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Piratkopiering lagligt enligt polisen

May 26, 2010

Häromdagen råkade ett svenskt par ut för att någon kopierade ett fotografiskt verk de skapat och använde utan korrekt licens. När rättighetsinnehavarna, paret ifråga, kontaktade polisen fick de till svar att det inte är brottsligt att använda andras bilder på Internet.

Intressant. Även om fotografier har en egen liten lagkonstruktion för att anses nå verkshöjd så skiljer inte upphovsrättslagstiftningen på huruvida saker händer via Internet eller inte, så polisens svar måste kunna anses gälla all form av kopiering av verk – och därmed även musik, filmer m.m.

Det korrekta svaret är kanske att i polisens värld är upphovsrättslagarna bara till för att skydda stora mediabolag och inte privatpersoner.

(Jag har påpekat för Sydsvenskan att det vore mycket intressant att få se dem följa upp frågeställningen, men inte fått något svar. Trots allt räckte enbart misstanke om brott mot upphovsrätten för husrannsakan i andra, ökända, fall)

Not all that shines is gold

January 25, 2010

Apple might like to polish their user interfaces, but sometimes the logic underneath is … less polished.

I’ve had to transfer large amounts of data from one external USB disk to another today. Running Snow Leopard on an Intel Mac Mini. Guess which one of the following graphs show the faster method?

Apparently OSX Finder does read-to-mem, write-to-disk, read-to-mem, write-to-disk – serially. Path Finder, a replacement, is thus twice as fast since it transfers the data in a synchronous read-write operation.

(I’ve also realised that Activity Monitor, from which the above two screen grabs are taken, overstates the transfer rates with almost exactly 2x the actual speed)

Bad Apple.

Singularity Summit 2009 – report

October 8, 2009

(In Swedish at least for the time being. To view the tweets in English I wrote during the conference, use this search)

Jag var på Singularity Summit 2009 i helgen som gick, och publicerade mina någorlunda hastigt nedskrivna tankar om det efteråt. Klicka på länken för att läsa ;)

edit: The videos of the presentations are now available

Spotify – liberation or DRM-hell?

September 22, 2009

Spotify, seen by many as the music service Napster should’ve been and thus would have saved us from the last 10 years of evil piracy, has a darker side to it as well. To understand, let’s do some history:

First, one of the suggestions from the media industry on how to “solve the piracy problem” (that still hasn’t been shown to exist, worth noting) has been to create a “broadband tax“. Everyone should pay for some imagined or real media usage to the existing rights holding companies.

I wrote about this in a column several years ago (2003, not linkable), where I referred to it as being “the most brilliant business idea I’ve ever known”. Imagine enacting laws requiring everyone to send money to a private entity that doesn’t do any actual work – when you’re the entity! (Sadly this is the case in several countries already, like Canada and Sweden, with a copy-tax on writeable media)

Naturally, file sharers and non-file sharers (in this blog post, let’s pretend that file sharing actually means distributing copyrighted works without proper support by law) have been in uproar with this silly idea. To start with, such a license scheme wouldn’t be able to know whom consumed what, and thus wouldn’t be able to distribute the eventual income fairly. It would also help to keep an outdated power structure in place (media companies of old actually did advertising, printing of media on physical substrates and costly distribution – including deals with storefronts with regards to shelf space) when it’s no longer needed (see; the Internet).

Secondly, that same industry fell in love with DRM – Digital Rights Management. Ignoring such things as the intention of law (in some countries, not-law), suddenly media wasn’t something you bought and could re-use or sell yourself (as it had always been), you instead consumed a license that could expire without warning and the things you had bought became worthless. Now, to be fair, thanks to the evil pirates DRM on audio died somewhere around 2007 and I’m projecting the end of DRM on video to begin already in 2009. After all, the world hasn’t ended and even some media company executives [children] might want to create their own ringtone from a piece of music they bought every once in a while. It might also help that there indeed were a few DRM services that closed up shop and everyone could see (and some experience) the very real threat of having paid for something that in the end amounted to nothing.

