Short about the financial lobby: “Unter Freunden”, related links

November 14, 2010

“Unter Freunden” is a short by WEED (www.weed-online.org) (Weltwirtschaft, Okologie und Entwicklung) about the intentions of the financial lobby/politics.

It’s in German with no subtitles: basically you have the Maker (politician), the Tactician (banker/lobbyist) and the Seller (finance fund industry/lobbyist). The Maker talks on TV and urges not to “question the whole financial system” just because there is a crisis… Then we are in a room where the Tactician and the Seller talk to the Maker and seem to tell him that banks etc. should be paying for the financial crisis and so on. The Maker is confused… In the end it turns out that the Tactician and the Seller were only joking, pulling the Maker’s leg…

I guess if you are Irish you would not know whether to laugh or cry when seeing this… Ireland ‘in preliminary talks with EU on bailout’ (www.bbc.co.uk)

Also in German but related: Neue Impulse (www.neueimpulse.org), see e.g. their Downloads section for a short about money/the financial system.

If you are currently researching that subject you might also want to check out writer/director G. Edward Griffin (en.wikipedia.org) and his work (“The Creature from Jekyll Island”). I have  neither seen the whole movie yet nor read the book, but from what I’ve seen this should be another mind opener like the previously posted “Zeitgeist: Addendum” by Peter Joseph.

I guess it’s time to wake-up, again… So be sure to know which is the blue and which the red pill. Scary stuff indeed.

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A cure for ACTA: FACTAP!

November 13, 2010

ACTA vs. Democracy

Corporations, their lobbyists, the puppets they bought (aka politicians) and those who make the world go round (aka bankers) will be meeting for another secret round of ACTA talks soon: Anti-Piraterie-Abkommen ACTA wird weiter verhandelt (www.heise.de).

Time for the system we got to know as Democracy is running out.

I believe the only acceptable way out of this mess will be to completely:

* reject ACTA
* name and shame those who initiated, designed and promoted it

But this might not happen.

That’s why we should be thinking ahead, for a solution to ACTA, once/if it is put in place. After thinking long and hard about all of this I believe I found it: FACTAP

You see once a system is so badly broken, so unjust, so corrupted as ours, there might not be an easy fix, a simple reform might not do any more.

On the positive side…

Lately there seem to be a few sane high-profile voices joining in an important debate, see (EU) Commissioner Kroes: Copyright Reform Needed (www.osnews.com), European Commissioner Lambasts ‘Copyright Middlemen’ (torrentfreak.com) or UK copyright laws to be reviewed, announces Cameron (www.bbc.co.uk).

I wonder if this is not too little too late…?

I’ve been supportive of the Creative Commons movements for years by publishing all my online works under one of their licenses and I will be supportive of this movement in the future. It’s a good start. Yet I feel it might not be enough any more…

I used to vote for the Green Party and while I am delighted that the Greens are doing sensationally well in Central Europa at this moment (23% in Germany should there be elections) I will be voting for the Pirate Party at future occasions where possible. I can’t agree with the argument that “Those pirates who really want to shape intellectual property policy will be better advised to join the more established parties” (fosspatents.blogspot.com). I’d be glad to see the Greens taking on the copyright issue, yet so far I simply have not heard enough from them to satisfy me. And even the Pirate Party might not be enough once and if ACTA is in place…

“Reforming” a system that’s so badly broken as ours simply might not work out: once Democracy is gone for good and Plutocracy, Corporate Fascism or whatever you want to call it has (semi-)officially arrived it might be too late to even talk about these things in public.

We live in a time where those defending free speech (in Europe) have to fear for their safety: Wikileaks founder may seek Swiss asylum: interview (news.yahoo.com). Be prepared to hear about people with critical minds tragically dying in an “air plane accident”, a “car crash” etc. It happened before and it might happen again.

Add to the mix yet more government surveillance (look at the UK for inspiration). This of course will, as always, be for “public safety”: Big Brother, thanks to TV networks, is now simply known to most people as an entertainment format. That’s brainwashing at it’s best. George Orwell would be proud.

In the end I don’t care if the Green Party or the Pirate Party or (as unlikely as it seems) any of the more mainstream parties brings back sanity.

For me this is not about about left and right, simply about right and wrong, or better: it is about fair and unfair.

So what is FACTAP…?

First of all it is a cure for ACTA, the antidote.

ACTA is a “treaty” negotiated in secrecy by lobbyists. It’s about corruption and it is dangerously undemocratic.

