Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Check, Please.

Remember the space ark I wanted to build so we could get off this crazy planet? Well I'm doubling my efforts. Over the course of the last twenty minutes I read two news stories that have me fuming, and struggling to remember if I took the red pill, or the blue. The Recording Industry Association of America, which are the same asshats who continually sue 12 year old girls, 80 year old grandmothers, and even the Girl Scouts of America for improperly using their precious music is now saying that ripping your legally purchased CDs into your computer is unauthorized and illegal. This is in direct contradiction to what the RIAA's own lawyer said to the Supreme Court in the 2005 MGM v Grokster case. "The record companies, my clients, have said, for some time now, and it's been on their Website for some time now, that it's perfectly lawful to take a CD that you've purchased, upload it onto your computer, put it onto your iPod."(p.12) And things are even crazier across the pond. In Astley, England the historic Dam House was told last year that they needed a license from the Performing Rights Society because the staff was listening to a radio in the kitchen that could be heard in the nearby tea room, and this year are being charged because of their annual practice of children singing Christmas carols.

The second story out of Bizarro world comes from, what a shock, Iraq. Jamie Leigh Jones claims that she was gang raped by employees of KBR, a subcontractor under the employ of Haliburton at the time, and then locked in a storage container for 24 hours without food or water and told that if she went to the authorities she would lose her job. Her efforts to pursue any justice in this matter are being met with stonewalling, denial, and apathy by the US Government, and she has been told that, due to massive loopholes that protect contractors in Iraq against prosecution she has no legal leg to stand on. She says she was examined by Army doctors who verified that she had been raped both vaginally and anally, but the rape kit disappeared after it was turned over to KBR security. She is pursuing a civil case, but has low hopes for any sort of positive outcome. She has set up The Jamie Leigh Foundation to help other women who have been sexually assaulted by contractors overseas, which indicates that hers is not an isolated incident. Get the full story here.

When you combine this insanity with the now weekly reports of teachers sleeping with under aged students, politicians committing all sorts of depraved acts backstage while spouting 'family values' on camera, and Emo kids going nuts and shooting up shopping malls I'm ready for my flight. All I need is for those back ordered warp coils to get here, and we'll be go for launch. Who wants a ride?



Turtle said...

Ah...., yes. The old ASCAP scheme.

When I was managing the Haunted Coffee Shoppe (tm), we held open mic night on Fridays. It gave the local musicians a place to come and practice, honing their skills in front of a live audience.

We didn't charge cover. We didn't charge the musicians. We, in fact, lost money on those evenings. Quite a few of our 'regulars' would not come in on those eves, as it would be too noisy to study. The musicians tended to not buy anything. Lost income.

Then ASCAP comes along and says "You're playing copyrighted material for profit. You need a license."

Erk! No, no profit! No money being made!

"Doesn't matter. The intellectual property of another is being utilized without their permission. You need to pay us $2700 a year to continue."

We can't pay that! Are you out of your corporate minds?? We just wanted to provide a venue for local artists to be able to hone thier skills!

"Don't matter what it is. $2700 or cease. Oh, yeah, can't play CD's over the stereo, either. Radio only."

Needless to say, local music took a hit.

celebhith said...

Best book me (and the kid, the ex, the dogs and the birds) on the first flight out! The inmates do, indeed, appear to be running the asylum!