Wednesday, 15 October 2008

End of the Internet?

The big media companies start to move...

Hard to think of the net as a mere tv station/ tivo. The worst way to use the net (streaming media instead of p2p) will end up as begin the only way it's used - forced to conform to the old fashioned regular broadcast media model with central control.

Why do 'they' dislike people having freedom? The net is free and it's not the end of the world, and governments are just as much in control as they always were.

Just as everyone is getting their groove on and having some fun, and making friends, and linking arms across the globe, and realising people who are different aren't so different, the government gets funny ... oh yeah, I get;

If everyone is being friendly and it's hard to 'divide and conquer' if the masses are all friendly.

No more power games?

The world would be so much better with net neutrality; humanity would be so much better off. More ideas, more innovation more opportunity, and more inspiration!

Sunday, 29 June 2008

P2P doesn't clog up the network

It seems that ISP who throttle P2P are not doing it because it clogs up their network; but for other, perhaps nefarious, reasons?

P2P does not harm networks
Bell’s Own Data Shatters P2P Red Herring

Everyone knew (well 'everyone' who knew people who deals with networks) that this anti-P2P position was nonsense, but this type of data is rarely seen in public, and it should be an eye opener to many. It's not a case that networks suffer under heavy load, the ISPs claim it so they are able to 'legitimately' throttle one type of traffic, which circumvents net neutrality. If P2P was really a problem then streaming media would be far worse and that is not throttled.

Big business does not like P2P as they are uncreative and unable to see money in it for them. Whereas they love streaming media, which is resource heavy (as every watch is a new download in real time) yet big business loves it. The network would be far better managed and efficient with P2P supplying media than it would be if all media was supplied by streaming it.

With streaming media it's like the big media companies are trying to turn the web into a broadcast system (like tv and radio), whereas the web is far better suited to being what it is; a 'web', than an imitation of something it is not. Perhaps the big media companies can not see beyond there nose and are trying to turn the web into something they recognise.

Thursday, 19 June 2008


A new project to create a striped down P2P app specifically designed to exploit the power of magnetlinks in all their glory (may even get .magma too!). GnuGet is based on (real) Shareaza and will used the G2 network ;)
Quote: (Source: What is Gnuget?)
GnuGet is a lightweight download manager style P2P application. Here are some of the things that make GnuGet Unique:
    1. It is extremely small
    2. It is OS independent (written in Java)
    3. It uses a whitelist to pro-actively fight piracy and encourage the sharing of open source software
    4. It uses magnet links on official sites instead of a search function so you can be sure you are downloading official files.
    5.Stops users downloading spam, misnamed files, corrupt files, or infected files.
    6.Helps to clean up the G2 network because bad magnet links are removed, and without the magnet link the bad files are in limbo.
    7. Allows charities and open source projects offset download/ bandwidth costs while ensuring their specified files are downloaded via P2P.

For more info check out
If this works out it will be the P2P app of choice for Artists Unchained!

Discussion over on the (real) Shareaza Forums: GnuGet Forum

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Perfect little art server?

While browsing my fav tech webbie (the Inquirer) I saw the MSI Titan 700, a small PC about the size of a can of coke. What really caught my eye was that it is based on the VIA C7 CPU which is very easy going on the power (60W) and quiet. I have been looking for a small PC based on the C7 to play about with for while but never found one that really hit the spot.

The Titan 700 which goes for about £230 would make an ideal 'art server' for an artist (or seriously dedicated fan) to continuously run P2P software day and night distributing files via the AUS. Drop on a Linux distro and run Phex (G1 network) and you have a good cost effective solution.

Hooking up a small LCD monitor or a second port on your monitor (should you have one) and this whole system can be part of your home network (with net access) and tucked away in a corner and forgotten about. It would be nice if there was a web browser based access solution (like many routers) to manage the little art server over the home network.

As a side note the C7 have hardware support for SHA-1 and SHA-256 hashing and I always wondered if a P2P software developer would take advantage of such a feature.

Dodgy files

Dodgy files on P2P networks are become such a huge problem that even the BBC has noticed: Fake media file snares PC users.

This reinforces the position adopted by Artists Unchained that magnet links are an ideal way to fight back against the growing tide of spam, virus/ Trojan infected files and incorrectly named files proliferating on P2P networks.

It seems that using the search function within P2P software exposes users to undue risks of downloading copyright infringing media or worse.

With magnet links hosted on the participating artist's official website their fans are assured that they will receive the correct file. Not only does this protect the fan for downloading dodgy files but saves them time, and more effectively uses the net's resources by not wasting bandwidth. It also ensures that there is only one version of a file and not hundreds of different versions of the same file with similar quality.

We are currently looking for a light P2P application that uses standard P2P networks such as G1 or G2, can fully handle magnet links but does not have a search function at all! If you know of one please get in touch.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Hostile tactics

P2P is a major technology component of the AUS, and a wonderful distribution system that promises to liberate many artists from the shadow of big business. These days the threat of being locked out of distribution, the leverage big business uses to threaten artists into accepting draconian contracts, is all be null and void with the net.

