by Just John

Just John's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the a-freetard-american-in-taiwan dept

So, here we are again at week's end, and there are more posts to review.

I was slightly surprised when asked to write the reviews, since I tend to be more “freetard” than anything. Not by choice, unless you call my choice to live in a country other than the US a choice. Instead, as some may know, I am an American living in Taiwan, and because of the banking rules here, online purchases and international purchases are not an option for me. Of course, this also means that I have some personal perspective when Taiwan makes fun of your current politics. That is when you know you've hit the bottom.

What does this mean? I must often times turn to illegal downloads of pirated materials for my entertainment, or suffer from endless bad shows in Chinese and very few options.

In the digital age though, this makes no sense. It is not as if you have to ship the package to Taiwan. It's a digital good, and I can just go to After all, even though I cannot use my card online here, I still have other means of ordering online and paying for it. So, what is the content industries excuse? Guess this shows more examples of how the content industry is hurting themselves.

I read this blog to keep up with the changes occurring in our world, as well as other blogs, because my job is part of the technical community, so impacts on that community impact me. However, as an international, I have also found the US government’s approach to the rest of the world more than slightly disturbing.

They choose to try to enact a world changing law, SOPA/PIPA, and exert their authority over the internet, when they are not the world government and have no right to do so. We see more and more that the US government is trying to find ways to detain foreign citizens, based on US laws. How does this make sense? Why am I paying taxes (And yes, I file taxes every year), to pay my government to go muck up other peoples countries? Maybe they should worry about fixing the problems at home first?

The worst part about it is, as we finally found out, the government isn’t doing this for the people, but instead is just pushing forward what they are told to like good little bought officials.

What is even worse is that these industries are making money, and have been shown how technology helps them over and over and over again.

On top of this, they fail to see how it can be abused, even though we already have an example here, here, and here. These are not just hypotheticals (well, the first is, but that is because it is the most outrageous); they happened. Want that company to shut down the consumer reviews because someone told you about bad service? How will you separate the good from the bad?

The one bright note, at least they are paying some attention and finally starting to admit the public does not like this. Maybe it is just an international trade issue and needs some trade agreements, not some internet breaking laws. After all, it’s not like they will stop it anyways.

And most of all, please, please stop throwing in child porn references into arguments about, well, anything except child porn. Maybe Godwin’s laws need to go beyond Hitler references…

Anyways, I will get off my SOPA box and see you in the funny papers.

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  • icon
    Nigel Lew (profile), 3 Dec 2011 @ 12:08pm

    Well done sir! That largely sums up my sentiments for the week.


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

  • icon
    Jay (profile), 3 Dec 2011 @ 12:42pm

    Thomas Jefferson must have hated the compromise on copyright...

    The worst part about it is, as we finally found out, the government isn’t doing this for the people, but instead is just pushing forward what they are told to like good little bought officials.

    With money we will get men, said Caesar, and with men we will get money. Nor should our assembly be deluded by the integrity of their own purposes, and conclude that these unlimited powers will never be abused, because themselves are not disposed to abuse them. They should look forward to a time, and that not a distant one, when a corruption in this, as in the country from which we derive our origin, will have seized the heads of government, and be spread by them through the body of the people; when they will purchase the voices of the people, and make them pay the price. . . The time to guard against corruption and tyranny, is before they shall have gotten hold of us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold, than to trust to drawing his teeth and claws after he shall have entered."

    Jefferson was a BAMF.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2011 @ 2:38pm

    Meanwhile the liar on the Vice President seat pays lip service to freedom.

    While the Swiss stick with freedom.

    And France is showing how to become a police state. ng-demand-111201/

    While the RIAA keeps the double speak with their talk about uncontrolled rampant theft. 202/

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

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 4 Dec 2011 @ 5:51am

      Re: the Swiss stick with freedom.

      Two things will keep it that way:

      1) The Swiss referendum system which guarantees a level of democracy that the rest of us can only dream about.

      2) All the dodgy earnings of the MAFIAA bosses are in secret Swiss accounts - so they can't afford to offend the Swiss in case their secrets are revealed.

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

  • icon
    weneedhelp (profile), 3 Dec 2011 @ 3:37pm

    when they are not the world government

    You see that is the problem. WE DO think we are the world police. I used to think our world domination aspirations was a Republican Neocon thing, via The Project for A New American Century, in the document Rebuilding America's Defenses as an example. But after watching the Democraps for a while now, it appears to be a bipartisan effort.

    All they needed was:
    Further, the process of transformation,
    even if it brings revolutionary change, is
    likely to be a long one, absent some
    catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a
    new Pearl Harbor.

    Well, they got what they needed on 9-11.

    Later on:
    Although it may take several decades
    for the process of transformation to unfold,
    in time, the art of warfare on air, land, and
    sea will be vastly different than it is today,
    and “combat” likely will take place in new
    dimensions: in space, “cyber-space,” and
    perhaps the world of microbes.

    The most scary:
    perhaps the world of microbes. sDefenses.pdf

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 3 Dec 2011 @ 8:05pm

    A good review and you have an amazing perspective of being "one of us" but being an outsider at the same time. You can see how the world sees us and ignore much of the spin our talking heads put into it.

    Very well done.

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

  • identicon
    Fed Up, 3 Dec 2011 @ 9:04pm

    Well Done

    Well done on today's post. I am beyond fed up with the attitude of RIAA and the TV and Film Industry on the on demand industry, and what finally turned me around were all those Video tapes I couldn't convert and those vinyl albums and tapes I had music on. I'll add that I'm a fairly savvy Tech person but even I had limits on what I could buy as far as conversion equipment, and what is one supposed to do, pay for the entire collection TWICE?????? No, I don't think so. So as far as I'm concerned, no one has ever addressed that issue to my pocketbook's satisfaction and some of my favorite artists have been paid twice, I sure would like to get an answer from the Music and Film industry about that bon mot.


    More than fed up.

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

  • identicon
    abc gum, 4 Dec 2011 @ 7:21am

    You mentioned the Taiwan banks do not allow foreign credit card transactions. I find this interesting. Why does the Taiwan government allow such control by the banks? Is there any history, like how did it get started and why?

    I have been told that some banks levy a ridiculous charge upon US based credit card account transactions which physically take place outside US borders. I think the excuse is exchange rate, but the amount charged more than covers that and is more like a punitive fee. Cell phone charges are also exorbitant. Other than greed, is there any reason for these bank & phone charges?

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

    • icon
      Just John (profile), 4 Dec 2011 @ 6:04pm


      To be honest, I am not completely sure why this is.
      I do know the biggest bank here is a government owned bank: The Bank of Taiwan.
      In fact, they even have a post office bank, so the government actually owns two different banks.

      Credit cards however can be used internationally, unlike my visa logo ATM card, but they need a Taiwanese national to sign, and my wife's credit is not good.

      I used to order a few international goods while I lived in the US. I think the price has a build in "fee" association, their way of making a positive profit. Plus, they have a currency exchange hedge in the mixture, so you normally pay a penalty on the exchange rate. On top of all this, you will find the "Willing to pay" rate, or what they are willing to pay for your currency, or willing to sell the other currency at, is not equal to the true market value.

      Ultimately, you get hit by many fee style things when doing cross currency issues. Maybe we can get a banker in the comments to actually review why we get these fees? Me, I am not sure why they feel this need.

      Phones are also different here, since it uses SIM technology, not the standard CDMA. So, we do not get "plans" like the US (Although there are two CDMA carriers, but they are not big here). What we do is pay a base rate no matter what, and get charged a given per second charge. So, bigger base rate, lower per second charge. I think mine works out to about 0.08 per second (Taiwan dollars). I believe part of the roaming fees is because the phone company has to pay for the used bandwidth, which they then pass off to you on the bills.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2011 @ 11:37pm

        Re: Re:

        From a friend of mine that used to work in a bank.

        Fees are how banks make money, they are not called fees internally they are called "products", he was responsible for designing them.

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

      • identicon
        abc gum, 5 Dec 2011 @ 9:46am

        Re: Re:

        Taiwan sounds like an exciting place to visit but I'm not sure I would like to live there.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Dec 2011 @ 10:36am

    Oh come on, a great post and noone complaining in over 10 posts? Does this mean all dissenting opinions are trolls? Idk, but just in case ima troll first.

    If you want good digital media entertainment, stop freeloading, quit your (good) job, and move back to the US where you can flip burgers and give all your money to some administrative personnel at the MAFIAA you freetard! Plus then you can be sued for 100000+ per download you made, or you can just bribe the MAFIAA with a few thousand to get them to sue someone else.

    Alright. That was my troll attempt. Any good, or was I too honest to make it a good proMAFIAA post?

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

  • icon
    RonKaminsky (profile), 4 Dec 2011 @ 11:04am

    Cineverse reference?

    > ... "see you in the funny papers"

    Gasp! Could it be? Is Just John not just Just John but actually... Captain Copyright Crusader?

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

  • identicon
    Daniel J. Lavigne, 4 Dec 2011 @ 8:26pm

    Pay taxes?

    To a society that commits mass murder?


    Why, when 'The Rule Of Law' DEMANDS that all refuse to support their society, if that society is participating in plans and preparations that are predicated on a will and capacity to use nuclear and / or other weapons of mass murder . . . would an individual FAIL to act on such duty?

    Thank you.

    "The Tax Refusal"

    Daniel J. Lavigne

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

    • icon
      Just John (profile), 5 Dec 2011 @ 1:02am


      The good part is the minimum income I must earn before I pay US based taxes is $85,000. Since I do not make that yearly income level, I just file my taxes in the US, I do not actually have to pay anything.

      Instead, I pay taxes in Taiwan, and let the US know I earned money and paid taxes already. This way I will not have to worry about the IRS knocking on my door when I come back to the states.

      Taxes here are 6% anyways, much better than US level. If your self employed internationally, and married to a national in the country of location, my suggestions, put the business in her name, and have her pay you an income up to but not exceeding the tax exemption. Otherwise, you have to pay not only the taxes of the country you are located in, but also the taxes on the income earned above that level. Double taxation....yeah....

      Just remember, the IRS took down Capone, and he was smarter than me.

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

  • identicon
    Peter, 5 Dec 2011 @ 5:05am

    "Maybe Godwin’s laws need to go beyond Hitler references."

    Ok. We have a winner.

    Just John's Law - Any debate contribution that first mentions child pornography is the automatic looser. (not to be confused with the much more generic Simpson's Law - The first to mention child protection is the looser)

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

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