Friday, August 31, 2007

Wuthering Heights - Freaky or Stunning?

A few nights ago, Annie sent me this youtube link of a Music Video of Kate Bush (no, she is NOT related to George W. Bush) singing Wuthering Heights, her debut 1978 single that became an instant hit and remains till this day a hallmark classic. Based on Emily Bronte's only novel and classic of the same name, Kate's Wuthering Heights is a haunting, eerie song that evokes the wretched cajoling of a moor ghost to her star-crossed lover. But what I found really scary, initially at least, was the way Kate Bush sang, danced, glared and clawed in that three minute video as I sat there rapt, horrified yet enthralled by the abject witchiness and ritualistic like atmosphere that she so totally nailed.

To tell you the truth, I'd never heard of Kate Bush at all before then even though she's apparently an iconic artiste in Britain. But I'm not much of a music connoisseur so don't go ballistic. Which was where wikipedia came in handy. I must admit the first viewing sent icy little chills down my spine, I couldn't quite catch the lyrics from the almost whiny, pleading voice but sat rapt and mildly horrified as this crimson blaze of unkempt long hair and sinewy limbs swayed, clawed and sashayed across the screen. It didn't help that it was past midnight and Annie thought that the way she glared at some scenes was exactly the way I glared back in ACS(I).

My internet connection gave out halfway through the performance though having finished loading, it continued and the red shade never ceased her dance. It just struck me as a rather strange and surreal occult ritual albeit a highly charged and intense one. But after watching it a few more times, I started to appreciate it more, especially after I got the lyrics cause even till today I have difficulty catching all of what she's saying. Her mannerisms and spectre-like dancing remain much too distracting.

I'll leave you with the music Video of Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights and the lyrics. Watch it once, twice, then decide. Intense, eccentric, unique, even a little malevolent. It's no wonder people feel so passionately about it. Love it or hate it but you have to admit that Kate Bush is one very unique and talented woman.

Wuthering Heights Lyrics:

Out on the wiley, windy moors
We'd roll and fall in green.
You had a temper like my jealousy:
Too hot, too greedy.
How could you leave me,
When I needed to possess you?
I hated you. I loved you, too.

Bad dreams in the night
You told me I was going to lose the fight,
Leave behind my wuthering, wuthering
Wuthering Heights.

Heathcliff, it's me, your Cathy, I've come home. I´m so cold,
let me in-a-your window

Heathcliff, it's me, your Cathy, I've come home. I´m so cold,
let me in-a-your window.

Ooh, it gets dark! It gets lonely,
On the other side from you.
I pine a lot. I find the lot
Falls through without you.
I'm coming back, love,
Cruel Heathcliff, my one dream,
My only master.

Too long I roamed in the night.
I'm coming back to his side, to put it right.
I'm coming home to wuthering, wuthering,
Wuthering Heights,

Heathcliff, it's me, your Cathy, I've come home. I'm so cold,
let me in-a-your window.

Heathcliff, it's me, your Cathy, I've come home. I'm so cold,
let me in-a-your window.

Ooh! Let me have it.
Let me grab your soul away.
Ooh! Let me have it.
Let me grab your soul away.
You know it's me--Cathy!

Heathcliff, it's me, your Cathy, I've come home. I´m so cold,
let me in-a-your window
Heathcliff, it's me, Cathy, I've come home. I´m so cold,
let me in-a-your window.

Heathcliff, it's me, your Cathy, I've come home. I'm so cold.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Singnet's Response: "But We didn't Consent!" Ya Right...

So Singnet finally responded just when everyone was wondering how long they'd take to warm up to the fact that they were rapidly getting to be the target of abject hatred by anime and non-anime fans alike. Even big, iconic, Singaporean companies are not immune to the fallout from a PR disaster caused by one very huge glaring mistake. And we were wondering just how they intended to justify their appalling actions or lack thereof in the Odex saga.

Their response yesterday was as newsworthy as it was incredulous. So much so, it makes one wonder if they really believe what they proferred as justification and clarification for their shortcomings. 'Say it repeatedly and with enough conviction and the masses will believe' must have been the guiding sentiment behind the corporate mind that came up with this 'clarification'.

Let's see, here's what they 'clarified': Singnet never consented to Odex. They reject all requests from third parties for information pertaining to our customers and only release such information only under a court order or if the law enforcement and regulatory agencies demand such information from them. They "entrust the courts to apply the law and make a ruling". This part made the entire gang burst out laughing in sheer disbelief at the incredulity and brazenness of the statement.

A lot you will realise depends on how Singnet defines consent. Which to them is not the commonsensical average man on the street definition of consent: i.e, Failing to engage lawyers to even contest the application, NOT turning up at the court hearing and simply consenting to Odex's application without bothering to contest it. No, to Singnet, the definition of consent is so narrowly defined as to make it ludicrous. Consent, to them, is defined as not giving customer's information to any third parties who request for it unless under a court order (an application for the said order they will apparently consent to) or if demanded from by law enforcement agencies.

It should be bloody obvious that Singnet or any ISP for that matter can't go around giving customer information to any Tom, Dick or Harry who asks for it. They'll definitely be in contravention of the code then. Come on, the definition of consent should be commonsensical, they didn't bother to engage lawyers to contest Odex's application, consented to the Odex application and didn't send lawyers to attend the hearing since they already consented. Which one makes more sense? We're not idiots please.

Oh and Singnet 'entrusts the courts to apply the law and make a ruling.' Other than the fact that the language certainly sounds dismissive (i.e.: imagine a client or bigshot instructing a service provider: I trust you will do this, i trust you will do that.. that's the impression I get from that tone), the courts cannot apply the law if you don't even contest the application/subject matter, consent to the application by the opposing party and fail to turn up in court.

And you wonder why the court then rules in the opposing party's favour? There's nothing to rule on what, you yourself consented to it and failed to contest the application/claims. Entrusting the courts to apply the law will do nothing if you're not going to take the requisite action yourself. So say what you like, I remain totally unconvinced by Singnet's attempts at clarification, if anything it only makes them look worse.

In other news, apparently the rumours regarding Odex and Games Mart have been confirmed to be true and a short blurb has been published in the newspapers. While it has no direct impact on the Odex saga, it certainly doesn't help Odex's already battered image that a one-time firm started by the men behind Odex, was itself raided by police for copyright infringement.

It's amazing how much dirt people can dig up when they're determined to and gauging from the multitudes of people Odex pissed off, it really isn't too surprising. For now, it'll be interesting to see how Singnet responds.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 Get a Room hassle free, Blog and earn!

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Smut Cut

All of us except for the most saintly or blissfully ignorant, enjoy our online smut. I'm no exception. And I'm not talking about the kind that involves hot moaning men and/or women in various sweaty positions of disarray. After all, Porn is very much an integral part of the average netizen's life, if not a commonly acknowledged one. Widely watched by guys and to a lesser extent by the girls, porn serves to fuel the dark, dirty fantasises people possess; a quick release for raging hormones or perhaps just a salacious pastime.

But no, I'm not talking about porn. Rather it is smut of the sensational, bitchy and often saucy nature that I'm referring to. Outrageous exploits and sordid gossip by our fellow bloggers in a virtual environment where almost anything and everything is fair game. Blog surfing is after all an extremely popular activity that carries none of the stigma its more sordid cousin, porn surfing, possesses.

Before I carry on, let me address this. It has been brought to my attention that this blog is apparently well known and read by many people in my law school, classmates or otherwise. And apparently it has been causing an uproar. Why an uproar? Because I'm gay? There are at least 4 other guys in the same class that I can recall off the top of my head who are gay. So that doesn't seem likely.

