The Saga of ArchNacho & Tortilla Godzilla

ArchNacho and Tortilla Godzilla’s Quality Roms was a really funny ROM site that went down around 2006 or so. This is from their “Saga” page.

First Scroll: Descendance

As with all great legends, the saga of ArchNacho & Tortilla Godzilla is clouded in mystery. In truth, no one knows with certainty what took place those days in a distant past. What is known, however, is that during the month of July in the year 1999, two deities descended from the heavens to this earth to bring light, joy and quality ROMs to the starving, quality-conscious emu-gamers. They had seen wickedness grow in the realm of man and they were worried. Finally, they decided that something would have to be done; they would have to bring light back into the world. And so it was that ArchNacho & Tortilla Godzilla left their heavenly abodes and descended unto the earth.

Wherever they went, they saw sin: the wicked men had piled up ROMs in great numbers, without reviewing a single one, without even a screenshot to guide the lost souls! Some had attempted to hide their sins with glorious web design, and men were easily deceived by this trickery! Others attempted to lead visitors astray by hiding the true ROMs between false links leading to sponsors, to fill their own greedy pockets! Hear ye my word, and heed it well: this is the worst sin of all! Luring the innocent with promises of ROMs that do not exist, in order to fill your own pockets or increase your own fame is unforgivable, and those who commit such devilish acts will forever be frozen in the cold pits of Shukarnach! And hear ye, you who would let your banners POP UP and blind the purehearted with their evil messages of greed, sin and corruption: thou shalt not escape the wrath of the quality-conscious gamers!

All this ArchNacho & Tortilla Godzilla saw in the realm of man, and they knew that it was evil. They would be the light of the world, and what follows is the tale of how they banished darkness and offered to every gamer out there a chance for redemption in the splendour of ArchNacho & Tortilla Godzilla’s Quality ROMs! No more would their souls be corrupted by unreviewed ROMs without screenshots, deceitful links and pop-upping sponsor banners! Take these words to heart, dear reader, for salvation lies within! Rejoice sinners, for your redemption is here!

Second Scroll: “Salvation”

And so it came to pass, in an age long gone, that ArchNacho & Tortilla Godzilla’s Quality ROMs was born. In the Rochmann castle, strategically positioned on the slope of Mt. Kjølen, in a city called Tromsø far, far to the north in a kingdom known as Norway, the two began their hard work. Initial results were not as good as they had hoped, but ArchNacho & Tortilla Godzilla had no intention of giving up, so they struggled on. The huddled masses of the net were in desperate need of this shining beacon of hope, integrity and quality ROMs!

Finally, one cold August evening, the first draft was ready and released unto the net. One might say that it looked like crap, and one would not be entirely incorrect.Yet, intentions were good, the jokes were crazy, and the graphics were arguably so crappy it was funny! After all, the Christians spent 400 years collecting and deciding on their new testament, whereas these triumphant two had completed their holy texts in only a few months. In addition, the great advantage of AN&TG’s Quality ROMs over all other holy texts, quickly became apparent: it was ever-expanding and ever-improving! Ever onwards for greater enlightenment and a larger collection of Quality ROMs!

 

YouSendIt Becomes Hightail

This entry is part 11 of 13 in the series Dave's Breakdown

YouSendIt, my “favorite” file sharing service (mostly because of the customer interactions and complete buffoonery that seems to run their business) has decided to ruin the one thing that they had going for them — their name.

Hightail is the perfect name for the people who run YouSendIt.  Instead of something that describes a focused and effective service, they renamed to something that is ambiguous, has no real direction, and alludes to asses in the air as they run away from something that is about to explode (which would be their servers and web site, since they suck).

I’m mostly glad they changed their name because, my God — Look at the amazing response they’ve garnered from their “passionate” renaming!

This whole name change thing reminds me of another article I wrote in my Breakdown series…

Also, the video they put up is absolutely asinine.  Look at the corporate gushery that goes around their stupid name!

 

“‘An Explanation and Some Reflections’ – by Reed Hastings” Breakdown

This entry is part 8 of 13 in the series Dave's Breakdown

Netflix has been making some profound missteps in recent months.  It definitely shows up in their stock price… it’s not every company’s intentions to drop 50% in three months due to the lame moves you are making.  This past week’s lame misstep comes in the form of a separation of businesses, and a really dumb “apology letter.”

Now, not everyone seems to read things the same way that I do.  In this edition of Dave’s Breakdown, I will go in and explain Mr. Reed Hasting’s apology letter for all to truly understand, along with some of my own reflections to top it off.  To preface this, at the moment I have been a Netflix customer for about five years.

The original article is located here.

“I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming, and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology. I’ll try to explain how this happened.”

What this really means is “I’m sorry you guys didn’t like the price adjustment, but oh guess what, here’s something coming up that is universally more inconveniencing for everyone that we forgot to mention when we separated our services…”

What he’s really sorry for is that their stock price fell by 40% when they raised prices and split services.

“For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. Most companies that are great at something – like AOL dialup or Borders bookstores – do not become great at new things people want (streaming for us) because they are afraid to hurt their initial business. Eventually these companies realize their error of not focusing enough on the new thing, and then the company fights desperately and hopelessly to recover. Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly.”

Rarely dying from something doesn’t mean it’s not possible.  Netflix may just be another case study in the “rare” category.  Not to mention, how does something that COMPLIMENTS what you are going to be focusing more on in the future TAKE AWAY from it?  For example, AOL had dial-up.  What the hell else were they going to do once dial-up connections were not state-of-the-art?  They had to defend dial-up connections, there was no point in providing their services for Broadband connections on account they don’t even provide the service for it.  AOL could have probably done stuff a little smarter, but they’ve transformed into a web conglomerate.  What happened to EarthLink, another dial-up provider?  They’re still in business, apparently, doing what they’ve been doing.  The “real” AOL is essentially Time Warner.  Time Warner just shat out what was left of the AOL brand and company that they didn’t want anymore and the “new” AOL is like today’s AT&T — not the same, but not new either.

Borders bookstore was a retail store that sells books, and they offered no electronic versions of books.  Ok, except the reason they failed is because the Print industry, the Music industry, and the lack of them creating a service to take advantage of the new evolutions of those industries into account.  They also operated as retail stores and leases are expensive when you have thousands of stores.  Now, you have the polar opposite of Borders (a failed retail bookstore chain) with Barnes & Nobles (a still-successful bookstore) that is selling electronic books and music IN ADDITION TO having their brick and mortar stores.  Hey, wow!  Barnes & Nobles didn’t close all their retail stores or spin off all their retail bookstores into some weird half-breed retail company, did they?  No.  They kept them all under the same guise, and guess what they sell EVERYTHING, not just one thing.

“When Netflix is evolving rapidly, however, I need to be extra-communicative. This is the key thing I got wrong.

In hindsight, I slid into arrogance based upon past success. We have done very well for a long time by steadily improving our service, without doing much CEO communication. Inside Netflix I say, “Actions speak louder than words,” and we should just keep improving our service.”

What this really means is: “Before we started to worry about our stock price losing value and in-turn any investment opportunities we may have needed, I didn’t have to write anything to our customers in hopes to stop our free-falling stock prices before they hit the flushing toilet.”

“But now I see that given the huge changes we have been recently making, I should have personally given a full justification to our members of why we are separating DVD and streaming, and charging for both. It wouldn’t have changed the price increase, but it would have been the right thing to do.”

“I just thought that you guys would accept whatever business decisions I wanted to do because you guys love Netflix, and by association, MEEEE!”

“So here is what we are doing and why:

Many members love our DVD service, as I do, because nearly every movie ever made is published on DVD, plus lots of TV series. We want to advertise the breadth of our incredible DVD offering so that as many people as possible know it still exists, and it is a great option for those who want the huge and comprehensive selection on DVD. DVD by mail may not last forever, but we want it to last as long as possible.”

Yes, yes, we love DVDs!

“I also love our streaming service because it is integrated into my TV, and I can watch anytime I want. The benefits of our streaming service are really quite different from the benefits of DVD by mail. We feel we need to focus on rapid improvement as streaming technology and the market evolve, without having to maintain compatibility with our DVD by mail service.”

Wait… so what you’re saying is…

“So we realized that streaming and DVD by mail are becoming two quite different businesses, with very different cost structures, different benefits that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently. It’s hard for me to write this after over 10 years of mailing DVDs with pride, but we think it is necessary and best: In a few weeks, we will rename our DVD by mail service to ‘Qwikster’.”

AW MY GAWD WHAT THE FUCK IS A QWIK.  It’s hard for you to write that you’re renaming a service.  Ok, so what, you’re renaming the service.  That means you can market it and yaddayaddayadda and I can still do what I’ve been doing for the past three years, right?

“We chose the name Qwikster because it refers to quick delivery. We will keep the name ‘Netflix’ for streaming.

Oh, ok, well that’s acceptable.

“Qwikster will be the same website and DVD service that everyone is used to.”

Sweet, sounds good.

“It is just a new name,”

Ok, I get it.

“and DVD members will go to qwikster.com to access their DVD queues and choose movies.”

Wait, what?

“One improvement we will make at launch is to add a video games upgrade option, similar to our upgrade option for Blu-ray, for those who want to rent Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 games. Members have been asking for video games for many years, and now that DVD by mail has its own team, we are finally getting it done. “

Wait, don’t try to change the subject here.  What the hell are you talking about, a different web site?  You just said it was the same site!

“Other improvements will follow. Another advantage of separate websites is simplicity for our members.”

HEY!  YOU ARE A FUCKING ASSHOLE.  LOOK AT WHAT YOU JUST SAID IN THE LAST PARAGRAPH:

“Qwikster will be the same website and DVD service that everyone is used to.”

