* Posts by Paul Talbot

103 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Oct 2007


US mum calls 911 over Grand Theft Auto

Paul Talbot


Erm, he "walked around the house and turned on all the lights"? Wouldn't that mean that he had by definition stopped playing the game?

Pathetic parenting. A shame to see tech media mention this sort of tripe as if the game was actually involved. She'd probably have been an equally useless parent if he was just listing to music or watching TV.

British film board rejects 'disturbing' sexual torture film

Paul Talbot

Waste of time, yet again

So, another recommendation for movies to download? Thanks, BBFC!

I don't know why they bother with censorship/bans any more. It didn't work in the "video nasties" era when I had to order banned movies on VHS through the post from Greece, it sure as hell won't now. Oh, by the way:

"Their experience, gained from viewing hundreds of films every year, gives them a very clear insight into what constitutes material that is sexual in nature and potentially harmful."

So, what makes them immune from such harm? If they watch hundreds of these movies each year, surely they'd be more affected than anyone else. The fact that they're not means it's the person, not the movie, that's the problem and driving distribution of the movies underground won't change that.

A waste of time and money. Just as the "ultimate in depravity" (Salo, Caligula) from 20-30 years ago is now legally available uncut on DVD in higher clarity than ever before, with no social consequences, so this is just a distraction from the real issues...

Metallica's Lars Ulrich illegally downloads own album

Paul Talbot

Legal, actually...

Ulrich couldn't have illegally downloaded the album at all. The "crime" involved in downloading an album is copyright infringement, not anything to do with the process itself. Since Ulrich is one of the copyright holders, it's impossible for him to infringe on copyright by downloading the album. Now, if he downloaded someone else's copyrighted works instead, that would be illegal...

Sorry to inject some common sense here, but it's perfectly legal to use P2P software, and there are many legal uses for it no matter what the RIAA propaganda pretends.

Parcelforce website cold-shoulders Linux lovers

Paul Talbot

No, we don't want your custom?

"The spokesman added that the website supports 90 per cent of operating systems and internet browser users"

Why, in this day and age, would a company deliberately refuse custom from 10% of its entire potential customer base (and a lot of people will just go elsewhere instead of picking up a phone)? Not least because there's absolutely no reason to refuse a Linux Firefox user if Firefox works OK on WIndows and OSX...

Oh well, off to a competitor...

Spinning the war on the UK's sex trade

Paul Talbot

How long?

Ah, 6 comments before someone goes "full retard"...

@pk_de_cville: you obviously missed subtle points, so let me reiterate them for you. The article repeatedly acknowledged that sex slavery/trafficking exists, that it is a problem and that it is not something to be taken lightly.

There are two major points that tend to get missed by reactionaries such as yourself. The first is that not every prostitute is doing it unwillingly. Some girls actually choose to either through economic necessity or other reasons (a good whore will work less hours and get paid more than a cleaner). Legalising it would remove some of the obstacles and dangers to those girls (risk of arrest/abuse, drug addiction, disease, inability to rat on an abusive pimp without confessing to jailable crimes themselves, etc.). It wouldn't be paradise nor a particularly glamorous profession if brothels were legalised, but far better than it is now.

The second is that you've just parroted the exact hype that the article rails against. The real problem is not severe enough to get the amount of attention it does, and most of the things that *actually exist* are *already* illegal. The only way the trade will ever disappear, as you rightly note, is for the demand for sex to go away. That just ain't going to happen. As for "getting it through dating or friendship" - well, that's still prostitution. If one party or the other is only interested in sex and not a relationship, then one party is still being used and abused in the name of the other's pleasure.

If not legalisation, why not just concentrate on prosecuting the existing laws without pass further laws to try and make it look like something is happening (while simultaneously doing nothing and catch a lot of innocents in the crossfire)?

How Warcraft reigned supreme in 2008

Paul Talbot
Thumb Up


There's a reason why I've been playing WoW and none of the new MMOs - my laptop can handle WoW fine but doesn't meet the minimum spec for the new ones.

There's also a few nice things (I don't know if these are true of other MMOs, but I know WoW does it) - you don't have to keep playing. I cancelled my sub for 6 months, when I returned all my characters, items, etc. were exactly how I left them. By the time that happened, a new expansion had come out. I didn't have to buy the expansion till *I* was ready.

