As the Rolling Stones began their tour while welching on the more than quarter of a million dollar deal they made with my Friend, I started this e-Blogazine journal to document some of my experience of the fallout, and to create a forum for discussion and resources to reform the Music Industry. May Artists, Musicians, and Free People everywhere find it useful.
Got Something to say? Are You a Musician, Artist, or Person with an opinion about the Music industry, music downloads, contracts or royalties? Are You concerned about the RIAA and other industries' assault on our cyber-Freedoms? Copyright and Intellectual Property law? Well?
According to this item from Slashdot, Sony shipped Switchfoot's new CD "Nothing is Sound" with copy protection, enraging thousands of IPod Users. The Band offers these instructions for getting around this and ripping their CD onto PC's.
Here's what Tim Foreman said:
Hello friends, my heart is heavy with this whole copy-protection thing. Many PC users have posted problems that they have had importing the new songs (regular disc only, not the dual disc) into programs such as Itunes. Let me first say that as a musician AND as a music fan, I agree with the frustration that has been expressed. We were horrified when we first heard about the new copy-protection policy that is being implemented by most major labels, including Sony (ours), and immediately looked into all of our options for removing this from our new album. Unfortunately, this is the new policy for all new major releases from these record companies. It is heartbreaking to see our blood, sweat, and tears over the past 2 years blurred by the confusion and frustration surrounding this new technology. It is also unfortunate when bands such as ourselves, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, etc... (just a few of the new releases with copy protection) are the target of this criticism, when there is no possible way to avoid this new industry policy.
For mac users these songs should import seamlessly. We are told that itunes is coming out with a new version for PC users in early November that will be compatible with all of these new CD's but in the meantime it's frustrating for all of us. That said, there are a number of solutions (as is always the case with these types of things) for importing the CD into your itunes and ipod. We have compiled some of the easier ways below. I feel like as a band and as listeners, we've all been through a lot together over the past ten years, and we refuse to allow corporate policy to taint the family we've developed together. We deeply regret that there exists the need for any of our listeners to spend more than 30 seconds importing our music, but we're asking as friends and partners in this journey together to spend the extra 10 minutes that it takes to import these songs, which we think you'll agree to be our finest collection of songs yet. As a band, we've always been known for having the best fans in the world and I know that will continue for years to come. A month from now, I hope to be singing these songs together at a show, and the extra time spent importing the music will perhaps be forgotten, or at least forgiven. Thank you for your understanding and the continued kindness that you have always shown for five dreamers from San Diego, we love you guys,
A) If you're a mac user, or you have access to a mac, or you purchased the dual disc, you should have no problems... simply import the songs the same way as you always do.
B) If you're a PC user, and you haven't yet tried to import the the disk yet, download and install a free program called CDEX from http://cdexos.sourceforge.net/downloads.php. Now hold down the shift button while inserting the switchfoot CD (this disables the auto-run feature on the CD). Make sure that you hold it down until you are sure that nothing has run (maybe 60 seconds). Once the CD is loaded without auto-running it's software, open the CDEX program, and select tracks 1-12 (Lonely Nation-Daisy), excluding data tracks 13 and 14. THen select the top icon on the right side of the program "Extract CD tracks to WAV files". THis will extract them to your mymusic folder. Open iTunes and drag the .wav files you created into your itunes library, and you're done, and free to convert the songs into mp3, or whatever format you wish. (If you've already tried to import another copy protected CD like Foo Fighters, etc..., you may already have the protection software installed on your computer, and should go to plan C.
C) If you're a PC user, and you've already tried to import the the disk and accepted the auto-run installation, or don't mind accepting the auto-run installation, place the CD into your computer and allow the Sony BM audio player on the CD to automatically start. If the player software does not automatically start, open your Windows Explorer. Locate and select the drive letter for your CD drive. On the disc you will find either a file named LaunchCD.exe or Autorun.exe. Double-click this file to manually start the player.
Once the Sony BMG player application has been launched and the End User License Agreement has been accepted, you can click the Copy Songs button on the top menu.
Follow the instructions to copy the secure Windows Media Files (WMA) to your PC. Make a note of where you are copying the songs to, you will need to get to these secure Windows Media Files in the next steps.
Once the WMA files are on your PC you can open and listen to the songs with Windows Media Player 9.0 or higher (or another fully compatible player that can playback secure WMA files, such as MusicMatch, RealPlayer, and Winamp by dragging them from wherever you saved them into Windows media player. Once they are in the Windows media player playlist you can burn the songs to a standard Audio CD by right clicking on the songs and selecting "add songs to burn list." You can then burn the songs to a standard Audio CD. (Please note that in order to burn the files, you will need to upgrade to, or already have, Windows Media Player 9 or 10, which can be downloaded for free at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/default.aspx )
Once the standard Audio CD has been created, place this copied CD back into your computer and open iTunes. iTunes can now rip the songs as you would any normal audio CD.
This message has been edited. Last edited by: Tim Foreman, 16 September 2005 11:07 PM
That's cool. It would be even better if Sony had not placed the obstacle of copy protection in the way of People at all.
"There is no Maginot Line of the brain." - Norbert Weiner, Cybernetics
Quite by accident I found this story while seaching for links to the Democracy Wall, to which we are giving a makeover. The altavista search was for "links:http://books.dreambook.com/vead/tiananmen.html", and this link was on page 2 of the results.
Actually, this article was extracted from a submission to an O'Reilly P2P Conference in Washington, D.C, in the spring of 2001. I never made the conference, the submission was late and I was too broke to go anyway. But I'm glad that some of the ideas in it made it out onto the web. Here's what they took to publish. --dcm
Electronic Economy - Just Getting Started
By David C. Manchester
"There is no Maginot Line of the brain." - Norbert Weiner, Cybernetics
For all the talk and hype about and the e-economy, e-this and e-that, it should be observed that the truly electronic economy has yet to begin.
I say this because microelectronic data processing, the CPU on a chip, the development of open standards that permit true cross-platform interoperability, GNU Free Software, and Open Source marketing *each* represent significant inflection points in the dynamics of the world's market economies.
What do I mean by "significant inflection points?" With the advent of each, the phase-space -- to borrow a term from nonlinear dynamics -- of the economy expanded by at least an order of magnitude.
H. Marshall McLuhan observed that with each new media technology, all previous media formats become "content." By this reasoning, inventing and using computers in the 1950s and '60s externalized manual bookkeeping and economic accounting practices off the pages of paper ledgers and into electronic pulses.
By speeding our transactions to the microelectronic speeds of micro- and nanoseconds, the phase-space of our economy expanded enormously.
Of course, that's an understatement, considering that a nanosecond is to one second as one second is to *thirty years.* Moreover, this acceleration was accompanied by the off-loading of the financial transactions themselves to the new media: electric pulses, bits, 1's and 0's.
Considering these facts, it's a pretty easy argument to make that using computers for economic accounting transactions sped things up so much that it allowed the world economy to grow bigger faster.
McLuhan also alluded to the fact that with each new media, an individual's relation to the collective Culture of Man changes. That's what I mean by "inflection point."
The rapid emergence of the CPU in the 1970s and the PC market in the 1980s were further inflection points. Concentrating the functions of a computing "system" on a single chip made it a foregone conclusion that there would be rapid market expansion in the 1980s.
Despite arguments to the contrary, Bill Gates had very little to do with it, except to act as a brake on such expansion through coercive and exclusive per-processor licensing arrangements -- hardly "agreements" -- with original equipment manufacturers and PC makers.
The phase-space of the information technology business sector vastly increased with the release of the Altair kit in the mid-'70s, the Imsai, and Apple's openly published slot pinout assignments.
With Microelectronics, the CPU and the expansion of PC markets despite Microsoft, the world's free-market economies passed through big inflection points, which expanded the possible sizes of market economies through having bigger and faster phase-spaces for achievement, transactions and further invention. Each of these events also qualifies, in my opinion, as a new medium.
From Computers to Content
Computer systems were a new medium to which the true "old" legacy economy became "content." CPUs on a single chip made possible vast new spaces for individual developer achievement, with developers in garage-labs all over the world creating the modern PC industry, creating add-on cards for the Apple II and IBM PC, and so forth.
Affordable PCs made it possible for individuals to play on a much more level field of achievement, with the CPU being the "content" palette of the emerging PC-media. With each inflection point, the preceding media became "content." And the economy expanded. With each inflection point, the individual human being's relation to the community changed.
I was privileged to attend Linux Expo 4 at Duke University and hear Eric Raymond discuss his "Homesteading the Noosphere." He talked about "staking out" areas of work and contributing code to projects, and he likened the hacker community to a gift economy. The more an individual contributed, the more gift-mojo he accumulated.
This emerging economy we could liken in some ways to a gift economy, where gift-mojo status is the coin of the realm. The MPAA, the RIAA and hordes of intellectual property and copyright lawyers want to shovel their arguments against this tide. In the process, they've demonstrated that a human's freedom to share, assemble and cooperate takes a back seat to their priorities.
From the leaked Halloween Documents to the MPAA's efforts to suppress DeCSS, it has become clear: These forces have no way forward, and they have no vision of the future for the global economy except the suppression of the freedom to assemble, cooperate, compete freely and share.
Feedback to Feed-Forward
We are moving from a payback economy to a pay-forward one. Soon we will have automated most of the jobs people do to make a living. What kind of world will we have when a scant percent of humanity owns 90 percent of everything?
What will the rest of humanity do? We will leave them behind..
Infoanarchy has this item from the International Herald Tribune (IHT) about China and music piracy. The IHT piece reminds me of my days as an army journalist: Decide what story you want to write, then assign a reporter to go out and get the quotes to support it. The slant is negative, and is obviously designed as an RIAA/Asia-Warner puff-piece against file-sharing and piracy.
This article has quotes from one disillusioned Musician, Wang Lee Hom:
"Pirates have already killed China's music industry dead," Wang said. "It frustrates my life and destroys China's creative future."
Also, IHC quotes music industry executives:
‘‘There is no income from the royalties, so artists in China record single songs for radio play instead of albums for consumers...Stars need to look elsewhere to finance the rock-star lifestyle.’’ - Lachie Rutherford, President, Warner Music Asia-Pacific.
‘‘The financial effect is the same for record companies whether people get illegal compact disks for $1 on the street in China or download a song for free from the Internet in Europe.’’ -Jay Berman, Chairman and CEOof the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (a London-based group of 1,500 record companies.)
The IHC is reporting as "news" that what the Grateful Dead did will become the "new" paradigm: making money from touring and merchandise sales. Well, duh!
The IHT must be sort of like that competing paper in the Michael Keaton movie "The Paper" that "covered the world." Remember when the editor of that stuffed shirt publication called Keaton and said that for stealing a news item off of his desk he had blown his chance to "cover the world?"
Keaton's reply: "Yeah? Well I don't give a F***, and you know why? Because I don't live in the F***ing world, I live in New York City!" and slams down the phone.
Anyway, it's worth a look. Gives an idea of the strategy the World Trade Organisation is likely to take on music and "piracy" and file-sharing.
Oh, and by the way, Google bought Blogger. Well actually, they bought Pyra Labs. Both. uh, here's Dan Gilmor's coverage here, Google Weblog's coverage here, and straight from the horse's mouth, Evan Willam's blog entry about it here.
The previous item to this in the Google Weblog deserves attention, too. It seems Google gives everybody a permanent cookie to identify them and track all of their searches for all time. Let's get'em to stop.
One of the most powerful, comprehensive, and well articulated articles I have seen recently on the reasons that lead to the ultimate triumph of file sharing is John and Ben Snyder's "Embrace File Sharing or Die". Snyder is president of Artist House Records, a board member of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), and a 32-time Grammy nominee.
John and Ben hit the bottom line..."It could be argued that MP3s are the greatest marketing tool ever to come along for the music industry. If your music is not being downloaded, then you're in trouble. If you can't give it away, you certainly can't sell it."
Definietly worth a read, a close read, and a re-read. In fact, it's Stoned Out Loud's Featured Article. Click the Headline above or the link in the box at the left to go to the printer friendly version all on one page, the logo to the upper right for the image-rich Salon e-zine treatment (replete with advertising :-) ).
And while Your at Salon, be sure to catch Farhad Manjoo's piece, "AOL's Jekyll and Hyde act" on the ever-schizoid AOL and their conspicuous silence regarding a judge's ordering Verizon to shred the Constitutional Rights of and disclose the identity of a Kazaa User so that the RIAA could go after them.
In Manjoo's (edited) words, "The RIAA's efforts to obtain ... identity has ballooned into a major courtroom battle over the scope of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act...[This] litigation has split the ranks of Internet service providers and content companies: ISPs, who say they worry about their subscribers' privacy, have generally sided with Verizon, while copyright holders have supported the RIAA.
"...stuck in the middle ... is a firm that is both a huge copyright holder as well as a huge Internet company -- in fact,... the leading company in each industry.... a combination that has left the company pretty much speechless on a case that could determine the privacy rights of its more than 30 million subscribers, not to mention the rest of us. While other ISPs are running scared, AOL, the biggest ISP of all, is keeping mum.
"In January, after months of legal back-and-forth in the Verizon-RIAA case, U.S. District Judge John Bates ruled in the recording industry's favor, ordering Verizon to hand over the Kazaa user's name and address. Internet service providers, privacy advocates, and people critical of the growing influence of copyright owners were devastated by the Bates opinion. The ISPs are worried that they'll be flooded with requests for their subscribers' information, and that they'll have no way to determine the accuracy of these claims. "
Important stuff, those Constitutional Amendments, especially when barristers and judicial districts twist them around this way. Didn't someone once, recently, say that "The Constitution is not a Suicide Pact?" Yeah, well, neither are the Amendments to that Constitution, and neither is the DMCA. Who is willing to sacrifice the First Principals of the United States of America to build a nation by the Corporations, of the Trade Groups, for the Consortia?
(phew. preachin's thirsty work...) The link above will take You to the regular article. Here's the print-on-a-page version.
Building new Forrms and Forums of Community by making special compilations will never stop, not so long as there is a heart beating in the soul of Man. Here's an evolutionary way to take that next step: Join a mixing Community. You get to share Your favorite mixes, and be exposed to some People who are musicians that You'll never hear on the increasingly-choked-by-capital airwaves.. It's a sort of peer to peer backup for your (and your Friend's) favorite groups of tunes. A coop of comp. Dot.Communism in the most prosaic, grassroots communal form: snail mail between Friends.
And speaking of communal, take a look at this item on Wired . iCommune is going to be Free.
The End of the Superstar Machine: A Proposal for Reforming the Music Industry by Loren Davie We see a lot about the music industry in the news these days. Legal battles about online filesharing, dropping revenues and the seeming inability of the recording industry to create new memorable Artists fill the news. There seems to be a lot of hysteria, but not a lot of information on the underlying issues that drive the current crisis.
Simply put, technology has made the current business model of the recording industry obsolete. Of course, this kind of sudden obsolescence as a result of technology is hardly new or unique: where is the typewriter business today?
Stakeholders in the Music Supply ChainI don't think that the old system has particularly served the interests of most people. Neither the musicians who make music, nor the listeners who buy it have profited significantly. The current system has primarily benefited the middleman, concentrating power and wealth into the hands of a few; to the expense of everyone else in the music supply chain. Consider:
Listeners: Their constitutional fair use rights have steadily eroded over the years. Extensions in the scope of copyright have favored only copyright holders, not copyright users. (For more about this, see Larry Lessig's book, The Future of Ideas). They have also allegedly been the victims of illegal price-fixing by the major labels.*
Musicians: Recording contracts are exploitive and, in some cases, career-destroying; resulting in “successful” acts essentially working at below menial labor rates (Editor's note: See "Courtney Does The Math" Salon piece, linked in the "Articles of Note" box at the left)while making millions for their recording companies. (For more information about music industry economics, see Steve Albini's article: The Problem With Music).
Investors: To a critical Investor's eye, the music industry is displaying some serious dinosaur characteristics. Its response to new technology is not to adapt to it, but rather to run from it, deny its existence and then try and roll back the clock on it using legal and legislative maneuvers: a losing strategy in the long run. The music industry is caught in classic Innovator's Dilemma, unwilling to adopt a new paradigm because to do so will cannibalize its existing business model. (For more information about Innovator's Dilemma, see the book by the same name by Clayton M. Christensen.)
The Marketing of Superstars
The central fixture of the conventional music industry is the superstar. Essentially, the music industry markets only a few new Artists each year, spending a large amount of money on each Artist. Because of the high costs associated with marketing an Artist this way, the Artist has to sell a large amount of CDs in order to make money, and be considered a success. In fact, most don't recoup their expenses and are subsequently dropped from the label after an album or two. (The “grace period” in which an Artist is allowed to build an audience before becoming profitable has become smaller and smaller over the years).
What makes it all work is that once in awhile the industry finds an Artist with true mass appeal, sells many, many CDs and covers the cost of all the other Artists on which it has lost money. This Artist is retained for what is usually the rest of their career (up to 7 CDs) and marketed over and over again. Everyone else is out on their can in short order.
The origins of superstar marketing can be found in the nature of broadcast media itself. When you are promoting a recording Artist over radio or television, you have very limited bandwidth. As a result, that bandwidth will be preserved for the Artists with the broadest mass appeal, because anything remotely “niche” or “fringe” doesn't maximize the use of the expensive airtime. For example, to get decent rotation on a radio station in the United States costs about $300,000. You'll need to sell a lot of CDs in order to make that money back.
The terrible tragedy of superstar marketing is that it has created a great chasm between listeners and Artists. The industry basically dictates that Artists either be superstars or be consigned to total obscurity, never to be heard by most. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say “I can't find any new music that I like. I don't know how to look for it and I'm afraid to risk money on unknown bands.” At the same time, on the other side of the chasm, there are lots of Artists and bands that wonder how they can reach an audience, to sell enough CDs to make a living doing what they love. The chasm serves no one but the owners of the one bridge that spans it: the conventional recording industry.
