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Slashback

Slashback: Spookiness, France, Reds 154

Imagine a novelist, trapped in a nightmarish world of credit cards and micropayments, facing devilish odds and the belligerent stares of publishers everywhere ... picture a team of hackers brazen enough to break into dozens of secure government sites without incurring a single lawsuit ... scream in terror at the thought of mutant penguin-kangaroo hybrids swimming deviously onto our shores ...

Revenge of the naysayers' naysayers: Just yesterday, jamie sallied forth with the theory that Stephen King was setting himself up for disappointment by expecting enough paying customers for his new online book to justify the experiment.

jheinen writes, though, "According to MSNBC, of the 41,000 downloads for the first installment so far, 32,000 (~78%) have already paid via credit card. Kinda shoots to hell the theory that people won't pay."

[Jamie adds: I stand by my prediction that "Stephen King is never going to have to publish the end of his novel." I'd love to see him succeed, but I just don't think so this time around. We'll see in September!]

Red Five, I'm going in. You may recall the story a little while ago about a distributed anti-cracking bot at Sandia National Laboratory. Rest assured, those clever folks don't confine themselves to practicing only one side of the ol' thrust-and-feint.

In fact, leb writes: "Over the past two years, a group at Sandia National Laboratories known informally as the Red Team has, at customer invitation, either successfully invaded or devised successful mock attacks on 35 out of 35 information systems at various sites, along with their associated security technologies. Their work - challenged only by a new style of defense, also developed at Sandia, called an "intelligent agent" - demonstrates that competent outsiders can hack into almost all networked computers as presently conformed no matter how well guarded, say spokespeople for the group, formally known as the Information Design Assurance Red Team or IDART. Check out their site here."

Stir, leave plot overnight to thicken. vjlen writes: "Now it sounds like corinthians.com is just another cybersquatting case. From an article in USA Today: 'But the case is not as black-and-white as it seems, says Dave Fogelson, a spokesman for the team, which recently put up its own site in Brazil. Fogelson says the arbitrator had to consider several factors, including the fact that Sallen did not use the site for Bible quotes until after he contacted the team to talk about selling the name, which suggests his main motive was profit.'"

Or ... or ... or ... we'll strike! stattouk writes "The BBC has a story on a court case currently happening in France over whether Yahoo France can be held responsible for people being able to access auctions of Nazi memorabilia. The courts say that even though fr.yahoo.com has blocked access, the fact that www.yahoo.com can still be used to get them amounts to no action by Yahoo." Asking Yahoo! to block Internet auctions in the first place seemed rather stretchy; now it seems that Yahoo! is supposed to police the entire world.

Penguins do come from that hemisphere, after all ... Tsujigiri writes "To follow up a previous story on Slashdot about the Australian InstallFest 2000, Fairfax IT is running this story about the recently held (well, July the 15th) Adelaide InstallFest 2000 and its "unexpected surge in interest". Quite successfull all round. Congratulations to all involved, and good luck to the rest of the Australian Install Season. (For anyone who'd like to see some pictures, go here)"

If there's an "install season" down there, one questions leaps to mind: Is there a limit on those things?

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: Spookiness

Comments Filter:
  • ... because Slashdot, in all its wisdom, doesn't allow readers to view the contents of the submission queue and decide for themselves what stories are interesting.

    Unfortunate, IMO, but that's how it works.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Books will never be out of style.

    I don't care what you say, digital books are a stupid idea, just like digital music is. You know why? Because it's not physical, you can't hold a digital book in your hands, you can't take it with you on the bus and read comfortably.

    I'm so sick and tired of hearing about you stupid "my computer is the center of my life" people's ideas. I don't want my fucking fridge hooked up to the net, ok? I don't want my god damn TV networked to my firewall.

    The only way you'd ever get me to read one of those dumbass digital books is by printing it. And oh, hey, guess what? that goes against the whole fucking point of the thing. So take your stupid digital shit and shove it.

    I want to be able to sit down and enjoy a good book, and I want to be able to enjoy good music, without having to worry about hard drive failures, and shit encoding.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Because if I don't like the story, and I don't pay up, then he'll claim that I'm one of those people stealing the book -- and refuse to publish the third part for those who do like it...

    Now, if he gave me an option to say: I don't like this, so I'm not paying -- and took the number of paying downloads from the second installation...

    -- Ender, Duke_of_URL
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The easy-to-tackle issues have been tackled. Now what remains is problems like racism. Eliminating the root causes was easy, but there is still a long ways to go.

    Since the real purpose of these laws is to institutionalize the power of the ruling elite, these laws will never go away, and the minorities that these laws are meant to appease will never believe that it is "safe" to remove these laws. What in fact these laws are doing are paving the way for civil war. In case you have not noticed, large minorities of the national populations of European countries disagree with these policies, and yet the political, economic, social, academic, and media systems are rigged to exclude them from having any say in these supposedly "democratic" regimes.

    Institutionalised racism got its start in Austria almost two centuries ago when a structured schooling system was created. Every student was taught that certain races were inferior, and professors had to back that up with bogus scientific research or lose their jobs.

    Now people are being taught "anti-racist" lies, and professors not backing up these lies with their "research" lose their jobs. Somehow, I don't think this constitutes an improvement on the situation. Do you? And if so, how are you any different from the fascists, who were at least honest about what they were doing?

    After several generations went through the programs, the whole society believed the lies. After the war, the allies created laws against the worship of nazi symbols in schools, and carefully purged the school systems of the most virulent racists. But it will take several more generations until the laws can relax.

    The "laws" will never relax, they will only get worse. There are too many political interests dependant upon the undemocratic enforcement of an official version of "truth".

    The ideal is to have a protected form of free speech like the US first amendment, but the patient has to be cured of the terrible disease before that can happen.

    The operation was a success, but the patient is dead.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The entire Nazi angle is beside the point.

    Actually, it is not quite beside the point, in that these people are using the hysteria they have purposefully whipped up over the "threat" of nazism, in order to get these kinds of laws passed in the first place...precisely to act as the thin edge of the thought police wedge that you rightly discern. Hence, it is an important to fight back against this kind of "anti-fascist" claptrap which categorizes and demonizes every kind of opposition to the leftist/socialist/corporatist/multiracialist welfare state as a "hate crime" and as "resurgent fascism", which it is not. Fighting this kind of demonization is an important first step towards genuine freedom of thought and expression.

    Should France, and by extension every crackpot dictator on the planet, be allowed to say what thoughts and attitudes their citizens may hold, what words they may speak, what images they may view?

    If you read carefully the posts on this thread, that is precisely what they want. They think that the rest of society is sick, and in need of their therapeutic administrations. Only when they are satisfied, will they deign to "give" us our freedom (translation: never).

    I don't think so, and I'm sure there are many who would agree. This smells nastily like the thin end of the thought-police wedge. Once you allow filtering based on political criteria, you've opened up a whole barrel of rabid monkeys. Next thing you know, you'll have carnivore-like monitors sifting the data streams for non-PC attitudes or unpopular opinions. Fuck that.

    Actually, this stuff IS going on right now in Europe, only our fearless defenders of free thought and free speech have not bothered to mention it, because of fear of being labeled.

