I’ll follow-up yesterday’s mostly political tab sweep with one that’s a little closer to home for (I think) most readers: Pieces about the Web and how we do and should live on it and use it.

British Telewhat? · Recently I keep running into smart people doing interesting things at BT, which, considered as Yet Another Big Old Telecom, you wouldn’t think a very interesting place.

They seem to center around JP Rangaswami, whose title at BT tells you nothing, but who blogs and twitters, both from interesting URLs.

Also involved is Paul Downey, whose geek-mandala-thingies I’ve written about before.

Also Osmosoft, best-known for TiddlyWiki.

And then last week at OSCON another Really Interesting Person With Whom I Often Disagree But Is Smart Anyhow told me he was being snapped up. Curiouser and curiouser; to give you a flavor, check out JP’s The customer is the scarcity and @psd’s ETSI 2.0. I’ll be watching ’em.

Much-Linked · All of these were when they made their initial splash, but if you didn’t see them then they’ll reward reading now even if their age is now measured in (gasp) weeks.
Item: Content is a Service Business by Andrew Savikas.
Item: Freemium - Shmeemium by David Semeria.
Item: Women in Open Source — the canary in the coal mine by David Eaves.

Canadian Copyright & Lennon & McCartney · Up here in Canada, we’ve got a process under way to revise our copyright law. In the USA, this was the process that led to the DMCA, and there are forces who’d like us to adopt something equally insidious. I keep thinking I should file a submission, but I read the conversations so far and it’s full of input from people who are both more authoritative and eloquent than I.

This story is complicated and fast-moving, but if you want to follow this, there’s only one place you need to go, Michael Geist’s blog. Start with Responding to the Copyright Consultation: My Short Answer.

Speaking of copyright, I recently read Jackson Assets Draw the Gaze of Wall Street in the New York Times, and my blood ran cold. I can sorta kinda open up to the idea of extending the notion of “property” to something that can be copied at zero cost without taking the original away, pitched as a way to reward creatives and encourage creation.

But when that leads to finance creeps prowling around the MJ estate to get their filthy fucking claws on the Beatles tunes I grew up with, the copyright-law chain of logic really breaks down in my mind; it starts to feel like pirating the Beatles catalog and giving to the world for free would not only be OK but maybe a moral imperative.

I wonder what Paul and Ringo think?


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: dave (Jul 28 2009, at 23:31)

"like us to adopt something equally insidious"

Actually, they would like Canada to pass laws that go beyond the limitations of the DMCA, so that their sister/parent companies in the US can lobby for DMCA v2.0 so they can have equal protection to that of other countries, so they can keep producing valuable IP in the US.


From: Paul Downey (Jul 29 2009, at 00:45)

Thanks for the link-love Tim! You're right to identify JP as being something more than a catalyst and I'm guessing you're hinting at Kevin Marks, who has now come-out and officially started working with Ribbit this week, Then there are the likes of Martin Geddes, Jeremy Ruston, Blaine Cook, Michael Mahemoff, Bruce Schneier etc — but one of the things we're surrounded by in BT is smart, often young, people, who choose not to be so noisy/visible, yet from whom are powerful in shaping our collective thinking. The mandate to be more open and work near to the customer as possible using open source comes right from the top, who definitely see the writing on the wall. Fun times to be working at a telco that gets it!


From: Giacomo (Jul 29 2009, at 02:57)

What dave says (apart from the "valuable content": big-media content is mostly overpriced rubbish).

Media companies have successfully pulled this "harmonization" stunt several times in the past: you get more monopolistic power in one country, usually when nobody is looking; then you ask the next country to "harmonize with and improve on" its neighbour's law; then you can go back to the first country and repeat the process.

It reminds me of betting rounds in casino-poker games, where dealers/companies always win, and players/nations always lose.

Besides, it's typical behaviour for giant multinational companies; media conglomerates just happen to be more brazen in going about it.


From: Francis Hwang (Jul 29 2009, at 06:46)

Theoretically, the fact that lawyers might pay lots of money to buy your tunes from Michael Jackson when he dies in 2009 might make you force MJ to pay you more money to buy your songs in 1990 or whenever he bought them. So the songwriters can benefit, as long as they think like businessmen. Of course, many people in the world would rather not have to think like businessmen about everything, which is one of the core problems about turning everything into a form of property.


From: len (Jul 29 2009, at 07:11)

They are probably thinking proposals for an ISP tax/fee for digital content are looking pretty good. Until someone explains how net sampling will work, who will administer it, how eligible members are selected etc., they will be among a handful who think that.

Was it better for the Beatles or any of the rest of us when creeps in and out of the Jackson family controlled the catalog or when Allan Klein was dealing it away under the table or when Brian was giving their rights away for pennies on the dollar?

When starving, stealing food is a moral imperative. When drowning in stolen food, breathing is.


From: Rob Britton (Jul 29 2009, at 07:52)

As for copyright, why not go check out what the Pirate Party of Canada is up to? www.piratepartyofcanada.com


From: Matthew Laird (Jul 30 2009, at 14:02)

At Open Web this year Rickard Falkvinge of the Swedish Pirate Party gave a fantastic keynote.

Regarding copyright and "incentives" for creators to continue creating, he made a fantastic point about the notion of "lifetime + 70 years." He stood to be corrected, but he was not aware of any creator who continued to produce new works after their death. And really, at this point who benefits from the copyright, not the original creator, he's dead. Not society by gaining access to a piece of our collective culture, because it's still locked behind a copyright fence. So perhaps this notion needs to be rethought to a more reasonable limit.

I hope you do make a submission. The more voices towards a more sane reworking of copyright, hopefully the less likelihood of DMCA-Canuck Edition.


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