Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Department Of Beach Surveys

 The Department Of Beach Surveys.

Creative Commons License
The Department Of Beach Surveys by drew Roberts is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The government hires people and sends them to the beach every day. They get a clipboard and a short form to fill out daily. Something like:

Survey Taker:

Did you see any sea life today? Y/N
Did you see any birds today? Y/N
Did you see any land animals on the beach today? Y/N
Was it Windy / Calm?
Was it Sunny / Rainy?
Did you encounter any tourists on the beach today? Y/N
   If Yes, did they seem to be having a good time? Y/N
Did you have an enjoyable day at the beach today? Y/N
Optionally note below anything of interest you might want to.

Perhaps if other countries do not have enough beaches, they could send those workers to our country to do the surveys here.

Previous mentions of this concept:


"What happens to all the untrainable people who got jobs as political favors and are unskilled and basically unhireable anywhere else other than the civil service?

Reassign them to the Department Of Beach Surveys.

Or to the Department Of Redundancy Department Bureau Department Council Board Department."


Well, for my country, I keep suggesting the department of beach surveys.
Instead of laying off workers who become redundant or for any other reason, assign them to the department of beach surveys.
They must report to the beach each workday. They are responsible for their own lunches. (This will spur industry as the lunches will be provided by lunch wagons and the like.)
They will be responsible for taking statistics on seagull sightings, fish sightings, tides, seaweed, beach erosion and may other things.
Of course, thay can take swim breaks, rest breaks under the palms, etc.
Everyone is happy. Government does not have to lay off votes. Re-assigned workers get to enjoy the natural beauty of our wonderful beaches on all workdays except for bad weather days, these can be in office or home offices to write up data and reports from fine weather days.
Regular citizens are happy because the regular government departments run better due to not being overstaffed by de-motivated workers.
Win, win, win!"


I often suggest down here that we institute the Department of Beach Surveys.
Move those who don’t want to work and the other dead wood into the new agency. Send them to the beach every day with a clipboard and pencil with a for that they have to tick off.
At the beach today did you see:
[] Sand
[] Water
[] Fish
[] Seagull
[] Other marine bird
[] Non-marine bird
[] People other than Government Workers
[] Tourist
[] Boat
[] Jet plane
[] Prop plane
[] Car
[] Truck
Put up signs: “Your Tax Dollars At Work”
At least the other government offices may not be so gummed up…"

Friday, September 7, 2012

DJZ. Reflections On The Midnight Freedom Show

DJZ. Reflections on the Midnight Freedom Show

Creative Commons License
DJZ. Reflections on the Midnight Freedom Show by drew Roberts is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


September 7, 2012
For those of you doing the Free Music thing (making recorded music and releasing it under a license approved for Free Culture as per Freedom Defined’s Definition of Free Cultural Works - ), if you want to increase the chances of getting your Free music played on broadcast radio, read on. If you have no such desires, you could skip this if you like.

Back in December 2008 I made this announcement on Jamendo:

“Well, I am working on a new project now that NaNoWriMo is done, November was some month.

1. Plan is to play one BY-SA or BY or similar licensed song at midnight on Y98 every day.
2. At the same time, a link to download the song will be published on the Y98 web site.
3. Prefer songs in our genre but close may pass at the start.
In May of 2009 I posted this on my blog :
“Midnight Freedom Show 1

