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Eric Ericson talks about choirs and choral works

Körledaren Eric Ericson

Swedish choir conductor Eric Ericson died on February 16th, 94 years old. My impression is that he was a very unassuming and extremely knowledgeable and passionate man. Hans-Gunnar Peterson and I interviewed Ericson in 1997 in his home at Gärdet in Stockholm, just before he was to receive the Polar Music Prize.

Eric Ericson gave generously of his knowledge and vividly accounted for how he started the Chamber choir, and he talked about the importance of practicing a cappella rather than with instruments. I believe Ericson’s enthusiasm for his trade is quite obvious in the photos I took at the occasion.

Ericson was apparently satisfied with the article, since he recommended it to students both in Sweden and abroad.

See ”Eric Ericson – 50 years with the Chamber Choir”

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Ye pyrates of olden days

Piracy of intellectual property is nothing new. To some, plagiarism was a problem already in first century Rome. Illegal copying of books was done long before the modern concept of copyright as a creator’s right was conceived. The right to copy during the first centuries of printing belonged to printers and booksellers (sometimes for generations), not like today when an author owns it and might or might not assign his or her rights to a publisher for a limited time.

Printers often pirated books that legally belonged to other printers. The first known instance of print piracy was probably Gutenberg’s former financier Johann Fust, who reprinted Johann Mentel’s edition of St Augustine’s De Arte Prædicatoria. A more well-known case is Martin Luther, whose works were pirated in all of the German states (and in many other countries as well). There were lots of printers who for many years made their living entirely from unlicensed printing of Luther’s works. Luther complained about this, not so much on economical grounds as because the pirated editions were sloppy and the content distorted. At this time pirates even gathered at the Frankfurt Book Fair to sell their wares.

Francis Kirkman on the title pages of his book The Unlucky Citizen (1673).

Piracy was very common, especially during the 17th and 18th centuries, and not just smaller, poorer Stationers yielded to this shady custom, but even large well-established members of the Stationers Company spent some of their working hours on unlicensed printing or the printing of ”overnumbers”, that could be sold by chapmen or exchanged for other books from other printers. Läs mer

What happened to Google Translate?

Some four months ago, I was planning to write an enthusiastic article about how great Google’s translation service had become. Outside of linguistic institutions, machine translation from Swedish into another language has not been available to the public for so long (I believe Babelfish was the first), and I was extremely impressed with how well Google managed also complex sentence patterns with parenthetical subordinate clauses, and how the translation engine managed to keep track of pronouns and various correlates. Sure, there were errors, but still, it was quite remarkable. Now, not much of this seems to work any longer, and I get the feeling that maybe a hard drive containing exceptions and phraseology might have crashed in Googleland. This is very sad, since the current translations are almost unreadable. The Swedish word ”hyllningskör” (approx. ‘unanimous praise’) became ”tribute fragile” the other day. And today it became ”tribute shoes”. So, obviously Google learns. But it learns erroneously. Läs mer

Swedish Pirate Party: A Critical Examination

(This is a translation of a blog entry in Swedish from June 14th, which was the hitherto most read article since the blog started in 2003.)

Now that the Swedish Pirate Party has got their 7 percent of the voters in the Swedish election for the European Parliament, I suppose it is time to write something about their goal, as it is presented in the party program.

Apparently, the party toned down its agitation in the file sharing issue before the election, and focused on the topic of personal integrity and privacy. This was probably, from their point of view, a good strategy. Otherwise, the party would probably to a much larger extent than now have been associated with selfish people who just want to safeguard their free-of-charge access to entertainment. What they say in privacy issues is much easier to agree with, even if not everything on this point is opposition-free either. Read more »

Copyright reform – or abolition?

The other day I came across a web site called Question Copyright. One of its leading men is the software developer Karl Fogel, and a prominence such as Brewster Kahle seems to be involved as well.

Their ”mission is to educate the public about the history of copyright, and to promote methods of distribution that do not depend on restricting people from making copies”. They say they want copyright reform, but ”if abolition is that better policy, then so be it”. Read more »

More on trigger points & muscle lumps

In 2003 I published a book about mercury poisoning from dental amalgam, fibromyalgia and the role in society of scientific research. It was built upon my own experiences as chronically ill. The print version is available in Swedish only, but there is a version in English available on line as a 131 page PDF.

After the book was published, I also uploaded a few web pages with further comments on these topics, but those were in Swedish only. I believe, however, that especially one of those texts, concerning muscle lumps, should reach also non-Swedish readers. I have therefore translated it into English. Read more »

What has copyright to do with democracy?

In view of recent debates, not the least those in Sweden, I wrote this article about the democratic aspects of copyright legislation:

Abstract: The debates on whether or not copyright and democracy are compatible concepts are not new. It has been discussed since the 1700s and concerns a form of separation of powers. Copyright is a monopoly, but at the same time, when copyright came, it was a strike at another form of monopoly, the printers’ rights, with their roots in the guild system. Copyright could not occur until censorship was abolished, and it can actually be seen as a complement to the freedom of expression. Copyright was early associated with privacy issues. However, if proportionality is not followed in the maintenance of law, both integrity and freedom of expression could be threatened.

This text is part of the annual book ”For or Against the Citizenry: Power sharing”, which is published for the third time by the democracy study group D2D. The book is in Swedish, with short summaries in English. It is available free of charge on the web.

Read the whole article at:

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