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"Iím not exactly quaking in my stylish, yet affordable boots."
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August 03 2008

A hug from Nathan Fillion. Kind Strangers, Comicons, and the People that Need a Hug. Nathan blogging, singing and hugging.

Besides, if you want to put Dr Horrible on your own site, now you can just embed the official Hulu stream.
I find it disappointing that despite getting as far as "This is the future, everybody," Fillion is still buying into the same tired piracy myths that exemplify the old guard. Ah well.
No, he's positing the notion that people should not be putting Dr Horrible on their own sites, thereby collecting the hits and collecting the potential ad revenue.

It's an even more proper thing to suggest given that if people really want to put Dr. Horrible on their own sites, they can, as stated, do so via the official Hulu stream, thereby not denying the creators their cut of ad revenue.
Fight crime, hug a pirate. Well, that's one approach ;).
No, he's positing the notion that people should not be putting Dr Horrible on their own sites, thereby collecting the hits and collecting the potential ad revenue.
No, he goes well beyond that notion. He states that putting Dr. Horrible on other sites is stealing, that it ipso facto proves that one is not a fan, and makes all sorts of wildly unfounded claims about the nature and motivations of people who engage in such activities.

Plus he believes that the far reaching effects of such activities are ultimately to his detriment.

All of this has been said before, of course, often by the MPAA and RIAA...
The qualitative difference here, however, is that the MPAA and RIAA attempt very deliberately and consciously to control every aspect of distribution, dissemination, and use. All the time, in every way.

In this case, we have a work owned by its creators, whose intentions have been to make it as easily-available as possible and yet still hopefully become profitable for the artists who made the thing.

These are very different dynamics. And even if one believes it's okay to pirate works made by giant entertainment conglomerates, you can't just map that belief one-to-one onto this situation. Unless one simply enjoys being intellectually lazy.
Sometimes it does seem like he kinda goes off half-cocked though. He's entitled to say his piece of course but the problem for me comes with the idea that fans may well give his views more credence because, y'know, he's Nathan 'generally awesome' Fillion.

Thing is, awesome or not (and don't forget his acting hair and dancer's legs - he's so awesome he actually oozes it, leaving a slightly disconcerting awesidue in his wake ;) there's no reason Nathan will have thought through the ideas behind piracy/theft any more than your average other MySpace blogger.

(that said, it's interesting to see that here we have an individual that we "know" and that's actually directly affected by taking away ad hits. Surely one of the more important aspects of this sort of smaller scale, D2Fans media. There's a face to the person - arguably - deprived of revenue)
I did mention, "Encore!", right?
Group hug everybody!
This isn't what I meant.
there's no reason Nathan will have thought through the ideas behind piracy/theft any more than your average other MySpace blogger.


Honestly? I'd say he knows a lot more about piracy than the average MySpace blogger seeing as you know he works in the industry and all that jazz.
These are very different dynamics. And even if one believes it's okay to pirate works made by giant entertainment conglomerates, you can't just map that belief one-to-one onto this situation. Unless one simply enjoys being intellectually lazy.
Your analysis appears to presuppose that non-normative duplication is stealing, and does hurt the rights-holders. You appear to be claiming that the rather flimsy justification for piracy is that giant entertainment conglomerates deserve it, while creator-owned works should be given more respect. (Or possibly that piracy is justified when the alternatives are extremely inconvenient and/or expensive, rather than mildly so?) All of which is in accord with the traditional studio perspective.

One might consider the question of just why people would opt for alternative channels of distribution under the present circumstances. Unless one simply enjoys being intellectually lazy.

(For the record, I bought Dr. Horrible on iTunes, watched it on Hulu, and expect to buy the soundtrack and DVD. I also torrented a DRM-free copy, and have continued to seed said copy. I consider all of the above to be Good Things.)
I'm going back to look at the My Little Ponies.
Honestly? I'd say he knows a lot more about piracy than the average MySpace blogger seeing as you know he works in the industry and all that jazz.

I don't think that follows Simon. Why would he necessarily have researched figures or followed anti-piracy laws or entered into debates like we have on here, weighing loss of freedom against draconian measures ? Seems like, since he has a vested interest, if anything he might have only seen one side of the debate.

An oil rigger may not necessarily be any better versed in the global politics of petrochemicals, why would an actor necessarily be better versed in the politics/philosophy/legalities of copyright ?
With that, think I'll call it a night.

Goodnight, people!
No, but Joss is. And Nathan is a good friend and has probably been learning a lot about this from him and others. Can't we at least give him the benefit of the doubt? We got Dr. H free to begin with. Who else does that? Certainly not any movie maker I've heard of before. He has a right to want to protect his and the other artist's interests.
why would an actor necessarily be better versed in the politics/philosophy/legalities of copyright ?


When there's something that could directly affect my job I tajke an active interest in it. I'd like to think Nathan would do the same. He strikes me as a very bright bloke who may actually know stuff more than the average fan.
OK, a driver is gonna take an interest in petrol prices, right ? Up is bad, down is good but does that mean they're aware of the history of the middle east as a region or how oil is drilled, refined etc. ?

I'm happy to assume Nathan's a very bright bloke, he certainly seems it in interview but, to be perfectly blunt, that doesn't come across in this blog post. There's nothing new there regards arguments or ideas, in that sense it is kinda the same stuff the studios trot out about theft, how evil pirates are etc. It's a guy that's seeing his hard work devalued and his livelihood and that of his friends threatened getting angry and I appreciate it as that, I think i'd feel the same way. But it doesn't seem particularly any more knowledgeable than most of the discussions we (largely, I assume ;) non-actors have had on here.

And if he does have some insight, why not share it and maybe convince people currently on the fence ?
I've downloaded stuff before, so I'm not anti-piracy, but even I see no point in pirating something which is free-to-view throughout the entire world. It's like those retards who pirated "In Rainbows" so they wouldn't have to fork over a lousy e-mail address.

