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Cutting the wires: Are New Zealanders prepared for copyright consequences? April 26, 2011

Posted by Jess in Film, Music, Personally Jess, television.
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Cut off the internet, says the government, but is that the correct response to illegal file-sharing?

Courtesy of Google image search. Or is using this image illegal?


Come September, New Zealand citizens will become liable for copyright infringement online. This is in the form of downloading, or as the government has chosen to define it ‘file-sharing’. This will mean any use of torrenting or file-sharing programs to obtain copyrighted material without paying for it will, if the copyright holder acts upon notification, earn you your first warning from Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

I’ve made my views heard on this issue on Facebook and more so on Twitter, as well as in discussion with friends at dinner outings and work. But I wanted to write a blog on this hardly-used blog of mine just to get my thoughts out so I can understand my own logic, rather than trying to convince any politicians to change their minds – why keep flogging a dead horse when the horse is naive and stubborn in the first place?

I’m a 21-year-old female, living in Auckland and i’ll openly admit here that yes, for the past three or so years, I have, by definition of the New Zealand government, illegally file-shared online. Whether it’s in the form of torrenting or streaming online, I have at one point or another clicked on a link or typed in a web address with the intention of experiencing a song, video or television show for leisure and pleasure. And heck, I damn-well enjoyed it! Do you know why? Because media is made for the consumer and by jove, i’m going to consume it, as it was intended.

Any decent musician who is in it for the art and passion, and not the paycheck, will tell you that they want their music to be heard online. MySpace, Facebook, Blip, Last.FM, SoundCloud and any other free sign-up social networking site are their portals and platforms to help them share their work. Why have MySpace et al become to successful at this business of streaming music online? Because people love to try before they buy. It’s a basic business model.

YouTube and Facebook have become platforms for independent filmmakers to find an audience when funds would usually hinder this process. It has become to expensive to produce and distribute any kind of media without the help of huge international distribution companies, but with YouTube and other video platforms, such as Vimeo and Renderyard, all of this becomes possible at a tenth of the cost.

Hulu, Netflix – largely American-oriented content streamers – and OnDemand services provided by TVNZ and Mediaworks in New Zealand offer audiences the chance to re-watch episodes online of shows audiences may have missed when originally broadcast on television. Television is quickly becoming more about creating content that will draw in viewers for the show, rather than advertisers which has seen a shift to social content and finding ways to engage the viewer within traditional media.

All this academic/useless garble brings me to my point: Any government may think it is doing the right thing by copyright holders, in music, film or television, but in reality they really are not.

How is a self-made, self-funded musician going to make an impact on New Zealand now? If it wasn’t for MySpace, no one in New Zealand would’ve discovered Kids of 88. My House would never have been used in adverts for C4, they would never have charted so high and for so long, would never have released and album and would never have made it to SXSW festival.

Without YouTube, New Zealand short film would never get the exposure in theatres like it does right here.

And as you can imagine, the benefits for artists go on and on, onto various social networking websites. From these websites, opportunities have arisen, etc. And you could say “well those artists hold the copyright to distribute their content on whatever website they want” but that wouldn’t stop them from claiming infringement in the future.

Apart from all this, about doing good by the artist, the consumer/customer is more my concern. As someone who pays for internet access, not just at home but at university as well, I fully subscribe to the belief that the Internet and access to the Internet has become a basic human right. This is because most companies these days are forcing customers/users online to access their services, therefore I need Internet access to carry out my obligations to government services, television subscription services and personal communication services.

Cutting off the customer after infringing copyright three times just seems like a scapegoat for a failed business model used by multiple businesses who have now gone bankrupt, supposedly due to the fact that every potential customer file-shares. Take for example Real Groovy in Wellington, which is closing down as a result of poor vinyl, CD, cassette and DVD sales.

The owner came out on record in the media, saying file-sharing and illegal downloading was to blame. I can tell you now, that is not the truth. I wished to purchase True Blood season two a few months ago and contacted three different stores to compare prices. JB Hi-Fi were selling season two for less than $30 but had unfortunately sold out. Marbecks were selling season two for $35 and had nine copies available at their Albany store. Real Groovy on Queen St, however not-linked to Wellington people may say it is, it still gives an indication of RG pricing, was $75.

I ended up buying, of course, from Marbecks. I would be stupid not to. The point is, is that companies that stump up the prices and try blame file-sharing are idiots. No, you use a failing business model when even your competition, an Australian-owned franchise which has more stores around Auckland, are succeeding even in a recession! JB Hi-Fi, i’m fairly certain, are suffering no loses as recent research and studies show illegal file-sharing has actually helped to increase music and DVD sales, not decrease them. And of course I cannot link you to the research because I cannot find the link. Plus it’s something I learned at university from a tutor and I won’t APA reference it for you.

