The Small Print Project

I launched my big school-related project today with the help of a posting from my instructor, Cory Doctorow, on Boing Boing.

Please visit the project and provide input, insight, and thoughts if you could!

What’s the Small Print Project?

I explain it briefly on the site’s About page, but Cory sums it up even better here:

looks to catalog all the “agreements” we find ourselves “consenting to” when we open a box, install a program, sign up for a service or visit a website. These “terms and conditions,” “terms of use” and “end-user license agreements” do terrible violence to the noble agreement, backing us into arrangements that no sane individual would ever agree to. Sony’s DRM made you promise to delete your music if your house burned down; Amazon Unbox lets them spy on your computer and shut down your videos if they don’t like what they see. And it doesn’t stop there. Think of the “agreements” on the back of your dry-cleaning tickets, on your plane tickets, in your credit-card statements, and your cellular phone contract.

Check out The Small Print Project! Thanks.

GooTube: Impending Doom? For Users, Maybe

In the same breath as pocketing a cool $1.65B in Google stock, licensing and copyright-protection agreements were made with the likes of Warner, Sony/BMG, Universal, CBS (it’s looking like one singular beast of a media mongrel at this point).

You Tube has been all the rage for it’s year-and-a-half existence, but — isn’t YouTube’s success primarily a result of its lax oversight and takedown policies? Surely, Chad Hurley and his couple dozen of employees at You Tube don’t care anymore — as long as they sell their Google stock in the near future. But once you can’t get anything you want on You Tube, the traffic will most naturally channel itself elsewhere.

Alex Veiga wrote about this today for the AP, and the article‘s a good read, complete with a variety of quotes. The basic drift is:

[R]ecent agreements with high-profile content creators require YouTube to deploy an audio-signature technology that can spot a low-quality copy of a licensed music video or other content. YouTube would have to substitute an approved version of the clip or take the material down automatically.

Veiga predicts that YouTube’s anti-piracy platform will resemble the nightmare watermarking techniques of Audible Magic. Competitor Guba uses content-comparison software called “Johnny” to filter out copyright infgingements on videos uploaded there.

CJR’s Gal Beckerman says the deal is “doomed just because it is.” YouTubers are “gravely concerned,” summarizes another article.

The real winners here are the VC’s, like Sequoia Capital, which invested 11 million into YouTube and come out of the deal with a whole lot more, writes Staci of Paid Content.

Sure, Google and YouTube will most likely come out OK. The real losers, however, are the users — that is to say everyone save for the handful of jackasses makin a mean living by hording and raping other people’s property (not the kind of OPP that any content producer or consumer would be down with).

Is Google lining up to be the darling sweetheart of government-sponsored corporate Internet ownership? Google does publish a little one-sheet guide to Net Neutrality, deep in their help section). I’m guessing there aren’t many Save the Internet badges floating around Mountain View.

(Apparently you’ll never find out what’s going on at Google if you’re using Yahoo Maps). Which reminds me of a prank Yahoo! pulled when they launched their new Maps beta last year. The address for Google was listed as “The Dude’s Fish Store.” It’s hilarious — read about it here. Perhaps the grey boxes on Y!Maps are just retribution.)

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

This headline-writing warmup exercise is brought to you by the 1963 Stanley Kramer directed classic by the same name.

But if there ever were a better time to say it’s a mad mad mad mad world, I’d rather be channeling Mel Brooks. Though Brooks had no part in the aforementioned flick (He was coming of age as the 2000-year-old man w/ Carl Reiner), dude is hilarious — and I am overjoyed to report that he is in production on Spaceballs: The Animated Series. Excpect it sometime next year on the Cartoon Network.

OK – have a great day, and as the promo button said, “may the schwartz be with you.” You’ll need the Schwartz for sure if you’re reading Brooks’ son Max’s book, World War Z, in which he survives zombie domination.

(And a Ferris Bueller stinger — on [Islamofasc]-ism, it seems — to roll out of bed to. Stay the course.