Down With DRM Symbol of Neo-Luddism?

What is it about DRM that Apple and the rest are getting so wrong? Why have groups like Defective by Design formed? Do they symbolize an underlying desire from all consumers that all media should be free to them?

This is an easy take-away from the standpoint of businesses who have embraced DRM. Apple and soon Microsoft will be sharing the mistake of deciding for consumers how they can play and share their content.

Afterall, iTunes Music Store and the Zune Marketplace are poised to be the online wholesalers of music and they will not be turning off DRM any time soon.

What is lacking is a real way to turn a growing movement in strict opposition to DRM. I forecast a general collapse of RCA and other major record labels in the next 5-10 years as the industry re-configures itself to monetize recordings through live performances and community networking.

The truth is, Apple, Napster, Real, and Microsoft are stuck in the middle of DRM concessions to the recording industry and ever-more-intelligent consumers. These companies need alternative methods for sharing music and must confront this leading edge of consumers head on with re-tooled thinking.

The concern should not be about confusing the great majority of the public who could care less about DRM so long as they can get the new P. Diddy single but instead about dragging their heels on a fresh look at DRM.

These technology companies cross their arms and guffaw knowing they are so smart to have “beat” the recording companies at their own game, but they are about to face the exact same problems as consumers circumvent the only over-restrictive option provided to them by Apple Fairplay and Zune’s DRM.

Have a look at Down With DRM’s recent selection of video contest winners here. The creators of these videos are not neo-luddites. They will lead consumers to a music sharing solution that always circumvents DRM until they are given a fair method for sharing content in the Creative Commons.

New Ratatat? "9 Beats" Hits Hard

Ratatat 9 Beats Album Cover“9 Beats” a collection of short songs from Ratatat’s Evan Mast has been passing around recently on the web. The album seems to have broken first as a highly priced item on ebay where it sold for 26 pounds ~$47USD back in earlier this year.

Contact information for 9 Beats is provided presumed publicist Hannah Overton. According to the Wikipedia E*vax AKA Evan Mast and his brother E*Rock run the Audio Dregs record label. His first album, Parking Lot Music is from August 2004 and is known for his minimalist electronic music. Continue reading New Ratatat? "9 Beats" Hits Hard

Reckless Endangerment of the Developing Mind

The Mercury is a “Alternative” weekly publication distributed in Portland, Oregon. It is published by Rob Crocker and edited by Steve Humphrey. The paper has strong ties to The Stranger in Seattle, Washington through Tim Keck.

The very first content following the Letters to the Editor and Index is a column called One Day At A Time. This column mostly reports on celebrity gaffes but sometimes tries to be more. Last week the author (Ann Romano) decided to write about the death of a young man Bonnaroo. She tries to frame the incident as some kind of joke, saying:

“…But as it is in our national security to protect celebrity tour busses from prosecution, the Tennessee Department of Safety immediately cleared the tour bus driver of any wrongdoing. The irony? The young Ohioan was wearing a Bonnaroo admission armband when he was killed. He had apparently hopped the fence to escape the festival. He’d obviously come to his senses, rejected the jam bands/hippies, and was trying to run away. And they ran him down like a dog.” Read the Full entry under Friday June 16th. Continue reading Reckless Endangerment of the Developing Mind

Fighting Fans? – Proliferating Video Technology Forces moe. to Ban Digicams from Concerts

moe bans digital cameras with new policy“moe.” the American jam band from Buffalo, New York recently posted a new photography policy:

After much consideration, we regret to announce a change in our photo policy. Since it has grown increasingly difficult to differentiate video cameras from still photography cameras, we will only allow disposable cameras at moe. concerts effective with our 5/30 show.

moe has built a steady base of fans over the years through an open taping policy, similar to that used by other such as the Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews Band and Phish. These policies generally allow audience members to set up a microphone and taping equipment to record a show and then distribute it for free through the mail and on the web. moe. has taken an unprecedented step here, banning digital cameras from shows. Discussion boards such as Phantasy Tour are alive with discussion about the shift, debating the change.

