Various and Sundry, 1/23/12

While I was away at a science fiction convention, the world stubbornly went on without me. Here’s what I think of some of what happened.

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikinews

 

* South Carolina GOP Primary: Loved it. Dear Republicans: I think your current reignited fling with Newt Gingrich is fantastic. Definitely make him your nominee. He’s the only candidate still in the race who can win over independents! He’ll totally destroy Obama in the debates! He’s cuddly! I can see no possible way the “Newt as nominee” plan could ever go wrong. Please do it. Please please please please please please please.

Even better: Newt/Santorum 2012! Just think about it.

* Joe Paterno, Dead: I don’t find it too surprising. A man who spent his life doing one thing, and who had it taken away from him in the most dramatic and dispiriting way possible, is not a man who is going to be in a position to put up a huge fight against a life-threatening illness. Mind you, that last sentence appears to excuse Paterno from agency (or lack thereof) in having his life’s work taken from him, and I don’t want to do that. Paterno’s failures regarding the sexual predator in his circle are his to own, now and forever. I know it pisses off a lot of Penn State alumni and/or football fans that it will always be part of his legacy. I imagine in his last days it made Paterno sad as well.

* Giants/Patriots in the Super Bowl: On Super Bowl Sunday, I’m going to the alternate universe where the Ravens and 49ers are playing. That’s a game worth watching commercials around!

* SOPA shelved: Good, because it was a terrible bill. Maybe next time if Congress wants to craft a bill to deal with copyright violations on the Internet, it might actually ask the people who work on the Internet how to do it without potentially breaking the whole damn thing. I’d like to think it’s achievable.

That said, anyone who thinks that SOPA being shelved means that everyone’s suddenly giving up on dealing with copyright violations online are deluding themselves; one of the largely unmentioned aspects of the SOPA/PIPA protests is how just about every major player in the protest acknowledged that IP rights are a legitimate issue and have to be dealt with. It would be nice to think this is the inflection point at which everyone grows up a little and tries to build a framework that helps rightsholders control their IP and makes it easy for other people to legitimately own, share and enjoy create work from artists they like. Hey, shut up. I can dream.

* Megaupload shuttered: Inasmuch as I myself repeatedly found unauthorized copies of my work being made available via Megaupload, necessitating frequent missives to lawyers to have them do their DMCA dance, I’m a) willing to believe that the company was not working all that hard to comply with laws relating to copyrighted work, b) not going to cry huge, salty tears over its at least temporary demise. At least one other file-sharing site has changed how it does business in the wake of the Megaupload shuttering, and I suspect we might be at a point where file-sharing sites in general have a deep, introspective moment about how they do their business. I’m fine with that, although I wish it hadn’t taken the Feds seizing the domain name of a company and charging its principals with racketeering in order to do it.

There, now I think I’m all caught up.

245 thoughts on “Various and Sundry, 1/23/12

  1. I can’t help but notice that the Feds took down MegaUpload using the existing laws for policing copyright on the interwebs. Is it my imagination or does that seem to make SOPA/PIPA somewhat superfluous?

  2. “this is the inflection point at which everyone grows up a little and tries to build a framework that helps rightsholders control their IP and makes it easy for other people to legitimately own, share and enjoy create work from artists they like.”

    It’s amazing that small sites like bandcamp and cdbaby can do this for so many musicians, yet the giants Amazon, iTunes et al cannot build a music infrastructure that provides high quality (lossless) files and is globally accessible, and instead block people from buying stuff by virtue of their credit card or download IP address. These giants are just building a big AM radio playlist compared to their smaller brethren.

  3. “Dear Republicans: I think your current reignited fling with Newt Gingrich is fantastic.”

    Heh. I saw what you did there.

  4. I’m totally curious (and slightly pre-disturbed) to think what a Newt/Santorum entry in Urban Dictionary might look like…

  5. I have zero sympathy for Paterno. The man knew for years that a monster was molesting kids, a monster he employed. He did the bare legal minimum and nothing else. May he find mercy wherever he is now because he didn’t deserve it while alive.

  6. Re: Gingrich – Part of me thinks it’s the right move, since Newt is probably the best representation of the 2012 GOP in the field, psychologically speaking. His nomination would make for a highly entertaining election season that would almost certainly result in an Obama victory, and possibly one that’s even bigger than 2008′s. At the same time, the idea of putting Gingrich within a sniff of the Presidency is a little terrifying. Maybe more than a little.

    That said, the nomination process isn’t done. Not by a long shot. Thank goodness.

  7. I decided that Obama had won the election when the debate crowd cheered Newt slamming the thought of an honest, open marriage versus lying and cheating on his wife. Seriously, these people are from some other warped universe and the more the normal American gets to see the better.

    Jo Paterno is a Greek hero story for our generation. He was a great man, who tried to live an honorable life and inspired others. Then in one moment, he had to deal with a messy, embarrassing, unknown situation that he had no experience with and he chose ignorance and left children to be tortured. He died knowing that, and since he was a good man, he probably died hating himself and his own weaknesses.

    The only good thing that has come out of this is that institutions now have to have discussions about sexual abuse and how ignoring it will only bring everyone down. The children may get help for the wrong reasons, but I don’t think that that ten year old little kid would have cared why the pain stopped. Stop the abuse.

  8. I’m not impressed with any of the Republicans or their rhetoric except for the comedy value. On the other hand, every time I see Newt’s wife I think Stepford Wife.

  9. Most of this is spot on. The legal issues with Megaupload are bigger than that though: how do you provide a service to legitimately share files with the RIAA/MPAA/GOV’T saying you’re stealing? Its a legal quagmire. An automated scan will cause false positives and lots of misses. A manual look-see will be too work-intensive and costly, and again cause false positives and loads of misses as the person manually approving things sees his queue jump to an unsustainable number and he just starts robo-signing.

    I play games with mods. Lots of those were hosted on Megaupload. I know people who were using it for largish IT projects. And yes, I know it was haven for thieves as well – you could pretty much find ANYTHING on it. The solution however, needs better tools than the sledgehammer they just used on MegaUpload. You say SOPA/PIPA were bad, but this is exactly what it set out to accomplish. Had they brought the suit, found MegaUpload guilty, then by every rights it should have been shut down. Instead, it was determined to be guilty _before_ the trial.

  10. I am waiting for media companies to realise that if people were willing to pay Megaupload for its services, so much so that those involved could get exotic luxury vehicles and suck, then *maybe* they will start looking at what consumers *really* want from online stores?

    I can dream.

  11. I’m still pissed off that the Saints snatched defeat from the jaws of victory at the very last minute, by being unobservant and butterfingered enough to not be able to bring down the Niner who ultimately made the winning touchdown. I’ll be rooting for the Giants–but I’d’ve done that anyway, since I hate the Patriots with a passion.

  12. @illmunkeys: Yeah, crazy that the United States government would show such blatant disrespect for due process. Next thing you know we’ll be holding people indefinitely without trial, even torturing them.

  13. illmunkeys:

    “The solution however, needs better tools than the sledgehammer they just used on MegaUpload.”

    Meh. I would be rather more sympathetic to this argument if MegaUpload wasn’t showing an alleged pattern of ignoring DMCA notices. If a company doesn’t avail itself of the parts of the existing law that allow it to avoid liability, then when the sledgehammer comes down it’s not because they didn’t have lots of chances to avoid it. If the allegations are true, MegaUpload did this to itself.

  14. @Josh: Yeah, or even executing an American citizen without due process or any meaningful oversight.

    Oh, who am I kidding? No American president would do that.

  15. Newt/Santorum 2012! Just think about it.

    Wow, Axe is really running out of ideas for new fragrances. I thought Badger Dribble 2010 was bad.

  16. I like that photo of Newtie. He looks like he’s eyeing some hot cutie as a potential replacement for Wife 3.0. Or maybe he’ll just ask her for an “open marriage.” ;}

  17. Having vented my spleen all weekend, over the Gingrich win in S.C., I am starting to suspect that the last remnants of Reagan’s party-wide cohesion legacy are finally being buried. We’re seeing serious fissioning going on, what with “red meat” (Southern?) Republicans leaping for Newt the catastrophic and fantastically hyperbolic bombast-man, and more moderate, cooler — in a temperature sense — calculating (City folk?) Republicans going towards Mitt Romney the business manager, while pure social conservatives (Country folk?) are still liking Santorum, though many of them could also qualify as double-card “red meaters.” Nobody seems to be able to run away with it this season, and despite my boosterism for Mitt-man, I cannot deny that he’s got a severe handicap in the excitement department. Because clearly, the “red meat” people want a brawl with Obama. Not a debate team exercise. They want someone — Newt? — up there lobbing rhetorical JDAMs at the press and the President alike. And f**k the moderates and the middle. “Red meat” people demand blood sport, which Mitt Romney will never supply. Because Mitt just doesn’t roll that way. And this could very well cost him his candidacy.

    But I made my stand on my blog: no to Gingrich, absolutely not. I am not a registered Republican. I owe them no loyalty. Especially not if Gingrich is truly going to be the nominee. Gingrich is so morally and practically problematic, I cannot do it. He represents so many things that are so wrong, not just with the way Republicans tend to do things, but with the way politicians tend to do things. And in the end I would feel like a complete hypocrite if I voted for a wife-cheater of his ilk. I have certain lines I won’t cross. Voting for Gingrich would so offend my personal sensibilities, where marriage is concerned, that I’d not be able to look at myself in the mirror. So no, to Newt. Just, no.

  18. John,
    Do you employ someone to seek out and report instances where your copyrighted work is being shared illegally, or do you look for it yourself?

    With the current status quo it appears that most file share sites will remove copyrighted content when a specific file is reported, but with the number of forums dedicated to sharing books, it seems like it would be a substantial job located all of the offending links.

    Is there some sort of service that you can subscribe to that locates and reports your copyrighted work?

  19. I’m sticking with my prediction that, in the end, Newt will actually make Mitt a better candidate and nominee. The big obstacle for Romney is that he does not excite his base, who is leery of his, shall we say, somewhat recent embrace of conservatism. Now Mitt has no choice, it is either excite the base or not be the nominee.

    And while I think Newt is a walking time bomb, be careful what you wish for in a Republican nominee. Both Europe and China are tottering on the economic abyss. Any spark of US recovery (already pretty minimal) could be extinguished, with Obama getting the sack over it. There’s only so much bad that can credibly be laid at the feet of others before the electorate demands a change of President, and Obama is already flirting with Carter-level approval numbers. Even Newt can win, if people conclude that a bastard is preferable to an incompetent.

  20. ZBBMcFate:

    “Now Mitt has no choice, it is either excite the base or not be the nominee.”

    I’m not entirely on board with this. Mitt can alternately point out what is obvious to the rest of the world, which is that Gingrich is an explody thing that will explode, a fact which is not contingent on he himself additionally exciting the base. All he needs is more people to worry about Gingrich’s twitchiness than his own lack of zing. And indeed he seems to be going that route.

  21. RE Gingrich: I think Romney will take Florida. After all we elected Rick Scott as governor down here, so there’s a history of favoring people who head companies that defraud Medicare.

    RE Paterno: One mitigating factor I’ve learned is that one of the PSU administrators he reported the offense to was in charge of the campus police. So there’s still shame on him for not following up when said administrator didn’t do his duty, but mitigated by the fact that he did in fact report the crime as required.

    Giants/Patriots: What is this? 2008? Would’ve like to see Giants/Ravens myself, but that’s too many underdogs to be realistic.

    SOPA/Megaupload: I think the Megaupload case pretty much proves SOPA/PIPA-like legislation is unnecessary. RICO coupled and the DMCA are pretty powerful at getting any violators in the industrialized world, and SOPA/PIPA were never going to do anything to curb the Russians and other folks like Swiss bankers within their own jurisdictions.

  22. @ John Scalzi: There’s some evidence that Republican primary voters *want* an explody thing to run against Obama … sort of the rhetorical equivalent of a suicide bomber.

  23. I never made use of MegaUpload, so I’m just hoping that articles that worry about whether services like Dropbox and Ubuntu One will be targeted are wildly off the mark.
    (As a Linux Mint user I keep an eye on anything Ubuntu related, even if I don’t use it myself.)

  24. John,

    I think in the end it will need to be a bit of both. There may not be enough time between now and FL to just sit back and let Newt be Newt. If Gingrich wins FL, which is winner-take-all, He may get to a critical mass of delegates before the inevitable Newt-plosion. i have friends who are otherwise pretty reasonable who have convinced themselves that America really wants someone who can “mop the floor with Obama in the debates”. Winning them over will take something from Mitt that he has only shown in flashes to date, an empassioned defense of the free market and conservatism.

  25. RE: Gringrich: I’m waiting for primary voters to realize that we are electing the President of the United States, and not president of debate club. On what record does Gingrich have to run? At the same time, I want conservatives to think we liberals hate Gingrich so they will defend him.

    I was upset about the turnout for Herman Cain in S. Carolina. I though Colbert could get him to around 5%. 1.1% for a candidate out of the race is good, but not enough for Colbert to claim victory. Not that it will stop him.

    RE: the Superbowl: I live in an alternate universe where the Packers have a defense and are playing against the Patriots. Don’t ruin that for me.

  26. In my alternate universe, Huntsman won both NH and SC, Newt dropped out, and SF beat the Giants. And I avoided hard booze yesterday

    Pats by 6 1/2…

  27. “mop the floor with Obama in the debates”

    Which brings me back to, be careful of what you wish for because I don’t think Newt could do that. He’s great against people who look like rabbits frozen in headlights against, but Obama doesn’t debate like that. He gets all reasonably sounding and pulls out facts and stuff and tends to push back with things that are most likely to leave a smoldering Newt shaped hole in the ground.

    Note: this isn’t about how good Obama is, but how good Newt thinks he is versus the reality. From what I’ve seen so far, he does two things well in debates – righteous indignation and a flounce. Neither of which work if you get pulled up on them.

    To whit: he was on Meet the Press yesterday and was allowed to push back on his ties to Fannie and Freddie with “I was a consultant who only published one paper that was critical not a lobbiest” and it was left to Chris Christie, to ask the obvious follow up of, “then what were they paying all the damn money for? Can’t you just be honest about what you did or are you THAT much an old Washington insider.”

    See that? That’s what journalists ought to do.

  28. See the thing about megaupload was that it had stuff I would willingly pay for on it, but was not released in my region (lot of anime stuff, particularly older works) ever, or has gone out of print and the rights holders refused to re-release because although they’d get money it just wouldn’t be enough for them. I would have paid the rights holders for them if they’d let me, but they’d rather I gave my money to pirates (if I gave it to anyone at all).

  29. Daveon,

    I actually agree, although from a different perspective. I think debates do very little to move the needle. Obama partisans are going to appreciate his style and give him the benefit of the doubt on contested points. Gingrich fans will be utterly convinced that he rolled Obama and took his lunch money. Undecided Americans will look at this and, in my opinion, decide that Gingrich is a smug jerk. Now, they may decide a smug jerk is just what we need to deal with a worsening economy, defecit, etc, but I think it will be a tough sell.

    The worst aspect for me is that I could consider a roll of the dice if I thought Newt was demonstrably more conservative than Mitt. I just don’t think his track record backs that up.

  30. As I quipped to Allan Cole, when he cheered the demise of Megaupload: that sobbing sound you hear in the background is the collective anguish of all the pr0nhedz logging on to their pr0n forums and finding all the links have gone dead. (g)

  31. CrypticMirror: I don’t think it’s very wise to hop on an author’s blog when he’s just talked about how abhorrent he thinks piracy is and post your weak defense of piracy. “Because I can’t get it here” is not justification for pirating; you have no absolute right to access any and all content you wish. It is the holder of the copyright (the RIGHT to COPY, I remind you) who determines where, how, and whether they choose to make the content available.

  32. @Andrew – Sorry, I’m with Cryptic Mirror. The reason that the content pirates are getting so much traction is the content publishers, especially movies/TV make it pretty damn near impossible to get their stuff legitimately. For example, the other night we wanted to watch a movie. It took 4 attempts to stream it (via, I might say a legitimate source) whereas, I could have found the same film on torrent, stolen the file and had it to keep with less effort than trying Amazon (giving up), and finally beating iTunes into submission. I don’t want this stuff to be hard, and by making it hard they make it easier for the pirates to flourish.

    I’m starting to think about this stuff like the war on drugs – it just doesn’t make sense in the context of how people want to consume data.

  33. Brad @ 12:12pm
    ” the last remnants of Reagan’s party-wide cohesion legacy are finally being buried.”

    Well, thank goodness for small favors, I guess.

    Brad @ 2:02
    Does it make me a bad, bad person that that’s the first thing I thought when I heard the news?

  34. @ZBBMcFate:

    “…and Obama is already flirting with Carter-level approval numbers.”

    Only technically. Obama’s hovering somewhere in the low to mid-forties. Carter’s approval baseline when he was in the doghouse was down around 31-33%. Carter’s popularity spiked back up to somewhere around 50% at the beginning of the Iran hostage crisis; it’s something few people seem to remember, since the episode is remembered (with considerable oversimplification) as what killed Carter’s presidency, but he actually got a classic rally-round-the-flag bump!

    It took several months for him to get back down into the basement, even after the failed Desert One raid, but his approval fell back down to the low thirties in time for his reelection campaign.

  35. Daveon, Cryptic: I’m gonna come down on Andrew’s side. That argument seems to confuse “want” and “need”, in terms of what is morally justifiable to take. There’s call here for an entrepreneurial opportunity, not a call to play Robin Hood.

  36. …What Obama’s current approval trendline is really comparable to is Ronald Reagan’s during the 1983 recession; he’s actually hurting a little less. He’s not going to benefit from as strong or early a recovery as Reagan did, though, so he can’t take much comfort from that.

    (I’m getting all this from Gallup’s presidential comparison toy, at http://www.gallup.com/poll/124922/Presidential-Approval-Center.aspx . There used to be some sites that aggregated many different historical polling sources, but I think Gallup and others took them down.)

  37. Doc,

    speaking as a conservative who is not a Republican I would say the dissolution of the coalition is overdue. You can only try to cram so many libertarians and fiscal-but-not-social conservatives and social-but-not-fiscal conservatives under the same tent for so long, before things get acrimonious. There are also, unfortunately, a lot of Republicans who don’t seem to have a clearly defined paradigm — they merely oppose liberals and Democrats… because they’re liberals and Democrats. Ergo, if the Other Guy is for it, the Team Sport man is against it. Celtics vs. Lakers! Or, perhaps, Yankees vs. Red Sox! Or maybe, Cubs vs. White Sox?? Anyway, there is precious little to unify the Party right now. And it’s bleeding through in a rather pronounced way. Which may sink all Republican boats, in the fullness of time. Though I shall wave my pennant for ROMNEY until the last gasp, be it in February, April, or November.

    As for your second comment, regarding the crying of the pr0nists… well, since it was my first thought too, we’ll simply have to be bad, bad, bad together. (grin)

  38. In re Newt, I actually stared at my radio w/ my mouth hanging open, when I heard the news. I still can’t quite believe it. If Newt becomes the GOP nominee, Obama will be our next president, simply because he will rally the Democratic base like nothing ever seen before.

    Democrats don’t just dislike Newt, oh, no. We hate, despise, loathe, and fear him with the fiery passion of a 1.7 million flaming queens. We would shove him out the airlock w/o a suit, while singing “Ding, Dong, The Witch Is Dead.” We would wrap him in a flag and set him on fire. We would feed him to the pigs and the vegetarians would eat bacon every single day for a year.

    There would be a Get-Out-the-Vote movement that would make the earth tremble. Whole counties would be buried beneath postcards, flyers, yard signs, and circulars. Your phone would never quit ringing, your mailbox would collapse, people wearing socks with Birkenstocks will be camped out on every public sidewalk, asking if you are registered to vote and if you would like to donate to the Keep Gingrich Away from the Football Campaign. And in the White House, President & Mrs Obama will party like it’s 1999…

  39. Brad:
    I’m more inclined to chock it up to the vagaries of the American presidential system of democracy that, structurally, only supports two sides. The two parties, if they’re to have an influence, have to have big tents, and thus, strange bedfellows.

    Yes, I enjoy a good strong mixed metaphor at lunch.

  40. Democrats don’t just dislike Newt, oh, no. We hate, despise, loathe, and fear him with the fiery passion of a 1.7 million flaming queens. We would shove him out the airlock w/o a suit, while singing “Ding, Dong, The Witch Is Dead.” We would wrap him in a flag and set him on fire. We would feed him to the pigs and the vegetarians would eat bacon every single day for a year.

    I have tried to explain this to some rank-and-file types on the Right, with mixed results. Many simply don’t seem to recognize that no matter how you slice it, 51% wins. And that Gingrich will so thoroughly and absolutely motivate the Left, while also alienating the middle, that Newt won’t come close to 51% of the national vote. Probably, he’s lucky if he is in the mid-forties. He may not even get that high. Because there aren’t enough Americans so motivated against Obama as to plug their noses for a Gingrich presidency. He has too much baggage, is too loose of a cannon, has pissed off too many people — Republicans and Democrats alike — and while he’s a terrific commodity for the talk TV circuit (like Palin) he’s a rather dim choice for national leadership.

