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Musings and Meanderings

Saturday, November 13, 2004

A "Third Way"?

It is quite nice to be able to return to commentary of a less political nature now that the election is over. Obviously I've taken a break from blogging, which I will be easing back into slowly.

So it was with great interest that I began to go over my November issue of Wired. Arriving in a plastic envelope because stored inside the front cover was a CD containing 16 songs by a wide variety of artists.

What was special about this was that all of these artists have agreed to allow you to "Rip, Mix, Burn. Swap till you drop" these tunes. They have all signed up for a innovative new licensing concept founded by Stanford Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig, called the Creative Commons.

Simply stated the CC license allows anyone and everyone to swap the songs on any P2P network as long as you don't resell them. Furthermore it allows you, me or any artist to sample any part of the song, and integrate them into something fresh and new, though you cannot sell that song. This is the MOST RESTRICTIVE of the CC licenses. Three of the artists on the CD went this route.

However the other 13 licensed their music a step further down the free intellectual property ladder by also allowing commercial application of sound bytes sampled from their music. Simply stated you can sample these songs and try to publish them yourself, without going through the labyrinthine tortures of lawyers and copyright fees.

This is a third way because it is a middle ground between the Pirates and the RIAA. It puts control back in the hands of the artists by allowing them to decide to what level a piece of music is to be distributed without royalty or licensing fees.

I urge anyone who cares about the freedom of Intellectual Property, Open Sourcing and the purity of artistic intent to purchase this issue of Wired, get the CD, read the article, and buy from these artists.

There is something for every taste, from Ambeint, to Alternative Country, to urban including artists like Chuck D, David Byrne, The Beastie Boys, Gilberto Gil, Paul Westerburg, My Morning Jacket and many others. No doubt you will be happy to hear this diverse grouping of musical styles and may find some artist you had not heard of. You can click on the banner at the top of this blog entry to read more about the CD and and the CC.

In the end the only way to stop the inexorable tide of lawyers carrying RIAA credentials is with an economic vote, your dollar. Support the artists and labels who are flexible, do not buy those who are not. Simple easy and effective.
posted by Mike 9:24 PM


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The musings and meanderings of an overworked and underemployed mind