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Cord Cutting 101, how to save money on TV

Aka: “A Cord Cutters DIY guide to Antenna’s, Free TV and alternatives to expensive Cable TV bills…”

Have you heard about “Cord Cutters” and how they are saving hundreds? (Yes, cord cutters save $200 or more a month!) This article covers numerous ways to save money on TV.

Two years ago I was paying Comcast over 300 dollars a month for my Cable TV, Internet, and digital (landline) Phone. Before Comcast I tried AT&T, and the cost was about the same. And both companies enjoy a monopoly of-sorts, so they were constantly charging more for their services. And I really hated the way that these big co’s treated me. I mean, I wanted to watch NBA, and in order to do so, I had to buy a freak’n “bundle.” And the bundles offer all kinds of extra programming that I paid for – but didn’t want. You’ve probably gone through the same torment, so I’ll end my complaint session here. Moving on…

Last year, I switched to Dish and I saved a ton of money. They didn’t push me to upgrade to bundles, and they allowed me to downgrade to an el-cheapo service of 40 bucks a month. But still, I felt that I was paying for local-tv programming that is offered free through my antenna.

Later, I downgraded my Dish to a “pause” plan. This cost me $5 month, and it allowed me to keep my Dish SAT while I tested the alternative – local TV channels delivered via OTA (over-the-air) antenna. So far, I’ve experienced mixed results. When it rains or the wind blows — so does the local TV.

In Metro Detroit, DISH has a introductory plan that cost about 30 dollars, and it has local channels plus TBS, Motor Trend TV, and many more…This was my latest adjustment to my Dish plan. It saves me allot of money, and I get reliable Local News, as well as LINK TV and International news from China. A nice plus is Dish’s “studio” channel where they feature films from some of their add-on channels, like MGM. You might want to ask if they offer it in your area.

Not very often, on a very Stormy day, my Dish may go out temporarily. And on the rare occasion when I use my alternate — an over-the-air Antenna (you may recall the old rabbit ears) the programming is good. However a breezy day will bring poor reception. Bad reception over an antenna is usually very bad – meaning…the picture on my TV is either totally black or displaying a bunch of square-pixels accompanied by the audio cutting out. That’s when I switch on my Roku or Fire TV.

Set Top Boxes like Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TV all function the same way — you must have an Internet connection, 4mbps or better to use these devices to watch movies and Shows on your Television. (My current company says my Internet speed is 25mbps or so – and although that is not a consistent speed, it is perfectly fast enough.)

Using your Set Top Box (or “stick”.) You need to plug in the unit into your HDMI port or your composite (RCA) jacks on your TV. Just look for the “in” ports, it’s pretty standard on most TV’s, “Input” RCA jacks are Yellow for Video, and Red for Right-Audio, White for Left-Audio. Then plug in the power on the unit, turn on the TV, select the “source” aka “input” for the signal you’d like to watch. (In other words, this set-top-box “source” is an alternative to just turning the TV on and watching via an antenna or cable/sat TV.)

Next you should see that your Roku/Fire/AppleTV is asking you to connect to an Internet Signal. I’m sure your Internet Provider set you up with a WiFi Router. You’ll need the name of it, and it’s password. Type that into the prompts on your TV, and it will eventually connect you. Now click on the “home” button for your Roku or whatever — and you see they’ve automatically loaded a few starter channels. Yay! Your ready to watch.

As a side-note, on my second-TV, I adjusted my Roku’s display settings to Standard Definition, 16×9 Wide-Screen. This saves data-use aka “Internet Bandwidth.” My Fire TV doesn’t have the same settings, because I have a Fire TV “stick” which plugs in via the HDMI port on my TV, offering a HD display of 720 or better. Therefore, when I want to save bandwidth, I instead use my Roku because I can use the composite plugs and a SD setting.

Why save bandwidth? Because my Internet Provider allows me 1TB of data use per month. And, because I operate a Film Festival, and CTV channels, I often find myself downloading large movie files, converting them to the proper streaming format (mp4) and then re-uploading these files, which demands a large amount of Internet data. So for me, 1TB is nice, but it is easy to use up in one month.

You might appreciate another reason why I sometimes watch Roku-TV in SD mode. For one, usually the picture clarity is fine. When I watch programming on my own channels (Movies Plus, Art House Movies, Film Fest Best) — or Sony’s Crackle, or competitors like Netflix, I get a clean looking picture. And when a movie is offered in UHD, and then displayed in SD, typically I do not recognize much difference in image quality when I watch in SD mode. (Now, if I were to place a TV with an HD image right next to it, then of course I’d see the difference – but that doesn’t happen.)

Thirdly, I set up my “second-TV” in SD-wide display mode because when/if someone in my house watches a streaming-TV-program, they just might forget to turn it off. And that means that the Netflix or whatever they are watching will automatically play through the night…resulting in my bandwidth getting used up, and then I end up paying the Internet Company a penalty fee for overuse.

Ok, moving on. Let’s say you have a Roku or another box that you’ve paid 25 dollars or more for. (The only cost for a Roku/Fire is the one-time purchase fee.) Additional fees apply to Netflix, Hulu subscriptions, if you opt for their programming — but really, you don’t have to. Great channels (aka TV-Apps) include Pluto, Crackle, Movies Plus (of course,) ABC, Petticoat JunctionTMN (The Movie Network) and many others like CW Seed.

