Weekend in Coimbra

Warning: This post was written during the weekend and without an Internet connection, so it completely lacks of links.


Since Wednesday was my mom's birthday and Thursday was a Portuguese holliday, I took vacations on Friday so I could come to Coimbra, where my mom is living mostly all the time, and spend an extended weekend with her. Of course that since I myself lived in Coimbra for years, I had to get in touch with some folks and had some things on my own agenda. One of those - keep spreading the Anti-DRM word. I have some pictures I've taken: some are already on Flickr and some will soon be. But today is the day I aimed to be the one when I'll reduce the number of stickers left to zero. So, I talked with two guys and we'll go before dinner time to FNAC and try to sticker all defective (with DRM) DVD's, CD's and hardware. But, until then, I'm walking in the city finding other places where to put these stickers on. Since there are only "this product is defective by design" stickers left, I only managed to see a Sony store yet, and - while I wasn't able to put a sticker in any of their products, I didn't left until their logo on the store window had one of those stickers. But this also made me visit for the third time in a seven years span the first shopping mall this city had. Knowing the "evolution" of this kind of things, I thought that the mall would be completely empty. While I'm not fond of shopping centers (and unfortunately I spend more time in them than I would like to), this old-fashion kind of shopping malls have a quite attractive feeling. But history tells that the old shoppings die when the new ones arrive, and Coimbra had three new shopping centers in three years, which made the two biggest ones before them suffer a lot - lot's of stores closed, their prices falling, the only alternative movie theatre in Coimbra is now gone (I'm happy, tho, to see that the Academic Theatre is havving a harder bet in alternative movies - I've seen yesterday and the day before two spanish alternative movies there, "7 Virgenes" and "Obaba", both recommended), independent music stores are closing... But the oldest of all still survives. Of course, it only has two coffee shops, one computer store, one chinese "we sell everything" shop, one fantastic bookstore (I never realized that store existence while living here!) and the rest is all clothes, fashion, clothes and clothes store. Maybe it has something to be with the fact that this part of the city is full of Jet7-wannabe's, but it really surprised me to see that there's here where the biggest concentration of clothes' stores in Coimbra are, that I know of! Way to go - it's really nice to see that there are people who are smart enough to survive with their non-franshised businesses, and these stores actually have a sense of fashion, not looking "old-skool" like the shopping mall feels like... I'm now preety sure that this shopping mall will survive more than those two others in the long term. And now - time to keep going and try to find other places where my Anti-DRM stickers can find a home...

A couple of hours later...

One of the biggest problems I've found when trying to do some Anti-DRM activism in Lisbon was the fact that I don't really know a lot of people who would be interested in this kinds of issues there, and doing this alone isn't bad if you know people and places, but I don't really know independent (music/movies/tech) stores in Lisbon, so my action was limmited a lot by that. I thought that problem would be gone here in Coimbra - but the reverse happened: I'm way too involved here to be effective as I wanted to. There's a couple of independent music stores I know preety well here in Coimbra, so my next step was going there. The problem is that my relationship with both owners is far from good. I don't even want to explain extensively why, but let's just say that one of those stopped suplying me because it's owner has an attitude problem, and today was the day I went there to see him live, with his new store. Wow - he has a three-times-bigger store (surprisingly, since he was allways whiling about people ripping off CD's and sharing mp3's instead of buying CD's, and that the business was so bad that he was pondering on closing). Yes, that's right - one year after, he not only has another store in another city, but this store has been expanded. He also had a lot of mainstream music, including some defective discs, but as soon as my face crossed his sight I noticed the change on his face and realised that entering in the store would only make us both pissed off for nothing - since I don't want nothing from his store but from him (to put some stickers on DRM'd products), and since he wouldn't do anything for me (except maybe sell me one CD if he had it on the store, for twice the price and after spitting on it). So I just walked down the street, feeling somewhat frustrated and aiming to the second one. In the path there was a big Sony store, and, to turn a long story short, I didn't managed to have any of their products tagged as defective, but one of their outdoor logo's is now fully tagged (I have pictures of there) and I only moved on when some guy was yelling he would call the cops (I wonder why...). I did it in a way that there's still hope that the stickers will survive more than a week where they are, but I'm not sure of it. Finaly, I headed to the second record store, and, for my surprise, I actually became friends with the owner - one guy I had some issues with some years ago, when we where more like kids and he didn't have a music store. He was greatly receptive, and while he didn't distributed major labels, he wanted to have some stickers to talk his custumers about why DRM is restrictive and putting his business into danger (notice - he only sells underground music), and to stick them on into discs before returning them if it happens for him to get some of those defective discs arrive to his store aiming at the shelves. Way to go! I've also tried my luck on a DJ'ing store, that heavilly sells Sony hardware, but they kindly sent me to fuck off. Now, I still have 16 stickers left, and I wonder if I'll manage to reduce this number before going to FNAC, where it will be the most challenging action of the day...
BTW, that shopping center that had independent cinema and has no more... After being without the movie theatre it started decaying, some of its stores closed and others are getting major problems, like the coffee shop where I'm typing this, that used to sell lots of stuff to those people going to the movies and that now is almost allways empty, the owner says...
Now - let's look after more defective products that are without stickers...

