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November 21, 2003

Who Owns What?
Politics, Policy and Popular Sentiment in the Digital Age

Report: Online Music Sales Won't Make Up For CD Declines Sales of online downloadable music are picking up. But a new study says the sales won't make up for the decline in CD sales. "Online analyst Jupiter Media has slashed its estimates for the amount record companies will be able to generate from online sales in 2003 to $800m (£490m). Although the figure refers only to the more developed US market, it spells bad news for record companies hoping to shore up declining CD sales worldwide." The Guardian (UK)07/30/03

Get The (Jazz) Label "Ask a member of the general public what label their favorite musician records for, and they're not likely to know. To many it seems an arcane detail, and in some sense it is. Labels are commonly viewed as a means to an end, as mere conduits rather than shapers of musical culture. We are aware of individual artists but often take for granted the aural and visual worlds that labels create through their catalogs.Today, many believe that the 'golden age' of jazz has passed. But there are probably more jazz labels than ever before. The vast majority are small, independent operations." NewMusicBox 07/03

Recording Industry Threats Don't Deter File-Swappers Music file-swappers seem to be unfazed by recording industry threats of legal action against them. "Just 17% of swappers ages 18 and over say they have cut back on file sharing because of the potential legal consequences, according to a survey released by Jupiter Research at the company's annual Plug.IN digital music conference Monday. And 43% see nothing wrong with online file trading; only 15% say it's wrong." USAToday 07/29/03

Suing For The Music - Two Thousand Years Of Lawsuits If it's really true that 60 million Americans are swapping music files, and the recording industry has issued 900 subpoenas with the intent of suing every file swapper out there, how long will it take to get to all the "pirates?" According to one calculation: 2191.78 years to subpoena each person. The Inquirer 07/28/03

What Becomes A Pirate? The recording industry wants to protect its copyrights and outlaw file-sharing. But file-sharing is a slippery technology that evolves quickly and beats circumvention. "The only solution, some say, is to legitimize the new technology, just as old record-copying technologies have been legalized, and to license file sharing itself, while also offering pay services that are far superior to peer-to-peer networks such as Kazaa. The trouble right now is that technology companies like Kazaa have been trying to get licences for this music. They want to do it legitimately. They want to pay artists. The trouble is that the five multibillion-dollar record companies have refused to give them licences for the past five years..." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 07/29/03

Recording Industry Buys Political Insider We don't want to be cynical, we really don't. But Monday's announcement by the Recording Industry Association of America that its new leader will be US Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's former chief of staff gives us pause at a time when Congress is trying to decide new rules for the digital age and the recording industry is lobbying for laws to keep an old power structure in place. Former RIAA head Hilary Rosen left the job earlier this year. She "had close ties to the Democratic Party, but that turns out to be not so useful now. If we get a new law relating to digital copyright, it will come through Republican-dominated committees." Wired 07/29/03

Recording Industry Goes After Consumers "The RIAA, the Washington trade group that represents the world's biggest record labels, has filed more than 900 subpoenas since June 26 to gather information to file civil lawsuits against hundreds of users of file-sharing programs. Legal experts say this is the first time copyright law has been used to crack down on average consumers. Previously, copyright battles have typically pitted companies against other businesses, or against people who have intentionally tried to make money pirating copyright-protected material." San Francisco Chronicle 07/29/03

Indie Record Stores Continue To Thrive The music industry is in a horrible slump. Really. Just ask any CEO of a big corporate record label or mega-CD chain. But owners of many of the country's independent record stores continue to thrive, and their proprietors say that the big, impersonal chains have no one to blame but themselves. "Without the resources of the big national chains, independent and mom-and-pop stores might seem ill-suited to weather the tough sales market. But free from the big-business mindset of corporate labels and the chain stores beholden to big releases by bigger stars, independent record stores are increasingly in a position to succeed where so many big companies and chains are failing or faltering, finding unique and creative ways to trump the slump." Chicago Tribune 07/27/03

