The five most important words in the computer industry

What are the five most important words in the computer industry?

  1. What
  2. Are
  3. Your
  4. Latest
  5. Warez?

The luddites are at it again. Sith Lord Mandelson says:

Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, warned internet users today that the days of “consequence-free” illegal filesharing are over as he unveiled the government’s plan for cracking down on online piracy.

The real question is WHAT consequences. Everyone who has read the very enlightening academic work ‘Against Intellectual Monopoly’ knows:

  • File sharing is not theft
  • Patents retard progress
  • Copyright hurts society

These are not assertions, but are provable facts.

The consequences of this ill considered legislation will be that people’s connections will be temporarily disrupted whilst doing absolutely nothing to stop the flow of files across the internets.

Anyone who knows anything about computers or file-sharing or the decades old, bigger than ever, Warez scene knows this.

Mandelson, speaking at the government’s digital creative industries conference, C&binet, confirmed that the internet connections of persistent offenders could be blocked – but only as a last resort – from the summer of 2011.

He added that a “legislate and enforce” strategy was the only way to protect the intellectual property rights of content producers.

This is of course, a lie.

The intellectual property rights of content producers are not violated by people who makes copies of files with their computers, any more than sharing a light from a candle diminishes the light of the person who owns the first lit wick:

“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation.”

Thomas Jefferson

What people copy when they share files are not physical objects, but ideas. Every file is a unique number, and nothing more. It is a representation of an idea, and when you copy it, you merely recite that number using a machine, allowing another machine to listen to it and ‘write it down’ for you. Nothing is lost when this happens. Nothing is ‘stolen’ and in fact, filesharing improves the condition of man and it also benefits the people who made the first copy. The question is how are the people who made the first copy going to be able to make a living out of doing it. Many people have ideas.

Lets be clear; you sharing a file that you got from someone is in every way legitimate if two people are sharing files consensually. If however, someone hacks into a computer in a studio and then shares files that are not released, that REALLY IS stealing, since the owners of those copies had not released them to anyone. Once you get a copy of a record, tape, CD or file, and the transfer to you was legitimate, i.e. did not involve violating someones consent to give it to you, those copies are YOUR copies, and you can do whatever you want with them and no part of that is immoral, including selling those copies.

Against Intellectual Monopoly goes into how this is so in detail; see in while you are at it, the section on the report of the 911 commission, and how that work made a fortune for the publisher who printed copies of it, despite there being no copyright on it.

And speaking of ‘Terrorism’ we all remember how the pathetic, discredited, whorish, corrupt and bias soaked BBC shamelessly and stupidly tried to equate Bittorrent with terrorism and the omni-present Paedophile threat, climbing down later with the statement:

First though, an apology. File sharing is not theft. It has never been theft. Anyone who says it is theft is wrong and has unthinkingly absorbed too many Recording Industry Association of America press releases. We know that script line was wrong. It was a mistake. We’re very, very sorry.

[…]

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/4758636.stm

I wonder how they are going to spin this Mandelson mandate that says filesharing IS theft.

But I digress.

The strategy, which will be officially set out in the government’s digital economy bill in late November, will involve a staged process of warning notifications with internet suspension as a last resort.

The vast majority of people in the country share files. This is the reality (and its not new; people copied cassettes before the internets), and it is an entirely good thing. The only way that you will be able to stop it is by shutting off or crippling the internet. The damage that a crippled internet will do to human progress will be incalculable.

The story of James Watt and his steam engine patent as recalled in Against Intellectual Monopoly is informative:

In the specific case of Watt, the granting of the 1769 and especially of the 1775 patents likely delayed the mass adoption of the steam engine: innovation was stifled until his patents expired; and few steam engines were built during the period of Watt’s legal monopoly. From the number of innovations that occurred immediately after the expiration of the patent, it appears that Watt’s competitors simply waited until then before releasing their own innovations. This should not surprise us: new steam engines, no matter how much better than Watt’s, had to use the idea of a separate condenser. Because the 1775 patent provided Boulton and Watt with a monopoly over that idea, plentiful other improvements of great social and economic value could not be implemented. By the same token, until 1794 Boulton and Watt’s engines were less efficient they could have been because the Pickard’s patent prevented anyone else from using, and improving, the idea of combining a crank with a flywheel.

