Category Archives: copyright

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.

DRM being dropped?

A nice set of white earbud headphones.I read some good news related to DRM and music releases on the internet last week.
Universal is going to start selling DRM-free music “as a test to see how it goes”. According to this Wired article this change of course is a move to try and take some power away from the mighty Apples iTunes online store.
Whatever it is, it’s good for the customer, and I’m hoping this is a staying trend.

Another Wired news post is claiming the same thing, and has some more details. It’s funny to see that they finally realised what a lot have been claiming before. That treating the customer like a criminal by putting DRM protection on what they buy from you is not a good idea.
Since they won’t be putting the tunes up on iTunes, Google’s new gBox is one of the services that they will be using to pimp their mp3s. It’s interesting to see Google join the battle, and I’m wondering if they will be able to kick ass like usual on this front as well. gBox will be offering be offering DRM-free and version with DRM at the same price. I don’t see why you’d buy the ones with DRM though.

But then again, it’s more likely I’ll go shopping at Warp’s Bleep.com though, which has been offering DRM-free 320kbps mp3s from the start. Oh, and the music is better over there too. Have a peek.

flickr now more secure… bugger

Yep, Flickr.com got a bit more “secure” recently, if you can call it that, and I have to say that I’m sorry to find out about it.

You see, flickr users posting their nifty pics could disallow surfers like myself from viewing the original photo and only allow the preview on the main photo page.
This makes sense of course, as some people in there are professional photographers who want to store their hi-res pictures on flickr but don’t want just any bozo (like me) to be able to rip and download their pictures for free. These guys have their property and income to protect right? The fun part however was that the protection was only half arsed. Yep, it’s was pretty easy to bypass, and you could nicely download the original if you knew the naming scheme flickr used for the original.

Now this has changed sadly enough. There’s no way you can get to the original, since the name now seems to be in no way related to the other resized versions, and well… that means I won’t be able to get those bitching backgrounds on my desktop anymore from the pros. It’s sad, yet understandable. *sigh*.

Luckily however, there are also more generous folks in there, shooting professional pictures and allowing them to be downloaded, or even better… share them under a CC license.
Bravo!” I’d say to those, and just because we like them so much, here are a hand picked examples of such great snips of those oh-so generous flickrites.



Pretty darn good stuff isn’ it? And if you click the pictures, you’ll get more eye pleasing goodness from the camera of the same photographers, and if you just can’t get enough… there’s always the Flickr CC search!

"De Morgen" ripping pics off Flickr

Copyright infringement warningThis is sad isn’t it. Turns out a major Belgian newspaper called De Morgen ripped some guys pictures about the Burning Man festival off his Flickr foto gallery without paying, or even contacting him.

This kind of stuff is extra sad because a newspaper should damn well be aware of things like copyright violations and such, and definitely be respecting the copyright of others, if they want their own rights to be respected as well.

They sure lost my respect, but I guess they wouldn’t care less about the little man, judging from what they where up to…

i'm being copied

By pure chance I came across this site sproutworks.com that seems to be containing a copy of my blog (actually, I was doing an ego search on Google, but I’d rather not mention that).

In fact it copies all blogger.com blogs in a so called Blogger Aggregator by fetching the atom.xml, and storing it in a database. I don’t really see the point, but hey, who am I to judge what people feel like writing in PHP these days.

When it comes to my blog there really isn’t much of a problem. It’s published under a Creative Commons license which allows copying, but I didn’t really see any attribution links or something like that in there, so I guess that’s something that needs to be added to be in line with the license. Problem is there might be other Blogger.com blogs that are copied which are published under more restrictive licenses… something worth looking into I guess.

So basically I’d like to see a link pointing to the original blogs in there, and also a bit of a layout change, cause those blue on blue hyperlinks I’m seeing… that’s just hard on the eyes imho.

Funny thing is, this post will also appear on the site itself, so maybe I can do the attribution thing myself, by simply linking to my own blog right here. According to a post on the site itself, this should be in there in about 10 minutes… lets find out!