So, for a relatively casual player like me with ageing equipment and a life outside the game, there's nothing to make me want to leave... but there seems to be plenty of content for long-time players as well. I pick WoW up when I want to, catch up with a few (real-life) friends in-game, have some fun, drop for a month or 2 then carry on where I left off. What more could you want?

Brit ISPs censor Wikipedia over 'child porn' album cover

Paul Talbot

re: Surely some common sense?

Yeah, I agree with Jonas. Context has to be taken into account, else every parent in the country is guilty of child pornography for having that silly picture of their toddler taking a bath.

The naked body is not inherently sexual. If this album cover was fine to be displayed in record stores in the 70s, then it's fine to be displayed on Wikipedia today. Are people banning HMV next, because they have Nirvana's Nevermind album cover, with prepubescent todger on display? Of course not, because it's not a sexual image.

I would take issue with Wikipedia if there were actually child porn there. This picture is not sexual in context, and therefore not pornography. So, no wrongdoing, only another warning that there are those in the UK who still think that we're too stupid to make judgements for ourselves and would rather censor any kind of free speech than actually go after the guilty.

Customs warns of killer consoles

Paul Talbot

Easy solution...

"HMRC reckons the trade in counterfeit goods costs the UK economy £9bn a year."

Maybe they should stop selling the "real" f***ers for so much here then... I can get a DS for nearly 50% less from a legit Asian supplier (especially if I go there and haggle), but local retailers are forbidden from importing them. Even the playing field, and people won't be so tempted to buy from illegitimate sources. Same with CD, games, etc - we're ripped off constantly so we look for ways to not get ripped off. If this involves less-than-legit merchandise, so be it.

Obama: McCain can't email, remembers Rubik's Cubes

Paul Talbot

email is useless?

I've said this before about McCain - while I can understand why a man of his age might not have seen the need to get online for personal use, I find it unacceptable that a man in line for the most important job in his country can't even see the point of email. Email, along with the internet, have absolutely transformed business in his country - read: the US economy - to the point that it's now totally dependent on it. How can he be qualified to make decisions about the failing economy if he can't comprehend a part of it that every 5 year old is familiar with?

For him to be so dismissive makes me wonder what else he "doesn't see as important". I don't see a perfect candidate in this race, but I'm hoping to God that this fool and his bulldog don't get in...

Microsoft slashes US Xbox 360 to sub-Wii price

Paul Talbot

You've got to love it...

...someone comes in says they use the Wii more, then all the fanboys jump in to protect their precious 360s...

It's a personal thing. Some people like the physical multiplayer focus and exclusives (Mario, Zelda, Metroid, RE:UC), that the Wii has or prefer the control system. Others want online play, HD graphics and certain games (GTA, etc.). For me, I play on both equally but the Wii definitely gets more action when I have friends over.

Your opinion and mileage will vary and most people will play more on one console that another. End of story. Can the fanboys threatened by the Wii's success shut up and leave the issue alone now please?

eMusic rattles ISPs over legal downloads

Paul Talbot


"We have no plans to inhibit in any way the traffic of other legitimate music or content services, irrespective of whether we eventually offer our own," BT told the FT. BSkyB said: "It seems premature in the extreme to be warning of the consequences of something that doesn't even exist."

Surely he's not really this dense? If you get a music service included with your ISP, you're less likely to search for an alternative. It's common sense and it's why Microsoft have been constantly in hot water about their bundling of browsers, media players, etc.

Also, of course it's better to fight these things *before* they exist - how could it be better to wait for the damage before trying to prevent it?

Oh well, off to use eMusic as I refuse to use DRM-infected shite anyway and Amazon have decided they don't want to sell to me yet...

Teens admit to Grand Theft Auto-inspired petrol bombfest

Paul Talbot

Bears repeating...

Real headline should read "Teens blame GTA when they're caught in hope of escaping punishment".

Or, to put it another way - headlines from the past:

1998: "Teens admit to Internet chatroom-inspired petrol bombfest"

1988: "Teens admit to video nasty-inspired petrol bombfest"

1978: "Teens admit to punk music-inspired petrol bombfest"

1968: "Teens admit to comic book-inspired petrol bombfest"

1958: "Teens admit to rock 'n roll-inspired petrol bombfest"

Nothing changes. Which is a shame because if the media started actually reporting the reality of life instead of headline-grabbing lies, people might get inspired to tackle the real issues. Oh well, I can dream can't I?

