“And meanwhile battling such immaterial forces as radio (don’t talk to me about radio frequency interference, although we’re past that particular corner now) and risk/finance/law (which turns out to be a hideously complex part of setting up the supply chain and sales).”

Week 371 – Blog – BERG

"It [the inquiry] was long and complicated but we can now say that the young Chayson has never existed and nor have his father or mother."

The boy was reported missing on Friday by a woman who claimed to be the boy’s great-aunt. She told officers she had last seen the child the previous week near a supermarket and believed he had been kidnapped. She told detectives that Basinio and the boy’s mother had separated and she had no idea where they were.

Missing boy existed only on Facebook

Police said her teenage daughter and a cousin – both minors – who are believed to have set up the false Facebook account and pirated pictures from other accounts on the site were also being questioned.

"Sadly, this is a very modern-day story. Someone decided to create false Facebook accounts and took pictures from real accounts to feed the false accounts and make these people seem real," Mazaud added.

He said the imaginary family had been created several months ago.

Missing boy existed only on Facebook

Each year, participating shops file a report after the day, giving the organisers feedback and suggesting changes. Distributors and labels should do that too, Hickman says, even if they’re not involved in Record Store Day. “The first thing I heard about the open letter that Kudos wrote is when I saw it reported in the press, and I know the guys there. That’s madness. I need that feedback because it’s the only way we can figure out how to solve the problems. We have a post-Record Store Day meeting in L.A. every year in May. I have to compile a report for that meeting mentioning issues that we’re having in the UK and I will ask what we can do about them. I really don’t want to see anyone’s business being hurt and I perfectly understand that indie labels are the rock of indie stores.”

Hickman is under immense pressure and, aside from last year when Record Store Day worked with a sponsor, he hasn’t been paid a penny for the enormous amount of work he puts into the day each year. That needs to change, although he’s not asking for remuneration. A part of him thinks Record Store Day should “do a Glastonbury” and take a year off, reassess and get organised properly for 2016, but, he adds, “I’ll get shot for suggesting for that.” Why? “Because, despite everything, I know that thousands of people are going to have a great day on Saturday, and so will I. This year, there’s good and bad, but you can’t forget that music fans, bands and the industry still do very well out of Record Store Day. The amount of press we do is incredible and you can’t underestimate that – BBC One news, Channel 4 news, newspapers, online… All of that stuff benefits the entire industry. However, I don’t sit there with my head in my hands and think there aren’t any problems; I know there are and my worry is that Record Store Day could explode in a mess. More than anyone, I really don’t want that to happen.”

The Quietus | Opinion | The Quietus Essay | Is Record Store Day In Crisis? A Quietus Investigation

“Suspicions that Record Store Day 2014 was causing havoc behind the scenes were confirmed when on March 14 distribution company Kudos published a blog detailing their frustrations. “Kudos’ physical release schedule will be pretty quiet for the next few weeks,” it began. “This isn’t a seasonal issue… The cause of this new release drought might surprise you: Record Store Day.” They went on to explain that pressing plants were prioritising releases specific to Record Store Day, often on major labels, leaving them “effectively locked out of the vinyl business”. They mentioned that they have always been supporters of the day, the organisers and concept, but drastic changes need to be made in the future, because, they said, “It feels like it has been appropriated by major labels and larger indies to the extent that smaller labels who push vinyl sales for the other 364 days of the year are effectively penalised.””

The Quietus | Opinion | The Quietus Essay | Is Record Store Day In Crisis? A Quietus Investigation

“Even if they could get their releases to their distributor on schedule, there’s no guarantee they’d actually be shelved in shops: there are space concerns as a potential 643 exclusive records land in stores in large numbers on a single day, but also stock doesn’t end up in shops on a sale-or-return basis – it’s bought in. Despite the boost of the day itself, record shops simply don’t have the budget to purchase every regular release from labels a month before, or after, Record Store Day.”

