“40 Years in the Desert,” a talk I gave at Copycamp in Warsaw, Poland, on November 26 2012. Audio is a bit messed up until 02:49, so just start there. I talk a bit about Questioncopyright.org and Minute Memes, liberally quote Rick Falkvinge, mention Fair Use and Creative Commons before getting into Intellectual Disobedience. Toward the end I discuss Seder-Masochism’s release plan.
4 thoughts on “Copycamp Talk”
Sita’s copright chart?
I’ve been recommending intellectual disobedience; there’s inherent risk to individuals, but it’s acceptable in most countries. It puts artists and distributors and the art itself at more risk. Brave. I’d be setting up limited-liability shell companies like Russian dolls.
The redacted DVD will suck without the full version. With or leading to it, redacted sounds like a director’s commentary, such a cool idea. GNU/Linux has started doing something similar, with full-featured worldwide DVDs, and purposefully-crippled America DVDs for distribution.
Cool new scene. I’m identifying entirely with the Exodus reaction.
Works in Firefox but can’t be played in RSS/liferea – “This video contains content from SME. It is restricted from playback on certain sites. Watch on Youtube”. Fair use is a lamb to the temple.
Hi Nina, I watched the video. Your aims are noble, but the idea of selling a DVD with redacted music is half-baked for a number of reasons:
1. Nobody will want to buy something like that unless the real purpose is to give you a donation (in which case, why not just skip the middle step) or make a political point. This is an act of protest, not an actual solution to the problem.
2. DVDs are on their way out. And Blurays, for that matter (though they’ll have their use as inexpensive storage). When you can buy a $35 Raspberry Pi, install XBMC on it, connect it to your TV and watch all the downloaded movies you like, the economics of the current system just stop making sense. This isn’t mainstream yet, but it will be.
I think there’s a solution to your problem, though, one that shouldn’t be too expensive and is also time-tested (since the 1980s) and legal. You’ll need to pay someone to code a computer program, but it’ll probably cost much less than paying for the rights.
What I’m talking about, of course, is doing what video game modders/ROM hackers and translators have already done for decades (the only reason other artists haven’t come around yet is probably because they have a far poorer understanding of technology):
Some mods are simple hacks to change colors or music, while others are much more sophisticated and feel like whole new games in their own right.
It is illegal to distribute the original copyrighted game, or any modification of that game, but it IS legal to distribute a file with all the modifications that have made to the original game by themselves. Sometimes, these modifications are distributed directly as modified game files without the executable (this is what modifiers of old computer games like Commander Keen do – http://keenmodding.org/ ), but in most cases a program called an IPSPatcher is used. To use it, one needs the original ROM file of the full game (these can be gotten legally or illegally…), and an IPS file with the modifications. Then the IPSPatcher combines the two into a single file. Here’s how it works:
In your case, what you’d need to do is put any copyrighted music on a separate audio layer, and note all of the timings (when they start) as well as modifications (i.e. fade-outs). Then you need to export that information as a separate file, which could be used to recreate the combination.
Here’s how it would work for the user:
1. The user downloads the Sedermasochism video file without the copyrighted music.
2. The user acquires the copyrighted music from whatever sources. To make fewer enemies, you could encourage people to get it from legal sources, a few mp3s tracks will only cost people a few dollars anyway. I’m not sure if it will be technically possible for the user to choose to download different quality versions of the same songs, i.e. mp3 or lossless. The simplest way would probably be to allow only specific files (i.e. a particular mp3 of “This Land Is Mine”), just like game mods require a specific version of the ROM to patch them onto.
3. The user downloads an IPS-like patch file. This file contains instructions for how to mix the copyrighted music with the film.
4. The user opens the IPS-like patch file in a specially-written program (that will need to be written). A pop-up window appears asking the user to locate the video file as well as the music files. The program then checks to see if the files are indeed the correct ones (using the information contained in the patch file), and if they are, it uses the info in the patch file to mix them into a new video file. How it would do this:
4.a. Using the info in the patch file, creates a new audio stream made up of just the copyrighted audio files starting at the correct times, and applies any effects to them (like fade-outs).
4.b. Muxes this new audio stream into the video file (it needs to be a type of video file that accepts multiple audio streams).
5. Either everything is combined into one audio stream, or the user selects his favourite media program to play both of the audio streams at the same time, which will make the movie sound just like it’s supposed to.
So as you can see, the problem is a technological one and solution is quite obvious. It’s something that has been widespread in the software world for decades already. Its use in video game mods is particularly relevant as it is very close to what you are trying to do here – they’ve been down this road already.
Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.
Hello. I have transcribed your great talk to subtitles, but there are phrases which I did not recognize. Would you like to help me with those? The subtitles are here.