The Radio Clear Channel Can't Touch With the corporate megalith that is the music industry closing ranks around the nation's independent radio stations, it has become increasingly difficult to hear an original mix of truly diverse music anywhere in America. So it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that, as companies like Clear Channel continue to gobble up stations faster than Pac-Man eats dots, the raw and edgy world of college radio is becoming increasingly popular with listeners. Denver Post 07/27/03

Are You On The RIAA's Most-Wanted List? Yeah, yeah, we know. You have a lot of down time at work, and so, for the last couple of years, you've been using your high-speed internet access to download a few hundred of your favorite songs without, technically, paying for them. Now the recording industry says it's hunting down people like you, and you haven't slept in a month wondering if you're headed for a court date. But there's hope: a new web site allows you to plug in your file-sharing username and match it against a list of subpoenas filed by the RIAA. Wired 07/26/03

Playing The Parent Card The new generation of teens and pre-teens are, naturally, more computer-savvy than any previous bunch of kids. And that means that they do a tremendous amount of file-sharing, and they know exactly where to find the free (and illegal) music. Furthermore, they do not appear to be terribly responsive to begging or threats. So the recording industry is trying to get to them in the only way they think might have an effect: they're calling the little pirates' parents. Wired 07/25/03

Universities Seek A Middle Ground On File-Sharing "University officials are working with the music and movie industry to find a peaceful solution to the piracy problem, even as they're fighting a firestorm of subpoenas seeking information on their file-swapping students. The universities are exploring technologies that would control illegal peer-to-peer file sharing. In addition, they are working with digital music and movie companies to offer downloading services tailored to universities." Wired 07/25/03

Downloading's Legal And Profitable Future Not everyone in the record industry views downloading as the apocolyptic end of an era. Peter Jamieson, executive chairman of the British Phonographic Industry, looks at the success of pay-per-song download services and sees, among other things, the potential for the revival of the "singles" chart. Jamieson also believes that, if current trends continue, downloading (the legal kind) could become more popular than CD-buying within five years. BBC 07/24/03

Refusing To Roll Over For The Record Industry One of the recording industry's recent efforts to stem the flow of illegal music downloads on the internet was to issue subpoenas to dozens of American colleges and universities, demanding that the schools turn over the names and addresses of students known to be trading copyrighted material on school servers. But this week, two Boston schools have filed motions to quash the subpoenas, claiming that the industry failed to give the schools a reasonable amount of time to inform their student bodies. One Boston College administrator insists that the motions to quash are not designed to protect students engaged in illegal file trading, but to make sure that the law is followed to the letter. Wired 07/23/03

Spain Gets Tough With File-Swappers. Really Tough. "In what is being touted as the largest legal action of its kind, a Spanish law firm has announced plans to file a copyright-violation complaint against 4,000 individuals who allegedly have swapped illegal files over peer-to-peer networks in that country." The law firm says it will demand the maximum sentence for every software pirate it convicts. That sentence is four years in prison. Wired 07/22/03

All Right, Erik, You Got Us A widely reported story that the rock group Metallica was suing a little-known Canadian band for trademark violation over the use of the chords E and F (in that order) has turned out to be an elaborate hoax by a Canadian satirist and aspiring musician. Erik Ashley got the story (very realistically masquerading as a news item on MTV's web site) past dozens of radio news directors, the online news source Ananova, and (sigh) not one, but two ArtsJournal editors. The beauty of the hoax, of course, is that the story is preposterous, yet, given Metallica's litigious history, entirely plausible as well. No word on whether Metallica plans to sue Ashley for defamation. CNN 07/21/03

RIAA Filing Suits As Fast As Attorneys Can Type The Recording Industry Association of America is filing supoenas as quickly as it can draft them for ISPs, compelling them to turn over names of suspected copyright infringing downloaders. "This should not come as a surprise to anyone. Filing information subpoenas is exactly what we said we'd do a couple of weeks ago when we announced that we were gathering evidence to file lawsuits.' The trade group said it would probably file several hundred lawsuits this summer." Wired 07/18/03

