IP, U-P, we all P together

Except Firefox users. Excluded again

Letters This week's letters round up has a distinct IP/Piracy/RIAA flavour to it, but with some interesting diversions, to save us all from being too angry on a Friday afternoon.

Let's start business with your thoughts on the poor poverty stricken music business and its high priced lawyers:

So while the industry is chasing 12yo girls for getting BLUE's latest hit from bittorrent, massive organised crime syndicates are totally obliterating the CD market in other countries and making billions in profit for themselves. Who do you think the RIAA MPAA etc should be focusing on? The theory that 1 song downloaded is 1 sale lost is rubbish. Most of the downloaded tracks would never have been a sale originally because the person downloading them cant afford the CD, or doesn't want to waste £14.99 on a album for one song. However, 1 pirate CD bought buy a customer means they are willing to PAY for the music, just not the huge rates we are gouged by from the music industry. That, in a lot of cases does represent money lost, and money fed into organised crime.

Its about time they woke up and fought the real criminals and Gang boss', not aunt sally or little jennie smith.


I'm very glad to hear that Governments aren't doing enough to crack down on copyright theft. If they were, I would be concerned that there were other more important things they weren't doing. I'm sure that the perpetrators of large-scale copyright theft are a nefarious bunch, but I don't have any record company executives on my christmas card list either.

Any executive of any publicly listed company is concerned about one thing above all others: Growth. Even profitability is second to growth, as profitability can usually be brought about by internal changes - the key to your share price is how much you sell or are going to sell. So, short of publishing high quality music, what can they do to increase their sales? A third of all music is pirated, so they can increase their market share by 50% if they eliminate piracy (what they forget is that pirated music has a market because it COSTS LESS, so this doesn't follow. However, that may not have made it into the powerpoint strategy presentation).

Fundamentally, piracy is a type of theft, and so I don't want it to happen anymore than I want someone to break into my house and grab my CD collection. That's fine, but it isn't their moral rights that the record companies are concerned with, but their right to increase their sales. Of course, we're culpable in this as well, as we blindly demand high growth from our pension funds, and therefore our pension funds blindly demand high growth from the record industry (and everyone else). Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's right or sensible. The job of government is to realise this, and then ignore priorities created by money rather than need. The squeeky wheel may well have more grease than it knows what to do with.

So, for once, the government is right to yawn and go back to what it was doing before.

Many thanks,


This article just highlights again - as if it were necessary - just how out of touch the music industry is. They demand that we do it their way. And when we don't want to, they push even harder. Can't imagine why all my friends and colleagues groaned when they read this, and vowed to a) find ways around the copy protection or b) buy from an online store instead. We don't mind buying the music legitimately, you understand. It's just that when we've bought it, we want to be able to have a copy in the car, in the house, in the bedroom and on both our iPods. And if we can't do that legitimately...


Next, Microsoft's co-authored paper on its Avalanche file sharing system provoked, yes, you guessed it, and avalanche of comment. Some of you even managed to mention the RIAA in this context too:

There are rumours that the RIAA are behind the proposed "Avalanche" program; by integrating it with Windows for Warships any detected copyright infringement could then be dealt with by firing off a missile instead of a time consuming lawsuit.

Captain Cretin

I reckon this is more to do with patents than products. I think Microsoft are trying to get patents on P2P technologies to lock down the further development of the field and therefore apply leverage to the RIAA and MPAA.


In your article on Bram Cohen's response to Avalanche, you end with a paragraph stating that the Microsoft's group focus is on security of files shared through the system. This is an unfortunate claim. Cohen points out in his analysis of Avalanche that as the new protocol relies on generating completely new fragments of a file, there is no equivalent a secure checksum value for that fragment. In fact, it appears to become easier to poison a swarm than with BitTorrent.


More piracy madness, in Australia this time, with charges being brought against a teenager who linked to a dodgy site:

Nice story, well no, bad story, good to see it is getting press coverage.

I am find this case interesting, and I can't wait for the AFP to begin legal proceedings to extradite the directors of Google, Yahoo!, Ask Jeeves, Microsoft or any other internet search engine that provides all these criminal links to copyrighted works.

It will be good to see my tax dollars going to good use pursuing organised crime.


" So why would the AFP use public money to protect the IP rights of major record companies, when the majors have shown that they are so effective at protecting themselves without their help?"


DUH !!!

Time ALL Pirates get the message...


Perhaps you and a couple thousand of your friends should queue up outside a police station and each confess one at a time to burning one CD and insist that you get prosecuted for your heinous crimes. There could only be two outcomes.

1) Nonsense lawsuits get dropped. or 2) You're all prosecuted and the criminal justice system falls apart

They couldn't very well just arrest the ring leader and charge him with wasting police time because then they'd have to arrest the person who decided to prosecute a child.


You explain to us why IP protection in China is a waste of everyone's time:

Why would China ever protect IP?

