Archive for Intellectual Property

Love of Culture

Posted in Intellectual Property, Piracy with tags , , on January 28, 2010 by Bradley Hall

Today on TNR, Lawrence Lessig wrote a piece about Charles Guggenheim’s daughter trying to digitize a collection of his documentaries and putting them on DVD to distribute and the trouble she found when she tried to do it. Trouble that really should not have happened.

TNR article.

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ACTA

Posted in Commentary, Government, Intellectual Property, Piracy with tags , , , on December 17, 2009 by Bradley Hall

Apparently this has been going on for quite some time. Several countries are readying to possibly ratify the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Act worldwide next month in Mexico.

ACTA affects not just counterfeiting, it makes things international law that were mentioned in the DMCA (and some things that weren’t). One of the pieces that I do not agree with (among others) is the Anti-Circumvention section which makes it illegal to bypass region code lockouts of DVDs (among other things). This means it would now be illegal for me to legally buy a DVD from Japan or Russia and then make it playable in the US either by ripping the video or via some other method.

Please go to the following site for more information:

Michael Geist’s site

Disney Buys Marvel

Posted in Disney, Intellectual Property with tags , on August 31, 2009 by Bradley Hall

This isn’t the kind of Earth-shattering news I wanted to wake up to this morning, but when I checked my email, a message from my brother was at the top of the list. I didn’t check the subject when I clicked on it.

It said, simply, “[Technet link] I wonder what’s next? Goofy and Captain America teaming up?” Then I looked at the subject. Clicked the link. And read.

But what got me thinking more, was what the next Kingdom Hearts game might have in it. Iron Man teaming up with Cloud Strife? The Fantastic Four battling alongside Mickey Mouse? The possibilities are endless.

Come to think of it, that Wolverine movie that came out not too long ago was a little soft, maybe it needed a Disney-inspired song or two…

Technet Link

Miku Hatsune has no soul

Posted in Commentary, Intellectual Property, music with tags , , on August 24, 2009 by Bradley Hall

Over the past few years, I’ve heard of a computer program series called Vocaloid. Vocaloid is like Cubase or Reason 2.5 in that it aids in the music creation processes, but whereas Cubase or Reason 2.5 (I think they have Reason 3.0 out now) focus solely on the musical aspect of creation, the Vocaloid series is all about vocals, which, ordinarily are provided by a human singer.

The most famous of the Vocaloid voices is Miku Hatsune, though there’s about ten different Vocaloid voices, including a few male voices. Gackt Camui, a popular Japanese musician (former lead singer of Malice Mizer) has even recorded his vocals for a Vocaloid program.

While talking with a friend a few days ago about Vocaloid programs and how versatile they are, my friend told me something I didn’t expect.

He said, “Miku is a amusing now and then, but isn’t it sometimes a little disheartening to know that you are listening to a singer who has no soul? Vocaloid can sing notes right when they’re supposed to, but I dunno — she doesn’t know or feel the words she’s saying. I like human singers because they put their heart into it and it’s real.”

That’s what hit me, the “she doesn’t know or feel the words she’s saying” part – she’s a puppet. To paraphrase the villain of Final Fantasy VII, “She has no heart and cannot feel any pain.”

As such, Miku does not know what she sings, all she knows is hit this note, hold it for that long, sing these words, use this inflection and move on to the next line at this time.

Does the fact that Miku herself lacks a soul make the music any less “real”? It isn’t a machine writing those lyrics, is it? Of course not, we haven’t achieved that level of technology yet.

Below I have posted two Vocaloid songs. The first one is in Japanese while the second one is an English version of a song that was originally done in Japanese.

One thing that I’ve been wondering about the Vocaloid programs is the program itself is “royalty free” meaning that people who buy and use the software do not have to pay royalties to the company that created the software to publish music using that software. I could find nothing relating to the visual likeness of Miku Hatsune or any other Vocaloid.

As you can see, both of the above videos utilize Miku’s likeness, as do quite a few other videos.

Open Source Textbooks. The Minstrels Rejoice!

Posted in Book Reviews, Commentary, Intellectual Property with tags , on August 20, 2009 by Bradley Hall

Wired’s Epicenter blog first mentioned this today.

Flat World Knowledge has been partnering with colleges left and right, one professor at a time to offer free on-site access, PDFs and cheap textbooks to students. Now that’s something I can get behind.

The first thing I thought of is that if a student can download a PDF for $20, what’s to stop that student from pirating that file and giving it to all the students in a class, or maybe five students get together and throw in $4 each for their own PDF?

Easy. It’s all Creative Commons licensed. In a CC world, there is no piracy (unless you break the terms of the license).

You do not have to be a college student in one of the classes who have professors who are part of the FWK network to read, or even buy, these textbooks. I just flipped through several pages of a Economics textbook right on the website.

It is hard to read the textbooks on the website as the portion that wants you to pay for the book takes up just over a third of the screen and the controls for changing pages isn’t very intuitive.

I have not seen how their paid edition textbooks look, but they do come in two flavors: Color and black & white.

If they offer their textbooks for so cheap (or even free), how do they make money? Study aids and formats.

As shown by page 160 in Chris Anderson’s Free (which FWK has so graciously provided a Google Books link to right on their website) they charge varying amounts for MP3 audio book versions, as well as individual chapters.

But why would you pay $1.99 per chapter when you can just cut & paste the text into a Word document, or, even better, cut & paste it into Open Office and make a PDF out of it.

Flat World’s website
Wired’s article
Chris Anderson’s “Free” excerpt

Pirate Bay Pirates to be paid for their uploads

Posted in Commentary, Intellectual Property, Piracy with tags , , , on July 1, 2009 by Bradley Hall

I’m still not sure I get this.

The BBC just reported that Global Gaming Factory has a plan to take Pirate Bay legit.

It involves paying content owners AND the people who upload things to the Pirate Bay. I’m not sure exactly how they’re going to do this yet, but they say their plan will help reduce Internet overload by 90%

BBC Article.

Pirate Bay sells out

Posted in Commentary, Intellectual Property, Piracy with tags , , , on June 30, 2009 by Bradley Hall

According to The Pirate Bay’s official blog, ” The Pirate Bay might get acquired by Global Gaming Factory X AB.”

From the wording of the blog post however, it appears that this is a done deal.

Global Gaming Factory X AB is a Swedish-based advertising company. I checked their official website and found two press releases concerning Pirate Bay. One was marked as having been posted at 8:51 AM, the other at 8:52 AM.

Both press releases are in Swedish. The first release talks about their purchase of Pirate Bay, while the second release mentions nothing but an invitation to come to a press briefing at 11:00 today.

Pirate Bay post
Global Gaming X AB’s press release page