Please Oppose Article 13 – A creators perspective.

This is an email sent to my MEPs (Lynn Boylan, Brian Hayes, and Nessa Childers) today, regarding the proposed change to copyright in the EU, known as ‘article 13‘. This change will endanger the ability of small production companies and artists to disseminate their work online. It represents the greatest threat to free communication and creative work online in the history of the EU. You can find out more here or send your own email here.

Dear MEP,

You are no doubt receiving a lot of emails about the vote on article 13 of the proposed European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market tomorrow.

I am a small independent filmmaker and radio producer. I’ve been developing original programming for radio and web in Ireland since 2008. My website which provides free copies of all my programmes is http://garethstack.com

I wanted to explain to you exactly how article 13 would affect my business and creative output. As a radio producer all of my programmes have been funded through the Sound and Vision Scheme and developed using creative commons assets and public domain assets. These sound effects and music are created by a community of engaged creators who allow their work to be further developed by others for free. This means that when I write and produce a new radio drama, some of the sound effects are original, some are derived and remixed – legally and with blanket licensed permission – from other sources, such as the website freesound.org.

Similarly, when I release my programmes, they are available for others to remix as they see fit. When I record original sound effects foley, they are made available for others to use in their films, TV or radio programmes or in their hobby projects, such as short films. These flexible licences empower creators to decide exactly how their work may be used – remixed with or without credit, shared only when the derivative work uses a similar licence, etc etc.

My shows have been broadcast numerous times on RTE Lyric, Newstalk and local stations throughout Dublin. They have won international awards, and been rebroadcast in the United States. None of them would have been possible to produce or release under article 13.

The legal requirement for automatic upload filtering systems would place an undue burden on free public domain and creative commons hosting services like freesound. More seriously, these systems invariably operate on the assumption that the first uploader to lay claim to a sound or piece of video footage is the ‘owner’ of that footage – irrespective of who originally created it, or what the actual licence under which it is released was. Again and again it has been demonstrated, on youtube, on soundcloud and other platforms, that this leads to widespread abuse. That automated copyright enforcement is both intentionally and accidentally used to remove completely legal clips and programmes. This has already happened to me. In a situation where the delicate web of hosting companies that allow online distribution – from wordpress, to soundcloud, to freesound, to bandcamp; are forced to implement these filtering solutions, businesses like mine will be impossible.

Small media creators – every single one of whom is reliant on both purchasing samples and using free samples; whether sound effects, video clips or music; will be unable to reliably host and distribute their original, legally created content. This will enormously impact the following industries and many others – music production, independent music distribution, film post production, podcasting, radio production etc etc.

This is my personal experience – as someone who has already had content removed incorrectly by automated content system. Systems which cannot be challenged without endangering the creators access to the platform. Systems which operate as black boxes where decisions are made without fair and equal access for creators. Systems that ‘big content’ conglomerates have direct access to ‘take down’ content they do not own, without consequence merely by laying claim to it.

This is not even the primary danger of such systems – which can be abused to limit political speech and to target contentious individuals or political groups. It is not the primary danger of article 13 – which will limit the ability to freely disseminate news and information.

It is however the element of article 13 which directly and immediately affects my livelihood and the livelihood of ALL of those working in the Irish radio and film industry, whether directly or indirectly, from actors to grips, from radio hosts to newspaper delivery drivers.

A regime like this will enable a small number of large conglomerates to lay claim to content they did not create, and to serve as gatekeepers for what is disseminated online. It will not help creators. It will not protect jobs. It is copyright law run amok in the service of corporations that exist explicitly and exclusively to exploit the creative work of others.

I ask you as my MEP to please oppose this legislation. As a voter, I will remember your actions on this issue which threatens my income, and more importantly the continued availability of every piece of work I have created in my adult life.

Thank you,
Gareth Stack

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The Instrument of the Law – Episode 5 – Mad Scientists of Music

This episode looks at how innovative new ways of making and distributing music are coming into conflict with our legal system. Some argue that copyright and patent laws, created to encourage innovation, are no longer in touch with how artists remix and reinterpret our cultural landscape.

Part 1 – Piracy

We learn about copyright law, the ‘copy left’ movement and new licensing schemes like Creative Commons. Eoin O’Dell corrects some common copyright misapprehensions, Ed Devane and Simon Kenny discuss their experiences having their music pirated. Niamh Houston (Chipzel) discusses how small Chiptune artists are challenged by ubiquitous piracy and major label plagiarism alike.

