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The Public’s Responsibility for Their Own IP

copyright

I don’t often respond to a message board, article, or blog in the comment section. It’s too easy to get lost in the throng of off-topic, uninformed, or mean-spirited posts. This morning when I had a little time to kill because of work however, I came across an interesting article. Perhaps because I’m passionate about the topic, or maybe because it was such an unreasonable hour after a 12+ hour day, I decided to go for it. Not one to let 60 minutes of work go unnoticed, I thought I’d try to bring it to your attention.

The original article from techcrunch is Flickr v. Free Speech. Where Is Their Courage? I read the whole article even though I didn’t find the argument very compelling and I noticed a lack of supporting information in the places it was needed most (and maybe a few too many citations I didn’t care about because of what was lacking.)

After skimming through all the comments and reading most of what I thought where the good ones, I decided to respond to the author’s comment buried in this comment. If you aren’t interested in reading all that, just skip to my comment.

I think my argument stands for itself, but there’s one thing I’ll add. The author of the article makes a claim that

Yahoo/Flickr should have asked its attorneys if the copyright claim had any validity at all before removing the image … [who could have told] … you that this is clearly a fair use of the original Obama image, Time Magazine’s copyright and copyright around the movie.

I wish the author would have consulted a lawyer. The DMCA’s Online Copyright Infringement Liability Act (OLCILA) was specifically created to prevent Service Providers from having much incentive to make any judgment about the validity of the copyright claim. More than that (and let me reassert, as I did in my comment, that I’m not a lawyer), the concept of Fair Use and more specifically, parodies, is an affirmative defense. This means that you’re still actually violating someone’s copyright and can still be sued, but (if your affirmative defense is proven) will be able to get out of it in court. This status as an affirmative defense makes it even less likely that a company receiving a substantially sufficient DMCA take-down notice would question the take-down because they thought the content was a parody — the OLCLIA doesn’t really give them the ability to do that without jeopardizing their safe harbor.

To quote myself:

Like it or not, this is the check-and-balance that makes the situation livable. To make the system work, the public has a responsibility to hold people accountable by filing counter notices and suing for misrepresentation if necessary.

Add comment Computer Geek 08/22/2009 at 10:01 ET

Who You Come to Be Along the Way

Transformed Jed

Away back in the day, my parents got me a card for high school graduation. For about 10 years, wherever I lived I put it up on my wall like a poster. I still have most of the message memorized and while I was on the treadmill this morning, I thought of the moral, “… the true worth of you travels lies not in where you come to be at journey’s end, but in who you come to be along the way.”

I could say a lot about this quote and how it’s shaped my entire adult life (not to be overly dramatic.) What I was thinking about today, though, is new and different. And, like I imagine the card was, it’s something my mom gave me.

A lot of people have asked me about my recent transformation and weight loss. As much as making the change in myself has been fun and rewarding, sometimes talking to other people can be very awkward or even uncomfortable. Sometimes they say crazy stuff, like “we’ll hold you down and shove food in your mouth” (I wish that was an exaggeration). Other times I don’t know how to talk to or around people who obviously have a much more serious problem than I did. Perhaps the most troubling question to answer, though, is people who sincerely ask me “how did you do it?” That’s been a really tough one.

So this morning I was on the treadmill and fretting because, after many, many weeks at this level, I’ve actually plateaued. Worse, I actually think I might have gained a little weight (not muscle) and have been mildly freaking out about it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s any problem with gaining a pound or two, but after so much work I’ve been legitimately (in my mind at least) concerned about backsliding.

Which is where these two threads come together. The answer to “how did you do it” and the way to stop freaking out about my current plateau are the same: it’s all about who you come to be along the way.

I’d tried various ways to “get healthy” before. By tried, I mostly mean “thought about.” One of the big reasons I didn’t find much success before was because I was concentrating on achieving a limited, short-term, usually aesthetic goal. Something like, “I want to lose 15 pounds before the summer.” Well, let me tell you from my own experience, this kind of plan is only setting yourself up for failure. My goal back in October was simply to “be healthy.” I took a definitive step on that road (for me it was counting calories) and I absolutely refused to look back. Then I started to get serious about exercising. Then I kicked both up a notch.

It was a progression, it was very gradual (no matter what people seem to think), and it was absolutely permanent. I wasn’t concerned about where my journey took me – I might have ended-up at 170 pounds or I might have ended-up at 120 pounds – that wasn’t the point. The point was that I was going to make these concrete steps towards a better me. I just remembered the dramatic transitions my mom and sister went through a few years back and one day I calculated how many calories I ought to be eating (you could do that here or here) and decided to only eat that much.