Recording Industry - Our Of Touch With Consumers? Is the recording industry's aggressive attack on music downloaders doomed to fail? "What has emerged through numerous interviews in person and over the phone is the voice of a new generation that says the industry is out of touch and needs to get with the times - stop charging so much for CDs, move its business online where millions of consumers already are, and stop trying to make criminals out of people who love its product." Christian Science Monitor 07/18/03

File Trading Declines After Industry Threats Recording industry get-tough threats to music downloaders seem to be having an impact on the number of people downloading music on the internet. "Kazaa and Morpheus „ two popular file-swapping services „ had 15 percent fewer users during the week ending July 6, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. The decline translates to about 1 million fewer users on Kazaa. About 41,000 fewer users signed on to Morpheus and the iMesh file-sharing service that week." Washington Post 07/15/03

Lament For Big Music Traditional big recording companies are in a tough way these days. They're getting tougher on consumers who illegally copy their music. But they're also going after government to make tougher laws. Trouble is, they're becoming so broke, finding a solution they can afford becomes tougher and tougher...The Guardian (UK) 07/14/03

Recording Out Of The Mainstream The digital music-copying phenomenon isn't hurting music outside the big pop genres. Indeed, the ability of small do-it-yourselfers has been a blessing. "Now, a substantive majority of music that merits repeated listening„whether classical, jazz, or even alternative rock and so-called world music (another meaningless genre name), is being released only on independent labels. And, ironically, many important back-catalog items once issued by the majors are only available now on independent label imprints, which these labels have painstakingly licensed from the majors." NewMusicBox 07/03

Music - Better On Your Own Recording labels have generally been ruthless in dropping artists that haven't sold as well as expected. Now the tables are being turned. "These days, with the entire music biz in flux, a growing number of major-label artists, from Pearl Jam to Natalie Merchant to Jimmy Buffett, are biting the hand that doesn't feed them enough. They're finding that they can start their own record labels and do just fine outside the big-label structure, that going independent and using technology to their advantage can pay off both financially and creatively." Denver Post 07/13/03

Download Nation: We Boost Music Sales A new survey reports that music downloaders actually buy more music than non-downloaders... "A total of 91 per cent of file-sharers download individual tracks, but more than two-thirds go on to buy the album, with even the heaviest downloaders saying they like to own real CDs. Only half of people who download music illegally from the internet believe they are doing something morally wrong. Almost half of the people who responded to the survey were "heavy downloaders" who obtained more than 100 tracks. However, surprisingly, 34 per cent of them said they were buying more music than ever before." The Scotsman 07/10/03

New Life For Album Cover Art? Since the near-demise of the vinyl LP, consumers and critics alike have lamented the concomitant death of the art of the album cover. But the connection between the contents of an album and its packaging may be making a comeback. "Computer graphics are making album covers -- some of them, anyway -- all the more intriguing, even in the age of the criminally scaled- down cover art of CDs. An album cover has no business not being a work of art." Still, with single-song downloads seeming to be the wave of the future, how can album art possibly adapt? San Francisco Chronicle 07/10/03

Look, Another Windmill To Tilt At! The record industry is apparently not yet tired of its seemingly unending quest to rid the world of already-defunct file-trading services. The latest already-dead victim: Puretunes, an online service that offered users unlimited song downloads for a flat fee. Puretunes, which was based in Madrid, lasted about three weeks, then shut down without explanation, but the industry wants blood, anyway, suing the owners of the service in a Washington court. Los Angeles Times 07/10/03

40% of CDs Are Illegal The global market for illicit copies of CDs has exploded, according to a new report from the record industry, and "the illegal music market is now worth $4.6 billion globally." New technologies have made it possible - and simple - to copy not only the contents of a traditional CD, but the cover art and liner notes as well, and the industry estimates that, for the first time, the number of illegal CDs in existence has topped a billion. According to the report, two of every five CDs sold are illegal copies, often without the knowledge of the buyer, and there is no end in sight. BBC 07/10/03

