Saturday, February 21, 2009, 9:05am
Here We Go Magic, found by The Rawking Refuses To Stop's review, and verified to not have been produced by a member of the RIAA, I just bought this album in iTunes for $8.91 without DRM encoded at 256 kbps since it's an iTunes Plus album.
It feels so weird, but my concerns (RIAA support, DRM, low quality audio) are all done and it's nice to just go about this in such a convenient way.
Friday, July 4, 2008, 12:30pm
I first heard of the Orphan Works Act of 2008 by way of an open source advocate voicing concerns regarding the lack of diligence allowing companies to ignore the GPL. While this is could be an issue, I think if a party fails to do something as simple as perform a google search and see it listed at the top, a judge would probably hold that the searcher didn't perform a diligent search, especially since computer stuff more often than not found in the Internet. Besides, there are plenty of GPL violations that occur now. And considering most software has in it (either in the code or the application itself) some sort of documentation that points to the software's website. I don't think there's a judge who would find a company who ignored that sort of obvious information as a company who performed a diligent search.
So I decided to find out more about this bill and the second google hit was a petition to stop the Orphan Works Act of 2008 by some nutjobs who think copyright should last, quite literally, for eternity:
We believe it is the unalienable right of the individual artist or person to decide how their photographs, illustrations, videos, music or paintings are used for eternity.
Sorry, but copyright shouldn't last for 50 years after the death of the creator, it shouldn't last for 70 years after the death of the author and it certainly shouldn't last for eternity. The ultimate purpose of copyright (which is a time-limited monopoly on the rights to copy (or otherwise reproduce) a work) is not to provide for the authors of the works, but rather to enrich society as a whole. As a way to encourage individuals to create works, there needed to be some financial benefit, so the government granted the author a time period of 14 years (renewable for an additional 14) during which the author would hold a monopoly on the right to copy the work. After that, the author had to either come up with a new work, or get another job because the work became public domain, because the goal all along was to give society free access to the largest amount of works possible.
Now that's not to say I'm in favor of the Orphan Works Act of 2008. I'm not. But I am against the 7336 people who have signed this online petition. And not only these people, but other people who run around claiming that this bill "destroys the copyright validity of all artists. And then go on to claim that the Bushites are the anti-christ:
Who or what is the motivating power behind such a horror as this bill?
Guess! Fascism, Neo-cons? You see, as I warned you long ago and forever since, The Bushites ARE the anti-Christ. They realize that much financial and critical support comes from the Progressives and Liberals in the arts and the vast majority of artists of all sorts ARE Progressives and Liberals. When God or nature bestows upon a man, woman, or child a great creative gift, with that gift most often includes the sensitivity it takes to recognize the vagaries and the subtlety in nature and art. Artists of every sort are keen observers, because they have to be, and they are trained to be and by their very gift they are born ro be so.
The Anti-Christ forces, which supplant merely being The Anti-Christ, but are in reality Anti-God, Anti-Spiritual giftedness, anti-prophet, but pro-illicit profit. Their goal is the utter destruction of the God-Gifted artists. They hate and hold on contempt those favored with gifts, which includes athletes. If you will note, they have gone after with scant evidence all members of the arts and sports with lawsuits and skimpy, fringe, phonied, trumped up indictments, many of which I have correctly called as failing, here in these pages in many articles. They are aided and abetted by those who attack the messengers rather than perpetrators.
I share the position of Adam Huttler regarding the Orphan Works Act of 2008 in that I don't know if the bill is either good or bad (or a little bit of Column A and a little bit of Column B). Huttler does make some interesting points, though, including that authors are still entitled to compensation even from someone protected by the Orphan Works Act and that registration isn't compulsory.
Thursday, June 19, 2008, 9:24am
The latest outrage in the record companies' ill-conceived war against their customers comes via a Washington Post report that the RIAA is suing someone for ripping to their computer copies of CDs they've bought and paid for. A subsequent clarification shows that this particular case is more about placing MP3 files in a shared directory, rather than ripping, per se. But the record companies still say ripping your own CDs is stealing.
Now that times are tough, though, the record companies have shown they're clueless. Rather than forge a new business model to make money in the age of the Internet, they're fighting a losing battle to hold on to an era that's already passed. OK, if they're unable to handle the copyright benefits they've been like generously awarded, we should do what we do when a child shows they can't handle a privilege they've been granted. We should take it away.
How about we cut the copyright terms down to five years. Retroactively. So now "Stairway to Heaven" is in the public domain. Hey, the ongoing RIAA lawsuit problem is gone in one fell swoop.
What about those who say copyrights are some kind of God-given right, which is our due under a capitalist system? That's simply a misunderstand of their purpose. Copyrights, like patents, weren't implemented to protect their owners in perpetuity. They are part of a delicate dance which attempts to balance societal benefits against incentives for writers and inventors. The intent is that you want to incentivize people to push the state of the creative and technical arts, but you don't want give those folks such overbearing protections that future advances by other innovators are stifled.
Or we could go with the original 14 years.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008, 12:40pm
Itâ€™s hard to believe the AP's recent behavior could be more odious than whatâ€™s already been discussed, but on Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow spots further humdingers in their fine print.