That said, i've watched Horrible going on 15 times thus far and I still very much want to buy the DVD and the soundtrack. Let's hope iTunes UK gets on board, I have money I wish to give to you Whedon, and yet no way to do it!
Where I think Nathan lost me was when he gave the hypothetical sociopath a specific ringtone. His cries of "no fair pirating!" really don't carry any more weight for me than the MPAA's do. The economic reality of our time is that media will be copied and moved and used in ways you never intended if it's possible. And making it impossible to copy and move keeps people from using media in ways they feel like they have a right to when they've bought it. No amount of finger-wagging is going to change that. I downloaded a DRM-free version of Dr. Horrible so that I could play it on my TV using my PC DVR solution. I felt perfectly justified in doing so given my iTunes purchase. Would Nathan think I'm a social outcast who secretly hates everyone because I'm still seeding it?
I know you are the same guy who selects an antique phone ring on your cell so everyone knows when you get a call.


Hey! What's wrong with an antique phone ring as ringtone? :).

I'd tend to partly agree with what Shmuel was saying upthread. I don't think that pirating Dr. Horrible is morally wrong, in certain cases. I still can't buy a copy from iTunes internationally (and if I could, it'd be DRM-protected). I'm a fan, and I'm going to invest in the DVD, the soundtrack (if that proves possible for me) and I'll be embedding the Hulu-stream on my dutch-facebook-alike which gets plenty of traffic each day. Furthermore, I've reviewed the series for free, linking to the official website and urging people to try it. I've also convinced about ten people to watch it, bought the official t-shirts just to support the production and would happilly pay Joss & co. for the copy that is now on my computer, which is keeping me over till the DVD arrives (rewatching on the Hulu stream, which makes my connection disconnect every two minutes, is not an actual option).

I stopped seeding the DRM-free version, as soon as I had it on my computer, because it's obvious that Joss & co. don't want it to be out there (and yet I was still happy that a few people were seeding it, so I was able to get it, so that's kind of double). It's their right to do that, and honestly, seeing as we got all this for free (and even if we didn't) in the first place, I have no right to make any kind of demand. Plus, I like feeling like a "good fanboy" and respect the creators' wishes. Also: I don't want to be supplying this to people who will burn it to DVD and never give the creators the money that's rightfully theirs.

But I do feel that, despite the fact that we have no right to claim ownership of this and distribute it in a way we feel might be "better" than the official way (which is already incredibly good), Nathan's response is over-the-top. Most of the people seeding this appear to be fans of Whedon and, unusually for torrents (I know because I checked, I don't usually download torrents), I've seen lots of mentions that this'll be taken down as soon as there's a DVD to be had and messages from the distributing parties urging people to shell out for the DVD because of the way this production was financed. Again: I agree that we should listen to the actors and the creators when they say they do not want it to be distributed. But for people like me, that download is a very fine thing indeed and I'm grateful for it. It means I can enjoy Dr. H until the DVD arrives. A selfish reason, to be sure. But all in all: not as black-and-white like Nathan's making it seem from the "pirates are evil and want to hurt the production" standpoint. Are they hurting the production? I'm not sure. I think people like me having an illegally downloaded version is not keeping any single penny from the pockets of the people who made this, but I'm willing to assume that if the creators and actors are asking us to stop, that it's at least a possibility (because distributing it further certainly could hurt it financially, though I'm not sure it actually would, given all the extra features on the DVD which any fan would want to own anyway).

And if he does have some insight, why not share it and maybe convince people currently on the fence ?


Yeah, I agree that that would've been better, Saje. We're a very loyal bunch of fans and pointing out how what some of us are doing is actually hurting the production, would probably cause all of us to stop immediately. Thing is, I think Nathan's not actually assuming the people who pirate are fans at all (although I guess he is assuming they read his myspace).
I've already stated that I'm very pro-"piracy" on Whedonesque before, but what Nathan's talking about here is slightly different. Putting Dr. Horrible on your own website does deprive them from ad revenue, you're not offering anything different from the official site, and it's generally being rude and a bit of a jackass.

And as far as torrenting goes, there are reasons to support it in this case because, for example, it's much easier to release foreign subtitles for an un-DRMed file on the Internet. That's just an example, there are other reasons for and against it too. What I don't like is all this bullshit from people who think they can download it de jure, regardless of their reasons. Claims of poverty just don't cut it here since it can be watched for free on Hulu from anywhere in the world.
Aidan W, please PLEASE do not use the word "retard" (in any context but in particular) when refering to someone committing what might be considered a stupid or ill-considered act. It's grossly insensitive and insulting, not to mention archaic.

For the record, I think that if something is for sale and you download it without paying for it or get it for free from a friend or put it on your site so others can get it free rather than paying, you're pirating, plain and simple. From whom you're stealing profit is irrelevent - stealing is stealing, whether it's from a friend or a foe, so to speak.
I agree, OzLady. But the difference here is that this is not for sale, for everyone. It is available to stream for free (although I don't think they're getting ad reveneus from international streams anyway, right?), but that's a "lesser" alternative if you can watch a downloaded version on your PC or television. If the DVD was out there and people were still downloading it, this would be pretty much open-and-shut bad, I'd say.

[ edited by GVH on 2008-08-04 00:14 ]
I'm going back to look at the My Little Ponies.

LOL. I love you people.
He states that putting Dr. Horrible on other sites is stealing, that it ipso facto proves that one is not a fan, and makes all sorts of wildly unfounded claims about the nature and motivations of people who engage in such activities.

Plus he believes that the far reaching effects of such activities are ultimately to his detriment.


Joss has said that the deal with the actors included part of the profits, which means that people engaging in activities that reduce *his* profit share are in fact acting to his detriment. Which IMO, gives him ample justification for questioning whether or not they are a real fan, or at least the kind of fan he'd care to have.

As far as his detailed description of his vision of who is doing this, I doubt that he meant it to be read literally. It sounded a lot more like a smart-alecky way of saying that he thinks these people are a**holes, especially given his prior blog rants about obnoxious drivers and cellphone users.

And as an aside, I totally second OzLady's comment about refraining from the use of "retard" as an epithet. It's common practice, but it shouldn't be. While we're on the subject, I'd like to add "riding the short bus" references to the list of insults that need to go away.
On the whole international and DRM issue... I find it a bit funny that scarcely anyone bothers to mention that, yes, you can download from the U.S. iTunes store no matter where you live -- with a tiny bit of work -- and yes, you can remove the DRM pretty easily (and I did both, I'll "admit", not to distribute, but to use in ways others have described here).

