With thanks to Peter Kim!
Created by: Paralegal.net
With thanks to Peter Kim!
Created by: Paralegal.net
One of the major complaints from the Motion Picture Association of America has been how can you budget a high-priced thriller, if you can’t charge huge amounts of money for tickets? They keep asking this question, even though they know the answer. Make less expensive movies.
The folks who made Iron Sky spent only 7.5 million Euros on it. Watch the trailer. Looks pretty good, doesn’t it? Compare it to these other movies, some of which had smaller, and some far larger budgets.
The MPAA doesn’t like competition. The MPAA companies are mostly distributors. Energia doesn’t have to use them for distribution. They can cut their own deals, do things their own way. And that terrifies the MPAA. That’s why the push for the ability to shut down websites. So they can prevent competition from forming.
Monday February 13, 2012
Greetings and salutations! On September 1, 2011 I had the great pleasure of publishing the first two volumes of my Copyright Wars series. They are up on both Amazon and Smashwords, and should be available on the Kobo, IBook, Diesel, and Sony Reader platforms in a few days. I published them under my imprint. Yes, I’m legally a Canadian publisher, you can find me listed on Collections Canada.
Yep. Time to stick my neck out again. By my calculations 2+2=15, and I want to tell you about it.
First off, this has nothing to do with file sharing, nothing at all. And it has nothing to do with my dislike of the industry for their past actions. I’m coming at this from a different direction, one that I don’t believe that the industry has really considered. At least if they have, they don’t seem to have done anything about it.
First, you must have money to buy things. This is a basic economics that even a four-year old can understand. At least my kids could when they were four years old. To have money, you must have a job, which pays you enough money that you can cover housing, food, transport, and other essentials, and then have money left over for luxuries, like internet access and entertainment. For those who don’t think internet access is a luxury, consider this – would you prefer to eat or surf the web? Surfing the web while starving isn’t fun, especially when you run into things like Cooks Source <EVIL GRIN>.
Financially difficult times, like the current Recession, cause people to cut back on spending. If you aren’t working, taking the family to the theater to see the newest Harry Potter movie really isn’t a practical choice. Instead you’ll wait until someone you know buys the DVD, and borrow it. You’d prefer to own your own copy, but if you don’t have the money, well, you don’t buy it. This is a simple extension of why most of the population doesn’t drive Corvettes. A Corvette is a luxury. Watching Harry Potter at the cinema is a luxury. Going to a Neil Young concert is a luxury, listening to Neil Young on Q107 is affordable.
Let’s consider the Republic of Ireland, Eire, or Southern Ireland as us old folks still think of it. The Irish Times, a major Irish newspaper has reported that Ireland is insolvent. To quote the first two paragraphs of the article:
WHEN I wrote in The Irish Times last May showing how the bank guarantee would lead to national insolvency, I did not expect the financial collapse to be anywhere near as swift or as deep as has now occurred. During September, the Irish Republic quietly ceased to exist as an autonomous fiscal entity, and became a ward of the European Central Bank.
It is a testament to the cool and resolute handling of the crisis over the last six months by the Government and Central Bank that markets now put Irish sovereign debt in the same risk group as Ukraine and Pakistan, two notches above the junk level of Argentina, Greece and Venezuela.
I suspect that you didn’t hear of this. The newspapers wasted a lot of ink covering Greece and Iceland, while ignoring Ireland almost completely. Maybe it’s because unlike the Greeks, the Irish haven’t been rioting in the streets. Maybe it’s because unlike in Iceland, the Irish bankers haven’t been charged for criminal acts. The problem is that the Irish State is in deep financial trouble (for further details see the Irish Economy blog).
There was no single issue that caused Ireland’s problems. In fact there were too many issues, including banks that issued mortgages that the mortgagee had no hope of repaying (sound familiar?) The banks knew that they were doing this. In many cases they deliberately forced customers who qualified for lower interest rate mortgages into higher interest rate mortgages so that the bank could make more money. When the recession caused cash flow problems for the customer, it caused problems for the bank. If the customers had have been at the lower rates, a significant number of them would not have had cash flow problems. The banks action quite possibly was criminal. In any case it left many Irish families with little or no discretionary spending money, money that they might have spent on luxuries like concerts.
