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David Bowie on Music, Copyrights, Distribution 403

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the spiders-from-mars dept.
EddydaSquige writes "In this New York Times article David Bowie talks about his new album, distribution deal with Sony, and how he's "fully confident that copyright, for instance, will no longer exist in 10 years, and authorship and intellectual property is in for such a bashing." Do you think the Bowie machine has the power to make the music industry see the light?"
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David Bowie on Music, Copyrights, Distribution

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  • by -douggy (316782) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @09:56AM (#3668539)
    Sure the artist should be credited for the creation of a song but why should a corporation I dont care about make 5 times the money the writer does. IP and copywrite needs a complete overhaul. Fair use people

    It is about time the bigger well established artists started acting like this. They make far more money personing than via RIAA cds
    • Agreed

      A person creates and created, get credit for and owns the work they do.

      A corporation is not a person. A corporation unto itself creates nothing.
      • I agree that the person who makes the music should be the one to hold the copyright. And that the corporation should not make more money than the artist does. However, the reason the corporation can do this is not because of flaws in copyright laws (although these laws are flawed). It is because the artist signed a contract with the record company. The problem is that signing a contract with a major record company is the only way to "make it big" as a musician. That's what needs to be fixed. The internet helps that, but not enough.
      • That's not enough. It's not even the right discussion.

        Above all else, any enlargement of copyright beyond none at all has to be justified in terms of an even greater benefit secured to the public than they would've enjoyed had the enlargement not occured. Benefits to the public must take the form of BOTH: the creation of more works, either original or derivative or some combination, and the ability to freely enjoy works in any sense, ranging from freely obtaining them, to being able to use them, modify them, copy them, republish them, etc.

        Thus the mere act of creation of a work isn't sufficient to justify their 'owning' it.
        • ...Thus the mere act of creation of a work isn't sufficient to justify their 'owning' it.

          Sure it is....right up to the moment it gets played for the public....
          • Only to a limited extent, I should think.

            If a work is created, never disseminated, and destroyed, then yes, we can conceive of the author effectively owning it, but as far as a discussion of copyright goes, such a work might as well have never existed. Secret works are actually a problem that copyright seeks to solve by providing strong incentives to release information publically.

            But should even one other person come across the works, e.g. discovering the many unpublished poems of Emily Dickenson after her death, or an author publishing or publicly performing his work to an audience, the creation -> ownership thing flies right out the window.

            This is the situation we're faced with 99.44% of the time, so please forgive my oversimplification in the earlier post. As a general rule though, I think it stands.
      • A corporation is a collection of people. These people arrange to buy things from the people that produce them.

        Nobody forces the people to sell them to the corporations. Nobody forces you to deal with them.
    • why should a corporation I dont care about make 5 times the money the writer does.

      Because of the Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

      Does it seem unfair? Sure, until you think about the alternative: Artists establishing a hit record without the record companies and without borrowing money.

      Yes, the cost of capital to the bands are outrageous. However, given the fact that creating a hit band is a longshot at best, there is a high level of risk on the money loaned. The higher the risk, the higher the cost of capital. That's how capitalism works.

      Of course, that's what makes the internet so great when it comes to music distribution. Like Bowie said, bands have a chance to elimnate the record company completely and build their audiences via word of mouth and downloands on the net. We are a long ways off from that becoming a viable model, though.
      • Not so long as you might think. Most musicians that are serious have much of the equipment they would need to make a decent recording. What they need is the skills to mix the music and make it sound CD quality, which is possible with most mid-range computers and about $500 worth of software. Burning the CD's isn't all that bad, most computers can cook a CD in 15 minutes or less, and there are mass burners out there for reasonable prices. Hell, if the bootleggers can do it, so can the musicians.

        In the end, it will be the artists hiring the record companies, not the other way arround.
    • by DragonMagic (170846) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @12:21PM (#3669001) Homepage
      Don't get upset at the copyrights, get upset at the contracts these corporations impose on the artists, and the monopolies they have with major distribution chains.

      Try to find your local indie band at any national record chain, and chances are unless they're on MTV or Clear Channel, they'll not be found. This is because the national chains go through publishers or huge distributors, where only the top publishing houses can sell through.

      You'd have to go to a local chain or a mom and pop store to find indie artists most of the time, or just to the artists themselves.

      What we need is an overhaul of the music distribution chain. Sites like eMusic and MP3.com were set to do that until they were bought out by big publishers. They weren't bought out because they were failing, they were bought because they imposed a threat on the distribution network.

      Hell, if you want to be rich, it's not making a religion, it's not winning the lottery, is threatening legally the bottom line of a multi-national conglomerate. Find a better, legal way to do what the publishers do, and they'll find a way to offer you money to go away.
        • Don't get upset at the copyrights, get upset at the contracts these corporations impose on the artists, and the monopolies they have with major distribution chains.

        You can get upset about the copyright law that extends copyrights for 20 extra years if held by a corporation vs. an individual.

        That's kind of getting upset at the copyrights and the corporations.

      • What we need is an overhaul of the music distribution chain.

        Until something better comes along, I've found that CD Baby [cdbaby.com] is an acceptable way to find new artists. Every CD they sell is by an independent artist, and between $6 and $12 goes to the artist for each CD purchased. Plus, their servers run OpenBSD, they don't share your info with anyone, and they don't keep your credit card number on file.

        And their search methods and browse options are really great for helping you find music you'll like among the huge number of bands offering their music through CD Baby.
    • The artists sign contracts, so they put themselves into that position.

      But music authors have very different contracts than book authors. The rules for books are quite different, and a publishing company generally does not take ownership of the music. They simply have exclusive publishing rights for some period of time.

      This is up to the music artists to correct. They need to come together and fight to have the laws changed so that the contracts are more favorable.

      Anyway this issue has very little to do with copyright law other than how the work for hire clause differs between music and books. What I always find amazing is how people bring up this disparity as an excuse to justify things like Napster.
  • no NYT acct. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by morgajel (568462)
    /me goes out and buys every david bowie CD he can find
    Rock on david.
  • Bowie (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crumbz (41803) <.moc.liamg>maps ... uj>maps_evomer> on Sunday June 09, 2002 @09:57AM (#3668547) Homepage
    Was ahead of his time by packaging and selling the rights to his current/future music back in the early 90s. If I remeber correctly, he picked up along the line of US$ 53 million from his stock sale. He has little to fear from copyright violations from a personal standpoint.
    • Was ahead of his time by packaging and selling the rights to his current/future music back in the early 90s.