What the FUCK are you talking about?  You just said Qwikster will be the same web site, and then you’re saying they’re SEPARATE web sites.  Are you talking about it being on the same web host?  No one cares that you’re on the same computer as another web site.  I’m sure that my web site is on the same server as some other famously popular web site, but I’m not going around saying I’m the same web site as some random popular web site.

“Each website will be focused on just one thing (DVDs or streaming) and will be even easier to use.”

Easier than… what?  What your web site is now?  I guess that the most logical way of making this easier is to make both web sites work with each other, right?

“A negative of the renaming and separation is that the Qwikster.com and Netflix.com websites will not be integrated. So if you subscribe to both services, and if you need to change your credit card or email address, you would need to do it in two places. Similarly, if you rate or review a movie on Qwikster, it doesn’t show up on Netflix, and vice-versa.”

HOOOOLLYYY SHIT, and there’s the killer.  What in the FUCK just happened.  It’s like your boyfriend saying he’d use a condom and then taking it off right before he inserted.  Or, it’s like your girlfriend taking off her pants and there’s a penis hanging off what you thought was going to be a vagina, but is really just testicles.  This is the most asinine shot in the head I have ever read, save The Joy Luck Club.  Holy.  Shit.

“There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!). Members who subscribe to both services will have two entries on their credit card statements, one for Qwikster and one for Netflix. The total will be the same as the current charges.”

I’m still numb from the last paragraph…

“Andy Rendich, who has been working on our DVD service for 12 years, and leading it for the last 4 years, will be the CEO of Qwikster.”

“We’re sending Andy off to die.  See ya later, Rendich!  Don’t forget to write!”

“Andy and I made a short welcome video. (You’ll probably say we should avoid going into movie making after watching it.)”

This video is a great reason why you shouldn’t make your corporate strategy into a video.  It is not interesting.  Also, what the fuck is with the sole red envelope there?  Just so they can wipe their ass with it after the video is over?  What’s with the sunglasses and the laptop?  Were you doing some leisurely work (wearing sunglasses and using your laptop in the sun, even!) discovering what hue of red the Netflix envelope truly was and decided “Hey I’ve got a few minutes, let’s get Nathan down here with a camera while I’m typing up my ultra-cool apology letter that will totally fix all of our problems and make our stock go back up to 300 points and re-iterate what I’m saying to the populace of people who don’t care to read.  We’re Netflix, after all!”

“We will let you know in a few weeks when the Qwikster.com website is up and ready. It is merely a renamed version of the Netflix DVD website, but with the addition of video games. You won’t have to do anything special if you subscribe to our DVD by mail service.”

Wait so if it is so easily renamed and its actually just the same fucking thing, why can’t you just have the fucking web site be the same fucking web site!

“For me the Netflix red envelope has always been a source of joy.”

That’s because it means money to you.

“The new envelope is still that distinctive red, but now it will have a Qwikster logo. I know that logo will grow on me over time, but still, it is hard. I imagine it will be the same for many of you.”

I think the least of our worries the color of the envelope and the way it looks.  The experience has ALWAYS BEEN with the web site and the ease of using it, you sentimental tree murderer!

“We’ll also return to marketing our DVD by mail service, with its amazing selection, now with the Qwikster brand.”

Herein lies the only legitimate reason for them renaming their DVD by Mail service.  Yes, you should have a different brand to promote your DVDs again if that’s what you wanted to do.  However, Netflix DVD would have sufficed.  Netflix Video Games would have sufficed to.  I’ve heard weirder mismatches for companies in the past, not that I can remember any off the top of my head at the moment, but no one would have said “I don’t understand why Netflix has video games.  They have ‘flix’ in their name, for crying out loud!  I am totally canceling my account with Netflix because they have video games now, and it has nothing to do with streaming or television or movies or anything and it’s totally not optional oh em gee.”

What happens if Netflix wants to go into video game streaming, such as new services like OnLive have been doing?  Is Qwikster going to separate out their DVD and disc-based video game services into some tertiary company?  Where does it end!  They only want to focus on one thing at a time in each business, yet they’re launching video games, which is arguably a different expenditure all together, and they’re doing omigosh, TWO THINGS AT THE SAME TIME!  Call the board, let’s get another company split up in here!

Also, the reason why people were clamoring for video games in the first place was because it would have been from THE SAME WEB SITE FROM THE SAME COMPANY, WITH ONE BILL, AND ONE PAYMENT SYSTEM!  If people wanted a gaming rental service separate from Netflix, they would have had GameFly already!!  Focus groups would help you out to learn that!

“Some members will likely feel that we shouldn’t split the businesses, and that we shouldn’t rename our DVD by mail service. Our viewis with this split of the businesses, we will be better at streaming, and we will be better at DVD by mail.”

Why?  You’re not EXPLAINING why you think it would be.  What barriers are involved that make this necessary?  You haven’t said anything that convinces me of any sort of argument that makes it seem like this is a good move.  You say you want to focus on things one at a time, and you want to make another business.  How does splitting out the WEB SITE or even your business do anything more for you?  Whether it’s called Qwikster or Netflix, you guys are still in the same fucking buildings, aren’t you?  Maybe you should reorganize your company and make a streaming division and a DVD/video game division underneath Netflix instead of spending money and creating a new shell company to send your neglected business model off to die.

“It is possible we are moving too fast – it is hard to say. But going forward, Qwikster will continue to run the best DVD by mail service ever, throughout the United States. Netflix will offer the best streaming service for TV shows and movies, hopefully on a global basis. The additional streaming content we have coming in the next few months is substantial, and we are always working to improve our service further.”

Moving too fast?  How?  You’re not moving at all.  You’re taking your company in two different directions and, dare I say, setting up your tried-and-true business model up for sale when Netflix really decide to focus on one thing and one thing only — streaming.

“I want to acknowledge and thank our many members that stuck with us, and to apologize again to those members, both current and former, who felt we treated them thoughtlessly.

Both the Qwikster and Netflix teams will work hard to regain your trust. We know it will not be overnight. Actions speak louder than words. But words help people to understand actions.

Respectfully yours,

-Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO, Netflix”

You know, I would have thought that a co-founder and CEO of this company would have thought, maybe just maybe, throwing out their original business model which started their company and made their success would be something more… unsettling than he may have originally thought the process to be.  Starbucks wouldn’t spin off their coffee business into another retail store if their muffins became the hot new item at their stores.  Hell, even if their muffins started pulling trillions of dollars in, they wouldn’t split that out into a new muffin chain.  It doesn’t make sense!

Now what I think Netflix will see when this happens is a large drop off of subscribers to their new Qwikster service simply because founding a new web site and brand name is quite obviously an uphill battle, and forcing people to accept it is quite another entirely.

Netflix has a fanbase, Qwikster does not.  I certainly say that I have no loyalty to something called Qwikster, but I do to Netflix. I can see why they would need to have a “different” brand because of the video games options coming about and for marketing purposes, but instead of being a completely separate web site, it should be a “portal” or “skin” to the main Netflix web site. Let’s say I go to Netflix, and then there’s a tab for Qwikster DVDs and Qwikster Games. Or if I go to Qwikster, I see an extra tab for Netflix Streaming Video.

As long as there is the same sort of integration for what we currently see, I don’t see why separating web sites benefits anyone — Netflix loses subscribers, I lose DVDs from Netflix, and we have to be mindful of another service with its own payment system, with its own customer service communication (if needed) etc etc.

It’s a hassle, especially when you consider you had it all in the same place before.

In one of the blog comments, Reed Hastings said that they don’t see Qwikster as being “that far away” from Netflix — as its only just “a link away” from each other… but so is MySpace to Facebook, and MSN to Google. There is a REASON people use Facebook or Google instead of all the other hullabaloo of assholery out there.

The Netflix web site is fine as it is.

If the excuse for this is their business is what needs to improve, how is separating web sites going to improve that considerably? If you need a different brand name, then make one. But don’t separate the services for the convenience of saying “that’s a different company, they’re doing their own thing, and we don’t care about it anymore.”  You are still responsible, as a parent company, to make sure customers who are with your new company LIKE your new company, and you’re not just sending it off to die.

What it really comes down to is that Netflix is definitely interested in killing off the DVD portion — the only reason they’re even keeping it anymore is because streaming is going to see very high increases in cost, and they’re not sure if DVDs will end up having more business when the hammer comes down after their streaming licenses expire.

Associating the DVDs into the streaming plans only makes that amount charged for streaming go higher than it actually perceptibly is. It is a pre-emptive attack on what is bound to come.  There are also rumors about how some companies force them to supply DVDs for some unrelated movies to have the license for a streaming version available, but how does spinning a company out into a subsidiary solve that?  Netflix still owns Qwikster!  For the time being, at least.

Maybe Netflix have to split it out to survive, after all. It still doesn’t change my opinion about having some sort of integration of services that make it easier for customers of both.  But I’m not a business manager/CEO type person, so what the fuck ever, I guess Netflix is just smarter than their customers!

Update Oct 10, 2011

Rejoice!  It appears that Netflix has reverted their prior decision to rename their DVD by Mail service into something stupid and crappy.

It appears that Netflix doesn’t want to spend money on focus groups or hire actual people to do research for them, instead they have opted to have their customers be exposed to flip-flopping decision-making and putting absolutely zero confidence in the way the company is thinking.  If they stuck by their laurels, at least they wouldn’t have seemed like a bunch of pushovers.

However, apologizing for an apology seems to be a pretty funny concept, and in the end, I can at least be thankful that this stupid business decision wasn’t put through.  The only good thing to come of the whole thing was Video Game rentals… and that seems to be put out to pasture as there is no mention of it anywhere.  Do we really need to tell Netflix how to run their company well enough to not run it into the ground?

 

Congratualation (You’ve Won!) Email Conversation

Ok, there was this stupid piece of junk mail that was sent to 28 people.  Out of those 28 people, I was included, but there were 2 other people that were stupid enough to open it and RESPOND to it.  This is what they said:

1st guy: eh… who r u ppl?

