The RIAA is going too far

This article was originally published over a decade ago, I am simply adding it to my website for posterity.

Nu’s News, issue #1.
Written 7/31/2003, revised numbers 8/7/2003

When I get bored, I browse. The internet has lost some of it’s flare to me, but I still like to just see what’s new out there. Sometimes I hit up classic sites, those that’ve been stedfast as the entire internet has expanded into a jungle of personal pages that will never go anywhere (much like mine!). So earlier this week I went to C|Net’s I noticed some statistics of files that they host.

The second and third most popular downloads, in ONE WEEK (week ending July 27) reached a whopping total 1,178,584… one point one MILLION downloads in a week for the 2nd a 3rd most popular files combined. Impressive, no? All this so people can talk to their friends; the #2 download of the week was ICQ Lite Beta, and #3 AOL Instant Messenger.

But this is still small potatoes:

The file in in first place is Kazaa Media Desktop… Kazaa is a file sharing program, for both of you who don’t know. Kazza clocked in with MORE THAN DOUBLE the amount of downloads of the 2nd and 3rd place programs, and an astonoshing 2,758,676 downloads. More than two and a half million downloads, in one week! This, only weeks AFTER the RIAA sent out all of the subpoenas.

So listen, that’s what this whole thing is about. The Recording Industry Association of America hasn’t scared off anyone. The download rate of Kazzaa is not slowing, and this should be considered an indication that until every single person is slapped with a 10 million dollar lawsuit, they are not going to stop sharing music files.

The RIAA is taking a approach to filesharing. I agree, something needs to be done, but why go after the users of a damn program? You shut down napster with one team of lawyers, why employ hundreds to go after hundreds and thousands of end users – who are merely being caught in the crossfire of progress?

Napster is coming back with a pay-for-use service, allowing users to swap and share songs, by paying a small monthly fee. Apple has the best idea I’ve seen yet, with their iTunes online store. The downside is that it only applies to Mac users, which – I’m sorry to say – is by far not the majority of file-sharers.

“iTunes 4.0.1 is required to share music with other iTunes 4.0.1 users. iTunes 4 is available for Mac OS X only”.

The idea of downloading songs at $0.99 each is brilliant… you can stock a 15 song CD for 15 dollars, with music YOU WANT. Instead of paying for a $17 album with 10 songs, 1 of which you heard on the radio and liked. Apple has the right idea, but something needs to be opened up to PC users.

Napster’s new rendition may change some things, but until then, why are we going after people who download Metallica’s music? Why aren’t we doing what was done in Napster’s case, and going after the creators of the application. Try and STOP the distribution of the client program, don’t try and destory the lives of the clients.

The RIAA’s idea, summed up in my brain, is about the equivilant of buying a computer from a reputable company, but when it arrives it doesn’t work. So rather than trying to take the computer back to the company and asking them for an exchange or for it to be repaired, they’re taking it to another person who owns the same computer, and telling them that they MUST fix it.

The kids on the internet are downloading music, and no matter how many thousands of songs some of them may have, they’re only doing what their peers are doing.

Let me give you one more thing to chew on:

Think about this random bit throughout your day:
Source: South Carolina Legislature Online.
“A person possessing or attempting to possess less than one gram of ice, crank, or crack cocaine… for a first offense, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned for a term of not more than five years and fined not less than five thousand dollars. For a first offense the court, upon approval of the solicitor, may require as part of a sentence that the offender enter and successfully complete a drug treatment and rehabilitation program;”

Now consider this:
Source:Dartmouth College.
Depending on the number and value of the products exchanged, penalties for a first offense may be as high as three years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

The MAXIMUM prison term for first time Cocaine possession offenders in South Carolina is five years. The maximum for infringing on the copyright of a digital music file? Three. Someone downloading MP3s as 3/5ths as bad as a coke dealer?

Maybe this should be a lesson to kids? If you get a subpoena in the mail from the RIAA, you might as well start doing rock, it’ll only add two more years, and very likely the fines will cost less anyways.

