Michael 's Techdirt Comments

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  • Apple Tells Labels, Unilaterally, That It's Increasing Song Previews To 90 Seconds

    Michael ( profile ), 04 Nov, 2010 @ 10:21am

    Links please.

    Not that I disagree, but anytime I see the phrase "studies have shown", I cringe a little, but only when there are no links to these studies. It may be that you've linked to these studies time and again, but I'm sure there are some new people that read techdirt everyday that see this phrase and wonder where exactly these studies may be. Even just a link to a generic page with many more links to the studies in question would be better than nothing.

  • Minecraft's Developer Making $350,000 $100,000 Per Day [Updated]

    Michael ( profile ), 05 Oct, 2010 @ 05:42pm

    Re: Please

    No they aren't. The attitude towards them is the problem. Why is this so hard? Change the attitude and you change the problem. Treat them like thieves and you have a problem with people stealing and how best to stop them. Treat them like customers and you have a problem of innovation and how best to make it so those customers are happy to pay.

    Getting customers to pay is actually a far, far easier problem to solve than stopping thieves from stealing. There is no control over how thieves will steal, but there's 100% control over how customers can and will pay. You just have to provide that opportunity.

  • Make Your Voice Heard On ACTA

    Michael ( profile ), 24 Jun, 2010 @ 05:06pm

    What I wrote.

    Dear Mr. President:

    Once before I have written to this administration about my concerns with ACTA and their insistence in creating a universal counterfeit protection agreement and once before I have pleaded with you to take the correct stance on this issue and oppose it. However, the more I hear of the types of actions your administration has been taking on pushing harder for ACTA, the more disappointed I am in my decision to vote for you.

    When I voted for change in our country, I listened to your message that "hope" was your call to action for the people in this nation to start waking up to the realities of not only our nation, but for society around the world. With ACTA, you have the power to make the most direct impact on a global scale by refusing to allow corporate lobbyists trick other nations into believing that counterfeiting and pirating are the worst offenders of our new economy. That somehow the actions of a few are devastating the needs of the many, when in reality, they are not.

    Pirating, counterfeiting, plagiarism are all defined by our society as being morally unjust, wrong, or evil acts that take away from those who legitimately work hard. The fact of the matter is that these acts are hardly affecting content rightsholders as the unwillingness of these same people to act in accord with the natural state of our changing economic and social centric society is what really keeps them from seeing success.

    It's a beautiful act of sharing and expression that is being displayed by the world community that brings us all closer together that's most at threat here, not the content holders' success. No person has a right to the financial prosperity that these large content groups claim they do, just the right to earn and keep their earnings if they are successul. Similarly, no person or persons has the right keep others from success if they find a legitmate and useful means of success that benefits our society as a whole.

    Pirating, counterfeiting, and plagiarism are not keeping rightsholders from success and this is an important point: rightsholders are keeping rightsholders from success. Their fear and unwillingness to change with the economy is their biggest enemy, not those that want a positive and useful change for our new economy and digital society.

    I believe you would also argue that no person or group of persons has the right to stamp out dissent from public opinion or hide behind a veil of secrecy to avoid outraging the public at large. Yet this entire process behind ACTA has been nothing but a circus without a show and the only way to see these performers is to sneak in behind the tent only to find the majority of them are mocking the public as being brainwashed, unintelligent, and misinformed.

    That's not our society, Mr. President. It never was, it never will be. There are many people including myself that can see right through the tricks and if you want your administration to be seen as the transparent, good-willed men of change, then you will oppose ACTA and its backwards, draconian restrictions to a society that's bursting at the seams with cooperation and forward looking views of what a globally connected world can be.

    ACTA isn't change, it's backwards dealings.


    Michael Eugene Burchett II

  • Could Gizmodo's iPhone Scoop Settle Whether Bloggers Count As Journalists?

    Michael ( profile ), 26 Apr, 2010 @ 03:29pm

    Re: The phone wasn't stolen.

    I was unaware that California has a law against keeping found stuff, which seems extremely vague and circumstantial to me. Who's to say that the bar owner doesn't keep the phone for themselves or if they turned it into the police, that the government doesn't keep it?

    Why does the government get to keep it if that's the case?Why is it not alright to keep the object in question if there was no reasonable way for you to return it, given there were no identifying markings and the people you contacted to give it back to basically ignored your claims.

  • Could Gizmodo's iPhone Scoop Settle Whether Bloggers Count As Journalists?

    Michael ( profile ), 26 Apr, 2010 @ 03:24pm

    The phone wasn't stolen.