… so, let’s get back to Spotify.

1) It’s a flat tax (ad-supported or with real money) upon all its users, no matter what they listen to or how much. It’s not even a freemium-model if you want it available on your mobile.

2) You pay the equivalent of twelve full albums a year (how many of you have purchased that amount lately?) and end up owning nothing. When Spotify disappears, so will all the music.

Are you surprised that Spotify is owned by the media industry, who claim to make more profit out of it than actually selling you the (DRM-free) music available at digital music stores (while at least one actual musician – you know, the ones who create stuff – argues he gets basically nothing)?

I’m not. With minor exceptions, Spotify is exactly what they’ve been trying to accomplish over the last few years.

The only surprise is that we seem to love it.

[disclaimer: this blog post was written under the influence of music streamed through Spotify Premium]

Another blog, another place

September 2, 2009

While I’m sure I’m going to cross post some of the things I write about, the more mobile related posts will appear at Sony Ericsson blogs instead of here. I’ve kicked off with a post on It’s not about smartphones – on how some of the new devices on the market differ in their actual usage from what we’ve seen before and what that might mean.

Twitter, trees and culture

August 27, 2009

A pretty informal study made the global headlines a week back about how 40% of everything posted to Twitter amounts to just “pointless babble”.

That conclusion is seriously flawed, and likely stems from a misunderstanding on how humans communicate.

Our consciousness has very low bandwidth. Exactly how low is hard to measure, but in The User Illusion author Tor Nørretranders argues it to be around 16 bits-or-so per second. Thus, when humans communicate we do so trying to guess as to how many bits we need to use to get our full message across to another person, and that requires us to share a lot of background information. Tor coined the concept of exformation in that context, the information-not-mentioned but still expected to exist. The word trees in the headline referes to the trees of talking that describes this process.

Tree of talking at Flickr

Now, naturally, not all of us have the same background knowledge. That’s culture. You might like Van Gogh, I might like Rembrandt. When discussing art, you need to explain concepts to me that you wouldn’t need to when talking to someone who, like you, understands Van Gogh. You would need to use more bits, more time, more effort.

Twitter is about building exformation as much as it is about communicating information. It might not be seen as valuable and interesting when I read you had a headache yesterday, but in a weeks time when I see on Facebook that you again have a headache it’s used as exformation and allows me to better sympathize and ask if everything’s really well with you at home or at work.

Twitter (and Facebook) aren’t filled with pointless babble. They’re tools helping us building a common culture of exformation thus enabling us to communicate more information using less bits, to more people.

We’re all our own little Hollywoods of the world.

Science and peer review

August 14, 2009

In our daily exposure to science, we’ve been told that there exists a quality metric that allows us to distinguish between “bad science” and “good science”. Peer review; the concept of scientific works being sent to certain publications, where editors then asks other scientists in (hopefully) related fields for their opinions, and if the paper “passes” it will be published. Some publications are taken to be “better” than others at this, and there’s a sense of pride and justification between scientists depending on how many papers, and where, they’ve managed to get published through the peer review process.

The only problem is that peer review seemingly doesn’t work, and cannot be used as a quality metric. A good example popped up yesterday, where Michael Mann of the infamous “Mann hockeystick” (seen in Al Gore’s movie about global warming), got a paper published in the very highly thought of publication Nature. (Subscription required, news article can be found here)

What’s interesting about this paper, besides it having been contradicted one day before being published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in an equally peer reviewed publication, is that it apparently received harsh critique during the peer review process from at least one reviewer, Chris Landsea. Thankfully, he’s sent an open letter to Mann for everyone to read on the subject – search for “open letter” in the comments here (well worth the hassle). Basically, there seems to be no basis for Mann’s claims, neither in the published paper nor in the press around it.

So. We’ve apparently got bad science published in a well respected publication, having gone through a peer review process where one of the reviewers in effect stated that the paper didn’t support its own conclusions.

Another area where we can find peer review is in open source. No editors, no elite selection of reviewers. Anyone can publish, anyone can spot faults.

It’s likely the better version.


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