Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 10th Feb 2012 00:13 UTC
In the News "Like any space opera, the story of information technology is a very simple one. It is played out in a myriad of different ways by a revolving cast of characters, but it always has its loveable heroes, its predictably nefarious villains, innocent civilians to be saved, and bumbling bureaucrats that aren't inherently evil, but begin every story aiding the forces of darkness out of a misplaced belief they are preserving law and order in their corner of the galaxy." He might use Star Wars as an analogy (I strongly dislike Star Wars - Trekkie here), but it sums up very well how I feel about computing today.
Order by: Score:
Comment by cb88
by cb88 on Fri 10th Feb 2012 00:38 UTC
cb88
Member since:
2009-04-23

What does being a Trekkie have to do with disliking Star Wars? Nothing? I mean I like them both for pretty much the same reasons... futuristic setting action and interesting story line...to me at least ;) Are you trolling Thom ;-) ?

Edited 2012-02-10 00:39 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by cb88
by Kivada on Fri 10th Feb 2012 10:03 UTC in reply to "Comment by cb88"
Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

Well I for one don't mind Starwars, I just hate George Lucas for being a money grubbing douche bag.

Now can we get back Firefly and Farscape!?

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by cb88
by Dirge on Sat 11th Feb 2012 04:54 UTC in reply to "Comment by cb88"
Dirge Member since:
2005-07-14

Agreed, I love them both.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by cb88
by bassbeast on Sun 12th Feb 2012 14:53 UTC in reply to "Comment by cb88"
bassbeast Member since:
2007-11-11

Well he probably saw the prequels ;-)

Btw for those that haven't seen it I recommend going to red letter media and seeing the plinkett reviews of the star wars prequels, not only will you laugh so hard your sides will hurt but you'll learn quite a few things you probably didn't even notice in the movies when you saw them the first time, for example look at how many times Lucas uses the "over over twoshot" where he sticks people on a couch or by a window so he can just use an over over twoshot instead of actually doing anything interesting. Plinkett theorizes this was so Lucas wouldn't have to get out of his chair and could keep drinking his coffee LOL!

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by cb88
by StephenBeDoper on Sun 12th Feb 2012 21:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by cb88"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Well he probably saw the prequels ;-)

Btw for those that haven't seen it I recommend going to red letter media and seeing the plinkett reviews of the star wars prequels


Agreed, the Plinkett reviews are brilliant - and probably the only good thing about the SW prequels.

not only will you laugh so hard your sides will hurt but you'll learn quite a few things you probably didn't even notice in the movies when you saw them the first time


You may not have noticed them... but your brain did ;)

Edited 2012-02-12 21:30 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by cb88
by Kivada on Tue 14th Feb 2012 04:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by cb88"
Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

Seen the Half In The Bag on Lucas' newest turd, Red Tails? Or the Crystal Skull review?

Also, Harrison Ford watches the real Indiana Jones series for the first time ever: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aDFeFwxymA

Reply Score: 2

A little over-dramatic
by WorknMan on Fri 10th Feb 2012 01:15 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

When I look at the battlefield, I see on one side an industry who is doing anything and everything they can to hold on to a dying business model. On the other side, I see a bunch of people who just want to be able to download as much free shit as they can. As a casual observer, I don't see one as being better or worse than the other - just a conflict of interest. If one side ends up beating the other, we'll either end up with a broken internet, or the death of the entire content industry.

If the pirates win out, when all the dust has settled, and the realization sets in that trying to fight piracy is a lost cause, I wonder how many people out there will still be creating content, when they know it's going to be passed around freely, like candy. Of course, the people who are currently doing it for free will continue to do so, but people who made a living off of it will probably find themselves needing a new career. I suppose that's not entirely bad... I mean, instead of going to a movie theater, you'd probably just go to a play instead. I think we'll get by ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: A little over-dramatic
by Valhalla on Fri 10th Feb 2012 02:28 UTC in reply to "A little over-dramatic"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

or the death of the entire content industry.

