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Protected: Goddamit. February 28, 2010

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Protected: Bleh April 8, 2009

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Copyright: the never-ending story January 12, 2008

Posted by Lupus in Uncategorized.

Killl! Kill! Kill!

UPDATE: Shamus comments.

Let’s see. Omo writes a rather disjointed post talking peripherally about some issues relating to copyright. He ends with this:

Contrary to marketing studies, it is still just as relevant today as it was in 2002–the Lessig keynote flash presentation about free culture. Are you ready to fight for your right to watch fansubs? Do something.

Avatar responds. In short, his point is this: if you are granted the right to watch free fansubs, soon thereafter there won’t be any for you to watch because all the anime production companies will go out of business. Mangas can be produced by starving artists working alone, but animation cannot be. Even low budget animation requires a lot of money, because it has to be created by paid staff. If there’s no income, there’s no money, thus no staff, thus no animation.

And then he says, animation cannot be produced using an “open source” model.

Well! That gored Author’s ox. Author, whose RL name is “Pete”, is a big wheel in open source development and is, shall we say, rather invested in the movement, and not just emotionally. Speak ill of OS in his presence at your peril! He opens up a can of whoopass on Avatar — and, I think, completely misses the point.

Avatar wasn’t saying that open source is evil. He wasn’t saying that it was impossible for it to be profitable. He was saying that it isn’t the solution to all problems — and he’s right. It sure as hell isn’t a solution to this one.

Author says:

How is “copyleft” synonymous with “non-profit”? Red Hat and MySQL sell nothing but copylefted things and reap handsome profits for it. It simply is FUD to conflate these things.

But it is Author who is muddying the water here, not Avatar. Yeah, Red Hat sells OS software, though I’m not sure I’d call the result “handsome profits”. (According to their most recent 10-Q, they made net $18 million in the third quarter of 2006. That’s pleasant but not “handsome”. For a company as old as they are, competing in an industry as large as they are, that’s not too much. Microsoft makes about that much in five minutes.)

What’s important here is not that something being developed open source is being sold profitably. What’s important here is that Red Hat has never made a schedule and stuck with it, because it isn’t possible to do so except in the trivial sense of “We’ll be issuing a new release on thus-and-so a day, and when that day comes we’ll inform you of what we decided to include in it, because it’ll be whatever we happen to have ready.”

By its nature, open source cannot produce product to a tight schedule. It’s never happened and it never will. UNLESS…

UNLESS it is “open source” produced by paid professionals working in a professional environment. In other words, indistinguishable from non-OS except that it’s given away once finished instead of being sold. (Perhaps given away to Red Hat, who in turn sells it.)

A lot of that is going on in the OS movement. The mythology is that nearly all of the development is being done by volunteer hobbyists. The reality is that a large part of it is being done by engineers hired by, and paid by, private corporations who are releasing the software they create under OS licenses, because in the long run it is profitable for them to do so.

Read Joel’s article carefully, because the kicker is this: the reason that makes IBM pay people to develop OS software won’t apply to J.C. Staff.

That’s what Avatar is saying. He isn’t saying that it’s impossible for any company dealing in OS to make money. He’s saying it can’t be done in animation. And he’s right about that. And if Pete would just calm down, and stop with the “How dare you say that about my mother!” reaction, he’d realize it was true.

As to Omo, he responds to Avatar in comments — and he, too, misses the point. In Avatar’s comments, Omo wonders if they’re two freight trains on separate tracks. Yup, they sure are.

Omo is making an argument based on what he thinks is right. “This is how it should be. We should have the right to make and watch fansubs without paying for them, and without having to worry about legal peril!”

Avatar is making an argument based on economics: if, no matter how, such a right becomes codified into law, it will kill the industry. That has nothing to do with right and wrong. It’s simply a statement of fact: if fansubs are legally protected, and come out of the shadows much further than they are now, they will extinguish the revenue flow which makes creation of new anime possible — for as a practical matter it can only be created by paid staff working to stiff deadlines. Absent that, production will slow to a trickle.

Avatar is, perhaps unknowingly, arguing that this is a case of the tragedy of the commons. The great Adam Smith developed a lot of the theory behind capitalism, but he made the underlying assumption that if all independent operators in the system work to optimize their own results, the system overall will also be optimized. The tragedy of the commons was the proof that this was not so.

