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Anti-piracy scrooges slammed for Red Cross threats

Bah, Humbug

Letters This week, you were unanimous in your condemnation of Australian moves to freeze funds donated to the International Red Cross. Distinctly lacking in Christmas spirit:

You have got to be shitting me! Do the Record Industry have no shame at all? I think this just goes to show you how far down the corporate line we have gone these days, and it has to stop! Whats next? Suing Oxfam for re-selling old CDs since they haven't paid royalties to the pigopolists?! Madness! Absolute madness!


Dave Redfern

Ah, well the season of good will is obviously being stretched too thin by all of the commercial retailers. They hope they don't have to sue the Red Cross? WHAT!? What they heck have they (Red Cross) done, apart from possibly receiving a donation from a company for a charity which helps millions of people worldwide. How can the music industry seriously think that _any_ of it's consumers are going to endorse them suing a Charity?

Lets think worst case scenario: Kazaa is found guilty of assisting in the illegal copyright infringement of content it carries. Should the Red Cross then give back it's donations? Can't the Music Industry see that helping the Red Cross is better than making any of their artists or shareholders (more likely) a little bit richer? This has to be a first class example of Corporate Greed if every I have seen it.

It's completely despicable in every sense of the world. This needs an end, and very soon. :(



You really have to wonder about the mentality that finds it reasonable, if 'disappointing,' to sue the Red Cross for money. Hasn't the music industry crossed a line yet?

If, hypothetically, I made a few cents pirating music and spent the proceeds on a lollipop to give to my two-year-old cousin, would the industry then try to take it away from her?

Poland blocked the software patents directive from being ratified yesterday afternoon. A collective sign of relief went up from the anti-patent contingent:

So this is what our nation has been reduced to - saved by the only recently joined Polish cavalry.

"The decision has been welcomed by anti-patent campaigners, who said Mr. Marcinski should be praised for his courage."

Indeed. Allow me to suggest that El Reg publishes a method whereby its readers can flood Mr. Marcinski with messages of congratulation and encouragement, lest he lose his praiseworthy level of commitment. Call me cynical, but I fear that he will be subjected to incessant pressure.


And it seems everyone would like to write to the Polish minister responsible to say thank you. Well, you can:

Phew that was a close call. How about all readers give Poland the thumbs up and sign a new thank you to the Polish government. They seem to be the only ones with the ba.. courage to stop this madness.


Richard Andrews, Germany

Your thoughts on the BitTorrent analysis:

I have a few comments on your analysis of the BitTorrent protocol... My main criticism is that you are analyzing BitTorrent in combination with pirate web pages as a P2P file sharing system, when BitTorrent's real purpose is to be a file DISTRIBUTION system.

BitTorrent is designed to replace and enhance the performance of a standard http or ftp download server. Where even ten simultaneous downloads can slow the performance of most inexpensive server setups to a crawl, BitTorrent can easily handle ten thousand or more, and in this it is an enormous success.

One necessary element of a true BitTorrent distribution is a dedicated seed server. This server ought to be always working, and should have a significant amount of bandwidth behind it; I'd recommend 30KB/s minimum, but more is better. You complain that seeders are "punished" and this is why torrents die, but while long-term seeders are nice, they aren't necessary. It is better for me as a content distributor to allow people to close their torrent and play with their new download as soon as they'd like to. Having torrents die off when interest fades is an artifact of misuse of this specification.

You worry about pollution on, and so do I; there's no reason why it wouldn't exist. But as BitTorrent was normally intended this isn't a problem at all. People visiting Blizzard's website to download content via BitTorrent (actually Blizzard uses a modified downloader, but the concept would be the same if users received a standard .torrent file) would obviously receive a genuine .torrent file, and the data in that file verifies the data received in the download. It's only torrent file redistributors like where you'd need to be concerned about pollution.

You're also concerned about tracker availability. I recommend content distributors run their own trackers, which is an easy task given the numerous types of trackers available, including script-based trackers. There's no reason for a tracker to go down unless the web server goes down, in which case no one would probably be able to get a copy of the .torrent file anyway, and a standard download would also be blocked.