    That's going to be the crux of this whole thing. Proving if it was actually stolen or not. Regardless of whether he's a reporter or not, they're going to have to get over that hurdle first.

    The phone was simply left by the engineer, on accident. The person who found it had reasonably attempted to contact Apple and figure out who left it behind. They couldn't find the engineer, Apple refused to believe the person when they tried to give it back. Finders, keepers in this case.

  • Former Sun CEO: Tech Companies Suing Over Patents Is An Act Of Desperation

    Michael ( profile ), 10 Mar, 2010 @ 04:37pm

    Seems to me there is a reflection of this desperation going on in the App store as well.

    The App store apps are getting all cleaned up and pushed to be more focused within in their respective categories, but the problem with that is exactly what's being predicted would happen. Developers are going away from the App store and looking for other platforms where apps aren't always being scrutinized and cut from the revenue stream if they aren't deemed worthy in the eyes of Apple.

    I can see why Apple has taken this position, which is to clean up the ridiculous amounts of worthlessness in the App store. Though the problem with this position is that the App store is being given too much power as a "one stop shop" and not enough social interaction with the apps themselves. I'm going to diverge a little from the topic at hand to explain what I mean.

    Currently the apps have ratings, but ratings often mean nothing since apps, even good apps, are being rated into oblivion or stuck at the forever mediocre position of a three star nothing. Primary reason why is because every time somebody deletes an app, they are asked to rate it on their phone. Cool idea, but absurdly useless.

    Why would I delete an app that I love? How many people rate an app that they love? They don't. They use the app, which is a testament to its popularity and usefulness. Essentially, ratings are pointless unless all apps get rated. Not all apps will be rated, which means that not all of them are getting the kudos they deserve. Don't get me wrong, apps are still rated and they still have many apps that are closer to four or five stars, but that's because of people who put in the effort to rate the apps.

    Then there are the comments. They are basically akin to drudging through youtube comments, except on your phone, on Apple's own commentary platform. This is aggravating because the comments can be very useful when someone puts in the time to comment. There is no way to push these comments up so that people can quickly view them and make a decision on whether they want an app or not. The whole App store system is a huge mess that needs to be fixed.

    Which brings me to the point. The app store needs to be fixed, yet Apple's way of fixing it is not the way to do it. A stronger social and open app policy is how it's going to get better, not forcing out applications and thus, developers from their platform. Likewise, Apple's problem with other companies encroaching on its territory isn't going to be fixed by strong-arming the competition with ridiculous litigation marches on another company's success.

    It means Apple's focus is becoming a huge mess and it needs to clean it up. Primary example is the iPad. An entirely obvious product that was destined for launch as soon as everyone laid eyes on the iPhone. I predict that the App store will be completely irrelevant on the iPad after web apps become the primary source for everyone's day-to-day needs. Watch for Apple to block webapps from Google and MS when this happens.

    It all comes back to Apple and their love for control over the entire Apple ecosystem. How OS X users have gotten away with so much for so long seems stupefying to me considering how hard Apple worked to lock users in. It won't work this time. No matter how clean Apple wants things, people don't work that way, even their own die-hards.

    When something else works better, people will use it. Locking people into using only what Apple blesses to be the right way is asking for trouble in the long run. It's the same thing content companies are facing, the same thing horse and buggy companies faced, the same thing that all companies that rely on lock-in to fuel their business model will face.

    End tangent.

  • Company Decides To Run For Congress

    Michael ( profile ), 04 Feb, 2010 @ 04:53pm

    Oh that's nice. When this does become a reality, it'll be nice to see the news when entire corporations are taken into custody for alleged rapes and extortion of other innocent companies. Perhaps they'll take retreats out into the mountains to clear their heads as well.

  • AT&T's Bait And Switch On iPhone Unlimited Service: We Screwed Up, So Now You Have To Pay More

    Michael ( profile ), 10 Dec, 2009 @ 05:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: I called it.

    Apple signed a contract with AT&T at which time was the only only provider that would go with Apple and that was sufficient enough to handle the future growth of the iPhone, in Apple's eyes. So they didn't have much of a choice, as Verizon basically laughed in their faces at the very idea that none of the phone's features could be controlled by Verizon.

    While Apple makes retardedly frustrating decisions, this was not one that had much involvement by them, I'm certain. In fact, that would be a really poor move on their part as this decision is going to put a serious dent in iPhone sales growth and their app store. Which is probably why there are a lot of rumors flying that Apple and Verizon are going to team up.

    How in the hell do these things devolve into Mac vs PC debates? This story briefly mentions the iPhone being the leading cause of data use on AT&T's network, but has everything to do with AT&T's ridiculous policy changes. Can we not get past that phase? They're practically the same thing anymore.

