Abandon All Fear

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Archive for September, 2008

[Paradigms] Profits… Follow Up to the Last Post

Posted by Lex Fear on September 25, 2008

This is a follow up to my last post (Hearts and Minds).

“But how will anyone make a profit if intellectual property is made free?” I hear you cry.

Simple.

Outside of the BBC, advertising seems to suit most TV and radio networks, even as they move more of their media onto the internet, there is still room for product placements and advertising between shows/performances. Merchandising and hard-copy materials work well too. After all, where do radio stations get all their songs from? Do you think the record industry makes them purchase every single song individually*? No they get free samplers sent to them – would you believe it – to promote the artist?

The MAFIAA missed a trick with P2P, it could have been a huge profit making machine, instead they reacted like Luddites confronted with a mobile phone – they tried to smash it. The problem is they didn’t realise that what they were dealing with was effectively an Uber-Hydra – each time the MAFIAA close down a p2p outfit – they spawn so many more new ones.

The recent release of Heroes Season 3: Villains has broken records on BitTorrent downloads (yup, I have seen it 😀 ) – 92% downloaded from outside the US. The reason for this is obviously the delayed release of most good things that come out of the US.

But is there any need for the delay? I suspect, without researching, it has something to do with other countries networks gaging reception of a show in the States before deciding to bid and purchase it for their network – but is there any reason to do this for tried and tested shows like Heroes? Is there any need for it in the digital age where the rest of the world can access US websites and sneak peek info before it’s even released in the States?

It’s a tired old cliche but it must be said again and again until The Power(less) That Be sit up and take notice. The media industry is still trying to make an old business model fit into a new mould that just wont take it – like putting old wine into new wineskins, a square peg into a round hole.

I noticed the BBC is advertising Heroes Season 3 now. Bravo! Was it that Season 2 was so short, or is it fear of losing the market to filesharers? After all, if the show is available over BitTorrent, ad free and released just a few hours after it airs in the States, what is the point of even running the series on TV anymore?

As the world increasingly turns to the net, and as filesharing gains more followers and more social acceptance, media companies based not-in-the States are going to find it harder and harder to drive a profit. And sod it if I’m going to purchase Sky just so I can watch Lost.

So what can media companies do? Well, the BBC is OK for now, no-one should give a rats-ass about the BBC because they basically tax the British public and will suffer no loss from advertising revenue. For every other network on the planet, here’s a few ideas:

  • Release US shows as soon as possible, don’t wait for scheduling, get them on air
  • Embrace the web. Enable people to log on and catch up or download online (that means us Freetards too)! Link to US network counterparts and create more content.
  • Stop releasing Season Box Sets as Part 1 (12 episodes) and Part 2 (12 episodes). The British public are not that gullible (are they?)!
  • Embrace P2P. There is a reason leaked pilots find their way onto BitTorrent.

Ask yourself this. What if your network was to sell advertising on their own BitTorrent tracker? What if TV networks were to ‘leak’ the episodes about to air on BitTorrent, wrapped in and advertisement bundle? One ad at the beginning of the recording, one in the middle, one at the end? Sure people might repackage it without the ads, but if you get that episode onto a BitTorrent tracker first, it will already have the largest download and seeding! Most people are not going to bother repackaging it, or trying to find one that doesn’t have advertising, since all they want to do is watch the show- they would put up with one or two ads.

Selling advertising content on TV Shows released through BitTorrent would be simple, effective and easy to track. Simply calculate revenues by the number of downloads and you have your profit, as well as subsidising revenues lost from the traditional TV presentation.

I can’t actually believe that no mainstream content provider has actually worked this out yet! When they do, the MAFIAA will be all but dead in the water, and the friendship between media companies and consumers will once again be restored.

As it happens I use BitTorrent but when a show is a good as Lost or Heroes I buy the box sets, especially for the extras. It’s nice to own a hardcopy of something, and I like to get my monies worth. So here’s to the creators of these fine TV shows, let’s hope they see the light and a way to make both money and friends through filesharing!

*I’m well aware that radio stations need to purchase a license to play but this is something rather different to individual copyright enforcement.

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Posted in Bad Company, Copywrong, Morals & Ethics, Pharisees, Profiteering, Technology, Wealth Creation | Leave a Comment »

[Acts of God] Hearts and Minds

Posted by Lex Fear on September 25, 2008

Two pieces of good news today which gives me pause for thought… Filesharer Jammie Thomas has been granted a retrial by the judge who sentenced her last year.

“Minnesota Federal beak Michael Davis said he had given an incorrect instruction to the jury on the level of proof required by the Recording Industry Ass. of America. He had told jurors last year that the act of “making [music files] available” via a peer to peer network was sufficient to prove unauthorised distribution of copyright material without evidence that others had downloaded the files.”

