DRM is Killing Music

Boing Boing: DRM is Killing Music parody of “Home Taping is Killing Music”

Remember how home taping killed music? Ex-actly.

Sampling Artists and NC

I’ve just read another apologia from a sampling artist who is releasing their work under a NonCommercial Creative Commons license.

On the face of it this is simple hypocracy. Someone denying others the freedom they themselves are exercising, that of commercial use of appropriated material. Possibly the worst example of this are JibJab.

But if we are arguing that sample-based works or mashups are first-order cultural works, that is works that are as valid as an “original” piece (e.g. a Jeffrey Archer novel or a Britney Speares single), then this is not so clear-cut. Because regardless of the origin of its materials, there is a work here that has as much right to the protection of copy and moral rights as any other. To argue otherwise is to argue against the validity of remix culture.

Asserting copyright on transformative fair use works (in the US, we don’t get TFU in the UK 🙁 ) is an important claim of authorial and artistic validity for remix culture. If exercising TFU is virtuous, then the artist is virtuous by virtue of their having exercised TFU. If every work is derivative anyway then there should be no special penalty or responsibility attached to works that recognise this.

The accruing of rights by sampling artists is therefore a hard-won and important thing. Those artists should be able to handle those rights however they wish.
All that said, you cannot CC license something that you do not hold the rights to. CC licensing is therefore an assertion of rights in itself. And it is simple self-interest for sampling artists to work towards more easily sampled work.

Talk of protecting economic ‘rights’ or reputation or sticking it to the man is suspect coming from people (the majors would regard as) ripping off recording artists to debase their work with an eye to getting the results into record stores or onto iTMS.

We should not single out sampling artists when considering the ethics of NC. We should not give them any special privilege when considering the ethics of NC. This being the case, sampling artists choosing NC is no worse than anyone else choosing NC, but it certainly isn’t any better.

So sampling artists choosing NC still sucks.


  • If there are no criteria for art, are there criteria for criteria for art? Some kind of meta criteria (without turtles all the way down), language,  or point design system.
  • If conceptualism was the descent of the theoretical superstructure of art into art, what would the intrusion of the managerial context be?

Procedural Drawing

DataIsNature on the (long!) history and the aesthetic value of procedural drawing:


Moglen’s Utopia

The reason why our plans for freedom work better than other peoples’ is that they include a sequence of activities ” proof of concept, running code and the solicitation of partnership. First you make it, then it works, then you invite people to make it better.

Most of the people that have struggled for freedom have proposed a utopia ” “I know of a place that’s never existed, but if we go there it will be better.” It turns out that as a mode of constructing freedoms there are problems with that method.


Creative Software

I will be at the Creative Software conference on Thursday to talk about my art computing work (such as minara and draw-something) and why it is Free Software:

Creative Software

My bio and statement are now on the page.

GNOME Art – Icons

GNOME Art – Icons

BY-SA SVG icons for the GNOME desktop.

Tango Icon Gallery

BY-SA SVG icons:

Tango Icon Gallery – Tango Desktop Project

Aardvark The Aardvark

A BY-SA children’s book project with SVG illustrations:

Aardvark The Aardvark

Busy Busy

So I went to help out at Remix Reading’s open access lab two Saturdays ago.

On Tuesday I met up with the extremely cool Jon Philips of Creative Commons (amongst other projects). Then I discussed Ken Wark’s “Hacker Manifesto” (buy! buy!) with Tom Chance. Then I discussed free culture with Dave.

On Sunday 19th March I’m hoping to get to Cory Doctorow’s last Copyfighters’ drunken brunch in the morning then to Dorkfest in the afternoon where I’ll be talking about draw-something.

On Thursday 23rd March I’ll be talking about my work and discussing art computing with the panel at Cybersalons’s Creative Software conference.

Then on Saturday 8th April it’s fc-uk’s practical free culture meetup, where I hope to talk about free art. I believe I am the first artist to have had an all-copyleft solo show (corrections in the comments section please 🙂 ).

So this is why I am not blogging very much at the moment. 🙂