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Posted on Techdirt - 18 February 2012 @ 12:00pm

Killer Cool's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

This week had a lot of articles that I really enjoyed. Between great articles, and good articles that spawned great comments, I had a hard time keeping this post short enough to keep anyone’s attention. So, let’s get to the week.

First, I really liked Monday’s article about DRM lock-in. I always hate to see content producers getting caught up in a DRM craze. It NEVER works like they intend, since all DRM is quickly broken. The only differences between DRM schemes are in how the legit consumer gets impacted. When it doesn’t work, it’s either broken (and a huge waste of production money) or ineffectual (and a huge waste of production money). When it does work, it’s only due to the fact that it doesn’t feel like DRM. Take Steam. They are a great example of “feels okay” DRM… and consumer lock-in. I have over 200 games from them. I enjoy the competition’s product (Good Old Games, etc.), but I feel obligated to check whether the products they offer are also available through Steam, since I’ve sunk so much money into them already. If they go out of business, I will lose access to all of my library, so it’s in my best interest to make sure they stay in business.

Tuesday had great news for the Vandals. I’ve been following this story since the Mike first posted about it, two years ago. Yeah, it took two years for Variety to (effectively) drop a case against a victim who had actually complied with their demands. Seeing as how fair use/parody laws are a thing, I would have liked if the Vandals could have fought this out in court from the beginning. While I wouldn’t wish a real fight in court on any reasonable person, SOMEONE has to stand up to the guys with the big guns, or they never go away. There was also a good write-up on why content isn’t an end product. Mr. Grasmayer’s breakdown of the benefits of viewing content as added value for a product was an interesting read. The discussion that followed in the comments, defending/clarifying some of the examples, was fairly enlightening for me, and more than a little entertaining.

Wednesday brought us the twin travesties of “Linsanity” trademark abuse and the MPAA trying to defend their stance on personal copying. Due to the widespread belief that everything has to be owned by someone, at least two opportunistic… jerks tried to trademark “Linsanity.” What?! Apparently, since no-one had already registered the trademark, that means that someone MUST have a right to it. Right? Ugh.

As for the other article, I thoroughly enjoyed (read: gnashed my teeth and silently raged at) the self-righteous and condescending tone adopted by the MPAA (and, apparently, their toady). Obviously, being forbidden by law to conduct an activity that is only illegal because of DRM, and is, in fact, legal otherwise, is for our own good. Because (and I quote) “Think of ripping a DVD as the first step towards piracy. You may not intend it, but it happens often enough.” According to this fellow, then, we must all forget that anyone who actually wants to pirate already has many highly functional tools at his disposal to rip movies from their discs. But that’s ok. Mother says someone might slip up, so we should all just do as Mother tells us, and leave the (possibly) naughty toys alone.


On a more cheerful note, Thursday brought us the tale of the latest censorship fiasco (JotForm). Despite the disheartening nature of the article, I still consider this a high point for the week, thanks largely to our very own Marcus Carab and his (mostly) calm discussion with a very determined AC. Long after I would have been reduced to incoherent sputtering, he kept dissecting and rebutting every claim about why, just this once, it would be okay to censor many people in order to slightly inconvenience some (allegedly) “bad guys.” Bravo, sir!

Friday started with some schadenfreude, for me at least. When a service, whose sole purpose is to support a failing business model, tells the ones using that model to shape up, there is a serious problem. I mean, Takedown Piracy is telling their clients that they have a problem so serious, actions that would leave Takedown Piracy largely obsolete are the only real solution. But, in the meantime, they’ll gladly take a chump’s money, since he’s too stupid to spend it elsewhere.

I leave you with this: Net-savvy entrepreneurs are quickly turning away from the USA. On the bright side, businesses (and their tax money) leaving is a story all politicians can understand. Contact your elected officials. Tell them jobs are being lost. Tell them tax money is disappearing. Tell them their policies’ effects are damaging our economy. Tell them you can see for yourself that they are failing you, and you will not be quiet. Tell them that they should shape up before they are replaced.

For those that have gone too far, remind them that November is coming.

Y’know. Elections.

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