March 26, 2006

Bob Ostertag Launches New Site

Long-time sample-based composer Bob Ostertag, who was the first artist ever to be hosted by, has launched his very own website at The beautifully laid-out pages provide easy access to information, news, photos, and most importantly, Bob's music, which he has just announced will all be now available free under the Creative Commons 'Atrribution Non-Commercial' license. Bob writes about his reasons as to why this is a good idea for artists such as himself, including:

I have made money selling these recordings in the past. It may be my income suffers from giving away these recordings for free. Conversely, it may turn out that my former royalty income will be replaced and perhaps even surpassed by increased income from concert fees due to wider circulation of my music. Who knows? What is known is the cost the corporate "intellectual property rights" battering ram is imposing on culture.

Saying goodbye to record royalties is in any event no great sacrifice for a musician such as myself, whose music has always been too adventurous to be valued by the mass market anyway. Strangely, many musicians I know whose work lies outside the mainstream remain much more invested in the idea of selling their recordings than their actual experience in the market would seem to justify.

Congratulations to Bob on his new site - is proud to have hosted his first one from 1997 to 2006.

Posted by steev at 12:22 AM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2006

Scrambled? Hackz! Roxx!!

Sven Konig, a european uber-geek/artist, brings us his amazing electronic audio/video instrument Scrambled Hacks. It's basically some very advanced software that analyzes music videos and stores chunks of the material in a database, categorized in various ways. Then he sings, raps, and beatboxes into a mic and the software analyzes every utterance and matches it up with the best sample fragment, and plays it back.

Because of my interests in artistic strategies and social practises of appropriation collage, montage, sampling and remix in general and plunderphonics, bastardpop and mashups in particular the idea of a hypothetical mind music machine has evolved which, as a metaphor, helped the concept and the design of sCrAmBlEd?HaCkZ! to take shape.
In short, the results are fucking fantastic. Be sure to check out his video in which he explains how the program works in a very entertaining, cool/dorky way.

Posted by steev at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2006

The Passion of Superman

A nice little video that is a great example of detournement in its classic sense. A simple pairing of 2 disparate sources to create a potent resonance. Jesus and Superman.

Posted by steev at 09:20 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2006

Copyright Comic

Three law profs from the Center for the Public Domain release a new comic book about copyright, fair use, and implications for documentary filmmakers. If you've been following this stuff none of what it covers will be new information to you, but it's an entertaining format. The illustrations are a great mix of collaged elements and drawings.

It's really nice work, but the curious thing about the comic is that it contains a wealth of visual allusions and in-jokes that are not explained (like the sudden appearance of the Linux penguin), so that only those already "in the know" about these issues will "get" them. And yet the humor style is mostly pretty corny and "un-hip", as if the authors were aiming for a soccer-mom, Joe 6-Pack, kind of audience, despite the fact that the message is obviously directed toward filmmakers and other artists. The content pretty much follows the report by the Center for Social Media issued last year about copyright culture implications for documentary filmmakers.

Posted by steev at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2006

Parody of Famous Chinese Film Is a Big Hit

The Christian Science Monitor reports on an underground spoof of a big-budget Chinese film, The Promise, by a famous director. The film flopped and many Chinese were very disappointed in it. The parody, A Murder Caused By A Mantou, is a collage of material from the film along with other sources like rap music and a Chinese legal news tv program, and became hugely popular on the internet.

Using satiric elements similar to Monty Python and the Simpsons, the spoof has flooded cyberspace in unanticipated and unstoppable waves. And in a culture where there is scant public lampooning, the video has brought intense debates, smiles - and serious threats of legal action.

download the video from

(thanx josé)

Posted by steev at 06:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2006

Problems With Creative Commons

Alex Bosworth writes about how Creative Commons is broken. He makes many good points.

My second question was towards the provision in many Creative Commons licenses that indicates content may not be used for 'Commercial Use'. I asked, what is Commercial Use? Does reposting to a blog that has ads violate the copyright license? Larry Lessig's answer was basically, "I don't know". The reason why is that these things are vague and untested. There are no definitive answers to this question of what is a commercial use.

Posted by steev at 03:06 PM | Comments (1)