Archive for the ‘“piracy”’ Category

a beautiful and “important service announcement”

April 28, 2011

Flattr (or more precisely, the email I received from them today) now seems to say something like, “if you feel you contribute, then let people shower you…even pennies, if they are so generous”. If one (or a corporation of) artist(s) and/or engineer(s) believes they contribute, they’d be wise to allow themselves flattery. Hell, even if you make things you don’t believe contribute, you might as well with this change:

we decided to drop any rules that made the service restrictive or outright complicated

And you want to put him and his helpers in jail?

p.s. I think one more restriction should be waived. Payment. It would be good to be able to flattr things for zero money and/or ideally, with an “appreciate” count (e.g. “like”, “+1”, etc.). What if we can’t afford even pennies at some time of our life, yet want to contribute by showing a way of support by tally?

p.p.s. If you (or “you”) liked this post, you can flattr it here. If you like this (more than 5 years now!) blog in general, you can flattr it here.


free speech, not free пиво

September 12, 2010

Russian authorities are using the pretext of copyright enforcement to suppress dissent. Unfortunately, the dissenters are often using Microsoft’s proprietary software for their activity, giving the police an excuse to hassle them. To solve this problem, the activists should use Free software like the GNU/Linux operating system. While Free software can’t ensure the Russian police won’t forcibly stop acts of free speech, it would serve well to defeat this ostensible reason.

a national anthem for Canad-arr!

April 14, 2010

With this news, I thought I’d propose an alternative anthem:

O Canad-arr!
Our rights and Internet
True law reform of patents we shall get
Through peer to peer we seed and leech,
The bandwidth broad and free
From far and wide,
O Canad-arr, share your files with glee
Courts keep our net neutral and free
O Canad-arr, share your files with glee
O Canad-arr, share your files with glee

dear lily, adjust your sails

September 26, 2009

I hadn’t heard of Lily Allen until her thoughtless, ranting, anti-filesharing babble went mainstream. I also hadn’t heard of Dan Bull.

proprietary software needs “piracy”

September 22, 2009

Let’s say the Wal-Mart Corporation could wave a magic wand, putting an end to all shoplifting from their stores. Would they? Let’s say the Microsoft Corporation could wave a magic wand, putting an end to all unauthorized distribution of their software. Would they? Perhaps surprisingly to some, the answers to these two questions are polar opposites. It would seem there’s not much difference between the two suggestions, right? After all, unauthorized distribution of software is “stealing” – just like shoplifting. It is to commit “theft”, so they say. It would be absurd not to stop people stealing from your business.

Organizations like the BSA claim that “piracy” does “harm” to the proprietary software industry. However, it’s “piracy” that keeps their ship from sinking quickly. Without “piracy”, one of the biggest obstacles to Free software adoption would be removed. To claim that “economic viability is threatened” with billions in losses is to twist the truth by ignoring the bigger picture. Without “piracy”, the actual losses would put those numbers to shame. The more Free software gains traction, the more “piracy” becomes proprietary software’s life jacket.

“thanks”, brokep

July 6, 2009

Apparently, some Pirate Bay users are unhappy that the site is being (has been?) sold. I’m not sure why there’s gloom – it’s just a site. Instructions to download similar files can be (and are) hosted on other sites. For nostalgia, some may desire the name “Pirate Bay” to refer to an uncompromising domain (it’s quite possible users may see the site compromised in the future) – but nostalgia is useless.

The money generated from the sale will go to an unnamed foundation that understands the political importance of this issue. As well, the video/audio tags of HTML 5 could (but not necessarily) make the Video Bay a site that needn’t require visitors to install any proprietary software on their machines in order to have a quality experience. The avoidance of proprietary software is what makes “breaking” any technical restriction as easy as slipping out of Jell-O handcuffs.

What I did notice is that the Video Bay asks one to register with an email address and tag it with a username. I sympathize when it comes to those posting, but it’s unclear to me why one who simply wants to watch/listen to and/or download a file must register.  So while my thanks are sincere, they do come with scare quotes. This is more information about you in the hands of others. Why does the Video Bay require this? Will it always operate this way?

i HAD to OPIne

March 11, 2009

Nate Anderson at Ars has an article labeling the drafted “HADOPI” law as “anti-P2P”, but it’s much worse. The law not only attacks p2p activities of the wired citizenry, but threatens to cut computer users off from Internet access entirely. If citizens are perceived to be sharing unauthorized works, a 3-strikes-you’re-censored response would take effect. While it’s impossible to imagine any justified trade-off in this approach, what’s proposed is insulting:

In return, French DVDs will appear a couple of months closer to their theatrical release date and music and movie groups will have to drop much of their DRM. Global music trade group IFPI thinks this is a wonderful trade-off.

So in exchange for Global Business Interests at the expense of freedom, digitized French works will be released sooner and stripped of the already ineffective technical restrictions known as DRM. If that isn’t une escroquerie, what is? “Wonderful trade-off” indeed. Beyond the imbalanced nature of this “deal” are other disasterous consequences. The law would require

home Internet users to install certain approved security software and to secure their networks.

