Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy Public Domain Day!

music piracy
Originally uploaded by Slider22.
Boing Boing and Copyright Watch are celebrating Public Domain Day, or January 1 as the rest of us call it. As of today in the United States, the unpublished works of authors who died 70 years ago will enter the public domain.

Just imagine what nuggets of literature must reside in that collection.

As for me, I'm thinking, as I so often do during the holidays, of that besieged agency that fights for the rights and money of musicians everywhere, the Recording Industry Association of America. Seeing that millions of American music consumers no longer know what they can legally do with the CDs they've bought or received for Christmas, the RIAA, with its lawsuit against Jammie Thomas, has clarified its position beyond any possibility of misunderstanding.

What can I legally do with this CD I just bought?
Why, you can listen to it on a CD player.
Can I copy it to...
But wait. I didn't tell you how I was going to copy it, or where.
Doesn't matter. You can't copy it. At all. Period.
But I got this new iPod for Christmas...
My, yes, that is a handsome model. I'll bet it sounds terrific.
I wouldn't know, there's no music on it.
That's a shame.
I'd like to listen to these songs.
You can.
But you just said...
All you have to do is buy them from iTunes.
But I bought the CD!
*blank expression* Yeah?
So I thought I'd copy the songs to...
Ah ah ah. That would be stealing.
But I bought the CD!
But you didn't buy a license to make a digital copy of the music.
But I bought the CD!
You keep using that word, "bought".
I don't think it means what you think it means.

Welcome to music in the 21st century.


Anonymous said...

Howard Phillips Lovecraft -- August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937

Daniel said...

Yep. All of Uncle H.P.'s unpublished work just became public domain. Everything else is just as muddy as it ever was.

Delayna said...

Hmmmm...stupid laws lead to contempt for the law. Where do you suppose contempt for the law leads?