Are Bootleggers the problem?

moe’s stance on the change is that they started seeing video of their shows for sale, and compared this to someone breaking into their house the downturn of artist patronage. Fans dispute this, and counter-claim that even though no bootleg moe dvd’s can be found on message boards or ebay, the band does not have any official DVD’s for sale anyway. Also, this prevents normal digital photography of bands. Who wants to take a disposable camera in for developing anymore?

What moe fails to realize is that fan-produced content is something they should be embracing, not pushing away. Sites like Youtube and Google Video offer an opportunity for people to share the short video clips they’ve been taking on their digital cameras since they became widespread.

This paranoid policy by the band points to one thing: they have failed to come up with any way to adapt to technology shift in increasing the awareness and commercial viability of their brand. Rather than confront the problem, they’re trying to put it away.

What moe. Should Be Doing

If moe wanted to make a money pile out of a molehill they would have instead Continue reading Fighting Fans? – Proliferating Video Technology Forces moe. to Ban Digicams from Concerts

Satellite Radio, Rich Content and the Threat of Wi-Fi/Wi-Max

What is it about Satellite radio that has caused over x subscribers to sign up for Sirius over the past x months? Is it the superior technology? I’ve seen some of the installations of the portable satellite tuners and heard the quality of the streams that are being beemed to its subscribers. The new eye sores on Americas dashboards and barely differentiating sound quality are not driving subscriptions at thirteen bucks a month.

Howard Stern left FM because adversisers and regulation had stemied the ability to build rich and provocative content on America’s open airwaves. Starting in the 1970’s Stern worked day after day to understand radio listeners and the content they enjoyed. Whether you’re looking at XM or Sirius, you’re looking at services that are activly creating content that people can get their money’s worth from. Whether it be specialty radio stations or channels of consistant right-wing discussion, rich content is the only lure satellite radio has to draw and maintain a customer base.

Wi-Max is the same wireless internet connection you enjoy at your local coffee shop, only it is spread across entire cities. On April 13th, the City of Portland announced that 134 square miles will be covered by Wi-max.

How are these three topics related? First, remember that the internet is providing the single greatest conduit of information in the history of mankind. Children to senior citizens have embraced the web as a platform for delivering their own personal and original rich content. Second, consider for a moment that Howard Stern (and any other radio personality) control only a temporary pool of content consumers. Once Stern retires or public interest wanes it is the burdon of content providers to fill the gap.

Wi-Max means that anyone in possesion of what will be a viral explosion of connected personal digital devices will have the chance to connect to any content provider in the world. They will be limited only to the quality of decentralized content.

As more standards for rich content delivery develop, enormous audiences will be built around new ideas in hours or minutes. Simply serving up commercial free music won’t cut it.

Oppression in Belarus

BelarusYou’ve probably heard about the protests and riots going on in Paris regarding the proposal to change how employers can remove younger workers. (CPE) In that situation you have a large group of people who both refuse to accept the reality of globalism and will ultimately suffer an economic collapse because of it.

You may not have heard of the protests going on in Belarus (Bell-a-roose). Belarus is a country of about 10 million people in north-eastern Europe. The country is led by Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Lukashenka is looked upon as somewhat of a villain for having extended his initial presidential term and almost assuredly rigging two more consecutive elections where he was found the victor.

What might be most striking to someone with a North American perspective is the oppression by the Belarus government in such close proximity to the European Union. This oppression was shown most recently during the March 19th, 2006 presidential poll where one of the opposition candidates was beaten and arrested and protesters were put down by riot police the following week.

Riot Police beating Belarus CitizensThe acts of the state riot police against the protesters were caught with incredible clarity through the lenses of amateur and professional photographers. You can view photos of the Belarus government’s violent oppression of its people on Flickr. Also, you may want to watch this frightening video showing clips of the police approaching the citizens and subsequently beating peaceful protestors.

