Category: Copyright

Why is Prince Being a Creep About that Radiohead Cover?

You’d think that it would be so easy: as a wink and a nod at the audience for whom he’s performing, Prince does a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” at Coachella, a bunch of cell-phone videos gets put up on YouTube, and everybody marvels — for the eighty zillionth time — at what a versatile mother-fracker Prince is.

And, oh yeah, what a great song “Creep” remains. Sure, it would have been cooler had Prince covered “Karma Police” or “Everything In Its Right Place,” (especially if Prince had changed the opening line to “Yesterday I woke up, you were sucking my lemon”), but, all things considered, “Creep” was good enough, and the whole thing just becomes part of the legend of both artists.

You’d think. But, as it turns out, things are a bit more complicated. Which since it’s Prince and Radiohead, makes a lot of sense, since inherent in the greatness of each artist is more than a touch of madness.


Making Us All That Much More Stupid: Bad Movie Night at The Dark Room

BMN @ TDROh, we piss people off.

The schedule for the next few months is posted on flyers outside the theater, and on December 15, we’re doing It’s a Wonderful Life. There was already some internal conflict about it, and some anonymous wag wrote on one of the flyers: “It’s not a bad movie, you S.O.B.s!!!” With three lines under S.O.B.s, so we’ll know they mean business.

Yeah, some people don’t like Bad Movie Night so much.

Me, I do. It’s my baby. I didn’t create the show—that honor goes to Jim Fourniadis and Ty McKenzie—but I was there on the first night: Red Dawn, March 27, 2005. Coincidentally, I broke up with my girlfriend of seven years earlier that afternoon. As a result I almost didn’t go to the show at all, but I was looking forward to it, and the point of the breakup had been (among other things) so I could go do the stuff I wanted, and Bad Movie Night was very much the stuff I wanted to do. I became a frequent co-host, eventually weaseling working my up to de facto curator. It’s still the most fun thing I do on a regular basis.


Warning: Those Copyright Warnings May Not Be Entirely Accurate

Can you really be sued by Major League Baseball for telling a friend about that game you watched on TV last night? If you believe the warning that announcers read during every broadcast, you’re violating MLB’s rights when you talk about a game.

“This copyrighted telecast is presented by authority of the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball. It may not be reproduced or retransmitted in any form, and the accounts and descriptions of this game may not be disseminated without express written consent.”

Read the warning closely and it’s not clear what is allowed. MLB doesn’t want me uploading video clips to YouTube — fair enough. But what about “accounts and descriptions” of the game? Do I really need the express written consent of Bud Selig in order to legally tell you that Barry Bonds walked on four pitches in the fifth inning?

On one hand, MLB’s warning is so broad and all-inclusive that it’s become something of a cultural joke. On the other hand, similar over-reaching warnings have become standard on most forms of content protected by copyright. Copyright holders may not actually have all of the rights they claim when they issue these warnings, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to scare consumers with unenforceable threats.

The cumulative impact of these warnings has been to confuse consumers about the nature and balance of rights associated with copyright. Copyright law is complicated enough without entertainment companies intentionally misleading the public.


Customer Service Through Litigation: The RIAA Institutionalizes Its Business Model

I admit to being a bit old-fashioned, but in my mind, good customer service rarely involves suing your customers. But, for the past several years, that’s just what the RIAA has done. Nothing creates a warm and fuzzy feeling about an industry faster than threats. Makes you feel wanted.

Illegal downloads are a problem. I maintain — because frankly, the RIAA has offered nothing in the way of hard evidence — that the amount of money being lost is quite a bit less than what the press releases suggest. I believe this simply because every download does not represent a lost sale. In many cases, the songs would have gone unsold, unheard, unnoticed.

Creator Of Frivolous Lawsuits Files Lawsuit Against Other Frivolous Lawsuit Filers

Hollywood, March 26/ MR Newswire

Steve Samwell, the creator of the concept of filing frivolous lawsuits against the producers of hit TV Shows, Films and Records, has today announced that he will file a lawsuit against “everyone in the past 40 years who has filed a lawsuit claiming that their idea was stolen.” Mr. Samwell is asserting that these people have stolen his intellectual property and are profiting from that theft.