Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Legal Justification for House Music and other remixes/re-makes

Electronic music largely consists of original content. However, some electronic music, especially House Music, consists of remixes of older material -- like taking a Led Zeppelin sample and working some nifty bass, drum and effects around it at 122 beats per minute to make a slamming dance number that activates the "hey, I know this song!" centers of the brains of dancefloor denizens.

Many such releases, however, are called White Labels, because their producers don't print any release information on the record's physical paper label, for fear of prosecution by the RIAA (the legal arm of the recording industry). These records are simply printed up, distributed to record stores on the down-low, and sold to DJs who are allowed to listen to the records in the store to see if they fit the vibe that they're looking to purchase and play. While white labels are cool, and are a staple of the underground music scene, they also implicitly represent a reaction to stifling legal practices that may themselves be on shaky legal ground.

I'd like to propose that the entire legal justification for suing music producers who sample copyrighted material should be in question.

According to the United States Supreme Court's decision in Fogerty v. Fantasy, quoted by Judge West:

We reiterated this theme in Feist Publications, Inc. v. Rural Telephone Service Co., 499 U.S. 340, 349-350 (1991), where we said:

"The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but `[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.' To this end, copyright assures authors the right to their original expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work." .......
Because copyright law ultimately serves the purpose of enriching the general public through access to creative works, it is peculiarly important that the boundaries of copyright law be demarcated as clearly as possible. To that end, defendants who seek to advance a variety of meritorious copyright defenses should be encouraged to litigate them to the same extent that plaintiffs are encouraged to litigate meritorious claims of infringement. In the case before us, the successful defense of "The Old Man Down the Road" increased public exposure to a musical work that could, as a result, lead to further creative pieces. Thus a successful defense of a copyright infringement action may further the policies of the Copyright Act every bit as much as a successful prosecution of an infringement claim by the holder of a copyright.

This decision would appear to indicate that, by "promoting the Progress of Science and Useful Arts," house music remixes of other types of music should be perfectly legal, and indeed encouraged, for they expose new audiences to older art forms, as well as build on the progress made in those earlier art forms in new and different ways, expressing a part of the original concept in new and different ways that may elicit new and difference responses by the public to a musical work, and in turn lead to further creative pieces.

Food for thought, and hopefully inspiration to house (and other electronic) music producers everywhere who seek to re-interpret music originally written and recorded by others in new and different ways!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Nuclear Attack on Portland, Martial Law & Dictatorship: Is it too late?

Conspiracy theories are usually spread after something bad happens, to explain why it happened when the official explanation seems to be lacking.

But right now, the Internet is swirling with reports of a different nature:

That the U.S. government may be planning an "exercise" involving a nuclear attack on Portland, OR -- and that, more critically, this may become a "false flag" attack, where the very thing being studied as a part of the exercise, actually happens because it is the last thing that people expect to actually happen.

Naturally, those Portland residents who have heard about this plan are keeping a close eye out for any additional information they can find. What is known is that the operation is planned for August 20-24th. Though the military insists that the exercise will only involve computer simulations, this story is unlikely.

According to Captain Eric H. May, Special Military Correspondent, on July 20, 2007, Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, said: "Whether authentic or orchestrated, an attack will activate Bush's new executive orders [NSPD-51], which create a dictatorial police state in event of national emergency."

So, why not dispense with Portland, which the Bushes have always hated (Bush Senior called it "Little Beirut" after meeting rather virulent protesters there during the first Gulf War), and receive an opportunity to declare martial law and turn a stolen presidency into a dictatorship? It's a two-fer!!

I'll keep this post short, so let me just conclude with this:

This plan will only succeed if we go along with it.

So don't go down easy. Call in to every radio and T.V. show that allows callers; write to your local newspaper; post a blog; repeat. Don't rally in the streets, protests can be used as an excuse to declare martial law. Use phone trees if you need to, but get the word out.

Communication and information dissemination is the only way to prevent this, and the information obviously needs to spread further and wider than just within the Portland region -- so make sure it gets to your friends and relatives in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris and London, too.

And if this month comes and goes and Portland is still on the map (and in one piece), we will have succeeded, for now. God, I do hope this all is just a computer exercise and all of the rest of this is just conspiracy theory... but given the recent track record of the Amerikkkan government, I just can't be so sure anymore.