Archive for December 20th, 2009

An addendum to my previous post

I found two interesting comments on Slashdot about the Vimeo/EMI situation.

The first comment, by Bedroll:

“As the trend towards Internet Television strengthens the monopolies of the content industry weaken. Quality user generated content is a direct competitor to professionally generated content. The content industry has a long history of using the legal system to ensure that they squash the competition.”

The second comment, by Tepples, brushes off on the fact that many musical compositions are similar, even if not on purpose, and so even by using royalty-free music, ASCAP could fight a potential free media revolution:

“[…] ASCAP will be able to dig up something non-free that was written in the past 95 years and happens to sound like the freely-licensed music, making the free license invalid.”

And this is so true: this year alone there were 100,000 album releases. About 1 million songs. Per year. Which makes it utterly impossible to not be songs out there with the same riffs/melodies. Which makes every musician, or user, potentially liable, especially when the copyright has been extended so far back.

What really made me cry last night though (for real), was reading an excerpt from Larry Lessig’s “Free Culture” book. Please do a search on this page, and start reading from the point that reads “Edwin Howard Armstrong is one of America’s forgotten inventor geniuses“, up to “then stepped out of a thirteenth story window to his death“. This bit shows how new things are shot down by established corporations, and how they use the lawmaking system and the government to do their bidding, and then passing their doings as “normal”. It’s a very good parallelism example for the internet age.

Oh, and I really dislike it when people say “but, that’s the law”, when that copyright law was lobbied by corporations, so it’s not how that law should have been in the first place. The law is the law, and I always try to not break it, but at some point you gotta open your eyes too. Otherwise, you allow the system to fuck you in the ass. And if you don’t have respect for yourself today and you allow the fucking to take place, at least have respect for the children of tomorrow, and fight for a more fair law.

I don’t feel safe even using Creative Commons music anymore for my video projects. There’s nothing stopping ASCAP suing me for a CC song that has a melody similar to a 1960s song that I never heard before. And in this country, everyone is suing every one else for no reason most of the time. Too many lawyers probably, gotta do something with ’em.

I personally feel very pressured in the last few months, on all fronts. From the various creepy small laws that I read on the news (“shave your lawn or go to jail” type of crap), to FTC’s new blogging rules, to warrant-less wiretapping, to religious nuts, the never-ending wars, to the continuous stifling of culture and art. I feel that previously established liberties are now getting repressed, one at a time, slowly but surely. And in my own country, Greece, things are getting worse too.

I kind of feel like leaving civilization and go live in the mountains. With as little influence and dependence from the outside world as possible. Get a few goats, possibly a mule too, and give the rest of the world the finger. I just HATE the way this whole world is ran. I’m disappointed, and I see nothing good in it. The few good bits in it, are just that: too few. Too bad that JBQ doesn’t want to join me.