First, their licensing system explicitly recruits people to "report piracy"--"you may be eligible for a reward of up to $1 million"! Remember, the Associated Press believes you should have to pay in order to quote as few as five words from their content, so that's a lot of piracy-reportin' to be done, junior woodchucks.
Saturday, June 14, 2008, 11:17am
The Industry Standard, which reports that the Associated Press has filed DMCA takedown notices against news site 'The Drudge Retort' for excerpting portions of AP news releases. The site's creator, Rogers Cadenhead, has posted his analysis of the letters sent to him by the AP. Employees of the AP have defended the notices in posts on various blogs, saying, "We get concerned when we feel the use is more reproduction than reference, or when others are encouraged to cut and paste. That's not good for original content creators; nor is it consistent with the link-based culture of the Internet that you and others have cultivated so well."
¶ Media Producers Would Love To Have You Pay Several Times Over For The Same Content, And The Technological Have-Nots Will Do So
Friday, May 16, 2008, 8:33pm
You're probably already familiar with one way in which the industry uses technological control to create revenue streams. Let's say, back in that hotel room, I was struck with a sudden urge to watch Spider-Man 3. I could watch it on Sprint TV, where it would cost $5.99 for a three-day rental, streamed at 320 by 172 resolution. I could purchase (but not rent, as of a few weeks ago) the movie from the iTunes Store for $9.99 and watch on my MacBook. I could rent it on-demand in my hotel room, which would give me a plasma screen picture, but would cost $11.99 for 24 hours. Or with my MacBook and MasterCard in hand, I could wander down the street and rent a DVD with all the extras from a kiosk for $1.99. Of course, if I already owned the DVD, and had left it at home, that wouldn't have mattered at all; the cost to rent another copy remains the same.
Unless, of course, I spent 30 seconds setting up an illegal Internet download, which would give me a permanent copy, at an arbitrarily high resolution (up to and including Blu-ray, if I had the patience), that I could watch anywhere regardless of whether I had purchased the physical media, or had it with me.
Most of us have in some sense already paid for Spider-Man 3, as well as hundreds of other movies: they're part of a river of programming that show up on our television systems. But unless you've set up some form of digital recording system, unless you've figured out how to move those videos from there to your computer, unless you've mastered converting those videos into other formats, those videos stay locked in their own walled gardens. Many of us have done all of the above, but the vast majority have not and cannot. This allows Columbia Pictures to claim that mechanism is as important as content, which is why the same movie can be $12 in one place, $2 in another, and time-limited everywhere.
This is great for the studios, but it's not how the audience thinks (or should think) of their product. Paying for some form of content should directly connect to real received value: a performance of a movie in a theater. A DVD with additional commentary and deleted scenes. And yes, convenient on-demand availability, when appropriate. But too often, the "value" is based upon an indirect conspiracy to make it difficult or impossible to use the media you've already paid for, making the end result a tax on the technological have-nots.
Friday, May 16, 2008, 8:28pm
EMI demanded that MP3tunes provide copies of the more than 100 million songs in their subscribers' personal music Lockers. MP3tunes offers a free and paid service for people to store their music files digitally so customer or music fans can both keep them backed-up and listen to them anywhere through a Net radio, like those from Logitech, Reciva or Terratec, or from any Net connected device, such as a Wii or PC. The newest feature allows subscribers to automatically sync their music files to a device of their choosing so all their music is where they want it to be, without the hassles of running software and plugging devices in via USB cables. All access to a music Locker requires a unique username and password, and there is absolutely no sharing between Lockers.
Next up, suing Western Digital for storing MP3s on your harddrive and Apple for MP3s on your iPod.
Monday, March 3, 2008, 9:03pm
I'd love to see a law that said any EULAs had to be printed on the packaging in 12-point type, which would leave software companies with two choices -- enormous, threatening boxes covered in dense legal type; or short, simple, fair license agreements that could fit comfortably in a couple lines on the side of the package.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008, 8:32pm
After a lot of hard work, we've finally released doubleTwist desktop. The goal of doubleTwist is to simplify the flow of media across devices and social networks. To give an example: say you shot a video with your Nokia N95 cellphone. How do you send that video to your friend and make sure he'll be able to play it on his iPod or Sony PSP? Yesterday, the easiest solution was to give up. As of today, the answer is doubleTwist. With doubleTwist, you'll be able to share and sync digital media without worrying about codecs and bitrates.
Saturday, February 2, 2008, 1:04pm
That's why it is time to recognize a simpler principle for fair use: work that adds to the value of the original, as opposed to substituting for the original, is fair use. In my view that's a principle already behind the traditional lines: no one (well, nearly no one) would watch Mel Brooks' "Spaceballs" as a substitute for "Star Wars"; a book review is no substitute for reading "The Naked and the Dead." They are complements to the original work, not substitutes, and that makes all the difference.
This simple concept would bring much clarity to the problems of secondary authorship on the web. Fan guides like the Harry Potter Lexicon or Lostpedia are not substitutes for reading the book or watching the show, and that should be the end of the legal questions surrounding them. The same goes for reasonable tribute videos like this great Guyz Nite tribute to "Die Hard." On the other hand, its obviously not fair use to scan a book and put it online, or distribute copyrighted films using BitTorent.
We must never forget that copyright is about authorship; and secondary authors, while never as famous as the original authors, deserve some respect. Fixing fair use is one way to give them that.