Posts Tagged ‘piracy’

The King Kong Defence and the state of the media nation

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

So the Pirate bay trial is going on in Sweden and I have been listening to the SVT (Swedish Public Television) audio stream of the spectrial for the most of it. And besides my new opinion that the Pirate Bay kids are dicks I’ve came to the following conclusions:

1. The Prosecution must have been on holiday for the last two years, they are completely lost on all technical matters.
2. It’s a shame that PRQ didn’t get the non-pirate bay servers back since it took about one week to confirm witch machines hosted TPB. This effetely led a company into bankruptcy.
3. Peter Althin and Monique Wadsted are the only two lawyers who seem to know their jobs. And since they are on opposing sides we should have some good legal fighting to look forward to.
4. The pirate bay kids are dicks… oh wait I already said that.
5. There is a gap between generations that no side seem interested in passing over to ensure some proper communication.

I also thought that I should say something about the value of a copy.
I own more DVDs then most other people that I know; I also download a lot. In a traditional economic viewpoint a movie that I own is worth as much as a movie that I download. For me, on a personal level this is far from the truth.
The DVD’s have three kinds of value while the downloaded things only have one. When I download a film the production of the copy that this whole legal matter concerns is of no interest to me, I have no use of storing films on my external hard drive but I need to keep the information somewhere. I download to experience the film in question and then delete it, unless it’s a rare film, most often documentaries that wont be for sale or that will cost far more then I can afford to pay for them. The DVD’s on the other hand contains to about 90% films I have already seen when I purchase them.

I pay for the value of having the films in question on access just a few seconds away with a quality far superior to a downloaded copy. The physical manifestation of the film serves as an instant memory link (a Madeleine) to the experience of watching the film. I only need to take my copy of The Crow out of the book case to get the general feeling of the flick, exploring the back of the DVD I remember some of my favourite quotes and how much the clip where The Crow leaves the incendiary grenade in T-Birds car (We killed you dead, there ain’t no coming back…) used to scare me as a kid when I saw it on Filmkrönikan. When writing this I had to take a break to watch the scene on youtube. A Blade runner for the 90’s as the Swedish reviews said.
Annyways the third value is of course the value of ownership. The DVD’s are mine and they, like all products serve to give me a stronger feel of identity and social branding. Just like my (a bit to worn) Nike Air force one’s and my Crumpler computer bag.
The copy as information burned on a digital versatile disc is close to worthless. Lets say the disc enabled my DVD player to receive the movie magically trough a gateway in space/time I’d still like my DVD of the crow the same (or maybe more since it would use magic space/time technology). The main value is in the packaging.

Comparing this to a (purely theoretical) case of the film Cloverfield that I watched lately, from a digital copy that had taken up my valuable hard drive space for far to long. I watched it and removed it. Now I neither have nor desire any link to the film. It was a copy without value to me. I didn’t go to the theatre to see Cloverfield and a sure wont buy it, and if downloading would have been impossible I’d probably would have been watching the crappy action flick of the night on TV6 in its place. With a bit of luck there would have been ninjas in it.
In this (still fictional) example, just as in the previous one, the copy is of almost no value. In fact the magical space/time technology would be a lot more desirable since my hard drive would be able to store valuable information (maybe a completely legal rip of The Crow, so I wouldn’t have to bring my DVD library with me when I travel. Or move. My DVDs take up an entire Claes Ohlsson Moving Box).

I pay for my internet connection and a pay TV licensing for my television, nether of these costs goes to JJ Abrams in any way. One goes to my ISP and the other to the governmentally funded public television (the same one that streams the pirate bay spectial).

Then we have the way of watching TV shows. I watch about 3 shows a week, one of these airs on television in Sweden in the pace that I’m watching. However I watch none of these three shows on television. Supernatural is just far to slow and airs weird times (i.e. not when I’m having dinner) Dollhouse doesn’t air at all in Europe and finally På Spåret that I watch hung over in bed on Sundays trough SVT Play (STV’s online broadcast). If Supernatural and Dollhouse would be available at a high quality stream within Europe I would watch the stream, but they are not and I have to download them. It’s the only way for me to access the shows I want to watch.  Yes, I know Dollhouse is on HULU, but not for us Europeans, and it’s far easier to get the torrent then to stating up some kind of ip-blocking software.

