inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #51 of 95: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 18 Aug 05 14:01
    
I remembered Cory Doctorow's talk on the subject at Emerging
Technologies, I think the same year Pogue was saying he didn't know
DRM. Here's David Weinberger's account of Cory's talk from Joho the
Blog (http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger/mtarchive/001433.html):

"He says that the good news is that Napster built the largest
collection of human creativity ever and did it totally bottom up. When
the copyright law was used to 'burn that library to the ground,' the
library rebuilt itself. The bad news is that the problem doesn't lie
solely with Congress, the recording industry or Silicon Valley. It's
our fault: there were 57 million Napster users. That's more than the
number of votes W got in 2000. The real point is that copyright's
purpose is to build libraries, and its tactic is to compensate artists.
Napster and Kazaa don't have models for that and it's a real problem.
DRM is the answer to a question we shouldn't be asking: How do we burn
the library burned down for good? The real question is how do we come
to some compromise by which there's fair compensation. The 'broadcast
flag' isn't a compromise; it gives the entertainment industry a veto
over PC design."

That's a pretty good point about the potential power of 57 million
Napster users. Is there a political organization that focuses on issues
of copyright and fair use? How do we turn up the volume on the
conversation about "free culture"?
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #52 of 95: from JOHN ADAMS (tnf) Fri 19 Aug 05 07:43
    



John Adams writes:



I love Cory Doctorow's books, but sometimes his advocacy leaves me cold. Jon
quotes a paraphrase of him thus:

"He says that the good news is that Napster built the largest collection of
human creativity ever and did it totally bottom up. When the copyright law
was used to 'burn that library to the ground,' the library rebuilt itself."

Isn't that a bit over-wrought? Was there a single piece of human knowledge
permanently lost? It's not like the sacking of the library at Alexandria, you
know.

Anyway, copyright's purpose isn't "to build libraries" but (in the US, at
least) "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." It'd be a much
sorrier world without libraries, but they aren't what the constitution
specifies.

Cory's right to say that "The real question is how do we come to some
compromise by which there's fair compensation," but I'm not sure his is the
rhetoric that will arrive at that compromise.
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #53 of 95: JD Lasica (jd) Fri 19 Aug 05 16:24
    
Jon L., you've hit on the fundamental question in this wide-ranging
debate: How do we find a solution so that people get the music, movies
and art they want but in a way that compensates artists fairly?

You could write a book about it, and some have. ("Promises to Keep,"
by William W. Fisher III)

I was in awe of Napster for its sheer technological audacity, and for
what it heralded, but there was no doubt that its failure to address
the compensation-to-artists issue would be its Achilles heel.

Some, like Fisher and the EFF and other smart folks, have suggested a
blanket licensing approach, a sort of 
all-the-digital-media-you-can-eat plan in return for a mandatory fee
assessed on some large category of users, such as every household with
an Internet connection. (I don't think that's practicable, at least not
in the near term.) Many members of the pho mailing list favor a
voluntary licensing approach, which would require the music companies
to sign on.

I'd like to see more ecommerce models like the iTunes store, whose
sales are skyrocketing, but whose traffic still pales next to the
file-sharing networks. (I don't believe the p2p networks will ever be
shut down, and I don't think their existence spells the end of the
music industry.)

What I think _can't_ stand in the long run is the current business
model of the record companies. Of $11 billion in annual CD sales,
artists receive _less than 5 percent_. By contrast, artists get 12
percent for songs sold in online music stores, on average. And they
keep about 35 to 40 percent of concert proceeds. As more artists turn
to the Internet to disintermediate the record labels, we'll all be
watching to see if they can make a go of it financially. In many or
most cases, I think new bands would be better off without a major
label.

As to your question: Is there a political organization that focuses on
issues of copyright and fair use? 

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (eff.org) and Public Knowledge
(publicknowledge.org) are the two groups at the forefront of issues
related to digital rights. Digitalconsumer.org has basically ceased
operation.

