if (code|images|words|music == 'Art') then by-nc-sa cast as xs:justified

by M. David Peterson

Update:
... you don't invent the next new thing; you breed it.


Update: I queried len in regards to the correlation between hackers and musicians.

His recent response,

Music and programming: two media originating one set of mental skills with the exceptions being another computer can understand the output of code but can only replicate the output of music.
Music is God's voice in the human heart.

You can emulate that process with a computer, but it's just processed signal. The gap is small but of enormous importance. A friend of mine told me once that code is the real post-modernist poetry. It's value as tender is assigned by the people making the transaction. Just as poetry has little sale value into today's culture, code is becoming equally devalued in some currencies. That doesn't make it without value in other currencies. The choice is one of currency.

Giving my songs to the web for free downloading was the only legal tender I had for all of the great code I was being given. It seems fair. Music is a language of human emotion. If you can work out where the heart of a computer is, you may discover a correlative value but the value of music is in the emotions produced in composing it and in hearing it.


Beyond *WOW* I think I'm going to let this one speak for itself.

Thanks len!

18 Comments

Kurt Cagle
2006-09-21 21:44:08
Nice essay, though one critical thought. Code still deals at the end of the day with inputs and outputs - if I have a transformation that takes a given schema and maps it to another schema, and you have another transformation that takes the same inputs and maps to the same outputs, so long as the transformational mappings produce reproducably identical results, the specific mechanism by which they do so may ultimately be of little consequence. One may be more efficient than the other in certain areas, admittedly, but whether this is in fact a function of the uniqueness of the code is debatable.


On the other hand, the words that I write, so long as I am not explicitly plagiarizing, are stochastically likely to be unique to the author. You and I may say the same thing in the abstract, but the message is important here, and the message will introduce shades of meaning in one "instance" that may be altogether absent in the other.

len
2006-09-22 03:25:25
There is also a granularity. If I lift the entire rhythm section of a song by sampling as was done in GhostBusters of Huey Lewis's "Need a New Drug", that's theft (even if a settlement is what follows, not a conviction). If I lift the beat (the drum groove), it isn't.


Remix artists sampling walk a fine line. MIDIs are the open source when published freely. When created by extraction (say, use Finale to scan the score, output the midi, extract parts), one is again on the fine line where the granularity makes a difference. In music and other kinds of art, there are techniques/chops that are freely shared but a copy is a copy and a right is a right. If one is going to copy someone else's works, for crying out loud, show some moxie and rewrite it first.


Or cite and get permission.

M. David Peterson
2006-09-22 05:58:38
@Kurt,


Point well taken! Need to chew on this a bit more, but you've definitely got me thinking... Thanks! :D

M. David Peterson
2006-09-22 06:06:09
@len,


Thanks for this! My brain is still slowly coming back to life, but as soon as I have my morning walk+chai aiding the blood flow to my brain, I plan to bring this


>> In music and other kinds of art, there are techniques/chops that are freely shared but a copy is a copy and a right is a right. If one is going to copy someone else's works, for crying out loud, show some moxie and rewrite it first.


Or cite and get permission. <<


... to the top of the post as I believe this is a conversation we all need to extend from.


Thanks!

piers
2006-09-22 09:09:51
Nice read, and looks like a really good discussion starting here:


>> Code still deals at the end of the day with inputs and outputs


Agreed, however, at the end of the day, code can be viewed as part of a Process, in addition to Product and Transport, and I think this distinction probably leads back to the granularity len mentions: for smaller incremental blocks of code, a black box metaphor makes sense, whereas for larger Products, ownership becomes less determinable, and collaboration and sustainability become more essential.


@Mark, can you still get chai in SLC?

M. David Peterson
2006-09-22 09:19:06
@piers,


Firstly, and most importantly ;)


>> can you still get chai in SLC?


