Copyright and left

13.24.25 - Mark

I create content. I write content, I shoot video, I take photos, I program. I'm not the only one who does this, in some way in some shape, everyone creates something copyrightable. But from there, there's an interesting dichotomy to the content that we create. Society loves the partial Steward Brand quote "Information wants to be free" but sometimes we forget the whole quote:

On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other

Yes our information wants to be free, quotes true or false are passed around the internet, videos and music is passed from friend to friend, be it the high tech P2P networks to the sneaker net use of analog cassette taps and xerox copies. But that information is valuable. Hense organizations like RIAA and MPAA passing out lawsuits like Halloween candy and pushes for insane legislation.

As a content creator I'm aware of both sides. I have work I pass out for free, while it is valuable to me, it's a marginal amount, citations are nice, but sometimes a "Hey can I use this" is enough of a nod. Some content I don't even obfuscate or try to lock down. However, I also create work so valuable that dollars are involved. I've sold photos to be printed on tshirts, licences for use in promotional materials, and some sold as art.

Living in these two worlds - free and valuable, I'm aware of potential copyright violations. I've seen my photos used in newspapers credited to someone else, and I've run into situations where my work was used without permission in borderline commercial purposes. Last night however I ran across a youtube video on reusing wooden pallets. As I watched it I knew plenty of photos were being used without citations, without any credit to the projects being documented or the people behind the work. Some were common, some new to me, but right at 2 minutes, I saw one of my own photos from my Pallet wood coffee table.

Now that image both on my blog, and on my flickr account is under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license so I'm fine with it being used. The video is not commercial, but I'm not sure what I feel about the attribution. My ego isn't really craving the credit. It would like it of course, but it's not critical. Intellectually however, I think it is required. With dozens of photos collected from all over the interwebs, there are countless numbers of projects that people may want to explore further (and in the case of this video, we're talking over 600,000 people), and without credits that's a difficult task.

I honestly haven't decided how I'm going to approach the issue but it's an odd case I haven't had to deal with before.

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Something Else I like about Dreamhost

16.22.17 - Mark

I've hosted my various sites at Dreamhost since December 2004, and despite some hiccups and screw-ups (some more serious than others, but none of them lingering) I've always been happy with the service I'm getting. For about $120 a year I get more than enough resources for my various personal projects (and have taken to hosting some stuff for friends and family for free under my account) especially since some of it's insanely easy to set up using Dreamhost's control panel. It's hands down better than some of the small hosts I've known, and easier to use than some of the other big hosts I've used. To top everything off they (and by extension my websites) are carbon neutral too. I'm convinced that they're hard to beat if you want some personal web space to play with.

Plus the user friendly tools they offer are always useful. The latest one I've found really has me happy - an online flash video converter and player. I've thought about setting up a streaming flash video player for my videos for a while, but the process of converting my files to flash video files was a little intimidating, and I'm not a big fan of flash in the first place so setting up a player wasn't very appealing either. But since Dreamhost will do both, I'm actually getting it done (Even the converting is enough to make me happy). I still need to queue a few of the videos and add the player code to the site, but I'm going to try and have streaming videos up by the end of the weekend.

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09.32.23 - Mark

For a long time I really hated YouTube. I hate most things that mandate flash, didn't like the forced online viewing, the low video quality, and the hordes of idiots that sites like myspace and youtube can attract. All that said, YouTube is actually growing on me, not as a publishing method (you won't find any of my videos up there) but as a discovery method.

Last August, I was searching the web high and low for some music videos Cartoon Network used to run as bumpers (and still do on occasion), specifically one based on Jabberjaw (see the post I wrote)

After a month or two of on and off searching I found it streaming off of some Yahoo server and managed to hack up a download solution. Of course, now over a year later, the video can be found in seconds and is a lot higher quality than the one I first found (there are a few instances of that video on youtube as I write this)

Of course the problem is that the reasons I'm starting to like youtube isn't because it makes it easier to make and publish videos, but because its a great engine for copyright infringement. Too bad big media is starting to see youtube in the same light.

I'd love it if they allowed it to be used for sharing clips and short videos. A copyright holder could probably make a lot of money off the advertising they could stick next to short videos like the cartoon network shorties and looney toon segments rather than let the old videos waste away in a vault somewhere.

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