JP Jones’s Techdirt Profile

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  • May 4th, 2015 @ 9:44pm

    Re:

    The fact that you can't see the difference is a big part of the problem, and it's a problem with your comprehension, not the subject matter itself. Intellectual property rights being separate from the tangible form of the idea is one of the fundamental issues behind the horrible abuse our IP system is going through. If you think these aren't a problem, here's a simple example of intellectual property's cost when abused.

    Never mind, not sure why I bother. In the words of Upton Sinclair: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

  • May 1st, 2015 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Just a thought

    I'm no expert, but it's only pirates that want fast speeds. Clearly, if you go over the cap and want fast speeds, you must be downloading TV and movies illegally. There is no other possible use for such bandwidth.

    Now go back to watching us pay grown men millions of dollars to play children's games on TV. The internet is a fad anyway; once we get control it'll all be better.

    Trust us.

    Sincerely,
    Your friendly neighborhood "news" corporation

  • May 1st, 2015 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "No person shall be...deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

    The owner's private property was taken for public use, without just (or any) compensation. Obviously the lawyers will use some exception to the exception to the law on raising gophers to prove that this somehow doesn't directly violate the U.S. constitution, but hey, I'm just reading exactly what it says.

    1. In that the truck was the owner's private property.

    2. In that the owner's private property was taken for public use in law enforcement.

    3. In that no compensation was given.

    You can argue until you're blue in the face that it was the employee who used the vehicle improperly, that the ones causing damage were not government employees, and that the DEA didn't force anyone to do anything. This was a sting operation, and it wasn't planned by the dead employee. The DEA knowingly set it up and knew that the employee was using the truck.

    There can be no doubt that the government took an individual's private property for their use, and that they were expecting conflict involving the vehicle (otherwise what was the point of having all the armed officers around?). The reason this is news is because, once again, we have something that is legal but is also wrong.

    Maybe the reason we have over 2.4 million people in jail, almost half of which are there for stupid drug charges, is because our country has forgotten the difference between the something that is illegal and something that is unethical.

  • Apr 30th, 2015 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: How will we earn a living? - GET. A. JOB.

    copyright ownership should be for the life of the creator. not a day less, not a day more.

    Why? What reason to do you have for copyright to be the life of the creator? What about works with multiple creators or when corporations own the copyright? When does the copyright expire, when the first creator dies, or the last? Do corporations keep the copyright until they go bankrupt?

    None of what you wrote makes sense to me. Please explain.

  • Apr 30th, 2015 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Kudos, but...

    Um, no. The FCC was already discussing net neutrality regulations before Obama weighed in. As someone already pointed out, the president cannot directly interfere with an agency's policies.

    Really, Obama had nothing to lose by speaking in favor of net neutrality. The news media had already made it a partisan issue so Republicans were going to be unhappy regardless of his position. And everyone else looked at it going "hey, the president is smart!"

    Not only that, the FCC was going to do it anyway. He basically got a bunch of independent support for free. Good political move (which, let's face it, if you're the president you're probably a pretty good politician) but I doubt it made much of a difference to the actual net neutrality rules being passed.

  • Apr 30th, 2015 @ 12:24pm

    (untitled comment)

    How does someone like Conley stay in his job while publicly advocating for putting the American people in more danger like that?
    Because it has nothing to do with safety. The police aren't concerned with our safety. They're concerned with whether or not we are breaking the law. And that's it.

    Why? Simple. You don't get money out of citizens by making them safe. You get money by giving them tickets and taking all their crap. If the police were the Mafia, we'd call municipal tickets "extortion," asset forfeiture "theft," mass personal data collection "blackmail," and police brutality "assault" and/or "murder." But since it's the police we call it "enforcing the law."

    Politicians get elected by the ignorant public for being "tough on crime" (the politicians carefully leave out what crimes are being punished). They execute their campaigns on "donations" (Mafia translation: "bribes") from law enforcement interest groups and spend their career justifying or ignoring illegal police action while encouraging lawmakers to make more things illegal and with harsher (mostly monetary) penalties.

