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Comment Re:$20 is too much (Score 1) 388

If it's really sub-par music that's not even worth the $10 that an album costs, why are you stealing it? Obviously, it's not worth listening to. Last I checked, nobody ever got sued by the RIAA for pirating non-RIAA music. Also, how is it a rip-off? Last I checked, the RIAA was not holding anybody at gunpoint and forcing them to buy Soulja Boy CDs. If you don't like to buy these allegedly sub-par albums, you can always tape it off the radio, buy a single track from iTunes or Amazon, or just not listen to it at all.

Comment Re:I think it should have gone to trial (Score 1) 388

It takes some nerve to claim that the defense is incompetent, and then suggest completely moronic theories. Even if you took a basic intellectual property law class, you would know that everything you are saying is completely wrong, and would get you laughed out of the courtroom.

First, copyright law specifically does not require proof of harm, or anything like that. You can always ask for statutory damages, even if the other side can prove your losses were zero. Statutory damages are about $150k/infringement.

Second, I fail to see the relevance of Media Sentry not being licensed as an investigator, especially since they were not investigating anything. Are you saying they can't testify as witnesses? That would be pretty ridiculous. What if I observe someone selling pirated CDs on the street? Are you saying I have to be licensed as a private investigator before I can testify in court? That's a pretty ridiculous argument.

Seriously, courts do not like people getting off on technicalities. It sometimes happens, but if you actually committed $1M worth of infringements and got sued for it, it's not really a good idea to go to trial with that. Regardless of what you think of the justice system, it's remarkably good at upholding the law.

Comment Re:I have a question (Score 1) 388

What? The court wasn't there to decide questions of law. The whole point of having a jury and a hearing is to decide questions of fact. Liability is something that a judge can determine in about 5 minutes given the facts; there is no need for a court hearing for that.
The court was there ONLY to determine if the guy downloaded the songs. His only viable defense was to somehow convince the court that he wasn't the one who did it. By admitting to doing it, he pretty much sealed the deal.

Comment Re:I have a question (Score 1) 388

Well, the statutory penalty is something like $150k per infringement. So they really only had to prove that he shared one or two tracks. Also, in civil procedure, the standard is much lower -- you only need to prove that it is more likely than not that he shared the songs.

Comment Re:OLPC is a success (Score 1) 137

Hell, the only reason costs go down is because we keep moving more and more production to third-world countries. Silicon used to be made in the US, now it's mostly made in Taiwan. Hardware that used to be manufactured in Taiwan, Singapore, and Eastern Europe is now manufactured in PRC, including things like hard drives. DRAM is extremely cheap because the Korean government invested trillions in the DRAM industry and it has extreme overcapacity. The hardware isn't becoming any easier to make, we are just paying the workers less. Obviously, this has very little to do with Moore's law.

Comment Re:A lot of things combined to kill the XO (Score 1) 137

ARM Processors consume ALOT less power than X86. With ARM you are talking milliwatts of power used to run the laptop, not watts.

Haha, no way. There are some low-power ARM chips, but they are rather low-performance compared to a modern Intel chip like the Atom (although the OLPC uses a very old and very shitty AMD processor). And the difference in power is like 10%, not two orders of magnitude. If you want reasonable performance, you really can't beat Intel. Their processes are about a year ahead of everyone else, which more than makes up for a slightly suboptimal processor architecture (which isn't even that bad, especially with the 64-bit extensions).

Comment Re:sugar wasn't the problem (Score 1) 137

They would have become more successful if they didn't try to do their own software stack. The countries they were selling them to never wanted third-world solutions; they wanted normal computers that could run normal software. A lot of these efforts fail because people think that third-world countries want to be beta testers. In reality, nobody wants to spend millions of dollars on an unproven, half-baked product with no track record, and that's exactly what the OLPC was. They had a lot of ideas, but no ability to execute, no deployment strategy, no quality control, no product support strategy, and no experience developing hardware.

Comment Re:Feature creep killed the XO (Score 1) 137

It was never intended as just a replacement for textbooks. There is no point in replacing textbooks. Unless you insist on 4-color printing on thick, glossy paper, textbooks cost pennies to print. Textbooks are expensive because publishers charge a lot of money for the content, and an electronic device does nothing to fix that. For the price of one OLPC computer, you could probably buy 100 textbooks if you didn't have to pay royalties.

Comment Re:Serious artistic interest (Score 1) 443

Polaroid only tanked because it was managed by incompetents, not because of failures of their technology.

Well, apart from the fact that their market shrunk from hundreds of millions of units to tens of thousands. It's very easy for a company to grow, but it's almost impossible for it to shrink. A factory that is efficient at producing millions of something might be extremely inefficient and cost-prohibitive if you only need to produce a few thousand. I'm sure the entrepreneurs behind this venture will learn about this soon enough.

Comment Re:Missing the point. (Score 2, Insightful) 458

No, they aren't benefiting from it. In fact, you can directly argue that every top 100 download on TPB is a lost sale. What the statistics are basically saying is that the major labels' marketing is working very well, but instead of creating more sales, it's creating more downloads. The labels don't care about how popular their artists are, they care about how many records they sell. I don't think you can honestly argue that their record sales are going to increase as the result of piracy. In fact, I think that their business model is going to be completely gone in another 10 years. Maybe they can reinvent themselves as something else (say, making money by licensing music for commercial use), but it will get harder and harder to sell records to consumers as digital piracy increases.

Comment Re:That's one more reason for limit copyright term (Score 4, Insightful) 458

Probably. But I think the fundamental reason small labels and independent artists are struggling is because they are not publishing music that appeals to a broad range of consumers. The big labels are pretty good about picking out stuff that sells, and artists tend to gravitate towards larger labels. As a result, the smaller independent labels mainly get music that was not accepted by any of the big labels. This is a very narrow niche market that appeals to a very small number of people. All the statistics are saying is that the big labels are doing an extremely good job of picking and promoting music with broad appeal. Of course, that renders such music rather bland, but that's the price of having broad appeal.

I'm not sure how pirates figure into this. If anything, piracy hurts big labels much more than small ones. Small artists typically have more devout fans that would probably be much more likely to support the artists by buying their records. They also don't have a pre-existing business model that's based on selling a small number of hits in extremely large volumes.

Comment Re:Economic Implications to the Grid (Score 1) 859

Um, those are distribution transformers. They step down from 5 kV distribution voltage to 220V going to individual houses. Generally, power factor is not a significant issue with residential users. It's much more of an issue when you have a factory with tens of megawatts consumed by induction motors (which have a power factor of something like 0.3).

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