Digital Culture


So who here is surprised that the officer from the UCLA student tasering has been in trouble for excessive force before?

Duren said Monday that he joined the UCLA police force after being fired from the Long Beach Police Department in the late 1980s. He said he was a probationary officer at the time and was let go because of poor report-writing skills and geographical knowledge.

In May 1990, he was accused of using his nightstick to choke someone who was hanging out on a Saturday in front of a UCLA fraternity. Kente S. Scott alleged that Duren confronted him while he was walking on the street outside the Theta Xi fraternity house.

In October 2003, Duren shot and wounded a homeless man he encountered in Kerckhoff Hall. Duren chased the man into a bathroom, where they struggled and he fired two shots.

The homeless man, Willie Davis Frazier, was later convicted of assaulting an officer. Duren said Frasier had tried to grab his gun during the struggle. But Frazier’s attorney, John Raphling, said his client was mentally ill and didn’t do anything to provoke the shooting.

Digital Culture

Photos and licenses

Twice in the last two months, I’ve found myself re-examining my Flickr account and my photos. I’ve had two instances of people wishing to use my some of my pictures for various things. One, a website about Sewanee, and the other a publication about the Immersion program.

All of my pictures are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, and in both cases the first two criteria are fine for the uses. The Share-Alike is where stuff starts to break down…people seem unwilling to ensure that the resulting work is licensed in the same way. In some ways, it’s a sort of educational issue…most people are still not aware of Creative Commons.

So I’m torn. On one hand, I certainly do want people to use my photos. On the other, I also want to push the Creative Commons message, and requiring that the resulting works Share Alike is the right thing to do, I think.

Has anyone else dealt with this friction? How did you resolve it?

Digital Culture

Allow me to reiterate…

…how exactly fucked the media conglomerates are. To be more specific, the RIAA and the MPAA’s of the world who are still desperately attempting to control content in an age where it is beyond anyones control.

The latest brilliant idea? LaLa, a CD trading site that lets you post your wants and haves, matches you up appropriately with other LaLa subscribers, provides postage paid mailers, and lets the USPS do the swapping. It’s like P2P without the digital. The cost? $1.49 per disc that you swap, giving you the ability to trade old music for new at prices that almost rival AllofMP3. For less than $20 a month, you could have more new music than you could comfortably listen to, all DRM free and with the ability to control it as you see fit.

Just another thing that the RIAA can’t stop. Just wait until some rolls this up with some open source social software that allows small groups to do this without the need for postage. How could they respond if Facebook provided this functionality?

Digital Culture

Pirate Bay

Pirate Bay vs Hollywood

Just to recap the last week or so for The Pirate Bay, the largest bittorrent engine in the world,

They were raided by the police, evidently under pressure from the United States and the MPAA. Keep in mind, of course, that this is in Sweden. You know, one of the places that isn’t the US. Their servers (along with other sites servers, which just happened to be in the same room) are seized.

Three days later:

Pirate Bay is back up, and now operating (evidently) as a distributed site in multiple countries with redundency. Ah, the beauty of Gilmore’s Law in action.

Their own take on it:

Just some stats…
… here are some reasons why TPB is down sometimes – and how long it usually takes to fix:

Tiamo gets *very* drunk and then something crashes: 4 days

Anakata gets a really bad cold and noone is around: 7 days

The US and Swedish gov. forces the police to steal our servers: 3 days

.. yawn.

And finally, an absolutely brilliant speech from some of the people responsible for Pirate Bay, given at the Reboot conference.

The attack on Pirate Bay is an attack on that grey zone. Rather than securing their own copyrights, the movie industry are attacking an infrastructure that is needed for many kinds of independent production. They are not attacking piracy in general, as the sharing of digital files can always take its physical routes. They are attacking the very possibility to interconnect metadata of private archives. But while intellectual property will surely continue to be a battleground for major clampdowns in our society, there will always be enumerable lots of open ways.

How cool are these dudes? They have their own political party. Seriously. How much is a one way ticket to Sweden these days?

Digital Culture

Reply from my CongressCritter

After my post from the other day regarding the petition for net neutrality, and my participation in emailing my Congressman, I received this today:

May 5, 2006

Jason Griffey
845 Lake ODonnell Road
Sewanee, Tennessee 37375

Dear Jason:

Thank you for recently contacting me to share your views on the network neutrality telecommunications issue. I appreciate the time you’ve taken to contact me.

