Tag Archives | Free Culture

Lost Between the Cushions: CouchSurfing’s Identity Crisis

worklife_small-talk-is-big_june_jugglezine_maassen1

The culture of sharing your house and goodwill in hopes of getting a social return may be at risk due to growth and rude people.

Via The Connectivist:

Is trusting a stranger’s Internet profile still a safe and meaningful way to travel?

Florian, a 44-year old German man, felt used and taken advantage of by the stranger in his house. For a week, the stranger came and went as if he owned the place, returning late at night and making no time at all for the distraught Florian. Hardly any dialogue or intimacy was shared between the two. Florian, deeply distressed, complained that he and the stranger had “almost no opportunity to eat together or really get to know each other.”

Such are not the ways of CouchSurfing.

The Internet has a history of providing safe havens for new social, economical, and scientific experiments, like Bitcoin or downloadable vaccines. But what happens when they get too big for their boots?

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Good Grief, Charlie Brown! Peanutweeter Brings Peanuts Together with Twitter

PeanutweeterFrom Angela Watercutte on WIRED's Underwire:
Everyone has at least one funny person they follow on Twitter just for the lulz, but sometimes the things they say would be even more laughable if they weren’t constantly spewing from the same avatar. Peanutweeter changes that. The @Peanutweeter Tumblr blog and Twitter feed fulfill a very simple idea: Matching somewhat random Twitter posts with less-random Peanuts comics. The results are hilarious. “The site arose from the concept that the amusing and sometimes outrageous tweets out there would be even funnier or sometimes darker if they came from someone that everyone could identify with,” site creator T. Jason Agnello told Wired.com by e-mail.
Continue Reading

Dancing at the Memorial of a Slave Owner

Jefferson Memorial

Photo: Prisonblues (CC)

Saturday, around 50 people held a demonstration through dance at the Jefferson Memorial in southern Washington, D.C., which overlooks the Potomac River. Over 2,000 people had testified on Facebook that they would show up, but these testimonials apparently turned out to be the Internet’s letting off steam.

A week before, U.S. Park Police arrested five protesters for silently dancing in the memorial, which they did in response to the April 12, 2008 arrest of Mary Oberwetter, a 28-year-old D.C. resident, who was eventually charged with “interfering with agency functions.”

The video of recent arrests received in its first 24 hours well over 100,00 views and, at the time of this writing, nearly 900,000. Russia Today journalist and 2010 House Candidate Adam Kokesh, a self-described Ron Paul Republican, found himself thrown to the ground and, briefly, even choked, last weekend for dancing, as he said, in celebration of the principles of Thomas Jefferson.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Crikey! Aussies To Be Fined For Swearing

350px-Profanity.svgWhat the f*#^? The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Australians may have a love of plain speaking but new laws are set to curtail some of their more colourful language with police issuing on-the-spot fines for obnoxious swearing.

The country’s second most populous state Victoria is due to approve new legislation this week under which police will be able to slap fines of up to Aus$240 (US$257) on people using offensive words or phrases.

Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark said the penalties, similar to those issued for speeding or parking illegally, would free up police time.

“This will give the police the tools they need to be able to act against this sort of obnoxious behaviour on the spot, rather than having to drag offenders off to court and take up time and money in proceedings,” he said.

But even the state’s top lawyer admitted to swearing sometimes. “Occasionally I mutter things under my breath as probably everybody does,” he told ABC radio.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Government’s War on Cameras (Video)

Via Reason TV:
Who will watch the watchers? In a world of ubiquitous, hand-held digital cameras, that's not an abstract philosophical question. Police everywhere are cracking down on citizens using cameras to capture breaking news and law enforcement in action. In 2009, police arrested blogger and freelance photographer Antonio Musumeci on the steps of a New York federal courthouse. His alleged crime? Unauthorized photography on federal property. Police cuffed and arrested Musumeci, ultimately issuing him a citation. With the help of the New York Civil Liberties Union, he forced a settlement in which the federal government agreed to issue a memo acknowledging that it is totally legal to film or photograph on federal property. Although the legal right to film on federal property now seems to be firmly established, many other questions about public photography still remain and place journalists and citizens in harm's way. Can you record a police encounter? Can you film on city or state property? What are a photographer's rights in so-called public spaces?
Continue Reading

The Pirate Bay: ‘The Battle of Internets is About to Begin’

Pirate BayErnesto writes on TorrentFreak:

Talks on implementing a Europe-wide firewall to censor and block ‘illicit’ websites has caused concern among many Internet users in recent weeks, and today one of the targeted sites has joined the discussion. Quoting one of Churchill’s most famous speeches, The Pirate Bay team is rallying the public to defend the free Internet and end the threat posed by the entertainment industries’ copyright lobby.

In February, a secret meeting of the European Union’s Law Enforcement Work Party (LEWP) resulted in a worrying proposal.

To deal with illicit sites on the Internet, the group suggested the adoption of a China-like firewall to block websites deemed ‘inappropriate’. The controversial proposal immediately met resistance from various sides, including ISPs who would be tasked with maintaining the blocklist. The copyright lobby on the other hand welcomes the initiative which they’ve been suggesting for years.

One of the sites that has a fair share of experience with being blocked is The Pirate Bay.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Freedom of Information Act Does Not Apply to ‘Known Anarchists’

G20 Anarchists

Photo: Kashfi Halford (CC)

Site editor’s note: This post from D.J. Pangburn originally appeared on death + taxes.

Mo Karn, alias of a ‘known anarchist,’ filed a Freedom of Information Act requrest with the Richmond, Virginia police.  The department delivered the documents, now they want them back.

Karn (a member of Richmond Copwatch) and others filed under the Freedom of Information Act to learn police procedures during protests, so that they could better plan and coordinate their efforts in direct action.  According to Karn’s (she is a member of the anarchist collective The Wingnut), the group “wanted to get copies of the police protocols so we could know when the police are breaking their own rules.”

Perfectly legal, it would seem. We should all know when police are breaking their own rules or the law.

However, the documents weren’t merely standard police protocols but homeland security and crowd control guides.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Public Domain Works In 2011: What Could Have Been?

In the spirit of the Disinfo film RIP! A Remix Manifesto, the Center for the Study of the Public Domain goes dreaming and takes a look at classic works which would be entering the public domain in 2011, but for the passing of 1976’s restrictive Copyright Act. Among the cultural items to become freely available for quoting, remixing, and all other use would be books such as Waiting for Godot and Lord of the Flies, movies including On the Waterfront and Rear View Window, and the songs ‘Mr. Sandman’ and ‘Mambo Italiano.’

Current US law extends copyright protections for 70 years from the date of the author’s death. But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years (an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years).

books

Read the rest

Continue Reading