My About page has been updated with thanks to Red Domino at Tri-Prism Communications.
Also on that page plans for I.i. world domination. Feedback welcome, as well as further ideas for expansion of this blog.
If only this were updated more often…
Copyright laws… What are they for? Who needs them? And why are giant corporations suing teenage girls because of them?
This issue is something I’ve been meaning to talk about since the start of this blog, and just as with the Censorship articles I’m here to take cheap shots at everyone and everything related to Copyright laws.
I must admit, the issue is complex.
While some parts of the issue are easy to argue against, there are parts, even foundations of the concept of intellectual property, which do in fact have some validity. To argue against them, it would be necessary to challenge the popular viewpoint. It will require finding an accurate definition of what “information”, or
indeed “intellect” refers to, and whether it can in fact be “owned”. It will also be necessary to question the notion of “entertainment”, and the value and meaning of it to society.
It is a philosophical issue. But, alas, as is usually the case, the word “is” is replaced by “should be” as large corporations, and inevitable human greed overpower us.
But enough of the waffle.
For now let’s look at the following hypothetical situation:
There is a race of highly-evolved, somewhat civilised beings known as “humans” on an average sized planet we shall call “Earth”. Now imagine one such being, named Al Gore, inventing a limitless global communications network, which would allow for the infinite sharing of information, knowledge, entertainment, pornography, etc. on a globally accessible source. Let’s call this the “Internets”.
Basically the issue here is about the progress of humanity. If not for ridiculous regulations and laws protecting the “rights” and “property” of the creator: of music, software etc., everyone could have legal access to just about every intellectual piece ever created.
It is already on the internet. Legalising it will just open up the huge tank of these resources to the world’s population.
Imagine a poorly funded public school, not having to pay for a Windows OS, giving children the opportunity to learn with technology, but spending money on things like facilities and teachers.
But how can Microsoft make money if nobody buys their products?
The point is getting people to use your product. If you have an enormous user-base, almost a monopoly on a giant market, the profits will flow quickly.
I, for example, have never bought a product from Google…
And will this decrease incentives, innovation, ingenuity and creativity or slow down advances in technology?
People will not get paid for creating their product, perhaps, they will not even get credit for inventing
Despite this popular notion, open source software has had great advances in the last few years, with many people working on projects which have perhaps overtaken the closed source alternatives in some regards.
While, looking at rights protected material: pop music has not taken leaps and bounds in originality in the last ten years.
In fact, pop producers now make a profit simply by producing what they choose to produce. People will automatically fleet to buy the latest album if it was simply played on the radio. No creativity involved.
The artists get paid, the producers get paid and the work is disproportionate to that level of pay.
Of course some people choose to pirate the single, or the album. But this only serves to increase the popularity of the artist, spread the word about their music, and this in turn would lead to somebody buying the CD.
Of course the RIAA or the MPAA will run scare campaigns to turn people away from pirating. Make up figures in their billions, about how much money was lost due to Copyright infringement, only serving to continue raising prices on their products, because they feel victimised.
Was any money actually lost because of piracy?
How many people had actually bought the product after downloading it? How many would otherwise have no access to this material were it not for piracy?
And could the quality of the content or price hike have anything to do with lost profits and less people willing to pay for their products?
The current penalties for pirating music or movies off the internet in many countries are so absurd that it now eclipses penalties for actually going to a store and stealing a record. A slap on the wrist for the latter, compared to thousands upon thousands of dollars for the other.
Harsh when you consider the preposterous claim of theft in the procedure. No one loses anything tangible, and all that is “stolen” is a duplicated strand of ones and zeros.
Other preposterous laws now include not being able to perform protected songs in public and regulations about where and with whom you can watch videos.
And while this is over-regulation, without any possibility of enforcement, is in fact absurd, will the elimination of IP laws altogether solve the problem?
Will the world just devolve into everyone taking credit for each others work?
It is not as if they do not try now. Fake works of art can be found all the time, yet it does not impede upon the industry.
Artists survive by selling tangible products of their work, not by selling rights to view the works. And with musicians, profts can be made by performing live concerts, from ticket sales, and selling merchandise.
Yet the heart of this issue, I believe, rests in the little guy – the “Lucy” of the… uhh, intellectual property stand. It is not the multinational pharmaceutical companies, nor the large budget film studios, for which Intellectual Property Laws were made.
What about the beginning artist, or musician who does not want his work to be stolen, discredited or used for commercial purposes:
Yet, is protecting the rights of someone’s piece of work justified?
