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Last Post 5/29/2012 4:21 PM by The Phantom. 10 Replies.
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Jake Corbett
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5/27/2012 6:20 PM

    There are plenty of businesses and entertainment people who would like to take their copyrights to extremes. 

    A few years ago, there was a movement to make it illegal to sell anything second-hand. No more garage sales, thrift stores, or anything. The complaint was that any time something is sold second-hand, the original producer of the item is not getting any profit out of it. If person A buys the item new, there is profit. But, if person B buys it from person A who no longer wants it, instead of buying a new one, there is no profit for the producer.

    So far, it has not made it into law. But, it remains a hot issue.

    There are many implications, for all of us.

    Example: There are sites on the internet where you can download books 1 through 66 of Deathlands, plus Encounter, in pdf format for no cost whatsoever.

    How is that really any different than recording a movie from tv with your vcr? Or songs from the radio?

    Should Gold Eagle be all up in arms about that?

    How is the company being seriously hurt, especially when a lot of the books are out of print and no longer being offered by the company itself?!?

    If people can get the earlier books that way, won't it actually encourage more sales of the books that are still in print?

    This whole business of what constitutes ownership and what defines 'piracy' these days seems to be a real mess, with no consistency in it at all.

    If someone is making a lot of copies of something, with a profiteer motive, that is one thing. But to demonize the individual consumer is going way overboard, in my opinion.

    That seems more like greed than justice.

    Ron Miles
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    5/27/2012 8:46 PM
    Posted By Jake Corbett on 27 May 2012 06:20 PM

    There are plenty of businesses and entertainment people who would like to take their copyrights to extremes. 

    A few years ago, there was a movement to make it illegal to sell anything second-hand. No more garage sales, thrift stores, or anything. The complaint was that any time something is sold second-hand, the original producer of the item is not getting any profit out of it. If person A buys the item new, there is profit. But, if person B buys it from person A who no longer wants it, instead of buying a new one, there is no profit for the producer.

    So far, it has not made it into law. But, it remains a hot issue.

    There are many implications, for all of us.

    For starters, the implementation of such a law would violate the First-sale doctrine. When you sell something physical, you give up all rights of ownership to that thing. The person who purchased it is free do anything they like with it, and you have no legal interest whatsoever. Of course, the gray area creeps into the digital realm. In most cases what you are purchasing is not the item itself but rather a license to consume that item - a license to run the software, play the music, read the book, whatever. There is nothing physical for you to own, and as such there is nothing physical for you to sell second hand.

    Example: There are sites on the internet where you can download books 1 through 66 of Deathlands, plus Encounter, in pdf format for no cost whatsoever.

    How is that really any different than recording a movie from tv with your vcr? Or songs from the radio?

    In a nutshell, anyone who either distributes or willfully receives those books in PDF is a thief. There is absolutely no ambiguity there. They do not own the rights to own or distribute that property, period. If you record a movie from tv, then presumably you paid for that television service and the content providers in turn were paid for their content. Recording a song from the radio, again the content provider was paid (in that case more likely by advertisers). If you decide to take those recordings and put them on the internet to give them away, then again you are a thief. Full stop, no gray area.

    Should Gold Eagle be all up in arms about that?

    How is the company being seriously hurt, especially when a lot of the books are out of print and no longer being offered by the company itself?!?

    The company is being hurt because you are stealing their property. They own it, they have the right to decide when, if, and how to distribute it. If I were Gold Eagle, I would be placing my entire out of print back catalog up for sale on every e-book format available for $.99, because there is good money to be made there in the aggregate, but that's not my choice to make.

    If people can get the earlier books that way, won't it actually encourage more sales of the books that are still in print?

    That is a lame justification of bad behavior. Stealing is stealing, and don't delude yourself that you are Robin Hood. It's a disingenuous and self-serving argument that exists only make you feel better about yourself for being a thief. But you're still a thief.

    This whole business of what constitutes ownership and what defines 'piracy' these days seems to be a real mess, with no consistency in it at all.

    If someone is making a lot of copies of something, with a profiteer motive, that is one thing. But to demonize the individual consumer is going way overboard, in my opinion.

    That seems more like greed than justice.

