Wait, Who Do Politicians Represent Again?

from the not-us,-apparently dept

Yesterday we mentioned that various special interests have convinced some in Congress to hold off on patent reform. To some extent, this is fine, since there are plenty of problems with the patent reform being offered. However, the reasons for holding off aren't because of that -- but because some big patent holders are upset at the few good things in the bill. In the meantime, Ed Felten picks up on a key point. Howard Berman, the main sponsor of this bill, responded to the requests to hold off voting on it by saying there's no reason to since "all of the interested parties" have been heard from: "independent inventors, universities, bio-technology, pharmaceutical, software and financial services industries." Ed Felten asks "who's missing from that list?" Oh, right. The citizens the government is supposed to represent. This isn't specific to patent reform of course. Just about any legislation tends to call in folks from the various industries it will impact -- but rarely bothers to speak to the actual citizens they're supposed to be representing. Of course, it's not easy to "represent" the views of the citizenry, especially since the citizenry doesn't always know enough to know what's best overall. However, it certainly should be possible to bring in experts who can look at the impact not just on businesses, but on society as a whole.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 9:23pm

    who do politicians represent? THEMSELVES, all they care about is making their wallets fat!!!!!!!!

    that's whats wrong with the US today, people are not in politics for the people, they are in it to get rich.

     

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  2.  
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    angry dude, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 9:38pm

    Mike knows what's best for us

    Mike wrote: "...citizenry doesn't always know enough to know what's best overall"

    You are SOOO right dude !!!

    Just from reading this shitty blog one can get a solid impression that the authors and most of the readership don't know shit about patents...

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 9:55pm

    Re: Mike knows what's best for us

    I'm sorry, sir, but you'll need a license to fish under power.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 10:00pm

    The theory is that the politicians represent citizens. It's a thing called representative democracy.

    Many of us learned about it in high school civics.

     

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  5.  
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    Joe Smith, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 10:14pm

    Re: Mike knows what's best for us

    The amazing thing about you Angry Dude is that you complain bitterly about how the current system is not working for you but you viciously attack anyone who suggests that the system needs reform. If you won't let people clean out the sewer, you should not be complaining about the smell.

     

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  6.  
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    angry dude, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 10:48pm

    patent

    Joe, let me get it straight:
    I recently received my first US Patent on some high-tech invention. I won't tell you what it is but it is related to the future of telecom.
    I had no plans to become a "patent troll", I actually want to develop new technology and make a living out of it... Ideally it would be a small company with a few patents on some technological advances which can then be licenced to larger firms to be included in consumer products.
    BTW, all consumer products are manufactured in China, this is just how things work nowdays, there is just no way for a small startup to actually manufacture something in US and be profitable... But you already know it, Joe, don't you?

    Now, let me tell you this: if this "patent reform of 2007" passes, nobody, I mean, no one in his right mind will invest a dime in my small company, even if I have a bunch of good patents.
    Same can be said about all other startups developing new technology: most of them will die out. You will eventually end up with just a few tech behemots like MS, Cisco, Motorola, HP, Intel etc.
    VCs have spoken on this patent "reform". What other proof do you need ? This is like 2x2=4, Joe.
    Patent reform of 2007 (in it's present form) = end of all VC-funded tech startups of tomorrow.
    Is this what you want, Joe ?
    Is this what American citizens want ?

    The current patent system stinks badly, but the so-called patent "reform" (when combined with SCOTUS EBay decision) has a smell of death, it will just finish us all...

     

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  7.  
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    Reed, Jun 14th, 2007 @ 10:50pm

    Here is a fun excersise

    How many of our representatives on the federal level are millionaires?

    Governing is a rich man's game and the people are fooling themselves if they think the have power in a game that is decidedly stacked against them.

    Poor economic solutions such as fractional banking has robbed all US citizens of the power of their own money. It is a losing game for everyone except the wealthy.

    You can look at how many raises congress has given itself compared to what they have given the people. Things become very clear, representation has become a lie only a naive child would believe.

     

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  8.  
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    Mike (profile), Jun 14th, 2007 @ 11:10pm

    Re: patent

    I recently received my first US Patent on some high-tech invention. I won't tell you what it is but it is related to the future of telecom.

