[rumori] the big problem with lists

From: Lloyd Dunn (elevenATblue.weeg.uiowa.edu)
Date: Sat Dec 30 2000 - 19:27:25 PST

the big problem with lists is that they generate so much material that it
becomes difficult to keep up if the discussion gets good. (when i say 'keep
up', i mean take in what's been written and respond to it, rather than
simply to react to it.)

for instance, i only just now got around to reading all the posts from the
various threads that got started with the hard-disk-copy-protection story.
maybe i can prod some rumorians further with my own thoughts.

steev writes (12/21):
>The entire problem is to show to the capitalists
>that the recycling of culture is so valuable to society that
>it outweighs the short-term financial benefits of
>too-rigorous I.P. enforcement.

there it is, in a stark nutshell, if by 'capitalists' we include that group
of people who 'believe in' capitalism to the extent that they 'believe in'
copyright for protecting their own works. this group includes many artists
and musicians. on the other hand, capitalists seem to tend to believe that
what's good for themselves (and other capitalists) is good for society.
they simply do, and, since that stands as an honestly held conviction on
their part, it would be a great challenge to shake that idea loose. open
source might be an interesting model, but music/art ain't a tool like
software, so in my opinion, the metaphor breaks down pretty quickly.

chris ball (12/22) wrote a draft of a petition concerning our concerns. i
applaud him for the considerable effort he evidently put into it. however,
in my opinion, this text makes some gross generalizations that cannot be
supported, especially if a person comes to it with a differing point of

in any event, i think it's not clear that we need to draft a 'legalistic'
document stating our position. i'm not sure all of us would be comfortable
taking precisely the same stance on this subject, to begin with. i mean,
are we talking about collage, or sampling (which is different!), or making
personal tape compilations, or copying entire works for personal use, or
copying entire works to share with others, or for sale on street corners
... etc.? as the circle of allowed activity grows, perhaps fewer people
will be comfortable with the allowed activity.

later, chris makes this observation:

>By the way, we'll never have anything to worry about as far as "collage" as
>long as we can tolerate an analog segment in the resampling chain. Unless
>analog audio equipment is made illegal...

true enough. but this doesn't have anything to say about ethics. i think we
have to be concerned with that.

GASK (12/22) makes this claim:

>Corporations that sell music are interested in dumbing people down, not
>heightening their artistic awareness. That way, they can sell more copies
>of their latest mega-million offering.

i think this is self-evidently false. i think there are record labels that
make recordings that are intelligent, inspiring and don't pander to bad
taste. some of them are even big corporations. true, a great deal of trash
is recorded and sold in huge numbers, but we lose credibility if we get so
wrapped up in our opinions (even if they are justified) that we lose sight
of a more balanced truth. someone might argue, for example, that a piece of
musical crap that sells millions actually subsidizes the more adventuresome
(and less profitable) releases by other artists on the label. a good way of
getting more flowers to grow in your flower bed is to add manure. you can
think of it as a necessary part of the economy/ecosystem of the record
industry. after all, the consuming public is entitled to have bad taste if
they want to.

and then steev wrote (12/22):

>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.

this is a great idea. and i would ask the list to offer some ideas as to
how to go about doing this. because i really haven't a clue.

Lloyd Dunn <11ATdetritus.net>
The Tape-beatles -- P.O. Box 3326 -- Iowa City IA 52244 -- USA


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