Re: [rumori] i have more questions than answers

From: Chris Ball (
Date: Wed Dec 27 2000 - 21:34:31 PST

Steev Hise wrote:

> Fri, 22 Dec 2000 found Lloyd Dunn writing:
> ->any another concern i have is this. if our position seems contemptuous of
> ->the general public, the culture industry, or of common sense, it will get
> ->nowhere, regardless of how 'right' we truly believe we are. what i am
> ->getting at, we need to treat the opposing side's arguments with some
> ->respect, or else we will not merit the same treatment ourselves.
> what I keep thinking is, what really needs to be done is to
> "de-normalize" (to be what i'd call Barthesian for a moment)
> Intellectual Property. Our culture, and more importantly,
> the Culture Industry, has tried its best to teach people
> that i.p. is natural and commonsense, when it isn't.
> That's how almost all positions of power are consolidated -
> convince the conquored that things are supposed to be the
> way they've become. So i would say one important strategy
> would be to teach people how unnatural and non-intuitive
> i.p. really is.

What do people currently think it is? All I have to go on are my co-workers
explaining how they taught their teenagers that Napster is Bad. The impressions
I was left with:

People have this image of a portion of each CD's sales going straight to the
artist's pocket. Any "dishonesty" in music purchasing hurts this poor
individual who has finally struggled their way onto storeroom shelves, only to
be copied by scofflaw whippersnappers and cybercrooks. People still retain the
image that the artists who are heavily promoted are there because... they are
the best... they beat out all others... in a contest plebians probably aren't
fit to judge, (and certainly wouldn't want to bother with, considering some of
the crap that gets through to the top, they can only imagine how atrocious the
crap that didn't make it must be - economics of time, elimination of choices
are What People Want), and so it's done by wise record labels and entertainment
conglomerates. As I look at Pastor Dick's jukebox I'm struck by that
character's implicit trust that rising and falling record sales are direct
indicators of an artist's worth; I think this is an accurate depiction of how
the folks at home feel on the subject. Most people still think a #1 record must
be the best, or at least, most requested music currently available.

So we have a lot to talk about regarding payola, exclusive rights, and predatory
practices such as signing bands in order to get exclusive rights and shelve same
bands which is one way labels eliminate competition with their current
moneymakers. Of course, the bands and artists that this has happened to are
under gag rules for the life of the contract, so they're not much help.

We could remind them (The People!) of the Wherehouse's fight with industry over
selling used CDs, the networks wanting to sue people who taped network
television shows, the campaign that Negativland sampled ("Pay TV/Free TV" with
networks warning new cable users that their viewing costs could run as high as
$1000 per program), the company that claims to hold a patent on the process of
downloading compressed files (and they're actually getting license fees!)...
etc. Collect horror stories.

Maybe it's better to let people know that the industry is trying to block "Them"
from being able to do all the things "They" want to with music, from making mix
tapes for friends, to sampling, to parody, all the way down to adding their
favorite song to their home videos, or doing karaoke with friends. (maybe Apple
iMovie will back us... they have that free movie server that people can post
to, and some of the content is sure to be in copyright violation)

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