Tag Archives: consumer

Why Piracy Will Eventually “Win”

Going after Pirate Bay for sharing BitTorrent files that refer users to copyright-infringing files is akin to going after the Yellow Pages for publishing the phone number to a restaurant owned by the mob. They are both nothing more than technologies that can be used either legally or illegally.

Everything any of us does online involves file-sharing. By sending an email, you’re creating a file and sharing it with the recipient. By surfing to a web page, the file that marks up that web page is being shared with you; the JPG and GIF files on that page are being shared with you. By viewing a video on YouTube, a Flash video file is being shared with you. The code of this web page now exists both on the computer that holds this website AND on your computer AND, unless they’ve all cleared their caches, on the computers of every other person who has read this web page.

The Internet was borne out of Arpanet, a Cold War system for information redundancy during the event of a nuclear attack. The Internet IS file-sharing.

Copyright is nothing more than a social agreement about who has control over the supply of an item. Because media conglomerates – studios, record labels, etc. – have in the past relied wholly upon supply control to achieve their goals (X copies going to Y outlets in Z territories) and are stuck in that archaic mindset, they are having difficulties with this new medium which exists solely through a lack of supply control.

The only thing media conglomerates have going for them is deep pockets, but all the cash in the world won’t make an iota of difference when you’re going up against the very essence of the medium itself.

As soon as the media conglomerates picked up their swords, they lost their battle. And somewhere Sun Tzu thought to himself, “Told you so.”

I Got A Hackjob, Oh Yeah

I left the recharger cord for my $50 cellphone sitting on Brooks’ keyboard during a recent trip to California. He and the family left the same day I did, for a 3-week trip back east. So it’s still sitting there. I know exactly where it is. If I wanted it, I could get on a plane, fly down there, take a cab to his house, smash in a window (probably the bathroom window against the alley), retrieve it and make a getaway.

Or, I thought, as any utilitarian might, to merely go buy another recharger cord. So I returned to the store called Factory Direct, Canada’s electronics liquidator, www.factorydirect.ca

That is, I tried to return there.

Last weekend, I happened to be in the neighborhood. But I stepped in and it was wall-to-wall people. Literally, there were so many customers that I could not see any employees except the cashier. And if you’ve ever visited Factory Direct, you’ll know that everything is behind glass cases. I couldn’t simply stroll in, pull something off a rack, slap it down on the counter and fork over Sir John A. MacDonald. Result: Fail.

Today, with more time to spend on a transaction, I entered the store called Factory Direct and I was pleased to see that there were 6 customers and 5 customer service agents, including the cashier. Quelle chance! So I walked to the display case where I had originally purchased my cell phone and there are no longer cell phones there. I follow the display case around the store, like following the colors of a technological rainbow.

I eventually arrive at a small vertical display case sitting atop the real display case. Put simply, they have a lot less cell phones that I remember them having last time I was there. Displaying my batter-dead cellphone, I asked the clerk behind the counter if they had any recharger cords. She said, “No they only come with phones,” and then ignored me and disappeared into a back room. I stood there, looking around for another clerk. They all seemed to be doing things that had nothing to do with selling electronics, putting away some boxes, yukking it up by the cash register. I looked around at all the customers and they too all seemed to be browsing without need for service or checking out some display model of a 5.1 surround sound system. It was as if Factory Direct was nothing more than a warehouse for a company called Factory Direct but the warehouse only ships products, they don’t actually sell them to anyone present. To them, I was another one of those “customers” and we all know what they’re like.

All of the sudden, I felt like I was in La Hacienda, lahacienda.ca

Waiting for Godot is easy. Try waiting for service.

I then decided to wield my mighty consumer hammer, Moolahnir, and I left Factory Direct with nothing, not the thing I came in to get and not the thing that they should have made at least a 1% effort to get me to buy. As Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway once inquisitively remarked, “Where is the love?”

I walked several doors down the street to another electronics outlet where they had a selection of 3 phones, the cheapest of which was $150, which I of course then had to purchase, simply to make the point to Factory Direct that they can go anguish themselves in their proverbial hoo-ha’s.

So I am now the uncertain owner of a “refurbished” piece of touch-screen hardware that has faked Sony and Ericsson logos on parts under the battery casing. The software has many default settings that indicate a Chinese origin, including several Red Army screen savers and wallpapers resplendent in bogus Apple logos. It picks up FM radio. It has 2 slots for cellphone chips, so it can function with 2 different numbers assigned to it, and provide a unique ring tone for each. It has 2 cameras, one on either side, for which I have not figured out the purpose. There are many options and settings in the software for which I have not figured out the purpose. I am currently reading the 116-page user manual, written in pretty good broken English. The manual boasts of a sustained call duration of “3 hours to 5 hours1”. Literally. They’ve literally used the “1” instead of the “!”. It’s the real unreal deal.

I am a new and uncertain owner of a pseudiPhone.