Eric Miller on 24 Jul 2000 19:27:51 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] RE: <nettime> Terror in Tune Town

hi all:

re: the ongoing debate about, Napster, and the decentralization of
distribution and freedom of intellectual property...

Everyone likes the idea of stiffing the fat cats at the top of the
distribution pyramid.  To wit, from this article: "Whats at issue in this
case is whether the people in collective control of the American
infotainment industry will continue to wallow in the King Farouk lifestyle
to which their oligopolistic control over the medias distribution systems
have accustomed them."  Sure, agreed.  No one disputes the inequities
inherent in the present system.

But what about the artists?

Who, after all, really gets screwed when no one is able to make a living
from their art?  The lawyers and MBAs who run the record companies won't
have a problem getting another job.  But the musicians and performing
artists will see a hard living become even harder when a primary source of
support is removed via widespread theft.

Indirectly, the celebration over the liberation of artistic intellectual
property functions to legitimize theft.  Because what Napster does is theft.
You are taking an artist's commodity/product and not compensating them for
it.  And the argument that Napster represents an alternative distribution
channel is weak at best.  First, you don't earn money from it.  Second, you
have to spend money to promote your work so that it doesn't get lost in the
tens of thousands of other works out there.  Third, everyone is refusing to
accept any format/plan that involves payment.  So it's a lose/lose/lose
prospect for the artist in the long run.  Even if you get artistic exposure
or publicity from the Web, you still don't have any viable way to support

Fine, screw the record companies.  They've force-fed us banality and dreck
for way too long, while making a killing doing it.  But we have to stop
pretending that every artist is like Metallica and already making millions.
The vast majority are struggling to make their voices heard, and we aren't
doing them any favors by removing their ability to make a living doing it.


| Eric Miller 
| Senior Designer/New Media 
| Web Technology and Development
| 503.517.3800

-----Original Message-----
From: McKenzie Wark []
Terror in Tune-Town: Music Giants Flail Before Download Upstarts


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