I'm in contact with Bernard M., a fellow I met at the AlwaysOn
conference, who wants to set up a lobbying organization in Washington
on behind of Silicon Valley to champion users' digital rights. If
anyone wants to get involved, let me know (jd@well.com) and we can
discuss how to proceed. 
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #54 of 95: from DON HALL (tnf) Fri 19 Aug 05 20:18
    



Don Hall writes:




Well members should purchase the Well ...

this would be a good example of preserving

a pioneer of internet spirit.


J.D. Lasica, along with the  genius brew who

developed OurMedia will hopefully jump on

board to help develop the truly portable PORTAL!

Don Hall blogs as bearcreekresearch at ourmedia

blogspot.com and podblazer.

Wellllll !!
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #55 of 95: Berliner (captward) Sat 20 Aug 05 02:45
    
I quite agree that for 99% of the acts out there, indie is the way to
go. The only kind of act which benefits from the mega-media approach
are the mega acts: if you want to be Britney Spears, you're not just a
girl with some songs, you're a battalion of lawyers, songwriters, stage
designers, etc etc. For this you can't sign with some tiny label and
expect to get anywhere. But jeez, guitar, bass, drums, van... How can
Universal do anything for you that two relatively biz-savvy guys can't
do -- and with a lot more attention to detail?
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #56 of 95: Theodore C Newcomb (nukem777) Sat 20 Aug 05 06:28
    <scribbled by nukem777 Sat 20 Aug 05 14:42>
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #57 of 95: It's a new sun to me (nukem777) Sat 20 Aug 05 06:35
    
I'm thinking the same as #54, form a 501 corporation, and have the
monthly or yearly subscription fees be considered as individual shares
in the corp...4000 people isn't that hard to manage for yearly town
hall type shareholder meetings, keep the staff, work out some
arrangement with Salon to stay in place in the office space and merrily
row our boat down the cyber stream...

I'm sure more practical business minds will find all kinds of things
wrong with this model. We ought to set up a conference to brainstorm
various possibilities of structure, models, etc. the WELL might take --
like maybe it's time to spice it up with some conferences that take
place in real-time chat mode and video-conferencing/net meetings...i
mean, there is a certain charm in "covered wagons", but there's nothing
wrong with a limo ride once and a while.
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #58 of 95: Dan Mitchell (mitchell) Sat 20 Aug 05 11:22
    
Uh, nukem, as the author of the copyrighted material you pasted in
above, I ask that you scribble it and, if you like, paste in just the
Darknet item and a link to the page. Thanks.

The Well is sometimes dim, but it ain't dark.

 
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #59 of 95: Dan Mitchell (mitchell) Sat 20 Aug 05 11:35
    
And anyway, Sara Varon's illustration (not related to darknet) is
really good this week, so it's worth going there for that...

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/20/technology/20online.html
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #60 of 95: Daniel (dfowlkes) Sat 20 Aug 05 12:13
    <scribbled by dfowlkes>
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #61 of 95: It's a new sun to me (nukem777) Sat 20 Aug 05 14:48
    
sorry about that  (mitchell), was just trying to save everyone the
password screen.

A  nice article on Darknet in today's New York Times.
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/20/technology/20online.ready.html?th&emc=th

  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #62 of 95: Dan Mitchell (mitchell) Sat 20 Aug 05 14:58
    
Thanks for reposting. No problem with the Darknet item itself being
here. It was the wholesale paste that was problematic for me.

THE new book "Darknet: Hollywood's War Against the Digital
Generation," by J. D. Lasica, covers ground that's been pounded before:
the often-draconian or clueless ways big entertainment companies try
to control content or subvert emerging technologies, and how people
work around those efforts by sharing content online often in
walled-off, anonymous places like private Internet Relay Chat rooms and
the Free Network Project (freenet.sourceforge.net).