Not only are businesses not adapting for a new generation, they’re alienating their customers by laying all the blame on them for their failed business model.

The Copyright (infringing file-sharing) bill will criminalise more people than protecting them. There are situations where people may be given notice for doing something online that they do not realise is against the law. There are more important issues the government should be focussing on, such as illegal substance abuse and sales, the issues currently facing the family court system and the Christchurch earthquake recovery. The fact that this legislation was pushed through under urgency is also disturbing.

In summary, because it’s past midnight & I have work in the morning is this: No one will ever completely crack down on file-sharing, legal or not, copyright or not copyright. It’s something politicians need to read up on and perhaps experience to understand, as many have proven they have no clue what the Internet actually is and how file-sharing actually helps artists and customers, instead of damaging them.

Interesting links:



This man is an idiot. January 15, 2011

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From the “brilliant” mind who brought us the fake BP PR Twitter account, I give you an attempt to make the word “rape” part of a punch line:

This guy is an idiot.

Fast replies and updates January 15, 2011

Posted by Jess in Twitter Bits.
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Something I want to address today is something I get a bit of stick for on Twitter: fast replies.

It’s not something I intentionally do, I don’t go out of my way to reply really quick. There’s no reason behind me doing it other than I type really fast and my brain responds very quick with 140 character-long responses so it’s very easy for me to have a fast-tweeting conversation.

I really appreciate fast conversations, such as with Josh, where I can reply and expect a reply within about two minutes.

And that’s all I have to say about that! Moving on.

I haven’t had time to put a video up today but i’m actually hoping to get something together for tomorrow. I want to introduce Michelangelo AKA Mickey to the world via video, as Twitter has had plenty of photos and watching footage kittens is fun.

He’s so adorable. I picked him up this morning and he’s been climbing all over me ever since. He’s taking his sixth nap for the day and he’s been feeding and going toilet regularly so it’s all good.

This week has been quite good for me, personally. I went back to work, which is really good because it means I have stuff to do instead of sitting at home. As much as I love the sun/summer, I find there’s only time to do things in the evenings or on weekends so! Yeah!

Just an update so I can keep the blogging part of my brain sane. Catch you later!

Adopt-a-kitten January 12, 2011

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This is huge. This is actually one of the most adult decisions i’ve ever made. I already have a cat but mum and I share equal responsibility for her, even though she loves me more*. But I am just so excited & i’ll tell you why i’ve adopted from Raewyn’s rescue cat operation instead of the SPCA.

I went and visited Ness last weekend because I hadn’t seen her in ages and she wanted to give me a gift for my 21st (thank you so much, Ness – chips & chocolate have gone down a treat at home haha!)

She also took me to see the kitties that Raewyn from RCR Rescue catches, deworms, desexes and de-fleas, if that’s a word. Not by herself, mind you, she gets a vet to do the desexing part but she re-homes each kitten/cat she finds to the best people she can get.

When I went, there were at least 30 kittens in the house, as well as a mother cat (which has since passed away) and her two babies in a separate area, as the babies are very young & had barely opened their eyes.

Raewyn also has a couple of awesome volunteers, Ness being one, who help keep an eye on the little kittens. Ness is just amazing, by the way. Go follow her on Twitter.

The SPCA gets a heck of a lot more donations and external help than small outfits, such as Raewyn’s, get. Raewyn doesn’t profit from housing or re-homing the kittens. For $100, you get a dewormed, de-flead and desexed kitten. I think that’s amazing as having a desexed kitten or cat stops the cycle of reproducing more cats than there are homes for them to go to.

Anyway, i’m sure you’ve heard enough advocating from me on that but the final word is: if you ever decide to get a kitten or a cat, get it from a rescuer or if you fall in love with the perfect ball of fluff at the SPCA then just do it. All the kitten wants is to live in a good home and to love you.

Here is Mickey. I was originally going to name him Sparky until I learned he’s been called Mickey on Facey. I think Mickey suits him far more than Sparky! He’s a little boy which will be interesting because our house is currently a woman-run ship. What if he’s a gay cat? That’d be so cute. I will love him no matter what gender cat he chooses to love:

Mickey: Male, White/Ginger. Five weeks. Domestic medium hair. Credit: Dianne Black Photography/RCR Cat Rescue Facebook page.

On a side note, this blog was originally going to be about the McDonald’s WiFi issues going on at the mo but aren’t kittens so much cuter to look at?!