2nd guy: REALLY BUDDY, I DOUBT ANY OF US ARE THAT STUPID…BECAUSE I WENT TO THE SITE AND IT SAID FILL OUT SN AND PASSWORD…BUT THERE IS SOMETHING I REMEMBERD…

REMINDER…AOL WILL NEVER ASK YOU FOR YOUR PASSWORD OR ANY OTHER BILLING INFORMATION!

YOU ARE BEING REPORTED

I mean, these guys are stupid dumbasses.  They act like they think we really care what they have to say, and reply all.  Moral of the story is: Don’t reply all on spam mail.

 

“Is Our Health On the Line?” Breakdown

This entry is part 3 of 13 in the series Dave's Breakdown

While I’m at work, I get to read Yahoo! News.  I’ve got plenty of time to catch up on everything that’s fucked up with the world, and all this stuff with WikiLeaks is going off into this weird place with people asking for the death of the founder and all this other conspiracy-worthy nutjobbiness.

Then comes Yahoo! Health.  Every time I read one of their stupid ass articles I get angry.  I don’t get angry because of the facts they present.  I mostly get angry in the WAY they do it.  Most of their stupid articles are about how a hamburger from TGI Fridays is the equivalent to 15 large chocolate smoothies or how an extra-cheese pizza is the equivalent to 29 tofu hot dogs without the buns.

But their most recent travesty of the English language comes in the form of an article named “Is Your Health on the Line?” — and if you couldn’t get the pun in the title of the article its about CELL PHONES!!!! OMG!!!!  THE LASER BEAMS ARE SHOOTING INTO YOUR BRAIN AND INTO YOUR PELVIS AND ITS GOING TO GIVE YOU CANCER SO STOP USING YOUR CELL PHONE AS AN ALARM CLOCK AND START JUMPING OFF BUILDINGS BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT GOING TO GET AWAY FROM YOUR CELL PHONE’S LIFE-STEALING RADIATION!

So I’m going to break down the article piece by piece, mostly by the quotes that I hate.

“Unless you’ve had your cell phone permanently glued to your ear, chances are you’ve heard the recent health buzz: …”

This opening sentence just rubs me the wrong way instantaneously, and really sets the mood for the whole article.  “HAHA FUCK YOU” is what the author is saying to everyone who might fit the description.  Gross generalizational remarks such as this are part of the reason why I hate writers who try to make their sensationalist bullshit something you should care about.

“… Mobile devices may cause cancer. While it’s true that the National Cancer Institute has ruled them safe, a growing number of independent researchers disagree.”

Okay.  So… they “MAY” cause cancer.  However, the leading institute of cancer research says its safe.  Soooo…. let’s find some random people who can say otherwise, and call them “independent researchers.”  Yes, these independent researchers that you’ve never heard of, but now are making statements that can affect your life and tell you what to do.  It’s bullshit like this that makes those random idiots out there say “THEY SAY IT CAUSES CANCER.”  Who is the ever elusive “they?”  “They” are fictitious “independent researchers” (aka experts, apparently) quoted by terrible writers who nominate themselves for Pullitzers.

Now, let’s take a look at how reliable the National Cancer Institute is.  Well, look at that, they have a .gov in their URL.  http://www.cancer.gov/.  So, a fucking governmental institute that has researched cancer as the sole purpose of their existence is not reliable enough to put the issue to rest.  So let’s get all the paranoid idiots of the world hyped up about cell phones shooting dangerous radiation into our skulls since there’s nothing else better to do.

“Most phones do comply with the federal standards, but SAR monitors only thermal effects. (In other words, if the radiation from your phone isn’t cooking your brain, it’s regarded as safe.)”

Sensationalism!  YES!  :zzz:  If a cell phone doesn’t FRY YOUR BRAIN it must be safe!! :zzz: :zzz: :zzz: :zzz:   I guess if a cell phone doesn’t signal an airplane to land on your face it’s also safe.

So, apparently there are phones that don’t comply with federal standards, as proven by this article.  I would assume if this statement were actually founded, that cell phones that DIDN’T comply with federal standards should be reported.  Y’know, since that’s not exactly legal.  Or maybe it is.  In which case, where can I buy a microwave gun to shoot some people’s ovaries and testicles with so they never procreate?

“But mounting scientific evidence suggests that nonthermal radio frequency radiation (RF)—the invisible energy waves that connect cell phones to cell towers, and power numerous other everyday items—can damage our immune systems and alter our cellular makeup, even at intensities considered safe by the FCC.”

Mounting scientific evidence from the articles own, nameless independent researchers/experts?  WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE!

THE INVISIBLE ENERGY WAVES – OH NOOOOO!!  They’re invisible!  That must mean they’re bad!  Hey guess what, you fucktard.  VISIBLE ENERGY WAVES have more radiation in them than RF waves!  MIND BOGGLING!

Alter our cellular makeup, so we’re mutating right in front of ourselves?  Sweet, when do I get to turn into a puddle of water and hide behind the laundry machines?

“”The problem is that RF can transfer energy waves into your body and disrupt its normal functioning,” explains Cindy Sage, an environmental consultant in Santa Barbara, California, who has studied radiation for 28 years.”

OH LOOK!  It’s our first independent researcher.  Cindy Sage.  Hmm… Let’s see if we can find anything about her.  But before that, let’s take a look at the “RF can disrupt its normal functioning” statement.  What the fuck does she think we are?  Robots?  We don’t take signals from a cell phone tower to lift our arm, do we?  And another thing, “can” is a very interesting word to use.  It’s mostly used when you don’t know for sure one way or the other.  Meaning… YOU DON’T KNOW what the fuck you’re talking about apparently.

So, Cindy Sage.  Who are you and why do you think you’re so smart?  Let’s go look at your web site.  http://www.silcom.com/~sage/emf/index.html.  Wow.  So your web site is all about how you can decrease the intensity of electromagnetic fields… among other seemingly random things.  And you charge people for it, obviously.  So, I see a conflict of interest here.  Why wouldn’t you want people to freak out about EMF bullshit when you make money by decreasing the amount of EMF in a given area.  Let’s jump to later in the article:

“We’re going to wireless offices and living in wireless homes. Even beaches and parks are going wireless. We’re exposed everywhere.”

Because the sun never posed a threat in beaches or parks before cell phones.

“The good news is that you don’t need to ditch your gadgets. This advice will let you stay plugged in—and keep you healthy.”

Oh, good.  After seven paragraphs of saying how terrible any of these wireless “gadgets” are, you say we can keep them.  How terribly contradicting.  Yet, it soothes the minds of your readers after you’ve insulted them, because they can’t live without their high tech gizmos and gadgets.  I guess Aeriel from Little Mermaid got a brain tumor since she spent so much time with cell phones sailors dropped in the ocean.

“When your phone is on (which it probably is even as you read this) it’s constantly sending and receiving RF signals… The activity really amps up when you’re, say, driving through rural areas. Plus, within the close confines of a car, your entire core is exposed to the radiation.”

Oh no, my tumorous-causing, cancer-causing, soul-stealing cell phone is on and sending my position to the aliens!

I find it very misleading that “within the close confines of a car” you are exposed to MORE RF from your cell phone than if you aren’t in a car.  How does a cell phone’s RF signals all of a sudden expose your “entire core” to radiation as opposed to outside of your car?  It’s in the same place relative to your body.  If anything, the RF signals would be absorbed by the car around you instead of shooting into the 6 year old kid you always seem to have next to your cell phone so you can give them brain cancer.  Being in a car doesn’t do anything more than being out of a car.  In fact, having your windows closed avoids radiation from a more powerful source of energy – ULTRAVIOLET.  Yeah, remember that?  That’s actually something to be mindful of.

“The safer solution: Keep your phone off when driving until you really need it, says Carpenter.”

Well, Carpenter is an idiot.  How would we be able to desperately call for help in a car crash if our cell phone was off?  We’d have to wait 15 seconds for the cell phone to come on, and by then you could have already gone into cardiac arrest.  So, fuck that!  But, at least the bonus is you don’t have to worry about RF waves shooting into your exposed liver as your bleeding all over your face in an car turned upside down in the middle of the freeway.

“And no matter where you are, avoid holding a cell phone directly to your noggin… and use either speakerphone or a corded headset (not a wireless headset).”

So I guess if I’m in public it’s okay for people to hear both sides of the conversation, not like private information being leaked around is worse for you or anything.

“If you have a smartphone that’s loaded with games, music, and movies, turn your wireless settings off while playing or rocking out.”

I HATE PEOPLE WHO SAY “ROCKING OUT.”  FUCK YOU.  I AM NOT ROCKING OUT, IT IS A FUCKING SONG THAT I LIKE TO LISTEN TO.

“Cordless Phones

These stealth wireless threats “have become so powerful, they’re often as strong as cell phones,” says Sage.”

My God.  They’re like worse than a Stealth B-2 Nuclear Bomber, the way they write this article.  At least we can control nuclear bombs.

“Preliminary blind studies have found that, when sitting beside a DECT phone base, some people experienced arrhythmia, a troubling heartbeat irregularity that could eventually lead to stroke or coronary disease, says Sage.”

If RF signals do that by themselves, then there must also be a frequency that stops arrhythmia, too!

“If the whole body is radiated by a router’s RF emissions, the greatest concern is cancer, especially leukemia,” says Carpenter. Also, be aware of your at-home router and any plug-in wireless USB cards you often use.

So, lets get this straight.  Wireless Routers cause leukemia.  Cordless phones cause arrhythmia.  Cell phones cause brain tumors and/or cancer.  Sounds totally real yet so very unproven!

“That Ethernet technology doesn’t leak RF and is often faster and more secure.”

So bad.  They make it seem like anything that uses RF technology UNINTENTIONALLY shoots out its RF signals.  As if that’s not what it’s designed to do!

