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Archive for the 'Digital Rights' category

How sharing works: The Amen Break

Note:  I pulled this up from the archives today when I read this.

Can I Get An Amen?, 2004
recording on acetate, turntable, PA system, paper documents
dimensions variable
total run time 17 minutes, 46 seconds

By Nate Harrison

Can I Get An Amen? is an audio installation that unfolds a critical perspective of perhaps the most sampled drum beat in the history of recorded music, the Amen Break. It begins with the pop track Amen Brother by 60′s soul band The Winstons, and traces the transformation of their drum solo from its original context as part of a ‘B’ side vinyl single into its use as a key aural ingredient in contemporary cultural expression. The work attempts to bring into scrutiny the techno-utopian notion that ‘information wants to be free’- it questions its effectiveness as a democratizing agent. This as well as other issues are foregrounded through a history of the Amen Break and its peculiar relationship to current copyright law.

This is why this blog talks about music, DRM and copyright control. If you have 20 minutes, check it out. Especially the Judge Alex Kozinski quote at the end.

“Overprotecting intellectual property is as harmful as underprotecting it. Culture is impossible without a rich public domain. Nothing today, likely nothing since we tamed fire, is genuinely new: Culture, like science and technology, grows by accretion, each new creator building on the works of those who came before. Overprotection stifles the very creative forces it’s supposed to nurture.”

* Dissenting in the White v. Samsung Elec. Am., Inc., 989 F.2d 1512 (9th Cir. 1993) ruling.


Lessig schools Colbert on remixing

Lawrence Lessig recently appeared on The Colbert Report to explain the ideas in his new book, Remix.

Update: Ha!  Viacom took down the YouTube link.

I should have linked directly to Comedy Central, I guess.


Internet Archive defeats ‘National Security Letter,’ Makes it public

FBI Targets Internet Archive With Secret ‘National Security Letter’, Loses | Threat Level from Wired.com

The Internet Archive, a project to create a digital library of the web for posterity, successfully fought a secret government Patriot Act order for records about one of its patrons and won the right to make the order public, civil liberties groups announced Wednesday morning.

On November 26, 2007, the FBI served a controversial National Security Letter .pdf on the Internet Archive’s founder Brewster Kahle, asking for records about one of the library’s registered users, asking for the user’s name, address and activity on the site.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Internet Archive’s lawyers, fought the NSL, challenging its constitutionality in a December 14 complaint .pdf to a federal court in San Francisco. The FBI agreed on April 21 to withdraw the letter and unseal the court case, making some of the documents available to the public.


CCIA Asks House To Oppose Telecom Immunity

CCIA Asks House To Oppose Telecom Immunity

Washington, D.C. — The Computer & Communications Industry Association sent a letter to House members Friday asking them not to support retroactive immunity for major telecommunications companies as part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act legislation.

Click here to see the letter[PDF]

For some background on this story, and what telecom immunity for warrentless wiretapping has to do with national security, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has a good rundown here.


Strike One Against Microsoft

Red Hat News | Strike One Against Microsoft

by Michael Cunningham, Executive Vice President & General Counsel

Strike One!

In our last blog posted on February 21, I proposed three test pitches for Microsoft to help judge the meaningfulness of its latest efforts to turn over a new leaf on interoperability. The first of these was to embrace the extant, multi-vendor ISO standard, ODF (Open Document Format) in lieu of its single vendor dominated efforts to create a new standard, OOXML (Office Open XML).

The first pitch was thrown in Geneva last week at the ISO ballot resolution meetings on OOXML. And we can safely say: strike one! There was no renouncement of the OOXML standard by Microsoft. Instead, every indication was business as usual.

By the way, you have to seriously wonder about those Geneva meetings. According to reports I’ve received about the meetings (which were closed but reportedly audio recorded), only a disturbing 25 or so of the approximately 1,000 substantive comments that were scheduled to be acted upon were actually discussed. As for the remainder of the comments, it appears that, in order to complete the agenda, a decision was made to vote on all of the remaining, undiscussed comments in a single vote.

Read the rest.


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