One of the projects I’ve supported for a long time, the Muon1 DPAD, has hit 20 Quadrillion particle-timesteps (pts). Thats a 2, with 16 zeros (20,000,000,000,000,000), or two million-billion. A particle timestep is simulating a particle for 0.01 nanoseconds (0.00000000001 second). I’ve been invovled with the project since around 2003, and as of writing this, I’m 362 overall, having done 5,867,002,100,000 pts, or 0.0293% of the total work.
Another day, another consultation response.
This ‘consultation‘ from the BIS focuses on the “cost sharing” aspects of the Digital Retardation Economy Act. As usual, the document will be published by the BIS in due course, but I prefer to publish it myself, ahead of time – I have no reason to hide my answers away, or bury them with ‘trade secrets’ because they’re just plain honest facts and data. Alas, as has happened with previous consultations, the facts will be ignored in favour of projections, estimations, and allegations (or as a phrase made popular by Mark Twain put it, “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics“) Read more…
After a little personal misfortune, I was going through old stuff, and found a cheap plastic Teleidoscope. It used a neat little multifaceted lens, and I took some pictures of various items using my cellphone camera (an LG Vx9100) which was about the same size as the eyepiece opening.
(Click to enlarge)
Images 1-3 are of the plate mounted ont he front of my car, image 4 is using the flag that is flying in my livingroom window (hence the slightly faded look). Nevertheless, it’s made some nice images, especially the third one.
Panorama just aired an ‘interesting’ show tonight. Entitled “Are the Net Police Coming for You?”, the BBC describes the show in the following way.
A proposed new law is threatening to disconnect the millions of internet users who unlawfully download free music, films and TV. Jo Whiley looks at how broadband use at home may never be the same, and could even be cut off
Broadcast on: BBC One, 8:30pm Monday 15th March 2010
The problem is, the show is much like one broadcast as part of Film09 last year. That show, like this one, relied almost entirely on industry views, regurgitating their talking points, and ‘facts’ without any attempt at journalistic integrity. Basic practice is to get confirmation on facts from two separate sources, and yet both last year, and last night, this was not adhered to. The reason why is simple, of course – there is no second separate source. The Copyright industry is the only one claiming losses. The only facts that support those claims, are studies those same industries fund. Even then they don’t match up, although that little detail is swept under the rug.
Like last year though, I’m going to complain. and like last year, I expect I’ll get a rather cavalier brush-off as to why the program was short on facts, counterpoint, investigation, critical analysis or basic rational thought.
Just so you understand, the film09 segment last year was basically a regurgitation of the MPAA/Rand study claiming organized terrorism is involved in ‘movie piracy’. The problem is, my old friend at TorrentFreak, Ben Jones, debunked the report thoroughly weeks before the segment was shown, and he wasn’t alone in it. The respnse to my complaint however, dismissed little things like ‘facts’
Subject: ‘Film 2009 with Jonathan Ross’ [T2009040900EUS010Z5530203]
4/15/2009 10:25 AM
Dear Mr Norton
Thank you for your e-mail regarding ‘Film 2009 with Jonathan Ross’ as broadcast on 31 March.
I note you felt the report on this programme about copyright theft wasn’t adequately balanced as it only featured interviews with people from the film industry. I appreciate you felt we allowed a distorted view of this issue to be portrayed and note you have strong views regarding this matter.
This report focused in on a legitimate problem for both the film industry and the authorities as they try to tackle what is an ever increasing and profitable criminal activity. We feel the report outlined the laws surrounding the issue of film piracy adequately and that the interviewees from the film industry were entirely appropriate people to comment on the problem.
Impartiality is the cornerstone of all our output, and we feel this report was fully balanced in it’s coverage of copyright theft. Nevertheless I appreciate our audience has a wide range of opinions and inevitably this means that not every viewer will agree with the content of every programme we broadcast. We know all our editorial decisions are subjective and we’d never expect our audience to agree with every decision we make.