      Unfortunately, BowieBanc [dailyrevolution.org] didn't fare as well [bankrate.com] ("Bowie bank leaves the stage") -

      Bank officials didn't return our calls, but BowieBanc has, reportedly, been folded into USABancShares, which is being investigated by the FDIC for alleged violations of banking regulations.

      On the other hand, it seems the Thin White Duke had a way with words back almost two years, with respect to digital piracy -

      "Where are the major artists on the Web?", he asks. "Most MP3s are from unknown artists and most of the songs are crap!"

      Visionary, or just outspoken?

      • by kootch (81702) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @11:20AM (#3668754) Homepage
        Wow. I didn't think anyone actually remembered that. I was one of 5 people in the internet division of USABancShares (formerly vBank, USABanc.com, People's Trust, and Norristown Savings i believe).

        If you're curious, this was the deal with BowieBanc:

        Ken Tepper, CEO of USABancShares.com, would go to some large organizations that were not connected to financial institutions. He would then pitch the idea of a "private label" bank where all of the money would actually be handled by vBank, the parent of USABancShares.com, but that the private label bank could issue credit cards, bank cards, checks, etc. with the name of the private label bank and all of the decorations. Other possible private label banks were YankeeBanc (new york yankees) and TrumpBanc (donald).

        With BowieNet and the corporation Bowie owns, BowieBanc seemed like a good fit. His ISP clients, who were all huge fans, could easily open an online bank account, get a david bowie credit card (some of the designs were amazing), and a bunch of other perks.

        The whole idea crashed down when USABancShares.com took on a host of bad loans (as banks often will do) and I believe they're still trying to track down the culprit. But the loans degraded their credit rating which is imperative for a bank to maintain.

        It's a shame tho. We built the second online back with 5 ppl working 8 days straight (we slept in the bank). And the flash bank is still pretty neat all these years later.
      • Visionary. Listen to some of his music. Not "Changes."

        Also, you've taken that quote out of context. I can imagine a number of situations in which he might have said that and been neither wrong nor shortsighted. Of course, the context might not have changed the meaning at all, and he might have been wrong and shortsighted. And it sounds like he cops to that kind of mistake. He certainly admits to changing his mind about that "no old material" policy.
    • He has little to fear from copyright violations from a personal standpoint.

      ... except being sued by the people who own the stock for talking down its prospects. (I'm not going to get into the question of whether they'd be justified or not -- whenever people get angry, they tend to reach for their lawyers.)

      He sold shares in his prospective royalties, IIRC, not specifically shares in the music (e.g. IP) itself.

      • Almost (Score:3, Insightful)

        by WinPimp2K (301497)
        He sold BONDS which were to be paid back from the royalties earned by his music.

        I f he really believes copyright will be dead in the near future, then he will probably be on the receiving end of a pretty darn hefty fraud investigaion.

        It would be like oh Donald Trump selling Bonds to finance a new casino in Atlantic City, with the casino revenues to repay the bonds all the while expecting the state of New Jersey to outlaw all casino gambling 5 years after the casino opens.
  • by Froobly (206960) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @10:06AM (#3668573)
    Here's the text

    David Bowie, 21st-Century Entrepreneur
    By JON PARELES

    IN a Manhattan rehearsal studio, Gerry Leonard seemed to be noodling on his guitar as the rest of David Bowie's band waited. He played some sustained notes and a bit of minor-key arpeggio; he worked his effects pedals, adding echoes. A digital stutter entered the pattern, and suddenly the music gelled into "Sunday," the song that opens Mr. Bowie's new album, "Heathen," which will be released on Tuesday.

    Chords from a phantom chorus wafted from a keyboard, and Mr. Bowie intoned: "It's the beginning of an end, and nothing has changed. Everything has changed."

    Mr. Bowie sang somberly about searching for signs of life, about fear and hope. At the end of the song, he shivered like someone coming out of a trance. "Ahhh," he said and grinned. "Good morning!" It was just after 11 a.m. and Mr. Bowie, 55, had already worked out at the gym and given an extended interview before starting the day's rehearsal for his summer tour.

    Lean and affable, he was wearing a skintight gray T-shirt and stylishly understated gray pants. His gaze, with different-colored eyes because of a childhood accident that paralyzed his left pupil, has grown less disconcerting; he laughs easily. When asked what he considered the central point of his work, he said, "I write about misery" and chuckled.

    Visions of cataclysm and professional aplomb: that's Mr. Bowie's life in his fourth decade as a rock star. One of rock's most astute conceptualists since the 1960's, he has toyed with the possibilities of his star persona, turned concerts into theater and fashion spectacles, and periodically recharged his songs with punk, electronics and dance rhythms. Now he has emerged as one of rock's smartest entrepreneurs.

    "Heathen" is the first album from Mr. Bowie's own recording company, Iso, which has major-label distribution through Sony. In 1997, he sold $55 million of Bowie Bonds backed by his song royalties; the next year, he founded the technology company Ultrastar and his own Internet service provider-cum-fan club, Bowienet (davidbowie.com). In a nod to his art-school background, his bowieart.com sells promising students' work without the high commissions of terrestrial galleries.

    His deal with Sony is a short-term one while he gets his label started and watches the Internet's effect on careers. "I don't even know why I would want to be on a label in a few years, because I don't think it's going to work by labels and by distribution systems in the same way," he said. "The absolute transformation of everything that we ever thought about music will take place within 10 years, and nothing is going to be able to stop it. I see absolutely no point in pretending that it's not going to happen. I'm fully confident that copyright, for instance, will no longer exist in 10 years, and authorship and intellectual property is in for such a bashing."

    "Music itself is going to become like running water or electricity," he added. "So it's like, just take advantage of these last few years because none of this is ever going to happen again. You'd better be prepared for doing a lot of touring because that's really the only unique situation that's going to be left. It's terribly exciting. But on the other hand it doesn't matter if you think it's exciting or not; it's what's going to happen."

    With his wife, Iman, he has a 22-month-old daughter, Alexandria, for whom he's keeping to a minimum his time away from home in Manhattan. When Mr. Bowie signed on as a headliner for Moby's Area:Two tour this summer, he made sure the schedule allowed him to return home between each of the six East Coast dates. He is also organizing, and performing at, Meltdown, a contemporary music, film and visual arts festival in London. (One songwriter he booked is Norman Carl Odam, known as the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, from whom he took Ziggy Stardust's last name in the 1970's; on "Heathen," he sings the Cowboy's "Gemini Spacecraft," about an astronaut obsessed with a girl he left behind.)

