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Editorial
The Pirate Bay, Copyrights, and the MPAA
Editorial
Written by Gizmo   
Tuesday, 06 June 2006 09:54

By now, I'm sure many of you know about the shutdown and seizure of hardware used to run The Pirate Bay, a web site that purports to provide links to resources for downloading copyrighted content.

For those of you that don't, the short version goes like this: Late last week, Swedish police raided the data centers for Internet Service Provider Rix|Port80 in 10 different locations and seized the hardware which was being used to run The Pirate Bay web site.

Here's where the trouble starts.  The Pirate Bay was hosted by web hosting company PRQ.  Every site hosted by PRQ was seized; somewhere between 200 and 300 domains, almost all of which had nothing to do with The Pirate Bay, were shut down.  In addition, although the officers had search warrants, the seizure itself appears to have been illegal.  Apparently, The Pirate Bay was operating entirely within the bounds of Swedish law.  Although annoying to the MPAA, irritating to the international copyright community, and potentially damaging to copyright holders, what The Pirate Bay was doing was LEGAL IN SWEDEN!

Now, we can argue all day long about whether Swedish law should be changed.  However, what appears to have happened here is that justice was purchased by the MPAA, rather than determined through due process.  There are poeple who should be going to jail over this, but I'm not convinced they are with The Pirate Bay.

Do I think what The Pirate Bay is doing is wrong?  Probably.  But what's wrong and what's legal are different things, and so long as they operate within the limits of the law of their country, they should be free from prosecution.

Even this discussion, though, is missing the larger issue, at least to me.  When a company or organization can essentially buy justice, as appears to have been done here with the MPAA and the Swedish authorities, there is a fundamental problem with the legal system.  To make matters worse, it appears that the U.S. government has had at least SOME involvement in pressuring Swedish authorities into taking this action.  Finally, this action has resulted in harm to a number of innocent bystanders, and the response has essentially been "When you make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs".

The laws of civilized countries are supposed to work for the protection of ALL their people, not just those who can 'pay the price'.  If you think the law is wrong, then you should absolutely work to change it.  But do it the right way; don't just go out and 'buy' your justice.  Sooner or later, the justice that you purchased will be bought by someone with deeper pockets than you.

Discuss this in the forums.

 
RIAA Sues Dead Lady, While Sony Sells Content Sharing System
Editorial
Written by Gizmo   
Tuesday, 25 April 2006 08:40

A little over a year ago, the RIAA filed a lawsuit against a lady alleging copyright infringement of over 700 titles by serving them over P2P networks.  There was just one problem.

She was dead.

So, the RIAA allowed that they might have made a mistake, and went on to sue hundreds of other people, many of whom apparently were guilty, some of whom were not.  All in an effort to ensure that people get the message that sharing music is illegal.  We've had the same kind of thing going on in the realm of video, and the new standards coming out are going to attempt to prevent us from being able to make copies of our favorite DVDs by using new copy protection measures.

Ok, I get this.  The content providers don't want us going to Block Buster, renting a movie, making 25,000 copies for our friends, and sending it over the Internet to millions of other people for free.  I get that, and I don't have a problem with it, per se.  After all, there is a lot of hard work that went into producing that stuff, and the people who did all that work deserve to be fairly compensated for it.

Where I get really confused, though, is when an outfit like Sony creates a viral content protection system (supposedly to prevent copyright abuses) and then turns around and sells items that not only allow, but could be argued to actually ENCOURAGE such abuses (Here, and here)!

Did I miss something?  Tell me, in the forums!
 

 
Oops
Editorial
Written by Gizmo   
Friday, 24 February 2006 20:24

On 2-23-2006 we published a picture of what we believed to be a prototype of a new Abit NF5 motherboard.  It now appears that picture was nothing more than a doctored photograph of the MSI K9N prototype that was previewed over at gathering.tweakers.net.  If you look closely at the second picture shown there, and compare it to our picture, you will see that the two motherboards are in fact identical.

