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July 2002

Readings and Ramifications

The Tape-beatles Keyshop in Rakovnik, CZ Tape-beatles in Barcelona 2000

2002-07-07 / Summer’s lethargy has brought no relief to your weary Tape-beatles, although the results may not always be immediately visible — it’s just too soon to talk about certain projects that we’re working on.

John Heck’s recent temporary departure to the United States has left Lloyd Dunn in Prague, to ‘hold down the fort’, as they say (and water the plants and care for the cat). Your intrepid Ralph Johnson will be casting his lot on moving two-thirds of the way across a continent to start a degree program in Ann Arbor; the city will be greatly enhanced by the arrival of this new intelligence.

In the meantime here are some readings.

(Updated as information comes to us.)


<ip> Janis Ian, singer-songwriter of some note, and with some experience with the major record labels in her 35-year career, has written an article called The Internet Debacle — An Alternative View. I hereby recommend it to you.

<news> Michael Jackson, another singer-songwriter of some note, has come out against the recording industry, too, saying they ‘cheat … (especially) black artists’. It sounds mostly like he’s angry that his latest record isn’t selling well, but at the same time, do I detect a crack forming in the wall tacit support of most recording artists for their labels? It’s at Salon.

<ip> Off the beaten path a bit is a blog that features an interesting first-look technical overview of Microsoft’s recent ‘Palladium’ data security initiative, which not incidentally has its own ramifications concerning intellectual property issues.

<ip> The same page also gives Jack Valenti ‘Google juice’ by linking to his 1982 testimony before Congress concerning the threat VCRs posed to the movie industry. (We all know how that turned out.) In any case, we might consider it part of the ‘required reading’ of IP issues.



<site> Deuce of Clubs has a site update, a case in point about the dangers of deep linking.

<ip>Open Content’s only excuse for existing is to ‘facilitate the prolific creation of freely available, high-quality, well-maintained Content.’” Read more.


none <sound> The results are in from Group Listening Tests carried out to evaluate and report on the technical and subjective qualities of various sound compression technologies, including Mp3pro, Ogg Vorbis, WMA, and AAC (MPEG-4).

<ip> Brad has a music project called Brad Sucks. It takes the open source bull by the horns and applies it to music.

<ip> Salon posts a lengthy piece about file swapping, and sums up the current state of the issue.


none <ip> NYT reports on the culture industry’s increasing success in bringing Congress over to their side of the IP debate. Citizens beware, soon you may be unable to do simple things on your new computer that you currently can easily accomplish.

<ip> Sen. Joseph Biden obviously thinks that copyright violation is theft.

<www> Stanford U is conducting ‘web credibility research’. They have thoughtfully posted a set of guidelines to make your site more ‘credible’. I suppose that means the lawless wild west web days are over.

<sound> A new technology uses ultrasonics to direct sound to a specific place, much like a spotlight, leaving nearby areas silent. It’s called the HyperSonic Sound System.

<news> I think Dan Perkins (a.k.a. Tom Tomorrow) is a genius.


none <ip> The Register has an interesting report from a ‘public’ workshop held by the US Commerce Department to discuss digital rights management (DRM) techniques by which copyright owners can protect their properties. The panel was studded with industry heavyweights and a few groups ostensibly representing the public, but you can read for yourself how public comment was minimized, marginalized, and generally speaking, scrupulously avoided.


<ideas> McKenzie Wark, noted thinker and essayist, has sent along a quick ‘love yr work’ as well as a mention that his A Hacker Manifesto has now reached version 4.0.

<ip> Related to our right to freedom of speech, argues Princeton Professor Edward Felton, is our freedom to tinker (from


<ip> Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA) wants to introduce a bill that would codify fair use. The features of the bill are neatly outlined in an article appearing at

<ip> In attempting to turn it into a black-or-white issue, the site I am gonna copy requests your yes-or-no vote to the following proposition: ‘everything that can be copied must be free. no copyright, no intellectual property’. Although we (editorially) don’t advocate this simplistic line of reasoning, we do point out the site as further evidence that our ideas are on everyone’s lips.

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