I don’t know if you’ll recall a little debate I had about five years ago, on the blogspot version of this site, with the games editor at The Age, Jason Hill, in which I referred to him as a “corporate shill” for defending Sony’s anti-consumer war on modchips. He was greatly offended at the time, but I assumed with the passage of time he’d forgiven me for impugning his journalistic integrity – particularly given that he even published an article I’d written for his Screen Play column in The Age a few years later.
So I was a little surprised by his piece in the Sydney Morning Herald today:
Jason Hill, corporate shill
I guess “Corporate shill” is one of the more unpleasant names I’ve been called over the years.
Oh, Jason. I’m sorry I hurt your feelings so badly! I feel really guilty now. I didn’t intend you to spend years running that beautifully rhyming insult over and over in your head.
Look, I still don’t agree with any of the shite he’s trying to run on the subject of modchips, of course: he still argues that if “the majority” of their use is piracy, it’s irrelevant what lawful purposes they have, and they should be banned – logic which would’ve banned the cassette tape, the VCR, the home PC, the internet and so on.
And as to the present issue – Jason is revisiting the subject today because of the PS3 modchip that Sony is trying to get banned in the Federal Court. I hope they fail, not because I wish to pirate games, but because I’d like to see some decent media player software developed on the HD consoles to replace the brilliant open source Xbox Media Centre from the last generation, which has never been bettered by the commercial products. The idea that increasing the functionality of a piece of hardware I’ve bought should be a crime is absurd, and offensive, and I hope those defending this action are able to win through despite the vast reserves of money that will be thrown at defeating them.
But I suspect Mr Hill’s approach to the issue is more to do with the relentlessly one-sided propaganda to which he’d be subjected as he liaises with the games industry – I doubt very much he chats often to the EFA or other public domain lobbyists, for example – rather than anything dishonest or cynical. So, with the benefit of hindsight, and the cooling passions of fading youth, I regret using the term “shill”.
Even though it did rhyme.
UPDATE 4/9: The Federal Court has apparently banned the chips permanently. A sad day for Australian consumers. Meanwhile, the necessary code has hit the internet, potentially rendering Sony’s victory somewhat pyrrhic.
Jeremy Sear, has a big ear
shill is probably the wrong word. he genuinely believes copyright violation is equivalent to petty shop theft. usually shills are in on the scam, but he cant even see the consumers getting gouged
“useful idiot” is more accurate. possibly he’ll wake up one day, write an article on the dark side of copyright monopolies, get fired, and wonder what the hell happened
p.s jeremy sear, obsessed with queers
From Jason’s article, referring to the R4 cartridge: “Unfortunately much of the damage to the DS market had already been done.”
What damage?!? The DS is the most successful handheld console of all time, and is only just pipped at the post for best-selling console of any type by the PS2 (and is likely to take first place soon). They’ve sold almost 720 million DS games. Nintendo’s profits dropped recently – for the first time in six years, thanks to market saturation and a strong yen – to a paltry US$2.4 BILLION. Don’t talk to me about “damage”.
And of course, the unspoken assumption behind Jason’s arguments (and those of many taking a similar position, like the RIAA) is that pirated games represent a 1:1 loss for developers, or something close to it. Only someone completely ignorant could make that claim.