Thursday, March 29, 2007

Mafiaa

Ok, so news like this makes me grin. While I understand that downloading copyrighted music is a civil offense, I really think suing your customers is a stupid business strategy. Although, I also think adding "Don't even think about pirating this you evil person you!" messages to CDs, and liner notes, and guilt trip clips before movies is just as insulting to the consumer, especially since you only see these after you've handed over your money, placing you firmly in the classification of paying customer.

However, even once we get over these issues, the way the RIAA primarily, and to a lesser extent the MPAA, are going about these lawsuits is ridiculous, and in many cases fraudulent. They threaten people with lawsuits to get upfront settlements, file anonymous lawsuits by the hundreds, and even tried to scold a college for not keeping IP address assignment logs because "Don't they know they are important?". Well, they may be important to the RIAA, but to the college they hold no special value, and consume valuable & expensive resources to keep around, so the logical choice is not to keep them unless they have a specific need for them.

I'm all in favor of people fighting back on these lawsuits, whenever they have the means to do so. Progress is finally being made too. With several cases having forced the RIAA to pay the defendant's legal fees, this may embolden lawyers to offer their services in exchange for any fees they can recover if they win, which would help more people get qualified representation. In another case, the defendant, who was ruled against on the main issue, has successfully gotten the court to question the ridiculous per song damage figures spouted by the RIAA.

Lastly, if you haven't already heard the joke, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) should join together to form the Music and Film Industry Association of America (MAFIAA).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Simple Pleasures

Just feeling down, and taking some time to reflect back on my last few weeks, and realizing that my favorite memories from them are of very simple moments.

  • Listening to my son sing along to the Veggietales theme.
  • Blowing bubbles in the park with my family.
  • Playing blacklight miniature golf with my wife.

Little thing, simple pleasures in life, and yet, they are what I remember most fondly just a few days, or weeks later.

Friday, March 09, 2007

'Bout Time

I'm sure everyone has gotten the stock scam spams. If not, send me a message, I want to know who you use for your e-mail! Thankfully, with Gmail, I only see them in my inbox on very rare occasions.

However, their concept is simple enough. Get enough suckers/greedy people to bite, and the stock price will move. Since the target is almost always a penny stock to begin with, it doesn't take a large change to make some significant profit, if timed properly. Which is probably one of the reasons people still bite on these. They know it's a scam, they know it's going to spike up, then plummet back down, they are just trying to beat the rush, and manage to make some profit off it themselves.

So, I often found myself wondering why the SEC permitted this obvious stock manipulation to proceed. It's guaranteed that they get much of the same spam we do, so it isn't like they don't know about it. I had mentally chalked it up to lack of resources, and the slow process that is an investigation in this country. By the time they got anything actually underway, the scam they were investigating would be old news, and there would be 100 more waiting in the queue.

However, they have begun to take action. On Thursday, they suspended, for 2 weeks, the trading of 35 stocks being targeted in various spam messages. This move appears to be intended as much for the purpose of preventing investors from being scammed, as for providing time to get investigations underway.

The article over at Slashdot, brings up the potential for using this behavior to prevent your competitor's stock from being traded, which is a possibility worth considering. However, for now, I'm just glad to see something being done about it. Wonder what type of spam will arise to take the place of the stock pump 'n dump?