    It's a beautiful system if you're on the inside; the fact that we're essentially robbing our poorest population to pay for more people to abuse them is ignored. The U.S. has the highest total number of prisoners in the world, more than China, with about 600 thousand more prisoners and about 1 billion less people. Also, approximately 48.7% of those are for drug crimes (compared to 2.9% for violent crimes and 7% for sex crimes).

    With a country so obsessed with punishment and locking people up is it any surprise our law enforcement wants more ways to find the "criminals?" Think about some of our most popular TV shows: #2 Arrow, #11 Criminal Minds, #12 The Blacklist, #14 The Mentalist, #16 NCIS, #18 Castle, #20 Bones, #25 Person of Interest, #31 NCIS: Los Angeles, #32 Suits, #36 Elementary, #37 The Wire, #40 Law and Order: SVU...of our top 40 TV shows, 13 are focused on criminals and/or law enforcement.

    Of course "law enforcement" is going to be popular with voters. Unfortunately, the real criminals are not the ever-popular sexy serial killers carefully plotting their murder sprees, the ones we're actually dealing with are single mothers and teens that are mainly getting charged with existing and/or bad paperwork. In the process we are ruining their (already bad) lives, or in many cases killing them outright (an undocumented amount, which should raise some serious red flags).

    I guess justice really is blind when we choose to look away from massive amounts of injustice in our legal system and the individuals charged with enforcing it.

  • Apr 17th, 2015 @ 10:38pm

    (untitled comment)

    This article is on point, and illustrates an issue I recently had while playing Grand Theft Auto V (I'm a member of the PC Gamer Master Race and never played it on consoles).

    I'd been playing for about 7 hours. I bought the game on Steam, and created a "Social Club" (what a name) account, assuming it was for my eventual online play (I know, how naïve). Some slight stuttering aside, the game plays and looks great, and I was having a blast. At this point I was playing the campaign and had not touched the online component.

    Then, mid cutscene, the game suddenly enters the loading screen and opens the Social Club window. It says my "credentials had expired." Why? It didn't like my password, and wanted me to add another character. Then, after I'd fixed it, the game started completely over. Not at my last save...from the very beginning. I was able to reload from my last autosave, but I had to completely restart my mission, including the tedious drive over.

    I was pissed. Livid, even. Not because the game crashed; a crash I could have forgiven (bugs exist). Not because I got kicked out of an online game due to server errors; I was playing alone. But because I had my game interrupted because they wanted to make sure I was still logged in. I assume if my internet ever went down I'd also lose access to the game.

    This behavior is getting more and more common, and it's completely unacceptable. I'm a paying customer. I already accepted a level of DRM by buying the game on Steam. And if I had pirated instead this issue would never have happened because I would have patched out their stupid social club.

    In other words, I paid $60 for service worse than the guys paying $0. And the game's website has this wonderfully pretentious sticky about how discussing piracy or "illegal activity" is a bannable offence and that we should keep our discussion "clean" (I have no idea how a game called Grand Theft Auto can demand its users not talk about illegal activity unironically).

    So now I face a choice. Should I illegally crack my legally purchased game so that I can keep playing it if my internet goes down (which happens occasionally) or should I suck it up and play another game if my ISP can't keep a stable connection or their servers crash?

    Why should I have to make that choice? I love watching the trolls jump at the "dirty, thieving pirates" but carefully ignore paying customers having their service disrupted to prevent someone else's potential illegal activity. Why is that acceptable?

    The really sad part? The DRM doesn't do anything. It was cracked the day of release. After holding out for a year and a half to play the version of the game I really wanted to play (PC), having it shut down mid session due to DRM that didn't even cause a hiccup to pirates feels extra crappy.

