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Comment Re:Duh? (Score 1) 633

I also think we need to reform copyright law. To me, the idea that a non-human entity (corporations) can own copyright is not inherently wrong. However the idea that an indefinite entity can own work practically indefinitely is wrong.

Interesting point about natural rights. Is the concept that we own what we make a natural right or not?

As with everything else, there is no one right solution.

However as an independent artist, I am concerned at the prospects of copyright law being strengthened for the corporation as it seeks to take all of my work and give it to all of my clients.

Comment Re:Duh? (Score 1) 633

Outside of certain industries - typically those working on very large productions associated with label 'cartels', many artists (myself included) ARE independent and DO maintain ownership of their work directly.

We often don't think of 2-D artists (painters, photographers, printmakers, etc.) and writers as artists affected and protected by copyright law, but they are. As we live in an ever more digitally connected world so-called piracy of digitized media is an increasingly large threat to these groups

I'm happy to say that as an artist (as the sole source of my employment), I am not living in a gutter. Filthy rich? Far from it. But I'm not starving.

Ownership of my copyright allows me to control the use of my work; in turn allowing me to protect my professional image and profit from my labor.

There is certainly room to reform copyright law as it exists in Berne Convention countries, but it is a necessary piece of legislation.

As record labels shrink and/or disappear, we'll see more recording artists maintain ownership of their works. I assume they're the chunk of the group you assume comprises the "most artists" that don't own their own work.

The argument itself that most people who generate "artistic" IP don't own their work is probably fallacious anyway.

Oh, and Poe... I suspect his problems stemmed largely from psychological disorders and substance abuse problems - not his craft.

Comment Re:Hyperlocal vs. local (Score 2, Informative) 180

And where does Google get the "local content" that fills their search results?

Right, it comes from the local journalists (including the TV folks, although in most markets they're useless).

I wish people would realize that all this magically "free" content comes from somewhere. And once those people who pay their bills making that content lose their jobs, it's game over on many levels.

Of course you'll get people submitting photos of car crashes they saw on the way to work, or opinions on any number of topics. But what casual blogger's gonna cover city council? Who's going to take on the full-time job of keeping tabs on the school districts?

And, quite frankly, being a reporter requires skill, training and talent just like computer programming or brain surgery. It takes an understanding of the situation to ask the right questions, and it takes trust and tenacity to get sources to talk to you.

If it didn't, all CNN et al would use is crap like iReport.

Comment Re:not surprising (Score 3, Insightful) 386

Sadly, what they'll understand is that they suffered a minor to moderate inconvenience, to which a seemingly acceptable resolution was offered.

There may be no understanding beyond "technical problem."

And while I'm sure the studio isn't happy, they'll still probably get money from every single person that showed up to the movie. So they'll have something to talk about as they drive the big truck full of money to the bank.

Of course, there are some exceptions to that model, and this is coming from a guy whose last several moviegoing experiences have been so unpleasant that I have not set foot in a movie theater in almost four years.

Comment Re:Well at this rate (Score 1) 438

Nope. Try again.

Copyright cases are usually pursued in civil court because that allows the infringed to seek damages for the infringement. But it is a crime, and can be prosecuted as such. In fact, one can be prosecuted civilly and criminally for infringement.

Section 2319(b) of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

"(b) Any person who commits an offense under subsection (a) of this section-

"(1) shall be imprisoned not more than 5 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense consists of the reproduction or distribution, during any 180-day period, of at least 10 copies or phonorecords, of 1 or more copyrighted works, with a retail value of more than $2,500;

"(2) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense is a second or subsequent offense under paragraph (1); and

"(3) shall be imprisoned not more than 1 year, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, in any other case."

Comment Re:How CAN they search a laptop? (Score 2, Insightful) 447

That's why they can keep your stuff for 30 days or longer.

They're not going to go file-by-file right in front of you. Oh, no. They're going to clone every storage device on you after physically inspecting the hardware. Then, if they bother to go through it and find something encrypted, they'll likely subpoena you for the key. Don't want to turn it over? Can't remember the old password? Contempt of court.

If they find something they think is criminal, watch US Marshals show up at your house weeks later to talk with you about it.

These searches will probably be carried out en masse behind closed doors; long after you get home sans laptop and CF cards.

But that's the underlying problem with the system. They can image your laptop drive and either actually confuse the data with someone else's (see: No Fly List), thereby getting you in trouble; or some unscrupulous person can drop a kiddie pron file, a missile schematic or a plan to hijack a plane in there and haul you off. How are you going to argue against that?

And we haven't even discussed how long they can hang onto the "evidence" or what their destruction policies are.

And no, they won't do it to everyone. That would cause panic and anger. They'll do it to random people because they can, and they'll do it to people they want to "get;" legitimately or otherwise. You can never show all the sheep how you're going to shave and slaughter them.

Comment Re:What's wrong with teaching? (Score 2, Interesting) 507

And until schools step up and start doing that, outsiders will come in to do it in their version.

We've seen it already with drugs and sex-ex. It's true, not fucking is the only way to not get pregnant. But that doesn't mean it's abstinence-only that should be taught. Yet, in many schools teachers would rather let someone else come in to talk about an uncomfortable subject; even if it's a little spun.

Same deal with digital downloads. The article mentions a few artists who do make their stuff freely available. But that's the exception, not the rule. A safe rule is, if you're not absolutely sure, don't do it.

Comment What's wrong with teaching? (Score 3, Insightful) 507

I bet I'll lose a ton of karma here, but...

What's wrong with teaching kids about respecting copyright? I agree completely that the US system is far from perfect, but we do have copyright laws on the books, and they're there for a good reason.

