9 posts • joined Friday 23rd September 2011 06:30 GMT
Where to even begin...
I barely made it past the first paragraph of this before I was ready to start throwing things at the screen. The whole thing went off the rails when the author started going on about "consuming". We do not, and can not, consume copyrighted works, because the verb "consume" means that the thing being consumed is used up, gone, no longer there. When you read a book, an article, a blog post, it's still there when you finish. When you listen to a song, it's still there after you stop listening to it. When you watch a movie, it's still there when you're done. None of those things can be consumed.
And don't even get me started on the use of the pretentious quasi-legal term "intellectual property". Heaven forbid that writers should use a plain word like "copyright", for then anyone might know what they mean.
As for the rest of the thing, this brave new organisation has done nothing but invent a simplistic narrative where the issue of copyright is presented as a debate between virulently anti-copyright freetards on the one side and heartless greedy megacorporates on the other, whereupon they plant themselves in the middle and name themselves a reasonable compromise.
All of us here know the origins of copyright - a limited monopoly granted to authors and composers and artists so that they have an incentive to do their work, and the public gets more works thanks to the creators having more incentive to create. But here is the reality of the current copyright debate - on one hand you have a vast repository of work of literature and art that people want to see, read, hear, and use in creating their own works, some copyrighted, some whose copyright has expired, and on the other, you have the internet, a vast globe-spanning platform where anyone can copy any book, music, or art and make it available to millions in seconds. And in the middle, you have the copyright system, designed in the era of manual printing presses, which governments find themselves unable to enforce.
The actual debate then is this - what role does copyright play in a world where copyright can't be enforced without massively intrusive spying on what people do on their computers and cellphones, yet where there is more demand for the works of writers, artists, and composers than there has ever been? Can we re-make copyright for the internet era, or can we come up with something different, a new way to reward artists and writers and composers that allows for unlimited private copying?
Hoist with their own petard
Oh dear, Messrs Ballmer and Gutierrez, can it be that for all your claims of valuing "intellectual property" and your constant condemnation of those who, like Google, you claim steal others' ideas, that here we find you "stealing" ideas yourselves? I think it's time to get out your chequebook, Mr Ballmer!
I do not expect Messrs Ballmer and Gutierrez to reflect on the fact that no matter how hard you try, you cannot avoid stepping on someone's patent. They know the patent racket well, and probably have funds set aside against such suits as this. But I hope that with suits like this, the hollow rhetoric of property behind which Microsoft and their ilk hide will be shown to be just that, vapid, empty, without merit.
Complaints about patents
I am very disappointed to see so many of you complaining about patents. Why, if it weren't for the patent system, we would all be substantially worse off, as one AO has so recently pointed out. A case in point. Just tonight, I set about dealing with a stubborn splinter that had become lodged in my hand after a day of cutting branches. I decided to query Google to see what the state of the art in wood sliver removal technology might be. It showed to me the following two patents:
1. http://www.google.com/patents/US4570613, A method of removing splinters and the like from the human body,
2. http://www.google.com/patents/US5334195, A method and article for removing splinters where a disposable lancet is used to pierce the patient's skin
Think, all of you patent nay-sayers, how, if were not for the system of patents currently in force, such discoveries as the above might never seen the light of day. Reflect, ye doubters, that it is not only just but fitting that the holders of these patents, these discoverers, should be rewarded for their contributions to the welfare of all mankind.
So, shame on you all! We're all better off for the system of patents. I for one am now splinter free and will be posting a cheque in the morning.
Good to see a return to form for the Register - bringing a healthy dose of scepticism to the world of lies and spin that is modern IT. Makes a nice change from simpering over Windows Phone. I am curious about the term "duchessing" however. Is this a Reg neologism?
> Pretty certain it's copyright infringement rather IP theft.
Well yes, one would hope so, since copyright infringement is an actual crime whereas IP theft is just made up nonsense.
I thought that Matt Asay had hit some kind of nadir of asinine nonsense in last week's column in which he treated us to his mind-boggling comparison of Bill Gates to Mother Theresa, but here we see him top even that rubbish. He spends much of this column outlining the ways in which MS had used every underhanded trick known to man to get ahead in mobile, then, with a breathtaking leap of logic, claims that MS' resurgence is due to their building an interface that people actually want.
Really, is Matt Asay unable to keep track of his own arguments when he writes? Or is he, as last week's nauseating apology for Bill Gates showed, utterly blinded by technology to all the ethical and moral issues that are under his nose? How much extortion, bullying, threats, and FUD will it take from MS before Matt Assay finally wakes up?
At least will he consider changing the name of his column from "Open and Shut" to just "Shut", since it has been a very long time since he has had anything worthwhile to contribute to anything that is open.
So Matt Asay thinks that someone who lies, cheats, extorts and bullies his way to an enormous fortune but then gives away a proportion of that fortune is as moral as someone who devotes their entire life to caring for the sick? Well, at least now we know that his understanding of ethics and morality is as glib and superficial as his understanding of matters technological.
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