MPs lambast BBFC over Batman

Paul Talbot


As ever, Mr Vaz is making a shrill, stupid point in order to appeal to the Daily Fail readers who don't know anything about modern culture.

The Dark Knight meets the requirements of the 12A certificate, the description of which clearly states that it's parents' responsibility to make the decision about their children under 12 years old. The BBFC provides comprehensive information about what the 12A rating entails on their website, and also provide a special parents' information website (www.pbbfc.co.uk) that breaks down the exact reasons for the rating assigned. They also link to trailers, and there's a massive amount of information available elsewhere on the web so you can make an informed decision.

The BBFC rating is *advice*. It's your job as a parent to not only heed that advice, but also make your own decisions based on available information. Not run to the newspapers because you couldn't be bothered and didn't like the consequences.

Firefox 3.1 vs IE8: 'Alpha, beta testers step forward, please'

Paul Talbot


If it was there by default, I for one would be looking for a way to turn it off. It's fully customisable (that includes the look and feel if you don't like it - I think it looks better than IE, but there's plenty of themes you can download), but obviously the default settings for any program won't appeal to everyone.

Also, why are you and so many others so hung up on the number of updates for Firefox? You get a similar number for IE, but probably don't notice them because they're supplied with the Windows updates. Wouldn't you rather have problems fixed when they're found rather than waiting for a schedule?

Also add me to the club of people who've been using FF for years (since it was called Phoenix, v0.4) and I've never had problems. Currently running v3.01, never had it crash and it has the nice habit of asking me whether I want to save the current state when I close it.

Alicia Keys croons Bond theme

Paul Talbot

re: The Keys to a good bond song?!

"it is madness to have a yank on this track!"

You mean like the last 6 films? Apart from Garbage (who are American but with a British lead singer), the last Bond movie to have a non-American lead track is The Living Daylights.

I agree in principle, but it's a bit late to be complaining about that sort of thing...

MS products just too cool to comprehend, say MS geeks

Paul Talbot

re:You know what the retarded thing is?

So, you're saying that the problem is hardware vendors for not supplying more memory, not Microsoft's fault for building a bloated OS that required far more overhead than any OS should demand?

Wrong. Vista is failing because most people don't need the extra features, and once you've stripped those out there's very little difference between Vista and XP - not enough to justify the extortionate price anyway. I used Vista for a couple of weeks before giving up, because it was incapable of copying a file across a network in less than 24 hours. This was fixed with SP1, but even then it's only truly workable with the search caching and security caching turned off. Apart from the neat Start button, it has nothing to offer over and above XP.

US court sides with Janet Jackson's breast

Paul Talbot


This is just dumb, but understandable since the nation was founded by our rejected prudes. I saw a bra advert on Spanish TV a few weeks ago, which contained raw breast action for about 5 seconds in the middle of a weekday afternoon. I doubt any Spanish people even noticed.

Firefox sweeps away carpet bombing bug

Paul Talbot

'Here we go again

Why? Do you prefer the Windows updates for when Internet Explorer needs patching? Do you prefer to be kept in the dark about exactly when your browser is updating? Or would you prefer Mozilla didn't patch Firefox when they find bugs?

Brits won't get PS3 movie, TV downloads until 2009

Paul Talbot

re:Sony's fault or the studios?

Meanwhile, the studios are trying to remove the internet connections of people who are downloading content by other means that have no region restriction. So, as usual, the pirated content is both easier to obtain and more widely available than the real thing.

If only these people could recognise the cause and effect of trying to control their content in this way...

Minister urges end to videogame rating feud

Paul Talbot

2 thoughts:

1. Yes, parents should take responsibility. This ratings "controversy" isn't going to mean a damn thing if parents ignore them anyway.

2. What are they talking about by "online games"? If it's things like Counterstrike or WoW, the ratings cover the boxed version anyway (and would probably be put onto Steam, etc.). If they're talking about things like flash games, they're insane if they think it's possible to rate them - even if they did manage to rate the games, there's no guarantee that people will visit the site with the EU rating in the first place...

Street View spycar prowls Inverness

Paul Talbot


I still don't get how this is a privacy issue. Anything visible on the photos will also be visible to every other person on the road or pavement. Why are people expecting privacy on a public road?

Firefox 3 makes up world record to set world record

Paul Talbot


Wow, that's possibly the most biased article I've read here without a certain hack with the initials A.O. being involved... Seriously, it's the first time this record attempt has been made, and every record has to be performed for the first time. Guinness will have had to approve the method it's recorded by in order to be accepted into the book, which it was. What's the problem with that exactly?