Part 2 – Sampling

Ewan Hennelly and Meljoann talk about the culture of sharing. MarQu and Meljoann describe about how ready access to the internet enabled them to learn techniques and exposed them to niche scenes that would have been unavailable historically; and how our always on, connected society is reshaping music. MarQu VR discusses the endemic and transformative use of samples in VJing and parody.

Part 3 – Illegal Art

Karakara (Kieran Dold) and Siam Collective (John Leech) discuss the idea of remixing as a crime and illegal art as a wilfully provocative act.

Featured Interviewees:

Eoin O’Dell, Colm Olwill (DJ PCP), Seb & Emma of Deathness Injection, Niamh De Barra, Simon Kenny (aka Bitwise Operator), Ed Devane, Meljoann, Ewan Hennelly (also known as HERV / ZPG), MarQu VR, Andrew Edgar, Kieran Dold (Karakara), Niamh Houston (Chipzel), John Leech (Siam Collective).

Download:
Episode 5 – ‘The Instrument of the Law

About the Series

BAI logo mark colourMad Scientists of Music is a six part, BAI funded documentary series on Near FM. The show explores the world of Circuit Bending, Chip Tune, and Electroacoustic music in Ireland. Low cost technology, recycled instruments and a new attitude to tinkering embodied by the ‘maker movement’ are helping to reinvent music. A new generation of Irish musicians raised around computers, the internet and video gaming, see noise as something to be hacked, taken apart, and reconstructed. These artists build their own instruments, whether by recycling toy keyboards, modifying video game consoles, or attaching electronics to traditional stringed instruments. They often share their music online for free, and in doing so challenge our ideas about copyright and ownership. Their playful attitude to technology finds new uses for obsolete devices and brings the collaboration of musicianship to engineering and the arts.

Tracks used

Chipzel – Only Human Foilverb Remix (RoughSketch)
Karakara – Illeagle – Thesis Song
Karakara – Illeagle – You called it that
Karakara – Illeagle – God only knows
Karakara – Illeagle – Really
Karakara – Illeagle – In Light of your misleading

Lobat – my little droid needs a hand
Covox – Sunday – handheld electropop

Siam Collective – Melatronic Mission (unreleased rough mix)
Siam Collective – Meatloaf Madness (unreleased rough mix)
Siam Collective – Simpson Chemical (unreleased rough mix)

‘Mad Scientists of Music’ – April Update

science

It’s April and I’m closing in on a final shape for the show. It’s been almost a year since I started preliminary research and interviews for ‘Mad Scientists‘, an enormously self indulgent amount of time to work on a radio documentary series. And yet, I feel I’ve hardly scratched the surface of the Irish experimental music scene. Creativity is a process of continuous curation, in fiction and especially in documentary, where research and footage accretes into a melange of gooey information that threatens to overwhelm you. Several years ago I embarked on an ill fated project to document the experience of Irish refugees at the hands of immigration services. Ultimately I had to abandon the project. I was simply unprepared to deal with the responsibility of capturing the experiences of people who’d been so cruelly treated, made so invisible by our state, by our indifference.

Maybe that’s why I switched to writing comedy. While the stakes are the same – failing or succeeding on the public stage, the consequences are purely personal. I’ve grown up a lot in the years since the documentary film flatlined. I find one of the positive aspects of getting older is an increase in organisational capacity – the ability to plan, to anticipate how long a task will take, to reassess a project as it develops. I’m still a disorganised shambles, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but these days I get the things I start done.

With that in mind, here’s where I’m at with the doc. I’ve got four thirty minute episodes almost finished, with two further episodes about half done. I’ve also pulled together a bunch of bonus content – four additional web only episodes, that will flesh out the musicians featured in the show, and focus on topics (like musical influences, nerd culture and so on), that the series doesn’t have time to fit in.

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Episode 1 ‘Learning How to Listen‘, will take you on a tour of educational music projects. Starting at a circuit bending workshop in the Northside Shopping Centre, we stop by Roger Gregg’s eclectic home studio, before calling in on an instrument building workshop led by Ed Devane. We finish up with a visit to noise duo Deathness Injection’s incredible Culture Night mass collaboration, where hundreds of visitors to Exchange Dublin experienced the thrill of performing together.

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Episode 2, ‘Growing Up Digital‘ will examine the impact of videogames on contemporary electronic music through the childhood anecdotes of a variety of performers. We’ll introduce you to chiptune – music made with retro consoles and home brew software, and take a tutorial in gameboy synthesiser ‘Little Sound DJ‘ in the capable hands of chiptune diva Chipzel (Niamh Houston).

