London cops apologise to young photographer who was told that shooting Armed Forces Day parade was "anti-social," "gay," "stupid" and an offense under the Terrorism Act

Back in 2010, I blogged the video of Jules Mattsson, a 15-year-old freelance photographer who was stopped by police while shooting an Armed Forces Day parade in London. The police inspector took down his details, told him it was an offense under the Terrorism Act to take pictures of soldiers, told him that the police could stop public photography without recourse to any law, and then told him that photographing soldiers was "gay," "anti-social behaviour," "silly" and "stupid."

Finally, Mattsson has gotten justice: the police have paid him an undisclosed settlement and issued an apology.

"The inspector told [Jules] he was a public hazard and said that photographing in public was 'anti-social behaviour'," he said.

"He described the act of taking photographs as 'silly' and 'gay' and 'stupid'," said the spokesman.

"When [Jules] continued to state the lawfulness of his behaviour, the inspector declared it was 'dangerous' as he was 'likely to be trampled on by soldiers' from the parade."

Ms Cotton, head of the police misconduct department at the law firm, said: "The treatment of the police towards our client, a 15-year-old, was shocking. The inspector's comments were designed to belittle."

Metropolitan Police compensate parade-ban photographer Read the rest

Kim Jong-Il is dead

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has died, CNN reports. And with him dies a great novelty Tumblog.

I think I just heard every venture capital firm fire up their private jets.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il dead, state TV reports - CNN Read the rest

Phoenix’s Street of Dreams: The Visual Extravaganza that was Van Buren

The Modern Phoenix website has a great article about the history of Van Buren Street, "the former glory of Phoenix’s brightest thoroughfare that served as the 'Eastern Gateway' to the city." I liked the many washed-out old photos of hotels and other long-gone businesses in the article.

Phoenix billed itself as the "Motel Capital of the World" by the early 1940s, largely based on the density of overnight accommodations along Van Buren. In the span of a just few blocks, travelers could spend the night in motels with neon recreations of Old Faithful, the Statue of Liberty, and the Alamo on their signs. Other roadside lodges featured attractions such as water wheels, putt-putt golf, a 500-bird aviary or posh restaurants. “I remember my family having Thanksgiving dinner in 1963 at the restaurant located at the Rose Bowl Motor Hotel,” Phoenix historian John Jacquemart reminisced, “It was a swank place!”

Phoenix’s Street of Dreams: The Visual Extravaganza that was Van Buren

(Via Derrick Bostrom) Read the rest

CC-licensed, Dickens-based, Pastifarian Christmas Carol kids' special

Robbo sez,

Puppets, songs, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Charles Dickens - all that and more are in our internet video holiday special: "Ruffus The Dog's Christmas Carol".

Not just for kids, it's an unusual half-hour take on Dickens's classic - released under a Creative Commons License.

Funded partly through IndieGoGo and a lot of sweat equity from the performers (total budget just a little over $5,000) we shot this thing in 4 days in my living room. All the puppet characters were shot against green screen and then combined with CG virtual sets and a pantload of special effects.

The music and songs were composed by JP Houston (Big Comfy Couch).

We released this online yesterday, right after we had a screening at the old Revue Cinema in Toronto with box office proceeds going to the Toronto Public Library Foundation.

Free to watch. Free to download. Free to share.

Ruffus The Dog's Christmas Carol Read the rest

Lamar Smith is a cheap date

How much has it cost the entertainment industry to convince Rep Lamar Smith to introduce and ram through SOPA, which will cost the American economy billions, which will nuke the games, microprocessor, search, and other high tech companies in his Texas district? A mere $50K a year for 10 years. You know, it's one thing to be a sellout; but to sell out so cheaply -- man, have some self-respect. (via /.) Read the rest

How SOPA will break DNS

In case you were trying to figure out how broken the Internet will be if SOPA passes, have a look at this article and this article from DynDNS, one of the world's leading DNS providers. (Thanks, Adam!) Read the rest

RIAA and DHS are hives of depraved piracy

TorrentFreak continues its prolonged spelunk through the database compiled by YouHaveDownloaded, a list of participants in infringing BitTorrent swarms, indexed by IP address. Today, it's a look at what's been downloaded by the IP blocks controlled by the RIAA (who have advocated that ISPs should be required to disconnect customers whose networks are used in copyright infringement) and the Department of Homeland Security (who sloppily confiscated several domains without due process because they were believed to be involved in copyright infringement). Predictably, both are hives of depraved piracy.

After carefully checking all the IP-addresses of the RIAA we found 6 unique addresses from where copyrighted material was shared. Aside from recent music albums from Jay-Z and Kanye West – which may have been downloaded for research purposes – RIAA staff also pirated the first five seasons of Dexter, an episode of Law and Order SVU, and a pirated audio converter and MP3 tagger...

By now it probably comes as no surprise that staff at the Department of Homeland Security are also using BitTorrent. In fact, we found more than 900 unique IP-addresses at the Government organization through which copyrighted files were downloaded.

RIAA and Homeland Security Caught Downloading Torrents Read the rest

Head MPAA shill reduced to outright lies in bid to make the case for SOPA

MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd is making the rounds in DC, trying to gin up support for the Stop Online Piracy Act, which establishes a national censorship regime in which whole websites can be blocked in the US if the MPAA objects to them. The former senator turned shill has run out of plausible arguments in favor of the bill, so he's resorted to really, really stupid lies.

Case in point: Dodd recently told the Center for American Progress that "The entire film industry of Spain, Egypt and Sweden are gone."

Of course, this is a flat-out, easily checked, ridiculous lie.

Sweden actually produces a number of high quality films. Released in 2008, the vampire flim Let The Right One In received critical acclaim here in the U.S. Additionally, all three best-selling books of the Millennium Trilogy are Swedish films and 2009’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was quite successful. The film made a modest $10 million in the U.S. and a respectable $104 million worldwide.

Considering the budget for the U.S. remake of the film is $100 million - as much as the original film has earned to date - perhaps Dodd meant that the film does not count until Hollywood gets a chance to remake it. Ironically, the U.S. remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was shot in Sweden.

Chris Dodd was correct to say that film is an international industry, but he was wrong to say that the Swedish film industry has disappeared and misleading to imply that all Hollywood jobs are American jobs.

Read the rest