Archive for the ‘politics’ Category
US focus but well worth a read:
This is a debate we should also be having in the UK… if only Mandelson wasn’t such a lackey to the film and music industries (but that’s another story… http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/aug/25/mandelson-web-cutoff-plan-attacked and more recently: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/02/06/1316234/UKs-Anti-File-Sharing-Bill-Could-Breach-Human-Rights)
An interesting article on the desperate need for new business models in the music industry:
Been collecting various Adam Curtis documentaries for my brother’s birthday present… why is it so many otherwise well read, intelligent people haven’t come across his extraordinary documentaries?
So for anyone else out there who’s missed out on “the sense of someone drawing together a set of threads that you could instinctively feel but not place together in a pattern, and that really is Curtis’s genius.”, read on:
Interview at the time of The Trap:
Audio of recordings:
Interview at the time of Power of Nightmares:
http://www.villagevoice.com/film/0516, curtis, 63147, 20.html
and of course, the documentaries themselves:
Century of the Self
Power of Nightmares (MPEG2)
Power of Nightmares DVD format
Supposedly the most read news site on the internet…
probably one to watch during the US elections.
“Overall, 95% of the 1, 158 people surveyed had engaged in some form of copying, including taking the music contents of a friend’s hard drive – 58% – and the more old-fashioned method of recording from the radio.”
“Currently the security services can demand the Oyster records of specific individuals under investigation to establish where they have been, but cannot trawl the whole database. But supporters of calls for more sharing of data argue that apparently trivial snippets ‘like the journeys an individual makes around the capital’ could become important pieces of the jigsaw when fitted into a pattern of other publicly held information on an individual’s movements, habits, education and other personal details. That could lead, they argue, to the unmasking of otherwise undetected suspects.”
“British police want to collect DNA samples from children as young as five who ‘exhibit behavior indicating they may become criminals in later life’. A spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers argued that since some schools already take pupils’ fingerprints, the collection and permanent storage of DNA samples was the logical next step. And of course, if anyone argues that branding naughty five-year-olds as lifelong criminals will stigmatize them, the proposed solution will be to take samples from all children.”
Time to join Liberty? You have been warned…
I’ve been a signed up member of the anti-facebook crowd for a while now but this article from the Guardian crystalises many of my concerns…
In the world of hip-hop few music executives have more influence than DJ Drama. His â€œGangsta Grillzâ€ compilations have helped define this decadeâ€™s Southern rap explosion. He has been instrumental in the careers of rappers like Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne. He appears on the cover of the March issue of the hip-hop magazine XXL, alongside his friend and business partner T.I., the top-selling rapper of 2006. And later this year DJ Drama is scheduled to make his Atlantic Records debut with â€œGangsta Grillz: The Album.â€
Now DJ Drama is yet another symbol of the music industryâ€™s turmoil and confusion.
On Tuesday night he was arrested with Don Cannon, a protÃ©gÃ©. The police, working with the Recording Industry Association of America, raided his office, at 147 Walker Street in Atlanta. The association makes no distinction between counterfeit CDs and unlicensed compilations like those that DJ Drama is known for. So the police confiscated 81, 000 discs, four vehicles, recording gear, and â€œother assets that are proceeds of a pattern of illegal activity, â€ said Chief Jeffrey C. Baker, from the Morrow, Ga., police department, which participated in the raid.
DJ Drama (whose real name is Tyree Simmons) and Mr. Cannon were each charged with a felony violation of Georgiaâ€™s Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization law(known as RICO) and held on $100, 000 bond.
The compilations produced by DJ Drama and his protÃ©gÃ©s are known as mixtapes, though they appear on CDs, not cassettes. Mixtapes have become a vital part of the hip-hop world. They are often the only way for listeners to keep up with a genre that moves too quickly to be captured on albums. On a mixtape you can hear unreleased remixes, sneak previews from coming CDs, casual freestyle rhymes, never-to-be-released goofs.
