TunesDay: Go West, young man

You may not have heard of Adam Marsland. You may not have heard of his former band, Cockeyed Ghost. But as we’ve tried to demonstrate, time and time again, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Radio is a wasteland, the RIAA is waging a toxic war on the artist, and the explosion of media and Internet channels has so fractured and nichified the listening audience that the Second Coming of The Beatles probably wouldn’t be noticed by more than a few hundred people. Upshot: there’s a lot of great music out there that you and I haven’t discovered yet (although I’m searching as hard as I can). Continue reading

Welcome to the Kindleverse

by Lara Amber

I’ve never been an early adopter of technology. I, like most people, come in at wave two or three, but well before grandmas finally get that machine everyone else had for a decade. So ordering a Kindle 2 the day it was announced by Bezo goes against the grain. I’ve had it for a day, and let me tell you it’s going to change the world.

I’m not talking about the sleek design, the high price tag, or the status symbol of carting around the next hot gadget. This, as has been said before, is the iPod of the book world, and its effect will be just as profound. Continue reading

TunesDay: I fought the law and … well, you know the rest

For today’s TunesDay, why don’t we forget about the music and talk about music lawyering? Because really, chicks dig the suits.

Let’s start with my favorite assortment of anti-music fucknozzles, the RIAA. Up first, one of the industry group’s top hired guns wants to “intervene” in a probable cause hearing. Seems some kids at NC State aren’t terribly happy about the RIAA’s business model random trolling for file-sharing violations. You know how it works – ‘let’s sue everybody on the off chance that they might be guilty and/or unable to afford a lawyer.”

Of course, those Woofpack students can at least stand up for themselves. Continue reading


Finally, FINALLY we’re starting to treat the RIAA like an organized crime syndicate. Check the latest on a RICO class-action in Missouri, via Slashdot:

“In Atlantic Recording v. Raleigh, an RIAA case pending in St. Louis, Missouri, the defendant has asserted detailed counterclaims against the RIAA for federal RICO violations, fraud, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, prima facie tort, trespass, and conspiracy. The claims focus on the RIAA’s ‘driftnet’ tactic of suing innocent people, and of demanding extortionate settlements. The RICO ‘predicate acts’ alleged in the 42-page pleading (PDF) are extortion, mail fraud, and wire fraud.

This is a wonderful approach. Continue reading

Nozzle of the Week: the RIAA

If the RIAA were a common street thug, here’s how things would go. It would jump an innocent old lady, stomp her within an inch of her life, and then, when she screamed for mercy, it would file a motion asking the nearest court to sanction her for wasting its time.

Seriously, you ain’t gonna believe this shizzle:

The Recording Industry Association of America is declaring attorney-blogger Ray Beckerman a “vexatious” litigator. The association is seeking unspecified monetary sanctions to punish him in his defense of a New York woman accused of making copyrighted music available on the Kazaa file sharing system. Continue reading

Apple rents movies – and crickets chirp

Apple recently announced that they’d be renting movies via their iTunes service. As a result, I’ve started seeing analysts saying that this was going to make Apple even more dominant than they already are. After all, people are going to want to watch their iTunes-rented movies via their iPods, their Macs, and even on their iPhones, dontchaknow. So the analysts are saying that the iTunes movie rental experience will usher in a paradigm shift from DVDs to streaming. Continue reading

Why don't we give it away: Big Head Todd, free music, DRM and de-suckifying our culture

Finding and buying music used to be a lot simpler process. You could sample new stuff by turning on this thing called a “radio,” and when you heard something you liked you could go purchase it at this other thing called a “record store.” It wasn’t a perfect system, of course. Sometimes the great song on the radio was the only thing worth listening to on the whole “album.” Product was often over-priced. And the radio industry had its own special problems, especially once it became infested with a species of parasite known as the “consultant.”

But all that amazing music you love from the 1960s and 1970s (and even the ’80s and early ’90s in some cases) was the result of this system. Now radio mainly gives us four things: Continue reading

Personal use is copyright infringement?

In the latest example of how the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has utterly failed to understand and adapt to the changing music landscape, RIAA has brought suit against a man for copying his legally purchased CDs to his personal computer for personal use.

