Monthly Archives: October 2012

What if some caveman would have patented the use of fire?

Imagine situation 4 million years ago. The time when dinosaurs, cavemen and fish co-existed peacefully.

Imagine that one less hairy caveman started thinking that it would be awfully nice to stay warm. Imagine him experiencing this weird dream where monkey gods tell him to start a fire that would keep him warm.

And imagine 17 lawyers appearing out of nowhere when this poor bastards tries to start a fire. First lawyer would tell that use of word “fire” is prohibited, and second one explains how the progress would stop since that word is already reserved. Rest of the lawyers would remind caveman not to use that stick and bow to create fire. No can do, or he must deliver 2 squirrel furs every time he setups a fire that way.

These lawyers also heard about a tribe who would create sparks using stone and shit, and warned the skinny caveman of using that method, since it would be breach of copyright and hurt technological progress of the world and means lost profits. And nobody likes lost profits, right?

In fact, setting up fire would be same as stealing. And nobody should steal right?

The caveman didn’t quite understand everything, but these guys seemed pretty convincing. And they said there was laws, so obviously they must be right.

“So, how can I stay warm?” asked the caveman. Lawyers explained in very long terms that he’d need to buy something. When caveman asked how he would buy, the lawyers continued that actually the caveman happens to be in Region 2, while the fire making tools are only available at Region 1, so unfortunately he cannot setup fire, even when he has 79 squirrel furs to use as payment.

At this point, Caveman look those lawyers once again… and then slowly said the words: “So… if I cannot buy Region 1 stuff since I live in Region 2… and if I setup fire on my own… the progress of the world stops… and, I’m a thief?”

“That’s correct” said the lawyers and went away.

As we can clearly see, the world needs patents and region codes. Otherwise we’d still be playing card with dinosaurs or something.

And as we all know dinosaurs don’t play fair (try whine at T-rex that a set should win his 2 pairs and he’ll eat you).

So let’s get some patent laws to protect our survival and technological progress.

Purchasing dvds is bit like… remember that Monty Python Cheese Shop sketch?

I’ve been finalizing my Infected card game, but also ordered some research material for future projects (and for bit of “just for fun” as well). I happened to spot Survivorman show and learnt there were several seasons of their show “available”. I decided to purchase, and of course since it’s year 2012 you’d think everything would be easy: just push couple of buttons and I could start watching the show, right?

Well, not exactly.

I learnt that Netflix had some survivorman episodes quite likely available. Netflix just arrived to Finland so I tried to signup. I got error “try again later”. I tried like 47 times, but no can do. I don’t know why, but I just could not sign up. Maybe I did something wrong, but well. That attempt failed.

But fear not, I could go to amazon.com and order it, right?

Wrong.

In Amazon.com, there was only Region 1 dvds, not 2. I looked into figuring out if my PS3 could play Region 1 dvds and learnt that quite likely not. Well that sucks a bit then.

Amazon.ca said “not available”.

Amazon.co.uk said “Region 1 import”, so no can do.

I then tried purchasing direct streaming through Amazon.com, just to learn that it was available only in “US store”. Of course. Sorry about trying.

Then I went to Discovery channel official store, where it was “no longer available”.

Then tried one online streaming system which told me to “view from Canada”.

Sucks to be me, I live in Finland.

Play.com could have it? It always has stuff I can buy.

Not today, no.

At this point I went to watch that Monty Python clip. You should watch too:

I then started thinking, that all this region coding requires plenty of work. Region codes didn’t just appear: these need to be programmed in the system. My playstation by default didn’t have region codes, no… those needed to be created.

So what essentially happened here is that:

Publishers put massive amount of work to ensure that I cannot buy the product.

It’s like…

I’m almost speechless.

Seriously.

I have money here that I want to hand over to you. You’ve spent your money to prevent me from buying.

Why?

Can somebody tell me why, because I’d really like to know.

(Oh, and in case you happen to know where or how I could watch – yes, I’m willing to pay – Survivorman full episodes, then please let me know. And no, I’m not buying into that “buy region free dvd player” madness just to watch one show, I have no room for that anyway.)