[rumori] Make all music illegal now! (fwd)

From: { brad brace } (bbraceATeskimo.com)
Date: Mon May 14 2001 - 18:03:51 PDT

You can almost determine with complete accuracy whether an online
music company has a winning idea by figuring out the likelihood
of it being sued for what it's proposing. Lawsuits have become
such an integral part of the business that getting sued has
become the equivalent of sending out a press release announcing
your company's entrance into the online music space. At the root
of many of the lawsuits is the fact that there is no way for
online music companies to obtain compulsory licenses for the
music that they want to distribute. In the world of traditional
radio, stations can play any song that they want to whenever they
want to, because they pay compulsory license fees that allow them
to do so. (Of course, since demographic-savvy decision bots have
replaced DJs in our country's massive corporate radio networks,
the songs that the stations play seem eerily similar wherever you
go, but that's a different matter altogether.) The main point
here is that the law treats online music broadcasters differently
than traditional radio stations. Napster has to make a deal with
every single label on the planet in order to broadcast whatever
it wants, while the label-bribed radio stations have those handy
compulsory licenses.

Then, there's the case of the MPAA vs. hacker quarterly "2600,"
in which the less-constitutional side of the DMCA (Digital
Millennium Copyright Act) is rearing its ugly head.

The DMCA takes away the rights that we consumers used to have,
which allowed us to make copies of the movies we purchased for
our own personal use. It seems fair enough that you should be
able to make an extra copy of something that you paid for; in
fact, this part of the law is called "fair use." But like our
government, the laws surrounding music favor large corporations
rather than the population as a whole. The DeCSS software, which
lets people copy their movies (and enables Linux users to view
DVDs), is being suppressed by courts and corporations, who are
working in concert. While no decision has been reached as of yet,
the judge in the crucial MPAA vs. "2600" case is leaning towards
punishing the small publication for merely *linking* to the DeCSS
code. Our rights to use the things that we buy are slipping away,
and not many people realize it. This is a pretty frightening
trend, considering that more and more goods will be consumed
digitally and thereby be subject to the DMCA.

To be fair, the laws that govern the distribution of music have
developed over a very long time, reflecting technological
breakthroughs and changes in buying and manufacturing habits. It
takes a while to catch up to innovations in technology. But the
Internet seems to have accelerated the process so much that it
seems very unlikely that the legal system will ever be able to
catch up to the reality of digital distribution. The DMCA is
successfully attacking our rights as consumers to the fair use of
our CDs and DVDs. Things that were considered fair use in the
analog days are no longer kosher. Radio stations can play
whatever they want, while online distributors are handcuffed by
the lack of compulsory licenses.

It's time to consider a more drastic alternative. The only way to
level the playing field between all the parties involved (or
rather implicated) in this dispute is to make music illegal.
That's right--I'm suggesting that we make it illegal to create,
hear, distribute, copy, collect, lend, or resell music. As the
war on drugs has shown, it's still possible to maintain an
intricate distribution and consumption system, even when all the
parties involved are breaking the law.

If we banned music, radio stations and Napster would finally be
treated equally under the law. And since owning music would be
illegal in the first place, people would be able to make copies
of their music and movies for their own private use without
changing their legal status; they'd be guilty for owning the
music in the first place, and thereby couldn't be further
implicated for making a copy. Also, if music were illegal, the
star-making system that has corrupted radio through bribery (as
well as caused countless naive bands to sign unfair contracts)
would be abolished. Gaining star-level notoriety would make
artists much more attractive to the law enforcement officers who
would be trying to stem the supply of music in this country. And
finally, without the fame machine, artists would have to compete
on the same level. The boy band with millions of dollars of
promotion behind them would be on the same publicity level as the
penniless garage band down the street.

The current system patently favors corporate interests over
musicians and consumers. Illegalizing music is our last remaining
chance to save it from red tape and multinational corporations.
Sure, there'd be a few martyrs who'd end up in jail for the
cause, but at least they'd be able to listen to whatever they
wanted, however they wanted, from the comfort of their jail

What do you think of making music illegal? E-mail your opinion on
illegalizing music to MP3InsiderATcnet.com.

                    Random Notes


According to the following "New York Times" article, Judge Jon O.
Newman (presiding over the MPAA vs. "2600" case) isn't convinced
by the publication's lawyer that copying a DVD for yourself is
fair use. He's wrong.

The "New York Times" article:


If you know what's good for you, you'll hold on to that feeling
and check out this site, the latest in the as-yet-to-be-named
genre of lo-fi Flash movies such as the now-retro "All Your Base
Are Belong To Us."

Don't stop believin':


You choose the music he listens to, whether the colored
spotlights are on, whether he dances in the "Booty" or the
"Jiggy" style, who his backup dancers are, and where they're
getting down. But Paul, he does the dancing.

Dancing Paul:


It sounds like something out of the movie "Dune," but the pointy-
headed scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology have
figured out a way to build things in space using only sound. I
wish I were that smart.

A very clever idea:


Can he be frank? Too late, he already was. But his work stays
with us, including the three-act rock opera "Joe's Garage," which
is all about a guy named Joe running up against a government that
wants to make music illegal.

A synopsis of "Joe's Garage":
(Warning: contains adult language and situations)

Until next time,

Eliot Van Buskirk


The 12hr-ISBN-JPEG Project >>>> since 1994 <<<<

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