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February 2003

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


©¦ To the great consternation of the entertainment industry, the European Commission is inching towards a moderate and commonsense approach to the issue of music copying: it’s illegal if commercial; legal if personal.

tech¦ We’ve covered disk rot on this site before as it relates to CDs. It appears that DVDs are likely to be susceptible, too.


©¦ The EFF today posted a TAKE ACTION! alert concerning a new bill before Congress, the Digital Media Consumers’ Rights Act. It’s a good cause, so take a minute to click the link before continuing. We’ll wait for you.

©¦ In the mean time, has an interview with John Perry Barlow, one of the founders of the EFF.

©¦ Finally today, has run a lengthy commentary about the state of the music industry entitled Embrace file-sharing, or die.


©¦ The cartoon Tom the Dancing Bug’s latest offering deals with the perils of the public domain in a suitably out-of-kilter manner.


©¦ Follow up 1. The man who holds a trademark on the phrase “Freedom of Expression”, Kembrew McLeod, is interviewed on NPR’s On the Media program.

©¦ Follow up 2. The man who was sued by the estate of John Cage, Mike Batt, for pilfering the completely silent composition 4'33" has settled out of court for a six-figure sum.


music¦ John Cage again. The composition “As Slow As Possible”, which, if played as intended, lasts 639 years, is now being played, in Halberstadt, Germany. The first three notes of the piece will last a year and a half.


conspiracy¦ Kill an afternoon. Was the US project to put a man on the moon a great human adventure, proof of our technological prowess, and a triumph of the human spirit? Or was it something very, very different? (real.req, in 4 parts)


©¦ has an opinion piece that points out something interesting and telling about the framers’ intent when they put a copyright clause into the Constitution: it’s the only clause therein that states a reason for its being there. This piece was in response to a lawsuit brought by the record labels against Verizon, an ISP that refuses to divulge the name of one of its customers accused of illegal file sharing.

music¦ This is kinda funny. Let Clippy help you make your own hit single — effortlessly!


©¦ Here’s a timely and sobering article about a crisis in the US Patents system, which, among other things, maintains that patent laws are being misused to (gasp!) stifle competition. [reg.req]

war¦ Paragon of Euphemism. Declan McCullough’s current column at reveals the Justice Department’s Arrogant Power Grab, Part 2, in its proposed legislation, the Domestic Security Enhancement Act.

music¦ Old Link. It seems that, in its November 2000 issue, had an IP theme going on their front page, with an interview with Carl Stone, a general call for opinions about current IP law, and a “HyperHistory” of IP in America.


©¦ The EU has adopted a middle-of-the-road approach to enforcing copyright on the internet, seeking a balance between the rights of content owners and the public. Not surprisingly, the music industry, apparently uninterested in fairness, wants them to be tougher.

< archived items >


Film Clubs Welcome “Good Times”

Filmovy Klub Fleda, Brno

Two Nights Running

Here at the Glassed-in Labs, East, your Tape-beatles spend their days in the solid work-ethic drudgery of maintaining our world presence and preening our public persona. And, as if our lives weren’t exciting enough, last weekend we loaded up the car of John’s mother-in-law and set off on a pair of gigs, presenting our expanded cinema work “Good Times” before Central European film clubs. Two days, two cities, two countries!

Filmový Klub Fleda, Brno. Never really knowing what to expect is one of the hallmarks of our existence. And Brno’s “Film Club Fleda” did not disappoint. Rather than the usual configuration of seats and screen in a high-ceilinged, perhaps slightly trapezoidal hall, we were slated to appear in a large room filled with comfy couches. A carefully measured-off space in the middle was the perfect place for our projectors. Soon the couches were filled with local asses, the people attached to which seemed thoroughly to be enjoying the show. This was confirmed by the fact that most stuck around for the heady discussion of our work afterwards, which spilled out into the café next door and lasted into the wee hours.

Thank you, all at Fleda, and Jennifer DeFelice.

Filmovy Klub 901, Bratislava

Buryzone, Bratislava. A bleary-eyed morning drive sped us from Brno to Bratislava, along highway D2 through the rolling hills of South Moravia. After the typical street-wrangling that always seems to take place in cities that ring cores that date from the Middle Ages, we arrived at the offices of Buryzone, the arts organization sponsoring our show.

Our program transpired in a university lecture auditorium, regularly used by the “Film Club 901” as the venue for their screenings. The turnout was good, and the program came off without serious hitch. Again, Q & A followed as the assembly probed us for why-we-do-what-we-do kinds of answers.

We then adjourned to the Buryzone offices for a party, where we met local artists, and got to know our friendly and dedicated hosts a little better. We can honestly count this show among our more satisfying successes.

Thank you, Mária Rišková, Buryzone and Filmový Klub 901.

Intrepid Tape-beatles Explore
Bold New Realm

old-fashioned circuit board

Digital Vistas Opened

It’s been a while since our last update, but don’t think for a moment we haven’t been utterly immersed in the age-old task set before us: that of achieving artistic perfection! Well, we will never make it to this goal, but the glory is in the attempt, as the man said. (Which man, we haven’t the energy left over to google. Google is a verb! So sue us.)

For (suffice it to say) your endlessly curious Tape-beatles have been busy twiddling the knobs, ogling the dials, and kicking the tires of possibility brought to them by their recent adoption of a UNIX-based operating system. Remarkable stuff! UNIX has been around for a long time, and actually has a culture, fer chris’sake. And whenever we hear the word “culture,” we reach for our microscopes.

The back-story to this saga swirls around our elongated proposition of turning Good Times into a definitive DVD version. The source material is, shall we say, less than perfect, having been assembled from cultural discards which, not surprisingly, have not always been pristinely cared for. Far be it from us to want to erase these inadvertent traces of their history — at the same time, with the more egregious blots and tears, if they went away, we might be silently thankful.

Open Source to the Rescue. Enter UNIX and the vaunted Open Source movement (for which we have deeply felt warm feelings). There is a product called Film Gimp, which is freely available and runs on UNIX, and is made to order for the retouching of individual frames of blemished motion pictures. We read up, and started downloading things with names that read like code words in spy novel, such as “Fink” and “X11”. Following their instructions (which leave some things to the imagining!) we ran the installer and watched mesmerized as several kilometers of monospaced text flowed up through the top of our Terminal program, far, far past our monitor’s upper delimiter, while we wondered, should we be taking notes? Obviously it was trying to tell us something! But the pace was too fast, and the undecipherable blabble far beyond our ken.

The upshot of this tiresome parable is that, after several afternoons tweaking and reading up and trying different things — the full array of tools within our limited UNIX skillset, in fact — we finally got it to work and now have a functioning Film Gimp running on our machine. Vive Good Times! Vive The Tape-beatles!

If you’re running Mac OS X, you owe it to yourself to check out:

Fink, for “…the full world of Unix Open Source software.”

Novy Most, Bratislava

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