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Hey, Kids – Anti-Piracy Propaganda!

Wired’s Threat Level blog has a great write up about a non-profit comic distributed to 50,000 US students which reads suspiciously like RIAA propaganda about file sharing.

The goals may be admirable:

“The purpose is basically to educate kids — middle school and high school-aged about how the justice system operates and about what really goes on in the courtroom as opposed to what you see on television,” said Lorri Montgomery, the center’s communications director.

but as Threat Level points out, there’s a lot of questionable questionable interpretation of law in “The Case of Internet Piracy”. Plus, there’s a nice framing story about eminent domain. Because I know I’d buy a lot more comics if the Justice League kept getting evicted so the city could build public works. Read more

Bear Creek Apartments

Hey Bryan Lee O’Malley and Hope Larson have unleashed a superstar-tag-team of a 16-page short story on the world. Even better it’s as much fun as a collaboration between those two should be.

[ Edit - I don't really review comics here, but I keep meaning to mention that "Chiggers" is a great follow-up to "Gray Horses", and highly recommended most-ages, gender-inclusive, comics reading! ]

A few links on music blanket licensing

It’s been a busy week so forgive me if I lean on other sites for content:

Ars has an interesting article about Jim Griffin, a consultant for Warner, talking up “blanket” licensing for digital music. While this would seem to be a huge step in the right direction for a major label – like so many things – the devil’s in the details. Read more

A Huge Win for Open Source Licenses

Hey remember when I used to talk about copyright?

Me neither.

Very interesting ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the case of Robert Jacobsen v. Matthew Katzer & Kamind Associates. Since I’ll presume not everyone shares my love of reading out of country judicial rulings (or pdf files) – here’s a brief summary for the copyright-interested: Read more

Join the (Ukraine) Army!

Rob, my brother, sent me a link to this recruitment video for the Ukrainian army. Compared to the Canadian (and US) ads I see constantly, I find the candor and lack of pretext refreshing.

Panning for gold in the sewer: Fun with internet critique

Friday’s post about Scott Kurtz’s take on interpreting critical feedback eventually generated a couple very interesting comments.

One thing everyone agreed upon was that that the “signal to noise” ratio for feedback (incorporating all pro/amateur/literary critique/”you suck” e-mail) for any creative work on the Internet is astoundingly low. So the question remains – as a creator of any subjective work on the Internet (comics, films, poetry, bonsai kittens) – how can one filter the responses one gets to get useful information out of the mire? Read more

Don’t let critical insulation become a padded room

Man I love Scott Kurtz. I’m not sure of anyone else who has that unique blend of high quality output I can’t resist – and then the occasional personal post that can just send me screaming around the bend wanting to rant and rage.

His latest blog post snarks Johanna Draper Carlson’s review of “How to Make Webcomics” (which I’ve said before is great and should be step one in any new artists plan for internet domination). Now while Johanna’s review is pretty much glowing Scott took umbrage at Johanna’s wondering why there was nothing in the book to suggest that occasionally criticism from critics or fans was deserved.
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Pssst… want to buy some unfiltered Chinese Olympic internet access?

In all the recent hooplah about China (gasp) reneging on it’s commitment to provide unfiltered Internet access for Olympic journalists, I’m quite surprised that more media outlets aren’t coming to the plate to publicaly announce that they’ll be circumventing any attempts made at censorship.

I suspect that it will come as a shock to absolutely no one that filtering the internet is almost impossible, and there are a wide range of public and private options to circumvent filtering. As well I know many (I suspect most) major media outlets use VPNs, or other secured on-line platforms to submit their stories… obtaining web content through this “protected corridor” would be trivial.

More interesting to me than the global hand-wringing going on (which gives the impression that the Chinese government has all the power in this equation) would be if more organizations would publicly come out and state that filtering web access based on URL or even content keywords would have absolutely no impact whatsoever on their operations, or their ability to access whatever information they want while in Beijing.

Heck, why isn’t a major news outlet vowing to take a stand and provide their own encrypted internet corridor for any accredited journalist who wants to use it while in Beijing? Then we’d have a story.

Perhaps, as Chris Matyszczyk posited at CNet the real censorship issue doesn’t start with the Chinese government, but with Western press reluctance to rock the boat.

[Edit 07/30/08 - Only hours later it looks like The IOC knew China had no intention of honouring their commitment - and even did a deal with them allowing this. While making the IOC seem unusually feckless, even by IOC standards, it doesn't change my underlying position. If the media is truly outraged, let's see them stand up and resolve the situation publically (instead of privately). I have no doubt they'd start getting tossed out of the country left and right, but it would be a lot more interesting to see the IOC try to worm it's way out of that situation with a "well we're only concerned about the sports themselves".]