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  • Sep 1st, 2015 @ 4:04pm

    (untitled comment)

    To paraphrase Grant Naylor, we know what to get him for Christmas: a double lobotomy and ten rolls of rubber wallpaper.

    How did anyone, anywhere think this man was fit to teach the next generation of servicemen?

  • Aug 28th, 2015 @ 5:21am

    Re: Re:

    Oh, for fuck's sake.

    Hello, Sheogorath. In the absence of anything else to do about it, I've hit Report. I suggest you and everyone else do the same.

    Dear Techdirt, this page is now permanently serving Russian government malware, until you manually remove or alter the link. Well done.

    As a strategy for dealing with this kind of issue in the longer term, I suggest you learn to FUCKING EDIT BUTTON, already. >:/

  • Aug 7th, 2015 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Re: Copyrights origin, in May 4, 1557

    Oops. Lost a sentence edit, sorry:

    "For all that it shares the same name, what came into being as a result of the Licensing of the Press Act 1662 bares little resemblance to modern copyright."

    should read

    "For all that they share similar names and terms, what came into being as a result of Mary's Stationers Monopoly and the subsequent Licensing of the Press Act 1662, bare little resemblance to modern copyright."

    Techdirt and the edit button. When will they ever meet?

  • Aug 7th, 2015 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Copyrights origin, in May 4, 1557

    I wasn't referring to Bloody Mary. For all that it shares the same name, what came into being as a result of the Licensing of the Press Act 1662 bares little resemblance to modern copyright.

    The legal right of a single company - literally just one - to determine, censor and publish all of Britain's printed works is a far cry from what came into being later.

    Copyright - more-or-less as we know it today - came into being with the Statute of Anne, which was a lot more civilised than its predecessor.

  • Aug 5th, 2015 @ 3:35pm

    (untitled comment)

    It's the same move repeated over and over again by the industry: rather than figure out how to make use of the technology that fans like in order to do more, they attack the technology and then don't understand why people get pissed off and no longer want to give them any money any more.
    This interpretation is far too kind. The RIAA - as with all the big media associations - has a single, unified strategy which has been very clear to all for a very long time now:

    • target and accuse anything or anyone that might have a competitive impact in the same medium, but isn't affiliated to the RIAA;
    • pay for lots of basically-fake evidence to "prove" massive damages against their affiliates;
    • take vast amounts of money off the victims in ratcheting license agreements until they can't pay any more;
    • when they can't or won't pay, sue them;
    • make sure the lawsuits last as close to forever as makes no odds - the victim will always run out of cash first;
    • generously allow the victim to fold, in return for everything they possess;
    • if they can induce a law-enforcement agency into shutting the victim down for them, it's a cheap and easy victory.

    The RIAA aren't confused, they're fraudsters - and obvious fraudsters, at that. The only reason the RIAA and MPAA's senior management aren't in prison cells is because the DoJ is directly accountable to the politicians - who are all on the fraudsters payroll, often quite openly.

    The big lawsuits aren't designed to stop piracy, they're designed to stop competition.
    They attack fair use and the public domain at every turn, despite being perfectly lawful, by definition.
    They wrecked Megaupload not because of piracy, but to stop Kim Dotcom from continuing the legal music creation and distribution side of his business.
    Now it seems they're getting ready to hit BitTorrent, Inc in the exact same way - and once again, it's the authorised, legal distribution of music they're really aiming for.

    This will not end well.

  • Aug 4th, 2015 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Let's cut deeper.

    As I understand it, in earlier times, it allowed legitimate publishers - the ones who had proper legal agreements and paid royalties to authors - to prevent the commercial book pirates of the day from completely hammering the market with unlicensed copies.

    Back then, this meant the difference between authors benefiting financially from their work and authors - in some cases - dying in poverty.

    It's debatable - and I doubt anyone can honestly put figures to it - but I'm reasonably certain it incentivised the creation and publication of new work, provided a legal framework for the creators to be identified as such and provided creators with the chance to make a living from doing so, just as it was supposed to do.

    These days, of course, the same middleman companies are now aggressive multinational corporations, synonymous with rampant abuse of copyright, with actual content creators and the general public being screwed over at every turn.

