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Comment Great argument (Score 1) 525

This reply is one of the most clearly-worded criticisms of the RIAA's prosecution, and I wish it could be applied to all the other cases which have gone before and are still before the courts.

I think it's crucial that they specifically talk about the fact that this individual did not profit from the sharing of this handful of files, and that it is unlikely that he, on his own, was singularly responsible for the sharing of those files to specifically "millions" of people, directly leading to "billions of dollars of lost revenues".

I wrote an article recently about "RIAA Math", researching just what kind of activity an individual would have to engage in to share a small number of files enough times, consistently, with zero failure or network downtime to make this kind of punitive or statutory damage claim worthy of being awarded. I used the pending damages case regarding Jammie Thomas-Rasset, which has been posted here many times. (Short answer: for the $1.92 million they claim she is on the hook for, she'd have to share all of the infringing copies for 444 days straight, no downtime, sharing to a grand total of nearly 58,000 individuals, and that's assuming that every single person actually downloaded the entire song.)

They key piece is that this guy was not personally profiting from this. He downloaded them for personal use. Even if we assume he burned copies for a handful of his friends, that is still not a "profit" engine, and even if it were, those profits would never amount to what the RIAA is claiming.

I'm intrigued to see the outcome of this, much as I am with the Thomas-Rasset case.

(Former Music Industry Employee And Pundit)


Submission + - Holocaust Denier's Email Hacked, Leaked (

AdamD1 writes: "It appears that a group of hackers have had access to holocaust denier's email accounts for some time, and decided to post a lot of what they found on Wikileaks.

The hackers posted Irving's e-mail correspondence online, as well as the user name and password for his web site account and AOL e-mail account, which shared the same password. The hackers also posted the e-mail addresses and other personal information — such as names, phone numbers and shipping and credit card billing addresses — of people who made donations through his web sites, purchased his books or bought tickets for his appearances.


Comment Re:A question of intent (Score 4, Interesting) 1032

Boy this is a hard topic to discuss without feeling like you're inadvertently supporting one side or the other.

I'll just preface this by saying this is a topic that has interested me for many years, but especially in light of 9/11, etc. I do not pretend to be any kind of expert on this (who could?)


Source? (other than Fox News, of course)

I was all set to say "how could you have missed all these news quotations saying the he wants to blow up Israel?!?!" But after doing some digging: It turns out that this is the first time I've heard anyone make a genuine distinction between what CNN / FOX / etc. keep quoting and what was actually translated from his original speech:

Our dear Imam (referring to Ayatollah Khomeini) said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine. Is it possible to create a new front in the heart of an old front. This would be a defeat and whoever accepts the legitimacy of this regime has in fact, signed the defeat of the Islamic world. Our dear Imam targeted the heart of the world oppressor in his struggle, meaning the occupying regime. I have no doubt that the new wave that has started in Palestine, and we witness it in the Islamic world too, will eliminate this disgraceful stain from the Islamic world.

Source: (Oct. 26, 2005)

Now: I am not supporting this guy (I can't overstate this), nor am I in support of Iran's totalitarian government, but it does appear that the press seem to have reinterpreted his speeches in words that will rile up Western populations.

His argument seems to be a common one from that region:

- Israel is a state and government which he and many others do not recognize, but which Western governments do.
- Israel as a state was created by Western governments following WWII and placed in what used to be known as Palestine, thus his (and many others) continuous reference to "occupied Palestine."
- He considers the state to be a fiction, and wants the Islamic world to work together to remove that state from the region, essentially returning it to the Palestinians.

I could only find this translation regarding his statements about the Holocaust:

The illegitimate Zionist regime is an outcome of the Holocaust... a political and power-seeking network claimed to be the advocate for one group of the victims, and sought reparations for their blood. [This network] ruled that the survivors of this particular group of victims must receive compensation - and part of this compensation was to establish the Zionist regime in the land of Palestine. On this pretext, they attacked Palestine and, after massacring the [indigenous] people and driving them from their homes, they occupied their homeland and created the Zionist regime - in order to ensure that no regional power would emerge in the Islamic lands except for the West, [because] Islamic civilization and culture have the dynamic potential to threaten their interests, which were based on oppression and thirst for power. These principles and philosophy comprise the Zionist regime.


So again: I don't see in that quote that he's "denying" the holocaust. (And yes: I know it's out of context, and it's from Wikipedia) He's saying that an "outcome of the Holocaust" was that they made these claims for reparation and compensation, and that they achieved this (the creation of Israel within Palestinian land) via less-than-acceptable means.

The fact that you clarified this particular oft-misquoted statement made me wonder what the precise text was. It's a bit difficult to find complete transcripts. (But I'll keep looking.)

Iran as a nation is still being ridiculous regarding how it communicates its nuclear intentions. "We don't have any nuclear arms. We're just firing these brand new shiny missiles -- just cuz!" That is far scarier than a predominantly Western misinterpretation of his statements.

I should read more about this. I just don't know where to begin (besides numerous references to Wikipedia, which is dubious in some cases.)


