It's been 20 years since the first major label experiment in putting music online: on Jun 27, 1994, Geffen Music put a WAV file of Aerosmith's "Head First" on Compuserve, which waived its hourly fee for people who wanted to download the track over their dial-up modems.
The history of "Head First"'s release is a kind of perfect parable about how the music industry related to technology. A nerdy CTO, Jim Griffin, who ran the first-ever music-industry webserver off his own GNU/Linux box, conceives of a plan. A maverick exec, David Geffen, greenlights it. Corporate HQ, Universal, balks and nearly kills it. The experiment scares and disorients everyone. And meanwhile, the fans race ahead of everyone, treating commercial collective-action deadlocks as damage and routing around them.
GO AEROSMITH: How "Head First" Became the First Digitally Downloadable Song 20 Years Ago Today [Devin Schiff/Vice]
Since the earliest days of the "semantic web,", millions of dollars and hours of coding effort have been thrown at the problem of really organizing large corpuses of information, with two approaches emerging: rigid ontologies (like the Dewey Decimal system) that require a system's users to be deeply expert in the structures they're working in; […]
In 1971, the Australian indigenous artist Harold Thomas created the iconic Australian Aboriginal Flag which has since been named one of the "official flags of Australia," which resulted in Thomas successfully suing to assert copyright over the design.
[Editor's note: Whenever governments review their copyright, one of two things happens: either they only listen to industry reps and then come to the "conclusion" that more copyright is always better; or they listen to stakeholders and experts and conclude that a little goes a long way. Normally, when the latter happens, the government that […]
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