    But that abuse doesn't take away from copyrights ancient past, where it served as a positive force for the public good - and it's a damn shame that corporate greed has so thoroughly destroyed both copyrights credibility and it's ability to serve for the good of us all.

  • Jul 28th, 2015 @ 5:55pm

    (untitled comment)

    Okay, It's Donald Trump, nobody outside the US cares, I wasn't going to comment at all, I really was going to just pass this one by, but...

    Jesus H Christ, where in God's name did Trump find this man? Couldn't he have hired someone less horrifying, like a war-criminal or a freshly-released serial-killer?

    I can't help but feel sorry for Cohen's wife and family. From this time forward, every single person they know is going to look at Mrs Cohen like she's being raped on a daily basis. Surely she can do better than this appalling, mindless thug.

    Lawyers are the very definition of people who need to think before they open their mouths, regardless of the provocation.

    It speaks directly to Mr Cohen's credibility - on every possible level - that he could not do so, before causing such damage to himself, his business and his family in this manner.

    I don't imagine Mr Cohen has much of a future anywhere - and I don't imagine anyone who knows him now will miss him very much.

  • Jul 18th, 2015 @ 4:10am

    (untitled comment)

    Interesting. Enlightening.

    For anyone confused, this article is related to the previous ruling, on whether the government had basically done all its legally-required paperwork before changing the law. The government hadn't, so the judge invalidated those changes, as the law requires.

    At this point, it's safe to assume that the right to private copying was deliberately implemented in a way that breaks other law precisely so that the labels could shoot it down in court.

    The promised right can now safely be forgotten as the meaningless pre-election public relations nonsense it always was.

    When the right to private copying was originally announced, I wondered why the government were suddenly so intent on fighting a recording industry that gives them so much money, especially on something so trivial. Most out of character, I thought.

    Well, now we know: the entire law change and subsequent debate was meaningless - if immensely expensive - PR fluff, fully intended to ultimately fail, but in the meantime convince the more gullible voters that the Conservatives and Lib-Dems are our friends.

    If you voted for either party, you have now reaped exactly what you deserve. If only the rest of us didn't have to pay such a steep price as well, this would almost be a victory. :/

  • Jul 2nd, 2015 @ 5:59pm

    I've had a thought...

    ... treat it gently, it's in a strange place.

    It's not precisely on point (it's rather tangential, in fact), but considering this issue, it occurs to me that perhaps we - either directly or via our representatives - should think again about the questions we ask of intelligence agencies.

    It seems to me that we tend to ask questions like "has [persons or entities [of xyz nationality]] ever been subject to surveillance by [whatever agency] under [whatever programme]".

    This gives answers (when it doesn't result in boilerplate, which is the normal response for GCHQ), but not always meaningful answers, or answers which might serve as a metric of the surveillance state, or answers which might provide a basis for further action.

    Perhaps more appropriate questions to focus on these days might be "are there any [persons or entities] within [whatever agency]'s reach which are not subject to surveillance", "what percentage of [the UK's companies, etc] are under surveillance" and "are there, in practise, any analytic criteria that would not result in [persons or entities] not being subject to further monitoring".

    Very conceivably, this being the intelligence community, they might try to redefine "surveillance" to mean inserting cameras into the subject's nostrils, or some other sleazy truth-avoidance tactic, but it's a place to start that shouldn't result in vast imponderables, if and when we do get a coherent answer.

  • Jun 30th, 2015 @ 1:39pm

    Re: Way to go everyone!

    The best way for trolls and trolling organisations to win an argument is to control both sides, usually by posting something emotive and inflamatory that shuts down critical thought.

    Failing that, crapflooding the page with nonsense also seems to be a win for them - if the "argument" happens at the top of the thread, all the reasoned debate gets knocked out of view, minimising the number of people who will see it and maximising the number who see only semi-literate idiocy.

    While there will always be a few genuine commenters who respond to troll posts, it's quite likely that some, most or even all of these replies are themselves by paid shills, who will post reasonable comments some of the time to look legit, but are really only there to reply to trolls when it counts.

