MikeNF on 01/02/2012 at 12:12AM
Duke's Center for the Study of the Public Domain (a mouthful) has a great post about what would have entered into the public domain had it not been for the 1976 Copyright Act.
Considering recent cases like Eldred v. Ashcroft, it doesn't seem like this kind of behavior is going to end soon. You can probably expect Congress to continue retroactively extending copyright whenever it looks like the public might get a chance at owning Rebel Without a Cause. The infinite copyright installment plan was effectively endorsed by the Supreme Court in Eldred.
These sanctioned retroactive extensions cause two injuries. First, most obvious, is that most items after about 1923 will likely never enter the public domain.
Second, less obvious, and far more injurious is that our view of the public domain will be permanently and irreperably altered by these extensions. Perpetual copyright will be, if it has not already, the de facto frame of reference -- e.g. the presumption becomes that Mickey Mouse is an inalienable property of the Disney Corporation, and not a pragmatic monopoly, that will eventually expire, granted to Disney by the public. The public domain stops changing, stops growing at a steady rate, and becomes a static quantity. People will treat the public domain as such, and stop expecting ownership of cultural works. The setbacks to modern art done by private ownership of media has been well documented here and otherwise. Continued extensions of copyrights could effectively suppress outrage over the destruction of the public domain by inuring us to its erosion.
So that's why this counterfactual is so valuable. It protects us from the second danger by showing what could be gained without these laws and what is lost by our continued support (or at least tolerance) of them.
Imagine Lolita in the public domain. Lady and the Tramp. Rebel Without a Cause. Mickey Mouse. They feel like current works of art and parts of our culture, not artifacts (however valuable) like Les Misérables or Plato's Republic. These could be all of ours right now, free to use, share, edit, remix, literally property of the public and society. Keeping this reality in the public's minds creates an intellectual connection that makes the pragmatic limited-time copyright bargain much more tangible. Instead, we deal with what copyright has become--a tool, based on spurious moral property rights, to squeeze as much profit possible from valuable works, for eternity. Or at least as long as it is legal to continue doing so.
MikeNF on 07/27/2010 at 11:10AM
MikeNF on 09/18/2009 at 02:29PM
If you've ever listened to Noah Zark's Coffee Break for Heroes and Villians, or his Coffee 2 Go podcast, you're already more than familiar with Custodian of Records. He's been a regular on both, and never disappoints.
If you haven't listened to either of those shows, you should. C.O.R. is a severely underrated hip-hop producer from New Jersey. His blog regularly features some great mixes and music coming out of Jersey that would otherwise be missed. He comes off of Domination Recordings, who have consistently brought music I love to this website.
Needless to say I was excited to see his recent album's instrumentals show up (in full!) on the site, as well as his 20 minute lo bit beat tape. She Hate Me has kept me sane during midterms week, but there are too many good songs in those 25 tracks to just pick one. So just check out the whole thing.
I've put the lo bit beat tape at the bottom of this entry where you can, and need to, give it a good long listen. Using recuts from "I used to love H.E.R." and an ocarina loop I swear I heard in Zelda (and, well, a mess of other things), C.O.R. displays his wide range in a too short tape.
MikeNF on 06/10/2009 at 12:09PM
Have you ever wanted to build a 3d printer for rapid prototyping at home, but just didn't know how? Have you ever felt the urge to study college level physics in your leisure time? Thanks to Creative Commons and the GNU GPL, now you can.
The Open Architecture Network has well documented plans and processes for a wide variety of buildings, along with some online challenges. The Open Archaeology Collection is maintained by UC Berkeley, and outlines the entire field of study including projects and research. They even borrow some materials from MIT's Open Courseware site, which has basic materials for almost any subject you're interested in.
SciDev.net is a website providing science news from everywhere, all provided under a CC license. The Creative Commons organization has highlighted a group of African Sleeping Sickness researchers who have developed a cheap, easily distributable way to test for the disease, and they have published their findings under a CC licnese as well.