With this in mind that I’d like to take this opportunity to assure you that I’ve recorded your comments, including that you believe this topic deserves a more in depth investigation, onto our audience log. This is an internal daily report of audience feedback which is circulated to many BBC staff including senior management, producers and channel controllers.
The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.
Thanks again for contacting us.
And now, almost exactly a year later, we have another program, making a similar lobbying attempt, cunningly camouflaged as factual programing. The UK Pirate Party has, so far, found over twenty errors, embellishments, inaccuracies and misstatements. I imagine the number will increase as more people look closely at the program.
I for one will be sending another complaint (http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/) , and I hope I won’t be alone in it. When I get a response, I’ll post it straight away.
So the oink trial is over, and Alan won.
In a larger sense, many of us won. The Oink raid and trial was, at it’s essence, a show-trial, every bit a spectacle trial (or ‘spectrial’) as last years Pirate Bay one – if not moreso. After all, the Swedish Police didn’t do the raid accompanied by TV cameras – in fact they covered up cameras – but otherwise it was similar.
So let’s go through the case. It started with a raid, covered by the BBC in a regional news program that covered the talking points of the victim (the IFPI/BPI) and the police. Worse, the police, in the form of Detective Inspector Colin Green, made definitive statements that were at odds with the facts.
“There’s approximately 180,000 members, who pay subscriptions to enter the website and download any music that’s available. And music that’s been made available on that website, it’s pre-release, it hasn’t gone into the record shops”
As we all know, subscriptions were not required. Nor was music downloaded from the site. As for the pre-release claims, a small percentage may have been, but the better question is where it came from, presumably a music industry person that decided to upload, and not acquired by Mr Ellis himself.
The domain was also hijacked, by the IFPI and BPI, displaying their logos and an intimidating message. Interestingly, the representatives of the alleged victims, the IFPI and BPI, were not only participating in a criminal investigation, but headlining it. A definite conflict of interest at the very least, but the hijacking of private property owned by the defendant, by the accuser, to post intimidation and attempt to influence people, is clearly an attempt to prejudice the trial. 3 days later, thankfully, the website was redirected, but it shows the levels of influence these industry bodies have over the police.
Meanwhile, Alan Ellis, was released, and spent the next 11 months on bail before being finally charged with “Conspiracy to defraud the music industry”. The UK lobby group FACT has a description of the offence which actually pretty much gave the case as a win for Ellis (and archive.org says the page is still the same as in May 06). The specimen charge they give reads
On a day between the … Day of… 19.. And the … Day of… 19.. In the county of… And elsewhere, conspired with … And with persons unknown to defraud the copyright owners of various video films by marketing/distributing/manufacturing infringing copies of video films contrary to the common law
No-one was defrauded of films, they still had them. The only way the charge could work, is if the claim is that the copyright owners had been deprived of money they might have got. Great, except that argument can be made by anyone you’re in competition with. Oh, and copyright, not a property – it’s an assignable right.Next time – the build up, the users, and the pre-trial playabout.
One of the core philosophies of reporting is that you only print what you’re sure of. If you don’t know, don’t say. That way Libel lies.
Someone really should tell the Northern Echo (Update; see comments, it’s written by the Press Association) that. Today, they ran a piece about the restarting of Alan Ellis’ trial. Alan, if you didn’t know, was associated with oink, the music bittorrent tracker. If you know about bittorrent, and the case in particular, it’s a real head-slap moment. The majority of the piece appears to have been copied from the RIAA/BPI filings made to police, and 30 seconds research (even to past news stories covering this case) would prove the lie.
Let’s look at some of the errors
A man suspected of operating one of the world’s biggest pirate music websites from a bedsit had his trial adjourned today.
I’m pretty sure the site was operating from a Hosting company. Despite claims made by ISPs, their residential connections aren’t all that fast.
