13 Jun

Movie Monday – Joe Nicolosi’s Mario reconciles Nintendo’s epic franchise with a health dose of ‘reality’

in Entertainment, Funny, Movie Monday, Video

A bit of a lighter fare for this Monday.  Running just a touch over 2 minutes, this preview-style short produced for SXSW (miss you tons, Austin!!) Nicolosi seeks to reconcile reality and the Nintendo classic in what is, imho, the only possible way – by casting Mario as a mushroom-gulping plumber-cum-clubber battling obsession with stalking rescuing his ex-girlfriend from her new beau.  Featuring star-branded MDMA, talking turtles, and original 8-bit music samples, I can’t imagine a better way to start your week!

h/t Geekologie

31 May

Techie Tuesday – Leahy’s Orwellian Protect IP Act blocked!

in Congress, Copyright / Copyfighting / Piracy, Entertainment, Intellectual Property, Internet, Law Enforcement, Piracy, Politics, Techie Tuesday

Image via Wikipedia

Some good news in the world of copyfighting!  I mentioned this bill in last week’s link purge, but under the authorship of the entertainment Mafioso, PIPA was intended to provide the DHS and private corporations with additional authority to seize the top-level domains of dangerous terrorists file sharing websites and bring lawsuits against those, such as Google, who provide links to them (Google has already vowed to fight any such measures).  I don't know if the bill is officially dead, but for the time being it has been effectively put on hold by Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon).

“The internet represents the shipping lane of the 21st century,” Wyden said in a statement. “It is increasingly in America’s economic interest to ensure that the internet is a viable means for American innovation, commerce, and the advancement of our ideals that empower people all around the world. By ceding control of the internet to corporations through a private right of action, and to government agencies that do not sufficiently understand and value the internet, PIPA represents a threat to our economic future and to our international objectives,” he said.

Even if you equate file-sharing with digital piracy you should care about killing this bill for several reasons:

  • In the most benign sense, it is wholly unnecessary – domains can already be ‘seized’ (albeit with a tremendous assault on due process) through a number of judicial channels and the DMCA provides the means through which to stop Google et al from linking to them.  Codifying this behavior only reinforces the governments right to intervene in the only port of free expression currently in existence.
  • It forges an unholy alliance between federal law enforcement and private enterprise whereby the same industries who decry government intervention in the free market are all too eager to expect taxpayers to foot the bill for their civil complaints.
  • It has nada zip zilch to do with national security and the DHS should not be compelled to expend resources on enforcing private litigation while actual security concerns remain unchecked.
  • Finally, for the massive expense it is entirely ineffective.  Seized domains simply rely on existing mirrors to bridge the short amount of time it takes to respawn elsewhere.  And thanks to sympathetic programmers everywhere, systems are popping up like MAFIAAfire that make it even easier for users to find them.

When you consider the the War on Drugs whose crippling expense is paralleled only by its spectacular failure, It’s inconceivable that we want to extend such tactics to the virtual world on behalf of a few, dying private companies.

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26 May

Throwaway Thursday–Copyfighting Edition

in Entertainment, Intellectual Property, Internet, Piracy, Politics, Privacy, Science & Technology, Throwaway Thursday
Banner @ Copyfight

Image by David Domingo via Flickr

In the latest outbreak of pure douchiness, BMI - those happy, benevolent little elves who run the collection cartel on broadcast radio stations – is alleging that listening to your own music via cloud services amounts to a '”public performance” subject to licensing fees. 

Presumably trying to get back in the good graces of open-standards proponents, Google has signaled that it is prepared to fight both houses of congress and the president of the United States if the entertainment mafia successfully pushes through Leahy’s Orwellian Protect IP Act – a wish-list of anti-piracy measures that threaten to undermine the open internet.