<snip>

Although he wasn’t considering the fine levied against Thomas in the original trial, in his judgment Davis said Congress should re-examine the law on copyright infringement, calling it “wholly disproportionate”. “Her alleged acts were illegal, but common. Her status as a consumer who was not seeking to harm her competitors or make a profit does not excuse her behavior. But it does make the award of hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages unprecedented and oppressive,” he wrote.” – RIAA filesharing target Jammie Thomas wins retrial – El Reg

The second bit of good news, however it comes with a twist, is the European Parliament have wisely thrown out the “Three-Strikes” law when it comes to copyright infringement.

“The amendment, drafted by Guy Bono and other members of the European Parliament, was adopted by an overwhelming majority. 573 parliament members voted in favor while only 74 rejected. Satisfied with this outcome, Bono stated in a response to the vote: “You do not play with individual freedoms like that,” and said that the French government should review its three-strikes law.” – European Parliament Says No to Three-Strikes Law – TorrentFreak

Could this be a possible turning point in history, are our leaders finally coming round to the 21st Century and understanding of technology and innovation?

I’ve always believed in a God that is involved with life on earth in both a grand and intimate scale. I don’t believe God sends earthquakes and tornadoes in order to bring punishment to any region, I don’t believe he speaks and commands suicide bombers or terrorists to fly into buildings, but I do believe he is intimately involved in human affairs to bring about creativity and invention, justice and mercy.

I believe in a creative God, a God who fashioned humans in his image – that means we got his characteristic creativity as well. It is on display everywhere we look; invention, design, industry and the arts. Creation is in us and is a part of our human identity. I also believe, in a broader sense, that Jesus was and is a file sharer.

Jesus’ primary goal was to get the good news out. He didn’t care much for any authority that stood in the way, and he certainly didn’t issue copyright disclaimers on his stories or words. If he had, we might never had heard of the carpenter from Galilee. If Jesus was physically walking the earth today, I believe that he would be utilizing p2p networks to share all sorts of Christian media – words, songs and movies. The RIAA would probably play the part of the Romans (on behalf of copyright owners such as Hillsong) and do their bit to crucify him for this, of course.

The point is, BitTorrent is a creative invention. It is a great invention for spreading information more quickly and efficiently than any other source on the tubes. I believe God has had a hand in human invention from the beginning, gifting us with ideas and intellect, and I believe he has his hand in technology even today.

They burned the first man to translate the Bible into English in an attempt to supress the free sharing of this valuable information with the common people. How quickly they forgot that sharing of information and communion is at the core of the Christian message, and how lost are we now that the church employs the very same techniques as the world to ‘protect’ it’s ‘intellectual property’? The church has forgotten the words of the psalmist in Psalm 24:1.

So although many on both sides may disagree with me for different reasons, I believe that God has had his hand on proceedings in both of these cases today. I believe God wants us to have an open and free society more than anyone can realise or imagine. He doesn’t have to place the literal ideas in our head, or force our hands to work, he has already created the desire, the passion and the spirit, this is all that is needed for justice and creativity to prevail.

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Posted in Apologetics, Copywrong, Justice & Mercy, Laymans Theology, Opinion, Technology, The Purpose Missing Church | 1 Comment »

[False Flag] Why Border Control?

Posted by Lex Fear on September 21, 2008

The UK Home Office has released a series of ‘pat us on the back’ Youtube videos for online consumption, perhaps in an effort to show the British Public our fear and xenophobia can be trusted in their hands.

Immigration being a pet subject of mine, I was interested to see what Border Force was all about:

Now can someone please tell me at what point in history that all crime was eradicated in the UK, to the point where we needed to secure the borders to ensure that no criminals get in?

I don’t know if this is meant to make the British Public safe, or if people watching this get a warm fuzzy feeling inside knowing that dark skinned people are going to be prevented from coming here to attack us all, but I do know that this has little to do with crime prevention.

Since there are plenty of white British home bred criminals on the streets these days, why even bother having some kind of border control (which only affects people who attempt to come to the UK legitimately)?

Simple, apart from helping Daily Mail readers to sleep better at night, border control is about economics pure and simple. Border control allows a government to control the movement of people, and to keep people in as much as keeping them out. It’s about taxes and it’s about the job market.

The problem with the UK population is that unlike our European and Asian counterparts, we don’t care to learn other languages and are terribly inbred. We have spread a love of English all over the globe from our empire years, but have neglected to nurture our own, and therefore Britain becomes a sort of swamp where people get stuck.

If the UK government spent more time and resource on bringing up education standards, encouraging Brits to explore the world, we wouldn’t have any problem with immigration.

So where do taxes fit into this? Without taxes a government would cease to exist. That is why you can be imprisoned for not paying your taxes, but not for defaulting on debt. Tax is the governments blood supply, they will fight for that above all other things such as security, healthcare and the economy.

Controlling the movement of people means controlling where they work and spend their money. It ensures that someone cannot live in the UK and spend all their money in France for example. It is why contrary to European law they still attempt to control the purchase of goods in the EU and fine people for going over their limits.

Border control is not for your safety, it’s for the safety of the government. A government that fears freedom and markets.

