FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS Episode #3a: The EFF

Well the first two episodes of FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS was well received, so I thought it was worthwhile to kick out episode #… THREE!!!!

This new segment basically will select four or five followers of this blog (thanks to all of you who are now following this blog) and/or blogs I follow and just promote particularly interesting things I find on their pages:

Okay onto the promoting :) :

I’m a paid up card carrying supporter of the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) and I have to say I consider them an essential organization for ANY OF US who have an online presence or make use of this wonder we call the internet and the digital age.

Quite frankly our elected representatives are out of their depth when it comes to protecting the rights of their constituents in the digital age. They surrender our rights to the lobbyist/snake oil salesman with the slickest line, and the fattest wallet.

The EFF discusses just this in their coverage of the recent passage of the CISPA in the House of Representatives.

congress-4c_0

“U.S. House of Representatives Shamefully Passes CISPA; Internet Freedom Advocates Prepare for a Battle in the Senate

“Today, Internet freedom advocates everywhere turned their eyes to the U.S. House of Representatives as that legislative body considered the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.

For the second year in a row, the House voted to approve CISPA, a bill that would allow companies to bypass all existing privacy law to spy on communications and pass sensitive user data to the government. EFF condemns the vote in the House and vows to continue the fight in the Senate.

“CISPA is a poorly drafted bill that would provide a gaping exception to bedrock privacy law,” EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl said. “While we all agree that our nation needs to address pressing Internet security issues, this bill sacrifices online privacy while failing to take common-sense steps to improve security.”

The legislation passed 288-127, despite a veto threat from Pres. Barack Obama, who expressed serious concerns about the danger CISPA poses to civil liberties.”
—By Dave Maass and Mark M. Jaycox

Read the whole story, and much more here. And when you’ve read enough to get you good and fighting mad. Join the EFF and support those who are fighting for you!

For reasons of ease of reading we’re going to split this latest installment of FOLLOWING THE FOLLOWERS into bite-size chunks, Enjoy this one and another one is on its way!

Crazy Rambling Short Story of the Day?! The War on the Public

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to a mad tirade is a complete coincidence. :)

Quick update, we have the WEDNESDAYS WORDS installment scheduled for tomorrow, that’s going to be a rough one, to get out on time. And I want to get up the MONARCHS OF MAYHEM interview with Charles Saunders for Thursday, which will push part two of 15 FAVORITE PULP HEROES into the weekend. So yeah just check back this weekend for part II.

But to give you pulp fans something in the interim, I bring you… The War on the Public! A mad, slightly quixotic rant (for those of you who’ve never seen me rant before… run away. The water is deep here, and in the words of Alan Moore, “the idea of a God… a real idea.” :)) :

CONDE NAST vs BLACK MASK – This is an oldie but an interesting read nevertheless about the first significant volleys in the war to eradicate public domain.

Here are some additional public domain links:

“Supreme Court Lands Final Blow Against the Public Domain! In Golan v. Holder (Jan. 18, 2012), the Court upheld the power of Congress to withdraw works from the U.S. public domain”

and

“What do we do now if Congress adopts a term of, say, life + 1000 years, or seeks to award a new copyright in Huckleberry Finn to Disney or to the Mark Twain estate?”

Public domain, public domain, public domain. Why is it disappearing? And Why should you care?

Well the first question is simple, it’s disappearing because people with money can make it disappear. It’s disappearing because of greed.

‘But’, you say, ‘there have always been rich people. and there have always been greedy people, so why is it disappearing now?’

Well it is disappearing now, because business has made such inroads into having the ear of our senate and house, and our courts, that the people who previously were elected to represent the citizens, are instead representing corporations.

The second question, “Why should you care?” I can’t answer that for you, I can only tell you why I care.

Now as a creative person and a writer, and as a friend of writers, I believe in copyright. I think it’s a great thing. But I also believe in Public Domain, and I think that is an equally great thing.

And I think before big business stepped in with their “more, more, more” mindset we had a perfectly workable compromise.

When I was coming up, public domain was very simple, after 50 years, a concept went into public domain

It became the property of the people. Of we, the people.

The writer doesn’t stop being the creator, he is still the creator, his or her name is still on the work. It’s just that after fifty years, his creation can be used by others.

