Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not purported as fact|
So, The recording and movie industries are outraged at the alleged levels
of piracy that the combination of digital media and the Internet has produced.
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
From one side of the fence we're told that P2P file-sharing networks and
underground web/ftp sites are draining the profits out of artists' pockets
and that copy-protection is the only real solution.
On the other side there are those who are smart enough to realise that any lock
can be picked and that no amount of effort on the part of the copyright
holders will protect their information from theft.
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one, or just frustrated that your web-presence isn't performing as it should then
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For a long time, the recording/movie industries refused to acknowledge the futility of
copy-protection mechanisms and even now, continue to try and force their lame
copy-protection schemes on the market -- but with little success.
It only takes one single "rip" of a CD or DVD to appear on the Net and the
genie is out of the bottle so to speak.
But wait -- maybe those dummies in their corporate towers have finally gotten
the message and realised that there's more than one way to skin a cat
(or in this case -- scuttle online piracy).
While it's possible to trade digital media over the Net using dial-up
connections, it's certainly a slow and painful process.
Even at 56Kbps, the MP3'd contents of a single CD are going to take around
four hours to download, and pulling down 600MB of DivX/MP4'd video will
tie up your modem and phone line for days.
The answer is broadband of course.
Even a measly 500Kbps will slash your download times to 30 minutes for a CD
and let you pull down a bootleg copy of the latest box-office movie release
in just under four hours.
Now here's the clever bit...
Unlike here in NZ and Australia, most USA broadband providers offer
a cheap flat-rate DSL or cable connection. This has been a major factor in fueling the
rapid growth in "unauthorized" digital media exchanges (that's piracy
to you and me).
Whereas NZ/Aussie broadband users face a rather stiff fee for all data
downloaded beyond a certain level, our cousins in the USA can download as
much as they want as often as they want for a small flat monthly fee
-- but that looks set to change.
Time Warner, who are not only a major media publisher but also the provider
of broadband services in the USA, have decided to follow Australasia's lead
introducing a data cap and per-MB charges.
Of course they're spouting the same reasons as Telecom and Telstra do in this
part of the world: the cost of bandwidth, the need to maintain service levels,
However, there are some who believe that the truth might be a little more
Think about it -- if your intellectual property is being pirated through the
Net AND you control the pipes being used to perform that piracy
then it makes sense to lift the prices to a point where downloading
music or video is no longer cheaper than buying it legitimately.
Time Warner is lucky insomuch as it can use its broadband arm to help its
media arm but I'm wagering that we'll soon see some pretty significant
alliances formed between carriers and recording/movie publishers.
To some degree this is already happening even here in NZ -- XTRA/MSN/MSNBC/NBC
By joining forces in this way the carriers/telcos get to raise their prices
(and profits) with the support of a powerful independent industry, while
the recording/movie industries get to make Net-based piracy uneconomic for
those who would engage in it.
And unfortunately, because we don't really have any alternatives to using the
established telcos to carry our IP data, there's no easy way to sidestep
this anti-piracy measure -- short of laying your own cables or launching your own
I guess there's one small consolation to this move - at least it shows that
NZ and Australia are world-leaders in DSL charging.
Have your say.
Aardvark's Garage Sale
It's time to clear out the closet here at Aardvark's country residence so I'm
having a bit of a garage sale. I need to spend a whole lot more time
and money on my jet engine R&D activities (now that the defense industry
has shown a very real interest) -- so I'm trying to scrape up some more cash.
I'm selling my pulsejet manufacturing business. This would be
perfect for either a semi-retired engineer/machinist who wants to earn some
pretty good money building these things and exporting them to the world -- or
an established engineering shop who want to break into a new (very export
I can provide an ongoing stream of orders through my website and since
I've run out of time to meet the demand, the sale will include a growing
"waiting list" of new customers ready to place their orders.
Anyone interested in any of these things should
drop me a line.
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