Immaterielle rettigheder og alt det…

Her på kvindernes internationale kampdag synes jeg jo, at jeg må skrive lidt her på bloggen. Men jeg orker ikke lige den vending diskussionen har taget, så jeg skriver lige lidt om digital copyright i stedet for, ok?

I mit hjørne af Facebook, Twitter og medierne generelt er det noget, vi diskuterer nærmest hele tiden. Jeg skrev for ikke så længe siden om ACTA, og hele problematikken om, hvad der skal/bør/vil ske med rettigheder til digitale produkter optager mig faktisk rigtig meget, fordi konsekvenserne af lovgivningen på området får så vidtrækkende konsekvenser for vores fælles fremtid.

Men oftest ender diskussionen om, hvordan der skal betales for digitale fornøjelser i en gratis-eller-betaling-blindgyde, hvilket er SINDSSYGT irriterende, fordi det er så uproduktivt. Diskussionen burde egentlig kun finde sted blandt folk, der ikke selv har noget i klemme. Hverken fordi de lever af digitale frembringelser, eller fordi de mener, at alt burde være gratis. Jeg har ikke noget i klemme, for jeg er ikke rettighedshaver, og jeg betaler for mit digitale forbrug.

Nogle debattører mener, at der er tale om en generationskløft. Selv hvis jeg ser bort fra mig selv, vil jeg alligevel mene, at det kun er en halv sandhed. Det er selvfølgelig klart, at folk, der kun bruger Internettet ganske lidt, kan have svært ved at forstå diskussionen, og at det primært er blandt den ældre del af befolkningen, at der er mange ikke-brugere eller næsten-ikke-brugere. Men jeg synes nu også, jeg møder storbrugere, der alligevel ikke forstår, hvad det egentlig er, vi diskuterer!

Forkæmperne for et rigidt reguleret net, hvor alle skal betale for alting, mener, at debatten om, hvad vi legalt kan købe her i DK og hvordan vi kan købe det, slet ikke hænger sammen med debatten om illegale downloads. Men den må de altså længere ud på landet med!

Jeg har stort set aldrig downloadet noget ulovligt, jeg er simpelthen sådan en tøs, jeg tør ikke! MEN, det er også fordi jeg faktisk mener, at folk skal have penge for deres arbejde.

Men det skal jo for syv sytten være rimeligt! Og der er efterhånden så mange eksempler på fuldstændigt latterlige krav fra rettighedshavere over for folk, der har brugt et foto, et filmklip, et stykke musik på en “uautoriseret” måde. Se nu bare debatten om Pinterest, hvor en lang række af fotografer stiller sig op som tudefjæs og postulerer, at det at folk pinner deres billeder modsvarer en tabt fortjeneste for dem. Dels er det super-nemt at sørge for, at ens fotos ikke kan bruges i kommerciel sammenhæng. Se fx her. Dels er det jo til grin at tro, at man som fotograf går glip af en indtægt, fordi et billede af EN TING, bliver postet på Pinterest. Det er jo ikke billedet, det er tingen! Og klikker man på en pin, bliver man sendt til den side, hvorfra billedet blev pinnet. Så når der sendes regninger ud, skal reklameværdien lige trækkes fra først…

Det samme gælder musik og til dels film. Branchens påstand om at næsten ethvert ulovligt download svarer til et tabt salg er så langt ude, at jeg ikke fatter, de kan få sig selv til at sige det! (Endnu mere imponerende er det, at de kan få handelsministeren til at gentage det som en papegøje!). Min yngste søn bruger Youtube og streamingtjenester til at afgøre, om han egentlig bryder sig om en sang. Holder den så efter et par gennemlytninger, kommer det: “Mor, må jeg godt downloade den her sang fra ITunes?” “Ja, min skat, det må du godt”. Ældstesønnen er bidt af en gal LP-plade, men da priserne på dem er temmelig pebrede, må han da også sikre sig, at han rent faktisk kan lide albummet, inden han køber det. Han køber VILDT meget musik, og det gør næsten alle de musik-tosser, jeg kender. Men de downloader/streamer også en masse. Det er en ny forretningsmodel, fat det dog! Og gør det nemt og prismæssigt rimeligt at købe, tak. Og lad os ikke føle os snydt så vandet driver, når vi har købt!