Downloading Helps, Not Hurts, Album Sales? A new survey conducted by a market research company suggests that people who illegally download music online are more likely to buy recorded music later. "The survey's findings oppose the music industry's long-standing argument that internet downloading is responsible for a slump in CD sales, with album sales falling 5% in the last year... Asked why they download music, the respondents were most likely to say it was 'to check out music I've heard about but not listened to yet' (75%) and 'to help me decide whether to buy the CD' (66%)." The recording industry has a survey of its own, and claims that 65% of respondents download music 'because it's free.' BBC 07/09/03

Yesterdays Are Made Of... Where did Paul McCartney get the tune for "Yesterday"? "The origins of 'Yesterday', which has been recorded by more than 2,000 artists and played on the radio more than six million times, has always been a mystery - not least to McCartney himself. He woke up in his flat in London in May 1965 with the song in his head. He realized that he might have borrowed the arrangement from another song and asked friends if they could suggest any similar tunes. They convinced him it was his and that it had come to him in a dream. Now musicologists have identified echoes of Answer Me, the 1953 U.K. hit for both Frankie Laine and David Whitfield, which was later covered by Cole." Calgary Herald (Times of London) 07/06/03

State of the Music Industry: The Public View Participants in a large interactive panel discussion on the future of the British music industry believe that the pop single is on its way out, that the talent pool has been overshadowed by the bland, lifeless, mediocre pop stemming from reality TV shows, and that the 'dance culture' popular among British youth has created a generation which is much less likely to buy traditional albums at all. Singer Beverly Knight summed up the feelings of many in the discussion: "Back in the day the chances were that unless it was a novelty record, it was a really good song. It's hard to sit at home and watch bands you know have been put together by a TV show. It's mediocrity dressed up as greatness." BBC 07/03/03

But CDs Are Still $18, Hmm? Who would have thought that a 20-cent price cut could make such a difference? In the month since the (legal) digital music service Listen.com cut the price of its downloads from 99 cents to 79 cents, it has nearly doubled the number of songs it sold. The price cut was initially a response to the much-ballyhooed new download service offered by Apple, but Listen.com (which is owned by RealNetworks) wound up with 11 million songs downloaded from its servers in the month of June. Wired 07/02/03

The New Collectible: CD's Vinyl records have been collectors' items for years. But CDs? "Although a few die-hard vinyl specialists will complain bitterly about the fact, the silver disc has now established a significant place within the collectorsÍ arena. A large number of collectable CD albums and singles are included in the listings, and while their values cannot compete in general with those of the most collectable vinyl items, the fact they are there at all is a demonstration of the way which the market for collectable recorded music is continuing to develop." The Scotsman 07/01/03

File-Traders Fight Back So the recording industry is going to track down music downloaders and sue them? Not for long. Software developers have been working away to make users of the file-sharing services anonymous... "Any technology that allows people to communicate is a step in the right direction," Soto said. "This isn't just about exchanging music, this is about the right to create technology and enjoy the right to privacy." Wired 07/01/03

Defiant Downloaders The recording industry says it will begin prosecuting music downloaders who violate copyright. But some users are defiant. "I don't think they'll get much money from us. I don't see it being enforceable. They threaten us, but we just find a different program, and other computer savvy kids will find new programs. It's an empty threat. I don't consider it a big deal. Sometimes I only like one or two songs and I'm not going to buy an entire CD for that song." Miami Herald 06/30/03

Music From Outside "So what exactly is Outsider Music? You might as well ask, "What is Outsider Art?" In a field occupied by a dozen or so jostling factions, the overall spectrum remains bewilderingly inclusive. Like its more closely monitored visual counterpart, O.M. practitioners range from the infantile to the institutionally committed - almost anything qualifies. Outsider music includes all manner of incompetent but sincere recordings, music by the mentally challenged, industry rejects, eccentrics, singing celebrities, lovable oddballs, grandiose statements, etc."