“If you just can’t give up your wireless router (e.g., if you live in a home with a handful of computer users), make sure you sit as far away from it as possible, says Crofton, and turn it off at night and whenever you’re not online.”

That defeats the purpose of a wireless router.  Sitting as far away as possible from a wireless router gets you shitty reception.  Why would you want shitty internet intentionally?

“When you hold your laptop on your lap, what you’re essentially doing is radiating your pelvis,” says Carpenter, …”

And Laptops make you sterile…

“Indeed, early studies point to a heightened risk of testicular cancer for men who keep RF-emitting devices close to their belts.”

…give you testicular cancer…

“For women, adds Carpenter, “the studies aren’t quite there yet, but I think we can say that anything that might cause cancer almost always causes birth defects, so pregnant women—or those wanting to become pregnant soon—should take extra precautions.”

…give you ovarian cancer and makes your babies downy babies.  Death to RF!  I mean, death to light!  Does that make sense?

“The safer solution: Keep your laptop off your lap (if you have to rest it there, buffer it with a sturdy pillow that’s at least six inches thick).”

Because pillows absorb RF light or something?  How is a pillow supposed to stop that if it isn’t opaque to RF light?  It could be translucent, for all we know, depending on the material your pillow is made of, and the RF waves just go right through the pillows.  Not to mention you are creating a FIRE HAZARD by putting your laptop on a pillow and having the laptop heat up and possibly start smoking and blow up and burn you and your pillow and your ovaries and your house down.  Smart people are really dumb.

“Try to use a desktop computer at home and treat your laptop as an on-the-go convenience.”

Isn’t the reason that most people have a laptop because they don’t have room for a desktop?

“One thing to keep in mind: Laptops are a high RF radiation risk only while connected to wireless Internet, so when you’re watching a DVD, fiddling around with your photos, or writing that dissertation, just disable your connection and you’ll be much safer.”

Safe from what?  The invisible cancer waves?   I guess fiddling around with your secret porn collection is just as dangerous in the end, you never know who might see you doing stuff with them, and use that as justification to murder you.  Guess you don’t have to worry about invisible threats of cancer when you’re DEAD from an abusive relationship.

“Baby monitors release more RF than cell phones do, and putting them next to a crib is very, very unwise,” says Carpenter. He points to a recent University of Utah study that shows RF radiation can penetrate almost entirely through a child’s brain, which doesn’t form completely until nearly 20 years of age. “It’s very clear from all the existing research that the younger the child is, the more vulnerable he or she is to the effects of RF radiation.”

In one temporal lobe and out the other, I always say (I don’t)!  Did all of that “existing research” also say that the younger a child is, the more vulnerable they are to BELIEVING STUPID SHITTY ARTICLES ON YAHOO HEALTH?

“The safer solution: Consider not using a baby monitor. If you absolutely must use one, place it far from your baby’s crib—at least 10 to 15 feet away.”

That way it makes it easier for you to not know if your baby is in need of help!  Or makes it easy for some random guy to come in and steal your baby!  Guess you don’t have to worry about brain tumors and cancer when you don’t have a baby anymore.  Also, if there’s nothing in between the baby and the monitor, THE LIGHT DOESN’T GET ABSORBED.  In fact, you’re making sure to shower your baby’s WHOLE BODY with RF waves, and making everything around him absorb RF light as well so they can sleep in an irradiated crib.  According to the article’s logic, anyhow.

In conclusion, there is no conclusion.  This article is full of stupid crap and is trash.  This is one of the worst articles I’ve ever read.

 

Top 10 Carelessly Chosen Domain Names

1. A site called ‘Who Represents‘ where you can find the name of the agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name… wait for it… is
www.whorepresents.com

2. Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views at
www.expertsexchange.com

3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at
www.penisland.net

4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at
www.therapistfinder.com

5. Then of course, there’s the Italian Power Generator company…
www.powergenitalia.com

6. And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales:
www.molestationnursery.com

7. If you’re looking for computer software, there’s always
www.ipanywhere.com

8. Welcome to the First Cumming Methodist Church. Their website is
www.cummingfirst.com

9. Then, of course, there’s these brainless art designers, and their whacky website:
www.speedofart.com

10. Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website at
www.gotahoe.com

 

AOL SUCKS

AOL sucks, and you know why?

When you call them and tell them AOL fucked up, I think they blame it’s your OS because they don’t want you to quit using AOL because they want the money from you and they don’t care about your problems. And they say AOL is so easy to use. Yeah right. Half the time the buttons freeze, the damn web-pages don’t load, and all my other internet programs (mIRC, Internet Explorer, Telnet) are not working, maybe because AOL is programmed to shut down all other internet applications except itself. And they say AOL is so friendly. Bullshit. Why, I don’t know how many IMs I’ve got from weirdos advertising porn. Most unmoderated member created chatrooms are corrupted; full of teenage agast, insults, and half-brained idiots saying things like “u sux” and “ur gay” and “a/s/l” and “hey wanna cybr?”

It makes me sick!

KILL AOL!

 

The Future of Napster

this is a bit dated, and it was made before Napster’s switch, so…pretend that Napster is still free, like it used to be…but is going to become a pay-service

——————————–

ha they want me to upgrade napster. I laugh at that…$1.00 a song and it tacks onto your phone bill then aliens take the bills, eat them and poop them out. The aliens’ body scans the phone bill for mistakes. Then they send them in easter egg capsules to earth where they put the phone bills into thos machines that to get a prize you have to grab it with the claw. Then phone companies try and win the game and get your phone bill and send them to you.

 

The AOL Theory

See AOL doesn’t stand for American On Line, it stands for Army Of Lithuanians. See Steve Case (creator of AOL) is actually a Lithuanian leader. See when you lag, it’s actually a computurized Amish Mafia thats helping the Lithuanians because there so much against technology. See, they nibble on your telephone wires (some, if not all get shocked and loose there teeth and there ability to have sex) causing you to lag off. Now steve case lays back and laughs why thousands of people lag off. Now the Lituanians get a daily report of how many people are looking at porno and how many people lag off and they send this report through telepathic powers to the moms and dads of america. Thats how they know when your looking at porno….

 

Ducks As Food???

this is from a bulletin board, so its a little crazy…The real reason we put this up is because “Squackle” is in it.  Try to find it!

——————————————–

:

: :

: : : :

: : : : : :

: : : : : : : Ducks as FOOD?? QUACKQUACK! SQUACKLE! Blades?? Sharply-honed? QUACKQUACKQUACKQUACKQUACK!!!!!!! OH! OH! Oh, MY!! *running in circles faster and faster* ACK!! QUACK!! Run for your lives, fellow ducks!! Run far, run FAAAAAAAAST!!! QUACKQUACKQUACKQUACKQUACK….pant, pant, pant, pantpantpant…GASP! *THUD!!!!*

 

: : : : : : : *dead silence…a very blue in the beak Miss Paddletale lies flat out on her feathered backside in the middle of the Village Green*

 

: : : : : : ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

: : : : : : What’s this?? Miss Paddletale passed out, blue in the beak, from one of her hyperventilated, skyisfalling attacks, and NO ONE is going to help her?? No mouth-to-beak resuscitation? No slapping of her little feathered cheeks until she comes around again? Tsk. Nothing but a spiteful remark from the GnomeDome about being glad someone ELSE is in trouble?? How uncharitable! How uncivilized! How perfectly…PREDICTABLE!! Mohicanland…ya gotta love it! Only here can a fat, waddling duck wearing a blue calico bonnet, be lying passed out in the middle of the Village Green, and no one pays the slightest attention. Guess I’ll have to fly down to the river & get some cold water to dash in her face…though carrying it back one tiny beakful at a time sure won’t have much of an effect, sartain…but what else can I do???

 

: : : : : : *exasperated sigh*

: : : : : : Birdie

 

: : : : : Wait! Wait! Fear not! Doctor M is on the way!! Let me load

: : : : : ‘er into this baking di…I mean, Special High-Sided Metal

: : : : : Stretcher, and take her to the Clinic. I think an immediate

: : : : : application of slooow steady heat is what’s called for —

: : : : : say about 325 degrees for 3 hours. Now where did I put

: : : : : that recipe for Wild Gnome Dressing???

 

: : : : : Doc M

 

: : : : ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

: : : : RUFF! RUFF! SNAP! Growwwlllllllllllll. Get yer hands off that duck, Doc Mary, or we are gonna have a serious disagreement, and it’s not gonna be “one of these days”. SNAP! We’ll see about who’s gonna get their duck cooked here! Hands off, I bark! I’m gonna crouch right here and protect Miss Paddle Tale until somebody comes to get her. She’s a FRI’ND, d’ye hear? Grrrrrrrrr-RUFF!

 

: : : : Hector

 

: : : Fear Not Hector!!! I’ll save her! Here I come to save the day……*singing in horrible voice sounding like a parakeet in a blender*

 

: : : I will take her away from all this….hang on!

 

: : : CRASH! CLATTER! *as the spit gets caught between GnomeDome’s legs and he drops blue enamel roasting pan he had hidden behind his back*

 

: : : GnomeDome

: : ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

: : Somethin’ strange about the Gnome comin’ to rescue Paddle Tale and carryin’ a roastin’ pan just like the one Doc Mary had. My scents tell me there is an ATTITUDE here, and I don’t trust their SINcerity. I think I’ll just catch her up by the nape of her neck and sneak home with her while they’re all scramblin’ after their cookware and stumblin’ over each other. She Who Tracks will know what to do for poor Miss Paddle Tale.

 

: : GRAB! LIFT! Zoooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmm.

 

: : Hector

 

: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

: Say there, Hector – where ye been all this time? And what’s that ye got in yer mouth? Don’t tell me ye actually brought home dinner all by yerself for a change?

