Readers stuff Peppers

Little sympathy for sobbing rockers

Letters Pity if you will the poor old Red Hot Chili Peppers - reduced to making a tearful appeal to fans not to download illegal copies of their new album, Stadium Arcadium, released today:

Tell you what, Chili Peppers. I'll not only not download your new album, but I won't buy it either! How's that? Feeling better already, aren't you?

Jay


It smells like a pre publicity scam, since Warner copped a fine for Music Payola scamming in the US, thanks to the redoubtable Eliot Spitzer! They are deperately seeking alternate ways to seek free publicity for the upcoming album, from a so yesterdays band!

Four years between drinks is a life time, in this industry!

Besides which, if you read the standard big 4 label recording contracts the real dollar income earned minus assorted fees and charges is far far less!

It stinks, the level of this storm in a tea cup, free publicity it is generating!

Ian


Poor quality copies make Flea sad?! Darn, Californication was produced so badly that I almost got deaf listening to it, it sounds like pure utter crap. I saw the video from the new album, and the sound was terrible too. I do not advocate downloading, but crying about loss of quality where there is no quality to lose is somewhat ridiculous. I am also fascinated that you label this band mainstream, as in the mid 90s they used to be alternative, didn't they? Things change, apparently.

Oliver


Well, if the quality of the download is the major concern, then I hope that some commiserating hacker will endevour to create rich, 458 kpbs-quality versions. That way the poor Peppers will be soothed knowing that they won't get any richer, but their beloved fans won't be listening to crap either. Everybody happy then ? Thought so.

Pascal.

P.S. : by the way, the Peppers don't have to worry about me. I never download music and I wouldn't be caught dead buying theirs.


Interesting appeal from the RHCP members. One of their arguments is laughable, though. They mention "poor quality music" talking about downloads. Knowing that fans often encode illegal downloads in high quality MP3 (i.e. 300kbps), is it better to listen to this or to the AAC 128kbps that iTunes sells ?

In other words, if you want high quality sound, buy the CD. Don't buy online at all ;-)

Florent


I was not planning to download their album, hell I didnt even know they had a new one, but lets see.

Aformentioned album on iTunes (Evil apple DRM an all, in a nice compressed format) £14.99 Real CD, with jewel case and everything from amazon.com (inc pnp) £12.45

They really should be encouraging people to download this thing, I dont want to even think about how much more money they make for everyone that uses iTunes instead of going for the CD.

btw, I attempted to post this on their site, but got as far as the free messageboard signup requiring a credit card number, somthing I tend not to give out unless I want them to take my money.

-Ralph


Why should I bother downloading their latest album, it'll only sound like every album they've released since "blood, sugar, sex, magic" anyway....

Ian


More uncontrolled sobbing now - this time from Hollywood, which is apparently losing $6.1bn a year to piracy. For shame:

With regards to your story "Piracy reduces Hollywood to penury", perhaps the MPAssA might be better spending its money on making DVDs a more attractive purchase rather than setting up tens and maybe hundreds of fake p2p servers and lawsuits. DVD extras were originally supposed to be an added value compared to video cassettes, but that theory was scuppered when they decided we had to pay a premium for a movie with extras.

Dan


So let me guess, they compared the estimated number of pirated copies to their retail value and determined that those X copies, purchased legally would have amounted to 6.1bl in profit?

WRONG! If there really was 6.1bl to spend on pirated copies, they would have bought a lot more of them. The truth is we need to find out how much was spent on the pirate copies. That's the money that likely (and only likely) would have found its way into hollywood's pockets. Since a lot of that illegal trade is actually happening for free (via download) or for 0.20c blank disks, there's not a lot of profit for hollywood to get back. These people aren't going to spend their money on the movies, so they're a non-issue in terms of the market.

Sure, there's some good quality fakes being sold on retail shelves for full price, but we track them down from time to time and put them out of business.

Michael


Oh boo bloody hoo - I cry giant sticky crocodile tears for the poor starving wastrels of the MPAA and their waiflike movie execs.

Dont spose they'd consider suggestions like "make some good movies again", "stop treating your consumers like thieves", "examine your own policies" - perhaps they'd actually find some solutions to their problems.

