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  • Dec 01, 2012 @ 08:52am

    Is making fun of people who don't like digital technology...

    the main function of Techdirt these days?

    I mean, you could easily do this sort of thing forever. There are hundreds of writers who don't understand or like digital technology.

    I'm sure that it's fun feeling clever at the expense of the technologically ignorant, but isn't it sort of sophomoric to do it so regularly?

  • Oct 21, 2012 @ 06:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: An opportunity wasted as well.

    "That's nothing more than a glorified opinion piece with zero relevant facts to back it up."

    It's a glorified opinion piece written by an electrical engineer who is a member of the AES. I provided it as a form of shorthand.

    I have never read a single statement by any reputable EE that stated that the dynamic range of a vinyl recording was superior to that of a CD. Not one. All of the tales of digital audio being inferior to vinyl are written by audiophiles who rely, not on science, but on subjective opinions and informal listening tests.

    Furthermore, the era of vinyl records was conterminous with the era of magnetic tape, which is known, conclusively, to have a dynamic range of 55 dB without resorting to companding, while the cd has 90-96 dB

    And a youtube video about frequency range differences is completely irrelevant to the claim you were making, which was about dynamic range.

  • Oct 21, 2012 @ 07:35am

    Re: Re: An opportunity wasted as well.

    "Vinyls can have much greater dynamic range and a warmer sound quality than a CD."

    This is completely false.

  • Oct 20, 2012 @ 09:09am


    I kind of covered exactly this topic nearly three years ago, here.

    From a slightly different perspective of course, but I get so few opportunities to blog whore that I couldn't pass it up.

  • Sep 23, 2012 @ 09:41am

    I have been following Amanda Palmer stories on Techdirt for years, and have always read them with amusement, without really knowing who she was or what she sounded like.

    But I just figured out that she is responsible, at least in part, for that 'Coin-operated boy' song that college radio couldn't get enough of when it was released.

    I like Techdirt, I really do. I'm on your side when it comes to IP law and the internet and the other big issues. I just really wish you guys could find a musician to champion that didn't make me want to stick ice picks in my ears.

  • Sep 16, 2012 @ 03:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "The point isn't "how much", it's that things are really the same. The technology is different, whatever... but there is always been a infrastructure for indie writers, from pulp fiction to vanity presses and so on. What's the big deal? "

    The infrastructure is fundamentally different. That's the big deal. If you don't see why it's a big deal I doubt that I can explain it to you, but the main difference is that writers don't need a mass market audience to publish. You obviously seem to think that mass market publishing is the entire universe.

    "What the fuck? I don't care about money, where do you get that? I care about artist being able to be artists, that's all. The point (that you clearly missed) is that cutting edge new art stuff is always been around, and unlike what the original post tries to push, it's not sometihng new because of the internet. Are you confused? One minute you are saying the internet is all that, and then the next you are saying the new artist stuff has always been around. Which one would you like to go with?"

    The existence of the art isn't new. The being able to distribute it part is new. No, I am not confused.

    "First of all, Mr Masnick doesn't post here. Mike does. His father does. He's only Mr Masnick to you if you are a child."

    Where do you get this shit? 'Mike' isn't my friend and we aren't on a first name basis. The fact that everyone else here calls him that doesn't oblige me to do so. Why you should confuse basic politeness with...whatever you have it confused it with is beyond me. But if you want me to call you 'Mr' to balance it out I can.

    "Second, if you care about culture, you in the end will also care about business models, because business models are what make much of the content you get possible at all. You cannot extract one from the other. The ability to turn a hit into a way to pay the artist, so they can keep being an artist is really key to getting the most culture possible.

    Cause and effect... study it."

    Cheeky! But again, you are confusing 'mass market culture' with 'culture'.

    All kinds of books and music have been written for very little if any money. A lot of the music has actually lost money in performance. I gave 10 to 12 names upthread, but really, the whole history of 20th century avant-garde music is one long refutation of what you just said. If you don't believe me and are looking for an introductory text, Paul Griffith's 'Modern Music' is a good one.