The idea being that if an idea or concept has survived for 50 years that a/ it’s enough time for the creator to profit, sans competition, from the creation and 2/if people are still talking about a character or an idea 50 years later it has become part of the cultural conversation. It has become like an urban legend or a myth or a tale of Grendel and Beowulf, something that transcends the teller. Something that is part and parcel of a larger conversation and the basis for new creations.

(And notice I said people, Public domain is about insuring people, creators get compensated in their lifetime, it is not about ensuring the perpetual unending market share for an undying corporation. Why are companies, that don’t even have the welfare of this country at heart, given the right to lobby our representatives like citizens?

Companies that I can assure you don’t pay the percentage of tax that I do. I’d love to see Disney and Exxon and Shell paying 20% of their income a year in taxes. This nation would not have a deficit.

Corporations shouldn’t in a civilized world, have more rights than citizens. They don’t care about creators, they don’t care about this nation or any nation, they care about themselves. Which is fine if they are not drafting the laws for an entire nation, but they are, so their lack of concern for what is best for anyone besides them… becomes a problem.

A corporation without a sense of cultural and social responsibility… is a mob, to be watched, to be feared, and ultimately to be put down.)

That’s how culture and art works. New things building upon the old. And old ideas being re-imagined into the new. But the coming of the 21st century saw greedy companies rather than earn customers through the new, instead adopt a policy of profit through protection rackets, through intimidation.

So you get corporations lobbying for aggressive changes in the laws of copyright and trademark and patents. And suddenly public domain is an enemy for corporations to avoid and destroy at all cost, instead of what it should be, a necessary part of making old ideas the birth ground for the new.

Art doesn’t get made in a vacuum, it’s part of a continuing conversation. And we are made better for that open resource, for Universal Studios being able to do their version of Frankenstein or Dracula, and for Hammer Studios to be able to do their version, and for any writer or indie filmmaker to be able to do their version.

Without having to clear the usage of Mary Shelly’s concepts with Disney, or Bram Stoker’s concepts with Time Warner, anyone can do a Frankenstein children’s book, or produce a Dracula song or stuffed animal. And that’s wonderful, and cute, and beautiful, and healthy. So it’s about creativity, but it’s also about healthy commerce, and true free enterprise. Companies that want to generate wealth in a country, rather than just taking wealth out. And by Wealth I mean more than money, I mean the ability of people to be able to produce and own products of cultural recognition and interest, without having to pay tribute and protection money… to monopolies.

It’s especially galling to hear from these pompous companies, when the characters they are looking to lock down are, in many cases, popular inspite of them.

Who has kept the Shadow and Doc Sampson and even Spider characters viable? It wasn’t the bloody companies. The pulps and old time radio shows exist not because of the companies, that couldn’t erase the tapes and dispose of the pulps fast enough, it was the bloody collectors. These insane, lovely human beings, who threw together out of their own pocket, these things called conventions, at a time when a company’s initial response was, “Why are they talking about that lame, dead crap, come see my latest Disco Ball action figure! Look at the nerds still talking about the Shadow and Doc Sambo, or whatever his name is! Hey Nerds, the 1930s called they want their hero back! Ha! Ha! Ha!!”

:) (I just made myself chuckle)

Unfortunately much to businesses’ amazement, this old stuff, due to the passion of fans, actually had staying power. And if anyone has been to a movie theater in the last couple decades, monetary value.

However, as I’ve said before, it was the people, the collectors, the very obsessive types who corporations seek to criminalize today as filesharers, infringers, etc.,, that have saved and preserved much of the culture we now are able to still enjoy, that without them would have been lost.

I love the Old time Shadow radio shows, along with many other radio shows. Those shows, those great pieces of not just entertainment, but of art and culture and history largely exist, not because of Conde-Nast, or insert corporation here… those shows exist because rabid collectors, copied them off the air, made copies, and shared them down the years.

Same with the pulps. Same with silent movies, and sound movies, and film noir.

In the absence of companies finding a monetary value for something they destroy it. They erase over the tape of Doctor Who, they throw out the audio tapes of the Shadow, they burn original artwork of cartoonists.

Why? Because the number crunchers at companies, are not the creative people, they weren’t then and they aren’t now. They make decisions based solely on dollars and cents, and that tunnel vision is always flawed when dealing with work that is also about the imagination of man.