In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

The industry’s lawyer in the case, Ira Schwartz, argues in a brief filed earlier this month that the MP3 files Howell made on his computer from legally bought CDs are “unauthorized copies” of copyrighted recordings.

Continue reading


We have a responsibility to provide a moral framework for our kids.

— John Arthur Eaves Jr., Democratic candidate for governor in Mississippi, who once “rebuked the Democratic National Committee for leaving Jesus out of an Easter statement” and says he wants a “new day in Mississippi, where our children go to school with voluntary, student-led school prayers.”

John Arthur sounds pretty good. He’s going to cut the sales tax and put prayer back in schools. Put the Good Lord back in everything. That’s a priority.

— Charles Salley, standing behind the cash register at “Pap’s Place, a diner on Main Street in Ackerman, [where] the Bible was open under the Elvis albums and the Ten Commandments were on an engraved plaque in the window.”
Continue reading

Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the MP3s of war

When Napster came on the scene in 1999 and garnished attention in 2000, the music industry’s response was to declare war on file sharing and digital music. And with their massive financial advantage, the music industry was the first to field their army of lawyers, copy-protected CDs, and usage-restricted music formats. But ever since, the music industry has been unable to win a decisive battle anywhere – p2p sharing and Torrents still trade unprotected MP3s willy-nilly, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act’s provisions are being challenged in court, and pesky little things like rootkits on the CDs have caused strategic setbacks in the ongoing war.

But it’s more than a large, unorganized army of supposed music-loving miscreants – an unexpected alliance of unrestricted music boosters has been able to successfully deal the music industry’s empire tactical defeats. set up house in the empire’s backwaters and started corrupting it from within. Russia’s came like the Celts threatening to burn Rome, and with the prices and international on-line access, may yet succeed. Even the mercenary iTunes and it’s eminently capable general, Steve Jobs, have begun to work around some of the patricians of the music industry and, with the tacit and “corrupt” approval of some of those very music labels started to sell out Rome – so to speak.

But another general took the field on Tuesday, a general that has the potential to shake the music industry to its core, and maybe even to the ground. has started selling unrestricted MP3s, and they’re fielding an army of songs over 2 million strong. Continue reading

RIAA’s legal overreaching is being brought under control

Since RIAA decided to start their misguided anti-downloading crusade, they’ve relied on fear of overwhelming legal fees to get their targets to settle out of court for thousands of dollars. And they’ve used the easily abused Digital Millennium Copyright Act as a means to get preliminary rulings against anonymous targets that effectively extort people to settle before risking federal lawsuits.

But some people haven’t been willing to provide the information, and so they’ve gone to court to fight against the DMCA and RIAA’s legal overreaching. And today, we have two bits of news about people who have fought back. Continue reading

July 15: “Black Sunday” For Independent Media

By Martin Bosworth

Crossposted at OpenLeft.

Tomorrow marks a depressing day for fans of Internet radio stations and alternative newsmagazines of any political stripe. Corporate interests have successfully shepherded through bad business plans designed to choke off independent voices using the power of the purse. Continue reading

Day of Silence for Net radio

Your favorite Internet radio station is probably dark today in observance of a nationwide day of silence.

Day of silence protest hits Net radio
– Stations battle royalty hike
By Cade Metz in San Francisco
Published Friday 22nd June 2007 23:16 GMTOn Tuesday, more than 10,000 U.S. web radio broadcasters will participate in a nationwide “day of silence”, canceling their usual programming in protest of an impending royalty hike that threatens to put most of them out of business. Continue reading

Hope for Internet radio?

Here’s some maybe good news: Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and eight co-sponsors have introduced the Internet Radio Equality Act, which has several major provisions:

  • Nullifies the recent decision of the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) judges.
  • Changes the Internet royalty rate-setting standard so that it’s the same as the one that applies to satellite radio royalty arbitrations. Continue reading

Internet radio royalty ruling: who’s being served?

You may have noticed stories about the Copyright Royalty Board’s recent decision to jack the fees it charges Internet radio outlets. The initial response was dire – this move could force most Net radio off the air.

Broadcasters appealed, but to no avail. And if the ruling makes no sense to you, you’re not alone: Continue reading