Category Archives: copyright

don’t let the EU censor your internet: stop ACTA

ACTA infographic

You might have heard that SOPA got stopped (for now) in the USA, a bill to censor the internet and limit online freedom for everyone. An even worse deal is going down on our EU-side of the globe unfortunately, where ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) has already been signed, but not yet approved (luckily).

ACTA – a global treaty – could allow corporations to censor the Internet. Negotiated in secret by a small number of rich countries and corporate powers, it would set up a shadowy new anti-counterfeiting body to allow private interests to police everything that we do online and impose massive penalties — even prison sentences — against people they say have harmed their business.
avaaz.org

So it’s about time to do something about this before this bill gets voted in the EU Parliament and gets adopted globally.
First you can start by reading about ACTA, find out what’s wrong with it, sign the petition and act against it.

For those in the US, you can go sign the White House petition. Do it, because this deal is worse than SOPA, as it spans beyond the internet and deals even with regulations on medication and food.

The oppressively strict regulations could mean people everywhere are punished for simple acts such as sharing a newspaper article or uploading a video of a party where copyrighted music is played. Sold as a trade agreement to protect copyrights, ACTA could also ban lifesaving generic drugs and threaten local farmers’ access to the seeds they need. And, amazingly, t he ACTA committee will have carte blanche to change its own rules and sanctions with no democratic scrutiny.
avaaz.org

Spread the word, sign the petition, just do something so this is stopped just like SOPA was.

Afterwards, you can get back to your memes and lolcats. :)

 

going commercial

creativecommons.org

A while ago there was this product that came out on the Belgian market that allowed shopkeepers, barbers and anyone who was having a business to bypass the Belgian version of RIAA called SABAM by offering royalty free music in a box. You just had to hook up the little box to an audio system and it would play hours of music that SABAM could not claim any royalty fees for.

Since that little device isn’t cheap I figured the home-made way would be cheaper. You could use an old PC or a laptop and hook that up to your audio system. After all there’s tons of free music out there on archive.org and other sites right? Yes there is. But when I started digging around for some examples it turned out that even though that music is licensed under a Creative Commons license, most of it is restricted from commercial use.

The thing is that this “no commercial use” clause seems to make perfect sense when you publish something online at first. You don’t want someone use your music or pictures just like that and get filthy rich off it, without effort? But the thing is that this clause also prevents all sorts of indirect commercial use that’s not meant to make money off the sweat of your back. Someone might want to use that awesome photo in a business presentation. No can do. Someone might want to play your music in his bar. Nope, can’t do that either. That person might even be a DJ playing at a paid gig. In theory he can’t play any tunes licensed under the non-commercial clause, but you might want that promotion right? Non-commercial turns out to be a bit of a grey area it seems, and it’s clear that the Creative Commons lads are struggling with it as well.

So the question is: what’s the risk of putting your stuff out there under a Creative Commons license that does allow commercial use? Are you going to be ripped off? Maybe. But people are ripping off copyrighted material every day. So it doesn’t matter what kind of license you slap on it? If someone wants to violate it, they will, no matter what. Publishing material under a more liberal license just opens more possibilities for people to use it for all the right reasons. Isn’t that what we are aiming for in the first place? Look at the Open Source movement as an example. There’s no clause in the popular licenses that prevents commercial use. In fact, that’s one of the reasons that Open Source Software is so mature and widely used this day.
I know that software and finished products like music, photo’s, video’s and text are not the same. Software is never really a finished product as it continuously evolves, but the idea is the same.

Paniq does it for all his music for example. He does it for the above mentioned reasons and services like Jamendo sell his music to shopkeepers, barbers and bartenders so they can play this royalty free music without having to pay fees to a silly copyright organisation like SABAM. They pay the artist a percentage of the sales afterwards, so it’s good karma all around.
So I thought I’d go commercial too where I can. My Flickr pictures can now be used commercially, and these awesome wallpapers (if I may say so myself) as well.

Just think about it, the next time you pick a cc-license.

Photo by Andrew*, cc-licensed.

get a free dj set and save the black swan

I usually don’t do this but I’m going to go ahead into some easy-peasy copy-pasting blog posting shizzle (via UEH). Judging from the names on the track list this set just has to be kick-ass, even without listening to it myself. I just hope it’s not a Rick-roll hoax oslt. Anyway, check it out and support the Black Swan!

The Black Swan – Bristol’s 1 and only underground music venue has been closed due to new licensing laws and we’re here to oppose it! Joining Anakissed and Parasite in the studio is special guest Svengali from Mongrel who is part of the campaign to stop the Swan from closing it’s doors for good. We drop a selection of live sets from artists who played at Toxic Dancehall to give you all a taster of the variety of music you’d be likely to hear at the Swan. We also tell you how you can do your bit to save the now legendary venue.

Track listing for the set:

  1. Shitmat – Live @ Toxic Dancehall 3 (24/01/03)
  2. End.user – Fear (Hymen)
  3. The Bug – Live @ Toxic Dancehall 3 (24/01/03)
  4. Bong-Ra – Gideon War (Hydrophonic)
  5. Grinderman – Go Tell The Women (Anti-)
  6. Himuro Yoshiteru – Hopeless Monsters (Tangram Disc)
  7. Broken Note – Crux (Ad Noiseam)
  8. Aaron Spectre – Live @ Toxic Dancehall 9 (11/06/05)
  9. Krumble – Time To Burn (Death$ucker)

Go get it at Goatlab!

Photo by aussiegall, cc-licensed.

french taunts in high definition

Since we can now post videos, I shall do it a second time! But I’m not doing it just because I can (even though it would be a valid excuse) but because the awesomely funny lads from Monty Python have decided to put their own clips up over at YouTube in their very own Monty Python YouTube channel.