An artist, regardless of the field, is someone who does what he does because he loves doing it. It is true that some choose to make a living being an artist, and yes, entertainment does have some value to our society. And regradless of how significant that value is, compared to other industries, when all is said and done, the purpose of entertainment, as well as education is, in fact, just that. To entertain and to educate. Not to make money, fuel unoriginality, limit the distribution of content and not to protect and regulate that content.
One’s intellectual works cannot be “owned”. And progess will be hindered until that is recognised.
Technorati Tags: Copyright, Intellectual Property, entertainment, piracy, music, movies, software
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Well finally, after a more than fair trial (remember – “Fair trials were unimaginable under Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical rule”*) and a lengthy 15 minute appeal process, the people can celebrate with the hanging of the brutal, psychopathic dictator Saddam Hussein.
Isn’t it a great feeling to finally know that some completely irrelevant guy is now dead, and he won’t be escaping from his maximum security prison and going after your family?
Finally we can all relax and know that the Allied Forces have done a great job, and that its finally over because “it is an important milestone on Iraq’s course to becoming a democracy
that can govern, sustain, and defend itself, and be an ally in the war
Because, obviously, killing off an old hack who has been in US custody for some time, and who is unable to so much as move, yet is obviously capable of using his imaginary WMDs to blow up things, is such a great achievement in this war on terror.
The war in Iraq is going swell, so this could not have been some clever ploy to draw our attention away from the bloodshed, and towards the way we joyfully kill bad people.
And how many people actually feel this way?
Between his sentencing and the execution yesterday, too many people have been hailing it as a great conquest, hailing “good riddance” to the brutal dictator. Completely irrelevant was the fact that he had been “rid” back in 2003, where he became a fugitive, with absolutely no influence, and no possible way to commit more crimes. He was then again “rid”, when they captured him in late 2003. And yesterday, as if he were still some incredibly dangerous man, he was executed, ridding him for the third and final time, all three instances timed impeccably well. So well, even, that had George Bush not stated otherwise, it would seem that this was the workings of a President who could offer the people nothing – not peace, not victory – but the killing of a frivolous, downtrodden man.
Yet no less troubling is the fervour with which people, including most Western governments are celebrating the execution of Mr. Hussein. It is deeply disturbing, yet not in the least surprising, that the Commonwealth Government of Australia has itself fully supported the hanging, even praising America and Iraq, with Prime Minister Howard saying: “I believe there is something quite heroic about a country that is going through the pain and the suffering that Iraq is going through, yet still extends due process to somebody who was a tyrant and brutal suppressor and murderer of his people”.
The irony being, that Australia seemingly is quite opposed to Capital Punishment, except, of course, in the case of murderous dictators. And while several members of the EU have mentioned that they did not support the execution, Australia has not so much as made a peep about condemning the hanging.
And this hypocritical nature and “moral flexibility” is making Australia look futile in efforts to fight for human right around the globe.
Supposedly justice has been done here, because, admittedly he was tried, and sentenced according to the law in Iraq. However, relativism would also suggest, that if we cannot criticise the Iraqi law, then who are we to condemn the absurdity of Sharia law, and of stoning women because they allowed themselves to get raped? Or for that matter, who were we to remove Saddam from power in the first place?
Nevertheless, the issue at stake here is not doing “justice”, if it is indeed that, and not a revenge killing: Saddam has been influentially incapacitated for quite some time now.
The issue is about not compromising one’s moral stance because before them comes a “global villain”, an undoubtedly “bad” person, infamous worldwide. It does not matter that it is Saddam Hussein. What matters is that he is a person, captured by the supposedly “ethical” Western world. And if and when, one such person is found guilty, after a FAIR trial, he should rot in jail, not be barbarically executed.
* All quotes provided by Mr. G. W. Bush, unless otherwise specified
Technorati Tags: Saddam Hussein, execution, Australia, Howard, Bush, America, death penalty
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No, perhaps unfortunately (for many of you), this blog is not dead.
And while I will keep this particular post fairly succinct, I hope to return to this blog more frequently in the next few weeks.
What inspired me to come out of this recent hibernation was possibly the most absurd article I have read in quite a while.
It will not surprise most of my readership that this article comes from an American source, nor, sadly, should it.
What I am referring to here is this Denver Post article.
Girl, 13, charged as sex offender and victim
Article Last Updated:12/06/2006 01:12:35 AM MST
Salt Lake City - Utah Supreme Court justices acknowledged Tuesday that they were struggling to wrap their minds around the concept that a 13-year-old girl could be both an offender and a victim for the same act – in this case, having consensual sex with her 12-year-old boyfriend.The Ogden, Utah, girl was put in this odd position because she was found guilty of violating a state law that prohibits sex with someone under age 14. She also was the victim in the case against her boyfriend, who was found guilty of the same violation by engaging in sexual activity with her.
