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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.
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
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.”
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.
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.”
It’s happening. Intel has announced that the chips it will introduce to market next year will have
anti-piracy features built-in.
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.
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.
inspiration, an opinion piece appearing on Economist.com, 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.
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.
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.”
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
on MSNBC. Their own website offers substantially
more depth on the project, not surprisingly.
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
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.
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.
Wired.com 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.
Interesting bit over at PBS.org 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.
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
it’s excellent and empowering, and that makes James McCartney, its author, my
We mentioned hypersound a while back, but here’s a short overview with some nifty
diagrams about the technology from
Sampling artists the Beastie Boys hold forth on the whys and wherefores of their “difficult”
legal battle with jazz artist James Newton. Guess what?
Scientology, with its apparent propensity for totalitarian tactics, isn’t content with controlling
their public image today; they want to
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
• More links:
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.
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.
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.
Siliconvalley.com’s Dan Gillmor gives the MPAA’s Jack Valenti room to air his arguments in
favor of DRM-hobbled technology in his
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,
The debate, although moderated, is open to contributions from anybody.
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.)
The Whitney Museum’s Artport (“Portal to Net Art”) brings you
an online exhibit of commissioned software art.
New York Times says that fee-based music download services are
catching on. reg.req
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.
“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 Salon.com article serves here to suggest that the rules of the game have changed.
Stating flat-out that the rules have changed is this perspective piece from News.com —
The new “CopySpeak”.
• And, PC Magazine’s John Dvorak thinks CDs should cost
a buck forty. His rationale.
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.
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 PBS.org.
• 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.)
Articles about Copyright and Art. The exhibit known as Illegal Art has listed a page of
on copyright and its ideological clash with creativity.
• Sounds about Copyright and Music. You can also download the tracks from
the compilation CD as
In our item of 09-24, Dan Gillmor gave Jack Valenti space to air his views. In his
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.”
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.
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