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Massive internet strike planned for Wednesday

"It was on a dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs."

-- Victor, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Like many a literary or 50s horror flick monster, the controversial piece of legislation known best by its acronym shortening -- "SOPA" -- lurched back to life, a cruel antedeluvian nightmare returned to deaden the short lived joy of its reported passing.

I. Back From Hell

Undeterred by opposition from respected House Oversight Chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and the implied threat of veto from President Barack Obama, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) has revived the Orwellian "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) (H.R. 3261) and vows to pass a revised version "markup" version, even as its Senate counterpart the "PROTECT IP Act" (PIPA) (S.968) merrily chugs along, assisted by a king's ransom in bribes to U.S. Senators -- lobbyist donations estimated to total of 10 percent of the election costs of all current Senators combined.

Lamar Smith Vader
Watch out for the force choke. [Image Source: WebPro News]

The pork train will chug into Washington D.C., just in time to ruin Superbowl weekend with a storm of controversy.  That week, after the parties return from their spring retreat -- doubtless comparing notes on how many PAC payouts they received from their Motion Picture Association of America and  Recording Industry Association of America -- talk will turn to whether they can use some minor modifications to grease SOPA into the American annals.

It would take a fountain of red ink to markup and remove all of the controversial language from SOPA.  Indeed it would likely be impossible to do so and have much of a bill left.  So likely the SOPA we know and love now will be pretty similar to the bill that is looking increasingly likely to be moving towards a vote.

Currently most of the talk focuses on the provisions regarding DNS blacklisting.  Under this system if a site within a certain domain was found to be hosting pirate materials, the whole domain could be taken down.  This is not the first time such powers have been granted to the U.S. federal government and in the past the feds have shown a fantastic propensity to botch things in the worst way possible taking the act of taking down one bad internet site and propogating it into accidental deletion of tens of thousands of legitimate sites.

Indeed this provision, like many in SOPA, has a knack for potentially creating problems far eclipsing those it's trying to solve; the digital equivalent of spraying machine gun fire on a busy public street corner to try to stop a petty drug dealer.  The killer cure also reminds one nostalgically of the old medical practice of bleeding one with leeches to "cure" all variety of maladies.

SOPA leeches
SOPA -- as healthy as a good old fashioned leeching. [Image Source: Hirudo Medicinalis]

Indeed, like the leeches, the patient -- in this case, the internet -- may accidentally die if SOPA gets to execute its piracy "cure".

II. Never Mind the Pedophiles and Murderers -- Put the Streamers in Prison!

In reality, the DNS blocking is actually one of lesser evils of the act.  Among the more controversial provisions include a takedown system where any site found to be hosting user generated content pointing to infringing content (say a URL to a torrent) could be immediately taken down.  Of course this would essentially be a death sentence -- if enforced -- for any site with user generated content as a malicious user (e.g. a prankster or competitor) could intentionally plant an offending URL and then contact the regulators to take down the site for weeks at a time.  In other words, kiss Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), Google Inc. (GOOG)DailyTech, reddit, and the rest of the free internet goodbye if this provision sticks around.

And then there's the trouble surrounding the Inner Part(ies) fondness for throwing their proletariat in prison.

America already imprisons more of its proletariat than any other nation -- including North Korea and Iran -- and spends an estimated $80B USD annually to keep up this record imprisonment. 

SOPA would add to these ranks by making the act of broadcasting copyrighted content via a stream sufficient to put you in the federal prison on the taxpayer dime.  Say next October you're trying to watch that big football game, but not enough tickets were sold in your area, so it's blacked out.  There's no legal way you can easily get it.  So you ask your friend to stream it to you.  Well guess what? Your friend, if they're caught, is now earned a free trip with Bubba in the slammer.

II. SOPA's Authors and Benefactors Know How to Copyright Infringe in Style

Politicians clearly believe (and likely rightfully so) that they will not be subjected to the same punitive justice as the proles.  Otherwise the fact that their offices were busy torrenting porn would just not make sense.  Indeed even House Judiciary Committee Chair Lamar Smith enjoyed some good old fashioned copyright infringment, ripping off a hard working local artist's work without citation or payment for use on his campaign site.

Perhaps Rep. Smith, his employees, and their porn-torrenting copyright-trampling buddies in Congress have been taking notes from the RIAA and MPAA.  These groups represent big labels who, thanks to laws they lobbied for (bought) can essentially steal work from small independent artists, forcing them into a complex maze of repayment requests that are often never granted.  This blatant intellectual property (IP) theft by America's top supposed IP enforcers was confirmed in Canadian court, where the RIAA's members were forced to pay tens of millions of dollars to independent artists for their brazen theft.

The RIAA, though argues that if a citizen even makes a backup copy of their CDs or DVDs, they have just stolen.

But who are we to question our big media overlords?  Let's listen to media mogul Ruperty Murdoch's words of wisdom, which he shared with the world on Twitter -- a somewhat ironic platform given that it's one of the sites his supported SOPA would likely permanently take down:

So Obama has thrown in his lot with Silicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery.

If Mr. Murdoch sounds a bit bitter, who can blame him?  After all, his company News Corp. (NWS) was caught not too long ago stealing text messages from the phones of child murder victims and the families of deceased soldiers.

Indeed it turns out that when it comes to piracy big media loves to be on the giving end.  It just doesn't like to be on the receiving end.  Take Viacom, Inc. (VIA) the cable giant whose lawsuit against Google-owned video sharing site YouTube collapsed when it was revealed that many of the copyrighted clips in question were uploaded secretly by Viacom employees.  Whoops.

Well, unfortunately at this point SOPA is back and it's too late to stop its debate from ruining Superbowl weekend.  You can expect the aged Mr. Murdoch to creep onto the airwaves via his popular American television channel Fox News and spread the good word about how SOPA will save us all from infringement.

III. Burn the Monster

But if you're not convinced, you could always join the mob with pitchforks and torches that's willing to end this unnatural Congressional monstrosity.  Wikipedia, Google, and a whole host of other sites are going on strike for part of Wednesday to show their opposition for SOPA and its Orwellian provisions that could kill the American internet economy.