    There's plenty of greed to go around. And I think it has been shown again and again that the best way to fight piracy is *not* the RIAA approach of turning your customers into thieves and trying to squeeze as much blood from them as possible. The real solution is to provide consumers with a legal way to purchase your content at a reasonable price in the format they want, unencumbered by stupid DRM software. There will always be a certain portion of the population who are douchebags that will steal things, but the vast majority of consumers are honest. In many cases they are literally begging content providers to just please take their money, if only the content providers would take it. Of course, I'm an old fashioned kind of guy who believes in providing value for value, and I think that's a heck of a good way to run any business.
    "Sadly then I knew the answer. All her life she was a dancer, but no one ever played the song she knew." - The Residents
    Jake Corbett
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    5/28/2012 12:27 AM

    Before the days of cable, all tv was free. You put up an antenna and you received the broadcasts. In my old hometown, right through the end of 2004, we were still using an antenna. There just was not enough good stuff on all those other channels to justify paying for cable service. With the antenna, we had NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, and FOX. That was plenty for us. From the time that we first purchased a vcr in 1987, we recorded whatever programs that we chose so that we could watch them again in the future. It was particularly good in the case of made-for-tv movies that the networks might take a long time before showing again, if ever. At the same time, we were building a collection of pre-recorded movies that we purchased. Some of what we recorded from tv could not be purchased, because it was not offered for sale. The antenna also made it possible to record music from radio stations. 

    Let's look at that word 'consume.' It's almost as if what they expect everyone to do is read, watch, or listen to something once and then destroy it. If they want to repeat it, then pay for it again. And again. That's the effect.

    If a broadcast signal is passing through the airspace in your home, you should have the right to record it. If you are able to receive a signal from Turkey, and people in that country have made their own version of Star Trek that CBS does not authorize, you should still have the right to record the signal of it that is passing through the airspace in your home if you choose.

    If you are paying for cable service, you should have the right to record what you choose from that.

    If you are paying for internet service, you should have the right to record what you choose from that.

    What about the people who have interests but do not have the money to buy, buy, buy....especially with the way prices continue to go up? The rise in price of paperback books in the past 20 years is pricing a lot of people right out of buying new books.

    Are poor people not deserving of a lot of things in life just because they don't have a lot of M-O-N-E-Y?

     


    Ron Miles
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    5/28/2012 12:48 AM
    Before the days of cable, all tv was free.
    No, before the days of cable all tv was paid for by the advertisers (which is exactly the way all terrestrial radio continues to function). Over the air broadcasts continue to be free to consumers who choose to put up an antenna, including HTDV broadcasts. And recording over the air broadcasts also continues to be perfectly legal, and nobody that I am aware of is seriously arguing that it should not be. Of course, if you record something and then decide to rebroadcast it yourself (including placing torrents of the broadcast on the internet) then you have once again become a thief. No gray area.
    What about the people who have interests but do not have the money to buy, buy, buy....especially with the way prices continue to go up? The rise in price of paperback books in the past 20 years is pricing a lot of people right out of buying new books.
    Are poor people not deserving of a lot of things in life just because they don't have a lot of M-O-N-E-Y?

    Poverty is not an excuse for theft. What about people who can't afford a car? Do you think it would be ok for them to just walk on down to the dealership and drive off in a new car without paying for it? Are they not deserving of a new car just because they don't have money? Even without going to that extreme - do you think it would be acceptable for someone with no money to just walk into their local Barnes & Noble and grab a few books and walk out the door without paying? Of course not. The would be a thief. And they are just as much of a thief if they steal an electronic copy of a book. Just because it's easier and more invisible doesn't magically make it right. Theft is theft.

    I have a library card for my county's library system. It didn't cost a penny. They have a catalog of hundreds of thousands of titles, and they don't cost anything to check out. Heck, my county even has e-book lending. They may not have every book ever printed, but they have had pretty much any title I have ever gone looking for.

    I'm sorry but, "Waah! I want it but I can't afford it!" is beyond childish as an argument to support theft. If you are going to be a thief, then at least be man enough to admit that's what you are without trying to justify your bad behavior.

    "Sadly then I knew the answer. All her life she was a dancer, but no one ever played the song she knew." - The Residents
    Ron Miles
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    5/28/2012 12:53 AM
    (As a side note - please don't be scared off because I disagree with you. Disagreement is peachy-keen, no worries.)
    "Sadly then I knew the answer. All her life she was a dancer, but no one ever played the song she knew." - The Residents
    Kerrick
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    5/28/2012 1:03 AM

    Posted By Ron Miles on 27 May 2012 08:46 PM

    For starters, the implementation of such a law would violate the First-sale doctrine. When you sell something physical, you give up all rights of ownership to that thing. The person who purchased it is free do anything they like with it, and you have no legal interest whatsoever. Of course, the gray area creeps into the digital realm. In most cases what you are purchasing is not the item itself but rather a license to consume that item - a license to run the software, play the music, read the book, whatever. There is nothing physical for you to own, and as such there is nothing physical for you to sell second hand.

    Someone should point this out to the video game companies. It's gotten to the point where I can't resell a physical copy of a game that I bought because they're not making anything from it. If I buy off Steam, sure - it's nothing but bits and bytes, and I can't really resell it, but I should have the right to resell the physical disc. It's kinda funny, really - RIAA is all over people pirating music, but they don't give a crap about us buying and selling used CDs.

