Interesting Tim O'Reilly article.

From: Wayne M. Smith <>
Date: Fri Dec 13 03:21:01 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.
You are to be lauded, but you are in a shrinking minority.

> > 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.
I understood his point, but I don't agree that the studios/record companies are
obligated to do anything or face having their content stolen. There's a
difference between being annoyed and therefore not buying something, and being
annoyed and using that as a justification for stealing. The argument some make
that the studios/record companies need to pander to those who would otherwise
steal from them really doesn't fly.

> > 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.
No, he didn't, but he did distribute DeCSS, and then others did. The DCMA
doesn't preclude reverse engineering CSS for purely encryption research or
security testing, and I'm certain the MPAA has not said otherwise.

> 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.
> -brian.
The movie biz is right about where the music biz was 5 years ago. DVD burners
are around $300-400, the media is approaching $1 per disk and connectivity
speeds are increasing. We will see.
Received on Fri Dec 13 2002 - 03:21:01 GMT

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