I assume you mean the death of huge companies
who charge artists the lionshare of the profits in order to distribute the artists work through means of artificial scarcity. I say YES please!

If these behemoths die from piracy my prediction is that artists/content creators will make more money by going directly to the audience. We see this now with a huge boom in the indie sectors, with gaming perhaps being the strongest example.

when they know it's going to be passed around freely, like candy.

Free candy!

but people who made a living off of it will probably find themselves needing a new career.

I disagree, there will always be people who find content worth paying for if the price is within their means, and with the internet as your market place not only do you have practically zero-cost distribution but also the ability to reach potential customers on a fully global scale.

And when the need for the middlemen disappears so does the inflated prices which in turn leads to less incentive for people to pirate.

From everything I've read concerning the profits which eventually trickle down to the actual artists through the old model of middlemen, they will make much more money per copy selling their works for $0.99 online directly to the customer then they would through aforementioned middlemen unless they are established superstars and thereby have been able to negotiate a much better deal.

In my opinion internet is the great 'leveler' of our society, and I think/hope this is something not only the big content barons will learn the hard way.

Reply Score: 8

RE[2]: A little over-dramatic
by WorknMan on Fri 10th Feb 2012 03:15 UTC in reply to "RE: A little over-dramatic"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I disagree, there will always be people who find content worth paying for if the price is within their means


Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaah... we'll have to agree to disagree on that. Once the entertainment industry dies and there's nobody to put the smackdown on people pirating, how many 'honest' people out there do you think will be willing to pay for content? Maybe there will be enough to keep the artists/directors/writers/etc afloat, but I have my doubts. Hell, people in the US (who don't have ANY excuses) are pirating $1 Android and iOS apps, so what does that tell you?

Of course, you can point out some success stories like Louis CK, but that's kind of a novelty right now, and once that kind of thing becomes commonplace (where content creators are begging for cash every time you turn around), it's going to get very old, very fast. I suppose you could ask open source developers and others who have a 'donate' button on their site how much cash they get from their users. That might be a good indicator. Do they make enough to survive on? And would it be worth doing it full time, if all you're getting is chump change?

All I'm saying is that once these 'robber barons' go away and content creators are left at the mercy of the kindness of people's hearts, it may end up where people just stop trying to make money creating content because of the rampant piracy, unless they can come up with a way to force people to pay. This is a very real possibility.

As for Spotify and its ilk, check this out:
http://www.nme.com/news/architects/58551

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: A little over-dramatic
by Valhalla on Fri 10th Feb 2012 04:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: A little over-dramatic"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

Once the entertainment industry dies and there's nobody to put the smackdown on people pirating,

What smackdown are you referring to?

Hell, people in the US (who don't have ANY excuses) are pirating $1 Android and iOS apps, so what does that tell you?

I'd say the fact that that despite anti-piracy measures being totally ineffective and prices in general inflated due to middlemen wanting their cut there's still a large market of people out there willing to pay for these things which are in reality easy and pretty much risk-free to pirate, then there's every reason to think that with prices slashed due to the elimination of middlemen and the possibility of having the whole world as your market we will see a much better overall situation for those who want to live of their artistry.

See 'pay what you want' successes like the humble bundles, or how we are seeing the rise of crowdfunded projects, there are people out there willing to pay for things they enjoy and that they want others to begin/continue creating.

Likely we won't have the obscenely wealthy superstars like Micheal Jackson, Madonna etc (oh no!) but I think a much larger amount and range of artists will be able to live comfortably off their creations than what was possible under the rule of all-empowered labels who held all the cards by being the gatekeepers you needed to sell yourself to before you had any chance of reaching your intended audience.

We obviously differ in opinion here and it will be interesting to see what the future holds. And obviously the 'content barons' aren't about to give up their (increasingly irrelevant) spot in the ecosystem without a fight and their SOPA attempt was just a small part of their ongoing effort I fear.