“Computer equipment and documents were seized from his home in Middlesbrough in 2007 and he was charged by police with conspiracy to defraud the music industry and copyright infringement.”
Actually, things seem cut and dried, but it’s not quiet accurate (again). The raids and seizures were made in October 2007 (and ‘coincidentally’ with a BBC camera unit in tow) but Mr Elis was not charged until 11 months later. With Conspiracy to Defraud the Music Industry – a charge unheard of before (possibly because it doesn’t actually exist?)
“Police and music industry investigators suggested that he could have made hundreds of thousands of pounds a year from the OiNK website, which he set up in 2004.
“Could have”, yes. Did do, no. Over the same time period he *could* also have murdered 300 people, or run for the House of Commons. It’s actually music investigators (the plaintiffs) making that accusation first – that’s one of the things that triggered the raid.
“He is the first person in the UK ever to be charged with illegal file-sharing. “
Oh, not even close. We could cover Barwiska (although that’s a civil case). The uploaders to oink that police arrested as a result of this raid, who were sentenced a year ago would also probably dispute that.
The OiNK website was a complex computer programme created to help share music and audio files amongst a community of online users.
The oink website was a fairly simple website which accessed a tracker database backend. It’s no more complex than Amazon, or any other database-driven site, and is certainly not a computer program, complex or otherwise.
Members of the community would seed the system by uploading music files or leech from it by downloading music files.
Sorry, They would seed torrents, which are independent of the tracker or ‘system’. Likewise, they would leech from torrents, using bandwidth from other users, not doing anything with the ‘system’ directly.
To do so they had to register their email address and a unique user name, and make donations by debit or credit card to ensure full access and maximum usage of the site.
Yes, yes, and no. Donations were not required – this is back to the ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’ argument above. Telling the lie that you HAD to send money, means there’s a minimum financial value associated with each user, which can be counted, which then leads to the money claims above. Since there was no requirement to pay to use the site, the rest of the argument falls down badly.
The technology used – a method known as BitTorrent file-sharing – had three main advantages: It broke files down into small pieces of data, which made that data more easy to share, giving a higher quality download in a shorter time.
First, that seems like only one advantage to me, and a nonsensical one at that. Higher quality means bigger file, regardless of protocol used to share, which means LONGER time not shorter. What I think they mean to say was “it breaks files down into smaller chunks of data (just like all data transfers do) which can then be distributed with a far greater efficiency than using any other protocol”
The beauty of the system was that each time a person leeched – or downloaded – an album from the internet, they became a seeder from whom other OiNK users could download the same album.
True, but only as long as the specific torrent in question was not only still in the persons client, but actively running as well, not permanently, as is suggested.
Early online file-sharing systems were so slow it could be more expensive to download an album than to buy it in a shop.
I would really LOVE to know how they came up with this statement. I suppose if you were on dialup, calling a non-local Point of Presence that was not free, you could maybe rack up some charges (7.9p/minute at current BT national call rates). Dialup (when I had it with blueyonder in 99-2002) would do approx 1MB every 5 minutes, and a 3 minute song is about 3MB. 15 minutes per track comes to 118.5p. In that way, yes it’s more expensive than 99c from itunes, BUT, it’s less than the cost of going to HMV or Virgin, and buying a single for 10 songs, its £11.80 – which is less than I seem to recall albums costing now, or then (and we’re not factoring in travelling costs), so another false claim.
But advances in technology meant OiNK users could download very high quality music files, very quickly.
Oink users, iTunes users, BBC iPlayer users- that’s not something specific to Oink. The technological advances are in broadband rollout and speed, bcause if you’re still on dialup, bittorrent won’t be any faster – would almost certainly be SLOWER in fact.
Ellis’ trial at Middlesbrough Crown Court was adjourned until tomorrow, for legal arguments.
Wow, they managed it! They managed an entire sentence that was wholly accurate.