    Ron Miles
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    5/28/2012 1:16 AM
    Yeah, and I think video game companies are shooting themselves in the foot this way. The release if Diablo III has been a complete fiasco. People who buy the game to play solo are not able to play the game without connecting to the game servers, and if those servers are down or completely filled up then they can't play their solo game. It's crap. Digital Rights Management is a complete waste of time. I understand the motivation from the companies, but the more that DRM interferes with the enjoyment of a game the more you actually drive your customers to become thieves. Which doesn't make it ok to be a thief, but really as a company you should be looking at that and rethinking your strategy.

    Completely unrelated example: Doctor Who is huge in the U.K., and also has a much smaller but still significant audience in the United States. When the series first came back, it was not aired in the US until well after it had already run in the U.K., and as such a significant number of US fans had already downloaded torrents of the show to watch. They weren't going to sit around for eight months waiting for the Sci-Fi Channel to broadcast butchered copies of the show when they could just grab it online. In the more recent seasons, the BBC has gotten a bit smarter. The first half of the most recent season was broadcast in the US day-and-date with the UK broadcasts. It was a few hours later, but at least on the same day. Online piracy for those episodes dropped through the floor because fans were ok with waiting a few hours. Then somewhere around the midpoint of the season, the show got delayed by one week. I think there was a sporting event or something that the network aired, and the rest of the season was behind the UK by a week. Guess what, piracy went back through the roof.

    If you have a piracy problem, I promise that it is almost certainly not because your audience is made up of a bunch of dirty thieves. (Well, I mean, they might be... but most of them are only weakly so.) Because of the internet, we have truly reached the point of having a global audience. Make your product available to your consumers in the format they prefer, at a reasonable price point, and in a timely manner, and they will gladly hand you their money in sufficient numbers that piracy becomes just a minor distraction.
    "Sadly then I knew the answer. All her life she was a dancer, but no one ever played the song she knew." - The Residents
    SP
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    5/28/2012 1:24 AM

    EA did this years ago. They have their own servers over MS live. In order to play a person has to have xbox live, AND a valid EA server that hasn't been recalled for lack of support. Goodbye $20 worth of downloaded content for Dante's Inferno...

     

     

    Jake Corbett
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    5/28/2012 2:48 PM

    I am very much aware of tv being paid for by advertising....I was saying that before cable all reception was free.

    Let's discuss those libraries. The ones that my wife and I have dealt with typically do not ever check the condition of discs when they are returned and hold patrons responsible for their actions. We are always very careful in how we handle cds and dvds, but obviously a lot of people just don't care. We have taken out season after season of series after series and the discs are so badly scratched that you have a very difficult time watching them and in a lot of cases you just can't. When you draw this to their attention, they say something like "We'll have to look into that." But no action is ever taken. So, you have apathy on the part of patrons and more apathy on the part of library managers.

    But, that's not the worst of it. The library system here is really a mess. If 'mess' is even the right word. We borrowed two seasons of a series we liked. One was on my card and one was on my wife's card. They were so scratched that you could not watch them. We returned them early, both on the same day. There is a slot right in the front desk for returns. About a week later, we received notices that they were overdue. We went to the library and on a hunch checked the shelf where we had picked them from before. The one from my wife's card was right there. It had been returned to the shelf without being scanned in by the employees. The one from my card was supposedly never found and they attempted to charge me for it, but I was not about to pay for something that I had returned before it was even due. There had been a lady ahead of us in line whom they had also been giving a hard time. Same situation. She said she had returned an item and they claimed that she had not. Later, we heard via the grapevine what goes on there. Employees do not pay attention to what they are doing. If a scanner beeps, they assume that an item has scanned through. But the scanner does not always function as it should. That is also true when you go to the self-scan checkout. We approached various levels of management with the matter and all they wanted to do was deny that there was any problem with their equipment or employees whatsoever. It was always the fault of patrons who were lying. The interesting thing is, what happens to those items that come back and don't get properly scanned? It would be risky for patrons to attempt to steal something and get past the alarms at the front door....they would not know what items had not been scanned back in. But the employees....that's a whole different matter. If they wanted a particular item, they could deliberately not scan it and do just as they pleased and who would be the wiser? The patron would be billed and would then have a choice of either paying the money or ending the relationship with the library. In either case, the employee would be completely in the clear. There have been other actions by the manager of the library that have been questionable, and we have our suspicions. But the county-wide manager feels that it is "impossible" that one of his employees could be involved in any wrongdoing of any kind. Because, of course, that kind of thing just never happens. So, that is where that situation stands. We are done with the library, as are who knows how many other people who have gone through this, but the patrons are always blamed because the library is completely beyond reproach in all cases.

    Taxpayer dollars go to fund these libraries. But it's not only discs that are in sorry condition. The books suffer a lot, too. Water damage, writing, etc....people are not being held accountable for the actual damage that they do and being made to replace items. Good people are being villified for things they have not done.