Reply Score: 7

RE[4]: A little over-dramatic
by WorknMan on Fri 10th Feb 2012 05:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: A little over-dramatic"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

See 'pay what you want' successes like the humble bundles, or how we are seeing the rise of crowdfunded projects, there are people out there willing to pay for things they enjoy and that they want others to begin/continue creating.


Well, the humble bundles get about a million or two a piece. I think I read that for the first bundle, Linux users were the most generous, at about $14 a donation. This kind of money is fine for projects that only have a few developers, but for big-budget titles that costs millions to produce, I don't think this kind of profit is going to cover the cost of making it. And the same goes for movies too. Plus, the 'pay as you want model is rather unique, and the humble bundles get an assload of tech press too, so of course people want to make a good example out of it. But how much do you think is going to be in it for those who don't get this kind of exposure?

We obviously differ in opinion here and it will be interesting to see what the future holds.


Yeah, what you're talking about is a system where people can have all the content they want, and never have to pay a dime if they don't want to. I'm not saying it won't work, but I do think a whole lot of people are going to be looking for new jobs. Hell, if I have a choice, and I don't have to deal with the pirating BS or worry about getting sued, I'll pay $0 every time ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: A little over-dramatic
by Valhalla on Fri 10th Feb 2012 06:12 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: A little over-dramatic"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24


This kind of money is fine for projects that only have a few developers, but for big-budget titles that costs millions to produce, I don't think this kind of profit is going to cover the cost of making it.

I've always wondered what makes these productions so incredibly costly, is it the result of programmers and content creators working for the company having huge salaries? Somehow I doubt it.

Also I think the reported costs of these AAA titles are vastly inflated just as is done in movies through 'Hollywood accounting' which basically revolves around shipping money around shell companies in order to make it appear as if the project was unprofitable. Noteworthy movies which have been represented as making a loss in order avoid paying taxes and royalities to actors are Return of the Jedi, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and the list is long.

Plus, the 'pay as you want model is rather unique,

Yes, certainly suggesting something like that if you worked for big content you'd be ignored at best, fired at worst.

But how much do you think is going to be in it for those who don't get this kind of exposure?

Given how the indie game industry has boomed then obviously it's working even for those not included in the humble bundles. Gaming sites (which is where I'd wager most people today get their information concerning upcoming games) are increasingly reporting on indie games aswell, not to mention gaming sites entirely focused on indie games.

Add to that the viral guerilla type marketing with youtube as the obvious outlet, I'd say independant marketing of your works has never been as easy and far-reaching as it is now. Certainly like in every industry there will be fierce competition, but no more fierce than it would have been where the middlemen had every say as to who will even get the chance to reach the audience.

Yeah, what you're talking about is a system where people can have all the content they want, and never have to pay a dime if they don't want to.

Isn't that what we have now? And yet there's more movies being made, more music being made, more games being made, and unless I'm mistaken the box office had a record year.

if I have a choice, and I don't have to deal with the pirating BS or worry about getting sued, I'll pay $0 every time ;)

Here we are different, while there are certainly things I find drastically overpriced, in general I am willing to pay so that artists I truly appreciate can/will continue to create, and I'm certainly happier when doing that it if most if not all of the money I pay go into their pocket and not to some middleman.

Reply Score: 6

RE[6]: A little over-dramatic
by WorknMan on Fri 10th Feb 2012 07:25 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: A little over-dramatic"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I've always wondered what makes these productions so incredibly costly, is it the result of programmers and content creators working for the company having huge salaries? Somehow I doubt it.