Jeg købte i sidste uge Thåströms nye album via ITunes på min laptop derhjemme. Men jeg har glemt at overføre den til min telefon og har den derfor ikke til at lytte til i dag. Hvilket står i grel modsætning til køb af apps i app-storen, hvor jeg kan downloade dem igen og igen, når bare jeg har betalt for dem én gang. Jeg jo til grin for mine egne penge! Og dele albummet med min mand, eller låne det til mine børn, ja, det kan jeg jo SLET ikke, vel!

Film og TV er en kategori for sig. Det kommer slet ikke på tale at begynde at downloade film ulovligt og have store filmbiblioteker liggende på min computer. Og jeg er dødtræt af at købe DVDer, som vist ikke er blevet produktudviklet i årevis – i hvert fald er deres “brugervenlighed” til at dø af grin over, og jeg skal hver gang jeg vil se en film eller TV-serie, jeg har købt og betalt, leve med at blive beskyldt for at ville snyde og med reklamer, sgu! Endvidere er det voldsomt frustrerende, at vi i en global verden, hvor snakken om film og tv-serier går på tværs af landegrænser, stadig skal leve med områdebegrænsede DVDer, og film og TV-serier, vi skal vente på i måneds- og årevis.

Jeg har taget konsekvensen af det og fået mig en VPN adresse i USA, så jeg kan abonnere på Netflix og se det samme udbud af film og TV-serier, som er tilgængeligt for mine amerikanske venner. Og jeg betaler gladeligt og betalte såmænd også gerne mere, hvis det var det. Men hvorfor skal man være lidt af en tech-tosse for at kunne se Netflix og tillige bevæge sig ud i en juridisk gråzone? Hvorfor er det, at alverdens rettighedshavere ikke lader mig købe alle de tv-serier, jeg gerne vil se? De vil måske helst ikke tjene penge? Hvorfor måtte jeg bestille Mad Men 4 på Amazon UK, fordi den ikke var tilgængelig i Danmark?

Det er meningen, at vi skal være rigtigt glade og taknemmelige, fordi vi nu endelig kan købe film på dansk ITunes. Jo tak, jeg er så taknemmelig, at jeg er på grådens rand. Udvalget er til at dø af grin over, filmene koster 169 kr. – jo jo, ethundredeogsekstini kroner – at købe i HD og 49 kr. at leje. Ha ha ha ha.

Argumentet for ikke at udvikle nogle ordentlige, tidssvarende forretningsmodeller er ofte, at de små stakler i underholdningsbranchen simpelthen ikke har råd til at udvikle lækkert, brugervenligt software til os, fordi vi så længe har stjålet alle deres penge. Come on, folks! Prøv lige at se herunder og her, og tør så lige tårerne!

Billedet har jeg tyvstjålet på Facebook

 

 

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Like walking in water

is what my intellectual life has felt like lately. I’ve read a lot of very inspiring stuff but felt completely incapable of commenting on it in a way suitable for publication. But then I read how a children’s author found the courage to start writing: After decades of reading all the masters of both adult and children’s fiction, she’d built up a sizeable inferiority complex and felt incapable of writing anything of substance. But then she got the idea of approaching it the other way round. She went to the library and borrowed some really cr** children’s books and went home and read them. And then she read some more. And suddenly the writer’s block was gone  – ’cause anyone could write prose more engaging and interesting than what she’d just been reading.

So – after having read stuff by some of the world’s leading journalists and writers over the summer in Vanity Fair, Sunday Times, Wired etc., I’ve now stumbled around a bit and read some bits and bobs by more inferior writers and got my courage up :-)

I’ve been following the debate around Free. The debate started long before Chris Anderson’s book*, but it really took off after. And News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch has certainly stirred the pot with his claim that he’s very close to creating a pay-wall around his empire. What to think about all this? I’m still in doubt. I’m against downloading music without paying for it, but I happily use Grooveshark and Spotify to stream music. And I’m the first to say that the music industry has only itself to thank for its current predicament. I can still recall how my bosses in the Danish music industry laughed at me when I – in the very early 90ties – came home from a seminar in New York and told them that music was about to become digital and how that might have implications for copyright protection…

Would I pay for content? Yes, I think I would gladly pay for some content, if it were of high quality and delivered to me in a convenient and tailored format. I’m having news from BBC, Times of London, New York Times, The Guardian and Washington Post among others delivered to my computer and/or my phone on a daily basis. What if these could be tailored even more specifically to my needs and delivered in more reader friendly ways? Personally, I think micro-payment, as practised on Itunes and in the App store, is on the up and that our future credit card statements/phone bills will be full of miniature payments for all sorts of things, not only songs and apps, but news stories, TV-programmes, films, parking, bus tickets etc.

