scotartt on 1 Aug 2000 01:04:25 -0000

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Re: <nettime> intellectual property, Hollywood style

> I remain fairly unimpressed with all the whingeing by people about
> being closed down, but perhaps the net does hold out some hope for

What I find galling about this whole debate is the insipid polarisation of
views that many of its participants try to force on people. Either you
hate RIAA and all big capitalistic artist-exploiting record corporations
and love Napster/ etc as saviours of artistic freedom or you are in
love with big record corps and despise the blatant copyright theft of
Napster and like. I can dislike record companies AND Napster you know, but
actually I don't hate either ... I dislike BOTH for their worst aspects. 

First thing is; Napster (maybe), (definitely) are just the NEW
RECORD CORPORATIONS. Yes, (not quite as) big, and capitalistic just like
the old ones ... only SMARTER because they found a way to acquire almost
unlimited catalogue without actually bothering to PAY anyone or spend much
promoting individual artists. The second thing is we currently got a molto
imperfect system which pays artists scraps while creaming huge corporate
profits -- but it is always proposed this is replaced with effectively NO
system of paying scraps (that what we live off) and no real mention is
made of corporate profits in this new model (do you think Napster, despite
its lack of a proper business model, is an artist-run charity after all?).
I don't like what's here already, and personally I don't care if people
want to trade INFERIOR copies of my work over the net - after all I offer
in that form already. Yes MP3 is an INFERIOR medium technically to CDs
because it uses 'lossy' compression -- i.e. it THROWS SIGNAL AWAY. Hence I
regard MP3s as being only "demo" quality, so personally I don't care about
their distribution on the net - as long as I am identified as the author
that is.  However the individual artist definitely has a MORAL RIGHT OF
ASSERTION whether such inferior reproductions are allowed or not. If you
want to hear Metallica in its painful fully ugly (in)glory, buy the CD.
They *DO* have the right to assert this, just as a painter could tell a
gallery to hang the real painting not a photo (let alone a bad one) of it.
(And in Australia at least an artist has a legislated 'moral right' to
their work remaining unaltered in this way). 

Personally I am already involved in many different types of alternative
distribution models, but when one wants to tear down what's there already
one should also try to propose some alternative system of management for
musical IP not offer just a lot of hot-air waffle about how eViL the
record corporations are. Musicians already know this - quite a lot of us
face it every waking day. 

Just a thought from a musical artists perspective. 


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