An ‘only Dollars and cents’ mentality will let what is quirky, and manic, and fun, and childish, and challenging in this world die. So these gentle angels of our nature survive because of people who love them. People like the owner of BLACK MASK. Rather than suing that man, Conde-Nast should have got down on their knees and thanked him.

Because he and his kind, collectors preserve these things, when Conde-Nast could not see financial gain to them. But in the wake of renewed interest from Hollywood at the end of the 20th century, and the gangbusters showing of comic and pulp related properties, suddenly everybody wants to sweep in and be the owner of old things made new.

Here’s the thing about public domain. It doesn’t stop you from making money if you have a good idea and a good product. So you don’t need to take Doc Savage or Shadow or Spider out of public domain, to do a book, or a movie, or a audio drama or a cartoon.

No one is stopping you. Build it and they will come. I don’t need to buy Spider Books or Shadow Books, however I do so all the time, when I see a great packaged product. However, if you’re a morally bankrupt company, that has no intention of putting out an attractive product, I can see how competition may not be for you. And you try to sue yourself into business rather than earning business.

And that is where we are at with these companies. They are so petty and greedy for every single penny, it is sickening.

Those…. bloodsuckers!! (Sorry, couldn’t resist! :) )

Disney’s one of the biggest companies in the world, they can throw around 200 million dollar movies, like you and I throw around nickles, and yet they are afraid to death if a grade school kid creates and passes out her mickey mouse comic.

You can not have it both ways. You can not want something to be culturally iconic and generational, yet remain proprietary and exclusionary. No. We are creatures raised to spread stories over an open flame and for that story to travel from person to person, being changed by each person, owned by each person, passed on by each person, and becoming changed and new and different with each telling.

If you look at all the martial arts, they are pretty much the same art, changed over time, and over region. And we as a culture are better and stronger and richer for that migration, that cross pollination, that cross ownership… we are better for having silat, kung-fu, aikido, hapkido, capoeira, savate, kenpo, krav maga, systema… etc., we are better for free association, no fences, open source, public domain.

We have always been better for it. But now in the last few decades, fences are being put up by a few gatekeepers, on everything. And that cannot stand.

It is an unsupportable policy/mindset, utter control of the culture, art, and interactions of a mass of people by a few outside those people. There is a name for that, and it has always been the same name.

Because if you think that it is a nightmare and an outrage just getting rights to a song to use in your film or project or play, imagine wanting to do your short film of Poe’s TELL TALE HEART, and being told you have to get that approved through Disney, and if they approve you, fees start at $500000.

You wouldn’t have a filmmaker like Roger Corman, if the copyright and trademark environment of today was in existence yesterday. And then you lose all his Poe films, you lose all his collaborations with Vincent Price, you lose his part in the ascension of creators like Nicholson and Howard and Coppola. And who knows what we all lose for loss of those mad, creative cranked out Gothic films.

All that because one man was allowed to follow his muse without crippling interference or exorbitant costs imposed by ‘rights’ holders. How many possible Cormans are we killing, in multiple fields, today? Killing them because we are allowing dinosaurs to sit on our shared cultural conversation and art like a dragon sitting on eggs.

Doc Savage is public domain. Superman is Public domain as much as Robin Hood. Batman is public domain. The Shadow is public domain. Fifty years is a good run for exclusive rights to profits. None of this nonsense about renewal of copyrights, or trademark used to get around expired copyright.

[And speaking of trade-mark. MARVEL and DC have 'jointly' trade-marked the term 'Super-Hero". What is that about? So tomorrow do you trade mark the term 'hero' or 'myth' or god'? Do you trademark the term God? Who is at the trademark office just handing out the rights to every word in the dictionary to the highest bidder?

They haven't begun invoking it yet, their 'super-hero' trademark, largely because I think they are waiting for some of the smaller comic companies to fold up shop, and don't want a challenge to come up when their hand isn't strong enough. But Like Microsoft, make no mistake, they will give it away for free today, to set themselves up to own the market share and charge you through the teeth tomorrow.

All you small comic-book companies need to come together and publish one big omnibus anthology called 'Best Super-hero Tales' or something, and get that trademark challenged and thrown out today. Now while the challenging is good. and all the old creators they are waiting to die before they can bring evidence, are still around. Because if you don't, mark my words, ten years from now anyone who wants to use the term 'Super-hero', in the title to anything, will have to pay for the pleasure.]

I’m not saying companies can’t continue to sell and market their items past the 50 year mark, but what I am saying is that everyone else can produce their take on that idea as well.

