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Comment Re:Entitled Asshole Mentality (Score 2) 199

you have no scientific evidence [slashdot.org] (been there, done that) that copyrights and patents are effective.

Considering that your version of "scientific evidence" involves creating an alternative universe with no copyright and seeing how things work out, your claim is utterly irrelevant because all you've done is limit "scientific evidence" to something that can't practically be done. You've moved the goalposts so far away that nobody can actually meet the level of proof you demand. You're like a creationist who says that we can't know if evolution happened unless we build a time-machine and since that can't be done, then I have "no scientific evidence" for evolution.

Copyright infringes upon freedom of speech (through the use of censorship and other means) and private property rights, while patents infringe upon the latter. That alone makes them intolerable to me.

All moral and legal systems are based on consequences. We support freedom of speech because the consequences are generally bad if we don't. However, we make allowances for certain cases (e.g. yelling fire in a crowded theater). Similarly, we know that lying is bad. In a court of law, lying is called "perjury" and it is punishable by law. If you claim that you wrote something that was actually written by someone else, that lie is called "plagiarism" and it's frowned upon. In other cases, like telling a white lie or lying to protect someone (e.g. protecting someone from being killed by Nazis), we permit and even praise such actions. All lies could also be put under the umbrella term "freedom of speech" (which would suggest that all lies should be legal). So, why are some lies treated very differently than other lies? Because of *consequences*. If you hold some stance that freedom of speech is absolute, then all lies should be permissible and legal. The fact that we care about consequences rather than absolute principles changes things. Copyright (like laws against perjury) might seem like affronts to your principle of free speech, but they are specific exemptions that exist because they are important in creating the kind of society that humans want to live in. I'd go so far as to say that even laws against theft of property isn't a moral absolute, but rather, a principle that we hold to because of the consequences. (And, I'm sure you could complain that government taxation that is used to help poor people could also be classified as "theft" and therefore morally wrong, but I see it as a specific exemption to the "don't steal from one person to give to another person" rule which actually produces a better world.)

Comment Re:Entitled Asshole Mentality (Score 1) 199

paid by your taxes

Considering that this economic model doesn't exist for software developers, musicians, movie studios, or authors, I don't understand your point. Further, I don't think those people should be paid by taxes because either the government ends up paying a bunch of people (regardless of the quality of their work) or the government picks and chooses who gets paid. Neither of those are good systems. I trust the free market to decide who should get paid for their work, but just as you don't depend on people donating money so that you can pay your bills, I don't think that other people should have to, either. Hence copyright.

Comment Re:Entitled Asshole Mentality (Score 1) 199

"Copying bits hurts no one"

No, it undermines the economic system of creation.

Besides, if "copying bits hurts no one", then I guess you're also a fan of the website "Is Anyone Up?".

"You either deserve to have access to it, or the Web deserves to be shut down."
See: "False Dilemma": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F...

Essentially, all you're doing here is trying to take something bad (piracy, malware, email scams, etc) and chain it to something good (the internet) and then claim that we have to accept the former if we're going to accept the latter. Of course, most every technology comes with some bad aspects. It makes no sense to say "we should not try to eliminate the bad effects of a technology if we want to have that technology".

Comment Re:Entitled Asshole Mentality (Score 2, Interesting) 199

Your comment completely ignores the economic situation of creators. There's a large overhead cost and a very small per-unit cost. Pirates want to pay the per-unit cost and ignore the fact that creators have the burden of paying-off the large overhead cost. Copyright (or "government enforced monopoly") is a way to balance that equation so that creators can actually get sufficiently paid for their labor. If you're going to ignore the economics of the situation, then of course you're going to arrive at ignorant opinions about copyright.

BTW, it isn't about "ideas or methods" it's about taking someone's work VERBATIM. It's disingenuous to claim it's about ideas.

Comment Because Printed Is Better (Score 1) 323

How about: "all the people who want to read books on e-readers have them?"

Personally, I still buy all my books in printed format. I don't have much desire for an e-reader. There are some aspect of an e-reader which would be more convenient (like easily taking all my books with me), but I'm generally only reading one book at a time anyway. But the downside to e-readers is that I'd like to know that my books will be easily accessible in the future - not tied to a specific "Amazon Kindle" or "Nook" device. Let's not forget that a recent survey showed that the average person still prefers printed books over e-reader books.

Comment Re:My god, slashdot editors are retarded (Score 1) 365

No, I don't see that comparison at all. Are you reading the same article as I am? Did Slashdot change its links to point somewhere else? After reading the article and not finding that, then going through and searching for "Android" on the article, the only reference I could even find to Android is: "Like its Androidesque cousin, the Transformer, the Vivo Tab RT can be plugged into a keyboard/battery dock — but it’ll cost you another $200 for the pleasure. (Curiously, the Transformer’s docking station only costs $150 — go figure.)"

