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President Obama’s IP Czar Wants To Make Streamed Copyright Violations a Felony

POSTED ON March 22nd  - POSTED IN Government, Law, New Media Order, news, Opinion
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 14:   (L-R) U.S. Int...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

When I first read the headline over at ARS Technica, I did a double take thinking I might have accidentally landed at the Onion News Network by mistake.  After several sharp pinches to assure it was not a dream, I read on:

The Obama administration wants to make sure that the illegal streaming of music and movies over the Internet is a felony, and it also wants to give the federal government wiretap authority in copyright cases.

Victoria Espinel, the Obama administration’s IP Enforcement Coordinator, today released her long-awaited wish list (PDF) of intellectual property law changes. Most focus on counterfeit drugs and economic espionage, but the list does contain three suggestions more likely to have some effect on home Internet users.

The three suggestions, according to ARS Technica, are:

  1. Currently, according to her, distribution and reproducing are a felony.  She thinks it should be extended to streaming
  2. Wire taps – currently, copyright infringement is not a valid reason to authorize a wire tap, she would like to have be a valid reason
  3. Radio station (broadcast) are currently exempt regarding performance right, she would like to kill the exemption

I would only endorse such a policy it it mandated saying “this administration bought from you by the RIAA and MPAA” at the end of every speech read by the administration.

My quick thoughts on each?

  1. No freaking way, make it a felony… like your college fund wasn’t enough!
  2. I think the long term goal is to make the list of valid reasons for a tap so huge that they will announce that, for the sake of simplicity, they have blanket authority
  3. Meh, who cares we are creative commons anyhow… however, broadcast radio is dying off on it’s own I see no need to legislatively assist it

We don’t need more laws.  What we need is already happening, the actual musicians are starting to be self employed and earn a living by fan support without the need of a label or radio station.  Long live the New Media Order.

After All These Years of Blaming the 8-track, Bon Jovi Clears it Up

Steve Jobs shows off iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worl...

Image via Wikipedia - The Slayer of the Music Industry?

I am not always the sharpest tool in the shed.  Often, I should be sentenced to a few hours at the sharpening stone.  This seems to be the case again.

I regret to inform the readers that since, 1976 we have all been misled.  It was not the 8-track piracy that killed the music industry way back in 1976.  Forgive my lack of composure as I try and collect myself from the shock of reality.

For decades, that answer made perfect sense.  We all wanted a tape device that had a reputation for eating its own magnetic guts and that added bonus of that sudden pause in the middle of your song as it attempted to change “tracks”.  Forget not the bonus of tape getting tangled in the player, stretching about six feet before it finally snapping to not only destroying the pricey low quality tape but assuring you the remnants remaining rendered the player useless as well.  I mean why would tech like that just vanish?  Obviously it was sentenced to oblivion by being made illegal.

To think, all this time, we believed that was what saved the industry from destruction due to piracy.  Danger music buffs!  We were wrong, it turns out that the 8-track was just crappy 1970 technology that we didn’t want any more.  It was never made illegal at all.  Then again, it was the 70s and I don’t think but a half dozen people actually remember them.

So what killed the industry?  Well praise be to the omni-knowing, big rogaine haired, wish-we-got-inducted-to-the-rock-hall Jon Bon Jovi for correcting us.  One thing for sure, it involves a bad apple.  Turns out the “death” of the industry that is making more money than ever before is the fault of Steve Jobs:

Kids today have missed the whole experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to 10, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album; and the beauty of taking your allowance money and making a decision based on the jacket, not knowing what the record sounded like, and looking at a couple of still pictures and imagining it…. God, it was a magical, magical time… I hate to sound like an old man now, but I am, and you mark my words, in a generation from now people are going to say: ‘What happened?’ Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business.

