Jeffrey Nonken’s Techdirt Profile


About Jeffrey Nonken

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  • Jun 3rd, 2010 @ 1:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Thinks File Sharing Is Bad Is Ignoring Customers

    "Smart business people should always be asking what they can do to get more customers." Or customers to pay more or buy more. (Not criticizing, just expanding.)

    Problem is, that's what they think they're doing. They think that they can force customers to spend more money by threatening to beat them up if they don't. They're trying to convert "people who like our stuff but aren't paying for it" into "people who are buying our stuff" by force.

    The old business model isn't working any more, but the old businessmen are afraid of change. So they grab the nearest hammer and start playing whack-a-mole on the square pegs to fit them back into round holes.

    And thus do I mix metaphors with a runcible spoon.

    "When your only tool is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a mole." Or something like that.

  • May 29th, 2010 @ 8:15pm

    Re: Re: IANAL

    We've already seen with the RIAA cases and with the European ACS:Law cases that many innocent users get snared with these letters.

    Oh come on, Mike. Get real. That laserjet was guilty and you know it!

  • Jun 7th, 2009 @ 8:17am

    Re: Time to throw a wrench into the works.

    The first part is exactly right. Not everything is paid for by the consumer directly.

    Not true. Show me when the consumer has ever not paid directly.

    Ads are funded by consumer product purchases as well as licenses by product purchases of wares.

    You've just contradicted yourself. That's a perfect example of the consumer paying indirectly.

  • Jun 6th, 2009 @ 10:07pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    "As for the mentioning of a business name; it is similar to slander, you cannot publish that Coca-cola is made with harmful ingredient X when it is not."

    But that doesn't prohibit you from merely mentioning a name. If the urinal photos were taken at a particular airport, simply saying they were is merely truthful.

    (BTW, your example would be libel, not slander. JTFR.)

  • May 29th, 2009 @ 8:24pm


    First of all, to anybody kvetching about "proof", he didn't say anything proves anything. He said it "disproves". Disproof of one thing isn't the same as proof of another, even an opposite.

    Second, I'd like to point out a site that has taken a stance on free IP:

    Plenty of authors have tried it -- and seen their back listings take on new life. Some people even buy some of the books that are available on that site, for free, in several common formats, not encumbered by DRM, registration not required.

    To me it's fascinating to read the editorials, especially the last Prime Palaver (#11) by Janis Ian, somebody who is also in the music business. You can also read it at if you'd rather.

  • Feb 1st, 2009 @ 9:48am

    Not DRM

    Depends on what it's for. If its purpose is to keep people from playing who aren't properly licensed, it's a form of DRM, even if it's not called that. If its purpose is ONLY to prevent cheating at the game, then it's not. No reason it can't be both, though. Valve reserves the right to cancel my account if I'm caught cheating, for example.

    But if it accomplishes the former, and you think it's not DRM just because it isn't called DRM, or because it also has other functions, I think you're being naive.

  • Feb 1st, 2009 @ 9:39am

    Re: DRM

    A lot of people don't like Steam, and they have good reasons.

    Contrariwise, while I can't comment on your particular situation, I have to say that I've re-installed Steam on several computers over the years and never had any real problems with the licensing. Or the DRM if you prefer.

    If I had to guess, I'd guess that you're trying to re-license the current version, unaware that once licensed, you only need your account and password. Throw your old computer into the trash, install Windoze on a new computer, install Steam, give it your old account and password and it will remember who you are and what games you've purchased and will download the content for those games from their server. The only thing you'll lose is your settings. Obviously you can keep those by copying your old files over (assuming you still have them or took care to back them up).

    When I bought HL2 on disc it integrated it with my current license (after asking), then the same when I bought The Orange Box (I think I did that online) it did the same, and even knows I have a spare copy of HL2 and will let me give it to somebody else.

    No scheme is ever perfect, but Valve has done a lot to make Steam as painless as possible. Personally I think they've done a good job, and while I'd prefer DRM didn't exist at all, Steam is a decent job.

    Sorry if your experience was a bad one. Personally I suggest you give it another try; even if you've lost your login information, the original key should let customer service help you recover your account.