May not be technically legal, but I do think it's a morally sound approach, which, in the end, puts my money in the pockets of Joss, Nathan and all the others, as it's supposed to. If I couldn't have bought it, I'd have lived happily with the Hulu version. If I couldn't have removed the DRM, I'd live with the DRM'ed version until the DVD.

Pfft, it's not even much harder to find the info on how to do this, than finding an un-DRM'ed torrent. And yet most people, it seems, still prefer the latter approach.

Which gives Nathan a point.

Joss et al didn't intend for the international audience to be locked out, and I doubt they intended for this to be unusable anywhere except iTunes by way of DRM.

But the iTunes store is a very slow beast to work with, and DRM on video and restriction to a single nation's store is applied by default. And very hard to change, since now their creation has been locked inside multiple layers of Apple bureaucracy.

They made, I think, the only real bad decision by choosing iTunes for distribution. Although I do see the pro of it being almost ubiquitous.

That doesn't equal the usual argument of "it's their own fault that people are watching a pirated version". I don't know what made it OK to download for free, just because you can't view it in the exact way you prefer (it is available everywhere in some form). I'm not sure where this "I'm obligated to get my fix of entertainment immediately, and in the way I want" mentality comes from. Because, let's face it, they don't really owe us anything. In the end, if they had never created this, there would be nothing to complain about. :P

A usual response to this (although I haven't heard it here) would be "I don't owe them anything either". Sure you do, you owe them your respect for giving you this experience.

That may be hard to realize in these Web 2.0 days, where "everyone can create content" and "information wants to be free more than ever". Where Joe -- who just learned Windows Movie Maker and put up on Youtube his very first slideshow of Google Images-downloaded photos to music by Smashing Pumpkins -- can feel as important an artist as a Joss Whedon or David Fincher.

Maybe he is. Because everyone can create content. But Web 2.0 also makes it abundantly clear that most who do, shouldn't. :)

[ edited by Serge on 2008-08-04 01:05 ]
You rock more than a southern state porch chair.


Thanks, Nathan. This made me smile in all sorts of ways. :)

For those not familiar with NF's blogs, he tends to write emotional pieces. They are his "after-thoughts" for the day, impressions that he was left with, and the blog is treated as a coping mechanism, IMO. I say this because a couple of months ago, he wrote a blog about politeness and the effects it has on other people... particularly directed to a person being rude to him on an international flight. It's not that that particular person is going to read Nathan's blog, but those feelings and thoughts left-over come out in his blog.

They are his emotions, not a "how-to" guide. And, I agree with Saje, that NF is a bright bloke, but that doesn't necessarily mean he sees the seeding/downloading/piracy thing in its entirity. He's personally effected, and sees it from his view point.

But he does bring up good points. Why sport the DHSAB as your own when it's available on Hulu? Instead, people should be directing them there. And, GVH, I understand that you're a "good fanboy" and all, but unless we're clear that they are not getting revenues from international streams, we should assume they are, and treat it accordingly. What if we were wrong and that hindered their experiment? The point is to limit the variables so we can distinguish what works and what doesn't.
Sometimes I read Nathan's posts as slightly arrogant, this one being no exception, but I do appreciate what he has to say, regardless of whether or not I agree. It's always nice to hear intelligence come from anyone, famous or not-although it is always especially nice to hear intelligent thoughts from someone famous, because it shows that they aren't just a face that can say words from time to time.

I wont even get into my thoughts on piracy, I think everyone will be debating that quite nicely without me injecting my input, as well.
Well said, korkster. It's been implied before that Nathan is telling people what to do in his blogs or in statements he makes. Beyond poking fun at serious situations and having a chance to speak his mind, I very much doubt he feels so powerful that everyone in the world is going to drop what they're doing, slap their hands to their cheeks and exclaim, "My God, he's right. I am a video pirate!" Within his legitimate concerns lies a lot of humor.
I think that whether you are "pro-piracy" or "anti-piracy," Dr. Horrible needs to be considered in ways that are different from traditional broadcast/corporate media. First, unlike traditional media it is already available for free from the creators (with only the slightest of inconveniences attached: short ads). Second, the creators not only made it free, but made an easy way to DISTRIBUTE it for free on one's own site (Hulu) (with, again, the fairly slight inconvenience of ads and having to stream it). Third, Dr. H. is an attempt to prove that if the fans are sufficiently committed to a quality product it can be profitable even though "piracy" is possible (and one way of doing that is to discourage piracy among those who are fans).

The arguments I have heard for "pirating" Dr. H. in this thread are all ones of convenience: avoiding DRM (which seems weird to me since it's available free); getting it on other media (playing it on your TV instead of computer); and getting it (quicker) in countries where it was unavailable. I think these are valid desires. I think that when someone (like the hardcore Whedon fans here at Whedonesque) "pirates" a copy in order to fulfill these conveniences, the original authors actually really do not lose any money (Whedonesquers are quite likely to have purchased the iTunes copy, to intend to purchase the DVD and soundtrack, etc.). This is essentially "good faith piracy," where the "pirate" intends no harm and was willing to, and did, pay for hard work of the creators.

The question is whether allowing this kind of convenient "good faith piracy," which is pretty much indistinguishable from "bad faith piracy" from the outside (without knowing the intent, identity, and purchase history/intents of the person), is a good enough reason to allow "pirating" in general, knowing that there are plenty of people out there who will engage in "bad faith piracy" instead of paying for the product in some way. The question of whether "bad faith piracy" cost the creators profit, of course, depends on whether the "bad faith pirates" would have bought the product if they had no other choice. Normally you could say many would not, ergo no lost revenue. I'm not sure that argument works here where the cost is so low (watching a couple of ads on Hulu). It's not that unreasonable to say that almost every person who watches an unauthorized copy on YouTube or downloads it as a torrent is a lost potential Hulu viewer.

("It's really not that hard. If you're not a friggin' 'tard you will prevail...")

[ edited by Septimus on 2008-08-04 01:33 ]

[ edited by Septimus on 2008-08-04 01:34 ]
Aidan W,

Have you seen the Official t-shirts? http://www.jinx.com/drhorrible Doc says there are more designs in the works.

Hugs to all you video priates! Arrgh!