Because I talk about gay sex? What do you think two gay lovers do when alone together? Sip tea and fold paper origami cranes? Obviously not. Sex has been, is and will continue to be an integral part of my life. And just like you would moan about the upcoming deadlines for CPCM/FMS or gripe about a crappy buy, I'll talk about gay sex as and when I please. After all, like the average male homo, I do love sex. Find me an average gay guy who doesn't like sex and I'll show you a eunuch or a You-nut, like the pastor loves to put it.

I won't go as far as declaring that sex is central to our existence, that would be a little extreme but it certainly remains a fundamental aspect of our life. When I switched blogs back in January, I was never under the illusion that the new blog would remain 'private'. As I stated in my inaugural post then, the whole idea was to have a blog which would be unadulterated and uncensored (within the prescribed legal limits), without the need for stifling self-censorship that was getting to be an absolute chore.

So it was with the knowledge that this blog might eventually be stumbled upon or discovered that I commenced blogging. And I've never looked back since. The Blog Master in our group discovered my blog some time back and and the suspicion that they knew would have continued to remain just that if not for my discovery that one of them was surfing my blog from his law firm. So now we all know but everything's as per normal, no uproar or silly fuss, if anything I get to stop making excuses for my total lack of interest in boobs.

I've never liked blogging about the going ons amongst classmates in law school or embellishing details about a particular individual, sensational or otherwise. Frankly, it bores me. At any rate, a thorough search of the various blogs of law school classmates, 'private' or otherwise, will leave one equipped with all the latest buzz on the gossip mill. Who did what, who's a bitch, who's plotting against whom, blah blah.

Privacy is a well spun illusion in cyberspace. Blogs, private or otherwise, will not escape the scrutiny of a determined or resourceful searcher. 'Private' or passworded entries also pose no obstacles to experts like our very own Blog Master. You've got something dirty to say that you don't want others to know? Don't put it up online. You want secrecy, you want privacy, don't blog. Keep a bloody diary.

The baseline of the prior six paragraphs is this. I'm gay. It should be bloody obvious from my blog. No, I won't stop talking about sex, gay or straight. If it offends your delicate sensibilities, I couldn't care less. Just fuck off. Alright, rant over. I like my online smut too and I usually get my cut from a few tried and trusted sources. Nothing like a little Quality Control to filter out the trash from the gems. And once in a while, I do stumble upon some really good blogs.

Witty, well written entries with an irreverential outlook on things and a wicked humour never fail to draw my attention and corresponding interest. Read a person's writings and you get a glimpse of that person's mentality and persona. And if the writer's gay and/or the entry deals with sordid or juicy details, that's a plus though it's certainly not a necessity. Jon's blog is one of those I frequent. He's gay, a male nurse, stuck in a devoutly Christian family, witty and totally irreverent. Unsurprisingly, he loves sex.

I'm always amused by his very candid and frank views on sex, his needs and strange situations peculiar to your average gay guy. After all, a heterosexual would never have to worry about introducing his or her partner in public; for homosexual men and women in Singapore, the other half is usually introduced as "A Friend". Which might then invite further questions when the "Friend" turns up regularly at the house, family functions, even funerals and housewarming parties only, in certain instances, to vanish inexplicably after a while.

Like me, Jon is highly disillusioned and indifferent to the religion we were brought up under. Devout families who view homosexuality as a damnable sin or psychological illness and where militancy against the 'Powers and Principalities of this World' is seen as an unending and necessary spiritual battle against the Devil and his corrupting influences. Which is a tiresome litany of activities that include reading Harry Potter and watching Desperate Housewives. But we still attend Sunday service, if only to keep the peace and for the fact that our finances do not allow us to do otherwise, for now at least.

Still, his laments about how sex (without a loved one) is starting to get less gratifying does reinforce my personal observation and experience that sex just for the sake of doing it, loses much of its appeal after a while. His blog continues to remain an enjoyable read. Once in a while, when I'm in the mood for something a little Hot and Heavy, I hop over to the Teenage Slut's blog (which isn't very work safe so I'm not posting the link) if only because his outrageous sexual exploits brings back heady memories of those wild days back then. Only thing is at the rate he's going, he's certainly getting a lot more bang for the buck.

Relatives' blogs are usually given a wide berth not least due to the preachy, bible study session like tone and content, I know my sister's definitely bores me to death. My cousin, however is a little unconventional and does have interesting viewpoints though she seldom updates and seems to be a more 'visual' person. She's certainly grown up to be a pretty, spunky girl. And I think she's a lesbian ( and happily attached from the looks of it). Seems like not so long ago, we were chasing her round that long gone fountain at Toa Payoh Central. Time certainly flies.

Yaoi continues to remain an interest which means trawling the various forums and scanlating sites to remain updated, though the addiction has certainly weakened not least due to the deluge of anime series recently. Youtubing has become a lot more addictive lately, thanks to Annie's introduction, due to the sheer volume and variety of stuff you can find. From whimsical home made videos to hard to find MVs of some obscure songs. And for all the local news and events, and are more than sufficient to keep me occupied.

We all need our smut, what's yours?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hairspray - What a Blast!

Hairspray unlike the namesake product that's responsible for all the gravity-defying hairdos in the movie, is not a whole load of gas. Based on John Walter's 1988 classic cult release, Hairspray, the new Hairspray is one addictive, feet tapping musical extravaganza where 98% of the movie is spent on song and dance and the remaining 2% on direct conversation. Set in the 1960s in Baltimore, USA, Hairspray recreates the Swinging Sixties with flair and gusto right down to the stiff, bouffant hairdos and the pre-retro clothes.

And for a movie that's almost an entire musical, Hairspray really carries the plot and develops the characters in a way that is both catchy and humorous. One would be under the impression that a movie that's entirely filled with song and dance would be rather boring after all and you couldn't be further from the truth. The songs are explicit and catchy, like Royston Tan's 881, the songs tell a story and convincingly convey the emotions of the various characters. But what's even better is that the songs here last longer than the average getai song and the transition from one song to the next is really fluid, it doesn't come as a rude shock. And what's more, all the cast members actually do their own singing, right down to John Travolta in his voluptuous role as Tracy's mom.

The dancing and slick slick moves though simply add to the feet-tapping factor. Well choreographed, the moves flow with the songs as the actors and actresses boogie and groove across the screen in a psychedelic display of colours, gaudy outfits and immaculately held hairdos. The result, a riotous feast of sights and sounds that leave one bopping about and craving for more by the time the show ends a happy 117 minutes later.

Hairspray isn't all just cotton candy fluff, it addresses the issue of discrimination and racial segregation which was alive in the 60s in a serious yet light-hearted manner without subtracting from the fun. I've never really liked musicals or rather musical movies but with the earlier local 881 and now the fantastic Hairspray, I've come to the conclusion that well wrought and catchy songs replete with either outrageous costumes and/or slick dancing can make or break a movie.

Hairspray may be regarded as the American version of 881, even better in terms of overall plot wise if you ask me, I wouldn't mind watching it again. In short, Hairspray was a real blast. I rushed down to Sembawang Music Center to grab the soundtrack which is as good as grabbing the movie sans the visual treat since almost the entire film consists of the songs anyway. Still I'd definitely recommend you catch the movie first. And at $19.90, it's more than double the length of the 881 soundtrack which is similarly priced, double the fun for the same price.

I'll leave you with the talented and chirpy Nikki Blonsky's powerful rendition of Good Morning, Baltimore, the opening song that sets the pace for the rest of the show. Now, who ever said big girls never get any fun?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pacnet's Win, Odex's Loss: The Grounds, the Future.

