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  1. At any given point during the day dozens of millions of people are using BitTorrent to share pirated content, mostly movies and TV-shows. Pirate Cinema visualizes these transactions in an online art display, showing chunks of video of the most popular files as they arrive from all over the world. Somewhere in a datacenter in Austria there’s a dedicated machine that has only one mission: download and share the 100 most popular files on BitTorrent and turn these bits and pieces into a piece of art. The machine in question belongs to artist Nicolas Maigret and his Pirate Cinema project. Pirate Cinema has been on display for nearly two years in various venues, but this week the circle was completed when the piracy composition made its online debut. TF caught up with Maigret to learn more about the background and purpose of Pirate Cinema. He tells us that after completing several projects where the proposal was to represent networks in a physical form, he wanted to visualize how they’re used by millions of people around the world. “That’s where the Pirate Cinema concept started,†Maigret says. Over the past several years Maigret has worked on bringing it to life in various forms and this week Pirate Cinema started streaming online for the first time. Those who check out the stream see chunks of popular videos flashing by, gathered from around the globe in real-time. The video bits include the IP-address of the source, partially masked, and the country of origin. This is not without purpose. Maigret specifically includes this info to show how public these transfers are, and how easily they can be monitored. “On one hand this is in response to omnipresent users surveillance going on the Internet. More specifically here, on the file sharing networks, where people are monitored daily, resulting in real life lawsuits,†Maigret tells us. But Pirate Cinema is also a tribute to the Copy Culture that developed in the latest generations of computer users. The Copy Culture that is more common today than it has ever been before. “For the last 15 years, P2P networks have served as a great resource for mainstream content, but also for valuable rarities and unknown content that is hardly accessible otherwise,†Maigret says “File-sharing has been central in the access to culture worldwide. The Pirate Cinema tends to make those activities and dynamics tangible,†he adds. Aside from the online display there is also a live audio-visual performance. This live show is composed of 6 acts that each monitor a specific selection of torrents, such as the rise of porn on BitTorrent and the oldest torrent alive. Those interested in learning more about the project can check out the official site. Taking part in the online art project is also an option, but that comes at a risk.
  2. Copying a song, movie or image without the creator's permission is illegal in many instances, especially so if the infringement is intentional. But what if that piracy is done on a nanoscopic scale, so that infringed works are imperceptible to human senses? How does that affect the artists? In the modern age almost anything can be copied. Digital technology allows for the reproduction of audio, still and moving images, and even physical items are easily cloned using 3D printing techniques. This ease of copying has provoked legal aggression and endless debate as to the purpose of copyright law and its role in protecting the interests of artists. In particular, entertainment industry companies often declare that no matter what its nature, infringement negatively affects those creators. But is that always the case? A new project developed by Dr Robert Hovden at Cornell University aims to provoke discussion on that very topic by pushing replication of content – and indeed the law – to their absolute limits. A self-confessed gradeschool downloader and former undergraduate at Jet Propulsion Labs, NASA, Hovden went on to study nanoscience at Cornell. His passion for studying the world at the tiniest possible levels has given birth to “When Art Exceeds Perceptionâ€. The project, which will be exhibiting at Cornell University this November and December, explores the implications of copyright infringement, replication and plagiarism when the ‘pirated’ works are so tiny