    Mr. Bowie no longer expects to compete with performers in their 20's. "I'm well past the age where I'm acceptable," he said. "You get to a certain age and you are forbidden access. You're not going to get the kind of coverage that you would like in music magazines, you're not going to get played on radio and you're not going to get played on television. I have to survive on word of mouth."

    HIS fans among musicians, including Moby and Nine Inch Nails, have toured with Mr. Bowie, introducing him to a younger generation.

    Back in 1990, Mr. Bowie tried to jettison his past. He billed an arena tour as the last time he would play his old hits. "I really did think I meant that," he said. "I got quite a way into the 90's before I started thinking, `Well, if you want an audience, David, you may want to consider putting some songs into your sets that they've actually heard.' Yes, I know, I went back on my word completely and absolutely."

    He's now more comfortable riffling through his huge body of work. This week, the Museum of Television and Radio, in New York and Los Angeles, opened "Sound + Vision," a retrospective of Mr. Bowie on video that continues through Sept. 15. A restored version of "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars," the D. A. Pennebaker documentary of the 1972 tour that defined glam-rock, will be released on July 10.

    "Heathen" was produced by Tony Visconti, who last collaborated with Mr. Bowie on his 1980 album, "Scary Monsters." He worked on most of Mr. Bowie's 1970's albums, including the celebrated Berlin trilogy of "Low," " `

    On "Heathen," Mr. Bowie knowingly hints at his past. He echoes the song " `Heroes' " in "Slow Burn," which wonders, "Who are we in times such as these?" He revives analog keyboard sounds like that of the Stylophone, a miniature electric organ played with a stylus that was heard on "Space Oddity" in 1969 and reappears in the new "Slip Away." When Mr. Bowie starts his tour with a show for fan-club members at Roseland on Tuesday, he plans to play all 12 songs on "Heathen," followed by all of "Low." Hearing the music 25 years later "makes the hairs on my arm stand up," he said.

    To make "Low," Mr. Bowie recalled: "I had brought the idea of having fundamentally an R & B rhythm section working against this new zeitgeist of electronic ambience that was happening in Germany. It was terribly exciting to know that one had stumbled across something which was truly innovative.

    "At that time, I was vacillating badly between euphoria and incredible depression. Berlin was at that time not the most beautiful city of the world, and my mental condition certainly matched it. I was abusing myself so badly. My subtext to the whole thing is that I'm so desperately unhappy, but I've got to pull through because I can't keep living like this. There's actually a real optimism about the music. In its poignancy there is, shining through under there somewhere, the feeling that it will be all right."

    Drug problems are long behind him, Mr. Bowie said. He now hesitates to take even an Advil because. "I have such an addictive personality," he said.

    Making "Heathen," he and Mr. Visconti were leery of nostalgia. "One thing we haven't tried to be is cutting edge," Mr. Bowie said. "The other thing we've tried not to do is to delve too far into the past and rely on our known strengths, our known previous work. We do know, between us, how to landscape a song and give it a real place, an identity and a character. I guess that's the vestiges of the more theatrical things."

    The album starts with "Sunday" and ends with its title song, both hushed and haunted by mortality. In "Heathen," Mr. Bowie sings, "Still on the skyline, sky made of glass/ Made for a real world, all things must pass." The album was written before Sept. 11, however, and the songs join a long line of Mr. Bowie's apocalyptic scenarios.

    "I hope that a writer does have these antennae that pick up on low-level anxiety and all those Don DeLillo resonances within our culture," he said. "But I don't want to say that it was in any way trying to suggest that it was going to happen. It's not like it's something new to me. These are all personal crises, I'm sure, that I manifest in a song format and project into physical situations. You make little stories up about how you feel. It's as simple as that."

    Between his own ruminations, he borrows "Gemini Spacecraft," the Pixies' "Cactus" and Neil Young's "I've Been Waiting for You"; in songs like "Afraid" and "I Would Be Your Slave," he sings about love, insecurity and transience.

    "I tried to make a checklist of what exactly the album is about and abandonment was in there, isolation," he said. "And I thought, well, nothing's changed much. At 55, I don't really think it's going to change very much. As you get older, the questions come down to about two or three. How long? And what do I do with the time I've got left?

    "When it's taken that nakedly, these are my subjects. And it's like, well, how many times can you do this? And I tell myself, actually, over and over again. The problem would be if I was too self-confident and actually came up with resolutions for these questions. But I think they're such huge unanswerable questions that it's just me posing them, again and again."

    • Ironic (Score:4, Insightful)

      by XorNand (517466) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @10:48AM (#3668676)
      It's kinda ironic that you violated the NY Time's copyright to cut and paste and article about copyright issues isn't it?

      I don't like the required registration BS either, but you know what I do about it? I haven't registered and therefore don't read the Times (or their advertisers)... voting with my eyeballs.

      I would be wise if people stop doing stupid stuff like this. I would be interesting (in a bad way) to have the Time's come after /. with the DCMA in it's fist.
  • by BurpingWeezer (199436) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @10:13AM (#3668587)
    http://www.majcher.com/nytview.html might come in handy for some
  • by Groucho (1038) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @10:17AM (#3668595)
    I'd love to hear more of what he has to say about media decentralization and the gargantuan shift from megastars to niche artists. Can we try and do one of those "ask Bowie 20 questions" thingies?

    I still think there's room for artists to sell music in a physical medium, with disks, nice cover art, books, perhaps a box set. I've downloaded just about everything by Tommy Guerrero but I'm collecting the CDs anyways... better sound quality, more permanent, nice cover art, and the pleasure of owning them and knowing I've contributed something to the artist. (TG does amazing grooving downtempo Cali-Latin style funky jazzy ambient blues, kinda like Booker T meets Tortoise with a bottle of wine on Carlos Santana's back porch.).

    G
  • by mensan98th (177463) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @10:20AM (#3668604)
    I recommend DeLillo's book "White Noise" for insights into Bowie's mindset. It's very much in keeping with the comments in the NYT piece about Bowie's emotional space. And an easy read for a postmodern novel.
  • Bowie Bonds (Score:5, Informative)

    by bckspc (172870) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @10:21AM (#3668605) Homepage
    In 1997, David Bowie issued bonds to pay interest from his old song royalties. Prudential Insurance Co. of America bought them all. Read [canoe.ca] about [assetpub.com] it, and David Pullman [upenn.edu], the guy who helped him do it. The offering "allowed Bowie to collect $55 million up front, using some of the money to buy out a former manager and keep control of his music."

