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Archive for the ‘Profiteering’ Category

[Filesharing] The Cost Of An Idea

Posted by Lex Fear on June 22, 2009

David Dunham at CaPC poses the question “So is the judge making an example out of her or does this seem like a reasonable price to pay?”

I started commenting but realised it was too long and so I’ve moved my response here.

Let’s start by saying that these fines are supposed to be representative of lost sales.

Forget the fact that many people who download music tracks wouldn’t buy them anyway (and – shockingly – might even delete the crap ones).

What I think the lawmakers have glossed over is the fact that if you fine one person for *every* *lost* *sale*, then there should be no-one left to pursue for the downloading of those tracks she shared. Ie. if I had downloaded those 24 tracks from Jamie Thomas, it’s OK because she is already paying for *my* lost sale – as well as – literally – millions of others.

I’m pro-filesharing and I file-share.

I look forward to the day that these media companies grovel in the dirt – I’ll make no bones about that fact. Increasingly I’m ‘coming out’ to many friends and people I wouldn’t have before, because I see it as a revolution, a cold war, where as many people need to be recruited as possible.

I look forward to the day that we look back on these events in history and marvel at the ignorance of the politicians and industry that supported this 21st Century ‘House of Un-American Activities’.

I see filesharing as the future – setting knowledge, information and arts free – like they used to be before the 20th Century. Perhaps it’s not ‘the future’, perhaps it’s simply restoring values of the past.

Did any of those black slaves or their families who worked in the cotton fields see a ‘dime’ for their musical contribution to the blues? Intellectual Property is about as anti-creativity as I can imagine.

How do you prevent new ideas and human progress? Introduce ownership of ideas by long lasting corporate bodies to buy up and own *ideas*, then sue anyone who independently thinks up, tries to share or improve that idea for an arm and a leg.

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Posted in Bad Company, Copywrong, Corporate Irresponsibility, Free as in Speech, Little Hitlers, Morals & Ethics, Predatory Systems, Profiteering, Resistance, Takeback, Technology, Terrorist State | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

[Scammy] How Defraud eBay Users – Courtesy Of Paypal

Posted by Lex Fear on March 17, 2009

I have been meaning to discuss this one for a while, but it only just popped back into memory recently whilst I was looking through some old emails.

I’m writing this to warn you of the systematic failure of Paypal customer service and how this creates potential for easy, undetected scamming and profiteering opportunities for eBay power-sellers by abusing low-usage eBay users.

Last year I gave up eBay for good. I gave it up after I received 1 negative feedback having achieved in 2 years over 50 positive. The negative feedback was not warranted – it was retaliatory, from an eBay power-seller going by the trader name of notebookspares, offline company name: Rolta Limited, email address: hanspals@hotmail.com. I found a bunch of linked websites too, from googling their phone number: 0208 561 3960 – I wonder how many scams they are running?

I put up this power seller’s details as a warning to other potential buyers – particularly to buyers who do not do hundreds of trades a day and have a large feedback cache. I have copies of all correspondence and other details regarding this transaction, if requested.

Last year I received retaliatory feedback for posting negative feedback after not receiving an item from notebookspares (Rolta Limited). I posted the negative feedback after I’d exhausted all possibilities with Paypal resolutions.

You see, one day early in 2008 I had ordered an item from notebookspares, but on failing to receive it or any communication within 2 weeks I tried eBay’s contact form, then I tried emailing direct and finally a phone call leaving a message – all to no avail.

Since it was now outside of the time limit for escalating no item/no response, I went through eBay to get to Paypals “Item Not Recieved Dispute Resolution Centre”. Despite the power-seller, notebookspares , not being arsed to return my messages or calls, a day later he responded to confirm that the item had been posted and signed as recieved. News to me.

So I took the Proof Of Delivery he provided, plugged it into Royal Mail website and found that it referred to a delivery to a completely different name and address. No other details were provided unfortunately. Sounds like an honest mistake right, either notebookspares had provided the wrong POD, or they posted to a wrong address. Anyone would be able to detect this and make amends – Paypal however didn’t check the POD provided and now wanted to close the dispute.