(Quick aside here… A word on this copyright extended to 70 years after a writer’s death nonsense. Who the heck does that benefit, if not the money grubbing corporations? Did someone just say ‘the family’?

This isn’t about your family, fool! :)

Your family can make money, sell books, shoot movies, whether or not your book is in the public domain. We all know, the rights to a writer’s work ends up snatched up by the publisher. And with only about half a dozen conglomerates owning all the book publishing divisions as it is, that’s a troubling proposed consolidation of intellectual property.

See, what we’re talking about is every work after 1923 [that is the date today, tomorrow they might push it back to works in copyright being only stuff before 1823], all the accumulated wisdom, and hopes, and dreams, and pathos, and joy, and horror, and striving, and yes fighting against oppression of millions upon millions of writers, being owned, with this continued push toward extermination of public domain, the wealth of the world… owned by half a dozen oligarchies. What greater betrayal could there be? To any writer, to every writer. To have the work of the most imaginative, and moral people (which is what on a whole, I find writers to be), owned by people bereft of either imagination or morality.

And to that plan, of mad, sick twisted companies, their dream of a world devoid of public ownership, I say the only thing I can say, the only thing a life-time of loving books has taught me to say to such over-arching presumption and tyranny. I say… no. )

Public domain can work for all

Disney will still have Mickey Mouse, but if Tarantino or Seth Green or anyone wants to do a Mickey Mouse movie, they can. I’m not saying DC/Time Warner can’t still make Batman or Hulk comics or movies, but I’m saying past 50 years from date of creation, so can everyone else. How about a Batman movie by Werner Herzog or a Superman tv series by the Hughes Brothers?

Both those ideas just made me chuckle.

I can’t say you won’t get your share of train wrecks with such freedom, but you’ll also get get your share of wonders. You’ll get Baz Luhrmann’s Shadow next door to Branagh’s Doc Savage. And we are made richer when we can build on the culture we grew up in, rather than this new corporate policy of paying tribute to entrenched monopolies, Disney’s Culture or Time Warner’s culture.

This is very much a land grab, but not land rights this time, not water rights, not airwave rights (which they recently removed from Americans), this is about dreams… being fenced off.

We are on a perilous path. When I think of how much we have lost in the 6 years since Conde Nast sued BLACK MASK out of existence, it gives me pause. Because it is very much a culture where only the few will own anything, that we are pushing toward.

Not software, not hardware, not books, not houses, not music, not comics, not land, not our airwaves, perhaps not even our food or our air, do we get to own. Where everything we interact with is rented to us, is timed, our reactions to it… judged, to insure they are in acceptable non-infringing levels.

That is the end of culture my friends.

Fiction you say?

Yes… Fiction, I say.

Want to learn more?

Want to fight? You? Want to fight? After all I told ya Boy, ya want to fight the dragons of the world?! Swing at windmills like your uncle HT?!!

Aye, you bring a tear to an old man’s eyes. Aye, if I had five more like ya, I could ride into hell and put out all the fires! :)

Well get ya some education first boyo, read the following takes on public domain:

It’s a start.

OPEN RIGHTS- Ah, I love these passionate, mad Brits.

CR Fight ArticleYet another Brit! Where the hell are the Americans working to repeal copyright extension! Hold on, I’m still looking.

EFF- Ah, here’s the beloved Yanks! Over there! Over there! And the Yanks are coming! The Yanks are coming! Over there! WHAT??? Don’t you guys watch James Cagney musicals?!!

Stanford Overview of copyright

CR article

Public Domain info

OKFN

A SOPA Bullet and 29 Gunmen: Meeting your Destiny on the road you took to avoid it

“Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed? We want them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against – then you’ll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We’re after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”
-from Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand

It’s not enough to defeat bills like HR 3261 (the Stop Online Piracy Act, which sounds like it might be a good thing, but is anything but. The full text can be found here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:h.r.3261:)aka SOPA; the bill would criminalize much of what you can do on the internet today, would allow big business to shut down sites and blogs with impunity. With no real burden of proof necessary.

Just an email or a call. And concepts such as free speech, or more to the point, anti-big business speech, can be shut down… as if they never existed.

So it is not enough to just defeat this Bill.

It’s not about this one bill. It’s about giving them reason to fear… drafting the next, and the next, and the next.

