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Comment copyright 101 - edx course on the music business (Score 2) 386

BerkleeX: BCM-MB110x Introduction to the Music Business - goes into great detail on the in's and out's of proving copyright infringement (taught by John P. Kellogg, Esq - you might be able to access the archived course)

Basically you need to satisfy three requirements 1. actually have a copyright (easy if you filed correctly), 2. prior access to the work (harder to prove), and 3. substantial similarity (one for the musicologists and then the jury).

most copyright infringement claims are settled out of court (e.g. "I Want a New Drug" vs "Ghostbusters"). A big factor in so many settlements is that you can be ordered to pay court costs if you lose and that juries are never a sure thing (but that is just my opinion)

I don't have an opinion on this specific case - but I will defend the concept of the copyright as crucial to the "creative" industry

in the "duck and run" category this case has my attention ...

Comment their goal isn't to "get you a job" (Score 1) 253

full disclosure: I haven't had a good experience with "recruiters"

It is misleading to say that they want to "get you a job." Best case - their purpose is to match the "best fit" candidate with the right opening, Remember that "best fit" doesn't equal most experienced/skilled - it means the optimum combination of experience/skills/salary/personality for that company

Worst case: you get idiots reading from checklists, sending out spam about "seeing your resume online"

Comment writers write, right (Score 2) 522

When asked for advice on "how to become a writer" - most professional writers will come back with some form of "write something, then write something else, then write some more." A big part of the writing process is figuring out when, where, and how you are able to write. i.e. The tools you use to write shouldn't get in the way of your writing (the second most popular tip is "when you aren't writing - read")

if Mark Zuckerberg were to come out and say that he is using a Commodore 64 or TRS-80 to work on Facebook - that would be unusual...

Mr. Martin's writing process has the benefit of being almost 100% secure (maybe Quentin Tarantino needs a downgrade)

Comment Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. (Score 1) 303

I'm half way through "Flash Boys" (well written, entertaining). It is interesting the impact that technology has had on the stock market, but this isn't anything new (which is one of the points of "Flash Boys").

one for putting things in perspective: "Where are the Customers’ Yachts?" by Fred Schwed, Jr. (first edition 1940).

and under "they are trying to change the world": IEX Group

Comment Grow effective leading-edge infrastructures (Score 2) 119

didn't I just read somewhere about Google doing something with this enterprise cloud thing?

the answer to the question is "it depends" - my gut says "no" but as others have pointed out, if you want to know if something will be a cost effective solution, you need to test

the game changing benefit of the "cloud" is the ability to scale up/down as needed ... SO from a financial viewpoint the question is similar to "Should we buy a building or rent office space?"

BTW my headline is from a Dilbert gobbledygook generator - which I'm 90% sure that 100% of CTO's use an undefined % of the time

Comment "We have met the enemy and they are us" (Score 3, Informative) 490

As a long time Netflix subscriber (maybe 10 years - going back to when it was 3 DVDs at a time for $14.99 and no streaming option) - I'd say the answer to the headline is "no."

Reed Hastings claims that high-speed internet streaming was always his plan for Netflix - they just had to wait for the technology to catch up. While they were waiting, Netflix had to fight off competition from Wal-Mart (Netflix bought them out) and Blockbuster (who probably wish Netflix had bought them out) in the "DVD by mail" space. When they first rolled out the "streaming" option, the movies available for streaming were not good (but streaming was a free add on - so it didn't really matter).

When streaming became a viable option, the big problem Netflix ran into was Netflix ("We have met the enemy and they are us"). They tried to raise the monthly fee and people bolted for the door (800,000 members quickly gone). Netflix said "oops!" and decided to split into two services (Anybody remember "Quickster?"), which people also hated - so we got something like the current price structure.

So, no DVDs are not inconvenient on purpose, and won't go away anytime soon. Netflix arrived at its pricing structure by responding to market forces. Streaming content is the future (and the future is now!) - which means licensing agreements with content creators/providers will surpass "hard copy" sales (if they haven't already).

...and if you are colecting marketing data for Netflix: I'm a streaming only customer. I "rent"/stream a lot of just released movies from (had a problem with the 30 day wait time for DVD new releases from Netflix - but if I could get new movies the week they are released on DVD I'd go back) ...

Comment the real problem is shovels ... (Score 1) 754

an anecdote from the WSJ

'At one of our dinners, Milton recalled traveling to an Asian country in the 1960s and visiting a worksite where a new canal was being built. He was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, the workers had shovels. He asked why there were so few machines. The government bureaucrat explained: “You don’t understand. This is a jobs program.” To which Milton replied: “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.”

yes - "innovation" will destroy jobs (file that observation under creative destruction) but that will also result in new (as yet unknown) opportunities...

Comment Re:won't happen (Score 1) 617

There has always been "fan fiction" - most of it just never saw the light of day. The huge impact that the web has had is on publishing not production. The cost of publishing/distribution has become trivial. Now it is possible to publish/distribute "fan fiction" for next to nothing - rather than having a 500 page typewritten document in a box that they try to get their friends to read.

Distribution was a big benefit that a musician or author received from signing a contract with a "big" company. Again, if we went back to the first half of the 20th century you would find "big music companies" buying the rights to "regional hits" from independent/smaller campanies. The "big company" had the resources to publish on a large scale that the smaller companies lacked. Now individuals have the ability to get there work in front of a large audience without a "big company" (this applies to music, fiction, non-fiction, software, anything creative)

BTW I can appreciate the amount of effort that goes into producing any creative work. Just because it isn't any good doesn't mean it didn't take a lot of work to produce it. With that said - watch JJ Abrams' TED talk if you want motivation to "create"

Comment won't happen (Score 1) 617

Yes, this is a bad time for the (what we think of as "traditional") music business, but just because the tools are "available" doesn't mean that there will be a huge increase in output. e.g. people have had the tools to write for years (pencils, paper, typewriters, word processors) - but professional authors and publishers aren't going away ...

even if you are a hack writer- it still takes "work"to produce a non-trivial product. That "work" part is my argument for why the scenario described won't happen ...

I'll even argue that the biggest change to happen to the music industry was the microphone and/or radio back in the first half of the 20th century not inexpensive computers and the internet. Back then "music companies" made money selling sheet music - which people would purchase to play at home. (I recommend this fantastic Coursera class to anyone interested in the history of modern music business) ...

I agree that the music industry is changing - but "convenience wins every time" is a spurious argument. Most of the "professional" musicians I've heard talk about "how they got into the music business" describe it as something they just had to do. They didn't just wake up one morning and say "I think I'll be a musician" - they followed their passion, put in the work, and eventually made it. That isn't going to change - "passion will beat convenience" no matter what technology comes along ...

Comment the problem with freedom of speech ... (Score 1) 151

... is that people might actually use it

just for the "by the way file" there are slander and libel laws in most "free" countries - so no, you aren't free to say whatever pops into your head, but you are supposed to be "free within the law" to express yourself

Comment Re:Q&A (Score 1) 355

"boring and annoying" sums up Atlas Shrugged very well

I like to point out that it was published in 1957 - so some stuff we take for granted in 2013 was cutting edge at the time. Parts of it aren't bad (Ayn Rand did live through the Bolshevik/Russian revolution - and saw first hand the economic results of central planning and collectivism), parts are terrible (basically the other half of the book not dealing with economics).

I don't think Rand would accept the "libertarian" designation - she was selling "objectivism" which comes across as something Karl Marx intended (a perfect society based on reason).

Meanwhile "libertarian" thought is nicely summed up by The Cato institute's web site: "Promoting an American public policy based on individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peaceful international relations"