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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org . 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.