Artists Unchained: Artist's Resource

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How to use the AUS as an Artist

Setting Up

In addition to a PC (or Mac) with the usual default software (browser etc) and your art making tools - you will need the following;

Artist resources


Your artwork must be original and you must still own the copyright in the artwork. Put the artwork and all promotional material and extras into a single folder. Name the this artwork folder anything you like, preferably relating to the artwork.

The artwork should be in a industry standard formats that any computer running windows, macintosh or linux can open.

Promotional material should be in PDF format as it can be opened on any OS.and the readers are easy to find (i.e. Foxit or Adobe). Making a PDF is easy and, with Open Office, you can do so for free.

Put all these files into a separate 'project folder'.


(The AUL is in development)

By law a person needs a licence/ written permission to copy a copyrighted artwork they do not won the rights to. The AUL gives the public permission to copy the artwork and pass to friends and family, and to distribute the artwork over P2P. The only provision is that a licensee does not make money from the artwork at any time. Anyone other than the owner of the artwork making money from the artwork is strictly prohibited.

Currently we are considering whether to use a modified Creative Commons licence (please contact us with your opinions).

In the mean time this is the stand in idea;

You should now have your digital wares file and extras, html CCL file and an html MEC file all in your project folder. Next we are going to zip the whole lot up ready for sharing.

Copyright control: Copyright must remain with the artist and they should never be asked to give up their copyright or put into a situation where they even consider it! ( We're looking at you Mr. businessman ). As an artist your control of your copyright your legacy, and in a half decent system your works should provide you with a fair income for it use.

Copyright is an important right and in retaining copyright an artist can stop big business from moving in an exploiting an artists work in a manner they see fit.

As an example: The artist or studio that came up with the [snip] logo should be paid a royalty every time it is used. It doesn't have to be much but it should be enough to generate an income. Landing a job to create a big corporation's logo should generate a decent and ongoing money stream.

In effect the artist is being paid for each "copy" of the logo (every time it is used, even when on a product like a pair of trainers). This may seem strange but that's because the law is twisted towards business: A logo as a piece of art may be considered property like a house or car is property, but a copyright is not the same thing, it is not a physical commodity it is the right to make the copy, and every time someone wants to make a copy they should pay the artist. It not that an unusual concept in business world, they have patents, and authors have royalties. Artists should has a similar 'copyright patent ' that can never be assigned to another.

These "copyright patents" could provide an ongoing legacy to the artist's family and descendants, there is no reason to put art into the public domain with the AUS, as all art can be used for free, but business will always have to pay - no matter what. If this was the case you could see the rise of artistic families with the power of the big business families. In the past there may have been good reasons not to allow artists access to such rights, but in the automated information age? Artists have sacrificed themselves for generation for the good of society, now business and technology has built up to such a degree, it is time to address the imbalance which heavily favours business.

Copyright is not the problem: In the world today, it is often Copyright that is blamed for the woes of P2P and the inability to share media, but this is not Copyright that is the problem: it is the system was the problem. The AUS seeks to correct that.

Throwing away rights is never a good idea: Rights are easy to discard and hard to get back.

As an artist: you may find it hard to turn a blind eye to the RIAA and all their actions, but in their enforcement of copyright and seeking to change the law, they are digging their own grave. In the same way a Martial Artist takes the strengths of their opponent's attack to empower their own moves, so to does the AUS;

Once they [ RIAA ] have made copyright draconian as all hell, us artists can simply switch to the AUS, and the law will then be iron clad for artists . The tighter the RIAA make the law, the harder it will be for them to break it or circumvent it when the wheel turns and artists opt to retain control of their work instead of giving it away for a pittance. Slowly, as artists jump ship, the talent stream will dry up and if the likes of the RIAA will have no one on their books -then what?

Just remember, as an artist, to NEVER sign a contract that assigns copyright to your client (be they a big media company/ corporation, a local store or friend) that takes away any of your rights over your artwork. Only offer a licence, never an assignment of copyright.

Watch as they strangle themselves! (it's almost amusing if it wasn't so sad) .