 

: *Shake of the hound’s head*

 

: No? Then, what have ye got there? Looks to me like a plucked chicken all ready for the stewpot . . . but still alive and wigglin’.

 

: *Shake of the hound’s head*

 

: No? Well, then if ye don’t intend it for dinner, ye’d better drop it afore ye break it’s neck. Ye know I’ve taught ye better than to talk with yer mouth full!

 

: *Thud. Soft whine. Lick, lick, lick. Softer whine.*

 

: What? Lemme take a closer look here. Why! If it isn’t Miss Paddle Tale, all limp and pantin’ and missin’ most of her feathers – she’s been through some kinda scuffle, sartain! And ye brought her home for pertection and nursin’? Good dog! Ye got a kind heart and a gentle way about ye, for all yer lazy, chicken’hearted appearance. Well, now. We’ll just see what we can do for the poor duck. I’ll lift her over here on the soft bearskin and get her some grain from the sack. If ye’ll push yer water dish over here in front of her where she can reach it, I’ll be bound she’ll appreciate a sip o’ water to wet her whistle. She seems all weak and shakey, too. Can’t imagine what could’ve happened to her. There, there, Miss Paddle Tale, ye’re among fri’nds now. Just lay yer plucked little head on my knee here, and I’ll stroke yer bristly little hide until ye fall asleep. There, there now.

 

: She Who Tracks

 

*Meanwhile….Randy Doc Mary ponders a mystery. Many of her Huron “patients” have quivers full of newly fletched arrows.

She has noticed several of the high falutin’ ladies who were part of that group trying to run her outta town sporting new feather quilts. She eyes the well used and flattened pillows on her “couch” and wonders how all these folks have come by their new possessions. She attempts to loosen the tongue of her current “patient” with a few extra ministrations and a free tankard of rum…….*

 

And Bill R, having gone from a week of summer like mid 70 degree weather is now shaking with winter chills. The temperature has dropped to the 20’s and 30’s, the water has frozen in the dog’s dish, and what the heck is winter doing here with St. Patty’s Day just around the corner. GET MY GUN! I am gonna shoot me a certain groundhog! And where can I get some of those feathers…as I could sure use a new quilt myself!! Dang it!

 

Bill R

 

Review: Globalearn.com

globalearn.com didn’t help us out at all. there was no factual information that could be used, and nothing at all on Bahrain. this website has stupid little kids, telling their life stories (which are pretty DAMN crappy assed) and you can barely hear what they’re talking about, and you dont know where anything or what anything is at all! This is a BAD site! Its worse than our amazing Squackle duck, Dacky! dont go! dont click on their sponsors! click on ours!

 

Suing America: The Notes

These notes were used to write dave’s essay, called Suing America: A Synopsis of Events in File Sharing to the Present Day. There were 8 pages of notes, and not all had been used in the actual essay. If you want to get yourself educated about the RIAA suing people and file sharing in general, visit all the sites and sources listed in the notes here, as well as reading these articles, written by davepoobond (as they will at least give you a better idea than knowing nothing about the topic):

For File Sharing:

File Sharing and the RIAA Theory

Suing America: A Synopsis of Events in File Sharing to the Present Day

Against File Sharing:

The File Sharing Debate: Against File Sharing

—————————————-

“Recording Industry Begins Suing P2P File Sharers Who Illegally Offer Copyrighted Music Online.” 5 October 2003 <www.riaa.com>

  • The RIAA will agree to not sue P2P users who voluntarily pledge to stop distributing music illegally, by wiping their hard drives clean of all illegal music, and promise to never share or download any illegal music again.
  • RIAA is going to focus on suing offenders who have been illegally distributing substantial amounts of music, averaging more than 1,000 copyrighted music files.
  • Public awareness that it is illegal to make copyrighted music available online for others to download has risen sharply in recent months.
  • 61% of those polled in August admitted they knew sharing copyrighted music was illegal, up from 54 in July, and 37 in early June.
  • RIAA promotes switching from downloading free music illegally, to a paid service, downloading legally.
  • The RIAA has worked closely with the university community to combat piracy.
  • RIAA sent more than four million Instant Messages since May directly to infringers on Kazaa and Grokster.
  • Users are not anonymous when they illegally offer copyrighted music.
  • RIAA member companies filed copyright infringement claims against 261 individual file shares on October 5, 2003.
  • Illegal filesharing robs songwriters and recording artists of their livelihoods, and also undermines the future of music itself by depriving the industry of the resources it needs to find and develop new talent.
  • Illegal filesharing threatens the jobs of tens of thousands of less celebrated people in the music industry, from engineers and technicians to warehouse workers and record store clerks.
  • The music industry has made music available to a wide range of authorized online subscription, streaming, and download services legally and inexpensively on the Internet.
  • It is illegal to make available for download copyrighted works without permission of the copyright owner.
  • RIAA is suing only after a multi-year effort to educate the public about the legality of unauthorized downloading and noted they have made music available in high-quality, low cost, legitimate services.
  • All the industries are failing because of file sharing, from CD packers to guitar players

—————————————-

“Why Are the RIAA Suing Individuals for P2P File Sharing?” 5 October 2003 <www.filesharingwatch.com>

  • The sharing of MP3 files started long before Napster got popular in 1999.
  • During the second half of the 1990’s people shared MP3 files with friends using CDs and local area networks.
  • Modem Internet connections aren’t built for serious file sharing.
  • When broadband got popular in offices in 1998/1999, the infrastructure of P2P programs was in place.
  • The success of Napster was due to selection and ease-of-use.
  • Napster kick started P2P file sharing.
  • The music industry hasn’t been able to shut down the developers of file sharing programs.
  • The RIAA and MPAA’s first strategy were to go after the companies operating the file sharing networks, this caused the destruction of Napster.
  • After Napster, a bunch of other companies that offered new file sharing programs such as Morpheus, Gnutella, Kazaa, WinMX, and Audiogalaxy, had a central design that made it so that the companies didn’t host central lists of files on the P2P network.
  • The RIAA sued companies developing the new generation of file sharing software, and lost several cases.
  • The reason the RIAA lost several cases was that file sharing programs have non-infringing uses and as the developers of the post-Napster programs didn’t control the P2P networks, they weren’t to be held accountable for what the users shared on the networks.
  • The RIAA can’t stop illegal file sharing by suing the software companies making the software, and the only option was to go after individuals sharing copyrighted files directly.
  • By suing individual users, the RIAA hopes that it will scare consumers away from the P2P networks, and make them worse.
  • The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is used by the RIAA to get information about individuals with illegal music relatively cheap, without going through the courts first, and makes it possible to talk about thousands of lawsuits against file sharers.
  • The RIAA isn’t suing large numbers of file sharers to get millions of dollars form the file sharers in damages, its to scare all users to the extent that they stop sharing files on public P2P networks.
  • By scaring people off the P2P networks, worse file sharing networks make legal online music services more appealing.
  • The RIAA is hoping to kill public P2P networks by suing individual users.
  • The RIAA hopes that some people will abandon downloading songs and buy more CDs or subscribe to an online music service instead.
  • Napster lost in court because it kept a central list of files shared.

—————————————-

“Who is the RIAA Suing?” 5 October 2003 <www.nwfusion.com>

  • Sen. Norm Coleman, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, asked the RIAA to explain just how it was targeting recipients for the more than 1,000 subpoenas the group has sent out in its quest to quash file trading.
  • The RIAA explained that the RIAA is in now way targeting “de minimis” users, but only gathering evidence and preparing lawsuits only against individual computer users who are illegally distributing a substantial amount of copyrighted music.
  • Plain folks, kids, grandparents, low-level file traders across the country are getting subpoenas.
  • By targeting small time file traders, the RIAA is probably hoping that panicked parents will scrub the hard drives of MP3s.
  • The RIAA has refused to define what it considers a substantial amount of music.
  • Coleman said he was pleased with the RIAA response.
  • Coleman has admitted to downloading music off the original Napster service and should be asking whether he himself deserves to be dragged into court and fined thousands of dollars.
  • The subpoenas will simply continue to make music fans angry, further reducing the chance that they will be willing to purchase overpriced music from officially sanctioned sites blessed by the music industry.

—————————————-

“Charter Sues to Block RIAA from Getting Names.” 7 October 2003 <www.reuters.com>

  • Charter Communications Inc. said it has sued the recording industry to block it from getting names of its customers for alleged song-swapping on the Internet.
  • Charter sued the RIAA, after the RIAA issued subpoenas for identities of about 150 of its customers.
  • Charter considers their relationship with their customer to be their most important responsibility, and they’ve exercised their legal right to protect the legitimate interests of their customers and their own interests.
  • The RIAA filed suits against 261 individuals in September.
  • The RIAA says the subpoenas complied with the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
  • Verizon and SBC Communications have also gone to court to challenge the industry’s interpretation of the law, which they say violates due-process and free-speech rights and threatens privacy.

—————————————-

“RIAA Wants to Hack Your PC.” 7 October 2003 <www.wired.com>

  • The RIAA wants the right to hack into your computer and delete your stolen MP3s.
  • The RIAA tried to glue this hacking-authorization amendment onto a mammoth anti-terrorism bill that Congress approved last week.
  • The RIAA drafted amendment would immunize all copyright holders, including the movie and e-book industry, for any data losses caused by their hacking efforts or other computer intrusions that are reasonably intended to prevent electronic piracy.
  • The RIAA has abandoned plans to insert it into the anti-terrorism bills, instead is supporting a revised amendment that takes a more modest approach.
  • The RIAA believes that in the USA Act, it would be outlawed from breaking into FTP sites, websites, or P2P networks, because the damages would be over the $5,000 threshold.
  • The RIAA would be able to hack into individual users, and delete all the copyrighted music, and because it is less than $5,000, it would not be a crime of cyber terrorism.
  • The RIAA is worried about the USA Act to outlaw that same practice, and neither the Senate nor the House versions of that bill include the RIAA’s suggested changes.
  • The RIAA’s version of the bill raises privacy and security concerns.
  • There could be a program that is intended to delete MP3s, but accidently erases everything on a hard disk. This is like a repo man smashing windows and knocking down doors to pull out the 27 inch color TV when you’ve missed a couple of payments.
  • The RIAA would try to limit their liability for consequential damages.
  • The RIAA is still trying to get a copy of its revised amendment included in the anti-terrorism bill called the USA Act.

