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Comment Re:Buy an island (Score 1) 786

The easier change would be for you to get over the aversion to having something you wrote somewhere being permanently wrong. The horror.

Honestly I'm impressed you came back and admitted to having made a mistake. I'd far rather have the high opinion of you I currently do than have none because your original post was edited to remove the inaccuracy.

I agree with you to an extent, and I think that if posts can be edited, then conversations can become confusing (I have found this). But I do think it could be good to have a way for posters to mark content that they acknowledge to be inaccurate. Of course I know to read comments sceptically, but if people could mark their own mistakes, it would reduce the noise, and save me some web searches.

Comment Re:Buy an island (Score 1) 786

That is because it is the way Slashdot was designed. It is intentional, as if you could go back and edit your posts, you can change their tone afterwards.

I agree, although it would be good to be able to rate your own posts "-1 retracted". (Or perhaps better, edit your posts, but only so as to add <del> </del> around bits.)

Comment Re:Fuck the media industry (Score 1) 168

Just noticed this post, sorry...

The other regions already do wait 6 months to a year. Not just for DVDs, but for release in theaters.

I'm not familiar with the details of how copyright operates globally (except that it's complicated and various), but I'm not too surprised by this. I do know that even in New Zealand (an OECD country) we've often had US TV programmes screened months after the US. My point is simply that we can't have price equalisation without those in poorer countries getting a bad deal (not to say that those in poorer countries don't get a bad deal already, not to say that the specifics of region restrictions are good as they are, just that price equalisation is not only not a solution, it actually precludes a solution).

Sadly, that is a daily reality. It is somewhat balanced by other countries (India for example) granting their pharmaceutical manufacturers permission to violate some patents on essential medications.

I thought price equalisation might have been the case with pharmaceuticals. I vaguely recalled hearing about discussions on allowing some of the poorest countries access to essential medications, so I wasn't sure how much it still applied. Exceptions for essential medications for the poorest countries would avoid price equalisation to some extent, and IMHO would be good to some extent, but would draw some arbitrary hard lines. It would leave problems for countries that are quite poor, but not quite poor enough to qualify as "the poorest", and for medications that are considered quite important, but not quite important enough to qualify as "essential". Again, my point here is just that it's not possible to have price equalisation without those in poorer countries suffering (regardless of what the situation is now).

Of course, there are plenty of not so rich people here in the U.S. that go without medication as well. To the point that statistically, they will die years sooner than wealthier people. Growing numbers are forced to buy needed medication on the black market. (You know the gouging is extreme when the black market is CHEAPER).

Again, I'm not familiar with the details, but I'm not surprised. With regards to copyright, we often pay a higher price in New Zealand than the US, despite (I believe) having a lower GDP per capita, and I wonder if this is due to a more unequal distribution of wealth. That said, even people who are quite poor in the US would be quite rich in, say, Ethiopia, so I think price equalisation between countries would create more unfairness than it would solve.

Copyright does do a great deal of damage. That's why at the beginning, it was kept short. The longer it grows, the more damage it does.

No disagreement there. The only serious attempt to calculate the economically optimal copyright term that I am aware of estimates about 15 years.
Pollock, Rufus (2009) Forever Minus a Day? Calculating Optimal Copyright Term.

Moreover, I'm not sure this analysis takes into account the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic worth. It seems to me that much of the worth of copyrighted works is extrinsic. IMHO, much of the value of MS Windows is due to the market share it has, not any particular technical merit, i.e. it's useful because it's popular, not because it's any good. Likewise it seems to me that at least some of the value of popular entertainment is due simply to its popularity--people watch, discuss, and make references to popular works in social groups, and sometimes actually form social groups around them, so access to these works is, to a greater or lesser extent, a requirement for participation in certain social interaction, and again, there is value in the work's popularity, regardless of the work's merit. This being the case, I'd expect the actual economically optimal term to be lower than 15 years.

It's not my intention to claim that copyright is good. As I said before, my only major concern about repealing copyright is that this may accelerate the shift to software as a service, which IMHO is likely to be even worse. (To add to that, my only major concern about shortening copyright without repealing it is that it may allow closed-source software to appropriate open-source software, but not vice versa.) My intention was only to say that if we have copyright, then global price equalisation means poorer countries can only get a bad deal.

