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Friday, August 12, 2011

Rhizome | We Copy Like We Breathe: Cory Doctorow's SIGGRAPH 2011 Keynote #infdist

We Copy Like We Breathe: Cory Doctorow's SIGGRAPH 2011 Keynote

Jason Huff | Friday Aug 12th, 2011 0

Still image from Cory Doctorow's Keynote speech at SIGGRAPH 2011

When Cory Doctorow started his Keynote speech at this year's SIGGRAPH conference he started bravely by granting the audience "unequivocal permission to record video, audio, and to use those recordings ... in all media now known or yet to be invented throughout the known universe." This past Wednesday, two days after the speech, the Keynote was available on YouTube.

In the speech, Doctorow, co-editor of Boing Boing, outlined copyright and digital rights management's current state of affairs by providing details and examples that took the conversation far beyond the typically polarized copyright debate that divides the analysis into two mutually exclusive parts - either bad or good. In warming up to a proposal of his own set of laws he outlined an important issue that affects those experimenting on multiple portable platforms such as the iPhone, iPad, Android, and other emerging devices. Apple worked as the central example because of their sophisticated management of DRM, supported by the fact that they are generally good at what they do. Doctorow's concern about Apple's proprietary restrictions on transferring purchases from iTunes or the App Store were compounded by a recent announcement in the Guardian that German patent court has granted Apple a preliminary injunction that would prevent any import of Samsung's new Galaxy tablet into the country. This is certainly a concern for consumers and adds to the importance of Doctorow’s speech - but it’s an even bigger concern for artists who are experimenting on these platforms. As more artists make apps for the App Store they are opting into a restricted environment. If a consumer buys their app, and wants to transfer it to another device, they have no recourse except to ask Apple for permission. The chance that Apple will forego their ownership of the app's DRM for creative freedom is slim. Combined with the myriad of extraneous copyright laws that Doctorow outlines and the fact, as he states it, that artists are by far the most aggressive content copiers and producers - there is definitely a reason to be concerned.

The second half of the Keynote was spent reviewing Doctorow's three laws:

1: "Any time someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you and won't give you the key, they didn't put the lock there for your benefit."
2: "Fame won't guarantee fortune, but no one has ever gotten rich by being obscure."
3: "Information doesn't want to be free, people do."

Posted via email from Siobhan O'Flynn's 1001 Tales

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