Anyway, if you haven’t followed the debate, here’s a few important articles on the subject: Anderson himself, Malcolm Gladwell’s dismissal of the idea, Murdoch’s vow to install a pay-wall, Andrew Keen‘s treatment of Pirate Bay and finally a summary on The Guardian’s tech pages (the best place to follow this debate, the Guardian’s online presence is by far the best on the web).

Another Big Story that I’ve been following over the summer is the story about the greatest swindler of them all, Bernie Madoff. Incredibly interesting and intriguing stuff! Vanity Fair is best for this story. Just go to their site and type in Madoff in the search field. The Guardian has collected everything about Madoff very neatly in one place if your time is too short for 3-4 VF articles…

Of course I’ve also been following the development in Iran – mostly via Twitter – and the situation in Afghanistan, which seems to deteriorate on a daily basis.

And then there’s the Birther movement and the “If Stephen Hawking had been English, he’d be dead” debate in the US. I absolutely love the latter – isn’t it just exceptional how the American right can get away with blatant lies. How can the people who work on Fox News and a whole host of other media spreading these insane rumours call themselves journalists? (Oh well, people who write about the latest shenanigans of 3rd rate TV stars also call themselves journalists – so much for that).

And I’ve been away on holiday – will not use the word st**cation – some of my Twitterfriends get sick when they hear the word – on the Sussex coast. We had a lovely totally holidayish time, kiting, crabbing, touring, playing Monopoly and Canasta, reading reading reading. Best book I read was Turbulence by Giles Foden. Absolutely brilliant – a must read. I’ll never badmouth the meteorologists again, promise! Above pictures are from holiday, inspired by Turbulence.

Finally, a recommendation. Youngest son Dane has been busy with scissors and glue since we came back. See the rather surprising results of his endeavours here.

* A funny aberdabei about Anderson’s book Free, is that it’s actually only free in the US. Over here we have to pay for it. So much for Free!

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I want to go to the library

but I never seem to get down there! One reason is that the nearest library is in Woking, our local town, which I’m not particularly fond of. Another is that I’m never encouraged to go! I’m all the time searching for books for the courses I attend and of course some of them are not your average bestseller. I’ll always start by just plain Googling the author/title to see what comes up. Then I search specifically in Google Books, because some publishers are actually nice enough to allow Google Books to scan AND publish books that are out of print. But most publishers are not. Before Christmas I wanted a book, which has been out of print for a long time. And there’s no reason to believe that it’ll come up for a new edition any time soon. But it was only available to peek at. If I wanted to buy it, I’d have to buy it second-hand at a rather steep price for such a boring text-book. But – supply and demand, you know! Then I searched the library catalogue for Surrey, but no luck there either. That meant that either I had to go through all the hassle of getting it from outside Surrey or from British Library or just buying it. So I shelled out and have now added a book to my collection that I didn’t even want.

With good reason you might now ask: “What is she getting at?” I’ll tell you – I’ve often wondered why, when you Google a book, you don’t get a result saying “Click here to see the nearest library that has this book”. There’s a bit of it in Google Books, but it doesn’t work all that well – and only a fraction of the world’s books are at Google Books yet, although they are working on it!

A snapshot of my phone, open on the tech news page.

Today I read in The Guardian’s excellent tech-news, delivered directly to my Iphone, why that is. It’s of course governments who are dragging their feet. Nothing new in that. But apparently the guilty party is a cataloguing company called Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) in Ohio… So all the eager modern-day librarians out there who so want to share their collection of great books with the wider public just aren’t allowed. That’s really, really sad. I hope – but am not counting on – that whoever in Obama’s administration this thing sorts under will do something and break the monopoly of this kill-joy in Ohio. Read the whole article, it’s not that long and it’s interesting. There’s more in it than just the above.

Oh, and if you’ve never checked out Google Books you should. It’s a great place and it’ll only get greater! I just made a search for a book that’s on my reading list for the next course I’m taking. As you can see, if you click here, the publisher does not allow browsing, not even a few pages. If you look at this other book, you can see an example of a publisher who allows you to have a peek at the book and finally here, you can see an example of a whole book, ready to read, if you can be bothered to read it online. For non-fiction, where you’re not planning to read the whole thing like the one I’ve chosen (it’s Plato’s Republic if you were too lazy to click through), it’s very practical with the search function, which they still haven’t invented for printed books.