...and what the hell's up with the usual fools above complaining about pointless stuff? Don't like the new address bar? Type "turn off firefox 3 location bar" in Google and follow the idiot-proof instructions (293,000 results ATM).

Can't live without certain extensions? Look the see if their authors have bothered updating them before updating Firefox. Yes, that's right *the authors of the extension*, which Mozilla aren't responsible for creating or maintaining.

I'm happy with FF3 so far, like the location bar, love the new layouts for the addons and I like the new look. I have 5 installs of it so far, and only one of them counted toward the record so I'm sure a lot more than 8 million are using it.

Bill Gates has gone, what's his legacy?

Paul Talbot
Dead Vulture

Misleading rubbish

"Had it been left to companies like DEC and IBM, computing today would likely be a different, analogue, green-screen world."

I gave up reading here. MS-DOS, the cornerstone of the empire, was provided by Microsoft at the behest of IBM's fledgling PC division. When Microsoft started making inroads into GUI systems in 1985 with Windows 1.0, Apple, Xerox, Atari, MIT (x-windows) and Commodore (among others) had already created or were creating graphical interfaces. Not only that, but Windows 95 was an offshoot of the OS/2 project, a collaboration with IBM.

Gates has done a lot of good things on top of the bad, but we can write his professional sort-of-obituary without resorting to fantasy and misleading statements like this.

UK gov publishes 'kids and videogames' action plan

Paul Talbot

Again, parenting is the key

Sadly, the only thing that's likely to work in this area is for parents to stop palming off their responsibilities to 3rd parties and take an active interest in their childrens' hobbies.

The parents I know who either play videogames themselves, watch what their kids do or have read unbiased information about them don't have a problem. It's the idiots who assume they're for children, ignore them and don't do any research beyond the Daily Mail or The Sun who have the problems...

As with horror comics, heavy metal, "video nasties", et al, this will be a complete non-issue in 10 years and the media will find another scapegoat for society's ills. Meanwhile, lazy parents will continue to churn out badly raised kids.

Nintendo Wii US sales 3x PS3, Xbox 360

Paul Talbot

re: Game sales?

@Matthew: Apparently the attach rate of games (average number of games bought per console) is slightly lower on the Wii (I don't have figures to hand but it's about 1 games per console lower), but Nintendo are the only company who actually make a profit on the console itself so it evens out. So, Nintendo are making a massive profit.

Add me to the list of satisfied Wii owners. I've had it for over a year now and apart from a dry patch after launch, there's plenty of decent games. I own 12 games so far and I'm looking forward to the new Alone In The Dark (probably my next purchase) and some of the upcoming WiiWare games. All the fanboy whiners here are either people who can't bring themselves play a non-FPS game or have made some serious mistakes with their game purchases. For the rest of us, there's plenty of great games.

Firefox 3: now available bug-free, say devs

Paul Talbot

re: hope they dont bug you about this upgrade

It's already been mentioned, but:

1. The new location bar only shows you places you've already been to. The only difference is that what you type is matched against the whole page title rather than just the URL. If it showed you nothing but crap, stop going to those sites!

2. Also, if you don't like it, FFS just disable it! Remember that's one of the advantages of FF against IE - you have complete control. 5 seconds of Google searching gave me this URL with muppet-proof instructions:


So, stop yer whining. You could have fixed this minor issue in less time that it too to reinstall FF2.

America.com auction fails to hit cash target

Paul Talbot


"Prior to the auction some in the domain business had speculated that America.com would top the $12.5m paid for Sex.com."

In other news, "some in the domain business" are idiots. Why exactly would a country-specific domain name (even one appealing to jingoistic Americans) sell for more than the ultimate porn domain?

Nearly $2m for a domain name is pretty good whichever way you slice it though. The name is useless without a business behind it, so if you're not happy with selling an "opportunity" for someone to set up a business for $2m, that's just greedy...

UK cops arrest six alleged BitTorrent music uploaders

Paul Talbot

I wonder...

...if music industry people will ever get the idea of certain things. For example:

"It focused on high quality files and featured trackers for pre-release material, "

Maybe they should not enforce release dates on albums (which exist because of the vagaries of physical releases, which don't affect digital), and maybe encourage retailers to deal in FLAC/320Kbps, non-DRMed files.

