lurkitty: (maneki neko)
In the wake of the $222,000 judgement against the Minnesota woman for music file-sharing, I have been thinking about music sharing lately. I do understand protection of intellectual property, and the very pressing need of musicians to make money from their work. That is a given.

I really hate buying music without hearing it. Those little 20 second previews on iTunes are not enough. I want to hear the song. I want to hear most of the album before I buy it. Back when radio stations were independent, and not all owned by Clear Channel, there was a chance that you could hear a variety of music and buy on that basis. But now, I rely on my friends to introduce me to new music. The problem is, my friends are scattered across the globe. They will introduce me to a new artist by an undisclosed method. If I like a song, I will go buy an album. I'll play it for my for my friends. I'm a fantastic viral saleswoman. I think I've sold at least 5 copies of Devil Doll's Queen of Pain alone. The Grateful Dead made a handsome living by encouraging music sharing throughout their career. I'm also a sucker for buying albums at concerts, but the reality is that Oregon is not on everyone's tour schedule. Sometimes we have to actually tell people that there is an entire state between San Francisco and Seattle (hey - Eugene was one of Jerry Garcia's favorite stops!).

Regardless of the impact of music stealing, I do think that the RIAA is cutting its collective PR throat by going after a single mom with a yearly income of $36,000 as their watershed music sharing case. It's not going to scare all the bulletproof college kids who know how to cover their electronic tracks. It is going to paint the RIAA , and the record companies, as capricious and cruel. It will do nothing to promote the reputation of the artists whose works were stolen. Will the artists see any of the money from this case? Or just the bad publicity?

It could be worse. In the UK, their equivalent of the RIAA, the Performing Rights Society, is suing a car mechanics firm called Kwik Fit because its employees play personal radios at work. According to the Performing Rights Society, this amounts to public performance of music and is a copyright infringement. But. it. was. on. the. radio....aaagggghhhhhh...........
lurkitty: (jane)
This bit from SlashDot showed up on one of my mailing lists this morning:

Your Rights Online: In the UK, Possession of the Anarchist's Cookbook Is
Terrorism
Posted by Zonk on Mon Oct 08, '07 03:22 AM
from the orwell-would-have-been-so-proud dept.
[ The Courts ]
Anonymous Terrorist writes "Back in the midsts of time, when I was a lad
and gopher was the height of information retrieval I read The
Anarchist's Cookbook in one huge text file. Now it appears the UK
government considers possession of the book an offense under the
Terrorism Act 2000 and is prosecuting a 17 year old boy, in part, for
having a copy of the book. 'The teenager faces two charges under the
Terrorism Act 2000. The first charge relates to the possession of
material for terrorist purposes in October last year. The second relates
to the collection or possession of information useful in the preparation
of an act of terrorism.'"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Anarchist's_Cookbook
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7030096.stm

I admit to a flash of ZOMG!CivilRights!WTF! and went to the BBC News link. It said exactly what the SlashDot article said.

Before assailing you with a diatribe on civil rights, I decided to get a few more details.

The Yorkshire Post reports that there were two teenagers arrested for terrorism in Yorkshire. The first was allegedly using the Anarchist Cookbook to construct a bomb with the chemicals he was arraigned for possessing last month: some 950g of potassium nitrate and 250g of calcium chloride. The boy had recently returned from Pakistan.

The second boy was from the same neighborhood and was also charged with possession of The Anarchist Cookbook as well as other materials.

Obviously, there is a lot more to this story. There is a big difference between having the Anarchist Cookbook and using it.
lurkitty: (Default)
When I visited the USSR in 1976, officials were keen on visitors not leaving with certain items. It was an odd game. You could buy only official souvenirs sold in tourist stores. these were often far too expensive for a recent high school graduate on a budget (and cheaply made).

The official stores did not have what we wanted anyway. We somehow found places that sold us the Red Army belts and Soviet flags to smuggle out and adorn our college dorm rooms. What was most puzzling was the policy on значкий - the little enamelled pins people were constantly exchanging as gifts. They most often commemorated places or events, like Leningrad or the launch of Sputnik. We had brought a few American flag pins and Oregon pins to trade, but quickly ran out. It didn't matter. People were constantly giving us little pins all the time we were there. It was sweet.

And it was illegal to take them out of the country. I never quite got my head around why these cute little pins were so evil. But we played the game and duly smuggled them.

Except that I forgot to hide mine. I had been pinning mine to my hat, and it was a hot, sunny day. I had intended to stuff my hat far down into my brimming backpack before going through security. But, being as absent-minded as I am today, I simply forgot it was on my head.

I approached the uniformed security guard, my backpack full of contraband, my значкий openly on my head. He took one look at me, pointed at my hat and laughed. He waggled his finger and admonished me in Russian for having violated the law (I gave him a nice "deer in the headlights" stare that I reserve for times when I'm scared I'm going to get thrown into a Gulag). He looked at my passport, didn't check my backpack and waved me through, giggling to his comrades about the silly American girl who didn't know enough to smuggle her значкий out properly.

Contrast this with a piece found on slashdot from samzenpus. A guy gets cheeky and writes "Kim Hawley is an idiot" on the outside of the plastic bag he used for his toothpaste and hair gel (Kim "Kip" Hawley is the head of the TSA). He was detained. Police were called. He was told his First Amendment rights did not apply in line at the airport.

Notwithstanding it was a stupid stunt. But it illustrates the point that we live in a nation trapped in the thrall of terrorism. We are terrorized. A note on a plastic bag calling an official an idiot is not a terrorist threat! Any plot, no matter how ludicrous, is taken seriously. A few months ago, there was an alert because of evidence obtained under torture of a plot to dismantle bridges with torches. Any rational person would realize that you can't dismantle a bridge with a torch! No one is even stopping long enough to use the space between their ears before pressing the panic button.

Al Qaeda does not have to plant a single bomb to make us jump. We are doing Bin Laden's work for him. We are undermining our own economy and sacrificing any international goodwill we once had in a fight that our recently declassified National Intelligence Estimate says has made things worse.

It appears one of the worst casualties in the war on terror has been our national sense of humor.

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August 2011

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