5 A.M. - Saturday to Sunday

I'm quite shaken at this time, so I'll be real quick describing what happened to me in the rest of the day instead of describing my thoughts on it, which I intended too. You'll soon see why I'm shaken and understand why I'm being so brief. Good news are that I've managed to be now without anti-DRM stickers, which means that by now some products with DRM are properly labeled. After dinner I went to a medieval fair in S. Mamede (near Coimbra) and it was way too cool. I was intending on blogging about it since I've saw a great concert, a Shakespere piece (which sucked since you almost couldn't hear the actors voices) and a great spirit among those who were there, many of them with medieval clothes and such - preety nice. But the biggest thing there is that I saw there an example of true happiness - such a great state of happiness that made me feel real joy (not that "instant joy" but a feeling of joy that longed, real joy in being there) because it made me see that fortunately there are people who can be happy - live happily in their lives instead of living a "normal life" with its moments of happiness. No - when you see a real happy person, the kind of happiness you're used to see in a kid but in a grownup, you can't but feel some joy, seeing that after all the world is right, at least for some. A smile can make you smile, and that's what happened to me - that was the memory I though I would have of this weekend for the future years. For years I did not see anyone whose normal state was one of happiness, but after all there's still people out there like that, and, even not knowing them, knowing that they exists is preety enlightning. Unfortunately all of that is blurred now. My night is ending this late, and I'm so shaken, because when I returned to Coimbra I was present in a crime scene, and screams, broken glass, knifes and blood isn't really the kind of stuff I would want to live upon, but all that was added by the frustration that I was the first to call 112 (the Portguese 911) and still the cops arrived too late and did what they are supposed to: a REALLY BAD FUCKING JOB. I'm sad, I'm tired, I'm frustrated and I'm stressed. But tomorrow I'll be back to Lisbon and soon my life returns to "normal". Too bad I can't take a good memory of this interlude anymore.


Now on the train back to Lisbon, I've been reading the news for the past few days, and I had quite a lot of time to do that since (as it starts to be usual) the train died (power outage) for several minutes. Well, at least this time I didn't have to change trains, it was just a question of waiting...
Despite what I wrote yesterday, I really think that this weekend (that started as being something like an obligation since it was my mom's birthday) was good to me. I had a lot of reflextion time, and, while I tend to mess my life a lot so it's actually messy right now, I think that I just have to ignore what a mess it is and start freshly, solving the problems as they start to fly towards the fan.