  • Lily Allen: It's Ok To Sell My Counterfeit CDs, Just Don't Give My Music For Free

    Michael ( profile ), 21 Nov, 2009 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Another point of view...

    The struggling artist is only struggling if the music they create is unenjoyable or they don't take the time to offer more to the listener to help support the artist and if that's the case, why do they deserve money from the listener?.

    What Lilly Allen is doing is mistaking value as money. Again, this is pointed out on Techdirt a lot. Value is not money and vice versa. Value is value, something that a person determines for themselves.

    When she says that people should be paying for burned CDs, even if the artist is not getting anything out of it, she's essentially saying that the work of the artist isn't nearly as valuable as either the medium in which the work is transferred or the money exchanged for that work, yet she's claiming that the opposite is true. That can't be true, because if the value is that important to her, then she would forego selling CDs altogether and just play for free, hand out her music for free, basically doing everything for free because the value of her art is, as she wants us to believe, the most important aspect. Not the money.

    If I am an artist and I don't want people to buy counterfeit goods, then I should offer the goods freely where possible so that people can evaluate the work I've done and would want to actually purchase other things that I offer that can't be easily counterfeited or the cost of the items are priced in accordance to their value, allowing people to easily make purchase decisions. This includes cds, t-shirts, hats, posters, and all the usual items. Though it's just as important to be creative with what you're selling as it is with your work. So pin-striped red paint jobs on toaster ovens that normally would cost very little but because the artist had a hand in the creation, will cost a lot just because the value has risen from that artists' interaction with said toaster ovens.

  • Apple Tries To Patent Annoying People With Intrusive Advertising That Requires Attention

    Michael ( profile ), 16 Nov, 2009 @ 10:04am


    Agreed. I actually hope that Apple IS granted the patent because this kind of advertising is not at all Apple's style and would probably use the patent to fight against the growing interest other companies seem to have in pissing off customers with stupid intrusive advertising that doesn't work.

  • Thom Yorke Dissing The Album Format Doesn't Mean 'Free' Business Models Don't Work

    Michael ( profile ), 13 Aug, 2009 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re:

    What makes you think they've stopped? They have lives and are living them. I don't know what goes on in Trent Reznor's head, but I'm certain there are no lack of ideas. Further, why do you think you can read an artist's or anyone else's mind because of what they have (or haven't) done recently? I went out and bought just one banana today, that must mean I have an affinity for one banana a day and that's what I'll stick with in the future. No, that's just silly, who thinks that? Tomorrow, it may be two, or three, or none.. or a peach instead.

    Artists tend to do things that are out of the norm, which doesn't mean they're going to just produce and produce so consumers can enjoy more and more. Sometimes ideas take a long time, sometimes not. If they don't put out an album a year, or even make a song, doesn't mean everything has come to a complete halt and music and the bands we love are dead. Further, is it not possible they are working on things behind the scenes, away from prying eyes?

  • Thom Yorke Dissing The Album Format Doesn't Mean 'Free' Business Models Don't Work

    Michael ( profile ), 13 Aug, 2009 @ 11:02am

    Re: Leave them under the bridge...

    Someone here once said that trolls keep the conversation alive. As useless as they are, they often bring people into the conversation that might not otherwise provided any feedback. Those people may have some useful insight that helps others understand the debate better.

  • The Fact That A Credit Card Is Patented Is A Selling Point?

    Michael ( profile ), 22 Jul, 2009 @ 05:46pm


    While newsworthy blog posts are nice, this is still a blog. Sometimes things are said just to be said and not analyzed.

    I want a platinum glazed card, personally. If they're going to sell me the idea that platinum is the best, then why the hell is the card cheap ass plastic? I'm paying their asses good money, I want a REAL platinum card.

  • MySpace: That Great Club Everyone Used To Go To

    Michael ( profile ), 19 Jun, 2009 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re:

    You missed his point. It isn't because grandma is on Facebook, it's because Facebook isn't giving any solid reason for people looking for new, innovative ways to make their online experience more convenient, to stay. When those people leave, it drives down the popularity of the site overall, eventually leading to its collapse, and then only the grandmas are left.

    Grandmas on Facebook are a sign that the site has hit critical mass and the developers really need to keep an eye out for ways to improve the experience, otherwise they risk eventual obscurity.

    People moved away from MySpace to Facebook because Facebook allowed anybody to join, eventually. The applications on Facebook were probably a decent idea to attract people, but they aren't going to keep people. MySpace didn't offer that, and the experience ended up becoming so terrifyingly awful that it was beyond usefulness and just plain annoying. Facebook offered a cleaner alternative that was somewhat customizable and worked usually pretty well. However, that's not innovative, that's just being an alternative.