Shepard Fairey says obey
Why question are glorious industry installed leaders? [Image Source: Shepard Fairey]

You can also pitch in my sharing your thoughts, comments, or random curse words with the fine Congresspeople who well-greased with corporate contributions are preparing to pop SOPA in through the back door:

The U.S. Senators sponsored the PIPA bill:
Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
John Cornyn (R-Texas)
Chris Coons (D-Dela.).

The following U.S. Representatives sponsored the SOPA bill:
Lamar Smith (R-TX) [house.gov] *
John Conyers (D-MI) [house.gov]
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) [house.gov]
Howard L. Berman (D-CA) [house.gov]
Tim Griffin (R-AR) [house.gov]
Elton Gallegly (R-CA) [house.gov]
Theodore E. Deutch (D-FL) [house.gov]
Steve Chabot (R-OH) [house.gov]
Dennis Ross (R-FL) [house.gov] *
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) [house.gov]
Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) [house.gov]
Lee Terry (R-NE) [house.gov]
Adam B. Schiff (D-CA) [house.gov]
Mel Watt (D-NC) [house.gov]
John Carter (R-TX) [house.gov] *
Karen Bass (D-CA) [house.gov]
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) [house.gov]
Peter King (R-NY) [house.gov]
Mark E. Amodei (R-NV) [house.gov]
Tom Marino (R-PA) [house.gov]
Alan Nunnelee (R-MS) [house.gov]
John Barrow (D-GA) [house.gov]
Steve Scalise (R-LA) [house.gov] *
Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) [house.gov]
William L. Owens (D-NY) [house.gov]

You might want to get on those email soon, though, because, if SOPA is passed, you might not be able to find this list any more once this page and others are felled with fraudulent SOPA takedowns.
 

Beware:

First they came for the Pirate Bay, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a torrenter.
Then they came for Reditt, and I did not speak out --
Because I used Redditor.
Then they came for the Google, and I did not speak out --
Because I use Bing.
Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.

Source: Rep. Lamar Smith [via TechDirt]



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Maintaining the status quo
By pwnsweet on 1/18/2012 4:53:22 AM , Rating: 4
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the system as it is. What is necessary is not legislation such as SOPA, but for content providers to have better DRM. If Steam can exist and be profitable in the current online climate, then others can too.




RE: Maintaining the status quo
By DrizztVD on 1/18/12, Rating: -1
RE: Maintaining the status quo
By ats on 1/18/2012 7:56:32 AM , Rating: 5
People will buy what they will buy. They won't what they won't. SOPA/PIPA won't change that. Make something worth buying and people will buy it.

Becoming more draconian won't change reality or the real problem which IS the media companies. Business models die all the time, and there is nothing that says that the media conglomerates biz models should continue.

If anything, copyright law has already gone too far in the wrong direction. It is time to put more of the common good into the law and less of the selfish greed.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By JasonMick (blog) on 1/18/2012 8:55:57 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
People will buy what they will buy. They won't what they won't. SOPA/PIPA won't change that. Make something worth buying and people will buy it.

Becoming more draconian won't change reality or the real problem which IS the media companies. Business models die all the time, and there is nothing that says that the media conglomerates biz models should continue.

If anything, copyright law has already gone too far in the wrong direction. It is time to put more of the common good into the law and less of the selfish greed.

Exactly... people still consume media they use or care deeply about.

You can't force people to buy your crap.

I think giving people affordable options to "legalize" their collections or buy tracks cheaply is a better solution than DRM.

I give Apple a lot of credit here. But ironically many of the big labels and major artists have fought hard against iTunes' lower pricing. I'm sure they're not thrilled with the iCloud either.

But guess what? People aren't going to buy your crap commercial pop if they have to pay $12 to get one or two well produced hits and then a bunch of garbage filler. That's the big problem with the music industry these days... artists don't have the passion they used to. Look at the kind of albums put out by today's top pop stars like J Lo and Britney Spears and then compare it to kind of albums put out by Marvin Gaye, the Beatles, Zeppelin, et al.

There's a reason why people are buying in to so called "independent" artists like crazy... but for some reason the big labels continue to fixate on making artificial, catchy, but ultimately trite and meaningless pop music and then wonder why the people aren't lining up to throw money at them.

I buy a lot of music from independent labels. Labels like SubPop, Saddle Creek, Mou5trap, Jade Tree complain a lot less about piracy and DRM because they actually are doing well, thanks to making music people actually care about. Doing an interview with an independent label industry advocacy chief a while back he actually argued AGAINST these kinds of punitive laws, saying that more level-headed solutions were in order.

As for the movie industry, that just boils down to pure greed -- they're still making record hauls of money. Just look @ Avatar. People are just watching more movies today than they used to -- some of which happened to be pirated. But it's not like Hollywood is headed to the poor house.

Personally, I don't support or condone piracy. But I think as business people these folks need to stop fixating on throwing people in prison and taking away their money. Because people in prison or fined thousands of dollars aren't going to be buying any music or movies and now everyone else will be pissed off at you as well.

Focus on finding ways to sell people on your content so they want to buy it legally.

As for the government, this kind of blatant bribery is unacceptable, but until there's some sort of mass education and public outcry on this topic to the extent that a large amount of Congresspeople are thrown out of office, nothing will change.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By tastyratz on 1/18/2012 9:30:32 AM , Rating: 4
So Jason,
If Dailytech is so passionate about sopa, and it appears to be, why is it they did not participate in the black out? I help run a local car club forum and we even blacked that out, surely DT is large enough?
Why not black it out with nothing other than the links provided in this article as well as other information to help motivate people to action?


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By TSS on 1/18/2012 10:06:52 AM , Rating: 3
To be fair, A blackout isn't the only way a website can show it's support, and the internet is still global.

I was annoyed by totalbiscuit's blackout on youtube. It's great that he gets the message out and all.... But i'm not american. I can't do a damn thing about SOPA, the NDAA, PROTECT IP, or the vast corruption amongst US senators. The only thing i can do i've been doing, spreading the word around here (really i've got enough stuff to do on this side of the ocean to be bothered more). But one thing more i couldn't do on that day was get my dosis of entertainment. Nor, ironically, watch his video's on SOPA.