Some Rights Reserved is a website providing blueprints for DIY home projects, and it takes a different approach to open licensing. Some of the offerings cost £2-£5, and some are free. Free Culture a book on creativity and technology development by the one and only Lawrence Lessig is available here, as well as some product development and trend tracking software, but the coolest thing by far is the RepRap by Adrian Bowyer, freely available GNU GPL plans for a DIY three dimensional printer.
I'd like to dedicate this song to everyone who finds these things as exciting as I do.
MikeNF on 06/03/2009 at 09:23AM
SmooVth Dude and Hus Tha KingPin are Tha Connection, and they've released Universal Dominance, one of the best free hip-hop albums I've heard. The default sound is laid back, jazzy hip-hop, but they've got a team of producers providing enough variety (and bass) to keep your head moving. Twelvebit, Ialone, Max I Million, AGQ, Sci-Fi, Vans Cal, DJ Kryptonite, Elaquent and Darkitect all had their hands on different tracks but have managed to put together a coherent sound. Tha Connection did an interview at Wake Your Daughter Up if you want to know more about Universal Dominance or what the producers are doing.
The album comes to us from Domination Recordings, who have provided the FMA with a mess of excellent hip-hop. Another great Dominance artist, BIG TreaL, has given us a serious 9-track EP called The Stimulus Package. The music is slow and powerful, with a focus on vocals. TreaL has written and produced all of his songs and brings a poli-sci degree to his songs, "Blockin ya on Blessings" and "Fred G Sanford" are some favorites.
Breez Evahflowin, The Good People, Shorty Raw, Majik Most, and Laws are all on Dominance Recordings as well, and they all have songs up for download. I tried to come up with some highlights, but everything they've put up deserves your attention.
MikeNF on 04/15/2009 at 04:45PM
In awesome creative commons news, the BBC has come out with a new web show called R&DTV, made specifically to be remixed, rechopped, and reused. The show is, in their own words, "a monthly technology programme made up of interviews from knowledgeable BBC developers, BBC project experts and experts from around the world." and they've gone out of their way to promote the CC license while they're at it. The show is available in just about any format you could want (Ogg Theora, flash, quicktime, .avi, .mkv, .mp4), as an rss feed from their ftp site. , and on youtube. Serious brownie points for Ogg Theora.
The show's website above has a lot more info, but the first episode features Kevin Rose (from digg, for those new to the internet) and Nicholas Negroponte (founder of OLPC). The cinematrogophy is pretty tight, and there are plenty of soundbites and video sequences to be mined for fun, the segment on surround video is particularly good. Even if it's not exactly as rich a resource as, let's say, The Colbert Report, it's still a pretty fantastic precedent. The effort is impressive, especially for a pilot episode, and I cannot wait to see what they put into #2.
The BBC departments behind the project are RAD (rapid application development) and BBC Backstage, both of which merit some exploration (that means you should click to read more).
MikeNF on 04/15/2009 at 04:10PM
Wikipedia is moving from GFDL to CC-by-sa. GFDL has been the wikipedia standard, but presents some issues for sharing, republishing and a few other things people have been wanting to do with wikipedia. To bypass having every wikipedia contributor ever re-licensing their contributions, the GFDL has been modified slightly, and only briefly, to allow for the switch. Let's hope the wiki-mafia can get it together before we forever lose the ability to share alike and republish in-depth Frankenstein plot summaries or previously unknown facts about Jesse Helms' death.
Another slightly more serious resource, OpenSecrets.org, is also moving to CC-nc-sa. They've been aggregating and releasing financial data on US politics for a while, and beyond the move to CC have released an API and the bulk of their information via CSV.
Lastly, while we finally have a government positively disposed toward net neutrality, Time Warner Cable and a few other telecoms aren't exactly on board. It's sticky legally, but my roadrunner service has been so spotty I don't know if a bandwidth cap would affect me anyway. It would definitely make some of the more media heavy sites (this one.) a lot less functional, which I suspect isn't exactly an issue for the providers.
Have some music I like while I write a real blog post.