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 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 worked.

Read the original.

Beautiful Music

When you live a certain kind of life– the kind of life that leads you to run around telling everyone that “happiness is overrated,” for example– you find that your idea of beauty might not match the rest of the world’s.

Take this song, for example. “War Memorial,” from Mark Lanegan and Duke Garwood, is a melancholy song filled with disturbing imagery and death. In less careful care, this might have become something overwrought and dramatic, but these two keep the tone strangely light, even ethereal.

Lanegan’s voice–often a deep rasp– floats quietly through the gentle sweep of the music in a way that doesn’t even hint at his work in rock bands Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age. For a man with such an earthy voice, “War Memorial” borders on the miraculous. Of course, for fans familiar with his solo work, this will come as less of a surprise:  studied melancholy is a bit of a specialty. For newcomers, the good news is that there is more than a decade of incredible music to discover.

But let’s start with this little gem.

Call Me Crazy, The Randy Travis Edition

Call me crazy, but I think Randy Travis might have a drinking problem.

For what it’s worth.

New Music: “Senses Safe” from Ugly Winner

Not a band that I’m familiar with, but I like the noise-rock aesthetic.

If you find yourself interested, you can download the studio single here and check out the web site for more information about their new album, Inside Your Wave.

Currently Convinced: The Justin Bieber Edition

I am currently convinced that this could be proof that God has not forsaken us.

Indeed, Justin Bieber is starting to hit the Britney Spears trend. His original deluded fans are growing out of their age range, and new fans are hard to come by. I have never understood how or why he was popular. At best, he’s a YouTube creation using a heavy dab of Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake. He has the sex appeal of celery. He also really doesn’t have any songs anyone knows. I defy the average person on the street to name one of his hits.

I am not joking when I say this: the first time I saw Bieber, I thought it was a joke. His thin voice, his ridiculous “choreography,” and his hideously juvenile songs were so bad that I thought I was supposed to be laughing. If memory serves, it was on the Today show a few years back, and the laudatory reaction from the Today staff finally clued me in that this was no laughing thing. People, apparently, were paying this guy to make records.

He may well be a perfectly nice kid, but everything about his music feels like something the neighbor kid does to torture the adults on New Years Eve. “Hey, I can put on a show!” Nothing about him convinced me that there was talent to be nurtured or an original voice to be heard.

So, yeah, maybe we can all put this shameful moment behind us and embrace the Post-Bieber Era.

I know I will.

Surprising Stone Roses Hijinks

Here’s the timeline: In the early 90’s, the Stone Roses made pretty music. In the mid-90’s, they fell apart in an unsurprising mess of egos and general rock band stupidity. Now, in 2012, they would like another paycheck, please.

Well, that’s how I see it, anyway.

I actually enjoyed a good number of the Roses’ songs– “Fools Gold” and “I Wanna Be Adored” being the top of their catalog for me– but imagined that the band members were probably insufferable jerks in person. I don’t even mind that they wanted to cash in on some un-fulfilled Stone Roses love still percolating in the hearts of their fans. Still, the idea that them embarking on a world tour would end up in smooth sailing is a bit funny to me. I expect that this particular report from the Beeb is just the beginning of a story with twists, turns, ego outbursts, and much drunken, aging rock star tom foolery. Please, Lord, let this be the high point of the tour.

Singer Ian Brown appeared on stage alone at the Heineken Music Hall, to tell the crowd the gig was over.


Brown reportedly said: “I’m not joking, the drummer’s gone home.”

Or, at least I hope that’s the way this goes.

Either way, I did get to work tomfoolery into a post and that fills me with almost as much happiness as the wocka wocka guitar work to be found in “Fools Gold” below.