Monday, June 11, 2007

A Story & A Question

This should have been written months ago. ;)

Back in December 2006, two days after James Brown Day. I met with Victor and Pat Chilla for the first time in person. We had dinner in Berkeley and took the BART into San Francisco to watch some comedy. I remember that it was on the train ride there when we really started talking.

One part of that conversation really stuck with me. I'm not sure how the conversation started. I think I may have asked Victor and Pat if they thought the copyrights on contemporary music might some day become obsolete. I suggested (kind of dumb considering I have no real music industry exp.) that the world will magically open it's eyes realize how outdated copyright is and then overnight switch over to Creative Commons or an equivalent because of course deep down all people are good and will eventually do the right thing.

They didn't laugh at me too hard. Victor proceeded to explain his vision. Which was we were all starting to create a new, separate pool of music to sample from. Spawning a new set of cultural references. Two separate pools of music. One corporate. One grass-roots. I was confused. Pat got it right away. Pat knew exactly what Victor was saying but I have to admit it took me awhile to imagine.

I also have to admit I had never thought of it that way before. I had always though it came to one or the other. Either a reformed copyright or a better alternative. Which brings me to my question.

Where do you think we're headed?


Marco Raaphorst said...

Probably both systems at the same time. But on the other hand: copyright is changing. YouTube for example uses the tradional 'All rights reserved' but I don't need to ask for permission to add such video's to my blog, so it's a hybrid form which is being used. Traditional copyright is changing.

Anonymous said...

I think (and hope) that as time goes on, more and more artists of every type (musicians, graphic designers, etc...) will come to see Creative Commons as the only way to go in licensing their work. It is an incredible promotional tool that's totally free. And hopefully it will turn out like Magnatune. You hear the full tracks, decide if you like them and then you support the artist. (I'm not sure how this method would work as far as movies go though.) But in the grand scheme of things this will not be how it probably turns out. People want money for their work, labels want money for their artists, and as long as people keep buying their stuff it will continue to be that way (I'm not saying to pirate everything so that the companies will change). They need to see it for themselves and make that decision, not have it forced on them.

Gurdonark said...

I believe that a parallel set of samples, sounds and artists has arisen and will expand, which provide an alternative "pool" of music to that provided by the corporate music culture.

In my vision, nobody has to "eliminate" copyright or "pirate" copyrighted materials, and copyrighted releases will continue.
Many artists today release both closed-copyright and creative commons/open source material, and this trend will expand.

My belief is that netlabel culture
will generate new sample pools, new artists, new ways of experiencing culture, and new forms of sharing.

There are no legal impediments to this "sharing culture", as artists creating their own work and licensing it or dedicating it to the PD will inevitably generate an alternative body of material which exists in parallel, and is in many ways superior to, corporate record company culture.

Because I believe that individual action to release original work
will inevitably transform music, I see little need to worry about "forcing" people to abandon copyright. The current copyright laws could use some revision, but the current netlabel trend requires no revisions in law. All it requires is willing artists, and willing listeners. I believe that both are beginning to appear, and will eventually create a cultural "pool" in which everyone can swim.

So much of the debate is on the wrong issues. The issue is not "copyright v. PD". That's yesterday's news. The issue now is "how do we market this incredible free culture?".

The game has changed, and the checkers of corporate record label hegemony are running out of kings.
Now it's time for the subtle chess of sharing culture to begin.

Anonymous said...


I love your statement...
(The issue is not "copyright v. PD". That's yesterday's news. The issue now is "how do we market this incredible free culture?".) This statement sums up an approach I have taken in regards to this movement.

CC has built the foundation for legitimate free music culture. However, I feel that (in general) most people do not know anything about it. And many, I suspect, wouldn't believe it anyways because of all the litigation surrounding copyright violations in recent years.

I was in this group... I could not believe that a site like ccMixter could ever exist that would offer the great quality and quantity of music that it does. I must have researched CC and all related information for weeks after hearing about the Wired CD before I was convinced.

We need more people to get this message... the problem is that when people hear "Free Music" they think... "Oh yeah, I would rather eat shit than listen to that shit." There seems to be a connotation with music, that if it is free, then it sucks or it is illegal. Unfortunately, they just have not been exposed to it yet... and this is the part of the battle I have decided to contribute my time to help.

We need to add the "iPod" factor to this movement... by that I mean we need to lay down the "this music movement is f*ing cool as hell" factor! Granted, we do no have the pockets to make commercials, etc... but the internet is a very viral place, and if we continue to add juice to CC and ccMixter, I think it will only be a matter of time before we see an explosion in adoption.... from fans and artists alike.

Combine this iPod factor, with a clear message about the legitimacy and legality of this music movement... and people will take notice. And once they do, everything changes!