Why should i be punished because the americans can't get their house in order, and are offended if anybody tells them how to run their country?

If ya want my oppinion as to how, EVERYBODY knows congress is bought and paid for. Why is there no revolution?! It can't get more "no taxation without representation" then this. You have no representation! The leader of your country has signed a law that allows everybody, including americans, suspected of terrorism to be held indefinitly without due process. To be frank, i've canceled all future plans to travel to america. I'm just not going to risk it.

IMO Education is all you can do at this point. Blackouts, or restricting acces to that information, is kind of foolish.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By The Raven on 1/18/2012 4:28:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But i'm not american. I can't do a damn thing about SOPA, the NDAA, PROTECT IP, or the vast corruption amongst US senators.
It is not THE solution, but it would help in its own way...
http://americancensorship.org/modal/state-dept-pet...
(Via OMG Ubuntu's blackout effort...they redirected to http://sopastrike.com/strike )


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By Omega215D on 1/18/2012 6:06:18 PM , Rating: 2
You should see what craigslist did. They blacked it out and after 5 seconds you can click on a link to continue to the site.

Others went to extremes such as displaying the normal page then turning everything into blocks. Some were quite fun in which they blacked out most of the page and your cursor was a flashlight.

I believe that all were tastefully done and should wake some people up but a lot of the big players on the internet didn't really participate (I haven't signed into Facebook in a long time but the start page looks fine) so the reach seems to be somewhat limited.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By JasonMick (blog) on 1/18/2012 10:42:23 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
So Jason,
If Dailytech is so passionate about sopa, and it appears to be, why is it they did not participate in the black out? I help run a local car club forum and we even blacked that out, surely DT is large enough?
Why not black it out with nothing other than the links provided in this article as well as other information to help motivate people to action?

Fair question. I'm sure my answer won't make everyone happy but here goes.

First , as to DT's views/passion regarding SOPA -- I am a senior editor at DT, but I don't necessarily represent the views of my executive editor Brandon or the ownership of DT. I am opposed to SOPA, if no other reason out of selfishness as the takedown provisions could prevent me from doing what I love -- writing for you guys. It is certainly a direct threat to DT's business. I believe Brandon is as well.

Second , I posted a clear blackout/protest image on the frontpage -- that's about as much as Google is doing on its own homepage.

Third , I have mixed feelings on the idea of a blackout as news site. I know BoingBoing is doing it and some others, but that doesn't mean it makes sense necessarily. What better serves to educate the public -- going dark or putting up insightful information that catches the eye and explains why SOPA is bad? I have four articles up on the front page discussing SOPA... DT's readership is largely smart, educated free thinkers who are willing to read up and analyze issues like this. Maybe blackout makes sense for Wikipedia as that's the only thing that's going to get through to the "People Magazine" crowd, but I don't think many of our readers are like that.

Imagine if George Orwell said, "I'm not going to publish Animal Farm for two decades as a protest against corrupt communism!"

Or if Upton Sinclair said, "I'm not going to publish The Jungle for two decades in protest of abusive corporate working conditions."

A blackout makes sense for general service providers, but not so much for media/writers.

Fourth , the decision is not in my hands. Brandon is the executive editor and he and the owners of the site would make that decision. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts, but don't shoot the messenger (me).

Fifth , consider the economics... Wikipedia's protest, noble as it may be, costs their site nothing as they are funded by donations. DT is funded by advertising, so a blackout would cost the site money, directly.

Lastly , as someone who tries to be a free thinker and look at things from multiple views and actually spend time analyzing political issues that affect our country, I truly appreciate that you're making a stand with your forum, whatever it may be.

I thank you for doing so, and for caring.

Whether you want to black out your site, write a diatribe on how you think SOPA is harmful, or spam your local Rep. who is supporting it, kudos for you. There's lots of different ways to protest. Just look at the American civil rights movement. Some protest segregation by delivering fiery speechs -- others by boycotts -- others still by simply sitting on a bus seat and refusing to move until they were arrested.

There is a need for public opposition to destructive government and corporate policies, but I think history has shown there's a variety of effect means to give that opposition. I support all non-violent protest, the ultimate expression of a democratic, free society.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By tastyratz on 1/18/2012 12:56:49 PM , Rating: 2
Alternative ideas might be to look at how slickdels.net did their protest, or cheeseburger network (although the cheeseburger site is broken for me for firefox)

You can make a very obvious statement while not restricting. You might not be the executive holder, have a voice and direct connection if they did not read this directly themselves. Many other alternatives could have taken place (and still can) even if you css changed all aticle fonts to strikeout other than sopa ones, or hid all articles un related to sopa etc.

I do agree that news and education is important, and I understand that dailytech has to protect a bottom line here- but I suppose I see no forms of protest and action other than an angry slant on articles. I appreciate the names and links provided here, but shock factor of the public is what also keeps dailytech's doors open should pipa be passed in the next few days. Think of it like protecting your future.

quote:
Second , I posted a clear blackout/protest image on the frontpage -- that's about as much as Google is doing on its own homepage.

Where? I just refreshed and noticed no changes, dt looks liek business as usual to me?


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By tastyratz on 1/18/2012 12:57:48 PM , Rating: 2
oops wish I could edit and fix my typo: slickdeals not slickdels was what I meant as an example.


By JasonMick (blog) on 1/18/2012 1:20:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Where? I just refreshed and noticed no changes, dt looks liek business as usual to me?

Brandon took it down off the frontpage because he felt it was "too BBSy", but you can still view it above (the spin on the Martin Niemöller quote... whoops Godwined!).

quote:
I do agree that news and education is important, and I understand that dailytech has to protect a bottom line here- but I suppose I see no forms of protest and action other than an angry slant on articles. I appreciate the names and links provided here, but shock factor of the public is what also keeps dailytech's doors open should pipa be passed in the next few days. Think of it like protecting your future.

