Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Copyright But Were Afraid to Ask

If you’ve got 80 minutes to spare, watch RiP: A Remix Manifesto, a probing investigation into how culture builds upon culture in the information age.

If you’ve got 20 minutes to spare, watch Professor Lawrence Lessig‘s TED Talk, where he shows how current laws strangle creativity.

But if you’ve only 3 minutes to spare, watch Madeon‘s live mashup of 39 songs while asking yourself this: Should each of the sampled artists have the power to demand this video be removed due to copyright infringement?
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTx3G6h2xyA

Copying Is Not Theft

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeTybKL1pM4
YouTube

Copying Is Not Theft is the first meme in the Minute Memes series, and was supported by a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Animation, lyrics, and tune by Nina Paley. Music arranged by Nik Phelps; vocals by Connie Champagne. Released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

Lyrics:
Copying is not theft.
Stealing a thing leaves one less left
Copying it makes one thing more;
that’s what copying’s for.

Copying is not theft.
If I copy yours you have it too
One for me and one for you
That’s what copies can do

If I steal your bicycle
you have to take the bus,
but if I just copy it
there’s one for each of us!

Making more of a thing,
that is what we call “copying”
Sharing ideas with everyone
That’s why copying
is
FUN!

Introducing the Mizoram Synod Choir

I will try to tell the story of how people I have never heard of, who live in a place I have never heard of, and speak a language I have never heard of – have used a photograph I took for the cover art of their musical album.

[singlepic id=260 w=525 h=257 float=center]

At the end of 2001 I went to India and spent about six months backpacking. One photo I took was of a street beggar. I shot it in a small village called Hampi in the state of Karnataka in the southern part of the Indian subcontinent. I actually took half a dozen shots of the same man, and what I particularly liked about this one is the enigmatic face, glistening with sweat. I felt it conveyed the true meaning of being that person.

[singlepic id=259 w=300 h=456 float=right]Back then I wasn’t blogging yet, but I did manage to develop, print, scan and email that photo to folks at home. Fast forward to 2007 when I started blogging and one of the first things I did was retroactively post my travelling correspondence, including this one.

Now we get to two days ago, when I noticed quite a bit of traffic coming to my website from this forum post. I could not understand what language the site was using, but from the bits in English I could decipher the post was discussing the similarity between the cover art of an album and that of Assassin’s Creed, a video game – both featured a hooded man. A user by the name of Angaiha was able to track down the source for the man in the cover art: Yes, it was my photograph.

Upon further investigation it turns out that the cover art was for a choir named Synod Choir for their video CD titled Pathian Hmel which apparently will set you back a hundred Indian Rupees (a little more than two bucks). Oh, yes, it turns out that this musical ensemble comes from the Indian state of Mizoram which I have never heard of, inhabited by Mizo people who speak (and sing) in Mizo language and look nothing like the Indian people I have met travelling.

How do I know what Mizo people look like? Glad you asked, as it gives me the chance to direct your attention to the album’s eponymous song:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jFJuaxppCM

It should be mentioned that everything I post on this blog falls under a Creative Commons license which allows for certain uses of it, but using any of the content for commercial purposes goes beyond that scope. Basically, there are legal ramification for the unauthorized usage of my photo, but I will not get into that at this time.

Watch This 80 Minutes Film And Become An Informed Citizen of This Digital Age

In RiP: A Remix Manifesto, web activist and filmmaker Brett Gaylor explores issues of copyright in the information age, mashing up the media landscape of the 20th century and shattering the wall between users and producers. The film’s central protagonist is Girl Talk, a mash-up musician topping the charts with his sample-based songs. But is Girl Talk a paragon of people power or the Pied Piper of piracy? Creative Commons founder, Lawrence Lessig, Brazil’s Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil and pop culture critic Cory Doctorow are also along for the ride.

Check out the film trailer:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oar9glUCL0

You can watch the film on DVD or VOD.

YouTube to Viacom: YOU LIE!

Suing YouTube for 1 billion dollars, Viacom in their opening statements (which have been made public today) claimed the leading video site does not do enough in dealing with copyrighted material; To which YouTube retorted:

For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately “roughed up” the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko’s to upload clips from computers that couldn’t be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users. Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt “very strongly” that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.

Oh snap!

To fully understand the absurdity of all this you might want to check out my post titled Gaining Better Understanding of Our Digital Age.
I’ll let Professor Lawrence Lessig summarize:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5pHeV3jF48

Video: Home Taping is Killing Music

Musician Dan Bull, whose letters to Lily Allen and Lord Mandelson both became YouTube hits, has done it again; His latests piece is about the music industry’s consistent refusal to accept or adapt to new technology, from the gramophone to the jukebox to commercial radio to the internet. His song, and accompanying video focuses on the most famous campaign, the ill-judged 80s classic; Home Taping is Killing Music.
Check out the British campaign against the Digital Economy Bill at DontDisconnect.us
Lyrics after the jump.
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3jkUhG68wY
Continue reading Video: Home Taping is Killing Music

Israel in Top 10 List of Copyright Infringements, Says New Report

A report released yesterday by BayTSP titled “Online Trends & Insights – 2008″, asserts that the cumulative number of copyright infringements from Israel during that year is 3,655,253. That raises Israel from 13th place in 2007, to 9th place in 2008 – or 2nd place per capita. It should be mentioned that this is not an independent report, and that BayTSP like any other anti-P2P company has a vested interest in making the numbers seem bigger.
BayTSP Report: Israel is in Top 10 List of Copyright Infringements

Hat tip to TorrentFreak.

Israeli Film Director Eran Kolirin Advocates Piracy

Israeli film The Band’s Visit (Bikur HaTizmoret) received prestigious awards and was shown worldwide – except for the Arab world. The film, which depicts a fictional visit of a ceremonial Egyptian police orchestra to a remote Israeli town, was boycotted in Egypt and in other Arab countries ‘to avoid cultural normalization with Israel’.

Last week, the Israeli Embassy in Egypt invited distinguished local intellectuals for a private screening of the movie at the Four Seasons Hotel. Film director Eran Kolirin was also invited and answered questions raised by the audience after the screening. Since local Egyptian cinemas do not show the movie, Kolirin encouraged local folks to “take it off the Internet, anyone who wants, get pirate copies off the Internet and watch it“.

Here is the video evidence from this evening’s Israeli Channel 10 news:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj-oqlJZ5x8