    France certainly has the right to control what crosses their borders, and importing the auction pieces might be tough. Or maybe not. I don't really know. But that is France's problem, not Yahoo's. Or mine, for that matter.

    Precisely. They could simply confiscate the illegal items at the border, as they are legally entitled to do. But the groups who have brought this suit do not really care if Frenchmen buy Nazi doodads; the real point of the exercise is to establish the precedent of censorship, de facto if not de jure. If they can get others to self-censor, they will be more than half-way to getting what they want.

    Social engineering is almost always a bad idea. It can be so easily misused.

    I'm not confident I will ever see an example of it that is not misused, and quite intentionally misused.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The honor system only works in certain types of cultures. Not to be discriminatory or anything (I happen to be from one of those places myself, so don't take offense), but there are some places (cultures) in the world where this will not work.

    Things like all-you-can-eat buffets work in the context of Western culture. It doesn't work in some other places. I've heard true stories of attempts to setup all-you-can-eat restaraunts in those places, and they crashed and burned (people took them as an invitation to pay once and sit in for 3 meals a day) because the culture there just isn't conducive to it. And if you ever set up a fruit stand with the money box sitting unattended, not only will people not pay; not only will your money box disappear; you may find your entire stand loaded on a truck and carried off while you're away. (I'm not kidding, things like this has actually happened before.)

    Now, you may call that uncultured or uncivilised, or whatever, and perhaps you're right, but you must remember that the Internet exists not only in "civilised" places. The word "global" is sometimes more global than you may imagine...
  • Yeah that's all great and stuff except King sucks now. His novels are excuses to waste large amounts of papers, that's pretty much it. He writes these huge thrillers that weigh in at like 500 pages, and the story goes nowhere. Just look at Douglas on the other hand, small books, incredibly well thoughtout stories, and you actually feel like you've lived weeks after one of them.

    How do you feel after one of King's books though? Well... bored mostly, and sad about all that wasted time.

    So yeah, congrats on the great marketing scheme and all, but I doubt anybody outside of his most dedicated fanbase is ever going to pay for this.
  • Gee, this information about the corinthians.com domain dispute sure would be of interest to many readers/participants/referred interested parties. Could we (we=/. crew) institute a system to link to Slashback updates in the original stories? I know, I know, the first para being on the front page is an update in and of itself, but really, these days, what with the Joycean prose timothy uses for his lead (lede if you're a journalist), I couldn't tell what the hell most of the updates would be about.
  • IF you really believe that the MPAA has some sort of patent on *art*, then today is a sad day indeed.

    YHBT! HAND!

    /joeoy

  • King regularly claims his wife is a better writer than him - the point he's trying to make is that she could be a latter day Joyce or Miller and never get published unless she was already famous-by-proxy.

  • And from what it says, they did that. Their french servers (fr.yahoo.com) have been modified to prohibit this kinda action.

    However, nothing stops French citizens from going to us.yahoo.com, www.yahoo.com, or anyplace else end getting their daily dose of nazi junk.

    Mindspring and Geocities are located in the US. What if someone put a web site up selling off nazi crap on there. Should the french or germans be able to demand that site to be pulled down? It's the same thing as the auctions on yahoo.

    No, they don't want yahoo to change their behaviour in the US to comply with french law - they want yahoo to make sure that french citizens can't get to what france deems bad, which would of course force them to change their us operations.

    What next - some xxx country wanting yahoo to make sure none of their citizens can get to pictures of women with more skin than their eyelids exposed?

    Personally, if I was yahoo, I'd just reject anything from a *.fr address, but that's not good business.
  • That was Georgia Tech. I don't remember all the details, but I think they wanted www.gatech.edu to be in French.
  • Don Regan worked for Reagan, but it was never his administration. :)
  • As in: try a LIVE show. There's plenty of entertainment available that doesn't have a "brand" or acronym associated with it. Even small towns have bars with bands.

    Turn off your TV and your PC! Get out of the house!
  • What about the example of Kingsley and Martin Amis? I'm pretty sure that Martin probably got his first novel published because of who his dad was, but (surprise surprise) he turned out to be a really great writer on his own merits.

    "Darts, Keith."
  • by boinger ( 4618 )
    If I was his wife, I'd kick his ass for that comment. I am shocked she puts up with "Really, you suck. Good thing you're my wife, or you'd never get published!"
  • Neither do they let you save yourself the trouble of submitting something already in the queue, which would save them having to wade through all those duplicates. Go figure. Do they get extra ad hits that way?
  • It was (is?) fairly common practice for real, out on the sidewalk street performers to pass the hat before finishing the story/puppet show/whatever, typically at the "cliff-hanger". Thus the name of counterpane's protocol.
  • Well, if you want to call the sort of crap that Hollywood and the networks are pushing these days "art", that's your prerogative, but don't expect everyone else to appreciate your taste.

  • Fuck off. I've seen three movies in a theater in the last four years (and one of them was from Hong Kong, not Hollywood), I haven't rented a video for three years, the Patriot won't be coming out where I live for another three months (and it'll probably tank anyway, 'cause not everyone wants to see American revisionist propaganda), and I'd say you're the one without perspective if you think that Hollywood is the be all and end all of entertainment.

  • And I suppose you'd rather go without DVDs, watching your crappy deteriorated to crap tapes, just because the MPAA is a "big bad evil corporation" too, right?

    actually, you're much better off just not watching MPAA-branded movies at all.

    or TV.

    or the radio, while you're at it. nothing there but major-label shit.

    live a little.
  • actually, i have not seen the x-men.

    now... how does that fit in with your world view?
  • It is interesting to see how american court cases try to attack "dirty pictures" outside the US, where nobody cares if women bare their breasts on the beach. There is a double standard at work, and when an american company is on the losing end of a judgement, americans hear more about it. The double standard goes both ways, when european companies lose to american laws, only europeans hear the rants.

    In exactly what cases has the U.S. government sued foreign web sites that are available in the U.S. for pornography? Sure, Congress and the conservative parts of the country make threatening noises and pass unconstitutional laws on the topic every so often, but I don't know of any instances similar to what this French court is doing. Have any actual suits been filed in the U.S. against foreign companies whose web sites can be viewed from the U.S.? At least in the U.S. there is some understanding that parts of the Internet are out of control of the country's government. This french court doesn't seem to understand that.

  • "...penis birds are among the most loyal creatures on earth.

    But will it get along with my Trouser Snake? I'd hate to have a problem along those lines.

    Inquiring minds, etc...

  • Don't get technical on him! He bleeped his address, so he's obviously not serious. What it sounds like he's saying (tongue in cheek),is that you screwed up and he wants you to apologize IN SLASHBACK.

    I allways thought the point of slashback was to follow up on articles posted. This falls under that. You said King will never write the last part 'cause nobody will pay. Then you go and make it easy for people to help prove you right. Only after some comments calling for you to remove it, do you modify the article. You have a chance in Slashback to apologize, and you don't do it. You don't even acknowledge that you did link to the PDF, either in Slashback or in the comments.

    This, alone, brands you as some kind of hypocrite to all the slashdot readers. Perhaps you don't care, but it brings down the credibility of Slashdot as a whole. Who's gonna belive a writer who appears to use his forum as a self-edification tool?