Again this is the same tact Google is taking... I mean the picture of "Pork Cemetery" next to SOPA is reasonably explicit and humorous. And in the article there's a F**K SOPA image...
quote:
You can make a very obvious statement while not restricting. You might not be the executive holder, have a voice and direct connection if they did not read this directly themselves. Many other alternatives could have taken place (and still can) even if you css changed all aticle fonts to strikeout other than sopa ones, or hid all articles un related to sopa etc.

Again I appreciate the suggestion, but like I said the decision is not in my hands. Email Brandon with those kinds of major site level suggestions.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By MGSsancho on 1/19/2012 2:08:45 AM , Rating: 2
Sixth A blackout on a tech news site is rather meaningless. The point of the blackout is to get the word out to people who do not already know about these laws.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By Mortando on 1/19/2012 6:23:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It is certainly a direct threat to DT's business. I believe Brandon is as well.

Don't let Brandon hear you say that... ;)


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By priusone on 1/19/2012 6:10:51 AM , Rating: 3
What are you talking about? Dailytech did participate in the blackout. I was somewhat disappointed in Dailytech for not standing behind it's beliefs, then it happened... "502 bad gateway". Now I feel bad for jumping to conclusions when Dailytech clearly was acting on it's principals.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By DrizztVD on 1/18/2012 11:10:57 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not entirely convinced that the content providers should get the blame for their material being pirated. The argument I'm making is not one of supporting SOPA and their backers, but rather for consumers accepting their part in creating the piracy problem.

While I've seen many arguments suggesting piracy is not really THAT bad, I'm convinced that if everyone paid for the material they consumed, the media landscape would be such that piracy would be largely unnecessary. The idea is that you create the market you pay for. The consequence of pirating is that you create companies that apply equal and opposite measures to leach you of their share, since that is the only way that they can/know to survive.

By the very examples Jason gives of him purchasing from independant labels, that is the very basis of the proliferation of original and inspiring content. By him, mind you, paying a fair price for fair goods.

The problem is a lot of kids don't play fair. If access to these big label media is not restricted, you cannot create the sort of competition that will drive them out of business, because the revenue streams don't exist to do that. My whole point is really one of "what you sow you will reap". Fact is piracy doesn't exist because large exploitative companies price-fix their products out of reach, it's the other way around.


By JasonMick (blog) on 1/18/2012 11:43:45 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
I'm not entirely convinced that the content providers should get the blame for their material being pirated. The argument I'm making is not one of supporting SOPA and their backers, but rather for consumers accepting their part in creating the piracy problem.

On the failure of business

Minor piracy --particularly theft of high value items --historically represents illegality, something the government should recognize and control.

Ultimately mass piracy represent a failure of your business model. Mass piracy represents big media being out of touch with modern technology and people's use of it. Significantly less people would pirate if they were provided compelling legal alternatives to piracy -- as iTunes shows.

On the destructive nature of exclusivity agreements...

One thing to note I guess wrt to Apple is that while they in a way have driven reasonable digital consumption model, they've done so by creating a monopoly (which gives them enough power to force their will on big media). Unfortunately of late Apple has been wielding this power to block big media from selling content on other digital outlets. This has been a major obstacle for services like Amazon MP3 from seeing major artist and public adoption. Likewise for why Google Music didn't bother offering a purchase option in its first iteration.

The problem is that services like Apple and Steam take things towards a reasonable solution where everyone wins, but backroom politics and exclusivity agreements prevent the proliferation of these fit solutions in the short term.

My hope is that exclusivity eventually erodes and digital consumption finally becomes the primary driving media force.

My optimism is backed by the lower piracy rates found in smartphone apps. True, DRM is partially responsible. But also it's because individual digital distributors were unable to coerce developers into exclusivity agreements that would have prevented the ubiquitous legal, paid digital distribution we enjoy today.

On the difference between abusive pirates and paying pirates...

To be clear I don't support people solely pirating content and not legally paying for the content they enjoy. That's exploitive.

I agree some people don't play fair, but I think I spent $10K on music, video games, and media on my highest earning year back when I was working full time as an engineer. I admit I've "sampled" some music, particularly during my college years, but I feel I embody the new consumer -- one who is passionate about media and pays for it legally, but also occasionally likes to check out what he's buying first. I remember some albums that I had to listen to several times to get into. A handful of services offer brief preview clips, but few allow you to listen to full length albums several times.

I remember the first time I listened to bands such as Mastodon, Belle and Sebastian, and Vision Quest I really did not enjoy what I heard very much, but in time I came to appreciate these artists' unique visions and buy their work. These are just a couple examples that popped into my mind of thousands of artists.

Now you may think I'm an exception to the rule, but most of the people I know buy at least some content, like I said... they just don't indiscerningly buy crap. Many studies have shown that pirates buy more music legally that non-pirates.

They may download that one catchy Will.I.Am song, but they're not going to buy Will.I.Am whole crappy album. But if they listen to Stars, The Civil Wars, Depeche Mode, or Daft Punk a few times they're going to go out there and buy the whole album, because they realize it has value and they realize economics says you pay for value.

Virtually every young person I know follows this model, though some didn't earn enough money to blow on media as I did.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By cladari on 1/18/2012 1:08:33 PM , Rating: 3
The music industry became bloated and swam with money when if stopped selling singles and forced you to buy plastic albumns, then replace your entire catalog in 8 track, again in cassette and then again in CD.

When it became possible to buy singles again and the format changes stopped the excess money they were used to also dried up.

I would be willing to bet that research would show the same amount of music is bought today as it ever was.

The only thing that will keep the music industry in the kind of money they became used to is another major physical format change, and I don't see that coming.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By FaaR on 1/18/2012 7:58:24 AM , Rating: 5
If it's not sustainable then it's not sustainable. No amount of legislation will be able to change that.

Why should mobster protection rackets like the RIAA/MPAA be exempt from going extinct unlike every other obsolete business model has been (lemme know how the mechanical typewriter market is doing when you've got some time to research that...did they get any special treatment legislation thrown at them to prop up their failing market? ;))

It's really rather simple. The thieving media conglomerates would really like their money-hose to keep flowing, and they're bribing politicians and crying crocodile tears in the media to try and get what they want, all the while they continue to rip off, lie to and cheat the artists whose interests they claim to look out for.

