heyrick1973 -at- yahoo -dot- co -dot uk

Date woes

So the year 2000 comes and goes with little problem, but for Germans and some Aussies and anybody using Norton (among others) - 2010 didn't start well. A lot of things suddenly think it is 2016 and all hell breaks loose.
As a geek, it is interesting to note that 10 (hex) is 16 (denary). Perhaps no relevance whatsoever, but something to pointless contemplate none-the-less.

I would not touch Norton Antivirus with a bargepole, having experienced the grief of getting rid of it on computer systems where the manufacturer kindly installs a trial version. Now I understand that an antivirus product should do some deep frobbing in order to be effective, but there was never any question about "can I install this?", it just was. And getting rid of it? Not pleasant. There are numerous "free" options which exist and would appear to do pretty much the same thing. Okay, granted, Norton is a complete package - but it carries a price tag. This isn't to say that I want everything free, but when you don't have a lot of disposable income and you want to keep your computer healthy, it plays a part.

So with this in mind, I now have an actual legitimate reason to dislike and distrust Norton. Because as of 2010, the automatic updates have failed. This is known to be because the year 2010 was hardcoded as an invalid date "far off in the future".
FAIL to Norton for hardcoding an actual date instead of something like -1 or zero.
FAIL to Norton for hardcoding a date in the forseeable future (as opposed to 2345 or something).
FAIL to Norton for not testing this enough (what, nobody thinks to test on a system with a screwy date? one of my computers thinks it is April 2048 - I think the battery needs to be changed).
Three FAILs is an EPIC FAIL. Thank you and goodbye...

On a related note, how many of you have been writing the date as 20010? Come on, own up. A decade of two zeros and then you're like "oh crap" trying to stuff in the one like you just write badly and aren't a numptie. At least I'm only writing on the chuck-out form at work instead of something important like a cheque...

 

FAIL for Adobe too!

It is extremely RUDE to leave crap all over a harddisc. The Adobe installer does this. A lot.
I have Adobe Reader 9.1 and I got rid of the installation files. With a 4Gb SSD getting full of all the Windows tweaks, it is unacceptable to me to have to dedicate a lot of space to something that is unlikely to be used.
But, now, you cannot uninstall the thing, for attempting will result in:
Yes, people. In order to remove the product, it appears to need the installer information lingering around. As I did not have this, removing it would be a manual hack.
Thankfully the upgrader to version 9.2 asked the same question, but then ignored it when I cancelled the prompt so it carried in to install the latest version. However this, too, left a lot of junk around:
Yup, there's 108Mb of junk. This having been extracted from a 26Mb installer file. As you can guess, I'm about to delete it all... It's not that I don't learn, it's that I don't believe that there is a good reason to leave stuff of that size lying around. If I need it, like to "repair" my installation, there's no reason it can't pull it from the original installer program? You know, the one that's a quarter of the size...

As an aside, the old setup/install files used to be stashed in Documents and Settings in the Application Data part. The new files appear to be contained within the application folder in Program Files (a slap in the face to Microsoft whose ill-conceived UAC tends to forbid that, even though it is more logical...?). I wonder if the upgrade deleted the older stuff, or if it now means there'd be two copies floating around?

FAIL again to Adobe for all the garbage in PDF files. It may be a fault of the ISO, for PDF is now a public format, but as Word failed by allowing scripting in documents (and thus opening the door to the Macro Virus), PDF allows JavaScript and all sorts. If you go look at the settings for all the options, you'd probably be horrified.
The good news is that the older Reader Speedup software will resolve most of this. It doesn't help with the 3D extensions (3D? in a PDF? WTF?) as they are too new, however loading the program and deselecting pretty much everything will kill off scripting and internet access and anything that looks and feels like a security hole.

 

Media moguls just don't get it...

Reading through some comments and themes posted on a variety of forums, and looking at the stirling efforts of the big media companies to criminalise us all (rumour: an MP3 ringtone used in public may be an unauthorised broadcast of licenced material!), it seems time and time again they just don't get it.

