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August 2002

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


Typorganism is an engrossing, multifaceted work that will appeal to those interested in flash design, typography, computer graphics and music. Under ‘Visual Composer’, look for composition no. 2085. It’s mine.

<ip> This Modern World, a blog by Tom Tomorrow, currently has an extensive interchange about the rights and wrongs of violating copyright. (Scroll down until you see ‘More about you-know-what’.)

<ip> Siva Vaidhyanathan writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education about misuses of copyright law in his lengthy and informative article Copyright as Cudgel.

<www> Desktop Linux features an interesting interview with Karl Auerbach, disclosing some of the internecine wranglings of ICANN.


<ip> Here’s a piece from called Girding Against the Copyright Mob that talks about a recent conference at which those in opposition to the DMCA got together.

<ip> Once again, The Chronicle of Higher Education scores with ‘“Politics of Control” Leads a Law Student to Challenge Digital-Copyright Act’. The piece is an interview with said student.


<!> ®TMark
supports the sabotage (informative alteration) of corporate products without physical injury. The bottom line is to improve culture.” greg s
(It seems a grievous oversight, now corrected, that this project hasn’t been added to our ‘other sites of interest’ box before. -ed.)

<art> If you’ve nothing better to do, you could wander over The Ministry of Lamination to see all the various things Ken Montgomery has sealed in plastic. toner

<ip> Canadian artist Diana Thorneycroft makes work that’s too hot for some in Canada to handle; and the issue that makes some spaces unwilling to show her current work revolve around fear of copyright litigation. There is no direct URL, use their site search and look for the article title, which is Too Close for Comfort. rumori

<radio>WDCD radio produces and broadcasts audio satire and experimental sound-forms utilizing old phonograph records, analog synthesizers, ‘found sound’ sources and whatever else is at hand. Funny stuff, you bet!” mike


<ip> Singer-songwriter Janis Ian has a follow-up to an article she posted last month about copyright, music downloads, music industry-artist relations, and more. She expands on those thoughts and incorporates input from the responses she got to the original piece. pho

<ip> Boston Review’s David Bollier has posted an article called Reclaiming the Commons. pho


<www> Here’s a piece on the potentially destabilizing effects of blogging from The Washington Post: ‘How Weblogs Keep the Media Honest’.

<ip> Media Critic Robert McChesney speaks of Dark Trends in World Media, and addresses copyright as a government-enforced monopoly in particular. nettime


Break while I spent a day in Wrocław, Poland.


<culture> PBS’s Frontline has a piece about television in Bhutan — before 1999, TV was illegal in that remote Buddhist theocracy. The program attempts to track the cultural impact of its introduction.

<ip> It turns out that even agencies set up to serve the public want a piece of the intellectual property pie — the LAPD wants to collect royalties on the use of its good name and image in TV and films. rumori

<ip> Tom W. Bell, a law professor at Chapman University, contributes this paper to the copyright debate: Copy Fighting. pho


<www> A set of reactionary but arguably common-sense arguments by Bill Thompson for The Register argues in favor of a closed European network to eventually supplant the internet. (I certainly don’t blame him for having had too much of US hegemony!)


<ip> Everybody’s favorite key-noter Bruce Sterling offers up “A Contrarian View of Open Source” at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention. Ignore the fact that it’s good for you to know his perspective; read it for the sheer pleasure of reading Sterling. nettime

<ip>Tipping their Hand” is an opinion piece about the movie and record business’ legislative strategy — not to ‘protect copyrights’, but instead to eliminate competition. pho

<ip> Benjamin Franklin was also an inventor who refused to patent any of his inventions. He said: “As we enjoy great Advantages from the Inventions of others we should be glad of an Opportunity to serve others by any Invention of ours, and this we should do freely and generously.” pho

<www> The New York Times weighs in on the subject of blogging, quoting Orwell along the way and arguing that it is an extension of the traditional practice of pamphleteering. [reg.req]

