Interesting news on the multifront war of copyrights today.
Hillary Rosen stepped down as head of the RIAA. I did some research, including an interesting wired article, and it sounds like she’s not the antichrist — the record labels were pushing her to be more and more strict on piracy issues, and she actually held them BACK a bit. Granted she still held beliefs I disagree with, and always will, but truthfully she was just a puppet head for the RIAA who was trying to make things work one way or the other. Which makes me worry about what new puppet head is going to rise in her place; perhaps one who agrees with the more hardcore stance the labels have been wanting to take, and won’t offer any resistance…?
I’m going to move forward with my Old School Tape Trader plan I mentioned in the last post, probably this weekend. The idea is like this:
1. Person A posts a list of their MP3 collection as of mm/dd/yyyy. Preferably in LJ-Cut. They might even include albums they have in CD format which could be CDex-ripped in a minute or two if someone wants tracks from them. (CDex = very fast and simple open source coded ripper and encoder. Nice.)
2. Person A includes with that a list of songs or bands they’re interested in obtaining, or maybe even just requesting genre suggestions (“What are some good techno acts I don’t already have?”).
3. Person B, in e-mail or a journal reply, says ‘I can provide this and this you’re looking for, I’d like this and this off your list’ and provides an ICQ number or other simple means of getting files swapped that is not part of a peer to peer network.
4. Files are exchanged, everybody has new music, and maybe some new artists are discovered that A or B hadn’t heard from and will want to hear from again.
With any luck this’ll turn into a journal meme — I’ll make sure the document format is nice and easy to replicate. It’d be interesting to see tape trading wishlists pop up here and there, see if it really takes off. It’s the transaction phase (ICQ or other) that’s going to be tricky.
Secondly on the war of the copyrights, there’s an interesting thread regarding copyright and NWN modules on the Bioboards. I’ve been posting a few rants about how I feel about copyright issues.
There’s a lot of hostility out there from Established Published Important Authors regarding fanfic. A LOT. Shades of RIAA’s cheerful stance towards Poor College Students. And unfortunately, it’s backed up in full by US copyright law, which essentially says “Defend your copyrights to the death or we’ll take them away.”
This means even if you wanted to be lenient on fanfic, fanart, fansites, derived works in general… you have no choice. Use it or lose it. C&D letters or dilution of your rights. It’s not strictly enforced, so often creators can get away with turning a blind eye (not an accepting one), and Lucas somehow got to authorize humorous or documentary fan works… but it’s still the law and it could be a future issue for them. And let’s not forget Foxing, named after Fox’s gleeful stomp of every X-Files fansite out there.
I’ve said it before in my journal and I’ll say it again: I tolerate fan derived works based on my original properties, as long as they are nonprofit. That’s a reasonable barter. I’d be a hypocrite not to tolerate any fan work, given that I spent a lot of my ‘career’ doing fanfic. I don’t distinguish between ‘Original’ and ‘Unoriginal’ work; creativity is creativity. You can’t draw a hard line like that just to make yourself feel better.
But one day, that damn copyright law may rear its ugly head, with someone exploiting UE and publishing a version of it for profit themselves, saying “Hey, you didn’t defend yourself, so you’re out of luck…”
I hate, hate, hate, HATE it when creativity gets all wobbly because the lawyers want to feed.