The Null Device
Interesting piece about Bertelsmann, the privately-held German media corporation that owns large chunks of the music and publishing industries; including the suggestion that they may soon be buying "MP3".
Transcript of Courtney Love's righteously scathing speech on recording industry skulduggery: (Salon)
When you look at the legal line on a CD, it says copyright 1976 Atlantic Records or copyright 1996 RCA Records. When you look at a book, though, it'll say something like copyright 1999 Susan Faludi, or David Foster Wallace. Authors own their books and license them to publishers. When the contract runs out, writers gets their books back. But record companies own our copyrights forever.
Writing and recording "Hey Jude" is now the same thing as writing an English textbook, writing standardized tests, translating a novel from one language to another or making a map. These are the types of things addressed in the "work for hire" act. And writing a standardized test is a work for hire. Not making a record.
Toni Braxton also declared bankruptcy in 1998. She sold $188 million worth of CDs, but she was broke because of a terrible recording contract that paid her less than 35 cents per album. Bankruptcy can be an artist's only defense against a truly horrible deal and the RIAA wants to take it away.
Vandals or Republican freedom fighters? Melbourne's hedge-burners strike again. (The Age)
Upheavals in the copyright industry: French firm Vivendi (owners of Canal+) to buy Universal/Seagram in its entirety.
The German government has announced it plans to scrap the country's nuclear power stations within 20 years. Wonder whether this means an investment in new technologies such as solar and wind power, or merely a return to coal-burning power stations. (BBC News)
Napster update: The RIAA submits "smoking gun" email from Napster heads, admitting the piratical intent of their system. Goodbye, Napster. At least let's hope that this does not provide an opportunity to pass precedents or laws criminalising peer-to-peer file sharing technologies as such.