Tag Archive for 'digital rights manufacturing'

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Revelation: The Xbox 360 Is a Form of DRM

Interesting IM conversation I had with my boyfriend:

it’s [Splinter Cell Conviction] exclusive to 360…
Oh noes. That’s so terrible because I don’t have a 360.
Thank you for being so upset at my misfortune despite the fact that you, yourself, lack it.
no, i wanted to be able to play it wherever I am
on my laptop

Oh. My. God. The Xbox 360 succeeds at causing problems for the consumer who wants the convenience of things like portability, as well as preventing other corporations (Sony and Nintendo) from competing when it has an exclusive, while monumentally failing to prevent piracy. The 360 is DRM!!!!

Granted, this is true of most game consoles, but it’s more fun to hate on Microsoft.

UPDATE: Apparently “360 exclusive” means “Xbox 360 and Games For Windows” in Microsoft-speak. Oh well. I guess I’ll have to replace Splinter Cell with the Grand Theft Auto IV DLC for my analogy to work. Or anything Halo-related besides the first two games.

    The Indie Paradox: Paying Rent Without Depending On Corporations

    If you're not indie...Piracy happens for two reasons: people don’t have a lot of money, and 90% of everything is crap (or DRM’d, but that makes it crap). Therefore, by getting everything free, you won’t lose any of your hard-earned cash on that 90%. Unfortunately, because no money is going to the creators of the other 10%, they won’t continue making things for everyone to download free.

    Large corporations have come up with a solution: go into the manufacturing business. They are now Digital Rights Manufacturing companies, creating new rights for themselves using a revolutionary new process known as “fellating lawmakers”. Their revenue stream comes from licensing these digital rights at high prices, and suing people who don’t pay. But it’s too expensive for indie artists and creators, and it doesn’t win you any friends.

    Because of this situation, indie game developers are doing horrible things like experimenting with in-game advertising. I’m not saying this as a knee-jerk reaction to the horrors of annoying ads bombarding us. I’m saying this as a knee-jerk reaction to the horrors of depending on the advertising industry for revenue.

    Think about it: TV series with devoted fanbases are cancelled because they don’t make enough ad revenue. Millions of websites depending on Google AdSense would go broke if their accounts were inexplicably terminated (I’ve read about this happening before but can’t find a link detailing it. Maybe I’m typing the wrong words into Goo…gle…wait a minute). And remember when GameSpot fired Jeff Gertsmann when their advertisers didn’t like his reviews? For people who call themselves indie, it’s not very indie-pendent.

    The best way to be indie in any medium, be it game development, filmmaking, music, writing…hell, even running a business in general, the only party you should be depending on is individual people. Some may know them as “customers”, or “users” who “generate content” on your “social media application”, but let’s avoid such corporate-speak, as it makes baby Jesus cry and is killing America. But there’s still the problem of how exactly to make money on individual people anymore. In a world where art is hard work and people don’t seem to want to pay for it, one man will stand up to explain his opinion. That man is me. Reread the previous two sentences in a movie trailer guy voice, then click the jump-cut-continue-reading thingy:
    Continue reading ‘The Indie Paradox: Paying Rent Without Depending On Corporations’

      MPAA To Teachers: Don’t Rip DVDs, Camcord Them!

      Current hearings in Congress about exemptions to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act are focusing on the following: should it be legal for teachers to circumvent copy-protection on DVDs so that they can show video clips to their classes?

      No, says the Motion Picture Association of America. Besides, why would you want to do this? There’s a perfectly reasonable alternative: point a video camera at the screen!

      MPAA shows how to videorecord a TV set from timothy vollmer on Vimeo.

      Two things:

      1. Not every teacher has a high-quality monitor and camcorder, so it would cost educational institutions an enormous amount of money before this ridiculously convoluted workaround could produce usable results.
      2. The jokes write themselves.

        YouTube Blocks Content ID Matches Worldwide Except In Everywhere

        I got a very odd notice from YouTube. Apparently their robots finally detected my fair use of a copyrighted Universal Music Group song in one of my ridiculous convention videos. However, this was not cause to automatically take down the video, nor to automatically mute the audio. Instead…

        As a result, your video is blocked everywhere except in these locations:
        American Samoa, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Cuba, Fiji, France, Germany, Guam, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kiribati, Mexico, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Papua New Guinea, Puerto Rico, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Spain, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, United States, United States Virgin Islands, Vanuatu

        So, wait, where is it blocked, then? Most of the countries I’m not seeing on there don’t have their own versions of YouTube. Um…China? Is it blocked in China? Oh, no, that’s all of YouTube, sorry.

        I’m very confused. Oh well. I’d imagine that it’s still accessible everywhere regardless, now that I submitted the fair use dispute. This is the third time I’ve had to do that, and it’s kind of annoying. Why can’t I just submit the fair use claim when I upload the video? I know it’s got copyrighted music, I state that in the description, so let’s just cut to the chase, shall we?

          Kindle Text-To-Speech Now Up To Visually Un-Impaired CEOs, Not People Who Need It

          A few weeks ago, whoever the fuck the Authors Guild is proved they’re just another association filled with complete idiots unable to comprehend adapting their business model to current realities. Unfortunately, their threats to shift their industry’s revenue stream to the lawsuit market have caused Amazon to cripple the Kindle 2′s text-to-speech abilities. Now, instead of allowing the Kindle 2 to read anything aloud to visually impaired users, children, or anyone else who might need or want such a thing, this option will be up to the book publishers.

          Let’s think realistically about this for a second. Amazon hasn’t removed the feature entirely, so as long as a publisher allows it, their book can certainly be read aloud in a robotic, monotone voice. Still with me on this realism thing? Okay, now tell me how many publishers are likely to do this? To be fair, we don’t know. But looking at precedents set by the digitization of music and movies, I’m guessing the number of publishers allowing that will be less than or equal to the number of independent, smaller publishers selling Kindle books through Amazon.

          I really hope, though, that I’m wrong. I hope, to the bottom of my heart, that the publishing industry has about as much respect for the Authors Guild as, well, any author I’ve ever met. I would be so happy if publishers prove me wrong and universally offer the text-to-speech option, because they know that negative reinforcement doesn’t make a customer want to buy another “license” from you. But I am not at all optimistic.

          I should note that my argument about the visually impaired doesn’t seem to jive with the Guild; they state in their “rights alert” thingy that “Kindle 2 isn’t designed for such use” by people with bad vision or blindness. I could question who the hell the Authors Guild is to question how useful something is for visually impaired people, but I think the National Federation for the Blind can do that better than me.

          But oh well. Looks like there’s nothing we can do but fire up our BitTorrent clients in protest.

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