    Now, that's funny. Angry dude has been claiming for years here that he has a patent. Though every time we've asked him what it is -- even though all patents are public -- he wouldn't tell us. In fact, he'd then accuse us all of being too stupid to understand his patent.

    Yet, now, he's admitting that he just got his first patent. Hmmm...


    Now, let me tell you this: if this "patent reform of 2007" passes, nobody, I mean, no one in his right mind will invest a dime in my small company, even if I have a bunch of good patents.


    So, you're saying you have no business model other than to exploit a bad patent system? That's not a very good business model. Any business model that can be so easily wiped out by a minor legislative change is a bad business model. I don't think you'll find most VCs interested in investing for *that* reason.

    Same can be said about all other startups developing new technology: most of them will die out. You will eventually end up with just a few tech behemots like MS, Cisco, Motorola, HP, Intel etc.

    Of course, angry dude makes these claims over and over again -- but the opposite is supported by history. The stronger patent protection is, the more consolodated industries become. It's when there's weak or no patent protection that you tend to have many more small companies and fewer large monopoly players. Angry dude doesn't have any evidence to back this up. He just has his gut and it's single-pass analysis that doesn't take into account what actually happens (i.e., businesses focus on selling products, not patents).

    Patent reform of 2007 (in it's present form) = end of all VC-funded tech startups of tomorrow.

    And that is the most laughable statement I've read from angry dude, and I've read a lot of laughable statements. I know quite a few VCs, from the top, middle and lower tier. I have yet to hear a single one who is worried about this. It won't change their investment strategy at all.

    The only ones investing in patent portfolios are a few small east coast PE firms. Not VCs.

    The current patent system stinks badly, but the so-called patent "reform" (when combined with SCOTUS EBay decision) has a smell of death, it will just finish us all...

    There are a lot of problems with the patent reform as proposed, but there is nothing to support angry dude's claim that it will kill off startups. Most startups don't deal in patents any way, so it won't impact them at all. Even those that do will be only marginally hurt by this. For those that would be involved in patent litigation anyway, this could actually speed up the process -- adding more certainty to the process.

    As per usual, angry dude spouts emotionally, but has no facts to back it up. We've pointed this out to angry dude for years. I'd love to see him actually provide a single factual statement to back up his unsupportable claims, but he never has.

    Hell, I'd just settle for him actually showing us his super important patent... the "new" one he just got even though he was bragging about it years ago.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 1:03am

    Welcome to the land of the kings

    What the land of the free? Whoever told you that is your enemy.

     

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  10.  
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    The infamous Joe, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 4:28am

    Re: Welcome to the land of the kings

    What the land of the free? Whoever told you that is your enemy.

    I highly doubt my third grade teacher is the enemy. :)

     

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  11.  
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    The infamous Joe, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 4:32am

    So angry.

    I, too, would be interested in knowing this patent that angry fella has..

    Though, "related to the future of telecom", in my keen observation, is another way of saying "I'm making things up in a vain attempt to seem like I know what I'm talking about."

    As for the actual patent process.. well, let's just say I have a patent related to the future of telecom. Any recommendations on where I should start learning? :P

     

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  12.  
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    E!, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 5:32am

    citizenry

    "independent inventors, universities, bio-technology, pharmaceutical, software and financial services industries"
    ARE part of the citizenry of the United States.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 5:59am

    Quick! Get a patent on deciding how to reform the patent system and interrelated aspects

     

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  14.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 6:17am

    That's simple...


    Wait, Who Do Politicians Represent Again?


    The highest bidder.

     

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  15.  
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    chris (profile), Jun 15th, 2007 @ 6:27am

    Re: Re: Welcome to the land of the kings

    I highly doubt my third grade teacher is the enemy. :)

    she may not be an agent of the enemy, but she is certainly it's friend :-)

     

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  16.  
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    angry dude, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 6:29am

    Re: Re: patent

    My genius mind does not have to give second thought to anything nor explain myself. The patent, BTW, sports quantum entanglement, fiber optics, and a cluster of overclocked supercomputers to telecommunicate from Earth to my home planet in less than real-time. Yes, I said less than real-time, it uses space warping and parallel universe to accomplish this feat. I never discussed it before because it is too complicated and deep for normal, numbskulls to comprehend the details and the laymen terms I just used to describe it makes the patent sound improbable of existence. Rest assured, I have a working prototype that will disprove any doubts.
    Noticed you said that you know many venture capitalists. If this is true, let me know if any are interested in alien communicator device.
    Angy dude...phone...home....

