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Archive for the ‘Oregonian’ Category

itunes_roundJust days before the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) where legendary musicians and the buzz of new product introductions will showcase how consumers manage and enjoy their digital media “everywhere”, the Washington Post is reporting that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has a federal case against Jeffrey Howell, an AZ, man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer.  RIAA maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.  

Huh?  It’s illegal to transfer CDs to a computer?  I thought court rulings over the last 20 years have found no violation of copyright law in the use of VCRs and other devices to time-shift TV programs; that is, to make personal copies for the purpose of making portable a legally obtained recording?

Who is RIAA?  It’s an organization that represents the major recording labels in the USA. These labels pay multi-millions of dollars for this representation and since RIAA is based in Washington, DC., they act as an industry lobbyist, literally.  They often urge, cajole or otherwise influence Congress to take their side in the “battle” against “music piracy.”  I’m not sure who would visit, but the RIAA even ran a Holiday Anti-Piracy Campaign message streaming across its web site offering tips on “avoiding pirate products.”

And northwest news the Oregon State Attorney General and the University of Oregon are being assaulted by RIAA’s tactics.  RIAA subpoenaed the University asking it to turn over the names of students that it suspected of making copyrighted material available to file sharers.  Note the keyword here is suspected.  While no one would disagree that it’s appropriate for victims of copyright infringement to pursue statutory remedies, shouldn’t that pursuit be tempered by basic rights of privacy and due process?

Typically RIAA harassment comes in the form of a pre-litigation letter to “suspects” they believe are guilty file sharers. There is even a credit card payment link – p2plawsuits.com where these so called “suspects” that receive the pre-litigation letters can drop off a quick $3000 to stop the RIAA from suing them.  Maybe next up is payroll deduction options?!  Good grief!

But that’s not good enough.  RIAA is now running around with deep- pocket teams of lawyers saying that even making a personal copy on your computer is a violation.  This hard-line position is clear. RIAA wants to roll back time to pre-internet days of vinyl albums.  If you make copies of copyrighted music recordings – even on cassette tape – you’re stealing.  You’re breaking the law and you could be held legally liable for thousands of dollars in damages.

The RIAA’s legal crusade against consumers (its customers) is a text-book example of an old media company clinging to a business model that has collapsed.

UPDATE: The Washington Post left out a couple of facts that are now being reported for the people who need to read all the details.  Turns out the article was misleading in that the RIAA was not only going after Howell for ripping his CD’s, but for also putting those ripped files into a shared Kazaa folder.  I disagree that because he put them in a shared folder its infringement, but its a different claim than the original one of just ripping them to his PC.  It will be interesting to watch…

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rogerpollockI’m following up on a previous post about David Oringulph (Legend Homes) doing an interview in the Oregonian where he states:  There’s really nothing wrong with the housing market from the standpoint of economics….”. 

I really took an exception to his line of thinking and was in complete disagreement of his “feel sorry for me” attitude.   And as if helping prove my point… 

Fast forward 45 days and now the “big-box” builder Roger Pollock (Buena Vista Homes – pictured right) is sending out letters to past clients who bought a home from his company about the MEGA house auction planned for December 15-16th, to the likes the Portland Metro area has never seen.  Sure this type of action is the norm in Las Vegas or the burbs of Phoenix, but here in River City? 

This may well be the largest riches-to-rags story on the planet.  In the Fall of 2006 Buena Vista Homes was hailed (largely self-promotion) as the largest home builder in Oregon having “pulled down” 303 permits in the first 10months.  In addition, “Builder Magazine” named Buena Vista the fastest growing builder in the United States with an amazing growth rate of 162.47 percent. Now we’re seeing the “signs” of over building and developers are panicked to sell anything maybe David Oringulph would like to retract his “the media is the problem” statement? 

Then came “THE LETTER”pollock_letter  Imagine getting a letter from Roger Pollock telling you they have decided to auction the remaining homes in your cul-d-sac and the starting bid is going to be $189k less than what you just paid 6 months ago.  WTF?!! 