OK, so since the beginning of the year, I have had a small radio show that airs at around midnight every night on Y98.7 in Nassau Bahamas.
I have worked for a group of radio stations for many years, but I am not on the music side. I am on the tech side of the business. Still, I had a daily radio show on one of our stations for a year and gained some perspectives on what made or would have made my life easier and what made it more difficult.
Lately I have been thinking about the show and what I liked about it and what I struggled with. Its good points and its bad. I have been thinking about writing up a little article trying to help people doing the Free Music thing.
I have been thinking of more possible advice for people doing the Free Music thing who might want to get their music played on the radio.
Over the years since the last show, I have thought occasionally about picking it up and doing it again. The time commitments have always resulted  in the idea being put back on the shelf though.
In the post on my blog, I mentioned that putting full lyrics on the page where the song can be downloaded would be helpful in getting the song played. I have some other tips.
So here we go.
1. Put lyrics up. (Mentioned already.)
2. Make sure the Free license is easy to find on the same page as the lyrics and download.
3. Make a high quality download available. Or offer to send one when contacted.
4. If the download is not radio friendly, put up an alternate version that is. Don’t make the DJ work harder to get your song ready to play on the radio.
5. Give some biographical information about yourself and some information about the song for the DJ to talk about.
6. Give contact information so the DJ and fans hearing the song can get in touch.
7. Record a generic Artist Drop and make it available for download.
8. Record an introductory announcement to your song and make it available for download.
9. Record a back announcement to your song and make it available for download.
10. Describe your reason for using a Free license.
11. Describe what commitment, if any, you have to Freedom and Free licensing now and going forward.
12. Offer to record customised versions of 8 & 9 above for the station / DJ.

The Midnight Freedom Show was not a normal show in many respects. Since I only played one song a night and since I seldom repeated a song during the whole year, my time to find and vet the songs and ingest them into the automation system as a show was skewed to the high side. If I were doing 5 to 10 songs per show per night and repeating songs as I went, my time per song and likely time per show on average for the year would have most likely been lower. I think a lot of the above would have made things better even in  that situation though.

I would like to do this again sometime for you artists doing the Free music thing, but things will need to improve to make the time commitments workable. Did I mention that I did the show for a year with no pay? I was a labour of love on my part and a thank you to you musicians from me. Many were the days / nights when my young son would complain that I was spending too much time on the show. Not to mention my wife doing the same. (Oops, seems I did mention it.)

If you would like to get on the air, perhaps we can work together on some of the above with like minded musicians around the world and I can get a bunch of songs pre-selected and ready to go before approaching the guys about doing another show. Let me know if you are interested.

I would like to say more to come but look what happened to that earlier blog post.

all the best,


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Crazy Idea Creative Commons NC Fee

Crazy Idea Creative Commons NC Fee
 Copyright 2012 drew Robert

Creative Commons License
Crazy Idea Creative Commons NC Fee by drew Roberts is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

So there is quite the debate going on right now on the Creative Commons mailing lists and on as to the possibility of CC dropping or deprecating BY-NC and BY-ND variants as a part of the upcoming license version refresh.

I have asked for years that if CC does not drop the NC and ND stuff, they at least create a FreeCC brand / logo / etc. that those who use CC licenses but are only interested in the Free side of things can use and promote.

Dropping them would be OK with me too,

So this morning I had this crazy idea.

Since the people who use the NC license on their works reserve the right to make commercial use (make money from / profit from?) of their works for themselves and seek to restrict others from doing so, might it be fair to ask them to pay Creative Commons a small fee for the use of the NC license for each work that they release under such a license? Would it also be fair for CC to demand a small ongoing rate tied to revenue from the work on a yearly basis?

I can hear the howls now. Sorry.

If you are an NC user and are howling, consider this:

Those who use a Free BY or BY-SA license for their works allow others to earn revenue and possibly make a profit from their works. CC can do so if it chooses. The people who comprise CC can too. You, on the other hand want to reserve all of the revenue and profit for yourself. Why should you not pay a small fee to protect your works with such a finely crafted license? Why not pay a small percentage of the revenue you earn from your work thus protected? (Don't forget that a small percentage of $0.00 revenue is $0.00.)

If you don't want to pay with money, pay by sharing.

Hah! Ouch? I just had an even crazier idea to add to this:

CC could begin charging web sites etc for the right to offer the NC licenses for use in their site. If the sites need to, they could pass this on the the users as well. Nice way to double dip a bit there...

all the best,

(who may try and improve on this bit of crazy. Help doing so appreciated.)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Crowd Funding Freedom

Crowd Funding Freedom

Copyright 2012 drew Roberts

Creative Commons License
Crowd Funding Freedom by drew Roberts is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

So KickStarter kicked it off in the minds of many and IndieGoGo lets people outside of the US get in the game. (There are others as well, if you have such a site, send me the link for possible inclusion in the little post.)

