[rumori] that circle with the C in it.

Steev Hise (steevATdetritus.net)
Sun, 16 Apr 2000 19:09:21 -0700 (PDT)

Sat, 15 Apr 2000 found Jon Leidecker writing:

>'Kissing Jesus In The Dark' clearly reads (c) 1982/3 JOHN OSWALD (CAPAC).
>Steev reasons that his later work and writings (starting with 85's
>'Plunderphonics') essentially revoke this earlier position -- he was tellin
>me Oswald prolly just wasn't THINKING and wrote that little (c) as a simple
>reflex... I dunno... I suspect it was a well reasoned, provocative way of
>declaring personal authorial ownership over the piece using the
>Insitutional Way, and remain unconvinced he'd do differently now... huh

b-b-b-but, the Author is Dead. or so i thought.

Seriously, we may never know unless we cross-post this to plunderphonia
list and Mr. G.Ray Brain himself answers and explains all.

However, I think there are 2 things to consider:

1) no matter how great you think John Oswald is, he's not perfect. He may
have had evolving ideas. One might refute this by citing his later work
Plexure (1993), which also carries a copyright notice - however, it is
copyright the label, Disk Union. hmmm.... that's a different kind of

2) Related to #1, I hate to say it but despite Oswald's position in the
lofty pantheon of audio piracy, he still, according to how he has
presented himself, seems to occupy the place of and think of himself as a
Composer with a capital C, which is a variety of Artist with a
capital A. This role includes the reflex notion that whatever springs
from your pen, or computer or tape machine, is the exclusive product of
your divinely inspired unique creative genius. It is very difficult to
not buy into this notion, especially if you're a product of music school
or art school. That's what they teach you there. Now that people are
fighting over 80-dollar copies of Plunderphonic I'm sure it is even more
difficult for him to resist this self-characterization. So I'm not
convinced he'd do different today, either.

I'm not trying to slam Oswald. The same impulses often inform my actions
as an artist, too, though I'm trying to resist. I'm just saying this is my
theory for the presence of those copyright symbols.

Not to mention just simple economic caution.
Heck, a lot of manual labor went into those pause-edits! You have to
protect that investment, right?!

It's a bit like an article I just read in
the Economist about patents. The number of patents both applied for and
granted in the U.S. has been skyrocketing in the past few years. (Mostly
this is due to court decisions that have opened up the idea of patenting
software and even patenting "business methods") There are even some
companies that depend more on their patents for revenue than anything
else. For instance, some biotech companies might take 5 or 10 years before
they have a product that they can actually sell on the marketplace. But,
in the meantime they can make money licensing their patents.

Similarly, Oswald might have only sold a few hundred copies of "Kissing
Jesus in the Dark". But just in case someone ever wants to use part of it
for something, he's got the rights, clearly delineated, and he can license
part of the work and make a little extra cash.

However, I propose that what we really need is some other symbol, some
other thing we can put on our work, that sets us apart from the Composers
and the Corporations but still protects us. Something that says "If you
sample me I realize it would be really hypocritical to sue you. But if
you'd like to use some of this for your
movie/commercial/compilation/whatever, let's talk, maybe we can reach an
agreement. I do have a lawyer, but he's on a tight leash." Does that make


Steev Hise, Nervert
steevATdetritus.net http://detritus.net/steev
"I'm so up and down
And I love what's not allowed.
I was lost, now I see:
And now I'm growing old disgracefully."
                -Chumbawamba, 'Mary Mary'

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