  41. At this point, Obama has been such a epicfail that I will take just about anyone, even Hillary.

  42. @Doc Rocketscience: “There’s call here for an entrepreneurial opportunity, not a call to play Robin Hood.” Unfortunately when you’re talking about the likes of the MPAA (creator of DVD regions), or of publishing cartels dividing up rights to different territorial markets, there’s very little entrepreneurial thought.

    Time for an Occupy Hollywood.

  43. Constance:

    ROTFLMAO! I may require extended rehabilitation after reading that. So TRUE, and yet so FUNNY!

  44. SOPA/PIPA may be DoA – for now, but there is apparently a different kind of piranha being set in the murky waters of the internet called ACTA – the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. There’s a short article about it here – http://www.siliconrepublic.com/new-media/item/25449-forget-sopa-europe-is/ – and there’s a youtube video which, frankly, I think is more hyperbole than helpful overall in that it comes across as very scare-tactic despite its calm-voiced depiction, (here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8Xg_C2YmG0) but it does highlight some of the potentially serious ramifications. It’s a trade agreement, for starters, so the type of lobbying that was effective for killing SOPA/PIPA won’t work the same way.

    I’m not quite sure what to think at this point. I need to do more research, but this looks to be a potentially huge violation of privacy, and in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision on GPS and searches and what ACTA would require of ISP providers …

    When it rains, it pours.

  45. It is not possible to draft a framework of laws which can be used to meaningfully enforce copyright protections on the Internet but which cannot or will not be abused for censorious purposes. Even our current framework is overly draconian, which leads to the important question:

    Is the administration and protection of copyrights actually a legitimate purpose and goal of the state? Is it necessary or useful to the profitability of content creators in the 21st Century and beyond? Or is it simply a tool that can be used to stifle creativity and punish criticism?

    Because it *is* used for those purposes, make no mistake. Even if something constitutes Fair Use under current copyright law, your typical producer of YouTube videos doesn’t necessarily have the means to fight a DMCA takedown notice. Bad Lip Reading and sfdebris have both been victims of this, off the top of my head. There are doubtless many more.

    Fanfic is arguably wholly illegal under current IP law. So maybe you won’t mourn for MegaUpload (I didn’t cry either, though we both probably should have,) would you mourn for Fanfiction.net? Would you mourn YouTube (which is hardly better than MegaUpload about copyrighted content?) What about Facebook/Google+/Twitter? How about blogs all over the internet?

    The web (which is widely regarded as a good thing) is plainly built on rampant violations of current IP law, and that’s something we need to have a serious think about, rather than piously affirming the need to protect IP.

  46. “I know it pisses off a lot of Penn State alumni and/or football fans that it will always be part of his legacy. I imagine in his last days it made Paterno sad as well.”

    Gosh, I’m sure there are several little boys who were sad about the whole thing, too. What it comes down to is that this “giant” who strode so heroically around on the football field utterly failed as a human being when the REAL crunch-time came. Zero. Sympathy. for him.

  47. Is the administration and protection of copyrights actually a legitimate purpose and goal of the state? Is it necessary or useful to the profitability of content creators in the 21st Century and beyond? Or is it simply a tool that can be used to stifle creativity and punish criticism?

    Oh for crying out loud. To answer your questions: Yes, yes, and “can be used to….” is a ridiculous and unworkable standard. Delicious pie can be used to murder another human being, but I don’t think anyone would vote for a pie ban based on how it “can be used”.

    The question is not whether a law “can be used” for nefarious purposes. What’s relevant is how easy it is to misuse such a law, the consequences of its misuse, and whether there’s a mismatch between the purpose of the law and its methods. That was the problem with SOPA/PIPA – as well as the little fact that one of its potential misuses (effectively, use as a SLAPP) was an intended feature, not a bug.

    Fanfic, by the way, is “arguably” wholly legal under current IP law as fair use. (Don’t believe me? Go look on any fanfic site, where tons of people will argue that all fanfic is 100% fair use.)

    The web (which is widely regarded as a good thing) is plainly built on fair use, rights holders sharing their work, and original creative material put out there by people who would probably not do so IP law didn’t, for example, protect large corporations from ripping them off. That’s something we need to have a serious think about, instead of piously affirming the need to protect people who distribute pirated copies of Lesbian Viking Commandos XXXII on BitTorrent.

  48. @ Mike Williams
    Want vs Need.
    The 99% need the wealth gap narrowed and the middle class restored.
    On line “pirates” want to watch anime in their bedrooms.
    It’s kind of an important distinction.
    Besides, the MPAA wants to make a buck. (Actually, a whole lot of bucks.) What they need is to have it made painfully clear how much they could make if they were smarter.
    If I knew how to do that, I’d be part of the 1% right now. >.>

  49. That argument seems to confuse “want” and “need”, in terms of what is morally justifiable to take. There’s call here for an entrepreneurial opportunity, not a call to play Robin Hood.

    I’d argue instead that what we have are LOTS of entrepreneurial opportunities which aren’t actually legal because the content owners (specifically TV) don’t want or understand how to take advantage of them.

    So, if you are, say, a Doctor Who fan, or for that matter a British ex-pat, who is/was more than happy to pay the license fee for access to BBC content and even subscribes to BBC America who do not provide HD content via any legal means in the area they live – the options are pay for something of lower quality or get by other means.

    Likewise, during the Rugby World Cup there was no copyright legal way to consume the world cup except for a low bandwidth streaming solution via NBC Universal who refused to show any matches live even though they had “won” US rights to it.

    If the copyright owners will not provide digital content legally, it is going to get stolen.

    The problem here is the people who are standing canute like in the middle of the sea demanding that the content be put back in the bottle, rather than making it readily available and making money off the transaction. I note that for books, for the most part these days, this is not really a problem, but TV REALLY is where the music industry was a decade ago.

  50. Want vs Need.

    Oh come on Doc – nobody, not even the most digitally obsessed of us, ‘needs’ any content – we want it. The issue is what happens when what we want is not legally available but is available anyway.

    People don’t need drugs, but they want them and, how is criminalizing the supply working out for everybody?

    I am happy for the content providers to make money. I can’t speak for other people but I HAVE money I WANT to give them. The problem I have is they don’t want to take it.

    I would pay my $200 license fee to the BBC for iPlayer with decent throughput in a heartbeat.

  51. Nobody’s going to comment on that creepy picture? I captioned it in my head with Butthead saying “Hey, baby…”.

  52. Daveon:
    “If the copyright owners will not provide digital content legally, it is going to get stolen.”
    Maybe so, but that still makes them a thief and morally bankrupt. I fear living in a culture where being a thief is considered acceptable when the theivery is done on the web through downloading another person’s intellectual property. The copyright holders has a right to not make their property digitially available. They might want to sell treebooks only. That is their right. It saddens me to see commentators here, that I respect on the whole based on their comments over time here, who clearly consider it their right to steal things off the web via download. Truly, saddens me.

  53. Maybe so, but that still makes them a thief and morally bankrupt.

    People do the morally bankrupt all the time, they also steal all the time. They might not see it as stealing but they are. The person who turns up at ER without insurance needing $100,000 of treatment is stealing from me the insured tax payer – but frankly, I don’t care, they should be covered anyway. The person who takes home a pen from the office just stole it too – but I don’t think they’re bankrupt. Rick Santorum thinks that my friends who want to get married shouldn’t because they’re both guys. There are LOTs of things that different people see in different ways, and much of it is a matter of expectations or perspective.

    So… question: am I morally bankrupt and thief for wanting any of the following:
    1) Region 1 versions of DVDs I own in Region 2? Or must I buy new content because I moved a few thousand miles?
    2) To watch Dr Who in HD versus SD because I have no means to pay for HD content but I am paying for SD content?

    If you make it impossible to own content legally, but have it available freely illegally, people will just steal it. That genie is well and truly out of the bottle and part of the problem is publishers who think if they make it even harder then people will stop doing it.

    As I said, how is that working out for the prohibition of controlled drugs?

    What saddens me, is the content publishers who are creating a generation who don’t see any point in paying things because they’ve never been offered an option to do so.

  54. “What saddens me, is the content publishers who are creating a generation who don’t see any point in paying things because they’ve never been offered an option to do so.”

    This.

    While right-holders have the right to not provide content in certain mediums, the best way to fight piracy, whether you’re talking about movies, tv, books, music, or games, is to make it easier to get the content legitimately than it is to get it illegally. See: iTunes, steam, various eBook vendors, etc.

    Sure some people will likely always steal, but more will take the easy and legitimate route if it is available.

  55. If there was Ego-Flavored Jello and you stacked it into a glistening, sweating, iridescent heap, five feet tall, you would have a tasty semblance of Newt Gingrich. Mmmm. SO tasty.

    I think Newt is a horrible, loathsome fellow… but I also kind of enjoy him! Is that so very wrong?!?

  56. Also, I gotta point out that Newt’s neckticles make him look like an alien from the planet Ballchin. And I’m pretty sure naturalized Ballchinian’s are constitutionally barred from being President.

  57. Daveon – oh please. That is the saddest justification for stealing I have ever seen. Do you really not see the difference between using emergency room services and content piracy? One rarely dies from not being able to see a video. I’m sure these sort of justifications make the person stealing feel better “I would have paid…if I could have.” Still stealing. Still wrong, Still makes you ethically challenged. So go ahead and feel smugly justified when you download a pirated video merely because it was inconvenient to do so legally. Dress that pig up any way you please, but the flat out hard truth is that it was stealing for no other reason than you wanted it. A virtual temper tantrum, nothing more.

  58. If Newt becomes the GOP nominee, Obama will be our next president, simply because he will rally the Democratic base like nothing ever seen before.

    Probably so, but he’ll rally the Tea Partiers, cultural conservatives and unreconstructed Neo-Confederates as well, for that very reason.

    Obama wallops him in head-to-head polls right now, but if he really, truly is headed for the nomination, I predict the political media will magically start to take him seriously just because of the halo effect of that, we’ll start seeing all the “President Newt, Reconsidered?” think-pieces in the papers, and that gap will narrow. There will probably even be some harrowing moments right around the Republican convention when Gingrich is beating Obama in the national polls and we’ll all be beating our heads against the wall. I wouldn’t assume an easy fight unless the economic recovery suddenly becomes really strong.

  59. And yet Kathryne, I hear that justification for locking people out of ERs every day on the news. I used that strawman to point out the silliness of moral indignation about certain types of theft being better/worse than others just because it’s something that you care about.

    The problem remains the genie is out of the bottle and standing, righteous, Canute like in the middle of the sea isn’t stopping pirating. The content is out there, and the content publishers have created a situation not where downloading content is “inconvenient” but actually impossible or, for that matter, harder than downloading the stolen stuff. I’ve lost more digital content than I care to think about due to DRM “farts” than I care to think about. I also object to being asked to pay for things twice because I happen to live between two countries and the MPAA want me to.

    Taking the moral high ground is all well and good, but the reality is, if you make illegal content easier to get than legal then all that will happen is people will get the the stolen stuff.

    Music has grasped this, for the most part. Possibly too late. TV and Movies need to too.

    Personally, I’ve never even considered downloading a book, but then I like mine on dead trees, unless it’s a disposable paperback – but I know a lot of authors who have more of a problem with digital content with DRM because of the impact on use and failure modes thereof than I do who want things locked up and get very upset about it.

  60. G-Men all the way. I for one wanted a rematch from 2007 season. Doubt that the Giants luck will hold up on Feb 5th.

  61. Sorry, I meant to post this as part of the above. Yes stealing things is wrong. And when I meet somebody who has never, ever, EVER taken or used something that they technically didn’t own or have a right to(1) then I’ll buy them a drink. Every time people test it, if you give people easy access to legal content, they generally take it. But every time we try prohibition and try to police it, especially something people really want, then it fails.

    (1) – in no particular order: company stationary; using your work PC to surf the web on their time; taken a ‘sick’ day when you’re not sick; kept money you found on the street rather than hand it into to the nearest Police Station; picked up a newspaper left on a train/bench/coffee shop and read it rather than buying their own…

  62. @Kathryne I presently own the DVDs for @ 2 dozen anime series I never would have even considered purchasing if I hadn’t found them and watched them via the internet – because I wouldn’t have known they existed. That goes for any number of movies and TV series. Before my cable company offered BBC America, I illegally downloaded Doctor Who, and then when the DVDs were offered – for my region code! – I bought the DVDs. I’ve done the same with music. A friend shared a song with me – I liked it, so I went to iTunes and more often than not, bought the entire album, and other songs or albums from the same singer/band.

    If not for the internet and file sharing, I never would have listened to Japanese music, or Korean music – most of which I have purchased legally since. Some I have not because it’s not available – either digitally or in CD form, or if it is, the shipping costs are twice as much as the CD.

    Is it stealing? That’s an arbitrary statement. Technically it’s not “theft” because I’m not depriving the original owner of their content. It’s piracy, and maybe it’s semantics, but there’s still a difference. It’s why manslaughter isn’t the same as murder. But that’s a silly digression.

    I currently have subscriptions to both Netflix and Hulu. I watch K-dramas on a free legal streaming site, and I’ve bought four DVD box sets for dramas I really liked.

    The thing is, there are millions of people like me – around the world. No access to content because it’s not available in my geographic location for one of many reasons. It’s also true that there are millions of people who don’t purchase legal copies of the things they pirate. I don’t purchase everything I’ve pirated either – Some of that content is not available for purchase. Other things I didn’t like enough to purchase, but at the same time, they led me to other media that I did like and purchase.

    Before cable, television was free. You had to buy a television and set up an antenna, but otherwise, you didn’t have to pay for the content itself. Advertising allowed for that, and advertising only worked if people actually watched or listened to the ad itself. From that standpoint, you can say that anyone who channel-surfed, or who used commercial breaks to make themselves a snack or go to the bathroom was cheating the advertisers from potential earnings. Advertisers had to get creative to produce advertising people wanted to watch (like Superbowl ads for an example) and they did. Jingles, slogans, something eye-catching.

    Media is all about the consumer – selling them what they want to watch as well as convincing them they want to watch it. But the way the media companies are playing it, by failing to innovate, they’re saying to their potential consumers that they don’t care about them; that it’s all about profits. Sure profit is vital – without profits they can’t produce new content, and everyone deserves to be compensated for their work. What gets in the way of innovation though is the outdated mode of how they sell the rights to other countries. We live in a global economy now. My friends that I speak to almost daily are from all over the world. But my friends in Australia and Canada and the UK can’t watch the same shows I watch because Hulu and Netflix are blocked there. There are things my friend in Australia can’t purchase – a certain line of hair care products for example – because they don’t take her Australian credit card, even though she was shipping the products to me in NY.

    This is the problem that needs to be solved. Availability. The potential profits are there. Will people still pirate? Of course they will. I remember bootleg VHS movies, bootleg cassettes (many from concerts), bootleg t-shirts, even cheap knock-offs of designer jeans, ‘Gucci’ bags that ‘fell off the back of a truck’ – way before the internet. Some people can’t afford to pay for all of the media they want to consume. But many people can, and do – and would if it were available to them. What the media companies in favor of SOPA/PIPA are doing amounts to cutting of their nose to spite their face.

    The CEOs and many A-list actors make exorbitant salaries, so there are any number of Joe Netizens who don’t exactly feel guilty for watching a pirated copy of Transformers rather than paying to see it in the theater or buying the DVD. That’s not going to change.

    What *could* change is these media companies recouping potentially lost profits and gaining new profits from new viewers/listeners – which is their bottom line anyway – by actually offering their content themselves via streaming, and doing a better job of advertising their products, for the global economy we now have.

  63. I’ve been trying to figure out just what kind of thinking it takes to convince oneself that Gingrich would thrash Obama in a debate. The best description of Newt I’ve heard to date is that he’s a dumb guy’s idea of a smart guy.

    And while I think that it’s highly likely that Obama would beat Gingrich in the general election, the thought of Gingrich becoming president is enough to make me hope that Romney gets the nomination. I mean, it’s all fun and games until you give an amoral jerk a nuclear arsenal.

  64. The only thing I can fathom about Gingrich being someone’s choice is

    1) he sounds smart and has a few interesting ideas
    2) the other football team really hates him and he trash-talks well.

  65. Daveon – as I said, put as much lipstick on it as you please. You may not be denying the “original owner of it’s content” but you are denying them the ability to earn from their creation. As another said here, I find it a bit pretentious to justify your actions on the website of an author. The length of justification of your actions is telling, first it is a video that was inconvenient for you to get legally. Then it was a comparison to the war on drugs, followed by a comparison of an emergency room patient taking your hard earned tax dollars. Now it is the ‘exorbitant salaries’ of A-list actors (conveniently ignoring the non-exorbitant salaries of the non-A-list actors who you are also denying their rightful royalties). It doesn’t matter if you mostly get your content legally, you are stealing when you don’t. Would you be okay with taking a few canned goods from the grocery store because you paid for the majority of your groceries?

  66. Katheryne, you don’t actually seem to be reading much that’s posted here which makes this rather a lost cause. You’re not responding to what is being said but what you’ve decided to take the moral highground over.

    I can’t really comment on what you find pretentious either because John Scalzi, Charlie Stross, Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman and MANY more have made variations on this point far more eloquently than I can or do.

    The theft is happening, sorry. It’s not going to stop, anymore than my employees are going to stop “stealing” my time by doing internet things on company time, using the copier or posting personal mail using company stamps. I don’t have an issue with it, like the issue with ER because I think it improves things for everybody.

    Providing the content legally would improve things for everybody. Shouting about theft and taking the high road won’t stop it happening, nor will sticking a few fingers in some dykes like MegaUpload which can and should have been dealt with under the existing law.

  67. By the way – you seem to be labouring under an impression I condone this. I don’t.

    Just so we’re clear.

    Ain’t going to stop it happening though.

  68. @Matt McIrvine
    “I wouldn’t assume an easy fight unless the economic recovery suddenly becomes really strong.”
    Amen. I have seen ten presidential elections since becoming an adult. Almost all of them came down to the strength of the economy with incumbent Presidents defeated when the economy was in the tank or perceived to be in the tank. The truly partisan will back their party’s candidate. But the deciding voters are always the ones in the middle who start paying attention to the election in mid- to late September, even October. And those voters, being basically unaligned, tend to vote their pocketbooks. If this “recovery” continues as weak as it is now, Newt has a good shot at unseating Obama. At least that is what our recent history since the mid-twentieth century seems to me to predict. That said, what do you want to bet that the Republican House and minority Republicans in the Senate will do nothing here in 2012 to help our national economy improve and the recovery strengthen? Even so, the unaligned voters won’t care. They will check their wallets and vote accordingly in November. Obama needs to pray for a stronger recovery coming about knowing he will have no help from across the aisle to make it so. This is when we are all reminded just how weak our Constitutional office of President truly is in economic matters. The Fed chairman has more actual power to affect our economy, than our Presidents sans Congressional assistance.

  69. Brad R. Torgersen: People have been predicting the collapse of the Republican Big Tent since at least the 1980′s. I stopped holding my breath years ago, because I’m way too tall to look like a Smurf. The awfulness of Bush topped off with the McCain/Palin fiasco might have done the trick, but the Repubs and their backers pulled off a successful temporary rebranding with the Tea Party, and the country was saved from the existential threat of relative sanity once again.

  70. The head-to-head polls (Obama vs. Romney, Obama vs. Gingrich) are currently taken infrequently enough that they haven’t had time to reflect Gingrich’s latest surge. It will be interesting to see if there’s any movement just because Gingrich is being taken seriously as big-time again.

    The last time he was the front-runner in the primary race, Newt’s gap with Obama actually narrowed a little (though the only polls that ever showed him actually beating Obama seem to have been Zogby Internet polls, probably highly questionable).

    Romney vs. Obama is relatively stable; it’s always pretty close, within a couple of points, with the average of polls usually favoring Obama but by less than the width of the noise.

  71. @Gary Willis: Matthew Yglesias has lately been beating the drum for the idea that a stronger recovery is right around the corner, in spite of everything. I’ll believe it when I see it, and we’re already too late for Reagan-1984-style Morning In America. But it’s worth thinking about.

  72. A couple of points on the subject of Newt Gingrich.

    I’m glad to see you rooting for Gingrich, John. You should be. The country needs someone who can balance a budget, and the Democrats haven’t even proposed one for three years. It’s time for a change, don’t you think?

    Newt gained roughly 35 points in the polls at Romney’s expense in one night after the first S.Carolina debate. That’s not the one where he bashed the press for running out his ex-wife for a hatchet job. His initial jump was based on his ability to inspire voters with his profound explanation of the difference between Conservatism and Liberalism.

    The John King moment in the next debate sealed the deal by showing the press to be the partisan hacks that they really are. These are the people that sat on the John Edwards mistress/love child story for a freaking year, yet led the debate with Gingrich’s bitter ex-wife.