    • by mckwant (65143) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @11:41AM (#3668836)
      If the Bowie model of doing bonds makes more money than the current revenue model, then the record companies might start to listen, but Bowie's catalog is reasonably consistent. Ziggy, Aladdin Sane, Pinups, and The Man Who Sold the World are (presumably) all steady sellers. We're not talking Pink Floyd or The Beatles here, commercially, but still...

      Point being, you can't apply this model to an artist that doesn't have that kind of track record. Try floating "Britney Bonds" or "'Nsync Notes" and see how far those fly. They won't, because they don't have any chance of producing the kind of steady cashflow that Bowie's sales produce over time.

      Even looking at more relevant bands of this era (choose your own), they are ALL likely to fade within 10 years, and won't provide the sheer volume of Bowie's output. I happen to love the Pixies, but I have trouble thinking that anybody's chasing down "Bossanova" in their local Tower Records.

      Neato model, points to Bowie's finance team for developing it, but applicable in a miniscule number of cases. If Bowie, in fact, owns his own IP, it might even be unique.
  • CopyRight (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cameronk (187272) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @10:25AM (#3668617) Homepage
    In the great debate over fair use versus profits we seem to continuously forget the purpose of such laws. With out some way to compensate folks who create intellectual property-be they recording artists, writers, professors or management consultants-the incentives to produce quality content disappears. When Bowie says, "I'm fully confident that copyright, for instance, will no longer exist in 10 years, and authorship and intellectual property is in for such a bashing." I believe that he means that our current form of copyright, something that for all purposes is woefully dated.

    The problem is that our current distribution model for intellectual property, especially music, does not work given the nominal distribution costs of internet-based music distribution. No digital form of distribution provides an equivalent level of moderation provided by the music industry, it is almost impossible to find the best quality content out of the giant databases like IUMA [iuma.com] or MP3.com [mp3.com]. We still need some way to sort the good stuff from the banal. It probably makes sense to use Gnutella to download pop music today, but from a long term perspective, we need to create an entirely new paradigm for music proliferation.

    • But that's not the whole story. Let me ask you, why do we want to provide an incentive to create works? What benefit do ordinary people see?
    • With out some way to compensate folks who create intellectual property-be they recording artists, writers, professors or management consultants-the incentives to produce quality content disappears.

      Without some way to compensate folks who fight forest fires, arrest criminals, educate the public, keep our environment clean, build highways, explore outer space, prosecute criminals, adjudicate criminal lawsuits, create legislation, heal the poor, and house orphans, the incentives to do those things disappear as well. Just because science and the useful arts are an economic good doesn't mean that copyright is the only solution.

    • No digital form of distribution provides an equivalent level of moderation provided by the music industry, it is almost impossible to find the best quality content out of the giant databases

      There you have just described a way to make money. Provide a service that allows people to find what they want.

      • Re:CopyRight (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MoneyT (548795)
        You may not realize it, but you just described the current trend of the US economy. We are moving very quickly away from a manufacturing economy (which is where patents, copywrites, and other IP protections come in handy) to a service economy, where payment on a commision is going to become more prevelant. Hence Bowie's statement that performance and touring will be the way to make money on music in the future.
    • Hmm... I'm not really sure. The part I found most interesting is when Bowie said he believes music will become like "running water".

      That seems to imply he feels copyright really will cease to exist (at least as far as music is concerned?).

      If that's his theory, I'd personally disagree. There will still be a need to protect individual songs from being blatantly ripped off, counterfeited, and transposed by other "artists" trying to find easy ways out to sell music. (Why write your own song when you can steal all the good riffs out of someone else's work, claim it's really your own, and make a quick buck?)

      I do, however, envision a time when music artists go to a business model more like sports stars have. You pay them in advance to secure an exclusive contract with them for X number of years - and whatever they write is what you get to market and sell. They don't produce anything respectable? Tough luck record company... That was a bad pick then. Don't renew a deal with them and try again with someone else.

      (You could still, of course, sue an artist for breach of contract, if they wrote music *completely* unlike the demos they gave you when you were negotiating with them - or refused to produce the number of albums you both agreed upon in the time period.)
  • by Hawthorne01 (575586) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @10:33AM (#3668635)
    Does anyone out there buy a record because it's on Island vs. Maverick vs. Sony? (Okay, Maverick is owned by Madonna, which may make me think twice...). Through the selling of bonds, his ISP, and now these comments, it's obvious he's making himself a brand that people know and trust, and therefore are willing to pay for. When music is a commodity in the post-copyright world (which is coming, whether the RIAA likes it on not), the people who have a distinctive style that engenders brand loyalty will have the following willing to pay for music instead of getting it for free. An example of this from the last two decades was The Grateful Dead.
  • by squarooticus (5092) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @10:34AM (#3668638) Homepage
    Copyright is necessary as incentive for the creation of new works. I and others are happy creating GPL'ed software, but we are a very small minority of people producing creative works. So, I don't see copyright going away anytime soon.

    What will have to change, however, is our perception of copyright. At this point, copyright is considered (however incorrectly) an inalienable right that often trumps even the first amendment. This situation is untenable. What I already see happening is the start of a movement to put the teeth back in the public side of the copyright bargain.

    In the best case, I see copyright terms decreasing significantly and fair use rights being enforced by law. The first increases the incentive to produce by shortening the term of the artificial monopoly we the People grant to authors and artists.

    The second means that the People's right to use works protected under copyright in any reasonable way they choose will be formally encoded, perhaps even to the point of outlawing fair use prevention technologies (what is usually called "copy protection") on works protected by copyright: this would restore the same balance that used to exist for patents before the DMCA.

    I'll leave the worst case to others. =)
    • I and others are happy creating GPL'ed software, but we are a very small minority of people producing creative works.

      Interestingly, the GPL only works because of copyright. It's the protection that copyright affords the author of the code that gives him/her the right to attach the GPL and insist on the usage that code is put to.

      If copyright didn't exist, there'd be nothing to stop people taking open sources and building their own binaries and selling them binary-only unimpeded. GPL would basically equal public domain; this is not the free software movement's aim at all.

