Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Are We All Thieves?

Posted by tomwiles at 5:06 PM on July 17, 2011

The history of advancing technology is long littered with accusations of copyright infringement along with charges of outright thievery.

The problem seems to stem from ever-changing definitions of what comprises a song, a performance, or a book. Back in the days when the player piano was invented, musicians themselves seemed to define a song as a live performance. Hence, the spreading invention of mechanical player pianos and reproduced sheet music would somehow destroy music itself.

Of course, what actually happened was that rather than being destroyed, music was promoted and ultimately became more popular.

Music is not the piano rolls, nor is it vinyl records, audiocassettes, or CD’s. These are simply physical transmission mediums. It could also be equally argued that MP3 or other digital file formats are not the actual music either, though they are heavily intertwined.

Can’t we as consumers be honest? How is it that so many of us can think nothing of illegally downloading media, yet wouldn’t think of stealing a physical object without paying for it?

Those who continue to rationalize that it’s “okay” to illegally download copyrighted music, movies and other copyrighted materials are thieves. Would you enjoy having your stuff stolen? Are excuses popping up in your mind why wrong is right and right is wrong? If so, you failed the test. If you have to make an excuse to yourself or anyone else to justify your behavior, you are wrong. If you find yourself the victim of a thief, how can you then turn around and complain? Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?

The solution to the problem is easy. Get what you want by legitimately paying for it. If you don’t want to pay for it, don’t be a thief by stealing it.

On the other hand, if you don’t like the less-than-stellar behavior of certain media-production organizations, the solution is equally easy. Don’t consume their products. Turn them off. Pull the plug. The world won’t come to an end. You will survive. The age we live in is filled to the brim with alternative entertainment and information sources that make it possible to reduce or completely eliminate the need to consume copyrighted material, if that is your wish.

Whose Book is it Anyway

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 4:37 PM on July 17, 2009

Have you looked at your  Amazon  Kindle recently, well if you purchased the book 1984 by Orwell on it, it’s no longer there. That is right, Amazon removed it remotely at the bequest of the publisher. This was first reported by David Pogue of the NY Times in his article  Some E-Books Are More Equal Than Others.  This isn’t a book that people downloaded illegally from bittorent, no they purchased it on the Amazon site legally.  It seems that the publisher of the book decided that they didn’t want to be on the Kindle anymore, so Amazon removed all books by that publisher from the Kindle.  Including those that Kindle owners had already purchased.  Amazon did refund the money, but that is really not the point.    If it had happen to me I would feel like I had been violated and my house had been broken into.  I think that Amazon is too willing to give into the publishers, and that this will hurt them in the long run.

The question this brings up is who really owns an electronic book or any book for that matter.   Many authors and publishers would say that they own the rights to their works,  and that they should decide what the consumer can and can’t do with their works.   Most consumer on the other hand believe that once they buy a book it is theirs to do as they please. They can lend it to a friend, sell it at a used book store, give it to charity etc.  However if you brought that same book on a Kindle, there  is no mechanism to lend it to a friend or to sell it. There is certainly no reason technologically speaking that sharing couldn’t be allowed. The reason it is not is that the publisher don’t want it, they are afraid of loosing money and control. Most people accept this as a limitation of the Kindle, and are willing to live with it.  However, I  doubt  that most consumer, think that the publisher’s right should extend to them having the right to remove a book that the consumer brought legally.  Whether the publisher has their work on the Kindle is up to them, just as they have the right choose which brick and mortar bookstore they sell it  at.   Therefore they have the right to remove their books  from the Kindle  store just as they would from a brick and mortar store.   That is where  their rights should end though, they should not have the right to take that book from me once I brought it. Whether I purchased the book electronically or  in the real world.   However, the rights of consumers, publishers, and authors have not been fully determined in the digital age.   It may take years  for the law to catchup with the technology.  In the mean time though it maybe a good idea to keep that real world copy of your favorite book, just in case.  Clearly this will not be the last time a situation like this comes up.

