Quite cool, YouTube type upload and sharing of (copyrighted?) documents, downloadable as PDF, MS Word, Plain Text or machine-generated MP3 (not the easiest to listen to it has to be said) formats.
AnimÃ© music video (AMV) is another one of those facinating internet subcultures that should be allowed to grow and influence mainstream media in the future (just as machinima will). If you are a fan of Daft Punk’s One More Time video then this stuff is right down your alley. The creativity and skill exhibited in some of the remixes produced by these amateur artists really is a sight (and sound!) to behold. Cowboy Bebop 007 and Euphoria are two excellent examples of these Anime/Music mashups. (hint: register on the AMV site above to get full access to the download links).
Alas, as Lawrence Lessig points out in his recent article in FT.com, the powers that be (copyright holders) don’t like this creativity one bit and their reactions is predicitable – they are threatening the AMV community. But what exactly are they scared of? Free promotion of their content? As Lessig surmises,
But perhaps a beginning would be a question that one might imagine asking the lawyer, or better, the chief executive, at Wind Up Records:
â€œNow that youâ€™ve succeeded in stopping thousands of kids from spending hundreds of thousands of hours to make fantastically creative content that promotes your work for free, do you really expect to sell more records next year?â€
Yesterday, the MGM vs Grokster case kicked off in Washington – an internesting summary is available at Timothy K. Armstrong’s blog (Tim is a Harvard law student who attended the session). They’re calling this the biggest copyright ruling since the BetaMax Case (1984) that ruled that yes it was legal for people to sell equipment that is capable of recording copyrighted material (but it is still illegal for users to mis-use that equipment)
This is yet another of those bell-weather cases between multinational copyright holders and small independent distribution mechanisms. Except, err, in this case, Grokster didn’t actually distribute anything – they just wrote the P2P software that others used to distribute between themselves in a decentralized way, as opposed to the old Napster system where Napster servers were “in the loop”. The RIAA seem to be clutching every straw they can grasp at this stage – one of these days, they will have to stand up and admit the world has changed and change their business models (artist renumeration, licensing) to reflect this.
One interesting observation from Tim highlights how absurd the MGM case really is:
At least some of the Justices, Scalia in particular, seemed troubled by how an inventor would know, at the time of inventing, how its invention might be marketed in the future. How, some of the Justices asked MGM, could the inventors of the iPod (or the VCR, or the photocopier, or even the printing press) know whether they could go ahead with developing their invention? It surely would not be difficult for them to imagine that somebody might hit upon the idea of marketing their device as a tool for infringement.
Let’s hope the U.S. Supreme Court justices are fully informed and hand down a just ruling on this one. I hope you’re not in a rush though – it’ll be three months before they hand down their ruling!