    I’ve got to tell you. We Conservatives are sick of this kind of double standard. I mean really, really sick of it. We understand that the press is going to do everything in their power to get Obama reelected, and that includes picking our nominee for us. Sorry folks, that didn’t work out too well for us, or for the country last time. You can keep Willard Mitt Romney. We are going to nominate a Conservative this time around.

    My favorite comment from up the thread is that Newt’s “a dumb guy’s idea of a smart guy.” Yeah, he’s a guy who’s had about a dozen NYT best selling books, held the third highest office in the country, balanced the national budget, gained 35 points in the polls from one debate, surged to number one in the polls with less than 10% of the money of the establishment candidate, beaten 10 million dollars in attack ads so far, and gotten standing ovations in the last two debates.

    What’s a smart guy’s idea of a smart guy? Obama? He’s certainly had some accomplishments as well. Set historic precedent as the first black man elected to the Presidency. Came from relative obscurity and little experience to beat the establishment candidate and huge favorite, Hillary Clinton. With his own party controlling both houses, the executive branch, and the fourth estate, managed after a great struggle to pass a health care bill that over half of the states in the union are suing to repeal. The smart guy’s smart guy saved the country from 8% unemployment by giving money to unions and Wall Street which led to 9% unemployment. He closed the Borders (bookstores). Gave us Eric “Fast and Furious” Holder, created the highest level of unemployment for African Americans, got almost twice as many people on food stamps, lowered the whole country’s credit rating, refined the concept of class warfare to an art form, and my favorite, killed the Keystone Pipeline which would have created thousands of jobs, helped free us from dependence on foreign oil, and lowered the price of gas for the whole country. Now that’s smart!

  73. Billy… seriously? I mean SERIOUSLY?

    The John King moment in the next debate sealed the deal by showing the press to be the partisan hacks that they really are.

    Total, utter, steaming, bollocks. Sorry. Utter rubbish! The only, and I really mean ONLY problem with the question was that John King didn’t follow up with a variation on:

    “Sorry you feel this way Mr Speaker, but having made repeated statements about the sanctity of marriage, surely we must hold candidates for the highest office in the land to task over accusations of hypocrisy?” Or something like that.

    The man left his SECOND sick wife for another woman. The hypocrisy is utterly stunning and frankly, as a foreigner I can’t believe how un-partisan and, frankly, lacking in balls your press is for not pushing him on that charge. Good grief, I genuinely can’t believe you think that letting a politician that hypocritical off that easily is obscene!

    Do you honestly believe that a man who pursued another president about his infidelities WHILE covering up his own; who was kicked out of his job and fined for ethics violations; who took money from businesses he claims to be against; who was promoting policies he is now “against” when he was taking said money; is qualified to run your country? SERIOUSLY? Good grief man, what would he have to do to annoy you.

    The smart guy’s smart guy saved the country from 8% unemployment

    Actually, point of order, he saved the country from about 14% – it was already hurtling passed 8% when he took office.

  74. got almost twice as many people on food stamps

    (Sorry John, I know you hate this but I pressed Post too soon)

    Well, less than George W Bush did then, he said brightly…

  75. Billy, you seem to have forgotten that you don’t speak for all conservatives, big “c” or small. At least one of them has already posted on this thread about how he’s not worried so much about double standards as about standards, period. And there’s not much conservative about being a serial adulterer.

    It never fails to amaze me how much people spin what they think the media is or is not saying.

  76. I am going to agree with Billy that The Media™ aren’t neutral. I don’t believe in a cabal or anything centralized or evil. I just think that since the bulk of American journalism is carried out by people who are left-of-center there is going to be less of a natural urge on their part to go after a sitting Democratic president in an election year. Most of them voted for Obama in the first place, once they were off the clock. I am sure many in The Media™ pat themselves on the back for being impartial, but the reality is that they are not, and this has become so routinely obvious it’s embarrassing that many in The Media™ pretend otherwise at this point.

    Where I disagree with Billy is obvious: Gingrich’s solidity as a conservative is even less sure than Mitt’s, and in terms of disregarding his so-called principles in order to truck with The Enemy I think Gingrich’s record is more damning than Mitt’s too. Especially since Gingrich’s exit as Speaker was not on the best of terms, even with his own party, and he’s got a rightly-earned reputation for volatility, unpredictability, and a willingness to employ rhetoric when it suits him, while doing something very different on the back end — also when it suits him.

    That this proved true of his private life — affairs — is all the more problematic because while a serial adulterer who was staunch on solid liberal principles would get a free pass with the Democrats, a serial adulterer who is also shaky on conservative principles will not necessarily get a free pass with Republicans, nor moderates and independents, I suspect.

    Romney will never be as exciting as Newt can be, and if Billy is channeling Newt on this I won’t blame him for finding Mitt to be a stiff fish. It’s a contentious election year and lots and lots and lots of conservatives are yearning for a big, bad brawl with Obama and the Democrats. A real rouser. A ten-round outlaw fight with broken beer bottles and lost teeth. Thing is, I am not convinced that a majority of Americans want to see that. I think such a display could have fantastic ratings and really drive up the TV talk circuit numbers, but in the end people would re-elect Obama because not enough people are convinced Obama = socialist ragnarok to elect the bubbling cauldron of impressive-but-zany energy that is Newt Gingrich. And in fact it’s precisely because Newt can be zany and has tended to irritate a great many non-Republicans that he might very well drive the middle to Obama, because many centrists will look at Gingrich and wrinkle their noses, saying, “Really? That guy??”

    The economy is bad. But even a bad economy may not be enough to convince people to go with someone they consider to be unreliable. And that’s Newt’s #1 flaw, and it’s where Romney should punch hardest — he may not, Mitt is not a brawler in the way Newt loves to brawl — and it’s probably where Obama will punch hardest when the time comes. Newt’s not nearly as skilled a debater as he is often thought to be, and I don’t think Obama is nearly so dumb as to go into the Fall without ensuring that he’s got knives for the knife fights, guns for the gun fights, and a nuclear option or two that Newt may not even be aware of — but which are ready-made for Obama thanks to Newt’s past and his various mistakes and inconsistencies.

    Of course, Mitt may simply be too alien to the “red meaters” to get the nomination. He is not a natural fighter by nature and in this last debate especially, when he did try to draw some blood, you could tell he wasn’t comfortable with it. Mitt’s biggest flaw may be that he’s a basically nice man who just wants to manage things and make them be productive — in his own estimation of ‘productive’ — and what works in busines board rooms doesn’t always work in Washington D.C. or with the voters, either. Mitt is also far too willing to negotiate and work with Democrats when he sees the opportunity, because like many politicians of old, he recognizes that bargaining is about the only way you get anything done.

    The “red meat” crowd don’t want bargains. They want heads on pikes. Proverbial blood running down the gutters. A real storm-the-bastions demonstration of conservative balls and brawn combining to overturn and toss out the liberal “agenda” as it’s been perceived. I think that because Newt was part of the 1994 so-called repudiation of Clinton, that lots of people think he’s the one to lead a 2012 repudiation of Obama. And maybe they’re right?

    I just can’t see Gingrich wooing enough centrists, moderate Republicans, and even the Blue Dog Democrats to his side to get 51% of the vote. Even if he rakes in the bulk of his own party’s votes during the primaries.

  77. Kathryne: “You may not be denying the “original owner of it’s content” but you are denying them the ability to earn from their creation.”

    How is he denying them the ability to earn from their creation if they won’t take his money?

    That’s actually an interesting point: The whole piracy debate seems to revolve around content owners being denied the ability to earn from their stuff. But there *is* no ability to earn from their stuff if they won’t actually sell it, so what actual damage is being done if the people they refuse to sell to then download a copy?

  78. @Doc Rocketscience says: I understand want vs need. That doesn’t prohibit demonstrating against “Hollywood” for its money-grubbing and poor distribution of content (rather than wealth). In both situations, a small number of people are doing very well out of maintaining the status quo. The way these companies continue upping the ante with DVD/BluRay regions and other crude forms of market segmentation basically implies that they consider everyone living outside the US to be crooks they don’t trust anyway. When exchange rates work for them they use that as a pricing defense; when it works against them (now with declining USD) then they use opposite arguments to continue to justify pricing goods higher outside the USA.

    @Daveon: “I would pay my $200 license fee to the BBC for iPlayer with decent throughput in a heartbeat.” +1

  79. @Billy Quiets: “” We Conservatives are sick of this kind of double standard. “”

    But it sounds from your argument that you will continue to use it as a retaliatory argument forevah and evah. Newt (and presumably any other Republican) is supposed to now get a free pass for riding the morality train into town but doesn’t have to live up to the standards he expects of others. This is the rhetoric of the inter-generational partisan violence of Northern Ireland or the Balkans. Looking from outside the USA this is precisely what American politics appears to be now (and it didn’t look any healthier when I lived in the USA).

    “These are the people that sat on the John Edwards mistress/love child story for a freaking year, yet led the debate with Gingrich’s bitter ex-wife.”

    I don’t recall Edwards being the great moraliser that Gingrich was and is. And if you want double-standards: why is Gingrich’s ex-wife bitter and Gringrich not?

    “We understand that the press is going to do everything in their power to get Obama reelected, ”

    Yes I can see Fox News et al planning his re-election campaign right now.

  80. @ Brad R. Torgersen: Yes, an absurdly flawed study by conservative think-tankers on how liberal the media is got widespread credulous coverage by that oh-so-liberal media. I’m convinced!

  81. @Kathryne: “You may not be denying the “original owner of it’s content” but you are denying them the ability to earn from their creation.”

    I think it is quite common for the publishers to deny the content creators this ability with those creators either having their hands tied by contracts or by being completely in the dark about it. It’s important to distinguish the rights of the content creators and the distributors/publishers.

    You’d be surprised to know how much classical music isn’t performed by orchestras simply because the publishers sit on the scores or rent out orchestral parts at rates that can’t be recouped by a typical recording (even assuming that no performer or recording engineer is paid). The publishers argue the Catch-22 that the works aren’t popular therefore it’s not worth making them available, and so no one ever hears them or creates a demand for them. I hear publishers making the same argument for music and books even when volunteers step up to say they will do unpaid copying, editing and so on to make works more available even if the lazy publishers continue to get all the money.

    Stanislaw Lem’s classic SF novel Solaris became available in a direct unabridged written translation only in the last month because the English publishers have blocked it since the first awkward abridged translation appeared 40 years ago. Even now you can only get an audio book or Kindle version because of the stranglehold on the paper publishing rights. Nothing that Lem or his family could do about it.

    Returning to music: In a number of cases where I haven’t been able to buy something advertised on iTunes or wherever (because it’s only in the US-accessible store) I’ve been able to contact the artist directly through their Twitter or Facebook account to advise them of this. In each case (where they’ve responded) they have been completely unaware that they have customers locked out because of these restrictions. Some are able to adjust access themselves quite quickly (within 24 hours). The cases where I haven’t had a response I think is where the social media account is run by the label and nothing happens, or where (quite frankly) the marketing people are clueless tech-retards.

    When I was a student I had a bag full of cassette tapes that I had made of LPs from other residents of my college. I bought some different LPs that I could afford at the time but it wasn’t till I was a wage-earner that I was able to go back through the bag and gradually replace them with LPs, or as it happened LPs and CDs (the artist got a double dip earning). Most of the ones I didn’t replace probably got a single listen – the equivalent of listening to them on the radio or in a music store (had that option been available to me). The end result was that I had a much larger appreciation of music and have since spent a small fortune on music (something like 2500 CDs and LPs before I started moving on to digital downloads) and don’t get me started on the books, DVDs and sheet music…

    I submit that quite a lot of what is downloaded today is equivalent to the “one listen” and forgotten about, the furious sampling of modern culture that you can do on the internet now. It will be interesting to see what Spotify and other streaming services do to that sampling audience, especially as their catalogues grow and bandwidth becomes sufficient. I see some services (like the French qobuz) are offering offline support for digital subscribers to access music on their portable devices.

    There is little premium for being the bleeding edge adopter of music or video content. If I buy an artist CD on first release, and often the CD will be re-released with extra tracks and at a price discount. DVDs are full of advertising (especially Disney and BBC America product) and child-scaring warnings about software piracy – whereas ripped DVD content has none of this. The publishers are cheating and scorning their customers at the outset, rather than cultivating them.

    In the end, content creators need to strike a balance between being ignored and losing some sales copies. Last year some major French cultural body was moaning that their films, music and books were becoming less relevant in today’s world. My response was : start distributing them overseas instead of locking them up behind IP-restricted paywalls, stop the policy of putting any subtitle language on a DVD “as long as it’s not English”,, start pro-actively translating titles ( especially their fantastic bandes-dessinées / comic books !!). You can’t be relevant, let alone generate income if no one knows you exist. Most artists are not great entrepreneurs, so the publishers need to step up to the plate instead of wishing it were still 1980.

  82. I did not say that John King shouldn’t have asked the question. I’m saying that it shows his utter and complete hypocrisy in calling himself a “journalist” when he failed to ask Jon Edwards about cheating on his wife, having a baby with the mistress, and using campaign funds to cover it up while his wife was ACTUALLY dying of cancer, unlike the Gingrich’s ex who claimed to have MS and actually does not.

    How happy would you have been if the Enquirer hadn’t broken the story and Edwards got the nomination and then the truth came out costing the Democrats not only the election, but costing Obama his place in history?

    These questions should be asked. Character does count. But it should count equally for both sides and it clearly does not. How many of you who are wagging fingers at Gingrich thought it was no big deal when Clinton wagged his finger at all of us and lied about sexually exploiting an intern in the Oval office while on the phone with a world leader. That’s just fine, but merely accuse Herman Cain of something and he’s got to go.

    Well the voters in South Carolina called Bullshit on the double standard.

  83. Billy, you seem to be trying to argue that Conservatives Are Victims.

    Think about why that argument won’t get much traction.

  84. Daveon:

    “nor will sticking a few fingers in some dykes like MegaUpload which can and should have been dealt with under the existing law.”

    I don’t normally harp on spelling, but I think in this case it’s worth pointing out that in this case, it’s probably better to go with the variant “dike” to avoid any unintentional confusion.

  85. Billy, I don’t understand your argument. You are saying the media works to help Democrats control the White House, but then you argue that sitting on the Edwards story could have jeopardized that. If winning the White House for Dems was a high priority of the media, they would have pushed the Edwards affair story in the primary to ensure he was capable of weathering that storm.

    How many of you who are wagging fingers at Gingrich thought it was no big deal when Clinton wagged his finger at all of us and lied about sexually exploiting an intern in the Oval office while on the phone with a world leader. That’s just fine, but merely accuse Herman Cain of something and he’s got to go.

    First of all, the reason liberals wag fingers at Gingrich is because he’s a sanctimonious jackass that likes to claim that Obama doesn’t represent American values and expound on the “sanctity of marriage”. I don’t actually give a crap about his affairs, except that when he talks about the “sanctity of marriage”, it makes me want to vomit. In short, Gingrich is getting flack not because he had an affair, but because he’s a hypocrite.

    Second, there are huge differences between what Herman Cain was accused of and what Clinton did with Lewinsky. At least one of Cain’s accusers said he forcibly put his hand up her skirt. (This makes it an allegation of attempted, or possibly actual, sexual assault, not just harassment.) In contrast, Clinton’s relationship with Lewinsky was consensual, although admittedly inappropriate.

    But I don’t think Cain was felled by the allegations, but rather the inept way his campaign responded to them. Besides, it wasn’t liberals who decided “he’s got to go”, but potential Republican primary voters, who stopped supporting Cain in polls. In case you haven’t noticed, liberals don’t get to decide who gets to stay and go in the race for the GOP nomination.

  86. JS:

    To be pedantic, I believe that’s a valid variant spelling, probably more common in .uk though.

    Isn’t English wonderful? :P

  87. The Obama campaign must be salivating at the thought of Newt as the Republican nominee. Not too many people love Romney, but not too many people hate him either. Obama’s got my vote in the upcoming election no matter who else is on the ticket, but I don’t despise Romney. I think he’s out of touch and has a lot of mistaken ideas, but he’s reasonably smart and a decent man. I don’t think he’d be a good president, but he wouldn’t be a disaster.

    Newt, on the other hand, would be a catastrophe. If he ends up on the ticket, I’m going to start shoveling money towards the Obama campaign.

  88. Well the voters in South Carolina called Bullshit on the double standard.

    Wow. It takes a pretty amazing level of dedication to PvP politics to look at a vote for Gingrich as a principled, thoughtful statement about electoral politics and the reporting of politicians’ misdeeds.

    There is indeed a double standard, BQ, but not in the direction you’re pretending it runs.

  89. Billy said President Obama ‘killed the Keystone Pipeline which would have created thousands of jobs, helped free us from dependence on foreign oil, and lowered the price of gas for the whole country.’ The Keystone Pipeline would have transported crude oil to the U.S. from the Athabasca Oil Sands, which was, last time I looked, located in Alberta, Canada, so I don’t see how the pipeline would have freed the U.S. from dependence on foreign oil. And of course it’s of paramount importance that the States, which already has one of the lowest – if not THE lowest – gas prices in the Western world, continues to have access to cheap gas.

  90. Barbara, don’t tell me you’re one of those silly people who thinks Canada is a foreign country! I mean, okay, yes it is, but it’s not foreign foreign, if you know what I mean.

  91. I promise not to write another word about the hypocrisy of the left other than this response to CLP at 10:31 above. Lewinsky aside, Clinton was accused of far worse acts than Cain or Gingrich.

    Juanita Broaddrick (AR)- rape
    Eileen Wellstone (Oxford) – rape
    Elizabeth Ward Gracen – rape – quid pro quo, post incident intimidation
    Regina Hopper Blakely – “forced himself on her, biting, bruising her”
    Kathleen Willey (WH) – sexual assault, intimidations, threats
    Sandra Allen James (DC) – sexual assault
    22 Year Old 1972 (Yale) – sexual assault
    Kathy Bradshaw (AK) – sexual assault
    Cristy Zercher – unwelcomed sexual advance, intimidations
    Paula Jones (AR) – unwelcomed sexual advance, exposure, bordering on sexual assault
    Carolyn Moffet -unwelcomed sexual advance, exposure, bordering on sexual assault

    If you don’t see a double standard here, nothing I write is going to change your mind.

  92. Mythago: Je suis désolé, je ne comprends pas ce que vous dites. Qu’est-ce que tu veux dire, Canada pas ‘foreign, foreign’?

  93. How happy would you have been if the Enquirer hadn’t broken the story and Edwards got the nomination and then the truth came out costing the Democrats not only the election, but costing Obama his place in history?

    If memory serves, Edwards was done by the time the story broke partly because of a whispering campaign about his actual problems, so this is lovely rhetoric but lacking in facts. Likewise there is a world of difference between asking a candidate to comment on an unproven allegation (at the time there wasn’t a mistress or love child in the public domain) and asking a candidate about something that actually did happen and had been in the public domain for a decade, which was part of a pattern of behaviour.

    John Edwards was guilty of cheating on his wife and of a criminal act. He didn’t make it through the selection process. Newt Gingrinch is guilty of cheating on his wife, lying about it, covering it up and then taking the moral high ground about the sanctity of marriage? That’s what makes that something for the debate for it speaks directly to his character.

    Coming from a country where the press really go after politicians and expect them to defend themselves this “It’s not far, they’re asking me questions” nonsense really is quite grating.

    BTW – if he did balance the budget (ignoring Bill Clinton and the higher tax rates) – how come he got kicked out of his job and fined for ethics violations? That’s another question they ought to be asking him to his face too.

    dike – You know I’d never come across that as a variant spelling before… as mentioned, could be a ,uk thing…. Ok. Noted.

  94. Billy – so what you’re saying is because Bill Clinton didn’t get aggressively perused for his alleged sexual misconduct 15 years ago when it mattered, other predators should get a pass in 2012?

    If you can’t honestly see the problem with that line of logic then there’s really no helping you.

    Do you think for an instant, that if Barrack Obama was accused of a sexual assault today it wouldn’t be the end of his presidency?

    Herman Cain was not caught for the sexual misconduct but for lying about it and covering it up. Newt Gingrinch’s problem is he was a) having an affair while going after a president for having one AND lying about his affair, and b) tends to talk about how there is nothing more important than marriage – something he doesn’t seem to believe himself.

    As for Clinton – it is. ultimately, not up to the press to try sexual offenses but for the authorities to either find evidence to prosecute, or accept there isn’t much to the allegations. Clinton may have been lucky with when he lived that less formal credibility was given to allegations – or it may have turned out there was little substance to them. I don’t remember the press being all that light on him during the Lewinsky affair myself but I didn’t live here at the time. He didn’t, as far as I know, have to formally pay off and settle with any of these women. It is entirely possible he wasn’t suited nor of moral character for the office he held. I can’t speak to that, I can only speak to this being 2012 and I would hope like hell we have higher standards in our public officers these days.

    BTW – the last big media political scalp was for a guy who didn’t even have an affair and, if memory serves, he wasn’t a republican.