Notes on copyright patent legacy: On death, the rights pass to the artist's trust fund. This thrust fund distributes the income generated from those rights equally among all the artist's direct descendants. This means a grandchild gets the same amount as a grandparent. Once the divisions are so numerous that the payment is small, it can be wound up and the trust fund rights passed to a "super charity" than manages these funds to pay for endeavours that help our fellow humans (at this stage it is like an on going business tax that goes straight to charity).

Oh, and these incomes should not be taxed, as they are 'creative and for the betterment of humanity', a sort of half charity half self-employed status. But that gets into the failure of democracy and the tax system - which is a whole new web site!

Compression software (zip)

Modern operating systems usually come with compression software. Use this software, or a software of choice (i.e. 7zip), to compress you 'project folder'. You should compress the whole folder, do not select the files inside the folder directly and compress, instead select the folder and compress that. Windows can do this with a right click to bring up the compression option.

The artwork folder should be compressed and labeled using the following format;

AU[your web site address*][name of file][date].zip**

* you can cut off the 'http://' at the front.

**The extensions can be any produced by compression software. The default in windows produces .zip files, Macs produce .sit files, Linux puts out .tar files. All can open .zip without a problem.

If you wish to use an Open Source software to compress your files you may consider 7zip.

UPDATE: All files are named 'artistsunchained' (no gaps - all lowercase). The name of the file does not effect the the file's hash number which is used to identify it. The magnet link will target the correct file as normal; no matter what the name.

The operating system on your computer (mac, windows etc.) will automatically affix numbers to the '' in the download folder of the P2P software if you already have another ''. Such as 'artistsunchained(1).zip', 'artistsunchained(2).zip' and so on. Or you can tag on a random number, or use just the random number.

This is done as it stops people searching for the file within P2P software. This cuts out the chance that a downloaded zipped file has been tampered with, spam inserted or porn of purposely misnamed file. It also means that it is easy to filter out all the artistsunchained files from search results.

This is not intended as a restriction or copyright enforcement function (as it will not work as such) but as a way to isolate out the artists unchained traffic on the P2P network. It also helps fans to identify which are the correct files endorsed by the artist: as the magnetlink on the artist's website is always correct. Hopefully many will realise that a search within P2P often returns 'copyright infringing material' and the magnetlinks (if available) are always copyright friendly and supporting the artists they favour (even sharing the .zip is 'hosting and storage' and so counts as support!)

To sum up: All files would be ''.

However, as the system renames duplicates it will often be artistsunchained(#).zip where '#' = a number. As everyone downloads are different time, the number will all be different and random, so not identifiable.

Anonymity [Freedom of Speech]

Along with the above update to the naming scheme for files, this addition has been added with an aim to improve anonymity, and hence privacy. The idea is to wrap the files so they all seem the same, in order to stop snooping by others. To use an analogy this is like putting a letter in an envelope so that those handling your mail can not read it.

This is optional.

Zip files can be password protected (this is like sealing the envelope). Only those with access to the artist's site that hosts the magnet links (along with the password) can open them. The fan requires the magnet link and the password.

This is optional.

Although optional, but it's recommended, as it protects the fan's privacy: if while sharing files via P2P, someone where to browse their P2P share folder (by any means) or look at their traffic, the snooper would have no clue as to what the shared files are. They all look like 'envelopes in a mail room'. If the one browsing took a chance and download the files direct from the shared folder, they would find the files are password protected (and if they obtained the file from browsing the share folder, or getting the hash from traffic, they do not have access to the password).

Mail: I figure this is the same protection that your 'snail mail' gets. Law enforcement would need a warrant to search your traffic and would have no problem cracking password protection on a zip file, or passing a law saying you have to hand over the password. However, they can't simply open your 'mail' and have a look on a whim, they need a reason.

Filter: The term 'artistsunchained' (quite distinctive) can be included as a base filter in all P2P programs. This would mean that none of these files would show up in searches (and there is little point; as any files found via searches suffers a similar fate as one found by browsing the share folder: i.e. no password). This would remove these files from search results, and as those doing searches want files they can use, so to them this would be 'spam'. So 'artistsunchained' could be included in a spam filter.

Note: Files can be identified on sites like Bitzi Ticket but if they do not show up in searches there are not hashes to check!

To sum up: All files should be '' and password protected.