Netflix is an App. It also is considered a channel on Roku. I subscribe to it. And I love my Netflix at about 8 dollars a month for the non-UHD reception. I get some great shows like LOST IN SPACE and LILLYHAMMER and quality feature films. BUT – I do not get my local programming. No local news, no Nightly News unless I want to watch the previous days programming.

Hulu is similar to Netflix. I pay about 6 bucks every month with advertising. Great programming like Dirk Gently, Quickdraw, and Misfits is here. But again, there is no live-local programming like Detroit area news, etc.

So, the dilemma is if I’ve fired my Cable TV company then: How do you get LIVE, LOCAL TV broadcasts in RELIABLE QUALITY without spending too much money?

Some services like Sling offer paid packages that deliver content to Roku and FireTV for about $40 monthly. This might be the way to get a few local LIVE channels, plus some other networks like Starz.

You’ll be hard pressed to find an economical package that offers NBC, ABC, and CBS. You may be thinking…I’m trying to save money — that’s why I “cut the cord!” So what is the solution?

The answer might be Digital Re-Broadcast. For example, a temporary solution could be services (like) “Locast.” I found this on my Roku. It works in just a few towns like NYC and San Francisco. They’re not in Detroit yet. My bro uses it in NYC and he is very happy because his digital antenna is about as reliable as mine is. From what I can see, the App is free, and it appears to be legal (appears!) After some research I found out that Locast just might be pushing the boundaries of what they are allowed to do.

Both Aereo, and FilmOn lost their argument to rebroadcast local channels, and I think that although Locast is non-profit, they might be pushed to shut down operations. I recently found an article that said they were being sued, and I’m not surprised.

If re-broadcasters like Locast actually license local rebroadcasting rights, then we might see TV-APPS that work in more towns like Detroit. I also tried “Stirr” because its description on the Roku channel promised Local programming, but I have yet to see any local Metro Detroit channels, and certainly not local news or “network” channels. So again, the free services that promise you access to local network channels are usually “re-broadcasters” and likely a bunch of horse-hockey. They usually operate until a complaint is made, and the FCC brings them down. Read more below…

What you should know about services that offer digital re-broadcast via Roku, Fire, and Android…
Most of these services are designed for our troops abroad. That is, like the AFN (American Forces Network.) Some rebroadcasters have agreements that allow them to re-broadcast HBO, STARS, and other networks to foreign countries. These re-broadcast services are not licensed (or intended) for use in the USA. Have people found a way to use these APPS in the USA? Yes, but I won’t say how because firstly it’s illegal, and secondly you cannot depend on the service when you use it outside of the way it is intended.

PS: Kodi is one of the biggest to offer rebroadcasting. When it functions as a digital rebroadcaster, it is what I consider to be the pirates haven – and being a filmmaker (and a righteous-dude) I absolutely hate this service — but that’s just me living in a world of thieves and catch-me-if-you-can thinkers. (Waaaaaa – cry baby!)

Moving on….Antennas!
What a cluster-frak. You can shop all day long, but I have to say that I’ve used Amplified and non-amplified antennas (like the old rabbit ears.) And neither one really works great in my house in Metro Detroit. We have about 20 great channels too, ranging from NBC 4 to 4-2 and “4-dash-3.” Sounds confusing? It isn’t really. The channels are set up just like they were in the analog broadcasting days, accept that channels like Channel 4 now has “multicast” channels like Heroes and Icons (H&I) on their 4-2 channel. Don’t worry, you don’t have to find these manually, and you really don’t have to understand how multicasting or “subchannels” work in your town.

If you have a TV set with a Digital Tuner, then simply plug in an Antenna into the “Antenna In” coaxial port of your TV. Then go into your TV’s settings and use the Channel set up options to “auto tune” your OTA (Antenna.) It might take a few minutes, but your TV should find a few channels. And most new TV’s have a “skip” option that allows you to weed out the channels that you don’t want to watch.

Before you buy an antenna, you might consider a homemade solution. I know of two designs, and one that I currently use. Before we start on this – please take note: A coaxial port can be damaged – so don’t just jam any old metal thing into it…Okay, that being said, let’s examine a couple do it yourself indoor antennas…

1.) I read about a guy who says to use a PaperClip — I would guess that the (big) business grade clip could work. He took a clip, and straightened out one end, then he gently pushed it into his TV’s “antenna in” jack. Done, with limited channel reception of course. But hey, don’t quote me, and don’t blame me if you decide to test your TV with a PaperClip or a wire.

2.) A coaxial cable. After buying both a Amplified Antenna, and a Rabbit Ear antenna, I decided to use a DIY antenna made out of an old cable-tv-cable. One end screws into the port “it’s the coaxial jack” of your TV, and the other end needs to be prepared like in the following tutorial….

3.) Proceed at your own risk…
Steps A-B: Carefully, snip ONE end of the cable off. Then carefully…carefully (so you don’t cut yourself) skin the protective rubber housing off of the cable. You need to do this slowly so that you DO NOT cut into the copper wire on the inside. (Pardon me for being redundant.)
Now, without cutting the inside lining…shear anywhere from 6 inches to a foot of the housing off, but like I say do it carefully and don’t cut all the way through because you’re just trimming off the protective rubber exterior. You may throw this rubber piece away.