Yet P2P, a perfectly legal software, is under attack from the powers that be. Right now Discordia Ltd (Roman goddess of strife) a shell company for iMesh Inc. is in the process of a hostile takeover of Shareaza. Discordia seems to be one of a group who are systematically attacking and taking over P2P software developers. This is particularly unpleasant as many of these software developers, including Shareaza, are open source and do not have the resources to fight back.

Discordia's takeover started with the usual charges of helping pirates, exploiting weakness in the law to wrestle the domain name from the then rightful owner in a French court. It seems the court failed to realise (it wasn't rejected out of hand as a frivolous law suit) that Shareaza is simply a file sharing software and is not more liable for the content shared than Microsoft is for the emails sent using their Outlook software. It makes me wonder what's next - suing the mail service for delivering letters with illegal content and demand all mail be examined by a group o copyright holders? Perhaps all our letters in the future will pop though out letter box 're-seal' and stamped with a filter pass mark. This example sounds ridiculous now, but that is exactly what is happening right now. The big media companies are getting away with it because P2P is not seen as mainstream like the mail service or in a similar light - it should be. As such the law is slow to catch up.

The reason the law suit won is because the holder of the domain was an individual and lacked the funds to fight back, and the law is stacked against him. Now Discordia have put in an application to trademark 'Shareaza'! This will complete the takeover of the Shareaza brand.

Picking on open source community like this is, in my view, is simply school yard bulling; using resources and power to 'land grab'. Remember; Shareaza is open source community project and totally legal.

The tragic thing is; that P2P is perfectly legal and has many uses that are of great benefit to our community and society. One example of a legal use of P2P software is Project Gutenberg which distributes public domain books via P2P. The beauty of P2P is that all public works, our whole history, could be made available to the public this way. As the books are hosted on the student's hard drive (in their P2P share folder) all downloads by other students will not cost the project any money in bandwidth. The project only has to host a 'magnet link' (a hyperlink that initiates a P2P download, and ensures the correct file is downloaded). A magnet link is something most people have never heard off.

The cheapness of P2P distribution makes it attractive to all non-profit and charities who wish to distribute materials via the web.

If all P2P is completely taken over by the likes of the RIAA etc. then they will introduce 'filtering' and filter out all illegal content - which is fine and the AUS does not have a problem with one little bit. The problem is they can also filter any content they wish, and they could filter out artists using P2P to distribute their wares to circumvent big business control (like Trent Reznor/ NIN and Year Zero). In the end the big media companies with gain full control of P2P and will start to deny artists access.

Any new P2P software developed without filtering, or 'unofficial filtering', will simply be taken over and added to the big media system.

The end of the artist freedom revolution is already here. Nipped in the bud. Big Media had a problem for a while, but they reverted to type and realised that the only way to stop artist freedom and new talent from daring to refuse to sign contracts is to take over the P2P system and deny the very real alternative option.

It has nothing to do with pirates, P2P is free advertising and government studies have shown P2Per's buy the most legal media. It the same as people recording off the radio back in the day. It's all to do with control of distribution and therefore control of the artists.

If you think big media companies are doing a good job of providing art to our community then you do not have to do anything. If you disagree, maybe you would like to help out?

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Verizon and P2P

I just read and interesting bit of news about Version breaking from the big media ratpack and jumping onto the P2P bandwagon. They are putting forward and way to boost P2P file sharing through intelligent network management.

On the face of it, it seems that Verizon may have figured that dumping the big media companies of yesteryear and promoting independent produces of tomorrow could pay off for them in the long run (in the same way selling shovels and tools to gold miners during the gold rush days!). Maybe - just maybe - this massive 'alternate' business of the net is starting to think outside the traditional box. Though I have my doubts, but enlightened self interest and greed do on occasion work out in the customers favour (though very rare - but look at the net! Proof that 'new' really can win out)

It will be interesting how they figure out legal file shares, I think magnet link technology could provide a decent anchor to the system.

However, it could all the a way to localise and track file sharing (not a problem for us legal P2Pers) or it could be used to control traffic via some form of 'registration' to prove legality and thereby sneak back in the censorship under the guise of doing us a all favour. Time will tell.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Anarchist by nature.

Artists are anarchists by nature and society should nurture that spirit of anarchism in artists. I’m not suggesting that all of society should be anarchist, far from it, but just as business, government, military and church all have their own systems and ways of doing things so artists should have their’s. Artists are the fifth pillar of our society.

Artists should have complete freedom of speech. This is a romantic ideal, a ‘right’ that is all to often abused by hardliners in our society to stir up division and hatred. Yet if we look at artists it seems that although they do on occasion say some damn stupid things, when taken as a whole group they are surprisingly tolerant. They are more inclined to mix with others then any other group. I suppose it comes with the need to justify an artwork, to show what is felt and seen and pass it on to others. It is less about name calling and attack, but more about showing what is happening within their group (tribe). As such, artists should be free to say anything in regard to their art and showing what it happening in their world and their thoughts.

