There is legislation currently being debated in the US Congress — the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House of Representatives — that would grant copyright owners (Hollywood, the record labels, etc) unprecedented power to shut down or block websites that host even a single piece of copyright-infringing content. This means that if, say, someone found a single instance of copyright infringement on Kickstarter, all of Kickstarter — every project — could be taken down until it's removed. As you can imagine, this would be disastrous for everyone involved, and it would punish an entire community for the bad behavior (or honest mistake) of one person.
Should it pass, SOPA would pose a real danger to sites like Kickstarter, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube under the justification of preventing copyrighted content from being illegally shared. The truth of the matter is that copyrighted content is already policed by a 1998 law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That law requires websites to take down infringing content once they’re notified of it. It’s a common-sense approach that has guided the web for the last decade.
Copyright holders are not satisfied with those rules in the face of massive industry change. Instead they, along with many in Congress, are pursuing a bill that threatens the very fabric of the web and the communities that have risen from it. It’s a short-sighted and dangerous approach, and today, November 16th, we’re joining others in encouraging everyone to contact their representatives to let them know that we’re opposed to these bills. You can take action through American Censorship Day or the Electronic Frontier Foundation, or you can find out how to contact your Congressman here or Senator here.
To be clear, we are not supporting piracy or platforms that exist to host infringing content. However we cannot remain silent while the legal foundations behind our rights to creative expression on the net are threatened. We hope you agree, and that you’ll join the movement to stop this bill. Thank you.
Every week, we round up some of the stories about our projects that made the press. We're happy to see them out there in the real world, and excited to share their progress with you! Read on.
- The New York Times' Dining & Wine section published a feature entitled "To Raise Cash, Restaurants Turn to the Crowd" exploring restaurants that have looked to patrons for funding referencing a few food-oriented Kickstarter projects: "So to help get his restaurant, Littleneck, over the finish line, the next stop was Kickstarter.com — a Web site that solicits donations to finance art, technology and business projects. Promising little more than good karma, some discounts and a T-shirt, he raised $13,000 from 162 donors — $5,000 more than his goal.... The Internet campaign helped Littleneck financially, but Mr. Lefkove sees other benefits. 'Beyond the money,' he said, “it connected us to the community, got our name out — and engendered good will.' Spurned by tapped-out investors and tightwad bankers in challenging times, restaurateur-wannabes are turning to their neighborhoods, and the wider community of the Internet, to finance their dreams."
- San Francisco Chronicle says"It takes a village to raise a restaurant" and wrote about "AQ, a newly opened neighborhood restaurant in San Francisco's SOMA district, [which] set out to raise $25,000. Co-owner Matt Semmelhack went to Kickstarter, offering everything from T-shirts to behind-the-scenes tours in exchange for pledges. The restaurant won 172 backers — including several residents of the neighboring Soma Grand condominium complex — and raised $28,115."
- BoingBoing postedabout project creator Greg Leyh, "a brilliant, understated high-voltage engineer/artist in San Francisco who builds the world's largest Tesla coils...his dream has been to create a massive lightning laboratory with two 10-story Tesla Coil towers to study high-power scientific phenomena. Indeed, Greg's operation is called Lightning On Demand. With the only barrier being money, Greg has now come up with a "highly cost-optimized version" of the Lightning Laboratory. With this new design, Greg only needs $348,000 to make it happen. And he's launched a Kickstarter project to seek funding to build this magnificent DIY scientific instrument."
- FastCoDesign postedabout the "Dark Sky" project, which they say "reinvents weather apps with hyper-local forecasts."
