draw-something: new colour stabilizing

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CC And DRM

A good article containing some of the points from the cc-licenses discussion about DRM:

http://www.freesoftwaremagazine.com/blogs/debian_and_the_creative_commons

draw-something: Debugging New Colour Algorithm

Debugging images from draw-something modified to use AARON’s new colour algorithm. Like I say, they’re debugging images. The colour is using a single choice probability and hasn’t been tested properly yet. I also need to distribute the forms better but that’s outside the control of the colour algorithm.

links for 2006-11-18

links for 2006-11-17

NC, Use and Distribution

The GPL concerns Use of software but is triggered by Distribution. Use is not the same as Distribution. In particular Distribution is not a form of Use. It is common to confuse the two, but this is a mistake similar to confusing use value with exchange value in economics. Strictly speaking only users of software have the right to distribute it (well, receive its source).

If you receive a piece of music and listen to it (or remix it, or cover it, or…) you are a User of that music, and are free to distribute it. If you do not listen to a piece of music you are not a User, and do not strictly speaking have the right to Distribute it.

A recent survey showed that music users regarded sharing music that they have purchased with their friends as acceptable but that they regarded large-scale commercial copying without paying the original musician unacceptable. That is they supported Distribution by Users but not Distribution in the absence of Use. This is the difference between Use and Distribution as a social norm.

NC may seem to reflect this norm, even in its tolerance of peer-to-peer filesharing (which is Commercial Use under US law). Peer-to-peer filesharing between individual users of music allows them to share music that you have bought with their “200,000 closest friends” as Lessig puts it.

But the mechanics of a peer-to-peer service, or a repository site, amount to Distribution without Use. The GPL 3 draft has been modified to reflect this, allowing distribution of GPL licensed binaries through peer-to-peer systems. The personal use of a peer-to-peer network or a repository does not break the norm of Distribution by Users. But the monetization of such systems, the only hope Web 2.0 has of turning a profit, does.

NC Is Not Magnatune’s Secret Sauce

The NC business model that Magnatune use has clearly inspired Creative Commons. Magnatune’s success makes them a very positive model for a record label, but not in the way that might be expected from their use of NC. The problem is that the threats to their livelihoods that recording artists actually face are not the same as the ones that NC actually tackles.

NC doesn’t protect artists from losing value from non-sales distribution.

NC explicitly allows both internet-era filesharing and walkman-era personal copying. NC therefore gives away any value that a direct audience for music can actually want to take. And it is as powerless as standard copyright to stop organized illegal commercial copying.

NC doesn’t protect artists from being ripped off by middlemen.

Artists who use NC can still sign to a record label. Which NC then cannot prevent ripping them off, failing to promote them, or dropping them. Magnatune clearly state that they are not evil and make clear and public the financial terms of their relationship with their signed artists. This is far more important than NC for artists not being ripped off.

NC is not the dissuader in NC-SA, SA is.

Magnatune will sell proprietary licences for music by their artists to film producers who wish to use the music commercially. But it is unlikely that those producers would SA their films if the music they wish to use was SA-only. NC on top of SA is simply redundant in this case.

NC is not Magnatune’s secret sauce.

NC doesn’t stop artists losing sales, being ripped off, or losing proprietary use revenue. The secret sauce in Magnatune’s business model is their strong and public ethical position, and this is far more difficult to reproduce technologically than their use of NC.

Last Night’s Talk By Harold Cohen

Harold gave an excellent presentation of how and why AARON’s new colouring system works. I’ve just about hacked up an implementation of the system for draw-something from my notes in a couple of hours, so you can tell that Harold is a thorough speaker as well as an insightful and sometimes humorous one. 😉

AARON’s new colour system uses three lists of numbers, one for hue created from an additive series with a random start, one for saturation generated randomly and sorted into low/medium/high ranges, and another for value created the same way. AARON then chooses the hue according to the kind of object, and the saturation and value from the low/medium/high ranges according to the probabilities assigned to them. There’s some error correction and some mach-band-like generation of slightly lighter and darker colours for edge adornment but as Harold said it is a very much simpler system than AARON was using before.

It is also a strikingly successful system aesthetically. The colours and the contrast of the images are pleasing and interesting, sometimes mellow, sometimes dramatic, always “creative”. Perhaps this has to do with the new system matching our cognitive perceptual system’s preferences in some way.

I asked a question, badly, and got an answer with some interesting details about how AARON handles intersecting objects. A Furtherfield reviewer was there so hopefully a review will be up on Furtherfield soon. Many thanks to the excellent Computer Arts Society and Imperial College for arranging the talk.

Release The Music » Sign our petition

Release The Music » Sign our petition We believe that any extension to the term of copyright protection for sound recordings would be highly damaging to artists and the public good. We hereby request that you publicly reject all demands from all parties for any extension, retrospective or prospective, to the term of copyright protection for sound recordings.Readers in the UK, please sign this petition from ORG and also take a look at the Release The Music web site:http://www.releasethemusic.org/

links for 2006-11-14