      • This is a myth... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Sunnan (466558) <sunnan@handgranat.org> on Sunday June 09, 2002 @11:08AM (#3668723) Homepage Journal
        If copyright did not exist:
        1. Everyone could distribute copies of software and run all software for all purposes (freedoms zero and two of FSF fame) and
        2. there would be no economic incentive for not distributing source with your binary - since your binaries can be copied anyway, why lose the advantages that distributing source will give you? (Cross-platform compability, people looking for bugs, a more trustworthy image, happier customers)
        3. and disassemblers would not be illegal.


        In a world without copyright, I still think that RMS and FSF would be happy.

        Still, totally abolishing copyright is not a stated goal of the FSF. They just want more rights for the users of published software.
        • If copyright did not exist

          If copyright did not exist authors would be forced to use contract law and physical copy protection to protect their work. For example, commercial comuter programs would be sold with dongles as a matter of course. Whenever you bought a boo you would have to sign a contract [EULA] that control your use of the product.

          Lawyers would have field day.

        • #2 is probably false. Closed source would have a lot of advantage, especially for stopping any program other than your own from interpreting the data manipulated by it. This is of course the source of MicroSoft's power, they actually relied on the free copying of their software to force their closed formats into all niches of the computer world.

          Of course the legality of reverse engineering and disassemblers would negate this somewhat. A legal coorporation could attack these closed systems, not just hackers in their basement.

      • Actually, this is the free software movement's aim. You're just missing an important piece of the puzzle: all software would be in the public domain.

        The GPL does not allow the copyright holder to insist on usage, it only allows him to insist that distributed changes be distributed in source form.

        I forget where I read it, but someone from the FSF (maybe it was Stallman) has basically said that the GPL is a hack and necessary because of copyright law... that you have to work within the system to bring an end to it. His contention was that just throwing your code out into the public domain is not effective so long as copyright exists. You have to admit, it makes a lot of sense, if that's your end goal.

        Personally, I'm down with copyright. I just think someone needs to put it back in check.

    • No (Score:4, Insightful)

      by A nonymous Coward (7548) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @10:58AM (#3668695)
      Copyright is necessary as incentive for the creation of new works

      Tell that to Bach, Shakespeare or any one else before probably 1900.

      It may in a few instances encourage people to produce new works, but I bet in more cases it discourages people from using established works as the basis for new works. I bet it's a wash whether copyright helps or hinders in the grand picture.

      All it really does is enable a few to get filthy rich while not helping the other 99.99% at all. Especially considering the few plagiarism cases that come to trial, where some rich artist (or corporation) is sued by some nobody for stealing his idea. The big guys can afford to steal and violate copyright because they have the lawyers to beat down the poor guys.
      • Re:No (Score:2, Interesting)

        Tell that to Bach, Shakespeare or any one else before probably 1900.

        Yeah, 1900, right. Copyright law dates back 1700 and the statute of Anne. Bach lived during the time copyright laws were in effect. Much prior to that copyright didn't matter because the industrial revolution hadn't happened and nobody had an easy way to print anything.

        Copyright law was established at the strat of the industrial revolution for the purpose of preventing publishing companies from just taking anything avaialable and printing it witout even putting the author's name on the works.

        Has anyone thought clearly what the lapse of copyright law would do to authorship?

        I don't think so.

        • Has anyone thought clearly what the lapse of copyright law would do to authorship?

          Nothing. Great authors write because they have to write. Robert Burns died a poor farmer. Shakespeare certainly did not make as much (inflation-adjusted) money as Tom Clancy does today. Even many hacks write just for the fun of it. Consider the popularity of blogs. Who is paying these people to write their opinions? Who is paying YOU to write on slashdot? It is completely natural for human beings to want to create stuff. Getting rich from doing it is a side benefit.

          Just as people still play soccer in countries where there is no professional soccer league, people will still write because writing is fun and cathartic and generally important.

          Furthermore, for millenia we've found ways to pay for the development of art. Homer didn't need copyright. We found ways to fund artists before there was copyright and we will after copyright goes away. One high-tech solution is the Street Performer Protocol [firstmonday.dk].

          • Actually, writing and drama paid Shakespeare's bills -- and some of those of his relatives, since apparently he turned out to be the wealthy one in his family. Given how much time and effort he spent on writing and drama, it's not like he had another 9-5 job to cover his bills...
    • There's a fundamental difference between software and music. Even without copyright, musicians make money by touring. From what I've heard (I'm no expert) that's the main source of revenue anyways. I don't think there are many gpl software developers raking in cash on public appearances, unless they're giving seminars or teaching, which would make sense...
      • You've got it backwards. Far more people make money off GNU software than would off some kind of copyright-less music. I make a good deal programming Linux machines. I have never heard of a company hiring a musician to compose music for internal use only by the company.
    • Copyright is necessary as incentive for the creation of new works.

      That's a commonly repeated refrain but people created new works before there was copyright. Shakespeare, Mozart, Homer, etc.

      • all those people had wealthy patrons supporting them.

        So unless we want 'art' to become merely the realm of the fabulously wealthy, copyright is indeed a good idea.

        • Oh yeah, Shakespeare's work was "merely the realm of the fabulously wealthy."

          Anyhow, it is well known that a group of ordinary people can also serve as patrons.

          • his theatre troup was mainly supported by the wealthy. Yes, the poor 'groundlings' could watch his shows, but they did not provide the bulk of revenue required to support him.

            And further, much of his revenue came from live shows. How is one supposed to use that with a medium that does not lend itself to live performance? Such as books or articles.

            • Yes, the poor 'groundlings' could watch his shows, but they did not provide the bulk of revenue required to support him.

              So they got to watch great and entertaining art and someone else paid for it. Sounds like a rough situation!

              And further, much of his revenue came from live shows. How is one supposed to use that with a medium that does not lend itself to live performance? Such as books or articles.

              I've already mentioned the Street Performer Protocol. Authors can also go on signing and speaking tours. They can get individual or corporate sponsors ("Absolut Richler"). Articles can be advertisment sponsored as they are today. After all, timeliness is important...if the Atlantic Monthly publishes things a month after Harper's, people will by the quicker magazine, not because of its copyrights but because of its timeliness. Authors of interesting books could be paid to do television interviews. (timeliness again) Authors of technical books could turn their fame into consulting gigs. Books can be made into plays and movies and those can charge performance fees. The author would get a cut as a consultant and contributor to the performance.

              I can't guarantee that this combination of suggestions will cover every single existing author but it isn't society's responsibility to ensure that every business model from one century continues to apply in the next century. Human beings used to do calculations that computers do today. Now they do something else.