See the right hand side of the page
Search results on the right hand side of the page
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Copyright and airport security

What do they have in common? On the surface of it, nothing. But I see two things. One – they’re both sign o’ the times. Two – they appear on my blog in the same post…

I found a link to this film on Boing Boing. It’s Girl Talk, Lawrence Lessig, Gilberto Gil and Cory Doctorow in a film about the end of (some) copyright. Good! This article, also from Boing Boing is also about copyright. Are we allowed to sell our old CDs?

It was also Boing Boing that pointed me to an Atlantic article that I hadn’t read yet, although I’ve just downloaded the most awesome application to my Iphone, which – among a zillion other things – allows me to read the Atlantic on my phone. Wow!!!! The article is written by a journalist who – at the risk of getting arrested and prosecuted – shows how airport security is much more show than it’s actual security. Really very scary! One of many holes he uncovers, so to speak, is this:

To slip through the only check against the no-fly list, the terrorist uses a stolen credit card to buy a ticket under a fake name. “Then you print a fake boarding pass with your real name on it and go to the airport. You give your real ID, and the fake boarding pass with your real name on it, to security. They’re checking the documents against each other. They’re not checking your name against the no-fly list—that was done on the airline’s computers. Once you’re through security, you rip up the fake boarding pass, and use the real boarding pass that has the name from the stolen credit card. Then you board the plane, because they’re not checking your name against your ID at boarding.”

And now for something entirely different. On The Long Now Blog I found a link to something new. Crowd powered translation. Whenever you have five minutes, you can go there and help out. You can choose something to translate that’s important to you and then just do as much as you can that day. I just tried it and translated a bit of a discussion between Will Wright and Brian Eno into Danish. Click here and see my just translated text as subtitles to this video (only the first two minutes – must do more soon). It’s a cool tool. Imagine an organisation with an important video they want to get out to as many as possible, quickly. They send link – e.g. through Facebook – to the video’s transscript on this site and members from all over the globe can translate it quickly. You can then load the video onto Youtube and from there redirect people, who don’t understand the original language. Cool tool!

It was quite a nice day today and we took it veeery easy. Read the Sunday Times for a couple of hours and then went to Wisley, as we quite often do. It’s nearby and we’re members. They had a farmers’ market and pumpkin carving for children. So Dane carved a small pumpkin, which is now guarding our front door. And David bought dinner, a freshly made game pie. Uhm, it was nice. Dane found some bread in the restaurant and we went to feed the ducks. But it turned out to be more fun to feed the fish! The top picture is made entirely of Wisley’s own apples by Wisley employees. Apple Owl. Looks good, tastes good and even sounds good!

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Ms. Palin revisited and other odds and ends

A friend of mine sent me this very funny episode of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. You won’t be surprised to hear that his subject is Sarah Palin.

Inspired by the renewed debate about abortion, Slate has a really good article about the statistics surrounding this. And the history of the debate. The Republicans are talking about challenging Roe vs. Wade, the historical Supreme Court case about the right to abortion. I’m sad to see though, that the far right has succeeded in planting the term Pro-Life (like they also planted the term Political Correctness), so that even liberal Slate uses it. They are NOT Pro-Life. They are Anti-Abortion. It is NOT the same thing in my opinion.

In yesterday’s Guardian there was a good, although sad article about how the number of women in the highest positions in society is dwindling fast. There are good insights and some stabs at an explanation. The super famous and wildly successful businessman Sir Alan Sugar is quoted:

“he said that as an employer he would like to be able to ask women at interview “Are you planning to get married and have any children?”, adding that the fact that this was legally prohibited gave businesses an easy option: “Just don’t employ them.” “

Is this sad or what?

I wrote recently about intellectual property and copyright. The record industry always claims that it’s doing for the artists. That’s such a joke! And I feel sorry for the artists who believe it. Here’s a story from Boing Boing about how prolonged copyright in Europe benefits – yeah well, who do you think. Clue: it’s not the artists.

On happiness, this time the Danes’. Again. The article is written by a Brit living in Denmark. And so, why are Danes the happiest people on the planet? Because we have such low expectations to life! Take that. Link found on New York Times’ Idea blog.