Most artists are not rich. The ability to control their music, pictures, paintings, designs, etc. allows them to pay bills very much in line with the ordinary Joe. It's a job. They should get paid for their job, if their work is in demand.

The Internet generation seems to think that if you can touch something, you can have it. I've started to see that 'entitlement' thing that the older folks keep talking about. Stuff on the Internet is not necessarily free. Sure, there are plenty of people who do make their songs, pictures etc. available for free legitimately. Why not download that? I'm betting it's because much of the time, it's not nearly as good as the paid-for stuff.

More people should be taught to respect copyright; even if it only leads to a change in the laws on the books (specifically, I hate the lifetime+70. Far too long.). But illegal downloading really IS stealing. I know that's an unpopular view, and the cartels have done nefarious things trying to enforce the laws, but it remains a fact.

And as to the fair use argument:

1) Fair Use is an admissive defense for copyright infringement. Meaning, you don't get to do something because it's fair use, you do it and if you get sued, you make a case for fair use.

2) Fair Use generally does not encompass making copies of something to give to someone else. It also does not encompass putting complete or majority portions of a work, say, online for review or critique purposes.

3) People should be able to make backups of CDs and movies (except for the lousy 'decryption' provision), and even shift between media.

But let's not pretend that downloading something you don't own or have license to use is somehow OK; much less Fair Use.

Comment Re:So essentially they want people to pay (Score 1) 463

It's not the artists.

The only thing I hold the artists personally responsible for is signing bad contracts with the labels.

But what's their alternative? That's the way the present system is set up.

If you don't like what they're selling, don't buy it. Obviously what they're selling is in demand by many, or there wouldn't be the fights over money. But don't think that someone's creative talent rests with their representation.

This is indicative of a greater problem in the world economy. There are so few people that actually produce anything anymore (whether it's a machinist making engine blocks or a guitar player making music), that a huge chunk of the economy revolves around being a middle man.

Just like present US insurance problems, this is simply obsolete middle-men trying to protect their cube jobs; and the artists and consumers are expected to foot the bill.

Artists do need to band together, because they will get screwed otherwise, but the middleman cartels aren't looking out for those they represent, not are they looking out for the consumer. They're doing whatever they can to keep their jobs.

The clear and vast majority of artists in any medium are not rich, and don't have anything but the average person's "wouldn't it be great to be dirty rich" attitude. Day-to-day, they want to make the same living you do.

Comment Re:Something needs to be done as today's system is (Score 1) 296

Personally, I don't feel this way about the healthcare issue specifically, but the average American is wildly overtaxed. And I don't mean that they simply pay too much in taxes, but that they get very, very little for the huge sums of money.

We have public schools, and for the most part, they are a disaster. We have public highways that are often a disaster. We have an absolutely massive military that does not seem to return much money to the taxpayer (save for the Coast Guard). We have social welfare (Social Security and Medicare/Medicade) that are completely broken.

Basically, with some exceptions, the bigger the 'public initiative,' the bigger the disaster at the end of the tunnel.

It's very hard for people to wrap their heads around paying yet MORE to help other people, when they themselves may just be getting by. Couple that with the fact that so much taxpayer money here does not go back to the citizenry, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Let's also not forget that the insurance business here is a huge one. They have plenty of money to keep the fires over this issue well-stoked. It has been suggested that some of the "protesters" at the town hall events were actually paid operatives from PR firms working on behalf of the

There is also, for better or worse, a staunch individualism among many Americans. Personally, I think it comes from being citizens of a country made of largely social outcasts from other places. Individual independence was a day-one kinda thing here.

That being said, I think that social or semi-social medicine is a great thing for the country. After all, we're going to continue to get soaked no matter who's running the show (does anyone actually think the public option will be cheaper or better than what we have now? It's the same people running the show, albeit with different titles). We might as well have the additional fractional amount of control that comes with having the program publicly administered.

Comment Re:And next they'll want them to get off the lawn (Score 1) 373


While I completely agree that the "recent" timeframe oscillates somewhat over time, what happened in the past, even the distant past, is absolutely critical to what happens tomorrow. Especially in terms of politics, government and global economics.

What we consider "recent" today is generally more recent in actuality. Partly because we are exposed to so much more of what happens today. But the long view of history, all few thousand years of written human history, is absolutely and supremely important.

It's not about memorizing trivia, but understanding how Greek government worked. What did the Chinese contribute to medicine and navigation? Why are resource-rich countries in Africa still such shitholes? How did Rome come to be a global superpower, and why did it all fall apart?

You can't know where you're going, if you don't know where you've been.

Comment Re:Ugh (Score 1) 290

Actually, I'm a Treo and Mac user. I have a 755p that is actually a great phone for me. It worked fine in Tiger, but a recent upgrade to Leopard broke the universe. I haven't played with the Mark/Space software yet, but I can say that Mac's support for Treos was weak at best, and nonexistent in recent years.

I'm not planning on upgrading to Snow Leopard any time in the very near future, but when I do, I suppose I'll get the Missing Sync software.

I would totally buy an iPhone as an alternative, but I will not do business with AT&T. So hopefully their exclusivity period ends before I buy a new phone and get locked in with another contract.

Comment Re:Kill your cable (Score 2, Interesting) 345

I did the same thing in February. We had a $180/month cable bill (including TV, Internet and telephone). Dropped the land line and the TV, and we're paying $45/month for the Internet.

We don't watch much TV beyond the odd PBS show, and the OTA HD actually looks better than the stuff I was getting through Cox. And even if it didn't, the near $1600 we're saving every year lets us get out and have more fun. Not at home. Watching fat and desperate people sing for a shot at fame and supper.

So yeah. 46" 1080p TV with rabbit ears, an Xbox360 (games and some streaming Netflix) and a bookshelf full of books.

I miss cable like I miss chlamydia.

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