Category Archives for Law/Copyright
Mike Walsh’s keynote speech to the graduating students of the Australian Film, Radio & Television School.
New Australian laws finally legally format shifting, but removing the 1% cap on licensing fees paid by radio stations. Could this affect community radio?
There’s a new ad for Australia out, which is about to be shown in foreign markets like the U.S., trying to convince people to come and visit this fine country. The ads were specifically designed to convince people already wanting to come here, that now is the best time to do so. The ad is funny, not because it is a comedy piece, but because it is so stereotypically ocker, a parody or caricature of Aussie life, an image of regional Australia which 80% of our population have never seen, and which most tourists who only do our capital cities, will never see.
The ad’s caused a bit of controversy here, because the tag line at the end is a girl on a beach saying “so where the bloody hell are you?”, the “bloody” supposedly being offensive language. But I find it offensive because Australians wouldn’t actually say that. Any Australian using “bloody” would surely say “where the bloody hell are ya?”. And anyway, this is all just a watered down version of that more traditional Aussie “where the fuck are ya?”. That’s the funny part, its a parody of us, and the joke is on the rest of the world who think it may not be.
So I decided to rip the ad and do my own audio track for it, doing a more realistic version. But guess what, the version posted on the Sydney Morning Herald site is a wmv streaming file. Safari on the Mac downloads it and pops it into Windows Media Player, but as we all know, there’s no way to save a stream in WMP. So I open it in Windows IE and of course the same thing, there’s no way to save it. Its streamed, so you won’t find it in the temp files directory either. I tried a few freeware apps to rip the stream, but I think they’re using some referer checking to protect the URL. The file is actually an ASX, which is a WMP playlist file, containing the URL for the media, but in this case, the URL is actually for a WMP reference file, which in turn points to another URL. Here’s the .asx URL: http://media.smh.com.au//player/playlist.mpl/18150_4.asx?pl=18150.4
Surely someone else has a copy online. Maybe the web site they’re promoting has it? That would make sense right? So I went to www.australia.com, which is embarrasingly user unfriendly. When you actually find the video, it redirects you to a branded site by a company called Vividas Europe Limited, which not only forces you to download special player software, with a file suffix of .tmp commonly used by viruses, but under XP at least, it prompts you for a security warning. This is from the company whose mission statement, from their yearly report, is to:
deliver the power of full screen, broadcast quality, video to the computer without software installation
They could have saved themselves setting up an entire company, if they just released the video as straight QuickTime or Windows Media Video.
Which begs the question: the ad is supposed to promote Australia to the rest of the world, so wouldn’t you want the video to be distributed as much as possible? Wouldn’t it make sense to make the thing fucking downloadable?!!! And why does the video have to be all alone on a separately branded page? Those days are over, its all just media, embed it right in the page for fucks sake. The design is an embarrasment to Australia.
So, if you know how to rip the file, please let me know, because I still want to dub the audio. Only now I have quite a few more ideas of what to add…
… put your hands on your head.
Video crooks come in from the cold
MILLIONS of Australians who tape TV shows and copy CDs will soon get the right to do it with a clear conscience.
Kitzmiller, et al v. Dover School District, et al
Pennsylvania court decision that ID is not a science, and the teaching of it violates the first amendment of the U.S. constitution.
Wow, this is so exciting! It is rare to get good news from big media, but today we must celebrate a U.S. court decision in Pennsylvania, that Intelligent Design cannot be taught as an alternative to evolution. I know there have successes and failures elsewhere, but this is the first big test of ID (creationism, you know fire and brimstone stuff) against the U.S. constitution, and a surprising statement by Judge John E. Jones III:
In making this determination, we have addressed the seminal question of whether ID is science. We have concluded that it is not
The case came up when a Dover, Pennsylvania school board ordered teachers to read a statement to ninth grade biology students, saying that there were still gaps in the evidence for evolution as a theory. Eleven parents then sued the school.
Some of the more significant statements from the 139 page decision:
We hold that the ID Policy is unconstitutional pursuant to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Art. I, Section 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Intelligent design is nothing less than the progeny of creationism [..]
The judge even went so far as to head off complaints of bias and activism:
Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred [..] Rather this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources
There’s good coverage at The Guardian and Sydney Morning Herald. You can grab a PDF copy of the Kitzmiller, et al v. Dover School District, et al decision, from the court’s web site.