    For a game with such biting social commentary on the drug war, police brutality, the War on Terror, and massive amounts of illegal activity, Rockstar is surprisingly tone deaf when it comes to their own product. I didn't need their DRM as "incentive" to buy the game; I bought it because I wanted to support the creators. I could have pirated it easily, and would have had a better game experience by doing so.

    Here's a free tip, Rockstar: focus on your customers, not pirates. It's the people willing to pay you that you should be crafting your user experience for. Forget about the pirates; imaginary money lost is not worth the actual money spent on DRM.

    Give it a shot. If nobody buys your game I'll personally pay for your development costs. But you and I both know my money is staying right where it is.

  • Apr 17th, 2015 @ 9:18pm

    Re:

    Short answer: debug mode.

    It's not really an issue anymore, however, since Maxis (RIP) already patched the game to allow offline play.

  • Apr 17th, 2015 @ 8:43pm

    (untitled comment)

    Out of curiosity, what's wrong with pipes? We can make 2,500 mile oil pipelines, which is enough to distance to make a water pipe from San Diego to the Great Lakes and still have a couple hundred miles left over. I hear there's a couple of gallons of water up there (in fact, the lakes and surrounding rivers are flood hazards). And I imagine there'd be less concern over a water pipe's potential environmental hazards versus an oil pipe.

    Just a thought.

  • Apr 14th, 2015 @ 2:56pm

    Re:

    I did the same thing when I was 14. I "hacked" our school's advanced security system. Basically, the system prevented you from right clicking on the desktop or accessing the "run" command (Windows 95) to lock students into approved programs. So I opened Word, opened a "Open" dialog, and right clicked the C:\ drive and chose "Explore." A couple seconds later I found File Manager, which conveniently had a run command...yeah, you get the idea.

    Four player deathmatch Grand Theft Auto (yes, the original top-down game) is all I remember from my typing class. I ended up getting the "Excellence in Computer Science" award all four years in high school, even after finally being caught (well, someone else got caught and told on me). I ended up helping them out with the computers after hours, no big deal.

    Seriously, though, I've committed half the crimes students are getting criminal charges for in high school. I've hacked computers, wrote threatening messages, drew pictures of guns and knives, got in fights, and even proved teachers wrong. It sickens me that normal behavior has become such a huge deal.

  • Apr 1st, 2015 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Net Neutrality vs Competition

    You have a remarkably myopic view of history. Without government intervention we wouldn't have an economy.

    You conveniently ignore that the United States, widely considered to be one of the top technologically advanced countries in the world, spends more on R&D than any other country and has more total government spending on R&D than any other country (~$126 billion vs. China's $74 billion).

    You ignore that, during most of its history, the U.S. had some of the strongest protectionist policies in the world (as did Britain before it became a world power). Tariffs, strict immigration laws, public funding, and labor laws are all designed to benefit the local economy, yet under your logic this is "negative government interference" and new local industries should be left to fend for themselves in the international market. I'm sure it'll work out.

    You ignore that our entire current economic system is based on principles of risk that drive innovation and could not exist without government protection. The potential cost of starting a business without bankruptcy and limited liability, two mainstays of modern entrepreneurship, would not exist without government protection. If an individual trying to create a new business literally risked their entire livelihood in the process (and had no protection from banks) how many people would try something new? Our economy works because we have safeguards against being destroyed by failure, and in a competitive market, people are going to fail. Making them live in poverty does not help the economy.

    Every country in the world has economic regulations for a reason, and it's not just to make businesses stronger. It's to protect new and local industries from established foreign competition, allow people to take risks on new ideas, avoid excessive and harmful short-term thinking, and protect consumers and small businesses from massive market forces beyond their influence.

    Am I saying all regulation is a good thing? Absolutely not. There is plenty of harmful regulation out there, and much of it can probably be traced to corporations looking out for themselves at the cost of the public.

