In yet another ridiculous attempt to make us “feel safer” BoingBoing is reporting:
“European airlines are prototyping a Panopticon-in-the-sky: cameras trained on every passenger in flight, married to some kind of snake-oil “terrorism detection” software that will be able to tell if the guy in 11J is planning to rush the cockpit.”
Having just finished Cory Doctorow‘s awesome book Little Brother (go buy this book NOW!) this is a timely mention of just how far, and how misguided, our war on terror has become.
Short little post over on BoingBoing where Cory Doctorow mentions that he heard a great song on a podcast, found the band’s MySpace page and “ripped” the song for his personal collection.
As one who has also acquired music in this way, I am not mentioning this to say what Cory did was wrong but instead to look at why he did it.
1) He loved the song.
2) He wanted to be able to listen to the song whenever and wherever he wanted.
3) The MySpace page for the band, The Weather Station, does not allow users to download their songs nor was their an obvious place for one to go and purchase the song.
So, once again, we see that piracy happens not out of a desire to break the law or get out of paying for something but because it is simply the easiest and most direct way to acquire something.
Would Cory have ripped the song if the band provided a simple, clear and reasonably priced way to legally download the song? Well, I don’t want to speak for him but I suspect he would have gone the legal route – especially if he knew the music was going directly to the band.
Of course, the value of Cory mentioning the band on BoingBoing is worth far more than what he might have spent buying their music.
UPDATE: Thanks to
BoingBoing has what they are calling part of a Terminator/Sarah Connor Chronicles ARG.
The “footage” claims to have been recovered from the wreckage of the EniTech Research Lab. Their website has a bunch of videos about opening up their research to the public.
The comments are great as people try to determine whether or not this is real.
Clearly, this sort of blurred reality is part of the fun of ARGs. I don’t think they lose value when the underlying sponsors are revealed as long as the game itself is compelling and well conceived.
Well, the numbers are already rolling in on the Nine Inch Nails self-release and things are looking pretty good.
BoingBoing: “it only took the band two days to exceed the typical net from a massive-selling traditional CD release. The band sold $750,000 worth of “limited edition deluxe sets,” plus an unknowable further sum from sales of the regular CDs and merch.”
And both TechDirt and Mike Linksaver draw a correlation between the NIN success and Kevin Kelly’s “1000 True Fans” concept.
Mike: “The ultra deluxe success seems to me to validate the encouragement by some to pursue large revenue from rabid fans and collectors willing and able to pay for personalization, authenticity, embodiment, etc., rather than attempting to suppress zero cost distribution to the masses.”
TD: “It’s an excellent framework for any content creator getting started. Certainly, you may not be able to build up enough True Fans if the content isn’t good enough (or unique enough, in some cases), but you’re certainly unlikely to be able to build up those True Fans from scratch by keeping your content locked up and hoping that someone important “discovers” you and makes you a star”
For my money, ARGs as a way to deliver compelling storytelling and solid marketing seems like a slam-dunk, with the obvious caveat that they are incredibly complex and challenging to design and implement.
For now, I’m just going to keep pointing out posts of interest. In this case, the world-trotting Cory Doctorow has super kindly posted his notes from a talk given by one of the main ARG inovators, Elan Lee.
The notes are rough but there are some super cool nuggets:
"ARG: Edoc (Push)
* A clothing company
* Good looking clothes, every item has a secret (Edoc is CODE backwards)
* Find secret by folding, infrared light, washing, etc
* If you solve the shirt, you go to the website and a movie plays
* One movie/shirt
* The movies piece together a murder mystery, told exclusively through
* Started by designing an online story, but delivered the story offline by
pushing it out through clothes
* People who wear the shirts have a connection with each other
* When they pass in the street, they have a story to discuss"
BoingBoing has a totally cool story about a rural internet implementation:
“The Question Box is a project from UC Berkeley’s Rose Shuman to bring some of the benefits of the information on the Internet to places that are too remote or poor to sustain a live Internet link. It works by installing a single-button intercom in the village that is linked to a nearby town where there is a computer with a trained, live operator. Questioners press the intercom, describe their query to the operator, who runs it, reads the search results, and discusses them with the questioner (it’s like those “executive assistant” telephone services, but for people who live in very rural places). ”
There is a book by Phillip K. Dick called “The Galactic Pot Healer” in which everyone uses their telephone to call various computers to answer questions orally. The characters would only be allowed so many queries a day and much information was censored or limited.
I love when ideas in fiction show up in real life, especially when the results are so compelling and successful.
More on the project here.