As the Rolling Stones began their tour while welching on the more than quarter of a million dollar deal they made with my Friend, I started this e-Blogazine journal to document some of my experience of the fallout, and to create a forum for discussion and resources to reform the Music Industry. May Artists, Musicians, and Free People everywhere find it useful.
Got Something to say? Are You a Musician, Artist, or Person with an opinion about the Music industry, music downloads, contracts or royalties? Are You concerned about the RIAA and other industries' assault on our cyber-Freedoms? Copyright and Intellectual Property law? Well?
According to this item from Slashdot, Sony shipped Switchfoot's new CD "Nothing is Sound" with copy protection, enraging thousands of IPod Users. The Band offers these instructions for getting around this and ripping their CD onto PC's.
Here's what Tim Foreman said:
Hello friends, my heart is heavy with this whole copy-protection thing. Many PC users have posted problems that they have had importing the new songs (regular disc only, not the dual disc) into programs such as Itunes. Let me first say that as a musician AND as a music fan, I agree with the frustration that has been expressed. We were horrified when we first heard about the new copy-protection policy that is being implemented by most major labels, including Sony (ours), and immediately looked into all of our options for removing this from our new album. Unfortunately, this is the new policy for all new major releases from these record companies. It is heartbreaking to see our blood, sweat, and tears over the past 2 years blurred by the confusion and frustration surrounding this new technology. It is also unfortunate when bands such as ourselves, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, etc... (just a few of the new releases with copy protection) are the target of this criticism, when there is no possible way to avoid this new industry policy.
For mac users these songs should import seamlessly. We are told that itunes is coming out with a new version for PC users in early November that will be compatible with all of these new CD's but in the meantime it's frustrating for all of us. That said, there are a number of solutions (as is always the case with these types of things) for importing the CD into your itunes and ipod. We have compiled some of the easier ways below. I feel like as a band and as listeners, we've all been through a lot together over the past ten years, and we refuse to allow corporate policy to taint the family we've developed together. We deeply regret that there exists the need for any of our listeners to spend more than 30 seconds importing our music, but we're asking as friends and partners in this journey together to spend the extra 10 minutes that it takes to import these songs, which we think you'll agree to be our finest collection of songs yet. As a band, we've always been known for having the best fans in the world and I know that will continue for years to come. A month from now, I hope to be singing these songs together at a show, and the extra time spent importing the music will perhaps be forgotten, or at least forgiven. Thank you for your understanding and the continued kindness that you have always shown for five dreamers from San Diego, we love you guys,
A) If you're a mac user, or you have access to a mac, or you purchased the dual disc, you should have no problems... simply import the songs the same way as you always do.
B) If you're a PC user, and you haven't yet tried to import the the disk yet, download and install a free program called CDEX from http://cdexos.sourceforge.net/downloads.php. Now hold down the shift button while inserting the switchfoot CD (this disables the auto-run feature on the CD). Make sure that you hold it down until you are sure that nothing has run (maybe 60 seconds). Once the CD is loaded without auto-running it's software, open the CDEX program, and select tracks 1-12 (Lonely Nation-Daisy), excluding data tracks 13 and 14. THen select the top icon on the right side of the program "Extract CD tracks to WAV files". THis will extract them to your mymusic folder. Open iTunes and drag the .wav files you created into your itunes library, and you're done, and free to convert the songs into mp3, or whatever format you wish. (If you've already tried to import another copy protected CD like Foo Fighters, etc..., you may already have the protection software installed on your computer, and should go to plan C.
C) If you're a PC user, and you've already tried to import the the disk and accepted the auto-run installation, or don't mind accepting the auto-run installation, place the CD into your computer and allow the Sony BM audio player on the CD to automatically start. If the player software does not automatically start, open your Windows Explorer. Locate and select the drive letter for your CD drive. On the disc you will find either a file named LaunchCD.exe or Autorun.exe. Double-click this file to manually start the player.
Once the Sony BMG player application has been launched and the End User License Agreement has been accepted, you can click the Copy Songs button on the top menu.
Follow the instructions to copy the secure Windows Media Files (WMA) to your PC. Make a note of where you are copying the songs to, you will need to get to these secure Windows Media Files in the next steps.
Once the WMA files are on your PC you can open and listen to the songs with Windows Media Player 9.0 or higher (or another fully compatible player that can playback secure WMA files, such as MusicMatch, RealPlayer, and Winamp by dragging them from wherever you saved them into Windows media player. Once they are in the Windows media player playlist you can burn the songs to a standard Audio CD by right clicking on the songs and selecting "add songs to burn list." You can then burn the songs to a standard Audio CD. (Please note that in order to burn the files, you will need to upgrade to, or already have, Windows Media Player 9 or 10, which can be downloaded for free at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/default.aspx )
Once the standard Audio CD has been created, place this copied CD back into your computer and open iTunes. iTunes can now rip the songs as you would any normal audio CD.
This message has been edited. Last edited by: Tim Foreman, 16 September 2005 11:07 PM
That's cool. It would be even better if Sony had not placed the obstacle of copy protection in the way of People at all.
"There is no Maginot Line of the brain." - Norbert Weiner, Cybernetics
Quite by accident I found this story while seaching for links to the Democracy Wall, to which we are giving a makeover. The altavista search was for "links:http://books.dreambook.com/vead/tiananmen.html", and this link was on page 2 of the results.
Actually, this article was extracted from a submission to an O'Reilly P2P Conference in Washington, D.C, in the spring of 2001. I never made the conference, the submission was late and I was too broke to go anyway. But I'm glad that some of the ideas in it made it out onto the web. Here's what they took to publish. --dcm
Electronic Economy - Just Getting Started
By David C. Manchester
"There is no Maginot Line of the brain." - Norbert Weiner, Cybernetics
For all the talk and hype about and the e-economy, e-this and e-that, it should be observed that the truly electronic economy has yet to begin.
I say this because microelectronic data processing, the CPU on a chip, the development of open standards that permit true cross-platform interoperability, GNU Free Software, and Open Source marketing *each* represent significant inflection points in the dynamics of the world's market economies.
What do I mean by "significant inflection points?" With the advent of each, the phase-space -- to borrow a term from nonlinear dynamics -- of the economy expanded by at least an order of magnitude.
H. Marshall McLuhan observed that with each new media technology, all previous media formats become "content." By this reasoning, inventing and using computers in the 1950s and '60s externalized manual bookkeeping and economic accounting practices off the pages of paper ledgers and into electronic pulses.
By speeding our transactions to the microelectronic speeds of micro- and nanoseconds, the phase-space of our economy expanded enormously.
