Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The challenge of intellectual property enforcement

For thousands of years, people have created things. But over the last several hundred years, it has become progressively easier and easier to take things that people have created and make your own copies of them. You could use a printing press, a photocopying machine, a floppy disk, a website, or a variety of other tools to make these copies.

However, at the same time most countries have some form of ownership of created materials, whether they are physical or virtual.

The tools themselves are neutral, not good or bad. The question is how the tools are used. So people with an interest in the topic - law enforcement, Lars Ulrich, whoever - mount legal and public relations efforts to make sure that the tools are not used in an improper way.

On an episode (#212) of TWiT, Leo Laporte and others were discussing one of these efforts. They had previously been talking about the difference in video quality between someone who has the skills and talents to present effectively, and someone else who just points the camera at something and figures that's enough.

Then they discussed another topic.

Leo Laporte You know who needs some help with talent?

Ryan Block New York Times?

Leo Laporte The Software – what is it? The Software Industries Association, the people who fight the piracy, have you seen…

Ryan Block Yeah.

Leo Laporte This god awful video that they did. This is a [video presentation] (21:43). That’s – this is – ha, ha, ha, these guys are in college, right, and they are freshmen. And then over here is the Asian guy who is writing – copying floppies, right. I am just going to fast forward here.

Jason Calacanis It’s always the Asian guy.

Leo Laporte It’s the Asian guy.

Loren Feldman Always.

Leo Laporte Always.

Loren Feldman Sneaky, sneaky guys.

Jason Calacanis Report came out, 87% of copyright infringement, it’s Asian people.

Leo Laporte Geez. Thank you.

Jason Calacanis It’s Asian people.

Ryan Block Thank-you, this was TWiT live

Leo Laporte Thank-you, this was TWiT.

Jason Calacanis I’m mean, it’s not racist, it’s unbelievable. You see those Asians with the [ph] shopping cans (22:26) that’s the problem.

Leo Laporte Stop it. Stop it. It is though. I mean look at this guy. Well, first of all, it’s a very multicultural room.

Loren Feldman Yeah, they make sure to get everybody in there.

Leo Laporte Yeah, they got everybody in there.

Ryan Block No race.

Loren Feldman Look at that nose. But who’s the guy? Who’s the Jew?

Leo Laporte Yeah, Jew, we got Jew, we got a black guy, we got a token girl. There’s no girls in these rooms I can tell you right now.

Jason Calacanis She really wants to be hanging out in that dorm room.

Leo Laporte He’s got a [ph] Sharp (22:45). He’s burning disks.

Loren Feldman And I’ve seen dorm rooms that look exactly like that, yeah, nice and clean.

Leo Laporte And then he gets transported up and DP is going to give him – he’s going to school him [Video presentation] (22:53) Oh, this is so bad. Somebody said this is so bad it makes me want to steal software. Big budget.

Loren Feldman Big budget.

Loren Feldman [Indiscernible] (23:22) who don’t even own computer [indiscernible] ().

Leo Laporte Yes, that’s [indiscernible] (23:12) like this. Oh, I like that. By the way, Jason is the name of the Asian guy. He’s got Jason’s lair. Oh, yeah, he does go to jail. He does. Look, towards the end of the thing, he’s…

Loren Feldman Oh there’s a Klingon.

Ryan Block The Klingons make an appearance?

Leo Laporte For some reason...

Jason Calacanis It’s always the Klingons and the Asians.

The discussion continued; go here to see the whole thing.

I had never seen this video before, but it sounded like (if I may borrow a twentieth-century phrase) must see TV. So I found the video.

Frankly, the two best parts of the video are the female rapper and the actual person who was in prison for copying. I could do without the Klingons - unless, of course, Klingons had more advanced copyright law than the Federation.

The video came from the Software & Information Industry Association. And I guess it's appropriate to mention that I am employed in the software industry. But the Klingons don't represent me.
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