    Link to see my prototype:
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/281402/a_peek_into_the_future/

     

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  17.  
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    chris (profile), Jun 15th, 2007 @ 6:29am

    Wait, Who Do Politicians Represent Again?

    politicians represent money. glad i had the opportunity to clear that up for you.

     

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  18.  
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    Loho, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 6:34am

    Re:

    Politicians are already rich bro.

     

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  19.  
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    Loho, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Re: patent

    Hmm, less than real time, does that mean you get the message before you sent it? >:)

     

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  20.  
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    Matthew, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re: Re: patent

    Simpsons did it!

     

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  21.  
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    Canadian Guy, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 6:55am

    Kind of links back to the argument made in the Sea

    It's so true - politicians don't seem to represent the public anymore. They're quite expert at representing the myriad commercial interests who line their pockets, though. I don't know whether reforms to campaign financing would do anything to fix this, but they might be a start.

    Western society should be more than the sum of its commercial interests. Our political systems no longer seem to view it that way, though.

     

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  22.  
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    angry dude, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 6:56am

    Mike's business model

    "So, you're saying you have no business model other than to exploit a bad patent system? That's not a very good business model. Any business model that can be so easily wiped out by a minor legislative change is a bad business model. I don't think you'll find most VCs interested in investing for *that* reason."

    I know, I know...

    Of course, the best ever business model by Mike of Techdirt is this:
    Sell a bunch of T-Shirts to make up losses for illegal downloads.

    Smart, really smart...

    And BTW, this "reform" is NOT a *minor* legislative change.
    It's the most significant change to the patent law in more than 50 years

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    The infamous Joe, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 6:57am

    Imposter.

    My genius mind does not have to give second thought to anything nor explain myself.

    Although this is eerily similar to something Mr. A. Dude might type-- we all know that he has a horrible habit of pressing enter after each sentence, which you-- whomever you are-- did not.

    Ah well. Maybe next time.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Canadian Guy, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 6:58am

    Kind of links back to the argument made in the Sea

    It's so true - politicians don't seem to represent the public anymore. They're quite expert at representing the myriad commercial interests who line their pockets, though. I don't know whether reforms to campaign financing would do anything to fix this, but they might be a start.

    Western society should be more than the sum of its commercial interests. Our political systems no longer seem to view it that way, though.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    dave, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 7:09am

    Who Do Politicians Represent?

    In my 60's, it is clear to me that our politicians no longer represent the people. The phrase "government of the people, by the people, for the people" just doesn't fit the current state of our government. It is "government of the politicians, by the politicians, for the politicians."

    While we, the people, are sleeping, good legislation gets ruined with local pork that has little to do with good governance and all to do with local politics. Our politicians may hear the people, but it has little to do with what they do.

    We need a thorough revamping of our government, but the politicians can't even get a good change in the ridiculous tax code enacted, let alone a sweeping change in how the government works. Many have thrown their arms up because it's just too hard to fight for what's right. The politicians have lost sight of the people!!! The thoughts of a healthy term limit for congressional seats have been relegated to the back corners of the closet in favor of spending time and money finding fault with the other party and/or their elected folk.

    I can only hope that Abe Lincoln was wrong in the negative assumtion from his famous speech: "shall not perish from this earth." Is fixing our government just to big a job?? Is it more important to bash the president? Is the United States of America on a path to perish by it's own politicians' arrogance and shortsightedness? Have we, the people thrown up our arms in defeat because it's just too hard to get our politicians to listen and ACT?

     

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  26.  
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    The infamous Joe, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 7:09am

    Therein lies the rub.

    Sell a bunch of T-Shirts to make up losses for illegal downloads.