 

An open letter^Wessay^Wwhinge^Wmissive to the big media companies...

Look, let's face the facts that certain people are freetards. They will download everything because they can. They're the sort of people that used to dial up BBSs and download everything... because they can. We have a word for them - leechers. Those who take take take and contribute nothing.
Likewise, there are big kids who pick on the little dweeby kids in the playground. Because they can. There's no justification here. I don't condone it. I just point out that in some people's nature, "because I can" is what gets them by.

For the rest of us, it is a rather more interesting equation. In my days pre-Internet, if I liked a song on the radio and considered buying the CD, I would have to go more or less based upon how much I liked that one song. Now? Now I may be tempted to download a track of two. Is the rest of the CD like the song on the radio? You know full well that the label will put out the good songs. I keep meaning, but never finding the time or inclination, to download the single version of Evanescence's "My Immortal". That was the song that persuaded me to part with my cash for the CD. And the one on the CD is not the same as the one on the radio.
This doesn't mean I'm an "illegal" downloader. I just like to make a better assessment of what I am about to buy - for I'm sick of getting a CD to find it's the one or two good songs (receiving airplay) and a lot of filler rubbish. In the past the labels could get away with that... because they could. But now with the Internet, we the customer can talk about the product, discuss it, and choose to purchase only those songs we actually like. And the labels are freaking out because this means there will need to be a massive shift in their business vision. It is much easier to pay off government officials to push through legislation that, under normal circumstances, would be striken off before the ink dried. A good example is the French Hadopi (three-strikes you're out) law which is bouncing around causing controversy. Under the say-so of the media you will be accused and contacted by email. Once, twice, then your internet access is yanked from you. Originally this was intended to go through no judicial process. A revision of the law requires a judge to be involved in the final disconnect, but one questions if the judge will be fully impartial, fully aware of the facts, and if the law will be used correctly. I say this because... well, read Hadopi (Wiki) and spot the dodgyness.

It may be that a large media company, perhaps one like Vivendi-Universal (their contributions to DADVSI on Wiki), would like to yank me because, well, in the sort of logic these people trot out, it would probably go something like:

  • Above he states an intent to download a song
  • This is the one he admits to
  • Given his militant attitude and our own "internal research" (non-disclosed), he fits the group of people most likely to download content
  • Therefore it is reasonable to assume he, a perpetual liar, may 'admit' to one song for every hundred
  • And that is this year
  • Look elsewhere on his site, he readily admits to ripping DVDs
  • He is a risk, take him down. Find a pro-media judge and lie convincingly about the risk he poses...
(note - this is opinion, not fact)

As opposed to reality, which is:

  • I would consider downloading a song or two to better assess a product, having been stung before by their corrupt marketing ploys. Note especially well that stating an intent to bitch-slap the President (any, pick one...) is a very different thing to actually doing it. It's cold and miserable - I want to stay in bed all day. But I have to go to work, and otherwise it would be gross to wet myself because of an intent to not get up. What I would like to do and what I would need to do are often quite different.
  • I will not touch DRM. I want to put the media that I have puchased onto the playback device of my choice using nothing more than draggy-drop.
    Do not forget that while media companies talk in grandiose terms about their rights, Sony BMG was quite happy to install "protection" software on various CD releases that infected the computers, silently installed, had no uninstaller, was never mentioned to the user, and exposed their computer to various security issues. To further confound matters, when this was exposed, the "uninstaller" released... didn't. That's how much consideration, in 2005, Sony BMG gave our rights. Details here (Wiki). (maybe that was a monumentally bad decision, can you see why even considering those paths will hurt you?)
  • I do rip DVDs. That's true. I rip DVDs that I own in order to make them playable on my old television as Macrovision screws it up, or sometimes to watch on Azumi (my computer). Given that it is a doddle to strip out Macrovision while ripping a DVD, and that it is damned hard to even find blank VHS tapes these days, that method of copy protection ought to die the death it deserves.