The March of Technology
However, there is now an alternative. Technology has advanced to the point where the chasm may be crossed without taking the conventional recording industry's bridge. After all, in the end this is just about putting Artists and listeners together, isn't it? Let's look at what's changed:
Recording: At one time recording was very expensive. In order to get a professional recording, you had to go into a studio where they charged hundreds of dollars per hour. This was beyond the means of individual Artists, so record companies were necessary to underwrite the cost. However, modern digital recording technology makes professional recordings possible for far less money than before. These new recordings are affordable to individual Artists, allowing them to finance their own recordings.
Desktop Publishing: Graphic design and layout were also very expensive at one time. However, the desktop publishing revolution, powered by the personal computer, has made low cost creation of CD jackets and inserts possible.
Manufacturing: Another source of expense, when CDs could only be created in factories and jackets and inserts printed in large quantities by a press, it would create a drain on capital for Artists that they couldn't support. However, CD-R burners and laser printers have made it possible for product to be created one at a time, making it possible to match the demand for the recording, no matter how great or small.
Promotion and Distribution: Before the Internet, promotion had to be done through mass media channels like radio and television. Similarly, distribution was accomplished through agreements with retail chains and localized distributors (called “rack jobbers”). Now music can be promoted online, with one-to-one marketing, ordered online and shipped to its destination.
The pieces are all here. What is still required is a coherent business model that incorporates these methods into a new integrated way of marketing music. However, I think that we should go beyond inventing a new business model that is merely tech-friendly. I think we should take this opportunity to infuse the music industry with a dose of integrity that has been sorely missing from it.
Taking a page from the fair trade movement on coffee production, I call my proposal “Fair Trade Music”.
Fair Trade Music
How Fair Trade Music works:
Artist Control of Recording: The (relatively modest amount of) money for the recording is fronted by the Artist. Modern digital recording allows professional quality recordings to be made for a fraction of what they once cost. Because the Artist has paid for the recording, they own the copyright on it.
Fair Trade Music Public License
Free Promotional Tracks: Certain tracks (say, no less than 10%) on the recording are released under a special license that allows them to be freely traded, burned, downloaded etc., for non-commercial purposes by anyone. The license would require the Artist to be properly attributed and may or may not have additional restrictions (for example, the right to sample the track and use it in another work). The promotional tracks (described above) are freely posted around the Internet (on P2P networks, on websites, on free promotional CDs, etc.). The buzz generated by these tracks becomes a major component in creating exposure for the Artist.
The license could be called the Fair Trade Music Public License or something like that.
Value-Added Product: CDs (or other music products) are created with a “value-added” approach, similar to DVDs. Multimedia features, Artist interviews, passwords to private websites etc., are bundled with the music recording on the CD. The value-added approach lets the listener know that the CD is something truly worth purchasing, and not worth the effort to assemble from online downloads.
Fair Use OK: Forget about DRM (digital rights management) technology. Artificial devices to control copying are both doomed to failure and an insult to the listener (as well as an erosion of their Fair-Use Rights). We went through this with software in the late eighties and early nineties, and it was abandoned as a failure.
Just-In-Time Manufacturing: The CDs are distributed over the Internet, and they are burned to order. This allows the Artist to match the volume of manufacturing with the demand for the CD, no matter how great or small.
A Fair Trade Music Public License (FPL) creates a music industry that is more equitable in its treatment of the various stakeholders of the music supply chain. In addition, it satisfies both fans and creators of musical genres that are not marketable through mass media channels. Fair Trade Music, employing today's technology, opens up all sorts of levels of success, filling the chasm. It is no longer necessary for an Artist to be a superstar in order to be successful.
FPL Certified Classifications
In order to let the public know when a CD is created and marketed under the Fair Trade Music system, I propose that we label CDs with an appropriate logo, such as “Certified Fair Trade Music”. I imagine that along with those words would be a box with three characters in it, each character being an “F” or a dash (“-”). The first character would stand for the recording, the second character would stand for promotion, and the third for distribution. (Imagine the digital indicators on a CD, “AAD” and so forth.) A CD that was labeled “FFF” would come from a master recording that was owned by the Artist, contain not less than 10% of tracks released under the Fair Trade Music Public License, and created to order. A CD labeled “-FF” would satisfy the last two requirements, but the master recording would not be owned by the Artist.
Fair Trade Music Group
Of course, there would have to be some sort of organization to be the certifying body and to promote the Fair Trade Music concept, so we should create the “Fair Trade Music Group” to do so. They would control the Fair Trade Music trademark, making sure that its meaning wasn't diluted. (They would ensure that if you were calling your work “Fair Trade Music” then you met the above criteria.) “Fair Trade Music” and the number of F's that a recording had would become a positive differentiation for the album, along the lines of “Organic Vegetables” or “Environmentally Friendly” (or Fair Trade coffee, for that matter). Listeners would know that by buying a Fair Trade Music album, they weren't only getting music, they were supporting something positive.
Keeping in mind the three points of view on the music industry discussed above (Artist, Listener and Investor) lets see how Fair Trade Music stacks up.
Benefits of Fair Trade Music
For the Artist, Fair Trade Music offers:
Control over their music.
The ability to reach their audience, regardless of its size. The music marketing chasm is removed.
Ethical differentiation from the conventional music industry.
For the Listener, Fair Trade Music offers:
No erosion of Fair Use Rights
A wider, richer music industry from which to obtain music (making it less likely to suck).
Risk-free exposure to new music through online promotional tracks. (No more: “I walk into a record store and I don't recognize any of the names. I don't know what to buy.”)
The knowledge that they are directly supporting the Artist, not the middleman.
For the Investor, Fair Trade Music offers:
An end to Innovator's Dilemma for the music industry: Fair Trade Music is in harmony with the current state of technology.
New, unexploited markets: niche music enthusiasts that have not been reached by the conventional music industry using mass marketing techniques.
Diversification of risk: the industry no longer depends on blockbuster sales from one of twenty top Artists. Instead, commerce is spread amongst many different acts and listeners. Businesses built to support this model could do quite well.
Peace along the music supply chain: an end to the legal battles that rage between Artists and record companies, and now between record companies and listeners (the P2P lawsuits, such as Napster).
Unless you happen to be one of five large media companies, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Fair Trade Music provides the music industry with the overhaul that it desperately needs. It is in harmony with current technology, it fills the “marketing chasm” in the music business and it creates a richer, more diverse music environment. Isn't that worth striving for?
Loren Davie is a singer-songwriter and the CEO of epijam, a music distribution and marketing company specializing in Fair Trade Music, and the Author/Originator of the FPL (Fair Trade Music Public License concept, and the associated Fair Trade Music Group and Fair Trade Certification System.
*The five majors settled a lawsuit concerning alleged price-fixing between 1995 and 2000 by paying $67.4 million. The lawsuit said that the industry kept CD prices artificially high by using a practice called “Minimum Advertised Pricing” (MAP), in which record companies subsidized advertising for music retailers in exchange for the stores agreeing to sell the CDs at or above a certain price.
Stoned Out Loud will now resume publishing updates. None have been done since September 22, mainly because the publisher and staff have to make a living, and this site does not pay the bills. I am going to try to make an update every week or two, at this point.
We still want Your opinions and articles. Here is an one contributed by Loren Davie of FairTradeMusic.org. Enjoy!
Recently I was in a discussion over at MusicPundit about Napster's demise. I let out a pretty good rant, published in it's entirety below. What got me going was the following comment:
"So, the shuttering of Napster has left independent artists with no way to make music, no way to promote it, no way to sell it? ... You're apparently 17, and thus are forgiven your naivete in this realm. Reynolds and his fellow 'The RIAA Sucks' adults don't have that excuse. There are legitimate issues of copyright to be sorted out -- even down to the very basic fundamentals -- before one can claim that copyright holders are morally bankrupt for protecting what is now legally recognized as their property."
Dale Stevenson (from whom we may hear more later) had a less vitriolic and more civil response than my own:
"While the death of Napter hasn't completely invalidated all avenues of self-promotion of independent artists, it has limited those available.
"The question I present to you is if the major labels actually have a moral right to hold the copyrights of the music that they produce. They don't write it, they don't play it. They only provide the venture capital to make the album. Capital that is legally required of the artist to pay back.
"The RIAA claims that they are protecting the artists interests in cracking down on copyright violations.
"The most that artists get after everyone elses cut of album sales is 10% of MSRP. The most!
"Until you gather more of the facts of the true issues involved, I suggest that you refrain from slinging insults in other directions."
To which the original commenter replied:
"Of course labels have a "moral right" to hold music copyrights -- if those rights have been assigned to them by the creator(s) of the intellectual property.
"If I write a song, and sign a contract that hands the rights to someone else, what's immoral about that? Nothing.
"Similarly, if I make an album and sign a contract that gives me a paltry 0.0003% cut of its revenue, nothing immoral has taken place. It might indicate I'm a lousy businessman, but it doesn't make anybody evil.
"It really is naive to romanticize Napster -- or at least its facility for copyright infringement -- as some bastion of Glory, Truth and Right."
At this point, I began chafing at the equation of "legal" and "moral" "right". Because Legal Rights, and what is morally "right" often bear little relation to one another. Moreover, with the bastardisation of Law perpetrated by the RIAA/MPAA and Congress through the passage of the DMCA, UCITA, and related intellectual property legislation since 1996, it gets less so every day. That is why Stoned Out Loud exists.
Anyway, Dale held his own, offering:
"[quoting]>Of course labels have a "moral right" to hold music copyrights -- if those rights have been assigned to them by the creator(s) of the intellectual property.[end quoting]
"That would be "legal right" to which you are refering.
"And those contracts to which you are refering are legally coerced from 'letters of intent'.
"The letters of intent have no terms other than that each party agree to sign a contract of mutual agreement, and that neither party may enter a contract with a third party with regards to publication, production, and/or distrobution of material contained in the as yet unwritten contract.
"Suppose I told you I could give you a job at my company making $100,000 per year. You agreed to come to an interview, but before you could enter you had to sign a letter of intent.
"You could at that point walk away from the job and go look for a different one, or you could sign it and go into the interview.
"You are told that you may take a job for $15,000 per year. You say "no thanks" and leave. On the way out you are reminded of your "letter of intent" and are told that you may not interview for any other job.
"That's moral? That's right?
"That is how the record companies recruit new music.
"Napster, in the beginning, was illegally facilitating infringement of copyrights held by the major record labels. Later, the company was attempting to do just at the labels asked: Stop distributing THEIR music. So what about the rest of the music that was legitimately traded?
"Unless you can offer a solution to the problem of the ill informed artists getting clearly taken advantage of, you can do nothing put spout rhetoric.
"And if you say that it just required education on the part of the artists themselves, then you, clearly, would be the myopic one."
To which I thought, "Bravo." But I still felt there were some vital issues that had not been addressed. Mainly, the stealth assault that has been - is being - made on the First Amendment. So, I cut loose:
I agree with the previous poster that 'there are legitimate copyright issues to be sorted out.' And that's where my agreement ends. I do agree with the comments of Dale Stevenson, which I found reasonable and well articulated. After I rant a bit, I want to check out Jeff Cooper's Site, which Eric recommended.
A big part of problem, as I see it, is that corporations have enjoyed the legal fiction that they are "persons" under the law. This is and has been the excuse for the erosion of Individual and Civil Rights in this country for a long time.Another part of the problem is in the legal language "work for hire." Contracts that contain this language should be nullified, in my humble opinion, when they are used - with perfectly legitimate legal precedent behind them - to screw People (not just Artists, but Consultants and others as well) out of the product of their work. It is an ongoing peonisation of the working man.
For the Producer of Value, "work for hire" usually amounts to...seems in practice to be defined under the law as...total and complete assignment of all rights irrevocably in perpetuity to the purchaser. Furthermore, it often amounts to and / or is combined with (in the music industry) indentured servitude.
If You don't believe me, read a recording contract, read the UCITA legislation, the DMCA, and then go read "Courtney does the Math" at Salon. I linked it from http://www.stoned-out-loud.com in the "Articles of Note" box.
While You're there, it might be good to look at the other articles written by working Musicians as well, Janis Ian's, and Steve Albini's "The Problem with Music."
So I have a problem, not with "work for hire" per se, but with how it has been applied in the Music and IT staffing industries. For starters.
Another part of the problem is Copyright law. The manner in which Congress has allowed the Industy lobbies to write legislation in exchange for campaign contributions has polluted the very concept of law itself, and the DMCA is a good example. It is an instance of the original intent of protecting intellectual property rights being turned inside-out and on it's head, converted into a tool for the legally fictitious "person" of the corporation to subjugate and rob the real living breathing creatively producing Person in the populace of their very means of livelihood, and the fruits of their labors. (brings to my mind the title of a great Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. essay "In a manner that would shame God himself.")
Next, is the question of innovation, the freedom to do it, and the Freedom of Speech and Assembly guaranteed under the First Amendment of the United States of America's Bill of Rights. The real issue behind the RIAA/Napster case is the First Amendment, and our Freedom to peacefully assemble and share our ideas and music together in this very large virtual room that is the internet; Mankind's collective Living Room.
The problem the RIAA/MPAA has (and the IT staffing industry, among others, as well) is that they are used to riding the Artists and Producers of Value like cattle, and want to enlarge their Yoke to include the rest of us. *And it ain't gonna happen.*
They can buy all the Congressmen they like, pass as many laws as they like...bottom line is, if they take the Law down that road, it is the system of laws and jurisprudence that will suffer ... as it is suffering now the loss of respect and credibility Judge Patel's and other's goo-headed decisions have engendered.
When the law deserts the People, the People go elsewhere. ("...and when laws are outlawed, only outlaws will have laws." - kidding)
This isn't an opinion, just an observation of Human Nature.
So, what p2p needs to do is create a sharing application that incorporates micropayment, while keeping the Artist in charge of his own work. Anything less isn't worthy of pursuit, imo. It's time we, the People, reclaim some lost ground.
Yowza. Feels good to get a good rant out now and then! :-|
So, in summary, Sir, shame on You for Your age-ist patronising of our Hostess ("You're apparently 17, and thus are forgiven your naivete in this realm"). Don't go handing me any ""The RIAA Sucks" adults don't have that excuse". This RIAA Sucks adult, and legions of Artists and Producers, and Human Beings who have inaliable Rights endowed by their Creator have plenty of excuse.
And one can, in point of fact, "claim that copyright holders are morally bankrupt for protecting what is now legally recognized as their property", when one opens one's eyes to the context in which those copyrights were acquired: deceptively and/or coercively obtained "work for hire" contracts under which the Artists/Producers were required to hand over those copyrights.
Oh, yeah. Perfectly legal, legal as Church on Sunday. And that makes it less reprehensible, uh, how? It doesn't.
So, yes Sir. Morally Bankrupt. So, how to address it in a "government of Laws and not of Men?"
All we have to do now is work the miracle of real campaign finance reform and elect representatives that will do so, instead of being puppets of their corporate paymasters.
That, and create a p2p file-sharing micropayments system that is GPL'd.
In a story headlined "Studios not pirates are the digital rights challenge, says IBC panel" David Benjamin, a Paris-based freelance writer, reports a few interesting quotes at a recent contentious meeting of the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) convened in Amsterdam.
From a Video-on-Demand company: "Technology is not the problem. It's the content cartel!"
From Microsoft: ""Yes, the Internet is a source of leakage. But there is no legitimate content source...Why not just flood the peer-to-peer services with legitimate content? ...Instead of fighting it, why not just embrace it?"
The Video-on-Demand services companies are worried over the current MPAA/RIAA assault on technology. To hear them tell it, Hollywood's reluctance to the release the best movies in digital form, it's draconian demand of 60 percent of revenue from all use of its content, is a formula for a "digital train wreck."
This withholding of content from legitimate online services threatens some of the very businesses trying to uphold the industry's outdated business model, i.e. license content and let MPAA/RIAA, ASCAP and BMI handle the royalty payments, which are based on sales statistics rather than actual sales or usage.
Microsoft observed that there currently is no "legitimate content source" for digital movies.
Note: This article has it's own page for linking, which includes some introductory words from the Publisher. Just Click on the image (new window) or URL link above (same window). -g.moss
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 1996 17:16:35 +0100 To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: John Perry Barlow Subject: A Cyberspace Independence Declaration
Yesterday, that great invertebrate in the White House signed into the law the Telecom "Reform" Act of 1996, while Tipper Gore took digital photographs of the proceedings to be included in a book called "24 Hours in Cyberspace."
I had also been asked to participate in the creation of this book by writing something appropriate to the moment. Given the atrocity that this legislation would seek to inflict on the Net, I decided it was as good a time as any to dump some tea in the virtual harbor.
After all, the Telecom "Reform" Act, passed in the Senate with only 5 dissenting votes, makes it unlawful, and punishable by a $250,000 to say "shit" online. Or, for that matter, to say any of the other 7 dirty words prohibited in broadcast media. Or to discuss abortion openly. Or to talk about any bodily function in any but the most clinical terms.
It attempts to place more restrictive constraints on the conversation in Cyberspace than presently exist in the Senate cafeteria, where I have dined and heard colorful indecencies spoken by United States senators on every occasion I did.
This bill was enacted upon us by people who haven't the slightest idea who we are or where our conversation is being conducted. It is, as my good friend and Wired Editor Louis Rossetto put it, as though "the illiterate could tell you what to read."
Well, fuck them.
Or, more to the point, let us now take our leave of them. They have declared war on Cyberspace. Let us show them how cunning, baffling, and powerful we can be in our own defense.
I have written something (with characteristic grandiosity) that I hope will become one of many means to this end. If you find it useful, I hope you will pass it on as widely as possible. You can leave my name off it if you like, because I don't care about the credit. I really don't.
But I do hope this cry will echo across Cyberspace, changing and growing and self-replicating, until it becomes a great shout equal to the idiocy they have just inflicted upon us.
I give you...
A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace
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.
We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.
Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.
You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.
You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don't exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract . This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.
Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.
We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.
We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.
Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are based on matter, There is no matter here.
Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge . Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.
In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.
You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.
In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.
Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.
These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.
We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.
Davos, Switzerland February 8, 1996
**************************************************************** John Perry Barlow, Cognitive Dissident Co-Founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation
"I Have Not Yet Begun To Fight" -Johnny Deep, Madster President and Founder
Johnny Deep, creator of AIMster and Madster, can be added to the list of those illustrious innovators (like Shawn Fanning of Napster fame) whose genius made them a target of the WTO's (World Trade Organisation) entertainment department, the RIAA/MPAA.
