Speaking of clones, here are some Lawrence Lessig articles on what he's calling the "Read-Only Internet"--for example, the Apple iTunes store--a one way street where the consumer plunks down money and gets a product. Opposed to this concept is what he calls the "Read/Write Internet," a world of collaborative creativity that famously includes mashups, remixes, and MAVs (music with anime visuals), but is in fact closer to the openness of the pre-digital era, before every "reading" became a "copying." The read/write milieu is in increasing danger of disappearing as the money folks tighten their grip.

DRM (so called "digital rights management"--could also be called "don't remix me" or "die, revenant masher-uppers" ) is a related means of slowing creativity to a crawl. The egregious Sony CD "protection" scheme, which actually put crippling, virus-attracting malware on people's computers without their knowledge, has been much discussed. But it's also showing up in little ways that are a drain on time and energy.

I realized this as I was trying to move files between computers--certain .avi files created in a particular program couldn't be dragged directly from Computer A to Computer B without first being deposited in a "Shared Folder" on Computer A. For Windows nerds, you couldn't just make the source folder available to the network by right-clicking it and picking that option in "Sharing and Security," you had to use the preset folder with the word "Shared" in it.

So if you're transferring several hundred (other easily transferrable) files and the transfer hangs up for those .avis, it takes time and detective work to go back and figure out what got moved and what didn't. The culprit appears to be Camtasia Studio--thanks guys, who gives a crap about your .avis? I'm guessing that because it's a capture utility they had to promise the movie industry that clips couldn't be easily shareable. Can't have people out there promoting movies and creating buzz by passing around clips, can we?

Similarly, the movie player Intervideo WinDVD on my 2002 computer has a "frame capture" button, which made it easy to generate stills for the Web and to make animated GIFs. Kiss that one goodbye--it's not on the 2005 WinDVD. Movie folks snapped their fingers, said uh-uh, I'm guessing. "We'll do our own shitty PR, thanks."

I would predict vintage computers and software would have increased value for remixers by virtue of being pre-DRM, but that gear is slower and older formats are also hard to work with because they go out of date. So, unless you have serious cracking skillz, the ownership class will increasingly have us by the short hairs, as they say.

Update: The company that makes Camtasia Studio emailed to say the product has no digital rights management. Still waiting to find out why the .avis it creates aren't easily movable between PCs and why a friend can't open them in iMovie (which imports .avis).

- tom moody 3-01-2006 9:36 pm

the "755 Internet" and the "777 Internet"
- paul (guest) 3-01-2006 11:15 pm

add a comment to this page:

Your post will be captioned "posted by anonymous,"
or you may enter a guest username below:

Line breaks work. HTML tags will be stripped.