Amidst the recent dramas of killing friendly Afghans, letting corporate
bastardos shred evidence, and watching politicos forget they got bought,
a little bomblet snuck under the radar and almost made me drop my drink.
In a boring hearing intended to confirm that she wasn't going to really
do anything for awhile, Federal Judge Marilyn Hall Patel allowed as how
she might, maybe somehow, have glimpsed the possibility of a real clue.
This is surprising because earlier she'd ruled like she'd been paid off
(maybe she was - but in that case she apparently might not stay bought).
What she said was that she intends to entertain a fresh discovery phase
of the Napster case to see whether the major music labels ("a bunch of
knuckle-dragging thieves and hooligans" according to Eben Moglen of the
Electronic Frontier Foundation) may have abused their music copyrights.
Now I ain't no lawyer (hell, us Space Marines see a lawyers convention
as a potential "target rich environment"), but it sounds like Napster's
Wicked Witch of the West might reconsider, and slam it to the Music Weasel oligopoly.
Quick tour. A couple of hundred years ago British publishers purchased
laws that interpreted copyright as a monopoly, now the large publishing
companies in Europe are based in... the Netherlands and Germany. About
1900, music publishers tried to ban sheet-music - settled for royalties.
When cassette tapes appeared, the Music Weasels tried to ban tape recorders.
VCRs, same thing, but that resulted in the Home Recording Act, a setback
for big media. Now twenty some years on, they want to kill off Fair Use
and impose pay-to-play (every single effing play, they dream) for music,
TV shows, movies, and anything else that's digital content, they can
Somewhere along the way ASCAP and BMI got established. These are simply
retirement farms for former mob leg-breakers who aren't up to hard work,
hijacking armored cars and shit anymore, so they "retire" into extorting
"performance" fees from jukebox owners and public places which play CDs.
This is the gawd's truth on the ground about the "music industry"
Part of what the Napster case is really about is their insatiable hunger
to extend this extortion into your home. Pay-to-play, every fuckin
time. If big music has its way, you'll get overweight goons at your front door
wearing dark plastic shirts with light polyester ties, with US
Marshalls, ready to take you to jail unless you pay for that CD burned for your
Never mind that they extort the copyrights from the actual musicians
claim they're "protecting musician's rights" in litigating their
The fact is, a musician is lucky to see 5 cents of every dollar in
once the big music accounting scams are finished. Ask any "signed"
The "creative accounting" in major entertainment biz makes Enron's
look like a neighborhood gas station with two sets of paper ledger
Therefore, let us hope that Judge Marilyn Hall Patel gains further
And a man must believe in something: I believe I will pour another