Since many blogs and online articles have already posted the different grounds for District Judge Earnest Lau's judgement in the Odex vs Pacnet case, I'll just focus more on the more interesting areas and the potential future impact it might have. You can read a short summary of the Judge's decision in the Today online article. As of today, there does not appear to be a publicly available copy of the 14 page Judgement and it certainly still isn't up on lawnet yet. NMP Siew Kum Hong's blog contains the written oral judgement of District Judge Earnest Lau's decision, you may find it here. Based on this, these points are the more interesting ones.

Grounds of the decision & other interesting points:

  1. Odex is only the sub-licensee and not the exclusive licensee. It only appears to be the exclusive licensee for one title, that of mobile suit gundam seed. The Copyright Act only allows either the Copyright owner or the exclusive licensee the right to commence a civil action against the copyright infringement.
  2. Odex was not directly authorised by the Japanese animation companies to go after the illegal downloaders. The party they authorized was AVPAS.
  3. Standard for releasing subscribers' information was pegged to that for a civil application for an Anton Piller order which requires stringent criteria to be fulfilled and a strong prima facie case against the defendants. In this case, the Judge felt that Odex could not prove that it had 'an extremely strong prima facie case against the wrongdoers'. This standard is thus pegged very high.
  4. Evidence filed by Odex was found lacking. There was no concrete proof that Odex had hired BayTSP and there was no evidence from BayTSP in support of Odex's claims. Taking information off the website and submitting it is insufficient in a court of law.
  5. Dicta (not a ground of judgement): The Judge noted that while Starhub, at least, had contested Odex's application to compel them to release customer information, Singnet failed to engage lawyers to resist Odex's application and had consented to releasing customer information without a fight.
What this means & the potential impact(points addressed in the order they were raised):
  1. The previous legal analysis in Odexed? 8 Things you should Know was based on the premise that Odex was the exclusive licensee for all of its titles which it licensed and that analysis would remain correct if that was indeed the case. However if the finding of fact by District Judge Earnest Lau is not overturned on appeal (as findings of facts seldom are), it would appear that Odex is only a sub-licensee and on the face value of the Copyright Act would not have the right to commence a civil action for copyright infringement.
  2. Well this does clarify things further. We get a glimpse of the three tiered structure, Jap animation companies authorize AVPAS, AVPAS authorizes Odex (with or without the active knowledge of the Jap Companies), Odex commences the operation. This does appear to reinforce the notion that Odex was in fact not directly authorized by the copyright owners, the jap companies themselves. Though it would appear from the tenor of the Judge's decision that even if Odex was directly authorized, that would be insufficient as he is of the opinion that only the Copyright owner and exclusive licensee can commence a civil action.
  3. This is certainly an important substantive legal point that will need to be determined on appeal by the High Court. First, is the standard for compelling a company to release customers' private information pursuant to alleged copyright infringement pegged to the very high standard required for a civil Anton Piller order? Second, if not what should the standard be and the necessary factors involved in determining whether such a standard is satisfied. As expected, Odex will be appealing against the Pacnet decision and the outcome of the appeal in the High Court will be eagerly awaited.
    It remains to be seen if the appeal will end at the High Court level whichever way it goes, though if the appeal fails at the High Court for Odex, they will almost certainly need to appeal to the Court of Appeal. The decision of which would be binding and would set a precedent for future cases. After all, Odex has everything to lose if it fails to appeal. On a side note, it is highly unlikely that Odex will continue sending out the settlement letters for now, at least until their appeal succeeds because their legitimacy and authority to commence any civil action to protect against copyright infringement have been severely undermined by the grounds given in the Pacnet judgement.
  4. This is pretty much an evidentiary issue which could be easily corrected if Odex has indeed really hired BayTSP. Though it does portray Odex as not having all the requisite evidence at hand. This issue is a lot less important than their lack of authority and failing to satisfy the high standard required that were raised earlier. Remedying an evidentiary issue would be of no use if there is a fundamental error with regards to a substantive point of law (that of their authority, lack of locus standi, etc.)
  5. The Singnet issue is of course a sticking point. I believe someone made a comment in the previous post that Pacnet shouldn't have contested the Odex court application since the downloaders were infringing copyrights. Let me clarify something, Privacy is certainly NOT a defence to copyright infringement or any kind of offence for that matter. However, it would be equally wrong to state that because Pacnet contested the order out of concern for their customers' privacy this means that they support copyright infringement.
    That is an erroneous logical deduction. Companies have an obligation to protect their customer's confidential information and privacy and should actively do so. The aggrieved party/plaintiff alleging wrongdoing on the part of the Company's customers is entitled to go to court and compel the company to release private information if it can show on the balance of probabilities that it has a good case and has the necessary evidence to back up its claims. A court order will then be obtained.
Giving in or not even attempting to contest the plaintiff's application for a court order to compel the company to reveal customer's private information is a dereliction of that obligation and shows that the concept of 'Valuing our Customers' Privacy' is unimportant and only given lip service. By failing to discharge its obligation to its customers to protect their privacy within reasonable limits and be seen to do so, a company loses credibility with its customers who will be understandably unhappy.

And when that happens, the company loses their business. For good.

Update: Singnet's Response: We didn't 'consent'! Ya right....

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday Sustenance: Food, Shopping, Sex.

Weekends and Saturdays in particular is usually the time people recharge and unwind, away from the hustle and bustle of work, ready to face the next week for better or for worse. I'm no different, even though these days PLC affords one the opportunity to recharge even during the week barring the occasional tutorial and assignment; weekends and Saturdays continue to remain extra slothful not least because the Significant Other is free too and the all-too-short break will end once work proper commences again in December.

People have different ways of unwinding, some like to work up a good sweat with some hard exercise, others like jamming with the crowds in town, yet others just enjoy a quiet time at home, lazing around by oneself or with loved ones. My Saturday sustenance when spending time with Sean usually comprises of a mixture of three fundamental activities: good food, some shopping and great sex. Usually, it tends to be a combo of one or two of the three, often food (I'm a sucker for good food[read good - not necessarily expensive]) and sex (cause hey I love it and so does he) as shopping is really subjective and can cost a bomb.

Some Saturdays like today, we do all three even without prior plans to do so, and the gratification obtained somehow seems just a little greater than usual. It's the satisfying trinity of good food in the tummy, good buys in hand and a great workout in bed. Naturally, we do other stuff too, catching movies, dinner with mutual friends and once in a while drinks, supper or other impromptu events with friends. Food, Shopping and Sex remain the main highlights of our precious Saturdays together.

Sean had some work to attend to in town this morning so after that we decided to hop over to JuJu Hokkaido Hotpot at Paradiz center. My last dining experience there more than half a year ago had been very pleasant. The idea of a personal hotpot appealed greatly to me and more importantly the food was fresh and abundant and the service, excellent. We went for lunch this time round, the menu was practically identical to dinner's and it cost 10 bucks less, a very reasonable $17.80.

The food was still great, it's one of the few places I've eaten at so far where you can actually finish the soup (I recommend the kelp 'konbu' one) at the end cause it's so tasty without barrels of salt and all that nasty MSG you normally find at your other hotpot places. The menu's good and the food is fresh, you get to choose from a main course of either seafood, pork, beef, lamb, chicken or vegetarian and the meal comes with very nice additions; appetizers that includes a hardboiled egg with runny yolk, an iced plum vinegar drink to cleanse the palate and your complimentary range of desserts. Plus the service is still excellent la.