C) Now you’ll see the lining, it’s a mesh — a wire mesh. This easily pulls back. It’s like putting on a condom (don’t get mad – this is the best analogy I can offer.) When I made my antenna, I didn’t have to cut the mesh. You should also be able to simply pull it back upon the cable, and then tape it up. Use a good tape like black electrical tape. Okay? Tape up that mesh that you pulled back.

D) Now you’ll see a plastic piece that protects the inner copper wire. If you have a good wire cutter then carefully…carefully slice this housing (WITHOUT CUTTING THROUGH THE WIRE INSIDE.) Now pull off that plastic housing.

E.) The copper wire is revealed. This is your antenna. Place it AWAY from a wall, as close to a window as you can get. And of course don’t place it near any open wires, metal, or a where a child can poke himself or a power-socket. Don’t use it outside – you don’t want this thing to become a lightning rod.

F.) Reminder – the end of the cable with the Coaxle plug goes into your TV ?

I get about 30 channels with my DIY antenna, but like I say it’s not a perfect solution because the weather conditions greatly affect the picture and audio quality.

My ultimate solution…
I’ve opted to use two main solutions, and one backup. I have the el-cheapo “SAT” plan for 28 bucks a month — this provides my local network news, TBS, Motor Trend, etc. I secondly have Internet bundled with digital phone. I use my Internet to connect my Roku and Fire TV devices, and on these devices I have the cheapest Hulu plan, coupled with many free TV-APPS that run on my Roku/Fire. My backup is my homemade “DIY” Antenna, which I rarely use.

Did you find this article helpful? Then please visit our Patreon campaign, it’s a very inexpensive way of saying “Thank You.” — (c) Dean Lachiusa

If you like what you’re reading…you’re a “Cord Cutter” and you might like my line of cord cutting swag, from pillows to mugs – click to get your own.

Star Trek, STC, & Atomic

Shakespeare and Star Trek partner

Who knew that Shakespeare was into Sci-Fi? One of the latest, and most fun Star Trek films released is Let Old Wrinkles Come, a film with none other than Vic Mignogna as Director of Photography.

And like Vic’s work with the Neutral Zone studio, this production has the genuine Star Trek lighting scheme that many of us enjoyed on the series Star Trek Continues.

But that’s not really why I’m writing today. Today, I just want to give you a heads up regarding this short film. It features an infamous Trek creature.

Care to take a guess? What is the creature and what episode of Star Trek aka TOS (The Original Series) did it appear in?

If you don’t know, you may find the answer by watching Star Trek on my TV-Apps, or pay close attention to the end credits here.

And before I go, one other thing. What is the connection to this show and Shakespeare? Care to give it a guess?

Answer: It’s a quote from Shakespeare “With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” And I have to say, if you watch this show, I think you’ll find some “laughter” and quite a bit of “mirth” — whatever that is. 😉 Wink wink. (c) Dean Lachiusa 2020.

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Giant Spiders and Elves?

From the vaults of low budget Roger Corman wanna-be comes Giant Spiders and evil-doing elves. Hey, I have to admit that I can only sit through this one after a few beers. So, whatever this film is really about, I know you’ll get a kick out of it. Besides the music is just plain groovy, it’s a surreal mashup of Salsa and Jazz and Spooky Sounds. And check out this art — can you “dig” it — or does “Mesa of Lost Women” look like pure “Shlock?”

Okay, so yes this movie is Shlock and that’s why I list it in my SHLOCK-O-VISION category.

And if you like a good, action Western with some great actors, check out another recent addition.

That beautiful redhead also stars in “Mclintock!” — a fun Western that we also stream free on our channels, she’s Maureen O’Hara. And although you may by more accustomed to seeing Brian Keith as a Father of two-cute kids in the old TV show “Family Affair” — He is well known for his appearances as a tough-guy in programming like the TV series Hardcastle and McCormick.

The Deadly Companions is directed by the classic Westerner..Sam Peckinpah and it co-stars some other talent known for this genre, including Steve Cochran, Chill Wills, Strother Martin, and Will Wright. Check the film out — I’m quite sure you’re recognize some classic faces.

Says IMDB: “An ex-army officer accidentally kills a woman’s son and tries to make up for it by escorting the funeral procession through dangerous Indian territory.”

I hope to see you on my free, ad-free TV channels. Cheers, and don’t forget to leave a comment — I’d love to hear your opinion of these films. (c) Dean Lachiusa 2020.

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New Star Trek prequel takes us back to a time before Kirk

The latest feature film that is not produced by Hollywood features terrific actors and cinematography. Kenny Smith started production on his “Star Trek First Frontier” film over five years ago. And just recently, to coincide with the Trek Anniversary, he released his movie. Is it perfect? No. Is it worth seeing? Oh yeah…

Because Kenny shot the film before the Star Trek owners (CBS/Paramount) changed their Fan Film Guidelines, he was able to use SAG actors without infringing on Star Trek. But perhaps I should say how this works. A fan film is a fan-made film that is designed to be non-commercial. And typically it will NOT feature professionals. So really, if you are familiar with the Studio’s Fan Film Guidelines, you might think that Kenny was kind of pushing the limits of what the studio had in mind for fan-made Trek films 5 years ago, and again today. Well, Kenny was not the only one making Trek fan-films with Professional talent back then, and currently he is not the only person/studio doing Trek fan films. Hmm, it’s a tad confusing.