    Songs can be easily and quickly duplicated for next to nothing. T-shirts, however cannot. That makes one scarce (T-shirts) and one non-scarce. (Songs)

    Not to mention, no one says use songs to *make up* for 'losses' due to illegal downloads... the suggestion is link the songs with something else that can't be easily duplicated for the entire modern world. (Not specifically T-shirts)

    For example: Here, download our CD. Like what you hear? Well, if you buy the CD you are entered to win a backstage pass and hang out with the band!

    or

    Download our CD. Like what you hear? Inside every CD purchased is a username and password to our website.. we want to see what you can do with our music-- the best remix submitted to the site (using the username and password) will be on our next CD!

    See? It's about making people *want* to buy your CD.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Wyndle, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 8:15am

    Re: Who Do Politicians Represent?

    Don't like the way our government is run? It is in our power to take down and reform it. If you start you better get it done fast though. If Big Brother finds out you're plotting to overthrow them you'll have SS, er, Homeland Security (HS) knocking on your door and Congress will ammend the Constitution to take out the "do over" clause.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 8:56am

    Re: patent

    cry cry cry, I invent things all day long and dont patent any of it. I hope I can invent whatever you might invent before you get around to patenting it. Clues please?

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: Re: patent

    angry dude, I sketched things like this in my notebook in 6th grade when I was supposed to be learning grammar. It took a lot of balls to post your fantastic patent, and I thank you for finally doing it, but seriously now. Gegapixels and 10GB memory? Do you pick numbers at random? Ever built any hardware? Get a clue.

     

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  30.  
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    angry dude, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 9:05am

    "I invent things all day long and dont patent any of it."

    Things like what ?

    A poop scoop ? A toilet amusement ball ticker ?

    Good for you... keep inventing

     

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  31.  
    icon
    Nick (profile), Jun 15th, 2007 @ 9:20am

    Let's take action!

    Mike,

    I think this is a very important issue, and I am wondering if you have been thinking of any ways to help us concerned TechDirt readers can take action in some way. I very concerned about the future of innovation and the ever increasing restrictiveness of it. Innovation is a basic human right/need . We will all become IP serfs!

    ~Nick

     

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  32.  
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    angry dude, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 9:33am

    Take a shit instead !

    Nick,

    you'd better take a shit
    That's about the only use for dudes like you on this planet - fertilizing ground

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    PhysicsGuy, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 9:41am

    Re:

    still waiting on that (nonexistent) patent of yours angry dude. :P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 10:29am

    Re: Mike's business model

    Those are good model ideas it can be much simpler.

    Don't want to take a chance on not liking our CD? Download this severly limited and DRM'd track for free and sample it. If you like it then pay a small fee for a fully unlocked version of the track. That way you only get the tracks you want and not paying $15-$20 for 16 tracks and only four of them are worthwhile.

    OR

    We're going to make the first printing of out album limited to 100,000 signed copies with a cover art different from the second printing. Of those 100,000 copies 100 of them will have a free ticket and backstage pass to any one of the dates on our up and coming tour.

    OR

    For indie bands wanted to hit big time. Lets say Korn is releasing a new album. As a contest for indie bands perhaps put an hidden track on the cd that is nothing but a band member reading a code. Then the listener can take that code and input it on a website to be entered into a contest for a chance to go on tour with Korn.

    OR

    And this is acutally happening.

    The White Stripes are about to release it's next album on limited edition collectible thumb drives. This way people are paying for the music and its in a digital format like they prefer.



    So yes there are ways that music can be used to make money other than locking it down and charging extortion like prices.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    The infamous Joe, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 10:52am

    Horseshoes and hand grenades.

    You're on the right path, but not quite there yet. Or, in my opinion, at least-- whatever that is worth. (Let's just say my opinion is non-scarce and leave it at that :P )

    Don't want to take a chance on not liking our CD? Download this severly limited and DRM'd track for free and sample it. If you like it then pay a small fee for a fully unlocked version of the track. That way you only get the tracks you want and not paying $15-$20 for 16 tracks and only four of them are worthwhile.

    The point is to make it more worthwhile to pay than to get it free, by adding something worth buying. In this example, it's still easier and cheaper to just download the songs from your favorite torrent site.

