This page collects recent items on Copyright. My goal is Free Culture. Get a copy of the book by Lawrence Lessig to learn more.

Copyright is killing music

And if you’re interested in DRM, check out Code version 2.0, also by Lawrence Lessig.

2019-09-26 Leistungsschutzrecht

Netzpolitik schreibt EU-Leistungsschutzrecht droht schon vor dem Start zu scheitern: In Frankreich wird es eingeführt und Google reagiert sofort:

Statt einem Anreißertext von ein paar Zeilen und einem Bild, wie es ihn für einige Nachrichtenlinks gebe, werde es künftig bloß den Titel der Seite und einen Link geben. Dies gelte nicht nur für Google News, sondern für alle Google-Dienste.

Jetzt sind die Franzosen empört, und Axel Voss schämt sich nicht, wenn er sagt:

I would say to Google that they should adopt more of the ‘European style’ of news, news structure, and not try to get everything absolutely on their platforms and that no one consults their rivals anymore.

Jetzt kann man ihn natürlich vorführen: Will er den Google zu einem gewissen Geschäft zwingen? Google will das Geschäft nicht eingehen und zeigt weniger Text und Bilder an, was ja genau dem Wortlaut von Voss entspricht. Aber das passt natürlich auch nicht.

So ein Blödsinn aber auch, wenn sich ein Marktteilnehmer aus dem Markt verabschiedet. Was für ein Tyrann.


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2019-08-23 Albums

A few years ago I sold two minidisc devices and about 200 empty discs. I was astonished how eager some people were to buy the empty discs (the devices not so much) and recently I was remembering how people would take one tape, one CD or one minidisc and listen to the same album over and over again. Something that seems so strange these days. I feel strange for having just a few albums on my phone instead of streaming. I prefer podcasts to music these days.

And now I’m listening to an Elvis Presley collection with about 150 albums and singles and I wonder how to best listen to the singles: play the “album” of two songs on repeat? To think that this is how people used to listen to music. The same two songs, over and over. I’ve played this single twice and already my wife is telling me that we just heard the same tracks!

And what happened to mixtapes? You can still make them with files – except people are afraid of copyright and so we can’t do it for many people, but we can do it for friends. But nobody does. Somehow the physical artifact is important. And back when I was young and recorded tapes for my now wife music was – rare? I didn’t have all The Doors CDs but a neighbor did…

These days you can’t even share a playlist unless you both have the same streaming service. Blearg!


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2019-08-12 Public Domain Radio

I love this: Public Domain Online Radio.

  1. Public Domain Classical: Mixed Classical music, Chamber music and Symphonies
  2. Public Domain Jazz: Mixed Jazz, Ragtime and Swing

And there’s the promise for more:

The Public Domain Radio broadcasts 24/7 non-stop free works on different channels. Our archive includes over 50 000 78 rpm records, cylinders and discs of Edison and Pathé that we have to clean and digitize.


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2019-06-29 Microsoft illustrates why DRM is shit

@rdonoghue wrote [1]:

Reminded that the Microsoft ebook store closes next week. The DRM’d books will stop working.

I cannot believe that sentence.

“The books will stop working.”

I keep saying it and it sounds worse each time.

I liked the reply by @foxwitch [2]:

IMO any company that shuts down their DRM servers should be legally required to distribute the keys and/or a tool to remove their own DRM

At the very least! Or we should outlaw it. Or at least remove the ban on circumvention technologies because fuck this shit.


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2019-04-18 New Music

Where do you find new music? For many years, I listened to Sounds! on the Swiss national radio. I faintly remember not being able to download the podcast when I wasn’t in Switzerland. That really made me angry.

Today I was listening to the Brahms symphonies. The recordings of the four symphonies I have are the only thing other than the German Requiem I have written by Brahms. I started wondering. Where to start?

@fitheach and @ted recommended Musopen (”We provide recordings, sheet music, and textbooks to the public for free, without copyright restrictions. Put simply, our mission is to set music free.”) because they also have a music catalogue (”Royalty free music recordings”). Interesting. If you sign up for the free plan, you get five downloads per day. It doesn’t sound like much, but how much new music do you want to download every day? Perhaps that is enough. The next level is $55/year. It seems a bit expensive but perhaps only because I’m interested in the recordings and not the sheet music.

