Monday, December 31, 2007

Personal Use isn't Fair Use

Almost as if on cue, to stress the point I made in response to Pete Ashton in this post's comments, the RIAA are now ready to take on even those of us who steer well clear of piracy:
In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

The industry's lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are "unauthorized copies" of copyrighted recordings. (via DF)

It's tempting to laugh at this kind of action in a 'what can they do?' kind of way, but it's more serious than that. This is essentially direct action against iTunes and the iPod, as that's almost certainly where most legally purchased but format-shifted content resides. The industry will pretend (again) that they're happy with some kind of kick-back from iPod sales, but that's the thin end of the wedge for them to wring whatever kind of money they can out of the electronics industry in order to compensate for the failure of their business model. More hope perhaps lies in Apple's ability to convincingly put in place technology that lets owners of CDs legitimately and securely format-shift content in a way the industry can grudgingly accept. In the long term, Pete (and others) are right and DRM isn't the answer, and we need to press for the recommendations of the Gower Review to be implemented soon in this regard.

I'll say it again though: I'd sooner have a unintrusive (and Pete, while I've no desire to be some kind of DRM-apologist, it is largely unintrusive as long as you're staying within your usage rights) Fairplay-style lock to my devices than have the music industry propped up with cash from device sales.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

CD better than Digital.

When You Believe in iTunes not CDs - Telegraph:
"Where there is a good quality album, people will continue to buy the CD. This trend was evidenced by Leona Lewis [last year's X-Factor winner], who had the largest selling CD ever, selling 400,000 copies in week one," says Mr Fox. There remain many benefits to the CD, he adds: "The CD is still a higher quality format than digital, and is the only format that works across all players as it is Digital Rights Management-free - you can listen in the car or in the house."

In other news, Spaghetti better than pasta.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

More Video coming to iTunes, Apple TV may have future, Dead walk the Earth.

It's good to hear that video rentals may finally be coming to iTunes, but what's this about a tie-up with Fox DVDs?:
A digital file protected by FairPlay will be included in new Fox DVD releases, enabling film content to be transferred or “ripped” from the disc to a computer and video iPod. DVD content can already be moved to an iPod but this requires special software and is considered piracy by some studios

Hmm. Doesn't make much sense to me. Another format on the DVD especially for Apple? It could happen, but I can't see it catching on. And how would that be any better from a DRM perspective than an encrypted DVD? More sensible (and IMO more likely) would be an Apple TV that lets us rip a DVD to a Fairplay protected H.264 file that's then authorised by my Apple ID and playable on the same kind of terms as the DRM'd iTunes content. That I'd buy.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

I'd crack an iPhone for a finished version of this

Especially if it would post directly to YouTube. It can't be long before Apple provide this functionality directly though.

Slashdot | Hack Turns iPhone Camera Into HD Camcorder:

'While the iPhone's 2.0 megapixel camera resolution may be mediocre for a still camera, it is excellent resolution for a consumer video camera.' A standard definition Canon digital camcorder uses a 680K pixel sensor chip (because a standard definition TV's resolution is only 520 x 360), while one of Canon's HD camcorders uses a 2.9 megapixel sensor. The beta presently allows 5 second clips at 10 frames per second, but the finished version will soon allow infinite recording at 45 frames per second.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Happy Saint Lucy's Day

But watch out for the, much older, Lussi:
The old date for the Lussi Night is December 13th, regarded as the longest night of the year and associated with the solstice. That was carried over into the new era. Between lussi night and jól all kinds of trolls were out and about. It was particularly dangerous to be out during Lussi Night. Children who had done mischief had to take special care, because Lussi could come down through the chimney and take them.

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Friday, December 7, 2007

Karlheinz Stockhausen RIP

Ok, just one more. Karlheinz Stockhausen died today as you'll know. Stimmung Singcircle pierced my consciousness back in 1984 as a 15-year-old Drama student. My friend David and I accidentally tuned into Radio 3's Stockhausen extravaganza, and it was just as if we'd touched an extra-terrestrial intelligence. We taped what we could and used it as the backing for some pompous and pretentious play I'd written; I hope Karl would forgive us our ignorant youthful folly. As repentance, as I write Paul Hillier's 51-track performance of Stimmung is downloading in iTunes.

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Shoot Less

Last post of the day I'm sure, and another attempt to make up for my cynical trashing of Woom's site by linking to a site I love. FILE Magazine is lovely, and the 36 Exposures Contest is just for you film-lovers:
But this ease of use and surfeit of images comes with a price. In the analog era, when we had to pay to see what we shot, we were more careful when we took photographs. This forced a discipline that is hard to imagine today. In the words of Stephen Shore, "[Today] there seems to be a greater freedom and lack of one considers one's pictures less, one produces fewer truly considered pictures."

I have a Canon EOS 700 sitting on my shelf at work that might need dusting off..

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You have eaten another glowing dot!

Ever wonder what Pac Man would have been like before graphics? Somethinglike this I suspect:
You awaken in a large complex, slightly disoriented. Glowing dots hover mouth level near you in every direction. Off in the distance you hear the faint howling of what you can only imagine must be some sort of ghost or several ghosts.

> look
You are in a long corridor. You may go forward or backward and there are glowing dots in every direction. There is a glowing dot hovering near you.

> eat
You have eaten the glowing dot!

> look
You are in a long corridor. You may go forward or backward and there are glowing dots in every direction.

> forward
You have moved.

> eat
You have eaten another glowing dot!

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Untitled Document, honestly.

Untitled Document is the perhaps intentional title of the home page of new Birmingham art gallery Woom, and it's a real blast from the past. No really, I remember making a site like this for artist Skip Rat, sometime back in 1995/6. All very creative guys, but really, this is 2007. No page titles, no text, no rss. On a positive note, the artists in the first show look great, and the site links out to them (including this lovely horizontal-scroller from Matt Burden).

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Awe. Some.

I just fell in love with Flickr all over again. By how much would they have to raise the price in order to make me leave?
Picnik’s awesome photo editing tools are now only a click away. If you’ve ever wanted to deal with the dreaded red eye or crop a photo just so, click on the new “edit photo” icon located above one of your photos and get started.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

This made my day

Thanks to Fake Steve Jobs.

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