So I got an anonymous message the other day from the contact form on my website:
"www.myspace.com/simonparks seems to be using one of your images in order to promote himself/ his band."
When I looked up the IP address of the person that sent the message, it was a computer (dhcp80ffad72.residence-rooms.uiowa.edu.) in a dorm on the University of Iowa campus in Iowa City. Which is notable for only 2 reasons: I'm from Iowa, and Simon Parks, the supposed infringer, is an aspiring rock star based in Iowa CIty. Which would seem to mean that someone who knows him wants him to get in trouble for copyright infringement, and somehow found the image that Simon is re-using, and yet isn't aware of my pro stance about the recycling of culture.
The funnny thing too is that *I* couldn't even find the image at first, which I recognized as a collaborative collage that I made with friends at a collage party I threw years ago in Portland. In fact now that I've located it online, thanx to Google, in some little-visted directory on my site, I am reminded that this particular collage is probably mostly the work of my friend Seth Ladygo. So the image itself and its presence on my site is the product of many infringements of others' "intellectual property" anyway.
Really a beautiful and wonderful example of the complicated intertext that is modern creativity. And really a funny, ironic thing if this anonymous undergrad in Iowa hopes to get this other person in trouble over it.
Relax, dude. Are you jealous cuz this Simon guy makes pretty good music? Or maybe he stole your girlfriend? How about you sample his songs and make something better out of it, mash them up with some Peaches or something, and then sleep with his girlfriend. No, the one he's gonna have after he dumps yours, when he plays his next gig at Gabe's. or wherever kids in Iowa City are watching shows these days. But anyway like I was saying, relax. have fun. it's how culture works.
The record industry is going to have to accept the fact that the words "copyright infringement" don't mean much to today's aspiring artists. Musicians have always had influences, now we just hear them in a more direct fashion. They want to take what's old and fashion it into something new. Reinterpret, re-imagine, reconstruct. Those are the key terms for a new and different type of artist, one that latches onto pop culture like never before and thinks about it in ways never conceived. The future is democracy. The future is access. The future is the ability to use whatever we want, however we want. The music industry has just seen the beginning with "Rock Band." The next steps will be brought about by people like Girl Talk [labelmate of mine on Illegal Art] who reinterpret what they have seen and heard into something new. But then again, isn't that an old-fashioned definition of art?From Steve McDonagh's blog via Philo's blog.
Well, duh. That's what i've been saying for over 10 years.
Well, Merry Christmas.
Yeah, I'm up early, blogging. can't sleep. can't wait to open presents! hah. yeah. right. no actually i'm always up this early. Actually i gave up trying to sleep a couple hours ago and have been working on a rehaul of an old website, making it all CMS-driven with podcast feeds and shit. it's going to be cool. a small rebirth. it's funny how taking a few days off from web work-work and being cooped up inside thinking about travelling and making more field recordings of exotic cultures can get you inspired to rehaul a website about field recordings. more news on that later.
Anyway, your moment of xmas zen:
from Something Aweful (via the Daily Dos)
Yes, a whole bunch of xmas-hacked (at least somewhat-) famous album covers. Like with most recycled culture, your mileage may vary depending on how recognizable each one is to you. Most of the gangsta rap ones I was like, huh? Jus' not my thang....
In other news, this is probably the most melancholy, sad xmas for me in my whole life, or that I can remember anyway, but hey, 's'all good, the person that triggered that mood almost 2 months ago sent me an email this week (actually the day after she and her new boytoy set me back about a month in my healing process), recommending a book about dealing with male depression, called "I Don't Want to Talk About It." Which is a totally stupid (though my therapist concurs that it's a good book, actually) and innapropriate title, for me, because I do want to fucking talk about it and I have been. Ask any friends of mine, especially in tucson, and they'll tell you i've been talking their ears off. I want to talk about it so bad I'm getting close to torturing you all with even more details right here and embarrassing someone just to be mean. But I'm holding back. so far.
No, actually, things are getting much better. I'm just being dramatic for the sake of the holiday. I fucking hate xmas. I hate that the xians stole the winter solstice from pagans, and I hate that the capitalists stole xmas from the xians, and i hate that they all stole my birthday from me, and I hate that it's in the darkest dreariest time of year in the northern hemisphere.
But, no really, stuff is progressing, I'm making it better. I'm taking steps, I'm inching towards truth and happiness and wholeness again and I'm going to pull myself up out of my bardo and metaphorically reincarnate as a slightly smarter, wiser, shinier, sexier, hopefully higher on the karmic ladder but lower on the purity test scale being, hopefully not a carp or a dung beetle - maybe a platypus or wombat or yoga instructor or organic farmer or manatee or professional filmmaker or novelist or blue whale?. I dunno. but it will be just in time for the new year, isn't that convenient? well, have a great day, que te vaya bien, vaya sin dios, blah blah blah.
I'm tommorrow heading to what foreigners call Mexico City and what Mexicans call simply Mexico, or D.F., Distrito Federal. I'm all set to meet several Indymedia Mexico people there, and I've also been asked to speak at a gallery there called H4tch about Detritus.net and related things, at 7pm on Wednesday the 8th. That will be fun. Apparently on the next evening there will be the first in a long time meeting of a bunch of Mexico City Indymedia folks, which I can hopefully attend.