Of course, that's an understatement, considering that a nanosecond is to one second as one second is to *thirty years.* Moreover, this acceleration was accompanied by the off-loading of the financial transactions themselves to the new media: electric pulses, bits, 1's and 0's.
Considering these facts, it's a pretty easy argument to make that using computers for economic accounting transactions sped things up so much that it allowed the world economy to grow bigger faster.
McLuhan also alluded to the fact that with each new media, an individual's relation to the collective Culture of Man changes. That's what I mean by "inflection point."
The rapid emergence of the CPU in the 1970s and the PC market in the 1980s were further inflection points. Concentrating the functions of a computing "system" on a single chip made it a foregone conclusion that there would be rapid market expansion in the 1980s.
Despite arguments to the contrary, Bill Gates had very little to do with it, except to act as a brake on such expansion through coercive and exclusive per-processor licensing arrangements -- hardly "agreements" -- with original equipment manufacturers and PC makers.
The phase-space of the information technology business sector vastly increased with the release of the Altair kit in the mid-'70s, the Imsai, and Apple's openly published slot pinout assignments.
With Microelectronics, the CPU and the expansion of PC markets despite Microsoft, the world's free-market economies passed through big inflection points, which expanded the possible sizes of market economies through having bigger and faster phase-spaces for achievement, transactions and further invention. Each of these events also qualifies, in my opinion, as a new medium.
From Computers to Content
Computer systems were a new medium to which the true "old" legacy economy became "content." CPUs on a single chip made possible vast new spaces for individual developer achievement, with developers in garage-labs all over the world creating the modern PC industry, creating add-on cards for the Apple II and IBM PC, and so forth.
Affordable PCs made it possible for individuals to play on a much more level field of achievement, with the CPU being the "content" palette of the emerging PC-media. With each inflection point, the preceding media became "content." And the economy expanded. With each inflection point, the individual human being's relation to the community changed.
I was privileged to attend Linux Expo 4 at Duke University and hear Eric Raymond discuss his "Homesteading the Noosphere." He talked about "staking out" areas of work and contributing code to projects, and he likened the hacker community to a gift economy. The more an individual contributed, the more gift-mojo he accumulated.
This emerging economy we could liken in some ways to a gift economy, where gift-mojo status is the coin of the realm. The MPAA, the RIAA and hordes of intellectual property and copyright lawyers want to shovel their arguments against this tide. In the process, they've demonstrated that a human's freedom to share, assemble and cooperate takes a back seat to their priorities.
From the leaked Halloween Documents to the MPAA's efforts to suppress DeCSS, it has become clear: These forces have no way forward, and they have no vision of the future for the global economy except the suppression of the freedom to assemble, cooperate, compete freely and share.
Feedback to Feed-Forward
We are moving from a payback economy to a pay-forward one. Soon we will have automated most of the jobs people do to make a living. What kind of world will we have when a scant percent of humanity owns 90 percent of everything?
What will the rest of humanity do? We will leave them behind..
Infoanarchy has this item from the International Herald Tribune (IHT) about China and music piracy. The IHT piece reminds me of my days as an army journalist: Decide what story you want to write, then assign a reporter to go out and get the quotes to support it. The slant is negative, and is obviously designed as an RIAA/Asia-Warner puff-piece against file-sharing and piracy.
This article has quotes from one disillusioned Musician, Wang Lee Hom:
"Pirates have already killed China's music industry dead," Wang said. "It frustrates my life and destroys China's creative future."
Also, IHC quotes music industry executives:
‘‘There is no income from the royalties, so artists in China record single songs for radio play instead of albums for consumers...Stars need to look elsewhere to finance the rock-star lifestyle.’’ - Lachie Rutherford, President, Warner Music Asia-Pacific.
‘‘The financial effect is the same for record companies whether people get illegal compact disks for $1 on the street in China or download a song for free from the Internet in Europe.’’ -Jay Berman, Chairman and CEOof the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (a London-based group of 1,500 record companies.)
The IHC is reporting as "news" that what the Grateful Dead did will become the "new" paradigm: making money from touring and merchandise sales. Well, duh!
The IHT must be sort of like that competing paper in the Michael Keaton movie "The Paper" that "covered the world." Remember when the editor of that stuffed shirt publication called Keaton and said that for stealing a news item off of his desk he had blown his chance to "cover the world?"
Keaton's reply: "Yeah? Well I don't give a F***, and you know why? Because I don't live in the F***ing world, I live in New York City!" and slams down the phone.
Anyway, it's worth a look. Gives an idea of the strategy the World Trade Organisation is likely to take on music and "piracy" and file-sharing.
Oh, and by the way, Google bought Blogger. Well actually, they bought Pyra Labs. Both. uh, here's Dan Gilmor's coverage here, Google Weblog's coverage here, and straight from the horse's mouth, Evan Willam's blog entry about it here.
The previous item to this in the Google Weblog deserves attention, too. It seems Google gives everybody a permanent cookie to identify them and track all of their searches for all time. Let's get'em to stop.
One of the most powerful, comprehensive, and well articulated articles I have seen recently on the reasons that lead to the ultimate triumph of file sharing is John and Ben Snyder's "Embrace File Sharing or Die". Snyder is president of Artist House Records, a board member of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), and a 32-time Grammy nominee.
John and Ben hit the bottom line..."It could be argued that MP3s are the greatest marketing tool ever to come along for the music industry. If your music is not being downloaded, then you're in trouble. If you can't give it away, you certainly can't sell it."
Definietly worth a read, a close read, and a re-read. In fact, it's Stoned Out Loud's Featured Article. Click the Headline above or the link in the box at the left to go to the printer friendly version all on one page, the logo to the upper right for the image-rich Salon e-zine treatment (replete with advertising :-) ).
And while Your at Salon, be sure to catch Farhad Manjoo's piece, "AOL's Jekyll and Hyde act" on the ever-schizoid AOL and their conspicuous silence regarding a judge's ordering Verizon to shred the Constitutional Rights of and disclose the identity of a Kazaa User so that the RIAA could go after them.
In Manjoo's (edited) words, "The RIAA's efforts to obtain ... identity has ballooned into a major courtroom battle over the scope of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act...[This] litigation has split the ranks of Internet service providers and content companies: ISPs, who say they worry about their subscribers' privacy, have generally sided with Verizon, while copyright holders have supported the RIAA.
"...stuck in the middle ... is a firm that is both a huge copyright holder as well as a huge Internet company -- in fact,... the leading company in each industry.... a combination that has left the company pretty much speechless on a case that could determine the privacy rights of its more than 30 million subscribers, not to mention the rest of us. While other ISPs are running scared, AOL, the biggest ISP of all, is keeping mum.