It's the only place I've been to, where they top up your tea (which incidentally is very fragrant) and soup so frequently without you having to ask them to and really serve. Good food, great service = packed place. Pictures speak louder than words, so I'll just post a couple here and let you decide for yourself. There appears to be a new staff member, a friendly chap that speaks English eloquently which made ordering and replying a lot smoother than our previous visit.

Appetizer: Kim Chee, Spicy Seaweed and Hard boiled egg with Runny yolk.

Main course: I chose pork this time (foreground), Sean's was fish which was very fresh and we put the chopped fish bones to good use as stock for the soup.

Dessert: Clean forgot about taking a shot of the Iced plum vinegar drink. Some Mango sago with bits of apple in it which was quite good despite its very ordinary look.

So if you like hotpot and you like fresh food, you should certainly consider JuJu at Paradiz center. Especially if you're like me and can't stand those kind of shared steamboat/hotpot events where bits of food remain unclaimed and get nuked to a slimy gooey mess. Your hotpot, your food, your pace.

Shopping today was an unexpected but pleasant affair, Sean was grumbling about having to follow me to the anime/manga comics shop at Sunshine Plaza where I was awaiting the shipment arrival of the latest volumes of Kizuna, Level C and that Byakuya plushie I'd ordered from the US via the shop. Which basically went along the lines of 'I don't see why we have to do this now, I thought you were fucking broke, bloody hell it's so fucking hot'. The manga and plushie still hadn't arrived yet but we discovered a real gem of a shop that quickly silenced him.

The displays kinda drew us in, the unique and different sorts of gifts displayed on the glass shelves were so creative and different, it reminded us of that shop in KL. On top of that the prices appeared to be cheaper. Apparently, other people were similarly affected because there were a number of people milling about in the shop ranging from your average teenager to the family of four, there were even a few aunties purchasing the various merchandises.

There's no specific category of goods the shop sells, if forced to classify them I would have to label them as gifts. Which is a misnomer in a sense because it really is a curio shop with various knick knacks that are useful and stylish. The mechanical clock really caught my eye, it's impossible to describe, but the movements of the little gears and knobs coupled with the flapping motion made as the minutes went past made it really eye-catching. It cost a hefty $98 bucks though, money I wasn't exactly willing to part with just yet.

I did settle for a doraemon usb fan and a really cute and useful Bee toothbrush holder with suction cups you get to stick on your bathroom mirror. You push the wings to open the holder, put your toothbrush in which hangs out like a sting and close it again. So it really looks like a bee with an extra long sting on your mirror. And for one buck it's really cute.

My buys on his bed. I got the cleaner pad for a cool $1.90 at a stationary shop shortly after.

Sean too wasn't immune to the allure of the stuff in the shop. After a little consideration, he uncharacteristically proceeded to plunk down $50 bucks for a very cool looking alarm clock that looks like a block of polished wood when turned of. However, when turned on, it transforms and navy blue numericals that alternate between the Time and the date/ month appear on its face and gives one the impression that the numbers are projected onto the wooden surface, much like your old Over Head Projectors and white screen. And to add to the hip factor, the brightness of the numericals is automatically reduced from 8.00PM to 6.00AM. Not that it matters to me but I can imagine that'll be useful for the light sleepers.

After leaving the shop though, he realised there was really nowhere in his cramped room to put the clock short of displaying it in his cupboard which I told him really defeats the purpose of having a clock in the first place. So after considering a few options which included keeping it as a future birthday present, he very kindly decided to pass it to me for 'safekeeping' which means I get a new funky clock (that works- the last one i bought at KL went kaput after I turned on the air-con...) on the table top. Which makes keeping time a breeze when I'm surfing/porning/blogging and doing whatever it is I do on the laptop.

Da Box with da numbers. The colour is actually a more pleasant shade of deep navy blue but as CS commented before my photography skills are really substandard. But still it's cool!

Can't quite remember the name of the shop, it's at the same row of shops as Aniplay, probably Price Mart or something. The sales attendant was saying they bring in new stock and stuff every fortnight so the items keep changing. The items are relatively cheap too, the naughty man lamp with his dick for the light switch is being sold at $25; I recall having seen it go for $40 plus elsewhere. One thing's for sure though, buying presents will be a breeze now.

Sleepy from the nice but filling lunch and satisfied with our unexpected buys, we decided to head back to his place on impulse. Which unlike mine, is so fucking convenient because it's right on top of the mrt station. And of course when I go over, our favourite activity: a sojourn in bed is inevitable unless 1. either of us is ill (in which case we won't even go out) or 2. we're short of time for a variety of reasons (in which case a quickie would suffice.) There is something about Sleepy Sex, a self-concocted term for what you get when you're sleepy but too horny to just sleep, it can either be perfunctory (quickly get it over and done with and lets go to bed) or incredibly explosive and therapeutic (because there is an added urgency and heightening of senses plus you sleep even better after that... anyone who has had sex, straight or gay can tell you that.)

Sleepy Sex today was good...if anything I think we know all the right buttons to press by now. Sean's oral skills have become quite mindblowing, it's an enlightening experience. He blows, I get a glimpse of Nirvana. Whoever said that sex with just one partner is boring obviously didn't have a very good partner to begin with. Or one lacking in technical skills.

I still prefer the Post Sleep Sex though, some like it in the morning, some in the middle of the night, others like me just like it all the time. That sensation when one is still half-asleep, the fog of sleep just beginning to lift and you feel familiar deft hands exploring and probing those sensitive spots relentlessly. The transition from sleepy to horny is quick and your senses are heightened as naked arousal rapidly takes over and you give yourself to the throes of passion. And when you fuck then, the orgasmic high culminates in an explosive release that leaves one shag but gratified.

As with all good workouts, sex builds an unhealthy appetite which might explain why inspite of scientists reporting that a half hour fuck is equivalent to doing XXX full laps in an olympic size pool, most people probably dump all the calories back on in the post sex pig out session. Eating has never been a problem for me and thankfully due to genes or otherwise, weight is not an issue. I remain slim/presentable even though the body isn't exactly the toned, lightly muscled hot bod one would long for (gymming doesn't excite me, though I'll probably sign up for one sometime in the near future). One can't have it all I guess.

We had the excellent Beef Tendon noodles at the foodcourt downstairs though that didn't exactly fill me up so I kinda dragged him along for Ya Kun coffee and toast since I hadn't had that for some time. Apparently the set came with those deliciously sinful yet comforting soft boiled eggs, all nice and eggy when you stir in the black sauce and slurp it down. Sean shared that with me, though he refused to touch the toast declaring that he was quite full and frowning at me, as usual.

Sometimes, just sometimes, he does make me feel like a glutton. But that doesn't put me off my food, I just blame it on a hyper-active metabolic rate. Though I have yet to see someone who goes as hungry as fast as Alvin. Don't be mistaken by his size ok, that guy can out eat anyone in our usual group and still be hungry a few hours later. And he's still so svelte. Like we often joke, all that energy just goes to his brain. But don't go teasing Alvin, I'll never hear the end of this otherwise.

So today was incredibly satisfying, good food, good buys, great sex, all with a very loved & special person in my life. Thanks dear.

PS: I took a break from the Odex saga, contrary to the Beng's belief (more on that another time) Odex is not a central feature of my life, I'll return with the more detailed analysis of the decision tomorrow.. hopefully.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Pacnet's win over Odex: The Implications.

So Pacnet has pulled off a surprising upset in the ongoing Odex saga, what lies ahead next? Today's papers, notably The Straits Times, did not really elaborate on District Judge Earnest Lau's grounds of the decision but simply added on a short tag to last night's breaking news article, quoting the Judge as pronouncing that privacy was no defence to the offence of Copyright infringement. Which is obviously true.