Fortunately, yes >> http://www.starbucks.com/retail/locator/MapResults.aspx?a=1&StoreKey=50299&IC_O=40.7578834568655%3a-111.883908114632%3a32%3a+84111&GAD1_O=&GAD2_O=&GAD3_O=+84111&GAD4_O=&radius=5&countryID=244&dataSource=MapPoint.NA << though I'm not ruling out the future possibility of someday finding a sign on the door that reads,


Starbucks : A Private Club for Members


NOTE-TO-REST-OF-THE-WW:*: It's a SLC thing... You probably wouldn't understand, and if you do... I'm sorry. ;)


Okay, now that we've got that settled :D


>> Agreed, however, at the end of the day, code can be viewed as part of a Process, in addition to Product and Transport, and I think this distinction probably leads back to the granularity len mentions: for smaller incremental blocks of code, a black box metaphor makes sense, whereas for larger Products, ownership becomes less determinable, and collaboration and sustainability become more essential. <<


Oooohhh... Now *that* I like... Need to bring this to the top of the post along with snippets from len's and Kurt's comments.


Will do that now.


Thanks piers!


piers
2006-09-22 09:31:09
@Mark,


I think the must absurd thing about the liquor laws in SLC is not the private clubs (which just sounds bad out of context), but the experience of going to a restaurant that offers a full bar which neither the waiter or menu are legally allowed to mention... so the poor guy stands there asking you leading questions like "would you like anything... else?"


I can imagine a similar situation buying a bagel at Einstein's: "Oh! yeah, sorry, I'll have a latte with that!"


Back on topic, I have personally observed that writers and software developers represent a substantial population of music enthusiasts, due to the fact, I suppose, that we spend hours sitting in one location immersed in cerebral activity, or something like that. To put it bluntly, I wonder if this relates more to the "art" in what we are involved in, or a lack thereof?

M. David Peterson
2006-09-22 09:44:37
@piers,


Yeah, there is without a doubt an interesting assortment of laws and regulations here in the Beehive state. To me it's an obvious assortment of compromises between law makers attempting to shut down the "immoral" activities and law makers attempting to bring at least some level of recognition to the reality of the situation.


Oh well, another topic for another day ;)


>> Back on topic, I have personally observed that writers and software developers represent a substantial population of music enthusiasts, due to the fact, I suppose, that we spend hours sitting in one location immersed in cerebral activity, or something like that. To put it bluntly, I wonder if this relates more to the "art" in what we are involved in, or a lack thereof? <<


There is definitely a correlation between software developers and musicians. In fact, len could easily provide for us a better understanding of this given that he himself is both an accomplished musician AND accomplished hacker.


len?


len
2006-09-22 10:13:20
Music and programming: two media originating one set of mental skills with the exceptions being another computer can understand the output of code but can only replicate the output of music.


Music is God's voice in the human heart.


You can emulate that process with a computer, but it's just processed signal. The gap is small but of enormous importance. A friend of mine told me once that code is the real post-modernist poetry. It's value as tender is assigned by the people making the transaction. Just as poetry has little sale value into today's culture, code is becoming equally devalued in some currencies. That doesn't make it without value in other currencies. The choice is one of currency.


Giving my songs to the web for free downloading was the only legal tender I had for all of the great code I was being given. It seems fair. Music is a language of human emotion. If you can work out where the heart of a computer is, you may discover a correlative value but the value of music is in the emotions produced in composing it and in hearing it.

len
2006-09-22 14:12:40
Something else to consider, Dave: emotions are one way to beat the Turing Test. In fact, eliciting and identifying genuine emotions are the simplest way to determine in the office if one is dealing with a worthy collaborator or a snake (see the clinical definition of psychopath). That is why books on emotional control as a means to control one's life are to be approached with a certain reserve.


Try to make code do that. It's an interesting thought experiment.

piers
2006-09-22 14:58:47
@len,


I agree with you that there is a fundamental divide between what code can do, and what music can do. Maybe.


Or maybe this is a matter of scale. Music is not in itself emotional, rather it elicits an emotional response (philosophically speaking, with no audience, the musician ceases to... ?). And code can, though less frequently, elicit an emotional response, running the gamut from "It did what to my hard-drive!?!?" to "Holy Hanna, that is a sweet node-tree-fragment" ;)

piers
2006-09-22 15:26:35
If I write a thesis, and enough people paraphrase it (for instance, somebody relatively obtuse, or more often than not, read in translation, like Jean Baudrillard), do I lose ownership over what I have written, as it becomes more foundational (and, therefore, less productive in and of itself)?


