Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Piracy is the Creation of the Content Industy II

The content industry tirelessly whines how piracy is costing them business, but they never seem reflect on their own deceptive business practices to essentially steal from the consumer.  On this issue Marcus Crab wrote: "... the biggest driver of piracy is a lack of legitimate offerings." in his post post: "How To Turn A Legitimate Buyer Into A Pirate In Five Easy Steps".

If companies that sell content wish to complain about piracy, then they need to demonstrate some honesty and integrity on their part.  First, no misleading ads. Second, the ability of the consumer to return content that does not meet their needs. Through their blatant disregard of the consumer, it is the content industry that is promoting piracy.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Clebrating John Glenn's Space Launch

Regretfully, this is really a memorial service. Fifty years on, Glenn's flight remains a giant leap. We like to make many prostrations on how the US is the greatest Nation on earth. When you only have past accomplishments to celebrate instead of new accomplishments you are on a downhill slide.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Piracy is the Creation of the Content Industy

The content industry is creating piracy. How so? Well - the content industry has been actively changing the law to make formerly legal activities criminal in nature. It is time to re-orientate our thinking on this.  Just because there is a "law" does not mean that the "law" should be considered just.

Recently, I posted SOPA/PIPA Follow-Up, Fox News Wants Examples of Media Bias, Steven Titch on SOPA and PIPA for Non-Techies, and Eliminate Piracy Now! in which I raised demonstrated that the content industry has been lobbying to change the copyright law to their benefit and that they are not interested in "compromise".

Mike Masnick, at TechDirt, made a much more extensive analysis in "How Much Is Enough? We've Passed 15 'Anti-Piracy' Laws In The Last 30 Years". Mike notes that the content industry, despite the passage of 15 pieces of favorable legislation, continues to complain that more needs to be done to stop piracy.  Mike concludes with "All we've seen is expansion after expansion after expansion, always using questionable claims of rampant infringement that is supposedly destroying industries. Each time, the various industries would create a moral panic about why this law was absolutely needed. Forgive us for being a bit skeptical. We've seen this game pretty damn frequently."

In reviewing the comments left by readers, I noted that several readers made comments that require further exposure. Cicero raised the issue of property rights. One of the foundations of property rights is that they emerge out of scarcity. Seems to me, that if you have an infinite resource (digital content) then, logically, the (ersatz) property right (to digital content) vaporizes.

TtfnJohn raised the issue of technological advancements. Seems that the content industry believes that advances in technology give them additional rights. Why should it? I would advocate that the content creators are NOT entitled to any new "rights".

Lets look at the example of a paper book. You can take that book anywhere, you can read it anytime, and you can sell it. So why should the development of a new technology give the content creators the "right" to deprive the reader of the ability to read the book out-of-region, to limit your ability to view content at your leisure, or to prevent you from selling it, or to even "brick" your devices.  The content industry should not have a "right" to deprive, at their will, a person of their property rights.

Along the theme expressed above Mike Masnick coincidentally wrote: "MPAA: Ripping DVDs Shouldn't Be Allowed Because It Takes Away Our Ability To Charge You Multiple Times For The Same Content."

To conclude, it is the content industry that is creating the pirates that they claim are destroying their industry. The content industry can solve the piracy problem by compromising with a restoration of the copyright law as it was originally envisioned and recognizing the property rights of those who buy content to freely use it.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Mike Masnick and Steve Forbes had interesting follow-up posts.  Mike Masnick posted a cartoon by Ruben Bolling which once again demonstrates how graphics can be much more descriptive than written narrative. Mr. Bolling even observes an interpretative twist that I have overlooked. That is how can the content industry claim "theft" if the content was created knowing that it would have fallen into the public domain had the law not changed???!!!

Tom the Dancing Bug by Ruben Bolling

Mr. Forbes in "Don't Soft-Soap SOPA" makes certain critical observations. One, that the current public outrage has only "temporarily derailed" the continued the growing trend in eliminating civil liberties in the quest to protect a special interest group. Mr. Bolling, in the cartoon above, illustrates this in the background. Mr. Forbes goes on to say:"SOPA's and PIPA's unwritten agenda seemed to be to throttle the Web for its drastic - and very unwelcome - upending of the traditional way business is done in the entertainment world.  Hollywood has fought every technological advance tooth and nail since the early days of television."

Mr. Forbes goes on to suggest some compromises and alternative approaches using private market solutions rather than government regulation. My quibble with Mr. Forbes' conclusions is that he does not mention rolling back copyright to a more reasonable time duration, to protect the private property rights of the content buyers, or to expand the concept of "fair-use".

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Maybe Europe is Nice After All

I have been taken aback by Romney's unrelentingly campaign rhetoric and unsupported vilification of "failed" European socialism.  I previously raised this concern in my post "Romney on the Economy". Finally, someone else has spoken-up.

Martin Klingst, in a Washington Post opinion piece titled "The GOP’s ‘Europe’ is a land of make-believe", writes "Lately it seems that not a day goes by without a Republican presidential candidate portraying Europe as a socialist nightmare. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum paint a picture of the Old World as unfree, strangulated by bureaucratic and inefficient welfare systems, and unable to reform and modernize. To these Republicans, Europe seems to be the antipode to everything America is meant to be.  ... My problem as a European living in the United States is that it is not Joe the Plumber who is bashing Europe but three longtime politicians who want to be president — people who should know better. ... framing Europe simply as inflexible and outdated, or backward and socialistic, is shortsightedand wrong. Romney, Gingrich and Santorum should know as well as anyone that the globe is no longer flat."

We need to seriously question statements by politicians running for office.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Romney's Fiscal Promise

In winning the Florida primary, Romney made made several promises.  Three of them are listed below.
  1. Taxes will NOT be raised
  2. The budget will be balanced
  3. The  US will have a BIG military.
Seems that all politicians have  a credibility gap between their lofty campaign rhetoric and the realities of managing the country after the election. But there is a solution.  Romney could prepare a draft budget, for public review, documenting on how he will accomplish these goals. He saved the 2002 Winter Olympics, maybe he can save the country. The electorate deserves to see how a candidate will actually propose to accomplish these goals. Let's see a candidate, for a change, fully disclose how they will achieve fiscal responsibility through a draft budget.