    MHO, YMMV, not affiliated in any way except as a more-or-less satisfied customer, etc.

  • Aug 10th, 2008 @ 11:57am

    Re: Rational solution......

    ... But I notice despite the title of your comment, you propose no rational solution, nor in fact any solution. All you do is rant against the current moral ambiguity.

    Which is fine, but you seem to prefer the solution of passing laws and enforcing them. Nice and easy, but it doesn't actually solve any problems, does it? It just puts the government in charge of protecting the IP holders' revenue streams and current business practices while inconveniencing their customers and alienating potential customers. Not to mention throwing more people in jail.

    What's that? Fines? No, that's for civil offenses. The gummint prefers to throw you in a cage for criminal offenses, and that's what this becomes if you get them to start passing laws. Obviously stealing music and movies is criminal.

    Not to mention that this starts costing tax dollars for prosecuting and jailing all those people.

    Hah hah. See what you've done? By not actually proposing a solution of your own, or even a suggestion, you've got me a) making straw-man arguments and b) doing exactly what you did, ranting against one position without proposing an alternate solution.

    Of course, being a typical American I blame you rather than taking personal responsibility. Just like the RIAA and MPAA which would rather blame the customers for their failing business model rather than take responsibility and change with the times. Tee hee! Snuck that one in there with an analogy!

    My proposal? I don't know, really. It seems to me that there has to be a way to leverage the networking system. And in fact there's plenty of evidence to show that sharing free content actually increases sales. (Read Prime Palaver at, for example.) So instead of forbidding all copying and trying to either sue, prosecute or both everybody who dares to make an unauthorized copy of something copyrighted.

    Guess what? Yes, I'm proposing (as many wiser heads have done before me) that they actually embrace file sharing and use it as a tool.

    For one thing, they're not going to stop it. They just AREN'T. The genie is out of the bottle. The only way to re-can a can of worms is to use a bigger can. When people want to do something, they'll do it; the prohibition proved that, the war on drugs is proving that, and we're too stupid to learn from the past or we wouldn't still be proving it.

    OK, I'm finished ranting. Let's hear your rational solution. I'm all ears.

  • Aug 10th, 2008 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: it could be a problem

    "I've been in the cockpit behind the stick of many 727's, 737's, 757's and MD-88's directing that pushback with all the comms active and my cellphone did the same thing to those systems that it does to your PC speakers when it rang." Of course, the article is about etiquette, not about technical problems, as stated in the last paragraph. But even so, a) the picocell should take care of that and b) as far as I know, most cellphone-wielding passengers are not in the cockpit. Proximity is a factor. (Remember the inverse squared law.)

  • Aug 1st, 2008 @ 9:23am

    Think of it as evolution in action

    When I text while walking I always pause at the street corners and check the traffic before I cross.

    It's called "awareness of your surroundings." Or maybe it's called "priorities." Or maybe it's "I'm an old fart who didn't get that way by ignoring hurtling hunks of glass and metal."

    Or maybe I'm just smart. There's always room for doubt on that last one but hey, I'm still here.

  • Aug 1st, 2008 @ 9:08am

    @Bryan Henderson Re: Anti-Bundling Bill

    "This case shows that we don't need an anti-bundling bill, because a legislator can always just introduce another bill to undo a single component of a prior bundled bill."

    Ummm, no. It's almost always much harder to repeal a law than it is to pass one in the first place.

    In this case, somebody apparently went out of their way to sneak it through. I wouldn't want to depend on that to work every time.

    "Laws are like sausages -- it's best not to see them made."

  • Jul 14th, 2008 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Stupid movie companies

    I copy my purchased DVDs for two reasons.

    One you've just said -- get rid of all the stupid advertisements.

    The other is so that my autistic daughter can watch the movie over and over without worrying about how badly she treats it. If she trashes a DVD, hey, I can just make another copy from the original.

    Of course, the MPAA would rather I kept buying new copies. But, guess what? I can't afford to. Sorry, forcing me to keep replacing those wouldn't make me buy more. Can't squeeze blood etc.

    BTW, most of the DVDs will let you either FF or skip through, or use one of the menu buttons. Try all of them before you give up.

