Friday, July 06, 2012

Copyrights of the worst kind

Software patents aside, some of the copyright laws and enforcements make me cringe. In this age, lawyers, litigators and corporates (read RIAA, MPAA etc) are the dinosaurs. Slow, challenged and unresponsive to the changes brought about by the digital age, they try to push through draconian legislations (SOPA, ACTA, PIPA and what not) to save their fiefdom and try to continue milking the cow as much as they can while the cows are too dumb to vote with their wallet. [Tweet: Mega will be back - by @KimDotcom].

While I shall gladly pay for my movies, I am not willing to go to a theatre to watch it. Even if it is 3D. Get Netflix (or other streaming service) in India (I'm not even here for long. Going to a place with netflix :P) and release it on the internet, where I can watch it from the comfort of my home. I am not the only one to share this opinion. Why?

[I pulled up this old article (even back from 2005):
While the theatre revenues decline, MPAA is itching to correlate this to piracy.] (a google search for cinema attendance throws numerous relevant, recent results which one can peruse)

  1. Social factors eroding theater environment (talking, cell phones, babies crying, etc.);  
  2. Sacrificing long term relationships with theater-goers for the increase in short term profitability (commercials, no ushers, etc.); 
  3. Higher quality experience elsewhere (Home theater);
  4. Declining quality of mainstream movies;
  5. Easily available Long Tail content alternatives (Netflix, Amazon);
  6. Price;
  7. Demographics: Aging babyboomers simply go out to movies less.
I can easily add to that. I watch movies without planning much in advance- when I take a break from work. And sometimes, I don't watch it at a stretch. I like to recline on a bean bag and get whatever I want to eat.

The hassle of going to the theatres is simply not worth the experience! At the same time, I do not want to wait for the DVD or streaming release.

What happened when the Dinosaurs tried to block thePirateBay in Europe? Torrent usage stayed the same or increased!
While it is well known that any kind of publicity is good, they must understand the users who power and use torrents. They are probably smarter than any of the IT admins that work for them, and I quote the article. Internet denizens are a lot more savvy (proxies, VPNs, etc.) than the MPAA and co give them credit for.

 It is awfully easy to circumvent the blockade.

Whereas online  music comes out in a more digestible format quite early, only now the issues with porting music across devices is being worked out, where throwing a device away doesn't necessarily mean getting rid of music as well.

I can also see that the music industry easily makes revenues out of people who download illegally! I know a lot of people who download illegally, become fans and then go to every concert when the band plays nearby. All this wouldn't have been possible if not for file sharing, especially in developing countries. 200 for an album or 3000 for a concert? You prefer MPAA! (I know I am making a skewed comparison, but I am sure loss of revenue due to file sharing is easily compensated by increased concert revenues due to file sharing. I am unable to get data on this, but would love to study this).

I so wish I could just get into the industry and make revolutionary changes (Easier said than done, I know).

How far can the lawyers protect the dinosaurs? Change is coming, and you do not want to be in the situation of RIM/Nokia/Big 4 Automakers where you need to reinvent to survive.

The voyager is about to reach interstellar space soon, and lawyers (most of whom have questionable intelligence) extend copyrights to deep space. What ever happened to bringing about enforceable and non-moronic legislations for the public good of mankind.

Of course, we expect copyrights to still be in place light years ahead don't we (*internally forming an opinion that lawyers and legislators not only know tech, but basic physics/astronomy*).

Here are some of the ripe slashdot comments (incidentally, /. commenters have higher IQ than lawyers):

  •  This was a brilliant plan to spur on space innovation in the private sector by encouraging the copyright cartels to sue any alien civilization that dared play the record in public. No matter how many light years away the alien race may be, we can be assured that the copyrights will still be in force by the time voyager reaches them.
  • Absolutely. Everyone would stop writing music, filming movies without the certain knowledge that alien civilizations with have to pay full retail for 'Star Trek: First Contact' for the next 100 or so years.
  • The brilliance of the plan is that by the time the Earth lawyers find out that the Klingons have been listening to our music, a couple of centuries will have past (with the speed of light and the size of our galaxy and all). Imagine the calculations for the lost revenues. :-)
  • Aliens to us after we send them a copyright infringement notice:
    Thank you for your information. Our clients hold the universal copyright on RNA and DNA replication technology. This letter is official notification under Section A484615(d) of the Universal Millennium Copyright Act (”UMCA”), and we seek the removal of the aforementioned infringing material from your planet. I request that you immediately notify the infringers of this notice and inform them of their duty to remove the infringing material immediately, and notify them to cease any further replication of DNA or RNA on your planet in the future.
    An enforcement detail will arrive in your system in one week to ensure compliance.
    Thank you.
And we still wonder why lawyers are the butt of innumerable jokes.

Afterthought: If Steve jobs was CEO of Ford, he would be suing other car makers for copying his steering wheel (*cough slide to unlock cough*). And some sane judges would then deny such "obvious" patents. Apple would then say "We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours", While their entire foundation is built upon stealing right from the start. (Want Hints? Here is Apple research website: ;) ).