However, here’s an interesting comment from here:
“Dame it!!! Next time i’m in NEW ZELAND…. Who goes there anyway… You telling me IF we go to NZ and IF we are gay.. we can’t go look at ass banging during lunch?? DAME IT!!!!! The nerve of Mcds for offering free services. HOW DARE THEM. DOWN WITH Mc DONALDs!!!!!! Theye have the best fries.”

* Mum despises me for this fact. She’s constantly trying to lure Aggie into sleeping on her or loving her more. I think mum’s excited for Mickey’s arrival because it’ll be a nice little kitten to quickly win over.

EDIT: My friend Graeme just showed me this video of his cat being walked in the local park. SOOOO cute.

Is this such a good idea? January 10, 2011

Posted by Jess in Uncategorized.

YouTube. This thought has been plaguing me the last year or so about whether to hop on the bandwagon again. There are so many reasons why this is both a good or bad idea. I’ll go with the bad first, as there are a lot of questions that need answering about why I stopped & why I am hesitant to try it again.

The last time I made a YouTube video was early last year with some friends who I had met on YouTube and it was just a mash-up on random clips but I never uploaded it. The last uploaded video was a make-up tutorial and a video of me and some friends. And then there was this big two week trip thing that happened and a lot of friendships were destroyed and the whole idea of posting online has intimidated me ever since.

YouTube didn’t make me a nice person & I think it’s because I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I think learning to be a journalist, to be interested in news, current affairs, issues, other people, has really given me a grounding & outlet for expressing what I want without it being centered on me. I need “me time” away from all this to fulfill the self-center shit that I go through. This isn’t making much sense, it’s all rambly but if you get through all this, ka pai.

I want to get back into making videos because I want to keep my editing skills sharp, I want to vlog about issues and things that happen to me because i’m really enjoying blogging here & videos would be a huge visually-creative outlet for this desire. Even thinking about uploading a video is giving me butterflies & is making me nervous but it’s something i’ve been wanting to do for a long time.

Plus i’m working now & although it shouldn’t reflect on my job/priorities too much, it’ll be weird to be writing stories & then also doing personal vlogs & projects on my current channel. I get worried that things I say or do on this blog will reflect on myself and if a future employer googles my name, they’ll come straight here but I think that’s a risk i’ll just have to take.

So after the big friendship bust that was July 2009, I backed off from YouTube altogether & so did many of my other friends. There are a couple, such as Rache, Patrick & Corey, who all still make videos but very sporadically. It’s hard, having new lifestyles & priorities, trying to find the time to make a video is almost impossible. But it’s not something I want to fully dedicate myself to, I wouldn’t give myself a weekly deadline or anything ridiculous that I can’t stick to.

So anyway. I guess i’m trying to say/announce that in 2011 I want to try vlogging again. This isn’t a big deal, it’ll just be when I have the time and yes, old habits die hard. So they won’t be long because conciseness is everything to me & the limited time we have on this planet shouldn’t be wasted. I’m not going to kill myself trying to upload a mega-massive video when I can be out enjoying time with friends.

Anywho, i’ll post videos here when I upload them but if you want to see past endeavours of mine, head here: Jessums31.

Slowing down & speeding up January 8, 2011

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I haven’t blogged the last three days so to any of the 10 people who read this here blog – sorry! I’ve been seeing friends & getting out as much as I can as I’m back to work on Monday! This is both good and bad. Good because It’s something to do but bad because i’ll miss the sleep-ins till 10am.

This year, I have resolved to cook more. It’s not just about the food & eating it & it tasting yum, it’s about learning a new skill & creating something from scratch. I think it’s after watching so much MasterChef. But MasterChef is so entertaining.

I don’t want to do the whole Julie & Julia route though, where a woman cooked all of the recipes from Julia Childs’ first cook book. No, I want to just find recipes, or even have recipes recommended for me by friends, and try them out. I’m into colour and smell more than taste, so those are what will probably drive my recipe choices.

However, I must admit this does link to one of my resolutions, which is to eat better. It’s easier to figure out calorie counts for meals you cook yourself from raw materials, rather than being confuded* with buy out food & their hidden mysteries.

I want to do fruit things first because it seems easy (lazy) and fruit is noms at this time of year:

Strawberry-Raspberry Sundaes

Gingersnap Banana Frozen Yoghurt

Rhubarb-Vanilla Compote

* This was a typo. I guess I did a Sarah Palin. “Refudiate”, anyone?

Strawberry-Raspberry Sundae. Credit: KitchenDaily.com

What I like: 5/01/2011 January 5, 2011

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My favourite things of the moment:

Strawberry smoothies from Subway. It's better than the bunch of fast food crap out there. Credit: Google Images

Floral dresses. So appropriate in this summer weather. Credit: Desirable UK


Colourful & vibrant headbands. I have a steady collection that is ever increasing whenever I visit Diva, Equip or even the local Countdown. Chur. Credit: StyleFrizz.com

Easy A/Emma Stone. This movie is so quotable, many are saying it's the next Mean Girls. NYANYANYANYANYA!