But Deep will not go gently into that good night. He's fighting back. Deep has filed suit against the mammoth entertainment lobby claiming that the recording industries' unfair business practices have damaged him financially.
"The business I conduct in my home in Cohoes, NY, has been damaged by the unfair business practices of the largest corporations in the world" said Deep. "But Aimster and the defense of civil liberties on the Internet cannot be stopped - I have not yet begun to fight."
RIAA members have been playing a sort of legal shell game in their attack on independent music producers and file sharing services. In the filing seeking damages for RIAA member collusion, Madster's counsel openly challenges this tactic, saying: "...Plaintiffs' (the RIAA members) attempt to hide behind a small subset of Moving Plaintiffs should not be countenanced. Plaintiffs continue to seek all the benefits of banding together when it is beneficial to them, and dispersing and hiding behind each other when it is convenient or when one group of them are at risk of an adverse ruling. The recording industry is the driving force behind this action and it should not be able to duck behind the Music Publishing Plaintiffs whenever it suits its needs. The Music Publishing Plaintiffs have never independently asserted any issues in this action until now. Indeed, their complaint only tagged along after all the other actions were filed. All the Moving Plaintiffs joined together to move for a preliminary injunction and should be treated similarly with respect to that motion." (emphasis added - g.moss)
For the reader wondering about what a "Moving Plaintiff" is, here's roughly what it means: The RIAA will file some motions against somebody. Sometimes it files a single motion, sometimes it files the same, or similar motions in multiple courts in multiple locations.
Sometimes, it is an RIAA member company that does this, separately. And, as in this case, sometimes the RIAA member company does this while the RIAA itself does it, too. Hence, the term "Moving Plaintiffs."
That's what I take it to mean, anyway. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.
The idea is to bury the targeted victim, Madster in this case, Napster previously, and all others in the p2p world eventually, in costly litigation, and a plethora of motions which cost more to pay attorneys to respond to than the average small operator can afford. Like my Father always said - "In this country, You get only as much Justice as You can afford."
In a separate development, Madster Founder Deep has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Reorganisation, and received an Injunction against the RIAA and member companies to prevent them from shutting Madster down. So, everything is still going...If You want a cheap, legal alternative to fascist RIAA arrangements that screw the Artists out everything, go on over to http://www.madster.com and get Yourself a copy - it'll make You money when You swap tunes!
There's a lot of food for thought in this case, and I highly recommend going to get.madster.com to check out the full press release and related links.
I don't have a clue. The other day, a posting at GrepLaw noted that a Judge had blocked the sale of Napster and assets to Bertelsman. When I saw that, I wandered over to http://www.napster.com, only to be greeted with the somber single, linkless page that proclaimed "Napster was here." Now all that has changed. Today's visit revealed the above graphic (altered here to repeat). I wonder what's up with that?
Sorry these links looked messy all day...for some reason Blogger's publishing software suddenly stopped offering any "Publish" or "Post" or "Post & Publish" buttons in the edit area this morning when I was working on getting this story up. - 090902 0240hrs -gm
AHA! I just discovered why I have been unable to publish or edit this post using the BloggerPro Publishing software! There is something about these coded URLs that the interface just *does not like*. Once published, You are unable to edit...click "edit", and the Blog entry is copied into the Blogger editing frame, but the Blogger Publishing interface (I'm currently using BloggerPro, but the same problem occurs in the previous version, and in the test version) fails to repaint the editing controls, i.e.
"Options | Upload File... | (anchor) B(old) I(talics) | (spellcheck) | Post | Post & Publish
So...guess I'll avoid using those coded URLs anymore. Still...wish I could delete this crapped up one, though. Sigh.
Anyway, I'm re-posting this semi-cleaned up version of the story because it's easier to read.D'oh!
The other day I was browsing around Greplaw, and spotted an interesting item entitled "Judge Rules Against Aimster". It says "a Northern Illinois District Court judge has granted a preliminary injunction in favor of the RIAA against Aimster (now known as Madster)," and points to a story described in InfoWorld. The Greplaw item continued, "the judge thinks that Aimster/Madster is 'a service whose very raison d'être appears to be the facilitation of and contribution to copyright infringement on a massive scale.' "
While this is in itself worthy of pursuit, I discovered something else, just below that in Greplaw's writeup. Turns out Madster is a real Person. So I visited her site.
Wow. Nice place. And a delightful Young Lady with a head for cyberLaw - and $ (Madster is a subscription service, with an override deal for referrals).
Master the MusicPundit has reported that Artists and Consumers both distrust the big media cartels often represented by the RIAA/MPAA and their band of corporate thugs.
Good Legal/Music cyberLaw Journalism. Check it out.
"We are committed to protecting your intellectual property ...but we are not committed to protecting your business model." --ITIC President Rhett Dawson to MPAA Lobbyist
South Carolina Senator Ernest Hollings (not Green, not Libertarian, not Republican), chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, has circulated a legislative draft that has come to be known as "the Hollings draft". It gives tech firms one year to develop anti-copying "policeware," and if they don't, they'll be subject to criminal penalties.
So Republocrat Senator Ernest Hollings (not Green, not Libertarian) want's to put "Big Brother" in our PC's, which isn't too surprising, considering he has already taken $27,000 in campaign funding from the entertainment industry lobby so far this election cycle. Ah, well, I guess it's good that once You buy this Congresssman, he stays bought...so long as You keep up the progress payments. I must observe, as a Carolinian (North, not South) I am ashamed of this narrowmined Dixiecrat and his willingness to undermine my Right to Bear Silicon. He probably doesn't care though...I've never donated a dime to him.
Drew Clark and Bara Vaida have written an article in the National Journal, "Digital Divide," which details the current struggle between the Information Technology industry and Hollywood. It's a good read.
I noticed that the National Journal is a subscription site, but that the above-linked story is available without subscription. In examining the links on the page, most point back to within the National Journal site. I did find a few useful ones to external sources, though. I've listed them at the bottom of this entry.
If You don't like the idea of a Policeman built in to Your computer, preventing You from making backup copies of items, or compilations of music for Your "Fair Use" enjoyment, then go to PetionOnline and sign the petition against this idiotic legislation. (The text link goes right there, clicking the image at right will do it in a new browser window.)
Wouldn't it be nice to choose a few tunes while You're here?
Well, You can't.
At least, not yet. I thought about webRadio-enabling Stoned Out Loud. I'd like to have a little drop-down listbox, and Visitors could then choose a station, and enjoy some tunes while they're here, streamed live from their favorite internet radio station.
I found out it's not that simple. The RIAA is out to kill internet radio. I searched around for appropriate providers to do what I want, and found a good result page at PurplePages. I checked the resultant links. Some results: Antenna Internet Radio still exists, but can't offer what I want...to offer Stoned Out Loud's Visitors the choice of many stations and streams.
Netradio.com, http://www.netradio.com/ returns a result from DotRegistrar, informing You "This domain is registered at DotRegistrar.com by a customer and parked temporarily until the owner establishes a permanent site."
Onair.com and a couple others said they were available through iSyndicate. Unfortunately, iSyndicate has been acquired by YellowBrix. Clicking on the link for onair.com brought me to an iSyndicate page with a link to the free radio thing. That page told me:
404: The page you were trying to reach no longer exists In August 2001, iSyndicate was acquired by YellowBrix, Inc. Please visit http://www.yellowbrix.com for more information on how services have been migrated or what compatible services YellowBrix offers to continue to support the iSyndicate customer base, and anyone interested in syndicated content.
Below it, were two dead links to "continued support" for the iSyndicate customer base. This gives You some ideas of where YellowBrix, Inc.'s head is at. ("How can they tell the Brix are yellow when the sun don't shine there?" -Shhhh. not now.)
There were a couple of other links, but I didn't have much luck with them either.
Most Internet radio stations are at risk of bankruptcy, and may be forced off the air by October 20th, because of a Congressionally-imposed royalty they will soon be required to pay to record labels. (You may have heard this called a "CARP" royalty, named for the U.S. Copyright Office's Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel that held hearings on what the rate should be.)
Here's some quick background:
Congress passed a law in October 1998 called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which established a new "sound recordings performance royalty" that webcasters must pay to record labels, similar to the royalty that both broadcast radio and Internet radio have to pay to composers of songs. (Note: The composers royalty is about 3% of station revenues.) However, the Copyright Office, following unclear instructions from Congress, set a rate for this new royalty that is currently more than 100% of most webcasters' revenues! (If broadcast radio stations had to pay the same royalty rate, it would cost them billions of dollars and wipe out the entire profits of the industry!)
If the record industry (the RIAA) doesn't offer a compromise "voluntary" license to smaller webcasters and/or if Congress doesn't pass emergency legislation by October 20th, most observers believe that the decision will effectively kill Internet radio. (The retroactive portion of the fees will bankrupt all but the very largest Internet-only webcasters — e.g., AOL, Yahoo!, and Microsoft. The fees will also probably trigger the shutdown of most remaining broadcast stations' Internet simulcasts, including almost all the educational and community stations )
Here is the letter the Voice of Webcasters will fax in Your name when You use that site:
I am writing you to express my strong request that you support immediate legislative relief to save Internet radio and the role it plays in promoting artists and their music on the Internet. I listen to Internet radio and I want to see the current diversity of programming provided by Internet radio preserved.
On July 26, 2002, Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA), George Nethercutt (R-WA) and Rick Boucher (D-VA) introduced legislation called the Internet Radio Fairness Act (HR 5285) in the US House of Representatives. This vital bill would protect a large number of Internet radio stations from being forced out of business by unfair and unaffordable performance copyright royalties. Please act immediately in seeing that this effort is carried through the House and Senate and made law before it is too late to save Internet radio. Immediate action is required. The enforcement of retroactive royalties based on the currently unaffordable rates is set to commence no later than October 20, 2002.
We want you to understand that this legislative action does not seek to eliminate royalties paid to artists by Internet radio stations. It only attempts to ensure that fair and reasonable royalty rates are set to allow Internet radio stations to survive and continue to develop their nascent industry. In supporting this legislative action, you will be ensuring that artists will receive fair compensation from these stations and retain this valuable resource to promote their music.
This bipartisan effort is already supported by several important members of the US House of Representatives, including Representative Donald Manzullo (R-IL), Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business. We need your help to ensure that this action is passed by the US House of Representatives and joined by similar action in the US Senate. Please act now, there isn't much time left to save Internet radio.
Sincerely, Your Name
Please send this fax. I did.
Earlier I reported about Tara Grubb's run for Congress. She is out to unseat NC Representative Howard Coble, who happens to chair the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts & The Internet, and Intellectual Property. It is under Mr. Coble's leadership that this current assault on our First Amendment Right to peacefully assemble online has been encouraged and brought to its current state.
Universitydaily.net, the online news organ of Texas Tech, ran this editorial August 29 by Rocky Ramirez.
LUBBOCK, Texas -- We have all heard the propaganda. They say piracy is killing music.
You might remember the touching little video Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich put together for the MTV Video Music Awards (or was it the Movie Awards?) a couple of years ago. You know, the one where he went into some kid's room and started stealing crap while the kid on a computer sat there dumbfounded.
It may be the case because of the negative spin piracy has gotten. When Napster shut down, you told yourself, well maybe it was wrong to download MP3s.
I have two words for that kind of sentiment-F*** that!
It disgusts me when I see Dr. Dre looking into a camera with a sad, puppy-dog face and saying, 'yo dawg, it ain't right to be pirating my @#$%!'
The guy who really gets me, however, is Ulrich. Metallica is a band that worked its ass off to get where it is, and now the members of the group are biting the hand that fed them.
I read this incredible column (yes I can read) by a guy named Mark Jenkins, a film and music reviewer for The Washington Post.
Apparently, (and almost all of us are too young to remember this) in 1978 the Recording Industry began to slump in sales.
They began to blame "a larcenous new technology" called cassette tapes. The international music industry even had an outraged official slogan, "home taping is killing music." Sound familiar?
It's obvious why the big labels want to blame their current lagging sales on the Internet.
My question is, why are the artists getting involved too? Why do I have to lose all respect for a Metallica, a band I once considered the greatest in the world?
The answer should be on the tips of all of your lips; it's plain and simple, and it's called greed.
"Oh! We musicians put our heart and soul into or work. We deserve to get our money!" they say. True, musicians do deserve to get paid. But, millions upon millions?
Does Metallica really deserve millions of dollars for their latest and worst album, "Re-Load"?
Maybe they deserved it for "Master Of Puppets," because at least the album influenced every single hard rocker that has ever palm muted an open low E string.
But, unfortunately, that's not how it works. There are bands out there that work just as hard, if not harder than Metallica does now.
The Microphones for instance. The group consists of one guy, Phil Elvrum, recording all of his music on lo- fi equipment, then mixing it together and creating a sound that is so beautiful it doesn't register in your head the first time you hear it.
Let's not even go into his mind-blowing songwriting. If the lyrics are not read in the context of liner notes, they could easily be confused with an upper level lit text.
Have you ever heard of the Microphones? No. Have you ever bought the man's CD? No. Does Elvrum work as hard as Metallica?
Well, his CD took almost a year to complete, and if you've heard it, you know that it is a seminal piece of production work-on lo-fi equipment (which means he isn't recording on the fancy boards that you see on TV, instead he is recording on not much more than a Tascam cassette player) to boot.
So hell yeah he works as hard as Metallica. Do you think Metallica does its own production?
No way, the group has a team of sound guys to do it for them. And you know Elrum doesn't make the big bucks like Metallica does. Hell, I probably have a bigger apartment then he does.
The only reason I know of The Microphones is because of the Internet.
The only way that I could get any of the music was through MP3 swapping. And because of that swapping, I am able to create something that the big label execs fear worse than baldness, word of mouth.
That's how they control the music that you listen to.
They have control over the word-of-mouth advertising. They use their mouthpieces -- commercial radio, MTV and commercial rock magazines.
You see The Vines in Rolling Stone and then hear their single on the radio. To top it off, you see they have a new buzz worthy video on MTV. So you think to yourself "this band must be good."
That's how they get you. The Vines as it turns out, blow pretty hard (Nirvana knock-offs should at least sound like Nirvana).
But I bet you would have never guessed considering all the exposure they get. It didn't work like that before, or at least it wasn't this efficient.
What Napster created was a new forum for word of mouth.
That scares the hell out of the recording industry. What the industry doesn't want is competition from good music. They'd prefer to churn out so-so music and maximize their profits by not having to promote a great new band. It's easier to make a band look great, than it is to make a great band sell.
Competition, as we all learned in high school economics, breeds a better product. And better music betters us.
Lars Ulrich, Dr. Dre and the Industry are trying to tell us that by creating competition for them, we are killing their music.
Well, that's the best argument for piracy that I've ever heard.
Ever wanted to find out just who is donating money to Your Congressman? The Center for Responsive Politics has a site called opensecrets.org that has an exellent search page You can use to find out.
The Center is "a non-partisan, non-profit research group based in Washington, D.C. that tracks money in politics, and its effect on elections and public policy." (from their "about" page).
On this page, You can view the following table which shows how much PAC money the Music, TV, and Movie cartels have paid (in the 2002 election cycle so far) to Your Congressmen for the privilege of writing their legislation that would take away our First Amendment Right to peacefully assemble in a time-shifted manner to share our Music and Ideas with each other on the internet:
This week's Article of Note is a piece Mercury News reporter Dan Gillmor did last Sunday about the growing movement of ordinary Americans who oppose the restrictions Congress is considering placing on our digital Freedom. In it, Gillmor discusses Tara Grubb's run for Congress in North Carolina (my Home state), and the power of Web logs.
Here's a bit of what Dan wrote:
"A movement is beginning to stir in America, an overdue reaction to the predations of a cartel that is bidding to control how digital information may be created and used. Grubb, almost by accident, is becoming one of the movement's new icons.
"She's is running for Congress in North Carolina this fall. The incumbent is U.S. Rep. Howard Coble, a Republican in his ninth two-year term...a portion of her platform is starting to attract interest from outside Coble's ... district. She does not believe that Hollywood, the record companies and their allies should be able to have absolute control over copyrighted material, or that the entertainment cartel should be able to dictate what technological innovations may or may not hit the marketplace.
"...she strongly opposes a bill, co-sponsored by Coble, that would give the entertainment companies unprecedented permission to tamper remotely with file-sharing networks and computers.
"Coble is chairman of a key House committee dealing with issues of ``intellectual property'' -- and the cartel has been one of his chief financial supporters. According to the invaluable Center for Responsive Politics (www.opensecrets.org), the entertainment industry was second only to lawyers in sending him money."
Once again, Dan Gillmor's reporting is right on target. A good read - check it out. The title link up to will take You there, or just click here to open it in a new window.
More on Tara Sue Grubb's Candidacy in a moment...
Here's Why Tara Grubb is running for Coble's seat in Congress
In her own words...
Once I was out on my own, without the shelter of family and classrooms, the world seemed so dark. Honesty? I've been told I am too honest to be a real estate agent, much less a politician. Fair? Life isn't fair, so they say, and I guess that gives all a free license to be as crooked as they like. Forgiving? I have heard people quote Christ and in the same breath scream for revenge. Strength? It has been re-defined as something material--money. Do unto others? Well, misery loves company. The less fortunate? They are blamed for their misfortune and for our own. As for putting your mind to something, we seem to put our minds to money, sex, food and money and war,which is money.
But to Believe in yourself: Well friends, That's all we've got. And I am hanging on to my beliefs. And this is why I am running for public office. I want to change our course. I want to fight for what I believe. Hear it again and read it out loud . . .
"And this I believe: that the free exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about."
This is my mecca. Congress is my venue. It is time to take the high road.
Our Publisher has been engaged in a discussion over at GrepLaw about Delene Garafano's possible options to getting paid for her time since March, and the expenses she has incurred in working for Mike "Mick" Decaro and the Rolling Stones.
Here's a bit of the discussion.