Comment What about private ownership of NASA (Score 1) 206

I recognize that this is possibly an extremely naive thing to suggest, but what if NASA were to be either co-owned by private investors, or sold outright to a private company?

Is there a reason that NASA still needs to be a Government operation?

Given that the key inhibitor to NASA being taken seriously as a "space exploration" organization has been the dire lack of funding over the past three decades, wouldn't it make sense to turn it into a seaparately operated, non-national, extremely well-funded company, with more than enough money to support the kinds of projects that they're describing?

I also understand that initially NASA did have ties to the military, but that for one reason or another it was agreed that they would not be a military organization. I'm not sure if selling the company would put it in danger of becoming one or not.

It couldn't hurt to ask. I imagine if either Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, etc. etc. etc. were in a position to co-own or otherwise play a part in their fiscal support, and there were no legal barriers to do so, NASA could flourish and this wouldn't be a recurring argument every year or so.

Aside: It bothers me that this lack of funding has made it that much easier for Apollo Landing deniers to grow in numbers.


Comment Still failing to grasp their audience (Score 5, Insightful) 250

Several colleagues of mine pointed me to this story and I just have to say: the labels - again - still don't get it, and they apparently never will.

I can understand why some artists create full length works. Few can argue that an album like Pink Floyd's "The Wall" or The Beatles' "Abbey Road" work very well as complete pieces. The reality is: how many current artists are making albums that consistent? I can think of only three that actually make the cut for me: Queens of the Stone Age, The Mars Volta and until lately Nine Inch Nails. With only that last example, their audiences are not earning them in the tens of millions in sales. The only artists which are are the artists which are responsible for this massive audience shift away from album purchases!

Britney Spears is the veritable poster-child for why albums are failing: even if you are a die-hard fan, you really only want two songs, at most perhaps five, from any of her full length albums. That says: you don't want to spend $15 - $20 for a complete CD / $9.99 per digital album download. You prefer to purchase individual tracks. (That and: you'd probably still prefer they cost around $0.49)

On the other hand, if their audience are "classic rock fans", I still don't see the point. If you're a Led Zeppelin fan, you likely already have all the remastered reissues and re-re-re-issues you care to spend any money on in the first place. (And the Beatles re-re-re-re-masters are coming out imminently as well, marking something like the eighth time those have been re-issued of re-packaged in one way or another.)

That well has run dry. Why they don't face this fact is confusing.

I know that individual tracks aren't going away, and I know that digital sales on their own aren't necessarily resulting in booming profits for any of these labels, but my point is: as someone who has been a voracious consumer of music since 1979, I see utterly no legitimate business case for this "new" format, and it baffles me completely that any major label would seriously consider this as the saviour of their industry.

I would have been far more excited to hear that they decided on a $0.40 per single purchase price for new artists - big marketing campaign or not - rather than this ridiculous additional format. That or that they finally decided to give the artists more of a cut of the digital download price, since printing, shipping and manufacturing costs are of course greatly reduced for any digital download format. (Not saying it doesn't still take a creative team to create artwork, but there is no shipping, and no printing involved.)

I've already made a few wagers: I give this two and a half years at best before we see an unsurprising news story claiming that this did not significantly improve any digital music sales for anyone.

What a waste of money already. They still have a full year before they even release the first one.


Comment Their "mobile" versions fail (Score 1) 289

I've been reading the news from seven or eight newspapers using one or another form of software for my Palm device since 1995 (no joke), and now that I'm moving to a blackberry (soon) I'm looking for something similar to do this. I much prefer reading these editions, and it often means I can grab more recent news at work for my transit commute home.

The problem is: none of the major papers ever do any QA on their "mobile" editions. The BBC news site is now nearly completely unreadable. You get the headline, and a teaser, but the link leads either to a broken page or a page featuring only a single paragraph of most stories. The New York Times suffers from similar broken links. The CBC's mobile site no longer loads in anything but a cellphone browser.

If they can't get that right (and I agree: the "mobile" version of most sites is not likely to be a high traffic section) what makes them think anyone will trust them to get this setup out the door smoothly?

It would be trivial to properly QA their existing mobile / low fi versions and promote that as another convenient way to read the news. Instead they abandoned it.



Submission + - BlueSecurity - Round Two!

user24 writes: "We all remember the Blue Security DDOS attack, and now it looks like the same group of spammers who took them down are attacking several high-profile anti spam forums in a similar co-ordinated botnet DDOS.

zdnet has the scoop:

"The spammers behind last year's destruction of Blue Security are back with a vengeance, using a variant of the 'Storm Worm' malware to launch a sustained distributed denial-of-service attack against three anti-spam services.

SpamhausThe ongoing attacks, which use botnets of hijacked Windows computers, successfully shut down the Web servers that power the Spamhaus Project, URIBL (Realtime URI Blacklists) and SURBL (Spam URI Realtime Blocklists (SURBL)."

Check out the castlecops forum, where members of these antispam groups are picking over the details of the attack."

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