And let's not forget the other truth - media content on sale in France has a levy applied for the remuneration of ripped off media, regardless of what the media is used for. This is CD-Rs, DVD-Rs, MP3 players... anything that can hold a file. If, under Hadopi, it is now totally banned to download infringing material... well, I don't see your local friendly record label suggesting "gee, now we've criminalised file sharing and all, we might as well remove the levy". Hell no. It's all income (and profit) isn't it? And that, ultimately, is what this is about. Their traditional markets are dying up (and I would wager money in Pop Idol/X-Factor/xxxx Idol/Star Ac' being behind a lot of the stagnancy) and they want to keep the money rolling in. So they do it like they know how, by screwing us over. And our so-called democratic governments are happy to play because freedom of speech is one thing, but having people actually talk to each other is bad. We might be dissenters. We might be terrorists. We might vote them out of office.

Maybe, just maybe, the labels would like to wave their over-inflated figures (where the hell do these figures come from? "Promusicae, a Spanish record label lobby, claims the industry lost $1.6bn in revenue in 2007 and 2008 because of online music piracy." - source article (ElReg)) in my direction as I am being critical of the cock-up they are continuing to make, and by removing the requirement to drag me to court to sue my ass off (normal copyright), they are removing the little annoyance of having to prove things. Screaming facts and figures is one thing. Proving those figures make any sense at all, well, that's something entirely different. Way to silence your critics.

But it doesn't end there. What exactly is illegal music? How do we define it?

Google for "Kylee Vacancy mp3" and the first link is:
  http://www.4shared.com/file/114370943/3d7b9151/Kylee_-_You_Get_Me.html
which will offer you an MP3 of the song. Just click the link. There's technical information, URLs to embed in various different manners. This is legal?
You can also play it directly from that site. This is legal?

The next link is MySpace, specifically:
  http://www.myspace.com/kyleeofficial
Yes, Kylee's own part of MySpace. The song I'm looking for is not there, but "Vacancy" is. It's not bad, I'm listening to it right now. This is legal?

YouTube - the video for "You Get Me" has been placed on YouTube, and Kylee links to it from her MySpace profile. This is condoning it? This is legal?

Sometimes artists have their own stuff on YouTube:
  http://www.youtube.com/user/lisaloebofficial
This is legal?

I have a channel on YouTube where I've set up playlists of the stuff I like to listen to.
  http://www.youtube.com/user/HeyRick1973#g/p
This is legal?

The above are given as references, not links, for some think that linking to potentially infringing material is just as bad as infringing yourself; despite a standard link being an audience participation event (i.e. user must click said link) and also links are a huge part of how the web works, but hey, let's not trivialise yet another attempt to point the finger of blame at Joe Public.

But maybe this is all moot. For the box of my Livebox says on the front:

Note that there is no little '*' referring you to notes like "from this website" or whatever. No qualification at all. According to the box, using my Livebox permits me to legally download music. Maybe Orange internet is more expensive as it already includes a fee to offset downloads? Who knows...

 

What's legal and illegal anyway?

In laymans terms, it would seem "reasonable" that an infringing download is when the file ends up on your computer, and acceptable is when it doesn't. However it is never that simple, for a file always ends up on your computer - the difference being whether you put it there or not.
Then we have the problem of source infringement. This is the difference between a company putting a video on YouTube... and somebody like me putting the same video up.

Of course you could then say "simple, you have to pay for it". There are many music channels which are not paid-for - radio being the main one, television programming, as mentioned "channels" on YouTube, ShoutCast stations (I presume the mainstream ones are licenced?)... you can even listen to BBC's radio channels. Why pay for tracks when you can find a channel that plays the sort of music you like? Why pay for tracks when you can set up a custom playlist of your own?
And, for what it is worth, I have Paramore's "That's What You Get". I MP3d it myself (Azumi has no CD player) from a disc of selected tracks on the front of a magazine. The magazine with CD was pretty much the same content and price as another magazine without CD, so I don't consider having "paid" for that CD...

