august 2002


home: jill/txt

version 1.2.3d1

stolen souls and copyright

Alex Golub sees everything from the point of view of anthropology. It's fascinating. Writing about how we like to think that savages primitively believe(d) their souls stolen by photographs while we ourselves keep our children's first teeth and hairlocks of our loved ones and sue people who videotape us without our permission, he concludes:

Intellectual property law - laws of trademark, patent, and copyright - are attempts to deal with these facts within an individualistic paradigm which at root probably cannot accomodate them. Attempts to deal with these issues have resulted in admitting a recognition that can't easily be integrated into the bases of existing law: people are fractured, their involvements and selves spread out across other media and other people.

The Norwegian National Library's refusal to give any more blogs ISSNs seems related to me. The old categories aren't broken by new technology, concepts, publications; they were always broken.

posted: 30/8/02 14:36 |

copyright and limited time

See the little banner I've stuck over there in the left column? Create like it's 1790? It's in support of Lessig and co.'s challenge of the 1998 extension of copyright in the United States, which protects works for 95 years, or 75 years after the death of the creator. In 1790 new works were protected for 14 years, another 14 years. The aim of this copyright protection was "to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries." (Opposing Copyright Extension) Disney was the main lobbyist for the most recent extension of the Copyright term, because Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and other Disney characters were due to enter the public domain. Now they are protected until at least 2019.

The opponents to this extension argue that it's unconstitutional, because the constitution states that such protection should be limited. That's what the court case this autumn is going to be about. Given that copyright legislation is supposed to encourage the creation of new works, well, sure enough Samuel Johnson wrote that "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money", but I doubt many artists, writers and other content creators would stop creating just because they know that they'll only receive royalties for 50 rather than for 70 years after their death.

Here's how to find out if a work is in the public domain or not. And here's a discussion of applauded "plagiarism" (unacknowledged use of past wokrs), and a list of nifty and important uses of stuff in the public domain. And here's a good explanation of the issue as well as the official site for the challenge, Eldred vs. Ashcroft. And Alex Golub's rewrite of Lessig's address, where Lessig says that coders and open sourcers etc need to act in ways the establishment can understand (money, letters to congress etc) and not just stick buttons on their weblogs.

Trying to relate this to Norwegian or European copyright law I sort of get stuck, because I don't know enough about it. I found Åndsverksloven easily enough, the Norwegian version of copyright legislation. (I am so not-a-lawyer, but doesn't 12 seem to mean that Napster etc are fine, for video and music but not software, as long as the people who copied the music for you didn't do it for money?) There's an EU directive about copyright which has caused lots of fuss and which may be in contravenence of the Norwegian Åndsverkslov. Aargh, there's too much to figure out, I give up...

(PS: Infoanarchy's an interesting site)

posted: 29/8/02 09:50 |

violence about computer games

Read Henry Jenkins' article about what he wished he'd said in a twisted television debate about violence and computer games. And Torill's comments on it are exactly to the point.

posted: 28/8/02 10:59 |

blog metadata

Anders Jacobsen writes about the BlogMD Initiative, an attempt to coordinate the many separate attempts to organise blogs:

All of these applications are, at their core, doing the same thing. One way or another, they are gathering information about weblogs --- metadata --- storing it, analyzing it, and presenting their results on a web page.

So far the board is fairly small, consisting of

N.Z. Bear of the Blogosphere Ecosystem and The Truth Laid Bear
Phillip Pearson of the Myelin Ecosystem
Dean Peters of blogs4God.com and healyourchurchwebsite.com

They've asked other people who've worked on this kind of stuff on to it though. It'll be interesting to see what happens next... Oh, there's a discussion about it at Blogroots.

posted: 27/8/02 19:28 |


I love anecdotes. I fancy mankind may come, in time, to write all aphoristically, except in narrative; grow weary of preparation, and connection, and illustration, and all those arts by which a big book is made. If a man is to wait till he weaves anecdotes into a system, we may be long in getting them, and get but a few, in comparison of what we might get. (Samuel Johnson: Boswell: Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, samueljohnson.com)

I like blogging. I hate that I have to write a huge PhD thesis. Mankind, I think, has arrived in this anecdotal age. Or at least I have.

posted: 27/8/02 17:11 |

airline food

A compulsory stop when you're researching which airline to travel with is airlinemeals.net, which collects photos of food served on aeroplanes. Becoming a contributor would be a useful hobby to help pass the time while flying. (via Ask Bjrn Hansen)

posted: 26/8/02 14:55 |

blog networking tools

Just discovering some new tools and sites after my absence... At Blogtree you can see which blogs inspired the creation of other blogs, or at least, which blogs bloggers read before starting their own blog. I started almost as soon as I realised what blogs were, so my list of parents is rather short. I have three kids though! Cool! There are several sites that'll chart your "neighbourhood" (who links to a blog and who that blog links to) blog ecology sites too, and Blogstreet.com. Blogchalking lets you search blogs according to where they are. And of course Blogdex is still there.