What is a whole lot more interesting especially to those whom law is a part of their lives, if not to the average anime fan (which they should because it has an important bearing on the entire saga); is the Judge's ruling that Odex is not the correct party to bring the application to force PacNet to release its subscribers' information, even though it had authority from the copyright owners, the Japanese animation companies. This is important because if Odex is not the correct party to bring the action, it means that it has no locus standi or legal interest to commence action or demand settlement for copyright infringement; at least with respects to the titles it does not license.

This surprising ruling and turn of events had the usual gang from law school and I discussing the implications of the case as well as certain other legal aspects. If Odex does not have locus standi, who then is the correct party with the legal interest to commence an action for copyright infringement? The Japanese animation companies as copyright owners certainly have the rights and interest to do so. AVPAS which comprises of the copyright owners and Odex would likely have the requisite locus standi too.

But until the judgement is extracted, the exact grounds and basis for the decision will continue to remain unknown. Lawyers like NMP Siew Kum Hong (as seen in the Today newspaper, 24 August 2007) have generally been surprised by the decision because even though it isn't a case of stare decisis and the Singnet & Starhub decisions were made by the same court, not a higher court; the facts and situation surrounding the two cases are similar to Pacnet's case and we expected the outcomes to be the same too. However, the general consensus is that Odex would appeal and as I've stated earlier, Odex will need to appeal to establish that it is indeed the correct party to commence an action as the legitimacy of their operations thus far have been based on this very premise. That they are authorized and possess the necessary legal interest to enforce the copyright owner's rights on their behalf.

Before the appeal is lodged, the judgement will have to be extracted and we would be able to obtain a clearer picture then. While it is too late for Singnet and Starhub to file an appeal against the court order requiring them to release customers' information based on the IP addresses submitted, they can and should resist subsequent court applications by Odex seeking further releases of subscribers' information especially if this holding on the Pacnet case is not overturned on appeal.

This is yet another reason why Odex will in all likelihood appeal, they have no choice but to do so. Admitting defeat and getting either AVPAS or the Jap animation companies to send out the letters and commence an action would not help their cause because it raises further thorny issues. The most pressing of which would be the money paid by those who have settled so far and any legal recourse they might have against Odex. If Odex does not have the locus standi to commence an action, they would not have the necessary legal interest to send out those letters threatening legal action. Accordingly, it would mean Odex had no right to request/collect settlement from the downloaders.

Can this defect be corrected simply by passing the buck to the Japanese animation companies? These are real issues that will be raised and would need to be settled if Odex either fails to appeal or fails on appeal. Some other interesting pieces of information on the ongoing Odex saga, booest, an admin of the VR-zone forums, had a meeting with Stephen Sing on the 21st of August 2007 and shared the information he obtained from the man himself regarding the ongoing furore at this thread. Here's what's new (text in italics - my comments):

  1. The operation monitoring illegal downloads is not a one off operation but rather an ongoing one. This much is not really new, most netizens have already suspected this for sometime.
  2. They couldn't place a fixed figure for settlement fees at the time of action and hence came up with the sum of $3000- $5000 to reflect their costs though they are unable to give a breakdown of the costs. This is a major gripe amongst the community, no transparency as to costs, no indication as to any formula or otherwise to work out the settlement sum for different cases. The sum of $3k-$5k was really just decided upon.
  3. Odex is currently holding on to all letters, even those that are ready and waiting to be sent out until a better solution( nicer letter or smaller sum?) can be implemented. After realising how unpopular the letters were and the violent reactions accompanying them, Odex appears to be rethinking its moves. Do note that the letters can be sent out at any time.
  4. Again Odex reiterated the line that the court orders were to force ISPs to reveal the subscribers' information based on 1000 IP addresses and not for 1000 subscribers per se. It's interesting to note that while Odex has maintained the orders were for 1000 IP addresses, the newspapers have continued to report the court orders as applications to release the names of 1000 subscribers for illegally downloading anime. Makes one wonder what the truth really is.
The ball is now in Odex's court. And I don't think it'll be long before we see some response. At any rate, whatever their move, you can be sure it'll have a substantial impact on the whole saga. Perhaps even beyond that.

Breaking News: Apparently District Judge Earnest Lau anticipated the ripples his ruling would cause and released his 14 page written judgement to the media today. This extremely rare legal move along with a few details has been reported in the latest news section of the online Straits Times and may be found at this article. More details will be available tomorrow.

One interesting point to note: a rather damning piece of information that Singnet consented to releasing subscribers' information without even contesting the Odex court application and also the fact that their lawyers didn't even turn up to contest the hearing shows just how much Singnet values its Customers' privacy. Which from the face of it really doesn't look like much at all. At least Starhub contested the application. You can expect a lot of enraged Singnet subscribers. I personally won't be renewing mine when my contract ends.

According to this article, the Pacnet ruling would have far reaching implications if it is not reversed on appeal. The District Judge compared the request for a subscriber's information to an Anton Piller request (basically an order which allows the applicant to enter someone's premises and search for incriminating evidence in a procedure that can take days). The criterion and threshold to be fulfilled are extremely stringent and would also require a strong prima facie case.

This holding over the point mentioned above is a substantive point of law and it would remain to be seen if the superior courts endorse or reject it. More information on this and Odex's lack of locus standi due to the reason that it is a sub-licensee(previous legal analysis based on the precept that Odex was the exclusive licensee for the titles it has licensed) will be examined in greater depth tomorrow. Stay tuned. [added on 24 August 2007 , 11:55 PM]

Update: District Judge Earnest Lau's written oral judgement. A closer look at the grounds and future implications.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Odex vs Pacnet - Pacnet Wins!!!

It's been officially confirmed. What started out as excited rumours on the various forums regarding the outcome of the case between Odex and Pacific Internet has been verified by the official news channels. This has been confirmed on the 9.30 PM news on Channel 5 and reported on the online Straits Times latest news section in this article. PacNet has successfully resisted in court, an attempt by Odex to force it to reveal its subscribers' information based on the IP addresses of the alleged downloaders. In a court proceeding the outcome of which, most observers myself included, had suspected to be a foregone conclusion in favour of Odex based on its success in getting Singnet and Starhub to reveal their subscriber's information in similar court proceedings; the decision has indeed like the newscaster put it, raised a few eyebrows. I for one, am happy to be proven wrong.

More details are as of yet not available on the ruling though it will definitely be reported in tomorrow's newspapers and an update and detailed analysis will be posted on this blog then. Suffice to say this court decision does provide a psychological boost to anime fans and netizens unhappy with the way Odex has been conducting itself and this saga. I would however caution against celebrating just yet until we find out the grounds for the decision, whether it is based on a technicality (ie: failure to follow proper procedure) or if based on a substantive issue of law.

If Pacnet's victory was due to a failure on Odex's part to observe the correct procedures or file the necessary documents, it would be temporal as all Odex would need to do is to correct the technical irregularity and refile the suit which would then be tried on the substantive issues. The online Straits Time article does however shed some light on the grounds of the decision.

Apparently one of the grounds for the dismissal of the application by District Judge Earnest Lau was that Odex was not the right party to make the application, despite having the go ahead to prosecute on behalf of the Japanese anime distributors. This basically means that in the judge's opinion, Odex does not have the locus standi to commence an action despite being authorized by the Japanese anime companies and this is undoubtedly a substantive issue(regarding Odex's authority) even though it may be fixed by having the correct party bring the action. If the court doesn't recognize the party as having the locus standi or the legal interest to bring a case to court, that party is unable to pursue the case.

