Intellectual Property Rights: On the Internet, Nobody Can Hear You BitTorrent

How the Internet works.

How the Internet works.

Today we are going to discuss intellectual property rights on the Internet. Now, I do realize this is a difficult subject for many people. To begin with, the very phrase is problematic; it contains the words “intellectual” and “Internet” in the same sentence, which is very questionable in what it suggests about Internet content in general. Secondly, the phrase contains the words “property rights” and “Internet” in the same sentence, which suggests that people on the Internet have some kind of “right” to the YouTube videos they post of themselves and all their friends burping the alphabet song.

In all,the phrase “Intellectual property rights on the Internet” seems to suggest that there is some sort of “intellectual property” somebody has “rights” to, on the Internet. Thus, for many, discussing Internet property rights is a little like discussing a cow’s right to own a Ferrari convertible.

There are many men on the Internet that could pass for cows, often on the basis of weight alone, although in that regard some are a bit more similar to whales, if you get my drift. Their fans are also akin to cows; chewing on the dried out cud of old memes and new information about unimportant things that nobody cares about, they fill their four stomach compartments with information digested over time, in the hopes that they can produce the thick and juicy Milk Of Information for their fans, thus completing this cycle of Internet cowdom.

Unfortunately, sometimes Internet cows’ milk is not so good. Sometimes our Internet cows–referred to by those in the know as Intercows–produce blue milk that is indigestible, or produce milk that is thick but lumpy and of questionable nutrition. These sadly information-starved Internet cows typically stay on celebrity gossip websites and look like Serbian war refugees. But this is not important. No sirree. What is important is, no matter how retarded the content they add to the Internet, Youtube-posting, blogging, webcomic-drawing Intercows do in fact deserve some kind of intellectual property rights.

Bear with me, I have a point.

Consider a cow. Like, in a barn. Now, imagine that this cow decided one day to get off its fat lazy hoofs and begin composing great symphonies the likes of Mozart. Now, I’m sure you probably think, “Oh, this is just a cow, there’s no way it could make any kind of music aside from intestinal disturbances. Now make me a steak, woman.” But you are sorely mistaken. First off, I am not a woman. Second off, how do you know what a cow is capable of? You don’t live anywhere near a cow, and if you do you’re probably a redneck, so your opinion doesn’t count, because you voted for George W. Bush and are therefore responsible for [insert horrifically embarrassing international incident involving the word “nukyalar” here].

Just assume (ASSUME, DAMMIT!) that we found that a cow could make great music. The question is, of course, what would we pay cows to listen to their music? Would we take them to the Roxy and have them conduct an orchestra? Certainly not, as the udder gyrations would be nearly hypnotic and distracting to the musicians. We also could not have them play on streetcorners, as they are usually naked, and public nudity is a crime in most areas. The answer is, of course, Youtube. Youtube will allow you (we’ll call you “Billy Bob”) to upload videos of your cow (we’ll call her “Bessie”) to a Youtube account (“Cowtube”). At any time, in any stage of undress, you can upload videos to Cowtube of your prodigious cow. The only question now is where you make money.

Typical Internet advertisement.

Typical Internet advertisement.

The answer, of course, is advertisements. Advertisements are obnoxious things large corporations place on web pages to infuriate Internet users. The idea is very simple, really. If enough corporations place enough advertisements on enough webpages, everybody using the Internet will be so irritated from clicking the “X” button on various advertisements for rubbery unmentionable bananalike projectiles and feminine flotation devices that they’ll give up on using the Internet and go out to buy Mountain Dew and Cheetos. This may seem like a poorly-conceived way to make money, but it forms the foundation of the modern world economy as we know it.

To put it simply, Intercows do in fact make money off their work, via advertisements. In fact, the only person I know of who does not make money peddling his writing on the Internet is me. I do not make a single damn cent writing all this horse manure. The closest thing I get to actual money is in the form of intense satisfaction from reading angry half-finished rants from total strangers, most with three or four mistakes per word, telling me how horrible I am for comparing great writers like Maddox–who I might add, now makes money off his book, The Alphabet of Manliness–to a cow.

