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September 2003

o-blog  an i.p. blog o-blog: an i.p. blog


Breaking news. The EFF is asking for people to sign their online petition stop the RIAA from “…mak[ing] criminals out of 60 million Americans.”

09-01 to 12

©¦ NEWSFEED. •12 The end of physical media is forecast in coverage of Forrester research at The Register — “CDs and DVDs are ‘doomed’.” Today, Salon has posted opposing viewpoints: “File sharing must be made legal” and “Copying isn’t cool”. Zeldman on a case study illustrating why software patents have gotten out of hand. •11 Lisa Rein’s commentary on the recent RIAA lawsuits. reports that activity on the file sharing networks is holding steady.

•10 Johnny Deep, who created Madster, is starting a new business to help defend the rights of internet users. •9 The recording cartel will possibly offer amnesty to those who confess to file sharing, which they call “Clean Slate.” According to Salon, file sharers generally scoff at the idea. In reaction, a California resident has filed suit against the RIAA, claiming the “Open Slate” program is a fraudulent business practice.

•8 The RIAA has filed 216 lawsuits against alleged copyright infringers, one a 12-year-old girl. The BBC recently promised to make all its old content available for free online. Lessig approves, and sees it as a lesson for us all. Bill Thompson warns that DRM will change the internet, making it less open.

•6 To test the legality of transferring ownership of a purchased, downloaded music file, a man attempted to sell and iTunes track on eBay. comments. •5 Recording cartel’s recent lowering of CD prices brings snickers from The Register; and general skepticism all around. Here is why micropayments won’t work (by Clay Shirkey). Congress considers allowing databases to be copyrighted. It might interest you to know that there are thousands of perfectly legal music downloads available online. •4 “CDs cost too much,” and they don’t care about copyright, says a recent survey of 19 to 29-year-olds. An appeals court blocked the FCC’s recent loosening of the rules with regard to broadcast station ownership.

©¦ Property and commons in conflict. “There are two types of technological copyright protection — those that don’t require us to close systems up … and those that do …. We collectively have a stake in open, understandable systems, based on our uses of our own property, and our posterity has a stake in that as well.” From the summary of Property Interests in Conflict — the Technology/Copyright Crossroads: Remarks for the Progress and Freedom Foundation conference on “The Future of Online Music, Movies & Games” by Mike Godwin, Senior Technology Counsel, Public Knowledge.

©¦ File sharing and and freedom. is running a series of articles by Siva Vaidhyanathan, technology writer, on the impact of p2p file sharing on culture, science, and the nation-state. As always, an lively discussion is part of opendemocracy’s offering. Start at “The new information ecosystem: cultures of anarchy and closure.”

media¦ Blogging changing journalism. “Blogging technology has begun to deliver on some of the wild promises about the Internet that were heard in the 1990s.” “Blogworld: The New Amateur Journalists Weigh In,” by Matt Welch from the Columbia Journalism Review. • On a related note, here’s a posting entitled (Weblogs and) The Mass Amateurisation of (Nearly) Everything and about that’s a good thing.

©¦ Content industries doomed. Here’s Why Digital Rights Management Won’t Save the Entertainment Industry. (From last July, but I only just came across it.)

©¦ File sharers being watched. (From the October issue of Wired.) A company called BigChampagne is lurking on the p2p networks and “tracking every download and selling the data to the music industry.”

< archived items >


Dunn Visits Linz; Crashes Panel Discussion at Ars Electronica

Lloyd Dunn in a panel discussion on the public domain at Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria, 2003

Not Strictly True, But an Eye-catching Headline

After a slow summer of dearthic eventlessness, fall leaps into high gear for the Tape-beatles. True, the last three months of Lloyd’s life has been largely consumed by the production of a DVD documenting June’s Prague Quadrennial, there has nonetheless been some time stolen away for other activities. One interlude consisted of a weeklong visit to Italy to catch up with former THAW collaborator Renée Sueppel, travelling there to visit mutual dear friend Vania Battistoni at her home in Perugia.

Although the headline to this piece suggests nefarious or anti-social activity on the part of Lloyd, this was not, strictly speaking, the case of the matter. What actually happened was this. Miloš Vojtěchovský, an employee of the Contemporary Art Center Prague, had been invited to appear on a panel discussion regarding the future of the public domain at this year’s Ars Electronica. He offered to take Lloyd up with him, giving him full accreditation as a contributor to Radio Jelení, the Center’s webcasting service.

So, anyway, it was Miloš’s intention all along to include Lloyd in the panel discussion, and so it was arranged the day we arrived. The panel was entitled “Digital standards and the public domain: consequences and current strategies for an independent public sphere,” which resonated with the main festival theme of “Toward a society of control?” Because he was a late entry you won’t find Lloyd’s name in the documentation for Ars, nor on the Ars web site for the panel discussions. Nonetheless, the photo above (by Jan Dufek) shows Lloyd talking, and, it seems, being listened to. Links follow.

In addition to hanging out with Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Cindy Cohn (a fellow Iowan, actually) and Transitions Online’s Eugen Babau-Iladi, Lloyd also managed to shake hands with James McCartney, the author of the open source music programming language SuperCollider. Lloyd thanked James for his contribution to society, and gave him a Tape-beatle post card.

• Ars Electronica panel discussions

Center for Contemporary Art, Prague

radioJelení Webcasts

• East and Central Europe news site Transitions Online

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

SuperCollider site

Ralph Johnson (sic), ex-Tape-beatle, Flunks Ph.D. program

Ralph Johnson seen recently on the University of Michigan campus

“Quitter” Not Really His Middle Name

Ralph Johnson (sic), former Tape-beatle, is failing a Ph.D. program in the history of technology at the University of Michigan, one of the highest ranked graduate programs in history in the United States. “I didn’t think it would be so hard,” Mr. Johnson said recently at his home in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where well-wishers and gawkers had gathered to try and raise his spirits. While his home was festooned with banners reading “You Can Do It,” and “Happy Birthday,” his academic record spoke otherwise.

In 2001, in a well-publicized break with his former cohorts, the Tape-beatles, Mr. Johnson announced his desire to become a scholar. “I want to make claims that can be supported. I am tired of simply pandering to some vague cultural dream life where any idea can be thrown against the wall of intuition and drip down into some kind of ill-considered conclusion, where images speak to each other only in a perverse vernacular of an unconscious poetics.”

His fellow artists remained generous in their estimate of Mr. Johnson’s prospects beyond the tightly woven security net of a well-defined intellectual rebellion. Lloyd voiced his thoughts at a recent press conference held by local school officials. “He was always a little hard to understand, but I assumed he find a decent job after high school.”

“I begged him to stay,” John confessed to the subdued, yet attentive crowd. “I could tell how delicate he was, every bone made fragile by a naïve cynicism. I knew how easily he would be broken by facts.”

According to John, collaborator and childhood friend, “He was disarmingly ineloquent. You would think he was just a regular guy, until you thought about what he said. But I really didn’t think he’d go and do anything like this.” Similar sentiments were echoed throughout the neighborhood where Mr. Johnson grew up. His mother, quietly reminiscing through barely veiled tears, remarked, “I just wanted him to be happy.”

Interior, O.K. Centrum, Linz, Austria

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