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Saturday, January 08, 2005

Commieleft Distribution?

Boing Boing reports
: "In an interview on, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates described free culture advocates as a "modern-day sort of communists."

In response, some insouciant netheads immediately created "copyleft" logos reminiscent of communist flags, giving a symbolic finger to efforts to thwart new models of free, paid and alternative distribution of creative product.

Also read: We're Creative Commonists, Bill on Wired news.

Copyleft is an actual intellectual property model defined by wikipedia here, which allows wider use and modification of original work while still keeping the owner, who chooses to voluntarily participate in the program, in the loop. This experiment in distribution is promulgated by Creative Commons. Creative Commons, a non profit internet campaign, offers a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors and artists. They expand upon the "all rights reserved" of traditional copyright to create a voluntary "some rights reserved" copyright. All of their tools are free.

If corporate copyright holders don't take notice and learn, they'll suffer a worse fate than that which they're currently and uselessly fighting.

The Copyleft and Creative Commons models of intellectual property protection offer flexibility in distribution and copying while retaining the creater's ownership. This is a vitally necessary consumer-driven intermediate methodology that takes the internet into account. Science Commons, due to launch early this year, extends this philosophy to science. I look forward to similar developments in technology. The Open Source movement (where developers freely share code and modifications) is enormous progress in this direction.
The basic idea behind open source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing.
Corporate copyright and patent holders are bucking the tide by imposing technological restrictions and launching legal actions against file trading on the internet instead of coming up with creative solutions for working with these irrepressable trends.

Entertainment corporations are suing internet file traders and now consumers are suing back. This can't be healthy for business, unless you're a patent or copyright attorney.

Created in response to free music trading, the Apple iTunes store sells music tracks online for 99 cents and lets the buyer burn them onto CDs but they are in a propietary format that can only be played on an Apple iPod. A user is now challenging Apple's right to limit what player music purchased on the internet can be heard on.

An iTunes user is suing Apple under US anti-trust laws for locking non-iPod players out of playing back iTunes music.

"Apple has turned an open and interactive standard into an artifice that prevents consumers from using the portable hard drive digital music player of their choice," the lawsuit states...

"Apple has unlawfully bundled, tied, and/or leveraged its monopoly in the market for the sale of legal online digital music recordings to thwart competition in the separate market for portable hard drive digital music players, and vice-versa," the lawsuit said.

[The plaintiff] called himself an iTunes customer who "was also forced to purchase an Apple iPod" if he wanted to take his music with him to listen to.

more here
Copyright protection has escalated into a technology and legal war which consumers and netizens will eventually "win," due to the simple fact that law lags behind technology.

Popular culture only thrives when there is a strong sense of mutual adventure between artist, art and spectator. Using technology and law to restrict the flow of information and entertainment basically throttles the fluid interaction between art and society by pitting media and fans against each other. This will inevitably erode the passion and loyalty that create a market for the arts.

When I was a teeniebopper, a friend took me to radio station WMGM and introduced me to Peter Tripp, a popular rock and roll radio DJ in New York. He was the first person I ever met in the music business. While he was playing records, he told me that he thought the music business was going to die in its boots because personal tape recorders had recently gotten so inexpensive. That was in the late fifties. The music business had it's greatest growth over the following decades.

DVD players sold in America and Europe are region-coded and will only play DVDs coded for the region in which they're purchased. Here in Asia, they manufacture the players to play any region code and the pirate DVDs are usually code-free.

I doubt customers will put up with VCPS, now being touted at the Consumer Electronics Show. It's a copy protection scheme for digital video that limits copying and foils internet distribution. DVD players sold after July 1, 2005, by FCC regulation, must recognize the copy protection flag. It requires new equipment to play any DVD so encoded. It doesn't take too bright a bulb to predict that someone will just come up with a way to break it (probably the Chinese). When customers need to spend time investigating or circumventing strategies to enjoy the entertainment they acquire, they're just going to find other means of recreation and that's what will injure business, not the extensibility of distribution.

// posted by Ellen @  13:07   //Permalink// 
Ellen says hey
Mainer, New Yawka, Beijinger, Californian, points between. News, views and ballyhoos that piqued my interest and caused me to sigh, cry, chuckle, groan or throw something.

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