Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Microsoft Under EFF Suit Rant

Yeah I know, but I've got to rant... Microsoft has their butt in a sling as far as I'm concerned.

Here about 20June2011, I was putzing around, leaving slanderous remarks at my favorite forums when I took notice of an article that Microsoft (M$) was being sued by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) over a case that is pending between M$ & Datel Holdings.

Datel Holdings is a British company that makes memory cards for all kinds of gaming consoles and the likes. Chances are you've bought one of these memory cards for yourself or your kids & didn't even know it. Here's how I know, one, they're pretty good quality. They're packaged well, they look good, fit well, perform great, taste great, have that new car smell and (HOLY SHIT) they work. Best of all, they damn near cost a third of what the manufacturer is trying to bilk you for.

What M$ is suing Datel for is that they usurped their Digital Rights Managements (DRM) equipment, put in place to keep people from stealing their shit. Now, because Datel has the bucks to prove they have no concern or reason to steal anything software related to M$, M$ has no other recourse but to legally go after YOU (the gamer, consumer, Parent) as the one violating what's called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

In a REALLY bastardized definition, the DMCA is this, take 2 Copyrighted acts drummed up by corporations from 1996 & 1998 and despised by scientists, librarians and academics; then signed into law on 12Oct1998 that basically states “you can't steal “anything” remotely related to software” or your ass will be in a sling; then you can bullshit your way as saying you have an understanding of the DMCA. Otherwise, the legitimate printing of the law is located here, LINK.

Having learned what M$'s intentions were that's when the EFF jumped in. Don't get excited though. They ain't all hot nutted for your best interests at all. They're all hot & ball twisted on fire about M$ turning into a monopoly. Yup. It turns out that if M$ gets done burning Datel (which won't happen) they'll go after John Q Puplic once he/she buys one of the memory cards that happens to fit the Xbox 360 (that's the device under question at the moment).

Here's how the bullshit landslide works... Datel tells M$ to fuck themselves. M$ cowers off because they really will lose their asses in international courts due to the loss in translation and literal loss in foothold 'legally' in other countries. So what does M$ do? They wait for the product to come over here and like everything in the US, shit is legal to buy but fuck you in the ass if you go to use it.

Yeah, I know, it's not 100% that way, just play along a little bit for me to get this story out.

So, you as a consumer, now own a device legally purchased that has the capabilities to apparently usurp the DRM of M$'s “intellectual property”.

What the hell is “intellectual property”? Oh, that... that could be shit they simply thought up if they wanted it to be. You see, that's such a new and broad territory right now that “high” (take that 'any' way you'd like) thinkers have come up with that our judicial system hasn't even figured out how the fuck to regulate it.

Basically think of intellectual property as something you invented, but haven't quite got the invention into a working product yet. So to cover your ass, the DRM sees this invention as your 'intellectual property'. Even though you might not even remotely have it patented yet. This is what the old copyright laws used to do for writers, logo artists, painters and the likes. But you see, those are completely different mediums. A drawing takes ONE person to do (most of the time). A computer takes, well, a bunch of engineers to conceive. Thus, intellectual property. BUT WHOSE!?! That's why scientists and those other folks hate this damned law/act.

So, M$ can only go after one thing, YOU. You don't have any money. Not what it takes to fend off these assholes you don't and they'll win. The kicker will be that they'll probably only sue you for a modest amount, take away your Xbox and a couple grand at the most.

What the hell are you talking about Russ!?!”

They want the ruling of the courts on the books for the world to see!!!  The article clued me in when they mentioned that the EFF's only concern was that M$ would use this onslaught of judicial action to basically change the laws and make it where they have 'complete' control; period. Meaning, they don't have to share shit! And if you come into contact with any aspect of their “intellectual property” you'll pay dearly. Literally, one way or the other.

From a consumer standpoint. We've all seen this & anyone one of you that's read my rants before know this from my Sony & Apple blogs. Proprietary manufacturers want you roped to their products and only theirs so that they can set the price and gouge you for the maximum dollar for the minimum quality they can muster for the product. It puts the most money in their pocket while hopefully putting something in your hand and keeping your mouth shut.

Obviously it didn't used to be this way. The Hippocratic oath used to be an honored tradition, ethics in law used to practiced to it's fullest extent and manufacturer actually 'wanted' to build something that wanted to last a lifetime; then the late 70s rolled around and the “fuck it, you bought it” generation rolled its eyes into existence.

Am I saying a quality item can't be had anymore? No, but you certainly can't afford it.

Take a luxury car for instance. One, the damn thing almost costs the price of a house, but if you can haggle it down to a more manageable price then there is the emasculating taxation & extras that the idiot across the desk starts belittling you over. You know, bullshit protective sprays on the seats & carpeting, dealer prep (a bullshit charge, they pull the car around & hand you the keys... that's the prep), Town & Country package (a fucking sticker), some BuFu sound system (a bullshit stock head unit with a sicker on the front of it)... You get the idea.