As you can see, apart from directly ripping off music using peer-to-peer methods, it can be a complicated nightmare trying to work out what is and is not legal. And it is a nightmare worth battling for, for the media producers will be more than happy to take rights away from you if they think it will give their ailing business some additional support. Like the aforementioned comment regarding an MP3 ringtone being an unauthorised broadcast. Was this comment made in jest? Is somebody taking the piddly? I hope so, for anybody that tries to pull that one should be slapped up and down the country and fined for every single "unauthorised" MP3 they were happy to sell to clueless punters.
We need to step up now, for workplaces and shops are no longer supposed to have the radio on, for some sort of public performance licence is required. The only logical answer to that is "sod off, if you don't want it heard, don't stick it on the airwaves". There is only one difference between a radio in a shop, and if we all took our own radios. You know what they difference is? If we took our own radios, there'd be a cacaphony of noise for everybody tuning into something different...

Labels and media companies like to talk in terms of lost sales and lost profit, so it is in their interests to be selfish. As the copyright holders, they have the right to be selfish, but if this backfires on them it only hurts everybody in the end.

 

Why a downloaded song does not equal a lost sale

In many cases, it probably does. People who look at the top 10 and decide to go download the things they like. I'm not going to pretend it does not happen. However when your exorbitant "lost profits" figures are calculated, there are numerous cases whereby a download would not equal a lost sale. I shall list two with examples. You are smart enough to think of some other cases.
  • The first, in the case of "That's What You Get" (Paramore). It was okay to get this song on a cover-mount CD, for I'd seen the song on Bubble Hits and it was "okay" but not something I would pay money for. This is no slur intended on the perky red-haired girl. It's simple a matter of tastes - it is close enough to my type of music for me to accept it, but far enough from my type of music for me not to go looking for it.
    I received this song, effectively without paying for it. But this is not a lost sale for the music industry as left to my own devices I would not have bought it anyway.
  • It is simply wrong to equate every unauthorised download to a lost sale, for in some cases with reasonable searching the music is either not available or the price is way over the top.
    A song I came across on YouTube and quite liked is "Koi no Jubaku" by Berryz工房.
    There is no download of it on Amazon.fr. Three CDs are listed, the more recent 2009 one (cute outfits!) being €43.45, way in excess of a translation of the Japanese price. No download of this song.
    Interestingly, Berryz kobo and Berryz koubou return different results even though they are the exact same group - the difference is in how the kanji is being romanised (the "ou" being word-processor-like as the "o"-only form should really have a macron (bar) over the "o").
     
    The iTunes store - I'm still not sure if/how I can purchase from this, what with prices quoted in dollars. Anyway, there is little Berryz stuff here - from the comments on what is available, it looks as if a lot of it was deleted.

     
    Ideas? Both of these sites have millions of songs, and would boast how many songs they have - iTune says on the entry page that they're the world's number one music store. Quite a boast. But not the song I'm looking for. And as for "Buono!"... what d'you mean you don't have "Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!"? Okay, it's not a song I'd buy, but it seems to be quite a popular one, eh?
     
    I then looked up "kylee vacancy". Amazon struck off "kylee" and showed me a film called "Vacancy". Gee, thanks.
     
    iTunes fared no better - and trying to look for stuff on the site is less than friendly as it seems to be a subsection of the Apple site, instead of iTunes alone. I went in to the iTunes store and found how to change to France. Back to Apple, "buy an iMac!". Had to find where the store was again... Oh, and is $0.99 the same as €0.99? I think not - it's about €0.68. At least the British one charged £0.79 (should be £0.61). It would work out cheaper to buy music from the UK if possible (79p = 88¢).
The price disparity is an annoyance, but a moot point all the same, for neither Amazon.fr nor iTunes have the songs I'm looking for. I'm not sure what to do regarding J-Pop - I don't really see Berryz工房 suddenly becoming available. As for Kylee, she's like a moppet version of Avril Lavigne, I can be patient, wait for the rest of the world to catch up...

Now, media types might think this is a highly specific example of a narrow subset of unavailable songs. Yes... that's sort of the point. If the songs are not available legally but they are but a few clicks away otherwise, do you not think people are going to want to get it while they can? We consume... that's why we are called "consumers"! A highly specific song not being available may be no nevermind if it is just one nerd looking for it. A hundred people wanting it, it becomes your problem.

