You know, when I was sitting down with entertainment execs on a regular basis to debate applied, practical technology choices in DRM standards bodies, their constant refrain was, "We love technology! We use it all the time!" The implication being that if they instigated a law prohibiting a technology it would not represent ignorance or fear, but well-informed solemn judgement. I'd often cite Jack Valenti's infamous words to Congress: "The VCR is to the American film industry as the Boston Strangler is to a woman home alone," and they'd scoff. "Why do you always bring that up? It's ancient history!" And I'd say, "Oh, do you repudiate Jack Valenti, then? Because the last time I checked, you guys renamed your headquarters (I shit you not) the Jack Valenti Building." And they'd say, "Ha, ha, very funny. But seriously, is one wrong-headed statement from Jack all you've got?" And then I'd go into the long list of all the crap they'd fought as an industry, from the remote control to cable TV, from diversified cinema ownership to yeah, the VCR, and they'd mumble something about how EFF stood for "Everything For Free," and I just didn't understand the arts. Which always made me laugh because generally speaking I was the only working creative artist in the discussion, and I'd often be going to meetings in between working on novels. Clearly, to understand the arts you need to be an entertainment industry lawyer working for a giant multinational conglomerate, not a working artist.
Anyway, if I was still in those stuffy, hateful rooms where they plotted to ban technologies, I'd print out a stack of this Matador Network infographics, which are a handy guide to the pig-ignorant campaigns that Hollywood has waged against new technologies since the industry's founders ripped off Thomas Edison's patents and fled to California.
Infographic: Why the movie industry is so wrong about SOPA
My latest Locus Magazine column is DRM Broke Its Promise, which recalls the days when digital rights management was pitched to us as a way to enable exciting new markets where we'd all save big by only buying the rights we needed (like the low-cost right to read a book for an hour-long plane ride), […]
For decades, architectural critic and photographer John Margolies obsessively documented roadside attractions: vernacular architecture, weird sculpture, odd businesses and amusements. By his death in 2016, his collection consisted of more than 11,000 slides (he published books of his favorites, with annotations).
After the EU Copyright Directive passed with a slim majority that only carried because some MEPs got confused and pressed the wrong button, the government of Poland filed a legal challenge with the European Court of Justice, arguing that the Directive -- and its rule requiring that all online discourse be filtered by black-box algorithms […]
If you’ve worked in any high-performing engineering lab, you already know about MATLAB. This computing environment and the language that powers it is perfectly suited to science and math, with an interface that makes it easy to express and visualize complex algorithms – not to mention an infrastructure that lets it easily work with other […]
Studies have shown cannabidiol (more popularly known as CBD) to be effective in two main areas: Pain relief and stress relief. Both of those make the non-psychoactive, cannabis-derived compound a natural for topical creams. There’s no shortage of CBD products out there, but here’s eight of our favorites, all specifically designed for dermatological use – […]
If you’re part of the maker community, you know Make:. Though Make: magazine is off the shelves as of this year, the eBooks and resources put out by Maker Media are still a fantastic resource for the new generation of tinkerers, hackers, and robotics geeks. If you’re in that tribe, listen up: they’ve released a […]