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A Fair(y) Use Tale

Last post 11-05-2007, 1:08 PM by Resurrected. 18 replies.
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  •  10-17-2007, 9:52 AM 30174 in reply to 29777

    Re: A Fair(y) Use Tale

    inmanagingeditor:
    I don't want to sound like i am CC-bashing here at all; i'm definitely not.  I think the CC is an absolutely fascinating and exciting development in copyleft culture, but i don't think it has all the answers.  It's a wonderful start, and seems damn effective at the grassroots level.  But i also find it interesting that, after a handful of years intensively pushing the CC agenda forward, it still hasn't made the sort of cultural impact that, say, Radiohead's new album has.  Of course, the candle of revolution must burn at both ends, so maybe that's what we are starting to see here.

    I feel like i have much more to say, and haven't done the topic justice at all, but i guess these will have to pass as my preliminary thoughts on the subject.  Perhaps there will be more, as it comes to me ^_^

    Arthur/adastra says:

    The Radiohead phenomenon you mention (as well as even more radical moves by others, e.g. see my previous post on Jane Siberry) I see as part of a widespread evolutionary process of which CC is one of the more organized aspects.  The actions of artists such as Jane Siberry or the much more well-known Radiohead - or the indie bands who are coming to wider attention by doing an end-run around the music industry -  help to create momentum for change and criticize by creating.   But it seems to me that CC or something like it will be needed in order for society to collectively move forward into a better way of doing things (and one that better matches the current technological infrastructure.) 


    Strayform sounds like an interesting and innovative project.  From the Creative Commons website:

    Featured Commoner: Strayform

    Cameron Parkins, October 15th, 2007

    Continuing with our Featured Commoner revival, we are pleased to present an interview with Brandt Cannici, founder of Strayform, a “creation network” that uniquely helps artists fund their works by utilizing Creative Commons licensing.

    image.jpeg

    1. What’s Strayform all about? What’s its history? How did it come about? Who’s involved?

    Strayform is a new model for digital content. With the internet, distribution of digital goods is practically free; the true value is in their creation. Strayform allows people to pay for creation and lets distribution happen naturally and without restriction. Furthermore when you cut out middlemen who act as distributors, something amazing happens. Creators and consumers can now interact naturally as partners. No longer are you a passive recipient of a CD or film. With Strayform, you helped fund it, you watched it grow, you worked with the creator, you had input and could affect the final product. I believe because of this interaction the future will be full of all sorts of creative media projects that are not even imagined today.

    I am the founder and I got the idea while working in Japan. My sister and I used to argue about piracy. She claimed that it hurts the artists while I said every dollar you pay to the big distributors is used to force artists into unfair contracts. About that time my friend’s band signed a multi-million dollar deal with EMI. But EMI sat on the contract and my friend went bankrupt. So I came up with an idea that cuts out the distributor, lets artists get paid more, and lets consumer use and file-share freely. I moved back to Texas and made the product, afterward moving to San Francisco to launch. In comparison to our competitors we are a tiny, boot-strapped team - a couple of guys in a coffee shop eating ramen to stay afloat. However, the site is quite sophisticated in what it does.
    Read More…


    spiral out,
    arthur




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  •  11-04-2007, 8:25 PM 31277 in reply to 30174

    Re: A Fair(y) Use Tale

    Arthur/adastra says:
    ...meanwhile, in another part of the kosmos...

    Great news from Boing Boing:

    Rucker's Postsingular is a free, CC download!

    Rudy Rucker has posted his kick-ass, weird-ass post-cyberpunk novel Postsingular to the net as a free, Creative Commons-licensed download. I reviewed Postsingular when it came out earlier this month:
    In Postsingular, a mad scientist creates a race of nants -- nanites -- that digest the planet and turn it into a computational simulation of Earth, called Vearth. However, an autistic child memorizes a long string of numbers that poisons the nants and causes them to reverse themselves (luckily, they're engaged in reversible computation) and put the planet back. That's the setup.

    Some time later, another race of benign nanos are released on the earth, the Orphids. Orphids are mezzoscale computers that organize themselves into an intelligent global network, tapping into every human brain and giving people access to outboard cognition facilities, so that anyone can drop out, tune in, and become hyperintelligent. The orphidnetters are haunted by spooks from a parallel dimension, who seek to prevent them from using the smarts of the orphidnet to develop interdimensional travel.

    This is one of the most fun, strangest, most thought-provoking sf novels I've read, and it's fantastic to have it show up on the net, ready to be copied and shared. Link

    ~~~

    Whoo-hoo!  This Creative Commons thing is really catching on.  Rudy Rucker is one of my favorite writers, too - I love his brand of zany mindbending weirdness. :)

    spiral out,
    arthur


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  •  11-05-2007, 10:35 AM 31317 in reply to 31277

    Re: A Fair(y) Use Tale

    Hi all,

     

    This is an interesting topic, one whose time has most definitely come.  To my mind, it ties into much larger cultural and evolutionary issues that, well… I think are being addressed and progressing towards an integral mode in a subtle kind of way, while on the surface it’s just business as usual.  I guess that’s my way of summing up what you guys have been saying.  The thing Radiohead did (and other artists have done in similar ways) with their new CD is fantastic, in my opinion.  It’s an indication that people are sick of all the bullshit in the music industry, and bullshit concerning copyright law and intellectual property rights in general.  And that, in my opinion, signifies a move towards change.  “Yes,” I can hear you saying, “duh, that is what we’re talking about here,” and I know this, but my view on this is that the impetus to change is the important part, and that impetus is already gathering momentum; what forms the changes will take is almost inevitable, to be determined largely by the need for change itself, if that makes any sense.  In any case, it will be handled by more industry-savvy heads than mine, and I’m content with that.  For now.

