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Comment Re:Why do anarchists hate science? (Score 1) 333

A few friends of mine who are philosophically-grounded, kind of hyperliterate anarchists have adopted alternative names for their positions because of those associations. 'Anti-statist' is a good one. A moderate friend of mine with strong anarchist sympathies calls himself a 'minarchist'.

I actually have seen a handful of anarchist protests. Here in Arizona, they're pretty recognizable because they march together in all black clothing, a loose sort of uniform. Sometimes anarcho-communists and anarcho-syndicalists are included, but I don't think I've personally ever seen them with a communist flag. 'Round here they serve an especially nice function as (often armed) counter-protesters during Neo-Nazi rallies, to whom the police are sometimes, astonishingly sympathetic (although most of the time it's pretty clear that they're just trying to keep the peace and prevent the white supremacists from being injured by angry crowds).

Comment Re:US, nobody gives a shit (Score 1) 310

I know that our cultures do have real, significant differences, but the notion that the US is ‘anti-social’ whereas China isn't does not adequately describe any of those differences. I know that the individualism of the US can seem cold or disconnected at times, but that doesn't mean that we don't have real friendships or that social connections still don't ultimately drive entertainment for us.

I spend a lot of my time listening to recorded music, and so do my friends. Part of what this lets us do is discover new music and develop specific tastes. What I love about it is that when my friends and I explore new genres, new styles, or particular artists, we have a chance to do it together. One of my favorite things to do with records is recommend them to friends. When I make a successful recommendation, I feel like I get to show a friend that I understand their taste, care about it, and want to share with them all kinds of things that I know they'll love. Often, I then later go out with those same friends to go see the bands to which we introduced one another at live performances. A couple of times, we've even all crammed into a car and driven for 6-9 hours to go to another state so we could go see someone play.

What I mean by all of this is that sometimes the specifics of the music being played are important, and they actually provide a way to show affection and build relationships rather than avoid them. And please, don't let the actions motivated by giant sacks of money in the hands of some of our most powerful industries pervert the way you think about American citizens. We have a lot of flaws, as do all peoples, but music is now and has always been a deeply social affair for human beings. It still is here, and for most ordinary citizens, the social aspect of music is more important than any industrial metrics. Some of us even remember that copyright is not an end-in-itself.

I wouldn't ask you to approve of all aspects of American culture, but please don't tell me that I don't love my friends or family because of some secondhand ideas you have about how I feel about copyright issues. I would always hesitate to jump to similar conclusions about you based upon your national policy.

Comment Re:Sony v. Hotz (Score 1) 224

Geohotz wasn't acting in a professional capacity when he jailbroke the PS3. His ability to feed his family did not depend upon the kinds of limitations Sony imposed or hoped to impose with their PS3's DRM. The kind of subjugation I was talking about is ‘the kind of subjugation that makes you starve’. I also meant only those limitations imposed by restraining from violating the DRM, not the possible legal consequences of reverse-engineering it.

So, as I intended to say before: I don't think DRM on games is capable of imposing the same *kind* of subjugation on end-users, although it's still subjugation and it still sucks.

Comment Re:Good luck (Score 1) 324

(Almost) everything should be open source and (eventually) free; freely accessible and readily dissectable contributions to society put society in a better position than it had before. That doesn't mean that non-free software can't also constitute a contribution to the society, especially when it comes in the form of inessential software or art (i.e. video games) which serves (even incidentally) to support the general viability of a free platform.

And I think it's possible to express a preference for an open-source methodology to a company who sells or provides you with closed-source software without being a dick about it. The Desura Linux client was eventually open-sourced, after the Linux Desura community had been suggesting it for some time. Most of those suggestions came in the form of ‘an open-sourced client would be awesome; thanks for all you've done so far’. I hope and expect that in the Steam case, us F/OSS people who request or suggest that they open-source the Steam client do it with an air of gratitude, as was done in the Desura case. As customers, we have a reasonable right to tell the companies who've chosen or might choose to serve us what we would like from them. So long as those demands are expressed civilly, with an attempt toward persuasion rather than insults or tantrum-throwing, I don't think we ever owe it to Valve (or anyone) to sit back down and say that forevermore ‘we are pleased’. Saying that you'd be even happier if things were a little different isn't really biting the hand that feeds.

Comment Re:Finally! (Score 1) 224

Stallman is actually less (ethically) invested in the freedom of works of art than he is about practical software tools. He probably wouldn't like Steam's DRM, but I don't think DRM on games is capable of imposing the same kind of subjugation that he sees done by companies who produce tools which are more strictly necessary to the lives and livelihoods of their customers.

