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September 2002: o-blog history

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<ip> Spiked online is holding an online debate on Copyright in the Digital Age. Posted are the head-to-head (laying out the debate) and two commissioned reports. boingboing

<sound> Underdog codec Ogg Vorbis comes out smelling like a rose in a new set of listening tests conducted by the German tech mag c’t. The article is in German, natch, but the Slashdot discussion, though characteristically lengthy and hair-splitting, offers a number of English translations. /.


<ip> Another, more in-depth, article about Edward Felton, the Princeton professor who maintains that “… the ‘freedom to tinker’ — the right to understand, repair and modify one's own equipment — is crucial to innovation, and as valuable to society as the freedom of speech.” /.

<art> That’s the spirit. In the belief that “FREE ART = FREE ARTIST”, multimedia artist bobig has been giving his art away on the internet since 1996. nettime

<ip> Copy Protection Robs the Future. Dan Bricklin comes to the startling conclusion that “Works that are copy protected are less likely to survive into the future.” pho


EFF has a posse

<ip> It’s happening. Intel has announced that the chips it will introduce to market next year will have anti-piracy features built-in.

<ip> Disney invested labor and $$ to create ‘original’ variations on A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. But despite its being work that required creative effort and time, it’s derivative, and thus not the same as using known images in collage or parody. Still, it’s easy to imagine less extreme examples (Wind Done Gone) where the original creator may not be entitled to royalties. Where do we draw the line and simultaneously avoid exploitation of the artists by the multinational? It’s an Icky, Sticky Mess. mark yates

<ip> Here’s a fast read from Digital Rights Management Day at the recent Seybold Conference in San Francisco: Sound Bites on Fair Use and Copyright Law. Meanwhile, Wired has a piece on how the recording industry is re-evaluating its strategy on digital rights management.


<ip> Imitation v
, an opinion piece appearing on, struggles with the question of patents, how they affect third-world economies in particular, and whether they really do the job they were intended to. mark yates

<ip> Businessweek online tells how Verizon, in bringing its legal muscle into the arena against the RIAA, is defending your privacy, while balancing the legal might of the recording industry. The article: Finally, a Fair Fight with Big Music.


<music> In Sampler’s Delight, music critic Dave Marsh takes to task the “record label cartel” and its “CD waveform database” that helps CD pressing plants shun bootleggers and, not incidentally, certain sampling artists: a new release by Steinski was turned down by one manufacturer.

In the mean time, musicians and their record labels are at an increasing state of loggerheads over artist’s rights to this extent: “The record business is in rough enough shape that something might actually change.” /.


<art> Negativland in the News. On the occasion of the unveiling of a new book and CD project entitled “Deathsentences of the Polished and Structurally Weak”, Negativland gets an insignificant blurb on MSNBC. Their own website offers substantially more depth on the project, not surprisingly. rumori


<ip> The Commission on Intellectual Property Rights has filed a lengthy report online. (We’re merely making you aware of its existence in case you want to pore over it; we haven’t read it ourselves.) pho


<ip> Consumer electronics trade group blasts the movie and record industry for their tiny-minded anti-piracy campaigns. The basis for their criticism is not difficult to accept: file sharing is neither illegal nor immoral. Also turning up the heat a bit on the content industry, a panel of experts convened by the International Broadcasting Convention has come to the conclusion that the content industry is its own worst enemy. pho

<music> Fellow detrivore Jon Leidecker writes: “just noticed today — Carl Stone has put up mp3s of some of his commercially unreleasable sample-based works. totally classic stuff. Hear ’em here. Leidecker adds that the release of the studio version of his own “Wild Why”, is imminent. In the meantime, these mp3s taken from a live version of the same title will have to suffice. rumori


<ip> has posted a truly substantial profile of “cyberlaw’s” Lawrence Lessig, who is currently preparing to argue before the Supreme Court why the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act ought to be overturned. Written by Steven Levy, the article is called Lawrence Lessig’s Supreme Showdown. /.


<ip> Interesting bit over at about a hired-gun company whose role in the digital eco-system is to ferret out DMCA violators. Let’s you know what we might be up against. By the inimitable Robert X. Cringely, the article is We Can Run, but We Can’t Hide. /.

<music> Super Collider is a programming language for making music. It’s not new, and I only mention it now because yesterday I attended a workshop that gave me an overview of this rich tool. It’s free software, it’s excellent and empowering, and that makes James McCartney, its author, my current hero.


