History and cultural heritage as a source of inspiration is truly amazing in many ways. The fastness of it, the depth and richness. The endless possibilities in analyzing histories, comparing the past and the present or juxtaposing those. You can interpret it endlessly and use it as a foundation for study, fiction, research and art. This makes it very great, but not unique in the complete body of work we call culture. What makes it so special is that, as property in the public domain, no part of history can be owned by a single person or cooperation.
It may seem really straightforward to you that when I take an era in history, say the French revolution and write a narrative history of this era, that I do not automatically own the rights to that historical event. I have copyright of my work, but the foundation on which this work has been build does not default into my care completely. I can’t bar people from entertaining the same narrative or a completely new interpretation of the French revolution just because I wrote something about it in a particular context.
Now where am I going with this?
The slogan the dutch lobby group BREIN and its operational manager, Tim Kuik, go by is the cheesy and awkward “The art of protecting the creating”. This is an interesting slogan not only because only three words here have merit and the other three have not. These three words are… naturally… “The”, “of” and “the” (again.. so arguably only 2 words.. (but i digress)). These words only have merit because, structurally, these tie the sentence together, regardless of content. The other three words are completely inappropriate for BREIN in every imaginable way. Continue reading The farce of protecting the creative→
Very little journalism is good journalism. In fact, calling the majority of reports journalism is an insult to proper journalism. The vast majority of journalism is shoddy, poorly researched, click-bait driver regurgitated drivel often with a biased agenda one way or the other. This is true for most media, but the internet surely takes the cake here and within this realm lives the “tech journalist”. On par with the gossip column, but often mush more incompetent with regards to the subject.
Ow, how I hate tech journalism at large. Their lack of any form of vision or insight. The random tangents and hyperbolae they shoot forth for no apparent reason. The oblatory lack or research or citing sources. The obvious extension to the tech and ad-industry that they are.
There are very little mainstream tech article in which either a single miscomprehension nullifies the entire bloody thing or where the one-sidedness is so thick that even the fact sheets should be doubted. The stupidity of the conclusion that are drawn from various sources, often uncredited, without any form of analytical explanation. Continue reading Tech journalism : Worst than the gossip pages→
This week a film distributor, Dutch film works, in the Netherlands announced that they have a list of IP addresses and will go after individual downloaders first with a warning and after multiple infraction with a “fine” or a court case. These strong arm tactics have been deployed elsewhere in Europe and are admittedly meant as a deterrent.
What is notable here is that these actions have been mostly undertaken by middleman in these industries like distributors not the authors or producers nor television and cinema companies. This is telling because it tells us something about the relation between the audience and the different parties involved in providing film entertainment. There is a very clear reason why a distributor would go after individuals whereas TV stations of creators rarely do so. Also, there is a very good reason why distributors like Dutch film works are in the wrong when they assume that they have a right to do so. Continue reading Cultural re-appropriation : Why going after individual downloaders is wrong and misguided→
“I don’t even know why I would want to be on a label in a few years, because I don’t think it’s going to work by labels and by distribution systems in the same way. The absolute transformation of everything that we ever thought about music will take place within 10 years, and nothing is going to be able to stop it. I see absolutely no point in pretending that it’s not going to happen. I’m fully confident that copyright, for instance, will no longer exist in 10 years, and authorship and intellectual property is in for such a bashing.”
2002 ~ David Bowie
For years around the world, especially in western nations, copyright watchdogs for the content and entertainment industry have predictably pushed and pushed to gain more rights and reduce peoples privacy and disown us of our active cultural environment. In the Netherlands we have BREIN as a shill for the industry and they have again increased their target spectrum, now by having gained the right to use intrusive, possibly fishing software, to find and match uploads.
At this time of writing BREIN claims only to go after “BIG” uploads, whatever the metric for that would be, but it is barely a slippery slope argument if one predicts that this will lead to “smaller” uploaders or even .torrent file downloads in the future. These thugs have been pushing the acceptable boundaries for years now and I do not see them having any reason to stop here.
There are many good reasons to use adblock and anti tracking software for your browser. Ads and tracking sites are annoying, potentially dangerous, they slow down your browser and they hog your bandwidth. All very good reason to simply block ads no matter how much a youtuber or website is whining about lost ad revenues. Within these bounds the user is perfectly in his or her right to choose to use this software.
But there is another good reason to block ads. A reason that could actually make NOT using adblock a bad thing to do.
Occasionally I visit the “tech” website tweakers.net. Mostly through links, but sometimes just to see what nonsense the editors and the community are whining about this time. Aptly named, for it is seemingly run by a random collection of crystal-meth addicts, this dutch tech site has been popular in the tech scene in the Netherlands for years. Now sensible people understand that popularity does not equate quality and this certainly is the case with this site. Poor and biased reporting, generally a payed lip-service site to the highest bidder, a North Korean mentality like community and not worthy of the label “news”. Continue reading Sites whining about ad-blockers. Cry me a river.→
The shameless arrogance of an amateur identity historian.
Identity history : The act of interpreting parts of history in order to project onto yourself the roll of hero of victim or project onto others the roll of the villain.
Most historians shun this amateurish approach to historical narratives due to obvious reasons. Most examples of Identity history seem harmless enough, genealogy for instance often focusses on ancestors that were somehow notable, mostly ignoring the lesser known forebears. The famous ancestor then somehow reflects its attributes on the contemporary individual, although odds are that (s)he is just as unremarkable as most of the genealogy that was ignored. The BBC show, “who do you think you are?” is a good example of seemingly innocent identity history. Famous people track down their ancestral roots until they find some remarkable story about the success or grievances of somebody down their family tree. Continue reading Polemic : The shameless arrogance of an amateur identity historian→
I wrote about how the notion of Godwinning, mentioning Hitler or WWII in conversation is a conversation stopper, not because it’s a priori untrue but because this always triggers the Godwin remark at which point no argument can be made in return, even if the analogy made was correct.
Crying Godwin isn’t much better than making a bad comparison between any historical figure or period to something else. but there is something even worst than the Godwin fallacy.
Internet “laws” or “rules” are generally humorous observation on human behavior on the internet captured in a short neat definition. They are of course superficial generalizations that we can all attest to from experience. Be it the first couple of rules of IT where it states that : “If a program doesn’t work, It needs a manual” or : “If a package is finished, it needs to be expanded”. Rule #34 is a famous one that states that “if something exists, the internet has porn of it” and indeed, this seems true on first glance.
Then there is Godwins law, which states that given any discussion, as it progresses the chance that anybody will use an analogy to WWII, the nazis or Hitler will approach one. This is a funny observation that has its origins in reality for sure. Many frustrated debater will have succumbed to the temptation to compare his adversaries with Nazi’s without good reason and this tendency displayed by most people isn’t praiseworthy. Continue reading Conversation stoppers : Godwin→