Terry Hancock’s Techdirt Profile


About Terry Hancock

Terry Hancock is a regular columnist for Free Software Magazine as well as Producer and Director for the "Lunatics" web video series.


Terry Hancock’s Comments comment rss

  • May 12th, 2012 @ 7:39pm

    Mandelbrot Turtle Phone

    Hey! Don't tease me, man. The Mandelbrot Turtle thing could work! I want a Mandelbrot Turtle Phone! :-D
  • May 11th, 2012 @ 12:40pm

    "What Lib-Ray is and what it is NOT"

    There seem to be a few misconceptions about what I'm trying to do with Lib-Ray in some of the comments above. Rather than trying to hunt them all down, I've written an update to try to clarify:

    "What Lib-Ray is and what it is NOT"
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2144275086/lib-ray-non-drm-open-standards-hd-video-format/ posts/225351

    "I've seen some discussion of Lib-Ray on several different forums which appears to betray some basic misunderstandings about what it is and what it isn't. I'm going to start with what it isn't, because most of the problems seem to arise from mistaking it for these things..."

    Hope this helps! :-)
  • Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 9:43am

    (untitled comment)

    Normally, I would agree with the advice to sit pat and let the lawyers do the talking. But this case is about public opinion and the nature of the law more than anything else.

    It's political as much as it is legal.

    It's unfortunate that Dotcom is neither attractive nor charismatic in person -- because that matters in politics.

    I imagine that's not coincidence: with so many file locker services and file sharing services to choose from, the prosecutors could easily have gone shopping for just the right image they wanted on their "Wanted" poster -- they are engaged in politics and manipulation, not seeking justice.
  • Feb 8th, 2012 @ 10:03am


    In addition to the other arguments made against this, I would like to add this:

    Using the term "property" to refer to intellectual monopolies causes a severe distortion of the debate for anyone who values private property, because "pro-intellectual property" positions are "anti-private property" positions. In other words, promoting intellectual property is only possible by violating the freedom of individual to be secure in their own private property.

    Since this leads to a complete hash in logical terms, the use of the concept "intellectual property" is at best extremely confusing and politically motivated, even if you believe (as I do) that reasonable compromises can exist.

    But in an honest debate we must acknowledge that state-granted monopolies on the use of information products must always entail a abrogation both of freedom of speech and of individual private property rights. Since these are both very serious things to violate, any such system has to be pretty limited to be reasonable. And that kind of reason is nowhere to be found amongst the proponents of "strong intellectual property" law.
  • Feb 8th, 2012 @ 9:54am


    Recommend you read this link and its citations:

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/01/internet-regulation-and-the-economics- of-piracy.ars

    This article is obviously not "unbiased", but it is extremely well-referenced.

    Perhaps the study that most meets your criteria would be the US Government Accountability Office study:

  • Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:26am


  • Jan 5th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    Encouraging sign

    I recently spent some time exploring whether AFTRA/SAG actors could work on free-culture projects without violating union rules (for my project, which needs voice actors for animation, the relevant union is apparently AFTRA). It appears that they can.

    I think it would be really cool to see that happen, and I want to pursue it. So, it's really encouraging to see the artists resisting the legacy entertainment industry's heavy-handed tactics. It gives me hope that I'll be listened to when I start proposing this.

    Still... it's just 189 signatures so far, and I'm not even sure how we know these are union members signing it (aside from the comments).
  • Sep 8th, 2011 @ 11:12am

    Little typo...

    Actually, new "rites" is what they're forcing onto us with the security theater business. "Rights" is what we've been abdicating. :-)
  • Jul 28th, 2011 @ 11:01am

    The graph could be a lot better

    I found the graph really hard to interpret w.r.t. the subject.

    It emphasizes relatively unimportant facts -- a histogram showing the distribution of "licit" media consumption. The secondary element is a histogram of "illicit" media consumption. Neither is what the article is about.

    The thing you _wanted_ to communicate was that the percentage of illicit to licit use is increasing as we go to the right side of the chart.

    To figure _this_ out, I have to mentally divide graphical bars of varying lengths (which may even be subject to optical illusion). As a result, the chart really doesn't help your point much. Just tabulating the numbers would probably be more effective.

    But what would be a much better representation is to use a simple bar chart of the _percent illicit/licit use_ against the existing independent axis. This would normalize out the distribution information (which isn't very important), and make the relevant point (bars get bigger to the right) leap out at the reader.
  • Jul 14th, 2011 @ 5:47pm

    Re: At least some of his copyrights...

    Those all appear to be copyrights on collections of works.

    How does the initial registration of a collection affect the copyright on the contained stories? Does that count as a "renewal" for the stories contained?

    In some cases, the contained stories were already in the public domain at the time of publication. In others, they would have entered the public domain after publication, but well before the renewals.
  • Jul 13th, 2011 @ 1:57pm


    I've never liked Netflix's streaming options. DRM. No Linux support. (And therefore) wasteful of bandwidth. Can't spool a whole movie, so I have to watch it in 5m snippets separated by 15m download. Plus it trashed the memory module on our Wii (only system in the house that would support it - I'm guessing it spooled to flash memory (!)). "Not interested, thank you."

    Their DVD rental service is very good and fills a niche for rural customers who want access to a deep DVD catalog.

    It has been good for that, and I'm not looking for the service to change. I'm delighted to (finally) be able to opt-out of their streaming business model and no longer pay for services I don't use.
  • Jun 23rd, 2011 @ 3:48am

    Re: Re: Technology in evolution

    Actually cell phone tech is a great example of why the strong IP model stunts innovation -- by comparison with the internet at large (dominated by the weak-IP models favored in internet standards development), cell phone networks are slow-growing, inefficient, and extremely limiting.

    In fact, it's probably not unfair to say that most of the innovation that does exist in the cell phone space is really just parasitic use of the innovation from the internet at large -- almost every new cell phone feature you encounter is just a copy of something already in use on the web.

    You might have a better case for the hardware, but even there the situation is ambiguous at best. The clear winners in hardware have been standardized commodity systems and even cell phones rely heavily on shared production of basic components and reliance on open standards for inter-component buses.
  • Apr 12th, 2010 @ 8:41pm

    FLA format problem

    Yes, FLA is a problem.

    I wrote about it in detail here:

    My conclusion since then is that the only way Sita is going to get converted to an open format is if somebody with Adobe Flash's animator installed renders the files to SWF format and publishes those.

    If/when that happens, I think I (as well as many other people) can probably get it converted to SVG (and after that, conversion to many different open formats becomes possible).

    But I am NOT willing to install a proprietary operating system or to buy Adobe's animation software just so I can make this initial conversion from FLA to SWF.

    Nor am I willing to reverse-engineer FLA format and write a conversion library. There doesn't seem to be much interest in doing that. In fact, AFAICT, the only reason SWF is supported is because you needed that to _play_ Flash animations (SWF was intended as an opaque distribution format -- like a binary, and because Flash is a product of proprietary culture for proprietary animators, FLA, which was intended to be a source format, is generally not distributed, so there was little demand for reading it).

    To clarify -- we are talking about access to the original vector graphics, for the purposes of making more sophisticated derivatives. The _video_ is of course already available in several free/open standard formats on Internet Archive, if you are satisfied with video snippets or frame-captures from the film.
  • Apr 12th, 2010 @ 6:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    NO, the situation was not "forced".

    Paley licensed the sync rights to the songs. With these payments, she was free to release Sita any way she wanted to.

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