they cannot be perceived by human senses. To this end, Hovden has ‘pirated’ four famous works of art by scribing them into the surface of a silicon crystal using a focused ion beam. The features in the artwork replicas are five hundred times smaller than the eye can perceive and five times smaller than the wavelength of light. THE FOCUSED ION BEAM DEVICE USED TO ‘PIRATE’ THE ARTWORK “To take a piece of art, copy it, and share it with the world without the original artists’ permission is traditionally viewed as wrong and, in most cases, violates copyright laws,†Hovden says. “Such laws are intended to protect an artist’s financial interests and provide incentive to create. However, in a digital era where information is encrypted and stored in the atomic bits of nanoscale devices, answers to philosophical, moral, and legal questions surrounding copyright become muddled.†This leads to Hovden’s big question: When a copyright work is copied, framed and presented for public consumption on a nanoscale as it will during November and December at Cornell, has something been taken from the original artist? “Thus far, people have discussed this project from a science or art perspective, but I believe that the readers of TorrentFreak are best equipped to understand this work. The exhibition is highly conceptual – completely beyond perception – and critical of current views on replication,†Hovden told TF. Project creative assistant Michael Blaney informs us that the artworks involved are The Treachery of Images by René Magritte, Le Platane by Henri Matisse, M.C. Escher’sRegular Division Of The Plane With Birds and Laylah K. by Joy Garnett. LAYLAH K. BY JOY GARNETT, ORIGINAL AND NANOSCALE “The replicated pieces chosen are from recent, famous artists where copyright is relevant to the discussion,†Hovden says. “Joy Garnett is a fantastic creator and one of a few fine artists who release work under a Creative Commons license. She sometimes paints from the photographs of others to make something uniquely new – a benefit of a free culture society. The nanoscale replica of Garnett’s work is the only one which I retained a low resolution micrograph image of. “The Escher is a lovely tessellation with symmetries that can be found in the crystalline silicon substrate on which it was etched and Magritte’s ‘The Treachery of Images’ was chosen for a technological modernization and extension of his original concept. The Matisse is a best-selling serigraph at MOMA.†THE WORKS OF ART, ON A NANOSCALE The concept of infringement at an imperceptible level is an intriguing one. Are artists affected by ‘pirate’ music that’s too quiet to be heard or by entire movies played in a fraction of a second, for example? “I think your idea of an audio performance of ‘pirate’ music is in the same vein as this exhibition, but raises some new concepts,†Hovden told TF. “The audio is quiet, with a signal to noise ratio that changes with distance. Maybe a microphone could record the sounds we can’t hear at close distances but the sound quality will drop with distance (actually, rapidly with the square of the distance). There will be a point where even a microphone cannot ‘hear’ the sound and the information is lost. “So, does the extent of a public performance change? If a thousand people are present, but none – or only a couple – can hear it, is it a public performance? Also, you could play with the idea of translating the music to frequencies higher than the human ear can hear. It is loud, but not perceived – maybe by an animal.†And the complexities and fascination of Hovden’s project only intensifies when one realizes that we’re all engaged in pirating on a nanoscale, quite possibly at this very moment. “With the modern computer, most of us are continually replicating information – often without permission – in the nanoscale bits of our hard drives and memory. Not only small, the information is encoded in complex arrays. “Here, I wanted to make something that is a direct representation of the original artwork – just like the low-amplitude ‘pirate’ music performance. The verdict is still out on how this type of work will be received (tolerated),†he concludes. Those interested in experiencing When Art Exceeds Perception can do so at the Jill Stuart Gallery at Cornell University during November and December.