Technically, whether or not people get to make money off their Cowtube videos has nothing whatsoever to do with intellectual property rights, although it’s definitely something I would like to do, so I could stop being poor. Nevertheless, many take Internet intellectual property rights seriously. So let’s talk about that some more. There is a more important question than mancows’ right to money for their work anyway. That question is, of course, “Are you infringing on somebody’s intellectual property rights is you use BitTorrent to steal BloodySugar’s latest strip-jewels-game/comic extravanganza?” No. No, a thousand times over. Or at least I sure hope not. So then we have to ask: Does BloodySugar.com make good drawings of naked cartoon women? I have no idea. Do I need to change this site over to a place that lets me place advertisements all over the place for no apparent reason? Yes I do. I definitely need to get into putting advertisements on my little online e-diary here. And that’s the end of our discussion for today.

Clearly we have learned quite a bit. To recap:

-It is OK to steal from Internet people, especially mancows like Maddox and Jerry Holkins, because they are fat and they make money anyway and they should be used to feed starving children in third-world nations.

-It is also OK to steal from porno sites like Bloody Sugar, because they are disgusting filth and if you don’t steal their latest furry porn masterpiece they will fill your mind with garbage and make you want to have sex with a woman, which we all know isn’t going to happen for at least the next four centuries anyway, so why bother trying?

-Cowtube would be an excellent name for one of those websites where women of questionable morals place videos of themselves for no apparent reason. It might make some think twice before posting the videos, for fear that they would be called “cows”. Many might get jobs.

-I need to put ads all over the place for no apparent reason.

That’s it for today. I hope you feel as enlightened as I do. I feel like a black hole of enlightenment right now. How about you?

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Yes, This Is Seriously the Easter Post for 2009.

(Yes, I’ve Seen All Good People. I nominate this song for Official Easter Song.)

P.S. Happy Easter. Praise Jesus and may he not strike me dead in the coming year.

Nintendo Death Watch I

My name is Roberto Fargo. You may remember me from such acclaimed websites as What’s Right About Cars (WRAC), where we’ve been discussing the impending demise of General Motors and Chrysler for years, in our  Detroit Death Watch series. We started the series because we knew that we were important people with an important role in the advancement of the human race, and that only we could use our flowery prose to tell people that their cars sucked. It was obvious to us at the site’s inception that our site was different. We needed to discuss the truth about cars. And by God, we did. Our site’s raison d’etre hasn’t changed at all since those halcyon years. Like Alf to cats we have always determinedly fought the good fight to bring you, our esteemed readership, the latest about cars. What makes them tick. How they work. Why the Jeep Compass sucks.

But now, with GM and Chryslerberus in their final death throes, Maximum Bob put out to pasture, and Wagoner finally flown the proverbial Little Douce Coupe, it’s time that we moved on to a different subject. Here on LoopyLines I’ve decided to put my best foot forward on the pilot project for a new site which we feel will just as doggedly pursue the truth in another subject: Video games. This is the first post to what we hope will be The Untruth About Video Games. And, of course, the Untruth About Nintendo.

When Master Chief calls in the Elites to try to determine which one to murder with his spiking gun, I’m always hoping for a miracle. I want him to kill ALL of them. My feelings about Nintendo are identical. When Shigeru Miyamoto said that he’d give the Star Fox franchise to Rare if the games didn’t “go into hyperspace,” he started a debate over which of Nintendo’s lackluster gaming franchises deserved death. The answer is, of course, all of them.

Nintendo was born as a conglomeration of various shitty video game characters that nobody cared about. In the beginning, though, they all kept their basic character sprite designs and various box art designs. In spite of the fact that Nintendo kept control of all the characters, each remained true to whatever stupid gamer fanbase it had. When this structure fell apart, or became one big shitty-ass mess of crappy products and stupid games, is not as important as the fact that it has.

Nintendo’s eleven brands–Sonic the Hedgehog, Star Fox, Super Mario, Donkey Kong, various shitty third-party companies, the original Megaman, Megaman X, Zelda, Conker and Banjo-Kazooie, Krystal the Furfag Dream, and Wii Shit–are virtually interchangeable. You could remake a Mario Kart and call it a Wii Kart; or a Star Fox Adventures and call it Megaman Goes Into Space; or a Sonic Adventure II: Battle and call it Conker Turns Blue and Goes On Boring Adventures with Obnoxious Little Furry Friends. And that’s without mentioning the elephant in the programming room: Character sprite sharing.

