Archive for November, 2011

I was wrong… Xmas has come WAY early for the Content Industry!

Wow…  I sure as heck didn’t see this coming!  Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech yesterday announcing a full-blown government campaign against intellectual property theft.  After 300+ years, the content industry has finally received it’s ultimate Xmas present – OUR government acting as THEIR copyright cops!  Add to this the fact that both the Congress & Senate are very likely going to pass their respective ‘internet-killing’ copyright bills (SOPA & Protect IP) within the next few weeks, and I imagine the content industry is in sheer ecstasy!  (I know I certainly would be!)

Wired  has an even more depressing article discussing Mr. Holder’s speech titledHolder Asks America to Remain ‘Vigilant,’ Report Intellectual-Property Crime.”  Yup… Yup… sounds like we have a new war now… the “War on IP Terror.”

Geez… and I was just in the middle of reading William F. Patry’s new book How to Fix Copyright.   This book is even better than his previous one published in 2009 titled Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars.”  I’m wondering if even he saw this coming???

These two books are #1 & #2 in my list of must read copyright books.   If you want to get “smart” on copyright really quick, then you’ve got to read these books.  They are both “eye-openers!”  I think I can guarantee that once you have read either one of them, you will “see the light” concerning just how truly ridiculous our copyright laws really are and why we are in the situation we find ourselves currently in.  You’ll also discover the terrible truth concerning the content industry, and how they – with our Administration’s help over the many years – have been instrumental in putting us right smack dab into this nasty position.  (Of course, we – the people – have to share in the blame for letting this happen.)

If you’re interested in trying to stop passage of SOPA and PROTECT-IP, visit either or both of the sites listed below:

American Censorship


A Century of Deceit from the Copyright Industry (Rick Falkvinge)

Rick Falkvinge has posted yet another great article at TorrentFreak titled The Copyright Industry — A Century of Deceit.   In it he takes a look at what the copyright industry has tried to ban and outlaw, or at least receive taxpayer money in compensation for, over the past 106 years.  It starts with the player piano (1905) and ends with the attempted addition of a “broadcast flag” to HDTV & DVRs in 2003.  The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) & Protect IP Act (PIPA) are merely their latest (and most dangerous, I might add) attempt to control and/or stifle technology in order to save their obsolete & failing business models.

Here’s a list of other excellent articles by Rick Falkvinge, most involving copyright.

On a lighter note, Mr. Falkvinge just earned a spot in Foreign Policy’s prestigious list of Top 100 Global Thinkers:

Falkvinge is in good company, listed among many key figures in the Arab Spring and world leaders such as Barack Obama and Angela Merkel.  Foreign Policy describes 2011 as the year where Falkvinge’s ideas about transparency, Internet privacy and copyright law are gaining in popularity.”


Colorado Yard Critters…

Besides our normal fare of yard critters (coyotes, foxes, squirrels, moles, man-eating goose & loud guinea hens), this larger critter (dat der muley deer) has been hanging out in our yard the past few days.

Front yard mule deer buck    Colorado mule deer (by garage)   Colorado mule deer in yard

Soaring Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Prices…

In case you haven’t noticed, hard disk drives (HDDs) have become much more expensive lately due to extreme flooding near Bangkok, Thailand, where both Western Digital and Toshiba were struck hard.  Seagate apparently wasn’t touched by the floods, but unfortunately many of the components it needs for HDD manufacturing were hit hard by the flooding.

Windows Secrets has a great article titled  What you can do about soaring hard-drive prices by Woody Leonhard that provides much more info than found elsewhere.

Another article from ComputerWorld titled Hard drive shortage expected to hurt consumers most.”


Five more “must read” SOPA/PROTECT-IP Articles…

I stumbled upon these five articles over the past week and all are well worth spending some time reading.

#1 is by Mike Maznick @ Techdirt that discusses the massive expansion of the copyright diplomatic core:

#2 is by the author of a new book titledCopyfraud and Other Abuses of Intellectual Property Law, Jason Mazzone.  He discusses how copyright owners, unhappy with the scope of protections that Congress has given them, routinely grab more rights than they are entitled to under the law. They do this at the expense of consumers and of the public at large.

#3 is another one by Mike Masnick (Techdirt) that discusses the previous article and points out how the entertainment industry is killing copyright.

#4 is by Rick Falkvinge and provides an entirely different point of view.  He suggests that we should thank the copyright industry for pointing out all the single points of failure that our civil liberties depend upon, as it will allow the public to rebuild those parts of our Internet infrastructure that will be broken with these bills.  It’s an EXCELLENT read!

And lastly, #5 is by Brian Proffitt of IT World, who warns that these bills, if passed, could destroy the availability & development of our free and open source software.

I hope you find these articles informative.

    RE: “The Coming Facist Internet” (Lauren Weinstein’s Blog)

    Yet another interesting blog post by Lauren Weinstein.  It discusses the history of the Internet (ARPANET), in which he was in the middle of, and how the phone companies & governments largely ignored it… until fairly recently.  Here’s an excerpt from his post:

    … But with the fullness of time, the phone companies, cable companies, governments, and politicians galore came to most intensely pay attention to the Internet, as did the entertainment industry behemoths and a broad range of other “intellectual property” interests.  …

    They want to control the Internet. They want to control it utterly, completely, in every technologically possible detail (and it seems in various technically impossible ways as well).The freedom of communications with which the Internet has empowered ordinary people — especially one-to-many communications that historically have been limited to governments and media empires themselves — is viewed as an existential threat to order, control, and profits — that is, to historical centers of power.

