Baldaur Regis' Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

from the the-internet-is-actually-useful dept

What has 500 thumbs and sounds like a murder of crows? A Twitmob, of course, and this weeks' chatter of angry, angry birds featured a group of writers closing down a website...for helping promote their works. Oops. Don't be too hard on them - mobs of any sort are tricksy beasts, and most of these folks are self-publishing their ebooks. To all the struggling authors out there: good luck, keep writing, and thanks for the grammatically correct tweets.

If you're writing just for the money, you may want to look into a membership with The Author's Guild, yet another trade organization suing Google for copyright infringement. Google Books is an ambitious project that aims to scan and digitize every book in existence. The Guild is asking for a summary judgment of $750US per scanned book. As of March 2012, Google Books has scanned over 20 million books. Does $15 billion dollars sound like a reasonable penalty for helping ensure the continuation of all human knowledge, levied against an organization using the most conservative sense of "Fair Use"? See just how Google Books defines "fair use" and decide for yourselves.

And from the same The-Internet-is-actually-useful department comes news that The Internet Archive - home of the fabled Wayback Machine - has enabled more than 1 million torrents to its collection of copyright-free books, movies, music and more. What's the big deal here, you ask? This stuff can just be downloaded from the Archive. Consider the architecture of the Internet as it exists today: under the banner of cloud computing, more and more data is being concentrated in massive server farms owned and operated by corporations such as Google and Amazon (just for fun, ask your hosting service where your website is actually hosted). Server farms are physical choke-points, subject to weather, changing local regulations, and the whims of the hardware owners. If the farms go offline, bye bye data, nice knowing ya. With peer-to-peer distribution (aka P2P, BitTorrent, etc), bits and pieces of the data reside on multiple personal computers located anywhere in the world, and if one goes down, the data is still accessible to anyone connected in the swarm. Our data is ours, we'll share it with whom we please, and if corporations or governments try to throttle our ability to share via BitTorrent, they would do well to remember the world is full of clever people; new protocols will be developed. Some may scoff and say server farms have backups on their backups - what could possibly go wrong? Think about the recent Twitter outage or the MegaUpload takedown.

Finally, speaking of MegaUpload, what's the latest word on that fat fellow in New Zealand? By now, we've all seen the footage of the police raid; debates on this entire subject will doubtless rage on for some time. I leave you with an observation, and a thought: look, really look, at that footage. Listen to the commentary, watch the people's reactions in the courtroom; see their faces. I get the sense of a decent people caught up in something they know to be unsavory, something brought to their shores under the guise of friendship with America. How do you tell your friends their government is listening to bad council and has gone astray?



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Aug 11th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

    nitpick

    You only drop the "s" after the apostrophe when the noun ending in "s" is plural. If the noun is singular, "s's" is correct.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2012 @ 12:59pm

    'How do you tell your friends their government is listening to bad council and has gone astray?'

    could try opening your mouth?

     

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  3.  
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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Aug 11th, 2012 @ 1:37pm

    Re: nitpick

    I have it on good authority there are many, many people inside of Regis' head.

     

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  4.  
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    Chargone (profile), Aug 11th, 2012 @ 2:57pm

    Re:

    indeed. the tricky bit is, sometimes, getting them to listen. and if they Do listen, well, that still doesn't amount to much by itself.

     

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  5.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 11th, 2012 @ 7:58pm

    "good luck, keep writing, and thanks for the grammatically correct tweets."

    I think they would be much better served by learning about doing research and the internet. They seem to think they can alter the past by deleting tweets and web posts, and flat out lying about how website names work.
    Then they need to read their own contracts, and understand that they are not granted super special rights that extend past the sale of their book to the consumer, allowing them to control how the user does anything with it that is legal.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2012 @ 8:30pm

    "What has 500 thumbs and sounds like a murder of crows? A Twitmob, of course, and this weeks' chatter of angry, angry birds featured a group of writers closing down a website...for helping promote their works."

    Yeah, well, SOPA disappears pretty much because of a twitmob, so welcome to being on the other side of things. Perhaps copyright holders can twitmob more thieving pirate sites out of existence.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2012 @ 8:49pm

    Re:

    I want to see copyright holders tweet sneakernets out of existence!

    Yay!

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2012 @ 9:19pm

    Re:

    It's impossible to tweet "more" of them out of existence when they haven't yet tweeted one out of existence.