It seems like this is a matter of time and standing the test of time. Google has become a part of the foundation of our day to day activities because it was a) given away for free and b) very useful. Wikipedia has become a source of authority because a) it is a free service, b) it is a useful (valuable) service, and c) it draws to itself a process of collaboration and community, which becomes more effective over time.

M. David Peterson
2006-09-22 15:43:31
@len,


>> In fact, eliciting and identifying genuine emotions are the simplest way to determine in the office if one is dealing with a worthy collaborator or a snake (see the clinical definition of psychopath). That is why books on emotional control as a means to control one's life are to be approached with a certain reserve. <<


I am without a doubt with you on this one, len! Emotions are part of what make us human. In fact, they're what make us animal, as anyone who is a animal lover will attest, human, dog, cat, zebra, and/or etc... all showcase emotion.


Of course, there are those who will suggest that to show emotion is to show ones weakness.


I disagree.


A sure sign of weakness, in my own opinion, is *lack* of emotion, something that tends to take place once we as animals have become conditioned; programmed to respond and react in certain ways based on the state and/or condition of particular variables.


Just like a computer.


Turing Test Question of the Day: Do you think in Analog or Digital?

M. David Peterson
2006-09-22 16:13:05
@piers,


>> And code can, though less frequently, elicit an emotional response, running the gamut from "It did what to my hard-drive!?!?" to "Holy Hanna, that is a sweet node-tree-fragment" ;) <<


I LOVE IT!


Actually, now that you mention it, this makes a lot of sense, as anyone who has ever solved a difficult coding problem can attest: While not traditionally considered a cognitive response, emotion is without a doubt the result of thinking, acting, reacting, responding, and so forth.


The difference between man and machine, in this sense, can be referenced by the terms,


"Feeling the Vibe", and "In the Groove."


Music, words, artistic impressions of any type, writing code, whatever and whenever our cognitive response mechanism kicks in and emotion takes over is, in my own opinion, the moment that "the vibe", and "the groove" begin to make themselves known.


A machine might be enabled to derive a conclusion through a highly advanced logical program in which applies all sorts of padding in regards to reasoning based on the surrounding conditions, whatever these might be (if it can be measured, it can become a factor in the evaluation.)


But a machine can not "feel the vibe", it can only (potentially!) measure it, nor will it ever be enabled to experience what it feels like to be "in the groove", though it can certainly be a factor in our own evaluation and reasoning, the result of which could very easily become a vibe or a groove in which we ourselves might feel or experience.


Just like a digitial music player can play back music, the result of which could very well be human emotion, a computer can reproduce all sorts of conditions, creating am emotion; an analog reaction as a result.


In this sense a computer is just another tool.


But ask anyone who truly understands why a vinyl recording is beyond ANYTHING that has been converted to its digital "equivalent" if there's a difference between analog emotion, and digital emotion; an analog vibe and a digital vibe; an analog groove and a digital groove?


Oh yeah... There's a difference. And no machine will EVER be able to understand this, nor should they! Thats not what machines are for. Thats what people are for.

len
2006-09-22 16:35:28
Analog. The cortex is organized as basins activated by feedback feedforward mechanisms. It is similar to low-energy transport system behaviors.


Actually, you can make a computer simulate this by emulating emotional states as combinations of primitive emotions that attract/repel and otherwise organize into higher level emotions in the presence of classes of stimuli (memory-based organization of emotional structures). The book "On Intelligence" is a fairly good reading on the cortical structures that organize intelligence. Emotional intelligence is past of that.


As to foundational structures, Piers, the problem of the web is it skipped over the part that concerned the hypertext pioneers, that of crediting original sources. I was having this same discussion with Kurt on using the 'kudzu' analogy.


If one actually has to use citation and sustainability as metrics of ownership, the US Army owns XML because the first hypertext system I can find that uses most of XML's subset of SGML that is still being used is USAMICOM's IADS product. HTML is even older (GenCode, GML, Trudy Donnovan's DTD etc.). The problem of PageRank and WikiPedia is force vector indices create a false memory that is widely used and as a result, accepted as authoritative. That won't hold but the outcome will be to as is already occurring for large powerful forces to marshall the sources for resources and contract with them to ensure both ownership and indexing for 'original' concepts. You are already seeing the effects of this in the abuse of patenting, but what you aren't seeing is the silent hidden aggregation of positions on company boards directed by the investment firms to take control of the assets. The web is emerging as the nervous system of the modern world and control of the resources is a top priority among these firms.


