Originally written in Keosto.org wiki. Posted here for safe keeping and cleaned in light of “Patent Pending” text published in Rhizome 2013.
”’SIMPLE”’ (Monologue of a web-video): Hi. My name is … and I am here to share with you a way you can protect human gestures from being patented. If you don’t know about this subject, search online for “patented human gestures”. In short software companies are patenting movements a user makes when interacting with computers such as smart-phones. Technically they are not patenting these movements but the ways computers read specific “gestures”. This however means, that some “gestures” are not permitted in relation to some computers and software! This is mostly discussed when talking of touchscreens but also applications which read the users facial expressions and body-movement are being developed.
This means that some expressions of the human body in the presense of specific devices will be effected by patent laws. I think it just plain ”’WRONG”’. For one: This makes it impossible to create free software which would be used by the same movements. For two: In the future all of the expressions of the human body might be effected by patents owned by corporations! Thirdly: A new language of interacting with computers is developing. Think what would have happened if some one had patented the letter ”’A”’ when we begun writing our languages. This would have killed the development of written word.
Fortunately there is a feature in patent laws which will help us protect “human gestures” from being patented. An invention has to be original to be patented. So, I urge you to do the following: Think of a movement and something you´d like software to when it reads this movement. Make a video showing this movement and describe what this movement would do in a software. This way your video will serve as a “prior art case” which means that it cannot be patented and it will belong to the commons.
=”’AIMS OF THE PROJECT”’=
In addition to what is mentioned in the ”’SIMPLE”’ introduction, the GIMPOS project is tapping into – and researching questions of human-computer relationships and the politics of touch and movement based user interfaces. The project is motivated with the idea that if gestures made in the presence of a computer would be understood a dance, then these choreographies would be the intellectual property of their inventor. Besides making it impossible for certain companies to patent these gestures, this would develop micro-businesses for choreographers and other creative live-artist as they could be able to develop gestures for the use of software developers (and licensing them as they see fit).
During this project a video library of such choreographies will be created, business models studied and the concepts of cybernetic space researched. If you or your friends are interested in contributing feel free to use this this wiki. (keosto.org)
The project suggests that a computer creates a (on- or offline) cybernetic space around it which is comparable to any other performance space or venue. For making video of these “gestures” each creator may licence their choreography the way s/he sees fit. The choreographies are to be documented with a single camera. Gestures are to be show in front of a “neutral” background. If the maker sees fit a BW ruler (marking 5 centimetre blocks) may be placed behind the “dancer” so that the gestures may be measured. Spoken word describing the actions of the dancers is heard in the video. Thorwad the end of these videos some ideas on what this dance would enable in the computers is presented.
This project is written in [[SLP]]. (Socio linguistic programming – It had an article in keosto.org back in the day.)
=”’SOME EARLY SYNOPSES”’=
==This text is the tech introduction to the project.==
This is a video introduction to the project “Interacting with a computer using specific movement combinations (referred here as “CHOREOGRAPHS”) and gestures (referred here as “DANCE”) as input method to perform operations in software” or shortly “Choreographed Dances for Interacting with a Computer”. This project produces a collection of choreographies which a user may exercise when interacting with computers such as laptops, smart-phones or other computer powered devices. The movements and gestures of the user, referred and presented here as dance, are read by a software in the device as inputs and used to control its behaviour and interaction with the user. These choreographies are presented in video episodes and are to be considered as dance- or live- artworks documenting choreographies. Thus they protected by international copyright laws and are the creators intellectual property.
The reason these choreographies are protected by copyright is to prevent companies, which are not carrying social and ecological responsibility from patenting these gestures for use in device interfaces of their proprietary or open source software. If a license which forces such companies to carry social and ecological repressibility, is found it will be used to share these innovations to the commons. An other motivation for making these videos showing “human gestures for controlling computers” is to claim these gestures into to commons and thus preventing anyone from patenting these gestures in the future.
===Donald Duck as prior art===
As an example of this method of protecting “human gestures” from falling under patent laws is the “Donald Duck as prior art” case. A Danish inventor by the name Karl Krøyer came up with a method for raising a sunken ships by pumping buoyant bodies (such as plastic balls inflated which air) into the ship to achieve upward lift to bring the ship back to the surface. He received patents from many countries for this invention. According to the story, the Dutch Patent Office found a 1949 issue of a Donald Duck magazine which featured a story, titled “The Sunken Yacht”. In this story a ship is raised by stuffing it full of ping-pong balls. Since an invention has to be new to be patentable, Karl Krøyers application was refused in by the Dutch Patent Office. A Donald Duck episode discloses the same technique as that which is claimed in the patents.
Claiming “Choreographed Dances for interacting with a Computer” as artworks these movements and gestures will be protected by copyright. After the copyright expires these choreographies will belong to the commons. For the time being this will permit any developer from producing software which utilises these gestures to control a computer. The reasoning is that dance- and other live-art works are planned and constructed in relation to the space and site they are performed in. A number of post-structuralist theorists have pointed out that space is socially constructed. Space is a concept underpinned, simultaneously, by historical, geographical, social, political, cultural and technological significations. We argue that computers equipped with sensors working as gateways to online or offline cybernetic space produce a sense of space.