Artists are different from other groups within our society and have a whole set of values and views that only appear in the artists group. Just as a clergyman has trouble picking up a gun and taking on a soldier's role, or a rich corpulent businessman has difficulty sticking to a strict lifestyle of a Benedictine monk, or a politician giving a straight answer to a question, so artists have trouble living by the other group's ideals. Artists are not businessmen, politicians, priests or soldiers. They are different and live by different rules.

They can’t do nine to five, they are too distracted to be relied upon to focus on mundane tasks, they have huge egos and can’t be told what to think, too full of passion to stop, and they generally don’t like the idea of killing anyone. Their drive is to create (and mate) and for their art to be adored. They are a fundamental force of our civilization that is constantly being caged by others because they do not understand.

Just take it as read that artists are not like you, and they will not act as you think they will act. Not because they are crazy or illogical but because they live on the edge on society’s values and see all for what it is. They see behind the mask. This means that from time to time they will not go with convention; they are the innovators and the inspiration of new dreams. They are the chaos in the system, the force for change.

When a fan partakes and enjoys art, for a short while they step into the artist’s world and see the universe through new eyes. It refreshes and invigorates and should be protected at all costs.

The Artists Unchained System is the personification of the ‘artist and anarchist’ ideal. It is fair and homocentric system that is easy to apply. It fits with society’s current systems and enhances society richness of ideas.

Many ‘anarchist’ systems that have trouble gaining ground in the mainstream, mainly because it’s like hammering a square peg into a round hole until everything is destroyed. Not everyone is anarchist by nature and it is unfair to force them to be so. To force someone to accept anarchism is fundamentally going against the basic principles of anarchism – i.e. no acceptance of authority. This may be a red rag to a bull, but if you are an anarchist think deeply about what you really want: imposing anarchism on all or freedom for you and your kind?

Whereas the Artists Unchained System should cause no problems to civilizations infrastructure, and actually uses the systems others have created. Artists are part of society and therefore are reliant in part of society’s stability provided by the other groups. For example the system makes use of banking, ISP internet etc. all of which are highly organised infrastructure systems (though the content on the net is anything but, but that’s kind of proving the point of chaos through order!)

The only problem people can have with the AUS is that is gives artists huge freedom, and they may say things that some people will not want you to hear. The AUS is decentralised and any files shared via its guidelines are going to be very difficult to censor. This ensures the fundamental right of freedom of speech.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Copyright control

Copyright must remain with the artist and they should never be asked to give up their copyright or put into a situation where they even consider it! (We're looking at you Mr. businessman). As an artist your control of your copyright your legacy, and in a half decent system your works should provide you with a fair income for it use.

Copyright is an important right and in retaining copyright an artist can stop big business from moving in an exploiting an artists work in a manner they see fit.

As an example: The artist or studio that came up with the [snip] logo should be paid a royalty every time it is used. It doesn't have to be much but it should be enough to generate an income. Landing a job to create a big corporation's logo should generate a decent and ongoing money stream.

In effect the artist is being paid for each 'copy' of the logo (every time it is used, even when on a product like a pair of trainers). This may seem strange but that's because the law is twisted towards business: A logo as a piece of art may be considered property like a house or car is property, but a copyright is not the same thing, it is not a physical commodity it is the right to make the copy, and every time someone wants to make a copy they should pay the artist. It not that an unusual concept in business world, they have patents, and authors have royalties. Artists should has a similar 'copyright patent' that can never be assigned to another.

These 'copyright patents' could provide an ongoing legacy to the artist's family and descendants, there is no reason to put art into the public domain with the AUS, as all art can be used for free, but business will always have to pay - no matter what. If this was the case you could see the rise of artistic families with the power of the big business families. In the past there may have been good reasons not to allow artists access to such rights, but in the automated information age? Artists have sacrificed themselves for generation for the good of society, now business and technology has built up to such a degree, it is time to address the imbalance which heavily favours business.

Copyright is not the problem: In the world today, it is often Copyright that is blamed for the woes of P2P and the inability to share media, but this is not Copyright that is the problem: it is the system was the problem. The AUS seeks to correct that.

Throwing away rights is never a good idea: Rights are easy to discard and hard to get back.

As an artist: you may find it hard to turn a blind eye to the RIAA and all their actions, but in their enforcement of copyright and seeking to change the law, they are digging their own grave. In the same way a Martial Artist takes the strengths of their opponent's attack to empower their own moves, so to does the AUS;

Once they [RIAA] have made copyright draconian as all hell, us artists can simply switch to the AUS, and the law will then be iron clad for artists. The tighter the RIAA make the law, the harder it will be for them to break it or circumvent it when the wheel turns and artists opt to retain control of their work instead of giving it away for a pittance. Slowly, as artists jump ship, the talent stream will dry up and if the likes of the RIAA will have no one on their books -then what?

Just remember, as an artist, to NEVER sign a contract that assigns copyright to your client (be they a big media company/ corporation, a local store or friend) that takes away any of your rights over your artwork. Only offer a licence, never an assignment of copyright.

Watch as they strangle themselves! (it's almost amusing if it wasn't so sad) .