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Comment Re:this is not idle. (Score 1) 291

You seriously missed the previous sentence which started with, "they seem to be going about it like assholes"?

As far as I can see, the only "asshole" behavior that they are engaging in is treating the kindergartens like everyone else. They aren't accusing the kindergartens and creche's of being theives, they aren't trying to jail anyone, they're just sending them letters that say, in the future they (the kindergartens) too must pay a license to sing any songs under their control. In other words, it's not how they are going about, it is the fact that they are going after kindergartens that makes them assholes (or, well, you know, bigger assholes).

If you are trying to make the point that trying to squeeze every bit of profit out of the world that they can, regardless of the social impact is the underlying asshole behavior, then I'm inclined to agree with you. On the other hand, I do see this case as being particularly egregious, and here's why: Teaching children songs and using music and culture as part of the education process of future generations of humanity is about as worthwhile a use of music and culture as one could possibly imagine. It's something that should be encourages, and it's one of those instances where our gut, emotional reaction is completely valid. Making it harder for creche's and kindergartens to operate is simply abysmal behavior. It's an order of magnitude worse than requiring an office party to do the same thing, and that is in turn an order of magnitude worse than requiring a club owner to do, which in turn is a bit worse than requiring someone making a commercial film to do so. All these things rob our culture and profit greedy assholes who don't contribute anything to that culture. Going after kindergartens is the logical extreme, which in its extremity points out the fallicies in the system. You may also be unaware that kindergartens and creche's in Germany are in short supply, and are often organized by parents on a volunteer basis because there just aren't enough (my cousin has organized one for example). So yeah, it's fucking terrible that they are placing an additional burden on people trying to make a positive social contribution.

If copyright is going to be a positive influence in society, and I believe an argument can be made in its defence, it requires us to differentiate between cases. So selling copies of a song I wrote without my permission is a case where I see copyright law having merit. Kids singing a song I wrote in kindergarten is a case where applying copyright law is meritless. Copyright law should not be applied to every situation where it might possibly be applied... it's for this reason that we (used to?) have the concept of fair use.

Attention copyright apologists: please don't give me that tired old line about artists having to pay their bills. Copyright law in the modern world benefits giant corporations, not artists. See www.questioncopyright.org for detailed investigations and examples. See "Sitka sings the blues" and the lectures of the creative artist responsible, for an example which categorically disproves the faulty assumption that copyright is necessary to encourage or support artists. There is plenty of evidence to encourage questioning the very existance of copyright, and there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that current copyright law needs, at the very least, massive reform.

Comment Re:High Risk? (Score 1) 183

Then there's no such thing as basic research. Any useful research eventually leads to a monetary incentive.

There's so much wrong with your assertion that it's difficult to know where to begin... Basic research often leads to a monetary incentive, but generations after the research has been done... i.e. the monetary incentives don't come in to play for the person or entity doing the research, but to later entities who benefit from the knowledge gained from that research. Some basic research benefits society as a whole without generating any financial rewards at all for the researcher.

Comment Re:The new "rationality" test. I support this test (Score 1) 554

You're either far more cynical than I am, or far more naive. You're post leaves both as possiblities.

It's possible that you're terribly cynical, and that you feel like you should not, nor should you be able to, communicate ideas and thoughts which might lead to negative workspace repurcussions -- regardless of whether or not those thoughts are well thought out, rational, and in your own (or your classes) self interests. I.e. you feel that there is no need or merit to stand up to private power.

Or your hopelessly naive, in that you think that this is a positive and harmless development because, after all, these companies are justy looking for hopelessly destructive and anti-social behavior, and this sort of thing is in no way a burden and restriction on your freedom of speech, especially not your freedom to analyze the power structure of America, or to in some way attack the interests of the corporate and wealthy elite.

Which is it?

Comment Re:not sure of "out of the woods" vs. something el (Score 1) 378

Maybe, but he/she didn't word it that way. The language speaks strongly in absolutes, and is shockingly ethnocentric. Or it would be shocking if Americans were aware what ethnocentrism is. Just look at the statement:

You act as if that's anything strange with a randomly chosen culture. Our standards (no child labor, no child marriages, slavery, freedom of opinion, free economy, ...) are all 1-on-1 copies from an ideological belief system - halfway between catholic and protestant christianity - and then people act totally surprised when other belief systems (or even slight variations on our belief system) don't allow them.