FACTAP shall be a public discussion – if public discussions will still be possible that is… Food for thoughts: ACTA will force your ISP to censor your work if someone lodges an unsupported trademark claim (www.boingboing.net)

The idea is that the system then will be broken so badly, so corrupted that something more radical than a simply “copyright reform” will be needed.

Basically FACTAP is about:

* Getting rid of copyright altogether. No replacement. Whatsoever.

* Getting rid of (software) patents altogether. No replacement. Whatsoever.

* What remains is that someone gets credit for their work.

Now it’s interesting that credit not only is about getting named in the context of your work/recognition for your work, but also has to do with credibility, someone might trust you with money (that is if money should still be worth the sum that’s printed on it in the near future…), someone gives you credit, since you previously have proven to produce something of value, e.g. written a book. Getting credit is like collection Karma points.

Since I still think that no one actually can “invent” anything that was not there already (we can only “discover” what nature previously “invented”), copyright and patents are simply an expression of human arrogance, they show our darker sides, the urge to control, conquer and posses for the sake of feeling in control of life, yet in the end we all still remain mortals. “Intellectual property” is really just the latest new age religion (without a spiritual element) for the rich and wealthy, an intellectual frame work constructed to justify their highly immoral deeds and practices.

I believe getting “credit” for one’s work is really all that we need.

Money of course always seems to mess up things and instead of going the more adequate, more humble road, we (might) end up with a monster like ACTA.

And if you think the content MAFIAA was bad then be prepared for the next round: White paper on 3D printing and the law: the coming copyfight (www.boingboing.net)

So dear “politicians”, if you still care a little bit about the people that elected you (that is if elections were not rigged), now is probably one of the last chances to stop this madness and reject ACTA for good!

Then maybe a “copyright reform” might still make sense.

Yet if ACTA should be installed, Democracy will be gone. There will be no need to insult us any further by holding elections that fewer and fewer people turn up to for good reasons. Be honest and call it Corporate Fascism. It’ll make things much easier for everyone. Really.

Once ACTA is in place the only thing we might need is FACTAP as its cure.

And FACTAP is so simple, that even politicians should be able to understand it:

Fuck All Copyright Trolls And Patents

That’s FACTAP.

“Choose wisely”, as they say.


The Content MAFIAA vs. The People (Week 38/2010, MPAA > ACTA)

September 26, 2010

The EU, Gallo and ACTA

Bericht über “geistige Eigentumsrechte” passiert EU-Parlament (www.heise.de)

Auch Tote unterstützen den Gallo-Report (www.gulli.com)

The MPAA > ACTA link

MPAA Asks If ACTA Can Be Used To Block Wikileaks (yro.slashdot.org)

MPAA Wants To Know If ACTA Can Be Used To Block Wikileaks? (www.techdirt.com)

Civil Disobedience

Stallman Crashes Talk, Fights ‘War On Sharing’ (news.slashdot.org)

Disconnecting the People

In France, Hadopi Reporting Begins, With (Only) 10,000 IP Addresses Per Day (yro.slashdot.org)

Multinational copyright companies will require French ISPs turn over 150,000 subscriber names and addresses per day (www.boingboing.net)

US ISP Suddenlink Claims The DMCA Requires They Disconnect Users (www.techdirt.com)

US ISP Adopts Three-Strikes Policy (yro.slashdot.org)

US ISP Disconnects Alleged Pirates for 6 Months (torrentfreak.com)

Bill Would Allow US DoJ To Shut Down Piracy Sites Worldwide (www.osnews.com)

Extorting the People

ACS:Law Anti-Piracy Law Firm Torn Apart By Leaked Emails (torrentfreak.com)

ACS:Law (Gay) Porn Letters Target Pensioners, Married Men (torrentfreak.com) (This by the way is what you get when you preach “Freedom from porn (techcrunch.com).”)

ACS:Law Email Database Leaked onto The Pirate Bay (www.slyck.com)

UK Anti-Piracy Firm E-mails Reveal Cavalier Attitude Toward Legal Threats (yro.slashdot.org)

Leaked Emails Reveal Profits of Anti-Piracy Cash Scheme (torrentfreak.com)

*** *** ***

In other news…

Google, Apple Settle Justice Dept. Hiring Probe (yro.slashdot.org)

EU stellt Verfahren gegen Apple ein (www.heise.de)

Apple Passes PetroChina to Become Second-Largest Stock (www.bloomberg.com)

Facebook’s Zuckerberg Now Richer Than Apple’s Steve Jobs (blogs.forbes.com)

Some perspective on those last links…

From Steve Jobs to MPAA, MPEG-LA, ACTA and your life

Steve Jobs of course is not only the CEO of Apple, but used to be the CEO of Pixar, that was before he sold Pixar to Disney and subsequently became “Disney’s largest individual shareholder at 7% and a Director of the company” (see Wikipedia).