You don't need to convince me that copyright sorely needs to be reigned in. I already believe that. My disagreement is only over what is a good way to do it. "Common sense" is not enough. It's unintended consequences all the way down.

Comment Re: Brought about by the internet? (Score 2) 712

Computer: American (Intel/TI) - Unless you want to go back to the first "computor" which is an abacus

Computer: British (Frederic C. Williams, Tom Kilburn, & Geoff Tootill's Small-Scale Experimental Machine). Babbage's Analytical Engine may have been a workable design, but construction wasn't completed. Intel's 4004 was the first commercially available CPU on a single chip (created under the leadership of Federico Faggin, who was born in Italy), but not the first computer. (I'm taking "computer" to mean Turing-complete Von Neumann architecture, i.e. a general-purpose stored-program computer, as I think this is the usual modern usage.)

Internet: American (United States government)

Yes, US (although based on a British design). Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web, not the Internet.

TV: American (Philo Farnsworth)

TV: Perhaps French (Georges Rignoux and A. Fournier)--If you accept 8x8 pixels updated "several times" a second. Otherwise I agree with the other AC, British (John Logie Baird)--It was mechanical (i.e. had moving parts) not purely electronic, but it was a TV none-the-less. Electronic wasn't specified.

Airplane: American (Wright brothers)

Airplane: Perhaps German (Gustave Whitehead, AKA Gustav Weisskopf). Otherwise perhaps New Zealand (Richard Pearse)--If you accept powered but poorly-controlled flight. That the Wright brothers flew an airplane is widely accepted. The evidence for earlier airplane flight is contested, and may also depend on exactly how you define "airplane" (just powered flight, or powered and well-controlled).

(I'm assuming we're going for earliest demonstration of a working prototype in each case.)

Comment Re:No surprise (Score 1) 211

This really is no different than seeing a stolen car in the driveway of a premise. The phone / car is visible to the world.

I don't think that analogy's quite right--although admittedly I'm no expert and I could have this completely wrong...

My understanding is that the Stringray masquerades as a cellphone tower to obtain information from phones using a man-in-the-middle attack. Communication between phones and cellphone towers is generally encrypted, providing some defence against passive surveillance. Authentication of cellphone towers is fairly lax though, and an active surveillance device announcing itself as a cellphone tower can readily convince phones (and legitimate towers) within range to trust it.

Arguably the information is still not private if phones are willing to give it out to all and sundry who ask. For what it's worth, though, I think a better analogy might be that the police are going around calling out "I'm a cellphone tower. Who's there?", to which nearby phones dutifully respond with a chorus of "I am, and my number is..." (if that counts as an analogy).

Comment Re:Fuck the media industry (Score 1) 168

It would encourage them to initially price for the richer market, but as sales began to slump, they would be strongly encouraged to lower prices until finally, it was priced suitably for the poorest region. Any other policy would be leaving money on the table. Instead, with region restrictions, they effectively set a floor price in each region (and so further damage an already broken market).

Okay, that's possibly not a bad argument, at least for entertainment. They wouldn't want to to decrease the price too quickly though, in case richer people delayed purchasing. So poorer people might end up waiting a while, which seems a bit unfair.

I wonder about other works besides entertainment though. Imagine the same system for patents: Price equalising patented medicines would essentially leave poorer people to die. (Actually, I'm not sure this hasn't been the case already.) Price equalising copyright licenses wouldn't be that extreme I guess (although with equipment increasingly software controlled there could be exceptions). However, for any works that serve a useful purpose, rather than just being an amusing way to waste time, it still seems rather unfair.

That said, I suspect copyright is incurably unfair anyway, so it's all a matter of degrees--whether it would be more or less unfair.

Comment Re:Fuck the media industry (Score 1) 168

We already do pay more, and have from the beginning.

Yes, I think this is true to an extent. Wherever they can engage in price fixing (or believe they can) they will charge less to poorer countries so that they can receive something from these markets. If they suspect the lower-priced copies are likely to end up in the richer markets, though, it wouldn't make sense for them to do it, because it would risk undercutting the big money.