I hope your brains are working. Now go on out, and enjoy the rest of the day, while entire lives are being destoryed over a song that some girl was listening to in her bedroom before she was even old enough to apply to a college.

(note: the State of South Carolina was randomly selected for the above example and was used primarily for the ease of access to it’s legislature’s site).

Why I used 3dfx hardware

Another old piece, pulled from a discussion forum. Written when I was just 17, about 18 months after 3dfx Interactive, Inc. went out of business, a topic was started to discuss why people were still using “outdated” 3dfx technology. Here is what I had to say at the time.

I have to tell you, I made some wrong calls myself. 😳

A long while back (it sat on the internet for over two years, but I believe it’s finally gone) I made a comment, somwhere… I don’t remember where. It was right after the Voodoo 5 6000 plans were sold to Quantum 3D.

What I said was along the lines of:

‘3dfx and Quantum 3D have been LONG TIME partners, so this should be no big scary shock to anyone. This, and the recent sale of the plant in Juarez, Mexico, appear to be signs of renewal. It looks like 3dfx has a plan, and I like what I’m seeing.’

…About four months later, there was no more 3dfx. 😮 (2016 edit: it wasn’t four months, it was one month. Look what I found, and archived.)

Their product development was probably their downfall. Pushing back release dates, and press conferences, not unveiling products at certain times, or falsifying their products at trade shows…

So, I made a bad decision. But why do I still use 3dfx hardware? I enjoy the community feeling. Even places that fight, amongst themselves, site to site… it’s still a diverse community.

Also, 3dfx was always an underdog. Everyone knew the nVidia cards could crank out frames… once nV made it on the scene, it seemed as though it was all over for 3dfx. But the benchies weren’t what I looked at. Screen shots were worthless to me as well. I had to experience. I enjoyed Voodoo 2’s back in the day, but the 3d Prophet (GeForce 1) was extremely tempting. After finally tinkering with both, and finding that for my Quake 2 needs 3dfx played the part, I went with the Voodoo 3.

-On that all machine, at the time, the required PCI V3 2000 was more inexpensive than the 3D Prophet was, and I preferred it over the GF1, so that was another determining factor.

But the question remains; why do I still use 3dfx TODAY?

Glide? Perhaps. But I have plans to keep using Glide well after I purchase a newer card, be it a GeForce, Omen, Radeon, or anything else out there.

Cost? It’s a big factor. I’ve got an extremely low income… I’m a student!! I can’t even afford a new CDROM drive right now! I’ve had the plan, all along, to try and make my Voodoo 5 last until fall/winter 2002. It looks like it’s going to make it.

There are more and more compatibility issues, which we all know will not be resolved without official driver support, or developer support. But all the games that were supposedly going to be the death of my Voodoo 5, such as Max Payne, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein – smooth as silk, with image quality to knock your socks off. Even the newest games, while slightly buggy, have no real PROBLEMS. I’m enjoying War Craft 3, Serious Sam 2 (without being forced to run in 3dfx compatibility mode),

I’m a Quality buff, not a speed buff… and I simply find the image quality of the Voodoo 5 superior, still, to anything out there. Granted, the others can look just as good, or even better. But the performance to quality ratio provided by these cards is too poor. Even if the image quality is better, and FASTER than my Voodoo 5, when you look at the numbers, getting a newer card to look like a V5, you take more of a hit, than you did with a Voodoo.

Another factor, I’m a fan of the 3dfx Tools. Call me old fashioned, I don’t even like Windows XP. All for the same reason. I’m not an idiot, don’t dumb things down. For instance, ATi’s old RAGE3D control panel, with the huge blue buttons… “IMAGE QUALITY” check box or “SPEED” check box. 3dfx Tools allows you to customize and have MUCH more control over the features and performance your card can utilize. I’m glad 3dfx didn’t think their owners were fools.

I will be moving on soon, and keeping a Glide based video card, just for kicks… and there is no one simple answer the why I do still have 3dfx hardware. I guess all I can say is that I love it!