Friday, February 19, 2010

Class War: Fight or Immunize?

The Google plan to scan books gets a Federal hearing and a lot of "low level static". Note they have a monetization plan. Note the fierce resistance.

The scare to society is or should be that the edge cases pushing back are no where near as far from the center as they once were. The kid who capped a bully at school here, followed by Amy Bishop and now a software exec with an airplane should be a warning to bullies everywhere, real or culturally perceived. The people stepping up are no longer the kid looking to steal CDs to buy crack. These are well-educated, well-trained, well-equipped and even well thought of people who like the guy in the basement finally has his red slimline stapler taken from him and says, “that’s the last straw”. When we were analyzing 9-11, the remark was made this could be controlled until it began to recruit so-called lumpen terrorists, those who emerge from the elites of a society itself as it did with Bader-Meinhoff.

So far, at least with the copyright bs, no one is taking down major labels the way Charlie decided to go after Terry Melcher. The goodness of the conversations we are having at Jon Taplin's blog is if we keep after this problem, no one ever will. At a certain point it becomes evident to the artists and their fans that a plan is starting to take shape by which they all benefit. The importance of the win-win to the overall health of the social networks that are emerging to reorganize media businesses cannot be overstated.

In most cases, class war is not an organizational event. It is more like a contagion in bad weather. It can be stopped and it can even immunize. It is important to make the right gestures up front and back them up with visible acts before it does become to the advantage of organizations to keep the conflict alive much the same as it is for RushBozo and dimBeck to keep their listeners perpetually stirred.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

What if Google Managed Copyrights and Paid the Registration Fees?

What if Google Managed Copyrights and Paid the Registration Fees?

At Jon Taplin's blog is yet in another long series of debates on the woes of the publishing industries for copyright.

Most geeks know that all you have to do to fix the registration problem is enable the Save boxes to require it the first time it is saved. And that probably solves 80% of the problem of universal registration.

The licensing agencies and usual suspects want to recreate the old world in the new one of digital publishing. I'm not a player so who knows how this comes out. But the fact of derivative works and the need for multiple registration agencies to share information if that is a competitive system complicates tracking.

The question of how to assess the relative value of URI-identified resources is built into the licensing. I wonder what it is worth to and of the service systems providing very large distributed services right now to pay the licensing fees for the artists for works contributed. It protects YouTube.

Austin: Another Edge Case

“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” – Leonard Bernstein

Another edge case goes over the edge in Austin today, burning his bridges, his home and taking a blow against the man. I expect more. We have enough laws, we have guns,we have sufficient police and God knows, we will soon have far too much surveillance. We should pay attention to wise Leonard Bernstein who understood that the change we needed then and now is a change of heart.

Props to Daniel Bullard (The Buddha) who sent that quote my way.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mojo Overload

Mommas and Daddies hide yo' children. Here comes Mojo Overload. TASTY!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Class War: It's Not That Simple. The Case of Amy Bishop.

The disturbing signs of the class war continue to emerge.

Some are familiar with the terrible event that happened a block from where I sit writing this article. It is cliched to say driving past the campus from my office to my son's home to talk to him and his friends was surreal. To see my alma mater awash in a sea of blinking blue and red gumball machines was stupefying, maddening and grotesque. To see the students finally out of lockdown almost zombie like as they got into their cars was heartbreaking.

Yet one has to stay a little disattached. Eventually, Amy Bishop will come to trial and having that in this city will be almost impossible, but we may have to get a local jury pool and try.

There is an unsettling and as yet unanswered question in the article linked above: was this the act of an elite, a Harvard graduate who although evidently disturbed, an edge case as I call them, saw herself victimized by the small town university politics in a city rich with intellectual property holders based on genetic and Federally funded research? Did she believe that not only her teaching career was being destroyed by failure to be granted tenure, but her life's work would be appropriated by senior members of the faculty, licensed for their profit while she was being dismissed to the woodpile?

In articles at Jon Taplin's blog much is made of the problems of copyright for artists and old school fee collections agencies such as BMI and ASCAP. The problems of digital rights management are well known. In that, some ask how we came to the place where the fans would turn on artists and try to deny them a living based on collecting fees for use of their work?

What if this isn't that simple? In the writings from the copyleft and creative commons community, there are often the complaints about the ripoff of the artists by their labels, their collection agencies and so on. The notion that stealing music is a blow against The Man is pervasively held in many parts of society.

What if this is just one part of a bigger notion that class and elitism have become too entrenched? Given the economic events of the past two years, it's no use quibbling that the very wealthy are using any means at hand to maintain that wealth. That feeling of being had is very pervasive. In the case at UAH, it may be someone who believed as the article author asserts, her lessers were getting the better of her and she reacted violently. It isn't justification, but it may be a sign of a wide spread and intensifying belief powering not just this horrific event, but the last election, the tea partiers that have followed, and who knows what else yet?

Wars of class, the struggle to unseat the elite and the struggles to maintain them have been among the bloodiest in history. Like religious wars, they have a similar basis in the notion of the natural right to power or class of some select annointed. But whether it is the struggle of the annointed to reclaim rights, or of the unannointed to strip them, in a religious war the leaders are plainly recognized. In a class war, it's not that simple.

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