Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Barely Illegal


Hypothetical situation.

Imagine I want to watch a movie. I log into a chat room. Have a few pings and pokes with several people. From the random sample, I manage to strike a conversation with a couple of blokes. The conversation meanders towards movies. One of them happen to have that movie with him/her. I talk him/her into sending the movie over to my place, on returnable basis. He/she agrees. I get the movie. I watch it.

Now imagine this process , with just the first and the last line. Nothing in between. I want to watch a movie, I go online, I get movie. (It's akin to walking up to that hot chick in a bar, and getting straight to "your place or mine" without the unnecessary fluff in between).

Hardly fair. Hardly moral. But barely illegal. No?

As long as no one is selling/buying, there shouldn't be a conflict of copyright interest. (Cory Doctorove for President of Sweden, anyone?)

So, why this?

Those Swedish blokes have 'cuffed the poor pirates. Sad.

But the authorities have got it all wrong. This isn't going to change anything. ANYTHING. Music sharing didn't die with Napster; it only spawned better ways to do it. (Like piratebay, hello irony!)

The whole thing loops like a mobius strip - you won't know where it begins, where it ends, or where it leads to. They might have to sue Google next to throw up any of these sites. Because, in the end, all the torrent sites do is connect two (or more) people who want to share files. It DOES NOT store any material on servers. Technology is beautiful.

Any which way, this trial is like spitting on a forest fire. This runs too deep and too wide to be controlled by a Swedish court.

Coming to the intellectual property/moral issue, there isn't much. The big studios are called so because they earn that much - big. And a community of benign buccaneers is not that big a hole in their pockets. So they should just stop whining, and focus more on making better movies. If the movie's really good, a majority of these pirates will go out to watch it in the theaters anyway, or buy the DVD. The independents / lesser known movies actually gain from all this. Because their movies are seen by more people than a small film festival audience. You don't expect otherwise for some of these people who share files, to actually get an opportunity to see nice little independent films from, say, Siberia.

Meanwhile, during such time the Swedish pirates cool their heels in the cell, everyone will just google other torrent sites, some even better than bay. Like this. Or this. ?

Long live Google. And Mr. Doctorove.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

And then he said the words


Place: The Commercial Street Signal, Bangalore.

It is late evening. I am driving down dispensary road, approaching the Comm Street signal. This guy in a white WagonR has been playing the normal Bangalore driver since Infantry Road: Cutting across lanes, zig zagging, no signals etc. right in front of my car.

At the signal, it's gotten red and I am about to stop at the front line. Suddenly, this guy cuts across from the left and stops at a diagonal tangent to two cars - one of which is mine.

Road-rage syndrome happens; and I turn Hulk-like green in my mind. But given the physique I've been endowed with, I am just content with a random finger gesture in his general direction.

Uhhhh... that really pisses him off. He gets out of the car, and approaches me with a look that is seeming to say "I've had enough of this shite dude, that's the last straw...." Yeah. Right.

Pretty well-built this chap, with a swagger of a RGV underworld movie sidekick.

In the surety of not surviving 30 seconds in a physical duel with him, I gather courage to roll down my window, so as to make our philosophical talk more convenient and comfortable.

He raises his finger, his voice, and spews out something about how he is being polite and i shouldn't have done what i did, and how he can bash me up, to which I nod in agreement. Actually I'm just waiting my turn to speak.

He manages to finish, and waits for my reply.

I blurt out something "Hey, you were driving rashly, you were cutting across, you were not following lane discipline," etc. to absolutely no effect.

This guy ponders over it for a moment. Then points at the road behind us, and asks "What lanes? Do you SEE any lanes on this road, dude?"

A quick WTF moment occurs in my head. I actually turn back to see the road, before realizing he was being unknowingly rhetorical.

I gather my temporarily-lost sense of perception back, and repeat the same set of questions, a bit more quasi-aggressively this time.

He ponders again, the questions probably too much data for his head to analyze.

An answer coming, finally, I can see the enlightened look on his face.

"Dude, THIS is how we drive in Bangalore....

I wait, with bated breath.

And then he finishes his proclamation with these words.

... live with it."

Multiple WTF moments occur in turbulent fashion.

He, once done with this traumatizing exercise of answering an actual question, rants off again in the 'bashing up' zone.

Just then the signal turns green, and my saviour.

He goes back to car, and drives off.

"Live with it" the words are ringing in my head as I drive back to home, along with other words that ALWAYS come to your mind after everything is over; words that you think you should have said at that time. But you never.

But "live with it" stays in my mind longer.

Everybody, including me, know that this has been our problem since ages. Living with it. Which I always translate the vernac "chalta hai" into.

But this is the first time someone has actually retorted with these words in an actual situation. Someone has actually used these words as defense (or attack, as in this case) for their actions.

Did he really think before he said that?

Yeah, he probably meant it too.

Ok, I said to myself.

We should all probably try and live with it; and wait to die of it.

Whatever it means.