I finally met Jacob from San Diego IMC when he showed up here in San Cristobal again yesterday. Last night we hung out with Luz and Timo from Chiapas Indymedia and had lots of good chats about indymedia and various projects, here, in Guatemala, in Tijuana, and elsewhere...
It was funny that at one point I got frustrated with my ineptitude at speaking espaņol (I'm now way better at reading, writing, or listening than I am at speaking it) and Luz suddenly said 'we can speak english.' I knew they could, but I wanted to practice. And yet, eventually we slipped into full-english mode, because we could convey so much more information together. It really shouldn't surprise me but the unspoken decisions to transition between common shared languages always fascinates me.
Now Jacob and I are both sitting in the Chiapas Indymedia office getting our internet fix for the day.
I'm sitting at the Java House in Iowa City killing a little time before the beginning of the Collage Conference, In about 45 minutes. It's been a busy day, and the next 2 will be busy also. I was out late drinking with the Tape-beatles after their show in Cedar Rapids. Then had to get up early to drive to Davenport to get a prescription for malaria pills. Next I got here a little early to have lunch with a friend. Now I'm online and I just saw like 3 things that I would probably blog about if I had a more normal amount of time. Which I have not in a long while. Even if I was back at the homestead I would be working away on the documentary. As it is I feel frustrated to have to take a 3-day break from that in order to be at this conference. I'm reluctantly going to focus on art and neglect videoactivism for a weekend, basically. Although I am excited about some of the more politically-oriented panels in the conference, like the one about collage and neo-colonialism. It should be fun and fascinating, and maybe a little break to think will be good for the documentary project.
Perhaps of general interest is an entry to the other blog I write for over at Detritus.net, in which I detail what I was doing last Friday and some related events concerning intellectual property issues.
A new film made in Austria about Toywar, Rtmark, The Yes Men, and other internet-based conflicts is finally done. I remember being contacted by the filmmaker at least 2 years ago, but had sort of forgotten about it tilll he emailed me tonite. I was involved to some extent in several of the projects documented in the film (I used to host Rtmark's website, and basically taught them Perl (no really!), I helped write software with members of The Yes Men, and was part of the community helping out Etoy during the Toywar, as well as a contributor to the Toywar CD). I even have some music on the soundtrack CD of the film.
I can't wait to see the film. It looks like it could be very cool.
This report from the Center for Social Media studies the effects that intellectual property clearance requirements have on documentary filmmaking. A very comprehensive project, it looks like. This was posted to the Detritus blog, which I administer, by contributor Peter Lopez, but I feel like it's important enough to those who only read this blog to post it here too, as it's very relevant to indymedia video producers.
I've never worried that much about clearances in my films, but I suppose that as I continue to get more exposure for my work I should start thinking about it more. Of course if you know my work you know I have a radical stance on intellectual property. I'm a little concerned though, that a requisite for getting documentary work widely distributed is to be sure all the IP 'i's and 't's are dotted and crossed. But it's very unnatural to me.
Not only the IP stuff, but I also wonder about the use of footage of people only after getting a waiver or whatever it's called. I remember when I was in Juarez there was another videographer there who is from a more professional background, and she passed around these forms to all the people on the delegation. It seems ludicrous when you're doing journalistic work, because you can't reasonably expect to get a form filled out for everyone, especially when filming public events like protests and stuff. So I wonder what the actual real legal rules are? Perhaps it's as fuzzy as IP law - you basically, supposedly, want to try to cover your ass as much as you can, but you'll never completely do that, because you can be sued for anything, and even if the suit has no merit you still have to prove that and pay money to lawyers.
Portland Indymedia gets mentioned on this page about SNIU, "Substantial Non-Infringing Uses" of Peer-to-Peer technology:
Portland Indymedia, using BitTorrent, Azureus, Shareaza, and others, distributes video. (Thanks to Alan Cox).
Anyway, hurray. Not that I had anything to do with it, other than provide a few of the videos. The cheers really go out to Jesse, the tech guy here who made it happen.
Wow, I just discovered this great site,
WhiteHouseTapes.org . An online archive of speeches and other recorded conversations of 6 presidents, from Roosevelt up through Nixon. Wow. What a great resource for samplehounds and researchers.
I'll join the numerous other blogs linking to this photomosaic of John Ashcroft, made from tiny photos of porn stars, courtesy of Hublog.
This is a fairly easy thing to do with software, now, but it's great to see the technique put to such great satiric purpose. A while back there was a really disgusting one of Bush made from pictures of assholes. That was conceptually great but hard to look at.
Now imagine if all the porn stars filed a class-action copyright infringement suit against the makers of the collage, and Ashcroft and the Justice Department had to prosecute it, and it got all the way to the Supreme Court.... (ah, to dream...)
Anyway, I wish there was a larger amount of clever appropriation for progressive, political ends. I'm sure it will be a growing area as we move closer to the election.