This is just one bullet you’re dodging in this bill. It is not enough to dodge this bullet, you have to take out the gunmen.

Remove them from positions, to be able to fire that gun at you again. Stop them from firing more bullets. Because what they know, what any good gunman knows, is… you can’t duck them all. They shoot enough bullets, and at least one is going to hit you. To take you down.

And what they are trying to take down is nothing more or less than your ability to resist… being owned, being controlled, being terrorized, being enslaved… to big business. They want to be able to do, whatever they want… unchecked.

And with enough bullets dressed as bills, they’re on the road to… turning back the clock.

To the killing of liberty, and the hard-fought dream… of America.

So you don’t try and just duck the bullets, you stop the shooter. You stop him hard.

You stop him so hard, that God himself will blink.

There are 29 gunmen, who signed the bullet called SOPA.

There are 29 assassins.

Assassins of liberty, at the onus of big business and big business dogs such as the RIAA and MPAA to be sure… but Assassins none the less.

You may want to look over the below names. See which ones come from your state or a surrounding state. Which ones are representing themselves rather than you. And do your part… in un-employing them.

Rep Smith, Lamar [TX-21]
Rep Amodei, Mark E. [NV-2] – 11/3/2011
Rep Baca, Joe [CA-43] – 12/7/2011
Rep Barrow, John [GA-12] – 11/14/2011
Rep Bass, Karen [CA-33] – 11/3/2011
Rep Berman, Howard L. [CA-28] – 10/26/2011
Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7] – 10/26/2011
Rep Bono Mack, Mary [CA-45] – 10/26/2011
Rep Carter, John R. [TX-31] – 11/3/2011
Rep Chabot, Steve [OH-1] – 10/26/2011
Rep Chu, Judy [CA-32] – 11/30/2011
Rep Conyers, John, Jr. [MI-14] – 10/26/2011
Rep Cooper, Jim [TN-5] – 12/12/2011
Rep Deutch, Theodore E. [FL-19] – 10/26/2011
Rep Gallegly, Elton [CA-24] – 10/26/2011
Rep Goodlatte, Bob [VA-6] – 10/26/2011
Rep Griffin, Tim [AR-2] – 10/26/2011
Rep King, Peter T. [NY-3] – 11/3/2011
Rep Larson, John B. [CT-1] – 11/30/2011
Rep Lujan, Ben Ray [NM-3] – 11/14/2011
Rep Marino, Tom [PA-10] – 11/3/2011
Rep Nunnelee, Alan [MS-1] – 11/3/2011
Rep Owens, William L. [NY-23] – 11/14/2011
Rep Ross, Dennis [FL-12] – 10/26/2011
Rep Scalise, Steve [LA-1] – 11/14/2011
Rep Schiff, Adam B. [CA-29] – 10/26/2011
Rep Sherman, Brad [CA-27] – 12/7/2011
Rep Wasserman Schultz, Debbie [FL-20] – 11/3/2011
Rep Watt, Melvin L. [NC-12] – 11/3/2011
Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2] – 10/26/2011(withdrawn – 1/18/2012)
Rep Holden, Tim [PA-17] – 11/30/2011(withdrawn – 1/18/2012)
Rep Quayle, Benjamin [AZ-3] – 12/13/2011(withdrawn – 1/17/2012)

That is your mission, and your duty, and your calling if you choose to accept it. To say no, to all the people who would betray you.

To attack the Assassins of Liberty.

“Sometimes a man can meet his destiny, on the road he took to avoid it.”— The International

Google’s Android Tablets vs Apple’s IPAD2, Microsoft, Oracle, British Telecom, Ebay!

Who would have thought that I would be on Google’s side on anything, much less feeling sorry for them.

But true to the axiom the enemy of my enemy is my friend, that’s exactly where I am at with Google, at this point in time.

The Android platform came onto 2011 like a breath of fresh air, and its meteoric rise gave the mobile market something it hasn’t had in many a year… choice, and true competition, relief from the Apple Juggernaut.

But that choice came at a price… Namely a feeding frenzy of the most powerful companies in the world all deciding to destroy the Android Platform, Google, itself no lightweight, finds itself having to deal with no less than 6 Mega-Massive Lawsuits, from companies with revenues in excess of billions of dollars each.