Wow. Look at what the language implies. He's also schockingly wrong, although it's not hard to see how he/she got so badly misinformed.

An excellent, rudimentary correction to our piss-poor history knowledge (and understanding of the historical influences of our culture) is "Lies my Teacher Told Me" by J.W. Loewen. I can't recommend it enough.

Comment Re:Good thing ... (Score 1) 216

The degree to which you are missing the point is disturbing. It almost makes me wonder if you are being deliberately obtuse, but I assume not.

People using flash and people using itunes are orthogonal, independent. Whether using flash or using itunes is more negative is irrelevant to either my point or to the OP.

Look at it this way: Mr. X kicks puppies and kittens every day. One day someone teaches him that puppies have feelings, and mr X stops kicking them. He continues to kick kittens however.

Is mr X's cessation of his puppy kicking not a good thing? Of course it's a good thing. It would be better if he would additionally stop kicking kitties, but the net harm being done is reduced, so it's a good thing. A step in the right direction is a step in the right direction, even if you haven't reached your goal yet.

Whether or not it's worse to kick kitties or to kick puppies is completely irrelevant. If you're doing both, and you stop doing one, it's an improvement. Additionally, if mr X. learns that kicking puppies is wrong, we have raised mr. X's awareness, and it may make it easier to teach mr X that it's wrong to kick kitties, by analogy. Oh Look! The same argument applies to using proprietary tools for music and video. Wow!

Comment Re:Sounds kinda like a shit sandwich (Score 1) 236

The people who need commerce are those who are deeply programmed with our heirarchal culture, which in so many ways imposes a class structure on society, breaking them down into haves and have-nots. A great many people, with a great deal of power, would be lost without the validation that their relative wealth brings them. Thus, a disproportionately powerful segment of the population would rather see us all grow poorer and retain their relative position of advantage, than to see us all grow wealthier, but they themselves be reduced to social equals. This is exactly what's happening with our society's new ability to disseminate information and culture at virtually no cost. The parasites who have grown fat off the old system of want, are terrified of losing their social advantage in a system of plenty

If someone did invent a replicator, and necessary free energy to fuel it, you should expect a period where these elements attempt to exert control, through copyright, patent and trademark laws. One hopes the period would be brief, but who can tell.

The level of indoctrination into this system is profound, but there have been many successful cultures and societies which didn't have this feature, so there is hope.

As food for thought, consider the engineers at IEEE working on this. These are by all means intelligent and capable people. How much richer would we all be if they would stop working on stupid useless shit, whose only purpose is to keep arbitrary, harmful systems of power in place, by creating an artifical barrier to communication? Surely they can find more useful applicatoins for their talents.

Comment Re:But, but, but,,, (Score 4, Insightful) 352

Let me clarify:

First: Primarily my argument disputes the copryight oligarchist argument that copy==theft, and intends to use an existing institution (libraries) which are well respected, to obviate the emotional association the oligarchists are attempting to establish with their copy==theft propaganda campaign.

Second: who says the impact of a local library on sales is negative (I'm assuming that you mean a reduction in sales of x%). This is a completely unwarranted assumption. I'm an avid library user, but my library use does not have a negative effect on my purchasing of media. Quite the opposite in fact. On the other hand, it does allow people access to more culture and information and culture than they could otherwise afford. This enriches us all. Oh hey, look, the same arguments apply to file sharing (I'm an avid file sharer, but it doesn't affect the amount I spend on media at all .

Third: While libraries and copying might negatively impact sales, the amount of "harm" done by their existence has to take into account the totality of their effects. They increase our net cultural and intelectual wealth, by providing information and culture to people regardless of how much they can afford them. They provide new mechanisms for the propagation of culture and information, freeing us from the necessity of oligarchal, profit motivated distribution firms. They provide small artists, intelectuals and creators a much more level playing field, allowing ideas and culture which are less marketable, less acceptable to the oligarchists (who act as defacto, dollar oriented censors). This gives us a richer, more vibrant culture. It also allows unestablished creators more access to revenue. These benefits have to be weighed against the "harm" of reduced sales and profit for the big mass media creators and publishers.

If copyright weakens, shortens, declines, or disappears entirely, incentives for creation won't disappear, they will simply change. I personally believe they will change for the better, but trying to justify that belief would be a long discussion, and full of conjecture. The above statements are however firmly grounded in objective, testable fact.

