Entries tagged with “Rants”.


I am addicted to the Olympics. I find myself watching sports that I only care about only every 4 years. BUT, I draw the line at Ice Dancing. I don’t quite understand this “sport”, I guess they just can’t hack it as figure skaters. Unfortunately, in order to watch the other events I care about I have had to wade thru 3 days of ice dancing. Tonight took the cake. While wearing outfits that their mothers would have never let them out of the house in and striking “positions” that would make a Vegas show girl blush they skated to Olympic gold.

With costumes like this…

And “memorable positions” as the NBC commentators called them…

Images courtesy of Yahoo

Haven’t been accused of copyright infringement yet? Consider yourself lucky. Direct TV, SCO and the Recording Industry Association of America are going after hundred of ordinary users. Soon, you too could receive your own certified letter threatening legal action. Sure, a lawyer would advise you to settle. But why spend $300 an hour when you can take matters into your own hands? Push back with your own intimidating missive. You can thank Wired at trial. — Mark Robinson and Adam Rogers

DearRIAAMPAA DirecTV SCO;

This is in response to the registered letter that you (the party of the first part) sent to me (the party of the second part) threatening legal action for “unlawful use” of copyrighted

musicvideo games codepornography

in violation of the

Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998
Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 2000
Global Net Piracy Act of 2002
expressed wished of Jack Valenti and Mitch Bainwol
This claim is absurd for several reasons. First, it’s well established that you industry has a track record of

making shows that suck.
fighting every new distribution technology.
producing bug-laden, bloated, virus-ready code.
gimmicky accounting and onerous artist contracts.
I don’t see how your finances are my problem. And furthermore, the material you claim I used illegally is protected by the common-law rule that

information wants to be free.
fair use covers everything I do.
TiVo is the opiate of the masses.
you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread man.
In any case, if I did violate your precious copyright (and I’m not saying I did, because of the Fifth Amendment or whatever), I would have experienced numerous problems with your defective products. Said problems would have included, without being limited to,

getting the album version of 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.” instead of the 12-inch remix.
realizing this game is basically just Doom with Orcs.
discovering that the Buffy season finale was dubbed in German.
learning that Linux isn’t finished yet.
It seems a little strange that you’d target me. I mean, you represent gazillions of dollars, and I

can’t even pronounce “Gnutella.”
haven’t read Wired since 1998.
don’t use cheat codes on my PlayStation 2.
build free Wi-Fi networks while eating brown rice and lentils.
In conclusion, I plan to file motions, writs, restraining orders, et cetera, to force you to withdraw your

subpoena.
claim of damages.
cease-and-desist order.
distributed denial-of-service attack on my ISP.
You should really should know better. Suing your own customers is about as smart as

trading energy futures.
selling ads in the wireless ecommerce space.
charging $100 and $500 for seats on the same airplane.
claiming that “this boat is unsinkable.”
Sincerely,

_____________________________________________

(Your Signature)

Copied from Wired 11|2003

Great to see that the Senate Commerce Committee is starting to realize the great potential for censorship that large media monopolies are starting to exercise!

While some may think the 9/11 censorship was justified – the Senate heard arguments on how this type of censorship is being seen in other ways: like the Dixie Chicks’ Pres. Bush comment that had them booted off play lists at Cox, etc.

Here’s the Yahoo news article.

Many thanks to Heather T. for pointing me in the direction of this NYT article today: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/05/business/media/05disk.html

This article announces Clear Channel’s foray into CDs (“Instant Live”) – the burning of CDs of a live show within minutes of its completion, to be sold to fans before they leave the venue (and of course after!)

Some possible scenarios – with Clear Channel getting in on the CD market:

