Tag Archives | Free Culture

The Best 40 Free Movies You Can Download Legally Online

Free CultureAn Australian technology blog has collected a list of 40 of the best free movies that have fallen into the public domain and are available online.

There’s two Christmas classics — a 1935 version of A Christmas Carol and Frank Capra’s Meet John Doe — plus Orson Welles’ “The Stranger,” and four Alfred Hitchcock movies. And you can also watch William Shatner’s legendary anti-racism film for Roger Corman, several Vincent Price classics and the original “Night of the Living Dead.”

These aren’t video clips, but entire movies, including one about a bank robbery that stars Johnny Cash. And if you want something even more offbeat, try the 1970s TV movie “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island” or — for Christmas — “Santa Conquers the Martians.”… Read the rest

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South Park Sued For ‘What What (In The Butt)’ Parody

South Park ParodyYou have to love the way that Trey Parker and Matt Stone keep getting themselves into legal trouble for the scripts of South Park. Keep up the good work gentlemen! From the Hollywood Reporter:

Less than a month after South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker were forced to apologize for lifting material for a spoof of Inception from the website CollegeHumor, the show is again facing accusations of content theft. The producers of the animated hit, including Viacom and Comedy Central, are being sued for allegedly ripping off a copyrighted music video for the viral phenomenon What What (In the Butt).

The video was produced by Brownmark Films based on a song by Samwell. Released in 2007, it became a massive hit and was featured on PerezHilton.com and VH1′s Best Week Ever, and has been downloaded over 33 million times on YouTube. According to the site, it’s one of the most watched music videos of all time…

U.S.… Read the rest

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Set Music Free: Orchestra to Record Copyright-Free Classical Music

Set Music FreeAn online music site has raised over $68,000 to hire a full orchestra to record royalty-free classical music. (“Although the actual symphonies are long out of copyright, there is separate protection for every individual performance by an orchestra,” notes one technology site.”)

MusOpen has reached their fundraising goal for both the orchestra and a recording facility, and will now record the complete symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky. For every additional $1,000 raised, they’ve promised to add additional recordings.… Read the rest

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TorrentReactor Buys and Renames Russian Town

Hard to believe this? Ernesto writes on TorrentFreak:
TorrentReactor Village

TorrentReactor, listed among the five most popular torrent sites on the Internet, has surprised friends and foes by acquiring a small town in central Russia. The town formerly known as Gar has reportedly been bought for the equivalent of $148,000 and was quickly renamed after the Russian-based torrent site.

The last time a torrent site attempted to buy some land, the plan miserably failed. Early 2007 The Pirate Bay launched its ‘Buy Sealand” campaign. The plan was to raise enough money so they could buy the micronation of Sealand and offer “high-speed Internet access, no copyright laws and VIP accounts to The Pirate Bay.”

Within a few weeks the campaign raised some $20,000 from potential citizens, but this wasn’t enough. Sealand turned out not to be an option as it was prized at 750 million euros, which equals to nearly one billion US dollars.

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Forgotten Verses From “This Land is Your Land”

In 2005, I published a book with Disinformation called 50 American Revolutions You’re Not Supposed To Know: Reclaiming American Patriotism.

Hope you like what you read, for more about me, please check out my blog at www.mickeyz.net.

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Photo: Al Aumuller

If you were to open your mouth and belt out the words “this land is your land,” you could rest assured that someone nearby would add: “this land is my land.” The chorus to Woody Guthrie’s 1940 classic is common knowledge … as are the first couple of verses.

But it isn’t until you get to the later verses — the verses often omitted from official versions — that you start comprehendin’ what good ol’ Woody (1912–1967) had in mind:

As I was walkin’ I saw a sign there
And that sign said “No tresspassin’”
But on the other side, it didn’t say nothin’
Now that side was made for you and me

In the squares of the city / In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office, I see my people
And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’
If this land’s still made for you and me

Let’s not forget that Guthrie penned the song in response to Irving Berlin’s saccharine “God Bless
America.” Let’s also not forget the words he scrawled on his guitar:

“This machine kills fascists.”

Woody said: “This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright #154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin’ it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, ’cause we don’t give a dern.… Read the rest

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FCC Gives Hollywood The Right To Break Your TV/DVR … Just ‘Cause

It is always disheartening when something is made illegal because you could do something naughty with it. Techdirt reports:

Mattl (CC) via Wikimedia Commons

Photo: Mattl (CC)

For a couple years now, the MPAA has been asking the FCC to break your TV/DVR, and let them effectively put a type of DRM (by enabling “Selectable Output Control” or SOC) on video content, such that you will not be able to access the content via third party devices, such as your DVR or your Slingbox. Effectively, they want to break the ability of your equipment to work. You wouldn’t be able to legally record the movie that was playing on your TV. The MPAA’s argument here makes absolutely no sense at all — and when they’re called on it, the doubletalk comes out.

The MPAA’s argument is that if it could block people from recording movies, they could release the movies on things like PPV before they release them on DVD, adding yet another window to the long list of windows that Hollywood uses.

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‘Internet Enforcement’ Copyright Treaty Leaks Online

Treaty of ParisCory Doctorow writes on BoingBoing:

Someone has uploaded a PDF to a Google Group that is claimed to be the proposal for Internet copyright enforcement that the USA has put forward for ACTA, the secret copyright treaty whose seventh round of negotiations just concluded in Guadalajara, Mexico.

This reads like it probably is genuine treaty language, and if it is the real US proposal, it is the first time that this material has ever been visible to the public. According to my source, the US proposal is the current version of the treaty as of the conclusion of the Mexico round.

I’ve read it through a few times and it reads a lot like DMCA-plus. It contains, for example, a duty to technology firms to shut down infringement where they have “actual knowledge” that such is taking place.

This argument was put forward in the Grokster case, and as Fred von Lohmann argued then, this is a potentially deadly burden to place on technology companies: in the offline world Xerox has “actual knowledge” that its technology is routinely used to infringe copyright at Kinko’s outlets around the world — should that create a duty to stop providing sales and service to Kinko’s?

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What Could Have Been Entering the Public Domain on January 1, 2010?

At right, the cover for the first edition of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, which featured the first appearance of that martini-drinking secret agent with a license to kill. (Photo gallery of Casino Royale‘s various covers found on the Guardian). Here’s an excellent essay from Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain:
CasinoRoyale

Casino Royale, Marilyn Monroe’s Playboy cover, The Adventures of Augie March, the Golden Age of Science Fiction, Crick & Watson’s Nature article decoding the double helix, Disney’s Peter Pan, The Crucible

Current US law extends copyright protections for 70 years from the date of the author’s death. (Corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years.) 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). Under those laws, works published in 1953 would be passing into the public domain on January 1, 2010.

What might you be able to read or print online, quote as much as you want, or translate, republish or make a play or a movie from? How about Casino Royale, Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel? Fleming published Casino Royale in 1953. If we were still under the copyright laws that were in effect until 1978, Casino Royale would be entering the public domain on January 1, 2010 (even assuming that Fleming had renewed the copyright). Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2049. This is because the copyright term for works published between 1950 and 1963 was extended to 95 years from the date of publication, so long as the works were published with a copyright notice and the term renewed (which is generally the case with famous works such as this). All of these works from 1953 will enter the public domain in 2049.

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