One Person said,
"There is nothing wrong with an oral contract.... She should sue for both breach of contract and copyright infringement. The burden of proof is usually on the potential infringer to prove they had a licence, so I would think they would get into pretty hot water pretty quickly by trying to say that there was no agreement that involved them paying money unless they have evidence to back that up..."
And another Person noted,
"...That's the whole dilemna. It's all hot air. Nothing in writing .. or very little. To me it looks like this:
"Either they contracted for 2 years of this Person's *time*, or some deliverable thing, like a newsletter or website (or a series of items over the term).
"If they contracted for this Person's time , then they are in default qua having not paid anything since the contract began at the beginning of March, 2002. The term was March 2002 to March 2004.
"On the other hand, If they contracted for a deliverable , say, the website, then they are in default by virtue of the fact that they have made no payment for the site before, during,or after it's creation.
"So either way - they're in default..."
One Person wound up their comment saying, "If they're flaky enough not to pay, they tend to be flaky enough that suing them isn't magic. "
Another Person, (sounding suspiciously like Stoned Out Loud's publisher) responded at length. Here's a bit of it:
"She could chalk it up to a bad experience, send them a regular bill repeatedly, and then write it off her income tax as a bad debt..."
and, later in the comment,
"...that only covers immediate redress, from the client representative/liason who let the contract initially. The real target that might offer adequate solvency to satisfy the defaulted amounts due is the Rolling Stones, Musidor, and their Raindrop organisations. After all, why beat around the bush? The client is the Rolling Stones; and this Person, Contractor, has suffered real and continuing pain and suffering as a result of continuing mental abuse inflicted by the Rolling Stones' employee/representative who let the contract, as well as financial harm (accumulated expenses).
"To say this interlocked directorate of organisations' revenue stream dwarf's the contractor's income would be an understatement. The Stone's are rumored to be spending around a billion dollars staging this tour, a big sponsor is e-Trade (I'm not privy to these numbers). Now, e-Trade will get publicity from the Tour by having it's logo prominent and probably other promotional tie-ins, and the Stones wouldn't be spending this much (if they are) on staging the 2 year international tour if they didn't think they would not make back four or five times that much as a result (speculation)..."
Furthur on he continued -
"With those kinds of revenues, I would think they should just pay her off and keep Decaro on a leash from now on. That would seem to me to be the simplest solution all the way around. They wouldn't have the kind of public relations and business pr problems they are going to have if they fail to nip this in the bud.
"Here's what I mean...a number of news organisations...have already been made aware of this story. Sooner or later somebody is going to start asking questions, other than Stoned Out Loud.
"When they do ...and the story spreads...what kind of public relations will that be for their corporate sponsor, e-Trade? Big companies already have enough problems with credibility, what with Enron, Global Crossing, MCI collapsing, double- booking revenues, getting loans and booking them as revenues, etc.
"Should the client continue to do nothing about this defaulted contract of theirs, it is not unlikely (I speculate) that as the story spreads ... e-Trade may decide to pull out as a sponsor .... They probably would not want to be associated with an organisation under fire for not paying their contractors or debts."
There is more to the discussion. Click Title link to go directly to it, the scales to get to the top of GrepLaw.
All in all, an interesting discussion about the alternatives available for a contractor who is getting screwed, and what they might be able to do about it, short of going into court.
By the way, Stoned Out Loud is actively seeking contributed articles from Artists, Musicians, and anybody interested in reforming the Music/Film industries, and cyber-Freedom. Plain text files are preferred. Please address them to email@example.com . Got an opinion? Send it in! Stand Up and Be Counted! Get More Gigs! More Girls! More Fans! Free Beers! - Become a Published Author on Stoned Out Loud.
"Speak, that we may See You" - H. Marshall McLuhan
Wednesday the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) web site home page was replace by this version, in an escalating cycle of madness perhaps sparked after the Washington Post reported "at least one company acknowledges that it has been hired to distribute [bogus MP3] spoofs [throughout p2p file sharing services like Gnutella] as digested earlier on Stoned Out Loud.
Dan Gillmor's eJournal simply noted the exploit as "stupid and counterproductive," calling the vandals "jerks."
We at Stoned Out Loud tend to agree. An escalating cycle of exploits- they seed our p2p servers ("our" meaning "We The People..."), We hose their webserver...I mean, c'mon. As Rodney King so succinctly put it, "Can't we all just get along, now?" Sheesh.
But another side of me (personally) regards the tactics which the Industries (yes, plural, look at the membership roster of the WTO (World Trade Organisation)) are employing to stave off Cultural (and cyberCultural) evolution along it's natural path, and umm, yeah, this is a war. But let us not replace physical violence and disinformation/misinformation tactics with cyber violence and the like. Congress needs to get serious about realising that this is a new world order, and that they had damn well better side with the People, and not their corporate donors / sponsors. The alternative, if they do not, is that corporations will lose their fictitious standing as Legal Persons.
This is a personal opinion, but an informed one. The violence done to Individual Rights and Property Rights and Intellectual Property Rights, and to simple Human Dignity by "the Law" in the name of protecting the legal sanction of corporation as a "Person" is growing more indefensable every second. It's a doctrine of Law that has seen it's time come, and go.
Harumph. Sermon Over: Go now, and Sin no more. (D'oh! There I go again.)
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society "is a research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development," according to their site's home page. Greplaw is their excellent discussion site for issues relating to "Geeks. Laws. Everything in Between.", and is a forum operated with slashcode. So if You go there and get that eerie feeling of deja vu, it's because You may have been to Slashdot.org before.
There are some excellent resources there. Recommended.
Online Democracy is proceeding apace. (I registered the trade name EDEN - Electronic Democracy Now in the town of East Lyme in the village of Niantic, Connecticut back in 1978 or 79, right when I got out of the Service. (grin))
You know, Jim Morrison said on the "Soft Parade" album, "You Cannot Petition the Lord with Prayer!"Even so, we sure as hell can petition the United States government for redress of our grievances and harms done or contemplated to be done, like the RIAA's sponsored legislation to make it legal for the big Record and Movie companies to attack p2p (peer-to-peer) networks like Kazaa and Morpheus and Gnutella, or to seed them with bogus mp3's, as we reported the other day. That's the great thing about having the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. We don't have to put up with such foolishness. Now, there's a new tool to use
My Say "Working" for Mike Decaro and the Rolling Stones By Delene J. Garafano (C)Copyright 2002 Delene Garafano and Stoned Out Loud
I figured that I would say what has happened to me and why I kept going back to Mike "Mick" Decaro's house.
I am Delene, You guessed it already, didn't you? I met Mick on line and thought that he just needed a friend so I invited him here to my house to meet me. Within a few minutes of his being here he was going on about the Stones. I told him that I had met Keith Richards briefly in Syracuse when they played there in 1989 during the Steel Wheels tour. I am not dumb enough to think that he would remember me but I just mentioned it in passing hoping to get Mick to change the subject.
Mick seemed nice enough to begin with and he seemed to understand about my Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I was just finishing a divorce from my husband of 17 years and I thought what was the possibility of me finding two idiots in one lifetime? Pretty good I guess.
Mick came across as a caring individual and while I thought he was a bit immature I decided to overlook it. Mick seemed to want company and friendship and he asked me to help him out by working with him on the fan news letter that he writes for the Stones.
He began by saying he would pay $4,000.00 a week. I pointed out that that figure was ridiculous. He then said 2500 a week and the Stones would pay for health insurance for me and a car. Plus, I would go with him on the tour and the Stones would pay for all of my expenses. I would be travelling with their entourage. The tour would last 2 years.
I had just lost my car when an old man plowed into me. It was totalled. I was going to lose my health insurance when my divorce was final as well. Mick was saying that he needed someone to help him put out his newspaper and since he wasn't married anymore the Stones would pay for his help for him. He wanted me to know that Keith Richards was his close friend and that he got most of his stuff from Keith.
He also said that after 22 years and 2 wives he has paid his dues with the Stones. His first wife died on his birthday the first year that they were married and he inherited his Stones collection from her. He met the Stones through her as well. She was the head of their Fan Club, and had a lot of memorabilia, which Mick inherited.
Mick kept talking about a “Jane Rose” who had to meet me in order to put me on the payroll. He kept saying that although she was extremely busy she tried to contact me by phone. He kept saying that my phone lines were tied up and they were getting busy signals. So I paid to have call waiting and caller id and a voice answering service but still he kept saying the lines were busy, and that she couldn't get through.
My housemate at the time, Herbie, didn't like Mick at all and when he was on the computer and Mick's number would come up he simply ignored it. Mick was always saying that “these people” (meaning Herbie) were taking advantage of me.
I was babysitting my cousin's kids for her at the time and Mick said that I couldn't do both. So I asked her to find someone else to babysit. It broke my heart to do so as my 2 sons were living with their father and I didn't get to see much of them. I was always available to go to Stamford to work with Mick for the Stones. He would say he wanted me to work and I would jump in my car and drive right down there, about 100 miles, to his home-office.
Mick lives with his mother and father in a house he says he inherited from his grandfather. We would go out to places like an aquarium store and he would say “I'll buy that for you and the Stones will pay for it.” I didn't pay much attention to that as I was still trying to get him to say when I could meet with Jane Rose. I told him to name a time and I would be there. He kept saying that she was a “hoitie-toitie bitch who was doing coke,” and she was much to busy to see me.
I would go to Stamford and be there for days at a time waiting to meet with her and in the meanwhile we would work on a thing called Slammies. Slammies are small cards with Stones pictures and quotes on them, signed by various members of the Fan Club and then used in a contest that Mick runs.
I put together an edition of Yesterday's Papers, a Fanzine that Mick produces for the Rolling Stones. It was the 40th Anniversary edition, and featured a Brian Jones retrospective. Then Mick says he didn't use it and that he was putting his magazine out on the computer.
He says that he told Jane Rose that I was putting the magazines out when it was his friend Carl doing the work. Mick would constantly say to me “I lied for you so you owe me.” I would say I didn't ask you to lie for me and I would appreciate you not doing that ever again.
Mick would tell me that I should listen to him as I couldn't think for myself. He said that I had made bad decisions when he wasn't around. After 17 years with my ex I can recognize when someone is trying to control me. I still believed Mick and he would get mad when I tried to pin him down on signing a contract for the work I was doing.
He would say “You dare to doubt me?” or “You dare question Me?” and I would feel guilty for asking for proof. Mick had a habit of staying up all night and sleeping all day so he didn't think anything about calling me at 3 in the morning.
I tried to explain that having MS made me extremely tired and it took a lot out of me to have to answer the phone when I was sleeping. Needless to say, he didn't listen to me and he sounded so distressed that I felt sorry for him. I just sat there on the phone and listened to him. He would claim he was playing with his gun and he had loaded it and was playing Russian Roulette.
My second husband had commit suicide and I didn't want another soul on my conscience. So I would once again just listen to Mick. He would be telling me about his last girlfriend, a Russian girl that thought nothing of slapping him. He would call me and say she had just slapped him again for doing nothing. He would sound like he was about to cry. I would make soothing sounds and tell him that he wasn't doing anything wrong and couldn't understand why she would keep slapping him. Mike never does anything wrong and nothing is ever his fault.
He would say that the magazine would be late and it wasn't his fault, it was mine. I was trying my best to learn as much as I could about programing, I had met a guy named Tim who would help me on weekends and teach me about computers. Mick would say I wasn't learning fast enough.
He would tell me he could have anyone work for him but that he felt sorry for me and was holding the position open for me. I haven't worked in 2 years, I recently got Social Security Disability so I didn't need to work, I just wanted to. Everything was coming together for me after the worst 2 years of my life. I started to dream about finishing my home and my kids became excited to think I would be earning money. My ex-husband started demanding child support, which I pay now out of my disability check.
Mick promised me that we could go to Australia and China with the Stones paying for it all. I tried to talk to him about me getting paid, and all he would say is “What do I have, to show Jane Rose?” We had done the slammies, I said, and I had put together a 40th anniversary issue of Yesterday's Papers. He said he didn't use it. Yet he also said at different times that he had told Jane Rose that I had been doing Yesterday's Papers, for four issues, lying about it “for me,” so he could “hold the position open” for me. And now he said he wanted a web site, and that I needed to get it done, or I would never be able to get paid.
I would say pay for the domain and I will build it. He would say build it and then he would pay for it. So I went to tripod and built him a sample site. It can be viewed at http://stonestour.tripod.com. I said “Here it is: When am I going to get paid?”
He said that the Stones had given him a credit card and that he would pay me using the card.
The first time Mike said he would pay me with the card, he called me up at 7 o'clock in the morning and told me to come down there to Stamford to get paid. Then, when I got there, he said that he couldn't use the card because he and Trish had gone into the city and he put a lot on the card and the bank shut it down. He would have to wait for the bank to give him a new pin number. So I went home.
Then Mike called and said that he had some things he wanted me to do and that he would pay me if I could come to his house again. This time he needed some typing done. When I got there he wanted me to fix some questions he had done for a radio station. This time Mick said he couldn't pay me because he had lost his wallet.
I am finally tired of his lame excuses. He always said that he couldn't drive because his mother had thrown away his plates and he had to get replacement plates. Then he said he needed a sticker for the plates and that the DMV would mail it to him. But, he claims, the DMV “is 8 months behind” in mailing plates and stickers out. It has been months and I finally mentioned to him that it really wasn't the big deal he made it out to be - he could just go down to the DMV and they would give him a sticker, on the spot.
It has been one excuse after another.
I have given him every chance to come through on his promises and he hasn't come through on any of them. I have run out of patience and have decided that once again I have been a fool. Well I will pay the price of that as I have always done but once again I have trusted someone and once again I have been disappointed.
I think from now on I'll only trust my animals. So am I an idiot, or am I a person who really wants to believe in things that people tell me?
I would have liked to go on with my life believing in people but it is too hard. I am tired of being disappointed by people like Mike “Mick” Decaro, and I and hate to lose what faith I had. I should have listened to my friends who kept telling me that he was full of BS but I just wanted to be able to work again. I want to feel useful again.
Clog the Servers and Subvert the Network Damn the Constitution: Full speed ahead!
The Music industry is now set on spamming file sharing services with damaged, munged, polluted, or otherwise deflicted mp3 files in an effort to discourage, if not thwart potential file sharing. The Washington Post did a pretty good article about it August 20. Here's an excerpt:
...in recent weeks, scads of "spoof" files have been anonymously posted to the hugely popular sites where music fans illegally trade songs online. Spoofs are typically nothing more than repetitive loops or snippets filled with crackle and hiss, and thousands are now unwittingly downloaded every day from file-sharing services, like Kazaa and Morpheus, that sprang up after Napster's demise.
Record labels are reluctant to discuss spoofing, but their trade group, the Recording Industry Association of America, has called it a legitimate way to combat piracy. And at least one company acknowledges that it has been hired to distribute spoofs, although it won't say by whom.
All of this suggests that the dummy files are part of a second front in the record industry's war against illegal music copying...
... labels are racing to develop uncopyable CDs and -- if indeed they're behind the spoofs -- employing guerrilla tactics that complicate the unlawful uploading and downloading of songs. The labels are also supporting a bill, now under consideration in Congress, that would make it legal to "impair the operation of peer-to-peer" networks, such as LimeWire. That could be done, for example, by overloading file-sharing services with so many requests that they slow to a crawl...
...The strategy has generated plenty of skepticism, however, and not just among those who regard music thievery as a sacred mission. Some executives in the online music world say the majors -- Sony, Universal, Warner Bros., BMG and EMI -- are wasting their time.
"All this smacks of desperation," says Eric Garland, president of BigChampagne, a company hired by major labels to measure online file-sharing traffic. "When you've got a consumer movement of this magnitude, when tens of millions of people say, 'I think CD copying is cool and I'm within my rights to do it,' it gets to the point where you have to say uncle and build a business model around it rather than fight it." ...
The RIAA wants to break new CD's, too. By rigging them so they won't play if the CD player is attached to Your PC.
Thus far, only halting, low-key steps have been taken to thwart mass copying. Just four titles ...have been released in the United States with reconfigured coding intended to render them unplayable in computer hard drives...these tentative moves proved controversial, however, because buyers who merely wanted to play the CDs on their computers couldn't do so. And one congressman said the labels warning consumers that the discs didn't play on PCs were so small that he threatened legislation.
... this first stab at safeguarding had an even greater liability: It didn't work very well. Hackers gleefully reported that they could defeat the security encryption with a felt-tip pen, and artists declined to release copy-protected albums, figuring that the discs would annoy fans without plumping their royalty checks. "It just doesn't work," said David Bowie... "I mean, what's the point?"
...[The major labels] say they're back in the lab, hoping to devise software that allows legal copying (for personal use, such as a copy for the car), while blocking illegal activity (like sharing a song with millions of other fans on Napster-like services).
Kill the Standard. Kill the Specification.
...The ultimate goal is to retire the so-called "Red Book" CD standard that was developed in 1980 by Sony and Phillips, and which is embedded in nearly every recorded compact disc sold today. The Red Book CD was one of the most successful entertainment products in history, but unlike the DVD, it was designed without virtual security bolts. Labels won't abandon the good old five-inch plastic disc -- it's a medium that consumers clearly love -- but in the coming two or three years, they'll phase in new and more secure audio standards.
The Post's David Segal, who wrote the article, talks about it in a video stream, at
Btw, Kazaa recommends a product called Bullguard. Here's a link to Bullguard's site map. The image above links to their "respect" page, a page of tribute to People the founders of the company respect. What a cool idea. It's a nicely designed page, a pleasure to look at, and there's a nice picture of the company Founders at the bottom. Take a peek!
In an Aug. 22 interview with Dawn C. Chmielewski at siliconvalley.com (SV), Musician Janis Ian (who wrote two of the "Articles of Note" linked from the box at the left of this page) spoke about file sharing, music downloading, and the events of the past few months.
In case You haven't a chance to visit the story, here's a bit of what it says.
"In a commentary originally published in Performing Songwriter magazine, and since posted on more than 1,000 Web sites and translated in nine languages, Ian flouts the industry orthodoxy that free file-sharing services like Napster, Morpheus or KaZaA hurt artists and sales."
