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January 10, 2006


I was so excited about this, I plain forgot to blog it -- The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures 2005 (AKA 'my most recent series') appeared on the bootleg file-sharing networks. I'm so proud.

I found them at the ever-handy UKNova; here are the first four lectures, and the fifth. They're torrents; if you've not done that before, you'll need a BitTorrent client like (Java, cross-platform) Azureus or (Mac users) BitsOnWheels. Feed it the .torrent file, and wait... it'll take a while.

To view the video, you'll need a player like VLC. I've not quite got my head around the whole DivX video thing -- I thought it was just an open-source MPEG4-compliant encoder, but quite often the files don't play in supposedly-MPEG4-compliant viewers like QuickTime Player or RealPlayer. VLC usually copes, thankfully.


So I wandered across to UKNova, curious - you see although I’ve used Bit-torrent for downloading legitimate freely available software, I’ve never personally used any peer-2-peer filesharing system of any flavour directly where content copyright might be an issue - that’s not to suggest I haven’t benefited from time to time where others have downloaded and I have shared my network connection with others who probably have used it to that end.. so I’m certainly not copyright-pure - I just haven’t gone and fileshared such stuff myself. So, tiptoeing up, tempted by the juicy prospect of seeing the RI lectures, I thought I would read through the user agreement and FAQ. Noticeable was the absence of fair-use discussion in the FAQ (perhaps reflecting a “don’t ask” approach), the user agreement was where things completely fell down. I copy & pasted the text into a wordprocessor to do a word count.. over 18,000 words and 28 pages.. terminated by a copyright statement. Well, I laughed. Nope, I don’t have enough free time to work my way through that one just now - it would probably take longer than the download.

It probably would, if you could get in. UKnova has limited the number of users, and wasn’t accepting new members when I looked.


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This page contains a single entry by Jonathan published on January 10, 2006 5:58 PM.

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