And then to top it off, the government panicked, and decided on an austerity program. Rather than raise taxes on industry, and use the money for infrastructure projects, they did what industry wanted. Keep the taxes low, and cut spending. When they cut spending, they put people out of work, which meant that tax income dropped, so they cut spending further, which put more people out of work, so tax income dropped further, implementing a classical feedback loop. The country is now effectively insolvent, even though the government has some money left, money which will be gone by early in the new year.
Their next door neighbors, Britain, have now decided to take the same course. Curiously, all the spending cuts affect the poor and the middle class. The Toffs make out just fine, thank you very much.
Now the Americans want to do the same thing. They will do the same thing. And will suffer the same fallout. Massive unemployment, massive underemployment. The entire audience that the RIAA/MPAA companies depend upon for their sales will be in the poorhouse, and unable to afford to buy entertainment. After all, food and housing come first. You can survive without entertainment. Life is more fun with it, but life is impossible without food.
Possibly this is the reason that the Entertainment Distributors have been so interested in pushing ACTA, in the hope that they’ll be able to increase their sales outside of the United States. Other countries are pushing their creative industries too, so competition will be fierce.
Things look desperate for the Entertainment Distributors in the United States. It looks like only a miracle can save them.
Monday November 8, 2010
OK, so most of you got the joke. Much to my surprise, some didn’t, and there were some articles referencing my original article who seemed to have taken it very seriously. OK folks – it was a joke. Sort of. Some of it actually was true. My wife did go to England, and she looks much like I described her. But 99% of it was the product of my demented mind. Heck, I even left out the craziest part of how it all had to be done before Sarah Palin was elected President, so it would block her from implementing her policies.
In that article I was trying to make a point. At present, no one can prove that what I wrote is a joke. It could have been real. But because of the secrecy involved with ACTA, there is no documentation to prove that I was lying. None.
So I wrote up a something that would have most conspiracy theorists drooling. And even now, you’ve only got my word that it’s a lie. After all, it could be that Barry Sookman has paid me off <GRIN>.
The Real Purpose of ACTA
There’s been a lot of coverage of the secretive ACTA negotiations. Or rather there’s been a lot of attempts at coverage. Since the negotiations are secret, the coverage to date has been limited to a very few interviews, where very little was said, and to several leaks of documents.
The problem is that all of the articles that have been published to date are totally wrong, due to a fundamental misunderstanding of what ACTA is really about, a misunderstanding that the countries involved have deliberately let stand. The only truthful statement made about the negotiations so far was by Ambassador Ron Kirk, the head of the United States delegation when he told James Love that people would ‘walk away from the table’ if the text of the treaty negotiations were made public.
So we have a treaty being negotiated under exceptionally secretive conditions. This sent alarm bells ringing in a lot of places. There have been a variety of attempts to get more information using Freedom of Information requests. There have also been questions asked in the European Parliament, Canadian Parliament, United States House of Representatives and United States Senate, none of which have been answered, which has added to the paranoia.
The secret to understanding ACTA (ACTA stands for ‘Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement’) is in understanding the basics of how treaties are normally negotiated. The first point to consider is that trade treaties are usually negotiated in a relatively open manner. They have to be, to ensure that all of the stakeholders have a chance to heard. The ability of all stakeholders, including end users to be heard is what gives this sort of negotiation it’s legitimacy.
This hasn’t happened with ACTA. There has been some consultation with certain industry bodies, however all of the groups involved have had to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements. This was the first indication to me that ACTA isn’t really a trade agreement.
Some further though led to the conclusion that it had to be a cover for something else.
Consider. I’ve been doing research on ACTA for nearly six months. Every article I’ve seen calls it a trade agreement, but the backup information indicates that it can’t be. The public statements made by those supposedly involved in negotiating it have been contradictory in the extreme. One representative will claim that no changes need to be made to existing laws, another will claim that changes will be minimal, and another will imply that changes will be required, but that they are consistent with existing law, none of which makes any sense.
There have been a number of ‘leaks’ of documents supposedly pertaining to ACTA. These documents have also contradicted each other.
So it is obvious that whatever ACTA is, it isn’t a trade agreement. I came to this conclusion before Christmas 2009, but didn’t publish anything at the time, because I had no conclusive proof that it wasn’t a trade agreement. It’s obvious that something was being negotiated, but what?
The situation reminded me of the World War 2 Allied deception plans that were put in place to fool the Germans into thinking that the invasion of Europe would be anywhere other than Normandy.