              And whatever the economic model, some people will write just because they want to write. Nobody pays me to post to Slashdot. Nobody pays you. Nobody pays the article submitters. Human beings need to create. If you leave them alone, they will create cool stuff. They don't need government help.

              • copyright came about when the printing press became cheap enough to mass produce quantities.

                magazines got their articles from indepedent authors and paid them accordingly. however, some unscrupulous editors would steal articles from other magazines and not compensate the authors. as such, these magazines could charge cheaper prices and would outsell those legitimate magazines that did pay their authors.

                Who got screwed? The author. This is why copyright exists, and why it will not go away and why it should not go away.

                You completely ignored the magazine article author, which is the principal form of most writers' income.

    • >What I already see happening is the start of a movement to put the teeth back in the public side of the copyright bargain.

      Here's [macleans.ca] a little "proof" that the people are (finally) starting to wake up and fight back. In a nutshell: A long time politician loses because his party sits with their thumbs up their asses while the supreme court takes away a long standing Canadian right: The right to watch American television. Its not directly copyright, but it sure does smack of the same style of a lot of today's copyright laws.

      If this party loses their majority government in the upcoming Federal election due to this law I think it would bring tears to my eyes to finally see Canada wake up and tell this government we won't take US-style save-the-company-before-the-people politics lying down.
  • Not 10 years (Score:3, Interesting)

    by namespan (225296) <namespan@@@elitemail...org> on Sunday June 09, 2002 @10:41AM (#3668656) Journal
    Not in 10 years. This is going to take a legislative policy change... there could be some changes in the courts, but as we all know, court decisions will probably come down on the side of those with the most money (large corps/very rich individuals with a lot of IP to lose). Most of the public is simply not aware enough of IP issues, and most legislators probably beleive in a conservative view of IP.

    I think it'll have to get worse before it gets better in order for the public to start examining it. But I also think in about 20 years, we'll start to get a crop of legislators that are not quite so corporate. I think it's partly a demographic thing.

    Of course, it will help if the average slashdot guy becomes a little more activist. Should you run for congress?

  • Adaptive (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Malc (1751) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @10:46AM (#3668667)
    Although I don't like everything David Bowie has produced in his career, he has a lot to be impressed about. He seems to constantly re-invent himself and move in to new genres of music. If anybody is open to changes in copyright, this man surely is. He'll just adapt to it and try out something new like he has throughout the rest of his long career.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 09, 2002 @10:58AM (#3668696)
    All off his new CD's will be autographed on the outer rim with a sharpie :)
  • by discogravy (455376) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @11:07AM (#3668720) Homepage
    and he's very much a good businessman and artist. he was ahead of the herd with musical styles and fashions and he's very likely right on this one as well. of course, he's in a position to not care that much, since he's got control of his back catalogue, a huge fanbase, other businesses (bowienet, etc) and lots of unreleased stuff in the can just waiting for a boxset release.
  • by blair1q (305137) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @11:20AM (#3668755) Journal
    PVRs and computerized audio recording are going to eliminate any need for "Prime Time", or for any sort of scheduled broadcast entertainment.

    Time shifting will give control of life-scheduling back to the public.

    If the machines skip commercials, then broadcast entertainment may be doomed, unless something like the British television-licensing model comes into play. Cable rates would have to jump by a hundred dollars per month to keep the same revenues going into the system.

    P2P won't make so great a dent as to obviate copyright. Mass-market bandwidth is too low, and it's too easy to recognize the traffic signature of illegal file traders. The Xerox machine didn't kill publishing, and Napster didn't kill the RIAA.

    --Blair
  • by Lethyos (408045) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @11:26AM (#3668771) Journal
    An artist, a rather good one at that, has stepped forward and made a move for the greater good.

    Now the question is, will the Slashdot community - a group always bitching about these issues - use its large, unified presence to mirror that good act? I was just discussing with my girlfriend that we ought to go out and purchase the CD as soon as it becomes available.

    If there's a huge show of support for Bowie's move here, it will reflect that his ideals are good ones. Others will follow his lead (lots of other artists have - but after seeing his success). So go out and actually buy a disc with confidence that most of the money is going to the artist, instead of some rich old wind-bag's pocket.
    • Did you even read the article?

      Bowie accepts that the (rather modern) "traditional" concept of music sales is on its way out, and forecasts that bands will have to tour in order to stay alive. From the tone, he's comfortably excited about it.

      If you want to support this ideal, snag tickets [davidbowie.com] to one of his concerts. If you -really- want to give him money, buy a t-shirt as well. The bands make a killing on those when they sell them at shows, and you'll be able to display your support for David Bowie (the "word of mouth" concept he spoke of in the interview).

      Meanwhile, go ahead and leech his new album, Heathen, from Gnutella or gIFT or KaZaA or IRC or whatever your fancy is, enjoy it, and look forward to the show, unless you also feel like supporting your local hole in the wall [holeinthewall.com] record store and like the feel of glossy jewel case inserts.
  • These artists are brave enough to prove the future of the music industry does not need to include the "industry". This has been a long time comming and I hope that the general population supports this mentality so that music can be appreciated based on its true value, which is not how much money the big labels can thow at the flavor of the week, but on pure talent.
  • Am I the only one here old enough to remember this [slashdot.org]? Seems Bowie was for mp3s back then.

    Nevertheless, I've never seen any mp3s on his web-site [davidbowie.com].

    Besides, with Bowie's Al-Gorish claims to geekdom in the past, and a webpage that insists I go get a new plugin... Hey, where's the non-flash version?
    This sort of eyecandy whoredom that goes with most bands' web-sites is rather quite sickening. If you're in a band, what would your fans want?

    • Samples, mp3s, demos, unreleased material
    • Tour dates
    • photos
    • A way to communicate with the band
    • etc.

    I refuse to believe that if you're in a band, that your fans really want lots of eyecandy that's just that--eyecandy.
    If you're an artist in the visual sense, then perhaps some eyecandy is to be expected. But in a band--no. And flash? Flash might do some okay things, but it's never used right....

    Bowie has had some interesting quips in his day, but he seems altogether too self-absorbed. Okay, the music is okay, some of it. But his 15 minutes of fame are over.