Which means the correct party to commence an action would either be AVPAS or the Japanese companies themselves. It remains to be seen whether AVPAS actually has the resources and time and effort to do so, I personally doubt the Japanese animation companies would attempt to commence an action here. This certainly has greater implications for the anime community and downloaders in general.

As to the discrepancies between the PacNet outcome and the Singnet and Starhub court orders, the cases were heard by different judges and both ISPs declined to reveal what legal arguments they used in court. So what will Odex do now? It's highly likely that they will appeal if the grounds of the pacnet decision is indeed that they do not have the locus standi to make an application to force Pacnet to reveal its subscribers' information. Do note that the decision was made at the Subordinate Courts level, there is still the High Court and Court of Appeal which outrank it in superiority. So until a final decision is made by the Court of Appeal (if the appeal goes that far), nothing is set in stone.

Personally, I believe Odex would have to appeal and they must do so. The entire legitimacy of their operations of sending out letters demanding settlement or to face the threat of legal action is based on the premise that they have been authorized by the copyright owners to commence action against downloaders and is the legally recognized party to do so. If they fail to discharge this responsibility, their entire basis for sending out the dreaded letters and threatening legal action is wholly and substantially undermined.

It remains to be seen how the other two ISPs will react. Starhub at least appears more pro-active, saying that they are reviewing their options. Singnet doesn't appear like it's going to do anything other than reiterating that they released the information pursuant to the court order. That's kind of like covering themselves from potential liability and saying 'Hey, even though Pacnet won, we had no other choice.' I believe Singnet subscribers would want a little more action to prove that Singnet is really serious about protecting its customers' privacy. But as the deadline has expired for Starhub and Singnet to lodge an appeal, there appears to be little they can do, at least with regards to the current batch of customer's information that was released.

Anyhow, stay tuned for more updates and analysis on the unfolding legal saga as the story unfolds and more issues come to light. On a wholly unrelated note, one wonders if the District Judge Earnest Lau is an anime fan himself.^^ Food for thought eh?

Update: Pacnet's win over Odex. The implications and other new pieces of information.

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I'm Gay so now I can't Jog?

I've always enjoyed jogging, it's rhythmic, it doesn't require any mental effort beyond pacing yourself and it's certainly good exercise. Which is why it's the one form of exercise (other than sex which doesn't count cause it's so enjoyable) that I can get myself to do on a regular basis even though I haven't been religiously doing so as of late. The news about the list of gay events that were cancelled in rapid succession wasn't really news to me, after all this is Singapore and anything that is 'unconventional' or 'promotes an alternative lifestyle' is deemed as 'going against our conservative values and family values that Singaporeans cherish.' Like please, people have a brain of their own, let them decide.

Anyway, the entry on Mr Wang's blog about the police harassing a group of 40 gay and lesbian men and women, prohibiting them from running as a group just set me off. It's downright ridiculous why the Police have so much spare time on their hands to harass 40 homosexuals on a Saturday morning and prevent them from jogging as a group. Don't they have better things to do? Like spending the time currently directed towards harassing and entrapping homosexuals, solving cases and enforcing real law and order instead. And the joggers were simply 40 men and women out for a jog on a Saturday morning, they weren't disruptive or out to create public disorder.

It's become a norm, an accepted policy to target homosexuals or events perceived to have a homosexual agenda/slant in the name of the greater good. So much so that some of the police officers didn't even know the correct Act the alleged offence was committed under, let alone the correct section. Indignation's post on the incident cites Inspector Kelvin Yeo as stating the offence was committed under the Miscellaneous Offences Act(but he didn't know the section). The correct act and provision should be Section 141 of the Penal Code for Unlawful Assembly(unlawful gathering of 5 or more people with a common object to commit an offence, etc).

But then again the elements of the offence would not be satisfied. The 40 gay men and women were not there with the common objective of commiting any trespass, offence or mischief. They weren't there to compel others to commit any crime by show of criminal force. They weren't even nude. All they wanted was to go jogging. But apparently that's 'illegal' too. I was born in Singapore and this will probably continue to be the place I'll stay in at least for the foreseeable future. But it's hard to be 100% proud of your country when it's not even proud of you in the first place.

Comments and posts by a young PAP member on the young PAP blog that borders on downright bigotry, only encourages greater prejudice and reinforces the notion that gay men and women are second-class citizens in their country due to their sexuality. It is even more disturbing because a young professional PAP member who might possibly be one day governing the nation is making such lame and repulsive remarks online and feels justified in doing so. 'We threaten the societal fabric of the Country? We cannot procreate and are thus unworthy?' Makes one's blood boil.

The way things currently stand, we don't ask for much, just greater acceptance and an open mindset free from the bigoted views held by that young PAP member. It's bad enough with entrapment, bad enough knowing that everytime we have sex, it's illegal. At least let us jog in peace.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Odexed? 8 Things You Should Know.

So you've received that dreaded Odex letter. What now? Xedo Senshi the founder of Xedodefense, an online community that provides support to Odexed anime fans and explores different avenues of handling the crisis, raised 8 pertinent questions on various legal issues in a comment on the Showdown post. I will attempt to address and answer these questions to the best of my abilities in this post because they are relevant and will assist you in your decision on how to proceed.

Before I begin though, the standard disclaimer. These answers are answered to the best of my knowledge after some legal research but are not meant as a substitute for professional paid legal advice. If one intends to pursue legal avenues to settle this issue after reading this article, please by all means consult a lawyer(s) and get their second opinion on these and other issues. After all, you will be paying them. With that I'll proceed to answer the questions.

1. Although the general impression is that Bit-Torrent requires uploading, it is not necessarily so. In view of this, is it considered an offence if the accused only downloaded for personal consumption and not for distribution?