***

Now there is an organisation called Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

MPAA members include the “seven big” Hollywood studios:

Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group (The Walt Disney Company)

Sony Pictures (Sony Corporation)

Paramount Pictures (Viacom)

20th Century Fox (News Corporation)

Universal Studios (NBC Universal)

Warner Bros. (Time Warner)” (see Wikipedia)

***

And there is another interesting organisation called MPEG-LA (links to my related blog entries),

this is the patent pool behind H.264 and MPEG-2:

MPEG-2 is what everyone needs for a DVD.

H.264 is the codec used in basically any (prosumer) camera, including mobile phones like in Apple’s offerings. As previously discussed: you do not own your own H.264 footage, even transcoding will not help you in escaping the MPEG-LA’s licensing fees (for commercial use).

Apple of course is also an H.264 patent holder and was the only major player not willing to give some kind of official support to the free and open-source WebM project.

And of course you may not use any open-source codec if Steve Jobs will have it his way.

So there are two interesting sets of links to remember in all of this

Steve Jobs > Pixar > Disney > MPAA > ACTA > your (digital) life (think freedom of speech, WikiLeaks, …)

Steve Jobs > Apple > MPEG-LA > software patents > ACTA > your digital life (think fees for H.264, “freedom from porn“, freedom from…)

EU stellt Verfahren gegen Apple ein


Software patents have almost arrived in Germany

May 20, 2010

FOSS patents reports that the German high court declares all software potentially patentable (19.05.10, fosspatents.blogspot.com)

“After a landmark court ruling, the German perspective on the validity of software patents is now closer than ever to that of the US.”

When looking at the financial situation in Europe we should ask ourselves if we can afford these dangerous kind of situations. The H.264 licensing fiasco will probably go on for a while and might cost some (Apple…?) more than they would like to.

Update 1: Bundesgerichtshof ebnet Weg für Softwarepatente and BGH-Urteil zu Softwarepatenten stößt auf viel Kritik (www.heise.de)

Now what if political instability (due to the financial situation in Europe) is the next thing…? If my to be founded company will suffer in the future thanks to this (I live in Germany) I will remember that it were Microsoft’s FAT patents that brought us to this. Will those people ever learn? Will they ever be held responsible for their greed? This is the second time within a few weeks that Microsoft’s actions/patents are potentially threatening my future as an independent artist/filmmaker (first the H.264 licensing fiasco and now this).

Update 2: The discussion on Slashdot German High Court Declares All Software Patentable (yro.slashdot.org)

Entry for this particular patent, Xa ZB 20/08 (a Siemens patent), in the End Software Patents Wiki (en.swpat.org)

The part that worries me: (from the second http://www.heise.de article above)

“So gehen sie etwa bei der “Verbesserung des Kontrastes” eines Bilds oder bei der effizienteren Aufteilung von Arbeitsspeicher durch eine auf einem Computer laufende Software von einem “technischen Effekt” aus, der schutzwürdig sein könne.”

In short this basically says that enhancing the contrast of an image might be “a technical effect” that could be patentable…

Seems like an invitation to patent trolls, maybe from the video codec department…? At least we’ll have a very public discussion about why one would (not) want to use an H.264 camera…!

From a comment on http://www.heise.de (user B-E-N):

“Er hat, was es Computersoftware betrifft, ein
Urteil im Sinne von “Alles unter der Sonne ist patentierbar”
getroffen. Damit sind wir selbstständigen Softwareentwickler und
kleinen Firmen im Abmahnland Deutschland juristisch gesehen tot,
beziehungsweise alle mit einem Bein im Knast. Der gesamte Kampf um
die Softwarepatente in Europa ging gestern für das größte und
wirtschaftlich bedeutendste Land der Union verloren.”

The user basically says that now “anything under the sun” could be patented, de facto a legal disaster for all small shops/software developers.

On a personal level this is just extremely disappointing, and having followed patent troll cases on Slashdot for the last ten years or so I now also have to consider the options of:

* leaving the country

* going back to analogue film/video

or

* changing profession and

* becoming an atheist monk in the Himalayas

Well done ladies and gentlemen from all those institutions/companies/corporations in this world that hold patents on software, well done!

You made my day.


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