Let’s try to clarify how a filmmaker needs to respect the process. All fan film’s borrow elements from the original-production with the hope that the owners will not object. There’s no contract. Even the studios “Star Trek Guidelines” are not a contract. So we have to be careful, some productions like the Trek film “Axanar” were not respectful — and they got sued. But Kenny was, and Kenny is…

This reminds me of the many discussions I’ve had with filmmakers regarding the making of a Parody. If you make a parody of someone else’s work, the fact that YOU call it a parody does not guarantee that you won’t be sued. Because, what if the owner of the original material is not laughing? Get it? It’s a matter of where you sit at the table. On one side you have the guy who wants to do an homage to a film that he loves, and on the other side you have the owner of the original who may or may not like the idea. (Think Firefly…you won’t see many fan films because Fox/Disney ‘mostly’ won’t allow it.) Okay, let’s get back to our Star Trek discussion.

Paramount’s favorite son James Cawley produced a number of Star Trek movies under the Star Trek “New Voyages” and “Phase II” banner, and these involved the use of Cawley’s 9,000 foot Star Trek studio (a duplicate to the 1967 Desilu Trek studio.) Also involved was talent from the original Star Trek, including TOS Alumni Walter Koenig (Chekov) – and George Takei (Sulu) – and Nichelle Nichols (Uhura.) Also an indie-production/studio known as “Renegades” (featuring Tim Russ* of Star Trek Voyager) produced Star Trek films with stars like Alan Ruck (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.)

Using pro’s on a fan film is currently not allowed. Unless you’re grandfathered…Like Kenny’s production.

So, just to be clear, whether a fan film is allowed to be distributed is ultimately the Intellectual property owners decision. And we hope that the Studio understands the process that Kenny used to shoot and ultimately release his movie.

Lucky for you and I, we have Star Trek First Frontier released Non-commercially on Youtube. It’s a great film. Kenny spent allot of time and money using SAG talent in order to deliver dialog that works just as well as something produced by the Studio.

Are there flaws? Yes. Kenny reports that because of the Covid situation, he does not have the funds to complete the film with the kind of high-quality CGI images that we are accustomed to seeing in movies these days. And, the audio has severe flaws. The volume goes up/down and the dialog competes with the background sounds and audio effects (SFX.) But don’t dispair.

Just today I heard from an editor that Kenny is working with a few folks to work the bugs out. So, perhaps in 6 months or so we just might see a re-mastered version of the First Frontier film. Meanwhile, I made a 9 minute, introductory remix for Kenny. Below is the clip that I produced as an homage to Kenny (and of course Star Trek.) And just a reminder…this remix is a TEST remix, intended to give you a preview of the kind of quality that I hope to see from Kenny and friends in the near future. It’s NOT intended to ‘add’ — ‘replace’ or take away from Kenny’s feature film.

If you like (or dislike) what you see then I hope you take the time to leave a comment here or on Youtube. And feel free to share this with your friends and especially Sci-Fi groups, pages, and organizations online.

And if you just can’t wait for the remix, then below is Kenny’s full length movie, Star Trek First Frontier. It’s on my “Fan Films” and Movies Plus Android App, and Youtube. Cheers (c) Dean Lachiusa 2020.

*See Tim Russ and the Atomic Network for a variety of Sci-Fi and Trek-inspired programming featuring talent like Garrett Wang of Star Trek The Next Generation and Terry Farrell of Star Trek Deep Space Nine. Tell ’em Dean at Moviesplus/FluentialTV sent you 😉

Support this blog on my Patreon campaign site: PS Late October: I watched the Pilot “Drop Dead Diva” and our FF captain appeared as a Doctor. Yeah!

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Should I let Youtube take my Film for a Ride?

AKA: Should I let the web take my film 4 a ride? A 5* year journey on Youtube.

Recently* someone asked me if Youtube’s TOS would protect their videos from being ripped. Here’s the answer, excerpted from a Facebook conversation:

It’s sad but Youtube won’t give you any license that protects you like a copyright registration or a WGA registered script.

I suppose, if you upload your work and use the advance settings to establish date, then (maybe, just maybe) you could claim proof of authorship (if) you ended up in court or filed a piracy claim using the Youtube Content ID system.

[Bill M] is correct about the need to “register” your copyright. I think it’s 35 bucks for the PA form, and the last time I did it, they allowed me to upload a digital copy of my movie – therefore saving shipping costs, and completing the process quicker than snail mail.

Regarding [Alex, who uses a youtube-download software to save videos to his PC.]   He’s right, there’s plenty of programs that will grab video from streaming sites like Youtube. 

But heck,  if you’re looking for saturation, then you might not care because posting your videos online gets your stuff out there. If you want to stop folks from stealing, then you could place your movies on my Roku and Fire TV channels, and at least this makes it harder to “leach” the content digitally — but of course that won’t stop a Cam’d version.

Another Facebook commenter mentioned that people make a living grabbing video and then re-posting it as their own on Youtube.  This absolutely happens, and it’s a dang shame that we (sometimes) can’t trust Youtube with out content.  Unless that is, we swing a large bat like the Hollywood Studios who choose to stream their content via Youtube’s Partner program.

