2003 June 7

(entry last updated: 2003-06-07 15:02:44)

  • A nice weekend story from LawMeme: Awestruck Teens Remake Raiders of the Lost Ark, Violate Copyright Law

  • Slashdot: Edison to Hillary Rosen – Parts 3, 4 and 5; a followup to Media Monopoly: Thomas Edison to Hillary Rosen. A discussion around George Ziemann’s series on the historical parallels between the Edison/Hollywood fights at the outset of movies and today’s copyright fights.

    After reading the series, you can check out the WWW site of the North American Phonograph Company, whose reactivation is the basis for the author’s write-up.

    As a writeup, it’s a good first summary of several elements (I have none of the historical background of the movie stories), although I’m going to have to dig up my copy of The Audible Past, which has a faintly different take on the history, particularly the activities of the Bells in this. It is true, however, that Edison had a soft spot in his heart for music recording technologies, as the MP3NewsWire series suggests.

  • Since Dave is recommending experimentation (see the comments) with the NYTimes RSS feed policy, here goes….

    From today’s NYTimes Editorial Observer: Downloading Music Over the Internet Without Feeling Like a Criminal [pdf (belt and suspenders!)]

    The recording industry knew exactly what to make of Napster, calling it theft, plain and simple. Recording artists had a harder time. Many musicians agreed that file swapping was a form of theft, but many of them also argued that their recording contracts were a form of theft, too. At the very least, file swapping became the perfect industry excuse for the prolonged downturn in CD sales, whether it was the real cause or not.

    … In its all-out war against file swapping, the recording industry has done itself a lot of damage. It has alienated its ideal audience — young people who live and breathe music — by being way behind the technological curve and by repeatedly sounding as if its main job was law enforcement rather than selling music. You don’t have to be a 19-year-old college student to sense that there’s something indecent in the concentration of the recording industry over the past decade and in the homogenization of its products.

    Once the iTunes Music Store starts selling CD’s from small, independent labels, it stands a fair chance of increasing competition for the giant labels. The question is whether the giants will know a good thing when they see it and whether they can keep themselves from pressuring Apple to limit its music listings, as well as the freedom of consumers to copy what they download. The success of this service will ultimately depend on keeping it as independent as possible, serving music listeners, for once, instead of only the needs of the recording industry.