That reminded me of Magnatunes. I think I bought an album or two from them many years ago. I listened to Ivan Ilić playing Brahms and Schumann for a bit. [1] And perhaps $300 for their entire catalogue is a good deal? (That ad has interrupted my listening twice, now. Still better than the interruptions on YouTube, though.) I’d have ten years of listening for sure! Now I’m listening to La Reverie: Cantica. But $300! Wow. Then again, if I’d buy CDs, that’s just 10 CDs here in Switzerland. Surely I’ll find 10 good albums on Magnatunes.

@xosem recommended IMSLP (the International Music Score Library Project): “The ultimate goal of the IMSLP is to gather all public domain music scores, in addition to the music scores of all contemporary composers (or their estates) who wish to release them to the public free of charge.” The site also has recordings, however. The first symphony, for example, has a recording from the Swiss national radio, 1962, and from the University of Chicago Orchestra, 2006. Very cool!

Anyway, @fitheach recommended the violin concerto opus 77 and @cerisara recommended the hungarian dances. @cerisara also recommended Brahm’s clarinet quintet [2].

@wrenpile recommended the two serenades, Serenade No. 1 in D major for orchestra and Serenade No. 2 in A, Op. 16 and provided two YouTube links to recordings by Istvan Kertesz [3][4] and he recommended Sonata for Piano and Violin No.1 in G major, op. 78 by Kremer and Afanassiyev [5] “For sheer molten gorgeousness”. All right! I’m looking forward to this.

Thank you all.

Remember the beauty of youtube-dl --extract-audio --audio-format mp3 URL! See 2016-12-20 Extract YouTube Audio for more.


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2019-04-11 Takedown Notices

I just read Official EU Agencies Falsely Report More Than 550 URLs as Terrorist Content: “At least 550 URLs were falsely identified by the EU IRU in the past week as terrorist propaganda...” and then they proceed to list some examples of asinine negligence like the major overview pages where user uploaded content will surely be linked, but also scholarly articles, or US government-produced broadcasts and reports, and more.

This illustrates the many important, negative aspects of what this sort of legislation will do:

  1. Scope creep results in attempts at ever broader interpretation of what falls under the forbidden umbrella
  2. These attempts at expansion don’t cost much to the accuser and so there is always some idiot working for an organization somewhere who will attempt to include an item that does not belong.
  3. Automation allows people to scan for content automatically and submit items automatically, multiplying the false accusations.
  4. Lack of due process as every item challenged eventually ends in court and therefore all the efficiency gains of the digital world are suddenly lost.
  5. The cost of the process is born by the host. Stricter time limits increase these costs.

Now a small number of people can provide the entire Internet Archive for millions of users but once you add these Takedown laws (because of the fear of terrorists, or the fear of copyright violators, and so on), this is no longer possible, as the same small number of people cannot comply with these requirements, or are not reimbursed for the disproportionate cost of investigating accusations.

Essentially, what happens is that these kinds of services with user uploaded content (archives, blogs, wikis, forums, social media, video hosts, and so on) are burdened with too much processing cost and thus we return to the “good old days” where only the media giants thrived, each supporting s host of lawyers with nothing to do but fight these shadow wars.

Yes, I also don’t want the Internet to be a cesspit of crime. At the same time, I want the efficiency gains of digitalization that allow a small number of people to provide the Internet Archive to us all, and I want to host my sites like the Campaign Wiki without having to employ censors or lawyers.

If you are faced with voting for or against such laws, consider how it is implemented and demand better legislation. For the millions of false takedown claims to be free for all is lazy legislation. It’s bad design. Demand that our law makers think harder.