Here’s an example.  A film buddy of mine used a small section of Night of the Living Dead in a promotional video.  But Youtube flagged it for copyright infringement.  What…How, he asked me? 

As it turns out, Youtube gave a company the right to file a Content ID claim for Night of the Living Dead.  When this happens, it allows that company to grab all the ad-revenue that is associated with EVERY post on Youtube that contains some NOTLD content. That’s allot of videos – thousands in fact.  Check it if you like.  And in case you didn’t know…NOTLD has been Public Domain for over 40 years. (I think it was The Orchard that is the one that is monetizing Notld and other orphan films.)

Thanks for reading, I hope this Facebook conversation – gone Blog is something that is coherent enough for you to make use of. (c) 2018-2020 Dean Lachiusa.

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Is Music Free? Should Movies be Free?

With excerpts from “Copyright is free speech” “Using people’s copyrighted material without permission is stealing” ( by Robin Sax as it appeared on Psychology Today.

Reposted October 2020

“I am a lawyer and I love movies.  You may be thinking, “Of course. That makes sense – what else does an attorney do to unwind?” While I do love zoning out watching other people’s lives unfold via movies, these two parts of my life have become connected in a manner I never would have imagined just a few years ago.

Complex conversations about the value of movies (and other creative works) in the digital age are rendered even more complicated when arguments arise over copyright and free speech.


Did I just put those two words in the same sentence? I hesitate to write “copyright” and “free speech” too close together for fear that I might unwittingly contribute to the work of those who attempt to confuse the two.

First, let’s get this out of the way: Piracy is not free speech. I repeat PIRACY is not free speech. As a matter of fact, piracy, plainly speaking, is illegal. It is a crime. Therefore, attempts to eliminate the for-profit digital theft of creative works is not an attack on free speech; it is prudent crime prevention.

When I first heard about CreativeFuture, I was inspired by the organization’s efforts to fend off the widespread theft of creative work via the internet. But I was equally compelled by their mission to combat the notion that this effort was in some way anti-technology, or even more far-fetched, anti-free speech.

These issues – and others – convinced me to become a member of CreativeFuture’s Leadership Committee. Part of my own mission is to help clear up some of the misinformation that, ironically, tends to proliferate best on the internet, where speech is so free that fact and fantasy commingle with an elegance that can render reality indistinguishable from opinion.

This brings me to another blunt fact: Those who want you to believe that the fight against piracy impinges on the right to free speech are doing so on purpose.

Some organizations, such as the Google-supported Electronic Frontier Foundation, take every opportunity to defend piracy at all costs and call any attempts to protect copyright a threat to free speech – even when those attempts include voluntary agreements between trusted stakeholders.

It is no secret that Google treats copyright as a nuisance. Time and again, the tech monolith lobbies Washington and foreign governments to water down existing law or to block any new initiatives designed to help curb rampant digital theft of copyrighted works.

They also criticize (directly and through organizations they underwrite) the various voluntary industry initiatives that can help take the profit out of piracy.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution was drafted with the intention to “…promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” This applies as much to an app as it does to a song. If this sounds like an assault on free speech, you need to get your head out of your (patented) virtual reality helmet.

The U.S. Supreme Court has written: “It should not be forgotten that the Framers intended copyright itself to be an engine of free expression.” (Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539, 1985.) In the same decision, the Court stated: “…copyright supplies the economic incentive to create and disseminate ideas.”

Somehow, groups like the EFF always ignore the essential idea/expression distinction inherent in copyright law. The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the ability to convey ideas no matter how objectionable those ideas may be to government or society. The First Amendment isn’t about trying to guarantee people’s ability to copy the particular fixed, creative expression of others. What free speech interests are protected or maintained by the wholesale infringement of full copyrighted works (e.g., piracy)?

We live in exciting times. The digital age has promised us a virtual utopia where information is freely available to all. Yes, there are bad actors that stifle free speech online and governments that censor the internet to eliminate thought or action that undermines regimes. Activism is noble and needed, especially in times of great change, to act as a check against overreach and injustice. But activists become victims if they are armed with misinformation. And make no mistake about it – calling the protection of copyrighted works a threat to free speech is misinformation.

If you agree with me and appreciate this argument, feel free to steal it. Share it on your preferred social media channels and spread the word. As its author, I grant you permission. See? That wasn’t so difficult, now was it?”

The FB commentary followed:

Liza Moon may i quote you on that? and if so. as owner of an often pirated property ( google the word “daredoll”, – we are the fully clothed options – the current pirate on spankbang sells our work for higher prices than we do?Like · Reply · 2 · May 2 at 8:49pm

Dean Lach Folks who don’t want to pay for things will rationalize piracy by any number of rational, if it’s not this “free speech” angle, then it’s the “Oh well, Hollywood is a rich monopoly…” My question to you Robin Sax and CreativeFuture, is why does Robin state at the article to “feel free to steal it” when the proper way to give permission is to…use the word “permission and/or License” not “steal.” [And secondly] maybe apply a Creative Commons license (similar to GNU/GPL in other mediums.)