You want to know what’s quite fun about this piece though? Since it’s a newspaper, distribbuted in the area of the trial, and which contains a severely slanted perspective on the case, including a lot of factual errors, it could be considered prejudicial to the case, and cause a mistrial. Nor is it the first time such action has happened in this case. Immediately after the raid the domain was hijacked by the music industry, long before charges were made, let alone a day in court.
Fun eh? I’ve sent a link to this to the News Editor of The Northern Echo, I wonder what his response will be.
UPDATE:i’ve just been informed that the Mirror is also running the exact same story Wonder what their editor thinks of it.
UPDATE 2: Just has word from Alan “didn’t even get my job right.” – nuff said really.
… or so we’re told.
There is a belief, that music sales are being harmed by the internet. MP3’s and peer-to-peer (p2p) networks have made swapping music easy, ever since Napster burst onto the scene in 1999. There is even a section on the BPI’s website that deals with it (strangely titled “File-sharing FAQ’s“
Why is it a problem; does filesharing damage music sales?
Aside from the fact that filesharing infringes and undermines the rights of the creators and investors in music, it’s enormously damaging to music sales.
Is is true though?
Well, according to figures from the UK music industry themselves, the answer is No.
I have already published this info once, in my recent consultation response submitted to the UK government. What I didn’t do, however, was show what those figures look like. After all an arcane group of numbers might look like anything, what’s needed are some illustrations.
Without further ado, let’s get to the data then.
The data is provided from two sources. The data comes from the Official UK Charts company information pack, And the BPI “Top market lines” publication. Also, as the BPI notes, digital album data was only collected from Q2 2006 onwards, so prior to that, any sales were unrecorded.
Lets’s start with Albums. First, the raw figures (figures are in millions of units)
And likewise the singles figures (again, figures are in millions of units)
This might look like boring data, so lets add the graphs.
Album sales look like this
While singles sales look like this
Doesn’t look all that damaging to sales to me.
One last test though, let’s look at all those sales numbers combined, see just how much the sales have been ‘hurt’ over the last 10 years by P2P.
Lord Mandelson’s Digital Economy Bill has in it the proposal to terminate the internet connections of people repeatedly accused of copyright infringement. It’s claims that because this is such a big loss maker, and so time consuming and costly to enforce, justice should be circumvented and punishment be made to deter the actions from being committed.
There is, however, a bigger crime out there, that is harder to prove, and more costly to the country as a whole. It’s name? CORRUPTION
It not just causes a huge loss in financial terms, with public funds being misappropriated into uses not benefiting the country as best it could. It also substantially undermines the whole political process, removing faith in the democratic process, and in the validity of the government. It is even, unlike copyright infringement, a criminal offense, so the general acceptability of corruption is zero.
Thus a 3-strikes procedure for corruption of a public official should be even higher on the agenda.
Unfortunately for Baron Mandelson, he’s already got two past allegations of corruption on his record.
- In 1996 there was an incident with Geoffrey Robinson over a £373,000 interest free loan.
- In 2001 there was an incident with Srichand Hinduja
On both occasions he resigned his government position.
There have been further hints of corruption, such as
- In 2004, he spent December 31st on the yacht of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, while he was a EU Commissioner for Trade, and Microsoft was being investigated for antitrust violations (antitrust being a substantial trade concern)
- In 2008 it was alleged that he had maintained contact with a Russian businessman, Oleg Deripaska, and had, during his time as EU Trade Commissioner twice cut traffics that benefited Oleg’s RusAl aluminium company, as well as swift entry visa’s being arranged by one of Deripaska’s senior employees when Mandelson wanted to visit.
- Finally, this past summer, he reportedly showed no interest in the Digital Britain report, until after a holiday in Corfu, including meeting with Dreamworks co-founder David Geffin. On returning from this holiday, he then modified an already open consultation in order to speed the timeline up. Another action that has the appearance of corruption.
