humor, politics, technology

Ten Things I Hate About Comandments

Fair use makes great derivative works like this legal. Of course Viacom still had it taken down, even though they legally don’t own it. But now it is back, take a look.

This is just one of the many reasons fair use needs to be protected. The DVD-CCA (the folks is charge of DVD licensing) are trying to make it illegal to copy a DVD in anyway, in fact they don’t even want people to playing a DVD movie without the DVD in the drive. So for example, if you wanted to save battery life on your laptop during travel by watching a movie from its hard drive you’d be doing something illegal. The worse thing is that the DMCA will probably make it work— hope you’re all ready to say goodbye to your rights.

People should write to their representatives and let them know that we all think the DMCA needs to change. The content creator’s rights are important, but the rights of the people purchasing that content is important too. The problems with the DMCA go way beyond DVD protection— fair use and innovation freedom in general are being strangled.

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arts, technology

Electric Slide part 2

The plot thickens! Richard Silver, the man who claims to own the silly line dance known as the electric slide is now being sued by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of Kyle Machulis. Kyle had uploaded a video onto youTube where, among other things, folks do the electric slide for about ten seconds. Silver said they were doing it wrong and infringing his copyright, so issued a DMCA takedown notice. The EFF is now suing Silver for violating Machulis’ right to free speech as a videographer.

While this seems like it’s just another part in a story that keeps getting more and more ridiculous it is actually pretty important. It isn’t important because the electric slide is a dance that we all need rights to (I would gladly wave that right if we can abolish the dance step from all history), but because the precedent that will be set. This is something that needs attention. Seriously. The issue is fair use, which is the issue that dominates most discussions about DMCA abuses. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act is terribly problematic, mostly in that it hinders fair use, and (even more absurdly) free speech. Kudos to the EFF for taking on the issue, I’m proud to have donated to a organization dedicated to ensuring people’s rights extend into our current and future technologies. Without people like the EFF the electric slide could soon refer not to the dance, but to describe the trend of our digital rights.

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random

Why Microsoft is Dumb

Microsoft’s new operating system is called Vista. From what I’ve read it is going to give pirates a heck of a hard time to steal (for a few months at least), but the real bonus is that it’ll frustrate legitimate users— not only that, it will place all sorts of limits on how legitimate users can use Vista just because Microsoft claims that somehow it will save them money.

Yes, piracy is a problem, especially in some places outside the US. The thing is, people who live in some places outside the US can’t afford a $300 operating system. We can say “tough,” but that is pretty ridiculous considering computers are the only way to participate in a global economy. Computers are a necessity not a luxury.

I don’t think piracy will change because of Microsoft’s new piracy measures, but I’m not even sure that was the genuine intention. When Microsoft puts limits on how many times you can transfer the operating system (only once) from an old computer to a new one, or even outright deny any transfer (for computers shipped with Vista) it rings to me more in the key of greed.

What else is new with Vista? Besides only being able to transfer the OS once? You also won’t be able to use the regular version of Vista as a virtual OS— this means folks using mac will have to the more expensive version (currently set to cost $300-$400). And failure to activate Vista within 30 days results in the computer doing nothing but allowing 30 minutes of internet access.

Fair use seems to dictate that some of these things are illegal, but I am no lawyer, and fair use laws have been weakened thanks to things like the DMCA. That is to say, our rights as consumers to use things we’ve purchased however we like has been, and is being, pulled out from under us inch by inch.

It’s time to go with a Mac everyone, Apple won’t pull things like this anytime soon. Right now you can buy the latest Mac OS for about $100, or buy a family pack (good for five computers) for just $160. That’s a far cry from the adware and virus friendly Microsoft line of products. If you don’t like Apple, that is fine too, but sooner or later people are going to have to consider other options, out with the old in the unix based OS’s like SuSE, Fedora, or Ubuntu. No, they aren’t a Windows replacement, but then again that’s part of what makes them good.

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