    I hate to blow you out of the water, but seriously, the guy has a point. Will you please address it formally? Why did you link to the PDF in the first place?
  • Hmm, now that you think about it......
  • > ...what the publishers do.

    Right now they're busy debugging a perl script to download a million copies without paying. If that doesn't do the trick, they're in trouble.

    And no Napster to blame this time. What's a poor middleman to do?

    --
  • I am wondering if they had a thing against people paying twice or more. I imagine that the if the total number of $1 payments needed were not based on unique credit card numbers then you would probably have some people paying twice. Or more. Just like at the museum, when it says "suggested payment" -- some people choose to pay more to ensure that the museum sticks around.
  • I agree. 2000 year old religious names and concepts are public domain. :)
  • King's mechanism for sales is based on the Street Performer Protocol,

    So can we call it the Protocol of Kings?


    Kaa
  • Substitute French for big american company/government and think about what yahoo would say. Hmm.
    The french still have the same attitude as the americans (wanting to control the world) without the military to back it up..

    French was once the major world power, but they don't seem to have noticed that it slipped away. Alas, i predict the same fate to America. No great empire has ever lasted.

    -henrik
  • My guess is that Amazon doesn't want to be left out of the loop just like the publishers if the King/Street Performer method works...

  • the point remains that states aren't merely bodies of administrative convenience -- they're their own sovereigns, giving up only enumerated powers to a Federal government

    So how, exactly, does that differ from the WTO?

    Also, the methods that were used during the Civil War would not be used today without *much* politicking first.
  • Isn't that pretty much what the Americans did in their "anti-Communism" campaign in the 50s on through? Trying to force their beliefs (communism is bad) on other countries?
  • I guess the difference is the "half-full, half-empty" argument. My point is that "mostly sovereign" supports my argument - for years it seemed unlikely to have such a large population give up portions of its rights or sovereignty to such a large body. In 1000 AD, I'm sure the idea of 1 billion people under one common rule, partial or otherwise, might have seemed impossible, yet our world currently comprises 2 such nations (India and China). It is definitely believable that at some point in the future, 6 billion people could be subdivided into "mostly sovereign" states with some power being given to one central body.

    The difference between "wholly sovereign" and "mostly sovereign" is very small indeed, especially in a world where wars are fought at the banks and in the media, not with muskets and swords.

    I still stick to the theory that if enough support were given to a state, it could secede from the US without bloodshed. The country might want some sort of compensation for money invested into the province (which it would have a hard time arguing if the province is a net lender in taxes).

    Ask yourself: What would happen if Texas decided to become wholly sovereign? Would the US really call in the army? At what point would they resort to physical force?

    Being from Canada, this is a very real situation, as the possibility of the secession of Quebec is very possible. This is very similar to a wholly sovereign state choosing to relinquish some power to a federal body, but reserving the right to withdraw it, the same as a member nation of the WTO.
  • I only use the United States as an example since the majority of readers are American. Other countries - Canada, China, and others - are more heavy handed and controlling than the USA. This is mostly a constitutional feature - the town/city is recognized as a political body, unlike Canada. However, your very argument also supports my theory rather than defeats it: at one point, the United States was not united. Yet now all the states are under one constitution. Although there are differences from region to region (whether state or town), there is still one governing piece of paper. There is one Supreme Court. There is one leader of the country. Although elected by the people, it is his veto on the bill. (This is where the argument for greater and freer access to the Internet could allow for referendums on each issue)

    If we follow your argument, we can further subdivide the city into regions (for example, my home town has 6 wards, and two councillors are elected from each ward). Within wards there are neighbourhoods, and within neighbourhoods streets, and homes/shops, then the individual. Although these are not officially recognized as governing bodies in the US (except for the individual), each has a certain realm of control. For example, it is the neighbourhoods decision to implement a Neighbourhood Watch. It is the homeowner's decision to decorate in blue or brown. It is individual's decision to major in English or Physics. If you want to get really crazy, you can argue that it is the cells responsibility to govern energy expenditure within the body.

    The reason the above argument can be extended to that point is that the governmental and constitutional model the US follows is not implemented around the world. As I already mentioned, although Canadian cities are given certain powers by the Municipal Acts of various provinces, they are not political bodies recognized by the Constitution. As such, the United States is already one level deeper than Canada. Other countries have harsher rulings on individual freedoms which extends it to the maximum.

    The point of the above is to illustrate that we can always point to an example of a smaller unit and say that "it has governing abilities, so the argument that the larger unit has some control is negated to some extent". I didn't suggest complete totalitarian control was exerted by the country, only that a large, coordinated, governing body was established.

    What is a country but a cartel of groups (states/provinces/etc.) that agree on policy and enforce it? An organization does not need military power to establish itself as a governing body.

    Let's assume that Canada, part of the WTO, does not comply to the will of the WTO. Assume this gets bad enough that action must be taken. Economic sanctions are placed on that country by the other participating countries. For Canada to remain in good economic health, it must comply. Yes, the argument is there that a country, if stubborn enough, can take it to the very end and be completely cut off. This is, really, not that different than the Quebec separation issue. If Quebec did choose to separate from Canada (a clear majority on a clear question), would the federal government intervene with physical force? Although that remains to be seen, most probably not. I could see a similar situation arising in the States if 67% of a state voted to separate.

    Hence we can look at states as independent participants in a cartel, called a country, and that, with enough support, they could separate from, and then follow their own laws. This is not far off the WTO's purpose at all, which is one of the reasons why it is protested so much.

    I didn't intend to provide maxims, only to illustrate similarities. (I could talk about NATO as well, and point out that the US *did* intervene with physical force when Iraq threatened to take away access to its oil reserves in Kuwait, essentially establishing itself as the guardian of international behaviour, which is one step removed from being an approved guardian, as no country really has the power to face the US down in its current state, but I think this post is long enough).

  • Unfortunately, having a .fr address does not guarantee you leave in France and the contrary is obviously the same.

    Either the court will be satisfied that they're trying, or they'll simply have to get a list of all IP blocks assigned to french ISPs, and block out those at the routers. That'll also have the effect of creating a hell of a stir in France, when no-one can access any part of Yahoo (the funniest part will be those people with Yahoo emails).

    This is probably what it'll take for them to wake up, and hopefully strike down some of these stupid laws in the process--and no, I will not sympathize with their excuses for having them, even though my country was just as occupied as France in WWII. People died in that war to combat exactly this kind of evil.


    "A *person* is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

  • if you take that formula for Amazon. Apply it to every book in their catalog...it almost justifies thier stock price.

    --
  • Who's gonna belive a writer who appears to use his forum as a self-edification tool?


    ha ha Ha hahhaha, HAHAH,hahah,ahahahha, MMWUWauauHSHAHAHH!!!

    belive...man, that's funny.

    --
  • yerdaddy is right.

    wait a sec...who's yerdaddy?

    aaahhh yeaaaah, a truck full a puddin'

    --
  • I hate to harp on you for this, but you're still wrong about the US. Through the constitutional feature of dual sovereignty, there is not 1 constitution, 1 leader and 1 Congress and 1 Supreme Court. There are 51 of each. Sometimes they hold concurrent power, but more often they hold exclusive powers. I muddied my argument by referring to county and local governments, but the point remains that states aren't merely bodies of administrative convenience -- they're their own sovereigns, giving up only enumerated powers to a Federal government.

