The SOPA protests represented a rivalry between northern and southern California, movies and technology. Good for them, because heaven help us if they start really working together. There was a movie some time back called Anti-Trust, with Tim Robbins as a Bill Gates figure. The moral of the story was that software-for-profit was wrong and that “information wants to be free.” Well… what about movies? Do they want to be free? If not, why not? It was best, in the context of this movie, not to ask that question.

Also, a look at modern media piracy and its actual effects. I have always found the claim that piracy enables crime syndicates to be odd. If anything, the opposite is true, because, as this points out, they can’t compete with free any more than the studios can. Less so, since a lot of people will feel better buying legit copies. If you’re going to go illegit, why pay for it?

Kodak has filed for bankrupcy. Its future is in doubt, but it does have some patent revenue streams. They also are looking at doubling down on printing. Which is a brilliant place to go as we move to a paperless society. Should we ever meet, valued commenters, buy me a drink and I will tell you about my professional dealings with Kodak. In addition to the whole film thing, they are one of the most toxic corporations I have ever seen (and I have seen some doozies).

Apple is looking at getting into the textbook business. But who is going to pay for it? This is beyond the scope of what we usually ask teachers to supply. Personally, I think this is something that Amazon should be doing. They’d be more price-conscious. Either way, though, I do wonder how they’re going to get around the Americans with Disabilities Act, which has fought Kindle readers for being insufficiently friendly to the blind. Tablets are only going to be moreso.

Speaking of Apple and iBooks, their EULA is really quite disturbing. I mean, more than most EULA’s.

Again… the problem with news organizations “fact-checking.” Facts, in order to become (useful) information, require context. Context is open to interpretation. Therefore, “ObamaCare is Socialism” and “Republicans voted to end Medicare” ended up as Lies of the Year. Neither were lies. Both were subjective subjective judgments that we either agree with or disagree with.

Norway authorities took away an Indian couple’s kids for “feeding them wrong.” What happens when the Nanny State meets Multiculturalism.

The St. Louis Rams are going to be playing some games in London. Costa Tsiokas thinks that this may be a prelude to relocating the team back to Los Angeles (hurting their ticket sales). I don’t know about that, but the article goes on to mention that there is a fan club for the New England Patriots out there (the Patriots have also played in the UK). Does anyone else get a kick out of the irony of Brits rooting for a team called the New England Patriots with a colonial captain on their helmet?

A French diet guru wants to grade people on their weight. Using BMI. Sigh.

A look at the 1% and what they majored in. I actually do find it quite surprising that nearly 1 in 20 history majors become 1%ers. Almost 1 in 10 economics majors is less surprising. One imagines that it’s still not a good idea to go to North By Northeast State U and major in history, though. One imagines that a history major that becomes a 1% was bound for there regardless of what they majored in. Still: surprising.

A look at the DEA and the Adderall Shortage.

South America deserves an aware for finding a use for mimes.


Category: Newsroom

About the Author


13 Responses to Linkluster Monuments at Antietam

  1. Samson J. says:

    Speaking of Apple and iBooks, their EULA is really quite disturbing. I mean, more than most EULA’s.

    I hate Apple, but it occurs to me that I have a Zune (Microsoft), a iPod touch (Apple), and and Android phone (Google). I’m an equal-opportunity hater.

  2. trumwill says:

    Or an equal-opportunity lover.

    I guess I am in the bucket for Microsoft. I still use my WinMo phone, run Windows, and have a dumb media player (Sansa).

  3. A4 says:

    You may be interested in an editorial by economist Stan Liebowitz recently in the Wall Street Journal. It might be behind the paywall, but you can get it if you Google the title: “Internet to Artists: Drop Dead”. He is making a point about SOPA, about which I have no opinion, but points out his research on downloading/sharing and industry revenues.

    One thing I do not know about is the distribution of harm from free downloading. I have a feeling that historically large players in the industry are being harmed, while smaller artists get increased exposure from downloading (either provided free by the artist or illegally) the way Cory Doctorow describes.

    If downloading/piracy/internet marketing means that somewhat obscure artists that I like, such a Jonathan Coulton, get to make a living but big record company executives and major label stars have less money to spend on cocaine and prostitutes, maybe I’m OK with that.

    By the way, Liebowitz is one of the authors of what might be my favorite article in economics, “The Fable of the Keys.”

    A4

  4. trumwill says:

    A4, I am not wholly unsympathetic to the concerns of the record industry, artists, and so on. I am relatively skeptical of numbers the RIAA put together, but the inability to contain the proliferation of illegimate copies of music is going to have effects, some positive and some negative. Even if we feel no sympathy for record labels themselves (and I don’t*), I think it does put artists in a tight spot.

    Unfortunately, what would be required to effectively halt it would be extremely problematic. In a world where record companies and such reserve the right to take down music they don’t have the rights to, collect royalties from artists they have made no contracted arrangements with, and claim ownership over works in the public domain, I have serious doubts about handing them the immense power that would be required to make a serious dent.

    So where does that leave us? I really don’t know. It’s going to be harder for content creators to profit off their wares. Will that mean that there will be less out there? In some cases, such as movies, I think that’s quite possible. In others, such as music, I don’t believe it is going to happen.