  95. Daveon,

    “BTW – if he did balance the budget (ignoring Bill Clinton and the higher tax rates) – how come he got kicked out of his job and fined for ethics violations? That’s another question they ought to be asking him to his face too.”

    They bring it up in every debate and he keeps getting more and more votes. Remember he was enemy #1 at the time for the left. They accused him of something like 84 violations and all but one got dismissed. He didn’t resign for another two years I think. Anyway, when you get a lot of things done in politics, you make a lot of enemies. Why did you guys dump Churchill after he won WWII? It’s just the nature of the game. If I remember my first year poli sci correctly it’s called “the coalition of negatives”.

  96. Why did you guys dump Churchill after he won WWII?

    Oh, a war torn population, tired after 6 years of conflict, almost completely broken down and hoping for a better future might have had something to do with that.

    I suspect that going after a popular president for a consensual affair while hiding your own one probably annoyed people with Gingrinch a heck of a lot more than that don’t you?

    So… final question then: part of how he balanced the budget was with higher taxes. I assume you approve then?

  97. Point of order: the UK didn’t dump /Churchill/, they dumped the /Conservatives/. Churchill got an unprecedented offer to stay on as PM after Labour took over, but declined precisely because that had never been done before.

    Back to subject: Gingrich is exactly the sort of candidate to appeal to the angry&afraid culture warrior type, but seriously. This is not what the country needs more of.

  98. They bring it up in every debate and he keeps getting more and more votes.

    From Republicans. And his standing ovations are from the same crowd that booed an active duty soldier for being gay and cheered torture on live TV in front of millions. That’s not the kind of thing that flies with independents.

    Remember he was enemy #1 at the time for the left. They accused him of something like 84 violations and all but one got dismissed.

    It was 84 violations during the entire course of his term of Speaker. And it’s worth noting he was reprimanded by a huge bipartisan vote (almost 400–out of 435–from both sides of the aisle).

    He didn’t resign for another two years I think.

    Actually, it was just over a year, and it was in the face of threats from the GOP. Which is not surprising, since voters had specifically pointed out Gingrich and his various quests against Clinton, the shutdowns, and the ethics problems; this had resulted in the GOP suffering worse midterm defeat of a incumbent majority in over half a century.

    Why did you guys dump Churchill after he won WWII?

    The UK threw his party out of power. The man himself had an approval rate around 80%, and agreed with many of the opposition’s social welfare improvements.

  99. Billy Quiets@9:15, South Carolina called *bullshit* on some manufactured left/right hypocricy about sexual misconduct and therefore gave Gingrich the nomination as a pricipled, nonviolent protest?

    That would imply they *were* going to give the nomination to someone else until the hypocricy occurred.. At which point they decided that the best pricipled thing to do would be to support the not-their-firat-choice-for-president candidate due to unfairness in politics. They voted for a worse candidate because he was being unfairly picked on by the left. That was their “pricipled” response. Lets give the presidency to our second choice because the media is so mean to him.

    Hm. No. It seems fairly clear that they voted for Gingrich because they dont like Romney. And this whole sad sack tale of unfair election coverage is some post hoc explanation to try and distract from the fact that SC actually wants Gingrich for president (repubs at least).

  100. @ Mike Williams
    If you want to compare the socio-economic inequities being addressed by the OWS with the availability of downloadable entertainment on the internet, go ahead. I’ll be in the corner, alternately crying and vomiting.

    @ Daveon:
    You: I want that entirely non-essential thing that will keep me entertained.
    Me: I don’t want to give it to you.
    You: But I’ll pay you for it.
    Me: Thank you, but no.
    You: But why not?
    Me: I have my reasons.
    You: But I want it!
    Me: I’m sorry, the answer is no.
    You: Fine. *steals*
    Me: Hey, I told you no.
    You: Yeah, well, I told you, I wanted it. You should have know I would steal it.

    Yeah, I’m being snarky, but to first order, I really think this is what you’re defending. Stealing is not a solution (unless we’re talking about necessities being withheld). Nor is shrugging off said theft as inevitable. Nor, too, is removing Me’s rights to control the things Me owns.

  101. Doc: Let’s try that again. And there’s multiple forms of this…

    Form 1: Geography
    Me: I want to watch this thing here that you’re giving to me in Standard Def in High Def
    You: I can’t do that
    Me: Why?
    You: Er… I can’t reach an agreement with your local cable provider about bandwidth to supply it
    Me: But I am already paying you for it?
    You: Ummm… yes you are
    Me: But you can’t give it to me in a format that works sanely on my TV?
    You: No, but you can take it up with your provider or switch to this provider
    Me: That other provider only supplies homes approximately 2000 miles from where I live
    You: Ah… sorry… all I can do I’m afraid
    Me: But let me be clear – I have paid for this?
    You: Yes.
    Me: grrrrr

    Form 2: Stupidity
    Me: I bought this content from you and it doesn’t work anymore?
    You: silence
    Me: Hello??? I bought this thing from you and it won’t play on the player you sold me!
    You: More silence
    Me: Seriously, I just paid you $XX for this video and it’s stopped working, I’m getting this DRM Not Valid error
    You: Even more silence

    Form 3: General multi-form
    You: I want that entirely non-essential thing that will keep me entertained.
    Me: I don’t want to give it to you.
    You: But I’ll pay you for it.
    Me: Thank you, but no.
    You: But why not?
    Me: I have my reasons.
    You: Which are?
    Me: Not telling.
    You: Why?
    Me: Because
    You: So you don’t want MY money, but you’ll take his money over there for the same thing?
    Me: I can’t hear you!
    You: You are seriously turning down my money?
    Me: Oh, alright then, so it’s going to be $LOTS and you can only have it in this format and it will only play on this thing here that you have to make work, oh, and I’m not going to support either
    You: So you’re going to sell me an inferior product that doesn’t always work and you can’t tell me why?
    You: You got it in a nutshell squire
    Me: You do know that it’s available over here for free?
    You: Oh don’t touch that it’s stolen?
    Me: Stolen?
    You: Yes! You can’t look at that!
    Me: But, hang on, I already PAID for that version!
    You: You did?
    Me: Yes, look, I paid for it here as part of this!
    You: Oh, sorry, actually you didn’t, you just had the right to view it in certain circumstances…
    Me: Oh FFS!
    You: Fine. *steals*
    Me: Hey, I told you no.
    You: Yeah, well, I told you, I wanted it. I had paid for it. What the flaming hell did you expect would happen? And by the way, you can have the crappy version I paid for back..

    As I said: people are stealing the stuff – that genie is out of the bottle and no amount of moral outrage is putting it back in. People already don’t see it as theft and stamping your feet and pulling a Violet Elizabeth until you’re purple isn’t remotely going to change that. All that it’s going to do is create a generation who assume this stuff is free because it’s all over the place.

    It’s just like setting up shops in areas but only taking a certain type of credit card which nobody actually has, then pointing out to people that taking things isn’t technically illegal (it’s not by the way) but the people who leave the shop open are actually the criminals, but still stocking the shelves everyday.

    From a legal perspective, the act of downloading isn’t theft – uploading content, however, is, which is why P2P file sharing gets people into trouble. But the trouble would all go away if the content providers would realize they’re causing most of the problem by trying to enforce rules and systems which don’t work all that well in the real world.

  102. @Doc Rocketscience: I believe it’s you who insist on making that a tight comparison. I’m not. Protesting one great inequity does not prevent protesting lesser ones using the same techniques. I don’t subscribe to the “why complain about X when there are bigger issues” plaint that infests comment threads.

    Since you bring the matter up though, I will make the observation that for many artists outside the USA the policies of the US-dominated media organisations do have adverse economic effects for content creators elsewhere by limiting their availability.

  103. Billy Quiets:

    “Why did you guys dump Churchill after he won WWII?”

    Please note that ignorance of how the structure of a government works is not an aide to one’s argument.

    Also, we’re wandering waaaaaaay far afield here. Let’s try to bring this back to the present day and to the GOP primaries, please.

  104. So as a more concrete example of my rant above. The Rugby World Cup 2011. I like Rugby, I used to play Rugby, I have many friends who like Rugby. We were all coc-a-hoop that NBC Universal “won” the rights to show the Rugby World Cup on TV in the US. Fan-bloody-tastic thought I.

    Then it emerged that by “won” they mean “bought” and by “show” they meant to only show 4 of the group stage games, the quarter finals and semi finals and not the final and also, showing meant, showing the game recorded after it actually happened – even though the bulk of the matches were happening at times in their schedule where they were either showing cycling on their sports channel, or infomertials on their terrestrial ones.

    They had an online streaming version which only worked on their player which rendered an image that was unwatchable on anything larger than a small laptop.

    So here I am, out of pocket $120 for the “full” coverage package, with something I can’t really use that isn’t fit for purpose with a company who have bought the rights to something just so they can block access to it.

    Who’s the thief again because I’d quite like my money back.

  105. Yeah, the idea that Keystone would “free us from dependency on foreign oil” just shows what ‘foreign’ is standing in for. It’s not “Domestic (US)” vs. “Produced in a foreign country” that’s the contrast here. It’s “Oil from white Christians”* vs. “Oil from brown and/or Muslim people.”

    Newt/Santorum 2012! Just think about it.

    I have to admit the phrase “newt santorum” conjures up some fairly repulsive images. I didn’t even know newts had…or could have…*grinds to an embarrassed halt*

    (Let’s see, two instances of Sick Rantorum’s name, so: frothy mix, frothy mix, frothy mix, frothy mix.)

    *No, of course they’re not all white or all Christian, any more than they are in Texas, and perhaps less. That’s what they’re trying to get people to think though. That’s what the dogwhistle translates to. And if I’d said “Oil produced primarily to the profit of white and at least nominally Christian people” I’d be even closer to accurate.

  106. One comment, touching on several things…

    To Bearpaw at 7:27 AM, one thing I’ve noticed: trying to explain to a lefty that there is leftward bias in the U.S. mainstream media — newspapers, television, radio — is like trying to explain to a trout that water is wet. Since the trout has never been dry and has no concept whatsoever of what dry might feel or look like, “wet” is merely the physical default of everything all the time. It is literally transparent to the trout’s perceptions.

    Billy’s point about Clinton vs. Gringrich is actually a good one. Clinton was known among Democrats and Democratic handlers to be a rampant womanizer, long before he reached the Presidency. To include multiple instances of forced sexual contact. And while it’s understandable — in a twisted sense — that Democrats would not out one of their own, for those in the media who did know about Clinton’s womanizing and the forced sexual contact, and raised no eyebrows nor any alarm, prior to the Lewinsky scandal… again, I find myself hard-pressed to believe that this is not a perfect example of how the media can and will act to protect someone it has a tendency to view favorably, due to ideological overlap.

    “Not our business,” they say. “A man’s private life is a man’s private life.”

    Unless that man is a Republican?

    Thus the John Edwards type is never exposed at the outset, but usually only after his behavior has become so attrocious and so impossible to hide, that even reporters can’t ignore it lest they forfeit entirely any claim to be investigators, as opposed to propagandists. And so they will train their guns on the tip of the iceberg, having known for awhile that the mountain lay beneath the waterline.

    Switching gears to what Mike Williams said at 8:28 AM, I can state with certainty that the bulk of my music library when I was a teenager was composed of mix tapes made from edited radio content, and tapes made directly from the LPs and — eventually — CDs of friends, family, etc. Once I started working at age 16 I was able to buy my own music, which I did. I think I wound up with over 100 cassette albums to my name, before slowing down and converting to CD purchases. And even then it was my habit to record discs for “one listen” sampling, wherein I wanted to evaluate an album’s merit in my ears, before investing in it with cash. Having been burned a number of times by unfortunate purchases which I regretted because CDs were ridiculously priced.

    Every single song or album I ever had and enjoyed on tape — whether it was radio recordings or ‘stolen’ music from friends and family — I eventually bought via legal means. And I suspect this is often true for many people, even today in the era of massive digital sharing. Oh, no doubt, there are plenty of deadbeats whose entire CD or hard drive collection is composed of pirated music. I’ve only ever met a few like that, and if they were deadbeats in this regard they often tended to be deadbeats in most other regards as well.

    But my point is that “sharing” in the old sense — radio mix tapes, taped “one listens” from LP or CD — was actually a form of word-of-mouth advertising. And while I am 100% in agreement with Scalzi and others who reaffirm the right of the artist (of any sort) whose work appears in digital format, to seek and expect legal protection and legal remuneration, I am not so much a zealot about these things that I think we need to call anyone and everyone who has ever “shared” like this, to be a moral monster, or a criminal.

    Now, maybe I am wrong, and maybe the old ethic of buying what you liked has passed — the kids might think piracy is a “right” these days and maybe it’ll take somewhat draconian measures to ensure that artist’s rights are protected and that the law is enforced? However, I can’t help but agree with those who see this as a kind of prohibition experiment: the more you try to outlaw and stop a thing with cops and fines and jail and guns, the more you actually foster it, grow it ever-larger, and create an entire “criminal” class out of ordinary, otherwise law-abiding people.

  107. Xopher:

    No need to bring race and religion into it; it’s just as easy to believe it being because Canada’s historically been 1) friendly, and 2) aligned with our interests, which is generally not so of the Middle Eastern powers and Venezuela.

  108. (sorry, didn’t read Brad’s post first)

    Brad:

    I vaguely recall (being in my early teens at the time and not having much interest in politics) that Clinton’s infidelities /did/ get at least some mention in the media before the election.

    As to your other point:

    trying to explain to a lefty that there is leftward bias in the U.S. mainstream media — newspapers, television, radio — is like trying to explain to a trout that water is wet. Since the trout has never been dry and has no concept whatsoever of what dry might feel or look like, “wet” is merely the physical default of everything all the time. It is literally transparent to the trout’s perceptions.

    ಠ_ಠ

    I see at least a couple fallacies with your position (I won’t dignify it with “argument”):
    1) that anybody who disagrees with you is necessarily a “lefty”.
    2) that said group is too stupid to understand and identify bias
    3) that said group necessarily only gets its information from those they already agree with.

    I get that conservatives seem to need a narrative that they’re victims of an overarching media conspiracy to keep them down, etc. etc., but that doesn’t mean it’s true.

  109. Billy Quiets @ Various Times

    Make better arguments. So far, yours have been really, really bad. Epic bad. As an independent, you haven’t convinced me in the least to support either Republican.

    Daveon @ Various Times

    Your arguments have been pretty weak too. While I agree the genie is out of the bottle regarding pirated media, your arguments for why you pirate are along the lines that you don’t feel like you got your money’s worth. So ask for a refund. That’s what I do. Or stop doing business with those companies. The correct response is not take what you want for free.

    However, I do believe the case can be made that in many cases of piracy, the person would never have spent money on the media even if it was easy to get and cheap. In that case, it may still be “theft” in a technical sense, but not in the sense that money would have gone to a person for a limited product.

  110. Mike Williams @ January 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm:
    “Time for an Occupy Hollywood.”

    So, no, you made the comparison. I think it’s a cynical comparison. And I’m already having trouble taking everything about OWS seriously, since the movement started with the /b/tards, who still think they’re in charge of it.

    “availability”
    This word seems to be the sticking point to a lot the issue. I don’t see is as a moral justification for theft, when the thing that is unavailable is such a non-essential.

    Also, theft of material doesn’t help the people having adverse economic affects due to that lack of availability.

    @Daveon
    I’m still not seeing a compelling moral justification in your (second-order) examples. One of them is borderline, but as there are legal remedies available, theft still doesn’t look like a fix to me.

    “People already don’t see it as theft”
    That’s nice for them. The technical term for that, by the way, is rationalization.

    Look, I completely agree that things really ought to change. And I think they will, just more slowly than many people would like. But you’re never going to convince me that that snail’s pace justifies theft. Not for such trivialities as movies, TV shows, books, and music.

  111. If Canadian companies partner with American companies to pay for a pipeline across the middle of America to our refineries, yes I think that frees us from many of the tyrannies and logistics of “foreign” oil. We own the refineries. The pipeline is on our soil. Once they invest billions to build it where else are they going to send the oil?

    Trying to imply that I am somehow ignorant because I used the word “foreign” is just silly.

    Implying, if not actually stating, that I’m somehow racist and anti-Islam because I used the word “foreign” only exposes your own racism and religious bigotry Xopher. When you are a hammer everything looks like a nail.

  112. Doc: I’m still not seeing a compelling moral justification in your (second-order) examples. One of them is borderline, but as there are legal remedies available, theft still doesn’t look like a fix to me.

    And you, and others, are still not seeing the point. It isn’t a fix. But saying “stop don’t do that!” in a Gene Wilder Willie Wonka voice isn’t making anybody stop anything, anymore than abstinence only contraceptive campaigns stop teenage pregnancy. Yes, people are stealing things, (although technically, file _downloading_ isn’t illegal, it’s uploading and sharing which is the crime), and they’re not going to stop. Either you come up with a way of making that work sensibly, or you forget to notice that the tide is already up to your knees and it’s about time you got into a boat or risk drowning. I can’t condone stealing this stuff, but I can’t really condemn it either because the content owners, or more usually the publishers, are essentially creating the situation in which it’s easier to steal the stuff than get it legally.

    That isn’t going to stop no matter what you do about it nor how upset you are about it, anymore than teenagers are going to stop having pre-marital sex because their priest and parents tell them that God is very unhappy with them about it.

  113. KW: 1) that anybody who disagrees with you is necessarily a “lefty”.
    I’m not sure I ever made that claim? What I did say is that trying to explain the existence of a thing to a person whose ideological stances make that thing invisible to his or her perceptions, is mighty difficult. Liberals don’t see the bias because for them the bias is their intrinsic state of being. It is their reality, and they’re amused that anyone could call ‘reality’ biased. Many people disagree with me about many things, I don’t assume this makes them “lefty,” so my use of the word applies only in the specific instance I stated: liberals being unable to perceive the bias.

    KW: 2) that said group is too stupid to understand and identify bias.
    I also did not say this. Stupid’s got nothing to do with it, since many very smart people are on record as being unable to understand or pick up on the bias. See my point above. When you’re ideologically matched with your media, the ‘bias’ dissolves. Which is why many liberals — I’ve noticed — jump off into a barking fury about FOX news. Having been steeped in CBS, NPR, and CNN all their adult lives, they turn on FOX news and it’s like a bizarro world. ZOMG what is this??? What it is, is, people conditioned to expect one kind of bias as reality, and then being exposed to an alternative bias, which suddenly offends them. Conservatives live with this as a constant, since what we think and believe is uniformly at odds with much that passes for “neutral” information on the networks and in papers.

    KW: 3) that said group necessarily only gets its information from those they already agree with.
    Not deliberately, no, but when most of the major news outlets lean your direction, and you don’t make much of an effort to scan the channels and find and pay attention to an alternative viewpoint, you’re essentially just doing what we all did once upon a time: trusting that what we were hearing and seeing was neutral, un-slanted, and containing the full truth. Most conservatives don’t buy it anymore. We feel we’ve been lied to and manipulated too often. Many liberals blame FOX news and Rush Limbaugh for poisoning conservatives into seeing a bias that does not exist. If they really believe this, then I think it’s they who consider conservatives too stupid, not the other way around.

  114. Billy, I wasn’t even aware that you used the term in this conversation. Plenty of others have made the same error, and it’s revealing of their real attitude.

    But I’ve seen how pointless it is to argue with you, so I’ll leave it there.

  115. However, I do believe the case can be made that in many cases of piracy, the person would never have spent money on the media even if it was easy to get and cheap.

    While this is certainly true for a hardcore of people, the reality is, as posited by many, many, far, far more eloquent people than me, that if content is available easily and for money, people tend to buy it rather than copy it.

    In fact, the more available it is, the research seems to suggest the more you sell and make.

    As an aside: and sorry to harp on at this. But I’m hearing a lot of people taking a moral high ground that “I would never do THAT!” and I have to ask: you have never, ever done the following?

    - taped an LP and given it to a friend?
    - made a mix-tape/CD?
    - watched a VCR/DVD in a dorm room or with a large group of people?
    - fast forwarded through the advertising on commercial TV?
    - Ripped a DVD to a mobile device so you could watch it while travelling for work

    Because, there is absolutely no difference in these things versus getting a TV show from the internet because you can’t watch it where you live. None. Same class of copyright theft.

    If you have never done these things, then a hat tip to you! But I’ll be honest, if I went around having problems with people who’ve done these things then it would include me and every single person I know with the probable exception of my mother and some other people of her generation. (80s)

  116. they turn on FOX news and it’s like a bizarro world

    There is a reason for this. It is. Completely, utterly.

    The reason that many on the US right think the media is biased, is they don’t really grasp how far skewed to the right the US is compared to virtually anywhere else on Earth, which makes Fox amazingly out of whack.

    Hell, I find most of the stuff during the day on MSNBC to be right of center – with a couple of exceptions in their anti-O’Reily crowd. But the reality is, by most nations perspective Maddow, Schultz, Maddigan and others wouldn’t credibly be seen as ‘lefties’ – certainly not in the UK – Al Sharpton and Ed Schulty might. However, what you seem to think of as left wing bias is really pretty damn centrist.

