Re: Hmmmmm

Subject: Re: Hmmmmm
From: Dennis Bathory-Kitsz (
Date: Sun May 16 1999 - 10:32:45 EDT

Hey Kevin,

Thanks for the comments ... I hope others will jump in.

At 09 04 05 16 1999 -0400, Kevin Austin wrote:
>I would imagine that the domain being entered here is that of performance
>rights then. By removing the web-based terms, one can suddenly be talking
>about jazz.

Or recipes. Or husbandry. But we *are* talking about a web-based issue, not
jazz, and squeezing it into another box is what the traditional media and
performance rights and licensing organizations *want* you to do to assure
the cash-flow. They need it defined in their terms. Work the web! Get the
money! (I'm not especially comfortable with bureaucrats and accountants and
lawyers managing my art any more than I am with them managing my health care.)

>This is part of the issue that performing rights organizations are
>already starting to get on to. If the system is a "demand"
>re-transmission, then (in older Canadian parlance), the presentation is
>"narrowcasting" rather than broadcasting.

Yeah, clever how they invent terms just so that their economic dogs can be
unleashed. That's their job, but we don't have to help them do it. The vast
world of tape trees and individual music websites won't suffer, nor the
bootleg world, nor anyone flexible enough to turn aside when they come

>Sorry, I wasn't concerned about an "it's mine reaction". I was
>considering obtaining permission / acknowledging the source, in this
>circumstance. Does each sound used come with permission for use /
>citation of source?

Not as far as I can see. And I hope it doesn't. Art isn't citation, it's
the recreation and recombination and the invention therein. And you're
wrong on this: Citation is precisely an "it's mine reaction" -- it can't be
anything else. That's why it's called intellectual property, essentially an
economic term. (Any corporate or academic gorilla who wants the cash/credit
will just push it below the horizon anyway -- which is cool, because that's
where the good stuff happens, isn't it? In the garages and personal studios?)

>If this were to be, for example, a university level academic work, a
>thesis (eg), the composer would be cited for plagiarism, but since its
>only elactroacoustic art, once again, who cares?

Isn't university-level work almost *all* plagiarism, defined by guidelines
identifying a threshold of obviousness below which lack of citation is
plagiarism? To me, it's all bogus, a construct of sucking-up, wink-and-nod
acknowledgments that are just mutual backslapping. Ultimately it doesn't
matter who's cited, it just matters what the impact is of the thought/art.
The only folks who care about the footnotes (or footsounds, I suppose) are
those afraid they won't cash in when somebody else goes big, whether it's
fame or fortune, or has an ego so fragile that it must be bolstered by
somebody citing their work. Ick.

>By the way, if it would happen that this project were to take use any of
>the sounds from the CEC cite, it would be in violation of agreements
>between the CEC and the composers, which would cause problems for the
>CEC, not the person who is transforming the materials.

Maybe that's good. Enough trouble all around, and we'll all have to get
back to doing art and let the corporate and academic entities exhaust
themselves arguing. Everybody ultimately loses. Instead of flexibility, all
we'll get is another pendulum swing ... in a few years the intellectual
property cartels will get broken and those who truly depend on the
occasional notice or royalty will lose again.

My interest is more than academic, so to speak. Our site is about to face
the US DMCA, which contained no grandfathering clause. We've been archiving
audio since 1995 (before Al Gore invented the Internet!). As far as site
creation & management go, the "we" is "me". So do you think we/me is going
to be able to follow either DCMA option (negotiate specific on-demand
rights to more than 3,900 clips individually and edit shows where I can't
get those rights, or buy the generic site license and re-edit 400 hours of
audio into five-hour blocks that cycle every two weeks and give the money
to the RIAA)? Nope. This law is basically written for the flush or the
endowed, whereas our site is a personal project, almost entirely personally
financed. So this site, which has made an enormous difference in the lives
of many composers (some of whom live and work successfully in different
countries because of it, and have gotten commissions and performances, not
to mention thousands of new fans) will have to be destroyed if the RIAA
decides our monaural RealAudio clips are a threat to, ahem, intellectual
property. We've pursued a collegial verbal arrangement with our guests for
four years (our 5th year begins Saturday), but now it's get lawyerly or get

>Where is John Owsald when we need him!

One hopes he's still plundering away, along with the Illegal Art folks, and
a hundred others.

As far as Peter's site goes, we could have a much richer discussion if the
project itself was more interesting or more original. Everyone should visit
anyway to see what this is about ... it's not an accessible site, by the
way, to me a more important issue that his masters thesis managers might
inquire about.

Each new development reaches a certain level of notice before the
intellectual property folks move in with platitude-draped covetousness.
That's why I believe it's bogus as philosophy. If it were truly a
philosophical issue, they'd have been there in 1994, helping educate and
develop and guide. But only when it's felt in the wallet does the
discussion of "rights" begin. It's not been about rights all along; it's
been about money.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b27 : Wed Jun 11 2003 - 13:08:57 EDT