    We have also noticed that a lot of books are being purchased by libraries and not kept on the shelves more than a year or two before they are discarded onto the cart where they are sold for a dollar or less. And it's not just unpopular titles. We are talking about some major authors who are very popular, as well.

    Perhaps the worst of it is some instances we have witnessed in which library employees have literally screamed at young children for past due fines of ten or fifteen cents. Those are the times when you would like to wait until the child has left, throw a couple of coins in the face of the individual, and say something like "Here's your lousy money, you rabid Nazi f*ck!" But, this is a civilized society, right? Yeah, it shows.

    There is a lady who does business on ebay who scours the pickings of library sales, garage sales, etc, for a lot of out of print, obscure, and very hard to find books. Religious texts are a big focus, but some other kinds of books as well. She scans them and puts them together on discs and sells them that way. There may be over 300 books on one disc. A lot of the books go back into the 1800s and even earlier and not many copies are left in existence.

    Is she a thief, too?

    Stealing a car, or stealing books from Barnes and Noble doesn't seem like a very apt comparison.

    And let me say something else to do with poor people: The most recent Bush administration changed the rules in our national parks. Citizens are no longer allowed to be on the property, for any reason, for more than 60 days out of 365. The economy has seen a lot of people become homeless due to circumstances beyond their control. But we can't have them trying to live in the parks, right? Because ALL homeless people are filthy, drunken drug addicts, right? They could have kept themselves from being homeless if they had REALLY wanted to, right? God knows, homeless shelters don't fill up, right? There is always a solution for everyone, regardless of the numbers of the people, right?

    The state parks are taking their cues from the national parks.

    Something other than stereotyping poor people really needs to be done.

     

    Ron Miles
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    5/28/2012 3:45 PM
    You're preaching to the choir here. I'm a card carrying bleeding-heart liberal, I am horrified by how how we have let our infrastructure literally rot away in this country while the robber barons of the modern gilded age suck up vast amounts of wealth and then refuse uphold their side of the social contract.

    But none of makes stealing not be stealing.

    Regarding your lady who scans books - if they are out of copyright and in the public domain, not theft. If they are in copyright, theft. It's not a difficult concept.

    If your library system is a mess, then work to fix it. Work to elect liberals who will support rebuilding and maintaining infrastructure. Vote yes on levees to raise revenues for your local school districts. Work to get rid of stupid standardized testing that bleeds school districts dry, enriches nobody except the companies that administer the tests and sell all of the study guides, and does nothing to actually improve education. Look the so called "job creators" right in the eye and point out to them that the only thing that creates jobs is consumer demand, and the only think that builds that demand is a strong and healthy middle class.
    "Sadly then I knew the answer. All her life she was a dancer, but no one ever played the song she knew." - The Residents
    The Phantom
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    5/29/2012 4:21 PM
    Posted By Ron Miles on 28 May 2012 01:16 AM
    Yeah, and I think video game companies are shooting themselves in the foot this way. The release if Diablo III has been a complete fiasco. People who buy the game to play solo are not able to play the game without connecting to the game servers, and if those servers are down or completely filled up then they can't play their solo game. It's crap. Digital Rights Management is a complete waste of time. I understand the motivation from the companies, but the more that DRM interferes with the enjoyment of a game the more you actually drive your customers to become thieves. Which doesn't make it ok to be a thief, but really as a company you should be looking at that and rethinking your strategy.



    I would not touch a Blizzard product these days with a ten foot pole. The irony is, I had the opposite view when I first played their games back when they were actually Blizzard. They sold out and their games are now crappy all about the money vehicles.

    One of the two games I play online is called Runes of Magic. It cost me nothing to get it. No discs to buy, the download is free, the expansions and updates are automatic and with no charge, and best of all, there is no monthly fee. I can play the game as much as I want without buying anything if I choose not to, and still have access to the whole game with very little restrictions as a free player. 

    They make their money from players purchasing items in an in-game shop using an in-game currency that is bought with real world money. In-game gold pieces can still be used to buy most things you could ever need including the diamonds (the bought currency)

    For a cheap ass like myself this is the ultimate game, but I also have no problem spending a little cash volentarily from time to time. Not just to get some cool stuff for my gaming experience, but I don't mind spending the cash because a lot of people spent a lot of time and work to make the game, and I am happy to buy things for the game and support them because I am having a lot of fun and enjoy the game for absolutely no price if I choose.

    To me, this is a much better system than Blizzard and other companies that are interested in just money. I don't give these companies a single penny. Yet the makers of ROM are getting my money, even if I am a cheap ass and wont spend a whole lot on it. If I had extra money laying around I would more than likely spend more on it. But Blizzard, heck no they still wouldn't get a cent from me.

    That's my two cents on the current state of online games approaches, lol

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