I'm playing the waiting game right now. When I want to listen to those songs, I go to YouTube. I am waiting for these great online music stores to catch up. But will I wait forever? I doubt it. Right now there's a number of songs (animé themes too) for which I would be quite happy to pay €0.60-€0.99. My bank card is ready, where are you?

 

Why stamping on copyright infringers on YouTube hurts you

If you offer me legitimate downloads for Berryz工房, Buono!, or Alan, you will get my money. I'm not sure about Morning Musume, do I like them or loathe them? I'm not sure yet...

Point is, I watch these performers on YouTube - Alan is awesome but her label seems to like to get her videos taken down, so I consider myself lucky to have seen them when they were there. And I would pay for some of her songs.
If it wasn't for YouTube, I'd not have discovered any of this.

You might be thinking that it's no point whatsoever paying attention to some bloke yacking about tweeny-bopper Jap girls while you're busy peddling whatever songs you have by the latest winner of The X-Factor... missing that this regurgitation is why I am looking for music from the other side of the planet. Okay, so the groups already mentioned (i.e. all except Alan) are manufactured, parts of the Hello! Project (argh... H!P, geddit?). Thing is, it is different. The style, the outlook, the whole package is very different. This makes it interesting. Well, it's either that or I dust off my old Jewel and Sarah McLachlan CDs...

Sony... aren't you a Japanese company? For God's sake get some more of your country's music out there! People are willing to buy it. Me, for instance.

 

Some media-mogul suggestions

I'm sorry to say this, but it is about time the media industry took the view of providing a service to the customers - to you and me. That is what they do. They take an idea (a movie or a song), they make it real, they polish it, they put it in a box and they wait for us to buy it. WE are the gods of the industry, for without our cash there would BE no industry. We have acted like clueless sheep for years, and no doubt we'll continue, but while the industry treats us like clueless sheep - nothing will change.