  • Artists with label deals (particularly with second tier labels?) may face pressure to participate in this Clear Channel program – since Clear Channel is the big gorilla in radio … But if Clear Channel is burning CDs of an Artist’s live shows – they’re generating competition against their record-label-produced album sales. And why wouldn’t Clear Channel be a teensy bit self motivated – and give higher rotation to the “live” cut of a song on their burned CD vs. the record-label track? Remember – money is involved…In the article its mentioned that for the pilot city (Boston) – Clear Channel has setup an exclusive distribution agreement with Best Buy (for Boston stores first – and then on their website later in the year). Very clever! Not only does Clear Channel have a distribution partner – but they don’t even have to run their own online shopping site! Nice competitive advantage for Best Buy… But does that make the artist / label threat of competing against itself even more real /vivid?Here’s another twist. Say a particular market (SFO) is particularly web savvy… They rate all an artists albums – and turns out the Clear Channel album is rated higher by the buying group than the main album….Some bonus tracks, etc. Bummer for the record label and the artist (who probably makes a bigger cut on true “album” sales than on Clear Channel album sales…)
  • If you’re a record label – wouldn’t you be miffed that your artist (to whom you’ve fronted development $$, etc.) is having their material sold basically out from under you? Why have Clear Channel do this for you (except that they are a huge concert monopoly of course) – why not get with the game and do this for yourselves? And isn’t the release of an artists “live” material without artist/label review, its potential to impact sales and inability to control quality (< - the other reason commonly sited. Ha!), the reason labels have banned "private" recordings of shows for years...? If Clear Channel has the right to sell me a copy of a show that I attended - doesn't it become harder for a label/artist to say that you can't just "boot" the show yourself?
  • A point of legal debate: If an artist performs a “cover” of a song at a show – and recordings of that concert are then sold – does the artist owe royalties back to the original song owner? Does the artist need to obtain permission to perform the song?

So – would I buy an “instant” boot of a show… Almost assuredly. Would I like that Clear Channel was taking a cut instead of more going to the Artist… Not so much. (And I think the threat of abuse of this vertical integration by Clear Channel is real!) Does it raise some interesting questions about the future of music delivery/distribution and the future of the recording industry – You Bet!

Thanks again Heather!

We’re at war. – Check

As part of any war – we will have deaths in the ranks of our troops, their troops, and regular civilians. – Check

With all the enthusiasm of the local bully headed to beat up a wimp for his lunch money – the COS radio listeners seem excited that the fighting (and killing?) is about to begin. What does the lovely Clear Channel station I have dialed in play? “Killing an Arab” by the Cure.

How nice. Let’s sensor ourselves when it might possibly offend WASP America – but then disregard this new-found sensitivity once we go to war. Very consistent.

Personally – I think that spin was more heartless than possibly playing “When You’re Falling” by Afro Celt Sound System after 9/11. [Some stations apparently backed off playing that track – since it could be seen as a reference to people jumping from the towers?… Yah – it was long logical leap for me too.]

As many of us who used to listen to the radio know – thanks to major market monopolies like Clear Channel, we’re losing musical diversity on American radio stations. Not only are the play lists being homogenized – but artists are feeling the pain of a “capitalist” master. And aren’t we happy to see that music is now equal parts image and packaging – instead of talent and skill? Doesn’t that reinforce all the positive aspects of our culture… particularly to our youth?

Well – in addition to that disappointing trend, monopolies like Clear Channel can exert power in more subtle ways – like the ability to get on (or not get on) their play lists. We’ve seen that record companies are now “paying for plays” – to get more airtime for a track / single in order to boost album sales or push a new artist…. Talk about forcing more consolidation in the recording industry – in order to come up with the major $ needed to “promote” an album (i.e. buy playing time)!

Here’s another issue that we’ve seen with monopolies and their play lists… the potential for censorship.


So the recent national events have clearly been a tragedy – but when did that translate to some strange version of Monty Python’s “I bet you they won’t play this song on the radio.”

Authored by Clear Channel Communications, who own typically several stations of different “formats” in various major markets, a list of approx.150 songs not to play was circulated this week. Whether it originated as a type of personal play checklist for some DJs who are trying to offend (i.e. Howard Stern and the like), and including such items as “You dropped a bomb on me” by the Gap Band, this list could have started out with good intentions. But as they say about the road to hell and good intentions… and small actions and civil liberties…

What’s most interesting, aside from what was included (Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” and James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain”), is what was excluded. While Alien Ant Farm’s “Smooth Criminal” is banned, Michael Jackson’s version wasn’t. Do you think MJ is offended? Was this some sort of value/quality judgment? Perhaps more shocking is what didn’t make the list; The Cure’s “Killing an Arab”, John Lennon’s “Happiness is a Warm Gun” (but “Imagine” makes the list… go figure), Johnny Cash’s “Burning Ring of Fire”, Iggy Pop’s “Search and Destroy”, etc. It’s pretty clear that Clear Channel didn’t brainstorm this list for very long – or that the suits who did don’t have a very large music library…

My main gripe: At least play both sides of the fence. If we can’t play songs about life being great, bombs, war, etc. then maybe anthems about killing people should be off the list as well – particularly with our boats and planes headed that way?

I’m going to break out my Rage Against the Machine CDs this week (the list recommends not playing any of their songs) – just because.

Check out the full list: http://music.launch.com/read/news.asp?contentID=205883

For more: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nyt/20010919/en/after_the_horror_radio_stations_pull_some_songs_1.html