    The long drawn-out main menus are oh so clever and all, but it gets really tedious going waiting through that every time you want to watch Harry Potter. I've seen it, just let me get to the freaking movie!

    (Sometimes the menu buttons can bypass that too. Sometimes it just makes things worse. *sigh*)

  • Jul 5th, 2008 @ 1:26pm

    I remember...

    "I remember when they showed just two or three trailers, a quick reminder to turn off your cell phones, and then movie started."

    I remember when they used to play cartoons before the main event.

    They didn't remind anybody to turn off their cell phones, but then, cell phones hadn't been invented yet. :)

  • Jul 5th, 2008 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Re: TFA - HTML lesson

    "Halo 3 in my eyes - needs to be rated <M. And games such as Grand theft auto, need to be rated >M."

    How's that? ;)

    It doesn't take much, just learn a few simple codes:

    < = &lt;
    > = &gt;
    & = &amp;

    ... assuming I didn't screw that up. The preview replaces the HTML so I'm reluctant to preview to make sure. :)

  • Jun 28th, 2008 @ 8:13pm

    If that doesn't work, try more of the same

    It's always easier to blame:

    - Communists
    - Blacks
    - Chinese
    - Japanese
    - Women (should never have been allowed to vote)
    - Russians
    - Polish
    - Irish
    - Terrorists
    - Arabs
    - Iranians
    - Immigrants
    - Illegal immigrants
    - Drug users
    - Drugs
    - Koreans
    - Jews
    - Satanists
    - Homosexuals
    - Bisexuals
    - Indians
    - Indians
    - Lovers of kink
    - Anybody who enjoys sex in any form
    - Anybody who has sex in any form
    - Pagans
    - TV shows
    - Violent games
    - Dancing
    - Music
    - Lyrics
    - Movies
    - Teachers
    - Drivers
    - Pedestrians
    - The French
    - Egyptians
    - Men
    - Pedophiles
    - People who practice bad spelling, grammar, or punctuation
    - People who make lists
    - Anybody who uses 1337
    - Anybody who is erudite
    - Anybody with a funny accent
    - Tall people
    - Short people
    - Anybody who weighs more than 99 lbs soaking wet
    - Pro-choicers
    - Pro-lifers
    - Wal-mart
    - The rich
    - The poor
    - The middle class (all three of them -- don't worry, they'll be poor soon)
    - Evangelists
    - Dogs
    - Cats
    - Redheads
    - Doctors
    - Actors
    - Baseball players who make millions of dollars
    - Paris Hilton

    ... than it is to take responsibility for ourselves and our actions. Easier to cast blame than it is to make an effort to actually discover root causes and work on solving them.

    I realize that you can't draw a curve from a single point, but I'm one of those who plays violent games (in my case, online first-person shooters) and AFAIK have not killed or maimed anybody lately. My girlfriend says I'm one of the most considerate people she knows. My daughters are doing well in school and do not get into trouble.

    Once when she was very young I sat my older daughter down and explained the nature of swearing, why people did it, why it was questionable socially, why it was socially unacceptable for her to do, and added that if she started using swear words inappropriately people would be very upset at her and she could get into trouble. I very deliberately did NOT specifically threaten her with any punishment. But once I told her all that, we started letting her watch movies with swear words, and we never, ever had a problem with her. Never a single complaint, and even now (she's 15) we rarely if ever hear her swearing, even though we occasionally swear in front of her.

    That's called Good Parenting. I won't claim I'm a Good Parent, certainly I make my share of mistakes, but that day I did Good Parenting.

    If tomorrow she asks for a copy of GTA IV, well, I won't say no because of the violence. I may for other reasons, but I'm not worried she'll turn into a violent teenager and start killing people because she played a video game.

    I haven't talked much of my other daughter because she's autistic and it's much more difficult to communicate with her. But even there we let her watch cartoon violence and movie violence, and she's not been a problem.

    Among the things that have not turned her into a raging homicidal maniac are:
    - Classic Warner Bros. cartoons
    - T2
    - X-men
    - Spiderman
    - Harry Potter
    - Lord of the Rings
    - Batman and Robin
    - Narnia
    - Deputy Dawg
    - classic Underdog cartoons

    ... and so on.

