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The Trouble With Music: Downloading...

Started by bhead51, March 06, 2007, 03:18:53 pm

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bhead51

March 06, 2007, 03:18:53 pm Last Edit: March 06, 2007, 03:26:10 pm by bhead51
I posted an excerpt from a book called "The Trouble With Music" by the musician Mat Callahan.  The excerpt is about private property rights and downloading as it pertains to musicians.  I thought it\'d be appropriate because Mat is an underground music professional himself.

Mat makes the case that intellectual property rights for music are a part of a larger project of corporate domination of the economy.  Music is of the least concern: the human genome, treatments for disease, and other types of knowledge are much more serious and dangerous.  He compares the movement by corporations today as a form of exploitation similar to past enclosure movements against peasant populations.

http://www.demonoid.com/files/details/1052164/4057336/
http://www.torrentspy.com/torrent/1088657/Mat_C_s_excerpt

"Callahan was the leader of the Looters, who in the 1980\'s were instrumental in establishing the "world-beat" musical movement on the West coast. The Looters started out on Jello Biafra\'s Alternative Tentacles label, were then signed by Chris Blackwell to Island Records, and went on to win awards and acclaim with albums on Monster Music and COD. They were the first U.S. rock band to play in post-revolution Nicaragua, and won a Bay Area Music Award "Bammie" for the Best Independent Album of 1987.

Callahan also founded the legendary San Francisco performance space and artists\' collective Komotion International, a spawning ground for groups such as Primus, Consolidated and Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy (w/Michael Franti & Charlie Hunter). He lives in Switzerland with his wife and fellow recording artist Yvonne Moore, who is featured on the track "So, What is Forever?"

CS

March 07, 2007, 09:38:54 am #1 Last Edit: March 07, 2007, 10:57:56 am by ChickenSon
Have you seen The Corporation? It also deals with corporate domination and the human genome issues that you mention. As for property rights and downloading and idealism and hypocrisy and such, I\'m pretty sure that most of the bands and musicians and label heads you mention in your post are all capitalists. I don\'t know about Mat Callahan though because I\'ve never heard of him. Maybe someone who doesn\'t fear trojans and viruses could cut and paste the parts of those links that have something to do with downloading so I could cure my ignorance within the safe confines of my plastic bubble.
I'm Sorry

bhead51

QuoteHave you seen The Corporation? It also deals with corporate domination and the human genome issues that you mention. As for property rights and downloading and idealism and hypocrisy and such, I\'m pretty sure that most of the bands and musicians and label heads you mention in your post are all capitalists. I don\'t know about Mat Callahan though because I\'ve never heard of him. Maybe someone who doesn\'t fear trojans and viruses could cut and paste the parts of those links that have something to do with downloading so I could cure my ignorance within the safe confines of my plastic bubble.

If you\'re already a member of Demonoid, here\'s the link so that if u click on them, you\'ll get the torrent to download without being brought to the website:

http://www.demonoid.com/files/download/HTTP/1052164/4057336

If you\'re worried about getting a virus, PM me and I can send you the .torrent file through email.

_____________________________________________

I doubt that any of the musicians listed are sympathetic to capitalism.  Michael Franti definitely is not.  Claypool and Primus aren\'t likely, if you read the lyrics to their songs.  "Pandemoniumfromamerica" was dedicated to Noam Chomsky.  "The Big Eyeball In The Sky" was an allusion to corporate propaganda.  Bill Laswell has been involved with quite a few radical leftist productions; he is almost definitely unsympathetic to capitalism.  Bernie Worrell is explicitly self-declared a rebel to our government; I\'m sure he doesn\'t cozy up to our system of wealth.  You can keep going down the line of the extended Buckethead family: Saul Williams is explicitly anti-capitalist and agreeable to Callahan; System of A Down is explicitly anti-capitalist, etc.  DJ DXT announced at Bonnaroo for the band Material that "there are mad-men in the White House"; I\'m sure he\'s not to sympathetic to capitalism, for obvious reasons.

To be sure, these people aren\'t authoring essays and books, so it\'s not entirely clear what they specifically believe.  But I think there are markers that indicate that the supermajority of the musicians in the Buckethead/Laswell/Claypool/etc scene are political dissidents; probably mostly radical leftists of some sort.

