Patrick's Rants


Blackout Strike Back Results

Filed under: Copyright,Geek News and Stuff,Politics — site admin @ 8:24 pm

Yahoo has a decent roundup of the numbers:
75,000 sites go dark to protest SOPA and PIPA. and Chris Dodd shows how clueless he is by saying,

“With today’s announcement, we hope the dynamics of the conversation can change and become a sincere discussion about how best to protect the millions of American jobs affected by the theft of American intellectual property,” Dodd said. “The threat posed by these criminal operations has been widely acknowledged by even the most ardent critics. It is incumbent that they now sincerely work with all of us to achieve a meaningful solution to this critically important goal.”

It is not. It is Not. IT IS NOT THEFT. It is copyright infringement. It is theft just like taking a photo of the Statue of Liberty is theft. Can we stop using this term? Neither is it piracy. Piracy happens on the high seas – sometimes the low seas. But definitely on the water – where they shoot at you and board your boat. And sometimes they get shot through the eye while their lifeboat bobs up and down on rough waters by navy seals. So it’s not piracy.

Now. Let’s address the idea that millions of American jobs are at stake. Copyright infringement occurs after those millions of people have already been paid their hourly wage to haul cables and hold cameras and serve food on the set. They were already paid. They won’t be paid any more or any less because Jerry made a copy. So let’s stop pretending that it’s about the “little people”. The little people are all union and their biggest threat is the studio.

Illegally copied movies have always been a problem for the movie studios. Illegally copies cassettes have always been a problem for the recording industry. Swap meets and flea markets were full of these copied movies and songs. The movie studios and recording studios weren’t clamoring to have the streets in front of the swap meets closed down based upon someone deciding that there were “stolen” movies at the swap meet. No. The people selling illegal copies were arrested and punished. The whole stinking swap meet wasn’t shut down. That’s what the movie and recording studios want. They want the whole swap meet shut down. And they want the telephone pole where someone posted a flyer chopped down. And they want the corner gas station to be seized if someone posts a flyer on the wall. And they want the road to the gas station ripped up, too. That’s what SOPA and PIPA would have done. Over react to an overblown problem.

Stop calling it “piracy”. Stop calling it “theft”. Call it what it is, infringement. Stop adding stupid laws to prevent me from watching a movie I bought on whichever device I choose. Stop convincing manufacturers to build defective CDs and players so I can’t listen to the CD I bought in my car. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act could have effectively outlawed the sharpie marker if it was used to “circumvent” the copyright stripe on your CD.

These bills were over reaching and draconian. The movie studios want to have meaningful protections? They need to start with meaningful and realistic language.


The Net Goes Dark – Sort Of

Filed under: Copyright,Geek News and Stuff,Politics — site admin @ 6:34 am

Wikipedia Blackout
Google Blackout
Craigslist Blackout
Some sites on the internet have gone “dark” to show what could happen under the proposed SOPA and PIPA bills being considered in congress. Please visit the action pages of these sites:
Wikipedia Google Craigslist

And from the People’s Email Network (PEN):

Though not as heinous on its face as some other legislation we have
seen pushed in Congress lately, the so-called Stop Online Piracy Act
(SOPA) would take a giant ax to the roots of the internet in an
attempt to a deal with a problem up the branches somewhere.

Junk SOPA Action Page:

The bill is so poorly written and vague in its definitions that it
would potentially criminalize innocent behavior, an open door to
selective prosecutions. Worse yet, it would give single troll
complainers the power to completely and unilaterally shut down
websites on false accusations, and force those sites to engage in
lengthy legal battles to restore themselves.

Even those who originally supported the concept of SOPA are appalled
at the blunderbuss tactics of the bill as presented, and Congress
must go back to the drawing board, with the input of those who really
know how the internet works, to come up with a bill that will not do
more harm than good.

Though advertised as a bipartisan bill, on closer inspection only two
Democratic sponsors were initial sponsors, Schiff and Berman, whose
districts include all the big Hollywood movie studios. What a
coincidence! And we should add, having just finished producing a
movie ourselves we have great sympathy for those who deserve to be
paid for their creative work, for how else can we righteously
compensate our valiant cast, crew and support people? But this SOPA
bill is absolutely the wrong way to do it.

And after you submit the action page you can now request a bulk order
of the new “Occupy America” bumper stickers that have been so very
popular. Demonstrate your support for the spreading occupy movements.
We are just asking about a dollar each in bulk to help cover our
costs, which include sending free single stickers to anyone who wants
one. We just got in the latest shipment and all remaining single
sticker requests are going out now. Here is a direct link to the bulk
order page.