``I don't pretend to be an expert on intellectual property law, but I do know one thing. If a music industry executive claims I should agree with their agenda because it will make me more money, I put my hand on my wallet -- and check it after they leave, just to make sure nothing's missing,''
SV: How can 1.8 billion songs -- downloaded every month for free -- be good for the industry and the artists?
IAN: First of all, you have to argue the 1.8 billion figure. I don't think there's a whole lot of evidence that shows 1.8 billion songs are being downloaded each month. There aren't enough T1 and T3 lines in the country to do that...a lot of the songs that are being downloaded -- I haven't seen a single study on this -- are songs that are currently out of print...separate out the amount of songs somebody had downloaded because they heard about an artist and wanted to see if they like it, you end up with a much smaller number.
You're not going to be able to stop downloading. You're not going to stop peer-to- peer. Why not work with it? To my mind, the RIAA's strategy is to take on a bunch of court cases that they know they can't win and drive enough fear into everyone and it will go away. They've sort of dug themselves too deep to remove themselves gracefully.
When challenged in her assertion that music file sharing is a boon for Artists like her, she said, "I know by my own Web site. I know by our sales. Our sales of merchandise jumped 300 percent when we put up free downloads."
SV: Why haven't more artists stepped forward to defend Internet file sharing? It seems the most outspoken artists -- such as Metallica's Lars Ulrich or the Eagles' Don Henley -- have openly endorsed the recording industry's crippling legal pursuit of Napster.
IAN: It's unfortunate that over the last 20 years a lot of the moves the upper-level record industry people have made have been based on personal vendettas. If you're an artist...with a relatively new career in the precarious position of trying to solidify that career, you'd be a fool to do anything to alienate your record company. It goes on down the line.
SV: If the RIAA isn't representing the interests of the artists in its lawsuits against Napster, KaZaA, Morpheus and AudioGalaxy, why is it spending millions to crack down on Internet downloading?
IAN: Because it's representing its own interests; who else is it going to represent? It's never represented the interests of the artist. That's just the press. There's not an artist or record industry person who doesn't know that. That was the original impetus for the article. I was so annoyed at that. For (former NARAS President) Michael Greene to dare to get up in front of the Grammy audience and accuse them of being thieves -- and then have the gall to say he's doing it at our behest is very annoying.
In reflecting on the popular reaction to "The Internet Debacle", Janis said, "It's amazing that it's actually getting as much praise as it's getting -- and I'm encouraged by that. At the end of the day, it has very little to do with me. It's not going to bring 200,000 people to my next tour. It is, however, making people think. Which is a really cool thing."
Check out the full Interview. Click the title link above.
GrepLaw.org, a Berkman Center for Society and Internet production of Harvard Law School (whose motto is "Geeks. Laws. Everything In Between."), gave a positive review of John Perry Barlow's article "Slouching Towards Hollywood" ( -archive -article ), saying it was a "Great read. A manifesto for the emerging digital future."
I checked out their site. They're using slashcode (the same code that runs slashdot) to run it. So they must be ok, right? : - |
It was an accident I found the place...I was just checking Yahoo to see if the Stoned Out Loud link submission had made it's way into it's categorical niche through their byzantine maze of silicate cybureaucracy. It hasn't. But this review came up. Great!
Just how much information do they get on what I'm doing?
One issue related to sharing our Music together in this great big room of the web is Individual Privacy. Those ad banners and hit counters, and even "invisible" single-dot images that don't even appear to the naked eye can tell advertisers and potential spammers and stalkers tons of private, personal data about You, where You go on the web, and where You have been.
Last night I started out looking for banner-ad rotation software (Yo! Advertisers! I'll give You some interesting stats in the next post, so stay tuned...You may want to advertise on Stoned Out Loud.).
My search took me far astray, first to a legal research site, then through several browser distributions, and finally I landed on GhostSurf (new window).
I downloaded it and am running it now. Wow! What an incredibly powerful tool! Here's a bit of the description from the GhostSurf site:
GhostSurf is designed to protect your personal information from ISPs, websites, other users of your computer, and malicious "spyware" software; in general, GhostSurf addresses each potential source of online privacy abuse.
GhostSurf tells You just how many packets have gone to a site, what cookies it sets, let's You decide whether or not to block in-page or pop-up ads (Note: Stoned Out Loud's commenting system depends on pop-ups being enabled. Disable pop-ups, and You will not be able to immediately Speak your Mind about an article in the main blogstream here -- this column.)
Using GhostSurf for a few minutes took me to Privacy.net, where my internet Privacy was analysed. Here is what it found when I did it through IE v.5.50.4134.0100: ---------------------------- The system attempted to place the following persistent cookies on your system. Reload to see if the cookies were accepted
Privacy.net = Privacy Analysis No Cookie from this site is on your system from prior visits. You linked from here (if you linked from another web page): (I typed it in directly as soon as I fired-up the browser, whose default page is "about:blank")
Your Browser Type and Operating System: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90)
All information sent by your web browser when requesting this web page: Accept: image/gif, image/x-xbitmap, image/jpeg, image/pjpeg, application/vnd.ms-excel, application/msword, */* Accept-Language: en-us Host: www.privacy.net User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98; Win 9x 4.90) Cache-Control: max-stale=0
CPU type: x86 Screen Width: 800 Screen Height: 600 Screen Available Width: 800 Screen Available Height: 600 Screen Color Depth: 24
You have vistited this many web pages this session in this window: 0 The date/time on your computer and time zone is: Fri Aug 23 07:40:20 PDT 2002 Time/date in your locale format: Friday, August 23, 2002 7:40:20 AM
VBScript is enabled and working.
Your screen width is : 800 pixels Your screen height is : 600 pixels Your viewable Width is : 783 pixels Your viewable Height is : 478 pixels
javaVersion = 1.1.4 javaVendor = Microsoft Corp. javaVendorUrl = http://www.microsoft.com/ javaClassVersion = 45.3 osName = Windows 98 (actually, this box is ME - a cosmetic facelift grafted onto 95, after 98 was same) osArchitecture = x86 osVersion = 4.90
redMask = 255 greenMask = 65280 blueMask = 16711680 Screen: width x height = 800 x 600 Screen: Bits per pixel = 24 ("16777216 colors")
#bits red = 8 (7 .. 0) #bits green = 8 (15 .. 8) #bits blue = 8 ( 23 .. 16)
Applet Panel getBackground() = java.awt.Color[r=192,g=192,b=192] Applet Panel width x height = 500 x 400
freeMemory() = 72936 totalMemory() = 388240
ShockWave Flash Plug-in - ShockwaveFlash.ShockwaveFlash is installed ShockWave Director Plug-in - SWCtl.SWCtl.1 is installed ShockWave ActiveX Control Plug-in - SWCtl.SWCtl.7 is installed Active Shockwave Plug-in - Macromedia.ActiveShockwave.1 is installed Real Player Plug-in - rmocx.RealPlayer G2 Control is installed Media Player - MediaPlayer.MediaPlayer.1 is not installed Adobe Acrobat Reader Plug-in - PDF.PdfCtrl.1 is installed MS Agent 1.5 - <...i left this out...> MS Agent 2.0 - <...i left this out, too :-| > MS DirectAnimation Control - DirectAnimation.DirectAnimationIntegratedMediaControl.1 is installed ----------------------------
(aside -- isn't it sort of interesting that Microsoft's browser feels it necessary to identify itself as Mozilla...Netscape's browser whose source code is available to everyone, and to which anybody can contribute code enhancements?)
Isn't it amazing how much information You broadcast about when You go online?
Ever wish You could send an email anonymously? Say You work on a construction project (or building a nuclear submarine or power plant) and You find out they're falsifying weld x-rays so they can go ahead and get their licenses...and You would blow the whistle, but are just plain scared shitless of what would happen to You and Your Family because these guys are Big and Powerful and Mean and have been known to play really dirty (remember Karen Silkwood?)?
Here are the links on that page (I just used the ChazBrowza's ability to grab the links from a page all at once...hit control-J, and choose to copy - copy all - as text, html, or hotlist items...i chose copy all - html, and boom...here You are...):
So. There's a few anonymous remailers. I haven't checked the links, but there's probably at least one or two that will do what You want them to. Whistleblowers, take a deep breath, and...Good Luck!
A word about URLgrabbing
I know I posted Richard M. Stallman's page's URLs a couple of days ago (because I thought his links were phat.) And I just grabbed the links from the privacy.net site, above. But I want to say something about the practice, here and now, just so there are no misunderstandings.
I do not condone just going out and hijacking other People's links, necessarily. If somebody has put a lot of sweat into assembling a nice resource, why not go to that resource and use it!!!?
"But I'm scared that site will disappear! It happens, y'know!" Yeah, I know, I know. So, make a backup copy of the page for Yourself, just in case. Or go the the links You want and bookmark'em...add them to Your favourites...hotlist. But don't just go around hijacking links. It's rude.
(...and I never claimed not to be a hypocrite ;-^) )
BTW, Michal at Cornerhost wondered to me yesterday why my pages were starting to load so slowly. I think I know why now. It's those damn fat png files I used for the ChazBrowza Skins. If the download page loads slowly, that's why. You know what I have to do? I have to save them each as jpg's or gifs, optimise (reduce file size), then convert back to .png's (cause I like pngs.) I'm gonna do that now.
Enjoy the Privacy, Anonymous, Emailer links, Download ChazBrowza, Share Music and other good stuff, and let's reform the music industry (and other ones) so we don't keep getting screwed out of our work! :out
Linux - here is every version I could build at the moment. All are ChazBrowza v0.01 - no skins, English, German, and Chinese Language Support.
There's a static, vanilla version that should run on most distros, a couple in Debian packaging, a couple of zips, some rpm's and some bz2 archives. Be sure to carefully examine the QT part of the filename, as it should match up with the library versions in Your distribution/installation.
Email ChazLinux@stoned-out-loud.org if You have any problems or suggestions,
Note that once installed, the ChazBrowza uses the Opera default skins. Just say "Alt-P" or Choose (menu) File | Preferences. Once in Preferences, choose "Browser Look" on the left, then select (in the center) "Foreground Skin" - and You'll see all the cool custom skins I made. Use'em. It really spruces up my time on the web, I hope it will Yours, too.
My Time on this Box is Up, Now.
Gotta get off and let Delene (my housemate) check her email now...The Stones still haven't paid her. Mike "Mick" Decaro called her down there to Stamford the other day (I can't believe she actually went.) to help with some clerical/secretarial stuff,and (he said) to get paid some money for her efforts since March.
Guess what? He was going to pay her with the money he got from WAAF for procuring an interview with Keith Richards after the soundcheck before the Opening show at Fleet Center in Boston. But (this time the excuse was) when she got there, he had (get this)_ "lost my wallet." Suuurrre "Mick." And what about the website Delene designed and put up as a mock up for the commercial site You wanted? Where's the cash for Hosting? Where's the cash You promised to pay the contractor, My Friend Delene?
ChazBrowza! Stoned Out Loud offers a Free Browser with Email
Get the Free Stoned Out Loud Browser-Email: ChazBrowza!
Alert! Stoned Out Loud now has it's own Browser with Email, Chazbrowza ( a branded and customised version of Opera 6.05). Windows Users can get their FREE download from our Sister organisation, StonedOutLoud.org. Download from http://www.stoned-out-loud.org/download/ChazBrowzaWin_v0.02_en_32671.exe . Linux versions should be online by late tonight or early tomorrow (Thursday) morning. - g.moss.
Napster and the Death of the Music Industry - John Perry Barlow
I finally got to prepare this article last night for publication here, so after an absence of some months, it is now back on the web. Originally it appeared on Technocrat.net (now on hiatus...but it'll re-emerge I would surmise, what with publisher Bruce Perens leaving HP for what the pundits have variously termed "politics" and "a more activist role" serving the cause of software Freedom). It was a pleasure getting this ready to go. Enjoy. Read it aloud. -dcm
Note: a non-Blogicised version is in our Articles section. Just click on the link above.
Napster and the Death of the Music Industry "By" John Perry Barlow
I expect most of you are aware that the Recording Industry Association of America has been fighting a desperate struggle against technologies that would end its century-long enslavement and exploitation of musicians. One of these developments is something called Napster.com, a system that indexes and makes available digital music files that are stored on the private hard disks of its subscribers.
About a month ago, the New York Times asked me to write an editorial about Napster and the general state of copyright in the world of music. I jumped at the chance and only after nine drafts and a lot of nocturnal hair-tearing did I realize how impossible it would be to both describe the situation in sufficient detail and comment on it in no more than 700 words. I eventually gave up, but I did write something that I would like to pass on to you, in the interest of stimulating your thoughts on the subject. (If it resonates, feel free to pass it further on.)
Of course, things have been moving very rapidly. In the time since I wrote this piece, something called Gnutella has emerged. Gnutella is a distributed indexing system for any kind of on-line content. The fact that it has no central server nor identifiable individual in charge means that it can't be shut down or sued.
Furthermore, I heard today of another development called Freenet. Freenet, the work of a 23 year old Irish copyright anarchist named Ian Clarke, is a system that makes it possible to exchange any copyrighted material anonymously. Freenet would also make the storage location(s) of the material impossible to locate, thus frustrating such efforts as Metallica's current crack-down on Napster subscribers who have stored their songs.
(You gotta love Metallica. There were a pain in the ass to their parents. Now they're going to be a pain in the ass to their kids.)
There's plenty of action in this zone, and since one of my current missions in life is to kill the music business and midwife the birth of the musician business and audience business, I'm keeping plenty busy.
In any event, here's what I had to say about it a month ago:
NAPSTER'S ENORMOUS MUSIC ROOM
An Op-Ed Piece for the New York Times
By John Perry Barlow
Last fall, an obscure 19 year old student named Shawn Fanning quietly inflicted the wound that I believe will eventually kill the music business as we know it. He set up a Web site called Napster.com.
Of course, the recording industry, like other traditional publication media, was already suffering a likely terminal illness. Because of the Internet, almost any informational product can be infinitely reproduced and instantaneously distributed all over the planet without cost. This obsoletes the material containers previously necessary for information transport as well as most of the industries that manufactured them. The biggest remaining obstacle to this free flow of digital liquid is legal, not practical.
But so far this impediment - copyright law - has been sufficient to make most of the 20th Century's best musical creations and performances very hard to find online. Nearly all of this material has been commercially released and is therefore in the white-knuckled grip of the companies that recorded it. Commercial MP3 sites are too visible to risk legal assault by copyright patrols from the RIAA (or Recording Industry Association of America.), so they traffic mostly in recent or insignificant works.
But Fanning realized there is a lot more digitized music in Cyberspace than one might think. This is because millions of ordinary listeners have converted portions of their purchased music collections into the MP3 format and copied them onto their hard drives. He further realized that many of these personal hard disks are continuously connected to the Internet, generally because their owners, mostly students, hold accounts on academic networks.
Fanning also knew that people have an old and deep impulse to share music with one another, so, in essence, he designed an immense and growing virtual space, Napster.com, where they could do so. Napster creates a vast community of folks who can play music directly from one another's PC's, rather as they might play one of their roommate's CD's on the stereo in their dorm room.
But of course, in this environment, what can be played can also be copied. When I reach through Napster to the hard disk of some kid in Ohio and grab his copy of, say, Cassidy by the Grateful Dead, I can also place it on my hard disk as I listen to it.
It is this characteristic of Napster that so haunts the RIAA . They believe that making this copy is as clear a case of theft as if I'd shop-lifted a CD from Walmart..
But what is being "stolen?" And from whom? Speaking as the fellow who co-wrote Cassidy, I don't believe that the kid in Ohio is injuring my economic interests by sharing it with others. Deadheads have been sharing our songs with each other for decades and it's done nothing but increase the demand for our work.
Of course, the RIAA takes a very different view and has lately been laboring by means, both legal and technical, to eliminate fair use, requiring payment to be made every time someone hears the music they claim to own. They regard Napster to be a global thief's bazaar.
But what can they do about it? Nothing, I'd say. Napster is legally safe from them because no copyrighted material is actually stored there. Nor is there any practical way to prosecute the burgeoning multitudes who have already made over 380, 000 musical pieces available there.
Appeals based on moral principles will avail them little. Cyberspace is and always has been a "gift economy" where sharing is considered a virtue, not a crime. The music industry is generally despised by both music-lovers and musicians, to whom they've been returning about five percent of the retail value of their works.
Further, most musicians agree with Public Enemy rapster Chuck D, who recently said that the recording industry's legal assertion that they own the music they distribute is as senseless as would be a claim by Federal Express that they should own the contents of the packages they ship.
Also, from an economic standpoint, many musicians have discovered, as the Grateful Dead did, that the best way to make money from music is to give it away. While scarcity may increase the value of physical goods, such as CD's, the opposite applies to information. In a dematerialized information economy, there is an equally strong relationship between familiarity and value. If your work is good, allowing what you've done to self-replicate freely increases demand for what you haven't done yet, whether by live performances or by charging online for the download of new work.
For these, and far more reasons than I can state here, I'm convinced that the traditional music business is finished. Napster and other environments like it will polish off the likes of BMG and Tower Records within five years.
Personally, I can't say I'll miss it. For over a century, it has exploited both musicians and audiences. By its proprietary practices and crass insistence on mass appeal, it has desertified the ecology of auditory epiphany, impoverished genius, fattened lawyers, turned plastic into gold, and offered gilded plastic in return.
Music expresses the soul of a society. It is perhaps the most singularly human activity of our peculiar species, since, unlike the rest of our major endeavors, it doesn't support our physical survival. But the 20th Century music business has transformed the deepest currents of our culture into mere currency.
To be fair, I will confess that it had its purposes and time. Without the record industry, I would never have heard The Rolling Stones, Stockhausen, Handel, Billy Holiday, Bob Dylan, Robert Johnson, Ravi Shankar, or Balinese Monkey Chants. Nor, more importantly, would they have been able to hear - and thus build upon - each other.
I also recognize that some percentage of those who work in it appear to be human beings. As a former cattle rancher, I feel a pang of compassion at their economic demise. But history is littered with such casualties. The people who worked in them found other jobs.
The graceful industries go down gently when they've outlived their utility, but doesn't appear that this one is going to. They appear prepared to bury with themselves an entire epoch of music under a thick crust of copyright law, leaving a century-sized hole in the history of music.