It's these people (and their lawyers) who belong in jail, not the general public.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By LRonaldHubbs on 1/18/2012 8:51:25 AM , Rating: 5
"Companies have been trying better DRM, look what response that got."
Wrong. The companies that received a poor response to their efforts were not trying better DRM, they were trying worse DRM, more restrictive DRM (ex: Ubisoft with Assassin's Creed 2). The companies that did it right (ex: Valve) have received an overwhelmingly positive response. The value that Steam provides with an integrated store (and amazing sales), automatic patching, cloud storage of settings and screenshots, and social networking features far outweigh the disadvantage of having your games tied to the platform. This is a business model that works for both developers and consumers, and that's why more and more companies are offering their games for sale through Steam. Piracy will always exist to some degree, but the best way to counter that is to offer incentives for people to buy the real thing.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By LRonaldHubbs on 1/18/2012 8:51:56 AM , Rating: 2
"Companies have been trying better DRM, look what response that got."
Wrong. The companies that received a poor response to their efforts were not trying better DRM, they were trying worse DRM, more restrictive DRM (ex: Ubisoft with Assassin's Creed 2). The companies that did it right (ex: Valve) have received an overwhelmingly positive response. The value that Steam provides with an integrated store (and amazing sales), automatic patching, cloud storage of settings and screenshots, and social networking features far outweigh the disadvantage of having your games tied to the platform. This is a business model that works for both developers and consumers, and that's why more and more companies are offering their games for sale through Steam. Piracy will always exist to some degree, but the best way to counter that is to offer incentives for people to buy the real thing.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By Etsp on 1/18/2012 11:11:23 AM , Rating: 2
Not to mention that all content that you purchase on Steam will be usable for the foreseeable future and you aren't tied to a specific device for your content.

Also, don't forget that they DO provide you CD Keys for your games, so if Steam does somehow die, you can at least get those backed up, and probably obtain some physical media/method of installing it.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By DrizztVD on 1/18/2012 12:59:05 PM , Rating: 2
So where does this bring us? We know that paying for content is ultimately worth it, since it gives us even more good stuff in the long term. Jason's proved that for us. We know that companies have an obligation to give fair access to paying customers (DRM issues, notwithstanding the fact that "bad" DRM isn't boycotted - it's mass-pirated). But ultimately it's the consumer's responsiblity to be fair in their use of media - that means it's your responsibility. We're left with the question: how do we ensure that the majority of consumers abide by these principles?

Answer: You sufficiently impede access to the material that hasn't been paid for to prevent "accidental" theft. You put policy in place that ensures matching repercussions for those who want to cheat the system ( i.e those who don't take responsibility for what they do). Lastly you encourage the fair use that you want by stating what your expectations are of consumers.

Now for digital media the first is impossible if you can't go after the content hosters (i.e SOPA in its idealistic use of only going after the bad guys). The second point has the problem that because everyone's doing it, it's kinda unfair to be caught for infringment when the rest of the population gets to jump free. That leaves us with the last point: the expectation.

The Expectation
If the main government decision makers side against SOPA, they run the risk of advertising to the people that since they're against stop-piracy acts, they're for piracy. If you catch my drift. Now even if this where not the case, I believe it's the goverment's responsibility to take a clear stand on the matter in some way or the other. That's why SOPA won't be the last you hear of this either way.

The only resolution to the matter as I see it is for content providers to step up and supply a workable, implementable solution to the problem. The government cannot remain the status quo on this matter, it's already past that point. I for one don't believe that the current system is the best: no system that doesn't enforce responsibility ever is, you know that.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By geddarkstorm on 1/18/2012 2:18:54 PM , Rating: 2
You're still building on the logical fallacy that people are going to pirate preferentially. Maybe people DON'T pirate on mass, maybe people prefer to purchase goods with money. Maybe that would explain the huge box office incomes and absurd profits the record labels make which fund their lawsuit campaigns?

What if there ISN'T a piracy problem? What if it's so small and marginal that it's being inflated simply to drive legislation like this to allow companies to fleece even more money from the common, innocent consumer?

What about the rights of the average person?

You know, SOPA and PIPA are just not needed, are they? If so, prove where there's a problem that needs fixing, using numbers and facts not hyperbole. All we see are companies making steady profits increasing even in a bad economy, not decreasing.

Yes, some MEDIUMS of consumption like CDs have gone down, because they are being REPLACED by other purchase mediums like digital downloads. And yet, piracy hasn't gone rampant on the digital system and stopped profits, has it?

There is piracy, but there is also shoplifting--no amount of laws stop shoplifting or burglary or murder, do they? Do you think legislation like SOPA/PIPA will stop hackers and pirates? Nope. It can only hurt the average person going about their average lives, trampling on our rights and free speech, and giving corporations absurd amounts of power over us; when it should be the other way around.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By DrizztVD on 1/18/2012 4:37:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
You're still building on the logical fallacy that people are going to pirate preferentially. Maybe people DON'T pirate on mass, maybe people prefer to purchase goods with money. Maybe that would explain the huge box office incomes and absurd profits the record labels make which fund their lawsuit campaigns? What if there ISN'T a piracy problem? What if it's so small and marginal that it's being inflated simply to drive legislation like this to allow companies to fleece even more money from the common, innocent consumer?


These arguments are becoming less thorough and more myth. You can find the estimated figures on piracy by looking at totalled torrents of media, and in the case of games - especially PC, the discrepancy between the harware-base and the amount of software buyers. For a good look at this go to http://www.ssrc.org/features/view/media-piracy-in-... . Do note that disputing the existance of large scale piracy is a bit of a joke. Especially in emerging economies.

You will find one of the points of the above report is antipiracy education. The very least that needs to be done is to make it abundantly clear that the government does not endorse piracy, as an official standpoint. I haven't received any counterpoint to my statements as to enforcing responsible consumption of media. And in my opinion, though many my not agree, the best way to do that is with reasonably enforcable legislation (note that I'm not supporting SOPA specifically).