OiNK was set up to satisfy a hole in the existing market. If the industry would satisfy the demand themselves, thereby removing the market for these sites, many of them would not exist. At least, those that did exist would not be held in higher regard than the industry itself, as OiNK was.

Microsoft to ODF, PDF - let's get it on together

Paul Talbot


Does anyone really trust MS to implement this properly? News prediction for 2009: "Microsoft say it's not their fault that ODF documents created with Office 2k7 don't open properly in any other program, recommend OOXML instead".

@Paul Slater: You can always try out OOo 3.0 beta, available now ;)

Christian Bale signs for Terminator trilogy

Paul Talbot


Should be good in the long run but the lineup worries me... Bale? Fine, great actor and usually doesn't take up bad scripts. McG. Mc f***ing G? Either the end product will be surprisingly good, else we'll all be praying for Ratner.

Hyundai and Kia's latest pitch to US drivers - Windows

Paul Talbot

re: Brilliant Marketing

The car jokes are an old chestnut from the Windows 95/98 era, I doubt most people are typing them seriously here. The anti-MS jokes have more to do with the fact that everybody is forced to give money to MS whether we want to or not (try buying a desktop replacement laptop without Windows installed - it's possible but not easy, meaning that Linux users have to pay the Microsoft tax). People are tired of doing so, especially when the products are so shoddy (though admittedly Windows Mobile is one of the better ones).

I'm with the more serious suggestions here - next time I'm in the market for a new car, I'll be looking carefully and avoiding anything with a Microsoft component. The marketing doesn't affect me - I'm intelligent enough to recognise marketing and make my own conclusions independent of it. I simply don't trust Microsoft and I'm tired of being forced to pay them money due to their monopoly components. Hopefully enough people will do the same to stop yet another revenue stream opening up for them, but I'm pessimistic.

QXL.co.uk shuts up shop

Paul Talbot

They were still around?

Didn't know they hadn't already gone bust. Oh well...

Winehouse cans Bond theme project

Paul Talbot
Thumb Up


Now, just get someone decent to record it, remind the songwriter that not every Bond theme has to have the title in the song, and we'll be good to go...

Phorm in phormulaic logo phorm storm

Paul Talbot


if I were the design company, I'd be more worried about the fact that the name has become a byword for scam artists than anything to do with the logo...

Watchdog demands MSN Music mea culpa

Paul Talbot


""Every time there is an OS upgrade, the DRM equation gets complex very quickly," Bennett said. "Every time, you saw support issues. People would call in because they couldn't download licenses. We had to write new code, new configurations each time.""

Erm, yeah. That was pretty obvious before you began, wasn't it? "I'm sorry, we can't be bothered to put in the work to keep our own systems running" isn't a valid excuse for trashing peoples' purchases.

I was telling people about this danger when DRM first appeared, but people scoffed. After this and the Google Video fiasco, how can anyone trust DRM-laden content? Fools if you do. Demand DRM-free - for video as well as music content, it's the only way to stop the consumer being screwed.

US lag sues over prison crash diet

Paul Talbot


So, he was a fatty before he went in (187 kg is nearly 30 stone!), and now he's getting a diet as part of his incarceration. No offence to anyone that big, but if you're losing weight on 3,000 calories a day, you were doing something seriously wrong with your diet before you went in.

I'd call this a bonus surprise - when he's released (or set free after the trial), he'll be able to wear clothes that don't double as a 2-man tent.

Grand Theft Auto IV leaked online

Paul Talbot

Again with the dumb comments...

"This news is serioiusly damaging for Microsoft, who can't secure their console, so publishers may be tempted to shop elsewhere."

Bull. Piracy is only damaging if people choose the pirate version instead of buying the original. Given the massive pre-orders, that's not happening with GTA4. The most likely group of people downloading this are people who have already pre-ordered and just can't wait another few days before playing. If the sales for the 360 version of GTA4 turn out to be much lower than for the PS3, you might have a point but I doubt that'll happen.

@Andy Worth: the argument still stands. Have you ever heard rave reviews for a movie/CD/book/game and just not liked it at all? Most of us have. Just because everyone else in the world thinks a game is a masterpiece doesn't mean you will, and the cost of a new next-gen game is pretty high for a lot of people to waste if they don't like it.