CS

March 07, 2007, 07:47:01 pm #3 Last Edit: March 07, 2007, 11:49:04 pm by ChickenSon
All of those people are business people. Just because they criticize the government doesn\'t mean they don\'t benefit from the concept of private property rights. I would seriously doubt that Bernie Worrell is against the concept of intellectual property considering that he has spent 30 years fighting for royalties from songs he co-wrote with Parliament. Did you read that interview with him where he states that there will not be another C2B3 record because Les Claypool owes him money? Musicians want to get paid, even the ones who already have millions of dollars from being involved in major motion picture franchises. Most people want credit for their work whether it\'s a 13 cd boxset or a 2nd grade book report.
Bands who are capable of selling a good amount of cds are not going to give up their intellectual property for free. On that Mat guys site, he sells his music and book but doesn\'t give it away. Bob Ostertag is one of the few musicians I know of who offers most of his music for free on his website but he probably never sold too many units anyway and some of his work involves uncredited samples from what I recall. He seems to totally be in line with what you seem to be advocating and makes some credible arguments. I do agree that intellectual property disputes and legal wrangling over sample clearance and whatnot is detrimental to the creative process in many cases, but that doesn\'t really have anything to do with what we are talking about here. I\'ll probably check out that Mat guys book. DJ Spooky\'s book also deals with some of the same subjects like free exchange of information mixed amongst the post-modernism and French literature references.
I'm Sorry

bhead51

March 08, 2007, 05:07:40 am #4 Last Edit: March 08, 2007, 05:32:34 am by bhead51
QuoteAll of those people are business people. Just because they criticize the government doesn\'t mean they don\'t benefit from the concept of private property rights. I would seriously doubt that Bernie Worrell is against the concept of intellectual property considering that he has spent 30 years fighting for royalties from songs he co-wrote with Parliament. Did you read that interview with him where he states that there will not be another C2B3 record because Les Claypool owes him money? Musicians want to get paid, even the ones who already have millions of dollars from being involved in major motion picture franchises. Most people want credit for their work whether it\'s a 13 cd boxset or a 2nd grade book report.
Bands who are capable of selling a good amount of cds are not going to give up their intellectual property for free. On that Mat guys site, he sells his music and book but doesn\'t give it away. Bob Ostertag is one of the few musicians I know of who offers most of his music for free on his website but he probably never sold too many units anyway and some of his work involves uncredited samples from what I recall. He seems to totally be in line with what you seem to be advocating and makes some credible arguments. I do agree that intellectual property disputes and legal wrangling over sample clearance and whatnot is detrimental to the creative process in many cases, but that doesn\'t really have anything to do with what we are talking about here. I\'ll probably check out that Mat guys book. DJ Spooky\'s book also deals with some of the same subjects like free exchange of information mixed amongst the post-modernism and French literature references.

You might want to read what\'s in the book\'s excerpt before making assumptions.  

Now, the idea that "these are businesspeople" - if I\'m reading you correctly - is somewhat of a joke.  That they have to do business to live comfortably and have some things for themselves is not a question here, nor is it questioned or contradicted by Callahan\'s argument and lifestyle.

CS

March 08, 2007, 06:45:31 pm #5 Last Edit: March 08, 2007, 07:28:11 pm by ChickenSon
I\'m confused by anti-capitalists, political dissidents, and radical leftists who sell merchandise at Walmart.
It's true I have no idea what's in the book excerpt, other than what you alluded to. The conundrum is that since it is copyrighted, I would probably need express written consent from the author to download it for free from a seedy torrent site, even though the passage itself is about downloading. :-/
I'm Sorry

bhead51

QuoteI\'m confused by anti-capitalists, political dissidents, and radical leftists who sell merchandise at Walmart.
It's true I have no idea what's in the book excerpt, other than what you alluded to. The conundrum is that since it is copyrighted, I would probably need express written consent from the author to download it for free, even though the passage itself is about downloading. :-/

No, there\'s no contradiction.  Here\'s a question posed to Noam Chomsky (italics my emphasis added):

Questioner: "isn\'t there something contradictory about an intellectual who advocates social justice, equality and so on, but at the same time contributes to an unjust education system that favors the privileged groups of society -- e.g. by working as a professor at some elitist university?"

Noam Chomsky: "I don\'t think so, any more than there is something contradictory about the fact that you and I are now using computers and the internet, products of the military system and elite universities on military contracts, ripping off the public by socializing cost and risk, then privatizing profit. We do have choices. We can live in this world, and use what opportunities we have to work for justice, freedom, peace and other goals. Or we can move to Montana, live on a mountain top, grow our own food, and do nothing to help anyone. I don\'t see any hypocrisy in the fact that Edward Said, Howard Zinn, and a long list of others chose the first path, as apparently you do (judging by our present interchange with computers and the internet). If one is interested in giving grades to individuals -- not a very useful occupation, in my opinion, and a rather pretentious one as well -- then one will do so on the basis of what they do, not how they are inserted into the society.

A side comment, which is perhaps of interest. I have had plenty of direct contact with people suffering from brutal oppression in the US and throughout the world, but never has an issue like this come up. Rather, they want to do know what you can do to join their struggles and to help them. In contrast, the issue is often raised at the highly abstract level of discussions among relatively privileged people -- those who are able to use computers and the internet, for example.  Without inquiring, I\'m confident that the experience of others is similar. That might be worth some thought."