Although I'm not a proper Stallmanite, I do see a powerful ethical dimension to the motivations for producing free software (and free culture as related to education). I don't see anything evil in the minimal kind of DRM imposed by Steam, and although I would praise any game company who opened the source code to their engine, or Valve if they opened the source code to the distribution system itself, I don't feel compelled to condemn game companies who don't do so. Those are my two cents, for whatever they're worth, as someone intellectually and ethically committed to the principles of free software.

(I wouldn't call it a religion for me because my views about the importance of share-alike copyright licenses, like the GPL, are grounded in other principles that could yield different prescriptions when applied in novel circumstances. But I do often do things make the choice to use free software out of principle, even where technically superior non-free solutions are available. You decide if my views are radical enough to for me to speak on behalf of the subset of the F/OSS community you'd like to address.)

Comment Re:What kind of congress is that? (Score 4, Insightful) 435

Yeah. It's always seemed to me that because Slashdot generally consists of an intelligent, well-educated readership (bullshit posts and nonsense traditions aside), they have inherited some liberal social views, but the engineering contingent here is too strong to allow anything but a very pragmatic sort of outlook, because of which Slashdot tends to leans toward more conservative attitudes about the nature of ideas and justification. The libertarian streak within /.ers I think is mostly rooted in a kind of skepticism toward policy.

But yeah. Slashdot definitely has an archetypal political outlook, but it's not one quite so simple as ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’.

Comment Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (Score 1) 311

I could support this view. Copyright, with some corrections/restorations, can stay as a part of the new plan to encourage creative works. It should simply be acknowledged as a temporary monopoly on distribution (rather than property, which it is not), and recognized as a tool rather than an end in itself.

Comment Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (Score 1) 311

I think it may have to do with the fact that the youth have little or no income, and so their choice is between copying music and just not having it.

But what does 'learning how the world works' really mean here? Which part of learning how the world works might bring this sense of guilt? Is it becoming more familiar with societal expectations? Is it a richer understanding of how laws like copyright seek to support the arts? Is it a more altruistic idea of fairness?

You may be right, but I do wonder just which part of learning how the world works may produce this effect.

Comment Re:Losses, but due to piracy? (Score 2) 311

There's a problem with your post in that you assume that music pirates only use the irrelevance of music sales to revenue for most artists as a dishonest rationalization. All of the behavior/psychology described in your post could be restated simply as ‘people are more interested in seeing through the success of the artist than they are in supporting the success of some salesman’. They may not necessarily feel any guilt about piracy to begin with. The younger generations certainly don't. The RIAA doesn't have to be evil to justify the view that pirating music is morally acceptable. The facts that (a) publishers are not artists, and (b) copyright law is, for the citizens whose interests it ought to serve in any democracy, purely instrumental, and only valuable to the extent which it helps introduce new art into the ecosystem (which was once-upon-a-time called ‘the public domain’) are enough.

This isn't a view which comes from a place of reflexive entitlement, either. In the case of online piracy, pirates ask nothing of the publishers — they download nothing from the publishers themselves. There is nothing about the view that I should be able to copy a recording from a friend which entails any obligations toward me, on the part of the publisher (or even the artist). The only demand made is one of rational thought: for all parties involved to recognize that ideas are not objects, and do not share the constraints of actual objects. They are not natural property, and the enormous legal efforts to make ideas emulate natural property have proven ineffective in the face of recent technological developments. But this is okay, because the goal of ensuring the production of creative works for the sake of the public good remains attainable by other means — and we can resume pursuit of that goal as soon as we abandon this sinking ship of ideas-as-property.

Comment Re:who's paying for it? (Score 1) 706

Please note that, as a civilized country, we use the metric system.)

Hey, man. I deserve no more blame for the bullshit system of measurement I have to use than you deserve credit for inventing metric. I guess if you need to feel better than me, you're just gonna have to get to know me better. ;-)

(And yeah, I don't think US oil subsidy is ultimately a good thing for the market or the planet, either.)

Comment Re:Have you been living under a rock for the last (Score 1) 1009

The point about veterans is an important one. But it also seems obvious to me that if the US military was ever ordered to fire on the American people in such a way as to constitute a revolution, the main force that would end up fighting against the US military would be a huge portion of defectors from within it. US soldiers are US citizens, and probably most of them have families of some sort or another. Things have gotten pretty shitty in terms of legislation, but I'm still a long way from believing that if asked to, the military would simply comply with an order to assault US civilians.

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