Ted Folke When Hollywood and the music industry have been robbing artists for decades, this strikes me as a bit disingenous. American copyright laws are out of date – please see Lawrence Lessig for more!:)Like · Reply · 1 · 22 hrs

Jonathan Boose Lessig is a tool of Big Tech, which has been doing more to rob artists than Hollywood or the Music Industry ever did.Like · Reply · 1 · 19 hrs

John Kawakami Copyright is increasingly obsolete because the technology of speech has changed. With computers, you make perfect digital copies. (It’s harder to make them imperfect!) With the internet, you have the ability to track all downloads, of a work, and with decryption or digital rights management, the ability track all uses of a work.

On the one side, you have a space where intellectual property can’t really exist – it’s a property that quickly becomes a public good, part of a commons.

On the other side, you have a space where intellectual property has more “private-property-like” qualities than it ever did when it was published as books or analog recordings. It’s actually invading your privacy; it’s property that can probe into your private life more than the government can (unless they get permission from the courts). Intellectual property becomes a kind of wedge that can drive privacy-invading contracts into your life.

There are different ways around this polarization. CC is one way – it preserves copyright by adapting it to the new reality of perfect digital copies and the internet. (And, Lessig is not a tool – he’s a moderate liberal reformer.) DRM with extensive “sharing” features is another way, because it incorporates “internet-like” features into the privatized surveillance system. This is in the tradition of neoliberal privatization of public space, analogous to things like shopping malls

Mark Grady John, are you kidding me? Why shouldn’t someone who spends weeks or years working on a book or film have rights associated with that work? This “public good” argument is a silly one. It reminds me of the people who want to legalize pot, so they can use it. There is only one reason people are fighting intellectual property laws – because they want something for nothing.Like · Reply · 1 · 17 hrs · Edited

John Kawakami I’m not advocating for piracy. I’m just saying the world has changed fundamentally and we need to work with it. My general feeling is that the privatized spaces need some regulations to protect privacy because drm is totally invasive. I think they ine…See MoreLike · Reply · 12 hrs · Edited

WRAP UP! by Dean LachiusaWithin this article we discussed downloading music, movies, and television programs. We talked about the kind of action and rational that one may use to justify piracy, greed, and theft.

Really, if we all take the law in our own hands, and use subjective rational to justify theft, then were will we be? What would happen to a society that has no respect for a person’s work?

I mean, I love the idea of a Star Trek dystopian future wherein we don’t apply ownership to stuff…but it’s not time for (us) to try this yet. Our Universe isn’t ready. Right now, we have to make a living, and every artist is entitled to make money for their work just like you and I. (c) By Dean and respective owners of the original article published by

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How to save money on Data & Bandwidth

Aka…This little piggy stole my bandwidth. These days, many people are using online TV, and the HD quality is eating up your bandwidth!

I love movies and television, and I enjoy watching when and where I want. But lately I’ve been thinking: Does this in some way reflect negatively on me? I mean, I’m not a bad person. But am I greedy or selfish for playing movies and TV shows on my Roku and Laptop PC, rather than on my big screen TV?

Maybe AT&T thinks so. Because the other day I received a mailer entitled “Updates to Internet Usage Allowances.” It says that AT&T will be increasing the U-verse Internet data allowances for many customers. Okay, I’ve expected this because as consumer demands increase, so will the bandwidth delivered. And we’ve all heard the rumors that companies like Comcast and Verizon are building bigger and better Internet delivery systems in order to meet customer demands. But then the mailer states “…there’s a $10 charge for each 50GB of data you use over the allowance amount.”

This worries me. Because I don’t consider myself a data-pig. I do watch a good deal of video on my PC and my Roku, but I don’t download large movies, and I don’t require full HD when I stream. And therein lies “the catch.”

roku fire tv

When I stream on Hulu or a site like Crackle, I cannot control the exact quality of the content I watch. In Hulu, I am allowed to select their settings “gear” and choose a low or medium setting – but I have no idea how much bandwidth this uses. I’d like to

select SD or Widescreen SD because I know this would use much less “Internet Data” than true HD. And in most cases the resolution is just fine for me. Why?

Television resolution is Relative. In most cases you cannot see the difference between 720P or Full-HD or Ultra HD.)

I’d have to line up two TV’s next to each other and broadcast the same video in order to appreciate the difference in the details. You think you need Full-HD or the 4k Ultra HD. The TV manufactures have been pushing bigger and bigger TV sets on us, and insisting that the Big Screen TV or “10-foot experience” can only be appreciated with a 1920 x 1080 quality video. And of course to support your Internet TV, you should expect to use large amounts of Internet bandwidth to get the true HD experience – if you can tell the difference that is. And that’s going to get expensive.

So who is going to pay to deliver HDTV quality video to me? Is it AT&T’s responsibility to deliver Internet-bandwidth that will support the demands of my PC and Roku while not charging for these upgraded services?

In other words: I’ve been talking with Netflix, Roku and other Connected TV uses for months now about a conflict of interest which is:

How and why would Comcast, AT&T and others want to make TV and Movie programming available to you over the Internet when they already deliver it to you via their Cable/Fiber-Optic/SAT to your TV?

Somethings gotta give, and I’m afraid the folks out there who thought that they could enjoy Full-HD via their Internet connection on a PC and especially on TV’s like the Roku 4K Ultra HDTV or Samsung Smart TV are in for a price hike.

Roku 4 supposdedly requires a 15mbps connection, but they don’t talk about how much data you will use to enjoy Full-HD on your TV. And like I say, if you watch a television program on your PC via Hulu or another service you might be able to select a low or medium resolution, but you won’t know how much data you are using. For the AT&T customer, 50GB’s goes very fast and I don’t want to spend 10 bucks just to watch Sharknado.

