Monthly Archives: March 2012

“Burning to death” is the price of copyright infringement

In another classic rant, Cory Doctorow somehow contrives to allege that the RIAA, and specifically its boss Cary Sherman (representing “some of the worst companies in the world”), can “cost your children their ability to complete their education”, “cost you your job”, “cut you off from civic and political engagement”, cost you your ability to stay in touch with your family and, if your phone service is provided via VOIP, remove your 911 access. “Because burning to death is only too good a fate for people accused, without proof, of copyright infringement”.

I think this is some advanced form of applied chaos theory.

Fabulously scary video

This video is a sort of genius, because it’s brilliantly presented and produced, makes some very alarming and confident predictions and offers no evidence whatsoever to support any of its assertions. And nearly half a million people have watched it. Some quotes below.

“A new bill proposes we give the power to censor the internet to the entertainment industry”

“Protect IP will cripple new startups”

“These lawsuits could easily bankrupt new search engines and social media sites”

“Even if you trust the US government not to abuse their new power to censor the net, what about the countries who follow in our path and pass similar laws? … Unscrupulous governments will have powerful tools to hinder free expression.”

“Experts believe that by fiddling with the web’s registry of domain names the result will be less security and less stability”

“In short, Protect-IP won’t stop piracy but it will introduce vast potential for censorship and abuse while making the web less safe and less reliable”

“The government is tampering with [the internet’s] basic structure so people will, maybe, buy more Hollywood movies.”

“The entire entertainment industry doesn’t even contribute that much to our economy”.

“sharing is broken on the web”

A bit of a digression but I was struck by the phrase “sharing is broken on the web” in James Whittaker’s blog post about why he left Google. He was describing the internal declaration within Google which led to their Google+ strategy, what I found telling about it other than the language was the binary attitude it suggests. Something is either broken or not broken. Google can fix broken things by applying superior intelligence and resource.

Read the whole post, it’s interesting and all the more credible for not being a score-settling rant.

Paying publishers will “slow down the internet”

Quite a moderate view from Eric Schmidt, in response to the proposal that German newspaper publishers get a revenue stream from companies which aggregate their content online. The full quote is quite telling, though… “I fear that such a regulation would slow down the development of the Internet because it creates additional costs and leads to inefficiencies”. Equating cost with inefficiency is interesting, it suggests that the most efficient (and therefore best) company is one with no costs. It also suggests that cost is, somehow, bad – free is always better.

Eric Schmidt works for Google, a company with a 65% gross margin and only one significant revenue stream supporting all their loss-making projects, and who pay nothing for their key resource (other people’s content). They do, however, charge for their own service (advertising), creating cost for other  people. Wouldn’t it be more efficient, therefore better according to his theory, if they gave it all away for free?

SOPA: Hollywood Finally Gets A Chance to Break the Internet

“At a minimum, this means that any service that hosts user generated content is going to be under enormous pressure to actively monitor and filter that content.  That’s a huge burden…”

The article doesn’t mention the need, caused by DMCA and other similar legislation, for content owners to actively monitor the entire internet to detect infringements of their rights, and issue formal notices, before they have even a vanishingly small chance of recovering any damages.

From the EFF’s extensive range of anti-SOPA articles…

(thanks Terry Hart)

Don’t let Hollywood break the internet!

“The solution to this problem need not give one side the power to put the other side out of business.”

Very true, and a sentiment I am sure is echoed by the many content creators who are struggling to stay in business in the age of mega-powerful and mega-profitable digital behemoths.

But it was actually said, in Forbes magazine, by the head of the, um, Consumer Electronics Association, who claimed that SOPA and PIPA would- yes -“break the internet” by putting too much power in the hands of content companies.

(thanks to Terry Hart)