—————————————-

“File Sharing: Stealing or Sharing amongst friends?” 8 October 2003 <www.misbridge.mccombs.utexas.edu>

  • People trade millions and millions of MP3s every day without giving it another thought.
  • The term MP3 is short for Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) 1 Audio Layer 3. It represents an algorithm, an encoding technology, which compresses a digital music file by a ratio of approximately 12:1.
  • The MP3 world was changed when Shawn Fanning, a 19 yr. old dropout from Northwestern, conceived of an idea he called Napster, a program that allowed users to share MP3 files over the Net with other Napster users.
  • Music used to be confined to physical mediums: audio cassette tapes and compact discs. Napster brought music to the online world.

—————————————-

“How Not To Get Sued By The RIAA For File-Sharing (And Other Ideas to Avoid Being Treated Like a Criminal)” 14 October 2003 <www.eff.org>

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced on June 25, 2003, that it will begin suing users of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing systems within the next few weeks.

According to the announcement, the RIAA will be targeting users who upload/share “substantial” amounts of copyrighted music. The RIAA has stated that it will choose who to sue by using software that scans users’ publicly available P2P directories and then identifies the ISP of each user.

Then, using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the RIAA will subpoena the ISP for each user’s name, address, and other personal information in order to sue that user.

While there is no way to know exactly what the RIAA is going to do, who it is going to sue, or even how much music qualifies as a “substantial” amount, users of P2P networks can take steps to reduce their chances of being sued

You can make sure there are no potentially infringing files in your shared folder. This would ordinarily mean that your shared folder contains only files 1) that are in the public domain, 2) for which you have permission to share, or 3) that are made available under pro-sharing licenses, such as the Creative Commons license or other open media licenses

You can remove all potentially misleading file names that might be confused with the name of an RIAA artist or song (e.g., “Usher” or “Madonna”) from your shared folder.

Disable the “sharing” or “uploading” features on your P2P application that allow other users on the network to get copies of files from your computer or scan any of your music directories. We hate this option, but it does appear that it will reduce your chances of becoming an RIAA target right now. This undermines the whole purpose of P2P file sharing though.

The RIAA appears to be targeting subpoenas at users who allow their computers to be “Supernodes” on the FastTrack P2P System (used, for instance, by KaZaA and Morpheus).

In order to further reduce the risk of having your ISP subpoenaed or of being sued yourself, they recommend that you make sure your computer is not being used as a Supernode.

If you receive notice that your ISP has been subpoenaed for your name and address, consider contacting www.subpoenadefense.org, where you can find information about how to defend your privacy and a list of attorneys willing to help. Contact your ISP and ask the people there to notify you immediately if they receive a subpoena seeking your identity.

You can join EFF’s campaign to make file sharing legal by contacting your congressional representitive and demand that Congress hold immediate hearings on ways to save P2P technology and file-sharing while ensuring that artists get paid.

You can also tell a friend, family member, colleague or even stranger on the street about the damage that the RIAA is doing to the Internet, innovation, and consumer choice. There are over 57 million Americans who use P2P file-sharing — more than voted for President Bush — and millions more worldwide — so chances are good that the person sitting next to you on the bus, walking beside you on the sidewalk or driving in the car in front of you is using file-sharing, too. Start the conversation.

—————————————-

“Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998, The. U.S. Copyright Office Summary.” 14 October 2003. <www.loc.gov>

Page 1

  • The DMCA was signed into law by President Clinton on October 28, 1998
  • The DMCA is divided into five titles
  • Title I is the “WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act of 1998” which implements the WIPO treaties.
  • Title II is the “Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act” which creates limitations on the liability of online service providers for copyright infringement when engaging in certain types of activities.
  • Title III is the “Computer Maintenance Competition Assurance Act” which creates exemption for making a copy of a computer program by activating a computer for purposes of maintenance or repair.
  • Title IV contains 6 miscellaneous provisions, relating to the functions of the Copyright Office, distance education, the exceptions in the Copyright Act for libraries and for making ephemeral recordings, “webcasting” of sound recordings on the Internet, and the applicability of collective bargaining agreement obligations in the case of transfers of rights in motion pictures.
  • Title V is the “Vessel Hull Design Protection Act” which creates a new form of protection for the design of vessel hulls
  • A complete understanding of any provision of the DMCA requires reference to the text of the legislation itself.

Page 2

  • The WIPO treaties makes certain technical amendments to U.S. law, in order to provide
  • The WIPO treaties also creates two new prohibitions in Title 17 of the U.S. Code – one on circumvention of technological measures used by copyright owners to protect their works and one on tampering with copyright management information – and adds civil remedies and criminal penalties for violating the prohibitions.
  • Title I requires the US Copyright Office to perform two joint studies with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Department of Commerce (NTIA).
  • The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WPPT each require member countries to provide protection to certain works from other member countries or created by nationals of other member countries. That protection must be no less favorable than the accorded to domestic works.
  • Both treaties require parties to protect preexisting works from other member countries that have not fallen into the public domain in the country of origin through the expiry of the term of protection.

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  • The Copyright Act requires claims to copyright to be registered with the Copyright Office before a lawsuit can be initiated by the copyright owner, but exempts many foreign works in order to comply with existing treaty obligations under the Berne Convention.
  • The WIPO treaties are virtually identical in language obligating member states to prevent circumvention of technological measures used to protect copyrighted works, and to prevent tampering with the integrity of copyright management information.
  • The WIPO treaties provide legal protection that the international copyright community deemed critical to the safe and efficient exploitation of works on digital networks
  • The DMCA implements the obligation to provide adequate and effective protection against circumvention of technological measures used by copyright owners to protect their works
  • The DMCA divides technological measures into two categories: measures that prevent unauthorized access to a copyrighted work and measures that prevent unauthorized copying of a copyrighted work

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  • Copying is used in this context as a short-hand for the exercise of any of the exclusive rights of an author. Consequently, a technological measure that prevents unauthorized distribution or public performance of a work would fall in the second category.

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  • An exception to the operation of the entire section is for reasons of law enforcement, intelligence and other governmental activities.
  • Another exception is for nonprofit library, archive and educational institution use. The prohibition on the act of circumvention of access control measures is subject to an exception that permits nonprofit libraries, archives and educational institutions to circumvent solely for the purpose of making a good faith determination as to whether they wish to obtain authorized access to the work
  • Another exception is reverse engineering, in which a person who has lawfully obtained a right to use a copy of a computer program for the sole purpose of identifying and analyzing elements of the program necessary to achieve interoperability with other programs, to the extent that such acts are permitted under copyright law.
  • Another exception is encryption research, it permits circumvention of access control measures and the development of the technological means to do so, in order to identify flaws and vulnerabilities of encryption technologies
  • Another exception is protection of minors – this exception allows a court applying the prohibition to a component or a part to consider the necessity for its incorporation in technology that prevents access of minors to material on the Internet
  • Another exception is personal privacy – this exception permits circumvention when the technological measure, or the work it protects, is capable of collecting or disseminating personally identifying information about the online activities of a natural person

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  • Any person injured by a violation of section 1201 or 1202 may bring a civil action in Federal court
  • Section 1203 gives courts the power to grant a range of equitable and monetary remedies similar to those available under the Copyright Act, including statutory damages. The court has discretion to reduce or remit damages in cases of innocent violations, where the violator proves that it was not aware and had no reason to believe its acts constituted a violation.
  • In addition it is a criminal offense to violate section 1201 or 1202 wilfully and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain. Under section 1204 penalties range up to a $500,000 fine or up to five years imprisonment for a first offense, and up to a $1,000,000 fine or up to 10 years imprisonment for subsequent offenses. Nonprofit libraries, archives, and educational institutions are entirely exempted from criminal liability.

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  • The DMCA creates four new limitations on liability for copyright infringement by online service providers.
  • The limitations are based on the following four categories of conduct by a service provider: transitory communications, system caching, storage of information on systems or networks at direction of users and information location tools
 

Suing America: A Synopsis of Events in File Sharing…

Written in 2003 as a full-fledged report for 12th grade English, this essay’s goal was not to express opinion, but to give a broad spectrum of what has actually happened in the events of file sharing. There may be a little bias against the RIAA, however, as dave’s personal opinions against the RIAA can be clearly described in this article: File Sharing and the RIAA Theory. The preceding article was written to actually be used as quotes for THIS essay, but dave decided against using it in the end (teehee). The end report (including Works Cited) was eleven pages long.

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Peer-to-Peer (or P2P) programs allow consumers to locate whatever music they would like, with great ease and provides a tremendous variety of music to choose from. The P2P companies and their users have come under siege by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which is determined to abolish all file sharing. P2P programs allow users to download files from other users, through the network that the P2P program is using. The RIAA is trying to end the sharing of copyrighted music in this fashion, as well as any and all files by any means possible. They see file sharing programs as the means for transferring, and the users receiving the files as the main copyright infringers.