The Bad Bad Business Of Music "I know that the British music industry is in crisis. You know that the British music industry is in crisis. My parents - whose interest in music is so profound that they have now owned a CD player for 15 years without ever learning how to use it - know that the British music industry is in crisis." But sitting around whining about it solves nothing. The music industry is in crisis because of a series of bad business decisions and an inability to change with a changing world. The Guardian (UK) 06/27/03

Music Industry - Steps Behind The music recording industry is chasing consumers to punish them for downloading music. But perhaps it's because the industry has not kept up with what consumers want. "The problem for the industry is: Who makes the money in the future? The people who are making the money now are much less interested in making these changes. It is not an industry that has had to change much. Traditionally the music industry has been about selling product on a piece of plastic. The industry has been clinging to CDs for too long." BBC 06/25/03

Recording Industry To Hunt Down Swappers, Demand Big Bucks The Recording Industry Association of America wants to go after music file-swappers and fine them - demanding $150,000 from each. "The organisation says it wants to track down the heaviest users of song-swapping services, and then sue them for thousands of dollars in damages. 'We're going to begin taking names and preparing lawsuits against peer-to-peer network users who are illegally making available a substantial number of music files to millions of other computer users'." BBC 06/25/03

You Talkin' To Me? No, Seriously, Are You? With the recording industry threatening to begin suing the biggest file-swappers, millions of users of file trading services like Kazaa and Morpheus are wondering just how many downloads qualifies as lawsuit-worthy. And that, of course, is exactly what the RIAA wants. "The intent is to scare everyone from prototypical pirates who share hundreds of ripped CDs through T-1 lines to teens who trade a handful of pop tunes. Still, the heaviest sharers are a distinct bunch relatively easy to pick out in a crowd." Wired 06/26/03

What Happened To The "Better" Music Festival? A music festival at New Jersey's Giants Stadium that was "supposed to be a weekend to redefine the music festival - replacing Coca-Cola banners with fan art and teen idols with musicians who actually write their own music - collapsed into 12 hours of 'put up with it or leave.' What happened to the celebration of art and nature, to the notion that exposure to new music could carry a show? Why had Field Day, with events and a lineup that had the world talking, dwindled to an audience of 20-somethings just kicking around until Radiohead came out to play?" Says one fan: "Our modern bureaucratic society makes it impossible to have large gatherings of any type. With the current required logistics, anything that even gets off the ground is immediately tainted with falsehood because of the built-in compromise." Christian Science Monitor 06/20/03

Stop Giving Us Those Made-up Stars Album sales in the UK fell by 4% in 2002 and music sales dropped by 13% in the first quarter of 2003. What's the cause? Some blame music downloading. But others blame recording companies who manufacture stars rather than creating artists. "Economically it's much easier for a record company to sign one pretty young male or female, give them some songs, put them out there, and get a very fast return on their investment." BBC 06/18/03

Muzak For The Hipster Crowd Apple's celebrated new MP3 player, the iPod, is making waves throughout the music industry, and in some very unlikely corners of capitalist society, as well. "Instead of piping bland background music over tinny speakers, enterprising music promoters are loading hundreds of hours of hip tunes onto iPods and renting them to restaurants, nightspots, clothing boutiques and hair salons." The enterprise is giving independent musicians a chance to be heard by a larger audience than they would ordinarily have access to, and clients of the new service are thrilled to be getting something other than the typical Muzak. Wired 06/18/03

Who Makes Money From Music Sales Even at 99 cents a song for online music downloads, there's lots of money to be made selling music. So how big a cut do artists get at this rate? Try 12 percent, on average. Here's a breakdown of who gets what cut when you buy recorded music. Business 2.0 06/16/03

Recording Industry Beginning To See Value Of Downloading Apple's iTunes has been a big success so far. "And because of the store's early success - more than 3 million songs sold in the first month after it opened April 28 - other technology giants like Microsoft, America Online, Yahoo and Amazon.com are considering similar ventures. Record executives believe they are finally on the right track." San Francisco Chronicle 06/16/03