So if ACTA is a deception plan, what is it hiding?
On February the Second, I dropped my wife off at the airport, for her trip to England. This would be her first trip back since her Mom and Dad moved their family here in 1973. She was really excited to be going back. On Wednesday she sent me an IM. Apparently she had gotten bumped to Business Class (she wasn’t complaining about that of course) and ended up sitting next to a 50ish guy in a suit, who was working away on his laptop. She noticed the word ‘copyright’ on the screen, and as a singer/songwriter copyright is very important to her. She also knows men. She made a quick trip to the loo, and came back with her top rearranged slightly to show her assets (a lot of our friends used to call her Heidi Hooters). She managed to engage the chap in conversation, and found out that he was returning to the UK from Mexico via a stop in Toronto to visit his brother.
This set off alarm bells. She was quite aware of my interest in ACTA (in fact she had been getting sick of hearing about it) and decided to play kitten. Several drinks later (for him, she doesn’t drink) he started to loosen up. Some of what he said she didn’t understand, but she did record it using the microphone and camera on her laptop. Some of what he said didn’t make a lot of sense, as he got drunker and drunker (she was buying, and he apparently appreciated this, and the chance to gaze down her top at her boobs).
The main points I got from her recording were:
Under questioning while he was very drunk indeed he finally admitted the truth. ACTA is not a trade agreement. ACTA is an attempt to replace the United Nations with a new British Empire, based on the model that has worked so well in Canada.
My wife nearly fell over when she heard this. It sounded so incredibly insane. And of course the guy was pretty drunk.
When she got home I viewed the video. The webcam that is incorporated into a MacBook Pro is really pretty good, as is the microphone, and the words were fairly clear.
I was aghast at first when I viewed this. But after thinking about it for a while, I think it could work, and work well. And it would give all of the constituent nations (which would remain sovereign) a framework to work together.
I still don’t know what the letters ACTA stand for. Based on some of the mumbling near the end of the video, I think that the actual words are latin, but since my understanding of latin is minimal, I could be wrong.
Friday February 19, 2010
I don’t know what’s wrong with John W. Dozier Jr. I do know that his articles tend to be extremely uneven. Some times he makes sense. At least a bit of sense. Other times, well, he doesn’t do his homework, and sounds like he’s totally lost it.
A case in point – he produces an article called ‘The Far Left Police State’ in which he claims that those of use who disagree with him are nasty, nasty, orcses, and attack through words. Really? Isn’t that exactly what you are doing? Do you understand the word ‘hypocrisy?’
OK, I didn’t think so. So I’m going to deconstruct you one paragraph at a time. Unlike you, I will document what I’m saying. I’ll provide links to my evidence, because unlike you, I don’t believe that people should believe me because of who and what I am. I’d rather that they read the evidence, and made their own decisions based on it.
Hold on – maybe that’s the point. You don’t want people to make a considered decision, because you know that you are wrong! Hum. Yes, that does look possible. You are free to respond. Or not. After all, This is Liberty Hall – You can spit on the mat, and call the Cat a bastard.
We’ve been quite vocal at Dozier Internet Law about the nasty habit of the far left leaning and liberal blogosphere of attacking through words (and otherwise) individuals who dare disagree with their “information yearns to be free” and “hands off the web” mantra. These interests claim that our free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment protects the right to attack with impunity anyone with whom they disagree.
Where to start. John, John, John. You are so bad at this. OK, first word. We. Curiously the ONLY person who ever writes anything here is you. So unless you are twins, or suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder you should change that to ‘I’.
Then you mention the ‘far left leaning and liberal blogosphere,’ and claim that they attack everyone who disagrees with them. You are right. Left wingers such as Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, and Laura Ingraham are a danger, and should be shut down. Oh, wait. You say those are right wingers? Hum, when you mentioned ad hominem attacks (and I hope these words aren’t too long for you), these are the only people who came to mind. That aside, didn’t your mother tell you that insulting people is not the best way to get them to agree with you? And really – calling me a liberal. Do you know how bad an insult that is in Canada? Many Canadians consider all Liberals to be corporate sellouts (see the Gomery Inquiry for details.
As I said – do some research so that you don’t look like an idiot. And if you don’t like the first Amendment, why don’t you move up to Canada with me and Michael and Howard and Barry? Canada is a lot nicer place to live than the United States, and if you do, you’ll never have to worry about the First Amendment ever again.