Bon Jovi clears the matter up nicely… I mean why should a consumer ever want to know what they are going to buy?  Why don’t we just stop labeling things period?  It would simplify inventory, ordering and shipping.  If your only choice was to order a “mystery box of something”, it would be impossible to get the order wrong or ship to the wrong person.  Even if you did ship it to the wrong person, they would never know since they have no idea what they are getting.  And yes, imagine the excitement  and magic when you open it not knowing whether you are getting a sterling silver silverware set or a box of medical waste!

Call me boring but I want pictures on my menu and, furthermore, I expect my order to look like the picture.  How often do you walk into a resturaunt and just say… “gimme something, anything, cooked any way you wish”?

I have a “magical” idea, let us take every check due to every musician in the world, put it in one really big hat.  Of course, some would be for pennies and others only for a small amount greater around 146.5 million, some would even be payable to bankrupt musicians for negative amounts… So do you think Bon Jovi would like the reaching in for a random payment amount blindfolded?  Of course, if they got Hammer’s check they would find themselves “Livin’ on a Prayer”.

So what does this aging Bon Jovi band do to cope with this “dead” industy?  Why they tour of course…

Rockers Bon Jovi have grossed $146.5 million from their North American shows in the past 12 months, making them the highest-earning touring band of 2010.

And you all thought Metalica got screwed?  I mean a paltry 146.5 million for 12 months work?  Steve, you greedy bastard how could you drive these poor sad excuses for musicians into poverty?  Rumor has it that a Porsche may soon be replaced by a BMW.  I mean can you imaging the embarrassing looks people like MC Hammer will give them?

Let us all hope that the superior talents of  Bieber can save this destitute business from the evils of innovation and technological advancement.  Maybe it is time for “bigger than the Beatles” Oasis to make a come back?

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Indie Band’s Album Tops 1 Million Downloads via BitTorrent

POSTED ON March 18th  - POSTED IN Entertainment, independent music, music, New Media Order, news, Software, Technology
Sick of Sarah – The Roxy Theatre on 5 June 2009

Image via Wikipedia

BitTorrent has been making waves in the news, lately!

Yesterday I wrote about Paramount releasing a feature film via BitTorrent. Also yesterday, TorrentFreak broke the news that indie band Sick of Sarah had broken a BitTorrent record by making their album 2205 available for free via their service.

The album reached 1 million downloads in just 18 days. It may have had something to do with the fact that BitTorrent bundled the album with their software and users had to opt-out if they didn’t want the album.

Still, a download is a download, and topping one million is an impressive feat. Clearbits tracker reported 82,943 seeders as of March 16th, for a music torrent that is unheard of.

One of the reasons Sick of Sarah went with BitTorrent to distribute their album is wanted to reach a greater audience and hoped it would attract people to their concerts and merchandise.

Only time will tell if they actually see an increase in concert attendance and merchandise sales, but it’s safe to say that Sick of Sara has put themselves on the indie music map – and the Internet map in general – simply by being open to distributing their music via BitTorrent.

You can hear Sick of Sarah’s music on indienation.fm.

 

What? A “Bit Torrent Explained” Video on a Music Label Site?

POSTED ON February 18th  - POSTED IN music, New Media Order, news, Opinion
A CD Video Disc (playing side) produced in 1987.

Image via Wikipedia

I love it!  Add to that it is long overdue.  I got wind of this from TorrentFreak and think it is totally kewl.  If you go to the front page of Adamant Records and look just to the right of the Sick of Sarah post, you will find “Bot Torrent Explained“.  I am glad that not every label is drinking the RIAA KookAide (no, I spulled it like that intentionally).

Yes, I am aware that there are others as well.  The Adamant Label is not the first and hopefully not the last.  However, since I am so prone to point out when the music industry does stupid things, I feel I should also not when they do things right.

Bing Caught Using Google?

POSTED ON February 2nd  - POSTED IN music, New Media Order, Stupid Criminals
Search Engine Land: Final Logo

Image by dannysullivan via Flickr

I parallel this one to getting caught with your hand in the search engine cookie jar.  I remember fairly recently reading about how Bing might be slightly more relevant that Google.  Now it turns out, that Bing may actually use Google!  I first got news of this one over at Switched but had to follow back  Search Engine Land.

