Wednesday, September 14, 2005
"I've seen the future brother..."
Brief thoughts after four days in the District: - Is it just me, or have the Washington Nationals performed a complete, and completely effective, Stalinist re-write of baseball history? No one in the city wants to talk about the Expos. There are no tricolor beanies available at RFK or anywhere else in the city. Nos Amours have been disappeared, it seems. Too bad. - If D.C. had had the kind of effect on music history that it has had on regular history would Minor Threat have been as well known as the Ramones or the Sex Pistols? Would Bad Brains have been bigger than Nirvana? - If you have the time, and if you're really interested in reading the whole of what happened at the very interesting Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit I attended, you really have to check out what Glenn (a really nice guy, btw) has written over at Coolfer. Not sure how he fueled that multi-thousand word blogathon, but I have to tip my hat to his exhaustive coverage. If you've read all of what he had to say and are STILL interested in more, the FMC is reportedly making all the panel discussions available as podcasts. Watch this space for more details. - My "coverage" of the conference was limited by beer and my underpowered (and completely unwireless) Lappy 486 (note to self, time for a new laptop). Some things I did take note of, though: - In case you weren't 100 per cent sure, my experience at this panel confirms one thing: The RIAA and the CEA really REALLY don't like each other very much. - Singer/songwriter/producer Joe Henry on working with Starbucks/Hear Music: "Your CD can either be up at the front beside the espresso machine or at the back with the Dave Matthews records and the coffee grinders...No one wants to be by the coffee grinders." - Charles Bissell of the Wrens used the time between panels to sing a few numbers including a very moving version of Sinead O'Conner's Black Boys on Mopeds. It's a tune written about Margaret Thatcher's England, but I was struck by how much it has to say about Louisiana in 2005: Young mother down at Smithfeild 5am, looking for food for her kids In her arms she holds three cold babies And the first word that they learned is "Please" These are dangerous days To say what you mean is to dig your own grave Remember what I told you If you were of the world, they would love you - Chris Amenita of ASCAP on why there's a history of artists being screwed by labels: "Sure business isn't fair, that's why they call it business." Uhhh, thanks. - Michael Geist v. Graham Henderson on the subject of Statutory Damages for copyright infringement (two quickies: One, I know it's kinda wonky and I'm sorry and two: full disclosure, I do public relations work for the Geist established Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic): Geist: These tariffs should be revisited. They were set with an eye to discouraging large-scale, commercial piracy, not downloading by individuals. Henderson: Wait, what's wrong with Statutory Damages? Geist: They were set at high levels to stop large scale commercial piracy and are now being used to intimidate individuals. That's wrong. Henderson: No, we need those. They're very effective at scaring the pants off private casual copiers. Geist, surprisingly, didn't thank Henderson for making his point for him.