Archive for the 'blather' Category


Property or License

Monday, January 20th, 2003

Doc’s got the right end of the copyright argument stick.

I’m getting tired of the media companies’ rhetoric and extended imagery that their copyrights mean that the works are their property. The copyright is (or at least should be meant to be) a license granted by law that loans the rights of copy (and use) of a work from its perpetual owner, the public domain, to the creator of the work for an initial limited period, in order that the creator may realize some gain from his effort, thus encouraging creators to create. At no time should the copyright holder become the owner of the work itself, just the temporary benefactor of its commercial value.


Cruelty to Analog

Thursday, January 16th, 2003

The EFF has a new blog called Cruelty To Analog, wherein they plan to chronicle attempts by the “content” industries to plug the analog hole.

Have a look at the draft charter of the Copy Protection Technical Working Group.

Tell me this – how do you get a roomful of sufficently technical people who swallow this crap enough to dedicate a chunk of their working life to it? Honestly, I can’t for the life of me think of one technical person I know who’s worth a single shit who would care to be involved with such a ridiculous project. It reeks of knee-jerk protectionism and shortsightedness, it’s doomed to failure and circumvention – DMCA or not – and it would stink up your resume so horribly that prospective employers who really care about technology would laugh you out of an interview. That being the case, the willing candidates for the job must be either devoid of the technical and moral values that would make them worthy of the task or motivated by greed to the extent that they’re likely pretty useless buggers on the whole.

Maybe they hire from the Tobacco industry.


Would you follow your manager into battle?

Saturday, January 11th, 2003

Britt Blaser dissects Managerial Capitalism.

One of the best blogs I’ve read in yonks.


Back in the saddle again

Tuesday, January 7th, 2003

Well, it seems things are picking up in January 2003. As of tomorrow I’ve got two steady gigs totalling 4-5 days per week and more stuff crossing my bow. Things are looking somewhat stable perhaps at least as far as the summer.


Process over reason

Monday, December 23rd, 2002

My mother-in-law was visiting us here in Toronto until early in December. She sent off some Christmas packages and cards from our house to Canadian and US destinations.

She got a large card in the mail today at home in England. It was a card she had mailed from Toronto to Los Angeles, but because it had insufficient postage for the dimensions of the envelope, they returned it to the sender address – all the way to the UK.

I’d say it’s unbelievable, but it’s not.


Derivative Works

Sunday, December 22nd, 2002

It turns out that Republic Pictures owned the original story upon which “It’s A Wonderful Life” is based, plus much of the music in the movie. It’s on that basis that in 1993 they began to excercise copyright control over the movie which had for twenty years been considered by all to be in the public domain.

It still says a lot that the movie only got its wings when freely distributed, and is now much less available.

Here are some relevant links:


Creativity, control and revenue

Saturday, December 21st, 2002

Two stories in the Toronto Star television supplement caught my eye this week.

The first was about David Foley’s upcoming Christmas Special. In it, he and Joe Flaherty are doing a sendup of David Bowie and Bing Crosby singing Little Drummer Boy / Peace On Earth. Foley tells of having to rewrite both tunes and their lyrics when it was discovered they couldn’t get the rights to either song.

I wondered how it was that the authors or their representatives decided that they didn’t want their songs used in this way. I wondered further whether having released their creativity to the world they should really have injunctive power over its use or whether they should only have a right to be compensated for its use.

The second article was about It’s A Wonderful Life. Apparently it was not well received on release, losing half a million in late-1940’s dollars. It languished for years until 1973 when, not having had its copyright renewed by its owners (Liberty Films), it fell into the public domain after 14 years. At that time, TV stations started picking it up cheap to play at Christmastime and it became a perennial favourite.

For 20 years it remained in the public domain, there were many $4.99 VHS copies available, and there was even a colourized version. Somehow, in the 90s, Republic Pictures managed to reclaim the copyright. They have taken control, and produced a new master black-and-white print, and now it only airs on NBC and CBC and is only available on video from them.

How is it that this happened? Will it happen every time some obscure title becomes valuable after falling into the public domain that someone – not necessarily the creator – will find away to claim it for themselves?


Spontaneous Combustion

Thursday, December 19th, 2002

Kinda makes me feel warm all over to hear you say it, spyderella.