Where’s the dilemma..?

A book about the broader effects of piracy that is next on my reading list gets a write up over at Ars. I have made many posts at TLF and IP Central weblog about the informational value of black markets and grey markets, a very interesting subject. It seems that there is much of interest for those looking at the intersection of web 2.0 and the production of cultural goods in this work:

Hat tip: Tim Lee

Ars Book Review: “The Pirate’s Dilemma”
By Nate+Anderson
Published: May 14, 2008 – 11:48PM CT

The strength of street knowledge
The Pirate’s Dilemma: How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism (buy)
Matt Mason (blog)

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Where’s the dilemma..?

What’s up with wikileaks? Updated: the ’09 F9 effect’ strikes again…!

What’s going on with wikileaks? It had some interesting stuff, including a satellite computation thingy that you could use to figure out where all the US military satellites are, their foot prints, etc. , and then it went…poof?


Well courtesy of slashdot, now we know what’s going on:

DragonFire1024 writes “Wikinews.org — The Wikileaks website, which publishes sensitive and censored material submitted by anonymous contributors, has experienced unprecedented levels of Internet traffic today through public interest. This interest has caused the website’s servers to be unable to meet the enormous demand of over 164 gigabytes of download traffic within twenty-four hours, leading the site to be temporarily inaccessible.”

We should thank Bank Julius Baer for their efforts in greatly increasing the visibility and readership of wikileaks. The have contributed greatly to wikileaks!

Reminds me of one of the contributors to wikipedia, Patrick Ross.

What’s up with wikileaks? Updated: the ’09 F9 effect’ strikes again…!

Throwing the book at the copyright maximalists

Books, because they are so much more useful and browsable than their digital equivalents, have not been hurt at all by digital piracy. Of course, even that fact didn’t stop the IP maximalists over at IP Central, who tried to instigate an astroturf campaign to enlist authors in their copyright maximalist strategy, which is to make the very technologies to distribute files illegal. It didn’t work, BTW. Perhaps authors know a little better than to surrender their freedom of the press?

So there are several authors who are giving away their books as free digital downloads, and have seen their real-world sales increase. Of course there was Richard Stallman’s Free as in Freedom as well as Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks, as well as Bill Mitchell’s ground-breaking (for 1995) City of Bits. But each of those books were topically related to their distribution via the internet.  And who could forget Eastern Standard Tribe?

These books are both different–typical efforts at publishing, recognizing the fact that “obscurity is a much greater threat than piracy.”

Hat tip: Against Monopoly

Throwing the book at the copyright maximalists

Don’t forget freedom

A post over at IP Central is illustrative of two important fallacies in thinking about copyrights.

Solveig Singleton is here discussing Fair Use, and the prospect of narrowing Fair Use (odd at a time when most thought seems to be centered on expanding Fair Use rights, but that’s a tangent). In this post, she only makes note of transaction costs, and never mentions human rights limitations that her proposal implies:

Fair use is certainly a concept compatible with markets. Given the difficulty of working out some deals due to high transaction costs and the low amount of value at stake, copyright law needed an exemption. If one wanted to quote an author briefly in another work, for example, and one was told one needed to negotiate a license to do so, one would be more likely to give up the effort than pursue a license. Thus, fair use.

But once it becomes possible to negotiate a license cheaply and almost instantaneously, one doesn’t necessarily need the concept to protect the use. Neither need the use be free in order to protect the use. If the market allows one to choose between buying a copy that allows cut and paste $.05, or a copy that does not for $.01, there seems no danger that anyone who wants to make trivial excerpts will be prevented from doing so. This seems pretty commonsensical; it has been recognized in case law.

The only information that is allowed to enter into the analytic process is information concerning markets and market results. In the second paragraph ‘free’ only means free as in beer, not speech. As copyright is a special exception to what should be the default case of freedom of speech, it is impossible to separate any restriction on the freedom of speech from human rights. But there is no discussion in this post about human rights. And that is not remarkable; it is indeed hard to find a single post at IP Central which acknowledges that issues of copyright and fair use have any other measure than that of economic value. So this is a long-running fallacy over at IP Central.

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Don’t forget freedom

Patrick Ross, wikipedia contributor

Noticed a post at TLF by Tim Lee about James de Long leaving the PFF, and in that post it was mentioned that Patrick Ross had also departed PFF. James, like Patrick, had a habit of putting up straw man arguments, usually about free and open source software, and taking them apart. Tim Lee did an excellent job of taking apart both Patrick’s and James’s rants, in his posts both over at IP Central and at TLF.

But I posted from time to time at IP Central anyway. The reason for that is inspiration from a variety of sources, chiefly from the excellent book Steal this Idea: the Corporate Confiscation of Creativity by Michael Perelman as well as an idea from Col. Boyd, whose advice was always to maintain connectivity, including with those you disagree with. I wanted to see what counter-arguments the strong IP crowd could muster against the whithering and total annihilation of the present system by Michael Perelman. I found out that they really did not have any substantive arguments, but did put out a lot of smoke, from burning all those straw horses. From time to time, though they made accusations that were just so outlandish, that a response was called for. Here is one such case.
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Patrick Ross, wikipedia contributor

Microsoft copies an old playbook from Pravda

It’s interesting to see the parallels between the corporate power advocates, found at such sites as The Progress and Freedom Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, or the Association for Competitive Technology and old style authoritarians, such as Fascists and Communists. Of course, they both have a common goal, which is to oppress, so it is not surprising that there is a convergence in their vocabulary. From the Competitive Enterprise Institute, here’s a post by the proto-Fascist Cord Blomquist:

Of course none of this is revolutionary, in either a pro-liberty or pro-Marxist/statist way. Instead, this is just a case of customers annoying a store owner, a simple case of hooliganism, not political upheaval. If Digg takes down 1 or 1000 articles, freedom of speech is left intact. The evidence of that, the fact that this video exists, along with thousands of other pages about the HD-DVD encryption key.

Hooliganism? What is this, it sounds like a Pravda or Red Star editorial from 1956. So what is hooliganism, exactly? It’s not illegal in the USA (at least not yet) Doing a little search on wikipedia, I find that:

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Microsoft copies an old playbook from Pravda

The GoogleEarth upgrade is really worth it

Recently, while using one of my very favorite applications, GoogleEarth, a notice came up to upgrade to the new version. The notice provided a link to a shell script that updated GoogleEarth flawlessly (on my SuSE 64-bit linux system) and kept all of my data, such as favorite places. So now I am using:

Google Earth : 4.0.2735
Build Date : Jan 30 2007
Build Time: 14:31:57
Renderer: OpenGL
Operating System: Linux (
Video Driver: NVIDIA Corporation
Max Texture Size: 4096×4096
Server kh.google.com

It fixed two annoying little bugs in the program. One that was especially annoying was the way that the Panoramio photo markers would overlap, and you couldn’t get at the one that was underneath the other. Now, when you hover the mouse over two close by panoramio markers, they slide out, connected to their points with lines, but now you can click on whichever one you are interested in. This happens in some really popular areas, for example around the K’aaba in Mecca. Here’s another place where that feature works to separate out two overlapping photo markers:

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The GoogleEarth upgrade is really worth it