  117. Not for such trivialities…

    Sorry, posted too much again.

    I am struck that I know few SF fans who would consider any of these things to be trivial – in fact, I know somebody who has a very serious illness where one thing he is seriously upset about is he might not live to see the release of a movie… I think we are kidding ourselves if we don’t accept that the desire for pleasure and fairly instant gratification is pretty damn hardwired into human beings and trying to fight that isn’t going to get anyway. ESPECIALLY with Science Fiction fans :p

  118. Here are the thoughts of another famous sci-fi author who is familiar with the ethics charges against Newt Gingrich being more about political hardball than actual ethics issues.

    Jerry Pournelle:

    “As to the “ethics” charges against Gingrich, the one I am most familiar with was the charge that the fiction book we were to collaborate on was a sham and a means for a publisher to bribe Gingrich with an advance to be paid to both of us. As I pointed out at the time, I am the author of several best selling books, and the advance we were offered was not particularly large compared to what I was then getting for novels. I decided not to do the book – a contemporary high-tech political thriller – when Newt became Speaker; I could handle the political implications of the plot when the co-author was Minority Whip, but the Speaker is third in line for the Presidency, and the need to be careful in the plot lest it have diplomatic effects seemed too great. The book was never written, but the “ethics” charge that it was anything other than a book to make money was simply fabricated; which told me all I needed to know about the kind of people who would bring such a charge. If they could say that was unethical they would say anything.”

  119. Brad:

    You haven’t said anything that couldn’t be just as well explained as conservatives being determined to see the bogeyman everywhere they look.

    I’ve watched some Fox myself, and sampled other “conservative” outlets[1]. The thing that really jumps out at me about those places is they’re a lot more ready to use emotionally loaded terms, to bring out fear and anger and outrage and don’t seem all that concerned with objective truth, and so I avoid them. I don’t understand how /you/ can’t see that, but I could be childish and trot out your point about fish and water.

    Your insistence that liberals are naturally unable to see pervasive media bias, without posting any proof (surely there are unbiased scientific studies?), smacks of conservative victimhood.

    [1] note that I do /not/ choose my media outlets for their political content.

  120. Billy@2:46;

    if you are American on planet Earth, and I’m not going to assume this is the case for you, then Canada is a “foreign” nation. This does assume you mean “foreign” as in a foreigner is anyone not from America. You might be uaing “foreign” to mean ” something I don’t understand”, in which case, you are exhibiting bigotry of some rorm. That or you keep using a word that does not mean what you think it means.

  121. I’m not sure I ever made that claim? What I did say is that trying to explain the existence of a thing to a person whose ideological stances make that thing invisible to his or her perceptions, is mighty difficult. Liberals don’t see the bias because for them the bias is their intrinsic state of being. It is their reality, and they’re amused that anyone could call ‘reality’ biased. Many people disagree with me about many things, I don’t assume this makes them “lefty,” so my use of the word applies only in the specific instance I stated: liberals being unable to perceive the bias.

    Well, there’s a number of problems with this. First, and most important, is that you have claimed (or at least it’s worded as such) that liberal bias in the media is fact, and have provided no evidence to back it up. Indeed, your support for this below is predicated upon your own conservative worldview, which pretty much disproves your own argument. After all, you’re basically saying the bias exists because you disagree with it. It certainly doesn’t help that you discount and ignore the problems with your purported “alternative”, but more on that later. Second, the idea of media as a monolith, as opposed to factions such as editors (who tend to be right of center), and writers/reporters (who tend to be left of center) is outdated and, to be honest, misleading. And third,

    I also did not say this. Stupid’s got nothing to do with it, since many very smart people are on record as being unable to understand or pick up on the bias. See my point above. When you’re ideologically matched with your media, the ‘bias’ dissolves. Which is why many liberals — I’ve noticed — jump off into a barking fury about FOX news. Having been steeped in CBS, NPR, and CNN all their adult lives, they turn on FOX news and it’s like a bizarro world. ZOMG what is this??? What it is, is, people conditioned to expect one kind of bias as reality, and then being exposed to an alternative bias, which suddenly offends them. Conservatives live with this as a constant, since what we think and believe is uniformly at odds with much that passes for “neutral” information on the networks and in papers.

    Fox News is not an “alternative bias,” it’s a source that’s been proven to provide false information multiple times. I have yet to see a single study where Fox News viewers were not, by a large margin, the least informed audience on objective data. This isn’t just opinion, it’s not knowing stuff like which governments in the Middle East had been overthrown and by whom. And not to put to put too fine a point on it, I’ve seen this in many of your posts. Stuff that can be fact-checked and disproved in literally a minute, like “Obama has doubled the debt,” are just stated as fact, and criticism is either dismissed or ignored when presented.

    Not deliberately, no, but when most of the major news outlets lean your direction, and you don’t make much of an effort to scan the channels and find and pay attention to an alternative viewpoint, you’re essentially just doing what we all did once upon a time: trusting that what we were hearing and seeing was neutral, un-slanted, and containing the full truth. Most conservatives don’t buy it anymore. We feel we’ve been lied to and manipulated too often. Many liberals blame FOX news and Rush Limbaugh for poisoning conservatives into seeing a bias that does not exist. If they really believe this, then I think it’s they who consider conservatives too stupid, not the other way around.

    I don’t think many people buy into media being neutral, nor do I think your continued conflation of “stupid” with “misinformed” to be helping this argument. Indeed, it’s much easier to believe that people consume media that agrees with pre-existing beliefs rather than impartiality. And again, Fox News et al have, as far as I have known, never been shown to have better-informed audience, even on objective and non-negotiable facts.

  122. Well, I don’t know what the word rorm means, that’s for sure.

    Seriously, you entirely missed the point, but let me add this to it to further muddle things for you. Once the oil is in the pipe line, it joins other oil that will be pumped out of deposits in American Shale fields in the Dakotas.

  123. Here are the thoughts of another famous sci-fi author who is familiar with the ethics charges against Newt Gingrich being more about political hardball than actual ethics issues.

    Which just goes to show that Pournelle is neither an unbiased source in this, nor he is he particularly well-informed. Many of Newt’s ethics violations were around donations to and from election funds, improper financing and hiring of lobbyists, and not keeping his Congressional financing and staff separate from his constituent services. Helping write “1945″ was pretty far down that list, if it existed at all.

  124. @Daveon
    Well, that’s not actually my point at all. There’s a lot of daylight between admonishing the content pirates, and defending the content distributors. I think the situation, as is stands, is incredibly foolish, and entirely unsustainable. The genie is out of the bottle, so to speak.* The industries will shift to utilize them. It has too. Because if the current players don’t, new players will eventually move in to fill the demand. Lobbying the legislature can slow that, but not stop it. Not without tearing down a lot of their own protections, let alone royally pissing off the very customers they’re trying to sell to.

    But stealing is still stealing. And while the economic damage is (probably) not remotely as dire as groups like the RIAA and MPAA would have us believe, it’s not zero, either. I’m perfectly happy to condemn such behavior.** I’m perfectly aware that my opinion does nothing to stop the behavior, but I’m in no way obligated to allow to continue uncommented upon. I will call people out on their bullshit. I will also make my desires known with my money, supporting those business models I approve of, avoiding the ones I don’t, and realizing that I can, in fact, live without the things I want, if getting them means either supporting bad business, or bad behavior.

    And I really don’t see what being a sci-fi fan has anything to do with anything.

    * rather, the public is aware of the technology. The “genie” analog always implies that something bad happened.

    ** and before you say it, yes, even to the point of condemning my own behavior

  125. listening to a conservative who watches fox news unironically tell me the media is left-biased because Fox news told him so is just priceless. Having them explain that lefties cant see the bias because they’re lefties, all the while demonstrating that the right wing bias on fox news is invisible to them like water to a fish, is definitely good for a chuckle.

    I have been pretty damn critical of obama and I consider myself a lefty. I also watch what I am sure tou would call “rubbish” as well as checking in on fox news once in a while. Fox news is so glaringly slanted to the will to power, and it colors and biases everything it reports, that it might as well be called the Nietzsche channel.

  126. What I don’t understand when people yell about media bias is: So what? I mean, obviously you don’t think they’re fooling you. So, then… what?

    Personally, I think it’s just a case of personal exceptionalism: “Everyone is stupid but me (and, to some extent, my friends).”

    I can’t recall where, but I very recently heard/read about a study done. The gist of the findings was this: self-identified liberals report having a positive association with (i.e. they generally “trust”) every major news source except Fox News. Meanwhile, self-identified conservatives report having a negative association with (i.e. they generally “distrust”) every news source except Fox News.

    These are the facts. How you interpret them will depend on where you stand. The argument that “liberals have a more diverse view, while conservatives are more insular” is just as supported by the facts as “conservatives are the only ones keyed into media bias”.

    My interpretation: even if there is a particular bias to the media at large, it’s not actually doing anything to anyone. What’s more distressing to me is the reluctance of the media to conduct journalism, in the face of accusations of bias. In other words, the people yelling about bias, from both sides, are screwing the whole thing up. Stop it.

  127. I can, in fact, live without the things I want, if getting them means either supporting bad business, or bad behavior.

    Which is all well and good, but the reality is most people don’t – which comes back to my point. Complaining loudly about how poor something is, or morally questionable has never and will never, generally speaking, stop people doing what they want. It didn’t work for alcohol, it hasn’t worked for drugs, it’s NEVER worked for sex and it isn’t working for content.

    All that it’s doing for content is creating a generation of people who don’t think the stuff actually costs anything because they’ve never had to pay for it and never realised that you could. In terms of long term damage THAT is far more corrosive than worrying that people are tarnishing their souls by stealing stuff.

    I can’t be a hypocrite on this stuff because I may (or may not) be guilty of these things, and pretending I’m not because it’s morally questionable would put me into the same camp as Mr Gingrinch and, as you may have gathered, I don’t much care for him. Where I can I spend my money and make my choices. But if a company screws up DRM or rights for where I live, and I can’t get anything from them (btw – you try avoiding and negotiating with NBC-Universal!) then my conscious is clear about whatever actions I take next because I have tried, and when it comes to Rugby, yes, I’m selfish and it’s only every 4 years.

  128. The problem with the Prohibition analogy is that the argument in those cases is that by engaging in drinking/drugs/sex, you’re hurting yourself, so we need laws to protect people from themselves. (Yes, it is more complicated than that, but the topic here isn’t the pros and cons of prohibition). The argument in the piracy debate is that you’re hurting other people.

    “All that it’s doing for content is creating a generation of people who don’t think the stuff actually costs anything because they’ve never had to pay for it and never realised that you could.”
    No. This “generation” is perfectly aware of how much things cost, and to whom they should be giving the money. They’re choosing not to pay. Just cause it’s easy doesn’t get them a free pass.

    I, for one, am standing here pointing one finger at content providers saying “Who the hell taught you supply and demand?”, and another finger at the pirates saying, “Who the hell raised you?”

    “my conscious is clear about whatever actions I take next because I have tried”
    Wow, oh, man, really? There’s a really nasty place I could take this. But I won’t, cause it’s just inflammatory and unhelpful. Just the same, I’d ask that you think about the implications there.

  129. Complaining loudly about how poor something is, or morally questionable has never and will never, generally speaking, stop people doing what they want. It didn’t work for alcohol, it hasn’t worked for drugs, it’s NEVER worked for sex and it isn’t working for content.

    Interesting. Is that actually true? For example, I’d bet you that alcohol consumption went down substantially during Prohibition and smoking rates have dropped dramatically over the last few decades, largely due to health issues, but also due to the “that’s disgusting” feeling.

    I can’t be a hypocrite on this stuff because I may (or may not) be guilty of these things, and pretending I’m not because it’s morally questionable would put me into the same camp as Mr Gingrinch and, as you may have gathered, I don’t much care for him.

    You know, you don’t really get *that* many points for admitting up front that you’re doing something morally questionable. “I’m stealing, but at least I’m being straight about it.”

    On another topic: next, up Billy Quiets quotes David Weber on the idea that social programs are bad ways to help the poor.

  130. doc@3:55, Glenn Greenwald has a running commentary about how “journalists” are little more than professional stenographers. He recently pointed to some American generals who had said they related to the media as servants. The runup to the Iraq war and the right wing propaganda about WMD’s was never seriously challenged by much of the media. mainstream at least. Fox News, that defender of truth, beat the war drum the loudest.

    as for prohibition, my recollection was that back in the day, taverns were generally monopolized to exclusively carry only one brand of beer. this plus other things made it difficult to make a lot of money selling alcohal. so many taverns had side businesses with prostitution. I believe prohibitiin succeeded in getting passed not because people beleived alcohal==bad, but because they were able to get america to associate tavern==prostitution. I think one of the changes they made when they repealed prohibition, was they said a tavern couldnt be monopolized to one brand of beer. the idea being if they can make a decent profit with beer, they wont need to resort to prostitution to stay in business.

  131. You know, you don’t really get *that* many points for admitting up front that you’re doing something morally questionable.

    Shrug. I’m in the “let he who is without sin cast the first stone here territory” because given how freekin’ wide the boundaries of what are copyright theft are (see my list above) – I have a sneaking suspicion that pretty much everybody here has done it, has done it recently, or may not even know they were doing it while it wasn’t being done.

    Doc: Firstly, I don’t think drugs are really victimless crimes – not least of which, the impact illegal drug cultures have on crime and society in the first place. The bulk of US THC comes from Mexico where people are being killed daily just to supply the demand in the US. I don’t know of many users who are stopping because their use of the drug is killing people in Mexico? Do you?

    As I’ve said many many times here. I buy the vast, VAST amount of content I consume – that wasn’t always the case. As a teenager, I would tape LPs and share them with my friends, as they did with me. We’d also swap games for our ZX Spectrums and C64s on tape. I paid NBC Universal to watch a Rugby competition and got a) screwed out of my $120 and b) got pointed to the T&Cs which said they were within their rights to do so. So, how bad to I feel about watching a VPN stream from the UK (I actually paid DirecTV for the final too) – answer: not too bad at all.

    The reality is this situation is being made worse by a system which just doesn’t get the problem or how to deal with it, and sitting around saying how wrong it is and how immoral isn’t going to stop it. I just don’t find pretending to be pious about something the vast majority of us here, including it seems your good self, helps the discussion much.

    Are you NEVER EVER going to break copyright again?

    Bet you a dollar….

  132. Daveon @ 2:57pm – Just a quick note, to make sure you know about this: making a mix tape for friends, copying something for your own use, those things you mentioned were explicitly made “legal” by the Audio Home Recording Act in 1992. At least, in the US it was. Don’t know about elsewhere, but in this instance, it doesn’t further your argument.

  133. I’d bet you that alcohol consumption went down substantially during Prohibition

    No question about that, but that’s not really the point. Organised crime increased to meet the demand too. And people didn’t stop drinking.

    What it did was destroy some American businesses, and cripple some others while giving the criminals a means to make even more money.

    What bugs the hell out of me about this is if the content publishers – It really is rarely the owners who have these issues – got their act together, LEGAL consumption of content would go up and make everybody better off. Instead the actions they are taking are having the opposite effect or worse, like SPOA/PIPA could impact creativity.

  134. At least, in the US it was. Don’t know about elsewhere, but in this instance, it doesn’t further your argument.

    It wasn’t legal when I was in high school then :) – I think that was also fixed in the 1990s in the UK too. But that isn’t really my point. When I was 14 and doing that kind of thing, it most certainly wasn’t legal and I do recall being told by a talking head on TV in the early 80s that that kind of thing was certainly going to destroy the music industry so that it wouldn’t exist by the time I left college.

  135. Lunamoth – btw – I’m fairly sure that, for example, copying a DVD you own for use on another digital device, however, still classes as copyright theft. I might be wrong about that. But this just points out my core issue that the publishers are not keeping up with the rate of change and are bolting barn doors after horses have left.

    1992 to fix home tapping? Heck, my older brother and sister were doing that in the early 1970s!

  136. No question about that, but that’s not really the point. Organised crime increased to meet the demand too. And people didn’t stop drinking.

    Not completely, no, but if you concede that it did go down, then your original comment “will never, generally speaking, stop people doing what they want” is wrong for a fairly large number of people.

  137. Daveon, I am not exactly sure what your point of mentioning the “talking head on TV” who said home taping would destroy the world. Some one once compared the VCR to the Boston Strangler. So what? Much of your argument seems to rest on finding the worst of the worst of someone’s opiniin or attempt to do something as sufficient evidence to justify relating to copyright law as unjust as the worst sue-happy-ip-lawyer demonstrastes.

    and if home taping was illegal at one point butis legal now, that *demonstrates* the law getting better over time.

    The dmca has egrarious abuses associated with it. That copyright terms have been extended for the last two hundred years is a problem. but the general notion of copyright law is not in and of itself unjust or really worthy of casting it as something deserving a call to arms orwhatever.

    It seems to me that you are reacting to copyright law based on how it occurs to you in your mind rather than how it occurs in the real world.

  138. Not completely, no, but if you concede that it did go down, then your original comment “will never, generally speaking, stop people doing what they want” is wrong for a fairly large number of people.

    Let me phrase a position here that fits in more with the conundrum we’re discussing

    Had prohibition been the law but no real attempt made to stop Alcohol supply and purchase (not supply) was actually, technically legal – would the use of alcohol gone down at all or by as much?

  139. Gregg,

    Much of your argument seems to rest on finding the worst of the worst of someone’s opiniin or attempt to do something as sufficient evidence to justify relating to copyright law as unjust as the worst sue-happy-ip-lawyer demonstrastes.

    That is not my argument. I have been merely pointing out that pretty much all of us have “stolen” copyrighted material over the course of our lives. That the law eventually caught up with being wrong doesn’t really matter much – in the case of home taping it took practically 25 years. Unless the content publishers can keep up with the change in pace of technology and the perspective of society then they will be making the matter worse for themselves.

    The problem isn’t that Copyright Law is unjust, I believe wholeheartidly in IP protection for creators – the problem is that it cannot practically be enforced in it’s current way and the pious claims of people here that “oh it’s theft I couldn’t do that” ring very hollow to me because I’m pretty certain that almost nobody who posts here hasn’t indulged in one form of theft or another – be it watching something on YouTube that wasn’t meant to be there; making a mix tape at highschool or any of dozens and dozens of other examples.

    I suspect that the “talking head” in question was a Mr Elton John who was very vocal on British TV about how home taping was stealing from him and would make it so it wasn’t worth him writing music any more… funnily enough he still does, he still makes millions and home tapers didn’t destroy the industry.

    It strikes me that there’s a very polarized view going on here of absolute right and absolute wrong and that doesn’t strike me as a sensible starting position.

  140. Had prohibition been the law but no real attempt made to stop Alcohol supply and purchase (not supply) was actually, technically legal – would the use of alcohol gone down at all or by as much?

    No idea, as it didn’t happen. Counterfactuals aren’t evidence.

  141. No idea, as it didn’t happen. Counterfactuals aren’t evidence.

    And prohibition didn’t stop people drinking whether not fewer of them did so. So you don’t want to play, I’ll restate my position.

  142. And prohibition didn’t stop people drinking whether not fewer of them did so

    If fewer people drank, then it stopped some of them. Seems to have worked with smoking, too.

    So you don’t want to play,

    ‘Playing’ does not mean accepting hypotheticals as evidence.

    I’ll restate my position.

    Okay: what would the restatement be?

  143. David, my position was prohibition has never stopped people doing things they wanted to do. If they really want to they will do it. Maybe fewer of them will do it. But they still will. That’s my position, whether or not you can scare some people out of a behaviour through criminal sanction is really neither here not there.

    Whether or not fewer people smoke (it will kill you), or take drugs (you could get a criminal record), or drink (I believe consumption was a crime? Might be wrong there. It was certainly much harder to get booze) is immaterial to the fact that people smoke, use illegal drugs and drink regardless of the legality, the morality or the sanctions.

    You can nit pick that if you like, you can take the moral high ground about it being terrible and people shouldn’t – I can’t argue that. I just find the general tone here to be a little hypocritical about something I suspect strongly that everybody here has probably done in one form or another.

    Criminalising behaviour doesn’t prevent it. You can make it hard to do, but that’s a separate discussion.

    That you’re not even prepared to discuss that point suggests there isn’t really much headway we can make in a discussion. If you don’t think that free access to booze (content) during prohibition wouldn’t have changed the decrease you mentioned then I think you’re wrong.

  144. In general, I suspect that we’re now into rhetorical point scoring, especially that last exchange with David. So I’m going to try to exercise a degree of self control and close the browser for a while and go and watch some content.

    Legal content, for those that wants to know.

  145. “I don’t know of many users who are stopping because their use of the drug is killing people in Mexico? Do you?”
    Now you’re starting to miss the point. “Hurting other people” is a secondary argument in favor of the prohibition of drugs and alcohol, it’s the primary against piracy. Meanwhile, when video pirates are killing and pillaging a la the old Monty Python sketch, we’ll talk.