"In January, after months of legal back-and-forth in the Verizon-RIAA case, U.S. District Judge John Bates ruled in the recording industry's favor, ordering Verizon to hand over the Kazaa user's name and address. Internet service providers, privacy advocates, and people critical of the growing influence of copyright owners were devastated by the Bates opinion. The ISPs are worried that they'll be flooded with requests for their subscribers' information, and that they'll have no way to determine the accuracy of these claims. "
Important stuff, those Constitutional Amendments, especially when barristers and judicial districts twist them around this way. Didn't someone once, recently, say that "The Constitution is not a Suicide Pact?" Yeah, well, neither are the Amendments to that Constitution, and neither is the DMCA. Who is willing to sacrifice the First Principals of the United States of America to build a nation by the Corporations, of the Trade Groups, for the Consortia?
(phew. preachin's thirsty work...) The link above will take You to the regular article. Here's the print-on-a-page version.
Building new Forrms and Forums of Community by making special compilations will never stop, not so long as there is a heart beating in the soul of Man. Here's an evolutionary way to take that next step: Join a mixing Community. You get to share Your favorite mixes, and be exposed to some People who are musicians that You'll never hear on the increasingly-choked-by-capital airwaves.. It's a sort of peer to peer backup for your (and your Friend's) favorite groups of tunes. A coop of comp. Dot.Communism in the most prosaic, grassroots communal form: snail mail between Friends.
And speaking of communal, take a look at this item on Wired . iCommune is going to be Free.
The End of the Superstar Machine:
A Proposal for Reforming the Music Industry
by Loren Davie We see a lot about the music industry in the news these days. Legal battles about online filesharing, dropping revenues and the seeming inability of the recording industry to create new memorable Artists fill the news. There seems to be a lot of hysteria, but not a lot of
information on the underlying issues that drive the current crisis.
Simply put, technology has made the current business model of the recording industry obsolete. Of course, this kind of sudden obsolescence as a result of technology is hardly new or unique: where is the typewriter business today?
Stakeholders in the Music Supply ChainI don't think that the old system has particularly served the interests of most people. Neither the musicians who make music, nor the listeners who buy it have profited significantly. The
current system has primarily benefited the middleman, concentrating power and wealth into the hands of a few; to the expense of everyone else in the music supply chain. Consider:
Listeners: Their constitutional fair use rights have steadily eroded over the years. Extensions in the scope of copyright have favored only copyright holders, not copyright users. (For more about this, see Larry Lessig's book, The Future of Ideas). They have also allegedly been the victims of illegal price-fixing by the major labels.*
Musicians: Recording contracts are exploitive and, in some cases, career-destroying; resulting in “successful” acts essentially working at below menial labor rates (Editor's note: See "Courtney Does The Math" Salon piece, linked in the "Articles of Note" box at the left)while making millions for their recording companies. (For more information about music industry economics, see Steve Albini's article: The Problem With Music).
Investors: To a critical Investor's eye, the music industry is displaying some serious dinosaur characteristics. Its response to new technology is not to adapt to it, but rather to run from it, deny its existence and then try and roll back the clock on it using legal and legislative maneuvers: a losing strategy in the long run. The music industry is caught in classic Innovator's Dilemma, unwilling to adopt a new paradigm because to do so will cannibalize its existing business model. (For more information about Innovator's Dilemma, see the book by the same name by Clayton M. Christensen.)
The Marketing of Superstars
The central fixture of the conventional music industry is the superstar. Essentially, the music industry markets only a few new Artists each year, spending a large amount of money on each Artist. Because of the high costs associated with marketing an Artist this way, the Artist has to sell a large amount of CDs in order to make money, and be considered a success. In fact, most don't recoup their expenses and are
subsequently dropped from the label after an album or two. (The “grace period” in which an Artist is allowed to build an audience before becoming profitable has become smaller and smaller over the years).
What makes it all work is that once in awhile the industry finds an Artist with true mass appeal, sells many, many CDs and covers the cost of all the other Artists on which it has lost money. This Artist is retained for what is usually the rest of their career (up to 7 CDs) and marketed over and over again. Everyone else is out on their can in short order.
The origins of superstar marketing can be found in the nature of broadcast media itself. When you are promoting a recording Artist over radio or television, you have very limited bandwidth. As a result, that bandwidth will be preserved for the Artists with the broadest mass appeal, because anything remotely “niche” or “fringe” doesn't maximize the use of the expensive airtime. For example, to get decent rotation on a radio station in the United States costs about $300,000. You'll need to sell a lot of CDs in order to
make that money back.
The terrible tragedy of superstar marketing is that it has created a great chasm between listeners and Artists.
The industry basically dictates that Artists either be superstars or be consigned to total obscurity, never to be heard by most. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say “I can't find any new music that I like. I don't know how to look for it and I'm afraid to risk money on unknown bands.” At the same time, on the other side of the chasm, there are lots of Artists and bands that wonder how they can reach an audience, to sell enough CDs to make a living doing what they love. The chasm serves no one but the owners of the one bridge that spans it: the conventional recording industry.
The March of Technology
However, there is now an alternative. Technology has advanced to the point where the chasm may be crossed without taking the conventional recording industry's bridge. After all, in the end this is just about putting Artists and listeners together, isn't it? Let's look at what's changed:
Recording: At one time recording was very expensive. In order to get a professional recording, you had to go into a studio where they charged hundreds of dollars per hour. This was beyond the means of individual Artists, so record companies were necessary to underwrite the cost. However, modern digital recording technology makes professional recordings possible for far less money than before. These new recordings are affordable to individual Artists, allowing them to finance their own recordings.
Desktop Publishing: Graphic design and layout were also very expensive at one time. However, the desktop publishing revolution, powered by the personal computer, has made low cost creation of CD jackets and inserts possible.
Manufacturing: Another source of expense, when CDs could only be created in factories and jackets and inserts printed in large quantities by a press, it would create a drain on capital for Artists that they couldn't support. However, CD-R burners and laser printers have made it possible for product to be created one at a time, making it possible to match the demand for the recording, no matter how great or small.
Promotion and Distribution: Before the Internet, promotion had to be done through mass media channels like radio and television. Similarly, distribution was accomplished through agreements with retail chains and localized distributors (called “rack jobbers”). Now music can be promoted online, with one-to-one marketing, ordered online and shipped to its destination.
The pieces are all here. What is still required is a coherent business model that incorporates these methods into a new integrated way of marketing music. However, I think that we should go beyond inventing a new business model that is merely tech-friendly. I think we should take this opportunity to infuse the music industry with a dose of integrity that has been sorely missing from it.