Comment Re:Why shouldn't it work for countries and nukes? (Score 1) 707

I see two problems with your claim:

First, guns are relatively common in society. This means that gangs and thieves can get ahold of them relatively well. In the context of a society where criminals can be expected to have guns, then your claim is that when ordinary civilians *also* have guns, then the gun crime goes down. The claim being made is actually that the presence of nukes in a world where nukes are relatively difficult to get increases peace. To put it another way, let's imaging some different scenarios:

(1) Nobody has guns/nukes
(2) Some nations have guns/nukes
(3) Criminals have guns/nukes
(4) Everybody has guns/nukes

The claim your making in your comment is that situation #4 results in lower crime than situation #3. The claim being made in the summary is that situation #2 results in fewer wars than situation #1.

The second problem I see is that even if we assume nations are rational actors, there is a danger of mistakes (there have been several times in the Cold War when nukes were almost used), I don't trust that terrorist groups won't use nukes to attain their political goals (even if they don't use the nukes, if they have control of one or two nukes they can still threaten nations to get their way), and I don't trust that individuals will always be rational actors (for example, the Aum Shinrikyo cult who tried to use Sarin gas in Tokyo subways to jump start the apocalypse).

Comment Re:I'm glad I support the Republicans (Score 1) 857

He lowered taxes farther than he should then slowly raised them to help find the sweet spot, which is how it should be done.

I think Republicans these days would burn him at the stake for that. Afterall, the new buzzword is "economic freedom" which roughly translates as "any taxes at all are an attack on freedom".

Comment Re:I'm glad I support the Republicans (Score 4, Insightful) 857

If they want to lower taxes for everyone, they are accused of only supporting the rich.

It's clear that Republicans want to lower taxes on the rich. For example, it's Republicans who push for flat taxes. This would shift the tax burden off the rich (who pay a higher percentage) and on the poor (who pay a lower percentage in taxes). Isn't it FOX news that was complaining last year about all the people who "aren't paying taxes" because they're too poor? (Actually, they didn't pay INCOME taxes, but they still paid FICA taxes and property taxes and sales tax.) Last year, one of my neighbors, who was a die-hard TEA party fan, was complaining about this and starting saying how everyone should pay a flat tax with no standard deduction. I said: "So, if taxes are set at 25%, then someone earns a million dollars a year they should have to pay 25% or $250,000 in taxes and someone who earns $20,000 should have to pay 25% or $5,000 in taxes?" Yes, she said. Obviously, compared to the current system, it should shift the tax burden onto the poor (who are trying to pay for food and housing) and off the rich (who will be able to buy another yacht).

Also, several of the Republican candidates this year had tax plans that would eliminate capital gains taxes. Capital Gains taxes are paid almost exclusively by the rich because they're the ones who own stock (the richest 20% of Americans own 91% of the stock). Right now, capital gains taxes are 15% (which is historically low). The reason Romney only paid 15% of his income in taxes last year was because he made virtually all his money from stocks - almost all rich people do. Warren Buffet said the same thing - he makes most of his money from stocks, and that's why he only paid 17% in taxes. Now, we've got Republican candidates talking about eliminating the capital gains taxes? This would mean that ultra-rich people like Romney and Warren Buffet will see their tax rates drop to almost ZERO. Everytime I see Republicans do something like this, I just can't believe how crazy they are, and they just keep managing to get crazier and crazier from year to year.

And Santorum - who's one of the top four Republican candidates - is talking about the dangers of birth control even when it's used by married people?

Comment Re:I'm glad I support the Republicans (Score 0, Flamebait) 857

"You are absolutely correct and its been working. The left has been using that strategy forever. The 'genius' if you will of the likes of Karl Rove during the Bush era and now as well as some of the new anti-Obama super PACs and similar is that Conservatives have started to do the same thing to and about liberals. You can't have an intelligent debate when the other side is permitted to get away with name calling and baseless hyperbole that is not subject to challenge."

What are you talking about? The Republicans have always been the big name-callers in politics. It was in the early 1990s when Rush Limbaugh would get on the radio and bitch and complain about "liberals" and do everything he could to make sure "liberal" was a dirty word. Democrats are actually pretty restrained in the face of constant name-calling from Republicans.

Comment Re:How is this new? (Score 1) 439

> "Spoken like someone who has never lived in the Middle East. They're blowing things up with regularity. Just not in the U.S."
So, what's your point? It's obvious that you were talking about airport scanners in the US. Now, you want to change things up and talk about blowing things up in the Middle East? Additionally, when bringing up the Middle East, you've decided not to confine "blowing things up" to airports anymore (which is the whole point of airport scanners). So, I'm calling you out on: (1) switching the subject from the airport scanners in the US to airport scanners in the Middle East, (2) hardly any planes blow up in the Middle East, largely because Israel is so heavy-handed about scanning people going on planes. My point still stands and it's pretty obvious that the existence of airport scanners is dependent on the rates of terrorism. If airplane terrorism rates are low, then airport scanners are a waste of time and money and are only a product of our fear, but if airplane terrorism is high, then the existence of airport scanners is reasonable and prudent. So, whether airport scanners are reasonable or not is dependent on the rates of terrorism. To pursue the analogy: comparing US airport scanners to DRM is a bad comparison given that airport terrorism in the US is low but piracy rates are high.

