Friday, July 25, 2003

I'm working off of two whole hours of sleep right now. I've been a busy man recently, which is why I didn't really post anything with any substance yesterday. Being tired, I have a propensity to say really... really stupid things. That's why everyone reads this stuff.

So, in the ice cream aisle today, the sticker in the freezer urged me to try New Moo-Llennium Crunch. Looks like they're a little moo late.

And on the topic of ice cream, I'm finally employed. Baskin Robbins, actually. So, with employment and college, plus a crazy new social life, there may not be quite as much time for blogging in the near future. I'd really like to keep it up, to work on my writing style, and even perhaps improve my clarity in thought. Unfortunately, with all of these important things to do, blogging might end up being the first to get cut, since it really is just a side activity to keep me busy, with some positive effects.

Only time will tell, I suppose. I might know in about a moo-nth.

Thursday, July 24, 2003


Well, looking at some of my entries on days with multiple posts, it looks somewhat run together, so I'm going back to titling all of my posts. It's just hard to think of them sometimes, so watch out for completely irrelavent, wacky, off-the-wall titles.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

My first blog debate was a pretty pleasant experience. Of course, I'm referring to my recent debate with Drizz over intellectual property rights. It was oddly very different from a great majority of debates I've had in the past. We argued our different points, but it was done with respect, and it was done intelligently. I was a bit excited that I was finally going to take on Drizz. "Hey, I might be the most consistent, and actually prove my point." Well, that didn't happen, but I enjoyed it. Arguing on some message boards I frequent, I tend to get angry with some of the members who have no idea how to argue a point logically, and can't in any way be influenced by reason. But arguing with Drizz wasn't like that; it felt good. Plus, I'd like to think I learned a little more from it.

The most interesting part about it is the fact that while I'm pretty sure we hold the same fundamental visions and beliefs, we came to different conclusions on the topic of music sharing, despite agreeing on so many other issues. It even helped prove the point that when two people sharing fundamental beliefs disagree, it's the more consistent of the two that wins. It shows devotion to principle, rather than party alliance, or fear of opinions. It's incredibly admirable, but most importantly, it's right. If I had a hat, I'd be tipping it. [On a side note, if Drizz had hair, I'm sure he'd be combing it.]

I know, I said just ten minutes ago that I wouldn't blog. Screw that. Uday and Qusay are dead.

Despite rumors of Saddam's death in the past, and the inevitability of their death some day, I'm actually shocked to hear that they got taken out. Yes, it took a few months, but I'm still impressed.

Well, Drizz sure showed me. In the good kind of way.

I wish I had more than that to say right now, but I'm tired. That being the case, I'm not going to blog anything big, because it'll end up sounding really stupid. Posting while rested = happier readers.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Drizz responded to my post about the ethics of downloading music.

I have to disagree. The real arguement should be, "What rights does the content creator wish to let the consumer have when the consumer buys the content?"

I think your question is essentially the same as the one I posed. What are we paying for when we buy a CD? They're worded differently, but both come down to what privileges come with the purchase, and what it is you're paying for.

Ultimately, I think that when you buy a CD, you're paying for its content. This means the right to play the content as you like, provided you have the means to do so. Sharing your CD with friends doesn't strike me as in any way immoral, since you've paid for the CD, and it's well within the sphere of your own rights to dispose of the disc as you like. If you further extend this principle, then it's not immoral to upload the CD into your computer, and share it with your friends.

The Content is created by someone, thus granting them exclusive property rights to that Content.

The Creator wishes to distribute the Creation to others. Doing so for selfish reasons or altruistic reasons is irrelevant at this stage.

The Creator chooses which rights the Consumer has with the Creation, as is the Creator's right to do so.

Those rights are then passed to the Consumer when the Consumer legally aquires the Content. "Legally" means in accordance with the wishes of the Creator.