Idol of the day: Kelly Osbourne January 4, 2011

Posted by Jess in Fashion & Accessories.
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You know who I really love at the moment? Kelly Obsourne. I’ve always enjoyed watching her family’s craziness on their TV show (“SHARONNN!”) but in the last couple of years, Miss Osbourne has left behind her “rocker’s daughter” image and has come into her own.

Something I really admire about this still up-and-coming woman is her style & attitude. She lost three stone (roughly 20kgs) and has emerged on the other side of what can be an extremely tough time with a whole new out look on life and an awesome fashion sense I will envy until the day I die.

Kelly at The 2010 AAMI Victoria Derby Day. God I hate men who hold obnoxiously large microphones in front of cameras. Credit: Google Images

Kelly opts for the rockabilly/1950s look with lots of polka dots and big floppy hats (i’m not going to pretend I know much about fashion so you’ll take my clothes descriptions & you’ll like it – fool).

See? Polka dots. I told you. But did you believe me? Nooo. The yellow is vibrant and loud which I love. And the matching gloves are so cute! Credit: Google Images

I love the peroxide blonde bombshell locks she’s opted for which goes amazingly well with her skin tone. I’ve never been a fan of the bronzed Jersey Shore look so the fact that there are a few pale celebrities walking this earth makes me feel extremely happy. I love that my skin isn’t bronzed, I look really ridiculous with a fake take. Plus, any time I try to get a “tan” I end up getting a red one. That’s sunburn, by the way. Urgh.

I read on one website that her bag looks like "bubblegum". I quite like the casual look. AND THE PUPPY, LOOK AT THE PUPPY. Credit: Google Images

So who are your fashion/lifestyle/other icons of the moment? Any other naturally-pale-can’t-get-a-tan girls out there? Hollah.

Lovely. Just lovely. Credit: Google Images/AP

Mosquito bites suck but baby cats do not January 3, 2011

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I could have easily have said “kittens” but baby cats sounds a lot cuter than that. I just got in from playing with a mummy cat and her two newborns, plus this teenage cat that lives with them, on the driveway. SO CUTE. I should’ve taken pictures but ah well. One looked like a tiger with all its markings and puffy paws. I need to stop typing about them to prevent myself from getting attached.

So at this barbeque I attended the other night, my feet got mauled by rabid mosquitos. Now I have little red bites scatted all over the top of my feet and around my ankles. I suppose my O positive blood type is to blame.

I ended up sliding back & forth whilst standing in the bath tub full of ice-cold water. I chucked a couple of cap fulls of pine tarsal in, turning the water a pee-yellow colour. No, I did not pee in the bath tub to turn off the itchy, nor numb it. Pine tarsal is quite useful but it stinks something putrid.

Anyway, I friggin’ hate mosquito bites and that’s that.

Shame on you, BNT January 2, 2011

Posted by Jess in Fashion & Accessories.
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I learned my lesson today: Never enter Bras N Things again.

That was one of the worst shopping experiences ever. There’s a sale on currently & i’m a strange size (18C for those playing at home*) however this is “larger than average size”. So there were no beautiful age-appropriate bras in my size and after complaining on Twitter it seems i’m not alone in this.

Girls like me are cursed to live in pad-less, lacy grandma bras for the rest of our lives, simply because mainstream shops don’t acknowledge that average size is not size 10.

This is absolutely wrong, incorrect. I can’t believe mainstream shops and even fashion advertising leads us to believe this nonsense. So many younger girls suffer mentally and physically because of these pressures and I got a taste of that pain today.

Why can't I have a bra like this? Credit: StyleHive

After being thoroughly embarrassed by the sales staff – I was told I would have to buy a more expensive bra with the horrible lace mentioned earlier – I burst into tears and ran to my car. My mum was with me but stayed behind to give them a right bollocking.No wonder Trinny and Susannah did a special on bras and breasts – woman must feel so self-conscious in that situation.

I ended up having to go to the local red shed to find my size. This should make Bras N Things super ashamed because The Warehouse don’t even specialise in bras, BNT does!

What kind of bra woes/experiences have you had? Sharing your story would make other readers – and myself – feel better as it shows we aren’t alone! Every pair of breasts are different, why do these people have the right to tell us we’re “unusual”?

* I have no issue posting this online as bra sizes fluctuate and it’s not like i’m posting nude pictures of myself!