Dunno, but probably because you need actors, a director, some kind of movie crew, cameras, set pieces, and equipment, along with places to shoot, etc. All that costs money, and you may be shooting for weeks. The 1994 movie Clerks, which was shot on a shoestring budget and made in black and white, cost $27,575 (1994) dollars. I'd say even for a low-budget indie movie, if you want something that doesn't look completely amateur-ish, you're looking at at least $500,000. Unless you're getting backed by a big studio, or have a crapton of donations, good luck getting that made. Same for those big-budget games. I imagine those things costs millions to get made.

Yeah, what you're talking about is a system where people can have all the content they want, and never have to pay a dime if they don't want to.

Isn't that what we have now?


No, not really (at least not in the US). You still have to know where the files are, and how to get them. And if you're using torrents, you risk getting a nastygram from your ISP. If you're on Usenet and trying to find a movie, you may have to try a half dozen or more copies until you find one that isn't password protected, and then you download it, only to discover that it's a shitty VCD rip with hard-coded Dutch subs. Not to mention the risk of getting malware, esp if you're not careful and/or don't know any better not to run angelina_jolene_naked.mpg.exe I mean, it's certainly doable, and a lot of people do, but not exactly convenient or risk-free.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: A little over-dramatic
by StephenBeDoper on Sun 12th Feb 2012 21:11 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: A little over-dramatic"
StephenBeDoper Member since:
2005-07-06

Yeah, what you're talking about is a system where people can have all the content they want, and never have to pay a dime if they don't want to. I'm not saying it won't work, but I do think a whole lot of people are going to be looking for new jobs. Hell, if I have a choice, and I don't have to deal with the pirating BS or worry about getting sued, I'll pay $0 every time ;)


There are examples of content creators who have been financially successful - despite eschewing the traditional "big media" distribution models and/or pricing models.

The best example that I can think is RoosterTeeth, the people who make the Red vs Blue series. While all of their episodes are free to watch, they also offer per-season subscriptions (in the $20-$30/year range, last I checked) - with subscribers/sponsors getting getting early access to each episode. That seems to have worked fairly well for them, judging from the massive jump in production qualities since the first few seasons. They seem to have found a model where the "I want it now" impulse overrides the "I want it for free" impulse. And I think the overall lesson that can be gleaned from their success is: there's always going to be a way to make money from your content, if your content is actually compelling.

You could argue that they're an exception/anomaly, but I think that's only because no one in the traditional entertainment industry has been willing to try the same model - not because the model is only feasible for RoosterTeeth. I can think of several current & recent series that I would (have) happily bought a season-subscription for... if only it were/had been available (BSG, LOST, My Name is Earl, Dexter, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, etc). I would much prefer that to financially supporting the increasingly-archaic cable TV model, where you're essentially "paying for a faucet that runs piss in order to get the faucet that runs water".

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: A little over-dramatic
by Beta on Fri 10th Feb 2012 15:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: A little over-dramatic"
Beta Member since:
2005-07-06

Likely we won't have the obscenely wealthy superstars like Micheal Jackson, Madonna etc (oh no!)


Only Apple, taking at every stage of the process.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: A little over-dramatic
by ericxjo on Fri 10th Feb 2012 19:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: A little over-dramatic"
ericxjo Member since:
2012-02-10

The "dystopia" you are referring to, where people can download almost anything with little likelihood of any consequence is exactly the way it is now. And yet, thriving, fully-licensed DRM-free stores full of digital music and movies are doing just fine. The "smackdown" is like, what, three people? Up to now the "smackdown" has mostly been judges smacking down copyright trolling lawyers for ignoring law and procedure and trying to build an empire off of "John Does" who turn out to be people some of which have no idea what "filesharing" is.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: A little over-dramatic
by WorknMan on Sat 11th Feb 2012 09:23 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: A little over-dramatic"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

The "dystopia" you are referring to, where people can download almost anything with little likelihood of any consequence is exactly the way it is now. And yet, thriving, fully-licensed DRM-free stores full of digital music and movies are doing just fine.