And most troublesome is that these groups and special interests maintain a virtual police state online. They develop intelligence, share information, and relentlessly attack the dissenters to their far left perspective, sometimes in the dark of night using anonymous and pseudonomous postings, riding off the ‘Streisand Effect’ to create a mob attack of similarly minded fanatics (I call it a “mobosphere attack” in the Google Bomb Book).
Um, have you seen your shrink lately? That sounds especially paranoid. But I’m not a doctor. Go seek professional help. Oh, wait. You can’t afford to. Ah, well. You made the mistake of living in the United States, not me.
And don’t act surprised when people are offended because you called them fanatics.
I have often said that the left wingers are all for the right to free speech, until they don’t agree with it. Time and again you’ll see discussions and postings about using the Streisand Effect to retaliate against someone for offering an opposing voice. It is a policy aimed at destroying dissension, particularly in Internet legal and policy areas. ‘First things we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.’ Consider the context of the statement if you don’t already know and it quickly becomes apparent that this effort to bully, undermine, attack and destroy lawyers is the rallying cry for the police state…a world in which dissidents are held out to public scorn and ridicule by a vicious mob (Streisand Effect) or relentlessy attacked by masked intruders (anonymous speakers). This is the world in which we live today. Honest, honorable, intelligent, well mannered, battle worn veterans of the world rarely participate in online dialogue because of the attacks their participation invites. And so you get a very one sided, jaded, biased perspective on Internet law and policy issues. The far left liberals not only control the message, but police the web for anyone not drinking their kool-aid.
And I thought that the last paragraph was bad. Police State. Kill all the Lawyers. Drinking their Kool-Aid? I seriously think that you need professional help, and soon. I hope that your family sees this, and gets you the help that you need.
Oh, and if they don’t, invest in a spell checker for God’s sake. Do you know how much harder it is to read your ravings when peppered with spelling mistakes?
What really amuses me about the above two paragraphs, is that everything that he accuses the ‘left wing blogosphere’ of, he then proceeds to do. Attack, attack, attack. Good work John, you are really convincing me.
The latest dust up comes from a debate about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that will establish standardized laws for dealing with Intellectual Property. On the one hand, the liberals complain about a number of proposed or anticipated elements like a “three strikes” law for those infringing copyright and anti-circumvention technology restrictions, all of which is far too involved to discuss in this post. It is all very complex, and the online debate is raging.
If it’s too difficult to talk about, why are you bringing it up? It is really difficult to read John’s writing, between the mis-spellings (can’t he afford a spell checker?), and the total lack of logical structure, it’s almost incomprehensible. Maybe he should hire a writer. I’m available. No, wait. I have limits. I don’t knowingly lie to an audience. In the next paragraph it appears that John is doing exactly that.
What caught my attention was not the relative merits of the debate, but comments made by Dr. Mihaly Ficsor, a renowned global copyright expert and a citizen of Hungary. It is in response to Michael Geist’s far left leaning attacks on the treaty and the publication of high profile and allegedly misleading claims about the treaty that Dr. Ficsor offers a perspective that we in the US cannot possibly have. Here are his words from Budapest, Hungary:
I have decided reluctantly to react to this, and then truly do not want to deal with this weird quarrel anymore. It is completely useless to present arguments against heated ideological discourse and sheer hatred campaigns trying to suppress any contrary views. I am immune against it, as someone who has survived a serious illness. In the decades through which we were constrained to live under a communist regime, this was so customary; everybody who did not agree with the collectivist ideology, there was no discussion about it; he simply became enemy and the agent of the “imperialist forces.” There were no blogs at that time; there were only newspapers and radio, but the style was the same as in these “digital activist” blogs; even the words and expressions are so familiar. Ask about this the many Hungarians who fled to Canada after our beautiful but failed uprising in 1956! We who have suffered a lot – I too as a child and adolescent as a member of a family which, together with many others, was a victim of serious persecution because my uncle bravely spoke out against the communist ideology – have become resistant. Nevertheless, at the same time, we are sensitive to those phenomena where some people try to settle disputes in the style of those “glorious” years, and we may be ready to say some words just in order that our social environment make use at least the wisdom of the saying: “Experience is a wonderful thing; it helps us to recognize our mistakes when we commit them again.”