Bulk Occupy America bumper stickers:

And you can still make all the single sticker requests you like at

Single Occupy American bumper stickers:

Mark Your Calendars For A Radio Appearance By The Pen

In the meantime we are getting attention in the progressive media. On
Jan. 16 at 2PM PST, yours truly, The Pen, will appear live on the
Harrison radio show in Los Angeles on KPFK to discuss these latest
developments. You can tune in from anywhere over the internet at
either or

We’d also like you to know we are doing the final tweaks now on the
mix for the theme song for “The Last War Crime” movie and anticipate
getting it posted on iTunes in about a week. It would be wonderful if
we could make a splash on iTunes about the song, as a way of
introducing people to the movie itself. We pulled in the top rock and
roll and jazz studio musicians in Los Angeles for this, and the best
background singers on the planet, who have worked with everyone from
Natalie Cole to Phil Collins. It’s one hopping rock and roll track
entitled, “It’s A Crime”, so please stay tuned for that.

Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed
to be ours, and forward this alert as widely as possible.
Contributions to The People’s Email Network are not tax-deductible
for federal income tax purposes.

If you would like to get alerts like these, you can do so at

Or if you want to cease receiving our messages, just use the function



Copyright Extension

Filed under: Copyright,Politics — site admin @ 1:36 pm

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.(wikipedia)

It is interesting that it is more important that Disney is able to maintain their copyright on “Lady and the Tramp” than it is for a drug company to recoup their research and development costs for life saving drugs. Copyright law, as it is written today, protects books, movies and music for life + 70 years for the original writer – 95 years for a work for hire. This means that a book that might have cost a few thousand dollars to get published, such as Moby and Ahab on a Plutonium Sea, will continue to be be covered under copyright long after anyone cares about it. Copyright and patent law were intended to give writers, artists and inventors the incentive to publish their ideas and works so they could benefit from publishing the works. The idea was never to give artists perpetual income, but to encourage the creation of new ideas and works, to allow others to build upon what came before. And, I believe, by limiting the income potential the same artists would be encouraged to continue creating. Instead, by extending copyright law for 70 years beyond death, JK Rowling’s (unborn) grandkids might end up being spoiled brats who never work a day in their life. How is that promoting the useful arts?

Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain has a more in depth article on these locked up copy protected works.


The Tide is Turning

Filed under: Copyright,Geek News and Stuff — site admin @ 7:34 am

If you’ve been following what the recording industry cartel has been doing to people (running roughshod over the legal system, extorting funds from paralyzed individuals, dead people, grandmothers and little children) you will – no doubt – enjoy this sliver of hope and sanity offered by a judge in Florida.
Recording Industry vs. The People


It’s Now Legal to Copy Your CDs Again

Filed under: Copyright,Geek News and Stuff — site admin @ 8:47 pm

In a surprising move against the music industry a judge has ruled against the RIAA.

The entire ruling is available in PDF format.
Just having files on your computer is not considered infringement if we follow this ruling. Making copies of your CDs to play on your computer and your MP3 player will not be considered infringement. And it shouldn’t be. There is a concept of fair use that consumers have been able to fall back on. If I buy a CD I can listen to it in my car, on my MP3 player and I can make copies for backup purposes. Note that I wrote, “if I buy a CD”. I don’t personally (nor by extension do any of my family members) download music that I haven’t paid for unless the creators have made it available. Nor do we trade CDs or any of the other stuff that is explicitly illegal. The fair use stuff I’m going to keep doing.


Microsoft to nuke MSN Music DRM keys

Filed under: Copyright,Geek News and Stuff,Politics — site admin @ 7:58 pm

This is why some people call it Digital Restrictions Management:
Don’t bother to try listening to your music on another computer. You don’t own it, you don’t have the right to play it, Bill Gates gets to decide when, where and how you listen to music you bought rented from him.
And in case you didn’t follow the links in the story, Major League Baseball isn’t without its own faults.
I want my music, my movies, my entertainment unlocked and available for me to play when where and how I want. I will not buy restricted or encumbered music.


No You Can’t See How The Votes Are Counted

Filed under: Copyright,Geek News and Stuff,Politics — site admin @ 7:26 am

The State of New Jersey was going to send some voting machines to Ed Felten to check out. The voting machine company, Sequoia Voting System sent him an email threatening to “protect their intellectual property rights” which you can read on Felten’s blog Freedom To Tinker.

