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Posts Tagged ‘RIAA’

“He who rejects change is the architect of decay”.
Harold Wilson

Ever heard of Joel Tenenbaum? Well I hadn’t really paid any attention to that name until today, and more precisely until I read this article from The Guardian – “How it feels to be sued for $4.5m“. I have always known thousands in the states had been sued for absurd sums for sharing music, everyone’s aware of the RIAA’s sissy-fits, but to read such a testimonial set me aback some. Do read it: it was written by Joel himself, and weather you’re with him or against him, it won’t leave you indifferent to his cause.

I don’t want to go into the details of his story because  it is all written marvelously well in that article. What I’ll say is this: Joel is one of the tens of thousands of people who have got their lives crushed just for sharing music. Joel is not the compulsive file-sharer type who detains tera bytes upon tera bytes of music storages on dozens of 7200 rpm, RAID intertwined hard-drives, he’s just one in 50 million file-sharers who unluckily won the RIAA lottery. His battle started off small, just in for a couple of thousand of dollars. Now he is in for millions because he fought back.

joel tenebaum riaa trialHe finally made it to the trial which started yesterday (most people cave in before reaching that point). Joel’s story struck a chord in many music lovers’ hearts, and he is now backed-up by thousands from all over the world. He has got his proper “Joel Fights Back” twitter account (@joelfightsback), twitter feed (#jfb) and website.

The Guardian’s article holds ten pages full of comments, but the very first one made my day. It was written by a nut who hammers Joel by invoking the “you just shouldn’t steal from people more creative than you. You deserve what’s coming at you” speech. I can take a step back like any other and realize there are laws for a reason, that these laws must be reinforced to maintain order. I am not defending Joel 100% just because it’s easy and comforting to be on the martyr’s side, engaging resistance against corporate fat cats, I’m on Joel’s side because if we succumb to absurdity, we are headed straight for a brick wall, the likes of which mankind has a tendency to bang its head against over and over again.

For such trials to be enacted in this day and age is absurd for the simple reason that there is no balance whatsoever between technological advancements and copyright law anymore. The later has, since its most primitive founding, been intimately linked to the former. They both go hand in hand, and when one changes, the other follows briefly after. The recording industry caved in on many accounts in the past because of ever-evolving music distribution mediums, yet now, the RIAA still won’t accept the change p2p brought to their consumers’ consumption habits. And why are they so aggressive? Because of scalability. Never have the paper-rolls, the radio, the cassette-tapes and so on scaled such a gap between consumers and content owners. So members of the RIAA have litterally been shittin’ their pants these two past decades. Their solution: to frantically sue customers at random for completely absurd sums of money for no reason other than fathering fear and making up for decreasing profits.  I would like to repeat myself here: it is only to engender fear and make money that the RIAA is suing. There is no long-tail humanitarian purpose here, there is no will whatsoever to educate the masses, there is no greater master-plan behind all this grief – just fear and money.

We don’t burn people on stakes anymore just because they refuse to believe in the virgin Mary. Same should apply to file sharing and music in 2009. But apparently, that is still far from being the case.

Accepting change is the key to healthy evolution. The first step would be for major labels to admit their wrongs in terms of serving musical garbage to us all these past 10 years. Economic instability, growing gaming industry, DVDs and Internet- related-entertainment didn’t help them one bit in getting back that entrepreneurial spirit they lost so long ago. Add to that p2p networks, and it all seems so logical that the RIAA affiliates are going down the drain, taking 15% decreasing market blows every year or so.

That is just the ways things have changed, and those who go against what has changed, although it is completely beyond their power to do anything about that change, are fools, plain and simple.

Good Luck Joel. You have my total support.

Mruff

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For today’s post, I give you some tid bits of info that have, up until now, made my day. Enjoy:

The RIAA has decided to no longer sue copyright infringers‘ pants off finally noticing that after ten years of capitalistic debauchery it was indeed a ridiculous move to bitch-slap their customers around. Bit them in the ass pretty hard. Now they have no ass left but they still have their integrity. Having partnered with ISPs, they plan to follow in the steps of the French by having those ISPs notify the lottery-winning pirates when they’ve illegally downloaded songs, and warn them they’re being watched. If the pirates persist, they will risk losing their connection. (Reuters)
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Heavy-Metal seems to be making a good comeback in Egypt! The Cairo government had silenced hard-rock related music genres in the 90s due to the explicit ‘satanical’ lyrics, unbearable to Egypt’s conservative establish order. Now bands are gradually expressing their right to rock. (Reuters)

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‘Coldplay’s Chris Martin has admitted that the band’s 2000 single Shiver was essentially a Jeff Buckley ripoff’
Why would he do that? No seriously. Satriani, the Creaky Boards, Alize, 80 year old italian composers…and now this? The intricacies of the music business’ deontology remain a mystery to me. Come to think of it, wouldn’t surprise me if Satriani’s team dug this up to throw it in Coldplay’s face.

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Youtube has released a feature letting users see a how many unique views a video’s got. To access the feature, visit the YouTube Insights page for the video in question and click ‘Show Unique Users’ under the ‘Views’ tab. Pretty cool to finally know if the great number of hits you got from Japan or something are generated by a single fan or by a community. (Techcrunch)

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This has nothing to do with this week’s music news but I can’t resist the opportunity to introduce yet another robot band. Meet The Trons, a droid band created by musician Greg Locke who also loves to rock. Not as sophisticated as Captured By Robot! but still freakin’ awesome. Watch them jam in their basement. Also watch this very cool Captured By Robots!’s gig . Oh and, while looking for the two previous vids I encountered this other bad-ass robot drummer rockin’ with robot-stippers on stage. Just how damn cool is this:

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Under the current law, performers’ copyright runs out after 50 years while creators’ copyrights (composers and authors) expire 70 years after their deaths. The European Commission is backing a 45 year extension to this law but the UK government is wary. So an important meeting took place in the Abbey Road Studios on the 17th of November where performers were moved to sign a petition aimed at Gordon Brown, Uk’s prime minister, to increase their copyrights to 95 years. 28 of those performers took part in the Fair Play For Musicians video. Here is an interactive form of lobbying that just might bear its fruits:

Divergences between performers and creators have bred many conflicts throughout the years, mostly on a legislative level as hired musicians have never been blessed with the same rights as their counter parts. Rightly so you might think, the author being the ‘creative minds’ behind songs should be entitled to a larger amount of the pie. Well in many cases, performers are only left with the crust and some crumbles and they often play a VERY important role not only in the execution and production of an album, but also in the creative process.

So yeah, I perfectly agree that they should get the extension and retain those copyrights at least until the end of their lives.

Bark?

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