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Ezekiel 25:17. The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children.

(Samuel L Jackson Smiley sticking out tongue)


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What this is all about

This is a resource site for independent artists wishing to distribute their art via the web. The aim is to promote Magnet Links, P2P technology, and Creative Commons licences, as the best way to do this. To distribute art via the web in a way that leverages the power of these technologies to the artist's advantage while optimising web traffic. It also works with their fans in a mutually cooperative way to harness grassroots support, displace costs, and ensure freedom of speech and resist censorship.

P2P networks have proved to be a phenomenal distribution system and seems a good place to start as the foundation of web base distribution system. But how to harness it for the benefit of the artist and fan alike?

While there are many benefits from P2P, like the costs of storage of media and bandwidth burden is transferred to the fan (not too much of a problem as they would store it anyway and bandwidth upload speed is often going begging), there are problems with searches of the network that turn up much spam, broken and inferior files and illegally distributed content. This is where the magic of Magnet Links comes into play.

Magnet Links look like normal hyperlinks on an artists web page, but when clicked they initiate a P2P download! The file to be downloaded is detailed in the Magnet Link with a unique identifier (URI). This allows the artist to offer the file on their website, and know that a visiting fan is guaranteed a kosher file. This makes the search function in P2P software moot. To see this all in action, try it out for yourself and click this below;

magnet icon Magnet Download of Shareaza 2.5.3

The above link is a magnet link and will launch your P2P program to start the download of Shareaza 2.4.

If you do not have P2P software installed you'll get the "magnet is not a registered protocol" error in windows, and an error in other OS too. To correct the situation click the big 'S' icon at the top of this page to go to the Shareaza home page where you can find a regular download.

The Magnet Link was the missing piece of the puzzle, and once we knew about it (and combined with 'copyleft' Creative Commons licences) lead to thoughts of a practical and fair distribution system where artists are free of harsh contracts and retained their copyright for their lifetime. The system that developed from these thoughts is the AUS (Artists Unchained System) and is a prototype model of digital art distribution.

The AUS is based on mutual respect and those artists who choose to distribute via the AUS do so in a fully legal and productive way. Fans who support the artists using the AUS are also working in a fully legal way.

This site covers the AUS in detail, walking you through ever step of the way, so even if you are a complete net novice you can still use the AUS! The website is devided into the following sections: Overview, Artists, Fans, Scenarios, Blog, Community and Donate.

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Quick Heads up for the computer savvy

The AUS uses social networking sites, magnet links, P2P, zip files and online payment systems in that order. If you are Tech savvy you have probably jumped ahead and worked out how it all fits together, but just in case;

In essence: the fans provide the artist with a powerful distribution and storage system in exchange or the rights to use the artwork they are hosting.

Artists

If you are an artist this is your second port of call. This sections covers the practical side of setting up the AUS set by step. It details what you are going to need, how it all fits together, how to promote your wares using the internet and copyright licensing.

The primary objective is to get you up and running by spending no money and using existing services that are already freely available. It includes AUS templates along with AUS packaging standards to make it easy for your fans to obtain your art. All AUS material is supplied free of charge and is itself distributed via the AUS!

Once you are up and running it builds upon your success and name recognition and delves into arcane net sorcery like securing domain names, setting up web hosts and covering software to build websites.

Artists Section

Fans

If you are a fan of an artist and you arrived here via a link on their site, this section will tell you everything you need to know about the AUS and how it all works from a fan's perspective.

It walks you through the AUS and shows you how to support your favourite artist. Whether by hosting the artists files in your P2P client thus boosting availability, or donating funds direct to the artist safe in the knowledge that no middlemen are taking an extortionate cut or exploiting the creator of what you love. It also deals with copyright, what you can do with the media legally, and how you can produce hard copies for your friends and family!

Fan's Section

Scenarios

This section is for both artists and fans and runs through scenarios of how the AUS can help promote and distribute art and media. It deals with each art field in turn from musicians to game companies, and how their can nature the of fan's support and exploit the P2P phenomena to drive their business forward in the 21st century.

Scenarios Section

Blog

This is the Artists Unchained Blog, and included posts on ideas and concepts, design notes on the system, and general waffle on all things relevant (and not so relevant). You are welcome to leave comments.

Blog

Community

[Closed until end of Beta] Here you can exchange information with other supporters of the AUS, and where artists post links to promote their sites and chat to fans, and fans can post links to other fan forums thus the AUS forum is the hub of the AUS community. It is devided into many sections to cover many spheres of artistic endeavour.

The forums are based on 'cliques' and the only way in is via an invite. Those within a clique are responsible for each other, and if one gets banned all those in the clique are banned along with them. The idea is to foster a community of fans, true fans who care about art with a passion, and yet a friendly atmosphere where artists feel welcome.

