Saturday, June 26, 2004

Two great tastes that taste great together: Office Space Wars

One of the funniest mashups I've seen: key scenes from the movie "Office Space" (a movie that I mistakenly refused to see when it was at the theaters because I thought it looked inane, but have grown to love since then-- it's quite funny and has a pretty penetrating critique of corporate culture) reshot as in the Star Wars universe, trailer-style.

Perhaps there are more important things I should be blogging about right now (e.g., the scary INDUCE Act , the Senate passing the PIRATE act, or, on a cheerier note, the recent court ruling striking down some of the FCC's attempts to raise broadcast ownership limits). But then again-- it's things like the ability to creatively manipulate and rework our common cultural materials-- resulting in gems like this mashup-- that are precisely what is at stake in the current trends of increasing control over media culture (via ownership, via overreaching of copyright law, via the fusing of DRM and law, etc.) in which the above legal issues are implicated..
Office Space Wars (WMV) Link

Monday, June 14, 2004

WIPO broadcast treaty

A few good links:
Cory Doctorow, Wendy Selzer, and David Tannenbaum did some important blogging of the recent World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) meeting at which the proposed broadcast treaty was being debated.
Over the past three days, the Standing Committee has been meeting to consider a treaty to protect broadcasters' rights. Thanks to Jamie Love, of the Consumer Project on Technology, an unprecedented number of public-interest oriented non-governmental organizations -- including CPTech, EFF, UPD, IP Justice, Public Knowledge, and EDRi -- attended and intervened at the meeting to raise concerns about preserving the public's rights in the face of expanded "broadcast protection."

The following is an impressionistic transcript by Cory Doctorow (, Wendy Seltzer ( and David Tannenbaum (

Blogging the WIPO meeting (There are three days worth of meetings blogged in total).

I've just had time to skim it so far, but am already grateful to them for making available this account of what is too often completely shut off from public scrutiny. I'm looking forward to seeing some kind of a wrap up from them as well.

Also, John Naughton has an article out in yesterday's Observer highlighting the treaty-- and what makes it so alarming.

If enacted, this treaty would require countries to change their laws to grant broadcasters astonishing freedoms. These include: 'the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit the fixation [copying/recording] of their broadcasts'; 'the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit the direct or indirect reproduction, in any manner or form, of fixations of their broadcasts'; 'the exclusive right to authorise or prohibit the retransmission, by wire or wireless means, whether simultaneous or based on fixations, of their broadcasts'; and other rights, including control of exhibition and distribution of recordings of broadcasts.

In addition, signatories would be required 'to provide adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies against the circumvention of effective technological measures' that are used by broadcasting organisations to secure their new rights. Most scandalous of all, the draft proposes that these new rights should apply for 50 years.

This treaty would undermine many of the public's rights under the copyright laws of most countries. It would, for example, eliminate my right to record off-air without the permission of a broad caster, or to copy a recording from one medium to another (eg from tape to DVD).

Link: A law unto themselves (via James Love's Random-bits)