< next items >

high water in prague

My City Under Water

Not really ‘my’ city, still it is fair to say that I have grown rather attached to my current residence. Now it is experiencing what some here have been calling the worst natural catastrophe ever to befall the Czech lands. Five thousand cubic meters of water per second are coursing through the normally sluggish Vltava River’s channel — thirty times the usual amount. Sirens are blaring as emergency vehicles are trying to make their way through the choked streets, up to 70,000 people evacuated and displaced. Centuries-old masonry is steeping in roof-high water on scenic tourist magnet Kampa Island. Much of the metro system is filled with water. A single bridge is considered safe enough to cross, so that the two halves of the city’s only vehicular connection is inconveniently to the south. And more rains are predicted every day through the end of the week.

billboard vandalism collage

Copyright Conundrum

Like many images, the above has many layers of meaning. Specifically, in this analysis, it can be made to ask questions about the nature and limits of authorship. (Whether it does so on its own, without “being made to” is left an open question.)

The above is a photograph I took of a billboard on a busy street in Prague. Someone peeled away parts of the image to reveal portions of an earlier advertisement underneath, or simply leaving behind white areas where the paper substrate proved tenacious. This is most likely simply a minor act of vandalism, though it is possible to imagine that whoever did this had some esthetic intent in mind. We will likely never know.

It is possible to argue that I am the author of the image, since I selected it from an infinitude of other possible images to photograph that day. I went to the effort of positioning myself just so, to get the proper angle, and adjusting the exposure on my camera to capture a pleasing amount of detail and color. Later, I cropped the image and made other esthetic decisions about its presentation. There is also a secret in this image. When I took it, there was a car parked in front of the billboard, blocking out a large portion of the lower left corner of the image. I edited the car completely out of the photograph, using a separate photograph, taken from a different angle, of the portion of the billboard blocked by the car.

Without going into too much more detail, there are also legitimate arguments about the originators of the fragmentary images themselves, whether they were the product of an ad photographer’s authorship, or of the designer of the ad campaigns. In addition, do not the subjects of the photographs own their own likenesses in some respect, temporarily only lending them to this use for the moment?

It is a simple exercise to come up with similar examples from other media, such as what follows.

When the BBC includes a recording of a war-torn Grozny resident singing and playing guitar to keep his spirits up in that tragic and dangerous place, and then I decide to sample that recording, an obvious legal-ethical split occurs. The BBC reporter, in the course of her interviews, has captured this evocative sound — and so presumably it becomes copyright material of the BBC. But are not my ethical obligations, if any, to Sharif, the Chechen singer in question? Do his legal interests, if any, suddenly drop out of the picture once he agrees to have his work committed to BBC tape?

To top it all off, if I did decide to offer Sharif some recompense, I would likely have to go through the BBC to track him down.

Public Clock at Sidliste Dablice, Prague

Site News: o-blog

August comes, and we add a new function and sport a revised appearance. The new look you can readily see, so I will reserve this text to presenting the new function. As regular readers of this site are well aware, we have been posting recommendations for interesting items that we discover while trawling the internet. Typically, such a reading deals with IP (intellectual property) issues, although not exclusively.

As a kind of experiment, I thought it might be interesting to open up a blog section so that we can better display a wider range of reading fetishes. (You can see this new section in the narrower column to the left.) Further, I thought it might be interesting to make it ‘open’ blog, or o-blog as I like to call it.

Now, by myself, I can regularly populate such terrain with two or three interesting posts a day. That might be enough, but I’m interested in something a bit more dynamic, and broader than my own feeble clickings can uncover. So I invite you, the reader of this site to join in.

here’s how it’ll work.

Sidliste Prosek, Prague 9

Self-interview Available

We’re pleased to announce that we finally have a URL to give you for listening to a recent stint we did behind the microphones of webcaster Radio Jelení. Faithful readers will recall that, a few days before we presented Good Times at Prague’ Center for Contemporary Art, we interviewed each other and played our work over their bandwidth. You can read about the event on our archived news page, and now you can hear it for yourself.

hear it here.

It’s a RealAudio stream and requires RealPlayer.

Malostranske namesti, Prague

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