Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Permission vs Forgiveness (Score 2) 414

Actually, no.

I've learned one thing: Never ever touch the hot topic everyone else seems to avoid. Not even with a ten foot pole. There are exactly three things that can happen. Either it resolves itself. This is the norm and gets you off the hook. Or someone else is stupid enough and tackles it, gets burned and loses his job. That's fine as well. Or it blows up and the blame is shared within the department. That's ok as well since nobody gets fired for it.

Since promotion happens today by tenure and not by merit, what you do is less important than what you don't do.

Comment: Re:Nonsene, both of you! (Score 3) 464

The one thing that you two probably agree with, the one thing that polls have shown like 80% if Americans agreeing with, is that the Patriot Act is nonsense and needs to be repealed. Yet, over 99% of the elected representatives seems to want the Patriot Act passed.

What do you imagine this is all about, then? Why do you think there's such a discrepancy?

My running theory is that it has nothing to do with political parties or oppression. The elected officials support the PATRIOT Act because they're cowards. They believe that the American people are stupid and fickle, and that even if 100% strongly support repealing the PATRIOT Act, those same people will still blame their elected politicians for "not doing enough" when the next terrorist attack comes.

And they're right to believe it. There will be another successful terrorist attack. There will. Someday, under some circumstances; it's only a matter of time. And when it happens, no matter what the circumstances are, the general populace will panic, and they'll do all kinds of stupid things. And the funny thing is, you might not realize this unless you really pay attention, but the general populace has no memory. It doesn't matter how much they disapprove of the PATRIOT Act now. As soon as there's a successful terrorist attack and they're scared and confused, they'll be absolutely irate that we aren't spying on more people more often. They won't have any idea why the NSA stopped monitoring all of our phone calls, but they'll be angry at anyone involved in putting an end to it.

I mean, if you talk to people now, nobody was ever in favor of invading Iraq. Go ahead and ask people, and they'll get upset and say they don't know why we went in, but it was a big mistake, and they always knew it was a mistake. Or they'll say they were tricked. But back when it happened, it was popular enough that representatives were afraid to oppose it. At least some of those people are mis-remembering. Same thing with all of the deregulation going on during the Clinton era, which everyone seems to have conveniently forgotten happened during Clinton's presidency. Everyone remembers that they economy grew under Clinton, but everyone forgets all the deregulation and Walmartization going on at the time.

People have no memory and no principles, so they're just running off of whatever they're feeling at the time. Our elected officials tend to base their policies on irrational fear and bigotry because those are the most consistent and trustworthy feelings.

Comment: Re:Yes, but because (Score 1) 179

Create something original. Good luck tiptoeing through the mine field. I'm in that business (yes, guess what, someone dependent on copyright for income is against it in its current form) and I'm very glad that a very good friend of mine decided to become a lawyer for copyright. Which, btw, is also far more lucrative than actually trying to use copyright to earn something by creating something. But that's not the point.

You talk about an entitlement generation. I have to say that the only kind of entitlement I get to see in this field is from studios who think they're entitled to a cut from your works regardless of whether they did anything to contribute. Copyright on works has descended into something not unlike stock options at the stock exchange, where holding works is a tool to make money from doing nothing but, well, holding those works hostage. When you create something today, you better have the whole works ever conceived memorized, for if whatever you create only vaguely resembles something held by some studio, rest assured that in the off chance you actually manage to write a hit, you will be sued. On the off chance that you either cannot afford legal representation and cave in or that a judge will side with them. Yes, 8 out of 10 times he won't, but that doesn't matter. Studios can easily afford it and the ones that cave in because they can't afford the legal battle and would rather take the "deal" to have at least a little instead of nothing will easily pay for that.

And the area gets more narrow with every song in the stock option portfolio.

As for your last sentence: your quality of life is more and more dependent on pure luck. Not the amount of work oyu put behind it. If there ever was a time when working could make you rich, it's been over for a long, long time now.

Comment: Re: Empty B.S.? (Score 2) 179

Copyright in its current form is not only not enforceable, it's actually harmful to artistry in general.

The idea behind copyright was to encourage to create. Before copyright, you needed a patron. Either that or you were busy running from one bar to the next with your new song to play it yourself before someone else copies you. Back then, the main danger was someone else playing it (that was long before the means of reproducing sound and moving image), not someone "copying" the song itself. It was more to protect composers against what happens now constantly: Some orchestra playing a song composed by Mozart, Beethoven or Bach. With the difference that these people were still alive back then. So the best they could get without copyright was to be the first to perform their new compositions.

It was worse for writers who really had to hurry from printing to selling because often before the first batch of books was sold reprints would appear, then of course cheaper because there was no artist who wanted money. Actually, it was worse for printers (producers) who actually bought books from artists. And they were also the ones pushing for legislation in this area.

Or, in other words, copyright was never intended to protect the artist. It was from its very start an attempt of publishers to protect their investment in artists.

But I digress. Original copyright was 7 years, and that was pretty tight back then because then it took a long while for things to get published and noticed by the public. But 7 years was enough to be an incentive for publishers to actually buy books from writers. And later to buy songs and even movie ideas.

Today, in a time when publishing, advertising and selling content has reached the level where it's measured in days and hours rather than years and months, we have a copyright of 70 years. Counting not from the moment of its creation but from the moment the author died. That's pretty much the lifetime of a person. I will probably not see the copyright expire of an artist who died when I was born. To give you an idea just how long this is, James Brown had his first hits just after WW2. He died in 2006. His works would enter public domain in 2081 if this law had been already in existence when he created it (actually, the insanity only dates back to 1978). Another thing that a lot of people probably know is "White Christmas". It's near impossible not to know it. Copyright expires under this law in 2051. That's over a century after its creation.

Who, I have to ask, is to be protected by a copyright that outlives the content's creator? His heirs? Why should essentially three generations of descendants be entitled to royalties of something their grand-grandfather created? Do you even know your grand-grandfather? Imagine you still got money from something that guy once did.

Nobody can tell me that this has any roots in reality. This is insanity.

Comment: Re: copyright protects punk rockers (Score 1) 179

Erh... think about that statement again. A politician takes a song from a writer who doesn't want him to. There's now two possible situations: Either the writer is not popular. Then it friggin' doesn't matter because the song would not be popular either and the politician would probably not take the song due to, well, who'd give a shit about it? Or the writer is popular. Then he'd immediately inform his fans that said politician is using his song without him wanting to support him and said politician probably just committed political suicide, with people not liking the song not liking his campaign because they don't like the song, and people who do like the song despising him for using it without the artists OK.

Makes no sense to use that song, does it?

"There... I've run rings 'round you logically" -- Monty Python's Flying Circus