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Episode 3, ‘Taking Toys Apart‘, starts off in Germany, in the home ‘laboratory’ of author and musician Julian Gough (Toasted Heretic). Then we’ll hear about the impact of the geography of consumerism on toy hacking, from Gamepak Collective founder Andrew Edgar. Andrew, MarQu VR, and John Leech will explain the genesis of Dublin’s first chiptune collective. Finally, John demonstrates the dark art of cartridge ripping.

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Episode 4, ‘The Hacker In the Gallery‘, is still a work in progress. This episode will example the relationship between hackers, musicians and the world of fine art audio.

Episode 5, ‘The Instrument of the Law‘, tackles copyright, sampling, and illegal art, introducing two fantastic unauthorised albums from Kieran Dold (Karakara), and John Leech (Siam Collective); and featuring the legal wit and wisdom of Trinity College’s Dr Eoin O’Dell.

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Episode 6, ‘Postcards from the Edge‘, is still to be finalised. This episode will bring listeners some of the latest developments in electronic music, including a geocaching tour of Brighton and the South downs from Ewan Hennelly (HERV, ZPG), and an astonishing new software synthesiser under development from Dublin musician / programmer Bitwise Operator (Simon Kenny).

That’s it for the radio series. For web listeners, four additional interview based episodes will be released during and just after broadcast of the radio series. ‘Beginnings‘ covers the early musical influences and development of musicians like Meljoann, Oswald Green, Kieran Dold and Niamh De Barra. ‘Copyrights & Copywrongs‘ delves deeper into Creative Commons and the much needed reform of Irish copyright law, and touches on the patenting of music technology. ‘Irish Electronic Scenes‘, examines a variety of recent underground music scenes, through the eyes of Colm Olwill (DJ PCP), the Gamepak Collective, and Ewan Hennelly. Finally, ‘Nerds vs Chicks‘, collects two fascinating conversations, around the role of nerd culture and gender respectively, in electronic music. These bonus episodes are pretty rough at the moment, and will likely consist simply of voices, without music or on location recordings, but they include some of the best anecdotes and most fascinating characters of the series.

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I can’t wait to get the show out there, and introduce new listeners to the incredible artists featured. I’d like to thank everyone who participated in the show so far – Ewan Hennelly, Andrew Edgar, John Leech, MarQu VR, Niamh DeBarra, Niamh Houston, Meljoann, Colm Olwill, Simon Kenny, Kieran Dold, Seb & Emma of Deathness Injection, Roger Gregg, Ben Gaulon, Stephen Mcloughlin, Ed Devane an Eoin O’Dell.

Mad Scientists of Music will be out June 2014, on Near FM, and online at this site.

Technolotics #6 – Aids in Uganda, Hurricane Katrina

url-2

[audio https://garethstack.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/06_technolotics.mp3]

Listen: Episode 6
Feed: RSS

Notes

Filesharers buy more music

Guardian Reviews Study – which alleges filesharers buy more music [1]

– Fileshares spend 4.5 times more on (downloaded) music, according to music research firm ‘The leading question’

– Controversy exists as to whether music sales have really fallen, for 2 reasons. Sales are calculated by record companies as percentage of units shipped which then sold. Ship more units and sell less and sales magically drop. Sales of music were at an all time high in the late 90’s, as music fans began to fully adopt the cd format

– Head of EMI stated that cheaper tracks would sell more = ‘Bollocks’

– Felix Oberholzer, a Harvard Business School professor, and Carolina academic Koleman Strumpf, last year produced research which concluded that when it came to CD buying, downloading had a net effect of neither adding or subtracting to CD sales.

– Industry sources put illegal:legal downloads at 900m:180m per half year.

– This is important because record companies argue that the reason for falling profits is filesharing; and that they are suing not out of pigopoly but necessity.

Meanwhile the RIAA sues more filesharers, there’s a good discussion on Slashdot [2].

Also Hollywood admits commercial piracy is the real problem [3]

Poor left to face the fury of Hurricane Katrina

Here’s an article from before the Hurricane hit [4]. – Not only were poor ill equiped financially to escape, or even prepare; they lacked information about the potentially catastophic impact of such a major hurricane.

And here’s one about the poor sheltering in the cities sports arena [5]

Hugo Chavez, socialist president of Venezuela offers aid [6] – Aid from Venezuala and other nations including Canada, refused.

