By Ryan Mallough - Monday, January 28, 2013 - 0 Comments
The new age of piracy
It’s being called the “copyright Armageddon,” a looming legal battle between manufacturers and the Internet, thanks to the increasing popularity of 3D printers. With some desktop units available for as little as $500, almost anyone can now print plastic items from the comfort of home—tools and toys, house decorations, even musical instruments. The possibilities seem limitless—and so, too, does the potential for piracy.
Internet piracy has been an issue ever since Shawn Fanning created the music file-sharing program Napster. Though Napster was shut down in 2001, after one of the biggest copyright battles in history, piracy has only spread, from music to movies and books. But until recently, online theft has been limited to data, not physical objects.
Now some file-sharing websites are taking advantage of what many expect to be the next digital revolution. Popular music and video downloading website the Pirate Bay has rolled out a database for 3D downloads. The 3D printers, which are about the size of a microwave, read the files—essentially a digital blueprint—and lay down thin layers of plastic from the bottom up to build objects. There are files that claim to print everything from a working “Nerf gun” to an iPod dock. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Friday, September 17, 2010 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
James Franco’s newest reinvention, a dolphin that goes fishing, Prince embraces the medium formerly known as print
Is the Lady a mere copycat?
In its way, Lady Gaga’s tireless hunt for ways to shock us is nothing if not ambitious. Last week, it was her pals at PETA who were outraged after she appeared on Vogue Japan’s cover wearing only slabs of meat. Her Warholian shtick is now under fire as not being as original as we think. Yana Morgana claims Gaga stole her late daughter Lina’s flair for theatrics after the two recorded a dozen songs together in 2008. “Every other word she says is from Lina,” she told the New York Post.
Painting the town white
François Croteau, the mayor of Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, Que., hopes to cool his corner of Earth one white roof at a time. He’s proposed a bylaw making white roofs mandatory on all new buildings in the Montreal borough so they generate less heat. Roofs under repair would also have to be painted white, though residential peaked roofs are exempt. The plan is endorsed by Concordia University engineering professor Hashem Akbari, who is campaigning to get 100 of the world’s largest cities to go white. Changing all the roofs in the world would be equal to parking the world’s cars for 20 years, he says. Councillors vote in October.
Newspapers: the next big thing
Prince, the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince, is having a boffo summer since he famously declared the Internet “completely over”—as “outdated” as MTV. He’s playing last-minute stadium shows and occasional small gigs, maintaining his reputation as a musical rebel. He gave away for free his new CD, 20TEN, in four European newspapers, including London’s Mirror. Fed up with Internet abuses, he’s banned YouTube and iTunes from using his songs. “I really believe in finding new ways to distribute my music,” he told the Mirror, which, incidentally, was founded in 1903.
By Kate Lunau - Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 8:40 AM - 12 Comments
How good can laptops and MP3s get? Digital music gets a rethink.
For over 10 years, music piracy has been the recording industry’s bogeyman. But Jimmy Iovine, head of Interscope Records, has another beef with digital music: a lot of it “sounds like crap.” As labels scrambled to contain the threat posed by file-sharing services like Napster, they “did nothing about the disintegration of digital sound,” Iovine told Maclean’s from his home in L.A. With the proliferation of cheap earbuds, cellphone MP3 players, and tinny laptop speakers, we’ve lost the “emotion of the music,” he says—the range and richness of sound that artists intended us to hear, and in many cases, spent tens of thousands of dollars in studios creating. “Degrading content is just as severe as piracy,” he says. “I call it a digital revolution that went terribly wrong.”
Iovine is looking to “fix the entire ecosystem,” from headphones and sound files to computers. In 2008, he founded Beats Electronics with music producer Dr. Dre, and partnered with Monster Cable (a high-performance cable manufacturer) to launch Beats by Dr. Dre, a line of high-end headphones. Thanks to positive reviews and celebrity endorsements—Katie Holmes and the NBA’s LeBron James have been photographed with them—kids raised on MP3s were soon ditching their $10 earbuds. But there’s no sense paying up to $400 for headphones if they’re going to be plugged into a computer—which is how almost 90 per cent of people aged 18 to 24 listen to music, says Iovine. That’s why this week, Beats and Hewlett-Packard are launching the Envy 17, a notebook that comes with an in-built subwoofer.
By Colby Cosh - Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 4:31 AM - 14 Comments
Speaking on the first day of the World Newspaper Congress in Hyderabad, India, Rupert Murdoch’s US leader accused the press of being the “principal architect of its greatest difficulty today”. …”We are allowing our journalism—billions of dollars worth of it every year—to leak onto the internet. We are surrendering our hard-earned rights to the search engines and aggregators, and the out and out thieves of the digital age.” [link]
There is something remarkable about this quote from Les Hinton that perhaps nobody has noticed. If the “and” in the last sentence is accurate, Hinton is not suggesting that search engines and news aggregators are thieves: he is specifically stating that they are NOT thieves, or not quite. This is an opinion that is the direct, 180-degree opposite from the one his boss has often expressed. Considering which boss we’re talking about, you never saw a bigger “and” in your life.
Hinton is right to speak carefully, of course. Theft is the taking of property without consent, but the big windmill Murdoch is tilting at, Google, still requires his implied permission as proprietor to engage in all that linking he so objects to. (To get the full effect, imagine that word “linking” spoken in a sneering, sulfurous Montgomery Burns voice. Linnnkinnng.) Blocking Google’s robots from crawling a website and scraping data for its main search engine takes about 30 seconds’ work. The process of having a site removed from Google News can be initiated in another 60, with a simple e-mail.
So what’s the holdup on Murdoch’s side? Obviously his wrath at “thieves” is properly understood as a negotiating stance, not an inflexible philosophical position. Newspapers have problems, but as far I can see or have seen, they can’t complain of very widespread intellectual-property takings of the sort that are arguably helping to kill the “music business” (i.e., an infestation of parasites whose interpolation between musicians and their audiences no longer offers any benefit). If only the poor record companies could have fought off Napster and its successors by changing one line in a robots.txt file!
By Rachel Mendleson - Monday, February 16, 2009 at 9:45 AM - 1 Comment
Will the kids stop pirating when films go online? Doubt it.
In a recent episode of The Office, Jim and Pam pushed their disdain for annoying co-worker Andy aside to watch pirated movies with him on his laptop. Why the change of heart? He was the only one at work who knew how to download bootleg films.
Meanwhile, in the real world, people are discovering that pirating movies has never been easier. Thanks to faster download speeds and easy-to-use software, it’s getting to the point where your grandmother can download any DVD she wants, for free, in minutes. Which means Hollywood is about to run headfirst into the same forces that have already decimated the music industry.