Nancy Baym: "Artist-Audience Relations in the Age of Social Media"

Social media have transformed relationships between those who create artistic work and those who enjoy it. Culture industries such as the music recording business have been left reeling as fans have gained the ability to distribute amongst themselves and artists have gained the ability to bypass traditional gatekeepers such as labels. The dominant rhetoric has been of ‘piracy,’ yet there are other tales to tell. How does direct access to fans change what it means to be an artist? What rewards are there that weren’t before? How are relational lines between fans and friends blurred and with what consequences? What new challenges other than making a living do artists face?

“To suggest that music is free and social is sort of sacrilege”

How copyright enforcement robots killed the Hugo Awards

Last night, robots shut down the live broadcast of one of science fiction’s most prestigious award ceremonies. No, you’re not reading a science fiction story. In the middle of the annual Hugo Awards event at Worldcon, which thousands of people tuned into via video streaming service UStream, the feed cut off – just as Neil Gaiman was giving an acceptance speech for his Doctor Who script, “The Doctor’s Wife.” Where Gaiman’s face had been were the words, “Worldcon banned due to copyright infringement.” What the hell?

How apt.

SOPA, Meet The Player Piano Copyright Threat

Consider the player piano. When it arrived on the scene in the late 19th century, music publishers were horrified by this new machine that allowed anybody to recreate the performance of a great pianist inside their own home without paying a dime in royalties. By 1906 there were 75,000 player pianos clinking out copyright violations all across this country, using millions of perforated paper rolls that contained, in many cases, note-for-note transcriptions of famous performances.

The music publishers sued and in 1908 the U.S. Supreme Court decided, in White-Smith Publishing v. Apollo, that the player-piano roll was a mere mechanical device, not an unauthorized copy of sheet music. Put a player piano inside a saloon or a performance hall and you???d be liable for performance royalties. But inside the home, the court decided, it was just another type of music box. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, in a prescient side note, said Congress needed to update the laws, because ???on principle anything that mechanically reproduces that collocation of sounds ought to be held a copy.??? And indeed, the next year Congress passed a special tax of 2 cents per player-piano roll to help defray the enormous cost to content providers of unauthorized performances in the home. As of 1996 the rate had risen to 6.95 cents.

Plus ??a change plus c’est la m??me chose

VICTORY! ACTA Suffers Final, Humiliating Defeat In European Parliament – Falkvinge on Infopolicy

Today at 12:56, the European Parliament decided whether ACTA would be ultimately rejected or whether it would drag on into uncertainty. In a crushing 478-to-39 vote, the Parliament decided to reject ACTA once and for all. This means that the deceptive treaty is now dead globally.

This is a day of celebration. This is the day when citizens of Europe and the world won over unelected bureaucrats who were being wooed and lobbied by the richest corporations of the planet. The battleground wasn???t some administrative office, but the representatives of the people ??? the European Parliament ??? which decided in the end to do its job beautifully, and represent the people against special interests.

A time for celebration, and preparation for TPPA

What???s at Stake in the San Diego Round of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)

TEMPORARY COPIES: TPP Art. 4.1 proposes to extend the minimum requirements of the right to reproduction for all protected works to include the right to exclude ???temporary storage in electronic form.??? The WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty extends the right of reproduction for performers and producers of phonograms to ???any manner or form.??? But proposals to include a specific right to block temporary reproduction in electronic form were considered and rejected in the negotiation.[4]

The language in TPP Art. 4.1, although included in some other US Free trade agreements, is not a full expression of U.S. law on the topic. Section 106(1) of the Copyright Act does not contain language prohibiting reproduction ???in any form.??? It rather prohibits reproduction of the ???copyrighted works in copies or phonorecords.???[5] Nor does U.S. law include an extension to ???temporary storage in electronic form.??? U.S. law requires that an infringing copy be ???fixed,??? meaning ???sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration.???[6] Likewise, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act [hereinafter DMCA] recognizes a safe harbor for ???system caching.???[7]

The distinctions are particularly important for enforcement of copyright on the internet. Lower courts in the U.S. have, for example, held that copyright does not extend to buffer copies on the internet.[8] Similarly, although not a party to this agreement, the EU Copyright Directive (Directive 2001/29/EC, Article 5) contains an explicit exception for temporary reproductions addressing automated caching.[9]

Preposterous. First it’s a property, then it’s emphemeral. Whatever makes the most money.

This “ephemeral” right is all about the collecting agencies having a club to beat blanket licences out of ISPs and, well, anyone with a router and money I guess.

Sleazy. And typical. If there’s value, there’s rights.

Dotcom search warrants ruled illegal

Justice Winkelmann ordered that no more items taken in the raids could be removed from New Zealand, and instructed the attorney-general to return clones of the hard drives held by New Zealand police.

She said the search warrants were invalid because they were general warrants which lacked specificity about the offence and the scope of the items to be searched for.

Without a valid warrant, police were trespassing and exceeded what they were lawfully authorised to do.

Justice Winkelmann said no one had addressed whether police conduct also amounted to unreasonable search and seizure, but her preliminary view was that it did.

Wolf in sheep???s clothing: MPAA???s Dodd pushes ???more subtle??? approach to anti-piracy

???We???re in a transformative period with an explosion of technology that???s going to need content,??? Dodd, a former U.S. Senator, told Variety at an industry event this weekend. He added: ???We???re going to have to be more subtle and consumer-oriented. We???re on the wrong track if we describe this as thievery.???

That “technology that???s going to need content??? is true, but the content it needs, and has proved the most successful in engaging the “consumer” is the product of other “consumers,” not commercial peddlers of lowest common denominator entertainment.

Sure Hollywood gets the headlines, Hollywood has always got the headlines, but connection between people is much more important, and has been known to be so since 2001. Andrew Odlyzko’s “Content is not King” showed this:

“The Internet is widely regarded as primarily a content delivery system. Yet historically, connectivity has mattered much more than content. Even on the Internet, content is not as important as is often claimed”

His example of email as the killer app, is dated, but social networks aren’t. And if you follow the money, you’ll find how insignificant content is relative to connection.

From the Courtroom – Day 17 of Oracle v. Google

Judge: We heard the testimony of Mr. Bloch. I couldn’t have toldyou the first thing about Java before this problem. I havedone, and still do, a significant amount of programming in otherlanguages. I’ve written blocks of code like rangeCheck a hundredtimes before. I could do it, you could do it. The idea thatsomeone would copy that when they could do it themselves justas fast, it was an accident. There’s no way you could say thatwas speeding them along to the marketplace. You’re one of thebest lawyers in America, how could you even make that kind ofargument?

Oracle: I want to come back to rangeCheck.

Judge: rangeCheck! All it does is make sure the numbers you’reinputting are within a range, and gives them some sort ofexceptional treatment. That witness, when he said a high schoolstudent could do it–

A fish that walks, and a dog that talks! Whoo-ee