EFF has published the latest installment in its annual RIAA v. The People, "Four Years Later," which is a comprehensive, exhaustively researched and cited white-paper on the RIAA's campaign against music downloaders. The paper starts with the earliest days, when the record companies went after companies manufacturing portable music players, and continues up to the present day, with these companies suing tens of thousands of individual music fans (including people who don't own computers, small children, military servicepeople, dead people, etc), often for sums that end up bankrupting them. EFF describes other RIAA initiatives, such as a deceptive "amnesty" campaign, advising a MIT student to drop out of school in order to pay her fines, and using universities and Congress to try to shake down students for thousands of dollars.
Then the paper moves into a section on empirical studies of P2P activity during the four year campaign -- and shows that the "educational campaign" has been a total failure, with more Americans sharing files than ever, and downloading from P2P at forty times the rate that they use authorized download services like iTunes.
EFF closes by proposing a sensible solution -- stop suing fans and figure out how to make money off of their preferred means of acquiring music. To do this, EFF argues that the labels should offer a "blanket license" to fans or ISPs, a flat fee that legalizes downloading music, the proceeds from which can be paid to artists and other rightsholders. This is basically the same system used by radio stations and live venues to legalize their use of music and while it's not without its problems (the collection societies have a history of screwing indie artists and labels, and aggressively expanding their scope to include things like kindergarten classrooms), it sure beats the alternative -- sue, harass and alienate customers.
Or take the case of Cecilia Gonzalez, a recently laid-off mother of five, who
owes five major record companies a total of $22,500 for illegally downloading off the
Internet. That's more than three-fourths of what she made the previous year as a
secretary. Ironically, Gonzalez primarily downloaded songs she already owned on
CD--the downloads were meant to help her avoid the labor of manually loading the 250
CDs she owns onto her computer. In fact, the record companies are going after a steady
customer--Gonzalez and her husband spent about $30 per month on CDs.
Nevertheless, the RIAA insisted that it would not consider a settlement for less than
$3000, an amount that would bankrupt the Gonzalez family.54
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
CEO Dick Costolo will resign, to be replaced in the interim by Jack Dorsey
Watching Netflix, Hulu or other streaming services can unfortunately be difficult while traveling outside the US. Rather than bypass these restrictions with the help of a complex and slow VPN, choose a faster and simpler solution with Getflix. Instead of rerouting all your Internet traffic through a different server, this handy service only routes the […]
Shake, stir, and muddle your way to delicious homemade cocktails with this must-have bar set. Expect only the finest quality tools from MakersKit — enabling you to unleash your inner mixologist.Top 12 Favorite Things of 2014, Sunset MagazineQuart-size vintage-style Mason jar shakerRetro double jigger for accurate measurementsStrainer & spouts for a mixologist-style smooth pourHardwood muddler […]
The Lytro Illum dares to be different, boasting even more robust features than its first generation predecessor and a sleek design reminiscent of professional DSLRs. What’s so cool about it? Most cameras capture the position of light rays, producing a statoc 2D image.