Friday, January 7, 2011

Broken English

It is the time of the year when those who’ve made their New Year resolutions start to break ‘em: you know the kind of thing… awash with Champagne on New Year’s Eve, gazing unsteadily into the eyes of the one you love, you pledge daily visits to the gym, self-discipline that equates to a pumping iron regime that’ll make you all the more attractive by… oh, Valentine’s Day latest.

Did I make one of these resolutions..? Well, not really – I certainly didn’t make futile promises to dust down my running shoes in a vague attempt at getting fitter.

Nevertheless, I did think to myself whilst quaffing a rather pleasing item from the Veuve Clicquot stable and watching the fireworks that perhaps 2011 would be the year when I became less of a perennial grump.

So, in between sips from the sippy-cup and as the clock turned, I decided that I’d let my Jack Russell tendencies off the leash.

And… you know what..? All was going swimmingly until… the inner Terrier bounded up and started snapping ferociously earlier today.

It had spied such utter hypocrisy it couldn’t be ignored.

Sadly, however, I can’t imagine that the little news item that the inner Terrier spotted will be among the front-runner on News At Ten tonight, nor would it fight for a place in the headlines on ABC News or France Soir or whatever the German equivalent is. Will it make the Antipodean equivalent of TVN 24 Horas in Chile…? I rather doubt it. Where will it be placed on RTPN in Portugal or will they ignore it just as much as CBC in Canada undoubtedly will? That, too, is highly probable.

So… what is this duplicity and double standards that have so incensed; what has raised the inner Terrier's hackles to vertical?

OK… here is the full quote from Daniel Raimer who is RapidShare AG’s lawyer (and spokesman). RapidShare have just overturned a court ruling where, originally, Atari (the gaming company) had said RapidShare did not take sufficient measures against copyright infringement.

“The ruling demonstrates once again that RapidShare is operating a fully legal range and has taken measures against the misuse of its service which go beyond the level that is legally required. We are confident that copyright holders will gradually come to accept this conclusion.“

This is absolute, total… BOLLOX.

This little Voltaire out on its grassy knoll has expounded on this before but, this latest court ruling – and the utterly contemptible accompanying quote - has started the inner Terrier growling as well as barking loudly.

Because… the simple fact of the matter is that RapidShare (and dozens of other similar ‘sites’) host files that are shared by ‘consumers’ from which the rights owners do not earn.

There is so much proof of the above being absolute FACT out there in wibbly-wobbly-web land that there is no requirement for further expansion or examples here.

File-sharing (in this manner) is, to all intents and purposes, the new distribution of music… (and film, tv, video and so forth).

And, no matter what all the worthy people at the tops of those respective industries say they’re going to do to stop it, they’re ignoring the incontrovertible fact that the stable door got left open long ago and… the horse went that-a-way.

So… while it is entirely galling to read the complete pack of lies that Daniel Raimer spouted earlier – and, being a lawyer he should know a lot better – isn’t it better to accept that Shanks’ pony has bolted over the near horizon and implement a practical solution whereby rights holders are paid?

I mean… its not difficult… is it?

IF music is to be freely available – and all the recently published figures detailing sales downturns point to that as an inevitable conclusion (cf recent editions of Billboard etc) – then these *new distribution channels* are going to have to contribute – otherwise the creators’ creativity will simply dry up… they’ll starve.

RapidShare (so it proudly notes) is one of the 100 most visited websites on the planet. It estimates that over 400,000 files are uploaded to its servers every single day. In any calendar year, that equates to more than 14.5 million. The company has over 1,000 servers with combined storage capacity measured in Petabytes (one unit being I million gigabytes). The bandwidth that their millions of visitors a day occupy means that the income they are generating is colossal. Oh, and lets not forget the subscription services they offer as well.

In other words, RapidShare are generating seriously huge sums of money and yet… as things stand… they do NOT make any payments to 'rights holders' for distributing those 'rights' as they do.

Hypocritical - yes, I would argue so... wouldn't you?

Limetorrents is another in a similar vein. However (and rather cleverly) on their web site they state that they are: a torrent search engine and directory which do NOT host torrent files but links to torrents hosted on other websites. We do NOT have any copyrighted or illegal content on Limetorrents, and we do NOT host torrent files on our servers.

Technically correct and very much holier than thou… But, straight out of the school of ‘nuttin’ to do with me guv’

One wonders how they manage to keep a straight face (other than laughing all the way to the bank) when simple random searches show them to be offering links to literally any film, game or piece of music one cares to think of.

And… for taking their place within this new distribution egg and spoon race, what do LimeWire contribute to the creatives? Jack shit.

With the kind of numbers that companies such as these two (of very many similar) reporting, it would be impractical to try to instigate internal systems whereby ever single file uploaded was pre-screened.

Nevertheless, since this method of distribution is gradually becoming the norm and to stop it becoming what it now is – the unacceptable – then methodology has to be put in place whereby these distributors of ‘rights’ contribute.

This Voltaire on its grassy, windswept knoll, therefore wonders what on earth organisations such as PRS are actually doing to protect their members from the rape and pillage being meted out by companies such RapidShare who are contentedly boating down the middle of the fast-flowing river of pure profit?

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