Law & Order: before anyone thinks this is a great plan for pirating copyrighted material (or passing other illegal material) and remaining anonymous in the process, please bear in mind that once the authorities have the hash number of the file they can track it down pretty easily, and the hash is pinpoint accurate. With the resources and cooperation of an ISP, any system can be circumvented or overcome. However: LEGAL files will be protected.

Mind you, I'm sure someone will claim that the magnet link was to a file that turned out different from expected - and this is a weakness in the system as you can not check a zip file of 7z file as it is downloading - but I doubt this will wash unless you have a web address etc. and can prove mitigating circumstances. You could get anything, so my advice is to only use magnets from a trusted sources. After all this system is intended for legal materials.

P2P Software

Any decent P2P software that can handle Magnet Links will do. Some suitable clients are:

Prepare to share: Once installed: place your final zip file in the 'share folder' (see software manual). Make sure the share folder is set to 'share'.

Generate a Magnet Link

Both the above software, Shareaza and Phex, can create magnet links, in Shareaza: right click a file in the media library, then click the option 'copy URI'. This brings up a small widow with two links, click the first one (it's a magnet link, the second one in an edonkey link) and it will be copied to your clipboard. Paste as a link into you web page using your favourite editor.

If none of this make much sense? There are easier ways;

Magnet Link Builder: You can find this software at It creates magnet links by simply dragging files into a window, and will even output a whole html page. The software is by Kazaa (which sucks) but it seems to be missing the usual spyware and adware and does hashes other than kzhash in the Magnet Link (so other P2P programs can make use of the Magnet Links it creates)

If you have P2P software installed on your PC try this link;

To P2P: magnetlink icon Magnet Link Builder (for Windows 95/98/NT/ME/XP/Etc)

note: you can get the little magnet icons here

To direct download: Magnet Link Builder (for Windows 95/98/NT/ME/XP/Etc)

One nice feature of Magnet Link Builder is that you can add a fixed download location (i.e. on your site) to get the ball rolling. This make the file available even when you are not connected to the net (and hence your P2P share folder can't be accessed).

Paste the generated Magnet Links into your web page.

Bitzi: For a little more authentication along with the generation of Magnet Links you may want to consider submitting your zip file hash to Bitzi (more info over on wikipedia). There is a little program by Bitzi that automates this for you, called Bitcollider. It creates Magnet Links and hashes and then uploads the results to Bitzi web site where the community can then leave feedback (after they download the file to confirm it is what it purports to be).

To P2P: magnetlink icon Bitcollider (for Windows 95/98/NT/ME/XP/Etc)

For other OS see the Bitcollider download page on Bitzi.

It's really easy to use: run the software and it opens little uncomplicated window. Browse to your file in your P2P share folder and click 'open'. The program instantly starts hashing, pops open your default browser when finished so you can see what it has done in a regular web page.

You can see all the information about your file, including the full Magnet Links (called a bitprint) in your browser window (this web page is known as a 'Bitzi Ticket'). It is then a simple case of copy and paste the Magnet Links into your web page, just like the 'To P2P' link above linking to Bitcollider. As an example of the web page created see the Bitcollider Bitzi Ticket.

Up and running: If all goes according to plan, and the Magnet Links are on your web site (My Space of some such) , you are connected to the net and your P2P software is running; people can start to download your file.

Note: If anyone knows any other open source all in one Magnet Link creation software please give us a heads up (usual email address).

Options (advanced);

Torrent Aid: (Shareaza Add-on): The Torrent Aid add-on creates an extended torrent with SHA1 hashes (and other hashes) - it a bit more involved, but it's easy to use. The Torrent Aid web site has a neat step-by-step tutorial.

Torrents do have some limitations, and those limitations are it's centralized nature and the fact torrent swams usuallt die out. Many using the AUS are not going to generate the volume to keep a torrent healthy; more on Limitations and security vulnerabilities

Social Networking Services.

Before jumping in and designing a website, which can be a bit of an undertaking, you may wish to consider using a social networking service such as MySpace and Facebook. This are easy to use, do not require any web page programming skills, and come with a whole range of communication options.

Later, when you get your web site up and running, you can link to it from your MySpace or Facebook profile.

