This Week In Miscellanea: “Open Source”

1. Barack Obama has selected Julius Genachowski to lead the FCC. He isn’t

Talented Internet Guy, Say Headlines

Talented Internet Guy, Say Headlines

all that well known, but he did work the campaign trail (on the net), and is widely credited in headlines as a champion of net neutrality. To what extent he really is is a good question – if you only read one link in this post it should probably be this one – but there remains cause for hopefulness, at least when you consider the former alternative.

 

 

2. Open source code  is almost as old as the internet, and a statistically relevant portion of the ‘net itself runs on open source CMS. The idea of communally working on (or stealing) software, games, mods and music is endemic on the internet, and has caused it’s share of problems. There have been some seriously ham-fisted attempts to stop mash-ups and file sharing, but wise users are trying to figure out ways to make the collaborative aspects of the internet work for them.
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For the past few years a Canadian film project has been pusing the boundaries of what “open source” means. the project  is “RiP: A Remix Manifesto,” a documentary film about copyright and remix culture. Like many other documentaries, this one is the brainchild of one creative filmmaker, in this case 514-based Brett Gaylor. Unlike any other documentary, this one wants you to edit it, score it, and remix it to your heart’s content… and if your work is good enough, it could be included in the feature film. The movie has already premiered, but that doesn’t mean that the remix is complete – the SXSW film festival has already challenged Gaylor to show a different version of the film than the one that recently opened in Canadian cinemas. Check it out.
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3. On a lighter note, have you ever wanted to open-source your legs? Are you tired of only being able to take 1m strides? Don’t stand for that shit. Buy some Velocity Stilts and leap those pounds away.
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5. UPDATED: The tragic, glorious end of Problem Sleuth from  MS  Paint Adventures! Synthetic, made-to-order life within 10 years? Picture is unrelated!
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Blaming The Bullet

Who Should Be Responsible For Funding The TCTF?

Quote:  “The trade body for UK music, the BPI, asked internet service providers to disconnect people who ignore requests to stop sharing music.

But Charles Dunstone of Carphone Warehouse, which runs the TalkTalk broadband service, is refusing. He said it is not his job to be an internet policeman.”

It seems like the British music industry is keen to have ISPs police their clients’ product usage. At least one ISP, however, has refused. As online piracy drives music, film and video game producers to reconsider their means of distribution, the question arises of whose responsibility it is to police the internet.  On one hand I agree with Dunston; why blame the bullet, especially when its communicative potential is as great as any invention since the printed word? On the other, this could be seen as a question of externalities; Car makers let national governments maintain roads and provide healthcare for people suffering from smog – so when do the costs to industry associated with internet piracy outweigh the benefits of the web’s commercial and communicative applications?

The internet is a new kind of commons. So, on the third hand, how can we avoid overgrazing, and who is likely to stop us if we try? A fourth hand wonders about the possibility of the ‘net itself being seen as a means of production and its neutrality dissolved to turn it into a one-way means of production. Even if we avoid that (on the…fifth hand?), quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

In short, do we blame the bullet, the gun, the manufacturer… or the human impulse to shoot?

The Fight Under The Net

Do you remember watching this and feeling nervous? Well, feast your eyes on a concise summary of the same issue as it applies (even more) directly to us:

Net neutrality may turn into one of the definitive issues of our times. The sphere is alive with discussion about the concept, mostly because the sphere can’t exist without it. Neither, of course, can wikis, torrents, web comics, and a lot of the other user-generated content that defines our current internet experience.

So, where is this going and what can we do about it? On the bright side, the revolution will be televised (on youtube), and the ‘net itself gives the average user all the tools she needs to find out exactly what’s going on. Clinton, Obama and McCain have all weighed in on this at one point or another, with fairly predictable result based on their histories and party affiliations (fence-sitting to ensure victory, idealism, and “series of tubes” capitalist ignorance, respectively). Those with a vote can start having a say right now, as they cast ballots in the US primaries, and decisively again in November.

As for those of us outside the ‘states, all you need to do is surf the object of contention itself, inform yourself, and start dreaming up ways to fight back. Our generation has been blessed with one of the most dynamic communication tools in history; why not use it?

After all, these kinds of conflicts are winnable; it just depends on how hard you try.

Research and Destroy.