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January 15, 2010


Prokofy Neva

A good youtube with Jaron Lanier and Philip Rosedale both.

Lanier says something funny about people making chachkas and griefing less -- hate to disappoint, that's not quite the case...

Hypatia Callisto

Jaron Lanier is great, glad you enjoyed him. He has taken the actual message of Wiener to heart, especially when it regards the gadget worshipper. I recommend reading God and Golem, much of what you're talking about was foreseen by Wiener over 50 years ago, at the dawn of the computer age.

Unfortunately Google truncates the passage but at least it shows you which page he starts discussing the gadget worshippers (p 53), so I recommend grabbing the PDF ( or buying the book itself.


When exactly was Stanford and Silicone Valley elected to be the government deciding our privacy rights and online privileges anyway?

The time is approaching when these people are going to have to be put back in their cubicles by force.


One of my long term favorite gadgets, a PDA made 2003, seems to have become of age by now ... so sad, it's tinfoil thin aluminium metal case isn't completely worn off so far.
What strikes me is the lack of fresh supply, these types of devices haven't developed further. The Stylus Pencils have grown out of fashion, nowadays you no more write on a phone sized gadget like this.
Looking at the market, they have forged into eBook Readers or Navigation Devices now (which share a common ability for listening to music). The ordinary. A killer application rises expectations of dead bodies lying arround in result - but old fashioned books still do fine, and navigation beeing a non-issue (unless you easily get lost inside your city, or appartment lot).
Oh, looking at The Market ... the changes of whole economy superseeded any movement seen in technology by length. It's wasted time reading engadget or recitating iPear product release rumors.

Darien Caldwell

Luisa, the problem is the market isn't driven by innovation anymore. It's driven by volume and turnover. The goal really isn't to improve anything, but instead to convince people that the newest model is something they *must* have, so they will throw away last year's model and shell out another couple hundred dollars.

As for Lanier, When Cube first linked to the book a week or two back, it was if the clouds had parted, and a beam of pure, unadulterated sunlight slammed down upon a darkened earth. It's good to see what you know in your heart to be true, validated by a 'recognized expert'.

Thanks for all the links Prok, good reading.

cube inada

yeah, i "used to" be an but all i get is tinfoil and paydoh ...;)

but good if jarons book finally got ya thinking darien..

but like many things, in the land of wiki google, his original public thoughts and voice will be lost from the early 90s, when he sounded much more like phillip and the rest of the technoids selling code as humanities saviour.

but in the age of oprah media, everyone gets to reivent too....

so many who aslo pioneered VR/3d media and such are still singing the old songs...and hurting so many ears.

glad hes not.:)
glad he sounded more reasonable and less like the tim leary he seemed to be 18 years ago.

ill pick up his book this week.. and i hear hes in berkeley on the 22nd for another chat...

maybe ill get him to sign mine in playdoh:)

Dusan Writer

You need to read Lanier's book alongside Mark Helperin's -

Hypatia Callisto

Dusan, the extensions in copyright are here and now, and they haven't exactly helped the authors of original content. I find this orthogonal to the actual problem of piracy. Authors routinely find out that they have lost their copyrights to book publishers, the contracts in fact stipulate that they must hand over their copyrights to publishers. So in actuality, its the publisher, not the creator, who is enjoying a 70 year long copyright. This has hit creative people close to me IRL, where their hard work has literally been stolen for a song.

I support traditional copyright, in fact a lot of people in the Lessig camp do too. It's the Lessig methodology that I question, and I blogged my critique of the mashup already.

The fact is that Lanier is a traditional artist, and this is something that is being lost - a traditional art education. Lessig is no more a supporter of the arts than the media industry he opposes. Copyright does need reform, not elimination. It needs to encourage those who create original work, to make it easier to preserve original works by having a reasonable time period to profit from the work and then let it lapse to the public domain for the libraries to do their job of preservation of culture to everyone (yes public domain, not opensource, which enjoys the benefits of eternal copyright too!), and that is something that's being lost right now.

Prokofy Neva

Hypatia, you are so wrong on so many counts here, and it's so tendentious and subjective.

Copyright is a GOOD thing, not a bad thing. Disney's keeping of copyright for terms people find overlong isn't the norm; it isn't even "bad". Cartoonists need to get paid. It's hard work. What is your way of getting paid if you decouple copyright from property and commerce?!

Your notion that there is some large percentage of writers that give away copyright to evil rapacious publishers is based on some anecdotal personal experience that you shouldn't be extrapolating. It's not true. And even if it *were* true, hey, do you realize that authors GET PAID? After publishing houses have lots of expenses -- m ore than ever! and sometimes losses. Do you realize that publishing houses live -- get their expenses paid, enable themselves to buy new books and pay advances to people who haven't written books yet -- on their back list. Honestly, broaden your take on this beyond your own little cramped consumer complaint.

The Comrade Lessig camp is despeciable in every way, precisely because he pretends he's for copyright and recognition, even as he is frantically decoupling it from property. He loathes private property and commerce. It's not just Leninist methodology; it's Leninist ideology.