The Quietus | Opinion | The Quietus Essay | Is Record Store Day In Crisis? A Quietus Investigation

“The second issue with the venture-backed service economy is the Amazon problem – specifically, the practice of selling goods at or near a loss creates a deeply unfair competitive terrain for regular businesses. A start-up can sell a $10 lunch for $8 because it has money in the bank and investors who will rush in with more when the supply runs low. But if my local sandwich shop tries to do the same thing, it won’t make next month’s rent. The same goes with non-retail service businesses. Taxi companies had a decent chance of competing with UberX in its early days. But now that UberX and Lyft are both slashing prices to the bone with the assistance of millions of dollars in venture capital, the fight simply isn’t fair.”

The Problem With Profitless Start-ups

“Few of them are profitable on a corporate level. And together, they’ve formed the backbone of a strange urban economy: one in which massive venture-capital injections allow money-losing start-ups to flourish, while providing services that no traditional, unsubsidized business can match. It’s an economy built on patience, and the hope that someday, after the land grab is over and the dust has settled, a better business model will emerge.”

The Problem With Profitless Start-ups

It is not conspiracy. It is plain old cock up, combined with an inadequate understanding of the proper limit of their powers.

The left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. Even inside departments of the Home Office they do not know what they are trying to achieve.

The policy formation is weak and closed. The industry is not in the loop. Media inquiries are being dismissed. The technological understanding is startlingly naive.

Filtering in the UK: The hinterland of legality, where secrecy trumps court rulings - Index on Censorship | Index on Censorship

“They refuse to answer any questions on Cleanfeed, saying it is a privately owned service – a fact which is technically true and entirely misleading.”

Filtering in the UK: The hinterland of legality, where secrecy trumps court rulings - Index on Censorship | Index on Censorship

The Home Office mulled whether to add extremism – and Brokenshire’s “unsavoury content” – to something called the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) list.

The list was supposed to be a collection of child abuse sites, which were automatically blocked via a system called Cleanfeed. But soon, criminally obscene material was added to it – a famously difficult benchmark to demonstrate in law. Then, in 2011, the Motion Picture Association started court proceedings to add a site indexing downloads of copyrighted material.

Filtering in the UK: The hinterland of legality, where secrecy trumps court rulings - Index on Censorship | Index on Censorship

And something else curious was happening too: A reactionary view of human sexuality was taking over. Websites which dealt with breast feeding or fine art were being blocked. The male eye was winning: impressing the sense that the only function for the naked female body was sexual.

It was a staggering failure. But Downing Street was pleased with itself, it had won. The ISPs had surrendered. The Washington Post described it as  “some of the strictest curbs on pornography in the Western world” -  music to Cameron’s ears. Suddenly the terms of the debate started shifting. Dido Harding, the chief executive of TalkTalk, was saying the internet needed a “social and moral framework”.

Filtering in the UK: The hinterland of legality, where secrecy trumps court rulings - Index on Censorship | Index on Censorship

The filters went well beyond what Cameron had been talking about. Suddenly, sexual health sites had been blocked, as had domestic violence support sites, gay and lesbian sites, eating disorder sites, alcohol and smoking sites, ‘web forums’ and, most baffling of all, ‘esoteric material’.  Childline, Refuge, Stonewall and the Samaritans were blocked, as was the site of Claire Perry, the Tory MP who led the call for the opt-in filtering. The software was unable to distinguish between her description of what children should be protected from and the things themselves.

At the same time, the filtering software was failing to get at the sites it was supposed to be targeting. Under-blocking was at somewhere between 5% and 35%.

Filtering in the UK: The hinterland of legality, where secrecy trumps court rulings - Index on Censorship | Index on Censorship

“The world is so big, so complicated, so replete with marvels and surprises that it takes years for most people to begin to notice that it is, also, irretrievably broken. We call this period of research “childhood.””

Michael Chabon | NYRblog | The New York Review of Books, April 2014. (via metanautics)

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