The companies lined up to protect their entrenched, monopolistic and consumer enslaving business models and technologies are Oracle, Apple, Microsoft, Ebay, GeMalto and as of today British Telecom. And that’s just counting the ones suing that are valued over a billion dollars.

You add them all together and you have as stated… a bloody feeding frenzy.

With companies using flawed to the point of destructive Software Patents, to stifle innovation and destroy competition.

These Goliath’s don’t want to win customers through creating better products, heaven forbid, they want to sue, and legislate and license and otherwise utilize “Al Capone style” Protection racket schemes, to sell the American people and the world… only their product. Typically overpriced, often severely crippled products. Take the Ipad that is lacking basic design features such as USB and HDMI and SD ports, and it’s only the competition of Android (which does offer these ports) that is making Apple have to address these glaring omissions on their tablet in each successive new model.

So again I’ve had, and had my share of problems with Google, their search engine and email and pretty staggering abuses of privacy and personal freedoms, from digitizing and uploading massive amounts of books, to the detriment of authors and publishers, to extreme methods of uncovering and mapping public and private networks/wi-fi hotspots, to generally being one of the privacy problems on the Internet rather than one of the solutions.

So imagine my surprise that it is Google, for self serving needs to be sure, that through the android platform, offers us, the consumer, the best chance at real choice and real innovation to hit the technology scene in decades. Android isn’t perfect, it’s in its infancy, and as Carrier IQ and malwaqre scare show, it has growing yet to do. I’d like it to get the chance to grow.

And further, Google’s Android platform, in an economic environment that has been going from depression to depression, has actually been allowing businesses to flourish in a way we have never seen in the mobile market. That competition thing again, that is the first excitement, and first upswing in terms of substantial new products, and new players we’ve seen in the market, the first good sign in the economy.

And the Goliaths rather than wanting to compete, and win or lose based on product merit in a flourishing everybody makes money environment, seek instead to sue the Android Platform into a coma, and all the watershed business, and economies of scale, and diversity, and yes choice… that has built up around it… sue them out of business. And continue an economic outlook and policy, that further disenfranchises the bulk of people and companies, in favor of a very few companies and a very few people. Moving ever quicker to an unsupportable age of masters and slaves. And I tell you now, in that age… when the poor man has nothing left to lose… the fall for the rich…. shall be steep.

Apple particularly has been blatant and disgusting in their global attempt to monopolize the mobile market. To allow this monopolization and indeed chilling of innovation and competition is to sign the death warrant of liberties both subtle and gross in America and in the world. It is to Grandfather these six companies in… not as providers of services and technologies to customers, but as imposed entities, protection rackets, selling their products to the American people and the world at the barrel of a lawsuit.

It cannot stand.

And not only is Google the sole large capital company to defend open source, but they are also one of the few big cap companies to battle the media provider rape of the American people that is this horrendous SOPA Bill now, brokered by the same companies suing Google, winding it’s way into law in our congress. Which once done will make freedom of speech on the Internet, like competition, an endangered species.

Find out where your representative stands on this ‘Patriot Act level of wrong’ bill.

Tell them today to oppose the SOPA bill.

So as odd as this is for me to say, I’m rooting for Google, not just to win all six court cases and get to maintain a non-crippled Android, but further to deal a death blow to this horrible ‘its time is passed’ concept of Software Patents.

The enemy of my enemy being in this case… my friend.

All I had to say.

For more on all this go to Eff.

Now go… Defend something. While you’re able.

Enemies of the State: The Shadow and Metropolis and Ebay vs the Supreme Court, Alex Kozinski, Oracle, MPAA/RIAA and Google??!


The logo belongs to the brilliant website shadowsanctum.net, and I urge you to check her site out here. It’s great!

“Dead Cobras are better playthings than live ones.”
—The Shadow in THE TEMPLE BELLS OF NEBAN

“My reward, like yours Commissioner, is in protecting the defenseless from those who have not learned… that crime does not pay.”
—The Shadow

The TEMPLE BELLS OF NEBAN is a very intriguing Shadow episode from 1937, over 70 years ago at the dawn of the age of radio, starring the inimitable Orson Welles. And I highly recommend people seeking it out, and giving it a listen.

It’s not the best sounding recording available, but you can clearly hear why this show was an immediate hit, as the Shadow spars, almost lovingly, with a beautiful Indian dancer, whose powers may rival his own.

You can listen to a copy here.