If they invent anything that they really want to protect, they'll just keep it secret. They don't need it to protect their markets as long as they can undercut everyone else's prices. The U.S. government isn't going to punish them by blocking Chinese imports because that would inconvenience too many people who have gotten wealthy by importing Chinese products, and would also create shortages of products the U.S. is no longer able to adequately produce for itself. (I realize there are other countries to consider, but the U.S. seems to be the biggest proponent of strong IP protection.)

China would derive no benefit from protecting IP, and I don't see any they could be coerced into doing it.


More wonderful stuff from the ever mineable seam that is website accessibility, particularly with Firefox:

While many of us consider it a "no brainer" to create web pages that are accessible by all browsers, creating web pages that can only be access by Internet Explorer might, also, be regarded as a "no brainer". The only difference being the level of synaptic activity.


Mind you, it's not as if ElRag works perfectly with the alternative offerings, either. Try loading theregister.co.uk in Opera and then choose "Full Screen". It renders, but it's not pretty, is it?


Fair point. Our recommendation is that in the short term, you avoid doing that. And we are currently choosing to assume that you have referred to us as El Rag by mistake...

You do a Mystic Meg and come over all prescient about the effect of allowing mobile phones onto planes:

I can see it now "Airline passenger arrested for theft of and Greavious Bodily Harm with a Mobile phone"... it's not like an aeroplane is somewhere where you want to be introducing that sort of stress, screaming babies is bad enough, especially back in cockroach class.

Personally I hope they keep the ban in place, or at least the airlines ban mobiles (or at least voice calls) themselves - I believe a few have already said they will in Europe.

The other solution is to stop the Yah's at the boarding gate and demand they hand over all their electronic gizmo's claiming they need to be kept in a lead lined box for the safety of the passengers (specifically the Yah themselves! ;)

Keep up the good work :)


You wrote - "In Europe, the ban would have to be lifted by the aviation authorities in the individual Member States."

I have previously discussed this with the UK CAA and they do NOT ban the use of mobile telephones on board aircraft (unlike the FAA). The report issued by UK CAA (about 3 years ago - and should still be available on their 'safety' website) showed that typical usage of GSM/Tetra mobile telephones did NOT interfere with aircraft systems to a level which caused them any concern.

I believe it is the mobile telephone companies who have a problem (with high altitude aircraft) due to the mobile telephone being 'seen' by a large number of base stations at one time -- and their systems don't cope well with scenario.

Also, I believe that the airlines (including those in the UK) are happy to extend the 'myth' that these devices can interfere with aircraft systems in order that the general public is led to believe that they should 'pay extra' for an airline provided communications system.

I certainly would agree with though that don't want my fellow passengers in close proximity 'gossiping endlessly' on their phones during what are already often long and tedious journeys.

Regards, Alan.

I can't think of anything more annoying on a flight then having the person sat next to me yakking away on a mobile 'phone the whole flight.

We only need to add hands-free headsets to convert the whole thing into a flying asylum with everybody talking to the voices in their heads.

Air rage? It's only just beginning...


How eating chips can be a good thing medically speaking:

Yeah, right. Did you notice how they reported that the in-patient Pentium is just 2mm x 2mm. That's a teeny bit smaller than normal - the smallest ever die size for a Pentium was 80mm2 - not 4mm2!

And just how are they going to power something like that? I'd hate to have that inside me running at full tilt. As Homer Simpson said after descending to Hell "ooo, barbecue!".

Methinks someone somewhere got the wrong end of the stick.


Using a bluetooth link to a mobile phone for a medical device seems like a sure way to kill someone. I've had about a dozen phones with bluetooth over a short amount of time. None of them were worth the 20p it cost to add the BT functionality to them. All of them, including the new 7710 have serious interoperability problems with devices leading to daily reboots of the phones just to get the bluetooth links working. Somehow I don't see the poor users wanting to reboot their PC's every few hours just incase... That's if the phones can find & connect to the medical devices in the first place.


How long before a certain half man / half bullshit producing machine pops up and declares that this is somehow an extension of his own "experiments" and declares that all diabetics are now Cyborgs?

Actually come to think of it I don't recall Arnie eating anything sugary in any of the Terminator films.

I'll be hiding under the table awaiting armageddon if anyone needs me.


And finally, this week saw the launch of an experimental solar-sail powered space ship. You liked the idea, but had some thoughts about who should be allowed to captain it:

Don't tell Ellen MacArcthur whatever you do - she'll want to be the first to single handedly sail round the solar system. You can imagine the TV programme and diary now....

"Thursday 07:47. Compass still buggered, can't understand it. Feel so alone; I'm trying to keep my spirits up but I'm really worried I've missed the best winds, and Alexei will be a good day ahead of me now."

"Friday 13:21. Had a great day, we're really flying now. I'm really going to miss this old gal when we get back to Cape Pompey"

"Friday 19.12. So depressed. We were going so well when a comet hit the mast. Just spent 3 hours spacewalking trying to fix the thing...."


That's yer lot. Have lovely weekends, y'all. ®

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