There are several issues in this one piece, some of which make me feel awry, most – downright sick.
Right now, though, I will address just one.
I won’t talk of the astronomical threat of paedophilia and sexual assault to your children, which is fortunately being addressed by the mainstream media and the government, and which led to the formation of laws such as this.
I will not talk of the completely amoral, taboo act of sexual intercourse, which god clearly forbids.
Neither will I talk of how children must be protected, sheltered and monitored by the government, using whatever means possible.
I could write an editorial on each of the above.
No, what I will post-ironically discuss today is a simple concept, an oxymoron of sorts, known as Common Sense™. Something that has undoubtedly been lacking in Christianity, American politics, and not least in the American Justice System as just a brief glimpse here will show.
Let’s look at what happened here: consensual sex, between two pubescent teenagers, both of whom are now facing delinquency status and are being charged as sex offenders, touted as both perpetrator and victim.
What perpetration? What victimisation? Where and how is this present in this case? What part of these two terms are not irrelevant?
And more importantly when will education be based not on morality, but on fact?
How about the people in charge look at the case? How about they look at the context, the circumstances and the details? In every case, individually?
Sure, the laws exist (their usefulness, or requirement, is a different issue) but the world is not, and never has been black and white. There is always hectares of grey, ever increasing as concepts, societal norms and ethical ideas change and evolve. The book cannot be used to cover the grey, which is where people need to do the thinking for themselves.
And once this thinking gets done, then perhaps we will not have kids charged as sex offenders, burglars winning money after breaking into people’s houses or suing airline companies because New Jersey sucks:
Technorati Tags: sex, America, absurd, justice, legal system
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Marc thread: 1
As requested in the other thread for convenience, please post all further discussion here.
As you are most likely not aware, tomorrow, on the 25th of November 2006, a state election will be held to elect the Premier and parliament of the people of Victoria – the state that I live in.
A state of over 4 million people, and home to undoubtedly the best city in the world – Melbourne.
Now, to give you a basic, subjectively biased introduction to Australian politics, and to answer a question posed by a reader of a previous post, Australia is, realistically, a two party system. Meaning that only one of two parties (or one long-standing, tightly bonded coalition of two parties), really has any chance whatsoever of winning. Right now our state government is led by the Labor Party, the “left” (read: right) to the “Liberal” (read: not liberal) right.
One thing, however, we do have, is the truly democratic concept of preferential voting.
No, it does not simply mean that all minor parties give their votes to whoever they choose. In fact, contrary to popular belief, it is you who can decide where your second, third, etc. preferences go.
This system makes it almost impossible for a left or right split to occur, leading the party across the floor to victory, and also one that allows you to vote for whoever you want, without the feeling that your vote has been wasted, or even detrimental to the popular candidate, who would be you second choice. In simple terms, if this system had been implemented in America, then Gore would have been president in 2000. I’m looking at you Nader.
Together with this, new legislation passed in Victoria before this election now allow proportional representation in the upper house of parliament, basically making it easier for minor parties to get seats in Parliament, and meaning that your vote for a minor party will not be wasted.
Now, while this entry may be a little late with the election coming up in just 9 short hours, it is my duty to tell you exactly who to vote for.
No, I will not tell you to vote for the Liberal/National Coalition, or for the Australian Labor Party. I will tell you to vote for the tree hugging hippies, who want to give away free heroin, legalise weed and make giant men out of straw…
The reason? This is exactly it:
Yes, it did screen on state television.
And yes, it’s almost as bad as some of the American smear campaigns, possibly ever worse.
Family First is the newly formed “family values” (read: Christian) party, and as you can see, they have no policies whatsoever… apart from burning synagogues, mosques and lesbians at the stake. They should be avoided like the plague.
The Liberals have offered “free public transport”, which seems to have been popular among some of the younger, and some of the ignorant voters. They have been sucked in. The “free” transport will be handed to you on a silver platter, with gold lining, after your taxes have been sufficiently raised, and the public transport system destroyed due to lack of funds.
Thus it is necessary to vote Greens, or Democrats, or Socialist Alliance.
A minor party has a very big chance of winning the balance of power in the upper house. These minor parties are not corrupted by big business. They will keep the checks and balances of our democracy, keep the other parties in line.
So tomorrow, do not vote for the big parties that will win regardless, vote Greens.