That Captain Hammer pony is so cute! Doc too!
I can't help but wonder, does anyone know anybody that did put Dr H up on their site in the way he describes in his blog? I have the Hulu embedded in my blog, but from what I understand they still get the clicks and ad revenue. I know I don't get anything. But I haven't seen an imbedded YouTube version of Dr H in anyone's blog/myspace/website. (But then, the internet is huge while I am average American woman sized.)
I know that there are songs on YouTube. And I only recall seeing Act II in it entirety up there, but I think YouTube got to Act's I and III and took them down... so, who is it that's got the DrHSAB up on their site that he's talking about? Or is he just guessing that someone is doing it and speaking out just in case...?
Serge, I, for one, was not aware that we could download from US iTunes by some form of "cheating". Never even occured to me that that might be possible. Now that I do know, I might do just that so that I have sort-of retroactively "paid" for my download.

korkster, yeah, I agree (which is why I've streamed the Hulu link on a remote computer at the university a few times, to "make right" on the amount of times I've watched the DL'ed version, just in case ;)). Fact still is though, that the Hulu stream is vastly different from a file on one's computer. The file streams perfectly well for me, quality wise (as long as I don't try to watch full-screen) but disconnects my computer from the internet (I have to physically pull out and reinsert my LAN-cable every two minutes whenever the connection is broken if anyone has any clue as to why that would be happening, feel free to tell me :)), which was fine when the show was first out, but simply does not work for now. I wouldn't be doing that at home, even if I didn't have an alternative. So, in the end, I still remain that one can be an actual fan and download Dr. H, as long as you try to make sure money still flows to the creative people, just like Septimus is saying.

Although, to be fair, I do see how Joss & co. are rightly trying to control all the output for this experiment to succeed and be usuable as a valid case-study. I'm not claiming any moral high ground here, I'm just saying: understand that this is not so black-and-white and that even loyal fans might have downloaded one of those torrents. But, to agree with Septimus again, the fact that it's out there for us who are not causing any harm might just mean that it's causing harm by having people not watch the Hulu stream who otherwise might've and as such costing our creative heroes revenues. That's more than enough reason for me to not seed a torrent of this and is why I would urge other whedonesquers to not seed Dr. H any longer either.

Just to restate, since I was probably unclear on that before: I actually agree with the implication of what Nathan's saying. I'm just not agreeing that the people pirating this are doing it out of some evil motive. In fact, I'd guess most of these people are actual fans who maybe have not thought about possible missed revenue from Hulu.
I think all he meant was, 'Please don't steal. Only Assholes do that. This new paradigm needs all of us to respect it in order for it to work. And don't use antique ringers as ringtones. Only assholes do that. And don't talk loudly on your celphone in public. Only assholes do that. But don't despair! I mean, come on, if that big black guy in the crosswalk can sing along with me and Jason Mraz, there's hope for you yet!'

Or something. My Nathan-to-English translator's a little rusty. I haven't fired it up since December.
GVH:
Never even occured to me that that might be possible. Now that I do know, I might do just that so that I have sort-of retroactively "paid" for my download.


Great! :) That was the main purpose of my post - getting the fans who want to a way to pay right now. ;) (without being too specific, because I'm not sure of legal implications for Whedonesque). I do agree that, in this case, most (or, at least, a lot of) fans actually get the pirated versions out of no ill will - and intend to eventually generate revenue for Joss and co by way of the DVD or the (hopefully) eventual international iTunes release.

Although, as Septimus also says, it can be hard to separate "good faith piracy" from "bad faith piracy", and I'm beginning to think piracy has become a force of habit, where people will download a pirated version even if there's a legal, free alternative (as in the "In Rainbows" example). :P

[ edited by Serge on 2008-08-04 02:22 ]
For those who know how to change their ringtones. Doc is working on Dr. Horrible ringtones. And has links to some from other people.

http://twitter.com/drhorrible
I've seen the act I and II on Youtube, but they were so out of sync they were impossible to watch. I've seen all three acts up in one other location but much lower quality. I've watched on HULU about 50 times. Wonder how many HULU views it takes to compare in ad revenue to what they get from 1 iTunes download. I'm looking forward to purchasing the DVD and 'hard copy' of soundtrack(if it's available).
As for piracy, I can understand having an interest in seeing something and not having access to it. If you can find it no other way, maybe the torrent seems okay. As long as this is free on HULU though, I would encourage folk to watch there, and I have. Hopefully more things will continue to be made available on HULU then the desire for torrents or other streaming sites will decrease, and folks could still get paid when they do a job.
Ed R,

Your Nathan-to-English translator's totally missed the part about hugging the ... the people you mentioned. Twenty-minute unconditional hug everybody! Ponies!
Third, Dr. H. is an attempt to prove that if the fans are sufficiently committed to a quality product it can be profitable even though "piracy" is possible (and one way of doing that is to discourage piracy among those who are fans).
I would agree with the first part of that sentence; I consider the parenthetical bit to be counterproductive. Indeed, I think my position reflects more faith in the new possibilities open on the Internet. (I refer you to the collected posts of Cory Doctorow for a reasonable approximation of my position, though admittedly not in every particular.)

To be clear, I can certainly understand Nathan et al. believing that piracy is a force for ill, and feeling frustrated thereby; I just find that disappointing. I think it indicates a fundamental failure to break away from the studio paradigm. Which is all I said way back at the top of this thread.

I wouldn't have considered this pertinent, but as the suggestion has been made that fans might care or know less about these issues because it's not directly relevant to them... I'm in publishing. I write and edit content for books and the Web, and books are sliding toward obsolescence as we speak; I can read the handwriting on the digital paper. For that matter, a significant amount of content I've been paid to write for the Web has been ripped off six ways from Sunday on blogs and sundry other websites. The industry is in flux, and my entire career hinges on precisely these issues... and—not despite, but because of this—I fervently believe that we in the creative industries ought to be embracing and utilizing "piracy", rather than trying to stamp it out. (I don't think I can get into specific examples of this without saying far more about my employment and employers than I feel comfortable doing on a public forum, but the question of protecting our content vs. encouraging people to spread it around elsewhere has been directly relevant to projects I've worked on. So far, the Powers That Be have not agreed with me. So it goes.)

And I don't agree that holding and acting on this position makes me less of a fan, let alone an asshole, thank you very much.

