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    • CommentTimeJul 29th 2008
    @entzauberung - Yeh I know, and there's a lot of bands I wouldn't have heard of (Opeth included) without filesharing, which means a lot of bands that wouldn't have got any money off me without me stealing their music first. It's a double-edged sword and I'm not completely one-sided over it, I just get fed up with the excuses people give because they don't want to have to think about what they're doing.

    At the same time, I was downloading Opeth songs and stuff before things like MySpace were about, when the only way to hear a free sample was through a shit sounding RealPlayer file (never understood why anyone used RealPlayer but it used to be really popular). Nowdays I'll often buy an album based on hearing a couple of tracks on the bands myspace or their website or something. It's not like it's impossible to hear new bands without going to The Pirate Bay these days.
    • CommentTimeJul 29th 2008
    Fundamentally what you are looking at with the piracy issue is the reduction of all musicians (and filmmakers to a lesser extent) to the level of street performers.

    "Um, hey guys.... you have been standing here for an hour... and i love that you are really appreciating the music i have worked so hard to master and these songs i have poured my soul into writing... and i do love that you have called up your friends and gotten them to watch me play too..... but, um... maybe could you give me a dollar or two to make this monentarily worth my while?"


    "Um, please? I think i kinda deserve it... I spend so many hours rehearsing and-"


    The idea of IP address trackers does creep me out SEVERELY... It is too big brotherish... it opens a door to monitoring the internet in a way that makes my stomach cramp. Unfortunately the great unwashed masses of thieves bring it down upon us all... just like the actions of terrorists support the development of police states.

    You want the new business model as Lord Blye forsees it?

    "You want to make money off of your song? We here at cocacola are offering to X buckaroos if you work the line 'coke is it' into your song. Either that or you can sell the song outright to us for XX buckaroos and we will completely bastardize it and use it as our next jingle"

    "Man, i really don't want the people who have been stealing my songs off of the internet to think i am a sell out...... But i have kids to feed, i really would like to give up my day job so i can devote more time to the music people so love to steal... and maybe even afford to go on tour... It's a deal Mr. Coke Man."

    Music turns into TV.... and not the quality programing of pay television but the mediocrity of corporation ass kissing network television.

    As you might guess, i haven't illegally downloaded a song since my first napsterheyday era computer with 2000 stolen songs died, and when i was about to start restealing them all... i took a moment and realized what i'd been doing. I buy an average of 1 cd a week and when looking around at my friends and family... i feel like i am the only person left on the face of the planet supporting the music industry.

    If you write a song that touches people's hearts and changes their lives you DESERVE to make a bajillion dollars. You DESERVE a house in malibu because you have made the world a better place.

    And this comic which we all so gratefully read for free here....
    after every issue doesn't it make you want to go out and pick out more of Sr. Ellis's work?
    I know it does me.
    It may be a wonderfully generous act on his part to impart this gift unto us humble masses... but it is also a wonderful bit of advertising. I would never dare say that is the "point", in fear of accusing our gratious host of ulterior motives... but it sure does work... at least on this cowboy.
    The thing is.... he GIVES it to us to read for free... we don't rip it out of his hands and say "We DESERVE this".
    • CommentAuthorKradlum
    • CommentTimeJul 29th 2008
    The BBC had a blog piece on product placement in the UK charts just yesterday.

    As for IP address trackeng, your ISP already does it.
  1.  (3092.4)
    Piracy is stealing. It just is.

    However, it can also be terrific marketing. The fact is, from a consumer's perspective, media can be had for free all over the place, such as the radio or TV airwaves, or borrowing a friend's copy. Nobody reasonably thinks there's a moral transgression in borrowing a DVD or a book.

    Is there really a colossal difference between downloading a digital copy of a comic or Byrne-stealing it at the rack of your local comic shop?

    Sure, as a creator, I'd rather people bought up copies of DOSE, but I'm just starting out. If somebody reads it for free and then emails it to a friend, at least I've made a couple new fans who are going to keep an eye out for more work from me. Somewhere down the line it's going to result in increased sales for me, because if my work comes to mean something to people, some of them are going to want to have it. There's a need to possess. Like the evil doctor said, "We're in a strange relationship with our fiction."

    I think the bulk of piracy leans toward the mix tapes I used to make with my friends that introduced us to new bands rather than saved us the need to buy anything. Sure there are hoarders and people producing low-quality knock-offs, but I still believe people disseminating the product comprise the majority, and ultimately, that benefits me more than it harms. It pretty demonstrably does both, but in the final analysis, I'm just glad to be building an audience. If people are reproducing it, at least they like it. I can find a way to profit by that. I can find a way to control it by putting it up on my own site. Why, for example, would you download a bootleg copy of THE ONION when you can simply go their website and enjoy?

