Sunday, November 05, 2006

Article: MP3s Are Not The Devil-- Orson Scott Card gives the straight shit on copyrights vs. the MP3 tidal wave.

This article by author Orson Scott Card, originally published in a North Carolina print newspaper three years ago, takes a scathing and critical look at an issue that affects not just electronica musicians, but musicians in general across the country, and will continue to for some years: the music industry's knee-jerk whining, spearheaded by yapping has-beens like Metallica and other corporate puppets, about people "stealing" music on the internet. While slightly outdated, Card's main points remain relevant, and emphasize the real issue at hand-- the fact that every time new recording media technology emerges, the old status quo convulses in violently greedy spasms over the idea that someone, somewhere, might have just made them obsolete.

It also raises a few very worthwhile arguments, such as the idea that the record industry's norm of forcing artists to sign away the rights to their work is immoral to begin with, which leads to poignant questions such as "can these people really say that artists are being hurt by online file sharing when the industry itself, when functioning in the traditional way championed by organisations like the RIAA, exploits them without mercy?" It also examines the backward reasoning of those "profit loss" estimates we all hear about, the unequal relationship between heavy handed punishments and the actual severity of the crime of copyright infringement as it relates to online music sharing, the idea that online file sharing could actually be GOOD for the industry, and the idea that the people who are doing it most (high school and college aged youth) are the traditionally targeted age group of the Pop Music Machine, and also the demographic with the least money.

Give it a read, dammit, and see how things really break down.


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