    “Are you NEVER EVER going to break copyright again?”
    Now, what the hell is this supposed to mean? Is that some kind of personal attack? Because I’m kind of offended that you think this should make me change my position on theft. I’ve driven over the speed limit, too, doesn’t mean I think speeding may as well be legal.

  146. Oh, and Greg, can I ask a personal favor?

    Please, I’m asking – nay, I’m begging. Don’t quote Glenn Greenwald to me. You can read him all you want. Even quote him if you must. But please don’t direct it at me. My doctor just adjusted my blood pressure meds, so I don’t think the stress would be good for me right now.

    Let’s call it a gentleman’s agreement, okay? :D

    And, yes, I know that he and I nominally agree on the issue of journalistic failure. But we don’t come to that conclusion from the same place.

  147. Daveon@5:11, if there is a very polarized view going on here it is coming from you. No one here has sId it is a high crime to watch a video on YouTube. But by strawmanning people as if they said that, it certainly simplifies your job. you mention youtube and mixed tapes as the examples of “polarized view” but someone has already pointed out that home taping is legal. You have absolutely no justification to bring it up now unless you are fighting the qorst of the worst of any IP position ever held by anyone throughout all time. Ever.

    Which is to say, you are the one doing the polarizing here. Home taping is legal yet you rail against it as if we are cluelessly unaware that it is legal, and your rhetoric is something I would expect from someone speaking to someone arguing for thw outlawing of hometaping. No one has argued for that here. it is legally recognized right for twenty plus years, yet here you are.

    If I get a cycle or two, I could go through your posts on this thread and point out the various strawmans you’ve posted here.

    your complete unwillingness to see what you’re doing tells me it would be a waste of time, but who knows. CN you see the home taping issue as some baggage youre carrying around from the past thathas nothing to do with the law today? It is almost like you carry it around like some kind of injustice done to you in the past that gives you permission by “righting” that past injustice now. thats not justice. Thats nothing more than vengeance.

    your rhetorical tone reminds me quite a bit of certain folks who used to post about free software way nack when and how they were going to ring evil microsoft to its knees. their view of justice and what copyright law should ne was rather warped.

  148. (chuckling at jesse) You realize you’re cutting in on Mythago’s turf, right? She’s usually the one who ‘corrects’ me most of the time around here. Having read and re-read your counterpunch, I come back to the same conclusions: liberals don’t see the bias because it is transparent to them, thus they conclude that it’s a conservative problem only. Ergo, we walk on dry land and it’s our fault for not growing gills.

    I will admit you had some good stuff on Romney — and because I had not the time nor the energy to exhaustively mine the internet for material with which to refute you, I decided to retire from the melee and give you your due credit in being a fastidious researcher. Either that, or you have access to forums and other resources that do your research for you. Regardless, I had to salute your effort. It was quite good.

    Now, sometimes you dig up good stuff, other times you assert a thing as fact without links or much of a citation at all:

    …Second, the idea of media as a monolith, as opposed to factions such as editors (who tend to be right of center), and writers/reporters (who tend to be left of center) is outdated and, to be honest, misleading.

    That’s a raw assertion on your part — yet you chastise me for also making raw assertions? Can you prove that editors tend to be right of center? I already know the reporters are left-of-center, and have been accused of revealing my own bias in the process. And I don’t think I ever made the monolith argument either, only that the media tend to be composed of a loose but leftward-leaning conglomeration — who might be different from each other in the fine details, yet who also share a remarkable ideological sameness; and display all the blind spots thereof.

    I don’t think many people buy into media being neutral, nor do I think your continued conflation of “stupid” with “misinformed” to be helping this argument.

    “Stupid” and “misinformed” are words I’ve not used, and yet these are being shoved in my mouth, and I really don’t know why. You don’t have to be stupid or misinformed to miss the fact that you’ve absorbed a consensus — or enjoy a sameness of thought, having arrived at it by your own devices — from other people.

    When I lived in Seattle it was routinely common to see very liberal, smart, educated people parroting things to each other as if these things were universally true or factual, and their only real basis for their beliefs — when challenged — was that this is what they had always believed, and it was what all their friends believed, and it was what they heard on NPR, and so forth. Ergo, they were part of a political and ideological monoculture that didn’t suffer much exterior intrusion.

    Same for every community radio station I have ever worked or volunteered at. There is an assumption of basis taking place. “Oh, everyone knows a thing to be true because… everyone knows a thing to be true!” Again, the ideological monoculture.

  149. my position was prohibition has never stopped people doing things they wanted to do.

    And my point was that–for quite a few people–that’s not actually true. Prohibition does seem to have stopped quite a lot of people from carrying out particular acts; not every single last person, but a substantial number.

    You can nit pick that if you like,

    I don’t believe it’s nitpicking for you to have parts of your argument be actually accurate.

    I just find the general tone here to be a little hypocritical about something I suspect strongly that everybody here has probably done in one form or another.

    It would be nice if you could make your case without imputing hypocrisy to everyone else in the conversation.

  150. Doc, I don’t know of anything that Glenn Greenwald has said that disqualifies him as a reliable source. He does have a tendancy to repeat himself, but I dont know of anything he said that would be a lie. He does on occaision try to make a comment about one singular aspect of a bigger story and the critical comments on his blog will be thwt the big picture overrules any comment about the one detail/point he was trying to make. But then he is a lawyer, and thats how lawyers will think often. I certainly dont think he’s like a lefty version of Fox where the more you read him, the less you know.

    would you have an example of something he said that disqualifies him as unreliable?

  151. A general thought about copying vs. pirating… if I remember right -*checks formerly-linked article*- yup, that’s right: there is a built-in sort of “surcharge” on cassettes (do people still buy those?), DVD-Rs and CD-Rs, plus recording devices themselves, which is meant to pay the recording industry for “potential losses” incurred by people copying stuff. In other words, you’re not giving your buddy the songs off your prized Abba record for free, because a portion of the cost of that casette you put it on went to the recording industry people.

    In which case, it makes one wonder: do these surcharges also apply to iPods and the like? Computers? What about similar for e-readers and iPads? Why wouldn’t it extend to those, if not?

  152. Brad, the assertion that the left doesnt see its bias because its water to tush is cute, but proves nothing. I could say the bias of Fox News is invisible to its viewers like water is invisible to fish. It is just an assertion and proves mothing. The polling that found that the more some watches fox news the more likely they were to be misinformed, now that actually qualifies as evidence that supports a right wing bias at fox news.

    so wpuld you say Fox is right biased or neutral? is it biased or does it present the “truth”?

    is the right leaning media biased in its reporting? or are they fair and neutral and only the left commits prejudiced news?

  153. “are you NEVER EVER going to break copyright again?”

    slippery slope. all or nothing. if you break one, you are no different than any orther pirate and have no grounds to criticize pirates.

    In other words: POLARIZING

    You’re doing it again.

  154. @Doc Rocketscience: So according to your last response in respect of describing theft and availability, you seem to be agreeing that media companies are thieving content creator’s income streams. Or you’re completely missing the point. But at this point you just seem to be trolling me by saying you’re crying and vomiting with concern over people you don’t take seriously.

  155. Billy, while you’re down there, can you ask them how they got scooped by the National Enquirer on the Edwards thing? I mean, surely they weren’t protecting a Democrat from a sex scandal.

    Brad, you continue to make the same silly argument that because you know this one liberal guy who does X or believes X, that is what “lefties” all do and believe. Everybody more liberal than you thinks the NYT is totally unbiased, that NPR gets everything right, and that adultery is OK for Democrats. Looks pretty silly when you spell it out, instead of patronizingly telling peoria they lack your wise perspective, eh?

  156. No one here has sId it is a high crime to watch a video on YouTube…. …slippery slope. all or nothing. if you break one, you are no different than any orther pirate and have no grounds to criticize pirates…

    Actually Gregg, this started with people making a lot of very high comments about downloading content being theft. Regardless of the scale. I’m just pointing out that that’s an impossible to position to hold and if it makes some people uncomfortable then good, that was more or less my intention. If you want to accuse people of theft, then don’t be a thief yourself or have the decency to have more of a think about what your position actually is.

    The things that amuses me Gregg, is that I’m terribly pro-IP rights. Really I’ve had a lot of ding dong arguments with free content types including a couple of relatively well known authors. But that doesn’t stop the problems with the current law, and painting everybody who infringes copyright as a thief simply is a pointless waste of time.

    As I said, the problem is with the law and how it addresses copyright theft.

    It would be nice if you could make your case without imputing hypocrisy to everyone else in the conversation.

    Sorry, do you have another word for it?

  157. In the early seventies I owned a bunch of LPs. Paid for them myself. I also purchased a blank eight-track tape to use in my car. I recorded from my purchased LPs tracks of my favoritie songs onto the blank purchased eight-track cassette. Are you guys telling me this was not legal until 1992? I owned the source. I owned the destination. My purchase of the source LPs was for my own personal listening pleasure. My eight track was used exclusively for my own listening pleasure in my car. I cannot see how that violated any copyright of the sellers of the LPs. They sold them to me for me to listen to their musical art. I did. Just in my car.

    My point? If that was truly illegal (despite the lack of scienter, or knowing violation of law) in the early seventies, then the law of that day was just wrong and well behind the technology advances. So, now we are in the same place in the present with the technology of the web environment having outstripped the legal framework so that today’s legal framework may well be just plain wrong. So let’s fix it. Tell our representatives to make some common sense changes in the law that protects the earnings stream of the creators of IP, but also allows the digitial technology of the day to work, without criminaling practically everybody.

  158. That’s a raw assertion on your part — yet you chastise me for also making raw assertions? Can you prove that editors tend to be right of center?

    For a start, I chastise you for making raw assertions because you do it all the time, including this thread. I’ve seen maybe two links from you in comments, and one of those was a direct refutation of the point you were trying to make with it. As for
    evidence, there’s this or this for starters.

    I already know the reporters are left-of-center, and have been accused of revealing my own bias in the process.

    It’s precisely because of your stating of opinion as fact, e.g. “I already know” that reveals your bias.

    And I don’t think I ever made the monolith argument either, only that the media tend to be composed of a loose but leftward-leaning conglomeration — who might be different from each other in the fine details, yet who also share a remarkable ideological sameness; and display all the blind spots thereof.

    You never made the monolith argument explicitly, it’s pretty strongly implied by the fact that you just refer to “the media”

    “Stupid” and “misinformed” are words I’ve not used, and yet these are being shoved in my mouth, and I really don’t know why. You don’t have to be stupid or misinformed to miss the fact that you’ve absorbed a consensus — or enjoy a sameness of thought, having arrived at it by your own devices — from other people.

    Those are the words you continued to use in your responses, you’re free to change them.

    When I lived in Seattle it was routinely common to see very liberal, smart, educated people parroting things to each other as if these things were universally true or factual, and their only real basis for their beliefs — when challenged — was that this is what they had always believed, and it was what all their friends believed, and it was what they heard on NPR, and so forth. Ergo, they were part of a political and ideological monoculture that didn’t suffer much exterior intrusion.

    Same for every community radio station I have ever worked or volunteered at. There is an assumption of basis taking place. “Oh, everyone knows a thing to be true because… everyone knows a thing to be true!” Again, the ideological monoculture.

    As you’ve been reminded of many times, included by our esteemed host, the plural of anecdote is not data. This has been especially true when your anecdotes have been proven to be just that. But regardless of that fact, you still seem to be dismissing out of hand the idea of the ideological monoculture (I prefer Epistemic closure, personally) on the conservative side. For instance, you didn’t respond to the assertions (with evidence) of the reliability of the conservative media’s basic assertion of objective fact. The funny thing is, by parroting this conservative line and methodology, you’re demonstrating exactly the type of monoculture you decry. And I can think of no better representation of this simultaneous perception of a single unified source of bias while engaging in same than the fact that independents join with people on the left in distrust of Fox News, while conservatives only trust Fox News.

  159. Now, what the hell is this supposed to mean? Is that some kind of personal attack? Because I’m kind of offended that you think this should make me change my position on theft.

    I’m trying to get a few of you to think about what you think of as theft given the context of moving goalposts of content publishing rights. Nothing more nothing less. Things that I am willing to be most of here did (pre-1992, thanks for that) were theft, and then they weren’t. Things that people do today, or have done in the last 10 years have been, and now might not be theft either.

    Hell, even John Steward mocks Viacom about how they manage HIS content on YouTube and the web because he wants it available and they don’t!

    If the law changes again, as I suspect it will – will these people be guilt free retrospectively? By using emotive language for something everybody, pretty much, has done, is doing and is almost certainly planning to do again doesn’t help.

    I’m seeing a lot of “think of the poor oppressed content creators” rhetoric here, but I strongly suspect the status quo isn’t protecting them in the least.

  160. Greg, I don’t care if you think he’s a reliable source. I don’t even care if you use him to form your arguments. All I’m saying is that he causes that little muscle in the corner of my eye to start twitching uncontrollably. It’s not his information I question, it’s his conclusions. I also don’t care for the way he handles himself in the public forum. I think the technical term is “blowhard”. He’s just one of those pundits that makes me think, “Jeez, I can’t believe I’m, technically, on the same side as that guy.” YMMV.

    Mike, I think the scope of the problems don’t remotely compare. I think we’ve rapidly entered an era where there will be calls to “Occupy” everything. I think that’s unbelievably cynical. That’s what makes me both sad and sick. Also, if “media companies are thieving content creator’s income streams”, I fail to see how stealing from the media companies helps. And in the future, I’d appreciate it if you could disagree with me without calling me names.

  161. Daveon@4:51, I assume you are referring to the DMCA which made it illegal to decrypt encrypted content. This was the law they used to go after DVD-Jon and his deCSS software.

    the thing is, the existence of the dmca doesnt condemn any part of copyright law but the dmca.

    I get the impression that any time someone points out a flaw in copyright law, that is used to make a logical fallacy called a sweeping generalization that all copyright law is flawed and needs to be rewritten from the ground up.

  162. Let me ask Cheney. The Dark Lord knows all. (Btw John, we were having a little barbequed polar bear the other night and he told me he absolutely adored Fuzzy Nation!)

  163. Greg – to be honest, I think that Copyright law, especially in the context of digital content and the web needs is flawed to be re-written from the ground up.

    That doesn’t me I expect it to happen, nor that I think we should do away with it.

    We need a framework that protects the rights of copyright holder but doesn’t criminalize people who just, for the most part, want to legally consume content.

  164. Daveon 7:06 pm

    I think I was one of those folk making high comments way up the threat that you term “downloading content being theft.” You are being too general in that assertion. My observation up thread that downloading content without paying for it was theft in my mind concerned people who were theives because they knew they could purchase the song on i-Tunes, but searched the web to find a source for the download that had ripped the song illegally and made it available for download. Two crimes. The illegal theft by the download source. Then theft by the downloadee. When you know you can purchase it legally and yet seek a way to obtain it free illegally, that be theft to my mind, no matter what the current state of digital technology.

    I do understand your main point that lots of people download stuff for free avoiding paying for it, when really they should have found a legal source and purchased the download. And I understand the idea that maybe, a purchasable download does not exist because the IP holder doesn’t want to sell a particular type of download or digitial version of the item. In the latter case, I do not agree that the IP holder’s intransigance somehow gifts the world with the right to steal their IP because they are being stubborn about its availability. As I comment just above, the laws need upgrading; otherwise, most of the digitial world’s users will all be criminalized by obsolete laws.

  165. Daveon, I think the word I’d use is “derailing”, because that’s what you’re trying to do. It’ doesn’t matter that “everybody does it/used to do it!” That may well be true, but you’re trying to win the argument by disqualifying me from participating over something I might have done in another (albeit related) context. Not cool.

    By the way, that ’92 AHRA? It was about digital recording. “Mix tapes” had long been held as allowable, largely due to the loss of quality from generation to the next, so long as, in Gary Willis’ example, the recordings were for personal use. Internet transfer wouldn’t be protected in that way because of an ’84 USSC ruling about material broadcast over public airwaves. These things do support your case, but not quite the way you think, nor as well as you think.

  166. When you know you can purchase it legally and yet seek a way to obtain it free illegally, that be theft to my mind, no matter what the current state of digital technology.

    And Gary, no argument from me. But if you look at the comments by Doc and others, they’re much broader than that, that even if you can’t pay for the content, or as mostly happens to me, I’ve tried to buy it online and ended up screwed by the package (curse you NBC-Universal) or having DRM fail comprehensively and lock my content (i-Tunes and Amazon) or being told by the MPAA that just because I bought my DVD Box Set of Star Wars in the UK I have to rebuy the whole lot to play it on my US DVD player because I moved house etc, then you’re a thief.

    By something that wide, and by the rules in the past, everybody is pretty much guilty of theft.

    A non-trivial part of the problem, one which the music industry is dealing with is the lack of availability of content. TV, Movies and Books have yet to really deal with that, and it’s costing them. I understand what some of the problems are, but it’s not helping with the growth of piracy and the expectation of free content.

    As I comment just above, the laws need upgrading; otherwise, most of the digitial world’s users will all be criminalized by obsolete laws.

    Yes they are, and probably don’t even realize it.

    My point about home taping was that a) when I was a lad it was illegal, b) everybody I knew did it, c) we still bought content.

    Having a proper framework for management of digital IP is what’s needed not more SOPA/PIPA type laws.

  167. It’ doesn’t matter that “everybody does it/used to do it!” That may well be true, but you’re trying to win the argument by disqualifying me from participating over something I might have done in another (albeit related) context.

    I am most certainly disqualifying you from the argument! I am asking that you stop taking the moral high ground on the subject, when it’s something we’ve all done to one degree or another and I suspect that any promise not to do it again will be impractical, and, if SOMA/PIPA had gone through, impossible!

    As I’ve said a few times. It doesn’t actually matter if it is illegal nor immoral, it’s being done, people will continue to do pretty much no matter how you try and stop them, and it’s counter-productive in any case because, for the most part, if you make the content available legally, everybody buys more.

    I can 100% say I buy more books since the Kindle made it easier. Irrespective of what you think about Amazon and DRM. If I could, I would buy more video content, but my example about the world cup remains. I paid for the legal source, it just didn’t work, and no, funnily enough, NBC-Universal didn’t refund me. Go figure.

  168. “everybody is pretty much guilty of theft.”

    Pretty much. I’m sorry if you find that unpleasant or inconvenient. Truly I am. But there it is.

    Yes, some of those laws (some) are ridiculous and need to be changed. That doesn’t make violating them because you want to and you can right.

  169. Oh bugger! Sorry Doc – I meant that first line to be “I am most certainly NOT disqualifying you from the argument.”

  170. Pretty much. I’m sorry if you find that unpleasant or inconvenient. Truly I am. But there it is…. Yes, some of those laws (some) are ridiculous and need to be changed. That doesn’t make violating them because you want to and you can right.

    Unpleasant? Inconvenient? Gosh no! That’s kinda been the point I’ve obviously been making badly.

    Having poor laws that criminalize everybody make a mockery of the law, that’s the crux of the problem.

    A good deal of what we’ve been talking about probably won’t be illegal in 10 years either, which is one of the reasons I fail to get too worked up about this stuff.

  171. I’m really not trying to claim a moral high ground. What I’m trying to do is point out the moral framework that does exist and needs to be addressed. I’m not willing to concede “Well, everyone does it, so it can’t be wrong.” Yes, it absolutely can. You can call me a hypocrite if you like (I’d rather you didn’t). I could call you an unrepentant thief (I’ve been trying to be careful not to). But I don’t think moves the conversation on what to do about it forward, do you?

  172. Sorry, do you have another word for it?

    Yes (rather a long word), it’s don’tassumeothersareguiltywhenyouhavenoevidence, followed by youmustbeguiltyofthiscrimebecauseIbelieveyouareandthereforeyou’rebeinghypocritical

  173. (Chuckles again…) Mythago, if you’re asking me to provide a web cam link to every interaction I ever had with the lovely citizens of the Peoples Republik of King Kounty, Washington State, I am afraid I am unable to provide you with such. Suffice it to say that I have never lived in a more homogenously liberal place. If they argued about anything, it was often by degree — not whether any of their base-line assumptions and taken-for-granteds were wrong. True conservatives (at least conservatives who were outspoken) were rare, and treated as an exotic type of pest. When a Republican looked like he might almost win the governorship, they invented bogus ballots and stuffed the recount box until the “right” answer was arrived at. I learned a lot in my time in Seattle. It was a wonderful experience. And I also learned that all the myriad and sundry sins of the conservatives — hypocrisy, ignorance, lazy thinking, double-standards, bigotry, hatred for its own sake, dishonesty, and voting against interests — were perfectly common among a people who prided themselves loudly on being liberal, too.

  174. Gary@7:10: My point? If that was truly illegal (despite the lack of scienter, or knowing violation of law) in the early seventies, then the law of that day was just wrong and well behind the technology advances.

