A Bunch of other stuff

Owen Byrne owen@permafrost.net
Wed, 22 Jan 2003 01:08:34 -0400

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Much as baiting right-wing americans is fun (red, white & blue 
-baiting?), just thought I'd post some other stuff. but some baiting at 
the end:.

In Canada, fair use is (according to some web site) cool:
Of course there is a (large) tax associated with it.

    Can I now legally copy music CDs for my friends? (examples added

The simple answer is NO, but you can legally copy your friend's music CD 
for YOUR OWN use.

To paraphrase the introduction to an early Copyright Board ruling:

      On March 19, 1998, Part VIII of the Copyright Act came into force.
      Until then, copying any sound recording for almost any purpose
      infringed copyright. Part VIII legalizes one such activity:
      copying of sound recordings of musical works onto recording media
      for the private use of the person who makes the copy.

It does not matter whether you own the original sound recording (on any 
medium), you can legally make a copy for your own private use.

To emphasize this point, endnote 4 of an early Copyright Board ruling says:

      Section 80 does not legalize (a) copies made for the use of
      someone other than the person making the copy; and (b) copies of
      anything else than sound recordings of musical works. It does
legalize making a personal copy of a recording owned by someone else.

Note that the Copyright Act ONLY allows for copies to be made of "sound 
recordings of musical works". Nonmusical works, such as audio books or 
books-on-tape are NOT covered.

The wording of the Copyright Act gives rise to some very odd situations. 
In the *6 examples* below, "commercial CD" means a commercially pressed 
CD that you would normally buy at a retail store.

      If someone steals a commercial CD, steals a blank CD-R, and then
      copies the commercial CD onto the CD-R, they are a thief, but they
      have not infringed copyright.
      You can legally lend a commercial CD to a friend, give him a blank
      CD-R, let him use your computer, and help him burn the CD-R which
      he can keep for his own private use.
      You can legally copy a commercial CD , keep the copy, and give
      your friend the original.
      You *cannot* legally make the copy yourself and give your friend
      the copy.
      Your friends Alice and Benoit really like the new commercial CD
      you just purchased. Alice borrows it and makes a copy for her own
      use. She then passes the commercial CD on to Benoit, who makes a
      copy for his own use. Benoit gives the commercial CD back to you.
      This is all perfectly legal.
      However, if Alice had copied the commercial CD, given it back to
      you, and passed her copy on to Benoit to make a copy for his own
      use, then copyright would have "probably" been infringed. There is
      some doubt here because Alice's original intent is important. In
      the strictest terms, her copy was no longer just for her private
      use. Pretty strange considering that the end result of examples 5
      and 6 are exactly the same!

A plan for the world trade site:



*To print this page, select "Print" from the File menu of your browser*

Ground zero: Where the buffalo roam?
A new film from "Slacker" director Richard Linklater offers a daring, 
crackpot vision for the World Trade Center memorial: A 16-acre park full 
of free-roaming bison.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
*By Su Ciampa*


Jan. 21, 2003  | Maybe there are no new ideas. Maybe the universe is 
finite and maybe that's why after two rounds of proposals for the World 
Trade Center site, the designs fall short of the call for innovation and 
look like, well, variations on Epcot Center.

The most revolutionary proposal isn't on the table of the Lower 
Manhattan Development Corp. or the Port Authority or the governors of 
New York and New Jersey. It's in a short film by Richard Linklater 
<http://salon.com/ent/movies/int/2001/11/20/linkater/>(best known as the 
director of "Slacker" and "Dazed and Confused") that premiered Monday at 
the Sundance Film Festival, exactly a week after the public hearings on 
the new WTC site proposals.

In the 20-minute film, "Live From Shiva's Dancefloor," Manhattan 
walking-tour guide Timothy "Speed" Levitch posits that the site should 
be turned into a park full of free-roaming American bison, popularly 
known as buffalo. "Sixteen acres of blazing green grass, a place for 
togetherness, healing out loud, and spontaneous culture," says Levitch. 
"And in the middle of the park, the memorial should not be an inanimate 
slab of stone, but should have a heartbeat." Thus, the buffalo.

It sounds like a crackpot notion, initially. But as Linklater points out 
in an interview, "Many things we take for granted and enjoy as part of 
our lives were initially crackpot ideas that the establishment scoffed at."

Levitch, a native New Yorker and a tour guide since 1992, was in San 
Francisco on Sept. 11, 2001. Several weeks later, on his first night 
back in New York, he visited the site with Linklater and their ongoing 
discussion about what might become of it spawned "Live From Shiva's 
Dancefloor," shot in the summer of 2002. Linklater and Levitch first met 
in 1998 at a screening of "The Cruise," another documentary in which 
Levitch holds forth on New York City and the universe.

The first question is, of course, why buffalo? "This is an American 
tribe that has been experiencing Sept. 11 for 400 years," says Levitch, 
citing the near-extinction of the shaggy beast (actually a species of 
wild ox) at the turn of the 20th century.

"You will learn a lot about America's subconscious expectations for its 
future in what we finally decide to build on that sacred ground," 
Levitch continues. "And I say that subconscious expectation should be 
the lost sages of North America brought back to the existential 
front-and-center of America, so that the new Americans will not be 
interested in slaughtering the buffalo but in learning from the buffalo, 
and not view the buffalo as a strange beast and an icon on a flag but as 
a living, breathing soul that also has moments of cosmopolitanism."