Taking a page from the fair trade movement on coffee production, I call my proposal “Fair Trade Music”.
Fair Trade Music
How Fair Trade Music works:
Artist Control of Recording: The (relatively modest amount of) money for the recording is fronted by the Artist. Modern digital recording allows professional quality recordings to be made
for a fraction of what they once cost. Because the Artist has paid for the recording, they own the copyright on it.
Fair Trade Music Public License
Free Promotional Tracks: Certain tracks (say, no less than 10%) on the recording are
released under a special license that allows them to be freely traded, burned, downloaded etc., for non-commercial purposes by anyone. The license would require the Artist to be properly attributed and may or may not have additional restrictions (for example, the right to sample the track and use it in another work). The promotional tracks (described above) are freely posted around the Internet
(on P2P networks, on websites, on free promotional CDs, etc.). The buzz generated by these tracks becomes a major component in creating exposure for the Artist.
The license could be called the Fair Trade Music Public License or something like that.
Value-Added Product: CDs (or other music products) are created with a “value-added” approach, similar to DVDs. Multimedia features, Artist interviews, passwords to private websites etc., are bundled with the music recording on the CD. The value-added approach lets the listener know that the CD is something truly worth purchasing, and not worth the effort to assemble from online downloads.
Fair Use OK: Forget about DRM (digital rights management) technology. Artificial devices to control copying are both doomed to failure and an insult to the listener (as well as an erosion of their Fair-Use Rights). We went through this with software in the late eighties and early nineties, and it was abandoned as a failure.
Just-In-Time Manufacturing: The CDs are distributed over the Internet, and they are burned to order. This allows the Artist to match the volume of manufacturing with the demand for the CD, no matter how great or small.
A Fair Trade Music Public License (FPL) creates a music industry that is more equitable in its treatment of the various stakeholders of the music supply chain. In addition, it satisfies both fans and creators of musical genres that are not marketable through mass media channels. Fair Trade Music, employing today's technology, opens up all sorts of levels of success, filling the chasm. It is no longer necessary for an Artist to be a superstar in order to be successful.
FPL Certified Classifications
In order to let the public know when a CD is created and marketed under the Fair Trade Music system,
I propose that we label CDs with an appropriate logo, such as “Certified Fair Trade Music”. I imagine that along with those words would be a box with three characters in it, each character being an “F” or a dash (“-”). The first character would stand for the recording, the second character would stand for promotion, and the third for distribution. (Imagine the digital indicators on a CD, “AAD” and so forth.)
A CD that was labeled “FFF” would come from a master recording that was owned by the Artist, contain not less than 10% of tracks released under the Fair Trade Music Public License, and created to order. A CD labeled “-FF” would satisfy the last two requirements, but the master recording would not be owned by the Artist.
Fair Trade Music Group
Of course, there would have to be some sort of organization to be the certifying body and to promote the Fair Trade Music concept, so we should create the “Fair Trade Music Group” to do so. They would control the Fair Trade Music trademark, making sure that its meaning wasn't diluted. (They would ensure that if you were calling your work “Fair Trade Music” then you met the above criteria.) “Fair Trade Music” and the number of F's that a recording had would become a positive differentiation for the album, along the lines of “Organic Vegetables” or “Environmentally Friendly” (or Fair Trade coffee, for that matter). Listeners would know that by buying a Fair Trade Music album, they weren't only getting music, they were supporting something positive.
Keeping in mind the three points of view on the music industry discussed above (Artist, Listener and Investor) lets see how Fair Trade Music stacks up.
Benefits of Fair Trade Music
For the Artist, Fair Trade Music offers:
Control over their music.
The ability to reach their audience, regardless of its size. The music marketing chasm is removed.
Ethical differentiation from the conventional music industry.
For the Listener, Fair Trade Music offers:
No erosion of Fair Use Rights
A wider, richer music industry from which to obtain music (making it less likely to suck).
Risk-free exposure to new music through online promotional tracks. (No more: “I walk into a record store and I don't recognize any of the names. I don't know what to buy.”)
The knowledge that they are directly supporting the Artist, not the middleman.
For the Investor, Fair Trade Music offers:
An end to Innovator's Dilemma for the music industry: Fair Trade Music is in harmony with the current state of technology.
New, unexploited markets: niche music enthusiasts that have not been reached by the conventional music industry using mass marketing techniques.
Diversification of risk: the industry no longer depends on blockbuster sales from one of twenty top Artists. Instead, commerce is spread amongst many different acts and listeners. Businesses
built to support this model could do quite well.
Peace along the music supply chain: an end to the legal battles that rage between Artists and record companies, and now between record companies and listeners (the P2P lawsuits, such as Napster).
Unless you happen to be one of five large media companies, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Fair Trade Music provides the music industry with the overhaul that it desperately needs. It is in harmony with current technology, it fills the “marketing chasm” in the music business and it creates a richer, more diverse music environment. Isn't that worth striving for?
Loren Davie is a singer-songwriter and the CEO of epijam, a music distribution and marketing company specializing in Fair Trade Music, and the Author/Originator of the FPL (Fair Trade Music Public License concept, and the associated Fair Trade Music Group and Fair Trade Certification System.
*The five majors settled a lawsuit concerning alleged price-fixing between 1995 and 2000 by paying $67.4 million. The lawsuit said that the industry kept CD prices artificially high by using a practice called “Minimum Advertised Pricing” (MAP), in which record companies subsidized advertising for music retailers in exchange for the stores agreeing to sell the CDs at or above a certain price.
Stoned Out Loud will now resume publishing updates.
None have been done since September 22, mainly because the publisher and staff have
to make a living, and this site does not pay the bills. I am going to try to make an update
every week or two, at this point.
We still want Your opinions and articles. Here is an one contributed by Loren Davie
of FairTradeMusic.org. Enjoy!
Recently I was in a discussion over at MusicPundit about Napster's demise.
I let out a pretty good rant, published in it's entirety below.
What got me going was the following comment:
"So, the shuttering of Napster has left independent artists with no way to make
music, no way to promote it, no way to sell it? ... You're apparently 17, and thus are
forgiven your naivete in this realm. Reynolds and his fellow 'The RIAA Sucks' adults
don't have that excuse. There are legitimate issues of copyright to be sorted out --
even down to the very basic fundamentals -- before one can claim that copyright holders
are morally bankrupt for protecting what is now legally recognized as their property."
Dale Stevenson (from whom we may hear more later) had a less vitriolic and more
civil response than my own:
"While the death of Napter hasn't completely invalidated all avenues of self-promotion
of independent artists, it has limited those available.