HarperCollins has announced their intention to cripple e-books after 26 rentals forcing public libraries to cough up additional annual licensing fees.  Which is really not a big deal since libraries and their patrons are so flush with cash anyway.  For the moment, HC is the only publisher to have done so, though if the trend continues it could spell the end of digital modernization in public systems.

Finally, the award this week goes to Nintendo whose 3DS EULA mandates ongoing centralized updates during which they will brick (deactivate) your system if it contains unapproved software or peripherals.   But at least Nintendo claims a perpetual, worldwide copyright to all photos and videos taken with your camera. 

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23 May

Movie Monday–The Raven: A Film by Ricardo de Montreuil

in Entertainment, Movie Monday, Sci-Fi, Surveillance Society, Video

This incredible short film by Peruvian filmmaker Montreuil is 6 minutes of pure, pharmaceutical-grade awesomeness.  Set in a dystopic Los Angeles, the film follows Chris Black (Victor Lopez), a man who “possesses a power that could lead to the destruction of the current regime” and his desperate race for survival.  Produced on a budget of $5,000 – roughly the amount that Hollywood films spend on 1 page of a script – it pound-for-pound equals or betters your average blockbuster. 

You can watch the embed here, but if your broadband can handle it, I highly recommend heading over to Vimeo for the Hi-Def version!

THE RAVEN - 720 HD from THE RAVEN FILM on Vimeo.

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17 Nov


in Entertainment

Even though I consider music to be an essential tier of Maslow’s pyramid, I seldom (if ever) blog about it.  But the remix artist Girl Talk just released his latest album under a creative commons license and all I can say is yiggity-yowza!  Seriously, even if remix isn’t your thing, you owe it to yourself (and let’s face it, you owe it to your mother) to give this one a go.  You can download All Day from illegal-art


16 Apr

UK’s TalkTalk will not comply with draconian Digital Economy Bill

in Copyright / Copyfighting / Piracy, Entertainment, Intellectual Property, Video

For those who are unfamiliar with such bills, there has been a major worldwide push, lead by those poor, suicidal bastards in the entertainment industries, to force internet service providers (ISPs) to cut off customers after three, unsubstantiated accusations of copyright infringement.  291106riaa

At least one company  has proven willing to stand up for common sense:

After the election we will resume highlighting the substantial dangers inherent in the proposals and that the hoped for benefits in legitimate sales will not materialise as filesharers will simply switch to other undetectable methods to get content for free.

In the meantime we stand by our pledges to our customers:

  • Unless we are served with a court order we will never surrender a customer’s details to rightsholders. We are the only major ISP to have taken this stance and we will maintain it.
  • If we are instructed to disconnect an account due to alleged copyright infringement we will refuse to do so and tell the rightsholders we’ll see them in court.

Not likely to see this level of consumer advocacy in a U.S. ISP anytime soon.  I imagine something a little more like this:

08 Mar

Best Oscars 2010 Quote Evuh!

in Entertainment, Funny

oscarthegrouch From August:

I went to bed early … Did the movie about how good white people are at helping black people win, or did the movie about how good white people are at helping blue people win?

20 Feb

Why you should rip your DVDs

in Copyright / Copyfighting / Piracy, Entertainment, Software

Not sure who to credit on this, but there is a fun little info-graphic hosted at i.imgur on the difference between a “pirated” DVD and one purchased legally.GxzeV

As one who has purchased many more DVDs than than is considered healthy by the American Medical Association, I can say that the very first thing I do is rip them to a DVD-R.  The original goes straight into a drawer where it either rots for eternity or gets re-ripped if (and often when) I end up destroying the backup.  This is partly because of what is described in this picture, partly because I want to be able to play them on my computer without having to use up my 5 change limit on region-locking, and partly because the materials they use to produce these DVDs are notoriously flimsy and wouldn’t last 10 seconds with my two year old.

If you’re looking for some good software on DVD-ripping, I recommend checking out Handbrake which is a nice one-click affair (and of course free).  Also free for all of your computer region woes, you might want to grab a copy of DVD43.