This may just be the best TED Talk video I've seen: listen.com/Rhapsody founder and extremely funny person (and soon-to-be debut science fiction author) Rob Reid examines the math behind the claims made by the copyright lobby and explains the mindbending awesomeness of the sums used to justify SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and the like. Here's Ars Technica's Ken Fisher discussing Reid's philosophy:
Reid’s goal was to capture and represent some of the rhetoric from that past decade and a half in a way that would fill the hall with laughter, even if some of it came at the expense of some clearly ridiculous industry arguments. “Everyone can laugh at silly infographics,” Reid opined while silently crushing the serious journalism dreams of hacks everywhere. “And who doesn't want to deface a Leave-it-to-Beaver-like Christmas scene with pirate-and-Santa graffiti?”
The brilliance of Reid’s talk is that he thoroughly skewers the content industry’s dubious appeal to quantitative reasoning. We’ve all see the headlines proclaiming huge numbers of dollars, jobs, and patents lost to piracy. The appeal to quantitative measures is supposed to undermine counterarguments by doing two things: slyly stepping into a (pretend) world of objectivity, and raising the alarm with big, scary numbers. It’s hard to look at those kinds of headlines in the same way after Reid’s elegantly hilarious skewering.
Reid’s examination of Copyright Math began when he started working on his soon-to-be published debut science fiction novel, Year Zero, which Random House is publishing in early July (we’ll be reviewing it). Year Zero tells the story of how the toxic legal byproducts of some overly litigious lawyers cause problems that make global warming seem downright cozy. Not to give it away, but could you imagine how pissed off an alien music lover might get if he was sued into bankruptcy for pirating a few lousy Rick Astley songs?
Copyright Math: a quantitative reasoning master class by Rob Reid (video)
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
Boasting an IPX6 waterproof rating, the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker resists dust and heavy rainfall. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.The Trakk Bullet offers the same wireless convenience as other portable speakers, but few are built as tough as this one. Its utilitarian construction is designed to be a totally low-maintenance […]
The Ticwatch 2 Active Smartwatch is a simpler take on an active wearable that raised over $2m dollars on Kickstarter and is currently offered in the Boing Boing Store.Somewhere in between the single-day battery life and platform-specificity of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices, there exists the Ticwatch. Instead of trying to shoehorn another […]
Loot Crate is a subscription service that delivers a box of curated pop culture goods to your doorstep. To sample their geeky wares, you can order a single mystery box exclusively from the Boing Boing Store.Each month Loot Crate sends you 6-7 unique items and apparel, including collectibles, books, and t-shirts. Pulling inspiration from all […]