"The question I present to you is if the major labels actually have a moral right to hold the
copyrights of the music that they produce. They don't write it, they don't play it. They only
provide the venture capital to make the album. Capital that is legally required of the artist to pay back.
"The RIAA claims that they are protecting the artists interests in cracking down on copyright violations.
"The most that artists get after everyone elses cut of album sales is 10% of MSRP. The most!
"Until you gather more of the facts of the true issues involved, I suggest that you refrain
from slinging insults in other directions."
To which the original commenter replied:
"Of course labels have a "moral right" to hold music copyrights -- if those
rights have been assigned to them by the creator(s) of the intellectual property.
"If I write a song, and sign a contract that hands the rights to someone else,
what's immoral about that? Nothing.
"Similarly, if I make an album and sign a contract that gives me a paltry 0.0003%
cut of its revenue, nothing immoral has taken place. It might indicate I'm a lousy
businessman, but it doesn't make anybody evil.
"It really is naive to romanticize Napster -- or at least its facility for copyright
infringement -- as some bastion of Glory, Truth and Right."
At this point, I began chafing at the equation of "legal" and "moral" "right".
Because Legal Rights, and what is morally "right" often bear little relation to one another.
Moreover, with the bastardisation of Law perpetrated by the RIAA/MPAA and Congress
through the passage of the DMCA, UCITA, and related intellectual property legislation
since 1996, it gets less so every day. That is why Stoned Out Loud exists.
Anyway, Dale held his own, offering:
"[quoting]>Of course labels have a "moral right" to hold music copyrights --
if those rights have been assigned to them by the creator(s) of the intellectual
"That would be "legal right" to which you are refering.
"And those contracts to which you are refering are legally coerced from 'letters of intent'.
"The letters of intent have no terms other than that each party agree to sign a contract
of mutual agreement, and that neither party may enter a contract with a third party with
regards to publication, production, and/or distrobution of material contained in the as
yet unwritten contract.
"Suppose I told you I could give you a job at my company making $100,000 per year.
You agreed to come to an interview, but before you could enter you had to sign a
letter of intent.
"You could at that point walk away from the job and go look for a different one, or
you could sign it and go into the interview.
"You are told that you may take a job for $15,000 per year. You say "no thanks"
and leave. On the way out you are reminded of your "letter of intent" and are told
that you may not interview for any other job.
"That's moral? That's right?
"That is how the record companies recruit new music.
"Napster, in the beginning, was illegally facilitating infringement of copyrights held by
the major record labels. Later, the company was attempting to do just at the labels
asked: Stop distributing THEIR music. So what about the rest of the music that was
"Unless you can offer a solution to the problem of the ill informed artists getting clearly
taken advantage of, you can do nothing put spout rhetoric.
"And if you say that it just required education on the part of the artists themselves,
then you, clearly, would be the myopic one."
To which I thought, "Bravo." But I still felt there were some vital issues that had not
been addressed. Mainly, the stealth assault that has been - is being - made on the
First Amendment. So, I cut loose:
I agree with the previous poster that 'there are legitimate copyright issues to be sorted out.'
And that's where my agreement ends. I do agree with the comments of Dale Stevenson,
which I found reasonable and well articulated. After I rant a bit, I want to check out
Jeff Cooper's Site, which Eric recommended.
A big part of problem, as I see it, is that corporations have enjoyed the legal fiction
that they are "persons" under the law. This is and has been the excuse for the erosion
of Individual and Civil Rights in this country for a long time.Another part of the problem
is in the legal language "work for hire." Contracts that contain this language should be
nullified, in my humble opinion, when they are used - with perfectly legitimate legal
precedent behind them - to screw People (not just Artists, but Consultants and others as well)
out of the product of their work. It is an ongoing peonisation of the working man.
For the Producer of Value, "work for hire" usually amounts to...seems in practice
to be defined under the law as...total and complete assignment of all rights irrevocably
in perpetuity to the purchaser. Furthermore, it often amounts to and / or is combined
with (in the music industry) indentured servitude.
If You don't believe me, read a recording contract, read the UCITA legislation, the DMCA,
and then go read "Courtney does the Math" at Salon. I linked it from
http://www.stoned-out-loud.com in the "Articles of Note" box.
While You're there, it might be good to look at the other articles written by
working Musicians as well, Janis Ian's, and Steve Albini's "The Problem with Music."
So I have a problem, not with "work for hire" per se, but with how it has been applied
in the Music and IT staffing industries. For starters.
Another part of the problem is Copyright law. The manner in which Congress has allowed
the Industy lobbies to write legislation in exchange for campaign contributions has polluted
the very concept of law itself, and the DMCA is a good example. It is an instance of the
original intent of protecting intellectual property rights being turned inside-out and on it's head,
converted into a tool for the legally fictitious "person" of the corporation to subjugate and rob the
real living breathing creatively producing Person in the populace of their very means of
livelihood, and the fruits of their labors. (brings to my mind the title of a great Kurt
Vonnegut, Jr. essay "In a manner that would shame God himself.")
Next, is the question of innovation, the freedom to do it, and the Freedom of Speech
and Assembly guaranteed under the First Amendment of the United States of America's
Bill of Rights. The real issue behind the RIAA/Napster case is the First Amendment,
and our Freedom to peacefully assemble and share our ideas and music together in this very
large virtual room that is the internet;
Mankind's collective Living Room.
The problem the RIAA/MPAA has (and the IT staffing industry, among others, as well) is that
they are used to riding the Artists and Producers of Value like cattle, and want to enlarge their
Yoke to include the rest of us. *And it ain't gonna happen.*
They can buy all the Congressmen they like, pass as many laws as they like...bottom line is,
if they take the Law down that road, it is the system of laws and jurisprudence that will suffer
... as it is suffering now the loss of respect and credibility Judge Patel's and other's goo-headed
decisions have engendered.
When the law deserts the People, the People go elsewhere. ("...and when laws are
outlawed, only outlaws will have laws." - kidding)
This isn't an opinion, just an observation of Human Nature.
So, what p2p needs to do is create a sharing application that incorporates
micropayment, while keeping the Artist in charge of his own work. Anything less
isn't worthy of pursuit, imo. It's time we, the People, reclaim some lost ground.
Yowza. Feels good to get a good rant out now and then! :-|
So, in summary, Sir, shame on You for Your age-ist patronising of our Hostess
("You're apparently 17, and thus are forgiven your naivete in this realm"). Don't go handing
me any ""The RIAA Sucks" adults don't have that excuse". This RIAA Sucks adult, and legions
of Artists and Producers, and Human Beings who have inaliable Rights endowed by their Creator
have plenty of excuse.