    Creative memes are viruses, and viruses either grow or they die.
    • CommentAuthorbiglig
    • CommentTimeJul 29th 2008
    @Brendan That reminds me of another point: none of this has anything to do with the commercial bootleggers who make money from copies.

    @Reynolds Sorry, I forgot you CCed your book. Actually I keep forgetting to buy your book as well, so let me do some clicking on your affiliate link to Amazon... Hmm, does that work just for your book, or also for the other things I buy in the same transaction? If so, I want to make it clear that those DVDs I also bought are for a friend, not me.

    Ah, and that reminds me of another way to make money that I left out. Make the physical container for the bits nicer than just the bits. I'll enjoy having Tom's book as a physical object. CDs don't have this effect, because I rip them and throw them in a box under the stairs. Comic books and graphic novels have this the most; also nice old second hand books. LPs used to have it - guess it must be the size of the artwork. DVDs have it (for me) because I like special features, and they're hard to rip. If I didn't, if I just wanted to see the film, I'd pull it off the internet.
  2.  (3092.6)
    @biglig Indeed, having a physical artifact is often part of the experience of owning something, it's why I have singles and trades of Transmetropolitan (but...shush... Don't tell Warren I also have scans sitting on my computer for when I want to read it on the go...)

    And that little parenthesis comment makes me wonder why the big companies don't offer downloads for comics, surely there could be a big market for them, even a subscription model. 'iTunes for comics', legal downloads that build a desire for physical objects either as trades or singles. Hmmm. That needs more thought methinks.

    For those that are interested, two links, the first is Becky Hogge of ORG, Andy burnham (culture minister) and Billy Bragg on the Today programme talking about the warning letters. Bragg is a sensible lad.

    (this link may be time limited)

    Second the rather awful coverage of the same subject on Channel Four news.

    What is interesting is that if the surveys are right, then there are a hell of a lot of criminals in the UK, and with that number of people breaking the law isn't it a sign that the law needs to change?
    • CommentAuthorheresybob
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2008
    I believe your rant deals with a very important issue more so about the acceptance of restrictive laws by society and the slow acceptance of technology.

    Your privacy is a myth for two reasons. First, your behavior is only private until someone declares a law against it.
    Right now, places have passed laws about the use of transfat and smoking. A thousand years ago Islam passed laws against alcohol. And laws against cocaine, the 3-strikes rule, "I work for homeland security" (ad nauseum) are recent examples. The reason why governments pass these laws is either a core group of individuals believe "this is the way things SHOULD be" or a large group of people agree this change is "for the greater good."

    Once the law exists, the government has a reason to intervene ("for the greater good" or the "what about the children" argument). While RIAA is trying to change the law, it's also trying to change behavior. Such behavior change, via legal means, starts with suing small individuals who have to settle, which then lead to large behavioral changes (getting ISPs to monitor you and reveal your internet traffic). For some of us who have been following this legal behavior pattern (imminent domain, gay marriage rights), we lost the battle at Napster, allowing the camel's nose into the tent.

    Second, technology is being used in new ways everyday. In a bizarre tribute to two of its greatest authors, Orwell and Alan Moore, England believes it's safer by having CCTV on every fucking corner. On the other hand, the fucking USA can't actually listen to your phone calls, but it can gather data how, when and who you call, apply an algorithm and decide your threat level. Once technology is successfully used, it only spreads, it is never reduced - with the exception of widespread destructive technology - that technology path favors precision (killing targets such as people, buildings, resources or combinations thereof) rather than more ubiquitous use. Once technology is used to solve problems, technology is refined to be a better problem solvers (this is why we have 50 different types of hammers - each one does a special job).

    Also, we voluntarily give up our privacy because we perceive the adoption of technology is cool - but technology has a way of biting us. How many young people across the world are taking pictures of themselves nude and posting them to their friends? It's innocent sexual behavior, but with technology that can do facial mapping, IP telephony mapping and digital watermarking - we can identify these people. Depending on our society: we can allow the little perverts to continue and endorse them, we look the other way (unofficially condoning the behavior) or we can punish them. But it doesn't stop there: all SORTS of behavior on youtube/porntube/cakefart/2G1C are being posted - and if we pass a law outlawing the behavior, well, those participants are immediately suspect. Like all the guys named "Mohammad" today having troubles traveling by air because the pattern of a Middle Eastern name and appearance, those innocent little perverts will be marked, tagged, id, categorized and numbered by a very large system of interconnected computer programs. We're looking at a future president's shaved pussy today, at a future senator's ass tattoo tomorrow. "It was photoshopped" is the new hotness replacing the old and busted "I didn't inhale."

