Bald assertion time

Story: What do piracy and porn have in common?Total Replies: 21
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Apr 20, 2009
9:06 AM EDT
From the article: "would P2P file-sharing services really have matured so quickly were it not for the momentum provided by the opportunity to easily distribute copyright content without having to pay for it?"

My answer: Yes.

There is a lot of free (as in freedom) material that is distributed online. Debian through Bittorrent, for example. And if copyright were still a limited grant rather than lifetime plus 70 years, there would be a LOT MORE.

I will also baldly assert that copyright would be respected more if it were still subject to the restrictions it started with. Much like "rational" speed limits and "reasonable" prices, the Laffer curve concept in action.

These are all just bald assertions on my part, I know that, so don't bother treating them as anything earth shattering or important, or for that matter deriding them as not earth shattering or important.

Apr 20, 2009
12:26 PM EDT
Quoting:There is a lot of free (as in freedom) material that is distributed online. Debian through Bittorrent, for example. And if copyright were still a limited grant rather than lifetime plus 70 years, there would be a LOT MORE.
Analogous in a way of what happened to "No Name City" in that old late-1960's U.S. movie 'Paint Your Wagon',

Initially, the miners in the film had free-reign (free (as in in freedom)) to sculpt the town as they wished; much of the miners' lusts were purchased with the gold they all came to find. A real outpost in the Wild West. This is, as it were, "Debian through Bittorrent" and the general class of innovative, pioneering software.

At the end of 'Paint Your Wagon', "civilization" sets in with the prospects for establishing dayschools, city government, more laws, taxes, formal law enforcement, ...etcetera. With the apparent burdens of Civilization arriving at "No Name City", miners such as the protagonist Ben then move on to the next free (as in freedom) mining outpost. The city's loss of miners is roughly analogous to the loss of "a LOT MORE" software.

Although some readers will no doubt strongly assert that most of the copyright restrictions are absolutely and integrally necessary --- analogous to the positive aspects of the arrival of "civilization" at the conclusion of the film mentioned above --- still, one can too easily see the corrupting influences that certain aspects of copyright law inevitably bring.


Apr 20, 2009
1:35 PM EDT
> minors such as the protagonist Ben then move on to the next free (as in freedom) mining outpost.

Up until only recently in human history, there has always been a frontier somewhere for the truly restless outliers to go to "get away" from "civilization". I see this as an important part of human nature, the ability to say "screw this" and just leave.

But we've come to the end of that. There is no where left on Earth to go. One reason I'm a space enthusiast. It's past time to have begun colonizing outside of this biosphere.

So it's turned to technology. Pirate radio, pirate filesharing. Just "pirates", for that matter. Definitely "interesting times".

Apr 20, 2009
1:49 PM EDT
I dunno Bob, pr0n is given the credit for the rapid advancement of multimedia over the Internet, sophisticated online billing and payment systems, and all the script-heavy crud we're afflicted with now. Well OK, two out of three advances, one big fat pain in the arse. Not too bad.

Apr 20, 2009
3:14 PM EDT
I dunno, Bob, there's always Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, or even Alaska. How about the Australian Outback?


Your next-to-last sentence suffers a poor choice of words, considering the context.

Apr 20, 2009
4:14 PM EDT

I'll gladly admit that porn has been a great driving force, as it was in VHS adoption.

That leaves us, what, slobbering shut-ins and rabid copyright violators as the driving forces behind both broadband and file-sharing?

Why isn't porn grouped into legal content? It can certainly be perfectly legal, just as any other. I, personally, find modern art to be utterly repulsive. Female body? Beauty by definition. (ok, not all female bodies)


The sad fact is that not a square inch of those places isn't already owned by someone, already under the thumb of at least two arbitrary authorities. And that's assuming that there aren't somethings akin to "counties" in Australia, in which case it's a minimum of three layers of arbitrary authority.

Apr 20, 2009
4:17 PM EDT
Oops gus, not the best choice of words!


Apr 20, 2009
4:28 PM EDT
gus3.0 New Mexico is closed. The others are okay though.

Apr 20, 2009
10:54 PM EDT

Is New Mexico on Magrathea? That might explain some of the news stories I've seen out of there lately...

Apr 20, 2009
11:26 PM EDT
Isn't "Bald Assertion" Steve Ballmer's secret in-house codename?

Apr 20, 2009
11:38 PM EDT

You added two syllables to it.

Please, for the sanity of all involved, consider the context.

Apr 20, 2009
11:50 PM EDT
Quoting:And that's assuming that there aren't somethings akin to "counties" in Australia, in which case it's a minimum of three layers of arbitrary authority.

Here we have local councils, State and Federal, so yes that 3 layers. There's a party here that wants to do away with State, and just have local councils and Federal. Most land comes under Local Council Control for most purposes, But State and Federal have certain rights/Responsibilies for "Crown" land, and then there are "Crown" lands that are recognised (finally) in law as belonging to the original inhabitants/owners of said land, and a lot of that is "Outback" land.