  • It is deeply ironic that the movie industry is looking into DRMs and specifically-enabled players or codecs that "phone home" to check licence validity.
    Do you people learn nothing?
    Did you not learn from the Epic Fail that was DRM music? Why do you think the likes of iTunes and Amazon are offering their millions of songs DRM-free? Its because there was no single greater incentive to push people to downloading "illegal" songs than to pay for a song which then refused to work on their player. Or they needed a specific player. Or a specific operating system/software product to get it there.
    I have made a purchase from Amazon, and I would make more. But only now that DRM songs is an unpleasant memory. I totally refused to even entertain the idea of paying for a crippled product in the earlier part of the last decade, when everybody believed in DRM.
    Likewise, put all the protection you want into videos. You'll get some cash, but you will push a lot of people to BitTorrent. Quality might suck in comparison to the real offering, but note well that sucky quality that plays is miles better than the highest of high definition that doesn't play.
    Instead of DRM, why not try some form of unique "watermark"?
  • Stop inserting those "Thank you for not stealing this" flyers inside DVDs. For normal people, the thought probably didn't occur to them and this piece of paper reads like an accusatory insult. Freetards will ignore it like they always have. Just say nothing.
  • Sort out the goddamned licencing mess. You want another way to push people to rip off stuff? Here's an example... you look on your local Amazon for a song. It isn't there. You try a different Amazon. It is there. You add it to the basket and wonder what 65p is in euros. But it isn't in the basket any more. Why? Because I don't live in the right place. Balls to that. It is ludicrous when I can pay a little bit more and Amazon will happily mail me CDs and DVDs (I have ordered a number of DVDs from Amazon because, in the case of animé, the ones on sale in France tend to be Japanese/French. Not unreasonable, but I'd really prefer existential robot what-is-the-meaning-of-life discussions to be in English so I don't miss the nuances). So what's up with this? If the French Amazon doesn't have the title, the English one gets my money. Simple, no? Remember - WE CUSTOMERS ARE YOUR LIFEBLOOD. Providing music to us is NOT a privilege, it is your business, and failure to do so means something is wrong with your business plan.
    As it happens I didn't need the song, got a copy on cassette tape (gasp, yes, analogue data! <grin>) so I let it drop. Other people may well have looked for and downloaded an MP3. A lost sale, do you understand why?
  • I cannot claim to speak for everybody, but I would be prepared to pay around €3 a month on top of my ADSl subscription for a "personal licence" to download media. In other words, I can download stuff and not have the world throw the book at me treating "illegal downloads" as more disagreeable to society than murder, which is SO screwed up.
    I know, I know, at this point you'll trot out the freetards and their whee-hee attitude, how much money you'll lose if for a tiny sum it's open season on ripped off movies and music. What you forget is the normal person doesn't quite have that attitude. I might look up a few Japanese songs, perhaps some animé, but I don't envisage actually downloading that much. What you miss is the freetards won't be all whee-hee because they are already doing it, and have been since before you guys knew what the internet was...
  • We are not all criminals. I know plenty of people who don't realise that their computer offers so much more than one window maximised. My mother does as she has seen me tab between applications. It annoys the hell out of her. When the network hiccups, she's all ready to blame me "doing too much". Some people would absolutely freak if they know some sixty-odd tasks were already active (seriously - how do you explain SvcHost to a granny?). Mom wouldn't, she'd tell me that she is right, the computer is doing too many things at once. And she just wouldn't care if I tried to explain interrupts and such, for her biro and her notepad don't have any of those problems...
    ...I know many people with internet and they barely know how to use their computers, never mind downloading stuff.
    Don't let the actions of a boisterous minority paint a picture of everybody. It's a self-delusional lie.
  • CEASE AND DESIST from saying that ISPs should pay movie studios for the rise in ISP profits is linked to the fall of studio profits.
    They are linked, but it isn't that you are being ripped off. It is because there have been few good ideas recently... Various lame sequels, remakes, distilled J-Horror remakes (I always prefer the originals, I don't think you quite understand J-Horror yet, it certainly isn't your slasher-happy-body-every-five-minutes type of film)...
    There are the odd ones that shine through as something cool. I, Robot was one, and while I don't think it is something I'd be interested in, Avatar seems to be doing quite well. Daybreakers, great, yet another vampire movie after Twilight had such cheesy things as "I'm a vampire! I'm not afraid of you!". Argh! The last great vampire movie, if you ask me, was The Lost Boys. Blade was fun to watch but it didn't come close, and the sequels... don't talk to me about the sequels. The Matrix rocked. I totally got the plot, and I totally identified everything ripped<cough>borrowed from Ghost In The Shell. But by and large it was original and it was fun and it was disturbing and it will go down in history as the time Hollywood tackled "cyperpunk" and totally nailed it (unlike, say, Johnny Mnemonic). But the sequels? Oh... My... God... Such aspirations. Such possibilities. Such a lame continuance. I could have cried.