Is the disaster in New Orleans further evidence of the damaging effects of global warming? [7] – past 10 years have been most active hurricane years on record, possibly the result of changes in temperature and salination in the Atlantic due to global warming – link is still very controversial

New Orleans is now pretty much a war zone with troops given orders to shoot to kill.. But how to differentiate looters and survivors? [8] – Troops ‘Fresh back from Iraq, they have M16’s and they are locked and loaded’ Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco – Don’t confuse reports of violence and hijackings, with lootings. People are literally Starving in New Orleans, and only a tiny minority have resorted to violence

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency warned this would happen) [9] – Bush Administration cut flood prevention funding by 44% – In 2003 allowed development on wetlands which were necessary to control flooding – Forsing Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency to say they could only protect wetlands if related to interstate commerse

Democracy now has excellent coverage of the disaster. [10]

Comparison of Cubas hurricane preparation. [11]

Windows Vista is designed for Hollywood, not users

[12]

Windows Vista (formerly Longhorn), is set to enclude a raft of technologies to ‘protect’ read ‘control’, the media and programmes you watch, run and create on your pc.

GM promice self driving car by 2008

[13] Possible fluff piece. Another story on same topic [14]

– Opel Vectra will use lasers a video camera (and one would assume an onboard GPS to navigate roads) – Car will ‘see’ signs, bends, other vehicles and lane markings Highly dubious as all these road features can be obscured – Interesting comparison with Darpa’s Grand Challenge

Creationist Theme Park Opens in Palm Springs

[15]

Great quote..

Kids flock to the huge statues. “And it’s not like they’re crying, ‘Oh, mommy, take me out, I’m scared.’ They’re drawn to it,” Chiles said. “There’s something in their DNA that knows man walked with these creatures on Earth.”

A related story: The battle over evolution continues in US schools. [16]

US Abstinence Policies harming Ugandan Aids Battle

[17]

Not allegation from lefty group, but UN’s special envoy on fighting aids in Africa.

Background: Uganda has one of the most sucessful anti AID’s campaigns in Africa A.B.C (Abstinance, Be Faithful, Contraception) – although I’m not sure if that’s a translation. However an article in the Lancet has questioned these figures [18].

More criticism of Creative Commons

Reg writer lays it on thick [19]

– Article has an elitist atitude to creativity, refering to users of Creative Commons as ‘hobbyists’. Also asking whats wrong with existing liscencing system, where mashups which aren’t successful won’t be sued and those worth a damn will be liscenced.

– This is bollocks – The ‘Grey Album’, a possibly the most innovative hiphop album of all time, was taken off physical shelves and effectively banned online – do to the reluctance of the beatles record company to liscence their back catalogue – which is heavily sampled in the album.

– Small scale mashups are regularly sued, and always have been. Record companies have used any means necessary to limit and control remixes – for example the well known case of the underground Band ‘Negativeland’, who’s remix of U2’s ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’, entitled U2, was sued for trademark infringement [20]

– article ignores technologies such as DRM, which would, if retrospectively extant, have prevented the very development of Hip Hop music and mashup culture

– article ignores the cases of documentaries like the groundbraking ‘Eyes on the Prize’ civil rights documentary which can no longer be shown, due to its use of stock footage for which the copyright has now lapsed [21]

– Of couse Beethoven doesn’t ‘need to be remixed’ but, remixes and sampling, such as the groundbreaking ‘Art of Noise’ album, The Seduction of Claude Debussy [22]. Can create something wonderful and original through a redevelopment and reinterpretation of pre-existing work – arguably something which all creativity does anyway. Were there a ‘patent’ (not directly relevent but metaphorically so, especially with the advent of software patents) on classical music, we would never have had Mozart in the first place.

– The writer does not realise that with the advent of digitization, outside of museums, in future only CC style liscenced and public domain information will be the ONLY free to access and develop information.

Research Alleges up to half of Research is Wrong

[23]

– New Scientist reports on an analysis by John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, which states that only 50% of the conclusions of research is ultimately supported by future studies

– We bring this up, because it will be misinterpreted as meaning 50% of research isn’t worth doing. When in fact no research could be tested for replicability if it wasn’t done in the first place.

– The article also states the odds for research that uses overly small sample sizes is worse; which is obviously true, but should be taken care of by research departments granting permission for a study, along with statistical power etc. At undergrad level these issues are often ignored, but at graduate level one would hope they are addressed

– Very interestingly article is published by Public Library of Science [24], an open source science organisation which seeks to enable the creation of public libraries of science containing the full text and data of any published research article, available free of charge to anyone, anywhere in the world.

– Link to article [25]

Media Pimp

Real time HTML Editor [26]

The miniture Earth, poverty cartoon [27]

The Elegant Universe [28], free downloadable documentry.

Threadless T-Shirts [29]