Therefore, I escalated it, I complained that notebookspares had not bothered with any correspondence and had now provided an incorrect POD. It took 3 weeks for Paypal to respond, in that time, they still had not checked the POD with Royal Mail online, instead informing me that since the power-seller, notebookspares, had provided a POD, the resolution was now closed. I was livid.

Note: The POWER-SELLER had provided POD, so there was NO DISPUTE! It doesn’t matter that the POD was to a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT NAME AND ADDRESS, the POD had been provided, so PAYPAL concluded there was NO DISPUTE.

Despite escalating this again, stating the facts of the matter again (POD was wrong name/address, power-seller notebookspares, had not responded to any hails), 4 weeks later Paypal concluded once again there was NO DISPUTE – they didn’t even bother to gather facts from the interested parties.

I should mention at this point, I did contact Royal Mail, and attempt to find out where the parcel got delivered and obtain a refund this way, but Royal Mail requested more details about the delivery than I had to give. Which left me with the same problem, notebookspares would not respond to messages or requests for information which Royal Mail needed, and Paypal would do sweet FA about it.

The only thing I had left was the power of democracy, which, like real democracy, is weak. I left a negative feedback on notebookspares. 1 negative feedback against 1000’s of positives, which affected his feedback score NIL. Not satisfied with being an asshat, notebookspares immediately left retaliatory feedback that wasn’t even anything to do with the service or item, which of course brought me down to about 95% positive. I complained to eBay directly – but guess what – they couldn’t give a shit.

Finally, receiving no further correspondence or recourse from Paypal, notebookspares or eBay, I refused to settle my eBay fees which were around the £10 mark- which got my account suspended. The item itself was worth £25, so I made a loss of £15. eBay tried to recover the fees by threatening court action, but I dealt with them like I dealt with my gym recently (for another post, another day) and they chickened out.

Since it was such a small amount, I didn’t bother reporting the fraud to the police (apart from reporting it to the press, what else would they do?), but I did write to eBay and threaten to call in the police. I got no reply from eBay so why bother reply to their emails asking for their fees?

So, hopefully you can now see the potential pitfall?

Here’s how the scam works – Paypal practically endorses it by design!

If you are a power seller, like notebookspares (Rolta Limited) was, and you have built up a large number of positive feedbacks, here is your chance to make a bit of extra profit on the side!

Every now and then, take an order from a low-level user (50 feedbacks or less) for a small item (£50 or less), when you have recieved payment through Paypal, deliver the item to another address you use and get you POD from Royal Mail.

When the buyer inevitably complains using Paypals resolutions, provide the POD – it doesn’t matter what NAME, ADDRESS or SIGNATURE is on the POD, as long as a POD exists, Paypal will close the case and you have made yourself a tidy little profit on the side.

When the little buyer leaves negative feedback, you can devastate his score by RETALIATORY FEEDBACK. eBay will do nothing about retaliatory feedback so you are SAFE!

Paypal and eBay will turn a blind eye to this as long as you are generating a big revenue for them, so this is not for the little guy – power sellers only.

Just make sure that you don’t do this too often as it will eventually effect your feedback score, but if you do it once or twice for every 100 buyers you have yourself a nice little racket!

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Posted in Anecdotes, Bad Company, Buyer Beware, Holding Actions, Justice & Mercy, Profiteering, Technology, Untouchables, Wealth Creation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

[Intriguing] Blunkett’s Guidedog?

Posted by Lex Fear on February 23, 2009

That’s my first guess at what has caused his near U-turn on ID cards:

David Blunkett, who as Home Secretary led the government’s push for compulsory ID cards, will tomorrow call for the scheme to be curtailed, according to a report.

Instead he will propose that only foreigners be made to hold an ID card. UK nationals should only be required to hold a passport, Blunkett will argue.

For those not in the know, whilst Blunkett was in public office, flogging ID Cards and all manner of Orwellian devices to use on us, the British public, he received a nice directorship with Entrust, the company who created Spains ID card system and lobbied for the contract for the British one.

I’m sure there was no link between Blunketts cushty new job and his policy towards ID cards at the time.

A glance at the news show Entrust doing reasonably well profits wise during the recession, so what has caused Blunkett to shift his stance?

Worth watching this one, lack of sight has caused Blunketts nose to develop a keen sense of smell for money and influence.

