Monthly Archives: May 2009

21st Century Economy: DIY Licensing

Internet activist Cory Doctorow has published an idea on how Creative Commons licenses could be amended to account for actual license fees the moment the original work is used commercially. A simple addition to the CC license text could ask a certain percentage out of the revenue generated by a product based on the original creative work that was released under this license. This approach would leave the benefits of CC licenses – free distribution, unlimited noncommercial use – untouched, and could therefore leverage the potential of a product that people can try out and use (noncommercially) freely without any limitations. Just when they start to generate money for themselves do they have to actually pay for the material they use.

The downside of this idea is of course that it depends on people’s willingness to obey the license, as they don’t gain anything from paying for the product and/or material at the time they’re required to pay. Enforcement of the license is expensive, and depends on whether or not the user can be dragged into a court at all. On the other hand, it certainly would not hurt to add license fees for commercial use to the license text itself, therefore making the terms clear on which people can work with the material.
Full Article at

EU Parliament acknowledges internet access as fundamental right

The European Parliament has re-adopted a part of a law that describes having access to the internet a fundamental right. Thereby, the representatives have voted against approaches that are known as “Three Strikes” legislation, where anybody caught three times conducting illegal acts such as sharing copyrighted content would essentially be thrown off the grid by authorities and their ISPs. French President Sarkozy is one of the primary advocates of such legislation.

The vote of the European Parliament is not legally binding, but the acknowledgement at least strengthens the position that internet access is not some negotiable “nice to have” matter, but should indeed be seen as a basic right for everyone, completely independent of questions on how to police law infringements.
Full article at La Quadrature du Net 

Evolving Multitouch I

All currently available multitouch technology relies on hand-eye coordination to interact with objects on the screen. For this reason, real-world applications are limited to gadgety interactions, e.g. on the iPhone. In such situations, the user generally wants to see what is happening graphically on the screen.

In other applications, the setup looks quite different. In a music performance, staring at the screen while manipulating parameters is not the best way to appear in front of an audience. Here, tactile control has to work without always having an eye for the on-screen object, because the eye tends to be needed for the crowd.

For this reason, the good old-fashioned machine-control paradigm still dominates the interface market for music applications. Knobs, buttons, and faders are still the mainstay on today’s stages for electronic music. But the versatility of multitouch screens is no less desirable in music equipment design. Attemps to match the benefits of both approaches are scarce. Just recently, though, a new and promising approach has surfaced, as published in MIT’s Technology Review.

This technological concept uses a latex screen with multitouch capability and a set of pneumatic pumps able to create small air pockets underneath the screen. These dynamic buttons can be either positive or negative, and the pressure when pushing them can be recorded as well. This looks very interesting for dynamically changing music composition and improvisation systems, although the proof-of-concept implementations are mostly about telecommunication.
Full article