What’s the Matter With Sweden?

March 30, 2010

And closing out this Intellectual Impropriety hat trick, an article on Pitchfork called "What’s the Matter With Sweden?", seen here via JWZ. The article starts with covering the Swedish Arts Council, which grants public funds to musical artists, and goes from there into a survey of other countries with public funding for music and how they interact with the concept of a "social democracy".

The article doesn’t have a strong message and is about a half-hour to read, but does make some interesting points:

  • Lots of countries have programs like this to subsidize their own "homegrown" culture "in the face of American cultural dominance".
  • A major stumbling block for professional musicians is health care.
  • "Dave Hickey, in his 1997 book Air Guitar, argues that art truly worthy of public patronage would most likely be unworthy as art." One commenter on JWZ’s post, however, mentions that lots of funding distributed by arts councils tends to go, rather predictably, to "uncomfortable and edgy impotent commentary on society".
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Warner Bros. looking for a student intern to spy on torrent

March 30, 2010

Via Chiz, an article on Boy Genius Report about a Warner Bros. UK job posting.

During the 12 month internship, duties will include: monitoring local Internet forums and IRC for pirated WB and NBCU content and in order to gather information on pirate sites, pirate groups and other pirate activities; finding new and maintaining existing accounts on private sites; scanning for links to hosted pirated WB and NBCU content and using tools to issue takedown requests; maintaining and developing bots for Internet link scanning system (training provided); preparing sending of infringement notices and logging feedback; performing trap purchases of pirated product and logging results; inputting pirate hard goods data and other intelligence into the forensics database; selecting local keywords and submitting local filenames for monitoring and countermeasure campaigns and periodically producing research documents on piracy related technological developments. Various training will be provided.

Relatedly, this story about lawsuits against 20,000 BitTorrenting downloaders on Slashdot. The referenced article says that this action was taken "on behalf of an ad hoc coalition of independent film producers and with the encouragement of the Independent Film & Television Alliance", but then they cite Uwe Boll as one of the plaintiffs, so who knows?

"We’re creating a revenue stream and monetizing the equivalent of an alternative distribution channel," says Weaver…

The difference between the MPAA’s past approach and the new one being offered by the US Copyright Group could come down to numbers. Weaver says the MPAA took a less targeted approach going after a smaller sampling of infringers in a single suit for multiple films, to send a message that would hopefully resonate to a much larger crowd.

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Judge Nullifies Gene Patents

March 30, 2010

Via Suzanne and Slashdot, this story on a judge nullifying gene patents. Interesting to see the evolution of patents as part of the "intellectual property" meme.

U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet agreed with the civil rights group that the patents were invalid because they covered the most basic element of every person’s individuality. “Products of nature do not constitute patentable subject matter absent a change that results in the creation of a fundamentally new product,” Sweet wrote in a 152-page opinion.

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Hard to imagine but it is our history

March 1, 2010

Seen via Planet Debian: this fascinating quote from a Pennsylvania court in 1853.

Before publication [the author] has the exclusive possession of his invention. His dominion is perfect. But when he has published his book and given his thoughts, sentiments, knowledge or discoveries to the world, he can have no longer an exclusive possession of them. Such an appropriation becomes impossible, and is inconsistent with the object of publication. The author’s conceptions have become common property of his readers, who cannot be deprived of the use of them, or their right to communicate them to others clothed in their own language, by lecture or by treatise.

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The lesson from two lemonade stands

January 14, 2010

Via Suzanne: the lesson from two lemonade stands.

The other stand is different. The lemonade is free, but there’s a big tip jar. When you pull up, the owner of the stand beams as only a proud eleven year old girl can beam. She takes her time and reaches into a pail filled with ice and lemons. She pulls out a lemon. Slices it. Then she squeezes it with a clever little hand juicer.

Part of the ongoing memeplex of how to make money on the Internet..

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Kickstarting a Serious Game, Pt. The Last

December 17, 2009

Seen via crystallabs on Twitter: an article about Kickstarting your indie game.

"Crowd funding of the nature espoused by Kickstarter is a relatively new and unknown business model, and with such things, I’m somewhat realising that it’s best to start small and gradually ramp up to a larger scale. That most of the successful game projects I see on the site are in the low thousands seems to confirm this hypothesis, at least at this present time. I think it’s really a matter of how big one’s fan base is, since the vast majority of my backers are people I already know, whether in person or online, or at least people who have played and enjoyed one or more of my previous games. As such, I can see this fan base growing over time, as current fans spread the word to their friends about my work and they become fans themselves, but as we know, these things don’t always happen immediately."

One thing I would like to see more of in this kind of discussion is the relationship of patrons with the finished product. Most Kickstarter projects offer finished copies to their backers, but it seems to me that if I helped fund it, my "ownership stake" ought to cover making sure I can always play it, or play it on my platform of choice — in other words, source code. Of course, this cuts off business models based on getting funding from Kickstarter and then selling the product afterwards.

Of course, I think Kickstarter IS a really exciting development for the funding of art, and I’m really curious to see what will happen with it.

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Kickstarter and Indie Games

October 31, 2009

Seen via the Crystal Labs Twitter feed: a brief list of indie games funding development on Kickstarter.

Unfortunately Kickstarter has no tagging mechanism, and its search feature shows the first 16 results only, so it’s pretty hard to search for indie games on it.

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