  • Alright, correct me if I'm wrong about the technical aspect of how Bit Torrent works. But from what I understand, when you start downloading a torrent file from Bit Torrent, you get connected to other peers and seeders online and your IP address is publicly visible. As you download the file, the data is obtained in parts from the various online peers and seeders. At the same time, parts of the file that you have already downloaded are uploaded to other peers who are on the same torrent. It is this aspect which in my opinion, is sufficient to satisfy the 'distribution' element under the Offences Section 136 of the Copyright Act.
  • If it is really the case( and you can prove in a court of law) that there was no uploading when downloading the file on bit-torrent, Odex would have failed to prove the distribution element. This means they would not be able to haul the downloader to court for Copyright infringement under Section 136(1),(2),(3) or (6). It is still an offence under Section 136(3A) which is extremely broad and simply requires that the copyright infringement is
    1. wilful (ie: deliberate downloading = wilful) and 2. that the extent of infringement is significant or that the person does the act to obtain a commercial advantage.
    Your strongest argument for an offence under S 136(3A) would be to dispute that the extent of infringement is significant. Of course if you downloaded say 7 or more episodes, you can be sure that the infringement would be regarded as significant. S 136(7) might be a helpful indicator of how many episodes would be regarded as significant. It basically provides that if a person is found to be in possession of more than 5 infringing copies of any work, shall be presumed unless otherwise proven to be in possession of the copies for purposes other than domestic or private use or for the purpose of sale.
  • I won't go into the debate about what constitutes copies, etc. Suffice to say, the Court has explicitly stated there is no fixed formula, they will look at the circumstances of the case and determine. So basically, no, EVEN if you are simply downloading and not distributing, you can be guilty of an offence under Section 136(3A). Do note that the defence in Section 114 for recording TV shows DOES NOT apply to downloading anime, mp3s, etc.
2. Given that a single IP address can be the exit point for several computers, i.e. the father, the mother, the sons, the daughters, the maids etc. Is it actually legal to simply sue the father because the account is under his name? Would that not imply that the owner of a residence can be charged for murder if the evidence only points to the murderer being one of the six in a house?
  • I get your point but you can't draw an analogy like that between the two. Odex is sending letters to the subscribers/account holders because that is the information obtained from the ISPs based on the list of IP addresses after obtaining the court order forcing the ISPs to release customer information. (Do note Odex has just very recently released a clarification on their webpage stating the court order was to release the customer information for 1000 IP addresses and not 1000 subscribers as reported. You can also check out this blogger's comments on it.)
  • Should Odex bring the downloader to court, they will need to obtain hard physical evidence because it is clear that IP addresses alone is insufficient evidence to prove copyright infringement. This will almost certainly entail a private search warrant taken out to search the house of the downloader contesting the case to obtain physical evidence(computer, CDs, etc).
  • When the case goes to court, the suit will be against the downloader and not the account holder/subscriber because the subscriber himself(if found to be so during the discovery of the evidence stage) did not infringe any copyrights by downloading anything. The most he is guilty of is perhaps negligence but the copyright infringement charges will be brought against the actual downloader unless there is evidence that shows the subscriber was aware or ought reasonably to have been aware of the copyright infringement but did nothing about it.
  • So just like you go after the actual murderer, they(Odex) will need to go after the actual copyright infringer.
3. If it can be proven that the IP addresses collected by Odex is not conclusive about the nature of the connection, i.e. no evidence the connection was uploading or downloading, is there still any basis for the charge?
  • I assume you're emphasising on the fact that IP addresses by itself might not be sufficient evidence to establish copyright infringement. If so, you are absolutely correct and as I mentioned earlier, Odex will need to obtain hard, physical evidence that is admissible to support their claim that the downloader has actually infringed the copyrights of the work by downloading anime illegally. And they will do that by obtaining a private search warrant and searching your house/premise.
  • This question is a little academic though because should the case proceed to trial, Odex being the plaintiff will have to produce evidence to prove their case on a balance of probabilities and they will proceed to do so as mentioned above. Hence, if the person Odexed is really innocent (ie: never downloaded a single episode of anime at all), then Odex would fail to obtain the requisite evidence at the discovery stage. Otherwise, you can be sure that they will not be relying solely on IP addresses as evidence of your copyright infringement. They can't.
4. If challenged in court, and no evidence of alleged content can be found on the accused's computer, where would the legal costs fall?
  • So they've searched your house, dissected your comp and found no hard tangible evidence of any copyrighted works in your possession. I seriously doubt they'll be foolish enough to proceed to trial on such a basis. They'll probably attempt to settle, paying you a sum of money to mollify you.
  • Assuming they do go to trial and they lose because of the lack of evidence, if it is a civil case as it would be unless they commence a private prosecution after obtaining approval from the Attorney General's Chambers, the court usually orders costs against the loser. This is of course at the court's discretion. The court may order full costs against the losing party or simply order partial costs. Where it clear the vindicated party is innocent, it is likely that the court will order full costs against the losing party ie: Odex.
  • This means that Odex will need to pay for all costs of the court proceedings, the cost of filing the various court documents and your party to party costs. This DOES NOT mean that the victor does not have to pay for anything. The victor will still need to pay the solicitor-clients cost ie: you will still need to pay the legal fees of your lawyer.
  • If Odex is granted permission by the Attorney General's Chambers to commence a private prosecution on behalf of the Public Prosecutor, the trial will be a criminal suit and for criminal suits, all costs lie where they fall. That means no matter who wins or loses, you still have to pay for your share of the legal proceedings, party to party costs and solicitor-client costs. Everything is split except for the cost of your lawyer's fees which is paid by you personally.
5. Can the accused persons act as a group in any legal proceeding, i.e. class action suit or must they take on Odex one by one?
  • Yes they can and they should. They can proceed against Odex via a class action suit and the well known case is that of the Raffles Town Club case where club members joined together in a class action suit to sue RTC for breach of contract. See the initial case, Tan Chin Seng and Others vs Raffles Town Club Pte Ltd [2002] 3 SLR 345 (High Court) & [2003] 3 SLR 307 (Court of Appeal)
  • Proceeding as a class action suit has various advantages, foremost amongst which is that it is considerably cheaper to do so rather than commencing separate individual cases and you have more resources pooled together to fund the suit. One thing to note about Class action suits in Singapore, ours is DIFFERENT from the American style of Class action suits. So don't read up on American class action suits, the procedure and consequence of a judgement in a class action suit is different from our system. I'll touch on this more in the next question.
6. If one person takes the fight against Odex to court and proves that Odex did not have a case, whether due to a lack of concrete correlation of IP to person, or lack of evidence that the person was in possession of alleged content, does it mean all who are involved in this situation can rely on this judgement?
  • I'll answer this in two parts. First on the face value aspect of the question which says if one person obtains a judgement against Odex, can everyone else rely on this judgement? For obvious reasons, the answer is most definitely NO. Why? Because they are not a party to the suit and hence the judgement is not binding on Odex regarding the other downloaders/people and also because the circumstances of the case are different in each case. There may be no evidence that one guy illegally downloaded anime and infringed copyrights but that doesn't mean that there's no evidence that the other 1000+ (assuming) Odexed people didn't download anime and infring copyrights. This is with regards to the any ruling on evidence ie: lack of evidence that the person was in possession of alleged content.
  • Of course if the ruling is with regards to a point of law, say for example that: IP addresses are never, on its own, good evidence of copyright infringement. That ruling on a point of law will affect similar cases until and unless it is overturned by a higher court, the highest court in Singapore being the Court of Appeal.
  • Now assume a class action suit is brought against Odex. First things first, as mentioned earlier, the class action suit in Singapore is different than in the USA. Firstly, people who wish to join a class action suit must Opt-In by application to join the suit. In the USA, everyone in a similar class that is affected by the subject matter in question is automatically a member of the class action suit, you leave the suit by 'Opting-Out'. Secondly, the holding/judgement of the court in a class action suit only binds the parties to the suit. Which means that in our case(Singapore), if you failed to 'Opt-in' to the class action suit by actively applying to do so, you would not be able to enforce the judgement or rely on it. In the USA, all members of the class are automatically bound by the decision in the class action suit and can enjoy the benefits(depending on their perspective) unless they have Opted-Out of the class action suit.
7. As you mentioned, the quantum of compensation is a sticking point. If it can be shown that
a) such alleged activities did not prejudiced the copyright owner's interest and/or
b) copyright owner did not suffer any significant loss in revenue (imagined or actual) and/or
c) the amount of losses was aggravated due to the the copyright owner's action or lack of
is it possible to challenge the quantum or the case itself on these grounds?
  • (a) if you can prove this (and you will need to go to court to show this) then they cannot win a case against you based on Section 136(1),(2),(3). And you can successfully challenge the case itself, let alone the quantum. Do note however that S 136(3A) has no requirement for prejudice, but simply that the infringement is significant.
  • (b) this would be a factor possibly in the determination by the court as to whether the copyright owner was prejudicially affected. Which means the response would be exactly the same as for (a). You may attempt to rely on the defence of Fair Dealing in Section 35 as was mentioned in my earlier post and the court will then take into account the factors listed in S 35(2) but this list is NOT exhaustive, which means the court will look at other factors too.
  • (c) this is not a ground for challenging the quantum or the case itself. The fact that the amount of losses has been aggravated by the Copyright owner's inaction( assuming that you can even show it in the first place) is irrelevant in the court's decision when determining copyright infringement. Like they say, two wrongs do not make a right. And any negligence on the part of the Copyright owner or the exclusive licensee would not detract from their rights to enforce their copyrights.
8. If it can be proven that only Odex is prejudiced by the alleged actions and not the copyrights owners, does Odex still have a case of copyright infringement against the users?
  • Yes. Odex has been exclusively licensed by the copyright owners, the Japanese Animation companies. Section 123 of the Copyright Act states that the exclusive licensee shall have, except against the owner, the same rights as the owner possesses and be entitled to the same remedies the owner is entitled to as per Sections 119 -120A which detail the right of the Copyright Owner to enforce his rights by bringing an action and the remedies he is entitled to.
  • The fact that Odex is a licensee is irrelevant, it has the same rights as that of the copyright owner. Section 124 of the Copyright Act further provides that the licensee or owner may proceed with an action without having the other party join as a plaintiff to the action unless the court orders otherwise. This means Odex can sue without having the Jap companies join in as a plaintiff. Lastly S 126 provides for the Assessment of damages for the exclusive licensee. When taking into account damages or statutory damages, the court will take into account any liabilities, royalties or otherwise, to which the licence is subject.
Hope this article answers some of the more pressing legal issues and questions people, Odexed or otherwise, might have. Once again for those who have been Odexed or strongly suspect that they will be Odexed, take some time, do a little level-headed research and browse through this article and the others on this or other blogs about Odex. But do not use it as a substitute for professional paid legal advice, especially if you intend to pursue a legal recourse.