We can't allow this to happen. If it does, it will cause the still-birth of what is presently gestating on Napster.com: the musician business. (And even, with luck, something one might call the audience business.)
In Napster's enormous room, music will arise in spontaneous and global abundance in the space between creators and listeners so interactively that it will be hard to tell which is which. No longer will we mistake music for a noun, as its containers have tempted us to do for a century. We will realize once more that music is a verb, a relationship, a constantly evolving life form.
But you can't own verbs, nor relationships, nor divine gifts. Whatever the current legalities, I personally find defining "my" songs to be a form of property to be as philosophically audacious and as impractical as would be a claim that I own "my" daughters, another blessing that just happened to pass into the world through me..
As with my daughters, I want to exercise some control over what happens to the songs for which I was the mere conduit. I don't want them to be altered, abused, exploited, or used by others for their own commercial purposes. Developing the proper legal and ethical instruments to assure me that ability will be tricky. But more than control, I want my songs, like my daughters, to be free to roam the world and be loved by as many as can appreciate their occasional beauty.
Whatever models evolve to protect the creation of music, I am not concerned that we will fail to economically support its makers after we quit calling it property. For some reason, humans absolutely require music, and they were providing for the material needs of musicians for tens of thousands of years before copyright law, just as they will do so for tens of thousands of years after this brief and anomalous period has been forgotten..
-- John Perry Barlow, Cognitive Dissident Co-Founder & Vice Chairman, Electronic Frontier Foundation Berkman Fellow, Harvard Law School
Richard M. Stallman (RMS) has one hell of a set of links on his page.
RMS is the Founder of the Free Software Foundation, the Gnu Project (without which we would not have the Gnu Public License (GPL) or Linux), and the George Washington of Open, Transparent Code, and I hold him in the highest regard. If it were not for his doing a lot of the unglamourous coding and grunt work that goes along with building a software infrastructure, we would not have the excellent Free software we have today.
I wandered on over to his page today, and all the worthy causes he is involved with just blew me away! My God! If only I could be HALF that effective.
Then when I upgraded, the bloggerPro software suddenly began insisting that someone else was there. So I picked / chose to publish to aich-tee-tee-pee-colon-slash-slash-stoned-dash-out-dash-loud-dot-blogspot-dot-com. (http://stoned-out-loud.blogspot.com).
Reluctantly, the BloggerPro software let me do this, but only if I used the interface to eff-tee-pee (FTP) it there and fail because I didn't know the right etiquette, i.e. probably some combo of path and servername and blogid and username that I never could get right.
Then, after it would fail, it would revert back to publishing me where I wanted to in the first place - even though somebody else had that Blog!!!
Bah! Computers. Networks. Software. Buncha upstart collection of electrons and sand.
Be sure and look for Stoned Out Loud at http://www.stoned-out-loud.com . It'll probably usually always be there.
ah. here's a good one. Internet Explorer just delivered to me http://stoned-out.blogspot.com/ while cheerfully acknowledging in the title bar "Cannot find server". And Look! Lot's and Lots of archives, not belonging to me!
No doubt You may notice a few changes to Stoned Out Loud. If this is Your first time here (and that's more likely than not, the way we've been growing :-) ), here's a quick synopsis of the changes made over the weekend.
- Now I have a template for articles.The first article published using this template is J.P.Barlow's "Slouching Towards Hollywood." It is now linked to it in several places:
..........From the eBlogazine post itself, where it originally appeared;
..........From the "Articles of Note" box;
..........From the URL just beneath the Title;:
..........And, of course, the Blogger software creates a link out of the time the item was posted, at the bottom of the entry.
- A Title field has been added to the entries here. It won't necessarily be above all of them, but now it is available to use, if we want to.
- A URL field is available for use by RSS feeds, in case someone wants to grab Stoned Out Loud articles for a newsfeed on their site. If You want'em, You got'em. We have been developing our e-Blogazine format here on the blogspot site, so site changes, and often new articles, get published here first.
Sometimes (depending I suppose on where You are), the "www" is optional.
- Several news feeds from NewsNow.co.uk have been added, as buttons in the left column. They pop-up windows with a newsfeed that refreshes itself about every 3 or 4 minutes with the latest news on the web in that category. Categories now on Stoned Out Loud include Music News, Freedom of Information, and Media Ownership. I have more, just have not had time yet to incorporate them. Also, I've made some custom buttons for them, also, same story, no time to install them em yet. I'll get to it.
- A custom site search has been added. It will search either this site and affiliated sites I have told it about, or the web. I was pretty impressed with it when I tried it. I hope it will help You find what You are seeking here. It needs to be told every few days to re-spider and re-index Stoned Out Loud as it grows, but I think I can set it up so it does it automatically. I'll look into it.
- Stoned Out Loud publishing has been upgraded to BloggerPro.This offers more functionality, and is overall a great improvement and of great utility-- but it has had a few kinks. If You see archives that belong to some swamp Yankee blues guitarist, that's a side effect of this upgrade. They should go away the next time I regenerate and republish the archives, a few minutes from now. But the upgrade did throw my publishing schedule back a few days. Even so, now we're pretty much back on track.
- There will be new content within 24 hours, according to my plans at the moment. I would like to add something new (in terms of content) every day, and I don't want the place to get too busy and distracting with counters and bells and whistles. But still I have a lot of resources I haven't added yet...more newsfeeds, search engines. I guess I'll have to branch out to a few other special purpose pages. Tell me what You think. comment on this post, at the bottom. (thanks)!
One thin Stoned Out Loud is, is a resource and forum for Artists to talk about how to fix the deflicted Music Industry (and the Law) so it doesn't continue to screw People out of a Living (like Mike Decaro and the Rolling Stones have done/are doing with my Friend Delene). It should be a place where You can come to kick back, catch up on the news, and participate in this ongoing embryonic thing as we figure out how we are going to preserve our First Amendment Freedoms while managing to respect Intellectual Property Rights. That's one of the reason's for Stoned Out Loud.
- Other updates this weekend:
- The Rolling Stones Tour newsfeed has been on and off with the edits to the site I have been making. I think it's fixed now. If it's broken, check the JPB article in the articles section...That one I know is working.
-the commenting system was offline temporarily this morning. It's back now (last I checked).
You might have noticed an "image hosted by tripod" image instead of Enetation's or Stoned Out Loud's logos. That was because I stupidly (I knew better, but was careless with my code editing) made references to images stored on the tripod version of SOL and Tripod has their webservers set so the swap their image for any image requested by a domain outside of their realm. If it isn't being served to a Tripod-hosted page, it won't be served. (Tripod, like Yahoo, doesn't like to serve images to web pages outside their corporate web of affiliation. Hardly in keeping with the tradition of the creation of the internet and hypertext/html , but whaddaygonnado? Capitalism/BottomLineIsm. ah, well...). So anyway...: All references to images served by tripod have been eliminated (I think :-| ) .
Well that about wraps it up. It's been a busy weekend for me. Oh, before I forget: the blogspot address for Stoned Out Loud has changed, as a side effect of the upgrade process. It was stoned-out.blogspot.com, but now, it is (more consistently) http://stoned-out-loud.blogspot.com .
Tell Your Friends!
Come back again and again. (I checked the stats today, and You have been!) Or, if You are just mulling over an idea for one, email me with a suggestion and I'll help You develop it. Like I've said before, there needs to be other voices than my own here, rants other than my own, too. As well as <ó¿¿“@Ë (a bit of line noise...Claude Shannon and Benoit Mandlebrot would have liked that...in fact Mandlebrot showed that it was present in no matter how small an interval one chose!) ahem As well as a few well-chosen voices of opposition...it is the creative tension that drives debate forward, sometimes, although in the current war the RIAA/MPAA is waging against the First Amendment, I have serious doubts any of that tribe will be convinced...Too often greed trumps rational disputation.
I hope You enjoy the changes, and look forward to any site suggestions You might care to offer. Thanks in Advance.
........Dave Manchester ........Publisher, ........Stoned Out Loud ........
-- "when innovation is outlawed, only outlaws will innovate. then will arise the day of secret sharing, and invention and community will be furtive and not talked about openly. That would be tragic." --dcm
Editors Note: This article has been placed in our articles section, here.
On Wednesday (8-14) morning Stoned Out Loud's publisher emailed John Perry Barlow, co-Founder and Vice Chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and author of "Napster.com and the Death of the Music Business", asking permission to reprint it as it appeared on Technocrat.net (Technocrat has temporarily left the room). He also asked for contributed columns. A couple of hours later, this came in. Stoned out Loud is proud to present You with this article. Thank You John. -g.moss
Slouching Towards Hollywood Creative Livelihood in an Economy of Verbs "By" John Perry Barlow
An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.- Victor Hugo
The great cultural war has broken out at last.
Long-awaited by some and a nasty surprise to others, the conflict between the Industrial Period and the Virtual Age is now engaged in earnest, thanks to the modestly conceived but paradigm-shattering thing called Napster.
What Napster's first realization of global peer-to-peer networking made inevitable is not so different from what happened when the American colonists realized that the conditions of their New World were sufficiently different from those of ancient England that they would be obliged to cast off the Crown before they could develop an economy natural to their environment. For the settlers of cyberspace, the "shot heard 'round the world" was fired on July 26 by Judge Marilyn Patel when she enjoined Napster and thereby sought to silence the cacophonous free market of expression already teeming with over 20 million directly-wired music lovers.
Despite the stay immediately granted the Napsterians, her decree transformed an evolving economy into a cause, and turned millions of politically apathetic youngsters into electronic Hezbollah. Neither the best efforts of Judge Patel - nor those of the Porsche-driving executives of the Recording Industry Association of America, the Congress they own, or the sleek legal defenders of existing copyright law - will alter this simple fact: No law can be successfully imposed on a huge population that does not morally support it, and possesses many easy means for its invisible evasion.
To put it mildly, the entertainment industry geriatrics didn't see it coming. They figured the Internet presented about as serious an obstacle to their infotainment empire as ham radio had to NBC. Even after that assumption was shattered, they remained serene as sunning crocodiles. After all, they still "owned" all that stuff they call "content." That it might soon become possible for anyone with a PC to effortlessly and perfectly reproduce their "property" and distribute it to all humanity troubled them little.
But then along came Napster. Or, more to the point, along came the real Internet, an instantaneous network that endows any acne-faced kid with a distributive range equal to Time-Warner's. Moreover, those were kids who don't give a flying byte about the existing legal battlements, and a lot of them possess decryption skills easily sufficient to crack whatever lame code the entertainment industry might wrap around "their" goods.
Practically every traditional pundit who's commented on the Napster case has at some point furrowed his telegenic brow and asked, "Is the genie out of the bottle?" A better question would be, "Is there a bottle?" No. There isn't.
Which is not to say the industry won't keep trying to create one. In addition to ludicrous (and probably unconstitutional) edicts like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the industry is placing a lot of faith in new cryptographic solutions. But before they waste a lot more time on their last algorithmic vessels, they might consider the ones they've designed so far. These include such systems as DivX, SDMI, and CSS - the DVD encryption standard, which has sparked its own legal hostilities on the Eastern Front, the New York court of Judge Lewis Kaplan.
Here's the present score: DivX was still-born, SDMI will never be born owing to the wrangling of its corporate parents, and DeCSS (the DVD decryptor) is spreading at a rate that will not slow even in the unlikely event that the Motion Picture Association of America prevails with its current lawsuits aimed at declaring it a prohibited form of speech. Outside Kaplan's Federal Court in New York City, where the Electronic Frontier Foundation has been defending three electronic distributors of DeCSS, nose-ringed kids sell T-shirts with its code silk-screened on them.
The last time technical copy protection was widely attempted - remember when most software was copy-protected? - it failed in the marketplace, and failed miserably. Earlier bans on reproductive technologies have also failed. Even though they are exceptionally slow learners, entertainment executives will eventually realize what they should have learned long ago: The free proliferation of expression does not decrease its commercial value. It increases it. It would serve them far better to encourage it.
The war is on, all right, but to my mind, it's over. The future will win. There will be no property in cyberspace. Behold DotCommunism. (And dig it, ye talented, since it will enrich you.) It's a pity that the entertainment industry is too wedged in the past to recognize this, as they will thereby require us to fight this war anyway. So we will all enrich lawyers with a fortune that could be spent fostering and distributing creativity. And we will be forced to watch a few pointless public executions - Shawn Fanning's cross awaits - when we could be employing such condemned genius in the service of a greater good.
As the inevitable unfolds, the real challenge arises: It's one thing to win a revolution and quite another to govern its consequences. How, in the absence of laws that turn thoughts into things, will we be assured payment for the work we do with our minds? Must the talented all start looking for day jobs?
Nope. Why should we? Most day jobs, at least in developed economies, already consist of mind work. The vast majority of us live by our wits now, producing "verbs" - that is, ideas - rather than such "nouns" as automobiles or toasters. Doctors, architects, executives, consultants, receptionists, televangelists, and, even, unfortunately, lawyers all manage to survive economically without "owning" their cognition.
I take further comfort in the fact that the human species managed to produce pretty decent creative work during the 5,000 years that preceded 1709, when John Locke pushed the Statute of Anne, the world's first copyright law, through the House of Lords.
Sophocles, Dante, Da Vinci, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Newton, Cervantes, Bach - all found reasons to get out of bed in the morning without expecting to own the works they would create during the day ahead.
Even during the zenith of copyright, we got some pretty useful stuff out of Benoit Mandelbrot, Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, Marc Andresson, and Linus Torvalds, none of whom did their world-morphing work with royalties in mind. And then there are all those great musicians of the last 50 years who went on making music even after they discovered that the record companies got to keep all the money.
Nor can I resist trotting out, one last time, the horse I rode back in 1994, when I explored these issues in a Wired article called "The Economy of Ideas," The Grateful Dead. The Dead, for whom I once wrote songs, learned by accident that if we let fans tape our concerts and freely reproduce those tapes - "stealing" our intellectual "property" just like those heinous Napsterites - the tapes would become a marketing virus that would spawn enough Deadheads to fill any stadium in America. Even though Deadheads had free recordings that were better than our commercial albums, fans still went out and bought records in such quantity that most of them eventually went platinum.
My opponents always dismiss this example as a special case. But it's not. Here are a couple of others closer to Hollywood. Jack Valenti, head of the MPAA and leader of the fight against DeCSS, kept VCRs out America for 5 years, convinced they would kill the film industry. Eventually the wall came down. What followed reversed his expectations (not that he seems to have learned from the experience).
Despite the ubiquity of VCRs, more people go to the movies than ever and videocassette rentals and sales account for nearly 70 percent of his industry's income.
The RIAA is unalterably convinced that toe easy availability of freely downloadable commercial songs will bring on the apocalypse, and yet, during the two years since MP3 music began flooding the Net, CD sales have risen by 20 percent.
Finally, after giving up on copy protection, the software industry expected that widespread piracy would surely occur. And it did. I often ask audiences how many of them can honestly say they have no unauthorized software on their hard drives. Most people don't raise their hands. And yet, the software industry is booming. Why? Because the more a program is pirated, the more likely it is to become a standard. Once it becomes a standard, it is a great deal more convenient to enter into a long-term service relationship with the vendor.
All these examples point to the same conclusion: non-commercial distribution of information increases the sale of commercial information. Abundance breeds abundance.
This is precisely contrary to what happens in a physical economy. When you're selling nouns, there is an undeniable relationship between scarcity and value. Adam Smith figured that out a long time ago. But in an economy of verbs, the inverse applies. There is a relationship between familiarity and value. For ideas, fame is fortune. And nothing makes you famous faster than an audience willing to distribute your work for free.
All the same, there remains a general and passionate belief that, in the absence of copyright, artists and other creative people will no longer be compensated. I'm forever accused of being an anti-materialistic hippie who thinks we should all be create for the Greater Good of Mankind and lead lives of ascetic service. If only I were so noble. While I do believe that most genuine artists are primarily motivated by the joys of creation, I also believe we will be more productive if we don't have to work a second job to support our art habit. Think of how many more poems Wallace Stevens could have written if he hadn't been forced to run an insurance company to support his "hobby."
Following the death of copyright, I believe our interests will be assured instead by the following practical values: relationship, convenience, interactivity, service, and ethics.
Before I go further in explaining what I mean, let me state a creed: Art is a service, not a product. Created beauty is a relationship, and a relationship with the Holy at that. To reduce such work to "content" is like praying in swear words. End of sermon. Back to business.
The economic model that supported most of the ancient masters I named above (and thousands more like them) was patronage, whether endowed by a wealthy individual, a religious institution, a university, a corporation, or, by the instrument of governmental support, society as a whole.
Patronage is both a relationship and a service. It is a relationship that supported genius during the Renaissance and supports it today.
Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Botticelli all shared the support of both the Medicis and, through Pope Leo X, the Catholic Church. Bach had a series of patrons, most notably the Duke of Weimar. Dante served as a politician and diplomat for the Church and a variety of Tuscan aristocrats. I could go on, but I can already hear you saying, "Surely this fool doesn't expect the return of patronage."
But patronage never went away. It just changed its appearance. Marc Andresson was a beneficiary of the "patronage" of the National Center for Supercomputer Applications when he created Mosaic; CERN was a patron to Tim Berners-Lee while he created the World Wide Web. DARPA was Vint Cerf's benefactor; IBM was Mandelbrot's.
"Aha!" you say, "but IBM is a corporation. They profited from the intellectual property Mandelbrot created." Maybe, but so did the rest of us. While IBM would patent air and water if it could, I don't believe it ever attempted to file a patent on fractal geometry.
Relationship, along with service, is at the heart of what supports all sorts of other modern, though more anonymous, "knowledge workers." Doctors are economically protected by a relationship with their patients, architects with their clients, executives with their corporations. Even copyright lawyers wouldn't find it advantageous to copyright their briefs, since they rip one another off so flagrantly. Copy and paste is second only to paranoia in being is the best thing that ever happened to the legal profession.
In general, if you substitute "relationship" for "property," you begin to understand why a digitized information economy can work fine in the absence of enforceable property law. Cyberspace is unreal estate. Relationships are its geology.
