This story made the rounds yesterday. A lady is suing Universal for requesting the removal of her 0.29″ sec youtube family video that had a Prince song as a background score. Now, according to the law, that WAS a copyright infringement (no, there is no “fair use” for plain consumers, get over it).
However, what she has a problem with — and I agree with her wholeheartedly — is what this country has become: essentially, a policed nation. Her own words regarding what’s going on her mind when she shoots a family video:
“I’m constantly thinking about what’s going on in the background, what’s on the TV, what’s on the CD player, the characters on my kids’ clothes, the characters on the toys that they are playing with. I’m cognizant of what’s going on at every step, instead of focusing on my kids, which is where my attention should be.”
I am sorry, but she’s right. This copyright thingie just gets in the middle of our lives, it just takes away the fun factor. It’s just too much fucking shit to take into account each time. You can’t even take a dump anymore in this country without thinking if you are allowed to take a prank picture of it, in fear of using inappropriately and without permission the image of the designer toilet your ex-wife had installed.
Of course, this does not mean that copyright law should go extinct as some open source radicals think so (don’t forget that USA’s main exporting good is IP, maybe even more so than weapons), but it should ease up. That was my opinion all along regarding all these RIAA/MPAA/copyright happenings the last few years: ease up on the consumer. Give him/her the benefit of the doubt. Use such opportunities as advertising: e.g. modify the fair use clause to allow non-commercial uses of the works, as long as credit is given, or something.
I know that some will say that artists should dictate how their works should be used exactly, but all the artists I have met do NOT want the same measures and licenses that RIAA dictates. They don’t give a shit if you used their song with your home video — in fact, they like it (I actually asked Tyson just that, Drist‘s singer and front man, last Saturday).
Besides, that’s entertainment we are talking about, and that’s works that’s sold in droves, just like potatoes. No one dictates to me that the patented genetically modified Glykopatata potato must only be eaten in the oven with oregano and onions and no other way. No disrespect meant to artists by this, but people like Prince should get a clue. It’s people like him that drove me to only buy and listen to indie artists the last few months.
Let people live their lives alright. Stop policing every little fucking thing, no matter if you are the government, or RIAA or Sheriff Bob. Rewrite the copyright law if you have to (JBQ claims that “changing” or “adding” to the existing US copyright law is extremely difficult because it’s already bloated — he read it).
Update: Nice article on the current RIAA/major-label problem. At the end of the article the guy suggests 4 things that people should do to fight back, and I am glad I already do all 4 of them. The biggest thing is that I have stopped buying from major labels or from indie labels that are owned by the majors — and I usually buy from CDBaby where most of the profit goes to the artist directly.