The reason that this situation continues to exist is because not enough of the country’s citizens are willing to stand up to the government. If you’ll look at the pictures and video above you may wonder when the next clash will be.
Not surprisingly, Belarus still suffers from the fallout of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant meltdown. April 26th is the 20th anniversary of the disaster, and is likely mean further demonstrations from the citizenry of Belarus. Needless to say there will be an incredible amount of turmoil before there can be any hope of regime change against Lukashenka.

I invite you to learn more about Lukashenka, who allowed a hot air balloon on an international race to be shot down for violating Belarus airspace. And also Belarus, widely regarded as the last country in Europe to be under the control of a dictatorship.

Advertising For Peanuts

Just a quick post to advertise for Advertise For Peanuts. This site features creative advertising spots of a viral nature. This type of copy is the future of advertising as the 60 second commercial aimed at broadcasting gets fast-forwarded or deleted in the increasingly on-demand nature of content consumption.

Forcing users to watch commercials, i.e. prior to CNN’s online video news is an ugly way to get consumers attention. People will turn their speakers down or multi-task to avoid unwanted messaging. People will eat creative content alive whether it promotes Burger King or Hanes underwear so long as it makes them feel good.

As people will get better at filtering out broadcast advertising the videos and print offered on Advertising For Peanuts represent the marketers future for mainstream appeal.

The Convergence of Web Applications and an Open Source Lifestyle

Open Source has grown beyond the simplicity of programming and is now being applied to all components of life. Wikipedia’s content is open source. Flickr’s photos while not all released under GPL are on public display and effectively an open source collection. The peace rally I attended yesterday took funding directly from the crowd and its speakers were all volunteers. Participants in the march were expected to bring their own signs, chants and peaceful attitude. This was an open source demonstration.

Before it becomes commonplace to describe a public demonstration as an open source effort, the geek-chic will hold the idea closest to them. The idea that many people can contribute their time or resources to a global effort simply by giving up some of the proprietary in their lives means room for change.

The formal method of desktop software distribution is crumbling. There should be no need for me to buy and install a large package into an OS simply to type up a document. Writely represents the web-based future of a common office application. How about Macromedia Dreamweaver? That is an application that begs to be completely integrated into a web browser.

The licensing scheme for web-based applications will likely follow the path of licensing in traditional desktop installations. Traditional licensing means a single user gets a one license for a single machine. If your neighbor were to come over and make use of your copy of Excel, you would be within your rights as a licensor of the tool. A major advantage of web applications is that they are available to you anywhere you are. The expectation of licensing on web-based tools are that they are yours to use wherever you are. For example, a version of Excel would be yours to use at home or in an internet cafe in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

I foresee the convergence of web-applications and the open source lifestyle breaking traditional licensing models. Here is a practical application for going open source with your web based software:

Continue reading The Convergence of Web Applications and an Open Source Lifestyle

The Underwhelming 2006 Portland Car Show

I checked out the 2006 Portland Car Show today with a friend and wow, how totally unimpressive. It was like a huge car lot you pay $10 to get into. No Ferraris! The best they could do was an underwhelming Bentley. I wasn’t even enticed to take pictures.

I do have some rather funny videos of a super sleezy guy talking up the Lexus brand, and a Ronald McDonald grabbing his ass in front of a crowd full of kids.

Ronald Mcdonald goes Hip hop Ronald Mcdonald goes Hip hop Ronald grabs his ass

See the Ronald Video

Sleezy Car Show Guy

Viral Reactionary Content Creation and Personal Equity – Web User's Rights in Web 2.0

There has been nothing short of an uproar regarding the recent changes to’s design and interface. Longtime users of the site began viral reactionary content creation which is making effective use of community building to voice discord with the direction of a website.

The changes were rolled out on January 18th and the response was violent “Tribe: New and Unimproved,” “Revert Tribe Now,” and “I Hate the New Tribe Look” sprang up and garnered members rather than the offically sanctioned comment tribe, “Tribe’s New Look.”

Many users of the site reacted by flaming the changes. The more interesting comments were those that voiced dissapointment in the change and commented that they felt especially wronged because of their personal investment or personal equity which they had invested.

Continue reading Viral Reactionary Content Creation and Personal Equity – Web User's Rights in Web 2.0