And It’s also worth mentioning these shows only exist because of collectors, what today we would call filesharers, or bootleggers, these shows and thousands like them only exist because of the loving collector who recorded them off the air and kept them and shared them for the love, while the very companies that produced them, could not erase the tapes fast enough after the initial airing, seeing no long term value/profit to them.

I’m saying it’s ironic that what companies race today to make illegal, is the very people who have preserved the intellectual property many of them today… build their fortunes off of.

They seek to make illegal… the people who we need. The ones who keep things alive not for the money… but the love.

How lucky we are to have these recordings. Unfortunately thanks to Congress and the Supreme court working in tandem to put the rights of businesses above citizens…not only are clear Public Domain concepts like the Shadow radio show and pulp novels no longer in public domain, but they’ve recently upheld a law that allows the REMOVAL of certain foreign based works (Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (“Section 514”), which restores copyright protection to certain foreign works that were previously in the public domain), including compositions and the works of silent film directors such as Fritz Lang, out of Public Domain.

How the hell does Congress perceive they have the right to do that? Or does the Supreme court support them in that?

Fritz Lang is taken out of copyright today, what happens tomorrow… Poe? Shakespeare? All so companies can get you to pay, pay, pay.

And making this a one two punch, the Supreme Court has recently upheld (by failing to overturn the 9th circuit court ruling) Software companies rights to stop you from reselling your software on grounds of— well honestly the grounds make no sense— basically it’s companies intent on destroying the secondary market of used resellers, a huge and vital part of any economy, so they alone determine what in essence can be sold. And more, they alone can profit.

The story reads in part:

“The Supreme Court is refusing to review a federal appellate panel’s decision that software makers may use shrink-wrap and click-wrap licenses to forbid the transfer or resale of their wares.

Without comment, the justices on Monday let stand a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that is another erosion of the so-called “first-sale” doctrine, which the Supreme Court began to chip away at last year.

The first-sale doctrine generally is an affirmative defense to copyright infringement. It usually allows legitimate owners of copyrighted works to resell those copies.

That 3-0 circuit court decision means copyright owners may prohibit the resale of their wares by inserting clauses in their sales agreements. Autodesk had done that with a version of its popular AutoCAD software. The San Rafael, Calif. company sued to enforce those terms in its sales agreement and prevailed.

The Motion Picture Association of America and Software & Information Industry Association, whose members include Google, Adobe, McAfee, Oracle and dozens of others, urged the appellate court to rule as it did.”

–This is from the excellent guys at WIRED (it’s not lost on me that WIRED unfortunately is owned by CondeNast, one of the companies particularly active in chipping away at Public Domain), and the full story, along with other shocking abuses and erosions of liberty can be read here.

This ruling by the 9th circuit court, inherently cripples and destroys a healthy monetary model, in favor of a model geared entirely on creating a monopolistic system, and an entrenched protected powerbase that flies in the face of a free enterprise system.

The idea that I can’t, or you can’t resell something you bought, is itself an overstepping of liberties, and an infringement on liberties, so great as to be in and of itself… criminal.

Where does it end?

You do this first with the used software market, what is next? You can’t sell used DVDs? You can’t sell used books? You can’t sell used cars? You can’t sell used houses? At what point are you bankrupt of owning and controlling anything you purchase? Even the air you breathe, the food you eat, everything eventually gets leased to you?

Absurd right? We’re on an absurd and dangerous path.

This is a law that must be challenged and thrown out. And stands once more as clear and present proof that the congress and the supreme court are in the pocket of big business.

And that we have become a country at the mercy of crooks and liars and cowards and scum and thieves.

We have become a country, at the mercy of our neutered Congress and our spade Supreme Court.

The purpose of government is not to protect business at the expense of the citizens, it is to protect citizens at the expense of business.

It is not the job of government to insure the status or the livelihood of Sony or Microsoft or Disney. Businesses come and businesses go. Most of the business around at the start of the 20th century didn’t make it to the end of the 20th century, and that is how it should be.

And part of it is we have 20th century judges ruling on 21st century cases, and quite frankly they are out of their depth.

These are people who can barely turn on a computer or send an email, and yet they are the defenders of the slippery digital slope, and preserving liberties in this brave new field of law. And the judges often rely on opinions of ‘experts’, which is to say the very people that have a stake in seeing laws go their way.

So increasingly judges are deer in technological headlights, and rule when in doubt with the big named company they think knows what they are talking about.