Apr 21, 2009
4:22 AM EDT
You think that's bad? Here in The Netherlands we have three levels of government as well. And we're like 0.5% the size of Australia.

Apr 21, 2009
2:59 PM EDT
Hmmm, gmina -> powiat -> województwo -> Polska. Four!

Apr 21, 2009
3:35 PM EDT
well gus, I think a bald assertion is preferable to a hairy assertion.


Apr 22, 2009
9:41 AM EDT

In the US, it's also four. City-County-State-Federal. There are lots of developments with "community associations" as well, which can make 5 (although I'd argue that a community association isn't "arbitrary" in my original meaning).

One state in the US, Connecticut, did away with counties, leaving only "town/city" and "state", once some genius realized that there was no "county" land left in the state. Everything had been "incorporated" into towns and cities.

> a hairy assertion.

When did this become a porn thread? Oh, right, from the beginning. Never mind.

Apr 22, 2009
10:12 AM EDT
Bob you missed one, there is also in various places yet another level, Indian Nation. If your unfamiliar, thats where indigenous peoples of the US have the rights under treaty to self governance. This in effect lets many native nations trump state or federal laws and regulations. Its an interesting and quagmired concept, but fun to research.

p.s. There are also a few places that never had counties to start with (Alaska) which only leaves you with the three court systems.

Apr 22, 2009
10:31 AM EDT
Az, I thought that Indian Nations took the place of county/local, since they still get shafted by state/fed, so it stays 3.

I wasn't trying to note every different combination, just numbers of layers. But thanks for the addition. Am I the only one that wonders why people put with being ruled to such an extent?

But anyway, I didn't know that Alaska hadn't been partitioned into counties in the first place. In the SCA we talk about "interkingdom anthropology", and that applies even in terms of how different some states are from others. Which, reading the originating arguments, was the whole point of keeping the states sovereign.

> an interesting and quagmired concept

Ah, back to Windows!

Apr 23, 2009
12:29 AM EDT
@azerthoth: Alaska has boroughs which are the equivalent of counties. Louisiana has parishes, which are also the equivalent of counties. When I lived in the Fairbanks area for a short while I was in the North Star Borough which most decidedly had it's own government, government services, and taxing authority, just like a county in any other state. Any part of Alaska that hasn't been formally organized into a borough yet (and there isn't a whole lot left) is part of the "Unorganized Borough" which receives county-level services from the state government.

I should also point out that Alaska is also divided into census areas which are distinct from boroughs, creating a fourth and unique level of government division. Census areas are only used for the U.S. census and, as such, don't add a fourth layer of government. At least not yet...

Apr 23, 2009
2:17 AM EDT
caitlyn good to know, I have been in Ak since 78 and came back to fairbanks for a short vacation just this afternoon. We could discuss a few of the distinctions and changes of borough over county, however point made.

Apr 23, 2009
9:10 AM EDT
az: Not to belabor the point, but...

I do understand the principles behind the creation of boroughs rather than counties in Alaska and I do know the idea was to do away with what was seen as flaws in the county system in other states. In the end the boroughs, even according to WikiPedia, became "county equivalents". The main remaining difference is that the boroughs don't cover the entire land area of the state. The other differences, IMHO, are relatively minor.

I suspect that the 11 census areas in the Unorganized Borough may eventually be forced to become boroughs as there is a great deal of resentment in the more populous parts of the state that are, in effect, subsidizing the less populous parts of the state that have chosen not to organize. After all, Nome is certainly large enough to be a borough seat and there is no good reason why the Nome census area couldn't be a borough other than the fact that the people there see organizing as leading to higher taxes. The North Slope Borough is certainly less densely populated than the Nome census area.

Interestingly enough the other place that has boroughs in the U.S. is New York City. Each of the five boroughs is exactly one county. The boroughs each have their own governments that are a drop in replacement for New York county governments. The only things that don't always match up are the names. The borough of Brooklyn is Kings County, the borough of Staten Island is Richmond County and the borough of Manhattan is New York County. I can't think of any two parts of the U.S. more different than New York City and all of Alaska outside of Anchorage.

I didn't know you are in Alaska. I'd love to live there but I never found a sustainable way to make a living there. The population of the Fairbanks area has decreased by about half since I was there, I suspect for precisely that reason.

The original point about Alaska, that it is still a frontier, is, I think, still true outside of the Anchorage and Fairbanks areas and perhaps parts of Southeast, especially Juneau.

Apr 23, 2009
9:44 AM EDT
> Census areas are only used for the U.S. census and, as such, don't add a fourth layer of government

Aren't they what define an area as "metropolitan" or not and trigger things like air quality rules, exhaust inspections, and such? If so, they're already well on their way.

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