Posts Tagged ‘Free Culture’

The digital need for freedom

November 2nd, 2011 2 comments

This is becoming a hassle again. The way the Apple operation system OS X evolves is not convenient to my personal needs and the way I want to use my computer. Apple managed to incorporate impure and illicit functionalities into their operation system, that locks the user into a product range, which they control. The users freedom of choice and control fades away, thus OS X Lion is based on BSD UNIX. The command line is the only application that is turning out to allow full straightforward and controlled accessibility to the system and information. After intensively having tested and deployed OS X Lion, I decided that my next computer has to be a complete GNU/Linux machine again. Steve is dead now anyways, so things won’t improve.

Looking around in the local stores, no vendor seems to offer a up-to-date notebook computer, which respects the users choice for freedom. Either I am offered a 1 years old computer, for which I would have to wait for 3 weeks, or I’d have to “bite into the sour apple” and buy a computer, which, – illicitly, – comes together with an operation system, for which I’d have to pay for, thus I’d never use it.

In my e-mail to Lenovo I get the answer:

“Dear Alex,
Thank you for contacting Lenovo.
We apologize. We do not support any other Operating System apart from Windows.
Deboshree Mukherjee”

… whereas my answer follows like

“Dear Deboshree

That is very sad to read. Sounds like your company is bound to unfair
competition* and does not allow users freedom either.

Do I at least have the possibility to acquire a computer, without
having to pay the license of an operation system, such as M$ Wind00ze,
which I wouldn’t use?

Sorry to say that I won’t acquire a computer that forces me to use an
operating system that is unresistant to viruses and locks me into the
choice of the manufacturers formats and applications.
How comes that M$ is legally capable to establish such a contract with
your company that your products are bound to an operation system that
violates human rights?
Thus technology still evolves thanks to innovators, that are freely
sharing their ideas and creativity, based on the principles that
know-how and knowledge want to be free (as in freedom).

Let me kindly remind you, that your company, that was former IBM, has
historically evolved based on this principles!

As I am working in the field in technology research, I strongly have
to make sure, that I have complete control over my devices and
instruments. – This is only possible with software that is
non-proprietary, such as GNU/Linux & UNIX.

Wishing you all the best & remaining with kindest regards, Alex

*(which in my country is a crime.)”

I need a hardware manufacturer and vendor who grants me my human rights and freedom, without violating international competition laws and rights.

[Update 4th of October 2011]
Lenovo, – surprisingly, – writes back.

“Dear Alex,

Thank you for your feed back and for your time and patience! We will surely forward this e-mail to the appropriate department to review for the betterment of the company. Thank you once again.

Deboshree Mukherjee”

“Dear Deboshree

Thank you for your e-mail.
Would be great, if you could forward our correspondence to the respective department. I appreciate and, – honestly, – did not expect and answer.

I am sure you understand my concern and hope that we can establish a fair business relationship. It would be disappointing to see that your great computer products couldn’t be used together with an operation systems that guarantees freedom.

Have a good weekend and looking forward to read you soon again, Alex”

Upcoming event: “The Politics of Copyright and the New Cultural Economy”

October 24th, 2011 No comments

On 6th of December 2011 2000h CET (1900h UTC) Cory Doctorow is going to have a talk on “The Politics of Copyright and the New Cultural Economy” at “Kunstraum Walcheturm” in Zurich.

“Der Kanadische Science Fiction Autor und politische Aktivist Cory Doctorow wird über die Politik des Urheberrechts und seine Erfahrungen mit der freien Kultur sprechen.”


Richard Stallman’s talk at ETHZ

October 18th, 2011 No comments

This evening Richard Stallman was giving a talk at the ETHZ. It was nice to see how the lecture hall was filled with young ICT students and hackers. Richard started his talk by saying that if anybody wants to record the talk or take pictures should publish it only by using free formats, such as ogg. – Well he’s substantially right by saying this. I was just wondering why it has to be said, as I think it’s self-evident.

It appears that even one of the most respected education institutes, such as the ETHZ, does not take Freedom for granted. And there lies the socio-political deception: Governments and regulation authorities have pushed surveillance and media control as far as we’re accepting debates about freedom to be discussed in mediocre circles. People using GNU/Linux are seen as outcast, rebels and extremists. – Though freedom ought to be one of the most basic principles of humankind!

There’s a massive lack of intellectuals and authors, interfering into the public political and cultural debates, as it has become difficult to avoid the mass media and, – therefore, – disinformation. The economical thirst for growth managed to incorporate writers and readers to subordinate their belief for the sake of media-control. Academics and brains subordinated with self-absorbed researches, funded by lobbyists and obscure organisations, to abandon their principles of liberty and freedom.