Make your vote count…
Technorati Tags: Australia, state, election, Victoria, Greens
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Well it’s over. You’ve had your say, and I feel gratified. I told all you patriotic Grand Ole’ Party folk not to vote… and you didn’t! And the terrorists won.
Look at yourselves very very closely, and look what you’ve done. You’ve turned into a godless, amoral society with no rule, no government control over your masses. All with the help of democracy. Think carefully about what good it has done you and promptly switch to your totalitarian roots… because the future is bleak.
The terrorists that you have waged war against for oh so long are now in power, in your own country. What happened to fighting them abroad huh?
You ask: “What will happen now?”
Well, you will be dragged out of your home with a pair of large civil and economic liberty repressing tweesers.
They will take your whole paycheck, your house, your car and give it to the poor.
Oh, if you’re poor they’ll give you money, a car and a house… But it’ll be a crappy car, and the house will be missing the widescreen plasma tv, so you shouldn’t have voted for them.
Oh and some of your income will go towards such obsoleted things like…. you know… uhh… healthcare and education, maybe helping to pay off the astronomical national debt? But who cares really?
And the immorality continues. Imagine how the whole world will suddenly become homosexual, when gay marriage becomes legalised. Imagine big burly men walking down the street and molesting all of your precious little children. And the world police being taken over by rainbows and men holding hands. I’m sorry, but unfortunately you’re gonna need more than flower power when you take on Iran.
But before we get to Iran there’s another war that the terrorists don’t want to fight, in some other nearby country… They hate the troops so much they want to bring them all home to this rotten land called America.
So you knew all this, and yet you still couldn’t rig democracy even with 300 foot Diebold voting machine hacking poles?
You managed to hang Saddam, but where was Pelosi’s death sentence?
Moving on to a more celebratory tone, it seems that contrary to these beliefs, most of which I received in responses by Republicans to my previous post, that the American people thought otherwise. The RepubliCans, RepubliCan’ts, RepubliCunts, or whatever you choose to call them lost.
To all those fascist scumbags who commented on my last post: You were wrong. Sucks to you and your beloved Party.
But what does this Democratic victory mean in the larger scale?
It means that Democracy could actually still work…
That the neo-cons are, quite frankly, back to step one in taking over America.
It also means that we must not get carried away when celebrating this victory, and not let our guard loose. The Democrats are are still one corrupt heap of politicians, and all of America’s problems will not be solved by this victory.
I could go off on a rant about how to better America, and perhaps in the future I will provide a guide to improving America’s democracy.
One that will include preferential voting, less lobbying, and a bigger variety of candidates, without the overriding aspect of party politics and paying for your votes.
In the meantime I’ll just celebrate by having gay sex in my government owned house. Public healthcare will pay for the AIDS treatment…
Technorati Tags: America, election, mid term, Democrats, Republicans, gay marriage, tax, terrorists
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Now really, what else was I gonna call this?
With the mid term elections just three days away, the Democrats are dead . Right?
John Kerry has gone and retarded his rhetoric, which was further retarded by the GOP rhetoric, and further yet spun, woven and contorted (read: retarded) by the media. No reply from the left has been issued.
Olbermann’s Special Comment from a few days ago.
That just about makes Iraq obsolete because the evil Democratic Party hates troops.
New voting machines have seen discrepancies, leave no paper trail, and will confuse the old folks. Some states have done their best to persuade poor people that voting is an unnecessary evil, going out of their way to make sure complications will arise – like requiring a Cayman Islands bank account number to vote. Or god forbid: a photo ID – I mean requiring a photo ID to vote is like requiring a mainstream publication of your name each time you visit a brothel. And yes, I did just compare voting to prostitution.
All political campaigns have been based on smear, like a large barrel of ghee enshrouding your television screens, newspapers, radios and interwebs.
So will the Republicans sweep through both houses, and are the Democrats dead?
Yes… unless you want them to be.
Don’t you ever feel that it’s stupid to contemplate whether something like Kerry’s botched joke will change the results of the election, when it is YOU who are voting. The American people get to decide what changes the election. And if you know that what Kerry said was a JOKE, and that Bush’s cronies are a bunch of morons, then don’t let that discount your valid Democratic vote.
Is it important? Does your vote matter?
You’re just one of a massive 300 million people… only three of whom bother to vote.
You see, your vote doesn’t count, but it would count even less if you didn’t vote…
Just like you have to buy that lottery ticket each week – you could win! Except this won’t be money, but that warm fuzzy feeling you get deep inside of you when you realise that democracy works – and there’s still only a 14 million to one chance of that happening!
But will the Democrats be better for America? Are they not just two sides of the same coin?