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Vista totally controls your content!

Posted by todd at 1:07 PM on November 29, 2006

A revelation at a recent Electronics House Expo is making my blood boil. Apparently Microsoft has decided to once again to kick consumers to the curb in restricting your ability to use and distribute content you are paying for.

This issues revolves around the ability of being able to use a CableCard with Vista for those of you that were looking forward to pushing recorded TV content to other PC’s within your homes will not be able to. In an even more shocking development even though Microsoft bowed to the cable industry on this and threw consumers under a bus. They were able to make provisions to be able to send recorded data to a Xbox 360.

It is rumored that those devices that are aka certified as media extenders by Microsoft will be able to be granted download rights as the Xbox 360 does but for now if you want to push videos to other computers in your home you will be restricted from doing this.

This also means pushing that recorded content to a portable media player will be restricted as well. There is no doubt in my mind that Microsoft and all the other big players are so deep in the media industries pockets that consumer rights will continue to be eroded to the point where we will have to ask permission someday to turn a TV on.

With the restrictions CableLabs has placed on vendors, and the cable companies demanding control not to mention how the DMCA has been abused to the loss of consumers it’s surprising that anything even works. [ArsTechnica]

Apple Stock Holder Nightmare OS X on regular PC’s

Posted by todd at 5:29 PM on February 18, 2006

Let’s face the facts it is early in the game and people are already getting OS X running on regular PC’s that normally run Windows. It is such a nightmare for Apple that they have their lawyers serving DMCA notices to anyone that links to sites that show how to do it or even discusses it. They are demanding site take downs and legal notices are flying.

Guess what Apple I have no sympathy, for years you have charged consumers a premium for your computers and had people locked in. People like choices and you have to face the fact that your decision to move to Intel based chips is opening the door for people to run OS X on computers that used to be reserved for Windows and Linux. [ZDNet]

If manufactures were smart they would insure that they made it easy for people to do this. They don’t have to break the law to introduce feature sets on their computers that run better when run on OS X

Xbox Moder’s Face Prison Time

Posted by geeknews at 4:24 PM on December 20, 2005

Having traveled all over the world I can say that I have been in plenty of stores that sell mod kits for game consoles. Not being a gamer I never really paid much attention but based on the amount of traffic these main street stores were doing I would say a lot of people on vacation come looking for mod chips.

What I did not realize is that gaming consoles were being modified here in the United States, guess I should not be that surprised as some people love playing games and do not have the $50.00 to pay for each game so instead shell out between $250.00 and $500.00 and have their consoles modified to play games that have been ripped hacked and loaded on large hard-drives.

It appears the feds took down one shop that was modifying Xbox consoles. The curious thing is that they defendants claimed that Xbox 360 mod chips would be available within two weeks of release if this claim is true that would be pretty amazing. [TechWeb]

WIPO Treaty!

Posted by geeknews at 1:38 AM on September 21, 2005

I found some information tonight that made my mouth fall open in disbelief. I have been hammering away at you folks for a while on Fair Use and talking about the evils of the DMCA. Little did I realize the extent to which companies are pushing agendas forward to take us back to the stone ages.

Thanks to Doc Searls for the links to these two sites and the proposed treaty. I think you will understand the ramifications once you get through the materials.

WIPO Treaty for the Protection of the Rights of Broadcasting, Cablecasting and Webcasting Organizations. More details and analysis!

Intel Executive tells Congress how he broke the Law!

Posted by geeknews at 3:12 PM on June 21, 2005

You know I am a very vocal proponent of Fair Use, but because organizations like the MPAA and RIAA have their lawyers hiding in alleyways waiting to slap and injunction on every citizen of this country that does not use the media we buy from stores exactly how they tell us to. I am at the point were I just will not support those industries that stifle fair use.

But it is nice to hear that even the corporate executives are banging their heads against the wall when it comes to trying to stay in compliance with that ugly four letter abbreviation known as the DMCA.

How many times have you broken the law according to the DMCA today. [Darknet]