Comment Re:Fuck the media industry (Score 1) 168

Actually, it PROVES that the market has failed. Clearly, they can profitably sell media to those poorer regions for a small fraction of the price they demand from the richer regions. Put another way, the marginal cost of production is small enough to sell profitably in poorer regions for a fraction of the region 1 price.

If the market is functional, it will force the price to approach that marginal cost of production everywhere. Clearly, it hasn't done that.

A free market would mean manufacturers would be freely able to produce region free players and consumers would be welcome to re-import from regions where the price is low.

Yes, the market has failed, but that shouldn't be a suprise, because market failure is the whole point of copyright. By granting a monopoly on production, copyright intentionally allows copyright holders to charge well above the marginal cost of production, inducing market failure with the intent of providing incentive for development.

Cheaper sale of licences in poorer regions doesn't prove that it would be possible to sell at the same price in richer regions and remain profitable (although I wouldn't be surprised if this was the case anyway)--profitability depends on income exceeding not just the marginal cost of production but also the development costs. But this is besides the point. Whether it would be possible for companies to do it or not is irrelevant to whether they will. Companies won't do one thing that is profitable if they can do another thing that is more profitable.

My expectation is that, if prices were equalised, it would be more profitable to price for the richer market (given the extent of income inequality), and leave the poorer markets to suffer the wrath of sanctions following from Special 301 Reports.

They sure do like the free market when it allows them to get things made where labor is cheap, but they sure don't like it when it allows buyers to buy the product where prices are proportionally low.

Yes, they like whatever butters their bread in any given circumstance, but the irony here is that, having falsely convinced the public that intellectual works are a private good, they're being pillared for not adopting free market policies, which are actually antithetical to intellectual works, precisely because they are not a private good.

Comment Re:Fuck the media industry (Score 1) 168

Did you mean to say price gouging in richer regions? If it costs less than a cent to send an extra copy to poor-land, it should be even cheaper than that in expensive-land due to better infrastructure.

Yes, I mean price gouging, except that, in practice, I don't think it would mean that those in richer regions would pay higher prices than they otherwise would. I'll illustrate this with a thought experiment (I haven't got real numbers, but it's my understanding that the income gap between richer and poorer countries is significant, so I think the situation would work out something like this):

Let us suppose copyright licenses are traded on a free market (globally equalising prices), that the richer 50% of the world can afford to pay 3 times what the poorer 50% of the world can, and that copyright licenses will be priced for maximum income. Making the price affordable to the poorer 50% means reaching 100% of the global market, but receiving the lower price for each sale. Making the price affordable only to the richer 50% means only reaching 50% of the global market, but receiving 3 times the price for each sale. The latter strategy receives 1.5 times more income than the former one. (As I said, not real numbers, but I think it would work out something like this.)

I'm no fan of copyright. I'd actually suspect the world might be better off without it, if I weren't concerned that would accelerate the shift to software as a service. The thing is, it's often not as simple as "X is right, so we should legislate X". For every action, there is an equal and opposite unintended consequence, or something.

Comment Re:Fuck the media industry (Score 1) 168

Region restrictions are the worst though. They imply only a certain region can enjoy said content, which is patently untrue if anyone has watched Gaki No Tsukai.

While I largely agree with your comments, I think there is some possible merit in region restrictions, in so far as they are used for price fixing that favours poorer regions. While a free market makes economic sense for rivalrous goods, it doesn't make sense for non-rivalrous goods.

According to Wikipedia, "over 50% of the world population lives on less than 2 US$/day" International inequality. In a free market, there'd be little incentive to price many copyright licenses affordably for these people--there'd be more money to be had by focussing on the upper end of the global market. But excluding these people does no-one any good.

Comment Re:Hmm.. (Score 3, Funny) 168

Manslaughter... copyright infringement... they should both get about the same sentences, right? Nothing weird about that at all, is there? ~

Well, of course it sounds weird when you say it like that, but remember we're talking about piracy here. Other cases of piracy have received higher sentences, sometimes even death, see Piracy off the coast of Somalia. When you think about it that way, the proposed sentences make a lot more sense.