Nintendo’s brands bring new meaning to the words “gaming overlap.” Red Steel or Super Smash Brothers Brawl? Madden or Super Mario Spikers? Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit or Mario Kart Wii? These franchises might have better luck competing with non-Nintendo brands if they weren’t so busy competing against each other. As a result, whenever one of the eleven non-identical twins tries to make a case for itself as not being another faggy Nintendo product only retarded children would play, it unintentionally demeans a fraternal partner. Mario’s claim to be “a plumber” makes Star Fox seem like a careless flyboy. Sonic the Hedgehog’s “run really fucking fast” makes Megaman seem slow. And so on.

The franchise directors may beg to differ, but their hardcore fans don’t. Star Fox still touts itself as Nintendo’s furry-fanservice division–at the same time that Sonic fans like Sonichu keep on churning out more porno of Sonic-Tails yaoi slash fanfiction. And here’s a compare-and-contrast from Hell: Mario’s jumping ability versus Luigi’s.

The situation reminds me of the Lego company’s plight in the 90’s and into the 2000’s. When the competition started offering shitty knockoffs of Lego products, Lego responded by offering new themes: Bionicle, Time Travel, Spyrius, Monorail, Electric Train, Star Wars, and Bob the Builder. The bottom line? Lego kept on sucking. All these new brands and… Lego KEPT ON KEEPING its market share. Well, OK, so video games like Nintendo and Playstation were still taking away its toy market share, but in terms of making small plastic bricks with knobs on top, Lego was still first. Am I the only one who sees a parallel with Nintendo, which is responding to its diminishing slice of the US video game market by introducing new characters and a Gamecube with a remote control and a joystick attached?

Shigeru Miyamoto could kill off a couple of these franchises, figure out what the fuck to do with the rest, make some bonsai trees and–like Hell he could. Thanks to being a big egocentric asshole, constantly having to appease stupid kids and being obsessed with middle-aged plumbers who attempt to get into the dresses of ambiguously lesbian Princesses, Nintendo has neither the will nor the reason to kill off the horrible cancer that continues to eat its brains and rip its limbs off one by one. There’s only one thing to do now: Sell all its characters to the video game orphanage, Sony Playstation.

Earthbound is the only solidly profitable part of the whole corporation, and they haven’t made a new one of that in like fourteen years; everything else is being stuck with shitty, boring games that no sane human being would ever be caught dead playing. Dump the Mario Brothers, the furry shit, the racing games, the remaining first-person shooters, and Nintendo becomes instantly more profitable than before, although it might lose its position at number one in console sales, but that doesn’t matter. What’s more, under Playstation, each franchise would be leaner, meaner, and quicker on its feet, thanks to such meaningful and important features as Blu-Ray, a device that marginally improves graphics quality at only a 240% increase in console price and a 38% increase in game price. Think about the breakup of Atari, and everything it spawned, such as Lynx.

Even if a liberated franchise’s new ownership WAS completely shitfaced and retarded, even if, say, Electronic Arts bought up, say, Sonic, and ran it into the ground at the speed of sound, well, who gives a shit? I’d say, “nobody likes Sonic, except for children and autistic furfags.” And dammit, I’d be right.

The idea of being wrenched from Nintendo’s corporate teats is not bound to make Nintendo’s franchisees happy, especially Donkey Kong, who would likely throw barrels at passersby in a disgruntled fashion until tranquilized. But most sensible financial analysts would view Nintendo’s dissolution as a necessary Hiroshima: A violent explosion set off to anger Japan and force them to surrender to the United States again.

Of course, those same analysts don’t buy Playstation IIIs or Microsoft X-Box 360s anymore. They buy Wiis, because they want to get thin playing that goddamned Wii Fit. If these so-called “experts” want to feel the Trinity Site explosion again, all they have to do is drive down to White Sands, New Mexico and set off an atomic bomb. Even Master Chief himself would savor the irony.