Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A more conventional "sermon"

I don't ordinarily use "scripture" as a basis for these but:

"And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves."

– Matthew 21:12-13

I am always reminded of this (by far my favorite view of Jesus the activist) because my long-time crime partner/mentor David "Buck" Wheat often said "the music business is in the hands of the money changers" and that is brought home really strongly by musings concerning the monetization of so-called "intellectual property rights" and their accompanying baggage: copyrights/patents.

The continuation of middle-persons 'twixt creators/purveyors/consumers of such things as literature and music is right nigh onto unbearable. Their near-destruction of peer-to-peer file sharing, etc. has turned art into commerce of a kind that allows obscene profiting by people who add absolutely no value to the undertakings.

The tedium interposed by banks/insurers/publishers clearly stifles both competition and innovation and a system of usable/efficient micropayments is long overdue. The idea that Apple is propped up by charging a buck for a song and the composer gets a couple pennies is just criminal/unethical/immoral.

The original reasons that "publishers" got anything out of people accessing creative works were: they actually DID something; it was mistakenly thought that copyright would protect the creator and encourage innovation, etc. Neither of these has worked out: they don't "publish" anything tangible; they stifle innovation through monopoly.

If only Napster had included a way to send someone a penny when their stuff got shared, it would have brought an earlier demise of the blood-sucking privateers who pretend to be doing something useful.

We have a World Wide Web now and don't need to fatten a bunch of parasites who brand us as "pirates" to hide their own piracy. In another era those who actually did something for the artist might deserve compensation but the idea that for all time Irving Mills is listed as a co-composer on Duke Ellington's work is plainly absurd.


1 comment:

Joshua Allen said...

Timely post! DJ Shadow, who is a true legend for my generation, recently ranted about this very issue: http://www.djshadow.com/news/shadows-starting-new-year-bang-check-out-his-latest-journal-entry-here. He was promptly skewered by fans, but I was personally impressed that he wove together Nas, Jay-Z, and angel dust into a single post.

BTW, happy belated birthday! We miss you here in Seattle, but glad you're keeping up the sermons.