    Outside of the “traditional” aspects of government control over their citizenries, another key element of the new attempts to control the Net are desperate longings by some parties to turn back the technological clock to a time when music, movies, plus other works could not so easily be duplicated and disseminated in both “authorized” and “unauthorized” fashions.

    The effective fall of copyright in this context was preordained by human nature (we are physical animals, and the concept of non-physical “property” plays against our natures) and there’s been a relentless “march of bits” — with text, music, and movies entering the fray in turn as ever more data could be economically stored and transferred.

    In their efforts to control people and protect profits, governments and associated industries (often in league with powerful Internet Service Providers — ISPs — who in some respects are admittedly caught in the middle), seem willing to impose draconian, ultimately fascist censorship, identification, and other controls on the Internet and its users, even extending into the basic hardware in our homes and offices.

    I encourage you to read the entire post, as it’ll not only give you a taste of what it was like in the pre-Internet years, but also how it evolved to where we are today.   What worries me now is the government involvement and how they seem to be even MORE joined at the hip with the content industry.  Or, just maybe, might they have an agenda of their own???

    The attacks on fundamental freedoms to communicate that are represented by various government repression of the Internet around the world, and in the U.S. by hypocritical legislation like PROTECT IP and SOPA (E-PARASITE), are fundamentally fascist in nature, despite between wrapped in their various flags of national security, anti-piracy profit protection, motherhood, and apple pie.

    I’d like to think a bill like SOPA wouldn’t have a chance in hell of passing, but worse things have happened before.  Don’t know if any of you saw the 3-part PBS series on Prohibition a month or so ago,  but my reaction to it was “How could this have happened???”  Prohibition has to be one of the greatest examples of “unintended” consequences ever.  Don’t think our administration isn’t capable of making an even worse mistake with the Internet!

    One final excerpt from Lauren’s post:

    The Internet is one of the most important tools ever created by mankind. It certainly ranks with the printing press, and arguably in terms of our common futures on this tiny planet perhaps even with fire.

    The question is, are we ready and willing to fight for the Net as it should be in the name of civil rights and open communications? Or will we sit back compliantly, happily gobble down the occasional treats tossed in our direction, and watch as the Internet is perverted into a monstrous distortion to control speech and people alike, rather than enabling the spread of freedom.

    Words of wisdom.   I’ve become concerned mainly because this administration is so focused on this bill, in spite of everything else that is going on in the world, our economy, our huge debt, etc.  In addition, they have consistently refused to consider the concerns of the tech industry, other key organizations, and basically anyone who isn’t a card-carrying member of the content industry.

    We, the public, need to take a stand & let our so-called “representatives” know, as Lauren states above, “that we’re willing to fight for the Net as it should be.”

    Please contact your representatives, either by letter or via email  (Demand Progress or Fight for the Future make it easy to send a personalized email).

    Video of Internet Secret Planning Meeting (May 2011)

    I saw this video from Lauren Weinstein’s Blog this past June and meant to post a link to it.  It concerns PROTECT-IP and the numerous closed-door meetings that have been held by this administration that include only the content industry (MPAA, RIAA, etc.).  Even now, the House Judiciary Committee refuses to hear wider tech industry concerns about SOPA, the House’s much worse incarnation of the Senate’s PROTECT-IP bill.

    Enjoy the video — I’m certain you will!

    Internet Censorship Secret Planning Meeting
    (YouTube / 2 minutes)

    A Very Special Christmas for the Content Industry!!! ARGHHHHH!!!

    Yes indeedy… with the recent introduction of the House version of the Senate’s “PROTECT-IP” bill (Stop Online Privacy Act, or SOPA), they’ve managed to incorporate everything the MPAA & RIAA have ever dreamed of getting!  Of course, with all the money the content industry has donated to our representatives over the past many years, is it really that surprising?

    If you read my previous posts concerning PROTECT-IP, they referred to the bill introduced by our illustrious Senate several months ago.  However bad that bill was, this new one — introduced  just a couple weeks ago in the House of Representatives — is much worse.

    The House version of PROTECT-IP creates vague, sweeping new standards for secondary liability, drafted to ensure maximum litigation.  It treats all U.S. consumers as guilty until proven innocent.  If passed, the bill would give media companies unprecedented new powers to shape the structure and content of the Internet.

    The folks behind Fight For the Future have teamed up with Kirby Ferguson & put together a 4 minute video about the problems with PROTECT IP here.

    If you only read one article about PROTECT-IP, then this is the one at C/Net.

    For a list of articles by Mike Masnick @ Techdirt that provide excellent coverage of PROTECT-IP, go here.

    Next Wednesday, Nov 16th, is being declared “American Censorship Day” by numerous organizations to recognize Congressional hearings on the first American Internet censorship system.  Better watch out — given the current state of affairs in Congress, this bill can pass, and if it does the Internet and free speech will never be the same.

    Make your voice heard before it’s too late by contacting Congress.  It can be done with a minimum of effort at either  “Fight for the Future” or “Demand Progress.