Lastly, I fail to see why evidence of some prosperity in the market is evidence of a perfect market. I mean, a dictator might live in a mansion and drive a luxury car, so I guess thats evidence that his policies are working... Am I correct? No, of course not. That's silly. You need to look at Exclusion to get the whole picture- how many get locked out? Thats the real question. And if the true innovators cannot generate enough revenue on their own to break free of the conglomerates... Well, doesn't that mean that there's something wrong with the system's ability to produce income? A good example is World Of Goo, indie developer, no DRM. Estimated piracy rate of the software by the developer was said to be 95%. Some believe that to be a conservative estimate.

Truth be told, piracy has been on the increase since the start of the internet. Higher percentages of media are being pirated than ever before, because access to material has increased tremendously- more server storage space and faster internet connections make that happen. As long as the culture of piracy continues to thrive, the need for government intervention will remain. The irony is that correct and proper intervention will eventually lead to a much better internet economy, not worse. Why fight it?


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By Invane on 1/19/2012 2:02:23 AM , Rating: 2
You've cherry picked the worst possible example for piracy. PC video games. I believe of all the markets that complain piracy is costing them money, this is potentially the one where it's more than likely true and an entirely reasonable complaint. This is due to the high cost of games compared to other consumable media, such as music and movies.

That aside, I believe corporations trying to push more and more restrictive usage policies onto consumers is a very large reason for piracy.

It would seem to me that backing up a movie you bought is reasonable. You have purchased the media, you have purchased the license. Big media says, 'No, you cannot back up your purchases. That is stealing.' They expect you to buy them again if anything should happen to them.

I believe that it's entirely reasonable that if I have purchased a CD with music, I should be able to listen to that music any way that I like. Big media says, 'No, you cannot move your cd to your mp3 player. That's stealing from us.'

I believe that if I buy content, I should not have to ask Big Media if I can play that content. Big Media says, 'No, you must contact our servers and we have to ok you viewing/playing/listening to your content. Servers down? Sucks for you. No internet connection? No content for you. Service went under? Just buy our content again.'

Big Media has waged a systematic war of restricting user's rights in order to try to push more content. And all the while they do this, they cry big tears complaining how everyone is stealing their stuff, and how they'd be making some crazy damage estimate of money more if everyone just respected their IP. They take our tax breaks and spend our tax money to make 'Copyright Tzars'. They purchase politicians to push draconian legislation to get more and more and more.

Big Media does all of this, all the while squeezing every last cent possible from the artists it claims to be protecting. Big Media produces nothing of value to our economy...it takes it from the real value makers, the artists.

I pirate nothing, I can afford to buy what I want. I do believe piracy is wrong. I have boycotted both movies and music. Video games are my vice though, and I like to support those. I am amazed at the way Big Media treats its consumers, then expects respect in return.

There's reasonable. Then there's Big Media. Reasonable left the building long ago. When Big Media learns to respect its customers and provide reasonable products and services I believe you will see piracy drop off drastically. Until then, they will continue to attempt to legislate and EUL and restrict their way to more profits at our expense.


RE: Maintaining the status quo
By geddarkstorm on 1/18/2012 2:12:04 PM , Rating: 2
The internet has been around for almost 20 years, has our economy crashed from it? Nope. It's prospered. Look at Facebook and Google and Amazon, and the money they rake in.

The online economy is GROWING, it's PROSPEROUS, so where is the proof of this fictitious destruction of corporations by piracy? Rather, we can see where patent trolls of illegitimately damaged innovation and companies, where wanton lawsuits have hurt the common man.

So prove to me where the online model is not "sustainable" when it is GROWING, even during a recession and general cruddy economic atmosphere. Prove to me where piracy is damaging things considerably when all we see are companies, and movies, and artists of all sorts making more and more of a killing in profits each year, not less.


For the people, right?
By Devenish on 1/18/2012 3:55:54 AM , Rating: 5
It is interesting how they have time to waste on crap like this, while putting off balancing the budget for the long term.




RE: For the people, right?
By rudder on 1/18/2012 8:34:50 AM , Rating: 5
There are no lobbyists spending millions trying to get the budget balanced. The money from the SOPA lobbyists is talking and a lot of congressmen are listening. This clearly illustrates where priorities are with the members of congress.


RE: For the people, right?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/18/2012 9:15:19 AM , Rating: 1
The Senate clearly doesn't WANT to balance the budget though. They fight every cut, even the little ones, tooth and nail to the last man standing and make it a huge media storm of controversy.


Boycott Murdoch !
By AntiM on 1/18/2012 8:57:51 AM , Rating: 4
The solution is simple. Boycott, boycott, boycott...
Rupert Murdoch. It's a start...
He can go from making obscene amounts of money to making NO money.

TV: Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox News Channel, Fox Kids Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Classics, Fox Sports Net, FX, the National Geographic Channel, The Golf Channel, TV Guide Channel

Radio: Fox Sports Radio Network

Books: HarperCollins (which publishes JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Lemony Snicket, JG Ballard, and Neil Gaiman)

Magazines: TV Guide, The Weekly Standard, Maximum Golf, Barron’s Magazine

Newspapers: The New York Post, Wall Street Journal, The Times (UK), The Sun (UK), The Australian (AU), The Herald Sun (AU), The Advertiser (AU)

Websites: Foxsports.com, Hulu (part ownership), Scout.com, The Daily

Film studios: 20th Century Fox (Avatar, The Simpsons, Star Wars, X-Men, Die Hard, Night at the Museum), Fox Searchlight (Slumdog Millionaire, Juno, 127 Hours, Black Swan, Little Miss Sunshine)

Sports (part ownership): Los Angeles Lakers, Colorado Rockies, Australia and New Zealand’s National Rugby League




RE: Boycott Murdoch !
By FITCamaro on 1/18/12, Rating: 0
RE: Boycott Murdoch !
By AntiM on 1/18/2012 3:33:58 PM , Rating: 2
He is a high profile supporter.
Plus, he's a dick in general.
I will boycott any supporter of this abomination, to the best of my ability.