As a sharing method BitTorrent indeed has some deficiencies, but it simply wasn't designed for that. That BitTorrent is being misused for that purpose only testifies to its effectiveness. Perhaps a sharing system with elements taken from BitTorrent will someday arise; I know is attempting to create one with "Exeem". But please don't badmouth BitTorrent. :-)


Biggest waste of $20 I ever spent. Totally unsuitable for anything other than illegal file swapping. When BBC America stopped Eastenders last year attempts were made to carry episodes using Bittorent, a lot of Eastenders fans bought the software but the trouble was people were not used to keeping the connection open, so to speak. so large files of Eastenders episodes failed to complete. I did a test on an unused computer here at work. I left it on for two weeks, still didn't complete. My conclusion was that most middle aged EE fans lacked the technical savvy our youth possess to properly operate bittorrent. Anyway the good news is Sharon is leaving hurrah!

The theory is good in principle but fails in practice, except for the gazillions of fans of illegal movies and the like. What the authour should have done is have the thing operate in the background and not through the task manager because people have a tendency to right click and close items on the taskbar. So, he's not clever enough is he?


You should have made some way to count number of reader who (after reading this article) will click on

Or did you? :-)


Also this week, some bright sparks in the auto industry suggested it would be useful to network our cars. We look forward to the first network-crash-test-dummy. You had some other ideas:

Great, now I'll have to patch vulns on my car, too.


While the Car-to-Car WLAN will certainly allow the government to track car movement, it would also enable citizens to keep taps on Cops and/or Radar traps. Think of it, as soon as one car spots a radar trap/cop, all the cars know about it and can take appropriate action, as in slow down so that they do not get a speeding ticket.


Fantastic! Personal car-to-car comms arrives at last...

I've often toyed with the thought of adapting the IR receivers that cars with remote locking already have in order to broadcast messages to fellow motorists.

Missives such as "Turn your front foglights off, you t*sser", "Your indicators appear to be not working" and "Please get out of the middle lane, you complete f***wit" would be right at the top of my list :-)



If they incorporate VOIP, when someone cuts me up and I call them a stupid **** they'll be able to hear me instead of having to rely on my sign language


You suggest a reason Microsoft could have been so keen to have the Mocosoft domain removed in Spain:

I'd like to highlight the fact that MocoSoft freely translates as Software made of Mucus, because "moco" is the name of that green goo that falls from a constipated nose.



TotalJobs defends its website's accessibility, after it was highlighted by Scivisium that sections of the site require the user to be running IE:

Dear Sir,

An article written by Lucy Sheriff entitled Web inaccessibility 'creates net underclass' has been brought to my attention. One of the sites mentioned in the article,, is one of the PJBC group of websites. We feel that the article misrepresented and its policy on accessible websites.

Here at PJBC we take accessibility seriously and have created access versions of all of the job boards on our platform, this was not mentioned in the article. Instead, Lucy Sheriff chose to point out our recruiter-only homepage, which is reserved for clients of ours, which we admit, we restrict to certain browser types. This page only affects around 1500 of our clients, who our sales force and customer support teams are in regular contact with.

We provide several different methods for clients to post their jobs on the site, some online, some offline, and we feel we can accommodate any clients requirements. Your story author chose not to contact us and ask us about these alternatives.

Andrew Griffin, User Experience Manager

And other readers were not convinced that this amounted to a net "underclass" at all:

I think this argument of a "net underclass" is totally off the mark. There is no discrimination in an intellectual decision to use or not use a specific web browser - it is a choice. I run both Firefox and Internet Explorer, having both available as needed (knowing that some pages are IE required).

It's just intellectual snobbery to try and create discrimination based on choice of browser. If your computer can run one, it can run the others and you just adapt.


And finally, a sobering thought about Microsoft's appeal against anti-competitive sanctions:

Does the Commission impose fines in Euros? In which case, given the precipitous decline in the value of the US dollar, have you any idea what the fine now stands at? Do you think Microsoft could string things out long enough for the fine to reach a nice, round billion dollars?


Well, the fine was originally €497m. At the time, that worked out at around $600m. On today's money, the fine now stands at $665m. Quite a pricey delay...

Merry Christmas from the letters bag. More in the new year...®

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