...finally, am I the only one who took Nathan's "hug" offer as being rather more threatening than Anonymous1 seems to think? :-)
"am I the only one who took Nathan's "hug" offer as being rather more threatening than Anonymous1 seems to think?"

Yes.

I have yet to see convincing evidence of how piracy creates wealth for the IP owner except on a limited publicity or sampling basis. And sense DH was already and is still available for free through legitimate methods, this holds no water with me in this instance. None.
Shmuel,

Nathan threatening to hug people!

You mean like Captain Hammer hugging you? Cause that might hurt. Whoops, let me put that shoulder back in it's socket.

Kind Strangers, Comicons, and the People that Need a Hug.
Current mood: Loving.
Category: Loving. Life


Did you see the twenty-minute hug in the movie Waitress? Directions were included. I don't think Nathan would use a hug as a weapon.
"Yes."

No.

I thought from the beginning that quotations needed to be around the hug in the title to this thread/article thingy. If he meant for them to really have a hug, it sure didn't come across that way to me.
The ironic thing is that all of our beloved Whedon protagonists operate outside the law (and Dollhouse will obviously be no exception). Do you think Dr Horrible would waste his time with iTunes? Would Mal?

Heck, the most moral and honest character in all Whedonia is probably Willow, yet she was illegally hacking into protected computer networks from day one.

Not taking sides either way (though I definitely would put myself in the white hat pirate camp -- okay I guess that is taking sides). I just think it's kind of a funny debate, given the subject matter of the material in question.
am I the only one who took Nathan's "hug" offer as being rather more threatening than Anonymous1 seems to think? :-)

Notwithstanding your smiley face, that's not a very cool thing to suggest. Of the handful less-than-glowing personal encounter stories I've come across about him, not one has suggested anything about use of physical intimidation or force by him. To the contrary, check out one of his earliest blog posts about the incident at the BBB event where some women took advantage of the crowded and unguarded situation and grabbed his ass. A quiet exit from the situation isn't really consistent with a guy who's into violence as a means of conflict resolution.

Or, maybe I'm totally wrong and he really intends to make the Dr. H. pirates his mare. ;-)
Re: Nathan's nature. As mentioned before, not everyone gets the emotion when reading something off the internet. We miss the "personal touch", so to speak. Often in the black, we mistake one's words for negative when they're actually positive...

As I've said, Nathan writes emotional blogs. One can have more emotions floating around, not just one. What I gathered from his blog was that he had a wonderful time at CC, really appreciated the friendliness of the stranger, and loves the support of Dr. Horrible. He also feels slightly "threatened" by those who are crushing his love-cloud (i.e., those who are pirating). It has a personal effect on him and those he cares about... he's taking a natural defense.

BUT, he's in a loving & forgiving mood.

I don't know why I struggle here sometimes. Everyone has their own take and perception on things, and if someone wants/feels threatened by his blog, then they're threatened. If someone takes it with a grain of salty love, then they do that. After meeting the guy, I would say it's salty defensive love. But that's my take.
I think Anonymous1 wants a hug.
I know I want a hug. Possibly a Canadian sandwich hug, with Tahmoh & Nathan. (Yes, I'm watching the Dollhouse panel. Good stuff. Love Eliza. She's so much fun and totally speaks her mind. "Take that, girl!" "Sorry PETA." And Joss.)
Hugs to catherine and korkster! Why should the pirates get all the hugging!
Shmuel, I respect and have a lot of sympathy with your (And Cory Doctorow's) position. I think that media companies and content creators need to move away from the "batten down the hatches, fill up the moat, lock everything down under copyright and DRM" mindset. I'm still not sure how that's going to make them money, though, especially the kind of money that goes into large scale undertaking like feature films.

I see Dr. H. as an experiment somewhere in the middle. And my ideal outcome wouldn't be full-on acceptance of "piracy" and still somehow making money for the creators (because I'm not sure how well that would work). My ideal is more like acceptance that there IS piracy, and working with that knowledge, but also trying to discourage people from pirating and getting them to buy the product instead. My ideal outcome, thus, would be that Dr. Horrible is a good enough product and the price and distribution are so cheap that people WILLINGLY buy it and don't pirate and encourage others to do the same. If that were the outcome (and it made Joss et al. enough money), I'd consider the Dr. H. experiment a success.
I can't get Dr. Horrible from iTunes, because iTunes doesn't support Linux. I could download it from a torrent but I won't, because I respect the creators and the rules they made. I don't like how that rule effects me personally, but that doesn't give me the right to just do what I want.

There seems to be a growing social trend that goes something like, "I'll follow the rules unless they're inconvenient." We want what we want when we want it, and consider rationalization to be justification.

For an analogy, I created a rose garden in my yard. My yard used to be an empty lot that neighbors used for a shortcut. I've told all the neighbors that they are welcome to come in and visit the garden, but that I don't want it used as a shortcut to get from Point A to Point B because it spoils the quiet, meditative atmosphere. Still, dozens of people every day continue to use it as a shortcut, never stopping to enjoy a flower. They even ride their bikes through it. I've gently confronted them about their behavior in MY yard, and they have the nerve to lie straight to my face and say they're not using it as a shortcut. In their minds, they want to do what they want to do, and they see my generosity as an impediment to their gratification. I was getting ready to fence the garden. Maybe I'll try giving them hugs instead.
If the Hulu stream would work properly on my computer I'd watch it on the Hulu stream. I'm waiting for the DVD to watch it properly and see it on my TV. I'm not paying for something (itunes) I can only watch on my computer.
As I've mentioned in another thread, by having iTunes, it is possible to get hook-ups to the TV. That's how I enjoy Dr. H on my medium TV screen.
"Your Nathan-to-English translator's totally missed the part about hugging the ... the people you mentioned. "

Nonny,
My translator took that to be a fairly straight-forward Stuart-Smalley-ish approach. It was obvious to Mister Fillion that the root cause of the behavior for these people who pirate, talk loud on cel phones, etc.. is a deeply-rooted emotional experience in their past lives where they felt sligthed or cheated or just plain not loved. These people are obviously emotionally imbalanced - not 'together'.All the hug was meant for was to tell them they were better than that. Darn it, those people are good enough, they're smart enough, and doggone it, people like them.

Or something. Maybe this translator needs new batteries?
How funny, 'cos when I met Nathan he gave me a HUGE hug, but followed it with "Don't tell anyone or they'll all want one."

