May 31st, 2012

My Update Portrait

Thanks, SOPA/PIPA Opponents


How much greater would their contributions to the U.S. economy be if U.S. copyright owners could access foreign markets otherwise dominated by pirate product? - Howard Berman

I recently purchased and installed a $60 video game called Diablo III on my PC. This game was created, sold and distributed by Blizzard Entertainment, the makers of World of Warcraft. It is obviously a reputable and dependable company. I was also a fan of Diablo II so I was looking forward to this game. What I wasn’t anticipating was being at the mercy of the vendor to be able to use the validly licensed product for individual desktop use.

[Paradise Lost]

I am not a hardcore gamer. I look at video games as vacuous entertainment, just like most television. I would like to be able to play it during one of my many bouts of insomnia to pass the time on my days off. Diablo II, unlike Diablo III, was not reliant on a continuous internet connection to the vendor to play the game individually on the desktop. Since the game is desktop resident, it only uses the free (for now) and constant (until the game loses popularity) vendor connection for (D)igital (R)ights (M)anagement for desktop play to insure a properly licensed copy.

I bought the game 2 days after it launched on May 15, 2012 and took the gaming world by storm. said it was the highest volume preordered game in their history. There were widely reported incidents of vendor outages for the first 48 hours of the game launch. After that, it has not been unusual for the game to be interrupted due to a vendor connection problem. Right now, I am composing this post because the vendor servers are down for 8 hours of maintenance.

The vendor is perfectly justified to protect their digital intellectual property. With worldwide pirating being a problem that is widely recognized, I can see their point. This game was 3 years in the making and I have no doubt that the development costs were astronomical ($100 million) by industry standards. Aside from the animosity about regulation and denial of freedom concerning the government, I have no doubt that this is the kind of direction that the private entertainment sector is going to be motivated to take to protect their digital rights investments.

This is not a slippery slope or snowball effect style argument. This is an actual implementation. I would expect that this is going to be implemented throughout the entertainment and literary industry. Gone will be the days when music, movies, books, software, educational materials, games, periodicals and other digitally based or printed media can be easily licensed or purchased. We already have the technology for unrestricted per use and subscription only access. Once again, the rights of the honest consumer are going to be compromised for those that commit crimes against sincere intellectual property developers.

Do you think your cable bill is bad? Wait until you have to purchase 10 similar subscription services to get the content you take for granted today. The choice has been made whether we want the digital gun held to our head by some ridiculous perception that the government exists to hold a kill switch for legitimate communication; or having that gun held by private sector entities whose entire existence is defined by the ability to leave no stone unturned to increase their profits.

SOPA/PIPA was assassinated by the public to augment pirates’ ability to steal digital content for a synthetic perception of freedom. Thank you, SOPA/PIPA opponents. Prepare to bathe in the blood of this legislation with heavily restricted access to digital and printed content.


2112: your take?

According to its self-description, The Long Now Foundation is an organization that seeks to become the seed of a very long-term cultural institution. It aims to provide a counterpoint to what it views as today's "faster/cheaper" mindset and to promote "slower/better" thinking. It hopes to "creatively foster responsibility" in the framework of the next 10,000 years, and so uses 5-digit dates to address the Year 10,000 problem (e.g. by writing 02012 rather than 2012). It has built the Clock of the Long Now (which is supposed to operate for many millenia with minimum human intervention) and has initiated The Rosetta Project, an effort to preserve all languages that are likely to go extinct within the next 100 years.

However, the focus of my inquiry here is more about one particular aspect of their research that is a recurring topic in their regular think-tank talks. The mid-term future of the world, i.e. concerning the period of the next 100 years (provided we don't exterminate ourselves like the morons that we are).

My question, should you take the challenge, is simple, and consists of several parts:

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