Domain name

This is going to be official name of your web site so make it good. You don't have to buy one, you could use a free host and use the address they supply (subject to their whims - see their terms and conditions, and what Ads are going to turn up). For those with a bit more cash; you may want something a little more secure. Registering a domain name is the way to go.

Privacy issues: However, if you have looked into this as a private individual you may have been put of because the address you use to register a domain name will be on public display via Whois lookup. This can be worrying if it is a private (home) address, as you never know who will come knocking on your door. What's more it has to be your proper address, as it is a registration, and giving a wrong address means that ICANN can strip you off you domain name. Not good if that name is your name, your stage name, and you loose it and some cyber-squatter (or media-company) snaps it up. Spammers also harvest this whois information and use it to send junk mail (both physical and email) to the addresses given in Whois, and it's a port of call for any technically minded identify thief.

Whois Guard: Fortunately many domain registers now include the ability to mask your whois information, acting as a buffer between you and the spammers and data miners. They put in their address which forward to you (and they can filter spam and junk).

Snail mail: Alternatively you may prefer to have more control over your mail, and can handel the spam and junk yourself (you never know when something important may be sandwiched in among the dross). You probably thought you could kill two birds with one stone and rent a 'PO Box' [UK] only to find out that you can not use it as your address to register a domain name, and even if you could: anyone can legally look up who owns the PO Box (in the UK at least). So what are you to do?

This is where Private mail forwarding Companies provide a very handy service private mail forwarding for the individual and the virtual office. You can have a Box number (renamed if you wish), or you can have a proper street address. It is the proper street address service you want for registering a domain name. Further: you can also - perfectly legally - use this virtual office address to register a company (should things go well) with Companies House [UK]. You can also use this address for people to send you snail-mail without them finding out your real address.

Price: seems to range from £50 to £300+ per annum [per year] post cost of forwarding (forwarding costs shouldn't be that much as it is only being used as a domain name, and if you have gone and been successful and using it as a virtual office then you have the cash to cover it).

[You name]

Artist: [type of art (you choose)]

Street address (provided by your virtual office service).

Private: Another selling point of a private mail forwarding service is, unlike a royal mail PO Box, your details are not freely available to the public. Only government and police can snoop.

Web site

GPC: If you want to dip a toe into designing your own website, try something easy like Google Page Creator. As an example: download page. When using google pages you can even switch for the easy word processor style to a pure code style (this lets you look at raw html code and you can decide if you like the look of it, or want to leave it be!).

Weebly: Another easy to use website creator in a many similar to Google's page creator but more fun is weebly. (review)

OSWD: You can also get website templates from Open Source Web Design for free. They also have links website .software

CMS: Many web hosts these days also offer web site building software, this generally makes it possible to build a website with a simple choice of options, and clicking on what you want. It is also quite common for hosts to offer Content Management Systems ( CMS ) such as Joomla (wiki on Joomla) which comes in many languages (see their forum)

KompoZer: If you fancy a go at something a little more powerful and adventurous, KompoZer may be for you. It's a powerful WYSIWYG website editor similar to Dreamweaver but free. It's available on windows, linux and mac. (review)

Flags: Flag your site as belonging to a participating artist by added 'Artists Unchained' to your web site's meta tags under 'keywords'. This will help search engines find them.

Magnet Links: On your web site include a download page, paste into the page the P2P Magnet Links you generated earlier (see above: P2P software/ Magnet LInk Builder/ Bitcollider)

Important: Do not add an extra information into the name. The concepts is: that fans should go to your web site to find your official files. If they do search P2P your official files will not come up in this format. they can then go to you web site and find the file.


Needed to sign up for Pay pal (or your alternative system of choice). This email is not a general purpose for chatting with contemporaries and fans. This email specifically for collecting donations so name it something obvious like 'donations' or 'payment' on the front.

Example: [email protected]

Bank Account

This is need to 'verify' the Pay pal account, so it can be upgraded to 'premier' and accept credit card and debit card payment.

Notes: Not having a bank account means you are limited to a 'standard' Pay pal account, which can only accept two credit card payments a year.This is very limiting. However this account can accept any number of Pay pal payments, and there are a lot of Pay pal users in the world.