Lanier didn't have a traditional education, it's a very bizarre background, read about him on the web.

Lessig isn't a supporter of the arts, but a crusader against private property for ideological reasons, using art as a cover.

Libraries can still do their jobs by purchasing books that are copyrighted with our taxes.

Nothing is being lost, Hypatia. Good God, there are more public domain and Scrib'd and Googled books out now than ever before in human history, and the real problem is getting writers paid for their work.

cube inada

really, are we to want a future that has our iphones going to the theatre for us...?

Hypatia Callisto

Prokofy, I know people who have worked for Disney... and I know which I speak :P

I watched as they let go all of their team doing traditional cartooning, watched friends lose their jobs, all artists.

Nowadays, its all outsourced, exactly what Jaron is talking about in his article, where people are not able to make money from cerebral work anymore. Now you are expected to work for the "fame".

Yes I know Jaron has a unique education, the fact is that you can't get a traditional atelier-style art education in a public school, you have to go to an atelier or apprentice to someone who has the skills. If you think that its taught in the university art curriculum then you are badly mistaken. If you want to learn how to draw in the university, you are not going to find many friends in the regular art department these days, you will have to go learn "illustration" in an art institute or the university with a commercial art program.

It's all "expression" in the pure arts, yea, I've been there and so have a lot of others. I walked out of the college art class after two weeks, knowing I was going to learn absolutely nothing. I also am self-taught in digital art, and learned from others in an unorthodox way, just like Jaron. But I did have a traditional education in art in my high school and I am glad for that... but it had to do with it being a conservative part of the country. I also had private lessons in music from a young age.

Unfortunately not long after I left high school, they eliminated most of the art program in my school. This is everywhere nowadays.

The publishers have all signed onto the "dont pay anyone for their work" while keeping the clauses that take their copyrights away, and I know that too, I have seen the contracts they get in RL. My family is involved in writing, publishing and journalism for a half century.

What I am saying is that culture is owned by the corporation now, and the corporation doesn't want to pay the artists or authors anymore. Only the top percent really have the leverage to make any profit off their contracts, and its no wonder you see them stomping for the status quo. The reason you see a "long tail" in retailers like Amazon is that it reflects the way the publishing industry works. Amazon didn't create the "long tail", it is just a mirror in which we see the reflection of choices made by publishers, whose books are sold by the retailer.

Lessig's issue is that he is still signed on, lock stock and barrel to the modernist movement in art. He doesn't think of the importance of sending his kid to art classes or learning a musical instrument, he doesn't think of the importance of buying her a guitar to learn to play a song and sending her to lessons, or a set of pencils to learn the skill of drawing (and drawing and music are skills that most normal people can learn, its not a "talent" to have a basic competency in it), he'd rather her do mashups of copyrighted songs or download internet pixels and mash them up in Photoshop, then complain that she's going to get arrested. That's also what's wrong with Lessig, he supports the creation of noise as art... its all very Jackson Pollock :P

Libraries cannot easily preserve works with unclear copyright, I suggest to get acquainted with the issues surrounding copyright and orphan works, and how it affects libraries. We're losing our culture, we are losing the public domain, a lot of us know its happening but are powerless to stop it. Whole rafts of film for example is getting lost forever, because of the litigation that could happen if they did preserve it. The copyright owners don't do it (the original owners are all dead, and its expensive to do preservation), works fall out of print because its not profitable anymore, and nobody else can fix it either. It's all quite sad.

Hypatia Callisto

Scribd and services like it only really self-reinforce the books that are easily available. When I talk of preservation of books, film and art, I am talking of the items that are not well-known, or are so old that they require high tech methods to preserve and recover them.

It's simply not profitable to do it unless the library or museum can resell the images of the works.

Cory Frye

I, too, am relieved that Lanier exists. I'm also ecstatic that you exist. Thank you.

Eric Rice

@Ann Amusingly, I've heard many from my native Valley say 'those who show up make the decisions' heh. In all seriousness though, it's an evolutionary process. One person make a little app, shows his/her friends, before you know it, BAM, it's adopted by the influencers with massive audiences. Capitalism is not democratic, even without a business model.

@cube Not so weird w/the iPhones going to a movie for us. My kids somehow started to design video games that play themselves, I'm not kidding. Talk about a what's-the-point moment.

As far as the topic is concerned, I just picked up the book and am starting to read it.

Prokofy Neva

So Hypatia, let me get this straight here. The libraries need free old books so they can make a buck reimbursing themselves for their technology, and burnishing their images as "curators of our culture". Hokay! sounds like "a plan".