  • by MarvinGardens (569955) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @12:38PM (#3669042)
    According to Bowie, rock musicians better get used to a lot of touring. Well, that's the ONLY way most rock musicians make money. Even if you get signed by a major label, they are under no obligation to promote your band. YOU have to promote YOUR OWN music BY TOURING. And you had better get on it, because you have to pay back that big advance the record company floated you to buy new equipment, which you needed for all the TOURING you're going to be doing! Also, I've been in three rock bands, and made lots of IMHO excellent original music, and never turned a significant profit. So I guess people will make music for reasons other than insatiable greed.
  • by darkwiz (114416) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @12:41PM (#3669045)
    Do you think the Bowie machine has the power to make the music industry see the light?"

    Do not doubt the power of David Bowie's Area [areaology.com]
  • by Dr. Spork (142693) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @12:47PM (#3669068)
    Am I the only young person who notices that the only people who express their dissent at stupid things in this world today are old? This is a terrible sign! I seriously think that historians will view this decade as the "era of new conformity," sort of like the 50s without the commies.

    I'm serious: Take for example the only people you see speaking out in public against the idiotic "War on Terror"--they are old! Even academics who find it just as stupid as I do keep their mouths shut, even if they have tenure.

    The same goes for this "Intellectual Property" debate. I would be shocked if there weren't many young artists who agree with every word that Bowie says about the subject. Still, they keep a low profile and don't rock the boat, because we live in a climate where that gets you severely punished. I wasn't there, but I suspect in the 60's and 70's people faced the same dilemmas, but they said "fuck it, I'll say what I think and see what happens." But then again, maybe the government and the corporations have us under a tighter clamp now than any other time in Western history since constitutions started being written.

    Sure, we all have a right to free speech, but the system has made it so that speaking freely is severely against our interest. This means that even though we won't go to jail, we will get fired, spied upon, harassed, and vilified as friends of terrorists. (How long will it take before somebody argues that abolishing IP laws would be "caving in to terrorism"? Surely they will find some stupid, tenuous connection.)

    Anyway, this era makes me sick. You people suck. I might as well burn my books now to save you the trouble, because when these old-school rebels die, nobody will raise their voice in protest.

    • Am I the only young person who notices that the only people who express their dissent at stupid things in this world today are old?

      It's simple. Baby boomers have all of the power because of demographics. They can speak out because they are powerful. Even when they were young they were powerful because there were so many of them compared to other generations. Today's young people can speak out but nobody cares. Politicians are trying to win the boomer vote. Marketers want the boomer dollar, etc.

    • There is certain amount of truth to this. Perhaps part of the reason is that in the 60's young people were faced with the draft and being persecuted by any cop on the planet for (1) having long hair or (2) listing to the wrong music.

      Young people then had to learn to fight for their rights. Young people today are being panzies. Its a different kind of flower child.

      When it comes to accessing copyrighted materials on-line please remember this. You _did_ pay your ISP for access to the net. Your ISP _did_ pay their upstream - typically a large telco. Ususally the large Telco also _did_ pay the backbone operator for access to the copyrighted materials on the backbone.

      The problem is that most content providers connect through an ISP or a large Telco and neither of these groups pay the people who own the content they wish to distribute.

      There would be little issue with copyright infringment if the people who held the copyrights were being paid. P2P file transfer is perhaps one form of abuse of copyright.

      A seond form of copyright abuse is a carrier paying one group of people for access to copyrighted materials while they simultaneously refuse to pay another group for access because the second group (the actual copyright holders) have less market clout.

      A third form of abuse is when ISP's dump copyrighted materials into their caching proxies. Since the ISP does not hold the copyright they literally do not have the right to duplicate it in caching proxies.

      The bottom line IMHO is that content creators deserve to be paid regardless who they are and this means as a for instance that since I PAID my ISP for access to slashdot.org and my ISP in turn PAID my TELCO for access to slashdot.org that this chain should continue all the way back to the slashdot people and they ALSO should be PAID when their uplinks seek to access the content in the slashdot servers. Does everyone agree?

    • by DarkGamer (462552) on Sunday June 09, 2002 @03:25PM (#3669622)
      There is a certain amount of truth to this... I heard somewhere that youth culture is cyclical... perhaps the 2010's will yield more activism. I blame "cool" apathy. That detached generation X-ish look that has been promoted in all media for the last decade.

      I blame the uber-PC view: "Be accepting of everyone and everything that is different." We have been trained not to care. No wonder everyone is so detached no one cares, everyone accepts. It's a mandate enforced and reinforced through 12--16 years of societal-normalization camp, err... I mean school... It's fallout from the 60's, and it doesn't taste as good 4 decades later.

      Then there's all the messages being broadcast directly into our frontal lobes by large corporate sponsors. "Good consumer... good boy! sit, stay, be happy, buy stuff." Almost all of the urgent messages that bombard us are of no real importance. The real important stuff is mysteriously absent from the news... unless it somehow has to do with 9/11. You have to blow up a building or no one cares. What a sad world.

      I wish I could make everyone read No Logo and Fast food nation. At least peruse Adbusters. *sigh*

      I'm glad Slashdot exists.
    • Do you actually mean, 'nobody young who expresses their dissent at stupid things gets on the news that I watch, makes the CDs I buy, writes the books I read'?

      For that matter, what the heck are you doing excluding yourself? You don't count, you're gonna give up because you can only trust old hippies to be enlightened? News flash, they are now the ones doing this stuff.

      In a culture that devours itself as violently and avidly as ours does, that turns even the most personal statements into soundtracks for commercials, where exactly are you looking for your sincerity? I think you're just as hosed as the rest of us but haven't figured out it's your fight yet. And it is, so quit looking for inspirations and figure out what matters to you...

    • Gee, 99% of the 60s radicals wanted an excuse to do drugs and have sex. They railled against society and used it as an excuse for permiscuity. They were all then extremely comfortable moving out to the suburbs to live in an all-white community without minorities. From these comfortable homes, they shielded their children from society, voted for tough-on-crime measures, and support the war-on-drugs. They are extremely concerned that their children will be exposed to sex and drugs. In a word, the 60s as a culture has been invented by an entire GENERATION of spoiled brats. The "greatest generation" spoiled their children, and to this day they need to assert their superiority over everyone else. Notice that the same "hippies" that spit on our servicemen returning from Vietnam and protested Vietnam are all flying the USA Flag on their SUVs in suburbia?

      I watched the past 6 years, it was amazing. We saw young technologists unleash disruptive technology that turned out understanding of retail and markets upside down. Sure the dumb money caused a boom-and-bust, but such is capitalism. There are numerous people publishing on the web, providing information. Sure most of the "clicks" are with a few major companies, but so what. Most of the time I don't need unusual information, major news sites handle my needs, but the wealth of information available when I am looking is astounding.