     

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  9.  
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    varagix, Aug 11th, 2012 @ 10:25pm

    Re: Re:

    Shoot... Someone beat me to it... Damn me and my recent computer troubles...

     

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  10.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 11th, 2012 @ 10:53pm

    Re:

    SOPA disappeared because people realized what was happening, how we were all being screwed over to keep a few cartels feeling good about themselves.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2012 @ 11:50pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually, they don't have to. They just have to talk to the right people. Thanks Google for fixing your SERPs.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2012 @ 12:50am

    Re:

    HAHAHA, sure you will. You and all of your sleeping giant friends. Go, tell /b how you'll be 'twitmobing' them out of existence, you silly little angry man.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2012 @ 12:56am

    Re: Re: Re:

    HAHAHA, Google = the internet. Typical Hollywood fantasy land, you've been watching too many of their shitty movies. Guess what, Jack Bauer isn't real, and he can't furiously type on his computer to 'hack' the internet.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2012 @ 1:32am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So in other words, if you bribe the right people you can get things done. Thanks for clarifying the RIAA's modus operandi for us.

    You're angry because a "twitmob" overturned something your money and lobbying and bribing tried to introduce, which is somehow far more heinous than the bribing.

     

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    charliebrown (profile), Aug 12th, 2012 @ 3:07am

    MegaUpload / Money

    You know, it occours to me that not once has anybody said "if Kim Dotcom was making millions, could it be because he was offering a service people wanted to pay for?"

    It's funny how having money seems to be a crime unless you happen to be in the public eye (i.e. a bank manager or the chairperson of Disney or the inventor of FaceBook, etc). Well, I know of someone who had $500,000. So the cops arrested him on suspicion of drug dealing because he had $500,000 on him. Maybe he had been saving for a house? (And, here in Australia, cheap houses tend to go for that much)

     

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  16.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 12th, 2012 @ 4:34am

    Re: MegaUpload / Money

    The assumption made by the cartels and passed on as fact to the governments is that anyone making money online has to be doing it by stealing content controlled by the cartels.

    Google only has money because YouTube is nothing but stolen videos, and the search engine is nothing but links to their "pirated" content.
    Cyberlockers can only make money allowing people to trade cartel created content, not people trading roms for phones, patches for games, code, pictures, video, or 100 other things.
    Remixed content is only good because you mixed 2 cartel owned things, not because you have skill and talent and crafted something new.

    Everyone is on this great IP is the best thing in the world and its the only way to make money, and they keep passing laws to protect a failing business model, wasting tax dollars acting as the cartels private police forces.
    And no one wants to explain why the members of the cartels often have an effective tax rate lower than many citizens...

     

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  17.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Aug 12th, 2012 @ 4:56am

    Re:

    You do know that the article about the Twitmob says that a site was being FALSELY accused?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2012 @ 6:27am

    Tits or GTFO

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2012 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Since I didn't spend a penny, and i don't work for anyone doing lobbying, I would say that "woosh..." the whole thing went over your head. You join Paul and a few others in the "can't understand anyone might actually support copyright" crew. Narrow mind much?

     

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  20.  
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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Aug 12th, 2012 @ 10:06am

    Re:

    The quality of a man is shown not by the number of mistakes made in life, but how they're handled. Mobthink, regardless of the nobility of the cause or the justifications thereof, shows only the red hand of what we once were, before reason replaced blind reaction.

    Contracts, as regards creative works, are a remnant of a time when the distribution of a work required a network of specialized skills. That time has passed. Can your work stand on its merits? Will you be creative only if you're paid beforehand? Be bold; create, and send your creation into the dark. The wider nets are not for sissies. Piracy is PR.

     

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  21.  
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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Aug 12th, 2012 @ 11:15am

    Re:

    A baffling comment, completely devoid of context, yet strangely compelling in its ambiguity and pithiness. Well said!...I think.

     

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  22.  
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    drew (profile), Aug 12th, 2012 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Out of curiousity do you support copyright in its entirety or do you think it over-reaches in any way?

     

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  23.  
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    Karl (profile), Aug 12th, 2012 @ 2:42pm

    Re:

    Yeah, well, SOPA disappears pretty much because of a twitmob, so welcome to being on the other side of things.

    There are a couple of significant differences.

