July 20, 2006  ·  Lessig

So I’m sitting at a hot Internet Cafe in Costa Rica, interrupting the month with the family, to follow Dave’s lead in drawing attention to just how Edwards’ gets the net. As Dave explains, former-Senator Edwards has begun distributing video using BitTorrent — demonstrating the important value of this technology that has nothing to do with “piracy.” Now if only he’d signal clearly the freedoms that run with his video…

(Thanks, Dave)

  • LB

    Go John Edwards! I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the path of his re-election campaign and wish him the best. But sorry the rest of this is off-topic. In the never-ending effort to point out hypocrisy on the right, why does the National Review get to post entire poems and song lyrics with impunity? I’ve notified the agents of Kingsley Amis that major dipshit John derbyshire has in the last week posted an entire poem without, I assume, permission. They do this with song lyrics regularly at the Corner. And they would be the first to assail the song-stealing, copyright-infringing left… where do they get so much nerve?
    http://tinyurl.com/fnnnh

  • http://www.movedigital.com Gary Lerhaupt

    Actually, Edwards has embraced Creative Commons. If you check the License row at http://download.movedigital.com/johnedwards/7783 you’ll see its tagged as http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

    It seems a bug in the MoveDigital code kept that info from propagating into the LICENSE.txt file which is included with each torrent we create. Thanks for helping me to notice that.

  • three blind mice

    demonstrating the important value of this technology that has nothing to do with “piracy.”

    the demonstration, professor, is how the desire to use technology for illegal file copying hinders the development of technologies that would be far more useful and efficient for the delivery of legal content such that being promulgated by mr. edwards.

    bittorrent is a napster design-around and is in many ways an inferior file distribution system. compared to a centrally managed and vetted database, P2P offers a fragmented, untrustworthy, unreliable, malware-riddled environment which is no surprise.

    P2P was developed not as a superior file distribution method; it was developed in response to a supreme court ruling as a way to “fill the gap”, that is satisfy the demand for illegal file sharing, when napster was shut down. technical innovation? broadly defined, yes.

    but “innovation” in this plane, it seems to us, does not promote technical progress, it impedes it.

  • http://poptones.f2o.org poptones

    bittorrent is a napster design-around and is in many ways an inferior file distribution system. compared to a centrally managed and vetted database,

    Oh really? When you log into one of those “centrally managed, vetted databases” of any size, you are most likely to be connecting to a farm of servers. Ever heard of Akamai? Akamai operates a network of proxies for hire employed by other companies like WIRED, who use this network to relieve strain on their own backbone. How is this different than providing those who wish to volunteer their spare bandwidth the tools to do so?

    In other words: BitTorrent provides to the lone content creator the same essential tools and power as the largest online media organizations. And in a nation where complaints from the looniest of chistofascists can result in takedowns of otherwise legal content simply because said content offends the beliefs of someone, somewhere and therefore represents a potential loss of revenue from advertising to one of the “free” hosts, BitTorrent’s greatest feature is in the way it provides liberty.

    P2P offers a fragmented, untrustworthy, unreliable, malware-riddled environment which is no surprise. P2P was developed not as a superior file distribution method; it was developed in response to a supreme court ruling as a way to “fill the gap”, that is satisfy the demand for illegal file sharing, when napster was shut down. technical innovation? broadly defined, yes.

    This is way beneath you. BitTorrent is not “p2p” in the way bearshare and limewire is p2p. BitTorrent was never designed as a legal workaround – it was designed as a technical workaround – to expensive “fat bandwidth” hosting sites and to help ensure content creators were not suddenly faced with thousand dollar a month internet bills because they committed the crime of creating something that suddenly became popular.

    When BitTorrent doesn’t work on some new or potentially popular content it is most likely because the posting has violated the law, or at least the will of the creator, who has demanded removal of the seeds of this content. Without seeds, torrents die – by design. When that happens, downloads slow to a trickle and fail. For legal or approved content, BitTorrent is a fantastically reliable tool that can quickly consume half or more of one’s bandwidth with its voracious appetite for data.

    In other words: BitTorrent was designed, from the beginning, to work when it is supposed to and to be easily broken when it is not. Is it 100% reliable? No – nothing ever is. But characterizing torrent as “p2p” riddled by malware is every bit as ignorant as talking about those thieving mexicans or those lazy black folk.. seriously. it’s offensive and ignorant and reveals more about the person making the mischaracterization than is says about the target of this slander. Why don’t you install one of the Free clients – that come completely free of “malware” or adware or any other type “ware” aside from “Free software,” hit up a respectable site like chomskytorrents.org, and see for yourself what informational Liberty can be?

  • Kirby Files

    This post raises the interesting question of how to tag works that are distributed by other methods than a web page. The FAQ states that offline work should include the CC reference text, but this seems to apply only to textual works, and not multimedia.

    If a user receives a .torrent of Edwards’ media, how are they to discover the CC license that might have been associated with it? Has CC tried implementing in-file metadata for common media formats? Why was such an idea discarded. For example, it would not be hard to add EXIF data (and specifically the IPTC schema) to all common image formats, and provide a reference implementation for photo-editing software to create such metadata. Similarly, audio files have ID3 v2 tags, which include licensing frames. Video tools are supposed to be implementing MPEG-7 XML-based metadata, although I’m not sure of the current status of this standard.

    Why not use these in-file metadata methods as well as RDF on web pages to provide for more robust license information after multimedia has been redistributed outside of the original web site, via torrents, FTP, email, p2p, etc.

    Thanks,
    –kirby

  • http://poptones.f2o.org poptones

    If it’s a torrent you can ship the license (and anything else you want) in the torrent because you can package complete folders into torrents.

    But if it’s video why not just put the license URL on the video itself? If someone wants to chop it out they will whether it is in XML or on screen, but we are talking VIDEO here which means there is an easy means to add the license tag to the beginning of the stream.

    I agree there should be more accomodations made for licenses in metadata, but it’s not as if there is no solution to the problem even as things are today.