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Posted on Techdirt - 17 March 2012 @ 12:00pm

Tim K's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

Normally I try to avoid writing, which was one of the benefits of going into computer science. However, I figured I’d give it a go for this week’s favorite posts article. So first off, I wanted to start out with the post from Leigh bringing our attention to the great clip of Rob Reid. Rob does a great job of illustrating how ridiculous the numbers are that Hollywood uses in their attempts to justify their actions. They continue to show that facts and logic have no place in their world as they keep coming up with new ways for consumers to jump through hoops to get their content. We aren’t asking them to come up with new ways to deliver the content. All that work has been done for them, they just need to actually start embracing it instead of trying to use QR codes to get people to buy physical discs or making people drive to a store and pay for the ‘privilege’ of a (more than likely DRM-riddled) digital copy.

This week really had a lot of stories highlighting just how full of themselves the *AAs are, as another story by Mike discussed their claims that without the brilliant gatekeepers there would be no content that people actually wanted. Aside from the fact that they don’t actually make the content, I’m pretty sure there are many people on Kickstarter who would disagree with that. Tim Schafer being the most well known with his project ending with a massive $3.3 million dollar funding, which was more than 800% of the goal, for a game that those gatekeepers claimed people wouldn’t want. And there are tons of other examples of musicians from Kickstarter and BandCamp, and I’m sure elsewhere who were successfully funded without the help of those gatekeepers.

There were two posts in particular this week that I thought the authors of the original stories did a great job of showing how they must think the public is completely stupid, because I do not see how they could possibly believe what they are trying to get us to believe. First was the article by Tim about the Author’s Guild Boss On E-Book Price Fixing Allegations. He tries to describe how amazing Apple is because with Apple “publishers would make less money on every e-book they sold,” and there would also be “lower royalties for authors.” Yet, despite both of them making less money, the consumers end up paying more money. I can not see how someone can combine those statements into an argument for how Apple is the savior of authors. The second article was another by Mike that a lot of people thought was a bit lengthy, but as Mike noted, was a great point by point debunking of ridiculous claims. Again, I don’t understand how people can believe some of their own arguments, let alone try and convince the public of these laughable statements. It does do a few good things though: it shows the world how much this guy doesn’t understand the way things work today, it provides a nice single convenient location of debunked ‘logic’ for easy reference, and one can hope that it could lead him to getting fired, so there is one less luddite in charge.

Of course I cannot leave out the wildly popular article by Mike about how copying still isn’t stealing. People seem to ignore the fact that we have different words for a reason. An important reason for the distinction between copying and stealing is so that people cannot make the ridiculous false analogy that Logan made about breaking into a place and stealing a painting versus downloading something from the internet. I’m sorry if you don’t understand very basic concepts such as words having definitions and not meaning whatever you think they should mean, but everyone should at least be able to see a very clear distinction between the two, and they should never be used in an attempt to equate stealing and copying.

Now onto better stories from this week, where we have the story about Valve doing a great job again with CwF + RtB. I’ve been a fan of Valve since the counter-strike days, which by the way, I never even had to buy the game, or pay for the updates or the maps or anything with that game as it was all free with Half-Life (up until Source). That was a great way to CwF and they did it again with TF2. It’s good to see that while some companies can no longer innovate, Valve is still doing a great job with their games. I have not actually played TF2 myself, but I hope other developers are paying attention to stories like this so that they can learn how to go free-to-play and still make money, or even increase revenue as Valve has done, and do it without hurting the players who do not want to, or cannot afford to, pay.

There were also a couple stories that I enjoyed seeing about people who are actually fighting back and not just giving in to government demands, or taking the money and running, even though that’s what a lot of our representatives seem to be doing. If only our government would learn from us, and from their past mistakes and actually be more transparent as they are supposed to be and as Glyn said, not insult the public they are supposed to represent.

This ended up being a bit longer than I was expecting, but I would like to end with this great article about how India is trying to save lives. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are more concerned with their own pockets then saving lives. It is a little disheartening to read in this article about how, despite this being a very good thing, it will likely come with a lot of opposition. Hopefully, we will all do away with drug patents sometime soon (wishful thinking I’m sure), but for now it’s great to see India grant this compulsory license to get this drug marketed at a significantly lower price than the current $70,000/year!

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