RE: Boycott Murdoch !
By YashBudini on 1/20/2012 8:29:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
He is a high profile supporter.

No, he's a high level instigator, a high level leader, and a high level financier. He's the life support system of Roger Ailes.

Too few people understand or acknowledge the amount of damage he's done to the US. Ask the family that sold the WSJ to him what they think of him.

It's only a matter of time before we uncover how many phones of US citizens have been hacked by his crew. He's has the same respect for US law that he has for British law.

quote:
I will boycott any supporter of this abomination,

Well he owns Faux and Direct TV, start there.


I'm all for preventative measures...
By masamasa on 1/18/2012 11:04:27 AM , Rating: 2
...but this clearly serves big business and government as they are all in bed with one another. Do we live under democracy or has the US recently switched to communism?




RE: I'm all for preventative measures...
By masamasa on 1/18/2012 11:08:33 AM , Rating: 2
As for Murdoch, based on his useless comments, it's evident he's clearly in the sack as well.


By masamasa on 1/18/2012 11:09:26 AM , Rating: 3
It's not as though MySpace will be shutdown by SOPA. He screwed that one over up by himself.


Nothing worse than
By FITCamaro on 1/18/2012 12:43:30 PM , Rating: 3
Crony capitalism. Both sides are guilty.

I like though how at the top the article only mentions two of the Republican congressman involved.

And maybe we imprison the most people because we don't just kill them like Iran and North Korea do. Now I'd be quite happy for states to execute all murderers and rapists like they used to. But somehow I don't think the majority of the rest of you would.




RE: Nothing worse than
By FITCamaro on 1/18/2012 12:48:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
SOPA would add to these ranks by making the act of broadcasting copyrighted content via a stream sufficient to put you in the federal prison on the taxpayer dime. Say next October you're trying to watch that big football game, but not enough tickets were sold in your area, so it's blacked out. There's no legal way you can easily get it. So you ask your friend to stream it to you. Well guess what? Your friend, if they're caught, is now earned a free trip with Bubba in the slammer.


This is already a crime. It is already illegal to rebroadcast any television broadcast without permission.


RE: Nothing worse than
By JasonMick (blog) on 1/18/2012 2:35:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This is already a crime. It is already illegal to rebroadcast any television broadcast without permission.

It is my understanding that digital streaming is a gray area of the law. I agree it sounds like "rebroadcasting", but if you read the laws they are actually somewhat explicit in describing non-internet schemes.

One option is to make it so if a copyright holder purposefully chooses to make unavailable content in a certain region, but releases that content across the rest of the country, that the copyright falls into the non-commercial public domain until the copyright holder chooses to digitally publish to that region or make use of the IP in that region, as long as they aren't selling it for profit.

You can disagree, but that's essentially what the law currently allows the major record labels to do as they can seize "unclaimed" independent works and sell them, forcing the copyright holder to "reclaim" their work. That's installed in CURRENT laws...

I don't see the RIAA's privileges as changing anytime soon, so why shouldn't the proles enjoy the same privileges as their corporate masters? In fact the RIAA member labels' abuses go beyond this as they're essentially doing the same thing but FOR PROFIT....

This would be a very laissez-faire conservative economic approach that would minimize government meddling.

I could see arguments for light punishment (fines) perhaps. But prison time? Do we really want to be wasting taxpayer money and ruining lives for something so petty? Let's just all go back to 1800s Oliver Twist England, if so...


4 letters Acronyms...
By greylica on 1/18/2012 5:27:15 AM , Rating: 2
You can verify what those letters mean in:
http://www.acronymattic.com

They all mean a lot of things, but we could help them to add more:

''DMCA'', Death Mouse Classified ACT
''ACTA'', Action Classified, Trap Armagedon
''SOPA'', Suffering Our Problems, A****le
''PIPA'', Pitfall In Picture Analisys
''RIAA'', Ruinning In America, Altarchy
''MPAA'', Monsters Pact, American Ants

You can do whatever, in the end, they all will mean the same, but..

Why always 4 letters ?




RE: 4 letters Acronyms...
By Omega215D on 1/18/2012 5:31:13 AM , Rating: 4
SOPA = Suck Our Penis, A'holes (said media companies to their customers)


Its nice to see
By Exterous on 1/18/2012 8:40:35 AM , Rating: 4
that Democrats and Republicans have finally come together to craft legislation that will continue to ruin our country instead of trying to do it on their own

Bi-partisanship at its finest!




RE: Its nice to see
By YashBudini on 1/20/2012 8:53:05 PM , Rating: 2
Jesse Ventura doesn't refer to it as the 2 party dictatorship for nothing.


That's interesting
By lagomorpha on 1/18/2012 9:22:42 AM , Rating: 2
Apparently Michelle Bachmann is one of the reps that is opposed to SOPA. My first thought was something about a broken clock still being right twice a day, but then it occurs to me this is one of those strange places Tea Party values and sane values might align. Ron and Rand Paul as well. If everyone in congress opposed to SOPA turns out to be a Tea Partier or Libertarian I'm going to be a little depressed.




RE: That's interesting
By LSUJester on 1/18/2012 1:24:41 PM , Rating: 1
Makes sense, as that is what the origins of the Tea Party Movement were, a smaller, less intrusive government and rights of the individual. Unfortunately, it's gotten pretty full of idiots who wear American flags for capes and shoot their guns at everyone else.


RE: That's interesting
By JasonMick (blog) on 1/18/2012 1:31:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Apparently Michelle Bachmann is one of the reps that is opposed to SOPA. My first thought was something about a broken clock still being right twice a day, but then it occurs to me this is one of those strange places Tea Party values and sane values might align. Ron and Rand Paul as well. If everyone in congress opposed to SOPA turns out to be a Tea Partier or Libertarian I'm going to be a little depressed.

Wow Obama and Bachmann, two key proponents of warrantless wiretapping have now become champions of digital freedoms and anti-censorship advocates?

Who says politicians can't be right 25% of the time...