Glennon: Is Rock Music Dying? "Though it gives me no joy whatsoever to say it, I've become certain that rock is in its last days. And I've started to believe that the subgenre that appears on the surface to offer rock its best hope for a full recovery is actually nothing more than a sign that death is nearer than anyone had thought. I've begun to believe that the far-reaching and seemingly endlessly expansive subgenre of rock-based experimental music is simply a function of the sickly old art form examining its life, noting the many things it might have been (in addition and, often, in opposition to the many things it actually has been), exploring each of them to the extent it's capable, sighing at the thought of some missed opportunities, perhaps even registering slight pangs of regret for what it did instead (prog-rock, perhaps, or death metal, and, of course, Steely Dan)." Valley Advocate (Massachusetts) 06/12/03

Pop's New Corporate Naughty "It is hard not to escape the impression that pop is developing a bad attitude." But it is a bad-attitude facade fronting for "big-budget, marketing-led operations put together by management, production and songwriting teams. In other words, this is just mainstream manufactured pop in a less parent-friendly guise. After a decade of squeaky-clean boy bands and girls-next-door, pop has rediscovered the joys of rebellion." The Telegraph (UK) 06/12/03

Mobile Phones - Your Music Here "With sales of CDs on a three-year slide, the music industry sees mobile phones as powerful outlets for promoting artists and distributing music for profit - something it failed to do in the early days of Internet music-swapping. In recent months, recording labels have entered deals with wireless carriers and other companies. The music companies are selling rights to their musicians' recordings and images for use in screen savers, digital images and song snippets that are then sold to mobile phone users." National Post (Canada) 06/04/03

The End Of Music As Object? "I believe the era in which music is treated as an almost fetishistic object of desire is coming to an end. Not for me, perhaps, even though I have been busy recently uploading my entire music collection to my computer, clearing acres of valuable shelf-space by transforming stacks of CDs (never the most beloved format, with their easily cracked plastic boxes, tiny covers and tatty booklets full of microscopic print) into digital sound files on a kind of virtual juke box. And quite possibly it is not yet over for you, either, certainly if you grew up in the vinyl era and have developed a soft spot for albums with distinct identities, the running order of songs identified on the sleeve, just as the artist intended. But it is a very different situation for the teenage students..." The Telegraph (UK) 06/05/03

RIAA Continues Its Crusade "The recording industry is playing an old song: It has filed a new copyright-infringement suit against Streamcast, makers of the popular Morpheus file-sharing service. The suit involves a Web radio service never launched by Streamcast." Streamcast's chief exec "called the recording companies 'sore losers' following U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson's ruling in a separate copyright lawsuit in Los Angeles against Streamcast Networks." The new lawsuit is part of an ongoing battle by the industry to shut down companies which enable illegal file-sharing. Wired 06/04/03

Musicians Alarmed Over Media Consolidation "Musicians of all stripes are starting to recognize that the galloping consolidation of American media - especially in radio, where most Americans were first introduced to their favorite songs - has reduced the ability of recording artists to take the risks that reshape our consciousness, to explore new ideas and new sounds and, ultimately, to be heard." And musicians are alarmed by proposeals for even more deregulation They've sent a letter to the FCC to protest. The "letter from some of the best-known musicians in the U.S. is the latest sign of the broad opposition that rule changes being considered by the FCC - which would allow one company to own newspapers, television and radio in the same town, and which would allow more consolidation of media ownership on the local and national levels." The Nation 05/04/03

The Disaster That Is The Digital Millennium Copyright Act "Five years after it was enacted, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is living up to critics' worst fears. The antipiracy law has become a broad legal cudgel that's wielded against legitimate reapplications of intellectual property, from mix CDs to off-brand toner cartridges. Representative Rick Boucher (D-Virginia) has written the Digital Media Consumer Rights Act (HR 107), which would make it legal to, among other things, create an archival copy of a CD or DVD. Good fix for a bad law - but why not just blow up the DMCA instead?" Wired 04/28/03