    Well, see, here’s the thing. Law has to be specific. Copyright law tends to be *very* specific. For example, copyright law has explicit rules for making a “cover tune” version of an existing song. You pay the owner of the song some fee based on the number of records you are going to print, and then you make your own song. And the song owner cannot say NO to you. You pay, you record. End of story. But that part of the law is specific to songs only and specific to covers only. It doesn’t deal with “sampling” for example, because sampling didn’t exist when the “cover tune” portion of the law was written (I believe it was made law in the 70′s, but I’m not certain). If you think about it, though, this does make sense to be this specific because how would you determine a price table for all derivatives of any kind of work? How could you come up with a formula for a price to make a sequel to someone else’s movie? or a sequel to someone else’s novel?

    So, it is specific to cover tunes of songs, that’s it. It doesn’t even cover parody versions of songs, IIRC. I don’t think Weird Al can use that part of the law to make a parody of someone else’s song. But I’m not certain of that either.

    There’s another example of specificity. I can’t remember the exact details, but the law made a specific exception where copying was considered “fair use”, and that specific exception was something like if you were photocopying materials for medical information, or something along those lines. So, you could photocopy a medical journal if you were a doctor or teaching at a medical school or something like that.

    So, copyright law is VERY specific.

    Now, the thing is, Fair Use isn’t coded up into law to cover any possible technologicla advance. Instead, what usually happens, is the law says X. Someone goes and does Y. The copyright owner sues. And then if the judge decides that Y is fair use, then that gets added to the court history of copyright law and gets referred to in future cases.

    For example, the Betamax case was huge in establishing legally that the VCR was NOT in fact the Boston Strangler, but actually a legitmate machine for consumers to record shows and time shift them for personal viewing. That case altered court cases about copyright issues from that day forward.

    So, with regard to your statement above, copying a vinyl record was in one of those areas that wasn’t specifically dealt with by copyright law. ANd copyright law can be very specific. What would have happened is if a vinyl-record-to-cassette case had gone to court way back in the day, then there might have been something called a Memorex case or something like that instead of the Betamax case. And the courts would have said it was Fair Use to make a copy of your record so you could play it in your car or whatever.

    Daveon@7:24, you’re missing my point. And my point is simply this: you lied.

    This is what you said: I’m pretty certain that almost nobody who posts here hasn’t indulged in one form of theft or another – be it watching something on YouTube that wasn’t meant to be there; making a mix tape at highschool or any of dozens and dozens of other examples.

    You say a MIX TAPE is THEFT. And you KNOW it isn’t theft. You KNOW it was legalized 25 years ago. And yet you keep equating it with THEFT. And you do this for exactly one reason: To strawman copyright law into something it isn’t but is much easier to attack.

    The problem, for you, is that you’re trying to pull this stunt on a forum with people who actually know their stuff and know you’re trying to blow smoke up our asses. And I’m asking you, ney, telling you, you can cut it out now. We’re not buying it.

    Daveone@7:24: Copyright law, especially in the context of digital content and the web needs is flawed to be re-written from the ground up.

    Yeah, this? This is silly. Read my reply to Gary in this same post. The problem is that copyright is extremely specific. And the implication of your statement there is that digital content and the web are “cooked” and never going ot change, so if we rewrite the laws from the ground up to deal with digital content and the web, we’ll never have to rewrite them ever again.

    That’s just silly. It’ll never happen.

    Congress comes out with copyright laws every once in a while. In between those new laws, the Supreme Court rules in on various matters that need answering as technology changes and so on. Technology will never stop changing. Intellectual property and the way it traffics in the world will never stpo changing. Copyright law will never stop changing. Rewriting it from the ground up and throwing out two centuries of court decisions is just silly. Not to mention, in America at lease, copyright and patent law is based in the constitution and you can’t change that fundamental basis without a constitutional ammendment. So copyright law isn’t going away or changing from the constitutional mandate any time soon.

    Now, with all that, I do think that copyright terms are insanely too long. And I think the DMCA’s prohibition against decrypting things is dangerous in that it makes certain kinds of software, and by a small step, certain kinds of ideas illegal. Copyright law is intended to have an exception to allow for Fair Use to criticize and dissent, but that has been encroached to some degree and I would like to see it expanded again. And it would be nice if there were a lookup table for getting rights to anything you wanted if you just have the money. Like I could look up in a table how much it costs to write a sequel to a novel and pay the amount and write the sequel. Or look up in a table for sampling a song, pay the money, and put the sample in my own music. But that would be so unwieldly and get out of date so quickly that it would be silly to even attempt.

    But here’s something most anti-copyright law folks get wrong. The record industry making it hard to buy songs online? That’s not because of copyright law. That’s bad business decisions. Copyright law doesn’t require people to sell the songs online. Or make it easy for you to buy their songs online. That the record industry makes it HARD to buy their content legally isn’t because copyright law needs to be rewritten from the ground up. It’s because SOME record companies are just stupid. And you can’t outlaw stupid.

    Same with movies. You buy a legal DVD, it will probably come with half a dozen previews and advertisements at the beginning that you can’t skip over. If the DMCA were gotten rid of, then you could probably get some legal software to legally bypass the commercials, but the fact that those commercials are there in the first place? That’s not copyrgiht law. That’s bad business.

    The record company using lawsuits to go after people who pirate a single song? The lawsuits are enabled by the law, but mostly its because of bad business decisions that that’s how they’re doing things.

  175. I’m really not trying to claim a moral high ground. What I’m trying to do is point out the moral framework that does exist and needs to be addressed. I’m not willing to concede “Well, everyone does it, so it can’t be wrong.” Yes, it absolutely can.

    Indeed it can, and I don’t think I made that argument. A moral framework does exist, but it needs to be sensible and practical and, above all, not criminalise huge parts of the otherwise blameless population.

    But just focusing on the guilty (consumers) as you, and a few others seemed to be doing, and letting the Viacom’s off the hook seemed highly ridiculous to me (as it does to one of Viacom’s ‘victims’ John Stewart)

    You can call me a hypocrite if you like (I’d rather you didn’t). I could call you an unrepentant thief (I’ve been trying to be careful not to). But I don’t think moves the conversation on what to do about it forward, do you?

    You may call me that. I’ll neither confirm nor deny if it is true. I certainly have no qualms about having to get the World Cup via VPN from the UK because NBC-Universal screwed me out of $120… I am 100% unrepentant about that. I even watched all the adverts in the stream. (The O2 ones were great, the British Gas one was just disturbing…)

    Hypothetically, if I had been watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 4 via download because I moved back to the UK halfway through broadcast of the season and the UK was at the time 18 months behind and I had no other way of watching the end of the season, would I say would feel any guilt about that?

    No. Honestly. None at all. I may or may not have bought the complete Buffy Box set too. In Region 2 DVD Grrr….

  176. Brad: “But my anecdotes are true!” Well, sure. I’ll see your King County with an Ann Arbor and throw in a SF Bay Area on that front. But no matter how many patronizing chuckles you toss out as chaff, thing is that they’re still just anecdotes, and they are proof of nothing other than “some liberals are like that.” Again, I think you’d be pretty incensed if somebody claimed they grew up in a small Utah town full of conservatives and their experiences are the alpha and omega of what conservatives all believe.

    But that’s the difference between politics as an expression of principle, and politics as team sport. Do you want to be right, or do you want to root for the team? If all you can manage of those who disagree with you is caricature, it’s pretty clear you’re not interested in principles. They’re just not as fun, eh?

  177. You say a MIX TAPE is THEFT

    Greg, I’m 40+ years old. My days of making mix-tapes were the late 1970s and 1980s. I suspect many people here are similar. Hence my comment.

    It was one of lots of examples of people stealing content over the last few decades in one way or another – I picked the Mix-Tape example, btw, because that is something that was explicitly illegal when I was a kid in the UK and the law was changed. But that didn’t alter what I, and everybody else did being technically theft.

    The law was an ass. That is was changed 10-15 years after I was doing it and 20+ years after my brother and sister is irrelevant.

  178. And the implication of your statement there is that digital content and the web are “cooked” and never going ot change, so if we rewrite the laws from the ground up to deal with digital content and the web, we’ll never have to rewrite them ever again.

    No, but the laws are and do change slowly and what is currently illegal may well not be in a few years (see mix tapes) – and if we do rewrite we’ll almost certainly have to change them at a point in the future. But criminalizing consumers because the law makers can’t keep up with technology, and the content publishers are poor businesspeople (your DVD pre-views example has stopped me using RedBox) is as much a part of the problem as the instant gratification human beings who just want to watch Over the Hedge and can’t figure out why Amazon has billed me but refuses to play the content.

  179. Doc@7:15: It’s not his information I question, it’s his conclusions.

    My experience of his articles is that he is not prone to huge leaps of logic. If he has a conclusion, it seems to me, he has information one step away.

    Or maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying. Do you have an example?

    I also don’t care for the way he handles himself in the public forum. I think the technical term is “blowhard”.

    That, I don’t know about. I’ve never seen him speak in person or on a video or on the radio or whatever. But to me, blowhard would be someone who asserts stuff but doesn’t have anything to back it up. It’s just opinions. Limbaugh would be a blowhard, cause the facts don’t affect him. Greenwald seems to me to always have lots of facts/information to back up what he’s saying.

    Hm, the dictionary says a “blowhard” is someone who brags about himself. So, maybe I’m thinking of something else. He doesn’t occur to me as bragging about himself in his articles.

  180. Brad, imma have to agree with mythago here. Your arguments are poor, and please quit treating politics as football by other means.

    Onto another subject: the “prebuttals” to the State of the Union address. Has this happened before, or am I correct in taking this as yet more disrespect to the office of President because the Republicans are still butt-hurt about losing the election three years ago?

    I get that this plays well to the red-meat crowd, but to me it looks really infantile and embarrassing.

  181. Daveon@8:21: But that didn’t alter what I, and everybody else did being technically theft.

    Maybe a copyright lawyer needs to weigh in here, but I’m not sure how “technical” you’re trying to get with the word “technically”.

    I said above, the law says X, someone does Y, and the copyright owner takes them to court. If the court says Y is legal, then I don’t know if it was ever “technically” theft. Were you ever convicted of making a home tape? Did you lose a court case and have to pay damages? Or are you using a not-quite-technically-accurate definition of “technically theft” by arguing that it is “technically theft” unless the law specifically allows for it?

    Because it seems at the heart of this argument, you’re saying the courts should have no function in copyright law, that it should all be explicitly spelled out by congress. And two hundred years of real life copyright law say the exact opposite. That the law has specifics and the courts have to fill in between as cases come up.

    That’s the way it works. That’s the way it has worked for two hundred or so years. The courts are an integral part of dealing with changes of reality as they apply to copyright law.

    Daveon@8:21: Greg, I’m 40+ years old. My days of making mix-tapes were the late 1970s and 1980s. I suspect many people here are similar. Hence my comment.

    No. I don’t buy that at all. And I think you’re really starting to shift into outright lying here about your intentions. You said home mixes were theft because it makes copyright law look bad. And you want to make copyright look bad. This wasn’t some nostalgic throwback by an old timer computer programmer to the days of punch cards. You have been told it is WRONG, that it hasn’t been true for decades, but you keep bringing it up as if it’s still true now. You brought it up in the same breath as YouTube for gods sake.

    And you keep using stuff like this as a way for you to go after people you are saying are “Taking the moral high ground”. The problem is, they’re not. You’re trying to portray copyright as complete evil, needs to be rewritten from the ground up, it was illegal to make a home tape of your LP, oh my!

    Most people on this thread haven’t been taking the “high ground”. And I don’t think ANYONE here has said that copyright law is perfect. But clearly, you’ve got a bone to pick, an axe to grind, a monkey to wrench, that is so biased you’re view, that you can’t even acknowledge that the copyrigth system worked and that home taping was made legal decades ago. Instead you have to focus on the fact that it wasn’t explicitely legal, and therefore try to portray that it was somehow intentionally illegal.

    I am pretty sure THAT is why you brought it up.

  182. Okay, so, is there an Obama mole on Romney’s advisory team? Banks are “just overwhelmed right now” and the poor things are just a-flutter with new regulations? Let the market “run its course” so investors can buy up houses after people lose their homes and that will fix everything?

    I picture some young Democratic hipsters posing as GOP operatives, making bets with each other as to what Clueless Plutocrat thing they can persuade Romney to say this time. “No, really, sir, this is exactly what the middle class wants to hear! *snerk*”

  183. Greg: Regardless of what you think I am pro IP and pro Copyright.

    Everything else you ascribe to me after that point is incorrect and therefore I can’t comment on it.

    If you got the impression I am anti-copyright then I apologize for making my argument poorly.

    I don’t think international copyright laws should criminalise people for no reason.

  184. Brad: hypocrisy, ignorance, lazy thinking, double-standards, bigotry, hatred for its own sake, dishonesty, and voting against interests — were perfectly common among a people who prided themselves loudly on being liberal

    OK, Brad, now tell me a bed time story about how it was perfectly common for all the conservatives to be honest, informed, hard working, integrity, open minded, loving, kind, and fair.

    It’ll be like the Ant and the Grasshopper story.

    And then tell me how you’re not biased and all liberals are biased.

  185. Daveon@8:52: Regardless of what you think I am pro IP and pro Copyright.

    right.

    Daveone@7:24: Copyright law, especially in the context of digital content and the web needs is flawed to be re-written from the ground up.

    So, you’re pro-copyright law, as long as we admit it’s completely flawed and needs to be rewritten from the ground up.

  186. Oh, Greg, citing something specific from Greenwald would require me to go through some of the things he’s written. And I really don’t want to do that. Blood pressure meds, you know. :)
    But see my comment above (about liberal/conservative trust in news services) for my opinions on the relationship between conclusions and facts. I disagree with his conclusions.
    My sense of him is that his writing can be rather speckled with braggadocio, particularly when he writes about himself.
    I’ve also seen him, on more than a few occasions, engage in internet screaming matches over twitter or on other bloggers’ comments sections with people who disagree with his conclusions, mostly because they disagree with his conclusions. He seems to do this to people with far smaller internet profiles than himself, which makes me wonder if he’s trolling the net, looking for fights to pick.
    And he does this from Brazil. I know it’s petty, but I’d cut him more slack if he was here, doing something about it. Those are why i think of him as a blowhard. The kind of person you describe i’d just call a liar.
    Anyway, no, I’m not gonna wade into his world just to convince you that I don’t like the guy. Could you just take my word for it? :)

  187. Daveon: I don’t think international copyright laws should criminalise people for no reason.

    They do it for no reason whatsoever? Really?

    If you got the impression I am anti-copyright

    Yes. Yes, I am getting that vibe. With every word you write.

  188. So, you’re pro-copyright law, as long as we admit it’s completely flawed and needs to be rewritten from the ground up.

    Correct. I believe 100% that we need copyright and IP laws but the current international systems dating back to the 1700s in some cases are becoming a joke and unworkable in the modern world. The very nature of overlapping copyright rules on music, and that living artists in the UK are having their works come out of copyright, and often with it, their retirement plans, is a mess.

    Having different periods of copyright coverage between parts of the English speaking world for the written word is daft too.

    So. Yes, I believe in Copyright and IP but I also believe the current systems, worldwide are just coming apart at the seams and we need a copyright and IP system to cover us for at least a few more years.

    Not sure why that should be an issue?

  189. On the same note, I suspect that Software Patents are on the verge of a tipping point too where it will become effectively impossible to enforce a patent without an 8 figure balance in your bank account. They’re certainly way passed protecting innovation in the software space.

    But that is dangerously off topic.

  190. Yes, I am getting that vibe. With every word you write.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Except software patents, which I fear have turned into a lost cause.

  191. Doc: I don’t like the guy. Could you just take my word for it?

    Sure. I just thought maybe I was missing something obviously flawed in his articles. Despite what Brad says about lefties like me, I am open to learning that my sources are wrong.

  192. Daveon: the current international systems dating back to the 1700s in some cases are becoming a joke and unworkable in the modern world. The very nature of overlapping copyright rules on music, and that living artists in the UK are having their works come out of copyright, and often with it, their retirement plans, is a mess. Having different periods of copyright coverage between parts of the English speaking world for the written word is daft too.

    Ah, I think I understand the problem. The thing that you’re missing is that law is based on people, and people are complicated.

    http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=40147

    Look at that graph in the last panel. That’s exactly what you’re proposing.

    As far as copyrights expiring while people are alive, talk to Mark Twain. Happened to him, didn’t stop him from making a boatload of money as an author (course he blew it all on crazy business schemes, but that isn’t copyright law’s problem).

    RE: different terms in the english speaking world. You do realize that nations are sovereign, right? It takes a treaty between nations to create some binding means of keeping terms in sync. The Berne Convention was a treaty between a whole bunch of countries for a long, long time. WIPO has replaced Berne. The WIPO treaty is implemented in American law via the DMCA. But the point is, you can’t force another country to follow your laws.

    When Berne was in effect in most of Europe, America didn’t sign up, so while Europe had Life-Plus-N copyright terms, America had 24+24 year fixed terms.

    Would you like for Europe to force America to follow their copyright terms just for consistencies sake?

    People are complicated. You’re looking at the realities of copyright law and international treaties as if they can be rewritten from the ground up and cause a decrease in drama. And it won’t work that way.

  193. @ Greg. This is going to sound worse than I want it to but you are coming off like Nancy Grace. Even if I agree with her, her demeanor is a turn off. I get the sense that Daveon is getting you all flustered because you find all sorts of holes with his argument but no need for being all snarky to him. He’s not being unreasonable and has even stated he’s making a flawed/bad argument for his case, whatever it is.

  194. Tom – there are holes all over my argument exactly because there are holes all over the current laws on this and it’s getting worse every year.

    Which is the problem, Greg is also quite right in what he says, but it really doesn’t matter in the context of the problem.

  195. I highly recommend that the people arguing copyright on this thread — and particularly the copyright maximalists — read this piece: http://colorblue.dreamwidth.org/60441.html

    A particularly good quote from it:

    “…whenever you bring up intellectual property rights and make a moral issue out of enforcing them, whether you know it or not, you’re invoking a very long history of the imperialist, capitalist West using it as a weapon against all the groups it classifies as Other, as lesser, both within its borders and outside them. Because you are not an innocent bystander caught up against your will in an unjust, bureaucratic system.”

  196. BQ@2:46 “If Canadian companies partner with American companies to pay for a pipeline across the middle of America to our refineries, yes I think that frees us from many of the tyrannies and logistics of “foreign” oil. We own the refineries. The pipeline is on our soil. Once they invest billions to build it where else are they going to send the oil?”
    Oddly enough, ‘we’ own refineries in the upper and central Midwest that could refine that ‘not foreign’ oil from our neighbors. But ‘we’ aren’t as willing to pay as much as China, which is where that oil was intended for anyway. Sure, now that a hold has been put on the route TransCanada wanted to have (Keystone isn’t really dead yet, no matter what Rethugs want to scream about “Evil Treehuggers”), there’s all this Canadian pouting and foot stomping, saying “We’ll just build our own pipeline to Vancouver and sell it to China.” Except that they don’t really want to spend buttloads of Canadian money trying to go over the Rockies to get there, and they really don’t want to get into a binding contract with China by asking them to put up as much money as US companies would have. Oh, and those US companies knew the oil was going to China no matter how it gets to whatever refinery – and port city – all along. Because then gas prices here will go up and those US companies make more money all around.

  197. Er–for those of you who were wondering whether or not alcohol consumption actually went down during Prohibition or not (I know it’s tangential, and apologies for going off topic, but it’s an itch I need to scratch): the short answer is that no one knows for sure because Capone et al. didn’t pay taxes, so reliable information isn’t there. However, using two possible indicators, the answer seems to be “probably not, and it may well have gone up.” The first is the diagnosed incidence of cirrhosis of the liver, which seems to have hit its lowest level for the Prohibition era around 1920–the year the Volstead Act went into effect–and though cirrhosis rates stayed low during Prohibition, they also did not go up much during the decade after Repeal. The second is that cases of public drunkenness seem to have gone down slightly between 1920-1922, and then gone up to peak at considerably higher than pre-Prohibition-levels by about 1925; in particular, consumption of alcohol by women and children seems have increased dramatically during the 1920s.

    As I said, I know it isn’t really relevant to the current argument, but I thought I remembered that much. I suppose the moral, if anything, is that it is very very difficult to ban something that is A) easy to make, and B) that many people already know how to make for themselves (though most would really rather not bother, I believe). Being an absolute techno-klutz, I’ve no idea how–or if–this would relate to online piracy . . .

  198. Adrienne: Hiding behind the exploitation and abuse of indigenous and traditionally disempowered people to justify pirating Skyrim or episodes of Firefly? Anyone who doesn’t agree that information wants to be free is a copyright maximalist? Just go ahead and bust out with “rent-seeker” already. Because there is a discussion to be had about how intellectual property developed and how it has been disproportionately used by the powerful, but whipping that discussion out as ‘you are Xist if you think there is a problem with my taking shit I don’t feel like paying for’ strikes me as appropriation.

    BQ: any word from your dark overlord(s)? Because, really, I’m a bit baffled here. You told us all that Edwards got protection from his lefty friends in The Media, and that’s why the story about his affair got broken by the National Enquirer and not, say, NPR. So why didn’t the conservative wing of The Media break this story? Are you suggesting that Fox News was part of this great liberal conspiracy?

