Feb. 29th, 2008

jackofallgeeks: (Cheesesteak)
So, at about the same time, both Jenny and TechDirt pointed me to This
article. Short story-even-shorter, the music labels that make up the RIAA
aren't sharing with artists any of the millions (billions?) of dollers
they've recieved in lawsuits or settlements, and those artists and their
managers are considering suing their labels if they aren't paid soon.

Jenny said she expected "this might make that little vein in [my] forehead
reserved for the music industry twitch a little." But honestly? I'm not
surprised in the least. It's non-news. Now, if it were noted that the
labels WERE sharing the winnings, THEN I'd be shocked, and maybe even a bit
more sympathetic (less aggressively antagonistic?) for the Labels. But no,
they aren't sharing the money, and that's what I expected -- mostly because
it's been pointed out that the Labels' only interest is making money FROM
bands, not FOR them.

The article has a few lines from industry reps who say things like "we're
trying to determine how to split it," "not all artists were infringed on, so
not all artists deserve a share," "there's not much left after paying legal
fees," and "most of the money has already been dispursed." All fun little
ways of hiding the cash behind their collective back and saying, "money?
What money?" I especially like how they claim to be able to measure who's
being infringed on and how much; they don't know who's infringing, they
don't know who's being infringed on, but they DO know there's money to be
made! If they can just scare enough people into settling, they're golden.

On that point, though, there's an Article today about how
San Francisco law students (under the supervision of law professors) are now
helping real lawyers defend against the RIAA pro bono. So, yay for them.

As a point of fact, and as has been noted here, I really like Mike Masnick's
proposal of more businesses giving away free digital content to promote
themselves, and I think that it could do a lot of good for the music
industry. At the same time, I'm quite happy paying about a buck on a
track-by-track basis for music I know I like (free music just means I can
find more music quicker, and save my money up to go to concerts). But
everything else aside, I want to see the Labels die. They are, I'm
convinced, the worst thing about the music industry today, the root cause of
all the bland pop music and vapid lyrics that get spewed at us these days.
Indie artists aren't all great (though I'd recommend Abney Park (Imagine a happier Cruxshadows) and Psyche
Corp
(Sounds kinda like Rasputina sometimes) as a couple to check out),
but I think they're where most of the really new, creative music is going to
come from and if nothing else they're going to rise or fall based on their
own talent, and they'll keep their own style because no one's going to force
them to sound like 'successful' bands.

So, uhm, yeah. I'm really ranting, aren't I? Maybe that vein's twitching
after all. In closing I'd just like to link to a couple pertinent TechDirt
comments: Record
Labels Silence Musicians
, and Labels
Have Always Screwed Artists
.
jackofallgeeks: (Darkside)
So, if you pay attention to certain news outlets, you'll have heard about
the FISA legislation which is trying to get through our Congress. It has
passed the House of Representatives but is currently stuck in the Senate.
The original law expired earlier this month, and there has been a lot of
pressure to get this new bill through -- though, notably, the contentious
issue is retroactive immunity from lawsuits for Telecoms who cooperated with
the bill for the last couple years.

FISA is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and it's what's responsible
for the warrant-less wiretaps you've probably heard of. I'm not familiar
with the details of it all, but the way it works is that communications from
foreign targets (people in other countries we know or suspect to be
terrorists) can pass through US phone lines, and we're interested in what
they're saying. Now, I imagine these communications can be (1) foreigner in
a foreign land, through the US, to another foreigner in another foreign
land, (2) foreigner in a foreign land to a non-citizen here in the US, or
(3) foreigner in a foreign land to a US citizen here at home. I imagine
there could be a US citizen in a foreign land to someone over here, too, but
I'm pretty sure any of those permutations fall outside the purview of this
law -- and in fact, so does (3), unless I'm mistaken. If they determine
that a US Citizen is involved, they can't listen in without a warrant. Of
course, if the US citizen is talking to a known or suspected terrorist, I
imagine they could get a warrant without much trouble, what with probably
cause and all.

So, all that being said, the immunity would set Telecoms beyond the reach of
the law in cases where they knew a US citizen was involved but kept
listening anyways without a warrant. In other words, a crime was committed
by a corporation against a citizen of the United States (at the behest of
the Government of the United States), and now that Government (or an arm of
it) wants to deny US. Citizens their right to restitution. The point is
that a crime was committed against a US citizen, who is guaranteed
protection from such invasions by the Constitution, and that is unacceptable
regardless of who asked for it or what motivation prompted it.

I think the FISA bill, as I understand it, is a useful tool in staying aware
of and prepared for threats against our nation and her people, and I
encourage it being passed through. But I would rather it NOT be passed at
all than that it be passed with a provision exempting corporations from
their legal culpability to We The People. We ought not sell our rights and
freedoms away for some small sense of security and the illusion of
protection, or else we will have and deserve neither freedom nor security.

Whatever your opinion on FISA, write to your
congressmen
.
jackofallgeeks: (Default)
So, I'm sure none of you care about it nearly as much as I do, but TechDirt
has a
little article
up talking about the differences between Patents,
Copyright, and Trademarks. In short, patents are small monopolies given for
a limited time in exchange for an inventor producing a new non-obvious
invention. Copyrights are automatically given to the creator (patents
require an application) of any content, but applies only to full copies of
that content (it doesn't prevent plagerism). Trademarks are not property
rights at all, in fact, and are a mechanism to protect consumers from
thinking a product is made by one company when it really comes from another.

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jackofallgeeks: (Default)
John Noble

August 2012

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