By villageidiotintern on 1/18/2012 10:48:10 AM , Rating: 3
We have to hand it to Representative Smith. When this man has been bought, he stays bought. Every man and woman on the list of SOPA supporters has been bought and paid for by RIAA and MPAA, but Smith is more bought and paid for than all the rest.




Rupert Murdoch
By homernoy on 1/19/2012 6:40:04 PM , Rating: 1
Rupert Murdoch can suck my dick. So can Congress, for that matter.




RE: Rupert Murdoch
By YashBudini on 1/20/2012 8:58:02 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is he can make or break any candidate of his choosing by simply deciding to spend.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rupert_Murdoch


FFS
By Omega215D on 1/18/2012 3:10:43 AM , Rating: 2
I guess it was too soon to start celebrating that small victory. Now instead of focusing on PIPA we have to constantly keep up with SOPA and others that may spawn from it.




If this passes...
By polishvendetta on 1/18/2012 8:28:52 AM , Rating: 2
I hope someone organizes a mass effort to post torrents of Idiocracy on all government websites.




Coverup
By JoshTX84 on 1/19/2012 2:29:51 AM , Rating: 2
If the government didn't like information opposing their policys/actions etc...what's to stop them from shutting down a legitimate site and saying they were involved in piracy. Our freedoms are disappearing folks...




By xenol on 1/19/2012 1:39:00 PM , Rating: 2
I've grown to hate the supporters, at least those that have spoken out publicly, more and more.

The author said detractors lack credibility because "they're in this for the money." Like the supporters aren't?

Supporters have claimed that this will "save/create jobs because the loss from piracy is forcing companies to slash jobs." Uh-huh. Rampant piracy has been a problem for over a decade now, and the movie industry can still pump out multi-million dollar budget movies, not to mention have enough money to lobby millions to get support. If piracy was really hurting jobs, where do they get the money? Also, what about the jobs that will inevitably be slashed because say Amazon.com shuts down?

And the head of the MPAA claims the blackouts by say Wikipedia and others are PR stunts and they're making us into their pawns. It was an "abuse of power" for them to shut off services for a day because people rely on those sites for information... Well 1. Wikipedia gave a warning at least 24 hours in advance and 2. Anyone who claims to be an expert and relies on Wikipedia has lost credibility.

The logic all of these people have said are mind blowing. And I ask them, pass the crack pipe please, I'd like what you're smoking.




By masamasa on 1/19/2012 5:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
With clowns like these in office kissing ass to score campaign vouchers, it highlights the abuse of power by those who clearly are working for themselves rather than the taxpayers.

Best thing Americans could do is vote these fools out of office next election.




SOPA Opera
By DrizztVD on 1/18/12, Rating: -1
RE: SOPA Opera
By sh3rules on 1/18/2012 4:57:36 AM , Rating: 2
"An all- inclusive policy would properly set out laws to criminally pursue the DRM breakers and sites that host the content."

How about China or Russia?


RE: SOPA Opera
By DrizztVD on 1/18/12, Rating: -1
RE: SOPA Opera
By FaaR on 1/18/2012 7:48:34 AM , Rating: 3
Why do you seem so determined to only want to believe that all opposition to SOPA only stems from peoples' wish to pirate stuff?

That's an extraordinarily narrowminded and myopic viewpoint.


RE: SOPA Opera
By fatedtodie on 1/18/2012 2:42:45 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately as with any law there are good and bad points.

The correct part of SOPA is it is at least an attempt to stop piracy.
The incorrect part of SOPA is it goes miles too far.

Yes piracy is bad, how bad? nobody really knows and all facts are biased at best.

Content is overpriced, yes, who should determine the price then?

What about the artists/content creators, shouldn't they get compensated for their hard work/drunken rants? yes! but how much? and how much of their compensation should be pushed on the consumer?

The real problem with all piracy legislation is they took laws that were meant for other mediums and applied it half hazardly to digital. Backed by lobbyists so the law now makes no sense and has no teeth.

Everyone has seen the "FBI Warning" on movies at home since the VHS days but did that stop anyone? no, because the law it refered to was civil not criminal. So it became okay because the content owners never fought it. Until what 10 years ago? maybe 15?

People were so used to getting away with breaking a known law (regardless of how stupid the law was) they were taken by surprise when they had to "do the time" for their crime.

Now everyone is mad because they feel their freedom to do whatever they want is hampered by the law. So rather than deal with things rationally, the criminal minded people get more fierce with their activities and the crazy content owners go stupid and use a steamroller to kill a mouse.

Both sides are at fault for SOPA. The pirates that support "freedom", and the content owners that suppress real legit owners.

The OP is right, SOPA is wrong but something HAS to be done. SOPA is stupid but there has to be a way to stop this madness. I shouldn't have to go through 100 layers of DRM and spyware to get to a movie I purchased because I work and have a comfortable salary. I should be able to put it in press play and watch my damn movie. Or play the game, or read the digital book.

I would love the day I could get my network games back, ratehr than "always on internet connected" crap. I want a digital book to cost 3-5 bucks max, depending on pages, and I want my movies to start up in under 5 seconds. Sure give me previews of other movies but leave the BS internet connected crap away from me.

END of Rant.


RE: SOPA Opera
By JS on 1/18/2012 11:01:31 AM , Rating: 2
In China it is illegal to publicly criticize the communist party. With your logic it is OK for the Chinese government to "hack the crap" out of American web sites that badmouth the Chinese regime, just because in their country it is an offense?

That does not make a lot of sense.


RE: SOPA Opera
By ats on 1/18/2012 8:05:09 AM , Rating: 2
There is nothing fundamentally wrong with removing DRM. In reality, any content released with DRM should lose any protection from copyright law as DRM is in opposition to both the motivation for copyright and the reason for copyright within the constitution.

And if you want to support the actual artists, you would be against SOPA/PIPA and the media conglomerates supporting it. The greatest danger to actual artists is from the studios/record labels.

As for why a government cannot legally hack a foreign national... something about jurisdiction...

And the effect of piracy on actual media creators is still a significant area of debate. There is evidence available to support the theory that piracy is in fact beneficial to actual media creators.


Time to get real
By Beenthere on 1/18/12, Rating: -1
"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki














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