Justin Olbrantz (Quantam)’s Techdirt Profile


About Justin Olbrantz (Quantam)

Programmer, modder, amateur linguist and occasionally writer

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam)’s Comments comment rss

  • Feb 2nd, 2011 @ 10:59am

    Re: Why assume an increase in prices?

    "Why do you assume that metered broadband will increase the cost of service? Metered broadband will likely reduce th cost for many users."

    Simple reason: it's never happened before. Metered broadband has been used in various places in the past and present, and when adopted it always serves to increase the maximum price without affecting the minimum price.

    You are making the critical faulty assumption that the purpose of metered billing is to make people who use little pay little, and people who use much to pay much. It isn't, never has been, and never will be. It's to make people who use little keep paying, and people who use much pay more. It's to increase revenue, not redistribute it.
  • Jan 31st, 2011 @ 5:57pm

    Re: More sales?

    Most of their money comes from licensing games, not selling consoles. The theory behind the DRM is that piracy costs third party developers sales, which costs Sony the licensing fees (in addition to loss of sales of Sony's own games).

    If Sony cares the slightest about whether people homebrew stuff, they're insane. Homebrew would only increase PS3 sales and the number of game developers that are likely to eventually produce commercial games, earning more licensing fees for Sony (see Microsoft XNA).
  • Jan 31st, 2011 @ 5:49pm

    Re: hack

    ...you do realize the result of that would be that they'd make money they wouldn't otherwise have made, right? You'd be better seeding stuff on TPB if you want to stick it to them.
  • Jan 31st, 2011 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lawsuit vs ACTA

    I can't count the number of times I've sent a link to a Hulu or similar thingy to an English-speaking friend only to have them point out that it's not available in their country.
  • Jan 31st, 2011 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Lawsuit vs ACTA

    "Yet, this inferior product, this pile of filler, this non-evolved product is exactly what people are pirating."

    That's quite obviously false. People are pirating (as in not paying a high price for) a non-DRMed, non-region-locked version of the content. Assuming people are indeed pirating the filler along with the good (looking at buying habits on iTunes, there's no guarantee of that), that's explained in the following.

    "If the product is bad, why are you pirating it? The answer is simple, because you really like and really want the product."

    True, to an extent. That people pirate something means that there is at least SOME demand for the thing. But one of the basics of the basics of economic theory is that demand and price are tied. As price increases, demand decreases; thus free is the point at which demand is maximum, and somebody wanting something enough to take it for free is very, very different than saying that they want it enough to pay for it. The IFPI supposes that 90% of people who pirate do not want the thing enough to pay for it if they could not pirate it; some studies by commercial publishers even place the number at greater than 99%.
  • Jan 31st, 2011 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lawsuit vs ACTA

    To add a bit of detail that I should have put in the original post: copyright is, at best, an approximation of popular morality. This approximation fits some cases better than others. In the best case (where copyright law most closely resembles popular morals), the morals of typically 50-85% of the population (varies by region) agree with copyright law in that case. However, virtually nobody agrees with copyright law in the absolute; that is, for almost every single person there exists some case where copyright law contradicts what they believe is right, and they will not hesitate to violate the law if they see a benefit to doing so.

    Attempts to equate copyright law with morality exactly are, at best, and attempt to rule by deception. At worst, it may backfire and cause people to harmonize their morals with copyright law by rejecting both.
  • Jan 31st, 2011 @ 11:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Lawsuit vs ACTA

    Well, at least some of what you said is true. The root of the problem is indeed a lack of respect for the existing law. The problem is that you simply can't legislate morals. If people don't respect an existing law, new laws aren't going to make them do so.

    There are ultimately three ways to rule:
    1. Make laws that are in tune with cultural morals, and people will obey such laws because they respect them.
    2. Deception: misrepresent the laws such that people follow the laws because they think they agree with them even though they don't.
    3. Brute force: you make the punishments so brutal that people obey laws they don't respect out of simple fear.

    The trend recently has been to attempt to rule by the latter two methods, but such methods work for a limited time at best. People won't remain ignorant forever (and the internet has made information much more available than before), and unless you're willing to give up all pretense of morals on the part of the government you won't be able to demonstrate the brutality necessary to rule by fear.
  • Jan 28th, 2011 @ 5:23pm

    No Such Thing

    Pro tip: there is no such thing as irony in the business world. What's financially good for you is right, what's financially bad for you is wrong, period, end of story.
  • Jan 28th, 2011 @ 11:18am


    Correct. It is a very twisted world indeed where human lives take precedence over profits and personal gains. Freetards.