What can we do? I for one try to encourage people to set their connected TV (Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV) to the SD setting. Not all Set Top Boxes have this feature, so I bought the low end Roku 1. It has component (RCA) plugs. I use these plugs instead of the HD port , and I setup my television in the Standard Definition (4×3) mode. I also went into my Roku’s display setting and selected SD (4×3.) For programs like Star Trek, I get a 4×3 display. And somehow, my set up still delivers a widescreen picture when a film is formatted to support it. It requires much less data for SD than HD.

If you must have HD, then Roku’s most expensive model 4 is $129 and it promises to up-rez 720HD videos to a full HD 1920×1080 experience. But I cannot recommend this as a way to save Internet data use, because for one, the unit requires a very strong Internet connection of 15mbps, and that tells me it’s

demanding a large amount of bandwidth (data.)

Have I been able to insure that my Roku settings are really saving me money? Not yet, AT&T won’t allow me to monitor my data usage until May 23rd! Haa! There’s always a catch. [Note – see Cordcutting 101 on our MAIN BLOG for a way to do your own Antenna and also how to save money on your Cable/Sat bill.] – (c) DL as Mr Know it All. (Dean Lachiusa 2018-2020.)

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Filmmakers want to get paid

I realize that you actually haven’t asked for some of the insight that I offer up. I’m sorry, I guess it’s just the do-gooder in me that wants to support the indie filmmaker.

So, here goes another blurb:
While watching TV; have you ever noticed that a commercial like the Ginsu knives display a dotcom that points to a particular page on their website? For example, instead of saying “visit Ginsu.dotcom,” the advert instead says to visit…Ginsu.dotcom/62.
And as it so happens…you’re watching channel 62.

That’s the kind of thing I propose to Movies Plus filmmakers. Put a dotcom on your video that directs people to a particular page that sells a T-shirt, or features a video with a donation button, etc etc.
This way, you can track your progress on Movies Plus. A filmmaker will look at their CDN stats and see their movie has been downloaded say…5,000 times via MP. Then they look at their hits on the dotcom, and the activity that is generated by the MP visitor. The activity might be anything from sales to donations to clicking on other videos and browsing the site.

So there you have it, the method that I propose to filmmakers on Movies Plus. AND I’d like to suggest this method could be used on one of my ROKU channels or other Apps.

Recently someone asked why they should use Movies Plus…how do they get paid?
A: Because you control the sale of your film and ancillary products directly from your website.

The complete blurb:
If you never signed with a distributor these days, then perhaps you should speak with folks who have. It’s typical for distributors to license movies to subdistributors. Well that might sound like a great idea because you, as a hustling, bustling filmmaker imagine that the more distribution points you have…the more money you will make.

Haa! Imagine a pyramid scheme or perhaps you’ve heard the term “multi-leve marketing.” How many times can a commission be cut? In other words, if a distributor promises you 50% from a sale, and he then licenses your movie to sub-dist who promises the same and then that sub-dist uses a aggregator or company like CinemaNow, or Netflix who promises 50%…what does that leave you?

Think about it…because you don’t make your money from that Point of Sale (hulu/CinemaNow, etc.) Oh no…you signed a deal that says you’re splitting the mula with your distributor, who bye the way is merely circulating your one-sheets, and YOUR content to many others just waiting to deliver your content on Connected TV, Set top boxes and numerous online broadcast venues that ARE NOT tracked by Nielson or other analytics you are privy too. Nope, you’re only privy to the stats that your distributor has, and besides very few folks can read metric data and understand them anyway.

Get all of my Apps/Channels on AMAZON, ROKU and GOOGLEPLAY for free, see

PS: If you’re using your Fire TV device: On the page menu, scroll to APPS. Then scroll down to Category. Then go to Movies and TV. You’ll see our Movies Plus logo among all the others — I should note that MP on Fire was number 48 on App Annie, so we did have a very good rating, and although we have over a million subscribers, it’s difficult to compete with free channels like “The Roku Channel” — “Crackle,” and “IMDB.” — (c) (Dean Lachiusa 2018 – 2020.)

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The 10 pound donut

AKA…Paczki is pronounced PUNCH-KEY.

YUMMY…Detroit has some of the most diverse food! The “Paczki” is pronounced PUNCH-KEY.

It all started centuries ago when the Kazak’s were invading Poland.

The Poles, who were a passive, but very ingeniuitve tribe were caught off guard while celebrating Lent. But fortunately, the Poles had prepared for Lent by feasting on their seasonal treat, the Paczki donut.

When the warring Kazak’s approached the Polish border, the Poles quickly grabbed the Paczki’s that had not been consumed prior to Lent, and they loaded the stale donuts into the “KEY” on their only weapon, the Catapult. (The “key” is the part of the Catapult in which medievil folks would put a boulder or flaming bail of hay…)

So, the Poles hurled the rock hard Paczki’s at their enemies, and when impacting the enemy line the impact “PUNCHED” holes in the enemy defenses.

