Copyright: The future of America in a nutshell

I'm probably still using this image illegally.

I’m probably still using this image illegally.

A few bits of blog housekeeping:

1) This is the second part of a searing two-part expose of, I guess, uh, iTunes and copyright law and the Supreme Court and probably the 1% and maybe the Ivy League if I get to it and perhaps something about Standard Oil or the Kennedys or something. At any rate, Part 1 can be read here.

2) I am many things, but stylish is not one of them, and that carries over into what this blog looks like. After receiving some feedback that my blog looked like shit (the actual words might have actually been “urine-in-my-eyes-and-face terrible”), I’m trying a different theme that, at least to my eyes, looks better. Of course, I thought the last one was fine, so what the hell do I know?

3) I completely neglected to mention Digital Rights Management (DRM) in the course of my screed yesterday, something which a Facebook commenter reminded me of and which got the old blood boiling once more. Suffice it to say that shit is annoying and I hate it and it is the greatest argument in favor of eMusic, who trade the glitz, glamour, and selection of iTunes for having just plain-ass mp3 files with no silly protection schemes built in to them. Note: eMusic paid nothing for that recommendation. Unless they’re reading this and wish to…

Now then, on to Part 2 of my rant. Continue reading

Spotify, the First Sale doctrine, and my 1-bedroom apartment OR The limits of freedom, ownership, and personal space

I’m probably using this image illegally.

The Supreme Court of the United States, or SCOTUS (which is close enough to SCROTUM that I valiantly tried to add some shit to their name to fit the acronym but gave up after 15 grueling minutes), is in the process of deciding John Wiley & Sons Publishing vs. Kirtsaeng, a case which involves the purchase of American textbooks in Thailand (where they’re significantly cheaper) and the re-selling of those books in America (for cheaper than the publisher can sell them, of course). At issue is the First Sale doctrine, which limits copyright holders’ rights by allowing for the materials to be re-distributed into the secondary market after their initial purchase, which reminds me: does anyone want to buy my VHS copy of 1980’s gay/animal-porn classic “Three Men and a Donkey?” The case currently in front of the SCOTUS (god dammit, I know there’s a way to do it!), should they rule in favor of Wiley Publishing, would essentially remove the First Sale doctrine as an idea, throwing the idea of “ownership” into utter chaos and essentially forcing me to keep my copy of “Three Men and a Donkey” despite most of the scenes with the donkey being unwatchable because the tape is worn out from constant rewinding. This hearing has the added twist of dealing strictly with goods manufactured overseas, which gets into all kinds of outsourcing shit I don’t want to think about as an unemployed asshole. Stephen Colbert has a pretty entertaining summation of the situation that can be viewed here (if Viacom likes you). Continue reading

I was at a concert: O fortune, like the moon, etc.!

The wheels on the life go round and round…

Last weekend guest conductor Nicholas McGegan ventured outside the world of early music for performances of Haydn and Orff with the Kansas City Symphony. We arrived an hour early under the auspices of soaking in the Saturday night ambience (and finding parking that wouldn’t involve us waiting 45 minutes to wade through a gerontological sea of humanity on the way out) and figured we’d enjoy a cup of coffee and a glass of red wine. Urgent bulletin: they don’t serve red wine. Of any kind. At any point. And the coffee, while possibly delicious, is marred by the use of sketchy-ass creamer that erodes any semblance of good flavor. Kansas City’s Roasterie makes tremendous coffee, so why waste it with cream that would be better served at Waffle House? It’s like playing a Mahler symphony on keytar. Did I mention that I am an elitist prick when it comes to food and drink? And now you know!

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Something to listen to: Sibelius Symphony no. 1

Finland’s most famous mustache. And person.

I got back from vacation a week ago, but since that time it’s been an endless siege of applying for jobs, selling furniture on Craigslist, cleaning, and all the usual catch up shit that comes with being gone for two weeks. One thing that didn’t change over the course of the last month or so, through still having a job to not having one, Kansas City to Las Vegas to Tacoma and back, the terror of plane travel (which wasn’t that bad, of course) to the calm of just sitting my ass on a couch, was the fact that I listened to Sibelius Symphony no. 1 a whole lot, and I still am.

Continue reading