The Brad Blog goes into more detail, even encouraging the readers to contact the New Jersey Attorney General to impress upon her the importance of elections that are open, error free and not subject to being subverted. Here’s my email:

I understand that your office has declined to order testing of electronic voting machines manufactured by Sequoia Voting Systems. Based upon reports available across the internet, Sequoia machines have errors that may affect election outcomes. These machines need to be verified to ensure that democracy is not subverted. Your state, as most states, has open records laws. We should expect no less from our voting machines; that our vote is counted by observing the proper operation of the voting machines.


Proof of Copyrights’ Real Values

Filed under: Copyright,General,Politics — site admin @ 11:27 am

Anyone else notice all the discounted TV shows and movies out on DVD this last week or so? Wal-Mart has pallets of movies for $1.00 (they’re a bit out of the main stream, but still $1.00). Target is selling fairly popular movies for $5.00, $7.50 and $10.00. TV series are going for $9.99 per season for some shows.

Music CDs still seem to be on the high end – well above $10.00 for even the “unknown” artists. Still, that’s cheaper than $9,500.00 per song that the music industry attorneys would have you believe that songs are worth for you to copy them to your iPod.

I wonder what would happen to music sharing if the price of CDs actually came down to a reasonable range? CDs tend to be less than an hour of music (of arguable quality) and all the $7.00 Christmas music CDs should tell you that anything priced two to three times as much is way out of line.



Filed under: Copyright,Geek News and Stuff,Politics — site admin @ 10:51 pm

You know Congress has gone too far when they start writing laws that allow ordinary citizens to lose their computers in favor of music and movie studios. That’s apparently what some pending legislation offers; the chance for grandma to lose her computer over alleged “file sharing”. Grandma doesn’t have to be convicted of anything, just accused by the movie and record studios. Forget making a backup copy of your movies or a CD that you want to listen to on your iPod, you’re a criminal now and your computer can be seized and auctioned. Your rights are being melted away in favor of Steam Boat Willie. Either you smile while Mickey slips you the his
“mickey” or you write to your Congressman and I mean now. Unfortunately I have these the unconvicted “slippery Dick” Rick Renzi (not running for re-election, but not man enough to step out of the way of someone who might do some good) and John McCain as my representatives. Shout out to John Conyers, man of the people. Man up John, you work for us, not Mickey Mouse. It’s time to protect our rights against oppression before the uprising takes you out.


BSA Cracks Down

Filed under: Copyright,Geek News and Stuff,Politics — site admin @ 8:52 am

The Associated Press has a story on the Bull Shit – er Business Software – Alliance and its bullying tactics titled, Software Group Targets Small Business. This again points out that the rules are terribly broken in favor of software companies. If you buy a music CD (another topic) then you own that music CD. You can sell it, give it away or burn it in protest when Garth Brooks decides to stop making CDs because they can be *gasp* sold to someone else in a second hand store – and poor Garth’s kids will have to go without dinner.

Here’s where it gets interesting. If you buy a box set of Microsoft’s latest operating system, XP (because who would want to buy that abomination Vista?) and install it on a computer that you have sitting around (another reason to not buy Vista – that thing’s a hog on computers older than three months) and then you forget about it. If that computer happens to be in a business setting you are at risk of being “audited” by the BS squad. They come in, look at your Certificate of Authenticity labels that you dutifully put on the outside of the computer case. They look at your hologram protected Microsoft CD and your faded Best Buy receipt and decide that you “stole” the software from Microsoft and now you have to pay up big. You were legal but your receipt faded so you couldn’t prove that you didn’t heist a case of CDs or that you didn’t buy the CD from someone else who stole it. So you must have broken the law, or someone else did in the process. There’s a name for people like you Captain Sparrow and that’s pirate. Don’t bother with innocent until proven guilty, this is the BS squad you’re dealing with. I did find it interesting that the money extorted by the BSA does not go to the companies that are allegedly wronged by your criminal activities, such as Microsoft in this case, it goes back into the BS squad’s budget. Like a rouge regime, the money is used to pay for more goons to extort more money.

I have a thought about keeping track of what you legally installed (and just who those disks belong to once you buy them in the store). How about use the unique serial number on the CD to track ownership? I mean, if you can only install software on one machine then the serial number issued by the company that produces the software should suffice right? How about the Certificate of Authenticity? That tells you that the software you are buying is genuine. It doesn’t tell the goon squad, but maybe it should. The other option is to never use software that comes from BS members. It’s a little tough in some cases, but it can be done. If you haven’t read them here are some stories of people who have jettisoned Microsoft from the pirate ship:
City of Largo Linux success
and a follow-up
Ernie Ball 2002 story
Ernie Ball, 2003 story
And there are plenty more… so back off goon squad. Treat your customers with respect instead of a small country that you can invade and pillage. Oh wait, you don’t know how to do that.

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