And so we have it. The real reason, yes indeed the true history behind why we pronounce the Polish donut called a Paczki as “Punch-key.” It’s true! Would I lie to you? (Uggh…the pain…ohh the pain…) — (c) DL as the ridiculous and snarky “Mr Know-it-all

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12 things people hate about Star Trek

AKA… “The Twelve things fans might just hate about Star Trek Discovery…”

  1. It’s DARK. The show does not embrace the principles of Diversity and Enlightenment that many of us expect from Star Trek.
  2. 3D Animaton. The outer space scenes are flat, dark, and the animated ships are not as beautiful as constructed-models. It still can be done, see The Orville
  3. Klingon Boobies. Brief, but aggressive sex scenes may just embarrass your kids and your mom too.
  4. Fast subtitles. The Klingon translations run too fast, and the Klingon dialog sounds clunky, it reminds me of when they fed a horse named Mr. Ed peanut butter.
  5. 12 actors, or less. Important characters get killed off, and there are very few supporting actors. I expect to see supportive crew that make it plausible to operate an enormous space ship like the Discovery.
  6. The F word. Battlestar Galactica was smart enough to say FRAK, but apparently in this future, the Star Fleet crew finds the need to express themselves with foul language and mediocre attitudes. Not in front of my kid, please.
  7. Rehashed storylines. After 2 to 3 seasons I expect to see a Parallel Universe or something like a Flashback episode, but not in the first season.
  8. No Women. I miss the days when gorgeous women like “Seven of Nine” commanded attention on Star Trek Voyager. I think Discovery could use a little more eye candy.

Discovery’s White-Dressed Klingon chick with the cud-chewing voice made me woof my cookies.

Talk about Fugly!
  1. Lazy Susans. I hate it when Evil Empress’s use Lazy Susans to spin around in order to impress people. Okay, so this is kind of a spoiler, but only if you take notice of the scene I’m referring to.
  2. No Badguys. I have to admit that up until about the 6th episode I couldn’t really tell if StarFleet or the Klingons were the evil-doers.
  3. It’s Muddy. Just when I thought Star Fleet was going to administer a little justice, judgement is cast in the opposite way that an old Star Trek episode would have played out.
  4. Legacy Killer. After watching the first 12 episodes, I find Star Trek Discovery is not bold or ground breaking – but rather predictable and disappointing. I hope they change this, because I’d hate to see the Star Trek legacy marred. — (c) DL as the less than positive “Mr Know-it-all

Watch Star Trek Discovery on CBS-All Access — soon to be renamed the Paramount network, I guess. Who knows what these guys are doing. The network is surely not paying attention to the great programming that they could pick up at the Neutral Zone studios. Read about Vic and his “Star Trek Continues” for a taste of some great retro-style Star Trek shows. See more about STC on this blog. (c) Dean Lachiusa 2018-2020.

Musical Poop

The things we do for Love, Music, Spirit

The things we do for love
It’s been over 50 years since the band Spirit released “Taurus” which is a short orchestrated introductory musical piece. For over 7 years, the Randy California estate owners have been involved in a law suit that names Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to heaven as music that was derived from the Spirit tune.

[Note this article has been edited and updated 3 times in the last few years in order to reflect the courts decision. Please forgive the use of passive phraseology.]

I’ve read dozens of comments on Youtube and other sites, and Led Zeppelin lovers seem to get very angry over this. Spirit lovers don’t say much. I can understand why they don’t because I love the old Spirit music and I’m lucky to have several of the old LP’s. Spirit is mellow, it’s moving, most of their music is a sophisticated mixture of Rock N’ Roll and Jazz elements, and all of it is in a sense – Spiritual.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Zeppelin, but I also have read about numerous similar law-suits involving Zeppelin.

Does this mean they stole Spirits work? Actually…Maybe. But you have to listen very close to the Spirit tune, and then compare it to the Zepp tune. But that’s the kicker. Because when this was first brought to court, the jury did not listen to the music! They looked at sheet music. Come on man! You have to have a full understanding of composition to “see” the similarities in the music in question.

And I admit, without listening closely my first impression was that Zeppelin did not steal Spirits music. And I say that as a Spirit fan. From my first impression, if Zepp did anything more than be inspired, my thinking was, let the court decide if a writing credit or money will be the fix. Another thought…

I have to say that I think the reason this lawsuit is happening is simply to give Randy California credit. Credit for being a great writer who is sometimes lost and forgotten in a sea of top forty favorites and classic oldies like Led Zeppelin.

It’s my opinion that sandy-toed Californian’s who were part of Randy California’s laid back lifestyle cherish the memories. And I’m guessing that they want Randy to be respected and loved for his accomplishments. And so…the reasons for the legal action.

Okay, now if you haven’t already watched it, check out the video/musical clip, (above) — un-fortunately it has an opinionated title by the author. Sorry I can’t control Youtube. I’ll try to find a better video comparison. (But to tell you the truth, I kinda agree with the Youtuber.

Note – 2020: In 2019 the courts did finally rule in the favor or the Spirit estate. And in the words of the Sensational Alex Harvey, I say “Hail Vibrania.” But seriously, I’m happy for the Spirit camp. – (c) DL as Mr. Know it all, the musical subgenius

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Welcome to the Poop!

This is the Martian Poop blog and I’m you’re leader. That is if you need a leader. But if you don’t then take me to your leader if you have a leader, or if you want a leader; then take the lead and be a leader. Okay, so you get the picture right? We like to have fun with words here.

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