    They don't need lecturing, they need to be banned forever.

  • May 28th, 2015 @ 12:50pm


    Guh. Should read "unresponsive defendants" near the end there. Damn you, Techdirt! Damn you and your total lack of an edit button! Raaah!

  • May 28th, 2015 @ 12:48pm

    (untitled comment)

    "Rightscorp sent Defendant 288 notices via their ISP Comcast Cable Communications, Inc. from December 14, 2014 to May 12, 2015 [...]"

    My maths is rubbish, so maybe someone will correct me if I'm wrong:
    That's - what? - 288 notices over about 150 days?
    Or one notice every twelve hours or so?
    Or one notice every three office hours?

    That's not a notification system carefully designed to get people to stop infringing, it really isn't.
    That's a notification system carefully designed to get blocked by every spam filter in the western hemisphere.

    Regardless of one's feelings towards copyright, I'm pretty sure deliberately manufacturing unresponsive plaintiffs isn't the way things are supposed to be done, even in a US copyright case.

  • May 26th, 2015 @ 9:44pm

    (untitled comment)

    "[...] one of the most disgusting images in human existence."

    I'm guessing you don't use the internet all that much.

  • Apr 30th, 2015 @ 3:06pm

    Fair enough, so. :)

    I can't blame anyone for misreading what Wheeler was going to be like. All signs pointed to yet another corporate cock-knocker who would grease the wheels for big business as far as he could get away with.

    That this hasn't happened is astounding and part of my brain is still expecting him to say "oh, wait, I made a mistake, lets have these rules instead", followed by a big, juicy helping of freshly-butchered consumer rights.

    It seems like we all got the man wrong. Kudos to Karl Bode for acknowledging this. Even more kudos for Wheeler, the best man for the job - and a far better man for it than anyone expected. :)

  • Apr 21st, 2015 @ 6:18am

    What's good for the goose...

    If this were reversed - say, the MPAA speaking at an event before and alongside judges who might soon have to rule on important copyright matters - I would interpret this as low-to-moderate-grade evidence of institutional bias. If I regard it as wrong on that side, I must regard it as wrong on this one. The judges did the right thing.

  • Apr 1st, 2015 @ 1:30pm

    National Emergency

    I'm not too familiar with all the various bits and bobs of Americas innumerable anti-terrorism laws and executive orders, but if memory serves, some parts of these only apply during times of National Emergency.

    This order is presumably intended to - in effect - preemptively reclassify all major hacking incidents as terrorism. Individuals and organisations identified are now subject to surveillance and response under the terms set by the Patriot Act and other rules, rather than normal due process.

    The order also functionally makes the acquisition of "trade secrets" into terrorism. "[...] any person determined [...] to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have engaged in, the receipt or use [...] of trade secrets misappropriated through cyber-enabled means [...] just became subject to Patriot Act rules.

    This, logically, must include everyone involved in the last big Sony hack, every file-sharing-site where the movies appeared, everyone who downloaded copies and - you're going to love this, I just know it - every journalist who received and wrote about the various leaked emails.

    Congratulations everyone, the President of the United States of America just declared all of us to be de facto terrorists, subject to unlimited surveillance and attack, at the whim of any branch of the US government that wants to do so.

  • Mar 25th, 2015 @ 11:48am

    Re: Re: Hmmm...

    This articles title is "How The Apathy Of IP Rights Holders About Their Copyrights Killed A Game Re-Release" - and the article as a whole seems generally written to support that assertion. However, looking at the Kotaku article this article is based on, this claim seems to be basically untrue.

    There's no question in my mind that the copyright issues depicted here are a problem for society and there's no question that those issues deserve to be highlighted, but that's not what killed No-One Lives Forever.

    Based on the Kotaku article, Warners mindless, point-blank refusal to do business is the actual reason. Any suggestion to the contrary is at best misleading and at worst a deliberate falsehood. :/

  • Mar 25th, 2015 @ 6:10am


    From the original Kotaku article, regarding Warner:

    Their hope was short-lived. In early February, Kuperman and Kick got a definitive answer from Warner: No.