To gain a full understanding of how the RIAA has begun suing individual users, it is necessary to learn about the history of file sharing. The first file sharing program, Napster was the beginning of the file sharing saga. Before Napster, it was hard to get any MP3s. MP3s were usually found on unreliable web sites that did not have the MP3 files at all, but “the MP3 world was changed when Shawn Fanning, a 19 [year] old dropout from Northwestern, conceived of an idea he called Napster, a program that allowed users to share MP3 files over the Net with other Napster users” (“Stealing or Sharing” 1). Napster offered the ease of use of a search engine, and a variety of music which was unparalleled by any music store. As more and more people began using Napster, more files were shared, and it became easier to find the songs people wanted. However, this new innovation came with consequences, especially for the RIAA. It used to be that “music [was] confined to physical mediums: audio cassette tapes and compact discs” (“Stealing or Sharing” 1), but no longer with the creation of Napster. The RIAA didn’t like that at all, because their product was now out of their controlled distribution. While Napster was enjoying a period of prosperity, heated debate over the topic of free distribution of music was underway. The bottom line was that it had indefinitely changed the way music was sold and what was bought, as the common consumer was now smart enough not to buy five dollar CD singles or an overpriced album with at most one or two good songs on it, out of twenty or even less. Instead, the consumer could just download the one song they liked from Napster. Napster was definitely the way to share music.

The fall of Napster would not only bring down itself, but all others who invested in it, such as Bertelsmann. Bertelsmann is a very large corporation in Europe, which owns companies such as BMG (a music distributor). Bertelsmann helped Napster on numerous occasions when it needed money, and eventually filed bankruptcy because of their investment. In December of 1999, the RIAA began its lawsuit against Napster. The RIAA, trying to hamper Napster from sharing music online, only helped advertise it to the public at large. When the media started covering the RIAA’s lawsuit, the popularity of Napster exploded and Shawn Fanning “was plastered all over magazines, in newspapers, and on TV” (“Stealing or Sharing” 2) for the next year. Even though the RIAA had sued Napster in 1999, an actual ruling did not come until “July 26th, 2000, [when] U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel ruled in favor of the record industry and ordered Napster to stop allowing copyrighted material to be swapped over its network by midnight two days later” (“Stealing or Sharing” 2). Napster had to place filters on what their users could download, but users found ways around the filters by renaming the files. The RIAA was not satisfied with the filtering that Napster was doing. When time almost ran out “on July 28, 2000, nine hours before Napster would have had to shut down, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the company should be allowed to continue operating” (“Stealing or Sharing” 2). Through the RIAA’s eyes, this court ruling would later do even more damage to the RIAA’s business. The RIAA was suffering from the “five percent fall in worldwide music sales during 2001, [that had been] the worst drop-off since the introduction of the CD in 1983” (Menn 310). The RIAA was also concerned over the “sales of blank CDs [which] topped those of recorded CDs” (Menn 310). The drop in profit and the sales of blank CDs suggested to the RIAA that they were losing a lot of money to the piracy explosion, and laid the blame on Napster.

After all the court battles with the RIAA, Napster was eventually shut down for good. On July 11, 2001, “Napster lawyer Steve Cohen told [Judge] Patel that Napster could relaunch the system and weed out 99 percent of the improper songs” (Menn 276), however, Patel would not accept anything less than one hundred percent of all copyrighted material prevented from being downloaded. Steve Cohen was “unable to promise a faultless system” (Menn 276) and Napster remained closed down. This was a huge win for the RIAA, and helped stop the flow of distribution of copyrighted music, as well as file sharing in general. The free version of Napster was gone forever, and Napster had gone into a transition stage to a paid music service. Only recently, in November 2003, Napster finally reopened as a pay service.

Many lessons were learned after Napster had been shutdown. Out of Napster’s demise, a whole new generation of P2P programs was created, including Morpheus, Gnutella, Kazaa, WinMX, and Audiogalaxy. These new P2P programs “had a central design that made it so that the companies didn’t host central lists of files on the P2P network” (“Suing Individuals” 1), which was the major fault in Napster’s case against being shutdown. The reason that Napster failed in the courts was because it had had “supervisory” power over what their users were downloading because they had kept the list of files on a central server. Since the new P2P programs didn’t have a central server with a list of files being shared, they didn’t have the same liability as Napster had. The new P2P programs had succeeded, and “by 2002 those services were almost as easy to use as Napster was, had as many users as Napster did at its peak, and were far harder to shut down” (Menn 309), and the RIAA now had a bigger problem on their hands. Instead of one major P2P program to deal with, they had multiple P2P programs which they almost couldn’t close down at all. The RIAA would not go down without a fight though.

The RIAA decided to take a different approach. Instead of only fighting the new generation of P2P programs in court, they decided to educate the consumer about how it was wrong (and illegal) to download copyrighted material. One tactic they used to educate the public was to try to get sympathy from the public for the RIAA and all the people in the music business. The RIAA constantly said that “illegal file sharing robs songwriters and recording artists of their livelihoods, and also undermines the future of music itself by depriving the industry of the resources it needs to find and develop new talent” (“Begins Suing” 1). The RIAA also claimed that “illegal file sharing threatens the jobs of tens of thousands of less celebrated people in the music industry, from engineers and technicians to warehouse workers and record store clerks” (“Begins Suing” 1). The RIAA has many powerful names under its power, and often have their most famous artists talk about how file sharing is bad. They even went as far as to say that “all the industries are failing because of file sharing, from CD packers to guitar players” (“Begins Suing” 3). The RIAA also promoted the “switching from downloading free music illegally, to a paid service, downloading legally” (“Begins Suing” 1), which was not going over well with the public at large. Some people did make the change over to a paid service, but most stayed with a free service, because they were smart enough to not pay for what they could get for free. Obviously after a few months of preaching for sympathy, the RIAA concluded that getting people to be sorry for rich artists and multi-billion dollar corporations would not work.

The RIAA had to change their tactics, and in May of 2003, the RIAA stopped reaching out for sympathy from the public as a number one priority. Instead, the RIAA took a completely opposite approach, and started to scare everyone with threats of lawsuits. One such example of the RIAA trying to scare people, was when they sent out “more than four million Instant Messages since May [2003] directly to infringers on Kazaa and Grokster” (“Begins Suing” 2) saying that their identities were not anonymous when they illegally offered music. As well as trying to scare people on a personal level, the RIAA has been pushing for “the right to hack into your computer and delete your stolen MP3s” (“Hack Your PC” 1), which raises many privacy issues. The RIAA had also been hinting about suing individuals who shared copyrighted music online. These new tactics seem to work, as “61% of those polled in August admitted they knew sharing copyrighted music was illegal, up from 54 in July, and 37 in early June” (“Begins Suing” 2), looking like the RIAA was accomplishing what it set out to do. The RIAA is also offering “amnesty” to those who “voluntarily pledge to stop distributing music illegally, by wiping their hard drives clean of all illegal music, and promise to never share or download any illegal music again” (“Begins Suing” 1), in exchange for a promise of not being sued. The RIAA has been trying anything it could in recent months to get people to stop what they were doing.

The RIAA has used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, or the DMCA, in their pursuit to subpoena individuals. The DMCA was originally “signed into law by President Clinton on October 28, 1998” (“Act of 1998” 1), and contains five different sections, called titles. The title that the RIAA uses to subpoena anyone they want, is Title II, the “Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act” (“Act of 1998” 1), which creates limitations on the liability of people committing copyright infringement. The DMCA enables the RIAA to go past the courts, and directly subpoena the Internet Service Providers (or ISPs) for the identities of whom they want to sue, which saves the RIAA a lot of time and money. The RIAA does not sue the ISPs themselves for copyright infringement, because the DMCA states that online service providers have limited liability for what their users do while using the service provided by the ISP. If the ISPs do not know that their users are committing copyright infringement, and they are not gaining any money from the copyright infringements, then they are not liable for any damages.

Even though the RIAA has sent subpoenas to certain ISPs to gain the identities of those in question, some ISPs have fought back against the RIAA, to keep their users’ identities secret. One such ISP, Charter Communications Inc., “said it has sued the recording industry to block it from getting names of its customers for alleged song-swapping on the Internet” (“Charter Sues” 1), considering the relationship with their customers their most important responsibility. Not only Charter Communications, but Verizon Communications and SBC Communications have also “gone to court to challenge the industry’s interpretation of the law, which they say violates due-process and free-speech rights and threatens privacy” (“Charter Sues” 1). The ISPs have become an obstacle, even a last line of defense, in the RIAA’s path to gain the identities of file sharers.

The file sharing community was reluctant to believe that the RIAA would sue every single file sharer there was. However, the RIAA followed through on its threats in September 2003, and “filed copyright infringement claims against 261 infringers on Kazaa and Grokster” (“Begins Suing” 2). There have been settlements outside of court, but an actual case is yet to go to trial. In recent weeks there has been a swell in the number of subpoenas the RIAA is issuing, since the “RIAA announced on June 25 that it would… [gather] …evidence in order to bring lawsuits in September against computer users who illegally distribute copyrighted music” (“Begins Suing” 2). There have been so many subpoenas, that the offices filing these subpoenas had to take people from other, more important, cases and dedicate their time to the RIAA’s subpoenas. The RIAA said that they were suing people who distributed “substantial amounts (averaging more than 1,000 copyrighted music files each) of copyrighted music on peer-to-peer networks” (“Begins Suing” 1), hoping to make the P2P experience a more unpleasant one, forcing the people that had the most files off of the networks. Unsuspecting people, like grandparents, were slapped with a subpoena, and were liable to pay $50,000 to $150,000 for each song that infringed copyrights. These unsuspecting people didn’t even know that they had any songs on their computers that infringed copyrights, because relatives used their computers to download them. By the process of elimination, the RIAA can almost force people to switch over to a pay service, because they are not able to find the files they want or they do not want to run the risk of being sued.