We'll see how it goes once a million different pirate sites go up, because they know there's no danger of getting sued; charging $5-$10 a month for as much as you can download, with direct access to the files, and no need for torrents.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: A little over-dramatic
by ilovebeer on Sat 11th Feb 2012 19:34 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: A little over-dramatic"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

We'll see how it goes once a million different pirate sites go up, because they know there's no danger of getting sued; charging $5-$10 a month for as much as you can download, with direct access to the files, and no need for torrents.

Two things.. First, most people are legitimate paying customers, not pirates. Second, people have been making these types of comments since the beginning of the internet -- "We'll see what happens when..." But for some reason the sky never falls. I won't be holding my breath waiting for your rapture to happen.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: A little over-dramatic
by WorknMan on Mon 13th Feb 2012 01:29 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: A little over-dramatic"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Two things.. First, most people are legitimate paying customers, not pirates.


That's because most people don't know what a torrent is ;) And even if they do, there's always a chance (in the US) of getting sued and/or having your connection throttled, not to mention the threat of getting malware and other kinds of bullshit you have to deal with, such as 1 seeder vs 40 leechers. On Usenet, it's not much better because of all the spammers uploading passworded RARs, and the fact that there's a certain amount of knowledge required to deal with nzb files and such. My point is that getting pirated stuff is not exactly trivial, because the 'MAFIAA' is still trying to shut it down.

Second, people have been making these types of comments since the beginning of the internet -- "We'll see what happens when..." But for some reason the sky never falls. I won't be holding my breath waiting for your rapture to happen.


Well, we're not talking about the sky falling; we're talking about an end to the war on piracy, which is what everyone is saying they want to happen. That's what everyone is pissed about, right? People scream and cry every time a site like The Pirate Bay is taken down, saying we're gonna end up just like China, blah... blah... blah. So, what do you think is the natural course of evolution if they stop trying to shut down these sites? Doesn't it stand to reason that there would be a LOT more of them? Sure, the content industry could drastically lower their prices, but it's really hard to compete with free, when free is plentiful and super-convenient to access. 'Let's see... I could either pay $3 to rent this movie, or I could go download it from this pirate site and keep it forever...'

Look, I really don't have a problem with this 'dystopian' future, especially since 97% of the stuff being shat out of the movie record companies isn't even worth bothering with if it were free, so I really don't have a dog in this hunt. I'm just giving ya'll a heads up of what to expect, which is basically an end to people producing paid content, except for the ones that can find a way to force people to pay.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: A little over-dramatic
by ilovebeer on Mon 13th Feb 2012 06:50 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: A little over-dramatic"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Well, we're not talking about the sky falling; we're talking about an end to the war on piracy, which is what everyone is saying they want to happen. That's what everyone is pissed about, right? People scream and cry every time a site like The Pirate Bay is taken down, saying we're gonna end up just like China, blah... blah... blah. So, what do you think is the natural course of evolution if they stop trying to shut down these sites? Doesn't it stand to reason that there would be a LOT more of them?

The lower the risk, the more likely people are willing to take their chances. I'll agree to that.

Sure, the content industry could drastically lower their prices, but it's really hard to compete with free, when free is plentiful and super-convenient to access. 'Let's see... I could either pay $3 to rent this movie, or I could go download it from this pirate site and keep it forever...'

It's an enormous assumption, and one that doesn't actually have any real merit, to say that if the war on piracy ended, the majority of people would turn into pirates simply because of easier access to pirated works. By assuming that, you completely remove every individuals moral stance on piracy. I don't believe it's lack of access that keeps the majority as paying consumers. Google is, afterall, very easy to use and even grandma knows how to search for "free music" these days. People have however proven over & over & over their willingness to pay for what they perceive as products & services worth paying for.

