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Posts Tagged ‘music’

Music in the cloud

Cloud or con trail, Cranborne, DorsetToday I decided to avail myself of some of South by Southwest‘s CLE offerings. Since I have some interest in internet law, including issues like cloud security, I was very interested in “Gimme Shelter from the Storm Clouds.” This was advertised as a panel looking at “the disruption caused by some new cloud-based services and how this disruption is affecting existing industries.” That’s not exactly what they talked about. The panel consisted of two lawyers and the owner of mp3tunes, a “music locker” service.

Let’s just say there were fireworks.

Copyright law allows people to keep “ephemeral phonorecords,” meaning digital copies of music you own, i.e. ripped copies of your own CD’s. It gets tricky when you start sharing that music with others, and it gets really tricky when you upload that music to the internet. A major issue for the cloud is whether a license is required for every digital copy of a song. There does not seem to be a consensus on this question–if there is, it was not in evidence today. It’s still a pretty good question.

Who has the burden of establishing whether a given track infringes a copyright? The law basically says that the copyright holder has that burden, but they argue that the service provider has the most readily available information on the upload itself. On the other hand, the service provider does not have the resources to review every possible license a file could have. The technology is advancing far, far faster than the law can possibly pace.

A few years ago, mp3tunes reportedly received a copyright takedown notice after it linked to a song on the SXSW website. This was, according to the speaker, just a link to the page where the song was posted. I asked how that could possibly be infringement, and he told me that it was an attempt by the copyright holder to intimidate him, or something along those lines. I find the argument interesting given that one website linking to another is pretty much the foundation of the internet, without which SEO wouldn’t even be possible. The question of whether linking to copyrighted material, especially deep linking to specific files, is infringement is still somewhat of an open question.

They talked about the MegaUpload case at length. On the one hand, the federal government arrested a large number of people for copyright infringement–not normally a criminal matter per se–and seized all of their assets with little to no due process. On the other hand, a comparison was made to a RICO prosecution. I’m not as familiar with the case as I should be, so I guess this will lead to more posts.

Photo credit: Cloud or con trail, Cranborne, Dorset, copyright Clive Perrin and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

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Toad the Wet Sprocket and My Birthday

I mentioned Nirvana the other day, but a discussion of what was going on twenty years ago is not complete without mentioning Toad the Wet Sprocket. In one sense, Toad offers me one of my few claims to mild hipsterdom, in that I knew who they were and was a rabid fan before they were getting much radio play. Of course, they already had three albums out on a major label, so it isn’t as though I found them in some small dark club and followed their career into the stratosphere. I actually just heard “Walk on the Ocean” on a compilation tape I got for free in a 12-pack of Coke during the summer of 1991.

Point being, I thought it was the greatest song ever written, and so, approximately twenty years ago today, I took my birthday money to Sound Warehouse and bought the tape of “Fear,” Toad’s third studio album and their breakthrough one. I then spent months on a pre-Amazon.com wild goose chase around town looking for their two earlier albums (i.e. tapes), “Bread and Circuses” and “Fear.” It took almost a year of periodic looking before my collection was complete. I even bought compilation albums that I thought might contain songs by them that I already had on other tapes. I joined their fan club and got special editions tapes that I’m sure have long since turned to dust. By the time “Dulcinea” came out in 1994, I had switched over to CD’s.

I always thought “Walk on the Ocean” was about some sort of vacation (quite a few people seem to agree about that). When I saw them play in Houston in 1995 (okay, actually I saw them play in Houston in 1995 twice), the lead signer, Glen Phillips, said the song was about “basic human rights violations.” I’m still scratching my head about that one.

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Nirvana and my birthday

Twenty years ago today, the fate of the universe was forever altered by the release of Nirvana’s Nevermind album.

I am of course exaggerating, but it sure seemed like that to 17 year-old me.

September 24, 1991 was also the day Dr. Seuss died, although I doubt there was a connection.

Today would also be the 115th birthday of F. Scott Fitzgerald and the 75th birthday of Jim Henson.

Also, here’s a fun read: Nirvana’s Secret Feminism by Amanda Marcotte.

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This year, ACL comes to me!!!!!!

I wish I could get more excited about the Austin City Limits Festival. I am very excited that it exists, that it draws huge talent, and that it draws my friends in from all over the country for one weekend. But dangit, I like shade and being able to sit down when I want to. So I am grateful for modern technology.

It is odd to think that, when the festival started in 2002, YouTube did not exist, streaming video was quite the luxury item, and most people had still never heard the word “blog.” Now the whole world can suck up bandwidth watching odd hipster bands play to a parched, dusty, remarkably smoke-free (I hope) park crammed full of sweaty people. Enjoy the show everybody!

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Great moments in animation, with bunnies!

This is a song by Australian band TISM. It has at least one instance of a NSFW lyric, but the awesome ought to make up for that.

Yes, I know this really has nothing to do with law. But lawyers need to have fun, and are often no strangers to sexual frustration.

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Today really is the day that they’re gonna throw it back to him

Liam Gallagher is suing Noel Gallagher for libel. The two brothers were in Oasis, a band that was big in the ’90s, but I can’t remember which brother did what in the band. I never thought that much of the band. I honestly felt like listening to them made me simultaneously dumber and a bigger d-bag. Many, many people loved them for whatever reason, though. Anyway, they broke up, one or more members started new projects or solo careers, blah blah blah. Then one mouthed off about the other to reporters in July:

While the London press conference was set up for [Noel] Gallagher to talk about his solo career, it did not take long for reporters to ask about the state of his relationship with Liam.

The pair fell out two years ago just before a gig in Paris and have not spoken since.

“I had a sweepstake on how long it would take,” Gallagher laughs, when the first question was put to him just two minutes into the event.

The guitarist explains how the brothers’ row escalated after Liam cancelled their V Festival slot “because he had a hangover”, although the official reason given at the time was that he was suffering with laryngitis.

Oh, snap! A rock star was hungover before a show? That’s hardly implausible, but who knows what actually happened that specific morning? Anyway, fast-forward one month, and a lawsuit ensues:

Former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher is suing his brother Noel over his claims the band once cancelled a gig because the singer was hungover.

Noel Gallagher told journalists at a press conference in July that it was the real reason why the band pulled out of the V Festival in 2009.

The official explanation at the time was that Liam Gallagher had laryngitis.

In a statement, he said he had “tried to resolve this amicably but have been left with no choice but legal action”.

“All I want is an apology,” he added.

I’m no expert on UK law, but I have to wonder if it is wise to involve the courts in a demand for an apology a mere two months into a dispute. Also, if your brother refuses to apologize to the point that you feel you have to sue, do you really think an apology will ever be forthcoming? These two don’t seem to have ever been a portrait of brotherly harmony.

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