Friday, October 12, 2007

A jury of one's peers?

» You’re NOT going to believe this about one of the RIAA trial jurors | IP Telephony, VoIP, Broadband | ZDNet.com: "

Michael Hegg, a juror in the trial where Jammie Thomas was convicted of music copyright infringement tells Wired’s THREAT LEVEL (I am not shouting, their name is all-caps) that the jury convicted her because they wanted to send her “a message.”

Hegg said the $222,000 verdict in favor of the RIAA and six music labels was arrived at because of a compromise.

One of at least two jurors wanted to assess Thomas the maximum $150,000 per song. On the basis of $150,000 x 24 violations, that would have pushed the judgment to $3.6 million, Unidentified by name, this person is a funeral director by profession.

What’s even more incredible: Hegg told Kravets that Jammie Thomas “is a liar,” also told Kravets that he “never (has) been on the Internet.”

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Harry endorses...

I hate politics and politicians so I'm trying to make this a politics-free zone. However, after seeing this, I feel the need to endorse Mike Huckabee. Take a look.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

For RIAA, a black eye comes with the job | Tech News on ZDNet

For RIAA, a black eye comes with the job | Tech News on ZDNet: "Yes, this is a form of tough love but it is a necessary one to protect the rights of artists," said Jonathan Lamy, an RIAA spokesman.

Spare me. This is from the same people who will bring you President Hillary Clinton because she will "help poor people." Well, she'd better, because the RIAA just introduced one more family to poverty.

One's commitment to their ideals is measured by their actions, and clearly the music industry is only on the side of the downtrodden when it's not out of their pocket. The rich and powerful get moreso.

Doesn't this cast a new light on the idea of free concerts to help others not so well-off? Or must such recipients be only in the third-world, and not reduced to poverty by the musicians themselves?

I think it would be a fitting irony if the same artists whose songs were allegedly being shared by her played at a concert to raise money for her defense.

Now that would be a statement.

The Murder Lull

I was thinking about the possibilities of why there was a 1-week hiatus in murders here in Baltimore, and think I might have hit on the answer: The killers were in school!

September is back to school time everywhere, and toward the end of the month, tests are starting to appear. There you go. They were too busy with schoolwork to shoot each other.

So, if kids are in school, no more murder problem because they won't have the time, what with their diligence over their studies. Right?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

22 homicides in a month brings 'chaos' - Examiner.com

22 homicides in a month brings 'chaos' - Examiner.com:
"“What we need is people’s outrage toward the violence in the city to be directed toward working with the police to put an end to it,” Clifford said. “This young man was shot in broad daylight along a busy street. There should be a line of people waiting to tell police what happened and what they saw.”"

And herein lies the problem: no outrage, except for the petty, juvenile silliness that took place in Jena, Louisiana. Especially telling, the young man shot in broad daylight was a student of Morgan State University, the same place where students mobilized and took a civil rights party train to Louisiana. They should have walked down to City Hall and protested the shootings. Stupid.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

What passes for news

wjz.com - Kids Fired At With Pellet Gun At School Bus Stop: "Two children were grazed by pellets. Their injuries weren't serious."

In my day, you weren't anybody unless you'd been shot with a BB gun. Or had a schoolyard fight. Or something similar. I even have scars (call Social Services!!).

In our zeal to protect our children, we are taking away the most valuable of life experiences: how to handle conflict. What we end up with are people who try to deal with conflict, but go too far (see the story about two girls who got into a bitch-fest via text messaging, and one appeared the next day at the school with a hunting knife to gut her opponent). Alternatively, we have adults who have no idea how to deal with life's problems, other than to seek out a new therapist. God, what a society we're creating.

And look at the media: here we have a major local TV station, reporting this nonsense. It's a prank. Puhleeze. There are enough problems here that need actual reporting. For example, why is there no outrage in Baltimore over violence that leaves teens and adults alike dead, when in Philadelphia, a city with less than half the murder rate than that of Baltimore, they are mobilizing to put a stop to it. Why does Baltimore tolerate it? Now, that's news.

Leave the kids alone, other than to guide them. Leave the authorities out of it. Leave the courts out of it. Let the kids, with their parents' advice, figure out how to solve their own problems. Like we did in the old days.