Then there are Federal & State taxes including this thing called a “luxury” tax that get added on. Yeah, you actually get charged for appearing to have money. Just because you don't want to feel like your driving a log wagon anymore, you have to pay additional money. Lovely world ain't it?

Now I can speculate till the cows come home as to why this came about & the idiots that made it up will pontificate till the sun rises for why it's a good idea. It's mute for me to go much further as I am one voice & little power to change it. All I can say is that given the current state of affairs, our society is making it so our entire way of doing things has made it to where we have to violate our own laws in order to survive.

Sound impossible? Not as improbable as you might think.

I had a small business at one time. Literally did everything by the book. Paid my taxes on time & by the tables provided by the governing bodies. My employee got paid & all taxes withheld like he was supposed to. All the deductions were tallied at the end of the the year (first year in business) & not making any money, I expected to have reported a loss, so I didn't expect to owe anything. Instead owed the damn government $4,000!!!

I didn't MAKE anything! Literally. I barely broke even. I was still on unemployment from my last job, so I didn't even pull a salary from this job yet, so theoretically, I could have reported the business as losing money if I wanted to. Yet, playing by the rules, I got fucked.

In contrast:  This year, General Electric, multi-billion dollar corporation, paid NOTHING in federal taxes this year. Explain that shit to me. Literally, the laws are set up in a fashion that if you beak them, you will survive, but you will have to deal with the consequences if caught. Which leaves one to wonder; what the hell are we teaching our kids and just how the hell are we to survive? Not all of us 'know' how to fuck the system.

I was raised to not fuck with the system, so being behind the curve ball it has taken me a while to learn, but I'm not a grand master at it. So 'we' have to hire professionals. Their called lawyers. Last time I attended a church or read an ethics book or was skimming a book on logic, Bullshit wasn't supposed to be doctorate study at Harvard.

Spin has now become a synonym for lying, but it has also literally morphed into another organism. Its original intent was for what a top does for a child's toy.  Now it's what six figure a year con men do on the floor of congress or on the court room floors to get murderers back onto our streets to rape our wives & children. It's what is used to force both parents into multiple jobs to maintain a roof over our family's heads & two meals into our stomachs a day while elitists dogmatize over money & policies that aren't theirs.

So does all this shit mean M$ shouldn't tell the EFF to pound sand... It's their technology, they can do with it as they please. Seeing as the DRM really is theirs the EFF can't tell them shit. Frankly, if M$ want's to take a page out of the Sony playbook & charge people out the ass for their electronics; go right ahead. I don't buy their stuff. Even their operating system.  At $150+, are you fucking high?

Back when the earth was cooling & it was around $40/50 sure. For shit's sake, keep things reasonable. But like all good things, the shit kid's got a taste of the sugar pie & thought they could keep riding the high... I'm simply not paying it folks. I have 5 computers in this house... even to update, kiss my ass. Economics; don't pay more than what's coming in. Not to mention, I'm not “paying” to be their beta tester either. Now with less than 2 years in after the release of 7, version 8 is on the horizon? Enough...

Look, I've mentioned it in the past & maybe someone else will see it here in passing that didn't see it in one of the last blogs & pass it on... A man much older & much wiser than I said it the best in this example...

When times get bad, businesses always want to fire the very thing that keeps them alive thinking that it will save them money. They're fucking stupid. They still have to pay health insurance, unemployment and partial union fees for a certain amount of time dependent on how long the laborers are out of work. It really is cheaper to keep them there working. Even if it's just to shut down the lines and do nothing but clean & organize the shops.

Now, everybody out in town, like the assholes that they are, scream that times are bad & nobody has any money, start raising their prices when they should be lowering them too. I guess cause they think that the richer people are the ones that have the money, they think those dicks will make up the difference. That's fine, but the problem is richer people don't eat or shop at your place and if they did... they ain't gonna use “their” money.

That's what those bean counting assholes that fired all the laborers don't take into consideration when they start letting their fingers fly all over their calculators. So what they need to do is lower them hamburgers from $3 to $1. That way not only can the guy that never even bought a hamburger does, is he can now come in and get one, but the asshole that never bought one with his own money may actually spring for one once in his life as well too.

Coming out of that story; it's only taken, what, 4/5 years, but a few restaurants out there have figured this out & it might actually be working. Oh, it won't for long. Mark my words, their dumb asses will get greedy again & the shit will go up, but for now we can only HOPE the retail market will dislodge their heads from their asses and take notice.

As for the "Major" players in corporate Fortune 500?  They're too set in their ways.  Other than the possibility of a disease that killed off the dodos... then out of desperation, new blood to save the company scrambles in from the mail room, ignorant, fresh, naive ideas that truly look to make several people happy instead of just 3 suits... there could be some hope.

Otherwise...  I only see Satan pouting over his portfolio here in a few more years.

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