    (BTW, the US already had an experience with seceding states during the Civil War, and force was most certainly used to prevent secession.)
  • The WTO is a loose federation of wholly sovereign states. The US is a Federal union of mostly-sovereign states. With the WTO, member nations reserve the right to nullify -- they just may suffer the consequences from other member nations. American states reserve no right to nullify.
  • Ah yes, the good ol' system of trial by ordeal. We gave that up a long time ago in favor of a rational system of evidence. It lets folks kill the correct people most of the time, in addition to hiding the locus of judgment so the incorrect people can also be killed when convenient.
  • According to Forbes [forbes.com]Stephen King made $63,000,000 last year. I mean, how much more money does he actually need?
  • ...again.

    I wonder if Lance feels unbalanced when he is in the saddle?
  • Well, lets see, at a buck a chapter, assuming 20-25 chapters, it's the same price as buying the book as a hardcover except there's no cost to them for printing.

    Shouldn't we be getting a discount? His last book was $2.50 for the whole thing... Now we have to pay up to $20-$25 bucks for a book and hope that after 10 chapters he doesn't stop writing.

    That's a rip off.

    No matter how many chapters he writes, he's getting a fortune for a book and has no publishing costs. Shouldn't we be getting a break too? I could see 10 cents a chapter but not $25 bucks for an e-book.

    I think I'll stick to paperbacks.
  • I went, payed, and started to download, but stopped it for some reason or another (I was at work so maybe my boss stopped by or something?). Anyway, I went back, payed again, and downloaded it in full. I don't know if the first dload showed up as a dload on his stats or not (because I only dloaded for about 5 seconds; does he count a start of dload or the completion of a dload?), so I payed twice for reading it once. Oh, well.

    I didn't really enjoy the first chapter, though, so I don't think I'll read the next one just to boost his income.

  • by Nafta ( 42011 )
    The war may have ended, but nazism was not eradicated, only driven underground. The anti-hate laws are there to remove the fuel from the fire, in the hopes that in another few generations the worst of the hatred will be extinguished.
    To remove debate from the issue is very dangerous indeed. Evidence, like most things, decays over time. Documents get lost, witnesses die, and buildings collapse. With no debate, the issue dies in the public mind, and we forget.

    If you have correctly identified the fuel for the fire, the source of the rage, then perhaps it is good to quiet the issue. To let the hate groups forget, would bring peace. However, I don't think you have found the fuel. The anger forms from other things. The disillusioned, and dispossessed, these are the people that create the hate. The anger in these people is only strengthened by censorship, and gives the anger credibility. Yet another force to push them around. These people will focus on anything visible. Here is where we create the bigot.

    Once created, our friend the bigot, will latch on to anything that justifies their bigotry. The truth of the allegation does not matter. Pseudo facts and circular arguments will do. Evidence will be created to suit. Counter evidence will be routed around.

    What is needed is to retain the real evidence, and fight the fabrications before they have a chance to gain credibility. Those who witnessed the events, need to record their experiences. That way future generations will not have to face spurious allegations empty handed.

    That way we remember what happened.

  • Editing expertise is vital, as anyone who has seen the decline in output quality of authors who get arrogant and start believing they don't need an editor. However, there are plenty of skilled editors out there, and I'm sure they're happy to contract their skills out.

    Similarly, publicity can easily be handled by a good agent. Check out sports personalities, actors, etc, most of whom have a good agent to help keep them in the news, cut deals, etc. Again, there are plenty of freelancers and companies who are more than happy to handle these things.

    If publicity and editing are all a publisher brings to the table, they offer a very slim value proposition indeed.

  • Ah, but you're forgetting one minor detail. We're talking about Steven King here. He's a Big Name compared to most fiction authors out there.

    Additionally, let's not forget how he got where he is now. Without major publisher support in the first place, he'd still be writing short stories appearing in girlie mags (not flamebait--he actually did this while attending the University of Maine) or would have found something else to do that resulted in him getting paid.

    I really like what he said about the Internet spawning a generation of people who thought that you shouldn't have to pay for the fruits of others' creativity. It's true. And it's pretty sad.

  • "I hold you responsible for linking directly to the pdf file without first mentioning that by clicking on this link users would be held morally responsible for paying Stephen King one US dollar."

    If you honestly believe you're "morally responsible" for a clickwrap agreement you never read and didn't even know existed, your ethics dial must be turned to 11. Wow.

    As for the link you're talking about, I did mive it to the bottom of the story and added explanation. Still, as originally phrased, the sentence you're talking about read:

    "He - not his publisher - is putting the first installment of a novel online today, and then waiting to see how many people will pay a dollar for the download."

    The link you clicked on was attached to the two words immediately following "pay a dollar for." Sorry for the mixup, but I'm not reimbursing your dang dollar. It's a cruel, uncaring net. Click carefully out there.

    Jamie McCarthy

  • ...and for you old timers, home of QSD.

    Oh, fuck. I'm officially an old timer. An AC said so. :)

    Tymnet was so much better than this Internet shit.

  • You still don't have any incentive to pay. What difference will your $1 make among thousands of readers?
  • Ahhh, if only the opposite were true. No more nagging uncle sam...

    To an extent, it *IS* true.

    The US has(had) arbitrary anti-encryption rules, so the web interpreted that as damage and routed around it, in the form of every major Open encryption method being hosted on non-US sites.

    Partially because of this, the US is relenting, slowly but surely, on this policy.

    The big difference is the US protections on free speech, which are taken very seriously by our courts.

    Our courts don't always make the right decisions, but they do take those decisions very seriously when they regard free speech.

    --
  • I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll end up saying it again:

    The only solution that will get Yahoo out of court is if they completely block access to their services for the entire .fr domain, and to all major French ISPs that use .com .net etc.

    Just cut as much of the entire country off as you can, and don't come back until the courts wise up.

    It'll mean a financial loss, and it'll even mean some piddly contract lawsuits, but it'll get them out of an issue that's winding up in the hands of clueless judges, not negotiated settlements.

    Put up a page that shows up to anybody from France saying "This web site has been cut off per order of Judge Pepe Le Frog, French Court jurisdiction blah blah yada yada yada."

    Any US web site that gets this kind of crap from any other country should do this.

    --
  • This system will also be used in the Storytellers' Bowl [storytellersbowl.com] website, whenever it gets going. Though it'll be closer to the original concept, as payment will be made before the book is offered for download...
    --
  • The entire Nazi angle is beside the point. Should France, and by extension every crackpot dictator on the planet, be allowed to say what thoughts and attitudes their citizens may hold, what words they may speak, what images they may view?

    I don't think so, and I'm sure there are many who would agree. This smells nastily like the thin end of the thought-police wedge. Once you allow filtering based on political criteria, you've opened up a whole barrel of rabid monkeys. Next thing you know, you'll have carnivore-like monitors sifting the data streams for non-PC attitudes or unpopular opinions. Fuck that.

    France certainly has the right to control what crosses their borders, and importing the auction pieces might be tough. Or maybe not. I don't really know. But that is France's problem, not Yahoo's. Or mine, for that matter.