I have made my views on piracy known before. I'm against downloading every single episode of a show or all of the songs off an album, and also against returning from holidaying in Asia with a bag chock full of pirated DVD's.

But, some corporations only add to the problem by restricting access to material (ie not making the iTunes store accessible), and by not having content available in certain countries.
How is it that I can order a Big Mac anywhere in the world and have it taste the same, but I'm still not able to buy a copy of 'Wonderfalls' without having to outsource to another country?

So if I have no alternative, I will totally torrent, and sleep well at night, too. I may even dream that my later, above board, multiple purchases of the DVD and t-shirt, and my vocal support and promotion for the fandom, actually count for something, too.
Wow, this is a walk down memory lane for me. I was a major Metallica fan during the Napster-lawsuit, and this was accompanied by a fandom war of course. But I understood back then that intellectual property, such as music or film, needs to be protected as much as other property.
One thing that I would like to know, in terms of successful copyright protection, is how come music has always been pirated from day one, yet books have never appeared online in big numbers (Harry Potter being the exception). Or am I just browsing the wrong sites? Does nobody read anymore nowadays? Is the publisher's lobby more influential?
One thing that I would like to know, in terms of successful copyright protection, is how come music has always been pirated from day one, yet books have never appeared online in big numbers (Harry Potter being the exception). Or am I just browsing the wrong sites? Does nobody read anymore nowadays? Is the publisher's lobby more influential?
Fair question.

You're browsing the wrong sites. :-) There are lots of books out there, even if we're not including comics and manga. (Not to mention the tens of thousands of totally legal public domain books online.)

With that said, I believe it's true that a far, far smaller percentage of books available offline are on file sharing sites than the percentage of films and TV shows available. I think—but I'm admittedly speculating here—that there are at least three reasons for this:

(A) It's much easier to rip a DVD than to scan every page of a book.

(B) More importantly, I think, most individual books don't get nearly as much interest/viewership as even lesser TV shows or motion pictures. Every year brings hundreds of new movies and hundreds of thousands of new books. It's a lot easier to upload the former, and doing so will be of interest to a lot more people.

(C) Just as importantly, most people (myself included) still prefer reading long literary works on paper, rather than onscreen. I don't expect this to last forever. I thought that shift was at least a few decades off until I saw a Sony digital book in person; now I'm not so sure. The technology is closing in quickly.

This next bit may just be me, but I suspect that the myriad benefits of public libraries and sharing books with friends are more widely taken for granted in the world of books, making it easier to appreciate some parallels with modern digital practices, or at least take them in stride more easily.

(To reiterate: I'm not claiming this attitude is anything close to universal. Offhand, one might bring up the Google Books brouhaha, or invoke the name of Harlan Ellison. All of this is my perspective; I'm very definitely not pretending to speak for the industry as a whole.)

Finally, I think—or, rather, I know—publishers are very, very concerned about what's to come. But I also think—or maybe just hope—that the delay in moving to digital formats has given print publishers the chance to see what hasn't worked for the other media, and to experiment with new approaches. There are encouraging signs, from the Baen Free Library to Random House removing DRM from its audiobooks, to pick a couple of examples off the top of my head, suggesting that while those in my field are worried about how we'll stay in business, and we're still trying to figure out new publishing paradigms, we might avoid making the same mistakes as the music and broadcasting industries.

We'll probably find all new mistakes to make instead. :-)

[ edited by Shmuel on 2008-08-04 10:35 ]
intellectual property, such as music or film, needs to be protected as much as other property.


Thanks Ariane, that expresses my position more succinctly than anything I could think of to say. Just want to add that I do believe there's a distinction between the intellectual rights of the creator/artist, and the commercial rights of the studio system that is already making obscene profits from their "product", while constantly looking for ways to cut said artistic element (such as writers and actors) out of as much of that profit as possible.
And isn't this actually a big part of what Joss and Co. have in mind, with the whole Dr. Horrible experiment?

As for a hug from Nathan .... well, duuuh. ;-)
It does deserve to be protected BUT it's not the same as real-world property and shouldn't be treated as if it is. Calling piracy theft is missing those differences IMO (especially given changes in legislation which vastly broaden the "piracy" net e.g. DRM/DMCA which criminalises anyone ripping their own CDs for their own use).

Or am I just browsing the wrong sites? Does nobody read anymore nowadays?

Yep, as Shmuel says, you're browsing the wrong sites ;). Tens of thousands of books are available for (illegal) download if you wish (probably mainly reference and with an understandable bent towards technical stuff but there's all sorts - computing books often come with a CD of the book BTW, which means you see a lot of those available for download). I find it really useful for properly checking out a book that's not available in my local bricks and mortar shops but since a) I think authors deserve to be paid and b) I can't stand reading large amounts off a screen, especially fiction, i've bought a paper copy of every book i've found useful/interesting.

Cory Doctorow is an interesting example because he's probably close to a book equivalent of Joss - i.e. small but dedicated fanbase, fair amount of geek cred - and he releases his work under Creative Commons. So far he seems to feel it's worked in that he still makes money from his work BUT i'd say that's an idea that doesn't necessarily scale well (because people are more willing to pay someone with an individual presence, especially someone with some geek cred, than they would be a large, faceless corporation IMO) and will only work as long as books are easier to use than digital "books" (when the feel, look, convenience etc. are the same for both - i.e. with the advent of genuine "digital paper" - I think a fair bit of the motivation to buy the book as well as download it will be gone).

ETA 'both' due to sense, the making of.

[ edited by Saje on 2008-08-04 12:10 ]
I don't buy nothing I couldn't try before. When I download something and I find I like it, I put the name on my "To buy" list (If I don't like it, I stop downloading it). I buy things from my list when I can, but yet the list is as long as my arm is.

I don't think I'm pirating because I don't get any profit of my copies. And I buy originals when I have the money for it. I don't think I'm hurting anybody.