Google actually set up a sting, using a honey pot and bogus search results, to confirm their suspicions.  Microsoft is not denying it and even refers to the sting as “spy-novelesque stunt”.  They claim that is is part of how they learn form their customers.  I guess blatant copying of your competitor’s search results is noble, valiant and pure.  Of course, now Google can claim that Bing is a “cheap imitation“.

Is it just me, or is a large part of the reason that Googgle’s “Do No Evil” seems to stick to them so well is due to the fact that a major competitor is so talented at attracting dirt and putt entire legs in it’s mouth?  Maybe a tad less “learning from costumers” and some effort to learn from mistakes might be better?

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Legislation Proposed for Video Game Warning Labels

POSTED ON January 29th  - POSTED IN Government, Law, New Media Order, news, Opinion
PWC warning label indicating risk of body cavi...
Image via Wikipedia

In an effort to continue to evoke laughter in the war on stupidity and responsibility, with seemingly much counsel from the Department of Redundancy Department, Representative Joe Baca has re-introduced a video game warning label bill.

House Resolution 400 would add a warning phrase to video games with certain ratings.  This bill is very similar to a bill Baca introduced 2 years ago that never even made it to the floor.  If passed, some games would be labeled “WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior”.

I have heard these claims before but, to date, I can find none of them that link to any studies or research that prove this.  Besides, this whole thing is kind of deja vu and redundant.

Excuse me, if the game is already rated, how is it not labeled already?  It seems a bit overly redundant to me, it is as if I would say the same thing twice.  Is the original rating not a warning? (heh)

You can follow House Resolution 400 over at GovTrack, it has currently been referred to committee.  I hope that it ends just like the earlier bill submitted. May this redundant act too die in committee.

While I admire a “never give up” attitude in certain areas, I think that the lesson that this is just another stupid, unwarranted law, should have been learned two years ago.

President to Appoint RIAA Lawyer as Solicitor General

POSTED ON January 27th  - POSTED IN music, New Media Order, news, Opinion, RIAA

It has been a disturbing trend in recent times for the line between the United States government and US corporations to vanish.  Through lobbying, appointment and campaign contributions many argue and feel that we have not been a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  This author thinks the only part of that phrase they kept was “buy” for now corporation buy the officials to buy the people and force the people to buy whatever they spin.

In my opinion, it is not specific to any party or administration but simply an era of apathy and lies.  Why else do we have a phrase “business as usual in Washington”?

According to Wired:

President Barack Obama nominated former Recording Industry Association of America lawyer Donald Verrilli Jr. on Monday to serve as the nation’s solicitor general.

If confirmed by the Senate, Verilli, now the White House deputy counsel, would assume the powerful position left vacant by Elena Kagan, who was elevated to the Supreme Court. Obama said he was “confident” Verrilli, one of five former RIAA attorneys appointed to the administration, would “serve ably.”

I wonder how many former EFF attorneys are serving on the administration?

RIAA and Others Upset Over Potential Domain Names

POSTED ON January 25th  - POSTED IN New Media Order, news, Opinion, RIAA
A stereotypical caricature of a pirate.

Image via Wikipedia

I always say that the RIAA should stop surprising me, one of these days I am actually going to learn to stop saying that.  I don’t think it is going to happen in this lifetime.  They surpass even the government at being ridiculous.

This time, it is a letter to ICANN.  The RIAA and others, believe that the draft application guidebook (DAG) regarding generic top-level domains (gTLD) needs a few changes.  So the RIAA wants to be involved with law enforcement, government and now domains?  They must have the best KoolAid in their board rooms.

I caught this at SlashDot and followed it back to ArsTechnica.  I read the complaint letter from a “coalition of 15 national and international trade association that represents songwriters, recording artists, music publishers, record labels, and performing rights societies around the world.”  In fact, so many of these rhetoric spewing organizations signed this letter, it is referenced as “Appendix A”.

