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330138 Posts in 13528 Topics by 2179 Members
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331  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Megaupload seized / shut down on: January 23, 2012, 11:35:46 AM
The problem, I think, are recording companies and publishers, who at the end steal from artists far more than actual piracy does and are the biggest sponsors of shit like this. It's almost always publishers/recording companies/etc that crusade against this and frankly I'm getting tired of the U.S. government's kowtowing and turning our country into a corporate government. I consider it damn near to regulatory capture, if it isn't already.

I agree with this point wholeheartedly. But still - just because recording companies and publishers are unsympathetic jerks does not mean that piracy is suddenly okay. It's still a straw man - a very sympathetic straw man, but a straw man nonetheless.

For the most part it is clear that folks around here have really thought carefully about the topic and have reasonably well informed opinions on this - as well informed as we can get with all the noise and static around this issue. I simply respectfully suggest that when we talk about this topic, we need to talk about it for what it really is, which is taking things for free that are not being offered for free. That is stealing whether it is being done for what may in fact be noble and correct reasons or not.

But even more importantly I would respectfully suggest that we don't really know whether this is victimless or not. I agree 100% that it has not been proven to any rational person's satisfaction that pirating has tangible victims, but I disagree vehemently that we know with certainty it is victimless. And since I don't think we can reasonably know one way or another, I have personally made a choice to always err on the side of stealing probably having a downstream consequence.
332  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Megaupload seized / shut down on: January 23, 2012, 11:21:39 AM
Also there are worse, and totally legal, things you can do to a person.

Agreed. But we're not building straw men here.
333  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Megaupload seized / shut down on: January 23, 2012, 11:19:25 AM
Pirating music has almost zero effect on the creators of it. You can't prove otherwise, unless you go with the logical fallacy of, "every illegal download is a lost sale."

I've heard this time and again and agree that the argument is not provable.

However the other argument is still stealing. If you steal a loaf of bread from a grocery store that was going to end up in the trash tomorrow anyway, it is STILL STEALING even though the store didn't lose a sale. You can argue about whether or not that means it matters from a moral and philosophical standpoint, asking whether there is a victim in that instance, but it is STILL STEALING.

Look I'm the last guy that's going to say corporations are being horribly victimized in some really meaningful way by this - I think more independent study is really needed on the effects - but I'm sick of people pretending that what they are doing isn't stealing just because nobody can prove there is an actual victim beyond any shadow of a doubt.

My gut says you can't get something for nothing - there are always consequences. But gut ain't worth much. What we do know is that if you steal something, it is 100% certain that nobody is getting compensated. Except in the case of places like Megaupload where the people getting compensated are the people doing the stealing. I just fail to see how that can possibly be a good thing.

Sure, but this IS a victimless crime. Analogies tend to be logically fallacious because you create a false equivalency. MP3s are not bread, and stealing them does not harm the musicians the way stealing food from a local co-op does.

I'm not saying it's not stealing, but this argument is based on fear tactics. "Pirating music is stealing, you know who else steals? Criminals."

You know how I support artists? I go to concerts and buy shit directly from their merch table.

My point is merely that I don't think you can actually prove the crime is victimless given current evidence. I don't think you can prove the crime has a victim either. I think the verdict is still out there and unfortunately the research is so one sided because the large interests have trumped up studies that don't seem to add up. But just because they haven't proven their case doesn't mean the opposite (piracy is victimless) automatically becomes true. Hence I think more independent study and research on this is absolutely essential. It may turn out that piracy is, in fact, totally awesome and good just like everybody who does it desperately wants it to be.
334  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Megaupload seized / shut down on: January 23, 2012, 11:16:17 AM
Yeah, I've seen Gaiman's opinions on this. It's definitely worth watching (I listened again) as I think it is a great example of the other side of the argument - aka the "pirating doesn't cost sales" argument.