...and yeah, enough with the "freetard" crap already. You people can't even decide who it refers to - one minute it's illegal downloaders, the next FOSS advocates, the next people who get legal free downloads (like the NIN albums). It wasn't funny when the word was coined, and it's even less funny when you can't even decide who it applies to.

@Daniel B: It's been said but worth repeating. Vice City, San Andreas, et al. were all spin-offs from GTA3, not true sequels. It's like the Resident Evil series - there were lots of Code Veronicas, Outbreaks, etc. between RE3 and RE4, but they weren't part of the official timeline.

Nintendo Wii 'like a virus', games boss sniffs

Paul Talbot
Thumb Down


"Right, Zelda I really didn't enjoy on it. They back-fitted the control scheme on it, it was better on the GameCube"

That's all I need to know. He's played a few titles and because he didn't like the way control schemes were mapped on one of the earliest games (that was designed for the GC), he thinks it's no good.

Did he try games that were designed from the ground up for the Wii or just PS2/GC conversions? Doesn't say. Did he try more recent or more innovative control examples like Madden, Elebits, No More Heroes or Okami, where the motion controls really add to the game? Doesn't say. How exactly would Trauma Center or Zack & Wiki work on a standard controller without becoming extremely frustrating? Who knows...

Paul Talbot

re: FarCry on the Wii


Tell him to check Metacritic or at least some reviews before buying a game. Far Cry was a rushed launch game (Metacritic average score 38%), and is well known as one of the worst games for the Wii. UbiSoft have even publicly apologised for making such a poor game.

If you want a decent FPS for the Wii, try Medal Of Honor Heroes 2 or Metroid Prime 3.

Windows Server 2008 is better than Vista, but why?

Paul Talbot

Working OS?

"Server 2008 delivers new features that customers wanted, whereas Vista delivers new features that Microsoft thought its customers should want. "

Not exactly. Server 2008 seems to deliver features with the ability to customise them and not lose performance when performing the same tasks as 2003. (I say seems because I haven't used it yet).

Whereas Vista was apparently incapable of copying files across my home network when I had the misfortune of obtaining a machine pre-installed with it. That's the big difference I think - Vista has a shinier interface but doesn't seem to work properly for even basic tasks. Server 2008 at least seems capable of performing the task requested of it.

Price cut fails to push Xbox 360 past PS3 in UK

Paul Talbot



"Having played the Wii I'll admit that it is amazing, innovative and creative... for about 2 weeks."

I usually say this is the point where you have to start playing games that weren't bundled with the console.

Or are you telling me that after 2 weeks you've already had enough of playing *every* good game with innovative controls like Mario Kart, Metroid Prime, Okami Wii, Elebits, Madden and Trauma Center, party games like Rayman and WarioWare as well as plain good games like Mario Galaxy, Zelda, No More Heroes, Smash Bros, Guitar Hero 3 and Zack & Wiki?

If so, you're either lying or need to get out more. Can we please stop these ridiculous comments? Everybody who wants to test out the Wii has done so by now. Either they've bought it (or want to buy it) or they haven't/don't want to. Let's stop with the "I don't own one / haven't played anything other than Wii Sports and it sux!" comments.

Anti-paedophile group targets child abuse sites

Paul Talbot

re: wait a sec

Pretty sure this was a troll attempt but just in case:

"but what about all the poor young innocent 5 yearolds who have their uncles cocks in their mouths? surely anything that cracks down on this is a good thing?"

That's the problem. Internet legislation and prosecution will do nothing to stop that kind of thing happening. Most child abuse happens at the hands of family and friends, not the random stranger boogeyman that's plastered on the front pages. You might stop this hypothetical uncle from sharing his exploits but it won't save the girl.

Billy Bragg: Why should songwriters starve so others get rich?

Paul Talbot

re: let the artists live in your house...

"Any of us, given the choice of free or pay will take the free route."

Wrong. Radiohead generated millions of sales with their giveaway. Nice Inch Nails have generated millions with their giveaway 4 albums. The exact dollar value is under debate, but there's no doubt that these artists made a profit *even after offering the product for nothing*! Especially with NIN's Ghosts I-IV (CC licenced therefore legally free for anyone to copy for nothing), this shows that there are still plenty of people out there wishing to pay the artist even if the freebie is on offer. It's not just with big-name bands either. The hip-hop group Atmosphere gave away an album at Christmas last year. I'd never heard of them before that, I have now bought their entire back catalogue purely due to that freebie.

