Hoping for the worst

I just learned that The Pirate Bay and Piratbyrån were raided today. I don’t know much about what’s happened, but I really do hope that things have been handled very poorly. I hope that the allegations made by SVT that this was triggered by pressure from America are true and that it will cause public outrage. If Thomas Bodström is somehow involved (unlikely perhaps), that would be absolutely superb too.

Why do I hope for the worst? Because I want this to become a topic of fierce political debate so that it will be very clear who is a friend and who is an enemy in the upcoming Swedish election. It’s been clear for a long time that none of the big parties are friends, but perhaps this will force some of them to make sensible decisions and become more friendly (look at what’s happening in France, it’s not impossible). I don’t know if the recently formed Pirate Party are sane, but hopefully they’ll be given a chance to present their views in the debate that will now follow.

The last time there was some debate about copyrights (when Sweden changed the copyright legislation to conform with EUCD last summer) I discussed and thought about these issues quite a bit. I arrived at the conclusion that copyright probably shouldn’t be abolished all together, but that some of the following might be good ideas.

  • Shorten the copyright term to something between 5 and 20 years.
  • Allow all non-commercial distribution use of works covered by copyright. If the copyright term is very short, this may not actually be necessary. Conversely, with a long term it might be useful to allow even more non-commercial uses (e.g. sampling music or re-editing bad movies).
  • Disallow distribution of works which have not been published. The idea is that a creator should have the authority to stop distribution of copies that have been physically stolen or otherwise leaked before they are completed an published. Without this, I think it would be legal to publish someones private letters or photos without permission, and that wouldn’t be cool.

Why does it matter? I have a vision that my children will be able to access a wikipedia-like database of all culture that has been produced in human history, with high technical quality and instant access. It’s much too hard to find works of culture these days, at least works that are a few years old. If you have access to a warez top-site you might be able to get anything you want, but it’s only for a small elite.

Why are we locking away old culture that no longer makes money for anyone? The works that do make money long after they were created are the ones that were very popular to begin with and don’t need a long copyright term. Some people want to make piles of money from The Beatles even though half of The Bealtes are already dead! I want everyone to be able to hear The Beatles at will. Copyright is not given by nature, it’s a political tool and we should use it as we see fit to get the results we want. This is the information age, and with the proper legal framework in place we could reach the point where quality culture is a commons, not something for economic and technical elites.

Staavningsrefårm nuu!

This post deals with my proposed spelling reform of the Swedish written language and is therefore written in Swedish (more or less).

Uut määd gamelsvenskan, in määd nyysvenskan! Jaag haar kåmit påå at staavningen ii svenska inte äär såå låågisk åk inleeder därför en kampanj föör en nyy staavningsrefårm. Deet mest upenbaara probleemet i gamelsvenska äär at man använder kånsonanter föör at markeera uuttaalet påå vokaalerna. Deet äär oolåågiskt åk ibland staavas tvåå oolika oord liikadant. Ii nyysvenska använder man istälet dubla vokaaler, vilket bliir myket bätre:

  • “fiint” (snygt) åk “fint” (trik)
  • “ala” (mootsatsen til inga) åk “alaa” (guud)
  • “katträäd” (trääd määd kater ii) åk “katrääd” (rääd påå/aav kater)

Et anat probleem äär at “o” åk “å” åfta blandas ihop. “o”, “oo”, “å” åk “åå” äär fyyra oolika lääten åk skaa inte blandas ihop i nyysvenska: man staavar såm man uuttaalar deet, heelt enkelt. “e” och “ä” uuttaalas åkså åfta påå sama sät, men deet fins diialekter (til eksempel gåtländska) såm skiljer påå dåm. Nyysvenska tilåter därför at eendeera används (tils viidare ii ala fal).

En deel kånstiga staavningar aav kånsonantjuud föörsviner åkså. “j”-juudet staavas määd “j” åk inget anat. Bokstaaven “x” byyts uut mot “ks” ii nyysvenska. Uutööver “x” fins yterligare tree heelt väärdelöösa bokstääver: “c”, “q” och “z”. Nyysvenska använder tvåå aav dåm til dee juud såm äär svåårast at staava til påå gamelsvenska.

  • “sj”-juudet bliir “c”: “cööröövare”, “cäärna” åk “måtconeera”.
  • “tj”-juudet bliir “q”: “qej”, “qäärna” åk “duqa”.

“x” åk “z” taas dåk bårt heelt ii nyysvenska, men fåår vaara kvaar påå tangentboorden såå at man fortfaarande kan skriiva engelska.

Nyysvenskan föörträfligheet äär upenbaar. Alt skriivs såm deet lååter, såå diialekten syns ääven i skriiven fårm. Ståkhålmaren skriiver “jaag skule vilja qööpa en treeqeed” meedan skååningen skriiver “jaeg sule vila qöepa en trääcäed”. Jaag cälv skule vilja qööpa en trääceed.

Åm jaag inte fåår jehöör föör min staavningsrefårm kåmer jaag at blii myket besviiken åk heelt sluuta skriiva påå svenska, sååvääl gamelsvenska såm nyysvenska. Staavningsrefårm nuu!

Higher levels of violence

A few hours ago I graduated to 3 kyu (green belt) in the Swedish jujutsu system. I think the short but exausting graduation went well with only a few small mistakes. Many thanks to Johan Gustafsson for being my uke and to Andreas Stenström for taking pictures.

Work for me! Yay!

This morning I signed on to work at Opera Software’s Linköping office for the summer. Since the web is my niche, I’m expecting it to be very fun and a learning experience. It also meant signing my first non-disclosure agreement which, apart from prohibiting me to disclose secret information, prohibits my working on or promoting competing products during my stay at Opera and for two years afterwards. I’ve never contributed to Firefox before and probably wouldn’t have, but I still have mixed feelings about it. I don’t have to worry about being able to pay my rent though, which I otherwise would have (although some might say I could always have been a waiter). In any event, real work for me! Yay!

Journey to the East, Part 1

Today was the last lesson of my evening classes in Mandarin which I have been taking this semester. We drank green tea and repeated some of what we’ve learned. Our teacher presented me with a Chinese calendar as a top of class reward, which I was very happy to receive. The short speech I gave is reproduced here verbatim as a source of future amusement:

wǒ xiǎng shuō yìdiǎnr dōngxi. Xie lǎoshī, xièxie. nǐ lǎoshī hěn hǎo. wǒmen yǒu xué yìdiǎn hànyǚ. qiū zài jiàn.
(I would like to say something. Thank you teacher Xie. You are a very good teacher. We have learned a little Chinese. See you this fall.)

Earlier today I completed the application form for Chinese language studies at Beijing Language and Culture University. I will send the application tomorrow and, if all goes well, the last part of my speech will not come true because I will be in Beijing in September. The plan is to stay for one year. wǔ hěn gāoxìng! I’m very excited!