However I'd also suggest two things:

1) There is a significant difference between people lending books/games to each other and somebody going in to a bookstore, stealing the book, and xeroxing it thousands of times and making money off the copies.

2) Giving books away = advertising. Gaiman is a savvy guy taking advantage of how he perceives the "pirating" market is working. If folks want to do that of their own volition, that's their choice. It should also be their choice, however, to decide NOT to do that.
335  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Megaupload seized / shut down on: January 23, 2012, 11:06:25 AM
I work on software for a living and really DOn'T care if people pirate stuff.

Fair enough.
336  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Megaupload seized / shut down on: January 23, 2012, 11:05:48 AM
Pirating music has almost zero effect on the creators of it. You can't prove otherwise, unless you go with the logical fallacy of, "every illegal download is a lost sale."

I've heard this time and again and agree that the argument is not provable.

However the other argument is still stealing. If you steal a loaf of bread from a grocery store that was going to end up in the trash tomorrow anyway, it is STILL STEALING even though the store didn't lose a sale. You can argue about whether or not that means it matters from a moral and philosophical standpoint, asking whether there is a victim in that instance, but it is STILL STEALING.

Look I'm the last guy that's going to say corporations are being horribly victimized in some really meaningful way by this - I think more independent study is really needed on the effects - but I'm sick of people pretending that what they are doing isn't stealing just because nobody can prove there is an actual victim beyond any shadow of a doubt.

My gut says you can't get something for nothing - there are always consequences. But gut ain't worth much. What we do know is that if you steal something, it is 100% certain that nobody is getting compensated. Except in the case of places like Megaupload where the people getting compensated are the people doing the stealing. I just fail to see how that can possibly be a good thing.
337  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Megaupload seized / shut down on: January 23, 2012, 10:45:17 AM
It's a strange universe we live in where folks who have brazenly made truckloads of money (Kim Dotcom made $42 million according to some reports) off of blatant stealing and money laundering on a massive scale become staunchly defended... but that's the crazy world we find ourselves in with Megaupload.

I'm a card carrying member of the EFF and make my living writing software and those guys and anybody who pirates games/music can burn for all I care. Megaupload is particularly heinous when you consider the lines of business that appear to have been laundering money through them also. Megaupload going down in flames is absolutely a good thing at face value, but I agree there are some disturbing legal issues regarding HOW it has been pulled off that people need to be aware of.

Still though, it was smart to go after Megaupload because their activities go way beyond any kind of rational defense. The methodology used behind the seizure and arrests? That definitely warrants skepticism and a closer look.
338  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Your First Ebay Purchase... on: January 20, 2012, 10:07:54 AM
First thing I bought was a copy of the World of Synnibarr tabletop RPG. I had heard it was hilarious reading and couldn't find a copy anywhere locally. It has polar bears that shoot laser beams out of their eyes.
339  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: RPGFan's Games of the Year 2011 Thread on: January 11, 2012, 05:02:01 PM
I don't play as many rpgs as I used to due to time constraints, but I managed to play a couple mentioned.
Bastion and To The Moon were both wonderful. Great music and stories matter a lot to me, and both of these rocked.
I still don't understand all the love for incredibly difficult(so I have read over and over again) games like Demons Souls. Are that many of you just that awesome at games? Do all the people who laud the greatness of Dark and Demons Souls actually play through the whole thing? To be honest, I just get a feeling of bandwagon jumping with these games. Were "supposed" to like them because their hardcore, and only the elite can beat them. From a non-difficulty standpoint they sound pretty awesome to me. I just wish they had a "you suck at games" setting for guys like me. Or would that defeat the point?