    And that's why a purely "free market" is a flawed concept. Of course corporations are going to try and tip the game in their favor. They do it right now, when we have a governing body and the possibility to appeal to people that don't have a personal interest in your abuse. Without that defense, when your only recourse to abuse is to "go somewhere else" (assuming somewhere else exists, is an option, and hasn't been bought or driven out of business by the ones you're having issues with), what do you do then?

    The government has flaws, but it's a group of people, just like corporations. I'd be very cautious about advocating to throw away your defenses against abuse because you think that the people in corporations are mystically going to harm you less than those in government.

  • Apr 1st, 2015 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Net Neutrality vs Competition

    Could you please show me where I stated that net neutrality is a Straw Man fallacy?

    Sure.

    The concept of net neutrality exists ONLY because Tim Wu postulated a workaround to the then (and still current) monopoly on broadband Internet access by a handful of providers.
    ...
    Stop going after the Straw Man fallacy & fight for more access through more choice through more competition.
    You start by discussing the concept of net neutrality, propose a series of questions indicating an alternative to net neutrality, and then you say "stop going after the Straw Man fallacy." If you weren't talking about net neutrality, what the heck were you talking about? You don't mention anything else it could be (unless you don't know what a fallacy is).

    Maybe I should just go back to your original assumption and challenge that:

    The concept of net neutrality exists ONLY because Tim Wu postulated a workaround to the then (and still current) monopoly on broadband Internet access by a handful of providers.

    Even the most basic research indicates a couple of problems with this. First, the concept of network neutrality existed before Tim Wu; he coined the term in a paper called Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination. In it, Tim Wu argues:
    Basic economic theory suggests that operators have a long-term interest coincident with the public: both should want a neutral platform that supports the emergence of the very best applications. However the evidence suggests the operators may have paid less attention to their long-term interests than might be ideal. A 2002 survey of operator practices conducted for this paper suggests a tendency to favor short-term results.
    His entire argument is in favor of regulation as a way to promote competition. His conclusion is that natural market forces will not remove these issues (and, as the next five years would demonstrate, he was completely right).

    I find it interesting that you would argue that the problem is lack of competition, not net neutrality, when the entire purpose of net neutrality is to protect competition. Hence the reason why Title II forbears nearly all rules except those that would interfere with competition, as stated in the FCC's press release. To say that the issue of competition is not a net neutrality issue is to fundamentally misunderstand the core purpose of net neutrality.

  • Apr 1st, 2015 @ 10:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Net Neutrality vs Competition

    Also a truly free market abhors monopolies and they are not sustainable and tend to break apart without regulations creating barriers of entry.

    This is completely false. Even a cursory look at the banking situation in the last 20 years demonstrates the opposite. The U.S. deregulated the banks to "help the economy" and they became "too big to fail."

    Either way, nobody wants a truly free market. A truly free market has no regulation, and no regulation means no tariffs, no public research funding, no immigration restrictions, and no protection from abuse. The U.S. economy would be owned by China, Mexico, and the U.K. in a few years and we'd become a third world country.

    I love it when the people who advocate for a "true free market" conveniently leave out the part where all the top economies in the world have never had one.

  • Mar 31st, 2015 @ 5:25pm

    Re:

    "It's on Amazon, but I'd only consider paying for it if I knew I could save permanent copies of the episodes."

    If only the content companies could read this and understand what it means. This is one of the biggest reasons why their crusade against piracy is meaningless. Pay attention: Piracy offers a product that is not available at all through legal channels.

    You cannot call DRM-laden and/or streaming video the same product as an HD .avi file. The video file can be converted for offline play on virtually any device and can be safely stored without worrying that the product you bought is going to vanish into thin air because a company went out of business or otherwise decided to pull your content. The value of the two things is not equivalent.

    If content was available at a reasonable price and in the same form (DRM free, local, and without release windows) as pirated content I would likely be much more sympathetic to publishers worrying about piracy. Also, I'd probably be broke, because I'd buy that in a heartbeat (especially if they offered a download subscription model, which would ironically lower their overall bandwidth requirements).

