Coded gray.

Monday 13 June 2005

Kururu from anime Bottle Fairy

Pic of the day: My favorite pirate must be Kururu from the cute anime Bottle Fairy. If you don't want to be a pirate, the anime will probably be released in America within a year, as it is recently licensed.

Who's the pirate? II

Norway is heading for a modified copyright law, more restrictive than the one we had before, but less so than the EU template it was based on. The public outcry has been pretty strong against some of the craziest ideas, like "people should not be allowed to copy music to their MP3 player from their own copy-restricted CD". On the other hand, I think the artists have a point that something is wrong when the ENTIRE PUBLIC SECTOR is given free unlimited access to any copyrighted work. I could see libraries having this, perhaps. But with a substantial proportion of our workforce being in public sector in some way this could get out of hand, especially with the merging of job and private life that we see more for each year.

But if writers and artists are entitled to some righteous indignation, the music recording industry are sorely mistaken if they think they have some kind of moral high ground. Moral sinkhole is more like it. Their greed knew no bounds back when CD was a monopoly medium. The prices kept rising, rising, rising long after inflation was dead in most other walks of life. I noticed it then, and I notice now their wounded trust in the sheep they were shearing to the bone. To translate a phrase from the only Norwegian CD I have bought in the last few years: "The pig is not about to be slaughtered, but it squeals nonetheless."

Yes indeed. Ten years or so ago, I would buy a new CD each month or thereabout. Last year, I bought one Norwegian CD and one North American single, which I vaguely regret buying at all. The way the major labels see this decline, it is all due to the evil peer-to-peer file sharing networks. You want to know how many MP3s I have downloaded illegally over these ten years? 2. And those two I got from a friend who wanted to show what she was listening to at the time. It was not something I would have bought otherwise for the simple reason that I did not even know the very bands existed, much less the songs. It was for all practical purposes the same as if I had listened with her in her room, if we had lived close enough that I could drop by.

Of course, if the record labels had the power to arrange it, they would have arrested everyone who listens to someone else's music in their room or who listens to their spouse's CD in their shared living room or who is a passenger in a car where the driver plays music. You think this is a ridiculous lie and I'm totally blowing things out of proportion? Then consider that according to these people, it is illegal to listen to YOUR OWN music in your car or when you are out jogging. If you buy a copy- protected CD, it is illegal to rip it to your MP3 player. Conversely, if you buy an MP3 song, you are not allowed to burn it to a CD for your car stereo. If you cannot listen to your own music without upsetting these people's delicate sense of justice, what hellish suffering do you think they go through knowing that out there there are families with over a DOZEN family members, and frequently having guests over, and all of these might conceivably listen to one and the same CD at the same time?

Yes, I am ridiculing them, but not enough. I am casting them as villains, but only because they are. Whether or not it is true that some recording company bosses demand physical "favors" from young girls to promote their music, it is certainly in character for them to do so. They have never shown much restraint when they had the opportunities. Now they expect others to restrain themselves so the fat cats can keep getting fatter. Fat chance.

The "labels" used to reign as kings from their castles, and they retain their attitude now that they are beggars on the streets. Back when music was tied to shiny disks, they could agree among each other to share a monopoly (technically this is called "oligopoly", but basically it is a shared monopoly as far as customers are concerned). Nobody could get to the music except through them. They could enslave both the customers, who couldn't get the music, and the artists, who could not get the music to the market.

These days, paying for music is voluntary. Amazingly, and probably to the surprise of the robber barons, people are still willing to do so. But they are not necessarily willing to pay the same high prices. When the cost of printing a CD is borne by the customer, when the cost of storage and distribution is perhaps one cent, when shelf space is in the mind and promotion was a friend's blog ... it doesn't seem reasonable to pay the same price as for a CD, especially since the price was not reasonable even then. It would be wise to wake up and realize this before people start getting really ticked off.

Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago: Choosing my confessions
Two years ago: Superstitions
Three years ago: Spiralling towards nothingness
Four years ago: Rabid salad
Five years ago: Phat enuff
Six years ago: Non-pussy

Visit the for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.

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