..on Sun, Sep 21, 2008 at 01:17:24PM +1000, Sean Cubitt wrote:
The new Canadian legislation (slipped through on the
day the PM made his own
Rudd-like apology to canada's equivalent of the stolen generation and so
slipping under a lot of radar) is unsurprisingly very like the outlines of
.. a few (ok, about 50) wandering thoughts ..
i find it pretty curious, if not opportunistic, that They use the word
'counterfeit' in the expression of these regulations.
to consider a copy of an existing file a counterfeit is to assume that
the copy can only 'pretend' to be the other, that there is something
intrinsic about the original not represented in the copy. that intrinsic
difference, in almost all cases concerning digital copies, is a
timestamp, the time in which the data was reproduced.
when talking about copies and digital media i think it's also worth
emphasising the fact that every time we play a digital sound file using
speakers it propagates differently - an unavoidable re-production of the
Original - modulated by the movement and density of air, the contents
and geometry of the room before deforming the tissue of our aural
in other words, sound, images and video do not exist or occur in
computers let alone across networks. these media propagate in corporeal
places, reproduced by people's eardrums and retinas and re-cognised by
an attentive subject. audiophiles will talk about stereo systems
offering a good 'reproduction' of the recording, for instance..
defining a hierachy around the Original digital artefact is therefore
reduced to an abstract and technical condition of precedence - a
parenthood bound only in time - rather than any qualitative genealogical
or phenomenological distinction. in this case DRM is concerned with
modifying the original such that it can be proven to be distinct from
its copies strictly within a technical, abstract, non-representative
domain - a domain outside of human experience altogether.
"counterfeit", in this context, is yet another word serving corporeal
description dragged-and-dropped over a digital culture where it innately
makes no sense. the 'counterfeit' part, as enforced by
rights-management, is already artificial: the digital artefact itself
doesn't contain - let alone self-represent - its own absolute (in the
intrinsic sense) originality.
naturally where policy and reform are concerned the above arguments
count for little.
successful arguments (at least in contexts of public debate) i've
encountered push along the lines of:
1/ protecting our 'digital heritage' by ensuring 'future
generations' will be able to enjoy today's content without being 'locked
out' due to then unsupported closed-standard, rights-management
platforms. thankfully an open-standards DRM is almost an oxymoron.
2/ attacks on the argument that every song shared is a song
not-sold, which is easily done of course as the logic is just silly.
3/ an economic argument around the escalating cost to the tax-payer
of implementing and administering systems with which to 'fight piracy';
that this money could be better spent on transforming existing faltering
business and content-distribution models, working with the strengths of
digital media rather than against it.
all said a rights-management platform at the protocol level is doomed
IMO. even unique hardware identifiers (like the MAC addresses of network
cards) are easily changed (see UNIX tool 'ifconfig'). network packets
can be shaped, routed, spoofed, dissected, reconstructed while keys can
to believe DRM - as a technical implementation - will work at all is to
assume people don't like culture enough to invent new ways to both find
it and share it.
this said i don't think any media moguls backing DRM actually believe it
will work, or at least for long. they are trying to do two things:
1/ make as much money as they can, while they can.
2/ create a technical platform from which a legal framework can be
based such that they can take destructive exemplary action in
high-profile cases to stimulate revenue generating fear amongst
it could be said, therefore, that DRM is merely symbolic, pointing
to the fact that criminal activity /could/ occur.
DRM is largely a farce and that governments are being duped into helping
protect the revenue streams of media giants (Warner, Apple, Sony
Entertainment) while they work on new business models that don't depend
on the 'management' of rights at all.
my 2 kunas
Split, Adriatic coast.
On 21/09/08 9:40 AM, "Bronwyn Smith" <bronwyn(a)holloway.co.nz> wrote:
I would like to draw your attention to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade
Agreement (ACTA) that is currently being negotiated by a number of
international countries - including New Zealand.
This is something that should be of concern to digital artists -
specifically those of the type that use appropriated/borrowed/found material
in their work, and those who use the internet (for whatever reason, ever!!)
To quickly summarise the history of ACTA thus far:
Although it's called "counterfeiting" it's actually about tracking
copyrighted material online, not just fake bank notes & Gucci bags.
Currently if the police want to search your house or tap your phone or
internet they'd need to present evidence to a judge, however with this
proposed treaty then any copyright holder would be able to bypass the court
and monitor your internet connection, your friends internet connections, and
your travels overseas - all in the name of "protecting artists work". As an
artist, I'm not quite convinced that the protection of
my work's copyright warrants this kind of activity.
There have been several months of negotiation between the governments of New
Zealand and other countries including USA, Switzerland, Japan, Australia,
South Korea, Canada, Mexico & the European Union on ACTA. This international
negotiation has been taking place without public consultation until some
(copyrighted?!) information was leaked to the internet.
This may sound like a conspiracy theory but as you'll see the details are
now public and available for anyone to understand. It's anti-piracy taken to
the level of privacy invasion.
...you can read more at http://www.bronwyn.co.nz
Those pushing for the Treaty to go through have said they would like to get
it resolved internationally by Christmas this year (2008!!) so there is some
urgency around the process - particularly with NZ having an election before
So, if you find issue with this I would recommend that you raise it with
your local candidates and make a reasoned argument about the dangers of
excessive IP legislation and enforcement as an artist or otherwise!
You can find more information here:
- Radio NZ podcast (with Lynn Freeman & Colin Jackson) - ACTA bit starts at
: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade
: Proposed US ACTA multi-lateral intellectual property trade
- med.govt.nz: Anti-Counterfeiting Trade
- it.gen.nz: Your rights on the internet at
- it.gen.nz: Submission on ACTA <http://it.gen.nz/submission-on-acta/>
...and by googling "Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement"
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Prof Sean Cubitt
Media and Communications Program
Faculty of Arts
Room 127 John Medley East
The University of Melbourne
Parkville VIC 3010
Tel: + 61 3 8344 3667
Fax:+ 61 3 8344 5494
M: 0448 304 004
Editor-in-Chief Leonardo Book Series
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