New Music: The Smith Street Band, “Surrender”

Because today deserves guitars, drums, and a very strange mess.

Fight the Man

I love this story and I hope the forces of good triumph over the forces of Warner.

Happy Birthday remains the most profitable song ever. Every year, it is the song that earns the highest royalty rates, sent to Warner/Chappell Music (which makes millions per year from “licensing” the song). However, as we’ve been pointing out for years, the song is almost certainly in the public domain.

Read the rest.

A Little Summer Music: bentcousin’s “DIZZY”

Don’t know what it is about this song, but I’m really enjoying it right now.

Musical Moment: Fat Freddy’s Drop, “Wandering Eye”

Because we like music, here’s a little happy something for mid-day.

Calexico. With a side of Kenny Loggins.

I would have imagined that Calexico would have done better with “I’m Alright” (the theme to Caddyshack) but this cover of Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” has proven me wrong. Loads of fun.

Copyright

No matter what anyone hoped for, the ruling against ReDigi this week was unsurprising. Their approach to resale of digital files– in specific, your iTunes catalog– may appeal on an emotional level, but it never looked good on a legal level. That is, most people continue to confuse the “fair” in “fair use” for something that has nothing whatsoever to do with the reality of digital musical sales.

Here’s a bit of the ruling as reported by CNet:

“Courts have consistently held that the unauthorized duplication of digital music files over the Internet infringes a copyright owner’s exclusive right to reproduce,” Judge Sullivan wrote. “However, courts have not previously addressed whether the unauthorized transfer of a digital music file over the Internet — where only one file exists before and after the transfer — constitutes reproduction within the meaning of the Copyright Act. The court holds that it does.”

I would suggest that there is an easier way to look at this: when you purchase digital music, you haven’t bought actual ownership of the music. All you’ve done is license that music for your own personal use (indeed, at some point, I’m pretty sure that someone will have to test the heritability issue to find out if your spouse or children or pet, depending on how you’ve written your will, can actually assume ownership of those files after you’ve passed away– my guess is that a strict answer will be “no” but the pragmatics of policing the chain of custody will prove too difficult for enforcement). With a CD, a similar license is purchased but is tied to the actual ownership of the physical device carrying the music– and when you sell that physical device, you’re also selling your rights to “ownership” of the music therein.

The question of how courts view things like transfer of digital files and how copyright violations can occur when groups of people access the “same” file were answered largely when MP3.com lost early court battles to the big music companies. Their scheme was just as careful and thoughtful as ReDigi, but their arguments failed. Rational or not, the precedent already exists for this decision. Indeed, Apple admitted as much when it made its big contribution to the record companies in return for launching iTunes Match, a service with a tremendous similarity to the way MP3.com worked.

Read the original.