According to these statistics: Yes. 34 Democrats in the House and 12 in the Senate voted to take away your freedoms.
But while that is true, what you must understand is that the Republicans are much, much worse. Do not think that not voting will make you look dignified, pal. Don’t take your democracy for granted or they’ll liberate you. The Democrats are all that you have – They are the better side of the coin.
The heads, to the GOP tail…gating downwards spiral into hell.
So as you would Satan, over god:
Vote Democrats… the less irritating of the TWO “Political Parties” in your great free land.
Technorati Tags: vote, elections, mid-term, Senate, House of Representatives, Congress, America, politics
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What, I’m just asking…
Well first in a line of shameless plugs, my friend Jesterballz has started his own blog: Cynicpad
He has gotten no shortage of hits (that’s an understatement), but I thought I’ll post this anyway just out of the kindness of my misanthropic heart.
He came out of the closet with his first post, showing flagrant homosexuality without a trace of morals.
Then he attempted to say that this guy disproves god:
YOU BASTARD! YOU KILLED GOD!
And with his latest post, said FUCK OFF to Christians…
…and good on him!
Keep at it.
Technorati Tags: Shameless Plug
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There’s a problem in today’s society that is going to greatly affect our future. The younger generation is growing up with a rebellious nature, unruly, undisciplined behaviour, and a deep urge to perform acts of civil disobedience.
Meet little Johnny:
He’s a hardened criminal who deserves to spend the rest of his life rotting in jail.
Canada has done its best to prevent Johnny from stealing (ones and zeros, that is), with our favourite superhero: Captain Copyright. But their site is now down… deservedly so.
However, fortunately the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education has the answer: http://lawforkids.org/
Taking a look at some of the “toons” on this wonderfully perspective website, we can see some classic works of art:
This guy thinks he’s not a car, but the cop knows better!
It’s comics like these, that make you want to have a helmet, eye protection and a permission slip…
Check them out and you’ll find cartoons about DUI, weapons, tagging, smoking, marijuana, shoplifitng, joyriding and fighting.
Now while these cartoons will totally get through to, like, children, I’ve taken the time, to get someone, to create my own, that might seem more appropriate…
From Pox over at Vektorr Studios
Yeah, that revoked license will teach him not to shoot cops!
Quite frankly – No…
If anyone is crazy enough to think that these mostly nonsensical cartoons will stop teenagers from committing crimes, then they are either seriously out of touch with normative progressive values of the younger generation, or work for government organisations. More probably both.
If you have a look at your typical teenager, they’ll look at these cartoons… and get the sudden urge to commit crime. You cannot attempt to educate children with lame cartoons.
The point, I feel, that needs to be made is that there is no need for this in our society. The government does not need to protect the children from the real world with this fearmongering (not to mention that some of these laws are absurd, mainly those involving revoked licenses). Most kids do some stupid things when they grow up, they do not all turn out to be criminals. They may end up as dole bludgers with a shoddy life… and move to Canada, but there’s nothing illegal about that (yet).
It’s this ultra-conservatism in this world that does not allow children to fully develop. We make these things seem taboo, instead of educating children about them, exposing them to it slowly.
We have to stop this idiocy and give parents some responsibility for their own children. It’s not up to busy government officials, to form committees and departments, to delegate tasks to people, to find other people, that will find people, who are willing to go and hire writers and artists, who will procrastinate over crappy little cartoons, which will make it into the unbeknownst corners of the internet, after responsibility was delegated to someone, to look for… you get the point.
This leads on to the paranoia that I have seen from authority (parents, schools, police alike), which creates this protectionist nature.
There are schools where I live, for example, that have banned loitering. Loitering not inside the school, but in the CBD, as many students travel home via the city. That’s right, standing around in a single spot in a public location is now illegal.
What’s more is that schools have alerted the presence of police officials to loiterers, tying up public resources, shifting attention towards people standing still with no purpose, and away from real criminals – yes, they do exist, and no, they are not teenagers who have nothing better to do than stand around…
To conclude, the solution is quite simple really. How about spending more money on the education system, improving that rather than creating cartoons that will have no positive influence on anybody, ever.
I’ll finish with a quote from Bill Maher:
There are 12 year old boys in this country who can’t even spell the name of the teacher they’re having sex with.
P.S FUCK YOUTUBE
Technorati Tags: children, crime, Conservatism, law.cartoons, Bill Maher, Youtube sucks
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Another Special Comment from Olbermann as has become regular for my blog…
This one about the fear-mongering (read terrorising) of the Republicans about the terrorist threat.
Transcript below the fold