Comment Re:But, but, but,,, (Score 2) 352

Absolutely you are correct. But I've heard that copyright holders tried to shut down libraries in the past, and that this authorization was hard won. This would make the analogy and parallels even stronger.

I don't have a citation for this claim though, nor any kind of hard facts. Does anyone have an enlightening link or citation?

Comment Re:Space analogy (Score 2, Interesting) 352

I disagree that the parent is stuck in old ways of thinking.

The fundamental idea of allowing a restriction to copy rights (restricting free speech) in order to provide a financial incentive for creative works is not all bad. However, as the costs of production and reproduction decrease, the length of copyright should shorten. Unfortunately, thanks to corporate hijacking of the legislative system, copyright laws have essentially gone to infinity, robbing from the public domain.

A 2, or even ten year copyright would make quite a bit of sense. Artists could still exert some creative and financial control over their works, particularly for commercial exploitation. A copyright law that allowed goods to enter into the public domain within a persons lifetime would give people more of a sense of the real purpose of copyright law making it more inherently just. People tend to disobey laws they find unjust more than they do laws they agree with, even if they aren't capable of articulating it.

Unfortunately the oligarchists are working the other strategy: trying to warp our culture and indoctrinate our kids into the idea that information is property, and thereby create the illusion that copying is theft. Since these people have a lot of control over our primary means of communication (movies, tv, music) they are being remarkably successful. When was the last time you saw a positive or intelligent portrayal of music sharing on a TV program or movie for example?

Comment Re:But, but, but,,, (Score 2) 352

I would even say it's a slightly better analogy. The effect to the copyright holder is nearly the same as that of a library. If you check out media from a library, you are less likely to buy it, unless you want the manufactured, physical thing to possess (CD, book, whatever). It's rather like having an infinite library which provides infinite copies for infinite lengths of time, with no profit to the library and no cost to the user.

Comment Re:not sure of "out of the woods" vs. something el (Score 1) 378

Freedom of conscience (ie. no violent persecution based on religion) - exists in Christianity and Bushido

You must be reading a different history than me.

You might be interested to know that at a time where the European christians tortured or expelled Jews and Muslims, Turks and Moors allowed Jews and Christians freedom of worship.

Comment Re:not sure of "out of the woods" vs. something el (Score 1) 378

Agreed. What's more important after all? Living wages, human rights, and human dignity, or the ability of a small minority of the world's population to live a profligate and excessive lifestyle?

I realize that most of us here on /. are pretty addicted to the quick lifecycle of technology, but our lifestyles are complete shit. They are based on exploiting people (through unliveable wages and bad workplace environments), they don't actually make us happy (perceived happyness in developed countries has been steadily declining), and are just plain terrible for the environment.

As manufacturing costs increase we will all hopefully consume a little less. Our time will become more valuable, and perhaps we will begin producing more, and producing higher quality products with longer lifetimes. I personally hope that increased manufacturing costs will make antiquated concepts like repairs, component re-use, quality of manufacturing, and pride in one's work become more culturally mainstream. I'm just speculating, but maybe it will become cheaper to upgrade your components rather than purchase a mass manufactured computer, or to repair your television when it breaks rather than replace it.

Maybe a slower rate of technological gadgetry will allow us to adapt more, culturally, socially, and mentally to the enormous changes we've experienced in recent years. Speaking of pride in labor, maybe programming skills will begin to take more value again, as clean and efficient programming and design become more important, since people might not be replacing their devices with double the power every year.

It's impossible to really know what the net consequences will be of course. As the chinese increase their living standards and workers rights, stuff will get more expensive. Maybe manufacturing will start to shift to some other repressive regime. On the other hand, more people sharing in the economic pie means more skilled technicians and different economics of scale. These influences will compete with scareceness of resources. Harder to predict is what the net cultural effect will be.

Of course, all of those considerations are insignificant compared to the fact that no-one should have to live the way the poor workers of the world currently live, so a small minority of us can live like drunken, wasteful behemoths. If less shit (shit being electronic gadgets, cheap clothes, etc) is the price I have to pay to live in a world with a little less inhumanity, then I'm all for it.

Comment Re:Good thing ... (Score 1) 216

No, he has a point whether or not the same non-tech customers are still tied to iTunes.

A step in the right direction is a step in right direction. Maybe getting rid of all proprietary formats would be better, but an improvement is an improvement, whether or not there is more which could be improved.

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