<sound> We mentioned hypersound a while back, but here’s a short overview with some nifty diagrams about the technology from Popular Science.

<ip> Sampling artists the Beastie Boys hold forth on the whys and wherefores of their “difficult” legal battle with jazz artist James Newton. Guess what? Nobody wins. rumori

<ip> Scientology, with its apparent propensity for totalitarian tactics, isn’t content with controlling their public image today; they want to rewrite history as well. boingboing


<ip> A company called “Clean Flicks” is renting out Hollywood movies that they have edited to remove content that some find objectionable (nudity, profanity, excessive violence). They are being sued by the Directors Guild of America. Slashdot raises the interesting, if slightly uncomfortable, point that those who legally purchase these works should be able to do with them what they want. After all Clean Flicks is not misrepresenting these altered works. Read about it at the Slashdot discussion. More links: 1, 2.

<culture> Real Tokyo serves as a “cultural search engine” for Japan, and anyone else who wants a taste of what’s going on there. Current front page has a link to an interview with Holger Czukay — among lots of other stuff. nettime


<ip> The recent case concerning a British composer who included a minute of silence on a CD and facetiously credited it to John Cage, only to have Cage’s estate sue him for plagiarism, ended this week with the composer giving a six figure settlement to Cage’s publisher. The moral: always compose your own silence. jim allenspach

<ip> Slashdot lets its readers interview Janis Ian, who of late has had some interesting things to say about file sharing and the music business. In her Q&A, she continues being frank and interesting. At the same time, The Register writes of a trojan horse tactic used by the Sunday Times to get people to “upgrade” to DRM-compliant software in the form of a free Elvis Costello CD. /.


<ip>’s Dan Gillmor gives the MPAA’s Jack Valenti room to air his arguments in favor of DRM-hobbled technology in his current column. pho

<ip> Is self-regulation a legitimate approach to protecting copyright on the internet? The online debate “Copyright in the digital age”, hosted by the online publication spiked and sponsored by the European Commission research project RightsWatch, continues. The debate, although moderated, is open to contributions from anybody. sandy starr


Pertinent today. “Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind … And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded with patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader, and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.” (Attributed variously to William Shakespeare and Julius Caesar himself. My search through Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar did not turn up this quote.) (Update. Impertinent today: This quote can be attributed to neither. See entry 09-27 in this series.) keng

<art> The Whitney Museum’s Artport (“Portal to Net Art”) brings you CODeDOC, an online exhibit of commissioned software art. mefi

<ip> New York Times says that fee-based music download services are catching on. reg.req pho


<ip> Slashdot reports on an NPR piece about how intellectual property squabbles may have held up progress in aviation for over a decade before World War I. It serves here as a cautionary tale.

<ip>Profits from piracy. Evidence is mounting that cracking down on software copyright infringement may not be good for business. Case study: Microsoft in China.” The article serves here to suggest that the rules of the game have changed.

<ip> Stating flat-out that the rules have changed is this perspective piece from News.comThe newCopySpeak. And, PC Magazine’s John Dvorak thinks CDs should cost a buck forty. His rationale. pho


Apocryphal. The “quote” by either Caesar or Shakespeare that we ran two days ago has turned out to be entirely fictitious, according to the Urban Legends Reference Pages, which are all about squelching such wildfire fictions. keng

<ip> I, Cringley thinks the DMCA is a bad law, and to combat it, calls for civil disobedience in the latest installment of his column for Last December, in a Slashdot interview, Lawrence Lessig suggested caution in using civil disobedience, explaining that it plays into the hands of Jack Valenti-types. (The entire interview is well worth a read.) pho


<art> Articles about Copyright and Art. The exhibit known as Illegal Art has listed a page of essential readings on copyright and its ideological clash with creativity. Sounds about Copyright and Music. You can also download the tracks from the compilation CD as mp3 files.


<ip> In our item of 09-24, Dan Gillmor gave Jack Valenti space to air his views. In his current column he rebuts Valenti’s position on copyright in the entertainment industry, saying, “This is not [about] compromise [with the public interest], no matter what Valenti calls it. This is a radical agenda, one that overturns tradition and would ultimately wipe out the public domain, without which our culture would be vastly poorer.” bb

<culture> Learn for free. (Arguably how it should always be.) MIT announces open courseware, and proposes to let any one attain advanced education using the internet. pho

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