Example?

Alex Kozinski, one of the highest judges in the land. And the chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, that allowed Software companies to make resale of software illegal… This is how technologically savvy this guy is…

The following is an excerpt from the LA times:

“Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, acknowledged in an interview with The Times that he had posted the materials, which included a photo of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows and a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal. Some of the material was inappropriate, he conceded, although he defended other sexually explicit content as “funny.”

Kozinski, 57, said that he thought the site was for his private storage and that he was not aware the images could be seen by the public, although he also said he had shared some material on the site with friends. After the interview Tuesday evening, he blocked public access to the site.”

—By Scott Glover
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 11, 2008

This is the judge of one of the highest courts of the land? And shaping the laws that bind us all?? He doesn’t even know how the web works and he’s defining the legal length and breadth of it? Not even getting into the moral implications.

It is a sad and dangerous pattern, when our rights are given away at a whim.

Businesses are here to serve the people, and when they fail to do that, or choose not to do that, they deserve to fail. The very opposite of what is happening.

Case in point, Obama’s bailout of Wallstreet? Forget Wallstreet. Bail out the homeowners, and the unemployed and underemployed. Generate new business in the vacuum of businesses that don’t want to pay American taxes, or hire American employees at a live-able wage. These companies, Exxon, Shell, take billions of dollars out of the United States, but have a fit if you talk about raising the minimum wage, or paying workers $20/hr.

But we have a corrupt Congress and a corrupt Judiciary, so we bail out billionaires and aggressively tax, broke and breaking, American citizens to pay for that immoral bailout.

Our Congress and our Judiciary are crooks.

Except… that’s not true.

We have corrupt or incompetent people in Congress and the Courts, but the disease is not the man.

The idea of Congress and the idea of a Supreme Court, are good ideas.

There are people in Congress and the Courts who are there because they believe in this under attack idea of.. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

But they get lost, their good lost in the bad. We owe them more than that.

And how do we do that?

By naming names. Specific people vote these abhorrent laws into being. And they count on being a nameless part of a mob, just as the RIAA and the MPAA are klan hoods for companies doing under the shelter of their hood, things they would shy from by themselves or in the brightness of day.

It’s not enough to say Congress passed this and the Judiciary allowed this. We must name names, of those who in our darkest hour went around putting out lights, as well as those few who stood against them, and tried to light candles.

We must name… the enemies of our state. So we remember them, and push for their ousting for their crimes against us. It’s not enough to just concentrate on who is or isn’t president, we must concentrate just as hard on who we fill Congress with, and the courts.

Enemies of the State.

Enemies of the People.

We must name our betrayers.

United States’ Budget Woes, Totalitarianism, Democracy, and Liberty for those who can pay

Here’s the thing if you or I can’t budget our income, in fact are negative $10 in our account, much less negative trillions of Dollars, we do not pass go, we go straight to the poor house, and as individuals head to jail… if you owe substantial money, and you owe it to the wrong people.

The solution to the economy woes is simple and has always been simple, a flat 13% tax across the board, for poor and rich, individual and corporation (for any revenue generated within/from the United States). With this model we would balance our deficit quickly, and as a nation be in the black.

But that would mean the well to do and the corporations would actually have to pay their fair share of taxes rather than lumping an inordinate amount of the financial burden of the republic (spelled most of it) on the mass of people least capable of dealing with the current (nearly 30%, for those making under a 100,000 sans loopholes) taxation rate (ie the dwindling middle class and the poor).

So Eff it. Let the US default, particularly if it means the congress and the senate no longer get paid. Democrats, Republicans it’s all such a loathsome game of good cop/bad cop with the American people as the hapless stooge/inmate and big business as the corrupt string puller.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, democracy will always be a sham as long as corporations are allowed to have a voice in the government.

Unchecked capitalism is anathema to the idea of democracy. It is totalitarianism by another name. So all these bought congressmen and senators, lobbying and barking like dogs for their corporate masters, is no different than the landowner, fiefdom, serf model that Democracy supposedly was instituted to do away with.

It is sickening to hear these traitors, and I use that word not lightly but with full understanding of its meaning, these traitors…put forward these budget plans, that are only designed to keep in bondage generations of American people, to corporate and transnational interests.

In the latter days of Rome, they were killing the senators in the streets. And what is America but that mistake of Rome… unlearned from.