You're not alone on Dark Souls. I struggle horribly with it due to my terrible skill level. Yet, despite that, it is hard not to really appreciate what they accomplished with the game and so I still had it as one of my top RPGs.
340  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Ocean Marketing / Penny Arcade on: December 30, 2011, 01:11:15 PM
A different take on it: http://kotaku.com/5872042/a-beatdown-where-no-one-threw-the-first-punch
341  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62 on: December 20, 2011, 01:13:59 PM
This is a separate argument and I didn't want to threadjack (but I'm probably doing it anyway) - but I do think there is at least some merit worth investigating to the POV that peaceful resistance by itself can't always work. You mentioned Desmond Tutu for example - a good example of a peaceful protestor but he becomes even more appealing in the face of the violence that he was contrasting at the same time as his own rise to authority/prominence (the Soweto riots for example). Was it just Tutu's peaceful protests that helped end apartheid, or did the violence play a role? Was it only Martin Luther King that provided a catalyst for change, or was it his own peaceful philosophy combined with more forceful leaders like the early Malcolm X?

I don't actually know the answer. I'm not sure anybody does. But I at least suspect that these things are complicated enough that all kinds can play a role in change to the same end. You may not like Hitchens' style and hey, honestly I didn't really either, but I do think it is a mistake to throw everything a man has to say out with the man himself. That's not rational thinking, and in the end what Hitchens demanded from himself and others was rational thinking. I think you could argue that he often failed to deliver that due to his abrasive style, and he was sometimes too willing to let his message get lost in the shouting. But I also think it is a mistake to qualify it as a categorical "wrong".
342  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62 on: December 20, 2011, 11:03:04 AM
Ah, my bad. I do suppose that came off with a bit more vitriol than was necessary -- and certainly embarrassing on my end, considering. I do stand by what I said, even if I exhibit the same flaws -- I certainly don't like them in myself. It's a bad, old habit of mine, being a grump and frequently finding myself the devil's advocate. I usually try not to be too aggressive, but I can see here that I've been quite insensitive. My apologies to anyone who did find it a bit of a shove in the ribs.

Bah, no worries. Hitchens always was a fellow who could get the blood boiling. In fact, if I step back, maybe this is one of the truest reflections of his legacy. :-)
343  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62 on: December 20, 2011, 10:38:49 AM
I was referring to the potential irony in calling a guy who just died "an arrogant waste of a mind" and a "voice of hatred and malice" whose any possible good he did in life was "far outweighed by his own ineptitude". The tone being applied is precisely what you are decrying.

I also just question bringing it up in this particular thread. The person who posted clearly stated they were "bummed" about Hitchens' death. I personally would not choose this thread to bring up my personal opinions about why I thought the guy was an asshole in a thread clearly intended to serve as a place to celebrate whatever perceived good he was able to accomplish. You absolutely have the right to do so, I just question the taste involved.

Basically the "Wow" came solely from my surprise at the post's tone and content and had absolutely zero to do with Hitchens at all.
344  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62 on: December 20, 2011, 10:11:41 AM
I'm still trying to process it. I can't figure out if choosing to make this post was somehow intentional verbal irony, plain old point scoring, or a genuine attempt to instigate some discussion about the possible flaws of Hitchens' worldview/debate style.

I just know I wouldn't want you speaking at the funeral of anybody I know. :-)
345  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Christopher Hitchens dead at 62 on: December 20, 2011, 09:48:27 AM
I prefer Dawkins much of the time. I found Hitchins to be an arrogant waste of a mind, most of what I read or heard from him. That may be an unpopular position, but I stand by it. Far, far more intelligent and even-minded men have contributed more deeply and effectively to the body of human philosophy, and in much the same field he did.

My problem with Hitchins is not that he's an atheist, nor an anti-theological zealot, but that he was altogether a hypocrite and a religious bible-beater of a particular brand. I have no patience, nor liking for those kinds of people. At least his bond companion could admit not only when he was wrong, but that he could be wrong. For me, Hitchins was little more than the model person he most hatred: Seductive, irrational, and selfish.

No voice of reason there, merely a voice of hatred and malice. Whatever good he may have said or written was far outweighed by his own ineptitude. Rest in peace, Chris, and if there is life again, I hope you come back with a bit of humanity in you.

Wow.
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