Except...why can't creators of works, the companies that buy them, and their families or estates have those same property rights that you now want to hand over to libraries? No logic there. And you reveal what this is all about: technologists and curators wanting free stuff so they can enhance their power, prestige, and funds. But, if anyone is to have power and prestige and funds it should be the individuals and corporations that make and sponsor the content in the first place. That's more than fine. That's how life works faily. Capitalism is fair and has course correctives for its unfairness and rewards more people. Technocommunism is unfair and destructive and rewards far less people.

cube inada

So what type of genre do video games like to play?;)

Darien Caldwell

+10 Hypatia. Sounds like you really 'get it'. :)


I'm reading You Are Not A Gadget currently, and it's remarkably good. If you haven't already checked it out, I also recommend reading Andrew Keen's Cult of the Amateur as well. You may also find my book, Starving the Artist, interesting. Info at

Sean Williams

Nice job misreading what Hypatia is actually saying Prokofy.

what she is saying is that the copyright needs to remain with the person that actually created the work they are looking to sell, for however long the current Copyright limit is: You should not have to sell the Copyright itself along with the work.

In addition to this, the Copyright should last only a set time after the death of the original creator so that the family can continue to make ends meet.

Disney is used as the prime example of why corporations have no business purchasing copyright from the original creator: They will and have done anything they can to retain the Copyright and make money off of it indefinitely ... and that is simply wrong.

despite what you say and believe Prokofy, there will always be examples of how a purely Capitalist society can go wrong.

Copyright issues ... There's one example: like it or not.

How about that Deepwater Horizon oil spill, hmm?

Prokofy Neva

Not at all. Disney has every right to purchase copyright and keep it as long as they need to. After all, they are paying for these works or paying the cartoonist or animator a wage and benefits. It's ridiculous to think that corporations cannot function rightfully and legitimately in this way. It's just rabid ideological technocommunist hate of the free corporation functioning in a free enterprise system, that's all. Hypatia is like a lot of the SL crowd in the creation business, they have a heavy bias and allergy to capitalism, even though it makes their very platform possible. It isn't somehow "purely Capitalist" in some extreme, Randiam or Friedmanite way to concede the basic premise of capitalism, that the firm has ways of concentrating capital and resources and skills and making economies of scale, and therefore it acquires a role in society and has rights under the law. Nothing whatsoever wrong with this; the collective is destructive, the collective rewards less people. The minute people are free, they dump the collective as a model. Law is what curbs the tendency of capitalism to exhaust resources. Law and capitalism are compatible; socialism and law are not compatible.

Why would the accident of an oil spill disprove that capitalism is not viable? It proves that accidents happen, that corporations are careless, that they can be negligent, especially if in bed with cosy regulators that have no motivation to regulate them. Those are problems of governance and law, not capitalism. Communism has caused far worse disasters in its day. The disappearance of the Aral Sea?

Why would an oil spill require less capitalism? Regulation by a government under the rule of law in a democratic state with free enterprise isn't socialism; it's just law.

What did you use to drive your car to work or the store today Sean, pigeon shit?

Sean Williams

Amusing Prokofy.

Continue to live in your fantasy world where reverence of the Almighty Dollar never leads to cut corners or safety/security risks.

Whether I drive or not is irrelevant to this discussion and is an attempt to discredit based simply on the ever tired sort of cop out and plea used by those attempting to rationalize away any and all problems that arise.

Newsflash: regulations and law mean jack shit if they're not enforced - and guess what? They're not.

Gee, amusing that you think it's fine and dandy for a corporation to purchase a person's Copyright in exchange for a wage and benefits ... Those are hardly a fitting compensation for selling away the rights to something they've created.

Write a book? sure, let's sign away the copyright to a publisher and eliminate the ability to publish said book elsewhere, under a different publisher - especially if it is later discovered that the initial publisher was less than trustworthy!

Sorry, but while this is sometimes a good thing - it is not always good.

There are some artists, musicians, poets and writers that have signed contracts that include selling the copyright away who have later wanted to give out a copy of what they have made, only to discover that the very person they gave said copy to can now be prosecuted because they somehow violated Copyright.

The original creator of just about any work should be the one who decides what can be done with it - anything else is simply wrong.

Oh! But it is somehow "Communist" to allow the creator of a work the control over what can be done with their work - to expect that a book or song can be published or recorded and allow the creator to decide how it is distributed.

Seems to me that allowing such a thing would truly be in the spirit of Capitalism.

Prokofy Neva

The original creator works for the Man who pays his salary, and that's that. That's what grownups do who aren't little kids in the sandbox named Solar Hero lol. The free agent in the free enterprise system is free NOT to go work for the Man and be self-employed in his own shop *shrug*.

Sean Williams

Thanks for the laugh Prokofy - no really.

an artist who sells his paintings does not work for "The Man.".

Nor does a Musician.

Nor does a Writer.

Of course, you're welcome to think that they do.

Amusingly enough though ... I've said nothing concerning the option to sell off a Copyright.

I have no issue with those who actually choose to sell their Copyright off: None at all.

I have an issue with it pretty much being treated as a standard contract item.

But then ... you never thought to ask that.

Kimberly Rufer-Bach

The Man has a rockin' distribution network and a big fat marketing department, and negotiating his way upwards from boilerplate contracts is the literary agent's problem, not the writer's. But that's writers, without the capital W and the trappings that go with it.

Sean Williams

Please, kindly make me yawn some more Kimberly.

A publisher is not "The Man" and selling copyright to such should be optional.

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