Monday, May 18, 2009

On Waiting Until The 20th

Over the last few weeks, websites (both with and without Pentax NDA agreements) have been speculating, dishing gossip, and spreading information about a certain upcoming camera model to be formally announced on May 20th. It's gone beyond little hints and teases for one site in particular, which has actually been begging for people to leak new information and do dirty work. This weekend, it exploded. Forums and now big sites have been eating up what may well be ill-gotten pictures and specs pushed through this venue (btw: a photoshop filter does not mean it's a proper "sketch"). Web traffic is spiking for these people. It's great to see so many readers interested in a new camera, but at the same time I've never been so annoyed with people making hay from gossip. Part of me feels that it's supporting something I think is unfair: leaking proprietary information.

It wouldn't break my NDA to repeat the all rumors and pictures, but at the same time, without some restraint, I'd be capitalizing (however small that might be) unfairly and contrarily to my friendly relationship with Pentax. Sure, Pentax is getting a lot of free press right now, but that doesn't mean every website has to jump on the advanced leak bandwagon.

I'm just going to give you my 2 cents on why I'm waiting until the 20th to talk more about this camera.

1st penny: I sat down with Pentax and chatted with them for a solid hour about this new camera, and so I respect that they took the time to reach out to me and give me an opportunity to get hands on with their new model. It's definitely worth the wait to respect their timetable and write a good article. I mean, really, really, really, worth the wait.

2nd penny: I'm not a big fan of piracy. Corporations spend a lot of money and employees put a lot of work into coordinating the release of a new product. You may not see the negative causality of a leak, but it's there, and it saddens me our society is becoming more permissive with media theft, encouraging the problem. It's frustrating. I'm not going to fault anyone for enjoying the ramp up to the release and all the good attention the rumors have created, but it hasn't been the best possible scenario.

3rd (bonus) penny: Ned Bunnell drew my attention to this Pentax + Beatles photo on May 2nd. And despite what Ned said, I think that old Pentax does have a design feature of the new camera, which a lot of people guessed correctly. That's the sort of rumor teasing that I love.


Anonymous said...

Good article, glad to see that privacy is still respected among bloggers out there. Are you sure that Pentax is looking at these leaks in a negative manner? To an extent this product launch reminds of what i see every 6 months with an Apple product release, a ton of buzz and rumors that end up driving sales. Just a thought, keep up the good work.

james O'Neill said...

I work (and blog) for Microsoft and having watched the leaks on our product with a 7 in its name I can say how infuriating it is when someone leaks something which you were geared up to announce on a particular day. What gets me most is the lack of sanctions applied to the people who do it. There is little incentive for people to behave honorably - as you have. All power to you for doing so.

Andreas said...

guys, capitalism literally moved inside your cells, do you really think we should be compassionate with companies like ... microsoft. can't believe that.

hopefully you are not demanding sanctions for posting my opinion! not yet, i know

Michael said...

Andreas, this is not about "capitalism" but mutual respect between individuals. Creating a caricature of a company as greedy for protecting their interests is the wrong attitude to take. You wouldn't consider yourself greedy for expecting to be paid for your work, especially if you have employees of your own you need to pay in turn. Nor would you want people taking your belongings because they felt you were overvalued and overpaid.

The issue of media theft is not black and white. Sometimes the "free" exposure in the media offsets losses. Often it doesn't. For every Apple leak success, there are 5 failures. Many times, the leaked information is incomplete, misinterpreted, and badly presented, and it costs future sales. If you were an entrepreneur, would you want to spend all your money launching a product and designing special media packages and websites, only to have your product get most of its first exposure to millions of people by way of an ugly website that screws everything up? It would dispirit you, however you may try to rationalize that it wouldn't if you are insensitive to valuing your effort.

Because it's easy to steal doesn't make it a fair and reasonable action. But if you don't see the consequences for digital piracy, you're more likely to believe that stealing is acceptable.

People like the Pirate Bay have an agenda to make the public assume there is little consequence to "sharing" and to provoke industries to drop digital rights management quickly because it's "difficult." But those of us who do see the real damage piracy does aren't under that illusion. The best way to fix Digital Rights Management is to work together on developing fair solutions for everyone, not just customers. And I believe the best way to discourage inappropriate media "sharing" is to choose not to participate.

Andreas said...

Michael, we have very different mindsets, it is open vs. closed society.

I am not a corporation, nor is any human being a corporation. Regarding coroporations as individuals with individual rights is the first major mistake in the economic liberal philosophy.

Of course this has to do with capitalism. Corporations want to protect their claim on ever rising profits against smaller and weaker participants in the so called market. The whole thing with intellectual property is the perfect means to achieve this goal. In the end it prevents small players let alone individuals to do anything new or creative, because nowadays you have to be afraid of lawsuits against you when trying to do any business / creative / art ...

And your argument with corporations paying employees is pathetic as it is just a paraphrase of corporations taking everyone as economic hostages. Of course you get paid by some corporation in the end, because finally there will be no small scale business left, because they have protected everything against claims from minor players, because capitalism will have become what is only logical: a game of few monopols. So this argument suffers the flaw of being circular: first they deprive us of all possibilities, then they demand loyality, because what, they pay us??? It is like I burn down your house and then I force you to rent one my many appartments and then I demand gracefulness. And look, you are the one who is graceful and spreads the word on his blog, because, I gave you the appartment with vista.

Michael said...

Andreas, I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree. I'm not a fan of monopolies or law suits (it is unfair of you to characterize me that way), but it's unlikely I can ever abide theft as a means to redistribute justice or voice opposition to those issues. And, while this argument has gone way off track (we're now talking about major copyright and patent law enforcement and hardly about consumer gadget spec leaks), I'd like you to consider that this is just a blog about Pentax stuff and not the best place to converse about weighty issues at length and expect to come to adequate resolutions.

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