Mr. Lasica, a journalist, brings a storyteller's flair to the subject,
but what really makes Darknet unique is that it was born online and
lives there still at www.darknet.com. The book, just one part of the
overall project, was written in collaboration with its audience via a
wiki - a Web application that allows any user to add or edit content.
At the site, Mr. Lasica and his readers continue to share news and
expand on the ideas presented in the book. His site also offers many
excerpts.

"Darknet" was a term coined by a team of Microsoft researchers in
2002. According to Mr. Lasica's account, they advised that "media
companies ought to use copy protection judiciously."

"Because users don't like digital locks, somebody will figure out how
to pick them, and content will spill into the Darknet despite the best
efforts to wall it off. The best way companies can fight darknet
piracy, they said, is by offering affordable, convenient, compelling
products and services. In other words, the most effective copy
protection system is a great business model."

Big media have largely ignored that advice - to their peril, Mr.
Lasica says. The industry's war on its own customers will just alienate
them further, and darknets will thrive.
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #63 of 95: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sat 20 Aug 05 15:19
    
Hallelujah, we've got our own copyright controversy and fair use
resolution, right in the middle of the Darknet discussion!

JD, I was pretty fascinated by Bruce Forest, who seems to have the
best job in the world, drawing a salary for monitoring the digital
underground. How did you find him?
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #64 of 95: JD Lasica (jd) Sat 20 Aug 05 15:32
    
Dan was generous in republishing a good percentage of his article; not
everyone is equally so, even with a link. (It's an issue of fair use
that WELL folk have come upon, oh, once or twice before.)

Thanks for the nice writeup, Dan! My friends were beginning to think
there was a concerted effort by "the media" to shun a book that is in
large part about how big media don't get it -- how large media
institutions are failing to respond to the creative ferment and
burgeoning swirl of nascent media bubbling up from below.

But now that three newspapers have actually published reviews or
writeups (all positive), I'm more inclined to think that most book
editors don't really understand (and thus have no incentive to
acknowledge) the import of the changes taking place in the mediasphere.
  (As we both know, with hundreds of titles flooding into the
newsroom, which ones get reviewed is a bit of a crapshoot -- and it's
certainly not a decision made by corporate types with a political
agenda.)

By the way, if any San Franciscans are in da house: I'll be making my
only bookstore appearance to talk about "Darknet" this Wednesday at
12:30 pm at Stacey's, at Market and Second. 
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #65 of 95: JD Lasica (jd) Sat 20 Aug 05 15:39
    
Yes, Jon, Bruce Forest was probably the most interesting character I
came across in my research. He's sort of a double agent -- filling up
his hard drives with 2 terabytes of digital goodies in his forays
through the Darknet (under various pseudonyms), while pulling down 6
figures (I suspect) doing consulting for a major entertainment company
that you've heard of. I wish I could pull off the same trick!

One of the people I interviewed put me on to him as an industry
expert, but he had no idea what Forest was really up to. I flew out
from SF to his retreat in the woods of Connecticut just to see
first-hand what he told me over the phone, and it was quite an amazing
setup Forest had in his underground high-tech bunker. We still swap
emails once in a while. He's starting a new consulting business that
offers to promote  fledgling artists and indie filmmakers by injecting
their media file (music, movie, tv show) directly into the top of the
Darknet pyramid, where it then filters out onto millions of hard
drives. Interesting business model.
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #66 of 95: Dan Mitchell (mitchell) Sat 20 Aug 05 15:44
    
From what admittedly little I know, book publishers are even more
tech-phobic than most other media industries.

I don't own my column, the Times does. Even just pasting in the
Darknet thingie by itself may go beyond what they would consider fair
use. I don't much care, as long as a link is provided, and like I said,
only the germane material posted.

The link part is what's important to me personally. A lot of copyright
 trouble can (and often is) avoided through simple courtesy. (Not
meant to be a slam on nukem777). 