We will run out of oil and the need for it apart from agriculture, but we will continue to need to acquire, create and recycle information, concepts, ideas, and sources for resources. As I've said elsewhere, you don't invent the next new thing; you breed it.

Rob Myers
2006-09-25 05:21:42
NC isn't sharing Freely though, it's just sharing at no cost. And the only person it stops making money is you. Microsoft and Apple can make money selling media players that will use your music, Kinko's can make money copying and printing your books and art for people. But you can't compete with your own work available at no cost, and you can't use any downstream work commercially without getting permission.


Please consider just using straight BY or preferably BY-SA or the FDL (with no invariant sections). These are close enough to Free and don't screw up sharing by confusing the ability to make money with the ability to prevent others making money.

M. David Peterson
2006-09-25 09:44:34
@Rob,


Thanks for your unput! To be fair, I don't completely disagree with your point. However, I do feel that there is a significant difference between a Non-Commercial clause and something that allows commercial use, but requires that you license derivative works under the same license, providing (if applicable) the source, etc... alongside.


Fair Use provides enough legal protection in regards to using some of the content from the original work inside of a commercial setting, so "nc" doesn't keep you from making money, just from taking someone elses work, (possibly) repackaging it, and then reselling it. Of course, Fair Use has problems in and of itself in regards to the cost of legal protection if you get sued by someone who claims your work is outside the bounds of Fair Use, even if it quite obviously is within the bounds of Fair Use. But thats a problem with Fair Use, not a problem with Non-Commercial.


When it comes to OSS, while I appreciate the GPL for what it has done in regards to bringing attention to the benefits of OSS as well as the HUGE base of code that we are all allowed to tinker with, I personally feel that making your source free-as-in-speech and free-as-in-beer, but enforcing a policy that states you must make the source code of any derivative work freely available under the same licensing terms isn't truly free software (or whatever else might be licensed under these terms)


In short,


- A BSD-styled license, in my own opinion, represents true freedom.
- [Dual licensing] and [Shared Source licensing] also represent opportunity for free(as in speech) product, as you can allow people the freedom to tinker and as soon as they reach the stage that they are ready to create a product that they would like to market, they can contact you and move forward with extended licensing terms.
- A Non-Commercial license still allows for Fair Use, so while you might not be enabled to turn around and make a profit from derivative work, you can still utilize at least a portion of the work as part of a product that in and of itself is a commercial product.


With all of this, there is still a lot of gray areas that make things WAY TOO COMPLICATED, so I do understand why at first take, an "nc" clause seems to lack the quality of "free", but it seems to me that the reality is that that in which appears to be the most free, truly isn't, and that which appears to be much more controlling actually holds a lot more potential to be free (as in speech) but at a not free-as-in-beer cost if you decide to create a commercial product.


To me, if there is room to tinker, yet a clear path to derive profit from work that you might make available under a dual and/or shared source license, well then what you have is something that adds the missing element to the OSS puzzle,


* How can we make a product, license this product in a free-as-in-speech and as-in-beer manner, and yet still provide room to be profitable, and therefore a justifiable business model?


M. David Peterson
2006-09-25 10:08:34
One additional note: The reason why I am a *HUGE* fan of shared source, non-commercial licensed software is,


- In many cases, the source comes from established software applications with proven commercial success.
- In cases such as this exists a *FANTASTIC* opportunity to learn and understand how something with significant commercial success was created.
- With this knowledge we are better enabled to build better product as a result.


To understand the hacker means to understand that the hacker learns through a hands on approach. I know very few hackers that learned how to hack and hack well inside the confines of a university.


On the other hand, I know *TONS* of hackers who, while they may never again utilize the source of a project they were once a part of, or have in many cases simply learned through reading the source of a project they were never a part of, they are enabled to write better software because of the knowledge they gained as a result.


OSS projects will come and go, but knowledge is King, and will stay with you as long as you continue to maintain and refresh this knowledge.


Another way to think of this is contained in the centuries old adage,


Give a man a fish, feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish, and he can feed himself for a lifetime.