The Null Device
US liberal website Mother Jones has a list of the most absurd excesses of intellectual property:
BILL GATES had the 11-million-image Bettmann Archive buried 220 feet underground. Archivists can access only the 2% that was first digitized.
MICROSOFT UK held a contest for the best film on "intellectual property theft"; finalists had to sign away "all intellectual property rights" on "terms acceptable to Microsoft."
U.S. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY is valued at $5.5 trillion, equal to 47% of our GDP and greater than the GDP of any other nation but China.
A FRENCH DIRECTOR had to pay $1,300 after a character in his film whistled the communist anthem, "The Internationale," without permission.
RENTAMARK.COM makes money by claiming ownership of 10,000 phrases, including "chutzpah," "casual Fridays," ".com," "fraud investigation," and "big breasts."
(via Boing Boing)
In today's Grauniad, Banksy writes about the war on street art in Melbourne:
"The Melbourne scene is incredibly diverse," says Alison Young, head of the department of criminology at Melbourne University. "The range of artists includes people in their 40s, in their teens and a relatively large number of women." Young was commissioned by the city council to draw up a draft graffiti strategy last March in which she recommended tolerance zones be set up where street art and graffiti be allowed a small space within the city, where writers and artists would be at a lower risk of being arrested. "This was rejected by the city council, despite it generating lots of public support and despite evidence being presented that zero tolerance, for lots of reasons, wouldn't work."
Instead, the council doubled its anti-graffiti budget. "The clean-up is an imposition of a supposedly mainstream, or dominant, cultural view," says Young, "in denial of the diversity of cultural styles that actually exist within a city space."Evidence of Melbourne's stencil-art scene survives online in photographs on websites:
The street art destroyed in Melbourne will survive on graffiti's new best friend - the internet. The web has done wonders for graffiti; it perfectly reflects its transient nature, and graffiti is ludicrously overrepresented on its pages. The ability to photograph a street piece that may last for only a few days and bounce it round the world to an audience of millions has dramatically improved its currency. On the other hand, the internet is turning graffiti into an increasingly virtual pastime. It is now possible to achieve notoriety by painting elaborate pieces in secluded locations, without the associated risk of arrest that is usually attached. By posting photographs online you can become a significant graffiti writer from a town where none of your work is actually visible.Though, given that the Australian government has just banned a video game simulating the writing of graffiti, and is planning a national internet censorship firewall, how much would you want to bet that graffiti-related websites would be viewable unfiltered from within Australia?
And as Melbourne has been Giulianified into inoffensive blandness and approved commercial messages, due largely to the Commonwealth Marketing Exercise, er, Games, London (with a far bigger commercial extravaganza coming to its artist-infested East End in 2012) is likely to be next:
The precedent set by Melbourne does not bode well for London in the build-up to the 2012 Olympics. The games will be set in east London, where Hackney is one of the few remaining parts of the city where affordable studio space for artists still exists. After the warehouses have been flattened by compulsory purchase orders, the pots of grey paint will be opened and an area rich in street culture and frontier spirit will disappear. Factory doors whose flaked layers of Hammerite reveal history like the rings in a tree stump will be thrown on the fire. Disused cranes perched on top of foundries like skeletal crows will be torn down. Everything will be replaced by a cardboard-partitioned village perched on a pile of cheap laminate flooring. And if you think the graffiti will be removed so it can be replaced by vistas of clean urban space, think again. Every meaningful spot will be clogged with giant billboards by the likes of McDonald's encouraging you to get fit by staying at home and watching the games on TV.
This is fairly nifty; a piece of software that divides a library of music videos into segments, listens for incoming sound, and plays the segments matching the sound the most closely. It's implemented using C++, Python and Pd, and will be released soon. Until then, you can watch the video, which explains it and demonstrates, playing back beatboxing as disjointed fragments from a MC Hammer video.
(via Music Thing)