Pay pal

Use your email to sign up for a free Pay pal account. Go through the verification process using your Bank Account details to 'verify' your Pay pal account (be secure and don't do this on a public computer). Once verified you can upgrade to a Premier account. Follow the steps to make a 'donation button' and paste it into your web site. For preference make it a menu item and put on every page in a prominent place (don't force your patron to go looking for your donation button, you're a busker: so put your 'hat' in plain sight).

When a patron clinks the donation button it will take them to an official and encrypted pay pal page. Here they can pay by debit or credit card or they can log into their own Pay pal account and transfer money directly from their account to yours.

Using Pay pal means that you do not have to give out your bank account details, it acts as a buffer between you and your patron. This is a security and privacy consideration, as not everyone on the web if a friendly fan. It also allows you to go under a 'pen name' or 'stage name' in the email, as your real name is kept secret by Pay pal (they have your bank account details and your real name).

Notes: If you have a standard Pay pal account you can not make a donation button. However other Pay pal account holders can send a 'payment link' to your email. So make sure your email you used to sign up to Pay pal is displayed as if it was a donation button.

(Pay Pal is just an example. There other services, like google checkout, nochex etc.)

Paypal on Facebook: Facebook and Paypal have recently teamed up. It is easy to use PayPal on Facebook.

POD (Print on Demand)

SIgn up for a Print of Demand service. Upload files to you POD account and 'publish'. On your official web site you can include a link to the POD shop. Here patrons will be able to purchase your artwork as a hard copy -CD, DVD, novel, photo book, hardback, soft back, and a range of merchandise.

examples of POD sites: Lulu (UK) , Cafepress,

Up and running, and continuing indefinitely.

Once up and running you will need to leave your PC (or Mac) on and connected to the net to share the files via P2P. This is where you may want to consider getting a second PC, something just to run the P2P software: an old lap top, and old PC or just a very cheap and simple PC: something environmentally friendly containing a VIA C7 processor. Apparently in the USA you can pick up a C7 computer running Ubuntu (a flavour of Linux, named after an African concept) for $200 [£100 at current exchange rates] (lucky devils) that's actually cheaper that many 'Network Storage Enclosures' (NAS). You'll need a monitor, but most modern monitors have more than one input (check yours to see if it will accept two signals and you can switch between them)

Everyone in the technology industry has been wondering what to use the super low power and cool C7 processor for, well I think this is an idea market (any one want to tell them?). In this case the fact it runs Ubuntu is not a problem because it is not your main system, it is merely your P2P 'server' as it were. This means you can keep all your familiar software on your primary machine. You will gain experience with Linux (Ubuntu is so easy even DELL sells it), and your may find you like it. Ubuntu is Open SOurce and so it is free, in many ways this Open Source software is made by people who share the artistic mind set, they are our comrades.

It is a 'soft' way to get into Ubuntu and make the jump from proprietary software like [those not name because being sued is not fun]. If you are on Windows and the Mac you can try out open source software like Open Office, The GIMP (no it's not that!), Thunderbird and Firefox. Once you are used to them, changing to Linux or Ubuntu is a breeze and will look pretty much the same (better) and function in the same way. Ubuntu also comes with ' Evolution' which is an alternative to Outlook.

Two machines?

You may find that you use your little 'Ubuntu box' for surfing the net, sharing files via P2P, and communication via email to fans. It will do all of those with ease and not use much power doing so. Your other machine (if you are lucky) - the 'big daddy' (or 'big momma') is your work machine, where you produce you art (or play computer games), and while doing this, your little Ubuntu box is running in the background and not getting in the way.

Encryption [move to 'volunteer']

The VIA C7 processor has reasonable performance for office tasks, can play a movie, but can't really handle modern 3D games. However it most interesting feature is that it has a very strong and fast encryption engine called 'Padlock' that handles a wide range of security tasks in hardware, not software. Padlock is a full 'co-processor'. This hardware accelerated encryption is much faster than any other processor in the low power bracket ( a Celeron-M)

It may be interesting to develop the padlock functions to provide inbuilt security features for a linux P2P client, perhaps building it into a router, with firewall? This would offload all the P2P functions onto a router, and connects and firewall lined to the P2P client. Storage could be external hard drive (using the router to turn the hard drive into a NAS) and the C7 could encrypt all data (the zip files) and an inbuilt compression software could decrypt it when sending to the media folder.


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