Strange bedfellows

There’s been a lot of talk about the DVD filtering bill on various copyright/law sites, but what I find most interesting is watching reactions to it outside of the tech law realm. It turns a lot of traditionally friend and foe relationships on their heads.

It all started with CleanFlicks, which rents and sells what are essentially derivative works, movies clean enough that they could be played on an airplane. There are obvious legal issues when they resell and rent modified works, and Hollywood directors were not happy. Then came ClearPlay, a DVD player that takes regular DVDs and has essentially a text file associated with movies, telling it what to skip when you play them. Like CleanFlicks, but in a device. This one skirts most legal issues because it’s a box running in your private home, on your own DVDs that are unaltered. But still, some Hollywood folks disliked the idea of it and this bill passed through congress to protect them.

The best part for me personally is watching where people fall on the issue when they discuss it online. A lot of folks fed up with the rise of religious influence in this country have a knee-jerk reaction against the bill, due to the backers. A lot of artistic types are also reacting against the bill and these services because it doesn’t consider the original artists’ work and how it was meant to be displayed.

Personally, I’m happy to see it, and not because I’d ever use a device or service like this, but for the sake of the law surrounding technology and art. In a way, President Bush just signed a law making derivative works legal and home hacking projects OK for sale to others. There’s not much of a difference in the abstract between a DVD player that skips scenes and creates a new movie and a XBOX that can be turned into a web browsing, weather reporting, movie and music jukebox. Selling a copy of a DVD with scenes removed and language tweaked by an outside company unrelated to a movie studio has obvious parallels with DJ Dangermouse making the Grey Album.

To further complicate matters, the bill also upped the crimes of taping a movie in a theater and pre-releases of music and films online, but it also allowed Orphaned Works to survive.

There’s a lot of good and bad in this bill, but I look forward to seeing what can come from it, in the realm of sampling and hacking.

links for 2005-04-27

Free Flickr contest over

I got a handful of great responses in my earlier Flickr Pro giveaway thread. I love the idea of repurposing flickr for a wedding photographer — you could use the private gallery options to show photos to clients and keep the negatives. I love the idea of helping out budding photographers, limited by the free account’s storage boundaries, I’ve always felt artists should never be limited by tools.

But I love helping non-profits more, so I have to give the top nod to the Free the Slaves site. I think having a way to email photos from the field or from members worldwide could really shed light on their work and hopefully help end the practices of forced labor and child labor.

Several others said they might give away their extra flickr pro accounts to other posts in the thread, so if you hear from a random stranger about it, that’s why.

Oh, by the way, if anyone from the Free the Slaves site could email me their flickr free account name, I can then upgrade it to pro status.

Unclench people! Unclench!

For some reason, someone took my recent tongue-in-cheek post way, way too seriously.

I feel like a person that told a knock-knock joke at a party and in response got a 15 minute lecture on the nature of door design, acoustics, and various wood grains that affect the sound of knocks from a materials engineer that specializes in forest and forestry products.

There’s a million things I could say to explain how big corporation news in this country is breaking down and how blogs are on the rise; how the continum between my pissings in the wind here and Bill O’Reilly is a million shades of gray that blurs daily; I could write several thousand impassioned words about how the mass democratization of everything (thanks to the internet) is changing our society for the better; I could tell you tales of working on the Blogger.com code and interface five years ago and being thrilled when we heard “blog” used on TV the first time, but it all seems pointless.

The things I say here are pure opinion, mostly meant to crack up the dozen friends that read it. I don’t aspire to be the NY Times, though other webloggers are certainly heading there, much to their credit. I do think “MSM” is a silly term that makes people sound like outsider cranks, but if I say I’m going to avoid a blog that uses it, that’s about as earth-shattering as my neighbor saying they don’t care for the color orange.

I don’t take myself too seriously, so treat my words accordingly, as I will treat the 50 or so raving emails I’ve gotten in the past 12 hours. Another hint: look up at the address bar and see how seriously I take my words. A whole lot of nothing, get it? No? Try the second definition here.

links for 2005-04-26

Pour 40Gb on the curb for your dead torrents

Bummer to see TvTorrents get shut down. I didn’t use it much, but I did become a huge fan of Arrested Development after catching one episode on TV and going back to TvTorrents to find all the previous shows. I ended up buying the first season DVD in order to get high quality versions and the extras. Torrents leading to DVD sales, imagine that.

I also downloaded a few episodes of Desperate Housewives after I heard so much good buzz but couldn’t stomach more than 3 episodes before I quit entirely. That’s a great show crippled by bad writing and caricatures instead of characters. It’s like if you took Six Feet Under and dumbed it down until Carrot Top could be a guest star.

Anyway, TV Torrents was useful when I wanted to see a show and couldn’t find it anywhere else. TV Networks should pick up on this as demand instead of piracy.

Did you hear that ABC, Fox, and NBC? I wanted to watch more TV and the only avenue was this site, which is no longer working.

Why the networks don’t allow their shows to be downloaded (heck, with ads even!) I don’t know. There are people going to great lengths to watch more of your shows you play once and then take off the air until a DVD may roll around a year later.

update: cool, a dozen people mentioned btefnet. I’m an occasional user of bittorrent but if there’s ever a program I missed and wanted to catch I’ll be sure to try them out.

Free! Pro! Flickr!

I have one extra 1-year pro account at Flickr to give away.

If you want it, write a comment stating why you want it and I’ll give it to the best one. You have 24 hours. Thanks!

links for 2005-04-25

links for 2005-04-24