  199. @Roc Docketscience: . If you insist on twisting everything I say into cynicism, then I will call “trolling”. I said people may want to occupy hollywood because of what publishers have done to them. Point to where I said they should steal from those companies to retaliate.

  200. Mythago: I’m not justifying anything, myself. I’m simply pointing out something that i think is a VERY good article, about a very complicated subject. I am not the author, and i am not trying to appropriate anything. She is a woman of color, and her words and opinions are her own. And i don’t believe that she is saying there are no issues with IP infringement, either — i read her as saying that making a MORAL (as opposed to a legal) issue out of it is contributing to a really ugly history. It is =manifestly true= that intellectual property gets used against the poor and disenfranchised and Other in a zillion different ways, and i believed that point to be worth bringing into the discussion, by way of the work of someone who has a much better clue about it than i do!

    I’m not calling anyone a rent-seeker; there are, however, a couple of people who very much come across as copyright maximalists on this thread. (And of course, many folks who have clearly more nuanced positions.) I apologize for coming across that way.

    My own opinion on copyright infringement, in particular, is that it’s REALLY COMPLICATED, especially in the places where people start defining “derivative”. (As opposed to my opinion on software patents, to name another IP legal issue. My position on software patents is that they are uncomplicatedly stupid and evil.)

    One other point, though, that i don’t often see get brought up in these threads — and iirc, you’re a lawyer yourself, so if i’m wrong, please feel free to correct me! — is that by and large, copyright infringement isn’t a =crime= at all; it’s a =tort=. I get that not everyone who calls it “stealing” or “piracy” has bad motives, and i also get — because i read C.E. Petit’s blog sometimes — that there’s actually a several-hundred-years history of comparing it to piracy in particular. But to the best of my knowledge, piracy is always a crime, and copyright infringement (as well as other kinds of IP infringement) is usually tortious but NOT criminal.

  201. Adrienne: I think it’s an interesting article, and appreciate that you linked to it. Where I disagree is that it’s somehow wrong or imperialist to make a ‘moral issue out of it’ – there is a long and ugly history of using private property rights as a tool of oppression as well, but that doesn’t mean if you complain “Mythago stole my car!” that you should stop making a moral issue of it and stick to the legal issue of whether it was larceny. (And “IP” generally refers to a whole bundle of things that are conceptually the same – you can own the expression of your ideas – patent and copyright are very different.) Infringement can be criminal. Since intellectual property rights are, by definition property rights, it seems odd to me that taking those rights isn’t “theft” in some people’s lexicon. I mean, if I go to the county registrar and forge a deed so that I can sell the development rights to your land, we would all agree that’s theft, I hope? Even though you still are *on* the land, even though it’s an intangible right – you can’t pick up and hold a development right in your hand – and even though property rights have a long and *very* extensive and ugly history of being abused by Western imperalists, often against people who do not have the same conception of exclusivity of property.

  202. Jeez, Mike, don’t get your undies in a bunch. You wanna protest how you can’t watch every movie you want, when you want, how you want, you go right ahead. But I think it’s cynical to call it an “Occupation”, given what the Occupy movement is actually about. OWS has enough credibility problems as it is, most are undeserved. You’re not obligated to agree, of course. But it’d be awfully nice if you could do so without casting disparagements on my motivations, thank you very much.

    But you’re right. Upon rereading, I see that you were not, in fact, specificlly trying to justify piracy in your posts. I apologize for suggesting otherwise.

  203. Mythago, I checked with him, but Tricky Dick Cheney is pretty tight-lipped about the domestic stuff. Apparently, there’s some kind of separation of powers thing going on and I’m gonna have to get with Rove for the real skinny. It may take some time, he’s down in Florida right now working his magic to disenfranchise the minority vote in the upcoming primary.

    I went back through my Fox News marching orders from that time period and all I could find for the Edwards campaign was “Operation October Surprise’, but there weren’t any details. So maybe they were just holding on to it until it would have the biggest impact. Kind of like Pelosi’s intimating about what she has on Gingrich right now. She might want to take a page out of the Dark Lord’s book though and shut her overly-stretched piehole until she’s ready to use it.

  204. Adrienne, I skimmed through the article you linked. and I dont get it.

    Copyright law and patent law in America are based in the constitution which says congress has the power to create copyright and patent law to reward artists and inventors monetarily as a way to advance arts and sciences.

    To me, that is a sound moral backdrop for IP law.

    If one can argue that the law does not advance art and science, one could argue that the law is unconstitutional.

    and if the law has a moral backing , then breaking the law is immoral.

  205. BQ, the problem with trying to exagerate right wing extremism so that its funny is that exagerated right wing extremeism is indistinguishable from real right wing extremism. so its impossible to tell if you are trying to be funny and failing, or if you are trying to be serious… and failing. I do get the sense that you are doing your darndestto avoid certain facts, but trying to get someone to acknowledge a fact they are specifically trying to avoid is… difficult.

  206. Mythago, I checked with him, but Tricky Dick Cheney is pretty tight-lipped about the domestic stuff. Apparently, there’s some kind of separation of powers thing going on and I’m gonna have to get with Rove for the real skinny. It may take some time, he’s down in Florida right now working his magic to disenfranchise the minority vote in the upcoming primary.

    I went back through my Fox News marching orders from that time period and all I could find for the Edwards campaign was “Operation October Surprise’, but there weren’t any details. So maybe they were just holding on to it until it would have the biggest impact. Kind of like Pelosi’s intimating about what she has on Gingrich right now. She might want to take a page out of the Dark Lord’s book though and shut her overly-stretched piehole until she’s ready to use it.

    Billy — above — had me laughing quite a bit. Classic.

  207. BQ, I am jealous. Here you and Cheney are off fighting Batman, and all I get out of the GOP ate stupid scare-tactic mailers around election time.

    So I guess we can put to rest the idea that The Liberal Media protected Edwards, right? That is, unless the Dark Lord reveals more once you and he have the Caped Crusader in. Fiendish deathtrap.

  208. and if the law has a moral backing , then breaking the law is immoral.

    But surely, and referring to your previous arguments about other countries, this opens the can of worms that if it’s not considered immoral or illegal elsewhere, then it’s neither… even if, as is probably the case, it is.

    US law, the US constitution and “morality” are not a global constant.

    As I’ve said, I have no easy answer to this, but I object strongly to painting this in any terms of black and white – if Copyright is to survive and creators are to be protected, then something has to happen that’s workable in the context of the internet, otherwise it will become entirely irrelevant whether its moral or not.

  209. BTW – and somebody else can confirm this. I’m pretty sure that the act of downloading something from the interwebs, technically, isn’t a crime of anykind nor, technically pirating. I think that’s the UK legal position anyway.

    The act of “uploading” the content and sharing it is what gets you caught out – so P2P file sharing is illegal because you’re uploading content to people and making it available, downloading a file from Newsgroups, however, isn’t.

    It *may* well be theft and immoral but it’s not technically a crime to do so. (Ignoring cultures on this planet which just don’t get the concept of IP ‘ownership’ where it would be neither…)

    Hence my statements about just how complicated messed up this is as an area and just blaming one side of the equation doesn’t make any sense to me.

  210. Why do conservatives not consider Fox News a legitimate news source? It’s the most watched network, yet I always hear them say things like, “Because all the media is trying to get Obama re-elected…”

    Just always seemed odd to me.

  211. Daveon@2:49, that’s just silly. Morality is far more complicated than “only what everyone agrees to”. If it were, then it would be a libertarian dream come true because they would insist they agree to nothing imposed from anyone else and therefore no laws can be imposed on them. Ists just silliness at that point.

    ip law has moral grounding in America. There is no “but it was easier to pirate it, so thats moral too” exclusion cllause.

  212. Daveon@2:53, downloading isnt illegal anymor, only uploading is??

    say what???

    How can you render any sort of intelligent judgement about the legitimacy of IP law if you don’t know IP law at even a rudimentary level? If you don’t understand the law, your opinion of the law can be nothing more than what other people tell you.

  213. Greg, I think you’re deliberately trying to be unpleasant here which doesn’t really help does it.

    Yes, there are jurisdictions where the act of downloading pirated content is not a crime. It may interest you to know that there is a large English speaking country where the act of ripping a DVD you own to an MP3 player infringes copyright. And according to what I have read on IP law, copyright infringement isn’t legally theft either.

    The problem with IP law is that practically NOBODY seems to have a handle on it. Unless you’re telling me all these billion dollar IP law suits the mobile phone companies are throwing at each other are a sign of a healthy system of well informed experts who know what they’re talking about?

  214. Ah, ok, my bad… the UK cleaned up the ripping CDs problem in 2010 with the Digital Economy Act but that appears to have introduced a whole other set of unworkable law and problems. Geez… this stuff is actually more of a mess than I thought it was.

  215. Daveon, in the US, there’s a huge frackas over the fact that the record companies are bringing lawsuits against people for downloading a few songs illegally. Downloading is definitely infringement. I’m not aware of any first world country where it is, though I do confess to being mostly focused on American law cause that’s the law that affects me.

    Are you American?

    The other point is that most copyright violations are infringement, and infringement is usually dealt with via a lawsuit by the copyright holder against the infringer.

    One specific exception to this is the DMCA makes it a *crime* to circumvent encryption technology. See the DVD-Jon case and his deCSS software. He was facing jail time for that.

    But for the vast majority of copyright laws, infringement is dealt with by the copyright owner suing the infringer for damages, instead of the act of infringement being a crime that is prosecuted.

    I’m not trying to be deliberately unpleasant here. But I am trying to point out that for as long and loud that you have railed against the injustice of IP law, every time you discuss some specific circumstance of IP law, you have gotten the details wrong.

    And the thing that raises a red flag for me is that even though this is a consistent pattern (you say something about IP law, I explain how you’ve got it entirely wrong), that has yet to cause you to either *acknowledge* a single error on your part, nor has it caused you to *reconsider* your position on the injustice of IP law.

    As for the “billion dollar IP law suits” you mention, I have no idea what specific case you’re talking about, and you keep changing topics. Because copyright is mostly based on the owner recovering damages via a *lawsuit*, yes, you are going to see organizations sue one another when they think infringement occurred. And its up to the judges and courts to deal with the specifics.

    This, in the end, is about the only consistent but specific thing I’ve found in your posts: You seem to hate it that the courts are involved at all.

    At the same time, you complain that the LAW is behind the times. Sure, that’s how it works. And the way the LAW keeps up with the changes in technology is through the courts. That’s how it has worked for two hundred years. Major legislation is introduced every decade or two, and the courts fill in the gaps.

    You keep saying it needs a rewrite from the ground up, but nothing you write today will be fully up to date after six months. At which point, the *courts* will have to fill in the gaps. You seem to have completely ignored just how much what you’re saying is summed up in that XKCD cartoon.

  216. Are you American?

    As I’ve made clear I am not.

    you say something about IP law, I explain how you’ve got it entirely wrong

    I agree that you believe that is what you are doing.

    And the thing that raises a red flag for me is that even though this is a consistent pattern (you say something about IP law, I explain how you’ve got it entirely wrong), that has yet to cause you to either *acknowledge* a single error on your part, nor has it caused you to *reconsider* your position on the injustice of IP law

    How many more times can I say that I hold contradictory personal opinions on this and that you are quite right that part of the problem is that people are complicated and so is this as an article of law?

    You are correct in many of your points. Happy?

    It doesn’t solve the problem though, because as you’ve pointed out people are complicated as is this as an area of law and mortality.

    As for ‘injustice’, I have said, since the start of this that I see no injustice in copyright – I believe very strongly that content creators should be rewarded and their rights protected. My issue remains that while that remains true, the publishers of content are not helping themselves by trying to block access and control content which is essentially out in the public domain whether you like it or not. Are people amoral for doing this? Probably. Does it affect the fact it’s being done? Nope. Not one jot. Can you realistically enforce any kind of preventative framework on the internet through prohibition? Best of luck on that.

    On the subject of IP law (software patents), a separate issue, which I also said up thread, I am less concerned about ‘injustice’ than I am with a completely unworkable system that is actually preventing and impeding innovation and certainly not protecting small inventors. That Apple, Nokia, Qualcomm, Motorola, HTC, and many, many others are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in tit for tat law suits that are basically playing pass the parcel on stacks of prior art and previous patents then things are just out of control.

    AI am very sorry I can’t give you a ‘clean’ answer or completely black and white statement of position on that because, simply put, there isn’t one.

    BTW – a quick googling suggests that Canada, the Netherlands and Russia had no laws for downloading content. Russia, apparently still doesn’t – or rather they’ve created a fake fig leaf of a law which solves nothing.

    I stand by my position. The current state of affairs is not fit for purpose and if it doesn’t get addressed then no amount of moral outrage will save it.

  217. BTW – thanks to your demands I check my facts more, I have done, and you’ll be pleased to know that I was wrong.

    The situation with regard to home taping, mix tapes and so forth in the UK was much, much worse than I thought it had been in terms of criminalising people.

    This, sadly, did not surprise me in the least.

  218. Daveon: How many more times can I say that I hold contradictory personal opinions on this

    I reckon I should stop trying to find logical consistency in your arguments then.

    no amount of moral outrage will save it.

    Ah, well, you are consistent on this. Anyone saying anything negative about piracy is expressing “moral outrage”, they are ” painting this in any terms of black and white”, or must be trying to “criminalise huge parts of the otherwise blameless population”, etc, etc.

    I stand by my position.

    You stand by your positions, and some of them are mutually exclusive of each other.

    I think we’re at an impasse. I think a discussion of law ought to be able to find logically consistent principles upon which to create the specific legal structures.

    You admit you hold contradictory positions on this whole thing, and about the only things you consistently say is that its so bad we have to rewrite it from the ground up, and anyone who says otherwise is trying to criminalize people who are blameless.

    I can’t see how we can start from those to points and find any common ground whatsoever.

  219. I think a discussion of law ought to be able to find logically consistent principles upon which to create the specific legal structures.

    You mentioned that things are complicated? Well there you go. Yes we should, and in the case of Copyrights and current international copyright laws there are no logically consistent principles which I can ascertain, at least not without being a flaming hypocrite!

    Anyone saying anything negative about piracy is expressing “moral outrage”, they are ” painting this in any terms of black and white”, or must be trying to “criminalise huge parts of the otherwise blameless population”, etc, etc.

    Actually that is not what I’ve been saying at all, that’s what you’ve been reading into what I say, regardless of how many times I say this isn’t the case. Which does render us at an impasse even if we could find common ground because you seem determined to read what I’m saying in a certain type of way.

    The problem here is having a definition of “piracy” that we can agree on and agreeing that all forms thereof are equal. Did I pirate the rugby world cup by streaming it from the UK via VPN EVEN thought I’d paid NBC Universal for something I couldn’t use and couldn’t get refunded? Is the person downloading an episode of Glee in Australia the same kind of pirate as the person who not only downloads The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo and then sells it on DVD? Is the person watching a John Stewart rant on YouTube a pirate (Viacomm certainly think they are and what about the person who uploaded it in the first place?)

    I don’t have answers to those questions, and if you’re not going to be “black and white” on this, neither do you… at least I suspect you don’t.

    I can’t see how we can start from those to points and find any common ground whatsoever.

    Which is pretty much the point I have hamfistidly been trying to make. For one thing, I’m not even sure we could remotely agree on what might constitute common ground! Hell, I’ve a friend who actually does this stuff for a living and she isn’t entirely sure what the ground for some of this stuff even looks like!

  220. Greg: Daveon, in the US, there’s a huge frackas over the fact that the record companies are bringing lawsuits against people for downloading a few songs illegally. Downloading is definitely infringement. I’m not aware of any first world country where it is, though I do confess to being mostly focused on American law cause that’s the law that affects me.
    For what it’s worth, in the Netherlands it’s exactly as Daveon said, downloading is legal, uploading is not. I’d like to think we’re a first world country. ;-)

    (For now, anyway. ACTA is rumbling, and who knows what that will bring.)

  221. Doc Rocketscience @ January 24, 2012 at 9:07 pm, I was pondering this a bit and I was wondering, what do you think of Keith Olbermann? Rachel Maddow? Also, what is your preferred personality source of news in the world? i.e. who do you generally prefer to watch/read/whatever?

  222. Not sure why it matters*, but:

    Olbermann puts on a good show. But that’s because he’s a sportscaster by nature. I’m less impressed by his appropriations of Murrow. I like his bombast more when he’s talking baseball. I’m not really surprised he keeps getting fired.

    As for Maddow, her radio show bores me to sleep. She’s not much better on TV, though she seems a good interviewer. I have a lot of sympathy for her, however, because not only is she a woman, she’s a somewhat masculine-looking woman who’d be called a lesbian regardless of her actual orientation*. To an unfortunately large portion of the population, that makes her an easy target for ridicule and dismissal.

    * If you’re trying to catch me in some kind of logical inconsistency, realize that it would be like calling me out for liking Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream, but avoiding the Dreyer’s version. I don’t have to justify it, I just prefer one over the other.

    ** Personally, I don’t know, and I don’t care. Also, I am aware that Greenwald is gay, and that that is part of the reason he resides in Brazil. But he’s such a pompous jerk about that I lose much of that sympathy.

  223. Doc, thanks. It matters only in that I was curious of your opinion and if you might see something I wasnt seeing. I often check in with my wife to get her opinion for the same reason. I havent seen or heard Greenwald, so I have no opinion about his public speaking. He may be a heinous man, but since I’ve no experience with it, it doesnt affect my assessment of the value of his articles, which is the limit of my experience of him. I didnt know he was gay, but that doesnt affect things for me either. I didnt know he was in Brazil, but I dont *think* that will affect my assessments. But opinions can be subtle.

    I like Olbermann ever since he ripped Bush a rightly deserved new asshole a few years back. Lefties being notorious for snatching defeat from the kaws of victory, and for prioritizing agreement over principles, I think the left could use more Olbermann. Obama’s tendancy to preemptively capitulate to Republican future demands only reinfoces that. Maddow seems more informai

  224. (phone glitch)

    Maddow seems more informative than Olbermann at times, but definitely doesnt have his level of energy. So her shows seem a bit slow at times for me. I havent listened to her radio shows. So I dont inow about that.

    All of which tells me that we have similar subjective assessment guages, though mine are probably more insensitive. My wife can clearly pick up more nuances than me. When she points them out I can usually eee them.

    I’m just left wondering even if it turned out that I thought Greenwald was a raging asshole or a complete mother teresa, would it affect my opinion of his work or words. I think if he was preaching fidelity in marriage but had been divorced 5 times that probanly would affect me. But if he’s preaching human rights and due process and constitutional commitments, in a world where the president is assassinating citizens and imprisoned hundred of innocent people for years and denying them a single day in court and protecting a decade of torture, I dont know if would bother me that Greenwald is a jerk in person.

    maybe it should. Or maybe the lesson is that it does matter for other people and what do I do with that information.

  225. *shrug* And maybe I shouldn’t let my opinions about him personally affect how I read his articles. But I do. I’m only human. So, when I disagree in general, and think he’s a jerk, then I start to see red. It’s like (for me) the difference between reading David Brooks and Ann Coulter – I think they’re both generally wrong, Brooks less than Coulter, but only one of them makes me want to eat puppies. :)

  226. For comparison, do you find you generally agree or disagree with the conclusions that Olbermann or Maddow reach?

    As for Coulter, I’ve seen enough of her extremist positions that she could be a saint on TV and I wouldnt listen to her.

  227. Eh, in very general terms, without going into specific issues, I’d have to say I agree with both more often than not, but not by much. That being said, and again without going into specifics, they both have some key positions that define them that I don’t agree with. I view myself as a liberal pragmatist; they’re more idealistic.

  228. Australians with whom I conversed knew a lot about Newt Skywalker.

    I have returned to California this morning (28 Jan 2012) from the Research Station on Heron Island Nature Preserve, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia.

    I had presented for 50-minutes on “Complex Systems Theory and Science Fiction” to a transdisciplinary group of faculty and students at the 2nd week of a 2-week workshop on Complex Systems Theory, and chaired the Wednesday morning sessions. I was offered, and accepted, a visiting professorship, part time,.the details to be disclosed upon higher-ups signing the agreement, and a funding agreement with a 3rd party.

    Am catching up on mail and messages, need to see physical therapist and attorney, on appointments made just before the Australia trip, hence busy.

    – Jonathan Vos Post

  229. Sites like Megaupload being shuttered will result in a reduction of legal sales.

    I’ve spent thousands of dollars (likely 10s of thousands since the 80s and BBSes, where it all started) due to piracy of authors and artists I never would have heard of.

    I can’t believe how many people are so clueless about this — that a download almost never results in a lost sale, and that the media companies don’t really care about piracy. Their real goal is to shutter legitimate competing content with the cudgel or piracy.

    That’s what SOPA/PIPA is all about.

    I can’t believe how readily folks buy into their propaganda. Amazing how susceptible people are to it.

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