No shit! They used some kind of chemical process and claimed it was cheaper than keeping chickens. Thing is, would you eat one? Would you want to live somewhere where you could eat a fake egg and not know it? At the end of the day, for some products, provenance is everything!
Re: Not for Desire after all.
Happy (smug) Desire S owner here. Sorry! However all we've been told is that it will be available this year and I wonder how long Orange will need to play around with it. Will probably only be six months off a new contract by the time it arrives! Just as well Gingerbread is so good!
Re: When the boot is on the other foot ...
"The FA has different markets for rights, the rights market in the UK is worth a lot more, as more people want to watch UK matches in the UK than want to watch UK matches in Greece. It makes sense to sell in to both markets, and the price in each market is determined by what that market will bear."
You have essentially reiterated my point above but from a different PoV. The EU says it is a common market. If the FA licences EPL games to providers within Europe (including Sky) those providers are entitled to sell that product within the EU. The FA can't make money from non-UK providers and then say that they can't sell to UK residents, where Sky charge a huge mark-up. That's not a market, it's a monopoly! It's having their cake and eating it.
Re: IANAL but I believe so
"are you really citing the "Federation of Recorded Music Societies" FAQ section"
Sure, I Googled for a while but couldn't find many citations covering these points. As has been mentioned here, the UK has some fucked up IP law. It's still illegal to copy CDs to your PC for example! The PRS pursue workplace canteens to buy licences for their radios! Copyright extends much further than most people think and I wouldn't be at all surprised if you weren't strictly entitled to watch television or listen to CDs in your own home if you are in the presence of visitors. If you think this is bullshit then cite something to prove otherwise!
I'm no paytard, far from it, just interested in the implications here.
Re: IANAL but I believe so
Think he may be right!
"The permission that comes with every music CD only gives the purchaser the right to play that recording in a domestic environment, in other words the immediate family. Performance to any other grouping is regarded as "public performance" and this applies even where the group meets in a private house."
This article may apply to CDs but I think the principle derives from the CDPA generically. Of course, from memory, the Champions League vignettes and various adverts show groups of friends gathering round television sets to watch games but I'm sure that the home-owner has dutifully applied and paid for a PPL!
The FA can't have their cake and eat it too
EU competition rules forbid anti-competitive practices within the European market. IANAL but, prima facie, the FA should either harmonise pricing across the broadcast markets within the EU or limit broadcasts to countries where it can maintain a consistent price (AFAIK they are under no obligation to provide the service EU-wide).
I know that they (FA/Sky?) sell clean feeds (no logos, highlights) to foreign broadcasters as many online streamers show the games with alternative logos (e.g. Dutch TV station branding). At half time the cameras often pan back to the ground and various commentaries are available (e.g. English or Dutch).
Sky has been beasting pub landlords for years, gorging themselves by raising prices year on year, sometimes by 20%-30%. It's not a flat rate, it's based on the size/value of the premises and can easily top £1000 per month. Landlords often feel that it's the only way to get enough punters in the doors but they have to count on making enough back through drinks sales. If Sky are to be the only broadcaster how can this be called a 'market'? Shouldn't we call it a 'monopoly'? Selling exclusive rights in sport is anti-competitive, we need a shake-up.
IANAL but I believe so
There is a distinction in that you would not be using the service for commercial purposes. I also don't believe it could be considered a 'public performance' even if you had some pals round. It's not clear if the licence that Karen Murphy was a commercial one (or if it had to be) but I would guess so. Many people (particularly international diaspora) have been using these services in their own homes for years so I don't think there is anything amiss. However the savings are probably not significant (if there are any) for a private home and it also depends whether you want to watch football with a foreign commentary?
Thanks for the sane comments! It's one thing to review these services against each other, it's another thing entirely to question the entire distribution paradigm. The author's solution?
"So, which should you go for? Ultimately, it will probably be the content that’s the decider for many. Of course, you could pick both, and still not be breaking the bank."
AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!!! How about I choose a service that's completely free and offers me unlimited access to any film or other media I wish to choose, most probably in any format I choose?
Freedom vs Rights?
Freedoms and rights do not always go hand in hand, sometimes they can be exclusive. One person's right to privacy for example can abridge freedom of information, e.g. the recent High Court super-injunctions attempting to cover up the affairs of people in the public eye.
I can understand the idea of DP (data protection not double penetration!) being applied to official databases and the like but not to the likes of Facebook. Some things have always been a permanent record, for example although someone may have their details of a conviction removed from a police database the details are still in the public domain for anyone willing to trawl the microfiche (can't be bothered checking spelling, sue me if it's wrong) in public libraries. I'm not sure how far reaching these proposals are but, like many laws aimed at governing the Internet, care should be taken to ground them in what is actually feasible and not to place too onerous a burden on owners, admins and Webmasters of small Web sites, etc.