So, after my jog, I feel a lot better. Closely watching my weight used to be a reliable way for me to measure my success and stay motivated. It’s still going to be a part of my lifestyle, but now I realize and appreciate what I’ve accomplished. I’m also inspired to stay on the journey. Hopefully the Ragnar Relay will be one good next step. And, now I think I have better advice when people ask me how in the hell I did it.

1 comment My Life 07/23/2009 at 22:02 ET

Is Gay Marriage a Slippery Slope?

I’ve actually been mulling this question over and over in my head for months now. This evening I found an article on Digg (O’Reilly’s Ark: Gay marriage leads to goat, dolphin marriage) that I think helped me see a little more clearly. This frustrates me because we have experts discussing these matters in the media, and the public forming and shaping their opinions based on these discussions, and the arguments are so weak and illogical. I’m freely admitting I think it’s a hard question to answer, I would just assume (or hope? perhaps naively) that the talking heads, who are getting paid all that money, know what they’re talking about.

OK, so here’s where the argument starts to fall apart:

OK, but then you have to explain why two and not three.

They’re talking about being on a slippery slope, and this question about why two and not three. This is when it crystallized in my head, and my answer to the question is another question: when exactly do these talking heads think we took the first step onto this slope anyway?

We sometimes, but not always, allow two today. We used to allow more than two and now we don’t. We allow more combinations of two today than we did 50ish years ago, and now we want to add the rest of the combinations. Someone else can do the research for me, but I remember reading that these arguments are not new – that people said something like, “if you allow blacks and whites to marry then you’ll have to let the polygamists marry too.” That didn’t work out so well for the polygamists.

Before I wrap this up, a quick aside. It’s hysterical to me that O’Reilly mentioned Big Love. I remember that the show’s creators are actually gay and have been romantically involved. You might call it ironic that O’Rielly picks this show as an example when I think that’s exactly what the producers had in mind. I don’t think their point is that polygamy should be generally acceptable in society, but the love that fictional family shares, and the difficulties they go through, is compelling.

How does changing the definition from “between one man and one woman” to “between two people” fundamentally change the definition of marriage anyway? More importantly, how does it change what part of the slope we’re already on?

1 comment Political 05/13/2009 at 18:21 ET

Florida on Fire

Well, brush fires … nothing serious at all (at this point, thank God.) Actually, it’s not the fire at all, it’s the smoke.

It started this morning. I’ve gotten in the habit of watching a bit of the local news while I eat my breakfast. I get most of my news from NPR (WMFE) or the internet. I decided a few months ago that those sources are well and good, but sometimes you really do need to know what’s happening down the street. What the local school board is up to, what neighborhoods have increased rates of violent crimes, those kinds of things. This morning what I got was a little weather and a little bit of traffic, including a few spots where the roads were all backed-up because of brush fires. I didn’t give it a second thought.

Later, at lunch, me and two of my friends were chatting. The conversation came around to work and jobs we’d had and my friend Andrew and I were trying to explain what it’s like to work in theme park operations. We weren’t very successful. There is this energy, this state of being, this sense of empowerment, and a sense of struggle that comes with it. Working out there, on the front lines of Orlando’s tourism industry, in a big theme park, puts you in a truly unique spot. It’s a challenging spot, for sure, and often times not exactly pleasant, but it’s yours. I’ve talked to a lot of other people, and I know I’m not crazy.

Then, after work, I stepped outside. I opened the door and felt a rush of air and immediately smelled the smoke. The smoke, presumably, from the brush fires that I heard of this morning and all of a sudden all of my memories of my first summer in Orlando came flooding back. The first time I lived in Orlando, you see, there were fires. Lots of fires, bad fires, much worse than the ones today. In fact, my second day on the job, while in training, my apartment complex was under an evacuation watch. My trainer lived in the same complex and we worked out an arrangement so that if his partner paged him during lunch break he would be able to get in touch with me so we could rush home and rescue some of our personal belongings before everyone had to be out. That was about 1.5 mi from where I am right now, as the crow flies.

Don’t get me wrong, though — the drama of the fires wasn’t what came rushing back. I had brought the few possessions I had in Florida in my car, and I could certainly get them all out again with little effort (and enough time.) No building in my complex was ever evacuated and the danger eventually subsided. But for that whole summer, Central Florida seemed to burn. In fact, it wasn’t really the memories that came rushing back at all. It was the emotions.