    "I doubt anything does."

    Actually, lots of things surprise me. The world is filled with wonders. You just aren't one of them.

  • Sep 15, 2012 @ 08:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "We respond to these points every time with the very simple note:

    It's not any different today on the internet than it was 30 years ago with a vanity press, or 50 years ago with pulp fiction magazines, or any other methodology."

    Actually it is quite different. No vanity press can compare with the instant, worldwide, free distribution of the internet. And pulp magazines were just a different form of mass market commercial publishing.

    "Adding "on the internet" doesn't make it magical or new. "

    See above concerning instant worldwide free distribution.

    "No, the realists want to be able to obtain both the comfort food and the cutting edge new artist stuff as well."

    Oh bullshit. 'Cutting edge new artist stuff' as you call it existed long before mass market publishing and will continue to exist long after mass market publishing has become a historical footnote. Comfort food is what makes money and you know full well that money is all you care about.

    "We don't see that we need to trade one for the other."

    Well, the one can survive and flourish quite well on the internet, while the other is having trouble. It seems that the trade has already been made without your consent.

    "We don't buy into the bullshit that suggests you have to systematically kill big content so that small content can flourish. It's been there all along."

    Here I agree with you. You don't have to kill 'big content', and I don't advocate killing it. I simply don't care if it dies.

    Don't mistake my indifference for malice.

    "If you truly have a better system, a better way, a better business model, or (even) better content then away you go. You should be ruling the world soon."

    I don't have a better business model. I don't give a shit about business models. That is Mr. Masnick's province. I care about culture, and the parts of it that I know well are quite definitely doing better now than they were before the internet came along.

    "The only ego I see here is yours."

    That doesn't surprise me at all.

  • Sep 15, 2012 @ 06:57pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Note how the pessimists never respond to these points.

    The histories of twentieth century music and literature are filled with people who made great art while not earning a living at it, because they chose to break new ground instead of pandering to people's desire to consume cultural comfort food.

    And pessimists ignore this because all they really want to do is serve cultural comfort food and become wealthy while doing so.

    But of course, admitting this rather ugly fact would be a blow to their egos, so they pretend they don't see these things.

    Kind of sad really.

  • Sep 15, 2012 @ 07:52am


    "this new world is so much more surreal and vast than anything you can imagine while having to hold down a job."

    Some of the greatest works of the twentieth century were written by people who held down day jobs. And some of the most wretched and formulaic dreck was written by professionals.

    Charles Ives single-handedly anticipated most of the revolutionary compositional devices of twentieth century music. He did this years before better-known Europeans 'invented' these techniques, all while selling insurance for a living.

    One of the standard works of European history: Pirenne's History of Europe, was written while he was a prisoner of war, without access to more than a handful of books.

    Primo Levi, who was not only a great writer but a first class chemist, wrote his early works while working in a paint factory, after nearly dying in Auschwitz.

    Franz Kafka wrote his greatest works while working as an insurance agent in war-torn Europe.

    The world, to any truly creative mind, is 'much more surreal and vast than anything you can imagine'....period. If you really can't conceive how these minds can create without earning a paycheck doing so, that is a failure of your imagination.

  • Sep 14, 2012 @ 10:25pm

    Re: Re:

    "To decry anyone who wants to make money as an artist as "selling out"...is to insult them."

    Kinda, yeah. I don't think they are wrong to do so, but as a musician interested in music rather than an entertainer interested in entertainment, I generally find such art to be kind of boring.

    There are exceptions, of course...there always are, but what you aren't getting is that really radical art that expands its form and defines its future possibilities rarely has enough fans to make any serious money when it is made.

    I don't think that 'fans' are old fashioned. But thinking of all cultural activity as fan-dependent is very definitely a relic of the mass market industrial past.

    I'm not naive, I just have different priorities.

  • Sep 14, 2012 @ 09:07pm

    This is all quite true.

    Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Ives, Boulez, Bartok, Varese, Messiaen, Nancarrow, Babbitt, Perle, Barraque...in fact, a huge percentage of the 20th century's most brilliant musical minds would have starved without a day job.

    Schoenberg taught composition, Webern made arrangements for night club bands, Ives sold insurance, Boulez worked as a conductor and so on. Their jobs were often related to music, but if they had depended on sales of sheet music or royalties from record sales they would have starved. Some of them came close to doing so anyway.

    This is all quite true, but few here really seem to grasp the implications of it.

    While people around here glory in the fact that the web makes it so easy to Connect With Fans, they ignore the fact that the whole concept of 'fans' in relation to music and literature is a product of the music industry and mass market publishing.

    The really radical and transformative part about the web and free creative technology isn't that it allows artists to connect with fans. That's the old way of thinking. The radical part is that the web and free creative technology allow artists and thinkers of every sort to develop and distribute their ideas without having to pander to a commercially significant body of 'fans' at all.

    I mean it's great that people can now sell out on their own, without a record company executive making them do it, and can compete in the entertainment marketplace with Taylor Swift and Green Day and all...but it seems at least as important that now creative people no longer have to sell out at all, and that they can do their thing exactly as they see fit without having to pander or wear stupid costumes.

  • Sep 10, 2012 @ 03:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "So when Mike uses the same type clause, there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. But when the labels do it, it's evil."

    I don't know about evil. I don't think the point is that it is wrong to try to get a favorable venue in a contract. I think the point is that, because labels have been known to be somewhat lax about making royalty payments, the issue of venue becomes rather more acute for artists.

    In other words, the clause isn't evil in itself, but only when labels (or anyone else) use it to get away with not paying royalties.

    Has Mike failed to pay anyone money that he owes to them?

  • Sep 03, 2012 @ 04:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "It is fairly meaningless to point to specific authors and say "what if they hadn't release their work" because, while yes it would be a shame, it seems certain that there are far more creators who didn't release brilliant work because the systems have always been bottlenecked -- the gatekeepers chose the elite few who would be allowed through. Now, for the first time ever, there are no bottlenecks, no gatekeepers -- except those created artificially, with copyright. If, as you say, the primary goal is getting work shared with the world, the only logical conclusion is that copyright is bad -- it is by its very nature a way of reducing the supply of something, struggling to survive in a world full of ways to increase supply to infinity."

    I agree with you.

    My point is not and has not ever been that the internet is bad for authors, musicians, or anyone. My point is that many creative people don't understand this and find the internet alienating. And the reason that they find it alienating is because of the rather hostile attitude that they often encounter here.

    I am basically just trying to point out that the tough guy style of rhetoric can be off-putting to some people, and that some of the people that it alienates might be worth listening to.

  • Sep 03, 2012 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re:


    You wrote that I

    ...ended your comment by implying that the *truly* talented artists are the ones who support copyright, and everything else is just "some other content to amuse yourself with"...

    I implied no such thing. You are trying to read between lines, but there is nothing there.

    What I said was that 'some people have unique insights' and that 'the world will be poorer for it if they stop publishing their writing because the internet seems hostile to them'.

    You don't have to support copyright to find large portions of the internet hostile. There is no necessary connection there. But even if we assume that certain gifted authors are both 'for' copyright and 'against' the internet, the point I made was not that they are right, because I don't think they are. My point was that if you want to get them to share their work with the world (which is the point of copyright, no?), then writing 'If you do not wish the opportunity we have conferred upon you, don't take it' is going to fail.

    Because, believe it or not, there are gifted people who are reluctant to share their stuff with the world. It is only a lucky chance that, say, Tolkien's Silmarillion didn't end up as an unread manuscript on the bottom of a box in an attic. The same is true of many other works by Kafka, Proust, Lovecraft and many others. All I was saying is that I think this sort of thing is unfortunate when it happens, while the attitude of the poster I was responding to was 'So what?'.