All Of Mp3

For those who don't know, Allofmp3 is a Russian website that sells legal digital music tracks (mp3's, wav, ogg, flac, whatever you want, in the quality you want) without any kind of Digital Restrictions Management software (DRM), and that is sold by size (I don't really recall now, but I think that the most attractive plan for me was paying a certain amount for 100 Megabytes) which ends being really really cheaper than buying those DRM's tracks from iTunes store and other services alike. That service was being awsome to three (make it four) parts: Artists, that had one more store selling their songs but giving more money to them than the alternatives, listeners (that could find cheap, cool, unrestricted and legal music easily) and AllOfMp3 themselves, since they have a kick-ass service that can't be beaten since they give products with more quality and cheaper. They never even needed to spend money on publicity: blog posts like these are all over the world and they do publicity themselves. The fourth part isn't really someone envolved in the business, but profits with it: Russia as a country. Since AllOfMp3 are exporting products, there's a lot of money entering in the country (and paying taxes), so for them AllOfMp3 is one more successful company that is doing well for Russia's economy: great. Or at least is WAS like that. Was? Yup - if you look at the picture I've just described you'll see that, while this is good for everyone, this new business model in the music market has AllOfMp3 as intermediary: and NOT the "Record Industry" (organizations like RIAA in America or SPA in Portugal, and major labels like EMI and Sony). And they couldn't miss this - there's here a chance of making money and they were not doing it! So, as it is being usual in thwe past years actions of this kind of arrogant corporations (arrogant enough to not realise that they aren't a market, just players, albeit big, in it), instead of they noticing that, even if virtually every CD ever produced is free to download illegaly in P2P networks and stuff like that, people will buy those products legally if the offer is attractive (read: if you can have the file playing wherever you want, you don't have to sell a kidney to buy it, and it's easily available) and thus entering that new market nieche, they're juwst trying to kill it, using their unethical positions of power. So, this guys tried and tried and pressed enough the Russian governement to change their laws in a way that their adversary AllOfMp3 business moves from legal to ilegal. Now, WTF is this? You have some company profiting in a market where you are so you just KILL them? What kind of economic terrism is this? And why doesn't regulation agents kick this kind of anti-free market monopolist anti-trust actions? Oh, wait, the agencies, organizations and coutries that could stop this will PROFIT for it, so why think ethicly when you get our pockets fatter? So, to make a really long story as short as possible, the United States moved the direction of the trade negotiations with Russia so the laws letting AllOfMp3's to run legaly are the only thing that is stopping Russia to enter to the World Trade Organization. Russia is then, of course, between the sword and the wall, because if they're not on the World Trade Organization their economy will suffer greatly. And so the Russian Parliment gave a preliminary approval to a new law that could shut AllOfMp3's down. And there's nothing we can do about this... Not even condemn Russia (hell, I wouldn't pass that law, but who am I to criticize them for doing the best for their economy?), and condemning USA for this won't change nothing...
In the end, the only thing we non-Americans can do is to boycott those DRM'd services and those major labels (as in "DON'T BUY ANYTHING SONY OR EMI!"), stop buying anything with DRM amd stop giving money to artists that have DRM products (as in not buying anything from them, not going to their shows and so on) and start/keep spending that money (or even more) buying FREE ART, CD's or mp3's without DRM or any kind of restriction. For American citizens, you can do that and a lot more: defend yourselves and your future in the "Land of Freedom", raise your voice and act accordingly, and use your power of vote to make a stop in the present state of USA government - you're being lied to when they say you're in a democracy but you should fight to get it back: back from the actual degenerate form of government known as oligarchy.