Instead of suing the ass off their fans who have been posting their copyrighted clips over the last 3 years in crap quality, they blow their nose at them and instead post the clips themselves in high quality, as they where intended to be viewed. How cool is that? Eat that RIAA and Metallica I say!

Instead they only want to use this opportunity to sell their DVD’s and movies. A bloody good idea in my opinion. Thanks to that, we can now enjoy the French taunts in high def.
Superbe!

why youtube rocks… well, sort of

Have you noticed that every music video seems to be on Youtube these days? Now Youtube isn’t the most kick ass, neat looking and coolest video service out there, (that’s Vimeo)  but when it comes down to content, they seem to have it all

No matter what video clip you’re looking for, it’s probably there. Like this silly video they played on a local music station lately. It was a top 10 of the worst haircuts from the 80’s. Well, that makes sense doesn’t it. What the hell where those barbers thinking back then anyway? At the top position there was this song which I had heard before long ago (in the 80s probably). It had this guy that looked like he was related to the lead singer of that watered down rock band Tokyo Hotel. Yeah. Lots and lots of hair is what I’m talking about.

I didn’t catch the groups name, but I searched a lyrics phrase on Youtube and guess what? Of course it was on there. Shared it with my pals of course, and we laughed our ass off. Turns out there’s even a Manson cover of it. Funny.

I don’t get how they can host so many music video’s without getting RIAA on their asses though. I mean, seriously. Check out the amount of Metallica vids on there.

about licensing

Franz Patzig's CC eyesI was thinking about writing a post about licensing stuff online because I find that it would be just dandy if more people would publish their works under a more liberal license. My idea is that a lot of folks don’t do this this simply because they don’t even know about it, so their creations fall under the default full copyright clause.

Recently however another angle came up giving me another reason to write something about licensing. As you might have noticed I use pictures from other people in this blog published under a Creative Commons license. This allows me to use those sweet visuals without having to ask consent of the author for every pic, as long as I attribute him. I’m doing that by linking back to their Flickr site where the original is hosted. This is handy because I don’t have to email everyone and ask them if I can pretty-please use their picture in a blog post, and wait until they send me a reply back. That last bit can take a while because you can never tell when somebody will check their email, and find it in their heart to reply your request.

Sometimes however people haven’t taken a lot of consideration while slapping that CC license on their pictures. Afterwards it turns out that they don’t like the idea of their shots being used in some blog after all, and ask me to change it again. Since I’m a nice guy I have a habit of doing this. But once you’ve set your mind on using a certain visual for your post, it sucks having to remove it and find yourself another one.

So here’s a few things to consider when you’re putting any kind of content or art online:

  1. Whatever license you use, there’s a chance it will be violated. Some people won’t know they are violating it because of their ignorance. Others will but simply don’t give a toss. If you’re serious about your works not being used without permission, consider not publishing them online at all. I know this isn’t very encouraging, but this is a fact of cyberlife.
  2. Even working within the rules set in your chosen license, it’s possible your work will be used for something you don’t like. Let’s say you created a piece of kick ass music you’re proud of and you decide to put it online for others to enjoy freely. You choose a Creative Commons license that allows other to use it non-commercially as long as they attribute you. Someone looking for a soundtrack for his Youtube video on some extreme kind of radish fetish decides to use your beautifully crafted musical masterpiece, and attributes you as he should. You however are a radish-friend, and feel appalled as you find your music used in such a radish-unfriendly manner. Tough luck however. There was nothing in your CC license mentioning any kind of limitations concerning radish pornography.

So it’s good to ponder these above points, and see if this kind of permissive license is something you want to choose for your creative brain farts.
However, I’d suggest you look on the bright side of things and consider all the good things that can come from them as well. Or better, what’s the worst that can happen, and is it really that bad? It’s like Matt from the WordPress team said in his post about people doing unwanted things with his open source blogging software.

“Good people will do good things with it, and bad people will do bad things with it”.

Instead of looking at the bad ways your product is being used, you should concentrate on the good stuff, which is why you made it in the first place.
If you think about how many people that might benefit from your free or permissive license, and that those people might be doing creative things with it in ways you couldn’t even think of, then I guess it’s all worth it. If you want other people to benefit from your work, expand upon it, and perhaps take it to another level, by all means use a CC license and allow them to do so easily.

To close off, here’s another quote from the post by Matt:

“First you have to figure out who you’re fighting, who you’re trying to help, and if the price of freedom is something you’re willing to embrace”

about that riaa trial

When you pirate mp3s, you're downloading COMMUNISME!I was just reading about the first RIAA trial against Jammie Thomas for downloading pirated music. One of the things that’s pretty mind boggling about it is that the jury is composed out of people who hardly have any computer knowledge at all.

This is something that I’ve seen mentioned before in trials related to computer technology. Being it cyberstalking, websites with illegal content or file sharing. I don’t see how a jury without some, or even better, substantial knowledge of the internet and peer-to-peer networks can get an idea of what this case really is about. What’s worse is that the outcome of this trial will be a precedent for any future piracy trials. In one Belgian case there was a judge who stopped the trial (temporarily) because he couldn’t grasp what the experts called in to testify where talking about. He didn’t know Jack about computers and was going to speak a verdict on a website copyright infringement case. FTW!

In the RIAA case most of the folks on the jury (according to the Wired article) don’t even use the internet ffs. How the hell are they supposed to get a more complex idea of how file sharing works if they don’t even know the basics of surfing the web or sending an email?

Beats me.
A trial to keep an eye on for sure.