Copyright Terrorism, CNN Drops the Ball, and a New Feature

I have to tell you now....I may be a terrorist*.

Settle down. Not THAT kind of terrorist. According to CNN, I may be what's called a "Copyright Terrorist" (although, I have to admit, if I am, I'm not a very good one).

Check it out:

See, it goes like this. A DJ in Oregon spins a set. Then heads outside and gets arrested (apparently by like 9 or 10 cops....HEY--those turntables have NEEDLES!!! Mace was NOT excessive!)

And now he's still in jail. Apparently it took 2 days to actually tell him the charges he was being held on. Check out the full story here.

Now, whether or not you agree with mashups as art or not there are a few MAJOR areas of concern.

First of all, who the hell determines that a mashup "ruins" the original song? It's my understanding that remixing is not a crime. The club that he was playing the songs in pays their dues to ASCAP or BMI (presumably) for performance royalties, so both artists (in this case Rod Stewart and Justin Timberlake) should have gotten their 3 cents for the tracks being played (who cares that they were played at the same time??).

If you read the CNN graphic that's posted here, you'll understand what's gotten me worried about this.

First off, the use of the word "terrorism."

Terrorism is defined as the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. Terror is defined as violent or destructive acts (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands terror>.

Now...I ask you, how in the f**k does remixing fall under that definition at all??

It doesn't. Nowhere in the Patriot Act (itself a cause for concern) does it mention that remixing 2 or more songs can be grounds to get yourself labeled a National Security Threat.

But CNN needs you to pay attention and watch their channel. So you see the word "terrorism" and you stop and watch. And you realize that they're talking about a mashup of 2 songs. And now you're fired up. Because that guy must be evil. He's some kind of subversive or something.

I'm sorry, but if you think remixing is a crime, please go click somewhere else now. I don't want to waste my time talking to you.

Remixing and mashups are part of musical evolution. Things are taken, molded, mashed and new creations are made.

This is how music (and art in general) has ALWAYS been. And the artist understands this. The lawyers do not understand this. Because they are concerned with winning the case (in other words with getting their money).

Have you ever wondered where the melodies for church hymns came from? A lot of them were drinking songs. Religious words were put to familiar melodies in order to make learning them a bit easier for the working class.

Ever sing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," the "Alphabet Song," or "Bah Bah Black Sheep?" Then you have participated in Copyright Terrorism. The melody for those songs was actually written by Mozart (it's in his "A Little Night Music" piece). So...copyright terrorism? Depends. Is Mozart signed to a major label that's a member of the RIAA? No? Well, then it's not copyright terrorism. But if you ask me, putting "Bah bah black sheep have you any wool" over Mozart is definitely RUINING the original work.

It's only copyright terrorism if it takes money away from the record labels. Notice I said the record labels. Why isn't Justin Timberlake upset about the mashup? Because he knows that it's the dj's in the clubs that spin his records. And if it gets funkfied and gets people on the floor, then it's a good thing.

Since when is hurting the record industry the same thing as committing an act of crime or terror against the government? Who gives a flying fuck if the damage to the recording industy is immeasurable. It's about damn time that dinosaur let go and faced the music (so to speak).

If this is allowed to propogate, will we see the end to sites like AcidPlanet.com where remixing is the order of the day? Hmm. Probably not. They're owned by Sony. So, it must be OK, right?

I guess what bugs me the most is the way "terrorism" is thrown about. This is a very (VERY) irresponsible act on CNN's part. At the most, this would qualify as Copyright INFRINGEMENT. But that doesn't grab your attention, does it? What better way to get you to tune in so close to the 5 year anniversary of 9/11 than to stick that word "terrorism" on every possible screen??

It's a really shitty thing to do.

It's a freakin' remix people.

It's not terrorism.

No dj ever overthrew a government.

But make no mistake, they could if they wanted to. And think about this. If you don't really think this affects you. Think about how far the RIAA is going to take it. If you have any mashups on your iPod, you are aiding and abetting copyright terrorists. And they'll hold you accountable. Anything to get their motherf**king money. Bet.

So, we will conclude with a new feature (that may or may not be recurring). I call it F-Yeah!/F-You!

a big F*** Yeah! to World Famous Audio Hacker! Keep the faith and keep the decks spinning. This too shall pass.

and a heartfelt F*** You! to CNN for blatant and irresponsible journalism. Copyright Terrorism?? C'Mon. That's just stupid.

*Perhaps this was not the best day of the year to declare myself a possible terrorist (a copyright terrorist, that is). I mean no disrespect to those observing rememberance of the attacks on the WTC and other truly horrific acts of terror that occurred on this day 5 years ago (and all acts of terror that have occurred here and elsewhere). We will not forget.


Kerri said...

Yuck. Yucky story, yucky CNN coverage. Ridiculous focus on stupid capitalist crap when real problems exist everywhere we turn. Thank God CNN is tackling this hard-hitting story with such vigor. We can all sleep better at night.

Todd S. said...

When I heard about it, I was stunned.

Darrin said...

yeah... that's just dumb. terrorism is, imo, not a word you should just throw around. and css is a bunch of dorks. they've proven that time and again. though, i'm sure that fox news uses that term about ever other day as well. they both have their issues. course, in general, i just don't watch the news. if they made an effort to make the news more happy then i'd probably watch more. and they wonder why things are more violent than ever. f' blaming GTA games and whatnot. the number of people playing GTA pales in comparison to the number of people who watch any of the 50 television series that feature people killing (and people solving killings) every day... on some networks in 3 hour chucnks at a time. but, i digress.

mashups are not against the law, as far as i can tell. rollerrinks and dance halls have been playing music for years and years. maybe if they put out some music that was worth listening to for more than a grant toatl of 15 minutes, then maybe CD sales would go up a little. I think it's been proven that if a 'worthy' CD comes out, it can actually move units. is piracy and downloading an issue? hell yeah. i'm not denying that. but work with the system instead of suing grandmas without computers and fighting 'terroristic DJs' who are remixing two songs that probably sucked in the first place.

ummm... words. this concludes my about-once-a-year-rant-on-a-blog. thank you. sorry for sidetracking all over the place.

BradyFan said...

right on about the hymns and nursery rhymes. Slow news day.

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