With rippingspace and time shifting of music and other digital content now being declared illegal bei the RIAA (see my older post here for the links), I wonder: According to this argumentation, would it also be illegal to digitize my CD collection? Like, the whole box and a half of a few hundred CDs, which I bought way before these ultra-restrictive laws even got discussed? When it was still understood that if you bought an album, it belonged to you? At least in the sense that you could use it in whichever way you felt comfortable with? (The exception being, of course, re-selling the content somewhere else.)
“Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.”
Remember those lines, written 10 years ago? Today, the situation is different, and then it isn’t.
Our home, the web has been changing the world – our world, and yours – and still is. While some of you are still the same, we have evolved, got organized, got networked. But today, we want to talk about music and digital culture.
You weary giants of the CD and DVD industry, you who torture us with cell phone ringtones and crappy release windows. We don’t want to get rid of you just for the sake of it. You’re welcome at our party – as long as you know how to behave. This is our party, not yours. You are dependent on us, not the other way around.
Over the last years you’ve been hurting music with your business models from the last century. You’ve been bothering and insulting us with your stupid, so-called Digital Rights Management technologies. You have endangered music itself by trying to force upon us your restrictive laws.
None of this worked, or ever will. But it tought us not to rely on you anymore, and not to listen to you.
You are still stuck in the 20th century.
For decades, you have asked – and expected – us to trust you: To find, develop and produce music and bands. But you let us down. We know the music we like; That we’ll use, remix and mash-up music and movies in ways you can’t even imagine yet; And that we’ll pay the artists for our music, but on our terms.
Just relax and let go. Here are some proposals how to do it better. Maybe you’ve even thought of some of them yourselves:
– Get rid of Digital Rights Management. It doesn’t work, it’s restrictive, and it sucks.
– Cut down on marketing and focus on A&R. If we need to be brainwashed into buying a song, it’s not worth producing it.
– Stop suing music fans. There’s no reason to play rough, we’re all here to have a good time. If we download songs, take it as a compliment: You helped produce a good song. Once the appropriate revenue mechanisms are in place, we’ll pay the artists for their efforts directly.
– Your role has changed. You’re not irreplacably in the center of the music universe or our attention. You won’t be able to sue us into believing that, either. You’re there to help artists publish their songs and to support them. Do that, and do it well. Then you’ll always have a nice and comfy spot among us.
– Help us introduce a music flat fee. Everybody would pay a little for unlimited access to music. There’d be more than enough money to pay the artists their share, and to pay them fairly according to how often a song was downloaded exactly.
There are many more, and we’ll be glad to hear you propose them.
We don’t want to get rid of you: In the past, you’ve done some pretty cool things. But if need be, we will. So change, and stay in the game. Or you won’t be welcome at our party anymore. And once you’re out, you stay out.
So we have an offer for you: Stop fighting against us, against your customers, against your artists. Instead, come over to our party. It’s better for you, for us, for the artists and for music itself.
Only colleague (but not for long) Simon Willison and I have been spending a hell of a lot of time over the last three weeks sitting in a tiny room with lots of whiteboards puzzling over motives for collecting and sharing and – frankly – it’s semi doing my nut…. So late last week, at something like ten in the evening when we were busy fiddling with some mock-ups or scribbles, at the precise moment that the moon passed overhead and the perfect synchronicity of movements sent a beam of light directly into Simon’s brain, he had a moment of divine revelation, channelled our collective enthusiasm and limited brainpower and came up with this:
[A new proposed set of amendments to the US’s loathsome DMCA] would send you to prison for attempting to infringe copyright. It would make it even more illegal to own tools that could be used to remove copy-restrictions, like DVD-ripping software — it could even bust Symantec for making software that removed the Sony rootkit malicious software that the company distributed with its CDs last year:
“This is a concerted effort to escalate Hollywood’s war on America by creating a generation of criminals and sending them off to jail. That’s right: the “Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2006″ (IPPA) would double the authorized prison terms for existing copyright infringement, create a host of new offenses, and establish a division within the FBI to hunt down infringers. The Members of Congress in the pockets of the Hollywood cartels want to divert $20 million a year and FBI agents from fighting real criminals so they can go after people without computers.”