There are always two sides to an argument, and the RIAA’s attempts to kill P2P networks have support from some, but not from others. Politically, the government is behind the RIAA, because there is copyright infringement going on. The Copyright Office has not changed the DMCA, despite the petitions and emails from the public. Public opinion is against the most recent course of action the RIAA has taken. Many new websites advocating the boycott of the RIAA have risen up against the RIAA. One such web site is boycottriaa.com, which posts news articles about file sharing, in addition to boycotting the RIAA. Some web sites even have “campaign[s] to make file sharing legal” (“How to Not Get Sued” 1). These web sites also help out the file sharer, by suggesting several ways to avoid being sued by the RIAA, such as disabling “the ‘sharing’ or ‘uploading’ features on [the] P2P application” (“How to Not Get Sued” 1), which will keep a user from being targeted by the RIAA. This method, however, undermines the whole idea of P2P file sharing. The RIAA would get what they wanted if everyone disables their sharing.

The RIAA’s recent actions against the world of file sharing will have a definite effect on the way file sharing will continue in the future. From day one of the file sharing era, the RIAA has been out to stop it. File sharing has many more legal uses than just sharing songs, such as music from unsigned bands, sharing pictures, and other files people want. The RIAA fails to realize this, and they want to shut down all the file sharing networks of the world. The longer the RIAA fights against file sharing, the more people will be inclined to boycott the RIAA, and the RIAA will see more of their profits slide downward than when unrestricted file sharing first began.

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Works Cited

“Charter Sues to Block RIAA from Getting Names.” 7 October 2003 <www.reuters.com>

“Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998, The. U.S. Copyright Office Summary.” 14 October 2003. <www.loc.gov>

“File Sharing: Stealing or Sharing amongst friends?” 8 October 2003 <www.misbridge.mccombs.utexas.edu>

“How Not To Get Sued By The RIAA For File-Sharing (And Other Ideas to Avoid Being Treated Like a Criminal)” 14 October 2003 <www.eff.org>

Menn, Joseph. All the Rave: The Rise and Fall of Shawn Fanning’s Napster. New York: Crown Business, 2003.

“Recording Industry Begins Suing P2P File Sharers Who Illegally Offer Copyrighted Music Online.” 5 October 2003 <www.riaa.com>

“RIAA Wants to Hack Your PC.” 7 October 2003 <www.wired.com>

“Why Are the RIAA Suing Individuals for P2P File Sharing?” 5 October 2003 <www.filesharingwatch.com>

 

The File Sharing Debate: Against File Sharing

Written in 2002, this was what dave used for his assignment. The assignment was to write on a certain debate, and debate with other people in your group who took the other side of the issue. Dave was put onto the “Against File Sharing” side for the debate, however, the things said in this article do not necessarily align with what dave believes. The points made in this speech would be from someone’s point of view (like the RIAA) that they would use against file sharing.

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File sharing services are nothing more than the carts that a shoplifter uses at a grocery store that has no security and employees that don’t care to look at what you’re doing. That’s how millions of people steal from the music, and other, industries, giving a negative effect to the sales of their products. File sharing directly affects the economy, as record sales for the music industry are at an extreme low. If these “shopping carts” are taken away for good, it will be a serious deterrent to the illegal sharing of files.

As the file sharing programs become more and more popular, less will actually want to spend money for what they can get, for a fraction of the cost, by downloading the items they want and burning them onto blank CDs, with no money at all given to the original producers. Its like the people that make the items are working for no money, which is basically slavery.

File sharing programs state they are not responsible for what their users download, even when they know that the law is virtually being broken with every download, and they take no serious steps, that go past words, to stop the illegal distribution.

In the past, file sharing programs connected users to users through a central server, and once these companies were closed because of that fact, they became sneakier, and made the “central server” its users, which is nearly impossible to close down millions of people’s computers, so then they won’t be liable to what illegal activities are happening indirectly because of them.

When file sharing programs use users as a server, they are mostly people using a connection at their college, because they have a lot of bandwidth to support the traffic of people downloading. These colleges are ending up having to pay larger and larger amounts for their internet connections because of this.

Having even one piece of something illegally downloaded, it is still, may I remind you, illegal. You can be sued for petty theft or even grand theft if you have enough illegal items on your computer. If you get convicted, then you’ll most likely end up having to pay a lot more than what you were downloading is worth. When it comes to downloading illegally, it’s a gamble.

File sharing does not only conflict with the law, but will impact society itself. Children are growing up thinking that music should be free, when it should not be free. Creativity will suffer, because fewer will be willing to take the risk of pursuing a music career. Moral issues also come into play, because you may not care that you’re stealing, but you still admit that what you are doing is wrong.

If file sharing is allowed to continue, many parties will miss out, such as: Struggling artists that have not made it in the big time and are just starting out, record industry workers which will most likely be fired because they can’t be supported by the record industry to keep them on the payroll, and record stores, which will lose almost all its business, putting many more out of work.

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Works Cited

Dalnas, Eric, Matthew Roloff, and Keith Jenci. File Sharing: A debate With a focus on trading MP3s. 4 December 2002. <http://www.mredkj.com/other/sharing.html>.

University of Alabama. 4 December 2002. <http://resnet.ua.edu/about/acceptuse.html>

 

File Sharing and the RIAA Theory

November 2, 2003

Now, this goes pretty deep into the past (a whole 4 years or so), but it all started with Napster. Napster was a revolutionizing program, and one of the most useful ones you could get your phone line transferring to your computer by far, in 1998. I was actually apart of this “revolution,” and its sort of a bragging right, to say that “I was there, and I had done that,” because I had downloaded Napster while it was still free. The original Napster was and will still be the best file sharing program (music-wise) in my mind. All the other file sharing programs pale in comparison to Napster, but some have come pretty close to it.

Pretty much as soon as Napster had came, the RIAA threw a hissy fit. You wanna know why? Because the consumer got smart enough to not buy a CD Single for $4 or buy an overpriced $20 album for only one song, when they could get the one song for free. The RIAA lost a total of about, oh I’d say, $50 and some change when people stopped buying their stupid singles. Because their lovely little single was shot and killed, the RIAA was out for blood.

About a year after its release, Napster came under a heavy lawsuit by the RIAA. This was a really bad move by the RIAA. When the media started covering it, the popularity of Napster exploded. Instead of having a 100,000 or so people downloading increasing at 1,000 users or whatever a week, it was 2 million people, and increasing at about 10,000 users a week. I’m not sure if these are the right numbers, but I’m just giving a comparison to what it was before and after. The RIAA just made the problem worse, and millions of files were being transferred a day. Instead of possibly working out a deal with Napster to use it to their advantage, they sued them. In retrospect, this would have been a good thing for Napster, but at the time, it probably would have had the disadvantage for us. And yes, I know that Shawn Fanning’s uncle was pretty much the one in charge of Napster, and the guy was a complete idiot as a business man. But if things had worked out in a fashion that it would have been favorable for all parties involved, this wouldn’t be such a big problem.

Many lessons were learned by the eventual downfall of Napster. The reason why Napster was shut down was because they had a central server which kept the listings of all files being shared. This was something that could not be included in the next generation of file sharing programs. Well anyway, that’s what happened, and the RIAA hasn’t been able to shut most of them down completely. The RIAA has impacted some of the file sharing programs to place some sort of restriction on what can be downloaded in their policy, but not any actual filters or things that will actually stop the downloading of that certain file.

The RIAA claims that they, and the artists and songwriters and seemingly everyone in the mix is getting screwed by the whole file sharing deal. Artists are payed millions and millions of dollars to make albums with at most 1 or 2 good songs on it, out of 20 or even less. Rarely ever do you actually find a CD that actually has good songs all the way through and doesn’t all sound the same. The artists are just going to be incovenienced a little bit because they won’t be having their 300 million dollar check coming in the mail from good ol’ uncle RIAA, instead just getting a 240 million dollar one. File sharing is not going to kill the fan base for a certain artist. Nothing is as intense as seeing an actual band or artist in concert, so they just have to have more performances and work harder for their millions of dollars. Sure, I know all about how artists and bands get drained from touring so much, but if they don’t want to make up the money they lost with more tour dates and junk, then they can just live in semi-luxury, which is still about 3 million times better than how I live and most other people in the world. All of them (except the really stupid ones) don’t even use all their money, they just hide it in a bank somewhere until they decide to buy an island somewhere, or even build one. I don’t care if you disagree with me or not, this is just the plain truth.

So, now to more recent events. Have you heard now, that the RIAA is suing America now? I saw a picture (below), that says if you file share, you support communism, and a devil that looks like Stalin will become your dad who approves of what you’re doing because he’s looking over your shoulder all the time. This is exactly what the RIAA would have you believe if this kind of propaganda still worked (we’re in the “terrorism” phase).

Kid: Look at me daddy, I downloaded Madonna – Like a Virgin today!

Devil Stalin: Good job, kiddo. Tomorrow we’ll get the next Creed album before its made.

This campaign for educating the public is not a well-intentioned one, mind you. Buried in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (or the DMCA), is a statement that basically says that if a copyright violator does not know that he is committing copyright infringement, they will not be responsible for the full penalty of their wrong doing. But guess who comes around and starts teaching everyone that sharing music is a bad thing? The good ol’ RIAA, helping out the American public everday. So when they start suing everyone, they can go for the maximum penalty, and scare everyone into thinking that file sharing is a horrible thing to do, even if it is legal. It’ll be just like going to a strip bar. And mp3s will be demonized, and the RIAA will probably want to make it so that the mp3 is never used again, even though it is a very good file format to use for sound.

(Ok, the thing I said about the people committing copyright infringement not being responsible isn’t actually real. I thought I saw it in there when I was looking at the thing, but it was only meant towards ISPs. I could’ve sworn I saw it in there for regular people too)

So, basically what I’m saying is, don’t fall into the RIAA’s traps, and boycott the RIAA. The RIAA is too conservative, and their endless stream of subpoenas being handed out to the American public will have a tremendous backlash one of these days. Universal is the only company in the RIAA that I will somewhat support, because they have lowered the prices of their CDs to 10 bucks. That’s what CDs should cost, not 20. You could get 2 really crappy movies for that price, and still have enough to buy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie, and STILL have change. Probably enough to buy another couple crappy movies.

Fuck the RIAA.