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Posted in Absolute Power, Anti-Terrorists, Bad Company, Bollotics, Databases, Dorks, Doublespeak, Financial Terrorism, Minitruth, Pharisees, Predatory Systems, Profiteering, Uncircumcised Philistines, Untouchables, Wealth Creation, Xenophobia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Economy] It’s The Interest Rates Stupid!

Posted by Lex Fear on February 20, 2009

Says it all really.

7 Reasons Why Banks Should Increase Interest Rates

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Posted in Bank Robbers, Bollotics, Financial Terrorism, Profiteering, Property Market | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Copyleft] Obama And The Copyright Act

Posted by Lex Fear on February 20, 2009

From Wired:

In a few weeks, we’ll likely know the Obama administration’s position on whether it supports hefty monetary awards in file sharing litigation brought by the Recording Industry Association of America.

The Bush administration’s position was clear. It supported the Copyright Act‘s penalties of up to $150,000 per infringed song.

“Congress acted reasonably in crafting the current incarnation by ensuring that it serves both a compensatory and deterrent purpose. Congress established a damages range that provides compensation for copyright owners in a regime in which actual damages are hard to quantify,” the Bush administration wrote in 2007.

Now it’s President Barack Obama’s turn, and we’ll see how tight he is with Hollywood.

One thing I’ve thought about that I don’t see mentioned anywhere by bloggers and media, is a challenge to how the MAFIAA justify their 9-to-1 ratio cost of a single music track.

No, I don’t mean how constitutional or fair it is, I mean challenging it on the basis of lost profits. Surely, after winning* their lawsuit against Jammie Thomas, all lawsuits should have stopped right there. You see they didn’t just sue Jammie Thomas for the tracks that she had downloaded or owned (worth approximately $1 a piece) they sued her for all the other people who otherwise would have bought the shared track too**.

Therefore if the MAFIAA recovered all that lost profit from Jammie Thomas (and someone can’t own one downloaded file twice over), then the score is even and there are no further profit losses i.e. no further lawsuits needed!

Am I just stating the obvious that no-one has thought up yet, or am I missing something?

*I say ‘won’, but it’s been public knowledge for a while now that the original judge has dismissed the original trial as a mistrial and it will be heard again.
**I’m obviously ignoring the fact that ( a ) many filesharers will buy an album anyway and ( b ) many other fileshares would not even buy if it was not available for download – so no profit to be had in the first place.

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Posted in Bad Company, Bollotics, Buyer Beware, Copywrong, Little Hitlers, Morals & Ethics, Predatory Systems, Profiteering, Takeback, Technology, Wealth Creation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

[Misadventure Capitalism] – The Fat Cats That Got The Cream

Posted by BHudson on February 8, 2009

Royal Bank of Scotland – 68% nationalised
Lawrence Fish, non-executive chairman – paid £6.6m in 2006, receiving a £1m pension from April.
Fred Goodwin, former chief exec. – paid £4.2m in 2007, due for a pension of £8.37m

HBOS – 40% nationalised
Peter Cummings, former head of corporate lending – paid £2.6m in 2007
Michael Geoghegan, chief exec. – paid £2.955m in 2007

Bearing in mind that their companies are now owned by the taxpayers, one would have thought that they could show some restraint in pouring out bonuses. Nonetheless, RBS alone seems to think it’s a good idea to pay out a billion pounds of money to their fat cats as reward for nearly killing the economy.

I hold these points to be self evident:
1.Wages are a reward for the individual’s input of the factors of production.
2.Banking is a service industry, hence the factors offered by the executives are labour and entrepreneurship.
3.Most executives seem to do very little work. Hence, their input of labour is little.
4.Good entrepreneurship does not result in almost going bust. Hence, their input of entrepreneurship is very little.
5.Hence, they are due little compensation for their efforts.
6.Bonuses are a reward for extraordinary success.
7.Ending up mostly owned by the government is not an extraordinary success. Hence, they are due no bonuses.