  1. Atomic2:04 PM

    Sabado à noite... DASSE!
    Tava todo borrado por dentro (principalmente quando o gajo sacou na naifa), mas não sei como estava exteriormente calmo.... Ainda consegui dizer: "Pessoal há ai cerveja... Vamos beber todos uma e resolvemos esta merda.", mas como cagaram para mim, calei-me e já não disse mais nada de jeito.
    Acho que o ppl estar a gritar não ajudou em nada!
    Se fosse agora acho que tinha reagido doutra maneira...
    Eu depois ainda os encontrei! Tavam em frente ao antigo Moçambique, na rua das amarelas. Mas já não eram os 2, mas 2 + 3 na rua, mais um carro cheio de pessoal. Aqui tava completamente calmo, mas mesmo bués (fiquei espantado!) se calhar foi por tar á espera de levar porrada e não poder fazer nada, ou se o gajo com que os outros 2 estavam a justificar-se, ser um conhecido meu de longa data (foi meu colega na primaria e amigo na altura, mas depois só me encontrei com ele 2/3 vezes depois da primaria. E eu sei que esse gajo ja teve varias vezes na esquadra, por assaltar casas, a levar porrada!) Quando cheguei a casa e me sentei na cama é que comecei a tripar todo... e dormi bué da mal!

  2. Tens cá uns conhecidos... Irra! Bem, eu quando cheguei a casa é que comecei a relaxar, aí estive mais fixe que tu ;-)

  3. Atomic3:31 PM

    Quando se é puto... Fiz merda (sei que há/houve uma queixa na bófia contra desconhecidos (eu). Sou um gajo pacifico, toda a merda que eu fiz foi contra propriedade e alguns desses gajos da altura, digamos que "evoluiram". Se bem que eu nunca me dei com o gajo da mancha, apenas é da mm zona que eu, e pertencia ao circulo de conhecidos "mais" alargado. E já tinha andado à porrada com ele (o gajo é um cagão, tem é as costas quentes!)), e andei com ppl que agora anda todo fodido... Um dos grandes amigos que tive, aos 16 ja andava a experimentar heroina....
    Agora só fuma charros e bebe alcool, mas o gajo tá completamente LENTO, e anda sempre todo fodido. Mas continua a ser uma grande pessoa (pelo menos esse gajo, eu sei que posso confiar)!
    Não sei porque, mas normalmente costumo-me safar de levar porrada de ciganões... Uma vez vinha da queima, já de manha, no dia do concerto dos guano apes, e na paragem ao lado da bofia na baixa, tava lá um grupo de ciganos e, como sempre quando é em grupo eles rodeiam uma pessoa e começam com uma conversa de merda do tipo: "Tens xxxx?". Começam a tentar roubar-me o casaco. Os gajos a puxar-me o casaco, e eu viro-me para o pessoal e digo: "O que é que voces querem? Acham que o meu casaco vos serve?" (eu era mais alto que eles), e os gajos respondem "Ah, pois é tens razão... Passa aí a mochila!" e começam a puxa-la, e eu "Para que voces querem a mochila, nao tenho ai nada?", vem um gajo e é para me espetar um murro, mas eu desvio-me e espeta num dos gajos que tava a puxar-me a mochila e começa a dizer: "Sabes quem eu sou? Sabes quem eu sou?" e eu "Sei lá quem caralho tu és... És famoso?", tavamos nisto quando um gajo que tava lá atrás disse: "Podes ir-te embora...".
    E daquela vez em que uns 12 pretos de Lisboa que tavam na tutoria lá nos olivais, rodearam-me a mim e a mais 2 amigos meus?
    Acho que sou um tipo com sorte... Não sei se é de mim, mas um gajo consegue prever mais ou menos quando vai acontecer merda...
    Esta foi a primeira vez com uma naifa, agora que eu tiver isso bem assimilado da pŕoxima vez já vai ser diferente! Espero eu!
    Eu apenas deixei de andar com esse ppl, porque os gajos gostam de fazer desporto de café! Tar no café a beber finos o dia todo... um dia ainda vá-lá, uns 3 dias ainda se aguenta, mas sempre?? Preferi sempre sair e ir jogar futebol (tb conheci aqui ciganos!) do que ir para o café beber finos (isto até nem é mau, o problema é que comeca a ficar secante... Aonde é que o pessoal vai arranjar temas de conversa? Ficar a olhar uns para os outros... LOL)

  4. Anonymous3:42 PM

    No final, acaba por ser uma questão de atitude...
    Mas lá que eu tava todo cagado... Só que acho que não transmito isso para fora!