This is something for people who crowd fund projects to consider and if they like the idea to insist on.

If you are going to participate in crowd funding a project which results in copyrighted works, patented or to be patented products / designs, inventions, etc. then why not insist on Free Licensing for the resulting works / products?

If you think about it, why should you pay to fund the creation of something which you can then be sent to jail or seriously fined for copying and sharing with friends.

If you think about it, if you are paying the creative person *up front* for the work they are doing, why do they need the government granted monopolies of copyright or patent to give them an incentive to create the work that gets the monopoly protection? Is the money that the crowd is paying them up front not enough of an incentive for them to create?

If crowd funders get into the swing of this, artists/musicians/creatives will get paid, and fans will be free to share the creations and promote their favourite artists.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Government, copyright and the public good

Can someone get the Bahamas Government to officially comment?

Government, copyright and the public good

[At GovCamp Canberra 2012, the Australian Information Commissioner Professor John McMillan stated:
"When government is the owner of intellectual property, a proprietary approach runs counter to the purpose of government and the public good".
We couldn't agree more.]

 Think about that a bit.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Thieves? Stealing?

Thieves? Stealing?

So I read this article the other day. And it is not the first time I have seen such an idea out in the wild.

TV Networks File Legal Claims Saying Skipping Commercials Is Copyright Infringement

Think about what they are saying for a minute. If you get up and go to the bathroom during a commercial break, you are a thief in their minds.

So this morning I go to a sports site (which I will not name) and I go to watch a story on last nights Celtics-Heat game. They show me a pre-clip commercial then a message comes up saying that the video is not available in my area.

Think about this for a second. If not watching commercials but watching the show is stealing, isn't showing the commercials while refusing to deliver the show also stealing?

This is to all sites *breaking* the world wide part of the world wide web:

1. Shame on you in general.
2. Double shame on you for not detecting the region and notifying the watcher before showing the commercial, not after. Shame!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

This Video Is Not Available In Your Location

This Video Is Not Available In Your Location
(Or: Shame! Copyright breaks the "world" wide web)

Now the world wide nature of the world wide web may not be the most important thing that copyright "breaks" but it is not an insignificant thing.

It is especially odd to find this on "news" sites.

Now, it is a shame in general that this is done but what makes it even more of a shame is when richer countries deny access to poorer countries. Shame on you when you do this.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

On The Need For A Stronger Copyleft For BY-SA 4.x

On The Need For A Stronger Copyleft For BY-SA 4.x

Copyright 2012 drew Roberts

Creative Commons License
On The Need For A Stronger Copyleft For BY-SA 4.x by drew Roberts is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

For those of you have not run into copyleft and its relationship to Freedom before here are a few links:

What is Copyleft?

What is free software?

Definition Of Free Cultural Works

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

OK, so let's consider the the following situation and see if this is really an acceptable situation.

Billy Bloke spends some time searching around on Kompoz and Jamendo and finds a bunch of BY-SA songs.

Billy listens to a bunch and then chooses a bunch on the theme Night. He listens a bunch more and picks some that go together and will fit on a CD.

He puts together this CD.

Let's assume that this CD fits the bill of the BY-SA definition of a "Collection" as per 1.b. of the license.

Therefore Billy Bloke gets a copyright on this collection. Nothing in the license for the songs says that he has to put any particular type of license on this collection. Billy chooses to go with no license at all and keeps his copyright ARR (All Rights Reserved).

Billy starts selling copies of his CD which he has titled Night Dreams. It turns out he has decent taste and the CD starts selling well.

The songwriters and musicians who wrote and recorded the songs notice these sales and decide to try their hand at selling copies of the CD to their fans at gigs.

Billy sues them for copyright infringement and wins. The musicians face huge statutory damages and are told they cannot sell copies of the CDs without Billy's permission. Billy refuses.

They chat about this online for a good while and one gets the bright idea to use most of the songs but replace a few. They start selling that Collection of songs.

Billy sues again on the grounds that their CD is a derivative of his. He wins again and they pay again.