At the shift from information society to knowledge society, it’s not enough to just present the four freedoms of Free Software to the tomorrows system administrators and technoly adepts. Richard might be substantially right in his exposure of the principles of free software, while “Big Brother“, – as he calls it, – has ever since found new means of control. (Which are implemented into the todays information technology structures, without letting users know. Whereafter a large part of society argues “I’ve nothing to hide”!)
Richard seems to have become “commensurable” to a large audience, without being contradicted, without disruptive moments and “Etat de Siege“, which are needed to shake the public. – Literally!

Humankind has to understand that the dialectic rapidly has to change and that we’re not willing to be instrumentalised by capitalism. Culture is defined by self-determination, innovation, transparency, freedom and human rights. Richard, the whole free software and civil liberty society have to take the step to the next level and start to take back, 0wn and rule this planet!



Copy me: Technological change and the consumption of music

August 26th, 2011 No comments

… worth reading:

Copy me: Technological change and the consumption of music

CC-by-sa 3.0 2009 by Nick White

For those who worry about the cultural, economic and political power of the global media companies, the dreamed-of revolution is at hand. The industry may right now be making a joyful noise unto the Lord, but it is we, not they, who are about to enter the promised land. (Moglen 2001)


Technological changes have political implications. Changing the way we interact with things encourages a reconsideration of the rules and institutions that have governed previous interactions with them.

The current debate about copies of recorded music using the Internet is an excellent example of this, and by examining it one may better understand the relations between people and recorded music, and between listeners and the traditional publishers of music.

While undoubtedly a great deal may be usefully said and examined in other technological changes in music recordings, I will here focus primarily on filesharing, as it is something I have been somewhat involved in myself, and hence I have significantly more knowledge ‘from the inside.’

I will begin by discussing traditional definitions of ‘commodity,’ and then move on to a very brief overview of historical trends in copying and music recording. I will also touch upon the printing press in order to discuss the creation and rationale behind copyright laws, which form a major part the present filesharing debate. I will then go into greater depth into the current practises of people who share music on filesharing networks, and the response by the recording industry, before embarking on an analysis of the meaning and significance of some of these new practises and dialogues.

It should be noted that I’m speaking primarily of England and the United States of America, and the situation will be somewhat different in other parts of the world.


Download the paper
or visit

“The Concert” (27C3) feedback

December 29th, 2010 No comments

Photos by Udo (CC-NC-BY-SA)

More photos at Sven’s Photostream,

Michael Schmid’s ( Flickr site

and Simon Bierwald’s Flickr

“The concert” was my ultimate congress high point, and I’m sorry to say that the video is unlikely to communicate the magic that happened in Saal 1 on the evening of Day 2. But I predict that this isn’t the last time you’ll see Lix, Corey Cerovsek and Julien Quentin put on this piece they premiered at 27c3. I wouldn’t be surprised if they hadn’t done TED by the end of next year.

Becky Hogge

[…] a breathtaking classical music concert and loads of other geeky and amazingly cool stuff that you have never seen before.

Door Axel Ambak

“Corey Cerovsek (Violine) und Julien Quentin (Piano) spielten ein wunderbares Konzert klassischer Musik. Dazu wurden von Lix’ Folien zum Thema Copyright und freie Musik gezeigt. Die drei haben uns eine sehr kreative Vorstellung geboten, was vom Publikum mit Standing Ovations belohnt wurde.


The best experience was The Concert, by no doubt.

Mikael Nordfeldth

Das Konzert heute war super. Die haben es echt hinbekommen das da alle sassen und gebannt ein klassisches Konzert angehört haben. Finde ich toll.


Und inzwischen steht das Programm des 27c3; meine Lieblingsvorträge sind zweifellos Das Konzert, eine Aufführung eines klassischen Konzertes unter der Fragestellung “wie sähe die Klassik, wie wir sie heute kennen und schätzen, aus, hätte es im 17. Jahrhundert bereits die Copyright-Gesetze des Jahres 2010 gegeben”.


Ich fand das Konzert grossartig, gerade weil es so anders war als die sonstigen Veranstaltungen, und die Musiker sich bewusst waren, wo sie sind.


The highlight of today’s 27C3 was the world premiere of “The Concert“, a disconcerting moment for free culture. […]


The Concert by Corey Cerovsek and Julien Quentin spiced with visuals by Lix It was a brilliant concerto and a nice counterpoint to the usual content you would expect on a hacker meeting.

Tobias Dieckershoff

Neben den zu erwartenden Highlights (PS3 Epic Fail, mahas Sprache des Politischen Verrats, Stuxnet) ist mir insbesondere (weil unerwartet) “The Concert” in Erinnerung geblieben. Ich hatte das vorab nicht gegoogelt, und es hat mich weggeblasen. Kongeniale Konzeption und Ausführung. Darüber hinaus sind das auch noch Leute, die nicht nur exzellente Musiker sind, sondern exzellente Solomusiker, für die Leute viel Geld bezahlen, wenn sie ein Konzert geben.


