Tag Archives: copyright

This quote is why I do Open Source

This quote – I don’t know how I originally found it – is one of the reasons why I got into Open Source. I remember, several years ago, printing it out and putting it above my bed so I would always have this reminder of why a good person does what he/she/xe does.

"Before our white brothers came to civilize us, we had no jails. You can't have criminals without a jail. We had no locks or keys, and so we had no thieves. If a man was so poor he had no horse, tipi, or blanket, someone gave him these things. We were too uncivilized to set much value on personal belongings. We wanted to have things only in order to give them way. We had no money, and therefore a man's worth couldn't be measured by it. We had no written law, no attorneys or politicians, therefore we couldn't cheat. We really were in a bad way before the white men came, and I don't know how we managed to get along without THESE BASIC THINGS" -Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions
“Before our white brothers came to civilize us, we had no jails. You can’t have criminals without a jail. We had no locks or keys, and so we had no thieves. If a man was so poor he had no horse, tipi, or blanket, someone gave him these things. We were too uncivilized to set much value on personal belongings. We wanted to have things only in order to give them way. We had no money, and therefore a man’s worth couldn’t be measured by it. We had no written law, no attorneys or politicians, therefore we couldn’t cheat. We really were in a bad way before the white men came, and I don’t know how we managed to get along without THESE BASIC THINGS” -Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions

Libraries like The Pirate Bay are useful

So I’m big into dragons. Really love them. It’s why I use this dragon icon everywhere.

I’m also into movies. One of my favorite movies is 1996’s Dragonheart. It had a well-written story, great acting, and a CGI dragon so realistic that this 20-year-old movie could easily compete with modern movies, visually speaking.

Dragonheart 3 got released earlier this year. I was vaguely aware of there being a Dragonheart 2, but never heard anything about 3 until I happened to do a search for it on IMDb just to see if anything would come up.

I am considering buying all 3 movies. I have #1 on a letterboxed DVD; I would prefer it in high-definition widescreen. I torrented 2 and 3 a few nights ago to see if they’re worth buying.

IMDb currently has the following ratings for these movies:

Movie Rating
Dragonheart 1 6.4
Dragonheart 2: A New Beginning 4.5
Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse 5.1

So none of these movies are that great. Fine. I’ve already set my heart on re-buying the best of the 3. I figured if I watch the worst one and like it, then I’ll get all of them. On the other hand if I don’t like A New Beginning, I should still give the latest movie a try.

so I watched A New Beginning this morning… and I loved it. Granted, it didn’t live up to the quality of the original, but then sequels rarely do. Plus the original had Sean Connery.

I’ve probably mentioned before how I think of The Pirate Bay as like one giant library. I am not exaggerating when I say that I think they are the best, largest library on Earth. You can check out movies and books and other things for free and never have to return them, though you are asked to seed the torrents which I guess is a bit like returning stuff in that it enables others to then check them out. My point is, without this massive free library at my disposal – had I been forced to rely on reviews and ratings – I would have passed these sequels by, never giving them a second thought.

IMDb movie ratings are useful to me as a quick-and-dirty way to judge a movie without wasting my time and money watching it. I find that the ratings fall into these general categories:

  • 8.0-10.0: Buy it. Sell your house if you have to.
  • 7.0-8.0: “So good it’s bad”. The movie is truly great, but it’s just got so many little problems – so many things that you think could have been done better – that it actually loses some entertainment value because you just keep concentrating on how it should have been made.
  • 6.0-7.0: Good movies. Definitely worth buying, provided they’re not too expensive.
  • 5.0-6.0: Probably worth spending a little money on (like $5 or so), but try before you buy.
  • 4.0-5.0: Probably not worth spending money on, but I’ll give these films a chance if I can do it for free.
  • 3.0-4.0: “So bad it’s good” territory here. These movies may actually be worse than those in the 1-3 range, but they are so inadvertently laughable that they gain some entertainment value. “The Room” would fit in this category in my opinion.
  • 1.0-3.0: Bottom of the barrel. Avoid these movies. Pretend they don’t exist.

Looking for a cheap & hackable phablet

so my Kindle Fire tablet died a few days ago. Completely dead. Once it died I tore it apart to see if it had an SD card inside which might have private data (it didn’t have a card). Now I’m looking for a smartphone or tablet to replace it.

  • Must be cheap. Like $20 cheap. All I ever used the KF for was listening to podcasts and occasionally checking email, both of which I can easily do with my laptop. I carry my laptop everywhere anyway; the only benefit to using a separate device was that I could use it without having to pause whatever game I happened to be playing on my laptop. I like to game while listening to podcasts.
  • Should be a phone, does not have to be. I have a cameraphone which works well enough, but I do like the idea of having one device that does everything. I sometimes wonder why bigger computers don’t have phone capabilities. I mean, it used to be common to see physically large phones sitting on a person’s desk right next to their physically large desktop computer. Computers even used to have modems, by which phone functionality could be integrated into these general-purpose computers. I want cell phone abilities in my laptop: the ability to make and receive calls (all laptops now have speakers and microphones) and to type SMS text messages on a real keyboard (ok, I know you can do that: you can send them as emails, but you’ve got to know which carrier originally issued the phone number. E.g., my phone number was originally issued by AT&T, so if you wanted to email my phone you would send the message to [phone number]@txt.att.net even though I’m now a Consumer Cellular customer. My point is this functionality should be built-in and should require as little guesswork/research as it does when using a phone.)
  • Must be hackable. I believe in the concept of property and the first sale doctrine. When I buy something, I want it to be mine. Not Apple’s, Microsoft’s, or Motorola’s. I want to be able to install F-Droid and CyanogenMod and Clapdroid and anything else, without having to seek the approval of some company convinced that they own my legally bought and paid for device.