Is there no shame from these predatory builders?  How do they ignore customer service, relationships with past clients, further driving prices down and exacerbate the home bubble mentality in an already bleeding market?  This is going to be fascinating to watch.

UPDATE (DEC 17th): Auction sold 141 homes at a total of $65 million in sales over the 2-day period.  Average per home is nearly $461K.  None of the Bend homes were auctioned.  So, is Pollock a Marketing Genius or were people drawn-to-the-light?  

And does he really know how to party like a “Rock Star”?    

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Legend Homes LogoI’ve avoided the entire “Chicken Little” the sky is falling on the housing market to pump up my blog stats. But, I’m sooooo tired of the constant whining about the mortgage crisis and especially annoyed at a naive article from Matrix Development (Legend Homes) CEO, David Oringdulph on Sunday, October 21st that Ryan Frank wrote in The Oregonian. They ran a “5 Questions” snippet interview where Mr. Oringdulph RANTS about the media as the main culprit behind the housing recession.

He states:

“There’s really nothing wrong with the housing market from the standpoint of economics. The loan rate is low. The income level is doing about 11/2 percent this year as far as income increase. We also got a population growth of close to 2 percent a year. If you look at all the numbers and you look at how everything else is doing, why isn’t housing doing well?” He goes on to say: “Why? The media. We blame it a lot on the media. Where else would someone get the idea that there’s something wrong with our housing market when it’s not?”

So, if we are to believe Mr. Oringdulph the housing recession doesn’t exist and is only a perception of the media making a big deal out of nothing. Well sir, not to be disrespectful, but you are full of hot air!

Mortgage companies were greedy and made loans to people who shouldn’t have qualified. It’s commonly known that in Portland, any real estate broker you chat with had a saying — if you could “fog a mirror” then you could get a loan. No money down, 110% financing, low-single digit ARM’s, — no problem — and any other “creative” financing method you want — now it’s no shirt, no shoes. This flies in the face of common sense sir and if something is too good to be true then it likely is.

Mr. Oringdulph/Legend Homes wants us to feel sorry for their reduced revenue while they whine about how the market recession isn’t REAL? It’s a fabrication of our over active imagination which the media created and continues to foster. If only the evening news would stop talking about all those foreclosures the market would magically be robust again. What planet did he just beam down from? Good grief! Just today BofA quits wholesale mortgage business laying off 700 jobs and shares of Countrywide plunge to $13.07 which is the lowest in more than 4 years. Oh yeah, it’s just our imagination Mr. Oringdulph!!

Many of us have gone without the double whip carmel machiotta so we can make mortgage payments and have made hard financial decisions to purchase a home with out being enabled by “no money down” predatory promotions from the “mega” builders and/or their cooperative lending divisions.

Mr. Oringdulph needs to step down off his Lake “O” perch and talk to the people in foreclosure about how this is the media’s fault and is only imagination.

I’m annoyed at his attempt to dismiss the whole crisis as psychological trickle-down economics. He obfuscated facts after trends were well established. And, I for one don’t want to subsidize financial mistakes of others or the lending institutions that recklessly loaned money to people who clearly were at risk. Hey David, here’s an idea…lets have the mortgage company or builder reward the home owners that have purchased homes responsibly and continue to make their payments. Now there’s an idea!

Mr. Oringdulph statements were offensive to those of us who work hard to be responsible and his PR team was very foolish to allow a public peek into his philosophical views and executive prowness! The Oregonian (that’s you Mr. Ryan Frank) should have been more assertive in challenging his thinking vs. providing him a soap box to evangelize his incorrect perspective. No, I don’t work for or in the media, but I know “spin” when I see it.

The housing market will run its due course with out any artificial stimulus that he or others may want to wish up on it!

If you feel the same as I do then email Ryan at: ryanfrank@news.oregonian.com and tell him what you think. Maybe the power of the blog-O-sphere will force a follow up article with some balance.

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