I don't recall anyone dying from a pellet wound. But I recall some serious "conflict resolution" resulting from it.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Fallout from the RIAA $220K Award

Democratic congressman: RIAA's $222,000 win is 'excessive' | Tech news blog - CNET News.com:
"The recording industry's victory Thursday in a trial involving a Minnesota woman accused of illegal file-sharing is already turning at least a few heads on Capitol Hill."

Minnesota woman who owes RIAA $220,000 calls sum 'ridiculous' | Tech news blog - CNET News.com:
"'It says in the constitution that there should be no undue fines,' Thomas said in an interview with CNET News.com. 'I was just fined (9,000 percent more) than the value of these songs.'"

UPDATE: See my comments on intellectual property in an earlier post.

Gibson's Self-Tuning Guitar

Technology Review: Gibson's Self-Tuning Guitar

Here's more crap to make being a musician less of an achievement: a guitar that tunes itself. Not that any of the current crop of "instrument owners" (sorry, I can't bring myself to say, "musicians") would know the difference between B and C-flat, anyway. That's a trick question, in case you don't know.

The thing I don't get is: How does this self-monitoring perfect pitch bitch know when the player is bending the string? Playing with a slide? Has detuned? Is using alternate tuning? And on...

In case this thing is for real and not a hoax, I want to see one, just to watch it chase its tail.

Thx to Dominic for the heads-up on this. He doesn't need one, by the way.

Four reasons why the RIAA won a jury verdict of $220,000 today | The Iconoclast - politics, law, and technology - CNET News.com

Four reasons why the RIAA won a jury verdict of $220,000 today | The Iconoclast - politics, law, and technology - CNET News.com

Poor Jammie Thomas. She ran afoul of the RIAA over copyright, got herself sued, and a jury of her so-called peers awarded the stinking-rich RIAA 222,000 US large. At issue was Thomas' making available 24 songs.

In reading some of the details of the case, it seems that Thomas probably didn't know that she was making the files available. However, for the RIAA to use such a big club, and for the courts and, - for God's sake, the jury - to punish her so badly is appalling. The problem lies in the nature and wording of the law, and the RIAA's policy to defend it's property ruthlessly.

The questions that need to be asked are: Who was damaged? How much were they damaged? How intentional was the infringement? Can the fact that the material was actually distributed be proven? Beyond damages, what is a reasonable fine?

Interestingly, none of these questions need be answered, because of the way the law is worded. Pretty much, all one needs to do is make something available for distribution, and that's that. And that's what Thomas did, intentionally or not.

This is bad. Bad law, and bad policy. Not so much because I think artists shouldn't be paid, but because I think it's not fair. I think Thomas should be punished - if not for electronic distribution of intellectual property, then for being stupid enough to make it easy for the RIAA to catch her.

I especially think it's bad because I keep thinking of human waste like the Britney Spears and [INSERT HIP-HOP ARTIST NAME HERE] who do nothing but pollute our culture and reap huge awards from it, through groups like the RIAA. And it seems they now have another $222,000 to play with. New grilles all around!

Should Thomas be punished? Yes. How much? The RIAA should have to prove how many of the 24 songs were actually downloaded, how many times, and then charge her the market rate for them - about a dollar apiece. The downside is that this might have turned out to be more than her actual fine, but at least the penalty would have some basis in proof, reality and reason. As it stands, the outcome is simply arbitrary.

It ain't fair, and it would be nice if lawmakers would recognize this.

UPDATE: See my comments on intellectual property in an earlier post.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

*sigh*

"Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped. - Elbert Hubbard"

Monday, October 1, 2007

Confession

PC World - Digital Absolution Arrives: Site Invites You to Confess

This article reminded me of Hallowe'en past, and since it's right around the corner, as they say, I thought I'd share the story.

One of the bands I was in decided to dress in costume for the night. The costumes were our choice. So, being a good Catholic boy, and everyone knows that good Catholic boys at some point all want to be priests, I decided to dress as one.

What surprised me were how many young ladies in the audience wanted to give confession...

Those priests really have a lot of fun.

Zebron and James


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