Mixtapes are, by definition, unregulated: DJs donâ€™t get permission from record companies, and record companies have traditionally ignored and sometimes bankrolled mixtapes, reasoning that they serve as valuable promotional tools. And rappers have grown increasingly canny at using mixtapes to promote themselves. The career of 50 Cent has a lot to do with his mastery of the mixtape form, and now no serious rapper can afford to be absent from this market for too long.
As mixtapes evolved from a street-corner phenomenon to a cornerstone of the hip-hop industry, record companies tried to figure out ways to cash in. Mixtape D.J.â€™s like DJ Clue, DJ Kay Slay and others have released major-label compilations full of tracks that abide by copyright rules. But itâ€™s not easy to turn a mixtape into something you can legally sell: part of the fun is hearing rappers remake one anotherâ€™s songs and respond to one anotherâ€™s taunts; a great mixtape captures the controlled chaos that hip-hop thrives on.
DJ Dramaâ€™s mixtapes are often great. He has turned â€œGangsta Grillzâ€ into a prestige brand: each is a carefully compiled disc, full of exclusive tracks, devoted to a single rapper who is also the host. Rappers often seem proud to be considered good enough for a â€œGangsta Grillzâ€ mixtape. On â€œDedication, â€ the first of his two excellent â€œGangsta Grillzâ€ mixtapes, Lil Wayne announces, â€œI hooked up with dude, now we â€™bout to make history.â€ The compilation showed off Lil Wayne more effectively than his albums ever had, and â€œDedicationâ€ helped revive his career. When some unreleased tracks by T.I. leaked to the Internet, T.I. teamed up with DJ Drama for a pre-emptive strike: together, they created a mixtape called â€œThe Leak.â€
As mixtapes have grown more popular, they have also grown easier to purchase, despite that official-sounding declaration â€” â€œFor Promotional Use Onlyâ€ â€” printed on every one. Sites like mixunit.com specialize in selling them, and big record shops and online stores have followed suit. As of yesterday DJ Drama was sitting in jail, but dozens of his unlicensed compilations were still available at the iTunes shop.
Brad A. Buckles, executive vice president for anti-piracy at the Recording Industry Association of America, said, â€œA sound recording is either copyrighted or itâ€™s not.â€ And he said the DJ Drama case, like most piracy cases, began with illegal product, which was then traced back to the distributor. Chief Baker said that before the raid, DJ Drama and Mr. Cannon were sent cease-and-desist letters from a local lawyer.
There have been mixtape busts before: in 2005, five employees of Mondo Kimâ€™s, in the East Village in New York, were jailed after the store was found to be selling unlicensed mixtapes. But the arrest of a figure as prominent as DJ Drama is unprecedented. Record companies usually portray the fight against piracy as a fight for artistsâ€™ rights, but this case complicates that argument: most of DJ Dramaâ€™s mixtapes begin with enthusiastic endorsements from the artists themselves.
It also seems clear that mixtapes can actually bolster an artistâ€™s sales. The most recent Lil Wayne solo album, â€œTha Carter IIâ€ (Cash Money/Universal), sold more than a million copies, though none of its singles climbed any higher than No. 32 on Billboardâ€™s Hot 100 chart. Thatâ€™s an impressive feat, and itâ€™s hard to imagine how he would have done it without help from a friendly pirate.
Just when Al Gore was starting to get the message thtough that we need to build more trees… now we’re told we need t build more concrete towerblocks…
from Slashdot: “With concerns over global warming and pollution control reaching an all-time high, an Italian company has developed an interesting solution. It is called TX Active: a concrete that literally breaks down pollutants in the air. The effects are significant: ‘In large cities with persistent pollution problems caused by car emissions, smoke from heating systems, and industrial activities, both the company and outside experts estimate that covering 15% of all visible urban surfaces (painting the walls, repaving the roads) with products containing TX Active could abate pollution by up to 50%.’ Even more significant is that the cost is only 30% over that of normal concrete. Remarkable.”