    My wife takes martial arts. They do not make her violent.

    I watch porn. It hasn't turned me into a rapist.

    I'm of the opinion that, generally, these serve as outlets for our tendencies and emotional issues, rather than causing them. This has been my personal experience and observation on my part.

    Blaming GTA is stupid and short-sighted. You're not doing anybody any favors by trying to ban it. You're just being lazy.


  • Jun 12th, 2008 @ 10:59am


    @Quantity Surveyor Man:

    Heh, you've got the right idea!


    Yeah. Once those families have spent all that money on their TV and service upgrades, they won't be able to afford a radio to get those inclement weather reports. And they'll have to cancel their Internet service. And won't be able to get to a newspaper stand. Or knock on a neighbor's door. God knows TV is the only way to keep up with events!

  • Jun 5th, 2008 @ 9:19am

    Hot coffee

    Nikita: I can see you did a lot of research before you stuck your foot into your mouth.

    1) She wasn't driving the car. Her grandson was driving the car.
    2) The car wasn't moving. Her grandson pulled over in the parking lot so she could pull the cover off the coffee to add cream and sugar.

    The rest of you:

    Some of you are missing the point. The coffee was at an unsafe temperature. It was hot enough to strip flesh from bone, literally. The question isn't how stupid she was to try to open a coffee container, and not expect the coffee to be hot. The question is: HOW HOT DOES THE COFFEE NEED TO BE? Should it really be hot enough to strip flesh from bone? We're not talking about a scald here, we're talking about 3rd degree burns over 6 percent of her body. Pain and trauma and hospitalization and skin grafts.

    People expect to be able to drink the coffee. Why was it being kept too hot to drink? This wasn't either the first nor the only incident, either. There was one, for example, where the lid came off as the clerk was handing it out the drive-through window. McDonalds had been paying off customers for years (in discovery they produced documents showing over 700 incidents similar to Stella's).

    If customers are expecting near-boiling liquid and it's being properly contained, sure, that's one thing. But that wasn't the case here. McDonalds knew their coffee was too hot, but refused to do anything about it. All she was trying to do was get her medical bills covered and get McDonalds to lower the temperature of their coffee to something safer. McDonalds ran their spin machine and convinced you that they weren't being negligent by blaming the victim.

    Hey. Did you know the word "gullible" isn't in the dictionary? Go ahead, look it up for yourself!

    Know the Facts: The McDonalds Coffee Case

    This case and Google's have nothing whatsoever to do with each other.

    OK, I know I'm gonna get flamed for this one. Excuse me while I put on my asbestos underwear.

  • May 26th, 2008 @ 12:21pm

    Free as a promotional model

    In answer to a number of arguments here, I once again plug Baen Free Library, which shows how giving electronic books away can increase sales of dead trees. Take a look. Read Eric's introduction, read the Prime Palavers. Read the figures, see how older titles have had an unprecedented increase in sales.


  • May 15th, 2008 @ 3:51pm


    Heh, wrong Flint. That's Eric, not Larry.


  • May 15th, 2008 @ 3:39pm

    Another view on IP piracy

    Go to Baen Free Library and read Larry Flint's introduction. Then go read the Prime Palaver. The last, number 17, is particularly good -- it's written by Janis Ian who is in both the music and writing industries.

    Of course, that site is mostly about books, not software. Nevertheless it's an interesting counter-view of piracy.

    The rumour is that Microsoft, far from being upset about piracy of Windows and Office, is rather pleased. Every stolen copy of Microsoft software that's being used is one copy of some other brand that isn't.

    Here's an interesting economic model for you. The local video rental store will (for its older videos) charge a discount if you rent 5 at once. The discount brings the total down to a few cents more than renting 3, and less than renting 4. And the clerks will tell you this if you walk up to the counter with 3 or 4 videos, it's not something they hope you don't notice. So... what does it gain them to charge the same for you to rent 5 as for 3? Don't they lose money?

    Whomever gets the right answer gets to stay late and clean the erasers! ... Oh wait, schools don't use chalk boards any more. Oh well.

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