    Moving past the sarcasm, if it wasn't for that last sentence, I would have been convinced you were writing a satire of your position. It's difficult for me to believe that there exist people so lacking in empathy that they could seriously write what you wrote.
  • Jan 27th, 2011 @ 11:34pm


    My money's on those wanting more filters (or those who say Google's search results are no longer unaltered and therefore it can't hide behind the DMCA anymore). I'm rather concerned that this is, as you say, the point of no return.
  • Jan 25th, 2011 @ 5:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not just the future

    So... people stop paying to legally acquire commercial porn, and switch to legally acquiring free porn because it's cheaper. And that's a big problem and must be stopped.

    You show a great amount of hate for free market capitalism. Are you secretly a communist?
  • Jan 25th, 2011 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re:

    "The other choice is exactly what people claim here for piracy. The more you push, the further underground it goes. If you think the ACTA negotiations were bad, imagine what it's like when you don't even know the name of the agreement or what they are talking about."

    If something that major (and non-critical to national security) is so secret that nobody outside the government even knows it's being discussed, democracy is already dead, and everything else is irrelevant; it's nonsensical to make a game plan for such a contingency because by that point the game is already over.
  • Jan 25th, 2011 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Hear, hear...

    I've been pondering that for a bit, since reading somebody's comment on another site. Clearly actual violence is well beyond the limits of reasonable even against Crossly. But if the threats were something nobody ever intended to act on, you can't help but admire the irony of that being done to somebody whose entire business is making entirely empty threats to people, a number of which were entirely innocent (though less amusing if threats were made against his family, who are just as innocent as his victims).
  • Jan 23rd, 2011 @ 12:19am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "It also confirms my theory: more noise, less signal coming through, more bands and artists lost in the noise, fewer and fewer being really heard. So enough there won't be a living to be made for anyone, then it will be just a hobby."

    You bring up a very interesting/concerning topic that I've been thinking about for a while now. More music (and other types of media that can be produced relatively cheaply) is being produced right now than ever before in history, and thanks to the internet the availability of music is also vastly greater than ever before.

    And therein lies one major problem: there isn't an infinite amount of money available to spend on music. Twice the number of successful bands does not equal twice the total income; when you look at all musicians and consumers on a global scale, you eventually end up dealing with an essentially fixed total amount of money available. This means that doubling the number of successful bands means each gets half as much. If this continues, eventually the drastic increase in music production alone will get us to a point where few can make a living at all.

    The biggest reason this hasn't already happened is because of the tight control of the recorded music market and distribution channels the record labels enjoyed until the last two decades. By controlling the number of bands that hit airwaves and filtering out all but the ones most likely to succeed, they were able to consolidate the income in those bands they supported. Now, the floodgates have been opened and anyone who can play an instrument can get their music out to billions of people across the entire planet (and, I might add, the resulting decrease in average quality only serves to make the problem worse, by reducing the perceived value of music in general).

    Thus the billion+-dollar question: what do we do now?
  • Jan 21st, 2011 @ 11:18pm

    Re: Ya know...

    I wonder about that. All I ever seem to hear from one side on this site and other technology sites is "you do the crime, you do the time" (an exact quote for some, paraphrase of others). As such I wonder whether they would actually agree that the laws should be changed at all*.

    *I'm assuming by "changed" you mean penalties weakened. If not, this post probably looks pretty stupid.
  • Jan 21st, 2011 @ 11:07pm


    Don't forget one more thing: there's a reason that the statutory rate is per work infringed and not per copy produced (in fact it used to be the latter, but was changed for this reason): because per-copy damages produced too large statutory awards in the case where (commercial) counterfeiters produced very large numbers of copies of a handful of works. That bears repeating: it was done that way to REDUCE statutory damage awards for large-scale commercial counterfeiting.

    So yes, applying these statutory damage values to individuals making a single copy of the work for non-commercial purposes is about as far from the intent of the law as it's theoretically possible to be.
  • Jan 20th, 2011 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: Ellsberg and Manning

    You have a point: there are enough criminally violent sociopaths that have no regard for the rule of law out there that they pose a serious threat to Manning's physical well-being.
  • Jan 17th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Epiphany or Token Gesture?

    They were in the public domain, but Congress put them back under copyright.
  • Jan 17th, 2011 @ 1:18pm

    Epiphany or Token Gesture?

    So the big question is whether this is because the record labels have finally realized that the internet has made it impossible to absolutely control the supply lines as they could in the past, or whether as was pointed out this is nothing more than a token gesture that they're trying to give fans what they want to satisfy lawmakers. If it's the former, this is a HUGE change (and progress) in corporate paradigm.

    I'm counting the minutes till somebody comments that this is "surrendering to piracy" and shameful.
  • Jan 11th, 2011 @ 3:13pm


    And Eo Nomine gets to the real moral (pun not intended) of the story: anything that is legal is right, and anything that is illegal is wrong.

More comments from Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) >>

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it