And one can, in point of fact, "claim that copyright holders are morally bankrupt for
protecting what is now legally recognized as their property", when one opens one's
eyes to the context in which those copyrights were acquired: deceptively and/or coercively
obtained "work for hire" contracts under which the Artists/Producers were required to hand
over those copyrights.
Oh, yeah. Perfectly legal, legal as Church on Sunday. And that makes it less reprehensible,
uh, how? It doesn't.
So, yes Sir. Morally Bankrupt. So, how to address it in a "government of Laws and not of Men?"
All we have to do now is work the miracle of real campaign finance reform and elect
representatives that will do so, instead of being puppets of their corporate paymasters.
That, and create a p2p file-sharing micropayments system that is GPL'd.
In a story headlined "Studios not pirates are the digital rights challenge, says IBC panel" David Benjamin, a Paris-based freelance writer, reports a few interesting quotes at a recent contentious meeting of the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) convened in Amsterdam.
From a Video-on-Demand company: "Technology is not the problem. It's the content cartel!"
From Microsoft: ""Yes, the Internet is a source of leakage. But there is no legitimate content source...Why not just flood the peer-to-peer services with legitimate content? ...Instead of fighting it, why not just embrace it?"
The Video-on-Demand services companies are worried over the current MPAA/RIAA assault on technology. To hear them tell it, Hollywood's reluctance to the release the best movies in digital form, it's draconian demand of 60 percent of revenue from all use of its content, is a formula for a "digital train wreck."
This withholding of content from legitimate online services threatens some of the very businesses trying to uphold the industry's outdated business model, i.e. license content and let MPAA/RIAA, ASCAP and BMI handle the royalty payments, which are based on sales statistics rather than actual sales or usage.
Microsoft observed that there currently is no "legitimate content source" for digital movies.
Note: This article has it's own page for linking, which includes some introductory words from the Publisher. Just Click on the image (new window) or URL link above (same window). -g.moss
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 1996 17:16:35 +0100 To: email@example.com From: John Perry Barlow Subject: A Cyberspace Independence Declaration
Yesterday, that great invertebrate in the White House signed into the law the Telecom "Reform" Act of 1996, while Tipper Gore took digital photographs of the proceedings to be included in a book called "24 Hours in Cyberspace."
I had also been asked to participate in the creation of this book by writing something appropriate to the moment. Given the atrocity that this legislation would seek to inflict on the Net, I decided it was as good a time as any to dump some tea in the virtual harbor.
After all, the Telecom "Reform" Act, passed in the Senate with only 5 dissenting votes, makes it unlawful, and punishable by a $250,000 to say "shit" online. Or, for that matter, to say any of the other 7 dirty words prohibited in broadcast media. Or to discuss abortion openly. Or to talk about any bodily function in any but the most clinical terms.
It attempts to place more restrictive constraints on the conversation in Cyberspace than presently exist in the Senate cafeteria, where I have dined and heard colorful indecencies spoken by United States senators on every occasion I did.
This bill was enacted upon us by people who haven't the slightest idea who we are or where our conversation is being conducted. It is, as my good friend and Wired Editor Louis Rossetto put it, as though "the illiterate could tell you what to read."
Well, fuck them.
Or, more to the point, let us now take our leave of them. They have declared war on Cyberspace. Let us show them how cunning, baffling, and powerful we can be in our own defense.
I have written something (with characteristic grandiosity) that I hope will become one of many means to this end. If you find it useful, I hope you will pass it on as widely as possible. You can leave my name off it if you like, because I don't care about the credit. I really don't.
But I do hope this cry will echo across Cyberspace, changing and growing and self-replicating, until it becomes a great shout equal to the idiocy they have just inflicted upon us.
I give you...
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace
Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.
We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.
Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.
You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.
You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don't exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract . This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.
Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.
We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.
We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.
Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are based on matter, There is no matter here.
Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge . Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.
In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.
You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.
In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.
Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.
These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.
We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.
Davos, Switzerland February 8, 1996
**************************************************************** John Perry Barlow, Cognitive Dissident Co-Founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation
"I Have Not Yet Begun To Fight" -Johnny Deep, Madster President and Founder
Johnny Deep, creator of AIMster and Madster, can be added to the list of those illustrious innovators (like Shawn Fanning of Napster fame) whose genius made them a target of the WTO's (World Trade Organisation) entertainment department, the RIAA/MPAA.
But Deep will not go gently into that good night. He's fighting back. Deep has filed suit against the mammoth entertainment lobby claiming that the recording industries' unfair business practices have damaged him financially.
"The business I conduct in my home in Cohoes, NY, has been damaged by the unfair business practices of the largest corporations in the world" said Deep. "But Aimster and the defense of civil liberties on the Internet cannot be stopped - I have not yet begun to fight."
RIAA members have been playing a sort of legal shell game in their attack on independent music producers and file sharing services. In the filing seeking damages for RIAA member collusion, Madster's counsel openly challenges this tactic, saying: "...Plaintiffs' (the RIAA members) attempt to hide behind a small subset of Moving Plaintiffs should not be countenanced. Plaintiffs continue to seek all the benefits of banding together when it is beneficial to them, and dispersing and hiding behind each other when it is convenient or when one group of them are at risk of an adverse ruling. The recording industry is the driving force behind this action and it should not be able to duck behind the Music Publishing Plaintiffs whenever it suits its needs. The Music Publishing Plaintiffs have never independently asserted any issues in this action until now. Indeed, their complaint only tagged along after all the other actions were filed. All the Moving Plaintiffs joined together to move for a preliminary injunction and should be treated similarly with respect to that motion." (emphasis added - g.moss)
For the reader wondering about what a "Moving Plaintiff" is, here's roughly what it means: The RIAA will file some motions against somebody. Sometimes it files a single motion, sometimes it files the same, or similar motions in multiple courts in multiple locations.
Sometimes, it is an RIAA member company that does this, separately. And, as in this case, sometimes the RIAA member company does this while the RIAA itself does it, too. Hence, the term "Moving Plaintiffs."
That's what I take it to mean, anyway. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.
The idea is to bury the targeted victim, Madster in this case, Napster previously, and all others in the p2p world eventually, in costly litigation, and a plethora of motions which cost more to pay attorneys to respond to than the average small operator can afford. Like my Father always said - "In this country, You get only as much Justice as You can afford."
In a separate development, Madster Founder Deep has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Reorganisation, and received an Injunction against the RIAA and member companies to prevent them from shutting Madster down. So, everything is still going...If You want a cheap, legal alternative to fascist RIAA arrangements that screw the Artists out everything, go on over to http://www.madster.com and get Yourself a copy - it'll make You money when You swap tunes!