    1. The notion that LendInk was a "pirate site" was a complete fabrication. The notion that SOPA undermined an open Internet was not.

    2. The United States is a democracy; if the public doesn't support a bill, it is Congress' obligation not to pass it. LendInk was a website (a completely legal one), and had no obligation to put copyright holders' interests in front of their users'.

    Perhaps copyright holders can twitmob more thieving pirate sites out of existence.

    They haven't "twitmobbed" even one "pirate site" out of existence, since LendInk was not a "pirate site."

    There was nothing good that came out of the LendInk situation. It was bad for LendInk, bad for readers, and bad for authors.

     

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  24.  
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    JMT (profile), Aug 12th, 2012 @ 3:12pm

    Re:

    "Yeah, well, SOPA disappears pretty much because of a twitmob, so welcome to being on the other side of things."

    Let's compare:

    A man makes a perfectly legitimate website, a few completely uninformed writers who can't read their own contracts leap to a completely wrong conclusion and gang together to successfully kill the website. All of the authors' assumptions were immediately proven to be wrong. Some hide in shame, some grovel for forgiveness.

    A bunch of trade organisations get together to "assist" their bought-and-paid-for politicians to craft bills ostensibly with the aim to kill piracy but with the bonus effect of helping to retain old-school market power. Internet experts (i.e. the people that built it) express strong concerns that the functionality and security of the internet will be at risk, lawyers express strong concerns that basic free speech rights will be at risk, everyone points out how piracy will not be affected long-term, and massive worldwide online protests result. Politicians see the risks to their re-election campaigns and back away as quickly as possible, trade organisations berate late-comers Google for running a misinformation campaign and the politicians for not doing what they were 'paid' to do. No evidence is offered (then or now) than any of the concerns weren't completely valid, but nobody responsible apologises, and instead look forward to the next legislative attempt at controlling the internet.

    Yeah, totally the same.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2012 @ 4:23pm

    Re: Re:

    The United States is a democracy? Seems the 2000 election proved otherwise.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2012 @ 5:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not as frequently as the articles posted here go "whoosh" over your head. You think everyone who doesn't support copyright is a filthy pirate and somehow, twitmobs outrank bribing in the heinous department.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2012 @ 6:29pm

    Re:

    It's a bit amusing watching how much of a sore loser/bitter person you are.

    That and how stupid you are too.

    SOPA disappeared because it was bad law. The public was informed of all the harm SOPA could (and eventually would) cause and they made their voices heard to their elected officials. Which is how things work in a democracy. Those elected officials then did away with SOPA.

    We aren't on the other side of things. In fact, all this has shown is that people on your side still don't understand basic facts. The authors/twitmob or more specifically yourself.

    Lendlnk was NOT a pirate site. It was a perfectly legitimate and legal website allowing users to connect with one another, and using the approved lending features built in to some Amazon books, and lend each other books (for two weeks, and only one time). This feature was made known to authors beforehand, who then signed a contract with Amazon accepting 70% royalty rates on any/all sales, as well as stating they would allow their books to be lent out (per the contract they signed). All factually true and verifiable.

    What happened though, was a few authors who obviously didn't read their contracts and who obviously didn't read the FAQ page on Lendlnk then misunderstood what was happening and grabbed their torches and pitchforks, and even now there are still quite a few who don't believe they did any wrong and who STILL think the site was a pirate site. As foolish and hard to believe as that is, especially given all the facts and articles on the matter.

    But hey, keep on chewing on that "SOPA got shut down" bone. I bet it taste bitter by now. But you can't let it go, can you doggie?

     

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  28.  
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    Niall (profile), Aug 13th, 2012 @ 2:30am

    Re: nitpick

    Ok, I thought I was totally up on little grammatical nitpicks of that nature, but that one had eluded me. Thanks!

    Of course, I'm having to keep track of not only British English, but American English and the internet brand: Stupid English. So my grammar is a bit polluted...

     

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  29.  
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    Niall (profile), Aug 13th, 2012 @ 2:36am

    Re: Re: MegaUpload / Money

    And the thing is, everyone IS making money with the Imaginary Property, including the cartels, but they a) don't think they are making enough, b) want more control, and c) don't like anyone else benefitting from their 'property'.

    "Hey look, an airline is making money flying over my property. Get orf my land!!!"

     

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