Catching up, next take

Aren’t you tired of this by now?

Oh bright and joyful day! Fiona Apple’s new album has hit the stores! There are two reasons why you might care about it. First, it’s her first album since 1999. Second, it’s receiving tons of free press because the album was leaked to the Internet last year among rumors that her record label was unhappy with it. I would not at all be surprised if this was intentional — an attempt to dredge up more publicity for the album. Commentators have made remarks like, "of course it’s a great album. The record label was stupid to shelf it; those companies want nothing but top ten hits, not serious music. They wouldn’t know a good album if it fucked them all night long and left a benjamin on the nightstand." Or something like that.

Funny thing is… I haven’t seen any kind of statement from Epic about what happened other than one they made while the spat was ongoing — something like, "the album will be ready when it’s ready." According to Fiona, she wasn’t happy with the album, had a spat with her label, quit, then went back when Epic ponied up more money following the album’s release on the Internet. I’m sure Epic Records wouldn’t like that made public, so they instead opt for the silent treatment? Hmph… As much as I appreciate artistic integrity, most bands would get dropped from their label for that kind of maneuver faster than you can say, "my contract says Poland Spring bottled water, not Evian!" All in all, free publicity. And now I’m a part of it too. Damn…

In less exciting news, a virtual plague has broken out in the World of Warcraft. Because I can’t make this shit up any more, here it is straight from the source:

In his death throes Hakkar hits foes with a "corrupted blood" infection that can instantly kill weaker characters.

The infection was only supposed to affect those in the immediate vicinity of Hakkar’s corpse but some players found a way to transfer it to other areas of the game by infecting an in-game virtual pet with it.

This pet was then unleashed in the orc capital city of Ogrimmar and proved hugely effective as the Corrupted Blood plague spread from player to player.

The day that a story about the happenings on World of Warcraft makes it to the front page of the BBC News web site is a very, very sad day in the history of humanity. Of course, what I want to know is who had unprotected sex with the infected pet to transfer the disease from pet to human… Fine, so they didn’t have sex with their virtual pets, but if virtual disease isn’t perfect material for parents who worry that their kids might be having cybersex, I don’t know what is.

The disconnection between DRM and musicians is making the big time. CNN reports about musicians helping their fans to break DRM methods used to prevent people from making MP3s from thier CDs. What most people don’t realize is that some copy protection schemes break the red book standard — the appropriately named book produced by Philips which describes the format of a CD Audio disc in verbose detail. Philips has warned companies about this almost three years go now, but that hasn’t stemmed the tide of DRM protected CDs, including CDs that won’t play correctly in some CD players.

I know a lot about CD protection methods from my work on CDRMooby – a plugin that lets people use CD images (on your hard drive) as though they were real CDs in PlayStation emulators. PCs, game consoles, DVDs — really any kind of media — they all use different methods to prevent you from doing things that companies don’t want you to do, acts that may be legal or not. So as a public service to my readers, in future posts I’ll go into unnecessary detail about how some of these systems work so that you can take that knowledge and spread chaos into the world. Or copyrighted music. Or movies. Or porn, whatever you prefer.

Lastly, our US Patent and Trademark office has decided to make youth targeted anti-piracy videos, complete with appearances by Jon Dudas – Director of the USPTO, pop star Margot, an innocent yet stupid-looking youth, and *ugh* even a pirate. How they ever got Margot to sign up for this is unknown to me, but apparently her rider includes private dressing room, two scantily clad male models, and a crate of Reddi Wip. (The Reddi Wip trademark is "Let the fun out.") Seriously though, if this is the future of our anti-copyright infringement efforts, we are in deep, deep trouble. Remember to use my instructions for dealing with the rtsp links on that page, and try your favorite search engine for a copy of Real Alternative to play it back. Or better yet, don’t watch the video. It’s crap. It’s almost as bad as the video made by the Software Publishers Association back in the 90’s.

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