By the way, I want improve my English (sorry, I know its poor) and a hug, please.
Cory Doctorow is an interesting example because he's probably close to a book equivalent of Joss - i.e. small but dedicated fanbase, fair amount of geek cred - and he releases his work under Creative Commons. So far he seems to feel it's worked in that he still makes money from his work BUT i'd say that's an idea that doesn't necessarily scale well (because people are more willing to pay someone with an individual presence, especially someone with some geek cred, than they would be a large, faceless corporation IMO) and will only work as long as books are easier to use than digital "books" (when the feel, look, convenience etc. are the same for both - i.e. with the advent of genuine "digital paper" - I think a fair bit of the motivation to buy the book as well as download it will be gone).
The jury's still out as to how well this will scale, I agree, and I'm definitely keeping an eye out for further developments.

On the one hand, in every case I know of, sales of print books have increased when those same books have been made freely available online, whether by individuals or corporations; one can argue about why this has been the case, but that it has been is pretty well established. On the other hand, I can't prove there won't be a point at which the market will be glutted and that trend will reverse, or that the entire market won't collapse once digital books become more appealing than their printed equivalents.

(Personally, I don't think it will collapse, but I do think it'll be changed substantially, and that some will adapt and others will end up waiting tables. I fervently want to be among those who do adapt, rather than those trying to shore up an obsolete model depending on a limited monopoly over reproduction rights... but obviously others have legitimate grounds for seeing those sides differently, and who knows? I might easily be in the first wave that gets wrecked, clearing the way for a second or third one that gets it right.)
Heh, yep, that's the problem with revolutions, the people at the front tend not to be the people still standing when the dust settles ;).

The jury's still out as to how well this will scale, I agree, and I'm definitely keeping an eye out for further developments.

Yeah, I think it could actually mean the radical shake up you talk about amounts to all authors being effectively "mid-list" because I wonder about the "friendly parasite" effect and the "screw you jack" effect (there're probably proper names for those but I don't know 'em ;). I.e. when an author is perceived to be successful enough people may start to think "Well, it won't matter if I don't pay, because everyone else will cover me" and also "Well, why should I pay X, he/she is already a millionaire many times over ?".

And I also think it'll mean a much more hands-on approach being required from authors/creators. It'll be crucial to maintain a "face" with your fans so that they don't see non-payment as a victimless crime which means authors/creators will need to spend a lot more time than most do now in promoting their work, taking interviews, doing readings, generally "pressing the flesh" with their fans. Pretty sure Joss/Jed/Zack/Maurissa would attest to just how much work it is getting your stuff out there (they must've spent days just being interviewed over and over) so that's no small commitment.

So superstar authors like Stephen King may become a thing of the past but arguably more authors could make a living as professional writers. All success will be on the scale of cult success.
By the way, I want improve my English (sorry, I know its poor) and a hug, please.
Urui | August 04, 12:01 CET


I'll leave the technical tech stuff to the techies and just say Hi Urui (hug), your English is just fine.
See, Nathan's attitude is contagious. ;-)
And I also think it'll mean a much more hands-on approach being required from authors/creators.


Which is unfortunate because I'm not sure if they have time to do that. The authors I know have normal jobs and families and can't afford to go on message boards and chat with fans. Even now a lot of them are run ragged with the promotional work.

Out of interest are there ads on electronic books?
Not the few (legal) e-books i've seen, they're either free but with donations or available on a subscription system, I haven't seen any that're ad supported (not even really sure how that'd work with an e-book, presumably they'd have to lock you in to viewing the ad page somehow, like DVDs do with anti-piracy messages).

The authors I know have normal jobs and families and can't afford to go on message boards and chat with fans. Even now a lot of them are run ragged with the promotional work.

Yeah but that's with the current system where they make a smaller cut of sales. I think moving to a more independent, wider, freer distribution system would mean a bigger slice of the pie (i.e. more money per sale) which would mean more time to dedicate to writing and the business surrounding it (s'what I mean about more authors being able to make a living as professional writers i.e. just writing and the promotion attached, no day job).

The problems are gonna be worst for those trying to segue between the different ways of doing things though, especially those not making much money at it currently (because they don't have the cushion that bigger names have to tide them over the transition).

[ edited by Saje on 2008-08-04 13:38 ]
Heh, yep, that's the problem with revolutions, the people at the front tend not to be the people still standing when the dust settles ;).
This is true. :-)
Yeah, I think it could actually mean the radical shake up you talk about amounts to all authors being effectively "mid-list" because I wonder about the "friendly parasite" effect and the "screw you jack" effect (there're probably proper names for those but I don't know 'em ;).
I'm inclined to agree.
And I also think it'll mean a much more hands-on approach being required from authors/creators. It'll be crucial to maintain a "face" with your fans so that they don't see non-payment as a victimless crime which means authors/creators will need to spend a lot more time than most do now in promoting their work, taking interviews, doing readings, generally "pressing the flesh" with their fans.
Two minor quibbles: I would replace "so they don't see non-payment as a victimless crime" with "so they see payment as patronage," and I don't think it would necessarily require more than a regularly updated blog in many, if not most, cases. Though I don't doubt that those who put more work into cultivating fans will be in a far better position.

And to answer Simon...
Out of interest are there ads on electronic books?
Not that I know of, but give 'em time. [wry smile]

(Though there have been a few cases of product placement being sold in a print novel...)

[Edited to change final word from "book" to "novel."]

[ edited by Shmuel on 2008-08-04 13:39 ]
The only problem I have with fans seeing donations/payments as 'patronage' is that patronage (to me) has connotations of control over content and I think that's the wrong message to send out.

Re: blog updates etc., yeah it'd vary from author to author though I think an element of interaction would be needed too so rather than just throwing out blog entries, responding in the comments or answering questions would generate a feeling of closeness (Neil Gaiman does a pretty decent job of it IMO - even though his blog doesn't actually have comments - because be passes on cool links, answers questions etc.). Some could probably blitz it early and generate a sort of overall feeling of good will, others might want to work at it more gradually, others may, frankly, be such geniuses that we hear nothing of them for years and still happily pay for their stuff.
The only problem I have with fans seeing donations/payments as 'patronage' is that patronage (to me) has connotations of control over content and I think that's the wrong message to send out.
Depends on the patron. :-)

You could also say the same thing for publishers in the current model. Shakespeare's plays sucked up to the people paying the bills; I don't see this as a problem. :-)

(For that matter, another plank in my overall social-revolution platform is backing off the notion of authorial control in general in favor of a more collaborative free-for-all, but that's getting too far afield.)
Korkster, how would I hook up iTunes to my TV? My computer is on one side of the room and my TV is way over on the other.
Sounds like you may need what we in the technical professions call "a long cable" ;-).
I gather I would need a long cable that would somehow hook into the port on my computer and then something in my TV (or VCR or DVD).