  • Sep 03, 2012 @ 09:33am

    You know, I know that I am going to piss people off here but this is bullshit:

    " If you do not wish the opportunity we have conferred upon you, don't take it, there are plenty of people likely just as talented (or potentially more so) who will gladly step up to fill the void you choose to vacate."

    The part that I want to call attention to is the bit about there being 'plenty of people likely just as talented' as an author who doesn't like the way IP law works.

    The ability of an author to write has no connection whatever to his or her views on IP. There are good authors who support stronger IP laws, there are good authors who support weaker IP laws, and there are even good authors who support the abolition of IP. The quality of an author's work is completely unrelated to his or her views on what is essentially a legal matter.

    And the notion that all authors are replaceable is not just hostile, but historically inaccurate. There were no contemporary authors remotely like James Joyce. Nor did Lawrence Sterne or George Berkeley have 'just-as-good' substitutes waiting to take their places. If you could magically eliminate any of those people from the written record you would alter the course of history.

    This 'you-creators-are-a-dime-a-dozen-so-quit-your-bitching' attitude is not going to win any friends among creative people. If you weren't so hostile to these people, you might see that this is kind of counter-productive.

    There are some people who have unique insights. And the world will be poorer for it if they stop publishing their writing because the internet seems hostile to them. I am sure you won't care, because you will find some other 'content' to amuse yourself with. But if the goal is to get authors to share their works with the world (which is the whole point of copyright), then saying 'who needs you anyway?' is probably not very helpful.

  • Sep 03, 2012 @ 06:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Poor gatekeepers

    You know, when Rome was being overrun by barbarians, Roman citizens had their rights violated by those barbarians. It wasn't nice, and it wasn't legal, but it happened and there was no stopping it.

    Advising someone to run in such a situation would be simple common sense. I mean, yeah, those barbarians are in the wrong and all, but would you look at how many of them there are? No edicts passed by the emperor are going to do anything to stop the barbarians. All they will do is piss off the citizens as they run to avoid the slaughter.

    Do you really think it makes sense in such a situation to complain about the barbarians and do nothing else to adapt? At what point does complaining about your rights being violated become just so much whistling in the wind?

    Personally, I think we passed that point a few years ago.

  • Sep 02, 2012 @ 09:09pm

    I think it is sad how few people realize that piracy is irrelevant.

  • Aug 08, 2012 @ 02:39am

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't this just a way for the Internet Archive to reduce its bandwidth costs?

  • Apr 28, 2012 @ 08:00am

    "If you acknowledge this, why ignore the fact that the internet provides opportunities to read and participate in the discussion of non trivial material as well."

    Where did you get this?

    I said nothing against the internet at all. The internet is much more than social networking. For example, I spend hours and hours every week reading books on the internet.

    That's right, in addition to Facebook and Twitter and Youtube and Wikipedia there are a few other things on the internet. Such as millions of books. Pretty much the whole cultural history of humanity has been scanned and put up someplace or another. Millions of books available for free, all of which can be downloaded and read within seconds.

    I have nothing against social networking either. I personally find the bit about the millions of scholarly books and works of literature and scientific classics and so on being freely and instantly available to be more interesting than Twitter, but that's really just a personal preference.

    I was simply responding to the challenge:

    "I'd be curious if someone can defend the importance of books while also defending the claim that social networking is useless without being self-contradictory."

  • Apr 28, 2012 @ 06:58am

    "I'd be curious if someone can defend the importance of books while also defending the claim that social networking is useless without being self-contradictory."


    Books are important because they give you the chance to learn interesting things from people who are (or were) smarter than you, many of whom have been dead for a long time.

    Social networking sites provide far fewer opportunities for this, while providing far more opportunities for reading really trivial nonsense. They also encourage people to share everything, no matter how trivial, which unsurprisingly leads to an even higher ratio of trivial nonsense than usual.

    Mind you, I know that books provide opportunities to read trivial nonsense as well, but there are also things like bibliographies, reading lists, and collections like the Great Books that allow people to avoid at least some of this nonsense. So far, I know of nothing similar that exists for social networking.