CS

March 08, 2007, 08:15:54 pm #7 Last Edit: March 08, 2007, 08:46:53 pm by ChickenSon
Unfortunately, me and that Phartacus guy might be the only two on this board who aren\'t totally enthralled with Noam Chomsky. That makes me rethink my position ;D
Selling merchandise at Walmart is different from being a university professor. Many poor underprivileged people are political minded enough to boycott places like Walmart yet rich political minded rock stars like Rage Against the machine and System of a Down sell tons of merchandise there. How is that not a being a businessman? People that run torrent sites are exploitative jerks out to make a buck off of creative people\'s hard work. If I downloaded that torrent, I would feel the need to shower after.
http://www.rockmerch.com/rock/system-of-a-down/
I'm Sorry

bhead51

QuoteUnfortunately, me and that Phartacus guy might be the only two on this board who aren\'t totally enthralled with Noam Chomsky. That makes me rethink my position ;D
Selling merchandise at Walmart is different from being a university professor. Many poor underprivileged people are political minded enough to boycott places like Walmart yet rich political minded rock stars like Rage Against the machine and System of a Down sell tons of merchandise there. How is that not a being a businessman? People that run torrent sites are exploitative jerks out to make a buck off of creative people\'s hard work. If I downloaded that torrent, I would feel the need to shower after.

No, the analogy is straightforward.  Chomsky, here, is working at for an elite university - MIT.  He gets plenty of money from it, uses it to garner support for his message, etc.  Moreover, he utilizes things like "computers and the internet, products of the military system and elite universities on military contracts, ripping off the public by socializing cost and risk, then privatizing profit."  He takes part in market transactions, even though he disdains the market.  His books wind up in stores like Barnes and Noble, and on websites like Amazon.com.  He enriches himself and the companies who distribute his products in doing so.

Likewise, RATM works for (I believe) Sony Corporation.  They get lots of money from it, use it to garner support for their message, etc.  They utilize things like the Internet and plastic media (CDs) - which are products of, in their view, exploition.  They take part in market transactions, even though they disdain the market.  Their CDs wind up in stores like Walmart and on websites like Amazon.com.  They enrich themselves and the companies who distribute their products in doing so.

Both have the option to "downgrade" (say, move to an independent label, sell product by hand in the underground market, not get published in corporate magazines [in the case of musicians], etc.) and reduce themselves to the white noise of 4 billion people carrying out their lives day after day.  But even then, they would still be living in America, utilizing the CDRs they would burn their underground products on, utilize the market, utilize the Internet, etc. etc.

This is why those akin to this thinking say things like, "We do have choices. We can live in this world, and use what opportunities we have to work for justice, freedom, peace and other goals. Or we can move to Montana, live on a mountain top, grow our own food, and do nothing to help anyone. I don\'t see any hypocrisy in the fact that Edward Said, Howard Zinn, and a long list of others chose the first path...If one is interested in giving grades to individuals -- not a very useful occupation, in my opinion, and a rather pretentious one as well -- then one will do so on the basis of what they do, not how they are inserted into the society."

bhead51

I see three people in the peer swarm to whom I can\'t connect, probably because of some sort of firewall.  If anybody else can jump on and help, that\'d be great.  If somebody needs, I can break the 19MB file into .rar files or .zip files and email them to you...

phartacus

QuoteUnfortunately, me and that Phartacus guy might be the only two on this board who aren\'t totally enthralled with Noam Chomsky. That makes me rethink my position ;D

there is nothing unfortunate about not being a fan of chomsky, in addition to being an elitist prick, he is also a self loathing america bashing tick-turd. i have no problem with hypocrites, everyone is at some point in time, but its the ones such as chomsky who have this self appointed feeling of superiority that piss me off. just like al gore and his idiotic global warming crusade where they tell the peons how to live but they themselves maintain their opulant lifestyles.

phartacus

QuoteLikewise, RATM works for (I believe) Sony Corporation.  They get lots of money from it, use it to garner support for their message, etc.  

Ahh yes the good ol RATM message, which is more or less Marxist served up to a bunch of impressionable skulls full of mush.    

bhead51

March 14, 2007, 12:33:52 am #12 Last Edit: March 14, 2007, 12:50:20 am by bhead51
It\'s interesting to characterize someone who\'s dedicated most of his life to undermining institutions of authority - across the board of human society - as elitist (see, for example, the essay "The Soviet Union Versus Socialism": http://www.chomsky.info/articles/1986----.htm).  However, rather than defend one person, here\'s an example of what people who wish to enlarge the scope of democracy for all facets of social life envision:

http://zmag.org/parecon/capvsparecon/html/introduction.html

A more thorough exposition:

http://www.zmag.org/books/pareconv/parefinal.htm

Not quite the elitist vision...!