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Posted in Propaganda, Realpolitik, Video, Wealth Creation | 1 Comment »

[Meme] 6 Random Things

Posted by Lex Fear on September 17, 2008

I was tagged by Ken a while ago, here goes:

1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Post the rules on your blog (copy and paste 1-6).
3) Write 6 random things about yourself (see below).
4) Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them.
5) Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

1. I just ordered a 2x new mobile phones.
2. I still don’t feel comfortable with blogging after 3 years.. I still feel like I’ve yet to find my ‘niche’
3. I like watching Dexter because somehow I feel I relate to the serial killing protagonist. He ‘fakes’ social interactions and has trouble with emotions. Due to a prolonged, highly traumatic experience I had growing up which messed up all my social coordination (eg. laughing inappropriately) I relate- I learned to hide certain reactions and ‘fake’ social interactions too.
4. I sometimes make Christians unnerved. I like making people unnerved.
5. I’m convinced that part of my calling is civil disobedience.. I know this is theologically and doctrinally unsound but I’m just not interested in testing that right now.
6. My wife says I don’t sound very nice (as she reads this list).

I’m not linking anyone but instead I’ll throw this out there for anyone to pick up and pass on the meme.

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Posted in Metablog | 2 Comments »

[Dumbing Down] BBC, Try Harder…

Posted by Lex Fear on September 9, 2008

Just near the end of watching the BBC “documentary” Who Killed Jesus?

I thought the BBC were against conspiraloonacy, but it seems that they fully embrace it when it suits!

This time they’re trying to push the theory that the gospel writers made up the part about the crowd saying “let his blood be upon us, and on our children”, to exonerate Pontius Pilate and stir up anti-semitism.

What a crock of sh*t, seriously! The gospel writers take great pains to document sick being healed, dead people rising from the grave, demons cast out, the resurrection itself? Yet the BBC choose to focus on the bit about Pontius Pilate, because, y’know all that other stuff is pretty believable but the Romans not responsible for Jesus death? – I don’t believe it!

For the record, I don’t think Pontius Pilate exonerated himself, but the problem here is with language used. You see, the majority of people in 1st Century Palestine, apart from the ruling Roman authorities, just so happened to be Jewish, because, Oh I don’t know, that’s where they’d been settled for at least 400 years?

So when the crowds are screaming for Jesus to be executed, unfortunately, most of that crowd are going to be Jews. Just as most of the people sitting in on an execution in Texas are going to be Americans.

But just as many Americans oppose the death penalty, guess what, many Jews at the time would have been opposed or even uninterested in the execution of Jesus.

Here’s the other part of the story that was missed (of course, we’re assuming that you’re happy with the rest of the New Testament, since you’re only questioning a few lines in the book of Matthew). Jesus was a Jew! Yes, way! Not only that, the 12 disciples were Jews! I kid you not!

In fact, at the time many of those disciples originally assumed that Jesus had come only for the Jews, they refused to sit and eat with gentiles! It was only due to Paul (aka Saul), who came along later and instructed the early church that they must also accept gentiles and treat them equally.

Paul himself testified that he came first for the Jews, then for the gentiles.

So BBC, well done for releasing a documentary that not only propogates a half-assed conspiracy theory, but one that is factually incorrect and attempts to spread FUD about anti-semitism in the founding of Christianity.

How can Jews be anti-semetic? Ask the BBC, they seem to know!

Interesting Fact: The last docu-drama the BBC put out about Jesus apparently went some way to exonerate Pontius Pilate of Jesus’ execution. Schizophrenic production team, or attempt at non-bias? You decide.

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Posted in Apologetics, Dark Side of the Light, Opinion, Pharisees, Propaganda, Uncircumcised Philistines | 4 Comments »

[Christiania] Church Mafia

Posted by Lex Fear on September 6, 2008

Excellent article over at Stuff Christians Like about the church mafia:

The Elderati
Background:
Although they would never admit this, the Elderati is the strongest of the ruling families. Their influence is not often direct and visible, but is instead quietly woven into almost every decision the church makes. Once you make it into the Elderati, you can never really leave. For although your official “term” might end after a year or two, you will constantly be called into conversations and decisions long after you actually attend an Elder’s meeting. It’s rumored that they all have a small letter “E” tattooed on their ankle. But since members of the Elderati never wear shorts, it’s impossible to prove.
Also known as: “The only people the pastor fears.”
Nemesis: The Deaconistas
Signature sentence: “Have you cleared that with the Elders?”

Anyone who’s ever been heavily involved in or shunted from a church ministry at one time should find something to laugh at, and something to think about from this.

I’ve touched on the subject before in the past, in a blog post entitled Successful Christian Leadership. Back then I came from a more personal, more bitter angle but the great thing about SCL is it can teach us really to laugh at those wooden idols that the church sets up for itself.

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Posted in Apologetics, Dark Side of the Light, Pharisees, The Purpose Missing Church | Leave a Comment »