Tag Archives: Music Piracy

The Sad State of Social Media Privacy


A WTF moment if I ever had one…

We’re aware of the deconstruction of MegaUpload.com. I found this image and caught it as it circulated around Facebook. Feel free to leave comments regarding this image. Personally I feel this was a HUGE slap in the face to our values as a nation.  For more information about the MegaUpload situation click here. True that Kim Schmitz was making a large sum of money off of the site he co-founded, but in the case of Carano,human dignity was demolished and he gets a slap on the wrist in comparison. 


SOPA

Recently there has been an online uproar sweeping across college campuses, airwaves, and the world wide web. An Act called the “Stop Online Piracy Act” has been the subject of continual controversy causing many sites to even “black out” or “censor” themselves in protest, including our very own WordPress and beloved Wikipedia. But what’s up with all this SOPA business? What the motherboard is it?

I commend Wikipedia for doing the right thing and continuing to inform us of both the pros and cons of SOPA despite their already known personal feelings on the subject (as show by their 24 hour blackout). Thank you Wikipedia for continuing to give accurate information to the public. To find more information about SOPA click here. I also found this FAQ about SOPA that might give some insight into the reasoning behind the Act. To read them click here.

As usual feel free to respectfully leave your opinions.


The Mind of the Hacker

I set down the book staring up at my ceiling. How did he do it? How could something so abstract and seemingly impossible be the very thing so many wish they could do. It was power at your fingertips. It was mountains of binary and beautiful landscapes of data. The matrix. The system. The thing that could both make and break powers. It was power.

Reading Neuromancer by William Gibson opens your eyes to a world no one sees. The mind being able to bend and break everything all at once. When we think of the internet we are aware of only one thing: it has almost no law. But then again we live in a “meat world” as the character of Case put it in Neuromancer. A hacker with his mind set on living life in the matrix. Real life isn’t living. It’s failed too much. The matrix…it’s everything. It’s his freedom for the life he runs from with drugs and cyberspace. Not that he’s tried to make much of a life for himself in the first palce.

I’m amazed by the amount of emotion behind the computer screen of hackers. Recently I found myself in search of the Hackers Manifesto. There are many of them. One of the ones I find insightful to the mind and lives of hackers is one found in Phrack magazine. The article empowers the downtrodden of society to fight back against the oppression they’ve felt in the “meat world” they’ve come to know as the only destiny. Only option. Poetry in binary. A drug addict of data. What is even more interesting? Most of it talks about teachers, public school, and an education system that failed them. I can certainly resonate with that. I’ve felt the same on many occasions. Though, to play devils advocate for a moment, how much can personal choice be anyone else’s responsibility?

Another article I found called Hackers Ethics. Interesting perspective.


The future of Screens and Gadgets.

In todays society, our toys are what seem to set us apart. Who has the newest, biggest, smallest, best, brightest, and most revolutionary tech makes us the big man on campus…or the popular girl in school. But what direction is technology hoping to go? We’ve seen the flux between bigger and smaller phones. We’ve seen the revolution of touch screens. We’ve seen the beginnings of being able to share information wirelessly from one device to another. But, for what? What is the potential future of technology, and is it really something we want to continually have access to?


Congress: The Streaming Of Copyrighted Content A Felony?

Word on the street and information highway says that Congress is thinking of making copyrighted material illegal to stream. For more info check out this website: http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/ten_strikes/?source=fb

Apparently there is a debate about a 10 strikes law that Congress is considering. Any streaming material that is copyrighted is the target, which would make  nearly every video on youtube pretty much illegal from what I understand. Everything form background music in videos to videos where your friends are singing a great Top 40 song could be considered a felony to share on the internet.  I’ve not had much time to research this particular piece of information, but you are welcome to let me know what you’ve found out and what you think of this whole ordeal.


Piracy, Media, and Some Other Stuff You Might Want to Know: The use of Digital Rights Management

With all this digital media floating around it’s hard to know what’s safe and what isn’t these days. People continually put media online for others to have access to… perhaps too much access. Putting your thoughts and artistry online can be a risky business to the point where many just keep their media locked away hoping no one gains access to their information. But, did you ever stop to think that perhaps big name actors, musicians, directors, and other members of Hollywood and pop-culture would have the same fears and issues? There are many suggestions as to how to deal with such issues and fears concerning online media one of them is with Digital Rights Management (DRM). 

DRM is used to restrict access on software, music, movies, and various types of media as well as to protect digital intellectual property which encourages buying their product legitimately so as to make more profit. Because digital media is something that can be copied perfectly (compared to copying media off VHS or cassette tapes, where the quality of the media is diminished) DRM is considered especially needed. But does DRM really protect the product from piracy?

There are opposing organizations to the use of DRM such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) or the Free Software Foundation (FSF) who think that companies who use DRM are “trying to dumb down technology to serve their ‘bottom lines’ and manipulate copyright laws to tip the delicate balance toward intellectual property ownership and away from the right to think and speak freely” (https://www.eff.org/about). Many people even label DRM as “Digital Restrictions Management,” seeing as DRM is used to restrict, not free.

The EFF and FSF do, to some degree, seem too extreme, but their basis for opposing DRM is legitimate. Many of the products with DRM drive users away from buying the product, and instead pirating it because it is easier to download and hack rather than deal with the frustrations of navigating around DRM. This is especially seen in software such as computer games. Companies such as EA Games use a form of DRM which requires the player to connect to the internet in order to play the game, which causes problem after problem, headache after headache. The fact that even a single player game is connected to the internet means that if the server is down, all the players who payed legitimately cannot play, while those who pirated the game can continue playing, which has happened. Such restrictive DRM caused many people to pirate games instead, to save the frustration of dealing with DRM. Websites like Arstechnica talk about the recent problems with one of their newer games.

Piracy in music is also prominent, especially when there was DRM on legitimate music files to only be able to play on certain music players. People who buy music online typically want to put the music in multiple locations- to listen while they drive, while they exercise, while they are relaxing at home, while they use the computer, etc., so DRM restricting such uses drives people to pirate the music instead. Within the last few years some of the major online music distributers switched their music to be DRM-free, which actually increased sales rather than promote piracy. Any search on Google about this topic shows how online music distributers are promoting the change to DRM-free music.

Even without organizations against DRM, just the existence of DRM discourages customers from buying the product and dealing with DRM. Companies can only see loss in customers and profit if they use an overly restrictive DRM, but they still use it. Why?

What is your stance on the debate on DRM?