Therefore, if a Consumer downloads Content the Creator doesn't mind being distributed in that manner, then no harm and no foul. On the other hand, if a Consumer downloads Content the Creator wants to be compensated for, that compensation must be tendered to the Creator or the Consumer faces legal sanction.

The question is whether sounds can really be property. Am I infringing on the artist's rights when I sing his song? If I formed a garage band, and we tried playing some of his songs privately for fun, would that be infringing on his rights? We need to establish exactly what the property rights to a sound, or a collection of sounds, entitle you to. At the moment, the most I can see them rightfully getting is the payment from someone to start the file sharing process, and then the credit for doing the song. Of course, if it's copyrighted material, no one else is allowed to form a band and play the song as a cover or for money without permission. This all starts to lead to a host of really tricky situations about what can and can't be done. Most noticably at the moment is the distinction between privately playing the song for fun, and doing a cover of it.

If the Content Creator doesn't want bootlegs to be made, then doing so should be illegal. If distribution agreements between the Creator and the Distributor limit this activity, then it should also be illegal. The fundamental point is how the original property owner wants to let others experience the Content. Given enough time, market standards would affirm themselves.

For example, Ford and Honda don't require by contract to drive only on well-maintained roads because doing so would be economic suicide even though it's very likely such a requirement would result in a lower number of repairs done under warranty. However, if they wanted to, they could. Similarly, if TimeWarner printed copyright warnings on it's CDs stating only the buyer can listen to the music within, people would take their money elsewhere. People want useful products and services and the market will response to those wants as long as companies can find a profitable way of doing so.

I think we can both agree on a solution. I propose that all artists that don't want their music reproduced in any way would need to have it explicitly stated as one of the terms agreed to by purchasing the CD. So, basically, artists/record companies just need a label on the CD cover somewhere, letting people know that when they buy the CD, they understand that a part of the mutual transaction taking place involves that the consumer not reproduce the music. I think this is fair, because it lays out the terms of the deal, and the consumer can either choose to purchase the product under them, or walk away. It would be similar to buying a house in a neighborhood with a homeowners' association, where both parties agree ahead of time on what can and can't be done with the property.

Sorry for the use of really long, potentially obfuscating sentences, but I didn't seem to be able to get the point across otherwise.

Alright, I have some problems. No, not juicy, angsty problems. Sorry folks, I just can't help but be jolly. Except for now. I'm having trouble with my blog. First of all: the color scheme. This is by far the worst problem in my fantabulous blogging career of the past few months. Apparently, this one sucks. Well, the last one sorta sucked too. And of course, all of the color schemes before that were just bland. The blandness and implicit conformity involved with a very standard white background with black text turn me away from it. I need to grab the readers with exciting colors like neon pink, and breen. Since they don't make breen, and neon pink isn't readily available in my list of colors chart, I have to settle for moderately-okay colors put together in craptacular fashion. To give you the shorter version: Please tell me if you don't like the color scheme. I'm trying to work one out that I don't get complaints about, so I need to know what's wrong.

Next problem: You may not be able to tell me what's wrong with the color scheme because the comments are always broken. Enetation just isn't really working out, for me, or for anyone that uses it. So I'll try to change that soon. I'm always changing things around, anyway. You know, to keep you on your toes. Maybe just to keep myself entertained, but it's close enough.

Maybe I also need an image. Image in the picture sense of the word. Something great and exciting that'll get people's attention. At least if they don't read the blog, they will have enjoyed the image. I'm helping out the illiterate. Unfortunately, coming up with an appropriate image, and, moreover, a good image, is a little hard. Lileks has a new picture every week. How does the man do it!? The image situation is similar to my little color scheme problem; I just don't know what would look the best, and ultimately, fit what I'm doing here. Maybe an animated gif of some brains with legs doing a jig.

So it wasn't politically charged, angry, or insightful even. I'm publicly admitting the problems, addressing them, and trying to work on them. Just bear with me for a while, while I work on them. [Two whiles in row. Yes!] It'll be better sometime.