This is not uncommon for an RIAA letter.  It think the goal is to have so many letters in the acronyms that you can rearrange them into the an alphanumeric keyboard.  Then they are going to sue typist for stealing all their trade marks.  I know it sounds crazy but, remember, no more surprises, that, and you heard it here first.

What are they so upset about?  In a nutshell, they are afraid that music themed domains could be used for piracy.

“…we fear that we will have no realistic ability to object if a pirate chooses to hijack a music themed gTLD to enable wide scale copyright infringement of our works.”

According to the RIAA, what doesn’t contribute to piracy in this day and age?  I am surprised they haven’t gone after headphone and earbud companies…

Sticking true to form, they want to be involved in keeping gTLD safe from the pirates

“We would like to work with ICANN and others to ensure that best practices are developed and used to ensure this type of malicious behaviour does not occur.”

Wow, Internet police and now domain cops as well.  Maybe they should all stop dealing with artists and get jobs in law enforcement?  No wait, that is a really bad idea… everybody would be guilty and, all too likely, they would shoot first and question later.

However, they sure seem to like to police everyone… unless it involves actually paying royalties to the artists… they missed that somehow.

And, like many RIAA letters, it ends with a threat:

“We strongly urge you to take these concerns seriously, and expeditiously implement appropriate changes to the DAG to address these critical concerns.  We prefer a practical solution to these issues, and hope to avoid the need to escalate the issue further.”

Wow.  I have a simple solution.  Take the money you guys spend on litigation and just start buying up all the domains you are so afraid of… Podsafe music anyone?

Twitter Under Assault from Patent Troll

POSTED ON January 24th  - POSTED IN New Media Order, news, Opinion, Things that make you go hmmm
United States Patent and Trademark Office seal
Image via Wikipedia

Okay, I know, after following the music industry for so many years, I should not be shocked or amazed. I am sorry, sometimes I still trip. This one is certainly another “Things that make you go Hmm”. The story originally was posted at TechCrunch and then, accidentally, brought to the attention of TechDirt.

VS Technologies is sueing Twitter. I don’t like this…. LEAVE TWITTER ALONE! Yes, I know caps are rude but not as rude as what follows, I am just trying to desensitize you.

Also this will seem much clearer if you ingest large quantities of alcohol but do not drink until it does make sense, you will feel real bad in the AM.

By some type of patent assessment process perhaps more similar to a lottery than any thought process, VS Technologies was actually awarded a patent in 2002. Being a good patent troll company, they did nothing with it. In fact, they don’t seem to even have a web site. I think it might even be short for “verses technology”…

Court Fines Finnish File Sharers 1.08 Milllion

POSTED ON January 22nd  - POSTED IN New Media Order, news, Opinion
Intellectual Property symbol
Image via Wikipedia

This story over at Torrent Freak is another example of just how wrong things have gotten regarding intellectual property and copyright.  Before I even begin, I wish to reiterate that I do not endorse piracy.  I choose to give my money to the artists who embrace the new media order and don’t wish to sue me.

In this particular case, it seems pretty clear that this group of file-sharers were actually sharing material in an illegal manner.  According to the Torrent Freak Article:

The hub, which in very basic terms operated a little like a BitTorrent tracker, directing traffic between other members of the network, was known as Sarah’s Secret Chamber. It had around 1,600 users and most of them were sharing large amounts of copyrighted material.

In normal circumstances, most members of this type of network will bring some of their own content to the party, pooling resources so that the hub has a library of material. Very often bringing large amount of content is a requirement for membership. Sarah’s Secret Chamber had a fairly large capacity – around 50 terabytes.

The suit filed claimed they “created 750,000 ‘illegal albums'” and demanded 2.7 million in damages.  For the sake of argument here, let us just assume they are guilty.  Also for the sake of argument, I strongly disagree with this verdict and sentence.

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