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Comment: Re:Missing the big picture (Score 4, Interesting) 307

by Mark Lewis (#45026705) Attached to: Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Approve Work On DRM For HTML 5.1

I can see your argument, but on the other hand I look at the example set by digital audio. The same balkanization occurred there, until finally things got so bad that finally the media caved to pressure and now I can finally buy legal audio in formats that really are interoperable. There were several lousy years where I basically gave up buying new music while the industry figured out that the reason I wasn't buying what they were selling was because DRM didn't work for me.

So there is precedent that delaying adoption of really interoperable DRM has resulted in better media access in the end. On the other hand, I can't think of any precedent saying that having relatively painless DRM has resulted in better media access. Of course it's possible, but I think precedent weighs against you.

On the other hand, maybe you're right and the battle is already lost; with digital audio it was really Apple's closed distribution model that finally broke the camel's back-- there was no way for anybody except Apple to encrypt music for iPods, and music encrypted for iPods wouldn't work anywhere else. Nobody was able to put together a deal that would bridge that gap, and although Apple's market share was significant it wasn't big enough to standardize the entire market on, and consumers knew that they would be screwed one way or another if they opted for any of the then-available DRM flavors, so enough of them stayed out of the market that eventually the markets were forced to open up. With digital video, that hasn't happened. All of the major media playback manufacturers support the same DRM flavors, so most of the market can be served with relatively little pain.

On the third hand (ha ha), while I have started buying music, I've stopped buying videos. I bought a lot of DVDs after CSS was cracked so I could actually play them on my other devices; it was essentially an interoperable format in practice if not in law. I stopped when Blu-Ray came out because DVDs became second-class citizens, but Blu-Ray was too locked down. Streaming rentals work for me because the DRM only has to work once, but I'll never actually trust that streaming companies will still be there, supporting "my" content years from now after they've made their buck today.

So I still think that there's an effectual struggle to be made, that there's a chance that big media can be convinced to accept open standards. I'm not super optimistic, but I think it's possible, and so I'd oppose any attempt to make DRM more seamless and interoperable for the masses (easy for me to say, since they never seem to interoperate with MY devices anyway. Hazards of running Linux I guess).

Comment: Never even got the look at the features (Score 1) 48

by Mark Lewis (#43843561) Attached to: WeVideo Helps You Edit Your Videos Online (Video)

Their only purchasing option is in the form of a monthly subscription, which seems like it misses most of their potential market.

For a monthly subscription pricing structure to make sense, the customer would need to be producing multiple videos per month, and as other posters have already mentioned, in that case most would install some more capable local video editing software that doesn't require uploading raw footage to a cloud system.

It seems like most of their target users would be people like me, who occasionally author a video, but only a few times per year and don't want the hassle of installing locally-running software.

But paying a monthly subscription for a service that I'd only use at most a handful of times per year would be stupid, so for me I don't care about how whiz-bang their video editor is, I didn't even look at their features, and don't plan to.

Offer me a pay-for-what-I-use model, and let me upgrade to a monthly subscription if I actually start using it a lot. Then it would at least be worth considering trying it out. That would at least get me to look at their feature list before writing them off.

Comment: We live in a free country? (Score 5, Insightful) 417

by Mark Lewis (#43184043) Attached to: If I could (or had to) ban texting in one place ...

The US is supposed to be a free country and mostly we still are, but recently there's been a big trend towards overcriminalization.

No offense to the person who wrote the quiz, but the mind-set is troubling. Honestly, why would we think about banning texting anywhere? Making something illegal is a big deal, we are removing liberties from everybody.

Unless you're committed enough to freedom that you're willing to oppose laws that ban things that you think are stupid, you're not committed enough to stay free. I think it's stupid to text while driving and I won't do it, but I oppose efforts to ban it legislatively.

For those who take refuge behind the safety argument (because there is a valid argument to be made for safety): If you are also opposed to other things that research shows are similarly unsafe, like any form of talking while driving, congratulations, you really are in it for safety. Otherwise, you need to examine your motivations.

Comment: No, we shouldn't. (Score 2) 1174

I can see where people are coming from who think that gay marriage shouldn't be allowed. I don't think that opposing gay marriage always equals hate, although I'm sure that there are people who do feel that way. There are reasonable arguments on both sides, so it bothers me when I read comments like the OP, which basically assume that because you're opposed to gay marriage that it's ok to try to ruin your career.

Imagine if people were making the same big deal about a Democrat. If anybody boycotted somebody because he publicly supported the Democratic party, and comic book deals were pulled off, and there was a big online revolt among the Republicans who buy comic books who demanded that the author should lose his contracts, then I think that people would rightly call that (a) stupid and (b) a threat to the free and open democratic process we enjoy.

I think that's a reasonable analogy, since roughly the same percentage of people voted for a democratic presidential candidate in this last cycle as voted against gay marriage statutes in the different states, so I think that by definition both platforms are pretty mainstream.

So to answer the question in the OP, no I don't think that we should organize a boycott. Better to fight ideas with better ideas than to try to hurt all of the people whose ideas you disagree with.

The first Rotarian was the first man to call John the Baptist "Jack." -- H.L. Mencken

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