  3. Neil Young will present his first ever art exhibition in Santa Monica in November. Young has created a series of watercolours to be displayed as the art exhibit called 'Special Deluxe' at the Robert Berman Gallery in Santa Monica, California. Young will attend the opening of the exhibition on November 3 at the gallery and then his work will remain on display until the end of the month. One of the paintings served as the cover of Young's new album 'Storytone', also due in November. Robert Berman Gallery is at the Bergamot Station Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Ave. B7 Gallery. Santa Monica, CA Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  4. Last month UK police took down several torrent site proxies and arrested their owner. Now a UK developer has created a new & free service that not only silently unblocks any website without falling foul of the law, but one that will eventually become available to all under a GPL 3.0 license. The blocking of sites such as The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents and Torrentz in the UK led to users discovering new ways to circumvent ISP-imposed censorship. There are plenty of solutions, from TOR and VPNs, to services with a stated aim of unblocking ‘pirate’ sites deemed illegal by UK courts. Last month, however, dozens of these went offline when the operator of Immunicity and other related proxy services was arrested by City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit. He now faces several charges including breaches of the Serious Crime Act 2007, Possession of Articles for Use in Fraud, Making or Supplying Articles for use in Frauds and money laundering. While it’s generally accepted that running a site like The Pirate Bay is likely to attract police attention, merely unblocking a domain was not thought to carry any such risk. After all, visitors to torrent sites are just that, it’s only later on that they make a decision to infringe or not. In our earlier article we discussed some of the possible reasons why the police might view “pirate†proxies to be illegal. However, there are very good arguments that general purpose proxies, even ones that are expressly setup to bypass filtering (and are able to unblock sites such as Pirate Bay), remain on a decent legal footing. One such site is being operated by Gareth, a developer and networking guru who grew so tired of creeping Internet censorship he began lobbying UK MPs on the topic, later moving on to assist with the creation of the Open Rights Group’ After campaigning and documenting Internet censorship issues for some time, Gareth first heard of last month’s proxy arrest during a visit to the United States. “I was at DefCon in Las Vegas when the news of the Immunicity arrest reached me and I realized that for all my volunteer work, my open source applications, operation of Tor relays, donations and letters to MPs to highlight/combat the issues with Internet censorship, it was not enough,†the developer told TorrentFreak. “I felt that this issue has moved from a political / technical issue to one about personal liberty and Internet freedom. e.g. first they came for the ‘pirate proxies’, then the Tor operators, then the ISPs that don’t censor their customers. The slippery slope is becoming a scary precipice.†Since his return to the UK, Gareth has been busy creating his own independent anti-censorship tool. He’s researched in detail what happened to Immunicity, taken legal advice, and is now offering what he hopes is an entirely legal solution to website filtering and subsequent over-blocking (1)(2). “Unlike Immunicity et al I’m not specifically building a ‘Pirate Proxy’. Granted people might use this proxy to navigate to torrent websites but were I to sell a laptop on eBay that same person may use it for the same reasons so I see no difference,†heexplains. “In fact Section 44, subsection 2 of the Serious Crimes Act 2007 even states [that an individual] is not to be taken to have intended to encourage or assist the commission of an offense merely because such encouragement or assistance was a foreseeable consequence of his act.†The result of Gareth’s labor is the anti-censorship service Routing Packets is Not a Crime (RPINAC). People who used Immunicity in the past should feel at home, since RPINAC also utilizes the ability of popular browsers to use Proxy Auto-Config (PAC) files. In the space of a couple of minutes and with no specialist knowledge, users can easily create their own PAC files covering any blocked site they like. Once configured, their browser will silently unblock them. Furthermore, each PAC file has its own dedicated URL on RPINAC’s servers which users can revisit in order to add additional URLs for unblocking. PAC ‘unblock’ files can also be shared among like-minded people. “When someone creates a PAC file they are redirected to a /view/ endpoint e.g. This URL is not ephemeral, you can email it, tweet it (there is a tweet button on the left hand side of the site) etc and it will provide the recipient with the exact same view. “It’ll show which URLs are specified to be proxied, which have been detected as blocked (using the database) and if the author passed along the password (assuming the PAC was password protected) they can add or remove URLs too,†Gareth explains. “Each view page also has a comments section, this could allow for a small collection of individuals to co-ordinate with a smaller subset of password possessing moderators to create a crowd sourced PAC file in an autonomous fashion. There is also a ‘Clone’ button allowing anybody to create their own copy of the PAC file with their own name, description and password if the PAC file they’ve received isn’t quite what they need.†This user-generated element of the process is important. While dedicated ‘pirate’ proxy sites specifically unblock sites already deemed illegal by the UK courts (and can be deemed to be facilitating their ‘crimes’), RPINAC leaves the decision of which sites to unblock completely down to the user. And since no High Court injunction forbids any user from accessing a blocked domain, both service and user remain on the right side of the law. In terms of use, RPINAC is unobtrusive, has no popups, promotions or advertising, and will not ask for payment or donations, a further important legal point. “To avoid any accusations of fraud and to avoid any tax implications RPINAC will never ask for donations,†the dev explains. “The current platform is pre-paid for at least a year, the domain for 10. At a bare minimum PAC file serving and education for creating local proxies will continue indefinitely.†Finally, Gareth notes that without free and open source software his anti-censorship platform wouldn’t have been possible. So, in return, he has plans to release the source code for the project under the GPL 3.0 license. RoutingPacketsIsNotACrime can be found here and is compatible with Firefox, Chrome, Safari and IE. Additional information can be sourced here.
