August 02, 2000
More Philly

The United States Government killed Iraqi citizens today.

Looks like I'm not the only one who thinks that the media totally ignored the issues at the GOP convention.

It's becoming increasingly apparent to me that my strongest interests of late - media, politics, and art (in that order) - are convergent, or fundamentally interconnected - each have a deterministic effect on the other.

Eric Raymond talks about the 'Big Lies that are being spoken with regards to DeCSS and Napster.

He says that Napster is bad for artists, because they don't get paid, and becasue they lose control of their work. I agree.

But I still think Napster is a good thing, because I think it will mean the marginalization (or ideally, the destruction) of the record industry.

Long term, I don't think Napster is the answer. If people distribute their work on the internet at all, there is bound to be some loss of control. However, if they publish their music from their own web site and make it the most comprehensive resource for their music, with downloads just as easy as with Napster, then there won't be any reason to find their music using Napster.

No one uses Gnutella to distribute shareware that is available on public mirrors. For the same reason, if music is freely available from artists' web sites, Napster will no longer have a reason to exist, and artists will have a higher degree of control over their work.

On the net, it is simply reality that prevents artists (and record companies) from having the control that they have in the CD universe. This will surely affect the way musicians distribute their work, but it's not the end of the world.

The only way this *won't* happen is if there is either some sort of totalitarian control imposed on the net, or if there is a widespread ethical enlightenment that inspires people to pay the bloated CD tax on music.

Getting paid is the real problem, one to which the only apparent solution (in my view) is voluntary micropayments, which require an ethical population, but pre-empt the unethical portion of the population from routing around any semblance of artistic control.

posted by dru in blog