Community Section

Donate

This is your chance to support the AUS and the Artists Unchained via direct patronage. There is no obligation to do so, you are free to use this site, AUS materials etc without charge, and if you do not have the funds to contribute (which is understandable in this economic climate), you can still support the AUS by hosting template files. All donations are greatly appreciated, and allow us to get very drunk, muse on the nature of universe, and come up with ideas like the AUS! After all this system is created by artists, for artists and fans to enjoy, so we do tend to act like, well, artists! All this thinking and designing is thirsty work... Beer Cheers!

Donation Section

RSS Update Feed

This RSS feed (orange button on the main menu) allows you to subscribe to the news feed and keep abreast of the latest developments and updates related to Artists Unchained. To subscribe, simply click the RSS button (or the link to the right below) and your browser will open an RSS feed page with the option to subscribe. Once subscribed there will be a special bookmark in your browser, which updates with the feed. Click on it and it will provide links to all the latest updates. It a convenient way to check the site for changes with the minimum of fuss.

RSS Update Feed

Design notes of the System

This runs you through the overall principles or the AUS, and links into other sections of the website that focuses on the specifics. It is the main index of the system, and the quickest way to locate the information you need. It also includes a Google search function for your convenience

Combining Systems

AUS is an experimental 'system of systems', which links together many currently used technologies and arranges them into a new business model. There is nothing new here, no flash new technology, this is all about organisation.

Core component systems of the AUS are: social network services (You Tube, MySpace Facebook etc.), artist's web sites (Google Page Creator, Open Office, etc.), magnet links, P2P (Shareaza, Limewire, etc.), Copyleft Licences (Creative Commons, etc.), E-Payment Providers (Pay Pal, Google Checkout, etc), Print on Demand services (Lulu, Cafepress etc), zip files (7zip, etc) and whatever technology you need to digitised your art and pack it into a zip file.

All these links go to wikipedia.

Details of distribution system proposed (system example)

This is an overview of the whole system, the combination of the Artist and Fan sections. This is the bigger picture of the AUS.

Important points: Copyright is maintained by the artist. No middle men. Rapid dissemination of files throughout the net. 'Advertising' is by word or mouth, support is grass roots. Money is given for art people really enjoy, and not paid up front on the hope it will be to your liking. Artists come recommended by your friends.

Passing the Buck: As all downloads are initiated from a website, it means a new open source P2P client could be made that has no search function. This means it is impossible to search a P2P network using this striped down client. If the RIAA wants to sue anyone is would have to be the website (seeing as they are the ones abusing the system).

Artist Names: Those who use the AUS are referred to as: [proposed] 'Aussies' has turned up (derived from 'AUS'), but that is going to be as confusing as hell! Perhaps Ausers (AUSers, also a play on 'A User')

Collaboration

P2P software also offers private networks. This allows artists to securely share files with their inner circle via P2P without releasing it to the public. Allowing artists to collaborate globally and share huge files. Most importantly as the artwork is not sent of to big business for manufacture and distribution the chances of a leak are... zero. It only makes it into the public P2P if the artist chooses to release it via links of their site.

Abiding by the law

This site is not going to be a torrent download site or host any media files. It will concentrate on designing a workable system, figuring out the standards needed to pull it off, providing artists and fans with information on how to implement it, and gathering feedback and donations.

* There will be a sister site on google pages or some other free hosting site, but this artistsunchained.org site will remain as it can't be shut down on a whim. It is paid for and as long as it is fully legal and non-abusive, can't be closed down that easily. This site will cover the basics and point to related content on free sites and articles by others that may be of interest.

Legal: This site is not a secret pirate haven full of stolen digital booty, it is instead and open and honest site showing artists how to distribute their wares via P2P and enable fans to identify files on P2P networks that are being distributed legally via the methods proposed on this site.

Similar initiatives

If anyone out there is running a similar initiative to this one, with the same aims, we would love to hear from you.

NOTICE

Notice: Only artists with full copyright control of their art can use the AUS legally.

Artists Unchained does not condone copyright infringement.

Please check the artist's official site to see if they are using the AUS, and only use their official magnet links to initiate P2P downloads.

DO NOT directly search a P2P network for a file as there is a high probability the file you obtain will not be the fully legal, official and of the correct specification. Increasingly virus and trojan writers are putting fake files on P2P networks, as are spammers and assholes who think it is funny to put fake files and inappropriately rename files on P2P networks. Use of the P2P search function within the software is not recommended and is at your own risk.

Contact

For any reason: email:email image(arrow this is an image)

Notes

PS: For all you conspiracy nuts: A few anagrams of this site's name are 'Anarchists United', 'Anarchists Untied', 'Haciendas Intrust ' and perhaps my favourite is 'Rancid Enthusiast'... no wait 'Darn Enthusiastic' :P

Note on Ezekiel 25:17: All the artists and fans are 'shepherds' for the rest of humanity

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