     

    That said, I have a couple of things I want to address regarding the whole copyright thing.  First, as far as downloading (stealing) music goes, I admit it, I download (steal) music sometimes, but I don’t think I’m hurting any of the artists, and here is why: if it is music I’ve never heard, and I like it, there’s a very good chance I will go out and buy it.  If, on the other hand, I hear a good song on the radio and am thinking about buying it, I’ll see if I can download other tracks to see what I’ll be getting for my money.  If the non-radio tracks are garbage, I don’t buy the CD.  As I see it, songs on the radio are a lot like today’s elaborate movie previews: they’re polished and exciting, but the movie itself never quite delivers on the promise. So in that sense, file-sharing is a kind of defense against the music industry’s radio propaganda. 

     

    I also occasionally download music for nostalgia purposes.  Iron Maiden, for example.  I used to be a huge Iron Maiden fan as a teenager.  Now, I like to hear some of their old stuff occasionally, but I’m not into their new stuff at all.  But in the past, I had bought all their music, so in the present, I don’t feel like I’m ripping them off by downloading a few of their old songs.  I don’t say this to justify all music file-sharing, just to point out that it has (in my opinion) legitimate uses.

     

    Next, we all know how fucked up the record industry is, in terms of producing new music.  The real music-makers, as far as mainstream goes, are the producers.  They teach the artists how to make music that sells rather than music that is good, and the producer makes the final decisions (with a few exceptions—Tool, for example) about what goes on the album and what doesn’t.  It’s all about the almighty dollar.  And that’s really what drives all this, right?  It’s why Disney wants to keep Mickey Mouse out of the public domain, and it’s why artists like Metallica sue file-sharing networks like Napster—even though Metallica had otherwise shown seemingly impeccable integrity as regards the music industry and the whole idea of “selling out.”  Disney not only wants to continue to make money from the Mickey Mouse icon, they also want to reserve the right to sue the pants off of anyone who might sully the Mickey Mouse image, and by extension the Disney image, thereby possibly hurting sales.

     

    The point I’m getting at with this is that the basic underlying problem here, as with so many other things—most things, if you want my honest opinion—is greed, that general and enduring American acquisitiveness that keeps things unequal, and keeps our culture generally shallow and fake.  Let them eat cake, right?  Everyone needs to make money to survive in the so-called ‘developed’ world, and so struggling artists need every dime they can get from their music, just as all of us who don’t get to do what we love for a living and instead settle for ‘having a job’ strive to make as much money as possible without selling our souls to get it.  So we’re kind of stuck in a vicious circle; we need money to survive, but I think the culture we’re experiencing right now is the result of that.  In other words, what we put our collective energy into determines our experience.  Money is just a marker, a ticket, a transitory note held in the stead of goods and services.  But if only it remained so!  Instead, it makes the artificial amassing of wealth possible, and from there we have… the ten-million problems that overshadow the ten-thousand things, and leaves a holistic, earth-bound Zen buried beneath piles of gold.

     

    For what it's worth...

     

     

    K

     

     

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  •  11-05-2007, 1:08 PM 31325 in reply to 23062

    Re: A Fair(y) Use Tale

    I usually make myself wait a bit before replying to something I have an opinion on, mostly because I'll have something a little more concrete and realistic to say.  My knee-jerk reactions to things usually tend to be idealistic and abstract, and therefore while they may be a little entertaining and occasionally thought-provoking, they are otherwise not all that useful =P

    In this particular case, it's more than just greed, as I said in my previous post.  I mean, I think the concept is valid, but short of changing people from the inside out right now (ha!), we need a few safeguards in place so that we're not all forced to be as vain and greedy as the culture we live in just so we can survive as authentic human beings.

    I think the direct-to-the-public approach will probably have a lot to do with how things go in the near future.  Just the simple fact that it is possible to distribute music yourself via download gives new acts an outlet for their music, and gives established bands a bit of leverage with the big distributors.

    Corey, I think you make a good point when you say that anything "new" draws upon the culture from which it arises, and so in a sense owes its existence to what came before--as you say, we are standing (hopefully not shitting) on the shoulders of giants.  So for a time we own the publishing rights to what we create, and then it becomes public property, with a few caveats.  I think it should be a right in perpetuity, even after it enters public domain, to decide if your artistic creation can be used to hock some new soft drink or promote Nike.  I also don't think it unreasonable that copyrighted material doesn't enter public domain until well after the death of the artist, at least in some cases (I used to know a bit about copyright law, but I never used the info, so my memory of it is a bit fuzzy).

    To put all that together with the conceptual approach I took earlier: if, by publishing and distributing via download or other means that does not include middlemen, artists can retain ALL rights to their intellectual property, we would all be free to be as reasonable about it as we like without having to let some mega-distributor hijack the art and... and do all the greedy crap we've been talking about here.

    But it's more complicated than that, unfortunately.  The Beatles signed away their publishing rights for tax reasons, of all things, and now have to stand back and watch their own music get commercially exploited.  Granted, they are cashing checks from that exploitation, but if it were me I would rather maintain the integrity of my art.

    It's kind of a ridiculous world we live in.  Every time I try to get a handle on how to solve one issue, I find threads that tie into other tapestries that ultimately all tie together into one picture, and eventually I come back 'round to the same conclusions.  I guess that's why I tend to look at things abstractly, because as far as I can see, all our problems tie into the same basic overarching problems, and until we solve those as a culture, as a planet, all we're doing is rearranging the same old game.

    But maybe that's a bit pessimistic.  Maybe if we can institute the right systems, people will gradually come around.  Yeah.

    Forgive me if I remain skeptical...

    Peaces,

     

    K

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