Anything there sound ridiculous? To be honest, they ought to pay back all their bonuses for the years of unwise lending that got us in this state in the first place. Now the government has bailed out the bankers and decided to nationalise them, they ought to take a stand to stop such ludicrous profiteering, rather than trying to ‘coax’ them into playing ball. If America, France and Germany can do it perfectly easily…

Posted in Bank Robbers, Corporate Irresponsibility, Financial Terrorism, Little Hitlers, Londonland, Named and Shamed, Opinion, Profiteering, Protest, Untouchables, Wealth Creation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

[Londonland] Police Pwn State, MAFIAA Pwn Police

Posted by Lex Fear on December 6, 2008

Having solved all crime in London, TorrentFreak reports that the Met are now going to go after people who make poor quality cammed movies to sell to people who are too stupid to realise that good quality movies are freely available online.

Perhaps the only consolation here is that politicians and Brazilian plumbers can now safely go about their day to day business whilst the pirates eat lawful lead.

One problem I can already foresee, what does a pirate look like, and how can one avoid being mistaken for a pirate? Is there anything we can do to aid Met police in order to avoid an embarrassing accident involving several bullets and an innocent civilian who looked nothing like a terrorist?

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Posted in Anti-Terrorists, Copland, Little Hitlers, Londonland, Predatory Systems, Profiteering, Propaganda | 2 Comments »

[Housing Market] Don’t Get Fooled Again…

Posted by Lex Fear on October 18, 2008

So far I’ve resisted the urge to do an “I told you so…” post when it comes to the property market but I still get the distinct feeling that the general populace still hasn’t ‘got it’ when it comes to booms and busts – despite the fact there is now more information in the public domain than ever before – so much so that we should never be screwed over by an estate agent or indeed any salesman ever again!

I know that the past has always shown a trend of cycles, booms and busts, whatever you want to call them, it’s called the market – some win (those that do their research) some lose (everyone else). What the future holds, I don’t know. If enough people get hold of the information which is free and out there, I know it can change significantly, if enough people would only accept reasonably prices for housing, for example, there would be no booms. Imagine if people simply logged onto HPC or Property Snake, whilst having a gander at Our Property and the land registry prices for a street before bidding on a house… then maybe we could have a real truthful stable economy.. or at least stable housing market. Might even get fairer council taxes too…

For those of you that like a bit of schadenfreude (since no-one can get a mortgage or in their right mind would be buying now) I found a new tool the other day, Property Bee, which works as an extension to Firefox. What Property Bee does is collect data from users browsing a number of different property sites (eg. Rightmove) then inject it into the webpage as you surf to show you changes to the advertised details including prices. It also works for rentals.

What Property Bee does well is expose the dodgy underhand practices, reduction in asking prices and length of time a property has lay stagnant on the market. Property Bee gives power to the buyer and if enough people adopt this tool then it could really make difference for the future.

Check out this advertisement for example. £99,975 shared ownership, £199,950 original price… really? Install Property Bee and check out the history.

The tools are there, for free, when property passes the despair/blow off stage and begins to climb (and we have a few years yet) the there will ben no reasons left to fall for an estate agents claptrap again, ever.

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Posted in Buyer Beware, Financial Terrorism, Housing Market Myths, Profiteering, Property Market, Technology, Wealth Creation, WhatTheyDontWantU2C | Leave a Comment »

[High Noon] Bwankers vs Sheriff of Chicago

Posted by Lex Fear on October 13, 2008

From the Consumerist:

“Chicago’s sheriff has placed a moratorium on evictions for mortgage foreclosures, angering bankers who say he’s breaking the law.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said he understood he was flouting the
law in refusing to have deputies carry out the rising number of
eviction requests, but mortgage holders must be accountable.”

Could this be a good reason to introduce Sheriffs back into the UK, Sheriffs who live in the community they work, have jurisdiction and character?

If only British bobbies and the very few (if any) honest bailiffs would step up to the plate here in the UK… unfortunately here in the UK we suffer from a disease of predatory systems and tick-box culture.

Let me explain.. the powerful (now nationalised) elite design the system, which is predatory and designed to be as inefficient and unhelpful as possible, utilizing holding actions against those they serve. They then train a portion of the monkeys that the predatory system is designed for, to abandon rational thought and follow a strict protocol of rules and tick boxes.

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Posted in Absolute Power, Bad Company, Bank Robbers, Buyer Beware, Copland, Financial Terrorism, Holding Actions, Justice & Mercy, Morals & Ethics, Predatory Systems, Profiteering, Property Market, Realpolitik, Tick-Box Culture, Wealth Creation | Leave a Comment »

[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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