    Of course, if they did this, piracy would virtually disappear anyway. Too bad.

  • Mar 31st, 2015 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The premise of the article is in the title: "Why Cable TV Beats the Internet, For Now"

    To make that claim you can't simply ignore huge portions of data. He makes the claim that "You'll miss some popular TV" by using the internet rather than cable, and scores it in cable's favor. That's like saying "my store is better than the store on the other side of the street because there's no crosswalk so you can't get to the other store." And most people are thinking "that's nice, I'll just walk across the street without a crosswalk." Sure, that option is illegal but how many people aren't going to walk across the street just because someone didn't put up a crosswalk?

    If the article had just been about legal options for getting TV on the internet that would have been one thing. But instead he made the argument that cable was somehow better than the internet, while ignoring the massive amount of utility gained from the internet that cable doesn't have.

    The entire premise is flawed, anyway. Cable has a single purpose; watching TV. The internet is capable of watching some (or most, if you're willing to pirate) TV, plus about a million other things, like work, communication, education...the list goes on and on.

    It's sort of like complaining that your smartphone doesn't have as good of a GPS as your Garmin, so therefore the Garmin "beats" your phone. One is a specialized, narrow tool for a specific purpose, and the other does so much more. Not only that, it would be hard to argue that the Garmin is in fact superior for everyday navigation, although it is better in the specific situation it was designed for (mostly outdoor exploration).

    The funniest part to me is that most of cable's "advantages" in the article only exist because the cable companies have created an artificial licensing barrier. They could easily release all their content online and cable would be virtually obsolete overnight; there's no technical reason they couldn't (and even the business reasons are suspect). When a technology's main advantage is "we've locked our stuff down so you need to be a criminal in order to access it any other way" it doesn't get a whole lot of sympathy from me.

  • Mar 30th, 2015 @ 12:49pm

    Re:

    Reading comprehension 101: "but it also may include using BitTorrent and a Plex media server to pirate all of their favorite HBO and Showtime shows.

    Note the key word, "and." The part before the "and," "BitTorrent" is the source of the content. The part after the "and," "Plex media server" is the method used to view the content. At no point did the author indicate that media servers were used to pirate the content itself, and even the most basic understanding of the terms used would make this obvious.

    It's sort of like saying he used a hose and a bucket to wash his car, and then you yelling "Hey! You can't get water from a bucket! It's up to a human to put water in it first!"

    Sigh, seconded.

  • Mar 30th, 2015 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re: It's not just what they left out, but what they stuck in...

    Really? I've never actually found a rate where the internet alone options was literally cheaper than internet + cable, at least not beyond a short promotional period. Either way nobody is forcing you to hook up the TV portion.

    Maybe that's because I don't get the minimum internet access (my house uses a ton of bandwidth between my wife and me). We ended up getting a cable/internet package because it was only slightly more expensive than just internet, and we were switching from Time Warner to Hawaii Telecom, and even with the cable our internet was cheaper than our previous bill (yay competition). Most people aren't lucky to have two real options, let alone one that's actually better than the other.

    It's interesting to see they're giving out cable at a loss.

  • Mar 30th, 2015 @ 12:35pm

    Re: "I don't advocate this behavior (did I need to say that?)"

    Is this statement intentionally ironic? Because it broke my meter.

  • Mar 30th, 2015 @ 12:31pm

    Re:

    Right, but if your economics section ignored criminal activity's effects on your bank I think you might have trouble balancing your checkbook.

    Again, false equivalency. Comparing piracy to bank robbery is sort of like comparing jaywalking to grand theft auto.

  • Mar 30th, 2015 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Re: Why?

    This. I live in Hawaii and Prime pays for its yearly cost in a few months.

    Streaming is just a bonus, although honestly I rarely use it (they never seem to have movies I actually want to watch).

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