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land of the free, home of the…

This is amazing, picked it up from slashdot

The Senate Judiciary Committee, led by everybody’s favorite senator, Orrin Hatch, is moving to outlaw P2P entirely by making it illegal to produce such applications.

The plan is to make p2p apps illegal in The States because they “indice” copyright violation.
It’s like WTF!? What kind of a stupid idea is that anyway. What’s next, are they gonna outlaw weapons next because they “indice” murder? They should actually, but they just don’t get that one apparently, but when it comes down to software and p2p, oh yeah, after being seriously brown nosed by MPAA and RIAA they’ll be passing that one for sure.

What happened to freedom of speech? Couldn’t that be applied to writing software as well? I guess not, since nobody in the US will have the right to write a filesharing app when this bill passes.
Funny though, but what about webservers, don’t they allow sharing of files as well? Maybe we’ll get rid of MicroSoft after all. Hey, when you come to look at it, this bill might not be so bad after all… not!

And since Europe isn’t following quite yet, we’ll be writing all the p2p apps over here (or the rest of the world for that matter), and the evil US filesharers can download and use those instead.
Besides, if I remember correctly Kazaa for instance isn’t even on US soil anymore, so how is this bill going to stop that in the first place.

Ah well, I’m glad I don’t live in the US. Now let’s hope the European lawmakers are just a tad smarter and manage to keep software patents out of the European patent system.

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DRM systems are bad for business

So the Beastie Boys have a new album out, which I was looking into getting myself a copy, since I already have most of their other albums, and I’ve always liked their fun approach to hip-hop.
It turns out that their latest CD however contains MacroVisions CDS-200 DRM technology which has “features” that stop me from ripping the CD to mp3’s, and even stop me from playing it back using my favourite player.

Since I’ve put quite some money in my PC over the years it has grown out to become my major sound equipment as well. I used to play my CD’s from it, because the speakers are way better than the old CD player I have, and later when harddrive space allowed this, I ripped the most recently bought CD’s to my HD where they are only a single right click away from being enqueued in WinAmp, ready for hours of legitimate musical delight, even if I forgot to take the CD out of my car.
The Beastie Boys / EMI however do not allow you to do this, even though you’ve paid for the CD. Instead you get forced to listen using some shitty player they put on the CD, and only from the original medium.

There are a few things about this that really annoy me.
One of them is that if I buy this CD I will not be allowed to listen to it the way I’m used to and want to. I’m not planning on sharing high quality mp3 rips on various file sharing networks, I just want to rip them to my HD because it’s soooo much handier.
Second thing is that DRM software can usually be easily circumvented by a bit of a techy. So basically there will always be plenty of people out there who manage to rip and share the CD anyway, allowing the non-techies to download them.
To make things even worse, the copy control system is only used in Europe, which means US and UK citizens are free to rip and share.
This whole thing is just encouraging me to get a copy off a p2p network instead of buying the damn thing, because that’s the only way I’ll be able to listen to it how I want, unless I want to waste my time finding out how the protection can be broken.

There’s no way pirates are going to be stopped by this. Look at all the drum’n’bass releases available on various filesharing networks. A lot of those have only been available on vinyl, a not so easy to rip format, but it certainly hasn’t slowed it down, or stopped it. The only ones being screwed are the honest (European) buyers who legitimately get their copies from their local recordstore.

The big labels burning this crap on their CD’s should read this excellent article on DRM by Cory Doctorow and finally realise that mp3’s and filesharing networks are here to stay.

Forget those old fashioned ideas and get with the program.

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update week

Some nice updates came to my attention this week. Firefox 0.9 has been released by the Mozilla team, which has been my favorite browser for quite a while now . Remember when it was still called Phoenix? Aaah, those where the days. I don’t like the new theme all that much personally, but setting the toolbar to use small icons makes it look tidy enough for now.

Pegasus mail, another nice free piece of software, which I’ve been using for years, has finally received an update. It’s been a while since the last one, but judging from the release notes it makes sense that version v4.2 took a while. It’s good to see that the interface has finally gotten the necessary face lift.
Even though Pegasus is a swell piece of e-mail software that can easily compete with the other major players, it’s old looking interface made it look… well, old I guess.

Last but not least I noticed that Yahoo has increased it’s mail services mailbox size from a mere 6 MB to a sweet 100, with a limit of 10MB per message which should be enough for now. It’s not quite yet the gigabyte GMail is supposed to be offering in the (near?) future, but it ain’t bad either. In fact, my own ISP only offers half that much.