From the Tao Teh Ching, translated by John C. H. Wu:

”…the Sage manages his affairs without ado, And spreads his teaching without talking, He denies nothing to the teeming things. He rears them, but lays no claim to them. He does his work, but sets no store by it. He accomplishes his task, but does not dwell upon it.

And yet it is just because he does not dwell on it That nobody can ever take it away from him.”

11/10/04 09:15 GMT - 09:00 (Pacific Time)

Long absence… again, Book news and the Blog…

Due to a long illness I’ve had to suspend work on the book. It’s been inevitable for some time, as you may have noticed by the rather sporadic entries on this blog. Its permanently on hold for the moment, but I’m interested in a co-author if anyone wants to decipher my erratic notes.

I also want to get some decent blog software together - something that allows comments also. I am no programmer. Suggestions open. But I’m gonna keep blogging. Ranting about whassup in the world of copyleftmedia. Or rather, the changes in Copyleft and its associated forms. This site will still function as a forum for drawing together the various forms of copyleft used by musicians - or FOSS, Creative Commons, Open Source or whatever you’d like to call it.

So why am I now using so many terms instead of just Copyleft?

I’d like to come up with an all-encompassing term for this kind of ‘stuff’… but for a long time i’ve been growing towards the idea that ‘Stuff’ for want of a better word needs to come together. That nothing will happen if we keep dividing ourselves so regimentally into Free Software, or Open Source, or Creative Commons as if they are religions. Religions, of course, always incite division between others who essentially believe in the same cause. As Madonna herself put it: ‘WTF?’.

The essence of the matter is - if we want to be free, we have to allow freedom of choice. You can’t brow-beat someone into Free Software - in doing so, you take away their Freedom. Thats not what I call Free as in Freedom not Beer.

I’ve broken away from the ‘Free Software Only’ camp, the ‘Never May Open Source Tread Here’ groupies. Likewise with Open Source. I’ve been more drawn to Creative Commons as a solution, because it offers a spectrum from full Copyright as it is conventionally used, to Free Software, non-commercial copying only, and finally the Public Domain. But all of these camps have their own parking spaces. Creative Commons is the closest that I can get to uniting this movement of ‘Stuff’, of alternative copyright, while allowing freedom of choice.

But here I go, about to piss off absolutely everyone in the whole, utterly divided camping ground.

Creative Commons has just launched an initiative in working with the BBC to open media archives for creative use, free from copyright charges. Great idea, wouldn’t you say? And there are some great and well known people working for it - Cory Doctorow heading up the clan. But sadly, it has fallen into the same trap as all the rest - it functions as a clan. I’ve lurked, after popping my head up on the invitation-only mailing list and annoying all and sundry, and followed the focus of the group, which seems to be to ‘schmooze’ the intelligentsia and those high up in the BBC. The focus is, of course, Oxbridge.

And what is Oxbridge may you ask? These days, Oxford and Cambridge universities, and the towns themselves, are no longer a seat for thought - they are places where Mummy and Daddy pay expensive fees - fees that no ordinary but excelling student could afford - to have their sons and daughters launched into the elite of society. An ill-educated elite, mind, who spend most of their time larking around instead of studying, pay the fees, wait another year and pay for a Masters degree which is little more than a piece of paper.

This is common knowledge in the UK - but no one will speak about it - I’m writing this now from the US… enough said. It won’t affect my standing in the ‘elite’ of London or Oxbridge society, where one has to fight one’s way up the ladder, treading on all below you, to succeed. Did anyone say Capitalism?

The elite spout quotations from books as if it were ‘knowledge’ or some kind of new and radical philosophy when all it is, is in fact, expensive vomit. And it tastes just as sickly in the mouth.

If Creative Commons and the like are to really reach their goal of opening copyrighted media to the masses, thats where their focus should lie - the masses, the ‘ordinary commoners’ to whom a creative ‘Commons’ should be accessible. I’m lucky, I did my masters degree at King’s College, London. It gets me through quite a few doors. I reject my education now, it did nothing to expand my thinking - as one’s education should - but taught me facts to regurgitate (vomit, again?) at speed during a three hour exam. To what practical use is that, in forging ground-breaking philosophy?

Look to us ‘commoners’. Because we’re the ones who are going to be using your Open / Friendly / Not so Friendly / Creative / Free / Common sources. And we’re going to eschew your elitist schmoozing. Nothing will succeed unless everyone is involved - we will again be stuck in the rut of FOSS/CC cliques.

I’ll keep supporting the Cause. But I’ll remove the expensive leather blinkers from my horse’s eyes, thank you very much.

22/06/04 15:15 GMT +01:00

Lexmark seizes control of market through TPMs

Printer manufacturer Lexmark has successfully used the DMCA to sue a rival manufacturer, Static Control Components, who were developing a ‘Smartek’ chip to allow the remanufacture of generic catridges. The chip gives consumers the option to recycle their own cartridges rather than purchasing Lexmark’s own brand-name printer ink at excessive prices.

Lexmark gained control of the market by implementing a TPM (technological protection measure - read Digital Rights Management) chip inside the cartridge, which under the DMCA may not be reverse engineered. Analysis suggests that such a case might not be upheld in Europe, as under the Waste Directive, recycling is to be encouraged. However, Lexmark do offer their own recycling service, at great expense, requiring shipping to the United States (a further waste of fuel and potential damage to the environment).

Lexmark’s anticompetetive exploit of the DMCA was covered by Declan McCullagh of, and Business Week.

30/10/02 13:00 GMT

London buskers protest against dismissal of colleagues

London’s Covent Garden buskers are to stage a protest tomorrow against the withdrawal of busking licenses from an ensemble of five highly talented, trained and professional opera singers. Initially the ensemble were told this was because they were “too loud”, a comment which was later retracted by the management, although the ensemble are still left without a satisfactory explaination for the removal of their livelihoods, however fellow musicians told me that they suspect that the management may well have been ‘ influenced unduly by one or two greedy shop owners who would like to see the money which the singers earn going into their cash registers’, the irony of this being that it is in fact the buskers who attract wealthy tourists to the area, enticing them to spend. The remaining Covent Garden buskers, all of whom must be auditioned and licensed to perform in this highly popular tourist area, have taken strike action, and will be protesting from 10am on Saturday, 17 August, forming a human chain and holding a ribbon printed with musical notes. If you are in the area, please come along and show your support.

28/06/02 02:00 GMT +01:00