There are, then, 5 instances of corruption alleged. Were these simple copyright infringements, that would be suitable for strong sanctions to be automatically taken. However, since these are allegations of the serious crime of corruption, rather than the completely unproven damage alleged of copyright infringement.
With 5 ‘strikes’ against him, he would be eligible for the appropriate counterpoint to termination of internet services – termination of liberty. Prison, in other words.
It won’t happen though, because it strikes right at the heart of politicians; because corruption is a serious problem and copyright infringement is only a serious problem for those afraid of losing control; because too many government officials would end up in prison; and because current government officials, above all else, do not want to have to be honest, truthful, or accountable.
Today, we had the release of the Digital Economy Bill, which is basically a way of taking the Digital world, and forcing it to try and confirm to the ‘Old Economy’.
There is one sure sign though, that this is because they don’t understand technology. Are you ready? It’s the pdfs of the consultation responses.
I published mine back here a few weeks ago, right after I sent it to them in fact. You can download it here. It is 272kb in size. The version included in this zip file (labelled Norton P2P Research – yes, they put me in with the companies, rather than in the individual responses) is 3.88MB
What’s the difference?
- Mine has colour. The image on page 9, and the graph on page 11 lose some of their impact without colour.
- My version has working source links.
- Even if they were de-hyperlinked, you could still copy the text and input them. You can’t select any text on the BIS version
- The footers, with the page numbering (important if you end up printing it out) and filename are missing on the BIS version.
- You can’t search for text on the BIS version
- The text can be hard to read (pg12), pages are skewed (pg7), lines sometimes shrunk (pg6),
- Finally, they added an extra, blank, page at the end
For all these changes, for the WORSE, they’ve increased the filesize 14x.
More importantly, these changes are discriminatory to the disabled. My version can be easily read, and can be read aloud by screen-readers. The BIS version can’t. They have actively taken a disabled-accessible document and made it INaccessible. Why is that? I’ve fired an email off to the man behind the consultation, Mike Klym at the BIS, lets see what he has to say.
If they can’t even effectively handle a simple thing like a pdf, is it any wonder that that we have such an arse-backwards bill as the Digital Economy Bill?
Wow, mainstream media, or more specifically The Times, did you happen to read my consultation response to the UK Government? I did point out in it how much of an increase in sales there has been since P2P came about (pages 10 and 11), with a roughly 25% gain in both album and singles sales in 2008 compared with 1997.
However, the Times went further, in looking at how the revenue from sales is broken down between artists and labels, and included live gigs. The Times quite rightly labeled the graph as one they don’t want you to see, and you can understand why. Their own figures show that the claims made by the industry, about how artists are losing out, is patently false. My data which was, like The Times’, taken from the BPI, and other industry bodies, shows the lie of their ‘diminishing sales’ claims, like this one:
Why is it a problem; does filesharing damage music sales?
Aside from the fact that filesharing infringes and undermines the rights of the creators and investors in music, it’s enormously damaging to music sales. If record companies are unable to derive income from music sales, that means less money to invest in new music. This is not only bad news for record companies but also for musicians who rely on that investment and for consumers, who want to keep on listening to exciting new British music.
The ‘non-confidential’ responses (and I won’t even go into the whole confidential responses business right now) will be published sometime in ‘A matter of mere days…‘ according to BIS’ Mike Klym. Presumably, that would be the same time as the law goes to Parliament. They’ve had all the responses for at least 7 weeks, and they can’t give us a day or two to review them ourselves, to point out inaccuracies. Inaccuracies such as the bald-faced lies made by Audible Magic in their Digital Britain submission last year, as my long-time friend Ben has just pointed out.
It would be very embarrassing for the Government, and Lord Mandelson, if the bill he puts forward, ends up being based on false information, wouldn’t it. It would be better all round if the submissions were published as soon as possible, in the name of fair, transparent, and honest government. And if you can say that, thinking of the current Labour Government, and keep a straight face, you’re a better man than I.