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What does my musical taste say about me?

Low self esteem, not very hard-working, kind or generous. However, creative. Indie.

High self-esteem, very creative, hard-working and at ease with myself, but not very kind or generous. Rock’n’roll.

High self-esteem, creative and at ease with myself, but not outgoing. Classical.

High self-esteem, creative, gentle. Opera.

I actually found this on DR’s homepage (Danish National Television), but here’s links to the Independent and BBC, who’ve both run the story. A team of psychologists at the Heriot-Watt University in Scotland are behind a study linking people’s personality and their taste in music. I can’t really tell what I like most of the above four categories of music, though I guess opera is my favourite.

From the above I can deduce that I’m certainly not hardworking. Hm. Giggle. Creative. Not really, you know! Not very kind? Oh my, and I thought I was such a kind person… Not outgoing. Hm, I know people who’d dispute that. And so on and so forth. Also, I can think of a couple of people, mad about indie music and really, really hardworking!

Another news story from Denmark can probably not be found in any British media, because it tells of a sentence passed by a Danish court.  Two women were accused of pirating – copying music files via the Internet. And they were aquitted, because the prosecution couldn’t prove that it was these two particular women, who’d done it – could have been anybody in their household, or even somebody hacking into their network.

Great, great, great!

I totally agree with Lawrence Lessig (law professor at Stanford and Internet evangelist) that the music industry must find itself another leg to stand on, because the sharing of music on the Internet is the future and not even an army of lawyers will be able to stop it.

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Chrome

Here’s the inside news on the Google browser, Chrome. And here’s Google’s own post announcing it. I don’t (yet) see features that I’ve desperately craved, so I’m not going to install it just yet. I’m overly happy with the latest version of Firefox, which has several new features that I use a lot. Here’s a link to the mentioned “comic book” explaining the thinking behind the new browser and it’s features. It’s quite good and informative, although rather nerdy! Chrome was released earlier today and I’ve had a peek at some early adapters’ response and they seem to think that this is the future! Take a guided tour of it here.

And – speaking of the future, I’ve checked yet another speech at TED.com, recommended by Stephen’s Lighthouse. This one is by the writer, web evangelist and former editor of Wired Kevin Kelly. The Web as we know it has been around for 5000 days. He takes it upon himself to predict what will happen in the next 5000 days. It’s very interesting! There’s a lot of exabyte and terabyte in the beginning of his talk and I’m useless with numbers of that magnitude. They mean nothing to me. But later on he gets to content. And as you probably know – content is king… or at least that’s what a lot of people used to say in the 90’es.

There’s only one machine

The Web is its OS

All screens look into the one

No bits will live outside the web

To share is to gain

Let the One read it

The One is us.

That’s quite powerful, so I’ll leave it at that and say Good Night!

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Wikipedia

I wrote the other day about Mrs. Palin’s Wikipedia entry probably undergoing changes as I was writing. I was more on the spot there than I’d ever suspected. See this bit from Boing Boing and follow the links.

From next week I’ll be following a course at Uni called “Source Reliability”. A brief look at the reading list shows that there’s a lot about the debacle between Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Brittanica. Or rather – between Nature and Encyclopedia Brittanica. Since I haven’t read the articles yet, I don’t know what my teachers are trying to prove. But I have previously followed some of this debate and what I’ve learned is this: I used to blindly trust information found in sources like E.B. or the like – but Nature‘s examination of some of the entries in E.B. showed that they are as flawed as the people who wrote them. And aren’t we all flawed? So – I love Wikipedia because when I read an article there, I don’t trust it like it was the Truth – depending on the character of the subject matter, I check and re-check the information. When checking on which king came before Henry VIII or the name of a card game or the specifics of a plant, I happily use Wikipedia and only that. When checking political matters as the aforementioned Mrs. Palin, I’d be dumb if I relied only on the information on Wikipedia – or anywhere else for that matter.

No matter how many articles I read about the flaws in Wikipedia, it is still a fact that there were never before ONE easily and readily accessible place where you could find so much information and so many links for further reading about every conceivable subject.

Btw – the picture of Mr. Obama on my previous post and the picture of Mrs. Palin above are both from the excellent community site Picapp.com. It contains pictures free of copyright and can be used and downloaded by anyone. Legally.

