OUR BLOG FEED: RDF | RSS .92 | RSS 2.0 | ATOM 0.3

Go To Current Downhill Battle Posts

Archive for June, 2005

Talk to NYTimes about Grokster

Monday, June 27th, 2005

The Supreme Court in the US ruled today that filesharing services can be sued for “clear expression or affirmative steps to foster infringement” of copyrights. This is a terrible decision as far as we’re concerned and will scare off lots innovation in this arena. On the positive side, here’s what Fred von Lohmann at the EFF had to say in anticipation of the decision: what the Grokster ruling will mean.

We’ll have more to say on this as details come in, but for now we wanted to let you all know that the New York Times is looking for some ‘p2p users’ who can comment about the decision. If that’s you, please email ### (UPDATE: they got enough emails by now, so I’ve taken the email address- thanks to everyone who got in touch) as soon as possible with some contact info and they’ll be in touch in the next couple hours. This is your chance to represent p2p users, so please think it through carefully. Here’s some great quotes from a few months ago.


Sunday, June 26th, 2005

CCMixter is a great Creative Commons music site that we have been very negligent about bringing to your attention. It’s a “community music sharing site” that hosts Creative Commons licensed stuff and lets people remix it, upload it, and track the changes from song to song (check out this song for example– it shows what it samples from and what samples from it). Very cool and very useful. Take a listen to the stream of editor’s picks and do some exploring.

FCC robs community resource: radio free brattleboro off the air

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005

The FCC and their mainstream radio cohorts feel extremely threatened by low power radio stations and have historically, shut down and hindered low power efforts at diversifying our radio airwaves. Low power radio is an affordable, efficient and extremely demonstrative way of reaching out to your community through radio. This latest action obviously does a good job at shutting down low power radio because the FCC is literally kicking and stomping their feet like in a tantrum to make sure the little guy doesn’t get any:

‘At 6:58 this morning, June 22, 2005, armed with a warrant issued by a Burlington magistrate, United States Marshals entered the studios of radio free brattleboro and seized its broadcasting equipment. The seizure of equipment and shutdown of radio free brattleboros local broadcasts under authority of a warrant issued in Burlington comes while an action is still pending before Judge J. Garvan Murtha in the federal court in Brattleboro.’
— from Prometheus Radio‘s Hannah Sassaman and other low power activists.

We’re about 2 and half hours away from Brattleboro — and any blockage of people taking away low power radio equipment may be in order. We’re talking about low power FM — which is a community-based model for doing radio with the power to reach out to people within a 3.5 mile radius of the station. Churches, indie music enthusiasts, expert ‘fringe’ genre music goers, public news services, educational institutions and groups, rural areas, and American Indian Reservations use low power as a vehicle to get out their locally-generated content. When people can hear you, more locally-generated content will get made — this is why low power is so important. Low power radio == public interest as peer2peer == public interest as open source == public interest. Go to Prometheus’ webpage to find a low power station near you and help fight for more to come (if you listen to NPR, when you give them your money, let them know you think they should support LPFM, see what they can do to help). There is also a (pretty darn rare) barnraising this August to help build a new low power station in Florence, Massachusetts. You can sign up to help out here.

New Job Openings at PCF

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

Over at PCF we just announced 3 new jobs for programmers. We need some additional help as we develop the video player and roll out our web services. We could use help spreading the word about these positions to people you know who might be interested or two developer communities that have messageboards, blogs, etc.

Broadcast Flag Might Pass Today

Monday, June 20th, 2005

The Broadcast Flag, which would let Hollywood control what you can do with the TV you watch could pass suddenly tomorrow.

Do you live in Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Washington, or Wisconsin? If so, it’s really, really important that you contact congress right now. Please take just a second to fax or call– I know that sometimes it can seem like a hassle, but if you just take 90 seconds to do it, you’ll be done before you know it and you’ll be feeling slightly less cynical about democracy. OK? Click here for the contact info.

Kelefa Sanneh comes through

Wednesday, June 15th, 2005

The Times gets it right, eventually. Thank you Kelefa Sanneh.

Mixtape Crackdown Sends a Mixed Message

Though maybe saying “sends a mixed message” instead of “reveals hypocrisy” is, well, sending a mixed message.

BTW, we saw MIA play in Northampton on Friday and I got an interview (chuffed I was indeed). That’ll be up soon.

Major labels / NYPD raid iconic NYC record store

Friday, June 10th, 2005

MTV News and the New York Times are reporting that the beloved music store and video rental spot Mondo Kim’s got raided yesterday in a joint NYPD / major label operation.

The MTV piece says the store got raided because they were selling mix-CDs. How long are the major labels going to get away with raiding mixtape sellers, when even MTV News writes about mixtapes being a lynchpin of those labels’ marketing effort for hip hop?

The Times article doesn’t even mention that the raid was over mix-CDs. If you know a little about the relationship between the mixtape scene and major label hip hop, write the Times a letter and call them out for telling half the story.

BTW, the first Google result for “nytimes letter” is Wendy Carlos’s homepage which like all things Wendy Carlos is pretty unbelievable.

DJ-less Radio

Monday, June 6th, 2005

As regular commercial radio nosedives (facing inevitable decline in the face of iPods, satellites, and web radio) they’ll be cutting corners everywhere (which can actually hasten the crash as what’s left of a local draw disappears). Looks like DJs are now biting the dust. No one really feels to bad about this, I expect, giving the current state of radio DJing. These new stations are big, semi-random dumps of several thousand songs playing at random, which, culturally, is probably a small improvement over current playlists. These computer stations remind me of a station in Worcester that repeated a five song set over and over for weeks while it transitioned from one station to another. It was actually pretty awesome. I bet Holmes or Jake remember the playlist… dudes?

As always, our hope is that commercial radio will become so devalued that stations will start to start to drop off the map completely, opening up space for low-power local stations. What sucks is that running a computer on shuffle costs nothing, so god knows when these stations will actually go out of business. But maybe they’ll get cheap enough that community groups can buy them out…

Store Placement Payola

Monday, June 6th, 2005

Oh, the many forms of payola, by which big corporations can sideline independent creators. Here’s a post on Stay Free! about payola for prominent placement on store racks.