C’est, peut-être, une utopie, et elle connaît mille formes: ce soir, pendant une heure et demie, un violoniste et un pianiste ont surpris le public en interprétant Mozart et Beethoven, soulignant qu’il n’aurait pas de musique classique possible sans l’invention du domaine public.


Normalerweise sieht man auf dem Hacker-Getümmel ja vor allem Computerheinis (wie meine Großmutter sagen würde) und ihre Ansammlungen and Rechnern und sonstiger Gadgets, sowohl auf – als auch vor den Vortragsbühnen. Es gab allerdings einen Vortrag, der sich von allen Anderen absetzte und der von vielen Besuchern des Kongresses als ein Highlight, wenn nicht sogar DAS Highlight beschrieben wurde.


Einige Künstler hatten sich wohl an den CCC gewendet und den Vorschlag gemacht, ein kleines Konzert mit Klavier (Steinway) und Geige (Stradivari) zu spielen. So kamen einige Hacker dann in den Genuss eines großartigen Konzerts. Immerhin die Zugabe erfreute noch meine Ohren.

Qbi’s Weblog

[…] a breathtaking classical music concert and loads of other geeky and amazingly cool stuff that you have never seen before.

bits of freedom

… see more comments on Twitter.

27C3 We come in peace

December 26th, 2010 No comments

Tomorrow the 27C3 hacker congress is starting at the bcc in Berlin.
Watch out for “The Concert”, which is taking place at 18:30h on the second congress day (28th of december 2010).

Marcus Boon: “In Praise of Copying”

October 24th, 2010 No comments

Marcus Boon: “I am uploading my new book onto the internet. Yes, I am. The book is not yet on the shelves, not yet touched by the mild boredom of commodification … OK, I’m copying again, from the introductory lines of Walter Benjamin’s famous essay “Unpacking My Library”, which media theorist Julian Dibbell riffed on in his dawn of the downloading age essay “Unpacking My Record Collection”. Those two excellent essays were concerned with the figure of the collector. But what concerns me here is, to use the title of another of Benjamin’s essays, “the author as producer”, and the act of donating a book, “my book”, to a library, if library is the right word for the place where my text is being deposited.

While I was finishing In Praise of Copying, I became interested in the circulation of texts. I wondered whether it was hypocritical to write a book that celebrates copying, while still slapping a copyright notice to the front of the book. There are easy ways out of this: I could say that what I’m doing is presenting a critique of contemporary society but that obviously I have to work pragmatically within existing economic conditions, even though I disapprove of them. There’s some truth to that. In fact, the copyright notice to many academic books is in the name of the publisher, not the author. When I talked to people at Harvard, they pointed out to me that in signing a book contract, I had already signed away most of the rights to the book, and that it was therefore more honest for the publisher to claim and look after the copyright. I could have requested that I retain the copyright, as I did with my first HUP published book, but I thought there was something persuasive about their argument. And that I don’t need to own the copyright in order to feel some sense of agency in relation to what I’d written.

But I still wanted to explicitly allow people to make copies of my book about copying. I asked Harvard whether this was possible and they said yes. As of October 1, 2010, the book has been available from Harvard’s website as a pdf, free to download, but with a creative commons license that restricts the uses of the copy. I wrote the following text to accompany the web page:

“Given the topic and stance of In Praise of Copying, I wanted the text to participate openly in the circulation of copies that we see flourishing all around us. I approached Harvard to discuss options and they agreed to make the book available as a PDF online. The PDF is freely available to anyone who wants to download it, but it does come with a creative commons license that sets some intelligent restrictions on what you can do with it. Although generosity is a wonderful thing, this isn’t especially intended as a utopian gesture towards a world in which everything is free. It’s recognition of the way in which copies of texts circulate today, a circulation in which the physical object known as the book that is for sale in the marketplace has an important but hardly exclusive role. A PDF of a book is not an illegitimate copy of a legitimate original but participates in other kinds of circulation that have long flourished around the book-commodity: the library book; the photocopy or hand-written copy; the book browsed, borrowed or shared. We all know these modes of circulation exist, as they continue to do today with online text archives.

Perhaps these online archives just make visible and more “at hand” something that was happening invisibly, more distantly, but continuously before. At the same time, something new is going on. The physical book today is one copy, one iteration of a text among others. What that means for publishers, writers, readers and other interested parties is something that we are working out – on this webpage and elsewhere.”

Harvard University Press Catalog

God(ard) bless us

September 14th, 2010 No comments

Over time more and more artists and creative minds understand the injustice and deadly intention of intellectual property rights and its juridical enforcements. It’s the culture creators how should be in power over their creation and not an established law industry and economy which leads to the destruction of culture in the end.

Jean Luc Goddard is one of the creative minds who understood, that there is no such thing as “intellectual property”. He therefore supports a french internet pirate who is accused to have downloaded MP3 on the internet.

Read more about Free Culture in Lawrence Lessig’s Book “Free Culture” and “Free as Freedom” – not as “Free Beer“.