Our apologies for all those who started salivating for nothing.  The picture was presented in good faith, both on our part and on the part of the member who posted it.  All we can say is that sometimes, in an effort to be ahead of the curve on breaking news, mistakes are made.  When they are made and we discover them, we will make sure that we come clean.

 
Congress Caught Defacing Wikipedia
Editorial
Written by Gizmo   
Wednesday, 01 February 2006 08:14

By now, you're all probably aware of the flap surrounding Wikipedia and how bogus information sometimes finds its way into the content.

What you may not be aware of is that your fine representatives in Congress, the people whose salaries are paid by YOUR taxes, YOUR hard work, YOUR sacrifice, are somehow finding the spare time to go surfing on Wikipedia and make changes to entries in order, NOT to correct factual errors, but to HIDE the truth.

As reported by CNET News, the problem got so bad that at one point, IP Addresses known to belong to Congress were blocked.

This is childish behavior from people who should know better.  This is childish behavior from people who are supposed to looking out for YOUR interests.  This is childish behavior from people are supposed to be looking out for the future of our nation.

Far too many people will look at this and say "Well, it wasn't MY representative" or "It wasn't someone from MY party" and conclude that it doesn't matter.  It DOES matter.  It matters in a very fundamental way.  When your elected representatives are liars, cheats, and scoundrels; people who rather lie than tell the truth even when the truth sounds better, then you cannot expect to have a system of government in which the needs of the people are met.

Our form of government is not broken, but our leaders in government are.  It's time to replace them.  When a vote on practically any issue can be counted on to go straight down party lines, you don't have a government 'of the people, by the people, and for the people'.  You have a government that is controlled by a very few, and that has no interest in serving anyone but those in control.

How long are you willing to continue allowing people who have no interest in your life and hardships continue to rule you?  When Strom Thurmund died in 2003 at the age of 100, he was the oldest serving Senator in the history of the U.S.  He had served 47 1/2 years in Congress.

Why?

When our government was established, the guiding principle was that of the 'citizen statesman'.  Those who served and created the laws would then go back home to LIVE under those same laws.  Is that true today?  Do you live next door to your Congressman?  Do you even KNOW your Congressman?  Better yet, do you even know who your Congressman IS?  For our government to work, YOU have to take part.  That means casting an INFORMED vote.  The first question you have to ask yourself about anyone that you are thinking about voting for is "Can I trust this person?"  These days, the answer to that question seems to be "No" if they are a politician.

Why?

Ultimately, the people we choose to lead us say something about the kind of people we are.  I know a lot of good, decent, hard working people, who are just trying to get from one day to the next.  Yet, the people we have elected to lead us suggest that we are lazy, lying, childish ingrates who are only interested in our own gratification.

I think we are better than that.  It's time we proved it.

What do you think?  Tell us, in the forums!

 

 
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Editorial
Written by Gizmo   
Monday, 16 January 2006 18:20

As those of you in the States know, today was celebrated as the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As with the birthdays of all our celebrated heros, saints, and martyrs, it is good that we remember his birth.

It is better that we remember his life, his accomplishments, the things he tried to achieve.

It is still better that we remember why he was killed.

It is best if we continue his work.

Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech is, IMHO, one of the greatest of his generation, perhaps in all of American history.  But it is not enough to remember the words.  We must remember the ideals that inspired the words, for they are the ideals that inspired our constitution, and indeed which inspired the creation of our nation.  Put simply:

That ALL people are EQUAL in the eyes of God, before the law, and to each other.

LIVE the ideals.  BE the words.

 
nVidia or ATI, which would you get?
Editorial
Written by Gizmo   
Friday, 09 December 2005 08:41

nVidia's 7800GTX 512MiB is currently selling for $749.

ATI's X1800XT 512MiB is currently selling for $699.

nVidia's card rules the roost, according to most benchmarks, and has better overclocking potential.  However, you can't find them anywhere.  ATI's card, although a slightly less capable product, can be had for as low as $640, according to some sources.  So, the question is, which would you get, if you were in the market for a high-end card?

Tell us, in the forums!

 
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