Convenience is another important factor in the future compensation of creation. The reason that video didn't kill the movie star is that it's simply more convenient to rent a video than to copy one. Software is easy to copy, of course, but software piracy hasn't impoverished Bill Gates, because in the long run it's more convenient to enter into a relationship with Microsoft if you want to use their products. It's certainly more convenient to get technical support if you have a real serial number when you finally get the support person on the phone. And that serial number is not a thing. It's a contract. It is the symbol of a relationship.
Think of how the emerging digital conveniences will empower musicians, photographers, filmmakers, and writers when you can click on an icon, upload a cyber-dime into their accounts, and download their latest songs, images, films, or chapters, all without the barbaric inconvenience currently imposed by the entertainment industry.
Interactivity is also central to the future of creation. Performance is a form of interaction. The reason Deadheads went to concerts instead of just listening to free tapes was that they wanted to interact with the band in Meatspace. The more people knew what our concerts sounded like, the more people wanted to experience them.
I enjoy a similar benefit in my current incarnation. I'm reasonably well-paid to write, despite the fact that I put most of my work on the Net before it can be printed, but I'm paid a lot more to speak, and more still to consult, since my real value lies in something that can't be stolen from me - my point of view. A unique and passionate viewpoint is more valuable in a conversation than the one-way broadcast of words. And the more my words self-replicate on the Net, the more I can charge for symmetrical interaction.
Finally, there is the role of ethics. (I can hear you snickering already.) But hey, people actually do feel inclined to reward creative value if it's not too inconvenient. As Courtney Love said recently in a brilliant blast at the music industry: "I'm a waitress. I work for tips." She's right. People want to pay her because they like her work. Indeed, actual waitpeople get by even though the people they serve are under no legal obligation to tip them. They tip them because it's the right thing to do.
I believe that, in the practical absence of law, ethics are going to make a major comeback in cyberspace. In an environment of dense connection where much of what we do and say is recorded, preserved, and easily discovered, ethical behavior becomes less a matter of self-imposed virtue and more a matter of horizontal social enforcement. (Think of how much better you tip when everyone at the table can watch you total the credit card slip.)
Besides, the more connected we become, the more obvious it is that we're all in this thing together. If I don't pay for the light of your creation, it goes out and the place gets dimmer. If no one pays, we're all in the dark. In cyberspace, it becomes increasingly obvious that what goes around comes around. What has been an ideal become a sensible business practice.
Think of cyberspace as an ecosystem, because it is one. It is a great rain forest of those life forms called ideas, which, like organisms - those patterns of self-reproducing, evolving, adaptive information that express themselves in skeins of carbon - require one another to exist. Imagine the challenge of trying to write a song if you'd never heard one.
As in biology, what has lived before becomes the compost from which new shoots spring forth. Moreover, when you buy - or, for that matter, "steal" - an idea that first took form in my head, it remains where it grew and you in no way lessen its value by sharing it. On the contrary, mine becomes more valuable, since in the informational space between your interpretation of it and mine, new species can grow. The more such spaces exist, the more fertile is the greater ecology of mind.
I can also imagine the great electronic nervous system producing entirely new models of creative worth where value resides not in the artifact, which is static and dead, but in the real art - the living process that bore it. I would have given a lot to be present as, say, the Beatles grew their songs. I'd have paid even more to have actually participated in some small way. Part of the reason Deadheads were so obsessed with live concerts was that they did participate in some weird, mysterious way. They were allowed the intimacy of seeing the larval beginnings of a song flop out onstage, wet and ugly, and they would help nurture its growth.
Instead of bottles of dead "content," I imagine electronically defined zones of creative interactions, where minds residing in bodies scattered all over the planet are admitted, either by subscription or a ticket at a time, into the real-time presence of the verb I call art.
For example, I imagine actual storytelling making a comeback. Storytelling, unlike the one-way, asymmetrical thing that goes by that name in Hollywood, is highly participatory. Instead further hypnotizing the passive TV viewer, awash in electrons and Budweiser, I imagine new audiences happily paying for engagement with the bard.
This scenario doesn't require much imagination, since it's what happens in the presence good public speaker now. The best of them don't talk at the audience, but rather converse with them, creating a sanctuary of permission where something real and personal can happen.
People will also pay to get first crack at the fresh stuff, just as Stephen King is proving by serializing novels on the Web. Dickens demonstrated the efficiency of this system long ago. Unruly dockside mobs greeted the ship bearing the last chapter of Great Expectations. They paid considerable premiums for copies of the magazine in which it was being serialized. Though Dickens was irritated that the Americans ignored his British copyright, he adapted and devised a way to get paid anyway. The artists and writers of the future will adapt to practical possibility. Many already have done so. They are, after all, creative people.
Best of all, think of how much more money there will be for the truly creative when the truly cynical have been dealt out of the game. Once we have all given up regarding our ideas as a form of property, the entertainment industry will no longer have anything to steal from us. Meet the new boss: no boss.
But enough about the money. I could go on at far greater length about economic models, both demonstrated and speculative, but the fact remains, we don't know jack about what's eventually going to work in the new ecosystem we're growing. If one compares the evolution of Industry to the information economy now slouching through cyberspace to be born, we are metaphorically closer to the era of Eli Whitney than Henry Ford's. This would be a lousy time to lock in our future by imposing on it a set of legal, commercial, and aesthetic principles that were merely the best our ancestors could do with the tools they had.
The fact that those principles might artificially extend the longevity of some institutions and people who have shamelessly fed on the creative for over a century does not trouble me. They wouldn't deserve to survive even if they still had practical value.
We've won the revolution. It's all over but the litigation. While that drags on, let us think about our real mission: ancestry. We have a profound responsibility to employ the tools freshly available to us to be better ancestors. With technology, we are building the foundations of a social architecture that may endure a very long time. What we do now will likely determine the productivity and freedom of artists 20 generations yet un-born. What we do now will determine whether the great works of the last century rot embedded in the corpses of the their former distributors, forever lost to our descendents.
Let us digitize every work of mind we love and endow it with permanent virtual life, whatever the tightening noose of law may dictate.
Let us not sacrifice a free future to preserve a little longer the slavery of the past.
-- John Perry Barlow, Cognitive Dissident Co-Founder & Vice Chairman, Electronic Frontier Foundation Berkman Fellow, Harvard Law School
Here's a bit of Irony for You. In today's Time "Person of the Week" column, appearing in the new newsticker at the left, just below the Main Item in the "Verbatim" section in Time's piece, is Keith Richard's controversial remark made earlier this week.
"It's a paltry honor. He's joining the brownnoses. I said, 'Hold out for the lordship, mate.'" KEITH RICHARDS, guitarist for the Rolling Stones, commenting on bandmate Mick Jagger's recent knighthood
This weeks Person of the Week is Chen Shui-bian, the Democracy-oriented President of Taiwan. Time's lead goes:
By urging a referendum on a declaration of independence from China, Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian earned a week of sound bites and fury from an agitated Beijing bent on reunification. So where's the irony? What's the last gig booked for the Stones on this 2002-2003 Tour? Well, on the "Official" ticket sales site for the band, with the big E-Trade sponsors and all, it says their last date is Saturday 2-01-03 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
You know, the Rolling Stones have been rumored to be spending a billion dollars on this tour. It's a pity they can't or won't afford to pay my Friend what they promised, which would represent maybe one quarter of one percent (that's 0.25 %) of their expenses for the entire 2 year duration of her contract.
Yesterday and last night was a turbulent day with Delene and Mike. He called last night late and whined at her over non performance about deliverables, while she grew increasingly impatient with his excuses about why she could not be paid, nor be allowed to have the tools or information to accomplish what he seems to be demanding.
I'm under the impression that Mike Decaro truly believes and is pretending to himself that he can get away with not paying her up to date on her quarter of a million dollar (plus) contract. He really needs to get a clue about nonperformance himself, in my own judicious opinion. (heheh. my email is firstname.lastname@example.org).
Finally Delene did lose all patience and became totally unwilling to waste time any further on this idiot. She told him "When You decide to get serious, call me." With that she slammed down the phone and we both got back to work on our respective projects. Mick did try to call back twice after that. She answered the first time, and hung up on him (he was ranting, arrogant and abusive - "How Dare You Hang up on me!" - rather than the whine-ass. aside-he often oscillates back and forth between these poses. But Delene stood her ground. Sorry "Mick". No Mon, No Fun.
He had tried every gambit and excuse, and she called him on each and every one. It was beautiful to see.
Later, this afternoon, he called back in a more reasonable tone. He still whined about lots of water under the bridge, but did manage to be lucid enough to reach some sort of rapproachment with Delene. Result? I got kicked off the computer while she finished up the site.
Holy Shit. I was impressed. She went out to moreover and made a custom newsfeed to search for Rolling Stones Tour related stories, and installed a news page. She had a couple of questions about javascipt and pop-up windows, but overall she figured it out herself and got it finished. Then tripod's ftp server went down shortly after midnight, and she couldn't complete the file transfers.
I'm proud of her. Check it out here. I like the newspage with the pop-up windows. But that's just javascipt, a relatively simple call. The real value-add she gave Decaro and the Stones there is the customised news feed that goes out and searches for Stones-related stuff. It's handy. (editor's note: Delene let Dave, our Publisher tweak it out a little more, and that more targeted version - under our account, not hers - is what You see here at the left.)
Now if she can only start to get paid up to date. Ah, well either she will or she won't...there's always the road of litigation, liens, auctions, etc. in a Country of Laws. Let us hope it doesn't come to that.
In the meantime I was busy with getting newsfeeds for Stoned Out Loud (we all were). Dave got some too, and attended to getting set up on our new servers at Cornerhost.com and backing them up. There's going to be a few changes around here. We're growing fast, so don't be surprised by the new look in the next few hours and days. We all hope You like it.
As of sometime this evening EST, Stoned Out Loud has gone live on a commercially hosted server! We are hosting with Michal Wallace's most excellent Cornerhost.com, and can now be accessed (for the moment) free of ad banners. So now, in addition to stoned-out.blogspot.com and stoned-out-loud.tripod.com, You can reach us at
"Unless You are a contractor for the Rolling Stones..." Links and Late Night Calls
For those who didn't visit the site linked from the words "Unless You are a contractor for the Rolling Stones," at the bottom of False Hopes and Bad PIN Numbers, here is what You would have found there (from google groups, a usenet posting to alt.rock-n-roll.stones he made on December 14, 1999, responding to someone's report of a stone's memorabilia trader who allegedly ripped people off. I have redacted the trader's name, as I don't want to get sued, but You can view it in the discussion Yourself if You go to google. Usenet postings are Public utterances.):
I have worked for the band for over 20+ years and have one of the largest and widest variety of collections in the world and never did anyone wrong your reputation is something actually the only thing you can take to your grave and be proud of hang the sonofabitch taking hard working peoples money that they think are going to get a certain item cause they enjoy the stones and there music and it makes them happy and some little shithead comes along and rips people off! I swear I see when he is home Keith 1-2 times a week sometimes and he does not care about bootlegs but I swear give me this guys address and he will meet Keith in the worst way and his dreams will be crushed when his mentor calls him a fucking slug and say's YOU ARE A A HOLE that will stay with him forever and then see if it was worth whatever amount of $$ he stole from people right!! Mike DeCaro ----end google archive usenet posting -----
Mike called again last night/this morning around 12:07am.
First he bitched at her at the unfairness of it all. Then moved on to explain how this tour's ticket sales work...how (somebody named) Cole or Koll put up a site that sold for a $90 fee, tickets to the tour shows...and how they were nosebleed seats (he actually sang the alphabet song to her over the phone and stopped at "Q". ! ) that everybody is complaining about in Sticky Fingers Journal, and how the Stones are "slowly" trying to undo it. How somebody named Michael Koll was selling tickets on the web for what sounded like a $90 surcharge (to hear him tell it). But that the stuff he, Mike Decaro, was peddling was the real deal. That he wasn't the type to deceive People and rip them off or jerk them around, and that the Stones were "slowly fixing it" (the nosebleed seat sales from this guy).
I just gotta say: What the hell does "slowly fixing it" mean? If I get lousy service in a grocery store or department store, does that mean I'm being "slowly" satisfied? Or do I get "slowly" pissed and then "slowly" complain?
The Stones are slowly fixing things alright. When a contractor "slowly" gets paid - like this? like Delene Garafano? - they "slowly" starve, and very quickly go broke, supporting Keith Richard's pet, Mike Decaro. This kind of slow pay is actually a eupemism for no pay.
"I don't care either way."
Then "Mick" moved on to discuss Delene's failure to work for free. (Remember, the original deal he struck with her, on behalf of The Rolling Stones organisation, was for her time, and not any particular deliverables other than her time.)
Decaro allowed as to how Delene had kept bringing up the issue of money, and speculated on whether or not she ever would be like it was his decision to make. He stated flatly: "I'm not going to care either way. It's like Your a secretary who takes the job and then wants to get paid for only typing 10 words a minute."
He went on to say he couldn't understand why she keeps asking to be paid when (he contends) she hasn't done anything. Delene said nothing for a while while he ranted on, restating his point repeatedly as is his custom, bludgeoning her with vituperation. At one point she got really pissed and in reponse to Decaro's "Why should You want to get paid? ", she blurted "Because I'm running out of money!"
Mike Decaro has not a single idea of what things cost for People who live honestly and work, rather than trading in favors, in my opinion. Delene has probably spent 3 or 4 thousand dollars on gas and cigarettes and mileage and car insurance and wear and tear on her car since March, catering to the madly careening personality and appetites for mental abuse practiced by Mike "mick" Decaro. Not to mention meals she has bought him. Not to mention wear and tear on her nerves.
Not to mention a lot of things.
They finally finished their conversation around 1:57 am. Mike spent the last half hour giving Delene unsolicited advice on how to kick me out of her house. Her comment to me afterward? "Who said I wanted to?"
The bulk of the rest of the conversation was Mike remonstrating with her on how the newsletter isn't getting done, but when she asked for a copy, he didn't have any, couldn't access a copy, and refused to provide her with the material necessary to do it.
His pattern is to make excuses such that the bottom line is: HE is left in sole control of the information and will not share it...then he bitches at her interminably about her "not doing her job." This is his method of control. It's a control-freak thing, combined with other con techniques.
A little over a week ago "Mick" had Delene come down so he could give her some cash to keep going on the site. But as usual, it was the runaround again. I think he missed hooking her up with a radio station guy because either the guy couldn't come down or something, I can't recall exactly. But I do remember she mentioned that he had promised her $5000 cash when she got there. (Editor's note: Originally, Mike was getting - supposedly - $20k from WAAF in exchange for him arranging a 10-20 minute interview with Keith Richards just after the sound check for the US Tour's opening show at the Fleet Center in Boston. Mike told Delene that he would split it with her. That's $10,000.00. Now suddenly that promise of $10,000 had dwindled to $5,000.00. Later, this promise of "splitting the cash" from WAAF with Delene would shrink again, to $2500.00. -g.moss, 08-26)
They must have had some words, because I know when she got back she said she had told him not to call her at all unless he had some money for her. It takes a lot for her to lose her patience. I know. I live with her.
Anyway, he called her a week ago monday (the last monday in July) at 7 o'clock in the morning and woke her up. Big News! Callou Callai! He could finally give her some money! If she came right down he would give her $5000 that morning. (It seems they gave him a credit card to pay her so they could keep her deal "off the books.")
She got herself up, washed up, got dressed, fed the chickens, took Lucy out, lumbered out to the car and took off to drive the 100 miles or so to Stamford, for what must be the 50th time. (Lucy is a sweet brown bitch Delene rescued from a fire and gave mouth-to-snout resuscitation to bring her back. That was about 3 years ago, I think. She was just a puppy then.)
She got there around 11, she later told me. Yeah, lousy time. I95 in the summer along the Connecticut coast sucks. It's hot, the road carries about 4 to 6 times the amount of traffic it was built for, and there's perpetual summer construction going on between Guilford and Greenwich. That's most of the coast of the state. And it was rush hour. Yechhh.
The Stones (he told Delene it was Jane Rose) had given "Mick" a credit card, so he could pay Delene something, at last. Unfortunately "Mick" had started spending the moment it was handed to him apparently. He took Trish, a girl knows, out bar hopping or out for drinks or something, Delene later told me...it wasn't quite clear...but then with the shuckin' and jivin' Mike Decaro practices, it never is.
Delene arrived and asked if Mick had any money for her...He said he had put a call in to Mike Kramer at WAAF. Mick has given a guarantee to the station that they could interview Keith Richards for about 15 or 20 minutes before the sound check for first show on the Tour (Boston, Fleet Center), in exchange for $10,000, which the band would let him put in his pocket. Earlier "Mick" had promised Delene half of that, $5,000.00 (since he has been singularly unable to fork over a dime, one might observe). Now, this monday morning that he had called her out of her bed in NE Connecticut to come to Stamford to pick up the $5k, suddenly he said he had called the Radio guy and could get $5000.00 from him "today" and give her half.
Suddenly Delene's half of 10 grand had become half of 5 grand.
"Mick" Decaro said they could go to an ATM machine to get cash, but it wouldn't work.
The PIN number was "bad".
It was bad because it had been suspended.
It had been suspended because "Mick" had spent so much on it so fast that the bank had changed the PIN because they thought it had been stolen! They did it as a precaution, looking at the frenzied account activity of Mike Decaro wooing his friend Trish.
As they say in the ad: "Priceless".
Was Delene pissed? I guess. (Maybe she'll make some comments on this news and discussion site in a leetle while. You never know.)
Even so, she drove him to the bank to cash his check (he offered her no money from it), then to buy cigarettes. And, of course, to McDonald's so Mike Decaro could have his chicken sandwich.)
She returned with her usual external equanimity, but I could tell she was increasingly disenchanted with this bullshit. According to Mike "Mick" Decaro, Jane Rose gave him the credit card to pay her (among other things) because she didn't want to formally put her on the payroll because she hadn't met Delene in Person (look at the bottom of this linked page, where it says "Created by..". Meet the Person, Delene) , and this would keep her "off the books".