"As much as I dislike the music companies and would LOVE them to go to the wall, content will never be free. There is always a cost. Whether it be a new band gigging around Camden, burning copies of their own album and selling it for five quid to recoup the studio costs while doing the gig for free to build up a fan base. I mean lets forget analogies, they are all crap at the end of the day. Take a band, they have to pay for studio time (or pay for the equipment in the bedroom), they have to give up their own time to practice, they have to pay printing costs for flyers, chase bars and gig locations to be allowed to play and a lot of other stuff. This money has to come from somewhere."

Yes. Yes it does. The point is that is DOESN'T have to come just from selling CDs. Also, your examples listed above are, frankly, tosh. The flyers, advertising and practice are called investment. Nobody's going to turn up to watch a band they've never heard of play songs they haven't practiced at playing. After that, yes they pay for studio time but they pay for that mainly so that they can get the expertise of experienced engineers and producers who can help them get the best out of their music. This is again an investment - more people will pay for a well-produced collection of good songs than something thrown together in someone's garage.

The money has to come from somewhere? Yes, it comes from the people who have been convinced to turn up for the gig (possibly after sampling the music for free), and then will buy T-shirts, CDs and other merchandising either at the gig or later on (if the band are any good, of course). They will then recommend you to other people, who may sample the music for free beforehand but then turn up for the gig, but the merchandising, etc. You build a fanbase, then leverage that fanbase to negotiate better deals with venues, suppliers, convince people to licence your music, etc. There are revenue streams that didn't exist 20 years ago - e.g. videogame licencing - as well as opportunities to make and distribute music at a much lower cost than ever before. Don't cry about it because you're trying to depend on the one and only part of the music industry (selling pre-recorded bits of plastic) that's in decline.

@EC: "What proportion of freetard downloads are lost sales? More than the freetards say (zero) and less than the pigopolists say (100%)"

Finally, I agree with someone 100%. This is the problem - sales are indeed generated by free content. What's up for debate is how much this is, and whether or not it's more than the sales "lost" from freeloaders. My point is that the industry's actions are losing them so many more sales - DRM, regional restrictions, silly prices and suing potential customers have lost them so much more than they realise.

Paul Talbot


My, my, so many wrong-headed arguments and assumptions here on the part of the major label supporters...

To the "musicians can't make money touring / don't want to tour" crowd: There arre literally hundreds of ways to make money from music. The way that's been most popular over the last few decades is the "make a recording, burn it to CD/tape/vinyl and sell copies of that" route. Whatever the reason, the bottom's falling out fo that market. That leaves all the other routes - licencing to TV/Movies/games/remixesetc., touring live, digital downloads (which many, many people still pay for), merchandising, etc., etc. Just because *you* haven't figured out how to leverage your music to make money doesn't means it's not possible.

@PaulC - Bands have been doing this for a long time. If a venue is doing this for a proven, popular act, they're idiots. But, if you generate a fan base so that the venue knows that booking you will fill the house and make them money, they'll be more lenient.

The wikipedia link you posted says "The practice began in Los Angeles, CA, during the 1980's. It has become common in many U.S cities at low-turnout all-ages shows where performers are required to guarantee a minimum attendance through pre-show ticket sales.". What's wrong with that? Is a club/bar meant to just accept a loss when your unpopular band attracts 5 people just so you can showcase your 'art'? Even popular bands with major label contracts often don't make a lot of money from CDs and have to make their fortunes with tours - why should your no-name act be any different?

@AC: ""Want to keep your market? Do a better job of selling your product."

TRANSLATION: But don't try selling it to me, I'm a tightwad."

Nope, and thanks for demonstrating a common bad assumption.I don't buy major label content because they don't want to sell me DRM-free music in my region for a reasonable price. However, I do spend at least £30/month on an eMusic subscription, I have bought the Radiohead/NIN albums even though I could have them (legally) for free. I also buy music from AmieStreet, Beatport and the occasional live DVD or buy CDs if there's good extra material.

But, almost all that money goes either directly to the artists or to independent labels. We're not hearing those labels moaning, what we're hearing is always from the major RIAA labels or artists who can't cope with the new business ideas involved in the digital age. Tough. The day I can buy a DRM-free digital download for a lower price than the CD (necessary because I can do less with an MP3 - e.g resellm read liner notes, etc - than I can with a CD), you'll get my money. otherwise, stop bitching about losing sales since you're refusing to sell the consumer what they want to buy.