Also, we see that Watt’s inventive skills were badly allocated: we find him spending more time engaged in legal action to establish and preserve his monopoly than he did in the actual improvement and production of his engine. From a strictly economic point of view Watt did not need such a long-lasting patent — it is estimated that by 1783 — seventeen years before his patent expired — his enterprise had already broken even. Indeed, even after their patent expired, Boulton and Watt were able to maintain a substantial premium over the market by virtue of having been first, despite the fact that their competitors had had thirty years to learn how to make steam engines.

The wasteful effort to suppress competition and obtain special privileges is referred to by economists as rent-seeking behavior. History and common sense show it to be a poisoned fruit of legal monopoly. Watt’s attempt to extend the duration of his 1769 patent is an especially egregious example of rent seeking: the patent extension was clearly unnecessary to provide incentive for the original invention, which had already taken place. On top of this, we see Watt using patents as a tool to suppress innovation by his competitors, such as Hornblower, Wasborough and others. Hornblower’s engine is a perfect case in point: it was a substantial improvement over Watt’s as it introduced the new concept of the “compound engine” with more than one cylinder. This, and not the Boulton and Watt design, was the basis for further steam-engine development after their patents expired. However, because Hornblower built on the earlier work of Watt, making use of his “separate condenser” Boulton and Watt were able to block him in court and effectively put an end to steam-engine development.

[…]

http://mises.org/story/3280

This chapter of Against Intellectual Monopoly goes on to describe how the rate of increase in efficiency of steam engines in the years of Watts patent was low compared to what happened after his patents expired; the rate of increase in efficiency shot up spectacularly when people were free to incorporate his ideas into their designs. Society benefited from these new machines, and Watt’s business was not harmed in any way.

It is abundantly clear that if the reason why copyrights and patents exist is to benefit society, then they should be abolished, since everyone is better off without them. This is not an opinion, but is a fact based on research.

“It must become clear that the days of consequence-free widespread online infringement are over,” Mandelson said. “Technical measures will be a last resort and I have no expectation of mass suspensions resulting.”

There is no technical measure that can be implemented without fatally crippling the internet itself. If the goal is to reduce the internet to a Minitel level service, then this imbecile will succeed.

Even if it is not reduced to that level, the artificially and unnecessarily increased cost of access to the internet will have a distorting effect, as will the shifting of scarce resources inside every ISP, as they are turned from being service providers to police men for the monopolists.

Think about it. No one will be able to update their computers; the files for some updates can be 100meg. YouTube will be off limits, as watching to much of it will flag you. Unless they are going to sniff all of your traffic to see wether or not it is infringing, they cannot possibly cut people off for downloading ‘too much’. In any case, if you want to copy the contents of a CD, that is only 65megs, which is nothing in the days of broadband. A movie is 750meg, once again, nothing. This whole plan is absurd on every level, but most importantly, it is an immoral, culturally damaging plan that will retard the progress of everyone who uses the internet.

The legislation is expected to come into force in April next year.

Like so many other pieces of legislation, this one too will be totally ignored.

The effectiveness of the warning letters to persistent illegal filesharers will be monitored for the first 12 months. If illegal filesharing has not dropped by 70% by April 2011, then cutting off people’s internet connections could be introduced three months later, from the summer of that year.

Amazing. There is no evidence that downloading movies and music impacts on the sales of tickets or CDs.

Remember FOX’s film ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ that had a work print released onto the internets?

Lets look at the numbers for this movie:

Domestic Total Gross: $179,883,157
Distributor: Fox Release Date: May 1, 2009
Genre: Action / AdventureRunning Time: 1 hrs. 47 min.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 Production Budget: $150,000,000

[…]

http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=daily&id=wolverine.htm

They made all their money back and more. Clearly these creative people were compensated despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of people downloaded that work print.

What about ‘The Hulk’, which also had a work print leaked:

Theatrical Performance
Total US Gross $134,806,913
International Gross $128,542,344
Worldwide Gross $263,349,257
Home Market Performance
US DVD Sales: $58,230,676 Weekly Breakdown
Production Budget $137,500,000

http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2008/HULK2.php

That movie also was widely available on the internets, and yet, it made a huge amount of money.

There are now, suspiciously, many work prints available on teh inernets. The fact of the matter is that these studios know that leaked copies of movies have no effect on DVD and ticket sales, and might actually increase the two if the film is any good. And who, whilst in production, thinks they are working on a lemon?

