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Clay Shirky's TED Talk about SOPA and PIPA

I completely agree. I also feel the online protests today are invaluable: it’s not enough to defeat these bills. We need to make it absolutely and abundantly clear that these sorts of laws are unacceptable.

I’d go farther than that, though: I sincerely hope that this pushback will cause dialogue to be opened up about revisiting the nature of intellectual property and copyright — and I mean REAL dialogue, not just specific industries with a vested interest in locking in more power and restrictions. We need to acknowledge that the idea of the Commons has grown. Scrap what we have and go in with no preconceived notions, go back to the original discussions of copyright (and patents and trademarks…) and ask the question of what exactly we need to protect and how much.

Limbo of the Lost

What gets me is that there are assholes out there who manage to get funding to pull this sort of stunt, when there are hundreds, if not thousands of folks who are working on mods and indie games that would KILL to have even a share of their funding that can’t even get a publisher to pick up the phone.

What am I talking about? A little game called “Limbo of the Lost”, which has received publisher funding for at least 6, if not 10 (as claimed) years, which just recently came out. The vast majority (not 50 or 60%, but more like 80 or 90%) of the content is directly stolen from other games, often without even so much as a color change or added component. This is not an epic fail, this is a LEGENDARY failure, across the board, first on the part of the corrupt developers whom I hope NEVER work in the industry again (I’m sorry, you do not get a second chance after this), and on the part of the publisher for not practicing even an iota of due diligence in reviewing the game.

Some worthwhile links to read about this: Rockpapershotgun.com’s coverage, Zen of Design — “Call it a Remix”, and this forum post at cheapassgamer.com.

Copyright Wake-up Call

I just had an interesting conversation with some folks on IRC. (I know, shocking, eh?) While reaffirming that it IS in fact a vast wasteland, it was interesting to see what sort of misconceptions are out there about copyright law.

First off, everyone hates the RIAA, myself included. Their behavior is reminiscient of the Gestapo of Nazi Germany, and they need to be stopped. Their reactionary behavior simply feeds the fire, and exacerbates the problem.

Next, many of these “pirates” believe themselves to be safe by being in another country. To quote some, “Thats why I love living in Canada. Downloading music here is legal … see in canada we pay a tax on all music anyway … and the RIAA has no jurasdiction here” and “[copyright] can be international only if the country accepts it, and very few do. Thats why they can’t do shit to people in canada denmark finland and the like.”

Let’s not forget this concept that the RIAA is snooping everyone’s computers, so if you don’t keep pirated music on it, they can’t see it. “If I burn my mp3s to a cd, they can’t trace it!”
Continue reading “Copyright Wake-up Call”