"No one really thinks like Speed," says Linklater, by which he does not 
simply mean thinking of bison as cosmopolitan. "No one has the kind of 
all-encompassing vision. And that's what's lacking in so much of the 
proposals people are throwing out there."

It's not so much the proposed designs that are disappointing as the 
parameters that dictate what will be considered for the site. (Needless 
to say, Levitch's proposal doesn't comply with the stipulations of the 
Lower Manhattan Development Corp., et al.) "That's the problem when you 
limit yourself to official this and official that," says Linklater. "The 
realm of possibilities is so small."

Linklater recognizes that it's an impossible task for both designers and 
decision makers. "You'll never be able to satisfy people, so I think 
everyone needs to start thinking an entirely different way." Arguably, 
this point is reinforced by a recent New York Times headline: "New Trade 
Center Plans Draw Old Complaints." In other words, the time for crackpot 
ideas is overdue.

"Live From Shiva's Dancefloor" embodies the Úlan of the buffalo idea and 
Levitch himself. It was shot in one day with a hand-held camera in the 
now-symbolic landscape of Lower Manhattan. "It was important to have 
some kind of historical perspective about the area," Linklater says. 
Levitch provides this with adenoidal wistfulness, along with applicable 
wisdom from Henry David Thoreau, Alexander Hamilton and Maimonides, the 
12th century rabbi and philosopher.

Levitch maintains that the history of New York City is the history of 
the world. So when he says in the film, "The creation and destruction 
that is the rhythm of the universe is a part of our every day," he is 
referring not just to Lower Manhattan or New York but to life itself. 
"Behind me here," says Levitch, standing in front of the chain-link 
fence at ground zero, "this might look to you like a hole in the ground. 
But what it actually is, is a delightful, benevolent opportunity for 
rebirth." He manages to say the word "rebirth" without the worn rhetoric 
of a Lower Manhattan Development Corp. press release.

Levitch saw the WTC's towers as twins in sibling rivalry, forever trying 
to look taller than each other. He says in the film, "I used to ask 
people, 'Will the trade centers ever speak to one another again?'" His 
idea is to counter the legacy of competition (what he terms "meek 
intimacy") and transaction ("bad sex") by creating a conduit for 
interaction. "For I don't believe that the city even exists until human 
interaction is happening," he says. "So this park will be the melting 
down of alienation, which was a major ingredient of Sept. 11, and is a 
major ingredient of violence the world over."

Levitch's proposition is both counterintuitive and reverent, but is it 
humane? "There was a man recently," says Levitch, "he asked a very valid 
question, which was, 'Don't you think it would be a tragedy to bring a 
majestic being like an American bison into this claustrophobic and 
polluted setting?' And I said, well, we're doing it. We're majestic 
beings and we're doing it."

There are, in fact, precedents for four-footed urban herds, as Levitch 
points out. Central Park's Sheep Meadow was home to its eponymous rams 
and ewes until Robert Moses banished them in 1934, and in San 
Francisco's Golden Gate Park, 11 bison graze in a 12.5-acre paddock. 
"The bison in New York would actually have more space than the buffalo 
in San Francisco," Levitch proclaims. If not cleaner air.

Bringing buffalo to the WTC site, Levitch believes, will not only result 
in spiritual healing of the city but financial growth as well. "Live 
 From Shiva's Dancefloor" culminates with Levitch sitting atop the 
bronze bull on lower Broadway and declaring, "When executives get 
promoted to the corner office mainly so that they can get a good view of 
the buffalo grazing on an average afternoon, you'll go way beyond the 
duality of the bull-and-bear market."

Levitch admits he's not terribly concerned with precision when it comes 
to figures. (In the film, he states that 600 million buffalo once roamed 
North America. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the 
number was more likely somewhere between 30 million and 75 million.) 
He's more of an idea man than a detail man, trying to jog the American 
mind out of strictly vertical concepts of rebuilding.

"We're serious about this," says Linklater of the park. "It's kind of 
playful but that's the point." It is unlikely that "Live From Shiva's 
Dancefloor" will move a committee of bureaucrats to take the bison idea 
seriously. The hope is that the film will spawn new thinking on a 
greater scale, change the scope of thought and vision on a fatigued 
subject. "Even if it doesn't actually happen," Levitch says, "there is 
triumph in just having people imagine it."


my American credentials - can't be Anti-American unless you're American.
My grandparents (on my mothers side) were born in New Jersey. Fools that 
they were, they went back to the homeland. As my parents described it 40 
years later - they came to the new country with all their friends, 
couples, families, within a year, 90% went home. Second generation we 
managed to stay.  I spent a year and a  half in an American high school 
 - in a part of the world that is in the news.
and I have that sort of cool distinction that as part of my brief 
experience in Asia, I got to go to Afghanistan on the US federal budget 
(in 1975 - that would be Nixon/Ford paying for it).
I could drivel on about the war on drugs and stuff, but back then it was 
clear that individual Americans understood that barriers to entry = 
windfall profits. And that the best barrier to entry was the full weight 
of the US government, trade first, miltary next.