A lot of theoretical work has been done on this, and all of it yields the same conclusion: it is to the benefit of everyone that each of us yield some of our liberty in these cases. If we do not try to selfishly optimize our own result, we in fact all get more in the long run.

But in cases where the tragedy operates, selfish over-utilization eventually destroys the resource, leaving everyone the poorer.

Irrespective of whether it ought to be a right, the consequences of doing it are bad for everyone. And that’s what would happen if Omo succeeds in his quest to gain the legally protected right to produce fansubs: he’ll kill the industry off. He’ll have the right to fansub anime and distribute it freely, but no anime will be produced for him to fansub and distribute.

By yielding that right, by paying for something he thinks he should get for free, he will help make it so that anime continues to be produced.

That is Avatar’s argument. Omo’s claims about whether it ought to be like that don’t affect the expected result.

Low-to-moderate level fansubbing, more or less the current state of affairs, is an example of free riding. And one of the pernicious aspects of these kinds of situations is that they usually can tolerate a small amount of it. As long as there are a large enough number of people buying intellectual property, then others can take it for free without making the system collapse.

But Omo wants to go further than that. He wants everyone to ride free. He thinks it should be a right.

Perhaps so. That’s a moral judgment. But if that happens, who pays the fuel? Irrespective of the morality of it, economically it isn’t possible. The money has to come from somewhere. When free riders begin to see that as an entitlement, and to demand that it apply to everyone, the system collapses.

The money has to come from somewhere.

So: Omo says, “This is right. This is proper. This is how it should be!” Avatar responds, “Yes, but it isn’t economically possible. It has to be paid for; you can’t develop animation using open source models.” Author responds huffily, “How dare you speak ill of open source! Red Hat makes money off it, you know!”

And I say, “Yeah, but…” Yeah, but that has nothing to do with this situation. No one is going to pay their own animators to create animation to give away, because there’s no way for them to make money off it, unlike open source software, where doing so indirectly leads to more profit for them.

Original blog post open source release by Steven Den Beste of Chizumatic. Open source blogging, FUCK YEAH!

So Impz read this comic… January 24, 2007

Posted by Lupus in Uncategorized.

After reading Danny’s comic, Impz is understandably unhappy.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
WordPress have fucking stingy column width, so click to see the whole pic.


*I apologise for the low quality, don’t have a scanner. The shadow on the bottom is my head…

Flying tomorrow November 26, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Life.

I’ll be flying to HK tomorrow, so please pray for my safety.

Even after all these years, I still get nervous when I get on a plane.

I just don’t want a month to go by without a post November 19, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Life.
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I don’t really have anything to say… my life is so dull, I wouldn’t be able to cut warm butter with it.

Having said that, I finished exams some time ago and have been enjoying (somewhat) my summer holiday. I have to find a job and do a bunch of other things, but I really just feel like lounging around all day reading books or playing games. Is that good or bad? My complete and utter lack of motivation has brought my life to a grinding halt no less than once… what’s the secret to motivating yourself?

I guess the first thing that I have to deal with is my apathy. To be honest, the longest I’ve cared or felt passionate about anything (thing, not people) is probably 2 months. That’s pathetic. I couldn’t even keep this blog up, whether in its previous anime incarnation or as it is now.

I’m sure my meaningless and pesimisstic meandering is boring you, so I’ll stop here. At least I’ve fulfilled my quota for the month of November.

The Sound of Music (and stuff) October 16, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Life, WTF.
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Sometime yesterday afternoon, I had the urge to watch The Sound of Music again, for like the billionth time. Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t on my university’s completely legal file-sharing network, so I couldn’t watch it, but I contented myself with downloading every single song in the movie. Except, of course, that song by the head nun near the start of the movie that no one likes. Stupid head nun and your manly voice.

Anyway, the songs in this movie are really awesome. But that’s not what I’m going to say some random crap about. It’s the song Sixteen Going on Seventeen, sung by the lovely young couple in the beautiful garden scene. The girl part goes like this:

I am sixteen going on seventeen
I know that I’m naive
Fellows I meet may tell me I’m sweet
And willingly I believe

I am sixteen going on seventeen
Innocent as a rose
Bachelor dandies, drinkers of brandies
What do I know of those

Totally unprepared am I
To face a world of men
Timid and shy and scared am I
Of things beyond my ken

I need someone older and wiser
Telling me what to do

Liesl says she’s naive, but the fact that she knows she is naive is about a billion times better than most of the teens now-a-days. They think they know everything, and go around acting like they own the world. They think at the age of 16 they’re adults and can do whatever they want….