@JimC: "[Runs Help about on Notepad] (c) Microsoft corporation 1981-2001. So that's some twenty year old code still earning revenue... Frankly just another stupid argument..."

Yes, it makes money for Microsoft. The original coders probably sold their rights to the code to Microsoft as part of their original contract, as many programmers do (code produced on company time is the company's code).

So, yeah. The original coders still need to write code to make a living and don't make money for themselves unless they're still working for Microsoft and have a contract that allows them to. So, why should we not expect musicians to do the same?

Paul Talbot

re: Alan Mellor

OK, this is being done to death but Alan is the closest to giving a rational anti-downloading argument and one that can be equally rationally refuted.

"The one thing I am no longer able to do is to sell it to you. You have reduced my potential market by one, an odd thing to do given you seemed to like the song enough to download it."

Now, here's the thing. Most people who download music would not suddenly appear in record stores with wads of cash to buy the CDs if said downloads were not impossible. They would either stick with other free goods or find some other ways of getting the stuff for free. In those cases you've not been deprived of anything - you've not been deprived of a sale if said sale was not on the cards to begin with. There's no great analogy but I'm thinking of a person who reads a book in a bookstore instead of paying - there's no profit made, but you wouldn't increase your profits by demanding payment instead; that guy would just walk out.

Now, the flipside of that is somebody who wouldn't pay the asking fee for your CD on a whim, who listens to a free copy. They like it so they go ahead and buy the CD/t-shirt/concert tickets/DVD/whatever. All of a sudden, you have a big profit that wouldn't exist without the free copy. that certainly won't happen every time, but there's a much higher likelihood of it happening that getting someone who won't pay for music to do so.

The problem is that for the last couple of decades, the record industry has largely consisted of corporate entities who spend millions in advertising to push junk and then complain that they don't get enough money for it. People are wise to their sales tactics and even being able to listen to the album before buying is a great thing. the marketplace has changed, and the majors are behind.

Case in point - I can use an illegal service to download any album I wish in any quality at any point of the globe. If I try and buy a digital download, I'm given a geographically restricted (I'm not allowed to buy from Amazon), overpriced (check out Play's digital prices compared to their CDs) product that I can only sample tiny pieces of before paying and have no resale rights or recourse if I realise I've been ripped off. In other words, the pirates cater to every single consumer need better than the labels (and I'm not including price in that assessment).

Want to keep your market? Do a better job of selling your product.

Paul Talbot


Can't watch the vids at work but...

"If the recording right disappears, he predicts, "we'll be spoonfed corporate stars that are designed to appeal to a mass audience. Someone who is a bit quirky - and by quirky, I mean a Radiohead - will never get out of Oxford.""

Doesn't he mean: that's what's been happening since the late '80s and now that the Internet's taking over all the quirky acts have a chance to reach their mainstream audience? Remember Radiohead didn't really become quirky until *after* they'd sold enough records not to care. "Creep" was a great song but quirky it wasn't.

Horror bestseller condemns videogame sales limit law

Paul Talbot
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re: he's almost right

Wrong. It won't work at all, and would actually make the games more popular for kids.

I remember growing up in the 80s. There were movies that ended up on the infamous "video nasties" list that became cult classics and much sought after for my age group. If you talked to people from countries where they weren't banned, most people hadn't heard of them or ignored them because many of them were rubbish.

The same thing would happen with games. It's much better to stop trying to push through stupid laws like this that could only be the thin end of a large wedge (why stop at games? why not movies? books? music? why stop at just restricting childrens' access to certain material?), and instead funnel those resources into the real social issues that lie at the root of the problems with society today.

Story withdrawn

Paul Talbot


"women don't fancy studs who get lots of sex"

Good news for me then!

</end sarcasm>???

Mr. and Mrs. Boring sue Google over Street View pics

Paul Talbot


"caused them mental suffering and diminished the value of their property."

If people being able to see the property and it's surrounding location is this big a problem for its value, there's something else wrong...

MySpace Music leaves creators cold

Paul Talbot
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There's no outrage because those of us who care about the issue to any degree won't be using this kind of service anyway. There's no point in railing against one corporation (News Corp) siding with others (the RIAA), and Bragg's comments have been dissected and pretty much debunked elsewhere anyway.

All in all, it's a belated attempt by the majors to directly leverage a service whose usefulness caught them by surprise. There's plenty of (better) alternatives elsewhere for the independent -minded.