Want to create a community of Internet users that share a public commons of bandwidth? Too bad. Doing so would prevent the recording industry from spying on your activity to peg you a “pirate”. Here, the “secure network” doublethink is language of Orwellian stature. It’s no wonder too, why ISPs might wish to support this measure. A legal measure preventing the sharing of bandwidth only serves their interests.

Finally, the insanity of this law is revealed through the handling of users who seek to share information using public wireless access points. To protect corporate media’s 20th-century business modelthe artists, this perceived problem will be taken care of using a “solution” that’s “simple”:

such hotspots would offer only a “white list” of approved websites.

Since the ability to spy on you is lost at the coffee shop or local library, the technology itself shall be declared guilty in advance and on your behalf. Vive la censure!

Back The TRUCK UP: buying v downloading

October 14, 2008

In a recent post on Jefferson, etc. I linked to a video that I had thought I’d seen before and then, upon further review, found out that it wasn’t what I thought it was. Confused? Yeah, me too.

The video I linked to is not properly contextualized to my post. When I posted, I thought I was linking to a video claiming “downloading” unauthorized copies is “stealing”. Instead, I unwittingly linked to a different video claiming “buying” unauthorized copies is “stealing”.


This is a HUGE difference. While it’s still absurd to think of buying unauthorized recordings as “stealing” (perhaps “complicity” if I knowingly do it), I understand why some may get angry and wish to call the sellers “pirates” who “steal”.

Check these videos (one & two) out. They are very, very different. And just to add to the confusion, the one that says “downloading” in the youtube title is the one that plays as “buying” while the youtube title claiming “crime” is the one that plays as “downloading”.

Jefferson, ideas, property, and the constitution

October 8, 2008

Update (Oct.14, 2008): If you make it to the bottom of this post and watch the video, this new post is important.

So I had my IT classes read and paraphrase the following famous quote by Thomas Jefferson that rebukes the claim that ideas be treated as property:

If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. […] Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.

I then had the class find where in the US constitution a provision is made to establish copyright and patent law. Using a search engine, they quickly came up with the appropriate passage from Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

I then asked them to respond to the following question:

Does the clause support or stand in opposition to Jefferson’s argument?

A few struggled with this as the answer appears to be both yes and no. The fact that the constitution establishes “exclusive Right[s]” seems to conflict with Jefferson’s position. Many students immediately saw it this way. My rhetorical follow-up question helped balance their view:

So when you buy a car, how long do you think you should be allowed to keep it?

Our next task is to examine how digital technology and global networks have increased the conflict in an “exclusive Right[s]” environment as compared to our analog past. The plan is to then look at a framework that helps bring 21st-century balance to All Rights Reserved copyright law and find out why many software developers are up in arms over patents.

This unit has been interesting so far. Most students had heard phrases like “intellectual property”, “piracy”, and “stealing” numerous times. In fact, virtually all of them had seen this “educational” video prior to my instruction and held the belief that without All Rights Reserved, artists would not be able to make money. We’ll be examining these phrases and beliefs closely over the coming days.

copyright as “property”? – responding to Doug Johnson

March 31, 2008

Doug Johnson:

Peter, it seems to me (and I am happy to stand corrected), that you are arguing that if you can bring the cost of material and production of something to near zero, one is also obligated to bring the intangible value of that thing to zero as well. Personally, I don’t believe that.

What I’m arguing is that as the cost of copying/storage hits (virtually) zero, the illegitimate pressure put upon the public by the “property” approach is exacerbated. The “property” view (i.e. All Rights Reserved) is inherently antisocial and unethical. A prohibition on sharing is not needed to generate value for works under copyright. What all authors (and lawmakers) are morally obligated to do is allow the public to copy and share culture freely.

So, it seems to me (and I am happy to stand corrected) that Doug argues that if the public is allowed to copy and share, then the economic potential related to works under copyright is brought to (or brought close to) zero. Personally, I don’t believe that, and the evidence suggests otherwise. Forfeiting the “property” approach does not mean giving up any economic value inherent to the work whatsoever. Of course, the economic value of manufacturing material storage (e.g. CDs) and physical shipping may be diminished, but that’s the industry’s problem to solve, not the artist’s. Shipping and handling is not an artistic endeavor. In fact, any artist relying upon shipping and handling as their primary source of income is clearly not authoring art worthy of a livelihood.

Doug’s misunderstanding of my position is significant. If we really felt that artists should be “obligated” to make the value of their work “zero” then we would have to advocate such works be put anonymously in the public domain. In order for a work to have zero economic value to the artist, that artist would have to forfeit attribution and all other identifiable rights under copyright law (even then, it may be difficult to stop some economic value from reaching the artist). Of course, advocating such a position would be absurd. Such a position is the polar extreme of the 20th-century, copyright-as-“property” view Doug holds dear to.