I stopped being a Nice Guy when a movie I'd bought and paid for wouldnt play on a DVD player I'd bought and show on a TV I'd bought, in the right region (wtf is region coding all about anyway?) wouldnt play because it couldnt ascertain if the DRM was valid.

wucking fankers.

Paul


Nice article on the MPAA's latest whinge about movie piracy. Here's something that really gets on my tits about their stance on hookie DVDs...

The MPAA claims that money made by pirates goes to fund the drug industry, but the money Hollywood's greatest actors make from legal movie sales ends up in exactly the same place.

-Gareth

A fair point, well made.


The Red Hot Chili Peppers may well have something to say about the next outrage: more "illegal" downloading, this time perpetrated by none other than Microsoft, which is offering Office users several snappy versions of "Happy Birthday". Cue breach of copyright, lawyers circling, etc, etc...

You'll also notice that the copyright on Happy Birthday is why restaurant chains have penned their own birthday songs, so you won't hear Happy Birthday whenever you have your birthday at Chili's, Chevy's or T.G.I. Fridays, God help you.

Tim


Actually, I think the alleged-copyright holders already lost on the tune to "Happy Birthday To You". Because it was an older tune, as you note, "Good Morning To You", the tune passed into the public domain. The lyrics are perhaps still under copyright, but if somebody just wants the tune, it's okay.

After all, Mildred and Patty would not have bothered to write the tune had they not had the incentive of knowing that a corporation would still be licensing their precious lyrics a century later....

Fred Goldstein


How on earth does copyright subsist until 2030 on a song composed in the 19th Century and amended in 1924? I know the Mickey Mouse Act extended copyright beyond 75 years to 95 but this is ridiculous.

Ian


You are obviously unaware that MIDI files are just instruction-code that is sent to a synthesizer or synthesizer-chip on a PC's soundcard to play specific notes using specific sounds on said synthesizer. It is not the equivalent of a pre-recorded performance by a person or persons which would garner ASCAP or BMI performance fees to be payable to the copyright owner.

Nice try, though.

Scott


You wrote: It is, of course, entirely possible that MS has already struck a deal with Warner by which it can punt this cheerful ditty, in which case can it please ask the media monolith for a version which does not sound like it was knocked up by a five-year-old xylophonist in training for a career with Muzac Corporation?

I reply: Urm... on this side of the pond, "getting knocked up by a five year old" takes on a slightly different connotation. I'm also not entirely sure it's possible...

Jay

You'd be surprised.


That's enough musical fun, let's have a couple on AOL's declining fortunes:

That does not surprise me at all.

I currenty use AOL as my main ISP and their tech support is not just hapless, it is actually a health hazard.

Their "Live Help" is maddening, as you can spend hours "talking" to what seem like an automaton, providing only stock answers which, in the vast majority of cases, make no sense whatsoever and bear absolutely no relevance to the question asked.

When you call their 0870 support line, the person answering is absolutely polite and courteous, but again does _not_ have the _faintest_ idea of what is it that you are actually asking. Probably does not even know what "idea" means.

Yes, offshoring support might be cheaper, but for heaven's sake, do train those people to actually have a notion that they are answering a ISP support line instead of wasting our time and increasing the sales of prozac worldwide.

A shame, because otherwise the connection is rock solid and some of the services they offer are interesting.

If an AOL exec is reading this, I'll be happy to substantiate!

Lorenz


A week or two ago AOL gave us yet another reason to leave... they've blocked outgoing SMTP and instead redirect it to their own servers, just like Wanadoo do (do do do dooo).

However, unlike Wanadoo they've also rate-limited it, so you can only send something like 1 email every 2 mins...

Talk about going out of your way to turn customers off!


The NHS has been turning its customers off too, or rather its customers' records. Staff at a Kent hospital recently brought down the computer system for two days. The reason? Downloading, and lots of it, undoubtedly including the Chilis' latest album:

People download at work if the connection is faster at work. Provide everyone with fast home connections and this problem won't happen so much. You could also try giving people motivation and respect and organising their time properly.

Mark

No - bring back the birch. It's the only language they understand.


I worked as a sysadmin in the NHS. When I left downloads of this nature (in the trust I worked in in any case) were against the usage policies that each employee signs when they join up - on hospital networks that store sensitive information (ie patient data) strict controls were enforced. IM, FTP and general downloading of anything were all banned to stop virus outbreaks that crippled multi site WANs.