Why am I ranting about this? It’s 7a.m. in the morning and I spent the last 8 hours procrastinating. I wrote a total of 500 words in the last 8 hours… well, at least I’m now close to finishing this stupid assignment. Another hour or two and I’ll be done, leaving me until Tuesday 3p.m. to proof read and then cry. I’m on the verge of snapping though, this scene keeps replaying over and over in my head:


After I’m finished with this one, I have another one due on Friday. Bring it on bitch! I’ll take you all on! You paper-weight mofos, I can take on 20 of you at a time! My trusty knife will be there to greet you all, won’t you Margret? That’s right, my baby, we’ll take them all on…

(By the way, what kind of 20 year old has seen The Sound of Music more than 10 times, knows most of songs off by heart and complain about teenagers being all up themselves? I blame these goddamn assignments… I’ll make you pay. I WILL MAKE YOU ALL PAY!)

Find those creepy movies! October 10, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Uncategorized.

M&M’s stole Virgin Record’s idea and has put up a flash with clues for 50 creepy movies in them. You can find it here.

With the help of some friends I managed to find 42. How well can you do?

Here is an incomplete answer if you need help. Get finding!

Diablo II: My love for you will never die (until I hit lv99 anyway) October 9, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Gaming, Life.

Wow… it’s been a month since I posted. Here. Totally not a month on my other blog either.

Actually, that’s true. I’ve posted on THAT a total of three times since giving up here close to a month ago. That’s 3 times in a month, compared to uh, my supposed schedule of at least 3 times a week. Can’t blame a guy for being busy though can you?

Okay, second lie in less than 70 words. I haven’t particularly been busy with anything, except maybe… oh… important stuff. Like DotA. And D2.


After a night of gaming, the morning sunrays often dance all over my retina. A dance of pain and great suffering.

That’s right, Diablo II. Diablo II: Lord of Destruction to be precise. I’m currently in NM Act 4 with my Werewolf/Grizzly Druid, and I’m loving every second I waste on it. Wasted the entire weekend in fact. Starting from Thursday night till now (which is Monday 3 in the morning… and I should really hit the sack. Who invented sleep anyway?), I’ve been running through endless lands void of anything except monsters, hitting and killing said monsters, and picking up every single piece of item that doesn’t have white as the colour of its name. Apart from Friday night, the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival, which I spent at fellowship then a friend’s house.


Conversation is entirely imaginary, but I think something to that effect was said that night. If you were there and happen to read this blog… Can’t a guy have a little artistic license on his own goddamn blog? Huh? HUH???

I would give you a list of my items, but if I run the game now I won’t sleep at all.

And all this is amidst two exceptionally fun assignments, totalling 5,000 words, due in a week and a half. One of them I’m about 60% through, the other I haven’t started. The more important one and difficult one, I might add, worth 70% of one of my courses. I have also failed to go to any lecture since Friday two weeks ago, though I did turn up to compulsory tuts. I also failed to eat lunch in two of the last four days.


There are several terms in there that probably warrant explanation, but to understand it you’ll need to play D2. I would show you one of those pictures they have on cigarette packets and tell you that playing D2 causes you to get those to keep you away from it.

Thank you Diablo II, you ruined my life in 2000, and six years later you once again pick up your Mallet of the Leech*. How can someone not love your wonderful, whacky and out-going personality? You’re the moon in my dark night sky, the fat in my arteries, the cockroach in my dinner…

Oh who am I kidding, I need to uninstall this shit pronto, least I end up dying of malnutrition/Wrath of My Father/bad hygiene/repetitive strain injury, in order of lowest to highest likelihood, or maybe all at once. The world is full of wonderful surprises install for one such as myself.

*for the uninitiated (and I hope for your health you are), a item with the “Leech” suffix gives a life steal effect. Life steal, geddit? It’s stealing my life. It’s supposed to be funny…

Moving September 11, 2006

Posted by Lupus in Site News.
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Starting from today, I’m moving all my anime and manga related posts to THAT Anime Blog (that.animeblogger.net) ran by Impz and his friends. I won’t be saying bye-bye to this thing just yet, since I have a lot of things that I want to talk about, but aren’t related to manga or anime. Mainly games, which I’ve been playing quite a lot of lately, to the detriment of all else.

Anyway, I hope you’ll keep supporting me in my endeavours here or at THAT. Come visit me at THAT and keep checking back here for random insanity!