    The other price of technology is the ubiquitous nature: businesses posted cameras in stores to prevent shoplifting and robbery. We installed cameras in our homes to watch the nannies beat our children, our spouses cheat on our families and catch our uncles preying on our boys. Soon thereafter, CCTV became justified. It's a natural acceptance - the government isn't preventing you from walking down the street where the hookers are, but they are going to take pictures of you when you do. Same with downloading music: government isn't going to stop you, but when you ARE caught, they will have proof.

    So if there's no privacy, what's the point of this post? The tyranny of the majority is about ensuring the dominant culture remains dominant. Laws punish the law breaker not because he or she broke the law - it's because he or she got caught. The risk of getting caught is proportional to your status and the number of your enemies while your status may prevent real jailtime, the loss of that status is part of the punishment.

    What's the lesson of this longwinded post? Your behavior (current and previous) will be used against you - whether you think its private or not is immaterial. Keep on sharing and stealing music until it becomes too risky for you to do so. The punishment is a loss of your current social privileges, so staying under the social radar helps you when you ARE caught - unless you have very good lawyers and public relations, you will have less to fall.
    • CommentAuthorheresybob
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2008
    Of course, I do not endorse bending to the will of corporate asshats. :)
  3.  (3092.9)
    Once technology is successfully used, it only spreads, it is never reduced

    Not true (and I'm not trying to be an asshat), but ration cards aren't used in the UK any more, VCRs are being removed from shop shelves, we don't use 8-tracks anymore. Speed cameras are being taken down in at least one council and another council is tearing up the speedhumps. An NHS trust is opting out of the NHS IT project.

    In concern to your larger post - it used to be a terrible loss of status to be gay and in public life. Today, not so much. Social mores change and not always for the worst.

    Will privacy be the next big campaign point? Will it involve struggle against consensus and the government? Almost certainly, but such changes have occurred before and will certainly occur again and its up to people like us to make sure that it's a change for the better.
    • CommentAuthorheresybob
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2008
    @Reynolds no asshatness detected, but I believe you're looking at implementation details not the behavior the technology affords.

    Compare 8 tracks to MP3s. Compare VCRs to AVI files. 8 tracks requires: 1 a player, a physical medium (the 8 track), a sound system (large and clunky when dealing with systems from 30+ years ago) and large ass speaker cones. Each device requires more resources.

    MP3s now require small computers (Ipod nano), there's no physical shipping of the media necessary (just plug into a computer, or a la Zune bluetooth), the sound system can actually be any vibrating device (look at these babies: AVI files are going the same way (yay, bittorrent!).

    My argument isn't that 8-tracks are being used less but that technology to listen to music are being used more often, by more people, and require fewer resources (money, time preparation, even space to hold/organize your music collection).

    Regarding gay/public life, you're adding a value judgment that I tried to sidestep. Yes, being gay and out is (thankfully) becoming normalized, but what if you're into 2 Girls 1 Cup (fecalphilia), beastiality or (**horrors**) child pornography? Remember, that less than 200 years ago, the concept of "childhood" didn't exist in the way it does now. 2000 years ago, Romans would buy young children as "household servants" and they pretty much had impunity to fuck what they wanted to, as long as they didn't make too many enemies along the way. The ethics of today ("poo is bad!") is not the same as the ethics of tomorrow - they change over time, and they vacillate. Gay people may be gaining acceptance today, but in many nations, they are still being beheaded. (Personally, I also think that the fight for marriage was counter productive and extremely self-centered - fighting for other people to be able to keep their heads is much more meaningful.)

    As for speed cameras, let's look at the overall adoption rate: many more are going up over taking them down especially since they are recognized as a revenue source. The ratio is so out of balance, one wonders about the general adoption into the price of urban planning (i.e. the cost of building a new road will include the cost of the asphalt, the time/building hours, and the cameras to plug into the existing camera systems).

    A good comic this thread reminds me of is The Extremist ( Milligan and McKeever. Which would make an EXCELLENT movie.
    • CommentAuthorcjstevens
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2008

    Your rant is more unwieldy and off-kilter than mine, but this is good!

    See the piracy laws run parallel with loads of other aspects of government and control that piss me off and cause me to diatribe on society and possibly offend people.