And that’s what it comes down to. I utilise a service I pay for to break the law to watch television I wouldn’t have to pay for if I watched it in a traditional way that don’t suit my 00’s lifestyle at all. Simplicity turns a legal encouraged behaviour into a criminal behaviour. For us end consumers there is no change in experience. We see ourselves as paying; we can’t put our finger on the difference of recoding a show and watching it later from skipping the recording step and just watch it later.

What we lack is proper distribution of money (so the author of Cloverfield would benefit of me watching it), proper distribution of television (so I can watch supernatural in stead of Cops; the without a shadow of a doubt worst show on TV) and a reformation of Copyright to ensure that the normal behaviour of normal people (something done by 2 million Swedes at any given time is in this case considered normal) is legalised. We simply can’t fight more over these matters when we all should work for a brighter and better future.

Intellectual property and graffiti in video games

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

I’ve recently seen steal this film and the better sequel steal this film II, the first one manly discuss the raid against The Pirate Bay in 2006 while the later, better one concerns information and the spreading of information. Their idea is that new media and new distribution lines of information is above all an unstoppable force and that sharing is a basic human need; talking, physical touch and all kinds of human interaction are by the filmmakers considered as a form of sharing. For me this is a bit of a dual edged sword. I and all other people working with creativity sell our ideas for a living. Artists, AD’s, writers and gardeners alike all make their bread money from the theory that an idea put into reality has worth, at least to someone else that holds money. If we someday make a technology that reads minds and share thoughts the way we share files today the creative industry will be the bad guys in the debate, taking the seat inherited form the church, the rules who were against free speech, the telegraph companies, the live musicians guild, and now record companies and MPAA.

We will of course lose the battle and have to go looking for new careers. I’ll be a trucker, or if the future comes to fast a space-trucker.

 

Now on to my other subject for the day: I’ve been thinking a bit about the quite old and quite bad video game Getting Up lately. For those of you who don’t know the game is presented as Marc Ecco’s Getting up: contents under pressure and feature loads of graffiti. The player act as Trane who starts out as a toy in  the scene  and struggles to get respect and reputation, eventually it all turns in to the regular power to the people-state bad, individual good story that we’re all familiar with and at least I like. The game is both quite good and really crappy at the same time and that is what gets to me. While the camera sucks, the fighting is too hard and the sneaking is totally impossible there are a lot of things that make up for it.

Firstly a whole bunch of graffiti legends show up to teach Trane a trick or two, the only one I knew about beforehand (not being particularly in to graffiti) is Obey but I’m sure all who know the scene know Futura, Seen, T-Kid and the others.

What’s really, really good about the game is its way to show and tell about personal development. As Trane starts out he’s tags and throw-ups look like the shaky 80-style graffiti with a clear look of someone wanting a lot but not really knowing how to accomplish it, as we move on trough the game Trane develops a more personal style while he travels in graffiti history being more and more modern for every new level. Eventually Trane learns that words influence others and that there is something worth telling, he gets political and into wheat-paste posters. The final is simply beautiful, when Trane grabs climbing gear, a big roller and writes “STILL FREE” at an entire bridge pillar, while the cops fire at him from a helicopter.

It’s a nod to the end of the movie Bomb the System that all should watch at least once, since it deals with people trying to do what they feel is right in a controlled world.

My feedreader makes me think I live in the future

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Ever since I saw Back to the Future part 2 as a kid I’ve wanted to live in the future.
And I think i speak for all of us when i say that a pink hover-board made by Mattel is a must buy on the release day in the not so distant future.
I’d say the society we live in are all struggling towards a future and a whole lot of futrure-thingies have come to exist in the public market during the last two decades.

The most important one of these are of course the feeds and the feed reader.
Ugly orange screens with white letters, slowly scrolling upwards in public spaces, displaying news and propaganda are an essential item of the technoir dystopian cyberpunk future.
The basic text feeds are the last secure mass communication lines in Transmetropolitan.
In the far future mental logs from exploring spaceships are displayed as feeds on the civilized planets, millions of light-years away.
Text is basic; text takes almost no storage space.

Yes, this is a bit more nerdy then my unusual entries.
And now what I wanted to say all along: my shared objects from google reader
This is what I like recently and might be fun for someone else to see. And the important thing to do is to share the one you think are interesting, on and on in an endless loop. Entries are now free from their websites and their creators.

Somehow it’s just like piracy, but legal.