Archive for January, 2012

MegaUpload: Some IP is more equal than others

MegaUpload: Some IP is more equal than others

Last week, the FBI raided and shut down MegaUpload, a site which allowed people to share their files.  Apparently, no one has so far bothered to think of the millions of users of MegaUpload whose data is now inaccessible on the MegaUpload servers.  Moreover, MegaUpload’s funds have been frozen, so it can’t pay to continue to house the data that has been uploaded to it.   Apparently it will start getting deleted later this week.

Imagine a scenario where the Feds raid a warehouse, which is alleged to hold stolen property belonging to some media magnate.  No one disputes that the warehouse also holds other people’s property.  The Feds seize the building and ask what should be done with it.  “Raze it, destroy it all” – so they do, everything, including the property of innocent third parties.

In those circumstances, could anyone seriously argue that the Feds were standing up for “property” in the abstract?  Similarly here, how can an issue of principle be argued when the copyright works of so many innocent people have been sacrificed – now by lack of access, later by destruction?

Vote STORACUTA – Stop Taking Our Rights And Calling Us Thieves Act

Stop Taking Our Rights And Calling Us Thieves Act


There are manifold problems with the way the legalization of monopolies operates around the world.  One of those problems is the continual pushing of extremist positions on legal monopolies, in order for a not quite as extreme “compromise” position to be reached, which is just pushed further out in the next round of lobbying.  Instead of just opposing the SOPA, it would be more appropriate to propose alternative legislation as a counter balance to attempt to achieve a moderate position.

Provisions which could be included might be:

* express limitation of damages in monopoly infringement cases to damages actually incurred, abolition of presumed or statutory damages – per Tim O’Reilly (and many others, but Mr O’Reilly has been noteworthy recently);

* repeal of any provision which enables geographical market segmentation;

* prohibition on the use of monopolies to restrict speech;

* repeal of any provision which enables aftermarket control of goods – eg rental rights and DRM;

* an offence for a public official to call the infringement of any monopoly “theft”

* prohibition on claiming lack of sale as losses

* express application of anti-trust law to the exercise of any monopoly?

Ideas?  What would you like to see included in STORACUTA?


Tim OReilly, is The Man, by the way.   A few years ago I figured I wanted to learn Python.  I googled around for what resources were out there and, in the course of so doing, I stumbled across “free” downloads of some of the O’Reilly Python books.  I didn’t actually use the “free” versions – I bought them from O’Reilly anyway, largely because O’Reilly e-books were DRM free. Strangely, buying those first ebooks from O’Reilly was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.  I have since almost gone out of my way to buy stuff from them (Algorithms in a Nutshell? WtH?), this, despite being aware I could probably pick up a “free” copy somewhere.

SOPA Stupidity

I have long felt that the copyright industry are their own worst enemy, at least in relation to litigation.  Instead of treating with Napster to find some accommodation, they destroyed it.  What happened as a result? Decentralised peer to peer, that’s what. Instead of having hubs as in Napster that they might negotiate with, they eliminated that point of control from the system.  Ditto subsequent litigation.  Each time they have eliminated options for themselves to be able to negotiate terms with an aggregator.  This is probably why they are so keen to make ISPs liable for their customer’s infringements.  Of course whatever ISPs do, customers will route around that as well.

At every stage, the industry has simply evolved a better infringer.  SOPA, should it be passed, will be no different.  Other countries or private ventures will set up their own DNS to route around those controlled by the US.

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