Interesting Tim O'Reilly article.

From: Brian Chase <>
Date: Fri Dec 13 02:17:00 2002

On Thu, 12 Dec 2002, Wayne M. Smith wrote:

> > As seen on Slashdot; an decent read. I'll have to admit that I agree
> > with much of what O'Reilly has to say here:
> > <>
> I became dubious as soon as he trotted out the "sample-then-buy"
> myth. While this argument might not have been laughable 4-5 years ago
> before CD burners were cheap and widespread, it's preposterous today.

Speaking for my personal CD purchasing habits, I'd have to say
O'Reilly's observations match my practices. For one, I don't like
"Top 40" or mainstream music. Most all of it is crap. And nearly none
of the music I enjoy gets played on the radio stations in my area; so
my ability to find out about music I like is somewhat hampered. If
someone recommends a song or a band to me, they'll often point me in
the direction of some of their MP3s. If I like their work, I buy
their CDs.

> The rest is largely "blame the victim" drivel in the form of
> "you-haven't-given-us-what-we-want-in-the-form-we-want-it-so-that-
> justifies-our-stealing-it-from-you-until-you-do" -- or as O'Reilly
> cutely puts it "Give the Wookie what he wants."

I think his main point was that the recording and entertainment
industries need to get their acts together and figure out a good way to
open up their catalogs and provide reasonably priced services to their
customers. His free-TV vs basic cable vs premium cable is a great way
to describe it. The models being adopted now with the pay-per-play
stuff are just annoying. That approach is hardly any better than having
to go to a movie rental place (and the quality of video tape and DVDs
will be better and those don't require me to have a bunch of drive space
and to have to wait a couple of hours to download the film). Never
underestimate the bandwidth of your Toyota Corolla speeding back from
Blockbuster Video filled with VHS tapes and DVDs.

> If you buy that, then you probably subscribe to that mainstay of the
> hacker apocrypha that Jon Johansen created DeCSS because he wanted to
> view DVDs on a Linux machine. Right.

Whether it was Johansen's intention or not, I don't know. In my
opinion, he at least had the right to play DVDs on his Linux system;
there was nothing available to do this, so he used his head and figured
out a way to do it. AFAIK, I don't believe he ever distributed any
illegal copies of DVDs, did he? In the end, he can only be judged based
on his actions. Now, the MPAA folks say that reverse engineering their
lousy CSS encryption is a crime. I think that's absurd, and I'm really
surprised that /anyone/ on /this/ list would agree with the idea that
reverse engineering something is, in itself, a criminal act.

I'd add that I'm speaking as someone whose livelihood depends on the
financial success of those blockbuster films, given that I'm employed on
the production side of a major Hollywood motion picture studio. We're
finishing a record year; it was sometime in July or August that we
passed the $1 billion mark with our box office revenues. I don't know
what the end of year total will be, but it won't be insignificant.
So, I think we'll "survive", at least if more effort can be spent on
figuring out how to reach a profitable compromise in our services to our
customers. Hopefully we can do this before we imprison them all, either
literally in jails, or in spirit, by allowing the DMCA to continue to
exist as a law.

My $0.02.

Received on Fri Dec 13 2002 - 02:17:00 GMT

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