As I said about my job that summer, the whole experience was wonderful, but not all happy. Parts of it were the very saddest I’ve ever felt. But even in my darkest hours, I felt, that summer, like I was where I was supposed to be. I had some innate knowledge that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. Even though at that point I still hadn’t come into my own, I’ve never felt more right than I did that summer. Even as my tears flowed like a river deep enough to carry me away when it was time to leave, because it was time to leave, I was so happy to have felt like I had a place where I really belonged. And that whole summer, all I smelled was smoke.

Isn’t it strange how smells especially can conjure up emotions? There is an inexplicable link. I always prefer to never run into someone who wears Drakkar Noir and every time Florida is on fire I feel this way that I can’t even begin to describe.

i come to you with strange fire, i make an offering of love,
the incense of my soul is burned by the fire in my blood.
i come with a softer answer to the questions that lie in your path.
i want to harbor you from the anger, find a refuge from the wrath.

this is a message of love.
love that moves from the inside out, love that never grows tired.
i come to you with strange fire.

mercenaries of the shrine, who are you to speak for god?
with haughty eyes and lying tongues and hands that shed innocent blood.
who delivered you the power to interpret calvary?
you gamble away our freedom to gain your own authority.

find another state of mind. grab hold.
strange fire burns with the motion of love.

when you learn to love yourself, you will dissolve all the stones that are cast,
you will learn to burn the icing sky and to melt the waxen mask.
yes, to have the gift of true release, this is a peace that will take you higher.
i come to you with my offering. i bring you strange fire.

this is a message of love.
love that moves from the inside out, love that never grows tired.
i come to you with strange fire.

“Strange Fire”
Indigo Girls
Strange Fire

Add comment My Life 02/17/2009 at 20:30 ET

Happy Birthday Baby Jesus

One of my favorite things about Christmas has always been Christmas Eve. My coworkers took notice this year when I said that there are only two days of the year that I won’t work: my birthday and Christmas Eve after 5:00 p.m. (So much so that Shawn was noticeably surprised when I worked on Christmas Eve — he missed the “after 5” part.) It’s a very important day to me and we had a lovely, relaxing party this year. I’m not saying that towards the end of the night I didn’t stretch-out on the floor after a few glasses of wine, I’m just saying that everyone enjoyed themselves.

I have a new favorite thing, tied with Christmas Eve. It’s not new, exactly: I’ve been doing it with Andrea for years. We sing “Happy Birthday” to baby Jesus. This year, however, that chorus of a rather over-sung ditty really put me in the Christmas mood. I like Christmas Eve because my family and friends always take a few minutes (or, at least, let me take a few minutes) to reflect on what Christmas is all about. I read “The Gift of the Magi,” a family tradition. The reflection is not meaningful because of the moral of the story, but rather because we share it together. As nice as the story is, it’s just another ornament — the fellowship is the beautiful part.

So today we were sitting around the breakfast table, forbidden from opening any presents, putting candles into monkey bread. The confection isn’t important, but the candles and the singing are. Having everyone there to fill-out the voice parts is important too. When we got to the end I was really thinking about how I am glad that Jesus was born. Maybe that sounds silly.

Jesus' 2008 Birthday "Cake" (this year, monkey bread)

Ever since my friend Jonathan introduced me to it, I’ve been in love with this song “Star of Wonder” by a group of sisters called The Roaches. I’ve been thinking a lot about the wise men and the shepherds and the angels and the star. I looked up at the sky tonight on my jog and saw the North star and made a wish.

It’s a powerful symbol. The image of a star reaches into our more primitive past when we didn’t know God directly but rather worshiped the heavens. It represents something old — ancient really — that has enough power to reach across thousands of trillions of miles and thousands of years. I like to think of myself as a wise man or a shepherd. I like to imagine being visited by a star or an angel and, out of the blue on an ordinary night, learning that a great mystery has been bestowed upon the world. I wonder if I would understand the awesomeness of the miracle. I wonder if I would be moved enough to abandon my post and make haste to go find Him. I wonder what it would be like to be in the presence of that little babe.

I think I would go. I think I would understand. I know I would take my friends along with me. And I think, when we got there, we’d offer up to him a song: “happy birthday, baby Jesus!”

Star of Wonder in the heavens
Wonder what you want of me
Should I follow you tonight?
Star of Wonder

I am just a lonely shepherd
Watching from a distant hill
Why do you appear to me?
Star of Wonder, if you will.

In the morning they’ll come looking
For the shepherd on the hill.
What would make her leave her flock
For surely she must love them still?

Star of Wonder in the heavens
Are you just a shining star
Or should I follow you tonight?
Star of Wonder, shining bright.

“Star of Wonder”
The Roaches
We Three Kings
© 1991 Terry Roach http://www.roches.com/scores/sow.html

Add comment Spirituality and Faith 12/26/2008 at 00:08 ET

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