    Google is innovative. If Google Wave works as planned, that may very well be the "end all, be all" of social networking, and others will strive to be that. Considering that Gmail is everywhere now, and Google has convinced many to use it as their sole source for email, Google has a definite edge up on the competition when Wave is introduced. Facebook is trying, however, by being the one-stop login for many popular websites now.

    That's cool, but they're going to need to be more if they're going to keep people around for long. They're going to have to be a one-stop login for everything if they're going to compete in the future. Wave will be that.

  • Did No One At eMusic Think About PR Impact Of Raising Prices At The Same Time Sony Signed?

    Michael ( profile ), 03 Jun, 2009 @ 08:51am

    Re: Wha?

    I'd rather pay for music if it was in the form of a service that has absolutely no limits and is very easy to use and has features that are useful and innovative. I'd really rather not have to put up with questionable quality and the pain of searching out music elsewhere for free that could be had inexpensively all in one place with no limits to where and how I transfer the music.

    Hell, if I never had to download music ever again except to my portable device (which must also be without limitations), then I would have zero complaints about paying for it. I'd even put up with advertising if it was relevant to what I'm looking for, such as band t-shirts, box sets, concert tickets/dates, etc.

    I'm optimistic that we're headed that direction and iTunes will probably make that the popular method of media distribution, though I'm not so optimistic about the major labels and their cooperation in all this. I'm afraid they, with the plethora of copyrighted content, are going to die a slow, painful death that will only amount to many forward thinkers that tried to help, giving them a collective "I told you so."

    At this point, if the labels wanted a way to ease the pain and look for a way out of all this, they'd be wise to sell back the rights to the content they hold to the creators at an adjusted, but clearly reasonable rate depending on content popularity. Perhaps even turn that into an incentive, such as selling back the rights through a interest type loan system that offers exceptional services to the creators that allow them to connect to people and other business services without them lifting a finger. They might even make a bit of a profit off that.

    At least they would seem relevant to the artists they're supposed to represent and it would give them time to find a model that will be attractive to new artists. One where artists will actually WANT to sign with the label for their services, while still leaving distribution control of content in the creators' hands. The labels are going to have to learn that their place is now as a service and not as content protectors. Most artists are realizing that they don't want better content protection, but better content distribution.

  • Sony Pictures CEO: The Internet Is Still Bad

    Michael ( profile ), 26 May, 2009 @ 02:33pm

    Re: Re: NFL Analogy

    Though Edison was no saint, either. I guess one could say that Edison got his "just desserts". I find it pretty fantastic that with the advent of the internet age, a man who many people living nowadays have been taught to be this great, almost infallible inventor, has been historically outed as a man of greed and corruption (still genius, no doubt). Yet a man whom many thought history would eventually forget, had been repeatedly taken advantage of, in direct opposition of Edison, said to be the greatest inventor of our time if not all time, Nikola Tesla, is now more popular than ever. How is the internet bad again?

  • Sony Pictures CEO: The Internet Is Still Bad

    Michael ( profile ), 26 May, 2009 @ 02:18pm

    Re: Re:

    Like what? About the only credit he can get is for defending the interests of the company that he works for. However, as we've seen in the past, this is very problematic. The problem is only magnified with the fact being that Sony is the one being defended.

    It's problematic because Sony insists on doing things their way and controlling the entire industry, attempting pull the wool over the public's eyes and claim their position as top dog. It didn't work for them with betamax, isn't working for them with blu-ray, and they've nearly killed the PS3's potential by positioning it as the blu-ray player rather than their next killer game system (which is sad, because it's hands down the most powerful console on the market, but they've insisted on forcing the developers to do all the work rather than give them comprehensive, easy to implement tools like MS and Nintendo for their own platforms).

    Why should this guy's points be taken seriously? It's really difficult for me to swallow an argument that's wholly bent to support the interest of a company who repeatedly makes the same types of mistakes and then points the finger at others as the problem rather than fessing up to those mistakes and creating a better product as a result. I believe Sony and many others had every chance to realize the potential business opportunities but have entirely ruined their chances of ever catching up at this point.

    If Sony doesn't like it, well, they only have themselves to blame. Again.

  • Do We Need A Technology Bill Of Rights? Or Just More Common Sense?