Computers equipped with sensors, such as cameras and motion sensors, enabling software to track for example the facial expressions and recognising walking patterns of the user effect her/s consciousness of cybernetic space. A computers quipped with such sensors produces a “device specific microscopic cybernetic space” around it, inside of which people are aware that they might be tracked. This phenomenon could be understood as the “presence of the computer” and is comparable to the gaze of the camera.
An example serves this argument best. As people become aware that there is a camera present they alter their behaviour. The direction where this camera is looking is not the only scope affecting people. People behind the camera are aware that they are not in the picture frame and know that their decision of “not being in the picture frame” is understood by the watcher as a deliberate sign. This sign is given non-verbally. A camera might be automated and people might not be aware if it is on or off. Nevertheless they alter their behaviour in it´s presence. The same goes for any sensor available of gathering information.
In her classic book, On Photography Susan Sontag referred to several aspects of ‘photographic seeing’ which are relevant in the current context. A quoute from this book goes as follows:
“To photograph is to appropriate the thing photographed”
A derived quote from the book goes as follows “To identify is to appropriate the thing identified”.
All of these dances are performed in this cybernetic space. And software which creates “device specific microscopic cybernetic spaces” inside of which users interact with the computer in similar manner as shown in these videos is in direct violation of international copyright laws. Whether or not, gestures to control computers should be able to be patented in the first place is open for debate. Despite controversies many software and hardware companies do this. An analogy to the world of art would be that a cartoon characters may be intellectual property of the creator. But the style in which this character is drawn cannot be. In comparison, what a software does can, for arguments sake, be patented but the way a person interacts with it ought not be.
For these presentations it is not important to show how software tracks and reads the gestures of the user or what kind of sensors the software uses to track and read the gestures of the user. The computer is represented by a sheet of paper displaying following symbols: They eye – symbol represents the camera and luminosity sensor of the device. The arrows represent GPRS, compass and other position sensors of the device. The ear symbol represents the microphone, mouth is for the speaker, and the hair represents both touch and motion sensors of the device.
These choreographies will remain the sole intellectual property of the creator for time covered by international copyright laws. If the owner of these works sees fit s/he may license these artworks to interested parties. For documenting choreographies used in dance or other performances there is a method called Labanotation. Labanotation is a complicated movement notation system invented by Rudolf Laban.
Unlike music, where there is a limited range of notes an instrument can play, the human body can make an unlimited number of different movements or shapes. Labanotation is a complex system and using this method is expensive and time consuming. Like most performances these choreographies are not recorded using Labanotation. Instead of this these artworks are documented using video. Each gesture is recorded form two sides. This material is enhanced with absolute best method for passing choreography down from generation to generation: word of mouth.
==This is the extro shown after choreographed gestures==
This episode was a part or “Interacting with a computer using specific movement combinations (referred here as “CHOREOGRAPHS”) and gestures (referred here as “DANCE”) as input method to perform operations in software” – Project which produces a collection of choreographies which a user may exercise when interacting with computers such as laptops, smart-phones or other computer powered devices. These choreographies are presented as video episodes and are to be considered as dance- or live- artworks documenting choreographies. Thus these movements are protected by international copyright laws and are the creators intellectual property.
(The license might be different for each work. A better license (by the name of [[THL]]) for these works is being developed.)
You are allowed to share and creative derivative works of this video if copies or derivative works are made and shared for free and in free file formats. No copies or representation (screen-shots or other) of this video are allowed in other then free file formats. You are allowed to show this video, and representations of it in private. You are allowed to show this video, and representations of in public if these events promote anti-copyright/patent policies. Such events may produce revenue for either you personally or an organisation. Profit is to be used to promote anti-copyright/patent policies or to make your personal of organisations “free culture activities” sustainable.
Copies of this work are to be tagget in the following manner: In the name of this clip you´ll find a number. When you make a copy of this clip you must replace this number with an accenting number. The material Dicknson Modelling shares are referred as 0, first copies of this with the number 1, copies of 1 as 2 and so forth. You must state the original name of this work and the tag used to index it if you use it in derivative works. If you do not understand these rights you may write to ?@storijapan.net
#Validating that dances and choreographs “in the presence of a computer” are protected by copyright.
#Verifying theoretical notes (found in -This text is the introduction to the project-) on the “extended on- or offline device specific microscopic cybernetic spaces”
#Fixing terminology of the theory.
#Making a video library of gestures
=Stuff already underway=
#Finding researcher or other interested in preserving human gestures to the commons (and helping with the theoretical parts of the project) :)
#Finding person involved with such software patents to validate the text on a technical level.
Design policy of intelligent space
An artwork on the matter
Learn to dance Ballet! (Torrent) http://www.darelease.com/dl/Learning+To+Dance+Ballet.html
Exploring what Here and Presence means using tele-immersive
Video: Exploring presence technology with tele-immersive dance in cyberspace
Same on youtub:
Sensing and Immersed Environments (Youtube -lecture)
Great list of resources on dance and technology (made 1995)
From Cyber Space to Cybernetic Space: Rethinking the Relationship between Real and Virtual Spaces (Some useful stuff
Cybernetic Space: Bringing the Virtual and Real Together (Some useful stuff)
Dan Graham – Time Delay Room