Is this really the situation we want to exist with regards to Free Copyleft works and copyrighted collections?

all the best,


Friday, January 27, 2012

What If Copyleft Was Written Into Law?

What If Copyleft Was Written Into Law?

Consider what would happen if lawmakers around the world decided to add the copyleft concept to copyright law.

1. Automatic copyleft, not copyright.
2. To get copyright, works would have to be marked copyright and registered.
3. Copyleft works could draw freely from works in the "public domain" (works never in copyright and works no longer in copyright.
4. Copyright works that draw from the public domain would be assessed a percentage fee to fund the arts.
5. All copyright works would be assessed a fee to pay for the functioning of the copyright apparatus. (Copyleft works exempt.)
6. All copyright works currently under a bona fide Free copyleft license would automatically become legal copyleft works.
7. All copyright works currently under a bona fide Free permissive license could elect to become legal copyleft works.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Question For Clay Shirky

A Question For Clay Shirky

So with all the #SOPA and #PIPA news going around lately I came upon this post from Clay while browsing

Pick up the pitchforks:
David Pogue underestimates Hollywood

I would probably just replied in a comment but comments were closed.

Down at the bottom he says:

We should delight in the stand we’ve taken in favor of things like, say, notifications, and trials, and proof before censoring someone, but we should get ready to do it again next year, and the year after that. The risk now is not that SOPA will pass. The risk is that we’ll think we’ve won. We haven’t; they’ll be back. Get ready to have this fight again.

My question is this, if you really believe that we will have to do this again and again, isn't it time to call for the end of all copyright law instead? Would that not be a safer approach?

Something to think about.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Gas Tax Lottery

Gas Tax Lottery

Here is another off the wall idea brought to you by yours truly.

So I dropped by slashdot tonight and saw an article about Fuel Efficiency and Gas Mileage and saw this thought in the summary:

"Among environmental policy analysts, the notion of a surcharge on fuel is widely supported. 'I think 98 percent of economists would say that we need higher gas taxes,' Knittel says."

So I asked myself, what if those who think such measures are necessary to achieve some social goal would suggest that all monies collected by such measures go not to fund government spending but instead to a fund a "lottery" where everyone who paid any such tax got a chance at winning?

Those who dislike big government would at least know that the monies collected would not go to growing government. Those who like big government would at least have to push the idea on its merits alone and not any extra benefits that the additional revenue could bring by spending on government programs.

Just to be clear, this idea is meant for any tax whose stated aim is to guide or control behaviour rather than to raise revenue.

Hit me with your thoughts.

all the best,


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Four Freedoms

The Four Freedoms

I have been taking part in a long discussion on lately on whether the Four Freedoms that are thought to be essential Freedom are needed for Culture as well.

There has been a lot of back and forth and a lot of thoughts put forward on both sides but I just want to document this in more detail here. Sometimes 140 characters just makes things too difficult.

A lot of the following is likely still rough and could use more refining and still in the beginning stages and could use further development.

The Four Freedoms (0-3) of Free Software.

The Four Freedoms of Free Culture.

One line of thinking is that there has been a logical argument put forward on the necessity of the four freedoms for software and that there has been no logical argument put forward on the necessity of these freedoms when it comes to culture and that therefore denying one, some, or all of these freedoms with respect to culture is "OK". (Or at least not proved wrong/unethical/unwarranted.)

I am putting forward that this is approaching the issue from the wrong end. Consider this:

Freedom is the Proper Default.

Freedom does not need to be justified. Freedom does not need to be proved to be necessary. Freedom should be assumed. Freedom is the proper default.

Those who would seek to limit freedom are the ones who should have to prove that those limits that they want to place on another person's freedom are essential. That those limits are unavoidable.

Furthermore if we are trying to solve a problem we should solve it in a way that least impacts another person's freedom.

Let's say you live in a supposedly free society and one day the government sends someone over to your house and tells you that you have to be inside your house by 10 pm every night. Should the onus be on you to prove that you need to be out after 10 pm? Or should the government bear the burden of proving a valid reason that you need to be in by 10 pm?