    We're going to make the first printing of out album limited to 100,000 signed copies with a cover art different from the second printing. Of those 100,000 copies 100 of them will have a free ticket and backstage pass to any one of the dates on our up and coming tour.

    This is a good idea, except try signing a 100 of something. Then 1000. Now remember how much bigger 100,000 is than 1000. Though, I'd think that the free ticket in random CD's would do fine.

    For indie bands wanted to hit big time. Lets say Korn is releasing a new album. As a contest for indie bands perhaps put an hidden track on the cd that is nothing but a band member reading a code. Then the listener can take that code and input it on a website to be entered into a contest for a chance to go on tour with Korn.

    I'm just nitpicking now, but a hidden track is not really hidden, it's just not put on the back cover and can still easily be uploaded/downloaded. So either you make each CD have a track of a band member reading a unique code (which would not be cost productive or time productive!) or just print out the code on a slip of paper and insert it into each CD case.

    The White Stripes are about to release it's next album on limited edition collectible thumb drives. This way people are paying for the music and its in a digital format like they prefer.

    Well, that is nice and gimmicky, but I don't know if it would boost the sale of music any more than a little bit.. I know I wouldn't care to have yet another thumb drive around my apartment, I have too many as it is... and it takes only marginally more time to rip a CD than move tracks from a thumb drive... not enough that I would care. It's like the color changing CD NIN put out.. neat idea, but unless color changing CDs get ya off, it's only mildly entertaining.

    I'm just bored on a Friday and nitpicking, really. At least someone is trying to think outside the box. :P

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    dataGuy, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re: Re: patent

    "overclocked supercomputers"

    That made me smile....

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 11:36am

    Re: Horseshoes and hand grenades.

    Good points indeed and it's good to see there are people at least trying to think outside the box.

    To clarify on the indie band idea.

    I'm just nitpicking now, but a hidden track is not really hidden, it's just not put on the back cover and can still easily be uploaded/downloaded. So either you make each CD have a track of a band member reading a unique code (which would not be cost productive or time productive!) or just print out the code on a slip of paper and insert it into each CD case.

    Yes the "hidden" track is just an unlisted track and with it be unlisted you don't know its there until you explore/listen to the CD. However is each code can only be used once then there is no point trying to upload/download said code. And I know if I bought the album and got one of those codes I would sure as hell make sure I used it before I started to offer it up on a torrent. Therefore the only way to get it is to buy the album and hope you are lucky enough to get one with the code.

    And one other major thing to remember is that no matter what you do no method of locking down or alternative marketing will magically stop all free load now and forever.

     

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  38.  
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    Nick (profile), Jun 15th, 2007 @ 11:54am

    ignore angry dude: alien communicator device?

    Unless angry dude identifies himself as John Hutchison, I think it is pretty clear that this guy is a tin foil hat wearing loony and does not deserve our attention (unless that is someone else posting as angry dude).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    The infamous Joe, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Horseshoes and hand grenades.

    And one other major thing to remember is that no matter what you do no method of locking down or alternative marketing will magically stop all free load now and forever.

    That's exactly the point-- musicians and labels need to stop trying to prevent free downloading and start using it as a tool to sell things that *can't* be duplicated for the entire modern world for free. If they embrace it and encourage their songs to be downloaded and shared they'll have a larger pool of potential fans to sell those scarce products to. Of course, that theory only really works assuming that the musician in question wants to increase their fan base-- the ones that are just in it to get rich quick will probably be too nearsighted to grasp the concept.. :P

    Though, the concept of giving things away for free to get people to buy things has been embraced for some time by Supermarkets, Baskin Robins and most drug dealers, among others. :P

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Michael A. Banks, Jun 15th, 2007 @ 4:45pm

    The Citizenry

    Most of the Citizenry are apathetic or don't have a clue as to what their representatives are doing. Having held elected and appointed public office several times, I've watched the process from the inside. Nothing has changed since the 19th-Century government scandals we heard about in high school History and Government classes. It's all smoke-filled back rooms (without the smoke in many instances), with everyone representing whomever has the most money to throw at them.
    (Anyone know what the going rate for a posed photo with the President is today? I heard $50K.)
    --Mike
    http://www.michaelabanks.com

     

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