    It’s an uncertain future.

    * – Liebowitz talks of DMCA doomsaying and suggests that cuts into the credibility of those concerned about SOPA. However, the MPAA and RIAA have their own history of hyperbole – as well as trying to use the courts and the law to stop what is presently common practice.

  5. David Alexander says:

    Does anyone else get a kick out of the irony of Brits rooting for a team called the New England Patriots with a colonial captain on their helmet?

    Is it composed of American expats or actual British fans? Of course, I’d love to see the demographics of the average non-American foreign football fan, especially in countries that have football’s cousin, rugby…

  6. A4 says:

    Trumwill, no argument. I agree with much of what you say, which is why I don’t feel I know enough to have an informed opinion on SOPA. This also means I don’t necessarily agree with Liebowitz’s conclusions*. It’s perfectly understandable why media companies push for it, as their business model requires control. It seems like an attempt to strongarm the genie back into the bottle, no? And no, I don’t trust or believe what the MPAA and RIAA tell me, and my default explanation for anything they do is rent-seeking. But the BoingBoing types with an anti-SOPA agenda are reflecting their own interests, as well.

    I need to be careful to keep track of my own biases, also. I care that incentives to produce art are still strong. Honestly, though, I don’t care about movies, only music. Your point about the sensitivities of movies to downloading makes sense, but since I’ve never been tempted, I don’t naturally think about it.

    It would be interesting to discuss everyone’s own piracy history. I did some when it was novel**, but don’t anymore, although I make “compromises” to this day.

    A4

    *I don’t keep current in this area, but last I checked, he was doing the best work at looking at downloads and their effect on sales.

    **First one: Hansen’s MMMBop from Napster.

  7. trumwill says:

    But the BoingBoing types with an anti-SOPA agenda are reflecting their own interests, as well.

    I don’t think that’s true of BoingBoing. It is definitely true of YouTube, though, and to a lesser extent Wikipedia.

    I was about to say that as far as music goes, you’re likely golden. There’ll always been basement musicians. However, if you like Hansonesque stuff that’s heavily produced, you might see less of that stuff.

    In my mind, piracy is becoming somewhat redundant in the age of Netflix/Hulu/Rhapsody/Spotify. I could illegally download a song, but if I want to listen to it, I can just as easily log on to Spotify with half the hassle. It’s a little trickier with videos, since Netflix and Hulu don’t have reliable catalogs. We’ll have to see where that goes.

  8. ? says:

    What happens when the Nanny State meets Multiculturalism.

    My money’s on the multicult, but that may be just the Anglosphere experience.

  9. Peter says:

    Is it composed of American expats or actual British fans? Of course, I’d love to see the demographics of the average non-American foreign football fan, especially in countries that have football’s cousin, rugby…

    I’m guessing mostly the former, especially since there are huge numbers of Americans in London. The game also will attract non-Americans out of curiosity.

  10. Kirk says:

    “Is it composed of American expats or actual British fans? Of course, I’d love to see the demographics of the average non-American foreign football fan, especially in countries that have football’s cousin, rugby…”

    I watched the Bucs vs. the Bears game, which occurred in London this year. They showed that in one group of fans (maybe two rows) people were wearing something like ten different jerseys, including ones for college teams. The fans seem to be a mishmash of everyone.

    The Rams and Bucs have interesting parallels. Both aren’t doing all that great, and they both have owners who own British soccer teams. I’m guessing they’re trying to create some sort of cross-interest in fans, hoping they’ll go to both. Also, just the sheer novelty of football ensures higher ticket sales than they get here. And I can’t help but wonder if the NFL is chipping in some money to make the games happen.

    As for Rugby, I recently subscribed to both Fox Soccer and Fox Soccer Plus. The latter carries all sorts of Rugby.

    Rugby is a much more watchable game than football. Eighty minutes of play time takes about two hours. No commercials, except during half-time. Compare this to the NFL, where sixty minutes of play time takes three hours.

    And what’s up with all the NFL replays? Every damn play, they show two or three times. God, I don’t need to see three different angles on a play that netted two yards!

  11. trumwill says:

    My money’s on the multicult, but that may be just the Anglosphere experience.

    In this case, at least, I think multiculturalism has the right of it.

  12. trumwill says:

    Rugby is a fun sport to watch. I don’t like it as much as football, but prefer it to soccer. I think that colleges that can’t field competitive football teams should all start rugby ones as their flagship sport.

    Football is big in Germany (by the end of the NFLE, almost all the teams were in Germany). The WLAF did well in London for a little while, but they lost interest before too long. I think permanently sending a team to London would be a mistake, but playing some games there strikes me as a good idea.

    No doubt there are some American expats at these games, but my impression is that there is a fan base out there.

  13. ? says:

    In this case, at least, I think multiculturalism has the right of it.

    Substantively perhaps. But procedurally, we (by which I mean the European peoples, not the Islamic world) seem to be regressing towards a medieval system of different legal regimes that apply to different classes of people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

If you are interested in subscribing to new post notifications,
please enter your email address on this page.