Monday, April 17, 2006

A change is better than a rest, but a rest is nice too.

Many of you will have noticed that for the last 6 weeks or so, I've been rather quiet. They've not seen me around, and that's because I've not been around. We all have work to do, oh how i wish this paid any bills, as it is, i make no money at all from this, it's a labour of love. Instead, i have been busy working my backside off earning a crust. Alas, the nature of my work means that for periods, I work 18-20 hours a day, with no respite except to sleep, and have no access to computers, or at least to those connected to a network. As it is, I sit now in business class, flying over the Atlantic, a Gin+tonic at my side, as I reflect on the last 5 weeks without any thought on copyright rules, or protection, except for a brief talk with my lawyer about a defamation suit against bluetack. I don't have much to say on that, my lawyer will say what's needed to be said in court right enough, except for one thing. I am one person, one without large resources, no powers, and a simple enquiring desire. In the course of a simple set of enquiries, I 'menaced' them. For such a pro-copyright infringement company (although I use it in the loosest sense, since they're not registered with companies house) it doesn't bode well that then consider themselves intimidated by such a small fish as myself. In the grand scale of things, I'm maybe an Angel fish. I can bite on tiny fish, but anything of a respectable size or strength shouldn't worry. If I menace you, how badly will the big fish that are multinational corporation legal departments, industry lobby-groups and pressure groups maul them, and they claim to be protecting you from them. I'll let you draw your own conclusions on their ability to stand up to that.

Anyway, I'm digressing a little. I've been away all of March, and half of April. One thing I've noticed, is that stopping, taking a step back, and looking anew can help give a fresh angle or perspective on a situation. I don't have the preconceptions that come from getting incremental reports, and building on each in turn. I get the ability to read them all at once, to compare one to another, considering their source. A lot of people could do with taking some sort of time out. Sitting back, working on something else, and then looking on situations afresh, with no sneaking bits of news. That's where I've been lucky, since sitting out in the desert for the last few weeks has prevented that. The only copyright related piece I've heard from the world at large, has been the ruling about the film “The DaVinci code” (based on the atrocious 1-dimensional book of the same name) and the and its copyright clashes with the pseudo-factual book “Holy Blood, Holy Grail”. Some of my companions with me had suffered through the book too, trying to see the 'big deal' about it, and predict the movie to be a big flop (nothing short of an entire re-write, giving characters some depth, facts some basis, and removing all references to long-established hoaxes being fact would be needed)

In short, sometimes taking a step back, can lead to taking few steps forward. Its a lesson many could take heed of. A fresh look at a problem, as anyone will tell you, is often the best solution. A perfect example is World War 1. It was a stalemate on both sides, with occasional small gains in either direction, until a new technology – a new idea, TANKS, broke the deadlock. Its a new idea now that's needed. A change of opinions, and more importantly, breaking the participants minds from the rutted tracks they've gotten stuck in. Trying to monopolise content distribution isn't working, get out of that rut. IP filtering doesn't work, get out of that rut. Suing the consumers you want to then sell to isn't working, get out of that rut. These ruts have become trenches, with the depth and frequency they've been travelled, When and where will the tank come from, who can say, but it did come from someone taking a step back from the battle being fought then, taking a look at what exactly was going on, and working a way to breach thee problems of both sides. Can this be done here, Yes, it must for all our sakes. Maybe not by me, but by someone. And what's more, it much take into account ALL sides.

6 weeks or so might not seem like much. It certainly feels like a long time. It's a school summer holiday, its about an eighth of a year. Its half the most you can visit the USA for, for instance. Its enough to break habits, trains of thought and so on. I'm betting that when I go to retrieve my car from Manchester Airport's long-term parking, I'm going to drive on the right at least once, or turn right on red, or similar automotive slips. I've done it before. If my preconceptions change when it comes to driving, something I've been doing every day (at least) for years (I've still got one of the paper EU driving licenses, obtained when I had to clear a speeding ticket) Its happened after just two weeks before now. Time away does change things. We're over Ireland right now, and I'm shuddering how cold I'll be feeling 9during the day at least, deserts are cold at night) I was warm before I left. Maybe I'm babbling, the jet-lag, the 18-hour days, and the gin are probably all helping with that, but as soon as I get through customs, I'll be transmitting it, eating breakfast and driving home to go to bed. After a good sleep. I might even edit this, cut out the babble, but maybe not. After all, babbling is what a lot of other people do on this whole area; babble to promote their ideas, their own agenda's. Babble to pad their sparse or twisted facts in order to make them seem bigger, bolder, more purposeful. If I get my babbling done here, and out of the way, perhaps I can reduce it – as much as I may wish, I can't remove it entirely – from my future writings and ponderings. However, the stew's are coming for the glasses, and the seat-belt sign's about to come on. So i must finally swallow this G+T which has been sitting here for nearly 2 hours now. Relax as it numbs the earache pain of landing, and save this, ready for transmitting. It will, of course, be several days before I will write again, as I catch up on what I've missed, and of course, there's that lawsuit against bluetack I have to have filed (such a shame too, I don't like tieing up money in lawsuits, but cowboy outfits like that give a bad name to everyone, luckily I did pretty well in Vegas just before I left which should cover it). Until next time....

Ben Jones

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