Were all efforts to stop piracy cease tomorrow, society would not treat content as a massive free-for-all until there's none left. Those who pay for content now would most likely continue to do so.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: A little over-dramatic
by siride on Sat 11th Feb 2012 22:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: A little over-dramatic"
siride Member since:
2006-01-02

I'm usually not a "free market will solve everything" kind of person, but in this case, I think it will. If content creators stop creating content, then content will become scarce and thus worth more. People will be willing to pay for it because they won't get it otherwise. We might have a lot less content, but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. Only the people that really care and are really talented will still produce content and people will no longer consume content as if it is a nearly worthless resource.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: A little over-dramatic
by Kivada on Sun 12th Feb 2012 14:36 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: A little over-dramatic"
Kivada Member since:
2010-07-07

If the all mighty, all powerful and all knowing "content creators" stop making content who will care? Nobody thats who. Why? Their "content" is largely crap anyways that nobody want to pay for.

So let the quit so that people with actual skill and talent can finally get a whack at a market over saturated with big name bullshit and time filler reality shows.

I eagerly await a punk rock or thrash metal revival to give music back it's nuts. I can't wait for idiots like Tyler Perry, George Lucas and Michael Bay to stop making shitty movies.

We need new talent, not old hacks and preteen flavor of the months.

Reply Score: 1

RE: A little over-dramatic
by Neolander on Fri 10th Feb 2012 06:41 UTC in reply to "A little over-dramatic"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I wish there was such a thing as a "+1 Most balanced opinion you have posted on those matters so far"

Reply Score: 2

Star Wars vs Trek?
by kwatson512 on Fri 10th Feb 2012 02:59 UTC
kwatson512
Member since:
2009-07-12

Come on, Thom! Haven't you seen the posts about what happens when the two sagas work together? You get "We are Borg. Futile resistance is. Assimilate you we will."

Seriously, though, Raganwald makes a good point, and Valhalla underscores it. I recommend the book, "Free: The Future of a Radical Price," by Chris Anderson. It eloquently describes several very profitable business models based on the concept of variations on free products.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ilovebeer
by ilovebeer on Fri 10th Feb 2012 16:48 UTC
ilovebeer
Member since:
2011-08-08

Content creation is not going to vanish due to piracy just like music, movies, tv shows, etc. haven't. Don't be distracted by the absurdity, propaganda, and FUD companies and so-called artist protection groups throw at you. Entertainment is still and will continue to be a multi-billion dollar a year business for the foreseeable future.

For some reason people never seem to catch on that the sky is _always_ falling, but never actually comes crashing down. As long as there is money to be made, people will make it -- and those who can't figure out how, or feel they're more entitled will whine about it.

I'd like to point out a couple more things.. Before you bash companies for their take of the profits, consider how much risk is involved for them financially, and what the actual ROI is. I'll tell you now, at best you see around 10% who succeed, while the remaining 90% are in the red. It is _not_ cheap to be competitive in the entertainment realm, especially when it comes to music. And with great risk _should_ come great reward. It's incredibly naive to think all people need to do is create a work and throw it up on the net. If you think it's that simple, you probably think Hogwarts is a real place too.

Lastly, artists willingly sign contracts. They know what the terms are before doing so. If they're confused about anything, they certainly can have it clarified. In other words, don't agree to something and then turn around and whine about it.

I've personally been on both sides of the fence. Would it break these companies to give a little more to the artists? No. Do artists complain more than they should? A lot of the time, yes. If "you" were exposed to more of the business side of the entertainment business, "you" may lose some of that prejudice. The entertainment industry has made more millionaires than it has hobos.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by ilovebeer
by zima on Fri 17th Feb 2012 23:55 UTC in reply to "Comment by ilovebeer"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

For some reason people never seem to catch on that the sky is _always_ falling, but never actually comes crashing down.

In general terms, that is a classic survivorship bias, one of most risky things around (for humanity, long term, still with the mindset of hunter-gatherers coming from the conditions which shaped us) - the sky does actually fall down fairly often, just not on those relatively few able to tell stories afterwards...

Reply Score: 2