There's a lot of food for thought in this case, and I highly recommend going to get.madster.com to check out the full press release and related links.
I don't have a clue. The other day, a posting at GrepLaw noted that a Judge had blocked the sale of Napster and assets to Bertelsman. When I saw that, I wandered over to http://www.napster.com, only to be greeted with the somber single, linkless page that proclaimed "Napster was here." Now all that has changed. Today's visit revealed the above graphic (altered here to repeat). I wonder what's up with that?
Sorry these links looked messy all day...for some reason Blogger's publishing software suddenly stopped offering any "Publish" or "Post" or "Post & Publish" buttons in the edit area this morning when I was working on getting this story up. - 090902 0240hrs -gm
AHA! I just discovered why I have been unable to publish or edit this post using the BloggerPro Publishing software! There is something about these coded URLs that the interface just *does not like*. Once published, You are unable to edit...click "edit", and the Blog entry is copied into the Blogger editing frame, but the Blogger Publishing interface (I'm currently using BloggerPro, but the same problem occurs in the previous version, and in the test version) fails to repaint the editing controls, i.e.
"Options | Upload File... | (anchor) B(old) I(talics) | (spellcheck) | Post | Post & Publish
So...guess I'll avoid using those coded URLs anymore. Still...wish I could delete this crapped up one, though. Sigh.
Anyway, I'm re-posting this semi-cleaned up version of the story because it's easier to read.D'oh!
The other day I was browsing around Greplaw, and spotted an interesting item entitled "Judge Rules Against Aimster". It says "a Northern Illinois District Court judge has granted a preliminary injunction in favor of the RIAA against Aimster (now known as Madster)," and points to a story described in InfoWorld. The Greplaw item continued, "the judge thinks that Aimster/Madster is 'a service whose very raison d'être appears to be the facilitation of and contribution to copyright infringement on a massive scale.' "
While this is in itself worthy of pursuit, I discovered something else, just below that in Greplaw's writeup. Turns out Madster is a real Person. So I visited her site.
Wow. Nice place. And a delightful Young Lady with a head for cyberLaw - and $ (Madster is a subscription service, with an override deal for referrals).
Master the MusicPundit has reported that Artists and Consumers both distrust the big media cartels often represented by the RIAA/MPAA and their band of corporate thugs.
Good Legal/Music cyberLaw Journalism. Check it out.
"We are committed to protecting your intellectual property ...but we are not committed to protecting your business model." --ITIC President Rhett Dawson to MPAA Lobbyist
South Carolina Senator Ernest Hollings (not Green, not Libertarian, not Republican), chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, has circulated a legislative draft that has come to be known as "the Hollings draft". It gives tech firms one year to develop anti-copying "policeware," and if they don't, they'll be subject to criminal penalties.
So Republocrat Senator Ernest Hollings (not Green, not Libertarian) want's to put "Big Brother" in our PC's, which isn't too surprising, considering he has already taken $27,000 in campaign funding from the entertainment industry lobby so far this election cycle. Ah, well, I guess it's good that once You buy this Congresssman, he stays bought...so long as You keep up the progress payments. I must observe, as a Carolinian (North, not South) I am ashamed of this narrowmined Dixiecrat and his willingness to undermine my Right to Bear Silicon. He probably doesn't care though...I've never donated a dime to him.
Drew Clark and Bara Vaida have written an article in the National Journal, "Digital Divide," which details the current struggle between the Information Technology industry and Hollywood. It's a good read.
I noticed that the National Journal is a subscription site, but that the above-linked story is available without subscription. In examining the links on the page, most point back to within the National Journal site. I did find a few useful ones to external sources, though. I've listed them at the bottom of this entry.
If You don't like the idea of a Policeman built in to Your computer, preventing You from making backup copies of items, or compilations of music for Your "Fair Use" enjoyment, then go to PetionOnline and sign the petition against this idiotic legislation. (The text link goes right there, clicking the image at right will do it in a new browser window.)
Wouldn't it be nice to choose a few tunes while You're here?
Well, You can't.
At least, not yet. I thought about webRadio-enabling Stoned Out Loud. I'd like to have a little drop-down listbox, and Visitors could then choose a station, and enjoy some tunes while they're here, streamed live from their favorite internet radio station.
I found out it's not that simple. The RIAA is out to kill internet radio. I searched around for appropriate providers to do what I want, and found a good result page at PurplePages. I checked the resultant links. Some results: Antenna Internet Radio still exists, but can't offer what I want...to offer Stoned Out Loud's Visitors the choice of many stations and streams.
Netradio.com, http://www.netradio.com/ returns a result from DotRegistrar, informing You "This domain is registered at DotRegistrar.com by a customer and parked temporarily until the owner establishes a permanent site."
Onair.com and a couple others said they were available through iSyndicate. Unfortunately, iSyndicate has been acquired by YellowBrix. Clicking on the link for onair.com brought me to an iSyndicate page with a link to the free radio thing. That page told me:
404: The page you were trying to reach no longer exists
In August 2001, iSyndicate was acquired by YellowBrix, Inc. Please visit http://www.yellowbrix.com for more information on how services have been migrated or what compatible services YellowBrix offers to continue to support the iSyndicate customer base, and anyone interested in syndicated content.
Below it, were two dead links to "continued support" for the iSyndicate customer base. This gives You some ideas of where YellowBrix, Inc.'s head is at. ("How can they tell the Brix are yellow when the sun don't shine there?" -Shhhh. not now.)
There were a couple of other links, but I didn't have much luck with them either.
Most Internet radio stations are at risk of bankruptcy, and may be forced off the air by October 20th, because of a Congressionally-imposed royalty they will soon be required to pay to record labels. (You may have heard this called a "CARP" royalty, named for the U.S. Copyright Office's Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel that held hearings on what the rate should be.)
Here's some quick background:
Congress passed a law in October 1998 called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which established a new "sound recordings performance royalty" that webcasters must pay to record labels, similar to the royalty that both broadcast radio and Internet radio have to pay to composers of songs. (Note: The composers royalty is about 3% of station revenues.) However, the Copyright Office, following unclear instructions from Congress, set a rate for this new royalty that is currently more than 100% of most webcasters' revenues! (If broadcast radio stations had to pay the same royalty rate, it would cost them billions of dollars and wipe out the entire profits of the industry!)