Comment Re:Another kook (Score 1) 528

My sister used to play lots of outdoor sports, and would tan occasionally to lessen the tan lines. There was always a place to do so where nobody could ever see, unless they were flying or otherwise took extraordinary steps.

Okay, I can better see where you're coming from. I can't think of any such blind spots anywhere I've lived, but I guess I never looked.

When you say "unless they were flying" though, is this flying above that property specifically, or does it include flying above a neighbour's property or public land? If it does, do you object to people flying drones above their own property or public land? Approaching this from the perspective of trespass, the same rule that determines how high upwards your property extends surely also applies to your neighbour.

Re: "extraordinary steps", I'm sure this was true in the past, perhaps even as recently as last year, but I don't think it's true any more. Apparently you can get one for under US$100 now 17 Cheap Drones for Beginners (Under $100). I believe that's cheaper than the popular game consoles, and within the reach of a kid saving money from a decent after-school job. On that basis, I think it's fair to say that the prospect of owning a drone is no longer extraordinary.

Then what about a drone the size of an insect? Flying the drone into your house, rather than just over your land?

Yes, I'd consider that trespass. I'm not sure where you're taking this, but for what it's worth, if I built a Buckminster Fuller style dome over my property, just out of poles (no glass or mesh or anything between them), I'd consider it trespass if a drone flew inside.

Fences serve to mark property boundaries, and sometimes do little else. Some front-yard fences in my neighbourhood are short enough that I could step over them, and sometimes there's no gate, just a hole in the fence. They delineate where I shouldn't walk, even if they don't really prevent me from walking there, but they don't delineate a height (other than the top of the fence, I guess), some kind of 3D structure would do that (including houses).

I'm still not sure where I stand on this case. It seems reasonable to suppose that property boundaries extend upward more than 0 and less than infinity (in whatever unit). I understand that in the USA at least, this has been narrowed down to 83-500 feet (except where more is used, i.e. taller buildings). Exactly where the line is between that, I don't know. I think it would surely have to be based on some sort of societal agreement, but I don't think there is one. I guess people's opinions are likely to be based on whether they're more interested in sunbathing in the yard or flying drones. I wouldn't want to be the judge in this case.

Comment Re:Another kook (Score 1) 528

Do your daughters usually play in the yard naked?

So your answer is "yes" and we are now just arguing over the shade of grey?

Okay. I'm not sure what your situation is, but in every house I've ever lived in, people could see into the yard if repairing or painting a roof, repairing or installing an aerial or satellite dish, clearing guttering, or using a ladder to trim a hedge or a tree (and possibly other cases I've missed). People we know will come around the back if they drop by and there's no answer at the front door. I've also seen a quadcopter used to take images of the roof of a property neighbouring our local kindergarten, prior to repairs (from within the property), and I expect this sort of thing will become more common.

When I was young, my parents expected us to wear clothes outside, and I expect the same of my children. Even around the house, except the bedrooms and bathroom, we usually wear clothes. To me, someone flying a quatcopter seems very different from someone breaking into my house, barging into the bathroom, and pulling up a chair to watch one of my children take a shower, snapping photos as they're doing it. Sort of like eggshell compared to charcoal, although I guess you could call that shades of grey.

Comment Re:Nope... (Score 1) 528

Did you really say the height doesn't matter? Ol Olsoc is right. You just justified shooting down a plane. Or the International Space Station. Or an alien civilisation, if one should happen to exist. The height matters, it really does. A lot of people have written a lot of dumb comments on this story, but yours is the dumbest by far.

Comment Re:Another kook (Score 2) 528

Do your daughters usually play in the yard naked? If so, have you considered that one day your neighbours might want to fix their roof? Really, do your daughters normally wear less in the yard than they would wear at a beach or public pool? If your daughters have ever swum at a beach or public pool, did you take a shotgun in case anyone saw (so you could defend them from harm with minimal force)? I'm not decided either way on the larger argument, but this "self defence" argument isn't doing it for me.

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income. -- Errol Flynn Any man who has $10,000 left when he dies is a failure. -- Errol Flynn