    Social engineering is almost always a bad idea. It can be so easily misused.

  • Should the publishers fear getting kicked off the gravey train of someone like King? Damn Straight, King et al know damn well you have to really promote a book to get it to sell. But I'm also sure he wasn't willing to spend his hard earned cash on an expiriment. If this expiriment is sucessful I'm sure he'll go and promote the hell out of it the next time he does it.

    Shareware isn't immune to the constraints of the market. Mr Katz failed to continue to have a successful and profitable company because he failed to publish a Windows version until it was way too late. At that point in time everyone was using WinZip.

    Basically what happened to PKWare is very similar to what happened to a certain other company that we all know. WordPerfect.

    Keeping with the shareware analogy. What's happening in publishing is that authors of books are getting the Internet distribution that killed disk vendors in the shareware area. And people ran around saying that nobody would ever just be content to just download a product and not get disks. Now it's rather common. Go figure.
  • Not true. There is a flat fee + a percentage. The bank gets the percentage. The aquiring processer (e.g. EDS, PaymentTech, FirstData etc) gets the flat fee.

    More than likely Amazon is eating part of this because it makes for good advertising for them and frankly they would love to get rid of the publishers.

    Let's just say for a moment that this was true:
    $0.20 + 3% to process the charge, Amazon keeps say $0.25. This gives King $0.52 cents. So King is getting 52% of the transaction and Amazon is operating on a 48% gross margin. Now I'm willing to bet that their gross margin on the books after paying the Cost of Goods Sold is less than 5%. So of course they'd love this. Plus they don't have to ship anything. Which also lowers their costs and means they don't have to have as many employees. Plus they don't have to keep any stock which means they don't need as much warehouse space, etc etc etc etc...

    So all in all it's a great deal for Amazon.

    Assuming the above is correct in one day Amazon made $15360 in gross off The Plant, and their profit was $8000. Not bad for doing nothign.

    King on the other hand made $16640.00 again I'm willing to bet that's not bad compared to what he would normally get for a book that sold 32,000 copies.

  • It's a cruel, uncaring net. Click carefully out there.
    The point is, of course I click carefully if I'm at some random unknown web site. If I'm on Slashdot however, I have some measure of trust that writers are doing the Right Thing for the dozen or so stories they post every day, and that they're not cruel and uncaring.

    Now, taking a shortcut to "just that information that's relevant" in a web site is sometimes justified, but often common courtesy is to point to some part of the site that the author would like you to point to. Slashdot generally respects this, even if the practice cannot be formalized.

    So when you post a link that deliberately avoids the author's warnings about downloading, I find that's rude. Especially when it's combined with a self-important rant about why this is wrong or doomed or whatever due to Hofstadter's law or whatever. It has the unpleasant feeling of Slashdot pushing its weight around.

    The number one reason I come to Slashdot is for the links. The second one is for the comments by users. The third, well after the first two, is for Slashdot staff opinion. Along with reason number one is trust in Slashdot's judgment on what you link to and, yes, how you link to it.
  • > Yet here the USA today, with over 230 million people, all governed under one Constitution.

    But the devil is in the details. Hence the lame notion of "community standards". (I.e., it's p0rn if your neighbors don't like it, but it's merely er0tic m@tter if they do. You don't know whether you're jail bound until you find out your neighbors' reading/viewing habits.)

    --
  • PayPal has now set up a system to allow individuals to receive payments [x.com] of any amount through any web page they like.

    The buyer clicks on a link, enters payment information, and then goes back to the original site. Anyone can do this now, not just Steven King!

  • > now it seems that Yahoo! is supposed to police the entire world.

    I agree this seems silly for a private company - however, the presumption "it's the world, it's so big, how can we police it all, that's just silly" doesn't hold water for me.

    I'm sure at some point someone saw a city, province (or state), country, continent, as too large of an area to manage. Yet here the USA today, with over 230 million people, all governed under one Constitution. Organizations such as the WTO hold certain restrictions on participating countries - well over a billion people.

    It's the same adage as I use for science - never say that something is impossible, never say that something is solved, because someone will prove you wrong. In this case, I'm sure at some point, globalization will push us towards a larger and larger single organization, with one basic set of rules, with slight regional variations.
  • In fact, I brashly predict that the sudden freeing of the artist -- the ability for anyone with interest to form an effective distribution network -- will spark a great surge forward in creativity.

    I totally agree with this one. The thing that Stephen King has done is bring the real point out. Morals. I didn't download the book, and I'm a big stephen king fan. I didn't, cause the last book of his that I read (The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon) [wahcentral.net] sucked ass. The way he set up the license is awesome. It's him, asking you to be moral. Directly. That's the power it will take for this to work. That's why I didn't dl the book, because I didn't want to pay for it, and the last stuff he's written is shit.

    Until I hear that this story kicks ass, it's not worth my time. The only way he can ask for such a license up front is because he is probably the most popular American author on the planet. Someone else would have to put a bit upfront, maybe a chapter. Then, for the second and more they could ask for $.25 to continue the game.

    Anyway, my point: it will take moral consumers for this type of publishing to work. He's taking a small risk (the dude make $65,000,000,000 last year), but it's a worthwhile experiment.

    --
  • If you like it you pay for it, if not then you put it back...

    But that's not how he worded the license. He's not saying, "if you like it, pay more to keep seeing it." He's saying, "if you dl it, you need to pay". That's the only caveat I have with the "license".

    Let's look at it from the horses mouth....(sorry for you cut'n paste whiners)

    What You Promise

    1. To pay for each installment of The Plant, and to pay each time you download it. Look at it this way: you couldn't go into a bookstore and say, "I bought a copy of The Street Lawyer in here yesterday, so give me four more for free today." Get it?


    It looks to me like he's saying, "if you download it, you agree to pay for it" and NOT "if you download it and like it, pay for it."

    So, in respect of his wishes, and my recent experience, it's not worth it for me to download.

    Personally, I think the first chapter should be free, and the second becomes the test. But, given the fact that he is a VERY successful author, he can stand on his previous work as a preview.

    (if it means anything I have read pretty much every stephen king book around, but lately they have sucked and the The Girl Who Should Have Died a Grisly Death With Tom Gordon in the Woods was the final straw....until the next Dark Tower book comes out)
    --
  • I'm sure at some point someone saw a city, province (or state), country, continent, as too large of an area to manage. Yet here the USA today, with over 230 million people, all governed under one Constitution.

    That hardly proves your point. The constitution, by design, divides the US into over 51 independent sovereignties:1 federal, 50 state, as well as the hundreds of Indian nations. Each state is further subdivided into separate administrative regions (counties) which are further subdivided into towns, parishes, cities, etc. Each little political fiefdom gets its own domain to regulate, and -- again by constitutional design -- most tasks that are best handled at a national level are the province of the national government (eg interstate commerce), and most tasks that are best handled locally are the province of the states (most everything, eg police). The US is hardly the monolithic political incorporation you paint it as.

    Your WTO analogy is similarly off-base. The WTO is essentially a cartel, centrally focusing most of the efforts of its individual member nations, authorizing them to impose sanctions upon "misbehaving" nations without itself providing the means of enforcement.

