Harry Potter, the deadly ads, still great and the timing for this is eerie indeed

November 19, 2010

“You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide” is my favourite quote from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (Pt.1) and pretty much nails our Zeitgeist. Eric Schmidt could not have said it better (yro.slashdot.org)!

Specially the beginning of the “Deathly Hallows” is quite eerie since right now here in Germany we have to endure government “terror warnings”: as you might have guessed, those in favour of more restrictive (on-line) surveillance laws could not have hopped for a better occasion.

Who is trying to scare whom and for what purpose one might ask? Surely the financial crisis that the Euro/Europe is facing has nothing to do with it. And there is also no currency war as our papers, our “Daily Prophets” let us know.

Harry Potter fans will also find it too easy and inappropriate to replace “half-blood” with the latest minority scapegoat: Niedersachsens Innenminister fordert Handy- und PC-Verbot für “Gefährder” (Niedersachsen’s Minister of the Interior asks for PC and mobile phone ban for “endangerer”) (www.heise.de).

Meanwhile, also in real life, we have a new “Enemy Undesirable no. 1″, Julian Assange of Wikileaks, now there is even an international arrest warrant for him. Like before the charges are rape. Whatever the truth turns out to be, the whole story surely must be extremely inconvenient for some…

The timing for the release of the “Deathly Hallows” could not have been better, the only real downturn today were those 45 min. (!!!) of ads before the movie started. But not even they could ruin it for me. You just might want to be really late if going to see the “Deathly Hallows” at the Cinestar/Potsdamer Platz in Berlin. 45 min. of ads that’s half a feature film! They really try very hard to make you not wanting to go you to the movies these days and then even insult you with state television ads (for ARD, ZDF): I don’t have a TV, I don’t watch TV, yet I have to pay my GEZ fees since I own an “internet ready PC”. And when I go to the movies and pay for seeing a film I now have to watch ads for some crappy TV shows that I surely don’t want to see yet even had to finance with my GEZ fees for that “internet ready PC”… I’m just glad we still live in a Democracy, have free media and fair competition in the TV/media world!

Oh well, back to film life. There is a really quite wonderful and also beautifully edited moment/scene in the “Deathly Hallows”: Harry/Hermione dancing in the tent… This movie works because the film makers trust their own story, the pacing is very good, the music subtle and never over the top till the very end of the credits. J.K. Rowling’s story telling power totally pays off, I’m really looking forward to the last part of the series now.

While certainly not an indie movie, I’m writing here about the “Deathly Hallows” since the (hidden), what I’d call subversiveness of the story/the books (I’ve read them all) is really well captured and should be inspiring for anyone interested in (what I believe is great) story telling.

“Deathly Hallows” is told in darkish, almost pastel style colours *) (similar to the previous one from the series, also directed by David Yates who now did three in a row), the young heroes are on their final journey through a post-time England, London, small towns, (snowy) landscapes and forests, on the run and searching for those Horcruxes that need to be destroyed... *) After a second viewing: the colours are maybe better described as somehow desaturated, blue/grey and brown pastelish, the overall mood of the film being dark.

Having read the books I know of course how it all will end, yet I wonder, where a real life Harry Potter type hero would be looking for a Horkrux and what they might look like…?

“You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide.” That’s a good one, really.

Will we be hearing more of those type of quotes in the not so distant future…?

Check your “Daily Prophets” to find out…

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.

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.

Save free web video incl. my own movie “Vincent”: vote with your browsers (dump all your Apple/MS browsers!)

May 16, 2010

If the MPEG-LA, the patent pool behind H.264 and MPEG-2, has it their way I am an endangered species: “Vincent“, being 44 min. long would not qualify for the MPEG-LA’s “free” offer, latest after 2015 and there is no way that I (or someone else) will be paying protection money to a fucking patent pool for “Vincent”.

My work would simply not be available online any more (thanks to software patents no alternative). Welcome to the age of Corporate Fascism. It’s standing at your and my front door. But you can still act now:

* vote with your browser: since Apple and Microsoft – both H.264 patent holders – are pushing for H.264 as the future web standard for video: simply dump your Apple/MS browsers now and use Firefox, Chrome or Opera. If not: you might be paying for the rest of your life with more ads (yes, H.264 is “free” for the end user…).

* let others know what is at stake here: those people would like to/are about to establish a MONOPOLY ON THE MOVING IMAGE (lock-in via video codec) – a pretty scary systemic change:

Why Our Civilization’s Video Art and Culture is Threatened by the MPEG-LA

And for all my younger – and not so young – readers: if this was a Harry Potter movie Dumbledore would say:

“Dark times lay ahead, Harry. Soon we’ll all have to choose between what is right — and what is easy.”

Visionary: “Zeitgeist: Addendum”

October 8, 2008

“Zeitgeist: Addendum” by Peter Joseph is a radical, visionary and thought-provoking documentary that comes with perfect timing (released online on Oct. 2, 2008) to a world (financial) crisis:

it basically explains why we need to change our money based economy if we want to live up to our true potentials.

There are one or two points where the movie seems to shift a bit too far into another direction, but in the end I think it all works out well enough. This movie will have its strong critics, they will say that it’s just propaganda, but it also will have its fans…

I would call “Zeitgeist: Addendum” an anti-propaganda movie – offering the viewer radically different perspectives than those that we get to see everyday in our world (in the mainstream media, at work, in school, etc.). One quote from the beginning sets the tone of what this is about:

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” (Goethe)

Whether you (politically) agree with some of what is being said or not, I think the decision to (not) watch this movie is a real life red pill/blue pill moment…

On the film making side the editing has to be specially mentioned, its sometimes minimal style (only voice over and an (almost) black screen for more than just a short moment) offers room to form your own images and this is quite powerful… All in all it’s a bit like an indie editor’s “J.F.K.”.

Maybe “Zeitgeist: Addendum” could be a bit shorter and some of the changes might come across as too radical for some viewers… While it’s not perfect it attempts to achieve so much and succeeds in so many areas that its shortcomings don’t harm the overall experience and effect I think. The movie is very inspiring. Towards the end there is maybe a bit too much of the techno/spiritual theme and maybe there is just a bit too much of believing in technology at times, but all in all there is so much that works so well (and that makes so much sense) that this can be seen as a good starting point for a discussion…

“Zeitgeist: Addendum” is like “The Matrix” but for real – if you are ready to take this cinematic blue red (just remember which is which…!;-) pill…

(Link to its Goolge Video page, link to the film maker’s site.)

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