    Fact is, people have only so much money and free time. They can stay at home with their internet and do a plethora of things (even if one at a time like my mom), or they can go out to the cinema or rent a DVD. The latter are fixed duration events, and probably include a meal. The Internet, on the other hand, is ready at any time, and works perfectly well holding a cheese sandwich while spewing nonsense onto Twitter, like "I'm eating a cheese sandwich, yum, yum".
    In addition to that, numerous broadcasters and some pseudo-ISPs (like Sky) are offering VOD. Video On Demand. I can apparently get this with Orange too. Why watch a film in the cinema when it'll be VOD in a few months and on telly in a year or so? Being wired means it is feasible to download and watch VOD content. This necessitates broadband, but it doesn't necessarily mean ISPs are reaping the cash for your losses.
    In other words, an alternative has come along and people like it better, hence your loss of profits. It isn't rocket science, really it isn't.
  • Lower prices. There's no justification for digital media to cost the same as what you buy in the shops. You need only run a server and some sort of payment/authentification system. No doubt less than contracts with shops to stock your products, the mastering and manufacture of CDs, the inlays to go, the packaging, the distribution... in many cases (i.e. anything that isn't "new") there's zero promotion costs and you can maintain a huge catalogue of stuff that would otherwise be unavailable for little more than disc space and a minimum-wage lackey hired to shove it all in the database.
    Embrace the technology. With stuff like Amazon, you're on the right track. Sort out the licence restriction bollocks, add some more unusual/uncommon tracks, and you'll have a near-perfect service.
  • You know, I tend to buy my DVDs from the bargain-bin. It's not that I'm cheap, I just don't really think many DVDs are worth €16-20 just for a film. A film that costs rather less to see in the cinema? Come on...
    Want me to be more active with movies, as opposed to waiting for stuff to come on TV? Offer an alternative to DVDs. Offer downloads. With the following provisions:
    • Price it around €5 a title. Offer four for €15. I'd probably fall for that. ☺
    • Do it through an intermediary, I want to look for movies without thinking which studio produced it. In fact, I can name Columbia, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Paramount, New Line, Touchstone, and I remember RKO! With the exception of "Pump Up The Volume" (the first time I saw the New Line logo), I can't say what films are by what studio. I would guess that until recently a lot of teen-friendly ones would be Touchstone, kiddie ones (Camp Rock, etc) would probably be Disney, and everything else is quite likely to be Universal or Paramount. But these are guesses and I don't fancy trawling studio websites looking "in hope". Just set up a site like "moviemania.com" (mmm, it looks vaguely cybersquat - oh well) and direct everybody there. If you can't work out how much to pay each studio, you've no business running a website...
    • The merest hint of DRM and I click the 'X' button and close the window. Use an open format. MPEG4-XviD or somesuch. You can offer HD/SD versions, that's good (my computer isn't zippy enough for HD anyway). There's a lot of crap in the MPEG4 specification, I'm sure you can find a way to insert tracing information into the file to mean you can offer an XviD free of playback restrictions, yet still be able to prove its origin should it be necessary to do so.
    • Absolutely permit multiple connections from the same IP address during download. Using Firefox's download on an ISO image of Ubuntu, I averaged around 40K/sec. I tossed the URL to Free Download Manager. It broke the file into chunks and downloaded them synchronously. This maxed out my bandwidth at around 120K/sec. I don't know if it is Firefox, Windows, or just a general rule that a single connection shouldn't use all available bandwidth, but when you want something large and not to take forever, then you actually want all of your bandwidth devoted to whatever it is you're trying to get.
    • Don't bang on and on and insert sarcastic "you wouldn't steal this" stuff into the files. It antagonises and annoys decent people... and actually the sort of people that would flog knock-off DVDs at flea markets may have the same lack of scruples if they came across an unguarded handbag. Thieving bastards are thieving bastards. Making an allusion to us as "don't be a thieving bastard" will do you no favours.
    • Don't "licence". You offer a file, we "own" the file and can burn it on a DVD or set MPlayer to loop it until Auntie Mabel gets so fed up she smashes the computer with her Zimmer frame. Whatever. All this "licence" bollocks flies against the concept of a transaction, of a purchase, or everything that we are conditioned to accept in a consumeristic society. Few purchases carry small print, for we all know the way it works. Most licences carry pages and pages of incomprehensible rubbish that few people bother to read.
      And if you must licence because you see the world ending otherwise, don't say things like "The licence is governed by the laws of the state of Utah". Few people in Europe are going to give a crap about Utah. In fact, it would be amusing to do a straw poll on the street to see how many people even know where it is...
Think carefully about what is written above. And remember, my purchasing your products is not a privilege you offer me. It is a simple business transaction. You make, and hype, a product. If I believe in it, I part with cash. If I don't, I won't.

So ask yourself - do you want my cash or not?

 

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Mick, 12th January 2010, 21:48
>> an MP3 ringtone used in public may be an unauthorised broadcast of licenced material!), it seems time and time again they just don't get it. <<< Or free advertising???? Perhaps we should charge them:-)
Rick, 20th February 2010, 01:42
When you hear about labels expenses in promoting new bands, it may be useful to consider this article:
  http://www.negativland.com/albini.html

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