Thursday, 20 December 2007

Pirate or Privateer?

Pirates are the scourge of modern civilization, robbers of digital media, or so big media would have us believe. Yet the biggest problem big media has with Pirates is that the Pirates are not on the side of the big media companies. Pirates, Bootleggers, smugglers are usually on the side of the little guy.

Irresponsible claptrap?

No quite, some the wealthiest families have dodgy pasts, they made their money illegally and then pulled up the rope ladder to stop anyone following and complain if someone dears to do what they did. Looking back at the past of western world we see that much of our power came from control of the seas via naval power and 'Pirates' relabelled and rebranded as Privateers, which is nothing more that an legal Pirate!

So what's the difference?

Not much, except one is on side the side of a government (Privateer) and one is not (Pirate). They do much the same thing, in much the same way and have similar reputations to those of other countries (who think Privateers are Pirates!). In same cases the Privateers even did a little Piracy off the cards, so to speak, often to harass other countries shipping to gain leverage for their governments future negotiations (the black ops of their day).

Modern day
So why can't a modern day digital media Pirate become Privateer?

They can!

If you are a Pirate, support the Artists Unchained initiative. It's that simple. Become an AUP (Artists Unchained Privateer*) and fly the flag of freedom. The only real difference is that the media you share is legal, and your crew is the whole of fandom, your 'captains' are crazed artists, the government (in a regulator sense) is the Artists Unchained initiative, the legal team is the Creative Commons. Sail the digital ether sea and join the first 'virtual country' in existence, a country named freedom (I may have gone a little too far on the melodrama on that last bit!)

The more artists that jump ship, the better. Time to build an armada and slay the big media Kraken.

PS: * AUP is also an acronym for 'Acceptable Use Policy' :p

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Page Template

Google Page example
This is an example of a download page made using Google Pages;

Artist's download page template

No hosting costs
The idea is that the download page should cost you (the artist) nothing to host. The page also allows you (should you so wish) to host 'Google ads' to gain a secondary income stream.

This download page would only serve as a place for fans to find the artist's official P2P metalinks. However, Google pages allows you to create a whole website should you wish to.

No bandwidth costs
As all the media is distributed via P2P it is stored on your fan's hard drives; so it costs you nothing in storage or bandwidth. This is also an important consideration as many free hosts (And free website via your ISP) have bandwidth limits. Excessive bandwidth use can get a page taken down, but with P2P handling the download side of things - this should never happen.

Even fans who do not donate money are helping by hosting your zip files (providing P2P hosting services - i.e. they are running a P2P 'Art-Server'.)

Freedom for all
The concept behind this, is that any artist, no matter where they are in the world can get their media out into the wild and earn money from the global community. Using systems like Pay Pal, even those in poor areas who are denied banking facilities can gain funds.

Sunday, 18 November 2007


If playing another's game using the parts of the law they chose is not working out for you - change the game and use different parts of the law that you chose.

Life, society, is all about agreements; so make them on your terms. Shift the goal posts in your favour. While one faction of society may have a temporary advantage due to the state of current technology, technology changes and new agreements can be made taking the new technology into account. You do not have to persist in doing things the old way.

The old centralised distribution model based on control: Big business controlled distribution, and they used that leverage to hold artists to ransom and wrestle ownership of their art away from them. Once they had both ownership and distribution they were in total control. This is an unnatural state of affairs, and a huge overbalance in favour of the business community. As a result: art, and the artist, has suffered (almost becoming a second class citizen unless a favourite of the corporations. The poor artist is a 'romantic' cliche).

This is no longer the case!
P2P: We are looking to build an altogether new decentralised distribution system with the proven technology already on offer. We seek to embrace and exploit the power of P2P, the greatest distribution network ever devised, and in so doing create a global 'art network' where artists and fans can reconnect without interference from the hordes of grey middle men. To look forward to a world where an artist can distribute copyrighted media without any form of corporate control and still make money. Payment for artwork is in appreciation: it is asked for, not demanded up front.

The new decentralised distribution model based on respect: Free P2P distribution via government regulated private utilities (ISPs and telcos). These utilities have no say (nor wish to) over legal content being passed over their networks. Manufacturing hard copy has moved away from big factories and into our homes with the advent of CD/ DVD burners and ink-jet printers. This means artists are now free to distribute their content direct to the public; big media companies no longer have a hold over us, as their unfair leverage has been removed. Balance is restored, business is doing what it does best: (ISP, banks and services) and artists are doing what they do best: (art!),

The chains are broken, we are already free.
Current generation: This doesn't mean much for the current generation, sorry folks but if you are signed up with a big media company under some draconian, rights stripping, contract you are going to miss out of this artistic distribution revolution. This is for the next generation, the up and comers, the new talent. We at Artists Unchained do not advocate or endorse pirating. Fortunately the new generation still have all their artistic rights and ownership (and integrity). Using this system they will retain their rights.

Alternatively, if you can get out of your contract, or it's about to run out, you may want to read more...

Monday, 5 November 2007

Getting started.

For too long the massive multinational media companies have dictated the shape of our culture and censored our lives. They systematically seized all media distribution and with that they gained control of what we see and hear.

They created a system where sharing art, the most natural thing in the world, is a crime. Where the joy that art brings comes with a price tag that only the privileged can afford. Digital copying frees art form its physical bonds, making it drastically cheaper to distribute. This should allow many more to enjoy it. Instead digital copying has been used to further restrict access to art via Digital Rights Management.

Everyday, artists from all over the world are forced into choosing between a rock and a hard place: either 'selling out' or being denied access to the public. Sometimes a system can be twisted for so long that people start to think it's normal. That there is no other way of doing things even when technology has moved on. The old ways persist.

Time for change.

Now! The greatest empowering system for business is also becoming the greatest empowering system for art.

The internet has spawned a massive 'global' culture. Unfortunately this culture is often denounced as a 'counter culture' by the powers that be and big media, and our fellow human beings are demonised to score political points (pirates): Their only crime is wanting to share and exchange their culture and art. To show off what their artists, representing their culture, can create. To communicate and express themselves through another's art (that's what art is for!).

It's just real, raw, human culture in all its wonderful diversity doing what human do. It should be embraced. It is a breath of fresh air from the oppressive business sanctioned culture that the big media corporations ram down our throats on a daily basis.

The truly remarkable thing about the myriad of cultures from all over the world is how easy it is to get along with each other.

Everywhere. The net has risen to become the prime source of fresh media content from all over the world. It is fast, efficient and convenient, and opens our eyes to see other people for what they really are, bypassing the political rhetoric of their, and our 'leaders'. With the rise of broadband, more and more content is being produced by free speaking individuals, groups and small independent companies.

We at Artists Unchained seek to empower these independent producers to further expand their horizons, and capitalise of the raw power of P2P. To assert their freedom of speech and artistic expression.

Further, we seek to empower fans to become promoter-fans (Pro-fans) and play an active part in media distribution.

The system we propose is an artistic 'business' model, and combines many concepts already in use on the net into a workable, legal, and sustainable system. We believe many artists and millions of fans are crying out for a new way of doing things - this is our stab at the beast.