Mark Bernstein's article on Writing The Living Web is another link to tuck away; it'd be a lovely gift for a new blogger, or a student, or somebody thinking about but not quite blogging.

posted: 26/8/02 14:28 |

social capital in blogs

Indicators of social capital in blogs.

posted: 26/8/02 14:02 |

research days

I've been asked to talk about blogs at the Research Days here in Bergen, both to the general public ("imagine you're talking to a curious 12-year-old", the information people told me) and also to junior high school students. I'm quite tickled by this, as my impression of the Research Days has always been that it's about convincing people that science is cool and universities worthwhile by showing them things that explode or bubble or were genetically engineered or will save the planet. Humanists are rare in these shows. I guess blogs are groovy enough to impress people. I think I'll tell versions of the Library Girl story, suitably embroidered and/or censored for the audience, hopefully with a clever yet entertaining analysis woven into the narrative where I explain how the story illustrates blogging's inversion of traditional power structures. I should probably have a look at the kids' versions (English or Norwegian) of Small Pieces Loosely Joined, too.

posted: 23/8/02 11:54 |

updated research blogs

I've added several new entries to the research blogs list, having recently discovered "k-logs" or knowledge logs (notably Sbastian Paquet's k-log), professor of cyberlaw Lawrence Lessig's freshly-started blog, Meredith Badger who's doing her MA (at RMIT) on how blogs affect the narrative voice and Jeremy Bushnell's blog on narrative technologies that accompanies his serial narrative Imaginary Year.

posted: 23/8/02 11:07 |

weblog books

Here's a list of weblog books at amazon. There are quite a few. At Weblogkitchen there's an annotated list, too, which you'd no doubt be welcome to edit if you spot errors or want to add something.

posted: 20/8/02 13:41 |

top hit!

Wow! Jill/txt is the top hit on Google if you search for "Jill" or for "txt"! I'm so proud! Thanks Mitch, for pointing it out in the tag board. My HTML needs fixing though, so Google gives the site a more legible description. [Update: I'm so far down the list on a search for "Walker" that I'm not even going to count it.]

posted: 19/8/02 14:29 |

cfp: digital arts and culture

The Call for Papers is out for the fifth Digital Arts and Culture conference, which will be in Melbourne in May 2003. There are two rounds, first they want 500 word abstracts, then the best of these will be invited to submit full papers. The best of those will be accepted. I'm getting rather excited about this conference!

posted: 17/8/02 21:50 |

writing by speaking

I'm not actually writing this, I'm speaking it. The computer is writing it for me. What does that do to all orality, secondary orality, the relation of speech and alphabet? Maybe not much for you, the readers, but it's messing up my habits anyway. I've had ViaVoice for three days now, and it's starting to understand me fairly well. Oh yes, it makes lots of mistakes, some of them quite poetic, but really it's quite impressive what it can understand. My computer can barely keep up with it, being a venerable nearly three-year-old G3 Powerbook. Still, it does work. And that means that I can start working again.

I can speak straight into Tinderbox to blog, or into a form on the Web, or into Word or anywhere that I could type, but in order to use ViaVoice's correction system, which is what allows it to improve its recognition of my voice, I need to speak into the program's own editor, SpeakPad. It's easy enough to copy and paste.

posted: 16/8/02 09:13 |

funding for Norwegian net projects

If you're interested in how the Norwegian government is funding arts and cultural projects on the internet, have a look at the list (in Norwegian) of what is being funded this year. There are links to more information about how to apply for funding too.

posted: 16/8/02 09:10 |

ode to warmth

gentle, embracing warmth, welcoming almost naked bodies (i wear my loosest summer dress) to a loving world. it's the fourth day now, or the fifth? my friends and neighbours are all complaining, just as they usually complain at the rain. i can't bear this heat, they say, yet they spend all day in the sun, as though it's a moral imperative (and i think it is, to norwegians). at night they tell me how glad they are they don't live in syden (the south. greece. spain. it's not important where. it's syden. they travel there in droves.) i open my windows wide and lie on my couch, i walk in shady forests, eat by the fjord under a parasol, go out into the warm, light night. i don't need the sun.

i love this heat. the caress of the warm breeze reminds me that the layers of clothing i usually wear (wool, cotton, silk, rubber, goretex) are protection against a cold and hostile environment.

(it's only 29C. not 40. it's perfect.)

posted: 4/8/02 12:59 |

game studies 2

Second issue of Game Studies is out now. Nice.

posted: 3/8/02 00:43 |

k-logs, siggraph report, lower case

hi! back again. typing one-handed (hence no capitals). it's slow. so i'll be brief. mark sent a copy of a couple of posts from an interesting-looking mailinglist called k-logs. k-logs are knowledge management logs, it seems, blogs by scholars and researchers etc. actually probably not that exactly but including that? should read more about it. i guess this is a k-log. though i'm happier calling it a blog or weblog for now.

noah has posted a great report from the interactive arts sections of the huge siggraph conference just held. he's worried that siggraph want to cut the arts sections, which would certainly be a pity.

viavoice STILL hasn't arrived. and i don't have tendonitis, i have a nerve irritation which is sounds uncomfortably close to carpal tunnel syndrome. but the weather's GLORIOUS and hey, i'm getting lots of reading done!

posted: 1/8/02 20:18 |