I wonder if Jane Rose's fingers have been injured so she is unable to dial a telephone, or if she is as cyber-challenged as Decaro that she can't use email to send Delene a copy of the alleged written "contract" to be "on the books"?
Originally I thought, and reported earlier in this story that Delene started up with this Mike Decaro in April.
I got it wrong. Here's what I have since found:
Upon closer questioning of Delene I have determined that Mike Decaro offered, and she indeed had accepted, a 2 year contract offer made by Decaro as a duly designated representative of the Rolling Stones back at the beginning of March, to devote her time and effort to this tour (and she has, and has incurred nontrivial expenses in so doing) in exchange for the consideration of $2500.00 per week for a duration of two (2) years.
This makes her contract worth $260,000.00 plus expenses, plus mileage, plus interest at the standard 1.5 percent for balances due over 30 days. Pretty standard Contractor stuff. Because...
From the first of March until now she has worked with Mike Decaro on his projects. She has spent days at a time at his workplace out of his home in Stamford working on this tour and Decaro's projects, and Mike Decaro has come here to Delene's workplace out of her home to work on the Rolling Stones 2002-2003 Tour project, and he has remained here for 2, 3, and 4 days at a time in so doing.
"I never paid for nothin' in my life and that'll be on my gravestone" - Mike "Mick" Decaro
Late Wednesday night Delene got another call from "Mick".
He was unusually lucid and calm. He began casually, as though there had never been any tension between them, as old friends might talk. First, he told her about his trip to the City.
I found out about this quite by accident...Delene was working on the computer and listening to the Stones Flashpoint - a live 89-90 Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle World Tour cd now out of print, that she was lucky enough to find at Tumbleweedsin Niantic (a great place for used CD's, Deadhead gear, clothing and apparel).
She had asked me to watch TV in the other room if I had to. So there I was sitting on the bed with the commercials on mute when the phone rang. Almost at the end of the commercial stopset I decided to have a cigarette, on the bedside table next to the other phone. I grabbed a smoke, lit it, and tossed the lighter back on the table. It hit the speaker button, and it happened to begin emitting Mike's voice in an uncustomarily calm tone. Intrigued, I listened...(I know...but just couldn't help being curious.)
Mike was telling Delene about how he and this guy from the radio station had gone down to "the most exclusive Strip Club" in New York. The guy he was with looked "92 percent like Mick Jagger", he said.
Wow. 92 percent.
Sorta made me wonder what the other 8% looked like.
"Mick" went on to describe the dive in the most lurid detail he could muster. He noted that when they arrived he was worried he didn't have enough money to pay to get in, but his companion said "Hey, Mike, don't sweat it. I got You covered." After a few remarks about how exclusive this club was, and how his 92% friend had paid his way - insisting on VIP section and treatment all the way through the night (I guess that's what WAAF sent him there for...and I know "Mick" knew it, was milking it...I gagged, and, TV still muted, reached over and gently hit the mute button on the phone so the speaker wouldn't carry the sound of me coughing).
When Delene was down there working on the WAAF contest questions, she offerred to go into NY to Raindrop's offices and Jane Rose's office where the contract is supposedly awaiting her inspection and signature. Again Mike Decaro put her off for the umpteenth time. As I said before, every time Delene asks to be paid for her time, there is always some excuse.
Welcome to the world of the Music Bidness, Delene. Mike Decaro's are legion here.
When Delene returned home after enduring I95 North Construction gridlock in her non-air-conditioned car from Stamford to Guilford, it was around 5:45pm (she left around 1 or 1:30 she said). She went to the computer, got online and began to plough through her email. I asked if little Mary Sunshine was gonna be calling and calling and calling and calling again tonite.
"He won't call here today." she flatly stated. "He won't call unless he has some money for me."
At about 11:10pm the phone rang.
For the first 40 seconds, Delene explained we had been having problems with the internet line, so what is normally the voice line has been busy being used for the internet. The 2nd line, normally used for the internet, is ok to use with the phone, just not the computer, so People have been calling that number instead.
Mick has both numbers.
For the next 10 minutes Delene reiterated the first 40 seconds of the call, when she could get a word in edgwise.
For the next 20 minutes after that, Delene explained (I counted four times) that she was tired and going to bed. (She was, and she did).
I later asked her: I had heard the first 10 minutes of the repeated 40 second explanation of the phone deal, which any 4 year old could grasp the first time.
And I had heard the last 20 minutes of the phone conversation in which she emphasised that she was retiring for the evening. But I had not heard her address any content for the conversation. Was there any reason he called, any burning, pressing issue that made him call her after 11 o'clock at night, something that just had to be discussed NOW, something that could not wait?
"Was there any content to his call, at all?"
"No, he just had some minutes left on his cell phone he wanted to 'burn'," she answered.
What a real Prince of a guy.
I'll bet the Rolling Stones are proud to have such a go-getter, such a People Person, on their staff. (the "Rolling" link above will take You to the "Official" fan club deal where you can buy tickets. I linked the word "Rolling" because the Stones seem to be rolling all over my Friend. Click it. Buy a ticket. See the show. Have fun. But do me a favor. When You go, maybe get a little chant going: "Pay Delene. Pay Delene. Don't be mean. Pay Delene." She deserves it. She's put up with this shit since april, and quite frankly, 2500 bucks a week ain't enough to babysit the likes of "Mick" Decaro. Not in my opinion.
Also btw, the stonestour site commissioned by Decaro isn't real fancy at the moment, one might notice (It's a mockup at a free hosting place...the commercial version would have to be hosted with it's own registered domain, etc.) If You were not being paid to do it, just how fancy would You make it? Who works for free?
I guess You get what You pay for. Or not. Raindrop. (or should I say, Musidor?)
Btw, before I forget, the day after Trooper Trott's visit Delene went down to Mick's to work on the contest questions...WAAF is running a contest to award some lucky fan a concert nite with the stones themselves. She slept on the Decaro's couch overnite, spell-checked his questions (idiot-stick Mick claims his MS-Word installation won't let it send him if the spelling isn't right...maybe (probably) he's got the settings fu-barred, but, duh...he don't know how to use the built-in spell-checker? No...just that his consciousness generally is so soaked with alcohol and methadone that he doesn't have the focus do so, that's my speculation), and played taxi to him half the day.
She took him to the bank to cash a sizeable check. He did not offer to pay her anything. He did not offer to pay for her gas to go down there, or back. He did not offer to pay for any mileage. He did not pay her one red cent.
Oh, he did buy her a pack of cigarettes.
Yes, he did buy her a sandwich at McDonalds.
How many packs of cigarettes has Delene purchased with her money from her disability check for Mike Decaro? Many.
How many meals at McDonalds had Delene bought for Mick since April? Quite a few.
So, in addition to the accumulated back pay at $2500 per week, plus 1 and 1/2 percent interest on balances due past 30 days going back to April 1 2002, the Rolling Stones owe my Friend and housemate Delene for some packs of cigarettes that went into Mike Decaro's lungs.
And quite a few chicken sandwiches eaten by Mike Decaro, as well.
So far, I must say, I am singularly unimpressed with the Rolling Stones fiduciary responsibility.
So far, I must say, I am singularly unimpressed with the company Keith Richards keeps.
Hey, Keith. If You are going to have a pet, why not keep him on a leash? He's been pissing all over my Friend Delene.
As for financial responsibility, Mick Jagger is reputed to be a good businessman. Is this how You made Your money, Sir Jagger? By screwing Your contractors?
Time will tell. Gonna be a helluva tour, I'm sure.
"Mick" just called again tonite at 4am. Delene was in bed asleep like most normal People. I was up working on the web like the geek I am. I told him this was much too late to call, and just hung up and turned-off the ringer.
I guess I don't need to tell You, You've probably guessed by now: Mick Decaro has been told at least 842 times in the last 4 months not to call after normal business hours, by Delene. If he were actually living up to his part of the work arrangement (umm, by actually Paying her as agreed , contracting for her time on behalf of the Rolling Stones) with my Friend Delene it might be a different story. He doesn't know how lucky he is to have her even still speaking to him, in my opinion.
If I were a Lawyer I would supoena Decaro's LUDs and ...ah, well not yet, not yet. All in due time.
I've been up all night working and have to crash now. I'll pick up the narrative with A False Report - Continued later.
Three nites before I called the Police, Delene and I were watching a movie on DVD. I think it was The Fifth Element, one of my favourites. Anyway, Mick called about 3 minutes into it (we didn't sit down to start watching it until after 10:30pm as I recall). Delene told him, basically, that she was busy, but would call him in the morning. Mick wouldn't let it go at that. Of course not, being Mick .
Now, Delene has an almost infinite patience when babysitting him on the phone...she just doesn't want to face the fact that some folks are that rude, inconsiderate, or liars when it comes to making promises to pay for Your time. But she's getting there (everybody learns at their own rate).
She repeated herself to him, at 10 minute intervals, for probably an hour. The message changed from being busy to being tired and going to bed (the fact we were trying to watch a movie was really none of his goddamn business, seeing as how neither Mick, nor the Rolling Stones have lived-up to their obligations they took on when they agreed at the beginning of April to pay her $2500.00 a week for her time working with - babysitting, actually - Mike "Mick" Decaro).
Anyway, Mick kept ringing the phone after Delene concluded the conversation. Finally we unplugged all the phones in the house.
Then we watched the movie. Afterward, Delene went to bed, while I stayed-up working on the internet (I do site design work among other things).
About 1:30 or 1:45, Delene was awakened by the sound of a car in the driveway. She called my attention to it (I was still up working and hadn't heard it), so I flipped on the outside lights and ventured out to see who it was. It was a Connecticut State Police car.
Anyway Delene came in as the Trooper was trying to get Mike's attention without much success. He was able to get him to pause (by banging the receiver on the table again) long enough to tell him that she had just come in, but that he would not put her on the phone because here hands were full (they were) and that she would call him when she got situated.
Decaro continued to ramble on. The State Trooper was very patient, but he did tell Mike that his patience was wearing thin, and that he had been nice so far, but soon would run out. Relentlessly, Mike (who likes to call himself "Mick" --I guess because it likens him to another Mick (Sir Mick) ) blathered on. Trott had taken him off the speakerphone and was attempting to reason with him. Occasionally, he would pull the phone away from his ear, roll his eyes, and have short conversations with Delene and I.
Finally, out of patience, he said so.
Finally, he got Mick to agree not to call again (a 10th time) that nite, and to hang up.
Then Delene and I explained the situation to him, and why I felt obligated to call him to our home for his assistance in dealing with this arrogant heedless putz.
The Connecticut State Trooper stood in my living room, staring into the speakerphone in growing disbelief. As he listened to Mike Decaro's idiotic self-important mixture of threats and assertions and maunderings, he looked at me. "This guy must be on drugs." I explained Mike's medication ingestion to the best of my knowledge, a certain maintenance program.
When he had heard enough, the Trooper picked up the handset and tried to get in a word. He repeated his identification several times. It was clearly spoken, calm, and professional.
Mike Decaro rambled on.
Finally, the policeman looked at me, at the phone, and banged the handset on the worktable several times. Putting it back to his ear, he said, "Hello. This is Trooper Trott of the CT State Police." He still had to repeat himself several times before Mike realised that he was no longer ranting at me.
Trott remonstrated with Decaro that we had had quite enough phone calls for the night here.
It didn't work. Off went Mike Decaro at a mile a minute again.
As I said, I asked them to come because of his harassing me on the phone, invading the peace and quiet of my home, disturbing me while I was working on something.
You see, it's because Mike Decaro has not cultivated his listening skills. He is much too busy enjoying the sound of his own voice, usually going on and on about how important and powerful he is because he works for the Rolling Stones, and how his buddy is Keith Richards (I wonder how much we are judged by the company we keep versus the content of our character), and how this tour is so big, why it's bigger than big. ("Come in here dear boy have a cigar your gonna go far..."- Pink Floyd) .
Mike will run on and on never stopping to listen or take turns or have an actual conversation, rather he will try to bulldoze over any participation by the target of his blather. He would appear to write the same way.
Nope. Mike just doesn't listen. When he called yesterday the first time Delene had gone on an animal rescue/relocation mission for Pet Pals. I told him what she told me: She would not be back home until sometime tomorrow afternoon (that's right now as I write this). Did he listen?
The second time he called, I repeated to him that Delene was not here, and please don't bother me as I was working. He continued talking, as he is wont to do. Again, obviously not listening. I hung up.
The third time he called, I told him he was harassing me, that Delene wasn't here, and that he would have a visit from the Police if he rang the phone again, and that this time it would not be a false report. (refer to the entry in this journal headed "A False Report")
The fourth time he called, it was his elderly mother calling, with him standing next to her putting her up to it. (She is a sweet lady whom I once showed how to play back songs on her electric organ). Mrs. Decaro asked me if Delene had returned from the doctor? I had no idea what she was talking about, and said "I don't know anything about that, but she won't be back until tomorrow afternoon." She thanked me and hung up.
The fifth call was from a fellow who said he was Dave White, and that he worked with WAAF, a station that is promoting a contest to win a night with the Stones. The fellow was nice, and we spoke for a few minutes about web logs, and I told him about blogger.com. Evidently Delene was working with him on the contest in conjunction with Mike, and he was looking for her. I told him that she would be back tomorrow afternoon, that she was on an animal errand with Pet Pals. After I hung up, I wondered if Mike had had him call, but dismissed it.
I knocked off work to go to a bluegrass concert nearby to raise money for a local museum. As I was leaving, the phone was ringing...
When I returned from the concert the phone was ringing...
I answered and it was Mike Decaro. The sixth call (fifth if You discount the radio guy).
When I recognised his voice, I hung up.
The seventh call was from the WAAF radio guy. Now, he had seemed a reasonable sort earlier when I spoke with him, and I had told him Delene would be back tomorrow afternoon. But he must have forgotten...He was asking for Delene. At that point I began to wonder if he was being put up to calling. It was then that he mentioned that they were working on a contest. I said that I hoped he wasn't doing it on spec, and he laughed, thanked me and the conversation ended.
The eightth call was Mike Decaro. He didn't say hello, he just went off rambling a mile-a-minute, giving his simulation of a radio announcer calling a lucky caller who had won a contest....
This was Mike Decaro's way of telling me he had put-up the radio guy to call and disturb me just out of spite I guess. Mike can be that way, I've noticed.
I hung up and decided to call the State Police. Enough was enough. They sent a very nice Trooper named Trott to speak with me.
I hated to waste their time with it. There are too few State Troopers covering too many towns spanning too large an area in northeastern CT. But since the other night (see next entry) I figured they may have an interest in this.
Trooper Trott was professional. I explained what was happening. As I explained, the phone rang. Guess who?
That's right. Lucky Caller Number Nine. Mike Decaro.
I put it on speaker so the Trooper could see/hear what I was dealing with.
Mike began slowly, which was unusual for him. He calmly said that he had a right to talk to Delene, and that I could not block his calls, and that (picking up speed now) when (Delene's former housemate) left he was assured the phone would be available and...
I interrupted his snowballing rapid-fire assertions to repeat that Delene was not here; that she was running an errand with the animal People; and that she told me she would probably not be back before tomorrow afternoon. I repeated that I had told him all this when he had called the first time.
Trooper Trott listened.
I walked into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, shaking my head, no longer listening to Decaro's senseless blather. Ever hear a junkie or speed freak ramble? Or somebody with cocaine psychosis? Or a bipolar Person on a manic high? You get the idea.
Since I had stopped verbally responding, the Trooper began supplying the "uh-huh"s. At one point I started to interrupt and said, "Mike, I'm hanging up now..." and began to reach for the phone, but Trooper Trott stopped me and softly admonished me, "No, let him go on a bit, give him his say...". I shrugged and said okay.
She met this MikeDecaro fellow a few months ago. He says he works for the Rolling Stones. He offerred her a good amount of money for her time. He wants her to help him sell things. What things?
Himself, mostly. Rolling Stones memorabilia actually.
Pie in the Sky
Delene has Multiple Sclerosis (but she doesn't let it stop her from trying). She is a divorced mother of two, trying to get by on a fixed income, disability. Delene has worked for Mike Decaro and the Rolling Stones since April. She has delivered her time. Has she been paid? Not a dime.
In that time, Delene has served as chauffeur, taxi, and emotional punching bag to Mike Decaro. He has given her nothing for gas or mileage travelling back and forth from her home in NE Connecticut to Stamford many times. She paid these expenses herself.
Mike always seems to be broke.. He has her buy him cigarettes, because he has no money.
He has her buy him chicken sandwiches at McDonalds, because he has no money.
Mike Decaro has no money worries. He peddles influence and access to the band to radio stations and others foolish enough to buy it. In addition to working for the Rolling Stones and running miscellaneous errands for Keith Richards, Mike Decaro has placed a virtual saddle on my Friend Delene. Mike Decaro has apparently found a Beast of Burden.
Princely Sums and Prevarication
Maybe the Rolling Stones can not afford to pay Delene the princely (or should I say Knightly?) sum that Mike Decaro contracted to pay for her time.
Or maybe it is just that Mike Decaro is not authorised to hire anybody.
Or maybe it is just the policy of the Rolling Stone's organisation to try to get People to work for free, and offer their time for free. After all, maybe they are no different than any big record company that puts Artists on the road to promote their work and keep the bulk of the money for themselves. As Courtney Love observed a speech reported in the Salon article Courtney Does the Math, "The system's set up so almost nobody gets paid."
Liars and Thieves
I do know that I like some of the Stones' music. It is this business practice of defrauding their contractor's by theft of time and services that I have trouble with...especially when the victim is a Friend.
A Veteran, Herdsman, and Pet Pal
Delene is a Veteran of the United States Army. She worked for many years for DHI (Dairy Herd Improvement). It was on a trip for DHI during the Steel Wheels tour that Delene happened to meet Keith Richards.
Among other things, Mike Decaro says he runs errands for Keith Richards.
Later, Delene became the Dog Warden for four northeastern Connecticut towns. She loves animals. She works with Pet Pals, an animal rescue and adoption organisation (see the pet search banner at the bottom of this page). She has done this for years.
I like Delene. She is kind to animals, and People. She helped me when I needed it, because she could. And I would help her in any way that I could.