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Last year ’Pong wrapped up his Masters of Digital Media at UNSW’s College of Fine Art by making the short film Memory of You | Reflection of Me, winning the prize for the schools “best video” that year. I’ve previously shown you a photo. Now you can finally watch it online.
It’s a powerful nine minutes about depression and maternal strength, and was certainly a worthy winner. It had stayed hidden until now because ’Pong had been entering it into film festivals, many of which have this arsehatted notion that you can’t enter if your film previously been posted online. But time marches on…
’Pong is now seeking support for his next film, Exist.
Exist explores our part of psychological mechanism that alerts us of treats and dangers — anxiety. It is the second instalment of DASS (Depression Anxiety Stress Scales) trilogy, which is a common test to assess mental illness in modern society.
The movie and music industries have been lobbying governments globally to introduce so-called “three strikes” laws. Three accusations of online copyright infringement — “accusations”, mind you, not proof — and you lose your internet connection.
Copyright-holders reckon this will help prevent copyright infringement. But the concerns are that we’re entering the realm of guilt by allegation, and potentially punishing innocent people by denying internet access to everyone in a household, not just the guilty party.
The internet is now central to everything from health and education to banking and politics, so that’s one heck of a big stick.
As this 10-minute video by comedian and activist Mark Thomas explains, the UK version of this proposed law, the Digital Economy Bill, has a nasty surprise. Section 17 would give the Secretary of State the power to amend the copyright laws without having to run them past Parliament first.
Um hello? “Parliamentary democracy”, anyone?
If the embedded player doesn’t work, you can watch the video on YouTube.
At this stage, the Australian Government is not yet considering laws like this. But that could change.
Earlier this month iiNet, our third-largest ISP, won a case in the Federal Court where Justice Dennis Cowdroy ruled that ISPs are not responsible for the copyright-infringing acts of their customers. I covered that for Crikey and in the Patch Monday podcast.
Since then, communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy has said he wants the copyright-holders and the ISPs to work out a code of practice on their own. However I reckon that’s just a delaying tactic to avoid discussing such a controversial issue in an election year.
The movie and music industries are fighting hard on this one. France and Japan already have three-strikes laws, to name just two. And the industries are devoting plenty of resources.
Mark Thomas points out they were late in using the internet to make money from their assets, and now they’re looking for someone to blame. Yes, the big players may well be making less profit that before. However the bulk of their profit was from distribution. Now the costs of distribution are almost nil — yet somehow they’ve managed to end up making less money. Fools.
They also reckon that if no-one can make money from their creative acts, it’ll be the death of creativity. But in the video, prehistoric musician Billy Bragg points out that while a few artists at the top end may be suffering, the internet has proved a boon for lower-ranked artists, allowing them to reach new markets at much lower cost.
This is a big issue. It’s a complicated issue. It won’t go away. We should all stay informed.
My special guest is Peter Black, who teaches internet law at the Queensland University of Technology. But before you get to listen to him, you can endure my summary of Justice Dennis Cowdroy’s full decision.
Please, let me know what you think. We now accept audio comments too. Either Skype to “stilgherrian” or phone Sydney 02 8011 3733.
It’s almost old news now, but last Thursday the Federal Court ruled that internet service providers (ISPs) are not responsible for the copyright infringements done by their customers.
The full decision by Justice Dennis Cowdroy is almost 200 pages long, yet I found it relatively easy to read and learned a lot.
I’ve written three stories for Crikey so far:
- iiTrial: ISPs not responsible for users’ copyright infringement, which was published just a few hours after the decision was handed down. It’s the basic facts of the decision.
- iiNet decision a slapdown for AFACT, movie industry, which focuses on Justice Cowdroy’s comprehensive criticism of the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) — not just the way they conducted themselves in court but their whole approach to dealing with copyright infringement.
- Conroy tells movie industry, ISPs to kiss and make up, published yesterday. AFACT looked like they expected the government to intervene, but communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy is instead asking the movie and ISP industries to negotiate a code of practice themselves, presumably via the Internet Industry Association.
I daresay I’ll be writing more soon. Meanwhile, if you have any questions…
’Pong is currently directing a short film, Memory of You | Reflection of Me, as part of his Masters of Digital Media at the College of Fine Arts. I’m helping, so you won’t see much of me for a few days. But here’s a photo.
Here, actress Fay Akrivou (left) discusses her character, a depressed mother, with ’Pong during a break in shooting at a terrace house in Surry Hills, Sydney. She’s not really that tired, that’s the make-up. It’s also a fairly dodgy version of the photo. I’ll post something better later.
Tomorrow morning we’re shooting at Coogee Beach, and then in the afternoon it’s at our house in Enmore. It’s a 6-minute film, but there’s seven scenes containing something like 35 individuals shots, for some of which they’re doing a dozen takes. ’Pong is both a hard taskmaster and a perfectionist.
My role? Um, I’m organising the sandwiches and beer. Well, someone’s got to do it…
Yes, it’s finally complete! Our short film, The Shave. Enjoy. It runs for 3 minutes 35 seconds.
If the embedded video doesn’t work for you, try here.
We decided on the desaturated look rather than going all the way to black and white — though you can see that version in Stilgherrian Live Alpha episode 8.
For those interested in the technicals, it was shot using the built-in iSight camera on my MacBook Pro. We sat the computer on books piled on a milk crate sitting on the kitchen table, and used desk lamps for lighting. We recorded it using Apple’s Photo Booth software. ’Pong edited it using iMovie. Whaddyareckon?
“Certain people” have been complaining about my facial hair. I must admit, I hate the feeling of my face after two weeks without shaving. So, there’s only one thing to do. We’re making a movie.
This afternoon the normally simple act of shaving turned into a 4-hour video shoot. With two cameras. ’Pong is currently assembling the rough edit and, even I say so myself, I think it’s going to come together rather well.
We won’t rush it. We both have plenty to do this week. But rest assured, the 3.5-minute epic The Shave will be ready when it’s ready.
[Update: Indeed, you can now view the movie The Shave. Enjoy.]
Since it’s Easter Sunday, I’ll point you to a previous post showing what happens to unpopular bunnies. Enjoy!
When I went to Thailand last year, Thai Airways International was generally excellent — except for their choice of in-flight movies. Sorry, but even after a couple glasses of wine and several brandies High School Musical is a piece of shit.
I’d originally guessed that it was only screened because it somehow matched the Thai sense of sentimentality. But no. I soon discovered it was such a success — it even won an Emmy! — that Disney made a sequel with the imaginative title High School Musical 2.
I was really, really hoping that was going to be the end of the story. But no (again). Touring Australia in April and May is… High School Musical: The Ice Tour.
Sadly, this show doesn’t involve the dentally-perfect racially-balanced lead characters in some meth-fuelled rampage but… yes… ice skates. Somebody get me a bucket.