Monday, June 23, 2008

Using, legally.

The City of Paradise is only a cultural desert if you are interested in buying original gear. Whatever you need can be gotten on the street for a price, usually one that is determined by the cost of mass-produced blank CD-Rs and DVD-Rs. My video store- which has a prominently displayed bizness license, so they might actually be paying taxes- can sell you any movie from their catalog at 2k a disc. And don't even get me started on the music ripping/downloading/supply industry: I have no idea how our local artists live off their art. Oh wait, they mostly don't- their producers and "distributors" do.

It isn't so bad for bookworms. There is a chain that will gladly source for you whatever your printed poison is for roughly six million Shillings and the fresh blood of your newborn son. Per copy. Food, shelter and employment are all well and good but a woman needs her gear! Being able to afford an album/book/concert only once per Haley's Comet sighting is not on. Thus, serious 'starvation' coupled with the ridiculous hoops one has to jump through shop online from Paradise taught me how to use torrents. Necessity is the mother of all...

This is not ideal. I am not entirely comfortable with intellectual property rights and their commercial applications, but I do believe in thanking artists and their industries for sharing their work with us. In this day, cold hard cash is all the preferred method of showing love. Sure, Britney Spears might not need my few cents but I am sure that James Brown's estate could use a hand in catering for all the, um, women, children and grandchildren et cetera. And the local industry needs to be supported- some of the talent is too brilliant to languish in starvation.

But how does one get to use legally? What low-tech, reasonable cost, accessible solutions are available for the two or three denizens of Paradise who don't earn enough to open credit card accounts at hostile financial institutions* but want to spend their five or six disposable dollars on a GENUINE item? Perchance, the new copyright watchdog might want to brainstorm/flipchart/workshop/seminar this idea as part of their strategy to get rid of piracy. Otherwise they are going to be as effective at their job as the Prevention and Combatting of Corruption Bureau.

* A Love Note to the Bankers of Paradise:

Dear Sirs:

Do you factor in the country's average per capita income before setting up the trials of the nine hells that you so coquettishly call 'requirements for opening a bank account?' Or is despising the great unbanked masses and tormenting us with images of services we will never afford part of the unique pleasures of your job? I eagerly anticipate the day your customer service is of better quality than that offered by Bank of Under My Mattress.

Sincerely, etc.

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