    "They come back with a response that said they're not looking to either publish the game themselves at this time, or to partner with us," Kuperman said. "Those options, they're not going to accept either one of them. So basically, we're back to square one."
    From the sound of things, Night Dive, Monolith and Fox are all happy to move forward, but Warner says no.

    First thing: this article works so hard to put a Techdirt spin on things (no bad thing in itself), it no longer resembles fact particularly well. Rights confusion is part of the story, but it's not part of the ending. :/

    Second thing: If you're a content creator of any description and you care about anything you create, don't do business with Warner unless you're desperate, because those guys are assholes and they will throw your shit in the corporate dumpster as soon as they get bored with it.

    Did you like Batman: Arkham Asylum and its sequels? Enjoy them while you can still play them, because once they stop being profitable, fuck you all! They'll never be released again. Same goes for anything else they have a legal interest in.

    Final thing: dear Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Inc, you suck and you may eat a dick. In fact, you may eat an entire flotilla of dicks, at your leisure. That is all. :/

  • Mar 1st, 2015 @ 1:05pm

    (untitled comment)

    I don't think I've backed any real failures, as of yet. I tend to back projects that sound like they come from someone who knows what they're doing. So far, I've not been ripped off.

    - - - - -

    A few projects do stand out as being not all that was promised.

    My biggest disappointment is Godus, by British game-development veteran Peter Molyneux and his team. They promised a God Game (an old, established genre, for those who don't know), but they delivered a mobile-phone-type game based around micropayments, something not even hinted at in the Kickstarter description. I haven't played in a long while, so perhaps there's a real game in there now, but I shall have to get around to playing it again before I know.

    Frontier Developments' space game Elite: Dangerous gets a mention for not delivering on the promise of an offline mode. I understand why they did it, I can see what they've built and are continuing to build (I play it, it's a great game for those of us with a good internet connection), but they shouldn't have made promises they couldn't keep and they shouldn't have tried to weasel out of refunding affected crowdfunders afterwards.

    I didn't back their Kickstarters myself, but US developer Double Fine Productions deserves a special mention for abusing both Kickstarter and Steam Early Access by - in my opinion - partially scamming their customers on two separate projects (Broken Age and Spacebase DF-9). I won't buy from them again.

    - - - - -

    On the subject of what crowdfunding is, I don't think any existing definition describes it adequately: it's an investment of sorts, it's a gamble of sorts, it's a pre-purchase of sorts - all of these are both true and false from different perspectives and none of them give the whole picture.

    It's crowdfunding, something new and comparatively unique. The rules that should exist - but currently don't - should reflect its special nature.

    For larger, more professional and more ambitious projects, I would ideally like to see more done to assure crowdfunders that their money won't be wasted or stolen. There should be:
    • independant, professional assessments of project viability;
    • better rules for clearly and exclusively defining projects, goals and progress-milestones - no-one should be making promises they can't be sure of keeping, or using the absence of certain promises to turn a project into something else;
    • minimum standards of communication, so we all know where we stand at any given stage;
    • independant monitoring, so we know where our money's being spent and we can be sure it's not all vapourware;
    • clear definitions of failure, by degrees if necessary, with clear and reasonable procedures for remuneration if some or all goals can't be met and finally;
    • clear rules and standards of enforcement by the fundhost, including pursuing violators and scammers through the courts, where necessary.

    For smaller and more amateur projects, which obviously can't afford those increased operational costs, or any project which is inherently much more of a gamble, there needs to be a very clear distinction that this is the case. No crowdfunding consumer should enter into an agreement uninformed about the risks.

    It may be the case that the two kinds of project are best-served with their own, separate services and definitions. Different names for them might be wise. Pro-funding versus Risk-funding, perhaps?

    Those are the basic rules, as I think they should exist, at any rate. Until such time as we have something like them, what we have now is summed up perfectly by Ehud Gavron above: whatever we'd like it to become, crowdfunding is currently a gamble. We all proceed at our own risk. :)

  • Feb 20th, 2015 @ 2:30am

    Re: Re:

    Hi, K'Tetch. :)

    You are a filthy, blaspheming heretic, but after giving the matter some consideration, I've decided to find it amusing.

    Have a nice day! :D

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