Update: A surprising twist in the Odex court order application against Pacnet. Pacnet Wins!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Odex: The Video, the Drama.

The "PR disaster" has never been more extreme, the crackdown never more extensive. Everywhere one goes, the Odex saga has left its indelible print on Singaporeans and Netizens world wide. It isn't simply the case of Odex vs Anime Fans any more, non-anime fans and people who don't watch a single episode of anime are expressing their disapproval over the arguably unethical and certainly infinitely unpopular way Odex has been conducting the entire process.

NCHproductions has released a flash video (embedded here for convenience) parodying 'Xedo' and the recent events surrounding the entire saga. He (I assume) manages to capture the way many an average anime fan who ever downloaded anime is currently feeling and does it in a tongue in cheek way, that is entertaining while not being crass.

While some people think the usage of the Holocaust theme in the video is in poor taste, I personally believe that it is not offensive and does not ridicule or make light of the Holocaust, a major monstrosity of Nazi Germany. The Holocaust did take place and is something to be remembered and a lesson to be learnt; the subject is not taboo and indeed should be brought up if only to remind everyone that such inhumanity must never take place again.

NCHproduction's short video clip portrays the current situation in this light to depict the oppression felt by anime fans and the general climate of fear as well as the public perception that Odex is not behaving very ethically by conducting itself the way it did. The comments made by Stephen Sing, a director of the company have certainly not helped either. So NCHproduction's video clip does not in my opinion make light of the Holocaust and is not in poor taste, rather his witty video conveys in a nutshell the general odex situation and the public's perception, all under 2 mins.

Meanwhile, the furore continues and we'll know the results of the Odex court order application against Pacnet on Thursday. It is very very very likely that Pacnet will be forced to release the name of its 1000 subscribers based on the previous two precedents (Singnet and Starhub) but stay tuned for that update.

As an edmwer posted not too long ago, I can't remember whom, the whole affair is so full of Drama, the angst, the plethora of Odex letters, the outrageous comments, the corresponding hate posts, the Showdown. And this campy pic nicely sums it up.

When will we see the light of day? Only Odex knows.

Update: Odexed? 8 Things you Should Know. Legal issues clarified further.

Benediction - The Cynic's Blessing.

Blacken the eye that consumes the shadows.

Bloody the lips which proclaim false hope.

Blockade the heart that bleeds for tomorrow.

Bless the hands that roam, forever free.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

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Pa Pa Yeoh (881): Awakening the Inner Beng.

In case you haven't already guessed, this is what has reawakened the inner Beng even if only slightly.

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I certainly don't have the credentials to be one. In JC, I was categorised as part of the 'Ang Moh Pai' group (used to refer to the English speaking Chinese). My spoken Mandrian leaves much to be desired, I can barely hold a decent conversation in Chinese. My Hokkien is even worse, I can catch the gist of what people are saying; try to get me to respond in Hokkien however and I falter miserably, my entire vocabulary consisting mainly of creative vulgarities picked up in Army from the true blue Beng camp mates. The closest I ever came to looking like one was during the post JC days when I sported striped highlighted hair bleached golden blond and the brick red cargo pants I bought from TopShop then.

So it was a rather strange turn of events that made me want to catch this locally produced movie when it came out on the 9th of August. After all I almost never watch locally produced movies, the last one being Liang Po Po which was a loooong time ago, because I figure that it'll inevitably turn up on TV within a year or so and paying eight bucks and more for a local movie wasn't appealing.

I guess my curiousity about 881 was piqued because it was about getai (stage performances given nationwide during the Hungry Ghost Festival that lasts about a month) which I'd never actually experienced, the songs were Hokkien and damn Beng and the costumes were so outrageously over the top. So I dragged Sean along to catch it. I thought the show on average was rather glitzy and beng but still enjoyable except for the draggy, weepy bit at the end though Sean proclaimed to be bored.

The songs (and after-images of outrageous costumes and feathered boas) however remained firmly entrenched in my mind and I found myself subconsciously humming along to the decidedly Hokkien-Beng lyrics. So I went to get the soundtrack lo. A lot of Singaporeans must have been similarly affected, for I was informed at two of the Sembawang Music store branches I went to that the Pa Pa Yeoh(881) soundtrack was sold out and they had no more stocks. Apparently, there's an inner Hokkien spouting Ah Beng/Ah Lian wannabe in most Singaporeans.

HMV though proved to be a life saver and it didn't matter if it cost more than at Sembawang, I would have bought it if it cost 40 bucks. That's how bad the Beng-ness was that night. The Soundtrack CD while short did not disappoint the awakened Beng. Blasting the familiar getai numbers from the movie helped to make the still-ongoing drilling much more bearable.

My personal favourite remains the touching yet Beng-y tear jerker song at the end of the movie, Last Breath. Here's the Youtube video showing the MingZhu sisters (who were singing the songs for the Papaya Sisters in the movie) performing the song which looks more moving than that draggy hospital scene at the end of the movie. (Video has been removed from Youtube.)

The popular One Half theme song with the 'Ji Lang Ji Phua, Gam Qing Buai Suah..' opening comes a close second. But I thought the way the twin sisters May and Choy sung their hokkien getai songs was really cute. It had a nice, strange english accented twinge to their hokkien techno songs, yet they sung with such gusto and maxed out the bitchiness in the bad girl characters they were playing that I find their english-influenced hokkien techno songs more attractive than the actual getai singers who recorded for the Original Soundtrack album.

You can judge for yourselves in this Youtube video of May and Choy singing 'Lose Control - Dong Buai Diao' in a live getai event the 881 members participated in shortly after the release of the film. Sadly, they weren't singing the song I thought they did the best 'Bad Times' and they were singing with more gusto in the movie. They were certainly way way bitchier in the movie and their costumes were well, spiky and all dominatrix like.^^

Sean has been subconsciously affected, after listening to the album I'd ripped onto my Creative player, he hummed the One Half tune softly all the way as we were making our way to the stadium to view the fireworks. Everyone has an inner Beng or Lian in them, like it or not. And sometimes, if only for a while, he or she needs to be let out, just to hang loose and be unabashedly beng.

I'll leave you here with the MingZhu Sisters' 'Wild Flowers', another song in the movie. Wa ai zho xiao lian gei. Eh sai buai?

Update: If you liked 881, You'll love Hairspray the movie.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

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