    Never say never, sure, but maxims like that can be equally blinding.
  • If you ever get a chance to hear SK talk, go listen to him. He does share your ideas about large book stores. He complains that his wife gets her books published not because they are good but because they are written by his wife. He also clams that most of the good writers in the past couldn't get a book published today.
  • I'm not sure of the translation for "tough shit"
    tant pis! ou quelle dommage!

    The website did have french content, just not equal amounts. It was for an intensive english language program, so the courts thought having a mostly english website was justified.

    The rush back to the right and far-right ideals after elections a few years ago has corrected itself in France lately. But the french are so, well, french. "French" can be a noun, a verb, an adjective, an insult and a complement :-)

    the AC
  • Well the issues that "created" Nazism in Germany between the wars were massive poverty, hyper-inflation, a loss of national pride and rampant and institutionalized racism.

    And many programs and laws created in the wake of the great war were designed specifically to tackle each of the issues which let nazism and fascism take power in the first place. To prevent hyperinflation and differences between neighboring countries, a common currency has been introduced with a strong central bank to regulate it without political sway (ok, so there is some political pressure, but it will recede). It took 45 years from when the first proposal for the Euro was agreed upon to being implemented, but most rational people agree it will be a great leap forward when we finally get some bills in our hands in a couple of years.

    The easy-to-tackle issues have been tackled. Now what remains is problems like racism. Eliminating the root causes was easy, but there is still a long ways to go. Institutionalised racism got its start in Austria almost two centuries ago when a structured schooling system was created. Every student was taught that certain races were inferior, and professors had to back that up with bogus scientific research or lose their jobs. After several generations went through the programs, the whole society believed the lies. After the war, the allies created laws against the worship of nazi symbols in schools, and carefully purged the school systems of the most virulent racists. But it will take several more generations until the laws can relax. The ideal is to have a protected form of free speech like the US first amendment, but the patient has to be cured of the terrible disease before that can happen.

    the AC
  • Variety reports today: "Sales of 'Plant' Wilt on King's Website" [yahoo.com]

    Although the 78% voluntary payment rate is pretty impressive, apparently 41,000 downloads is "hardly terrifying" in the publishing industry.
  • I was wondering about web spiders, and not just malicious ones: there
    are loony spiders out there that download junk like pdf files and
    ignore robots.txt files. Are they taking account of this kind of
    traffic? What about repeated downloads of the pdf file by people who
    misplaced the orginal that they paid for? I guess I'm asking: how can
    they be so sure about there numbers?
  • Just a note that even the much vaunted "low-friction" ecommerce hasn't figured out a way to get around charging US$.25 for each transaction, or more. I bet he maybe only took in half that after Amazon's and the credit company's fees.

    Walt
  • It's "hear, hear", by the way.
  • Also when the novelty of this wears off who is to say that this isn't to become like shareware where even the authors of widely used software died broke and lonely?

    Phil Katz may have died lonely, but he certainly didn't die broke.

    PS: Then again I might be wrong and Stephen King will make more money from this than he does from publishing with big name authors but then again cosidering he made 84 million dollars in 1996 alone I somehow doubt this.

    Maybe he won't make as much as with a publisher, but so far he's made twice as much as I make in a year.

  • Check out Qpass [qpass.com]. They're the system that drives the likes of NY Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal Interactive, Corbis, etc. They've been successfully handling micropayments for three years now.

    -Vercingetorix
  • Reminds me of fruit stands in Oregon. You can go to fruit farms and often they will have no one manning the stall. Just a box of money and a sign asking you to weigh and pay for what you want. Anyone could take what they want and not pay, or worse, grab the box of cash. But they don't.


    -Vercingetorix

  • OK - I'll bite. It might be marked as offtopic, but I think it is somewhat relevant to the discussion at hand to talk about convergence here.

    The point of all the digital "content" (there are far too many buzz words floating around at the moment) is that, eventually, you don't have to worry about the hard drive failing, or not being able to hold the book in your hands.

    PDAs and Laptops appear to be converging on a middle ground, with extras at both ends - you have the very basic "notepad, calendar and address book", stretching to the full-featured laptop that kicks the butt of most desktop PCs. In the middle you have a device that is probably a bit more capable than the current Palms, has high storage capacity on devices other than hard disks, and ideally replaces the current LCD technology with something that doesn't make your eyes strain after two hours.

    What you have then is worthy of taking on a bus or train and reading a book on. Benefit as well: you can download another book later, and save them on your central server at home later. Feel like reading a magazine? The display is probably big enough to show you an A$-size image.

    The fridge-connected-to-the-firewall bit is about intelligently ordering new goods when the old ones run out, or go off. It's all about making your life easier, and your access to information a whole lot less painful than the means currently employed.

    Personally I think we've got a long way to go (especially with the portable screen), but at some point in the next five or ten years, these things may become reality. Then the rich can get life easier for a bit, until it filters down to us mortals.
  • Books will never be out of style

    No, they won't. I wouldn't mind seeing Bertelsman, Newhouse, or B&N go out of style, though.

  • France's argument is absurd - "French people can just access the same auctions from www.yahoo.com".

    A) French can get to the same questionable items from another website.

    B) Even if Yahoo can "filter" french users from "bad" auctions, viewers can still use a US based proxy to get to the same content.

    The only way to stop people from viewing objectionable content is to install client based filtering software on every user's computer.

    If Yahoo were to loose this case, I would imagine the quick blacklisting of french IP addresses on the part of Yahoo. Imagine the uproar that would create.

    --
    Cory R. King

  • According to this story on E Online at Yahoo [yahoo.com] only 41,000 have downloaded the book so far (in 1 week). This is a far cry from the 400,000 copies downloaded for his eBook (in 1 day). An aid to Stephen King is quoted as saying "We didn't have the marketing and sales promotion that Simon & from the need for a big name publisher. Schuster put behind Riding the Bullet.".

    Frankly I don't see why big publishing should fear this. If a world reknowned like Stephen King has only a few thousand dollars to look forward to from this endeavor then this is unlikely to suddenly liberate Joe UnknownAuthor from the need for a big name publisher.

    I guess this goes to show that publishers are not as uneccessary and irrelevant as Stephen King thinks. Also when the novelty of this wears off who is to say that this isn't to become like shareware where even the authors of widely used software died broke and lonely? [slashdot.org]

    PS: Then again I might be wrong and Stephen King will make more money from this than he does from publishing with big name authors but then again cosidering he made 84 million dollars in 1996 alone [infront.co.uk] I somehow doubt this.

  • Well, it is not way too hard to at least partially implement:

    #!/usr/bin/perl

    Use CGI;
    Use Strict;

    my $query = new CGI;

    if ($query->remote_host() =~ ".fr") {
    print "Nazi auctions are bad, mmkay... !"

    etc..

    But for the moral side, it's a shame that a country that pionered liberty in the modern era decides to censor what it feels is not moral. Sure enough, buying Nazi memorabilia is immoral to a national, whose own country has been brutally occupied by the nazis. But the government is not the guardian is moral, whether the auction is on the internet or not is not important.

  • this whole cybersquatting thing has gotten WAY outta hand. Now we're talking about cybersquatting on domain names based off books in the bible?

    who's got a right to sue this guy? God? I say, let's figure this out the only way one could in a situation like this...if god doesn't want him to have the domain name, he'll shove a lightning bolt up his arse!


