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Skinning Cats: Method #2 10 April 2002 Edition
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Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
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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.

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.

Aardvark's Web-site Survey Service
If you're launching a new website, upgrading an existing one, or just frustrated that your web-presence isn't performing as it should then maybe you need an Aardvark Site Survey. Read more...

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).

Readers Say
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From Yesterday...
  • Be careful... - Dominic
  • Computing in 2004... - Kez
  • damn that's scary!... - Chris
  • The Internet of 2004... - James
  • Have Your Say

    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 by 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, etc, etc.

    However, there are some who believe that the truth might be a little more sinister.

    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 for example.

    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 satellites.

    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 oriented) market. 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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    Security Alerts
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