So what happened here? Why is this access allowed in the first place? Who allowed this to happen? Just remember folks, its your data they are storing and they have a duty to you, the tax paying public to keep this safe. Someone needs to show someone in the IT department in this hospital the NHSNet usage guidelines as I'm sure they are in violation.

Anon


Brace yourselves - here come a few comments on our quantum information technology piece. As Reg hack Chris Williams put it: "Blimey, someone who actually knows what's they're talking about." Yes, it's all a bit of a shock:

As a graduate student who has just bailed out of the QIT research community, I must complement you on your unusually accurate portrayal of the concepts involved. However, I personally think that, while quantum information protocols (like encryption and so-called dense coding) have a vibrant future ahead of them, quantum computation very possibly does not. We have come up with polynomial-time algorithms to solve problems for which we do not know of a polynomial-time classical solution (factoring, the one everyone keeps pointing at, can be done in sub-exponential time on a classical machine, but not quite polynomial time). It has been shown that they definitely can't solve NP-complete problems in polynomial time (unless a classical computer can too, of course).

But here's the catch - the marginal cost of adding a new bit to a classical computer is constant. A second DIMM costs the same as the first one. But on a quantum computer, since we need those bits to be correlated with each other to exploit the benefits of quantumness, this isn't true. So the difficulty of building one increases exponentially with the complexity of the circuit. Even if the circuit is exponentially smaller than the classical one, we still haven't gained anything.

So-called quantum error-correcting-codes might be able to help us out there, but the jury is still out on whether they can truly deal with all of the relevant problems. There is also the potential problem that, because all outcomes usefully different from classical outcomes on quantum computers are probabilistic, we may need to repeat the calculation an exponential number of times to achieve satisfactory accuracy. That said, while I'm sceptical of the future of quantum computers for everyday tasks, they are likely to be quite useful for simulating quantum systems (like protine folding, for example), so research will continue. Just don't expect it to make your desktop PC any faster.

Adam


Finally today, letters regarding a right couple of pervs, starting with NY subway flasher Dan Hoyt:

I have a complaint: do you realise that your coverage of Mr Hoyt has nearly killed me laughing? Pure poetry!

But that's not why I'm sending this. I've had a flash of insight; nay, an epiphany! I have divined the meaning of the mysterious inscription 'NSFW' appended to the start of many of El Reg's stories! 'Not Safe For Work' - am I right?

Right. Okay. It's like this: I read a fair bit of 'random stuff out there on the Web'. My wife reads much less, mostly sticking to pukka academic stuff (what with that being her job an' all). One of the reasons she doesn't read much 'random stuff on the Web' such as the Register is that the proliferation of unexplained acronyms means she can't understand very much of it.

So I had a thought when contemplating one of these unexplained acronyms: `NSFW'. I'm sure that plenty of people know what it means and don't need it explained - but if you don't know, there is no explanation available, and - well, it's a way of excluding the non-cognoscenti, innit? I ignored it as 'not merely unexplained, but seemingly unconnected to the article' since any time it's turned up, not knowing what it meant didn't seem to detract from my understanding of the story. But this really is non-ideal, isn't it?

Thing is, this is the Web we're talking about, right? Right. The Web - that thing with hyperlinks, am I still right? I am, aren't I? I bet you can see where I'm going. How about, every time El Reg uses an acronym, the acronym is presented as a hyperlink to a explanation (or at least expansion) of the acronym? This might be excessively awkward for some articles/authors but I think it's Not A Bad Idea At All In General. Depending on your production methods, it might be very easy to implement; I'd just write a macro that produced (e.g.) a suitably hyperlinked 'NSFW' when executed - stop it being any effort at all.

Whaddya reckon?

Rowland McDonnell

Hmmm. If we start with links from TLAs, then before you know it Stateside readers will be demanding the same for "boffin", "blag" and "bonkers" and all those other lexicographical delights which regularly perplex our US cousins. It'll end in tears, make no mistake.


Perv number 2: a groping Illinois man whose amorous advances resulted in his slimeball jacket being auctioned on eBay:

>> sliming all over your intended victim; blatantly grabbing her breasts; throwing your hot sweaty oversized weight around near her; and shaking your big fat ass in her face. << Not /another/ Prescott story ...

Regards, Mike

Hurrah for British wit. Keep 'em coming. ®

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