    FluX
    After 16 years, MTV has finally completed its deevolution into the shiny things network
  • Well, it's not the first time I've been told to get a life, but yes, I for one am not buying any DVDs until this mess with deCSS is settled.

    I even wrote Darth Valenti to let him know. Sadly, he never responded. :)

  • I recall a story from a couple of years ago about an American university which had a satellite campus in France. Since the satellite campus' web site was part of the parent university's site, the French PTB got in an uproar over the "violation" of a requirement regarding how much of a "French" web site could be in a language other than French.

    This sort of reaction makes me wonder... If someone participated in an auction of Nazi relics via telephone, would the French government take legal action against its own telephone service?

    If someone is annoying you with obscene phone calls (or telemarketing calls!), do you go after the manufacturer of your phone, the phone companies (local or long distance, if you even know where the call is coming from...), or do you blame the moron who's actually doing the harrassment?

  • "That which does not kill me makes me stronger".

    Sometimes it just leaves you weaker and more vulnerable to future attack.

    Exactly how have these laws reduced "nazism" or whatever you want to call it?

    Well, the stated intent behind the laws was to prevent far-right groups from seizing power in a European nation and starting another war/genocide. It is true that no such war has happened, but obviously it is almost impossible to prove what impact - one way or another - a particular law has had.

    Has it done anything to address the issues which created the need for nazism in the first place?

    Well the issues that "created" Nazism in Germany between the wars were massive poverty, hyper-inflation, a loss of national pride and rampant and institutionalized racism. None of these conditions exist now in Europe, and you can certainly make a reasonable argument that the laws against racial hatred contribute towards moving racist attitudes from the mainstream of a society to the fringes. So I would conclude that these laws are one part of an effective program of measures.

    Is treating the "symptoms" the way to cure the disease...

    There is a lot of evidence that treating symptoms really can cure the underlying disease. This is the "broken window" theory of crime: take a look at this book review [pragmaticprogrammer.com] that gives an overview of the theory. It is the theory that was behind New York's clean up of minor crime in early 90's. That effort was widely credited with a dramatic reduction in serious crime in that city.

    ...or are these laws really intended to push political agendas that are not openly espoused, and to silence groups that that ruling elites would rather not have to deal with?

    Errr... the political agendas of anti-nazisim are openly espoused and widely supported in the countries that have such laws. And I'm sure that the "ruling elites" (aka the democratically elected governments) would rather not deal with the murderous thugs of the extreme right-wing, but given that they have to, I think they are doing a pretty good job.

  • Just looking at the transaction on UK prices, assuming a hardback retailing at fifteen quid, that King, being a big boy, gets a twelve per cent royalty on all sales and keeping that 32,000 sales, King would get £57,600 on that book.

    Paperback sales, assuming £7.00 sterling per unit and the usual 50 per cent split with the publisher, and he's getting £13,440 sterling.

    If he's going to ask for money for the later parts of the work, he's going to improve his position some, but basically he's doing significantly worse than a hardback sale of 32,000 and a bit worse than the same paperback sale. I don't think he'll improve it by a coefficient equal to the number of instalments - I think he'll get more free riders on the later parts and his market for those later parts consists entirely of those who bought and liked the earlier stuff.

    (Using a dollar fifty to the pound, he's getting $86,400 for the hardback and $20,160 for the paperback. These figures are, of course, purely approximate and I have not a notion what King's real sales of paper-and-board units are.)

    Basically, on these figures a novelist would have to crank out two novels a year to score a decent amount on which to live in comfort and support a family. Not impossible, but quality would suffer after a while. And, of course, in the present market you get these figures by being Stephen King and being the only person selling this way.

  • Yeah, a lot of people have paid already... but that's because this is so highly publicized. The media is raising a big stink about how King is (gasp!) releasing a book for free. It was even in my local newspaper this morning. Now that Joe Schmoe knows about this, Fred Schmoe doesn't want to look bad by not paying -- otherwise when he's talking to Joe, he's going to have to admit that, hey, he didn't pay for Stephen King's book; he stole it.

    But once this becomes commonplace, people are going to stop caring. Remember the shareware model? It worked great at first, earning lots of money for unknown software developers (had anyone heard of Apogee before DOOM?) until people realized that you could just get the stuff for free without registering it. Once everyone is reading King's book, Joe Schmoe will stop paying because it's too commonplace, too widespread.

    Don't confuse Stephen King's book release with "open source." It's not an open source book; it's "shareware." We can't modify his book, distribute his book, or whatever. All we can do is read it for free and pay for it if we're honest (and how many Internet users really are?). And we all know what happened to shareware.

    Thanks for the free book, Steve, but I don't think you're going to sell too many copies.

  • I've read many posts now which crow about how Steven Kings test is a huge success, it's going to change the world of publishing yada yada yada. Now I'm personally (and pleasantly) very surpised at the 78% payment rate.

    However, before we pronounce that it just shows that the 'Stree Performer Model' really works, let us not forget the following facts:

    • there is a significant novelty factor attached to this test - this will skew results
    • the website cannnot determine how many copies of the novel have been distributed with payment - ie pirate copies of the novel may be exchanging hands through email which can't be tracked and therefore the payment ratio is much lower .. possibly
    • the payment was only for $1 which you can take two ways:
      • it doesn't represent the real price of a book and if you charged more, you would get less people paying, or
      • the amount is to low to cover the overhead associated with handling credit cards
    All of these factors will skew the results. Now I'm not saying that the results themselves aren't worthy, just that the hype proclaiming that the results are revolutionary, extraordinary, amazing, change the world etc etc is a little over the top.

  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @03:30PM (#905944) Homepage Journal

    He didn't say she sucks, he just says she wouldn't be able to get published. You played into Big Media's hands when you inferred that not being able to get published is equivalent to sucking. (And getting published means you don't suck, I guess.)

    Keep believing that, and they will always take care of the words you hear, the songs you sing, the pictures that give pleasure to your eyes.


    ---
  • by Robert Link ( 42853 ) on Wednesday July 26, 2000 @02:45AM (#905945) Homepage
    All the author has to do is scrap the '%-honest' requirement in favor of an absolute revenue requirement. After all, the author knows how much time he spent working on the book, and he has an opinion about how much his time is worth, so he knows how much he needs to make to turn a profit. After the book has been out for a while, the author totals up the money he has made and decides if he has made enough that he wants to continue. Since he doesn't count the number of downloads, the robot factor is irrelevant.


    The '%-honest' metric is flawed anyhow, even absent the robot factor. It is symptomatic of an unhealthy 'mine, all mine' obsession. Does Stephen King get all worked up like this when I check out one of his books from the public library instead of buying a copy? I certainly hope not, so why, then, should they obsess over the possibility that someone might download the electronic version without paying? As long as enough people pay, that is, as long as the author makes enough money to satisfy him, why should he worry about all the other downloads?


    Regarding the possibility of not getting the entire story, it seems to me that this is a risk of serialization that has little or nothing to do with online distribution. Even with traditional publishing, if the first novel of a trilogy sells poorly enough, the remainder of the series might be cancelled. If the possibility of not seeing the end bothers you, then wait until the entire series is complete before you buy the first one.