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A little Obama and a lot of other stuff

Slate, New York Times, The American Prospect, Megan McArdle and a lot of sites that they’re linking to discuss the Obama speech. They seem to agree that it was a good speech, but not fantastic. He is an oratory master and has made so many good speeches during his brief career, that he’s made it difficult for himself. But see for yourself! While looking around all the politics sites, interesting news popped up – John McCain’s most unusual choice of veep candidate – the completely inexperienced, but young and female Sarah Palin. Check Wikipedia as the article is probably developing as we speak (or whatever it is we’re doing). Oh, how I love Wikipedia!

After one of my neighbours told me that I was not alone in experiencing faulty Internet here in our convent (thick, thick walls) and also was kind enough to tell me what he’d done to remedy it, I’ve become the very happy owner of three HomePlugs. OK, not exactly another step towards the wireless home – but oh, my Internet just works wonderfully – at full speed now. It’s like a big plug –  into the mains, one connects to the router with an ethernet cable and the others connect from the mains to my computer wherever I want to work. No installation whatsoever, just plug’n’play! Lovely, lovely, lovely!

So naturally I’ve been surfing around all day long and found lots of lovely stuff out there:

On happiness I’ve found a couple of good posts. They are both lists of things to do to be happier and not exactly groundbreaking science. But I still think they’re good and absolutely worth reading and maybe even memorizing. It’s Gretchen from The Happiness Project, but writing on another blog. And it’s from Pick the Brain about happy people’s habits. Btw Gretchen has a post on how to spot when you’re boring people…

On the TED blog I had to pick a few or the rest of the day would go with watching all these incredible people tell about their dreams and achievements. So this Indian guy with his hole-in-the-wall project took pride of place – he has put computers (with Internet) in holes-in-walls in remote places in India and discovered that any child between 5 – 14 can teach him- or herself and loads of other kids to use a computer in a few months. They even teach themselves basic English to do so. He quotes someone for saying “if a teacher can be replaced by a computer – replace him”. True! If the teacher can’t be better and more emphatic and inspiring than a computer, why have one?

When I started my origami craze I had no idea that it had somehow become “modern“. But clearly it has and I find that quite funny. Here’s a math professor who’s taken origami to a whole new sphere – using his math skills to do so. It’s downright incredible!

On the Long Now blog there’s a post by Brian Eno, who’s new album with David Byrne is on my to-buy list. It’s got absolutely raving reviews in the papers here and I am looking forward to hearing it. The post is about what happens to a society when it’s united in and committed to a very long-term project.

Jeff Jarvis writes about Paulo Coelho’s online presence. I must admit, I didn’t know about it and I’ve never read a book of his, although it’s probably about time that I read The Alchemist, which has apparently inspired many people. I’ve certainly noticed his books in prominent places in the bookshops. His website is very professional and informative and – where he differs from most other authors – there’s lots to read and download for free.

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The Gift Economy?

No matter how hard I try, I never seem to be quite up to speed with what’s going on out there in the world. Today I read about a phenomenon, which I’ve occasionally been arguing for (to a degree), but didn’t even know had a name… Well, it does have a name: The Gift Economy (Wikipedia article disputed, but still quite informative). First book on subject written more than 20 years ago :-(

The source of all this new information is a blog I’ve been following for quite a while. It’s called

This Blog Sits at the

Intersection of Anthropology and Economics

which is an unusually accurate title for a blog.

What he uses as an example is a rapper called Lil’ Wayne from New Orleans. Apparently he tipped Coldplay off No. 1 in the American charts. And I’ve never heard of him… Anyway, the interesting bit is that Lil’ Wayne makes practically everything he ever makes freely available on the Internet – in every shape or form you can imagine. So, when his album was recently released, could you then expect it to sell? Well, I would. But I know a lot of people who wouldn’t!

Gift Economy is based on the thought that “What Comes Around Gets Around”. Where I’m certain that variations on this idea can work very well for most artistic products, I’m not so sure about other stuff. As the above blogger muses, will somebody give him the aluminium siding that he so wants? And if somebody did, wouldn’t that somebody go bankrupt very soon? Or would other people start giving him back stuff (he wants and needs)  out of sheer gratitude? I know people who would and people who wouldn’t. Don’t know which kind there are most of out there!

But oh, can I just love the idea of it for a little while!

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Links

Now, what kind of idiot does a thing like this? Thank you to Capac for the pointer.