> "There's no evidence that DRM actually increases sales if any cheaper alternatives exist (or any non-DRM alternatives, regardless of cost). If someone cannot pirate the game they want to play, they are likely to pirate something else rather than buy the game."
First of all, if you're assert a statement like "There's no evidence that DRM actually increases sales if any cheaper alternatives exist" without evidence, then I'll assert the opposite: "There's no evidence that DRM DOESN'T actually increases sales EVEN if any cheaper alternatives exist". Afterall, if there's no evidence on either side, I'm not going to let you get away with suggesting that your side is right without evidence. Also, I don't believe that's true. In fact, I can think of a specific case where a girl told me that she pirates all her music. But, sometimes she can't get her iTunes to sync her music with her iPod, so she actually buys a copy of the song since that seems to help things sync. I also think that sometimes pirates really want something and if they can't get it through piracy, they will buy it because they want to play it that badly - and other games just aren't a good substitute.

> "All the pseudo-studies that ask people if they would have bought some product if they could not pirate it are completely missing the point. Most people don't generally pirate things that they can afford."
A few months back, I was hanging out with some friends and somehow it came up that one of my friends pirated a copy of Photoshop. But, the thing is that the guy who pirated it comes from an extremely rich family. I've been told that his dad made over $100 million last year. He has plenty of money, but he still pirates shit. (And I've got plenty more examples further down on this comment.)

> "Further, those studies completely ignore network effects. The term "network effects" refers to the perceived value of a service increasing as more users join that service."
Oh yeah, we should be thanking pirates for their piracy. There's evidence to the contrary. First, the music industry's revenue has declined by 2/3rd over the past 10 years - where are all the "network effects"? Second, sales of games on the PC (the easiest platform for piracy) have also declined over the past 10 years. Meanwhile, console sales (which are much more difficult to pirate on, thanks to hardware) have skyrocketed. I looked up the sales of COD on the PC versus the XBox 360. There were almost the same number of people playing the game on the PC as the XBox360, but the rates of piracy were so much higher on the PC that the game sold 20x as many copies on the XBox360 as on the PC. What happened to all those great "network effects"? The "network effects" are over-exaggerated in my opinion. You sound like someone saying, "It's not a bad thing if people steal alcohol from liquor stores because maybe they'll come back and pay next time or maybe their friends will..."

> "Also, many people buy games because their friends are on there. If one of those people buys a game and makes a copy for three friends, that's one sale. If that one person is deciding whether to buy that multiplayer game and can't copy it for those three friends, that may well result in zero sales."
Well, I doubt that the cases where that happens outweighs the reverse situation - where nobody buys any copies because who needs to pay when you can download it all from the PirateBay. I know people who look at you like you're crazy if you buy software or music or movies.

> "For this reason, every study that has looked at actual numbers instead of doing bogus surveys has consistently shown that piracy increases sales on the whole."
What studies? As the math teacher used to say: show your work.

> "Most people don't pirate what they can afford, so the downside of piracy is bounded."
Nonsense. I know people who pirate everything and will look at you like you're crazy for buying stuff because "why pay for it when you can get it all for free on the internet [via piracy]". That's an actual quote a pirate said to me once. Once I was at a bar and my friend was talking about some new music she bought, and this pirate looked at her incredulously and said, "Why do you pay for music?" In this case, the girl who bought the music was fairly wealthy (earned almost six-figures a year), but she was getting flak because she paid for something she could've gotten "for free".

Another guy I know pirates everything. He also has the nicest laptop of anyone I know. A while back he came in with some expensive noise-cancelling headphones. I just shook my head because it's obvious that he's pirating everything and then using his money to buy expensive electronic equipment instead. I once saw him lay into a guy that had just bought some software - he laid into him "You paid a $100 for this software? I could've gotten it for you for free."

Both of my examples above illustrate the case where people were willing to buy something (as proven by the fact that they did buy it), but the pirates around them gave them crap because they payed for it. Their reactions to other people paying for stuff is a pretty good insight into how they view paying for stuff versus pirating it.

I should also point out that a lot of countries have terrible problems with piracy. It's next to impossible to turn a profit there because there's so much piracy going on. But, you know what makes money? Subscription services to online games. Funny, those Chinese people who pirated everything ("because they couldn't pay for it") suddenly have money to pay for online games when piracy isn't an option. What this says to me is that piracy isn't as simple as "people will pay for it if they can afford it, and they'll pirate it if they can't afford it, therefore there's no revenue loss". Rather, there's a certain amount of "why pay for something that you can get for free?" and "why not pirate it and keep your money to spend on other stuff" going on, which makes sense from a personal economic standpoint.

Therefore, the notion that DRM could improve sales is unfathomable.
Yeah, unfathomable. I think you're lying to yourself if you believe that.

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