I think I'll wait for the DVD. :)
I downloaded a DRM free version of DHSAB, mostly because I don't have an internet connection at home and prefer to watch it without headphones and with full volume.

Thing I noticed looking for a torrent to download with all three parts is that in the torrent descriptions, they said to buy the DVD when it was released (quite a few mentioned buying the soundtrack as well) to support the cast and crew. So it seems that the people who made it available agree that it is better to pay for it and are offering the torrent as a stop gap.
I gather I would need a long cable that would somehow hook into the port on my computer and then something in my TV (or VCR or DVD).

Yeah, what sort of cable depends on what outputs you have on your video card and what inputs you have on your TV, there're all sorts of different connector/adapter combinations. Mine connects to my TV with a straightforward SVGA cable - i.e. the same one you'd use to connect your computer to your monitor - because the TV happens to have an SVGA input. You can get SVGA cables 10 metres long so unless you have a really big room, that'd probably cover you but if your TV doesn't have an SVGA in it's not necessarily as straightforward (and Murphy's law says it won't ;).

ETA: Oh and you'd need a long enough audio cable too. You may, indeed, be better waiting for the DVD ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2008-08-04 16:13 ]
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't a Slingbox or AppleTV allow you to watch Dr. Horrible on your TV (provided, of course, you'd been honest and paid for it at iTunes *smiles sweetly*)?
Probably, so long as you're tied into Apple's hardware or software and paying them money, they're usually happy enough to let you do what you should've been able to all along according to fair use exemptions.

(and for myself, just as soon as I can buy it I will. I've said several times that i'm desperate to throw my hard-earned at Joss and crew but gaming the US iTunes aside - and thus breaking the law a different way - that's not possible right now)
I'm with Ariane and Amrita. I can't afford to pay for everything I want to see and hear, so I don't get to see and hear everything I want right away. I won't download music or film illegally.

Re. Nathan. Love him, must say (as a fellow Albertan) the rants are part of our culture. Not my favourite part, but I've delivered a few myself, so I can't judge.

hugs!
If anyone wants a good iTunes alternative, do yourself a favor and check out Songbird. Its pretty impressive and has some Mozilla/Firefox and Nullsoft/WinAMP DNA. Does podcasts, iPod sync and a bunch of other stuff. There are addons for it to be able to play your legally acquired iTunes Store content as well in addition to the base support for importing existing iTunes libraries and acquiring cover art. Someone has made a CoverFlow type addon as well (well two - MediaFlow and AlbumApplet both do this), so if that's your cup of tea, you can rearrange the user interface to be more familiar.

Its a work in progress, but it works pretty well for a number of things (can't sync video to iPods yet is one shortcoming, no rip/burn at the moment).

ETA - the development build of .80 has some significant advantages over the current release version, though most of the plugins aren't available for that version.
Korkster, how would I hook up iTunes to my TV? My computer is on one side of the room and my TV is way over on the other.
redeem147 | August 04, 15:37 CET


redeem147, back when I was broke last year and Veronica Mars was on its final season, I bought the episodes on iTunes so I could watch them. Got the iPod-to-TV adapter with remote, and had a VM jam session on the TV. After the jam session, I returned the adapter. It worked very well, and I only ended up paying for the episodes (the iPod was a gift).

When I had enough money to put me back in the hole, I decided to buy the adapter anyway. It worked great, and I wanted to watch the VM stuff again, along with others. It was only ~$35 when I bought it, and it continues to work great.

That said, there is also the laptop-to-TV cable that Saje has described, which my friend has and also works great. We watch downloads and DVDs on there all the time. This way you don't have to buy a DVD player.

There are options. If you're broke, I'd suggest the buy-&-return method. Read the fine print, though, and make sure it's returnable.
Sigh...I give up. Y'all are a bunch of moral relativists. I'm going to go hole up with my Kohlerg and cry.
I have a laptop-to-TV adapter. It cost me all of $19 at the Apple Store. I use it to watch on the TV stuff I have on the MacBook all the time.
Hugs to Urui, Shey, TawnyJayne, and everybody!
Some TVs do have vga/dsub15 connectors and can just take a regular computer monitor cable as input also.
Hugs to Urui, Shey, TawnyJayne, and everybody!
Anonymous1 | August 05, 04:54 CET

Glad to see someone's still interested in the "hugs" aspect, because the tech stuff left me in the dust back at "need a longer cable". ;-)
Hee hee. Anonymous1 you're cracking me up. Hugs back atcha.
http://blog.myspace.com/

Nathan Fillion's blog 5th most popular blog on myspace!

Whoo-hoo!
Quite agree Shmuel, he sounds no better than the big business. And many here are no better with their unfounded out of air grabbed fabrications.

Despite my misgivings about the basic amorality of copyright and the so called "intellectual property" i was planning to buy the DVD (not that under currently law you are actually buying anything) - what could change my mind is more of Filions spewings. He's entitled to his opinion? So am I..oh wait, not here, I would be censored. Oh well better stop reading this nonsense, perhaps i have forgotten it by Christmas.
Yep, Pumps, if you continue to write abusive comments ("spewings"?), you *will* be censored. And then banned. On the other hand, you could choose to contribute in a thoughtful manner, as most everybody else manages to do without complaining or apparently finding it a burden.
Copyright is "amoral"? Or "immoral"? Either way, "i" would love to hear more about this particular viewpoint.
I've asked before when Pumps has chimed in with that bombshell but so far to no avail.

I really don't see how, unless it's the "all property is theft" style of argument, since copyright is specifically intended to allow creators to benefit from their own work - which is what everyone that works wants/needs to do, right ? Even the (by some people's standards) free-software "radicals" like Richard Stallman are keen proponents of copyright, in fact, the entire movement requires it.

Or maybe he/she is against the idea of art and commerce meeting to any extent (i.e. of even the idea of a professional artist) ?

(not to say that current abuses of copyright by big business entertainment lobbyists aren't wrong and, ultimately, short-sighted and misguided but that's blaming the tool for the faults of the user)

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