As you may know, the Congress is preparing to take up the Telecommunications Act reauthorization bill sometime this year. The Telecomm Rewrite, as it is known, has not been adjusted or updated since it’s original drafting in 1996. It is amazing to think about how much has changed since 1996 in the way of telecommunications- cell phones were “mobile phones” that were expensive to use and still took the backseat to traditional land line services, more often than not without service in rural areas, the internet was one fraction the information highway it is today, and much slower, and the concept of digital television or making telephone calls through your computer (known as VOIP or Voice over Internet Protocol) was nearly unheard of. We have made great strides in our telecommunications advancements.

We must not take these advancements for granted, however. As you say, the internet is a critical communications and educational tool. As Congress begins its work on the Telecommunications Act reauthorization, I will be looking out for the very concerns you mention. We must work to preserve fairness and equality to access. There are many provisions and loopholes that will require careful examination during the re-write of the legislation. I will be sure to thoroughly analyze the contents of the bill and weigh them against the interests of my constituency. As the Representative serving the fourth most rural district in the House of Representatives, I have a keen responsibility to protect and represent the small, rural folks and not the corporations. I guarantee you that I will not be beholden to the wishes of Corporate America as we work on this bill and I will work to preserve fair and non-discriminatory policies in the Telecommunications Act.

Again, thank you for contacting me. My door is always open.


Lincoln Davis
Member of Congress

While I’m completely certain I understand the importance of network neutrality in a much more detailed way than does Congressman Davis, I appreciate the response. It at least shows that he (or his aid) is aware of the issue.

Digital Culture

Everyone should do these two things today

One: sign the petition from the EFF to the RIAA concerning the tactics they take against alleged filesharers.
Two: sign the petition to protect the Internet from corporate control.

It’ll just take a few minutes, and every little bit helps. Forward these to any group you think might care about basic digital freedoms.

Digital Culture

Justin is famous!

Not only has everyone’s favorite Watt been featured on his local TV affiliate, but he’s right now on the front page of BoingBoing AND he’s in the most recent USA Today. There’s still time to get more parodies out there, if anyone is interested.

Un-freakin-believable, and a huge story for free speech, copyright issues, and blogging. Way to go, Justin! I can say that I knew you when… đŸ™‚

UPDATE: And, evidently, in the New York freakin’ Times. Very nice.
Justin in the NYT

Digital Culture

Xbox Media Center rocks my face off

So I spent nearly all of today working with my old, non-360 Xbox trying to make it a useful part of our entertainment system. I am A friend is now the successful owner of a system running Xbox Media Center, and connected to my home network.

I already have an Airport connecting our music to our surround sound system, and we use iTunes to stream all over the house. But I’ve got a decent amount of video/photos that I’d love to be able to access on the TV, and now, I my friend can.

Overall, I my friend followed this walkthrough, although because of the DMCA and other laws, they can’t actually link to the software necessary (which means, of course, that finding it is difficult, but not impossible). Part of the software completely eluded me my friend (the bootloader that actually makes linux a possibility on the xbox). However, there was another version, not mentioned in the walkthrough, that allowed me to bootstrap myself into XBMC, and streaming happiness. I My friend has no idea how it manages it, down deep, but it’s played every single video type I’ve thrown at it, perfectly. No stutter, no issues…just played them. I’m incredibly impressed.

Digital Culture

Irony writ large

So my previous post linked to a digital short done for SNL by the comedy group that calls themselves Lonely Island. Said short was on YouTube for a short period of time before being yanked for copyright reasons.

The group that produced it was hired by SNL recently, and their hire was at least partially influenced by their popularity online.

A popularity that grew because they licensed their comedy shorts with a Creative Commons license, allowing people to share their work freely.

Which NBC is no longer allowing.

Even though the Lonely Island guys own homepage links to copyright infringing pages of the material they produced for SNL.


Ha! So NBC has their own stream up of the rap. Except: the quality is terrible, it’s WMV, which means windows only, you can’t blog it like you can the YouTube vids….jesus christ on a pogo stick these media types just do not get it.

Digital Culture

More on Religious? Litigious?

Parody is protected

Just a quick follow up…if you’re following this story, here’s the happenings over the last 24 hours:

  • Get thee over to and Digg the story to help get the word out.
  • I get a mention over at Writing Right, and there’s a little discussion going on in her comments.
  • Fantastic writeup of the case over at The Angry Fag.
  • Yet another post in support of Justin over at Smart Kitty.
  • And of course, comments and such both here and at Justinsomnia.