    Michael ( profile ), 20 May, 2009 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: Re: You're wrong, Mikey

    Eh.. doing your homework would mean citing proper material that validates your argument rather than relying on the uncertain word of Wikipedia. Remember, Wikipedia is a good general source of knowledge that can help you narrow your focus on a particular topic, but don't rely on it as a means of determining fact from fiction.

  • The Conversation Is What Matters, From Learning To Journalism And Beyond

    Michael ( profile ), 02 May, 2009 @ 11:25am


    The fact that you recognize the "problem" of name-calling or poor argumentative structure and want to shy away from such things shows that there are people out there with differing opinions of what a proper conversation should entail, leading to better thought or more careful, critical arguments that attempt to not only position their view of the conversation as the better view, but advance conversation to a degree of professionalism that can and should be appreciated by the "expert" journalists.

    Mike's point seems to be saying that journalists are burying their heads into the sand in order to avoid seeing the bigger picture, due to it most likely going against their self-interests. Elitism in journalism is a very big problem and often leads to the sensationalistic, truth stretching news that disregards alternative views and only serves to feed the irrational, often tantalizing presumptions we make about the news. Yet that kind of outrageousness can be countered with debate and discussion, often lending to better fact checking by those who are compelled to know the whole truth of the matter.

    So, in reality, your post directly agrees with Mike's in that the internet and blogging are very valuable conversation and fact checking tools that are far more valuable than one journalist's take on the matter, simply because of people like yourself that see the internet as not the proper means of solid, fact-based arguments and insist on posting 'tldr's that try to make the internet and blogging more like that. Regardless of the large numbers that seem to produce more noise than anything, it's because of the noise that we attain more valuable knowledge as the news, opinions, arguments and what have you can be attacked from many more sides than what one journalist or even a small group of people could ever do.

    So, in short, I guess I should call you an idiot or something so we can continue this lively, informative, value-rich debate. Maybe you can attack my poor use of hyphenation and I can agree with you (dating a snobby english major helped me further my knowledge of the language, but damn if I'll ever understand hyphenation).

  • Music Industry Folks Worried About iTunes Variable Pricing

    Michael ( profile ), 26 Mar, 2009 @ 06:01pm

    Re: Sales will drop, but not all that much

    $30. That's what it would take for me. Thirty dollars. Pretty it up and call it $29.99, $29.95, or Apple's favorite method, $29. I don't care. Simply put, if they want my money, $30 every month for unlimited access to all of iTunes' material. If they want to do a tiered system and offer HD for a premium, fine, whatever. I'll pay $45 a month for that and the standard def. If they want to tier it based on content type, hey, be my guest. I'll pay $25 a month for unlimited access for any one content type, including all HD for that content type.

    That's what it would take. Full, unfettered, unlimited, access to anything I want, including access anywhere I want on my iPhone, with no limits on how I use my phone and who listens to it. I will pay money for that kind of power; the kind of power that makes the experience worth paying for. Don't be greedy, though. $30 is a pretty hefty sum of money for someone that has to make decisions based on the cost of bills during the month.

    I could give a damn if they want to advertise the band I'm listening too's tshirts, CDs, and such. I love Battlestar Galactica, and if they want to advertise the availability of physical copies before or after an episode, that's A-OK. As I see it that's valuable content to me because I don't have to search a separate damn place for something that I would like to own in a physical format.

    I'm really, really tired of putting up with this. I can't listen to my music on someone else's computer with my iPhone, because of whatever ridiculous claims the content companies have made. I've introduced more music to people that would otherwise never have heard of the band through the ability to let someone simply listen to it off my iPod through their computer. I want the freedom to use the content how I see fit, anywhere I see fit, anytime I see fit. I would pay $30 for that.

    I want to copy music from my phone and share it with someone, if there's something that I think they would like to listen to. I'm required to log in to that person's copy of iTunes before I can? Seems like a pain, but what if I never had to login if the other person already pays for an iTunes service account. Holy shit it's easy again.

    I'm required to hook my phone up to my friend's computer via a cable before I can transfer music, well that's a nuisance, but if that person has an iTunes service account, all I would have to do is select the artist and the album on my iPhone and tell it to auto-transfer that content from the iTunes music library to my friend's iTunes library. Good god, it's better than free music from pirate bay, because I never even have to deal with downloading files anymore. They just appear. For me to listen to, whenever, wherever, however the hell I want. That's paying for the experience, not the content. That's how they'll make money. Lots and lots of money.

    $30, that's what I would pay. Not more, certainly less, and by no means grudgingly if it meant that the technology, the companies, and the distribution system left it to me to decide what I do with it all. To date, the total amount of money I've given to iTunes for any content in their store: $0. Which is the better number here? $30 per month, $360 per year.. or $0?

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