If the record industry (the RIAA) doesn't offer a compromise "voluntary" license to smaller webcasters and/or if Congress doesn't pass emergency legislation by October 20th, most observers believe that the decision will effectively kill Internet radio. (The retroactive portion of the fees will bankrupt all but the very largest Internet-only webcasters — e.g., AOL, Yahoo!, and Microsoft. The fees will also probably trigger the shutdown of most remaining broadcast stations' Internet simulcasts, including almost all the educational and community stations )
Here is the letter the Voice of Webcasters will fax in Your name when You use that site:
I am writing you to express my strong request that you support immediate legislative relief to save Internet radio and the role it plays in promoting artists and their music on the Internet. I listen to Internet radio and I want to see the current diversity of programming provided by Internet radio preserved.
On July 26, 2002, Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA), George Nethercutt (R-WA) and Rick Boucher (D-VA) introduced legislation called the Internet Radio Fairness Act (HR 5285) in the US House of Representatives. This vital bill would protect a large number of Internet radio stations from being forced out of business by unfair and unaffordable performance copyright royalties. Please act immediately in seeing that this effort is carried through the House and Senate and made law before it is too late to save Internet radio. Immediate action is required. The enforcement of retroactive royalties based on the currently unaffordable rates is set to commence no later than October 20, 2002.
We want you to understand that this legislative action does not seek to eliminate royalties paid to artists by Internet radio stations. It only attempts to ensure that fair and reasonable royalty rates are set to allow Internet radio stations to survive and continue to develop their nascent industry. In supporting this legislative action, you will be ensuring that artists will receive fair compensation from these stations and retain this valuable resource to promote their music.
This bipartisan effort is already supported by several important members of the US House of Representatives, including Representative Donald Manzullo (R-IL), Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business. We need your help to ensure that this action is passed by the US House of Representatives and joined by similar action in the US Senate. Please act now, there isn't much time left to save Internet radio.
Please send this fax. I did.
Earlier I reported about Tara Grubb's run for Congress. She is out to unseat NC Representative Howard Coble, who happens to chair the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts & The Internet, and Intellectual Property. It is under Mr. Coble's leadership that this current assault on our First Amendment Right to peacefully assemble online has been encouraged and brought to its current state.
Universitydaily.net, the online news organ of Texas Tech, ran this editorial August 29 by Rocky Ramirez.
LUBBOCK, Texas -- We have all heard the propaganda. They say piracy is killing music.
You might remember the touching little video Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich put together for the MTV Video Music Awards (or was it the Movie Awards?) a couple of years ago. You know, the one where he went into some kid's room and started stealing crap while the kid on a computer sat there dumbfounded.
It may be the case because of the negative spin piracy has gotten. When Napster shut down, you told yourself, well maybe it was wrong to download MP3s.
I have two words for that kind of sentiment-F*** that!
It disgusts me when I see Dr. Dre looking into a camera with a sad, puppy-dog face and saying, 'yo dawg, it ain't right to be pirating my @#$%!'
The guy who really gets me, however, is Ulrich. Metallica is a band that worked its ass off to get where it is, and now the members of the group are biting the hand that fed them.
I read this incredible column (yes I can read) by a guy named Mark Jenkins, a film and music reviewer for The Washington Post.
Apparently, (and almost all of us are too young to remember this) in 1978 the Recording Industry began to slump in sales.
They began to blame "a larcenous new technology" called cassette tapes. The international music industry even had an outraged official slogan, "home taping is killing music." Sound familiar?
It's obvious why the big labels want to blame their current lagging sales on the Internet.
My question is, why are the artists getting involved too? Why do I have to lose all respect for a Metallica, a band I once considered the greatest in the world?
The answer should be on the tips of all of your lips; it's plain and simple, and it's called greed.
"Oh! We musicians put our heart and soul into or work. We deserve to get our money!" they say. True, musicians do deserve to get paid. But, millions upon millions?
Does Metallica really deserve millions of dollars for their latest and worst album, "Re-Load"?
Maybe they deserved it for "Master Of Puppets," because at least the album influenced every single hard rocker that has ever palm muted an open low E string.
But, unfortunately, that's not how it works. There are bands out there that work just as hard, if not harder than Metallica does now.
The Microphones for instance. The group consists of one guy, Phil Elvrum, recording all of his music on lo- fi equipment, then mixing it together and creating a sound that is so beautiful it doesn't register in your head the first time you hear it.
Let's not even go into his mind-blowing songwriting. If the lyrics are not read in the context of liner notes, they could easily be confused with an upper level lit text.
Have you ever heard of the Microphones? No. Have you ever bought the man's CD? No. Does Elvrum work as hard as Metallica?
Well, his CD took almost a year to complete, and if you've heard it, you know that it is a seminal piece of production work-on lo-fi equipment (which means he isn't recording on the fancy boards that you see on TV, instead he is recording on not much more than a Tascam cassette player) to boot.
So hell yeah he works as hard as Metallica. Do you think Metallica does its own production?
No way, the group has a team of sound guys to do it for them. And you know Elrum doesn't make the big bucks like Metallica does. Hell, I probably have a bigger apartment then he does.
The only reason I know of The Microphones is because of the Internet.
The only way that I could get any of the music was through MP3 swapping. And because of that swapping, I am able to create something that the big label execs fear worse than baldness, word of mouth.
That's how they control the music that you listen to.
They have control over the word-of-mouth advertising. They use their mouthpieces -- commercial radio, MTV and commercial rock magazines.
You see The Vines in Rolling Stone and then hear their single on the radio. To top it off, you see they have a new buzz worthy video on MTV. So you think to yourself "this band must be good."
That's how they get you. The Vines as it turns out, blow pretty hard (Nirvana knock-offs should at least sound like Nirvana).
But I bet you would have never guessed considering all the exposure they get. It didn't work like that before, or at least it wasn't this efficient.
What Napster created was a new forum for word of mouth.
That scares the hell out of the recording industry. What the industry doesn't want is competition from good music. They'd prefer to churn out so-so music and maximize their profits by not having to promote a great new band. It's easier to make a band look great, than it is to make a great band sell.
Competition, as we all learned in high school economics, breeds a better product. And better music betters us.
Lars Ulrich, Dr. Dre and the Industry are trying to tell us that by creating competition for them, we are killing their music.
Well, that's the best argument for piracy that I've ever heard.
Ever wanted to find out just who is donating money to Your Congressman? The Center for Responsive Politics has a site called opensecrets.org that has an exellent search page You can use to find out.
The Center is "a non-partisan, non-profit research group based in Washington, D.C. that tracks money in politics, and its effect on elections and public policy." (from their "about" page).
On this page, You can view the following table which shows how much PAC money the Music, TV, and Movie cartels have paid (in the 2002 election cycle so far) to Your Congressmen for the privilege of writing their legislation that would take away our First Amendment Right to peacefully assemble in a time-shifted manner to share our Music and Ideas with each other on the internet: