In Rainbows III

Apparently the download and payment figures I (and everyone else) have been commenting on were pulled out of the air by the people who published them. So we don’t know exactly how well the downloads of “In Rainbows” did.

But given that some people did pay for it, “In Rainbows” has paid better as downloads than it would have as a P2P leak. And I would re-iterate that unpaid downloads are comparable to promotional costs for CDs. So at worst this experiment has been something of a success and turned many eager fans into paying customers rather than copyright criminals.

Mantaray II

If I wanted to make this blog linkbait I would just post snarky comments about Goth icons’ latest offerings and watch the Adwords revenue come pouring in.

But I don’t. So when people get the wrong end of a slightly more nuanced stick than I feel they are giving me credit for I feel I need to revisit what I have written.

This means that I have four things to say about my comments on Mantaray:

1. I like the album. I said I did. It has grown on me even more with repeated listening, and it was great to see Siouxsie on Later With Jools Holland.

2. I stand by my comments about Siouxsie’s inconsistent pronunciation of ts as ds. Compare even words in the same song never mind different songs or previous albums. I concede that I cannot know why this is the case.

3. I also stand by my comments about the music. It is content by the traditional two producers. It is competent content, and probably all that is possible at this point in history, but it is still a comparative disappointment as a backing for such excellent vocals.

4. If you love music then be willing to look inside the box rather than just accepting the marketing speak. Content isn’t questioned and makes no mistakes.

Just to re-iterate: I have some criticisms about Mantaray’s production (none of which are aimed at Siouxsie, who is on top form here) that I hope can be addressed for the next album, but it’s a very good album so go and buy it.

No More Links Here

They get in the way of the articles.

Support BY-SA/SFDL Compatibility, Not BY-SA/FDL Compatibility

With the Affero GPL released, the Free Software Foundation can now press on with revising the Free Documentation Licence (FDL).

Alongside the FDL the FSF have also proposed a Simpler Free Documentation Licence (SFDL). This is a great improvement on the FDL as it does not allow invariant sections.

Invariant Sections are the moral and practical equivalent of Adware. They allow advertising, obnoxious commentary and other irrelevences to be added to a document in such a way that you cannot remove them. When you share or modify a work these sections you must pay the price of imposing these sections on others if you wish to use the original work.

This is unacceptable in a Free licence, and is largely the product of the FSF’s desire to propagate the GNU Manifesto. More people should read the GNU manifesto, but not at the price that the FDL extracts. The answer to the FSF wanting to add the GNU Manifesto to their documentation should be “sure, just don’t make it invariant”, not “sure, as long as everybody else can add invariant adware as well.

If BY-SA was made compatible with the FDL, Invariant sections could be imposed on derivatives of BY-SA works. This would be unfair on BY-SA licensors, and might effectively alienate them from otherwise usable derivatives of their work.

The SFDL imposes no such price on derivatives and so BY-SA/SFDL compatibility is not problematic.

The SFDL is also compatible with FDL work that has not invariant sections (but not vice versa), making it compatible with Wikipedia. If Wikipedia went to SFDL then it could be BY-SA compatible.

For these reason, when commenting on the FDL revision web site, discussing this on mailing lists, or blogging about it, please call for BY-SA/SFDL compatibility, not BY-SA/FDL compatibility.

And if you believe that Invariant Sections are bad (which they are), ask the FSF to deprecate the FDL in favour of the SFDL. Eben Moglen did say that Invariant Sections would be gone at one stage, the community should push for this again.

links for 2007-11-21

Participatory Fannishness

This Blog Sits at the: Fan fathoming
Alexander noted in passing that one of the ways Heroes builds the narrative is through a process of rapid prototyping. This lets the writing team bring themes forward quickly and examine their options. And I found myself thinking, “well, why not let the fans do this?”

I have been arguing for some time that genre TV is ripe for Free Culture. “Open Star Trek” is one of my standard pitches. The example I use is Xena Warrior Princess, which had a couple of potential (ly disastrous) plotlines rightfully dropped after fan reactions, had episodes written by fans turned pro, and which mentioned a fan website in its final episode.

There are problems with pandering to fannishness – rabid fans can prevent a show growing and developing. There are problems with openness – I blogged about handling reveals and cliffhangers in participatory media before.

But the potential of creating the bible, plotlines, CGI and scripts for a series in a participatory way is massive. Copyleft can turn fan contributions into drivers of value for the core project and avoid making fans into sharecroppers. This is a combination that is just crying out to be tried. If anyone wants to give it a go then get in touch…

links for 2007-11-18

links for 2007-11-16

links for 2007-11-15

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today

The album “Floodland” by The Sisters Of Mercy was released on the 17th of November 1987.

It’s an absolute classic and one of the two major initial drivers of my worldview (the other being Michael Moorcock’s Jerry Cornelius stories).

If you don’t own a copy, buy one. If you do, the re-release has extra tracks on. 😉