Now let's say that rather than you in particular having to be in by ten, they say all people over 6 feet tall have to be in by 10. Do people six foot plus now have some moral or ethical obligation to prove that they need to be out after ten?

I put it to you that it is those who would restrict another person's freedom that has the obligation to offer proof. Freedom is the proper default and should be assumed.

So, let's take the example of someone publishing an opinion piece and having the worry (or even the knowledge based on past experience) that they will be misconstrued to their detriment. Let's say they take the position that they will use the power that copyright law gives them to allow only verbatim distribution of their piece. (If you are familiar with the Creative Commons suite of licenses, think a BY-ND license.)

Let's for the moment assume that this approach will be perfectly effective.

Is this restriction on another person warranted? Is there another way to get the same effective result? Is it really necessary to prevent another person who agrees mostly with your piece from starting with your piece, making the changes necessary to reflect where the two of you see things differently and releasing the derivative piece as their opinion on the matter. (referencing your opinion accurately in the process)

Now let's consider a translation. Do we need an ND on that to prevent a translation that accurately represents your thoughts? Would not an officially approved translation serve the purpose in contrast to unapproved translations? Are we not sophisticated enough to know that mistakes can be made in translation? even if we are unsophisticated in this area, the ethical imposition on the restriction needs to be proved. There is a workable alternative and if everyone took that alternative, its effectiveness would grow soon enough.

Let me try and put it another way.

Those that think that the ethical case has been satisfactorily make in the realm of software already believe that copyright law results in the allowance and widespread practice of unethical behavior and that proper licensing is needed to combat this unethical situation so long as copyright law remains in its present form.

Given that, if someone wants to place restrictions on another person's freedom an an area other than software, the burden of proof is on them to show that the desired restrictions are in fact ethical ones. It is not enough that it is legal for them to place those restrictions on another. The law will allow them to place those restrictions on another in the software realm as well.

Freedom and Freedoms

Although I titled this post The Four Freedoms, it goes deeper than that and perhaps I made a mistake in giving this post that title.

Basically, we do not need to think of "the freedom to do this" and "the freedom to do that" as that will lead to us not being Free. No, we should think that we should be free to do whatever it is that we may want to do. After that, we nee to think about what necessary and ethical restrictions should be placed on our freedom to do whatever it is we want to do.

Freedom is the Proper Default.

So, here we are with copyright law and how it applies to software and culture and the restrictions is puts on people who would otherwise be free to do as they chose.

So, in this area, when we speak of essential freedoms, I put forward that what is essential is to list the freedoms what will negate the restrictions that copyright law puts on people. And in the case of copleft licenses, to do it in such a way that the works we so license cannot then be used in ways to deny those same freedoms to others, now or in the future.

(This is why I consider it a bug still in need of a solution that works under various copyleft licenses cannot be intermixed.)

However, these freedoms put forward do not need to be justified. It is the restrictions that copyright law places on free people living in a free society that nee to be justified. The proper critique for any such list of freedoms is whether it fully reverses the restrictions copyright law places on people. *Then and only then* if any restrictions placed on a free people by copyright are proven to be justified, such restrictions can be factored into the given list of freedoms.

Can my freedom to do X be ethically restricted?

A simple/childish test.

Should I be allowed to do X to someone?

Simple test:

Should someone be allowed to do X to me?


Should I be allowed to kill Jim?

Simple test:

Should Jim be allow to kill me?

My answer:

No, Jim should not be allowed to kill me. Therefore, I should not be allowed to kill Jim.

Should I be allowed to make a derivative of Jim's song?

Simple test:

Should Jim be allowed to make a derivative of my song?

My answer:

Yes, Jim should be allowed to make a derivative of my song. Therefore, I should be allowed to make a derivative of Jim's song.

Let's do it again from the other direction.

Should Jim be allowed to restrict my freedom to kill him? (Should Jim be allowed to stop me from killing him?)

Simple test:

Should I be allowed to restrict Jim's freedom to kill me? (Should I be allowed to stop Jim from killing me?)

You can state the second example from the reverse perspective.