Comments on 2019-04-11 Takedown Notices

Requests to remove content due to copyright, government requests to remove content, and more, as published by Google – a window into the world of takedowns.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-04-11 05:44 UTC

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2019-04-04 Das Lügen

Das Lügen geht weiter... Auf Golem dreht sich das absurde Karussel immer weiter. Bald bin ich dafür, dass das Urheberrecht abgeschafft wird. Klar, die freie Software verliert dann ihren “Schutz” vor der Übernahme, aber netto würde die Gesellschaft profitieren. Schon nur, weil dieser gesamte Wirschaftszweig endlich verschwinden würde. DRM, Leistungsschutzrecht, Abmahnungen, Verbot von Tauschbörsen, und so weiter... ☠ ☠ ☠


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2019-03-17 Copyright 13

@Masek wrote a long post on the upcoming upload filter legislation for the European Union, Copyright 13.

In his announcement on Mastodon, he said:

We are approaching the endgame and this is not the MCU. Within a few weeks one of the worst pieces of legislation I’ve ever seen will be passed by the EU parliament.

So I will kick off a small series of short articles about what we’re fighting for and against, why we are fighting it and who are our opponents.


Comments on 2019-03-17 Copyright 13

As Recording Industry Announces Massive Growth, Why Do We Need Article 13 Again?

I like Techdirt.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-03-20 07:09 UTC

@Masek continues! In part 2 he talks about the history that led us to copyright. And he has a better explanation for the permanent extension to the terms than Mickey Mouse! It’s the Disney Vault. And so, in the words of Masek: “Copyrighted works have become a commodity to be traded like stocks.” His conclusion merits more thought. “The one and only purpose of Article 13 is to curb user generated content. It shall create transaction costs for platform providers and frustration to the users creating content.”

Although I do wonder whether the pen wielding generation would even smart enough to think of all this shit.

And then there’s part three where he has a proposal for a separation of concerns and liability:

  1. users upload content → responsibility of the user
  2. others “follow” them and watch it → responsibility of the other users
  3. users “search” for it → if the platform does not benefit (no ads, for example) then it’s the responsibility of users; if the platform benefits then it’s the responsibility of the platform
  4. platform recommends content → responsibility of the platform

More food for thought! Recommended.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-03-24 20:07 UTC

Tech dirt again: German Government's Bullying Of FOI Group Provides A Warning Of How EU's New Upload Filters Will Be Used For Censorship.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-04-06 22:00 UTC

@switchingsocial said:

Bad news about #Article13, the copyright directive (which includes Art 13) has passed the council of ministers.

Interesting footnote: if the UK gov had simply abstained (or voted against), the directive would not have passed. Britain represents enough population to form a blocking minority.

However, the British government voted in favour.

The law can still be stopped in the European courts (which is what happened to the data retention directive), but this is much messier and more difficult.

The Brits and Brexit shitting in our basket on the way out. Grrrrr!

– Alex Schroeder 2019-04-15 15:04 UTC

Julia Reda () writes about the French Uploadfilter Law. 💩

I will miss her in the European parliament!

– Alex Schroeder 2019-12-07 08:46 UTC

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2019-03-04 Radio equipment in the EU

This is the feedback I provided after reading Protect freedom on radio devices: raise your voice today! More information is available from the FSFE, EU Radio Lockdown Directive.

I’d like to give some feedback on Article 3(3)(i) of the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU. The passage “to ensure that software can only be loaded into the radio equipment where the compliance of the combination of the radio equipment and software has been demonstrated” is going too far.

Use cases I am interested in: installing an update on my wifi router, phone, and smart home wireless product. There are many reasons why this is desireable:

  1. official security updates from the original vendor are no longer available
  2. I no longer trust the original vendor
  3. I want to develop alternatives (adding compatibility with other devices, for example)

Alex Schroeder

(I did this even though I am not a citizen of the EU.)


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2019-02-27 Schweizer Leistungsschutzrecht, leider

Die digitale Gesellschaft schreibt: “Die zuständige Ständeratskommission hat ein Leistungsschutzrecht im Urheberrecht beschlossen, das weitaus gravierender ist, als alles, was bisher auf dem Tisch lag. Es geht zudem viel weiter als das, was die EU-Kommission derzeit vorsieht. Wir werden uns mit aller Kraft gegen das selbstzerstörerische Vorhaben wehren.” – Ständeratskommission beschliesst Leistungsschutzrecht im Urheberrecht


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