Doctor Ficsor offers a perspective that we in the US cannot possibly have? John, John, John. Go do some research. Simple basic stuff. Check out Michael Geist’s website. It will tell you that Michael lives in Canada, not the US. If you check out my website you will see that I live in Canada too.
And then of course there is the question of who is Doctor Ficsor? I asked that question in my article An invitation to Doctor Ficsor to explain the value to the citizens of Canada in ratifying the WIPO Internet Treaties because I had never heard of him before! Since I’ve been closely monitoring, and taking part in discussions about Copyrights and Patents for the last several years, if he really was a ‘World Renowned Copyright Expert’ then why is there so little evidence to prove this online? In fact when I did search for proof that he was what he says he is for my second article Doctor Ficsor is wrong about many things – why should we believe him the first three results were links to my first blog posting!
By the time I wrote Doctor Ficsor is wrong again I had come to the conclusion that Doctor Ficsor is only a bureaucrat at the WIPO. He may have had input into the ‘Internet Treaties’, but I fail to see how that would make him an ‘International Copyright’ expert. As as to his experiences in communist Hungary, I fail to see how those have any validity in this situation.
Also in Doctor Ficsor’s first post he claims he was surprised to find Michael Geist’s blog. Well while I had never heard of Mihaly Ficsor, I had definitely heard of Michael Geist. Mihaly Ficsor’s claim that he was unaware of Michael Geist’s blog is less than credible.
And so, as we begin a New Year, let me propose five resolutions that we should all consider embracing. I’ll call them the “Ficsor” principles:
Oppression: I resolve not to abuse our rights in free speech. I will be vigilant in guarding the rights of others to voice their opinions and disagree, but will never hide behind protected free speech in order to punish others for voicing their opinions.
Wow! Do you really promise to do this? Because based on this post, I doubt it.
2) Suppression: I resolve to reject the use of the mobosphere attack or Streisand Effect to influence, undermine or control online dialogue from dissenters.
OK, so you reject democracy as well. Maybe we should put you in a time machine, and send you back to join Doctor Ficsor in 1957.
3) Anonymity: I resolve to never publish anonymous and pseudonomous comments or posts that are derogatory towards someone.
But it’s OK to publish derogatory comments if you aren’t anonymous?
4) Persecution: I resolve to voice my opinion vigorously and openly with utmost respect for the free speech rights of those with whom I disagree, and to discourage and condemn any attempts at coordinating the persecution of my online adversaries.
Now this one you are going to have a really hard time with. I recommend a 12 Step program, you’ll find it will do wonders for you.
5) Intellectual Integrity: I resolve to only comment upon what I know after reasonably acquiring a fair, informed and balanced understanding of the issue.
If you were to follow this, you’d have to delete your post. I will wait for proof that you have done so, before believing you.
Those are my New Year’s resolutions.
Thank you, Dr. Ficsor, for reminding us that those who ignore the past are destined to repeat it.
And we must always remember that those who abuse our basic freedoms place them at risk.
John W Dozier Jr
Dozier Internet Law
Let me get this straight. If you do the same things that you accuse other people of doing, that’s all right because it’s you doing it. But you whine like a baby if someone else is doing those things to you or your friends.
Hypocrisy at it’s finest.
And then you make rookie mistakes because you can’t be bothered to do any research (as pointed out neither Michael Geist nor myself live in the USA). American law, and the American Constitution doesn’t apply to us. Canadian Law, and the Canadian Bill of Rights do. Think about it.
Oh, and don’t bother trying to edit your post so you won’t look so silly. I kept a copy.
Monday January 4th, 2010
My wife asked me what the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is. The link above is to a good explanation of what it is, provided by IP Justice. IP Justice describe themselves as IP Justice is an international civil liberties organization that promotes balanced intellectual property law. The organization’s focus is on international treaties, directives, and other trade agreements that address intellectual property rights or impact freedom of expression guarantees. IP Justice is an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in San Fransisco.
I’d suggest checking this out, and letting your Member of Parliament, Congressman, Senator, or whatever know what you think of it.
Doctor Michael Geist has more information on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and it sounds like the Canadian and U.S. Governments are selling out the populace.
More than a little disturbed by this, I decided I’d go back to the Canadian Policy Wiki, and found much to my annoyance that it’s no longer in existence. Our friends at Archive.Org have a copy of the original, I wonder how hard it would be to resurrect it?