- NBC Chicago interviewedproject creator and bibliophile Tanner McSwain, who is raising funds to bring a small book shop to his neighborhood called Uncharted Books. When asked to explain why he opted to use Kickstarter, he said "It definitely exceeded my expectations. This all started a couple years ago, when my friend Nick Disabato self-published a book called Cadence & Slang on Kickstarter. It was very successful. It paid for the whole thing, and what I liked about it the most was the idea of community. Through Kickstarter he met a lot of people in his field and people who were interested in this before he ever finished writing his book, before he launched, before anything like that. I want to do something similar with this. The main reason I wanted to do some fundraising through Kickstarter besides just needing the money is getting people excited about it before we open the door. I want to make it interactive already. I want to make it a thing that people talk about, which they have, shockingly. A lot. They really, really talk about it. I wanted it to be something that gives something away that gives something back in exchange for loyalty before we ever open the doors. That was the plan, to foster a community and enthusiasm for this."
- Seattle Post-Intelligencer reviewedthe latest album from songstress Bess Rogers, noting "After launching a successful Kickstarter campaign with a dynamite video to raise the funds for her second full length project, song writing pop/folk/punk rocker Bess Rogers is out with the results. Out of the Ocean is in a real sense a concept album."
- Wired's Underwire postedabout filmmaker Henry Chalfant's latest project: "From graffiti and rapping to breaking and politicking, hip-hop’s multimedia birth was chronicled in Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant’s indispensable 1983 documentary Style Wars. Now Chalfant has taken to Kickstarter to fund preservation of the movie’s culturally important outtakes."
- Newly launched tech blog The Verge kicked off their Kickstarter coverage by spotlighting the Gameboy Analog Filter project, reporting "There's an entire genre of music called 'chiptunes,' devoted to tweaking the sound of ancient videogame consoles, and a new Kickstarter project aims to put some of those controls in anyone's hands... a hardware low pass analog filter designed for the original Game Boy, gives users some crazy tools to change how the music in their games sounds. It adds external controls for Cutoff, Resonance, Bypass, and Envelope Follower, and you can see their effects in the video below."
Terry Chen makes baked goods that take inspiration from her Taiwanese-American background. They combine the ingredients found in traditional Taiwanese cooking with the types of snacks our modern palates crave, resulting in mouth-watering goodies like black sesame cupcakes and snickerdoodle whoopie pies. In the interest of reproducing this magic in our own kitchens, we asked Terry to share one of her recipes — a request she was happy to oblige. Her Maple Black Sugar Cookies, with their cookie-sandwich shape and light-as-air coffee cream filling, are already starting to make us drool.
If you end up making these, let us know how they turn out in the comments. And if you don't know your way around an electric mixer, back Terry's project and she'll send you some homemade cookies herself!
Makes about 16.
Maple Black Sugar Cookies
1-1/2 cups of flour ½ tsp baking soda ¼ tsp baking powder 1 pinch of salt ½ cup butter (1 stick) ½ egg 1/3 cup sugar 3 oz. black sugar 4 Tbsp maple syrup 2 Tbsp water
Coffee cream filling:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar 7 Tbsp unsalted butter 1/2 Tbsp espresso powder 1 Tbsp of Kahlua
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a pot, place black sugar, maple syrup, and water on low heat. Keep mixing for about 5 minutes, until the black sugar is dissolved with the syrup and water to create a liquid. Do not let the mixture harden or burn so mix every 30 seconds.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, cream butter and sugar until well mixed, then add the egg and mix.
4. In another small bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
5. First mix 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture. Then, add the black sugar mixture into the batter. Make sure that the batter is constantly being mixed as the warm black sugar is poured.
6. Add the remaining flour mixture into the butter-sugar mixture slowly. The dough should not be wet, but feel sticky.
7. Place tablespoon sized scoops of dough onto a pan.
8. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool for 5 minutes.
9. While the cookies bake, make the coffee cream filling. Combine the espresso powder and Kahlua into a bowl and stir until the espresso powder is dissolved. Then, cream the butter, adding in powdered sugar. Then add the Kalhua-espresso mixture into the butter mixture. Keep mixing until well combined.
9. Spread a layer of the coffee cream on one side of a cookie and place another cookie on top of it to create a cookie sandwich!