If everybody on all sides just remembered that other people have
interests at stake in the use and re-use of material, I think common
ground would more often be reached without anyone's having to call the
cops. 
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #67 of 95: Dan Mitchell (mitchell) Sat 20 Aug 05 15:44
    
slip
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #68 of 95: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 21 Aug 05 09:53
    
I think there's confusion about copyright and fair use, and JD shows
in the book that you get conflicting interpretations depending who you
talk to. There's a quote in the book where Yale Law School's Ernet
Miller says "The problem is that fair use analysis is increibly
fact-dependent. Even copying a small amount of a copyright work as part
of another, new work is a violation of copyright....For example, a few
seconds in a videotape where portions of a copyrighted poster can be
seen in the background have been found to meet the threshold for
infringement. So, althought I would argue that such uses are fair uses,
the courts might not agree." And that's the rub, it seems to me.

Even smart people don't always get it. I had a gig for a while
monitoring forums for a large international news site, and one guy
persisted in posting infringing material, and gave us hell when we
removed it. I think he took it all the way to the management of the
news organization... then got quiet. He talked to an editor he knew at
one of the sites he was quoting, who told him it was okay - but the
site policy said different, and regardless what the editor said, the
lawyers might've had a different opinion.

Bloggers get away with potential infringement when they're small, but
as they grow their followings and become more like real media, aren't
we going to see more and more litigation - and more tests of "fair
use"?
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #69 of 95: it was already on fire when I got here! (jet) Sun 21 Aug 05 20:31
    
<jonl>, I've had similar discussions at my workplace.  Waving Section
107 at people simply doesn't matter when they're defining "fair use"
as "I can have anything I want and I shouldn't have to pay for it."

Oddly enough, they don't mind my developing software that forces our
customers to pay us a subscription fee, but they went ballistic when
we banned P2P at the office.
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #70 of 95: Emily J. Gertz (emilyg) Sun 21 Aug 05 20:39
    


Another question while we're at it: Tonight I went to see the 'director's
cut' of the Blood Gulch Chronicles Season 3.  How is this this crew has
managed to get Microsoft on board with what they're doing?  It's incredible
viral marketing for Halo, sure, but that hasn't stopped big media outlets
from hounding fan web sites and fan creations before.  Is this a case of
what you mention about the high tech companies 'getting it' a bit more
readily than Hollywood or the music industry?
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #71 of 95: JD Lasica (jd) Sun 21 Aug 05 21:56
    
jonl at 68 asks:

>Bloggers get away with potential infringement when they're small, but
as they grow their followings and become more like real media, aren't
we going to see more and more litigation - and more tests of "fair
use"?

In a word, yes. Not quite time to hit the panic button yet, but
awareness of the law's contours is always a good thing. Lauren Gelman
of Stanford's Center for Internet & Society gives a 4-minute video
primer on the subject here:

http://www.archive.org/download/JDLasicaLaurenGelmanonbloggersthelaw/Lauren_Ge
lman.mov
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #72 of 95: JD Lasica (jd) Sun 21 Aug 05 22:03
    
Emily, I think the tech companies get it to the extent that they
understand that power is passing to the users and consumers, and they
aren't reliant on protecting a top-down funnel of a business model.
They're in the business of making really cool products that people
want. (And, obviously, they don't face the problem of how, and whether,
to protect creative content, for the most part.)

I haven't watched the "Blood Gulch Chronicles" on USA Network or
elsewhere, so can you explain a bit more about bringing  Microsoft on
board? What does that mean?  
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #73 of 95: Emily J. Gertz (emilyg) Mon 22 Aug 05 03:43
    



In a nutshell, this group has been scripting an animated series, and making
the animation by moving avatars around in an Xbox game, Halo, and capturing
the video.  They pretty much are the pioneers of "machinima."
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #74 of 95: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 22 Aug 05 05:42
    
Check 'em out - the video archive is at
http://rvb.roosterteeth.com/archive/
  
inkwell.vue.252 : JD Lasica "Darknet"
permalink #75 of 95: It's a new sun to me (nukem777) Mon 22 Aug 05 07:09
    <hidden>
  

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