      Look buddy, I have nothing against 17-22 years old that idolize the 60s and rail against the establishment. Good for you, have fun. Just try to realize when you're sitting in a coffee shop talking about the establishment being pathetic that you are full of shit. I love my lefty friends, but I also know to laugh at them when they talk about the evils of corporate America while sending the credit card bill home to daddy and spending his money.

      The thing that makes America work is our willingness to get shit done. The French sit and whine, wanting a 35-hour work week, never to see battle, and a seat at the UN Security Council. Americans understand that when it comes time to do the heavy-lifting, its going to fall on us. While lefties (American and European) seem to have unlimited amounts of energy to bitch and moan about people benefiting from this heavy-lifting, most Americans realize that if the rock is going to move, we're going to move it.

      The American people aren't pathetic, you are. Waxing philosophical about the irony of another Cold War ally taking our training and using it against us doesn't help. Facts not in dispute: Hussein (who, along with his sons, is a truly evil individual; which has nothing to do with our hegemonic reasons for fighting Iraq, but his family DOES consist of truly evil people) was dealt with 10 years ago, and may need to be dealt with again. Bin Ladin took our training and build an army for holy war, which is especially ironic given that our friends the Saudis fund it (and they ARE our friends, we back the House of Saud, they keep the oil flowing).

      So, we created our nightmares? What's the point? We did what we had to do to win the Cold War, and we did win the Cold War. There are some costs that we are paying now. Most Americans realized that we were going to have to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and head off to stop Al Qaeda. Sure most Americans don't understand Islam, have a trivial understanding of why they hate us, but have a terrific understanding of something that you are lacking "They hate us AND our way of life," at least when our way of life involves stationing troops in Arabia to keep the corrupt House of Saud in power (which we explain as keeping Iraq out of Saudi Arabia).

      These "old radicals" were absurd in their day, and absurd now. The difference is that they were revered by the suburbanite middle class when they were "hippies" so they get to go on camera and be silly.

      Geeze buddy, grow up.

      Alex
  • First to go is the definition of Copy.

    Not the mechanical act. That is now cost free and not sustainable as an economic base (Sorry xxAAs but you're gonna die. There's no reason for you to exist anymore. When I'm picking up the cost for storage on my own box and the cost of transmission to my own, the thing is MINE, not yours.)

    Copyright is going to go, uh, right, back to the _person(s)_ who created the work.

    Given the economies of scale (the internet makes China look like a local market,) and of distribution, (got a [hosted] server hooked up to a T3 switch? You're a media giant,) and the ability to charge for one-time or subscription access to a web page with content scaled for content (sampling, scaling,) combined with the IPv6 capability to identify exactly where a message or some content originated from, the artists are about to start raking in the money themselves.

    I think that the packaged album is going to be a casualty if this shift though. If there's only ONE song you want to listen to, you shouldn't be stuck with the other ones that the company decided they wanted to use to fill out the rest of the CD.

    The xxAAs are going to wither on the vine. I don't think that Hillary Rosen could hum anything I'd want to hear. Nor do I want to see Jack Valenti's holiday slides.
  • Vanilla Ice? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Maybe he's changed his mind since, but didn't Bowie sue Vanilla Ice for sampling "Under Pressure" without paying royalties? And now he's arguing that copyright is obsolete? WTF?
  • I think, as the legendary CmdrTaco once said, it will be somewhere inbetween.

    There is so much FUD and flaming about the future and viability of OpenSource and FairUse on the one hand and ClosedSource and IPR on the other these days that it is really difficult to make up one's mind as to what one supports.

    As artists or a coders, a lot of us seem to have that idealistic streak in us that we like to share our creative efforts and quite a few of us enjoy being able to look at the sources of works without having to fear harrasment from some omnipotent Agency or company. On the other hand we need to eat and most of us wouldn't say no to high salary or royalty checks. The problem is that it seems that the big salary and royalty checks mostly go to those who control the big companies or organisations, not to small artists or codeslaves in their cubicles. I think that Bowie is right in that the situation will change, but not in the direction it will take.

    It seems, gathering from the J Carroll-esque and MS funded FUD that the boys in Redmond are very, very frightened of the effect that OSS is having, even if they probably wouldn't really stand to lose much in real world terms because of their huge dominance on PC OS's. The same for the big Labels and Studios. They seem scared. I can't imagine that the amount of money that these companies and organisations are spending on their campaigns is negligable and they do stand a good chance of using their massive lobbying presence in the law and media to eventually sway a lot of things their way.

    On the other side the sheer inescapability of the fact that the GPL keeping code alive in spite of attempts to kill the projects and the true benefits of many people doing small tasks on a large project and peer review and feedback means that OSS is steadily gaining ground. There is no way that Linux/Moz or OpenOffice are going to go away. And the non ownership means that people who are scared of being blackmailed by corporations can use it without fear and this fact seems to be a major factor in the industry. With musicians starting to realise that they stand to gain much more in terms of "street credibility" by releasing their works over the net, and having very little to lose in any case, the big labels are getting caught in a bind. Do they try to fight these musicians whom they don't usually treat with much respect in any case, and risk boycott actions snowballing against them (where is Metallica today?) or do they go with the flow.

    I think that companies like Apple with it's open core OS, Darwin and closed UI, and SuSE's UnitedLinux and RedHat moving to models that comply with the GPL but no longer do everything for you for free (compile it yourself) are starting to address some of the shortcomings of the everything for free as in beer model. Likewise I think that the music industry, in the end will probably go for a compromise where lower quality recordings are available for download and if you want something better you pay.

    There is a lot to be said for compromise.
  • The light? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crucini (98210) on Monday June 10, 2002 @02:00AM (#3671553)
    Do you think the Bowie machine has the power to make the music industry see the light?

    The music industry has seen the light with great clarity for quite a while. That's why we got the DMCA and why we're getting the too-long-to-pronounce law. Don't phrase this as a matter of clueless old farts who should "see the light" and join the internet age. It's a matter of an entrenched, wealthy, intelligent elite which will fight to the death to preserve and enhance its privileges and income.

    The implication of this "see the light" comment is that the music industry should adapt to changing conditions. But an excellent quote which I can't find right now says, in effect: "Individual organisms do not adapt to changing conditions - the species adapts via the death of ill-adapted organisms".

It was kinda like stuffing the wrong card in a computer, when you're stickin' those artificial stimulants in your arm. -- Dion, noted computer scientist

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