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Warner Brothers want more people to pirate their new movies

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Warner Brothers will be delaying release on Netflix by four weeks. It is a silly move to try and squeeze more money out of consumers at a time when most consumers don’t have lots of extra cash to spare.

From the article:

“Within the home entertainment category, we’re creating different times at which a product is available at different prices,” said Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Bros.’ home entertainment president.

I place my bet on this being a total wash financially. Whatever money they gain from the few customers who are willing to pay the premium they’ll loose to illegal downloads. This is also a great move to anger and alienate their customers.

It is amazing that a company can create a strategy that is hostile to customers and simultaneously complain about things like piracy (which are in part an issue of customer loyalty). It seems that Warner Brothers doesn’t understand some of the fundamental changes in technology and culture that effect their business. This is yet another issue of boneheaded money grabs which make life more difficult for legitimate customers and much much easier for people who don’t pay a penny.

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apple, business, iphone, ipod touch, mac, music, technology

Thoughts on "Stopping Piracy"

There is no way to stop people from stealing. Humans have been stealing since well before computers came around, and they’ll never stop (at least not in our lifetimes). It’s better to let go of the idea of stopping it and figure out ways to work around it.

Theft is an unstoppable force. If you see a car speeding towards you and you want to live, you don’t think of how to stop the car, you just get the hell out of the way.

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NBC Wants You to be a Criminal

In addition to full episodes of their TV Shows, NBC’s website has lots of web only content. All of that content is blocked from outside the US. To me this sends one message unmistakable message. Look elsewhere. Of course the other popular service, Hulu, is blocked as well. That means if I want to see shows like Heroes in English I have one choice download them or stream them from sketchy websites. NBC clearly doesn’t want me as the legitimate viewer I am all too willing to be. In the long run, if a show is good enough I’ll buy or rent the DVD’s in a year or so, but that doesn’t help for web only content.

My question: when companies like NBC tally up their piracy stats to lobby for more protections do they also count the people downloading and streaming content that is otherwise impossible for them to get? My guess is they do. It seems disingenuous to me, they should be putting these “criminal acts” in a different pile. Maybe call that pile, “the people who want to be our customers but we’re too short-sided to let that happen and besides we’d make more money and wouldn’t have as much to complain about pile.” Or you could simply label this group, “product of failing business model.”

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Why Microsoft is Dumb

Microsoft’s new operating system is called Vista. From what I’ve read it is going to give pirates a heck of a hard time to steal (for a few months at least), but the real bonus is that it’ll frustrate legitimate users— not only that, it will place all sorts of limits on how legitimate users can use Vista just because Microsoft claims that somehow it will save them money.

Yes, piracy is a problem, especially in some places outside the US. The thing is, people who live in some places outside the US can’t afford a $300 operating system. We can say “tough,” but that is pretty ridiculous considering computers are the only way to participate in a global economy. Computers are a necessity not a luxury.

I don’t think piracy will change because of Microsoft’s new piracy measures, but I’m not even sure that was the genuine intention. When Microsoft puts limits on how many times you can transfer the operating system (only once) from an old computer to a new one, or even outright deny any transfer (for computers shipped with Vista) it rings to me more in the key of greed.

What else is new with Vista? Besides only being able to transfer the OS once? You also won’t be able to use the regular version of Vista as a virtual OS— this means folks using mac will have to the more expensive version (currently set to cost $300-$400). And failure to activate Vista within 30 days results in the computer doing nothing but allowing 30 minutes of internet access.

Fair use seems to dictate that some of these things are illegal, but I am no lawyer, and fair use laws have been weakened thanks to things like the DMCA. That is to say, our rights as consumers to use things we’ve purchased however we like has been, and is being, pulled out from under us inch by inch.

It’s time to go with a Mac everyone, Apple won’t pull things like this anytime soon. Right now you can buy the latest Mac OS for about $100, or buy a family pack (good for five computers) for just $160. That’s a far cry from the adware and virus friendly Microsoft line of products. If you don’t like Apple, that is fine too, but sooner or later people are going to have to consider other options, out with the old in the unix based OS’s like SuSE, Fedora, or Ubuntu. No, they aren’t a Windows replacement, but then again that’s part of what makes them good.

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