    Things like the recent controversy over BP profits and the bonus's received by Network Rail that I read in the Metro everyday - and I'm sure that paper is gonna be the catalyst for an uprising.
    The way government keep telling us they are doing things for our benefit ( congestion/emmision charging/parking restrictions and fines) when they just need to increase revenue.
    I believe in the free market but there has to be some modifications to the current system, and piracy and freedom of information/art distribution are important.
  4.  (3092.12)

    I think this needs it\s own thread, something like 'how society reacts to technology'. Which makes me start thinking about forum software that allows forking discussions and the coming together of similar threads as a function of how it is presented rather than through the actions of moderators.

    But now I'm running late for work.
    • CommentTimeJul 30th 2008

    I was thinking the same thing, but was waiting to see if the thread would figure itself out or just die, finally. I don't know if we've really done "privacy on the internet", but frankly, I don't care. If someone wants to make that thread, I might pop in.

    And the amount of AI involved in what you suggest inre: forum threads may be staggering. But I think, given enough time and caffeine, Ariana could figure it out.
    • CommentAuthorKradlum
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2008 edited
    The way government keep telling us they are doing things for our benefit ( congestion/emmision charging/parking restrictions and fines) when they just need to increase revenue.

    Can you imagine what London would be like if the 3 million people who currently use public transport to get to work each day took their car instead? They don't, because the congestion/emission charging/parking restrictions and fines act as a stick and the income (from the congestion charge at least) subsidises public transport, the carrot, which means the people that do drive into central London each day can actually move, rather than be stuck in 24 hour gridlock. It is for our benefit, although they wouldn't have to do it if so many of the population weren't self-centred and selfish with no sense of their own responsibilities but a heightened sense of their so-called rights.
    • CommentAuthorheresybob
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2008
    @cjstevens Rant? I am a sad Bob. I thought it was rather calm :)

    Wow - talk about timely, even Google doesn't believe in "complete privacy".
    • CommentAuthorcjstevens
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2008

    I'm sorry but you are insane. Everything you said about the London transportation system is just plain wrong. Do you work for TFL??!
    Train fares are so high that it probably works out cheaper to drive!!
    The congestion charge is just a poor tax that hits tradesmen making room for the high-earners to cruise around in their Bentleys!
    It has been proved the emmision charge will actually increase overall emmisions.
    Over priced and over invigilated parking charges are just killing local business.

    But anyway, back to our lovely debate about freedom and access of information...
  5.  (3092.17)
    Hmmm thinking about hw to thread and rethread discussions I'm not thinking AI but instead some sort of community consensus, similar to the vote up/vote down that you see on some forums. So the readers of this very post could vote for it to split into it's own thread, or to join it with another one.

    Ariana, am I being a pillock for thinking that something like this, while work, isn't impossible?

    And that's the last I'll say on it, and will let the tread get back to it's topic while I apologise for using it to think out loud.

    (Not a suggestion for this forum to change, more hitting on your expertise and experience as to the feasibility of the idea)
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2008
    Hmmm thinking about hw to thread and rethread discussions I'm not thinking AI but instead some sort of community consensus, similar to the vote up/vote down that you see on some forums. So the readers of this very post could vote for it to split into it's own thread, or to join it with another one.

    Ariana, am I being a pillock for thinking that something like this, while work, isn't impossible?
    Well, Wikipedia's been doing that sort of thing for years (merging and splitting articles, on consensus of contributors). But it's not really necessary on a forum where there's no solid rule about what's a post and what's not. I trust your artificial intelligences can see if a thread is drifting to the point where it needs to be split, and redundant threads are often linked to the original and closed.
      CommentAuthorJon Wake
    • CommentTimeJul 31st 2008
    Im wondering if anyone has any actual data on the estimated loss to the artist attributed to internet piracy? Every time I hear this argument come up, there's moralizing, ethical statements, and personal beliefs, but never do I hear just how much money piracy cost someone. In fact, the only time I hear anyone talk about the pragmatic costs of piracy, it's more often than not positive, i.e., wider audience exposure.
    Separating your personal feelings from the subject for a moment, how much does piracy cost the artist?
  6.  (3092.20)
    That bloody swine* Doctorow has gone and written a good piece on this very subject.

    Whereas before, anyone who wanted your ISP to spy on your internet connection would have had to show evidence to a judge and get a court order, now any joker who claims to be an aggrieved copyright holder can do so.

    *I call him a swine because he writes clearly about some complex issues in a way I wish I could - it's pure jealousy.