  5. American Horror Story is a unique offering among today’s popular and award-winning television series. Not simply because of its bizarre and at times horrifying premises, but because it has premises, as in multiple – a new one each season, in fact. Ryan Murphy’s anthology horror series has previously dealt with threats from a haunted house, an insane asylum, and most recently a coven of witches in the Bayou. For its fourth season on FX – apply named American Horror Story: Freak Show – a creepy carnival will serve as the setting. Many of the series’ veterans are returning for Freak Show, including Kathy Bates and Jessica Lange (though the latter’s already announced season 4 will be her last). Newcomers to this season of American Horror Story include Michael Chiklis as Bates’ ex-husband, the world’s smallest woman, and the legend of stage and screen, Patti LaBelle. Undoubtedly, this season of American Horror Story will feature its strangest characters to date, as much of the cast is expected to appear as freaks in a carnival side show managed by Lange’s Elsa Mars. To give an example, returning star Sarah Paulson will be playing conjoined twins! Today, FX released a new poster for American Horror Story: Freak Show, featuring the cast as their freakish personas. Check it out below: CLICK FOR FULL SIZE As you can see for yourself, Bates’ Effil Darling will be a bearded lady and Chiklis’ Wendil del Tolito a typical carnival strongman. That’s Lange front and center, and surely her position at the fulcrum of this balancing act isn’t coincidental. The series tagline, “Wir sind alle freaks,†alludes to her German heritage as well and it translates to “we are all freaks,†a sentiment which will surely play heavy this season. The few details we already know about Freak Show also imply a rocky relationship between Darling and Angela Bassett’s Desiree Dupre since Dupre will be the new wife to Darling’s former husband, played by Chiklis. And you can see that division implied in the art above. Playing Darling’s son with Del Tolito is Evan Peters, and it appears his character is also needed to help stabilize the precarious balancing act between Darling, Dupre, and whomever Frances Conroy and Dennis O’Hare are playing. What other clues and hints can you find in the new art for American Horror Story: Freak Show? Let us know what you find in the comments below! American Horror Story: Freak Show will premiere Wednesday, October 8 @ 10pm on FX.
  6. ilary Duff fans might want to mark down Monday on their calendars. The singer is set to premiere her new single, "All About You," on August 11. It was revealed on Twitter that she will appear on the Adam Bomb radio shownext week to give her fans a first listen to the song, which was reportedly co-written by Savan Kovetcha (Britney Spears, Ariana Grande and Cher Lloyd.) @HilaryDuff will be on the show #Monday night with me across the #USA & we'll world premiere #AllaboutYou @NightsLive — Adam Bomb™ (@adambombshow) August 8, 2014 Additionally, she tweeted out the cover art for the track. It features Duff looking boho chic in a black hat, low-cut black dress, capelet and lots of silver rings. She wrote, "I told you this weekend was "All About You" Can't wait for everyone to hear this one." I told you this weekend was "All About You" :) Can't wait for everyone to hear this one. — Hilary Duff (@HilaryDuff) August 9, 2014 "All About You" follows in the release of Duff's "Chasing the Sun," which she released last month. Both songs will be featured on her forthcoming fifth studio album, set for release later this fall.