The Future Of “Books”

This was written as an assignment for one of my art classes.

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“Are large publishing houses affected by advancements in technology? How?”

Yes, definitely. Publishing houses exist as a result of technology; they are most certainly dependent upon it. First came ink, paper, and writing. Then came the printing press and movable type. Now we have computers, personal printers, email, et cetera. The publishing process has gotten unimaginably faster, cheaper, and more efficient thanks to technology. It is even beginning to transcend the limitations of print: ebooks now can embed videos, play music, even enable interaction between readers in different places.

The big challenge facing big publishers is that we are entering an era of plenty, at least regarding books. By plenty I mean that the cost of reproducing a book is so low as to approach zero. Where once big publishers were needed because only they could afford to buy a printing press, now anybody with a computer and (depending on your definition of ‘book’) a printer and/or an Internet connection can do the same thing. The only reason I don’t download a free (as in freedom – i.e. public domain or Creative Commons licensed) book from something like Project Gutenberg and print and bind it myself is my own laziness: the printing would not be worth the trouble. I have looked up various methods of binding books, and it seems easy to do, it’s just that I’d rather waste my time playing video games than making something that I can keep on my bookshelf and enjoy long after I’ve lost interest in whatever games I’m currently playing. That sounds messed up, but it’s true: Video games, which take ~10 hours to complete and then completely lose my interest, somehow seem more worthwhile to me than a book which I might read over and over again.
Continue reading The Future Of “Books”

Posted to YouTube, flagged for copyright violation

So I’ve finally finished work on ‘The Raven’, the short film I’ve been working on. I posted it to YouTube yesterday and the Internet Archive today. The YouTube copy has already been flagged by a bot for copyright violation.

Specifically, it’s about the music. I used a public domain recording (downloaded from MusOpen.org, which “requires all users who upload music to the site to represent that the uploaded musical composition and/or the sound recording is in the public domain“) of what I believe to be a public domain composition (Night on Bald Mountain). NoBM has had a complicated history, with multiple arrangements made by different people. Wikipedia says there were some arrangements made by Leopold Stokowski which might still be copyrighted because they are from 1940 and later, but says “The Stokowski arrangements are only rarely heard today, Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestration being the concert favorite, and the one most often programmed.”. The same article says that the Rimsky-Korsakov arrangement was “completed in 1886, and was published in the same year…”, which would make it ineligible for copyright protection here in the United States. I therefore believe that the music used in my film is entirely free from copyright, and therefore I have the right to use it as I wish. Continue reading Posted to YouTube, flagged for copyright violation

Can the music industry be sued for copyright infringement?

Kind of a short blog entry this time. I was trying to download Sita Sings the Blues last night. For those who don’t know, Sita Sings the Blues is an animated movie retelling the Ramayana. It is a full-length movie, and it has been released freely (as in price and as in freedom) under a share-alike (a.k.a. copyleft) copyright license. “You are not free to copy-restrict (“copyright”) or attach Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) to Sita Sings the Blues or its derivative works.“. The problem was that I was attempting to download it via BitTorrent, and the two torrents I tried both relied on The Pirate Bay‘s tracker, which is currently inaccessible – any DNS requests for tracker.thepiratebay.org return the incorrect IP address 127.0.0.1. I’d bet that this inaccessibility is related to this ongoing legal action against TPB. If that is so, can it be said that the IFPI and Universal Music are in fact violating copyright themselves by interfering with the legal distribution of a copyrighted movie? I think it can.

Freedom denied. Memories lost.

I saw a couple of plays recently. Play number 1 was free, as in freedom and as in price, though they did sell T-shirts to help cover the costs of production. The play was even performed in an open space, a park. I had a digital camera with me (still photos, not videos this time) and was allowed to take all the pictures I wanted. The reason I was there was that a friend of mine was manning the sales booth and he had invited me to join him.

The other play was not free, in either sense of the word. It cost money to attend. I don’t mind paying, but I prefer to pay for things that are free as in freedom. I tried to bring a camcorder into the building but was asked to put it away because to use my camcorder would be a copyright violation. The reason I attended this play is because my brother was in it.

Play number 1 is a major part of our cultural heritage, about as large a part as a play can be. Play number 2 barely even registers on our cultural radar.

It seems to me that both of these performances were derivative works in the copyright sense. No two performances are alike, and no performance can be exactly what the original author imagined when he or she wrote the play. Both performance groups therefore owned the copyrights to their respective performances. Group number 1 gave me the same freedom that they themselves had: to create derivative works. Group number 2 felt constrained by copyright law; they literally told me that they did not have a choice when telling me what I could not do. How can they not have control over something to which they own the copyrights? Did they not have permission to perform this play in the first place? I’m sure they did.

Play number 2 was a musical, “A Year with Frog and Toad” by Robert and Willie Reale. I respect their desire to make money off of their work, but all I wanted to do was to make a family video of my brother and some friends doing something they like to do. My brother played his role very well (I swear he’s the next Johnny Depp!) and I wish we could see that performance again years from now, in the form of a home video.

Play number 1 was William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth“.

What memories have you lost to copyright?

(edit: deleted a couple of illustrative images from this post. They got accidentally lost while moving servers and weren’t worth restoring)