    -rpl

  • According to a report on RFI [rfi.fr] (sorry, all audio in french), the court was told by a Canadian company that filtering based on country was very simple and they had a product (or patent, it went by quickly) to do this. Could this be iCraveTV? The report didn't say.

    So the judge is going to wait a month (because the whole country goes on vacation the month of August) and then appoint a commission to investigate if filtering can be done country by country. The anti-hate groups asked the judge to impose 1 million FRF fines for each day that french citizens could access nazi memorabilia on yahoo, but the judge declined to do so until after the commission issues a preliminary report.

    What might happen if yahoo doesn't implement some kind of system (it doesn't have to be 100%, just good enough) is that all french ISPs will be forced to drop all packets to/from yahoo's IP address range. They could have their business licenses revoked if they don't.

    I understand why many european countries have laws against nazism. There is still a very strong racial hatred powering extremist politics using nazism as a symbol. In a region where memories of wrongdoing go back 1500 years, events that happened to people still alive are very recent. The war may have ended, but nazism was not eradicated, only driven underground. The anti-hate laws are there to remove the fuel from the fire, in the hopes that in another few generations the worst of the hatred will be extinguished.

    It is interesting to see how american court cases try to attack "dirty pictures" outside the US, where nobody cares if women bare their breasts on the beach. There is a double standard at work, and when an american company is on the losing end of a judgement, americans hear more about it. The double standard goes both ways, when european companies lose to american laws, only europeans hear the rants.

    the AC
  • Information warfare includes a fairly broad range of activities ... As one example, both physical and cyber attacks can result in system effects that are physical and cyber. ... A bomb (physical) may be used to damage a company facility (physical).

    I knew there was one aspect we've been leaving out of our security audits :-)

    Hey, boss, can we include explosives in our hacking arsenal? Just little ones. Please? :-) :-)

    the AC
  • by iElucidate ( 67873 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @03:51PM (#905948) Homepage
    I don't think the Net is the death of creavity, or even of creativity-for-hire. But it does threaten the demise of the top-heavy, soul-crushing pyramid-scheme-like distribution networks that have heretofore dominated music, the movies, and books.

    Here here! This is the crux of the argument. Massive corporations have taken over enterprises because it pays to be big. They have been able to control a market place and charge high prices through schemes that would be illegal if only they didn't control so much of the government (through campaign contributions, lobbying, etc.). The RIAA, the MPAA, and the publishing houses have locked up the content world into a feedback loop where their most prominent and profitable content creators get to keep publishing, and the little guys never get heard.

    The net is the great equalizer in that it allows content creators and consumers to connect directly. I fully anticipate within this year a new content site just for texts, similar to MP3.com for independent music and Atom Filmz (and others) for independent videos and shorts.

    You know why authors love to be able to publish hardcovers? Because, on a US$20 hardcover, they are able to make $1 in profit. That's right, the AUTHOR GETS ONE BUCK FOR EACH BOOK. On a paperback they get only a few cents. This system is so top heavy and bueracratic that the content creator is given nothing for his/her efforts. Being able to directly reach the consumer means much lower prices, and much higher profits for the actual author. Innovations like the eBooks will make publishing obsolete.

    What is important is some kind of promotion mechanism so that authors get noticed. Book reviews are good, but they are always too few too late, thanks to the incredible number of printed works on the market. Something like Amazon.com's review system needs to be implemented on an independent site, complete with their form of karma (the "Top 1000 reviewers"), and accessibility to all.

    This is where content is headed. The rest of these gizmos and innovations are just gravy on top.

    And finally, he thought, a future to look forward to among the drivel

  • Actually, the 41,000 figure was after one day. It was released yesterday, not a week ago. So in one day, he *netted* (not grossed - he doesn't have to pay a dime to a publisher) $32,000 from one chapter of a book. Sounds to me like a raging success. And this for a work that was written years ago and will never be considered one of his better pieces.

    Now imagine that he released the first chapter of the next Dark Tower novel. I'd wager he'd get over a million downloads the first day (probably more like 2-3 million) and most of them would pay.

    Regardless, it did better than anyone predicted.


    -Vercingetorix

  • by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @03:25PM (#905950) Homepage Journal
    Blockquoth the poster:
    I really like what he said about the Internet spawning a generation of people who thought that you shouldn't have to pay for the fruits of others' creativity. It's true. And it's pretty sad.
    Well, I don't presume to speak for the whole "internet generation" (whatever the heck that is), but I have no problem paying someone for the fruits of his/her creativity. I do resent being forced to pay someone for the fruits of someone else's creativity.

    I don't think the Net is the death of creavity, or even of creativity-for-hire. But it does threaten the demise of the top-heavy, soul-crushing pyramid-scheme-like distribution networks that have heretofore dominated music, the movies, and books.

    In fact, I brashly predict that the sudden freeing of the artist -- the ability for anyone with interest to form an effective distribution network -- will spark a great surge forward in creativity.

  • by dch111 ( 172666 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @04:13PM (#905951)
    This argument has one major fallacy, if you do not reside in a country , swear allegence to that country ,or volentarily(?) submit to their rules, laws and regulations of that country , why should you be compelled to force that country's beliefs on others? To expect others to bend to your will just because you decree it , is well..typically french .
  • .. from now on, alas.

    King's mechanism for sales is based on the Street Performer Protocol, which you can read more about there:

    http://www.counterpane.com/street_performer.html

    Doesn't actually matter if it becomes known as Kings method, as long as it becomes known as a popular method for artists to bypass the industry leeches and actually make their own decent profit...
  • by jelwell ( 2152 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @04:04PM (#905953)
    Due to your article posted at Slashdot.org the other day, entitled "Big Publishing's Worst Nightmare", I was forced into paying a dollar for a novel I will never read. I hold you responsible for linking directly to the pdf file without first mentioning that by clicking on this link users would be held morally responsible for paying Stephen King one US dollar. After reading the comments I found out what you had gotten me into - and have since sent in my one US dollar to Stephen King. I'm asking that you reimburse me that dollar due to your negligance in the matter.

    You can send check, money order, or simply US currency in the amount of 1 US dollar to:
    Joseph Elwell
    *address removed*
  • by ectizen ( 128686 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @03:42PM (#905954)
    ...if it sucks, no one will care about the third episode.
    that's what concerns me about this. even if i like the story, and buy each installment (multiple times if i really like it), i'm at the mercy of everyone else. if they don't like it, i don't get the ending! argh! now books are going to be blandized as well as tv/radio/movies (blandized == made bland, as a result of letting the end users have too much control over the creative process - story-telling by committee... :( )

    on another point, what protects me and other honest purchasers of installments, from some rabid programmer with a net connection and a grudge against the author - script-based downloading of thousands of copies to stack the odds against the final installment appearing?

    i really hope that if this does catch on, they'll at least still print real books, for those of us willing to pay vast amount for the entire story (& support the middle man...)
  • by quonsar ( 61695 ) on Tuesday July 25, 2000 @03:41PM (#905955) Homepage

    Three words, get a life.

    The most direct route to getting a life can also be summed up in three words: stand for something.

    "I will gladly pay you today, sir, and eat up

I have never seen anything fill up a vacuum so fast and still suck. -- Rob Pike, on X.

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