I’m always going on about TED (Technology Entertainment Design). As the happy owner of an Iphone I have taken podcasts to a higher level and sit on buses, trains and airplanes etc. and LEARN things in a very entertaining way by watching video-podcasts from TED. If you still haven’t taken my hint and tried to watch a TED video, here’s your chance of watching some of the very best ones, picked out by really brainy people. The theme of TED is “Ideas are Everything”. And what the speakers have in common is that they have one or more original idea(s). Some speakers are world famous, some “only” famous within their field. Some of them aren’t famous at all before they appear on TED!

A spinoff of TED is this lovely online shop based in San Francisco with messenger bags made of discarded plastic bottles. I want one!

The Long Now Blog links to this very funny post about the messages that we, Earth, have sent into space since we were able to go there. It’s not uplifting reading, but it’s so funny! I’m going to keep an eye on that guy.

The Times (and most all other media) has the story this morning of an American court ruling against Google/Youtube. Viacom has sued for infringment of their copyright. Oh, I’m tired of hearing the big media companies going on about Artists’ Rights. It’s not really the artists’ rights they care about, but their own sources of income. And very often they – mysteriously – are biting the hand that feeds them. For instance, the many, many clips in Youtube from Britain’s got Talent and all the other similar shows. Do those clips give the shows more viewers or less viewers? More interest or less interest? Your guess is as good as mine… It really is worrying that Viacom can look into the viewing habits of every single Youtube user and maybe even access their IP-address. In a statement Viacom says that they are not going to do that, but only time will show. Reading about this led me on to this honourable organisation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation. How glad I am that people have the time and energy to found and run such organisations. It’s for the benefit of us all. More on this issue from Jeff Jarvis.

Also from the Long Now Blog a pointer to an article (disguised as a book review) in the New York Review of Books about global warming by British physicist and author Freeman Dyson (what I would not give to be as clearminded at the age of 84!!!). Before you roll your eyes and move on, let me tell you that this article is about the whole issue. The arguments for and against whether global warming is a serious problem or not, the economic aspects of all the different paths we could take and a very interesting finale about Environmentalism as a new religion. If you’re interested in this and want to read something that is truly unbiased, then try this. It’s not exactly an easy read and I will not claim to have understood all of it. But I understand lots more now than I did before…

The News is now Public ( a site dedicated to the publishing of news ignored or played down by other media) tells about Patrick Waller, the 31st innocent man freed by DNA in the state of Texas. The state of Texas apparently has a double record in the US. It’s the state where the most sentenced have later been found innocent based  on DNA and other evidence. And it’s the state with the highest rate of executions. That’s bone-chilling! CNN is the source of the story. An organisation called the Innocence Project are fronting and financing many of these cases. God Bless them!

As many of you will know, I’m an “Apple Person”. I love all things Apple and have much more of that “I Can’t Live Without It”-feeling in the Apple Store than in any department store. But there are things that aggravate me with Apple too. And mostly that has to do with the copyright thing. I absolutely detest that I can’t do with my own paid for CD’s and downloads exactly as I please. That absolutely INFURIATES me. And reading that I couldn’t watch Netflix films on my Mac if I so chose, infuriates me further. Give me my rights back! Why are my rights influenced by what platform I’ve chosen? Grrrr…

Jabberwock, an Indian blog, reviews the debut novel by Mohammed Hanif, which I’ve also read good things about elsewhere. He tells about the similarities to a book I read a long time ago and really, really liked: Mario Vargas Llosa‘s The Feast of the Goat. Mr. Hanif himself acknowledges the inspiration from Llosa. If you’ve never read anything by Llosa, he can be recommended as good – and very entertaining – summer reading. I’ve added the Exploding Mangoes to my Amazon wish list.

Oh, just realising I’ve been going on like this for hours and you’ve probably left this page a long time ago. Let this then be the last link. A funny post by Megan McArdle on The Atlantic about the demise of the SUV. I was never fond of SUVs in the first place, them being petrol-consuming and even more dangerous to pedestrians and bicyclists than other cars, so of course I love her little piece. Have a laugh over some of the comments as well.

No, here’s the last bit. On a very nice social outing with neighbours here in our convent, one person collected money for a “kitty”, for drinks at the pub. I did know what a kitty was, but hadn’t heard the word in many years, not having lived in England before. Asking all these knowledgeable and well educated people about the origin of the word “kitty”, they all drew a blank. But view possible explanations here, here and here.

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