Finally, for the biggest example of all, ‘Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith’, which was leaked days before its release:

Domestic Total Gross: $380,270,577
Distributor: Fox Release Date: May 19, 2005
Genre: Sci-Fi Fantasy Running Time: 2 hrs. 26 min.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 Production Budget: $113,000,000

[…]

http://boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=starwars3.htm

That is a healthy profit, and of course, every Star Wars film is being actively shared every day, with no effect on the bottom line of LucasFilm. Once again, these leaks if they came from theft were immoral acts. This has nothing to do with the correctness of people who share legitimately obtained copies of works.

Are you starting to get the picture? Filesharing does not harm the bottom line of companies that are offering something that people want.

“If we reach the point of suspension for an individual, they will be informed in advance, having previously received two notifications – and will have the opportunity to appeal,” Mandelson added. “The British government’s view is that taking people’s work without due payment is wrong and that, as an economy based on creativity, we cannot sit back and do nothing as this happens.”

An economy based on creativity? The internet is the one of the most efficient ways that that creativity can be spread all over the world. By crippling it, Mandelson will be breaking the legs of this ‘economy based on creativity’.

Mandelson said that the strategy was a “proportionate measure that will give people ample awareness and opportunity to stop breaking the rules”. “The threat for persistent individuals is, and has to be, real, or no effective deterrent to breaking the law will be in place,” he added.

It is clear that ‘the rules’ serve only a handful of people and not the majority of people. Those made up, illogical rules that he claims are being broken are in fact, the thing that will push back the emergence of a culture never before seen by mankind, where fortunes beyond avarice will be made, everyone will be free to share and knowledge and good will spread everywhere.

Of course, this is precisely what Mandelson is against. These people are the snuffers out of light. They are for darkness, ignorance and are opposed to every natural instinct that man has.

They will be defeated. Just as Watts patents expired and steam engine efficiency shot up, Mandelson, Geffen and the monopolists will eventually be destroyed. Linux is destroying Microsoft Windows. Android is destroying Symbian. Human beings are not designed to live in chains as slaves, and they will do anything to get out of them. The question here is wether or not Mandelson and co will succeed in retarding progress like Watt did.

There would be a “proper route of appeal” for those that do have their internet accounts suspended, Mandelson said. He added that he did not want to see internet service providers “unfairly burdened” by the new system.

“ISPs and rights-holders will share the costs, on the basis of a flat fee that will allow both sides to budget and plan,” he said.

ISPs want nothing to do with any of this. They provide your connection, what you do with it is your business. BT is not responsible for the content of your phone calls, so why should ISPs be responsible in any way for what websites you look at or the files you transfer?

The staged roll-out of the strategy will see Ofcom assess the effectiveness of the warning notification system on cutting illegal filesharing, backed by the threat of legal action by rights holders and content companies, in about April 2011.

If the 70% reduction is not achieved the use of technical measures to cut off persistent offenders’ web access will be introduced by about July 2011.

[…]

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/oct/28/mandelson-date-blocking-filesharers-connections

How are they going to measure this number? Where did this number come from? These are the missing pieces of this article. But this should come as no surprise, since The Grauniad is a 100% Kool-Aid drinking anti-progress copyrights and patents promoter.

Anyone who knows anything about this knows that ‘piracy’ is good for business and the consumer. Tentatively, the people who make software have embraced superdistribution in the form of shareware and crippleware; the more copies you have in circulation, the more likely it is you are going to make money, either from donations or by someone making commercial use of your work.

Remember CoolEdit? That was a free sound editing application that you could download, that was very useful. Some people bought licenses for it, the majority did not. In the end, the people who wrote it sold it to Adobe for a very large sum of money. 16.5 million dollars in fact.

The shareware world demonstrates that people when left to their own devices will find out ways to make money off of their work. What Mandelson is doing is protecting the interests of people who do not have the imagination or means to adapt to the new conditions of business. In effect, they are like Watt going to parliament to ask that his patents be extended. In fact, Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act is an example of this happening successfully.

The question you have to ask is this; are you going to allow these small minded, computer illiterate, venal, nasty monopolists to cripple arguably the greatest invention that man has created to date? Are you going to allow them to retard the flowering of human knowledge and interaction that has literally changed the world?

Once again, it is up to business to grow a pair of balls and say that they are not going to take responsibility for the actions of the people they provide a connection to. If they do not, first they will be forced to police ‘piracy’ then they will be forced to police everything else the government does not like meaning speech.

Either way, even if the rise of the internet era of man is retarded by thirty years, it will come to pass, and scum like Mandelson will be swept away. They will be remembered as wreckers of civilisation, the new luddites, idiots, men without vision and the servants of monopolists.

And everyone will be able to look it up on the free internet.

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