An Older Appreciation Of Music You might think - given the youth-obsession of marketers, that music buyers are almost all in their 20s. Far from it. "The most powerful record buying bloc in America is made up of people over 40. And they're buying a wide variety of music - from newcomers such as Norah Jones and John Mayer, to new work by veteran artists such as James Taylor and Bruce Springsteen. There's more to the story than Baby Boomers flexing their demographic muscles yet again, though America's 81 million 35-to-54-year-olds do outnumber the country's 75 million 15-to-34-year-olds, according to 2000 Census figures. Boomers not only have the critical mass and the cash, they also have an entirely different relationship to music than young people do." Chicago Tribune 03/30/03

The Price Is Right? Wrong? Who Knows The price of something rarely has to do with how much it costs to make it. Setting prices is a complicated psychological game. "Anyone who sells anything knows that price is the pivot of business, the ultimate leverage. If you can raise prices - even a bit - you can increase profits dramatically. If you can't raise prices, you feel like your business is struggling, regardless of what is happening with cost, quality, or service. Meanwhile, anyone who buys anything knows that almost nothing has a single price anymore. Want to know the price of something? Well, you get back a series of questions: Who are you? How long have you been a customer? How much are you buying? How good are you at unblinking negotiation? Did you bring your frequent-shopper card?" FastCompany Issue 68

Stifling Creativity - Control Concern "How does an economy best promote innovation? Do patents and copyrights nurture or stifle it? Have we gone too far in protecting intellectual property? In a paper that has gained wide attention (and caught serious flak) for challenging the conventional wisdom, economists Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine answer the final question with a resounding yes. Copyrights, patents, and similar government-granted rights serve only to reinforce monopoly control, with its attendant damages of inefficiently high prices, low quantities, and stifled future innovation, they write." Reason 02/20/03

Can 50 Million Music Downloaders Be Wrong? A recording company executive says his industry must change its attitudes about consumers trading music files or else their business will die. As Thomas Jefferson wrote: "If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it." Salon 02/01/03

A Radical Proposal - Let's Cut Copyright Terms Back Long copyrights are choking creativity, and make no sense as incentives to further creativity. "The flood of free content on the internet has shown that most creators do not need incentives that stretch across generations. To reward those who can attract a paying audience, and the firms that support them, much shorter copyrights would be enough. The 14-year term of the original 18th-century British and American copyright laws, renewable once, might be a good place to start." The Economist 01/23/03

Putting The NY Public Library On The Web The New York Public Library is testing a database that will put images of much of its collection online. "At its inception, the Image Gate database contains approximately 80,000 images spanning a wide range of subjects. This number will grow as The Library digitizes more images; this phased rollout will end in 2004, when the site will include more than 600,000 images." New York Public Library 01/03

Declaration Of Dependence Much of the history of the world has been the story of struggle against the powers that be, a fight for independence. But artists can no longer delude themselves into thinking they are independent - at least not if they want to be successful. "She and he calculate, measure and double-guess their art's compatibility with the rigid rules of the distribution of art, which dictate that art should be packaged in novelty and product-recognition or name-recognition, regardless of the esthetics or ideology represented in it..." ArtKrush 01/03

Pocket Guide To The Intellectual Property Wars Having trouble sorting through competing claims in the intellectual property wars? The Electronic Frontier Foundation issues a report called "Unintended Consequences" that documents the harm to the public interest since passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998. Among the documentation are examples of the chilling of free speech and scientific research, jeopardization of fair use, and the choking of competition and innovation." Electronic Frontier Foundation 01/03

A Great Threat To Modern Culture "The current artistic culture, which is replete with references, borrowings and parody, has collided with a corporate and legal culture that is bent on protecting intellectual property. If Andy Warhol were working today, he would be facing litigation from Campbell's soup, Church & Dwight (the makers of Brillo pads) and every corporation whose logo he appropriated. 'Virtually all art builds on previous work, either overtly or covertly'." Los Angeles Times (Newsday) 01/08/03

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