Posts Tagged Internet

Jun
23

A Tale of Sweden, Piratebay, DRM and Filesharing

Posted by on Friday, 23 June, 2006

CDs
If you have read my blog since the beginning, you may have noticed that I used to write a lot about copyright issues and generally took a rather positive stance towards the different piracy-factions and supported them in spirit through their different tough times.

However, recently, this topic has become rather infected in Sweden. It seems as though the opinion of the general public has become somewhat radical by international standards, and a recent survey done by SIFO showed that roughly 50% of the Swedish population thinks that filesharing should be legalized (article in Swedish). L-E-G-A-L-I-Z-E-D!! Recent discussions in Swedish media show that in general, the Swedish public does not want to pay for any kind of entertainment; be it music, TV-shows, or movies. There is a kind of political movement going on now, headed by angry file sharers under the name Pirate Party who are actually going to participate in the government elections this coming Fall. Their official stance is that filesharing should be OK, because the entertainment industry’s monopoly and outdated business model does not work anymore. I see a lack of alternative distribution models presented by the modern Swedish pirates, and suggest that the motive is pure greed. “Why pay if I can get it for free?”

Moving to the discussion one sees in the USA and UK (among other countries), I see there is more moderate focus wihtin the filesharing dicussion. In general, the people fighting for rights of the consumer are generally doing just that, and nothing else. They want to fight DRM and other restrictions of use that the entertainment industry (and its allies) tend to attach to every digital product they sell nowadays. The anti-DRM discussions and protests can get heated of course, but overall they are a whole lot more sensible than the Swedish debate.

To sum up what I have seen from the two related, but oh so different, discussions: in the US, people are willing to pay for entertainment in digital form if the price is reasonable and fair use is possible after purchase; whereas in Sweden, entertainment in digital form is regarded as having little to no value at all, and should be given away for free.

The latest happening in the Swedish debate is the fact that it has surfaced that the US government and MPAA have lobbied the Swedish government to do something about the piracy and filesharing, otherwise Sweden would face sanctions from the WTO. Some Swedish politicians are outraged by this. They say it’s terrible that the Swedish government would act like puppets bending over for Hollywood. I say, stop crying for pete’s sake. The filesharing that is going on in Sweden is of course not 100% illegal, and some filesharing is even good in my opinion, in the sense that it opens up a path for lesser known artists to reach out to a larger public. But the fact remains, the majority of filesharing that is taking place through The Piratebay and other filesharing networks is of the illegal kind, “downloading because I don’t want to pay” kind. And if Sweden cannot curb this illegal activity on its own, then why should not the property right owners step up and try to do something about it? It’s OK for MPAA to take actions against China because there is a massive market for pirated DVDs, but it is not OK for MPAA to voice their opinions against Sweden’s rampant filesharing? Hypocrisy, I say.

I was once agreeing completely with the Swedish pirates’ case, but recently I have been sickened with the discussion. I am now taking a much mroe moderate stance in this discussion. I am for: no DRM and fair use rights for digital media; lower cost for digital media; less geographic restrictions on distribution of entertainment. I am against: legalized filesharing; the opinion that digital media has no value, and other moronic behavior.

Jun
06

Cory Doctorow visits a Radio Shack

Posted by on Tuesday, 6 June, 2006

OK, so I’m an Internet geek, so sue me, but I rolled on the floor laughing when I read this story:

Cory Doctorow visits a Radio Shack

CORY DOCTOROW: And I have a background wallpaper skin of the Ontario subway system with all the stop names cleverly rearranged to spell out the names of the characters from “Harry Potter”.

Not funny at all if you’re not already an avid Boing Boing reader. (Via Waxy.org, the king of links.)

By the way, if you’re totally clueless on who this Cory Doctorow person is, you can read up a bit on him here

Apr
07

Things I am ridiculously excited about

Posted by on Friday, 7 April, 2006

I yet again have to apologize for my inactivity lately – but it has been a hellish two weeks at work, and I have not been able to set off even a few minutes during the day (or even my lunch hour) to write anything. I have a few posts in the pipeline (i.e. in my aching head) which are due out within a few days, but in the meantime I’d like to share some links to great stuff I’ve read about recently and I can say I am ridiculously excited about!

  • ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkely, i.e. the Cee-lo/Danger Mouse cooperation which recently reached No.1 in the UK, the first ever Internet-only single to do so. I fell in love with the song instantly. It’s a smooth, catchy pop/dance number and Cee-Lo’s smooth voice adds just enough R&B flavor to it to make it friggin close to perfect. Best song of the year, so far! (via: Waxy.org)
  • Apple’s Bootcamp which is a dual-boot utility for the new Intel-based Macs. In short it enables you to install Windows on your (Intel-) Mac. This piece of news really surprised me, but it’s so great! Now finally, after many many years, I actually feel that buying a Mac is a viable option again. I like Mac OS X, but I do have software & games that requires Windows, so buying a Mac has never before entered my mind. When there are stationary Intel macs released (later this year?) I shall take them into serious consideration.
Feb
24

Jason Kottke switches to skyscraper ads

Posted by on Friday, 24 February, 2006

A-List blogger Jason Kottke has recently given up his “pro” blogger status by stopping his micropatronage (i.e. donations from subscribing readers) and settled for a more “normal” blogging approach, namely advertisements.

Check out the new look of Kottke’s site here.

(via Waxy.org)




[EDIT] In case you didn’t get it, this was sort of an inside joke by Mark Wilkie. Kottke is also catching some flak from other directions for what some call his “abandoning” of his patrons.

Feb
24

The Japanese A-List?

Posted by on Friday, 24 February, 2006

I’m sure that all of you are familiar with the Technorati Top 100 – the list of the most influential (as in, linked to) blogs right now. The bloggers on this Top 100 list are the so-called “A-Listers” of the blogging world.

Anyway, when reading through the Top 100 you will find a lot of famous names and probably a lot of sites you yourself visit often, if not daily. However, I can bet you that there are lots of blogs on the Top 100 which you never heard of, let alone visited, because one simple reason: they are in Japanese. Yes, there are quite a few Japanese blogs on the Top 100 list actually – it surprised me a little.

So I thought I would do all you non-Japanese speakers a favor and describe what the top-ranked (according to Technorati) Japanese blogs are about. After going through most of them I noticed an odd trend…I shall return to it with my conclusions after the list!

2. Itmedia.co.jp
More of a newsposting site than a traditional blog – it has all the latest Japanese and world wide IT news listed in different categories.

18. pcweb.mycom.co.jp
Also more of a IT-news site than a blog – this is owned by Japanese media company Mainichi Communications.

22.Ganbare, seikyo no Shiraishi-san
This is the first “real” blog – written by an employee of Tokyo Agricultural University.

25. AV Watch
Another new site, this time the Audio&Video part of the Watch Impress media site.

36. Manabe Kaori no koko dake no hanashi
This blog belongs to actress and mode Kaori Manabe .

45. @Newz.jp
This is basically a Japanese Digg. Even the interface is virturally identical.

48. Tetsuba tekito Nikki
A blog written by a guy who apparantly has travelled around Japane on his motorcycle – there are lots of pictures from his trip.

73. Excite Oddly Enough
Excite Japan’s newssite with odd news around the world.

77. ITmedia PC Update
Well, another subsection of the IT media news site.

83. Shokotan Blog
Singer/Model Shoko Nakagawa’s personal blog.

92. Geino and Sports Kawaraban
A guy in Osaka posting about entertainment, sports, and current events.

Well, do you see the dominating pattern here? The majority of the Japanese “blogs” dominating the Technorati Top 100 are not really blogs at all! Sure, I’d go along and call that Digg-clone a blog, but most of the news sites above are produced by big media companies and are just, traditional news sites. I don’t know what to say about this, other than that perhaps the Technorati staff either do not check foreign (as in non-English) blogs for content, or sites like ITMedia and Myweb are OK for inclusion on the Blog Ranks. In that case, CNN & New York Times should be included as well…

So, what started as a post that was going to inform the world on what are “hot topic” blogs in Japan, turned into a boring list of news sites which have somehow managed to get into the Top 100 blogs of the Internet. Wrong? I think so, but it’s just my opinion.