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Napster/MP3 issues get political.
Just for your collective curiosity, check the prez. candidates' debate on Napster and copyright.
This is a CNN article
And this what they actaully said:
Hagelin (he's the Natural Law Party/Independent Party Coalition candidate)
Phillips (he's the Constitution party candidate)
Nader hasn't weighed in.
Personally, I think that all the candidates may be a bit misinformed as to the state of the music industry and the true issues driving the Napster phenomenon, which is unfortunate cause a little attention and commentary from them could bring about some much needed change. Gore, in spite of his tech savvy reputation, doesn't seem to get that there is a distinct problem with the idea of regulating technologies like Gnutella and Scour Net that were specifically built to thwart attempts at regulation. Zach could probably explain it better that I could, but my understanding is that it stems from the fact that the networks allow anonymous users and have no centrally located "hedqarters". No company to regulate, no server to shut down. Also, going back to the issues driving the Napster phneomenon for a moment, none of the candidates seem to be very informed on the problems inherent in the current structure of the music industry. Gore turned a blind eye to the massive problems that haunt the ASCAP collection system of royalties for the radio (we'll have to see if we can get some info on that for those of you that are interested). And there was no mention of the Congressional designation of song copyrights as "works for hire" (another issue, probably a separate discussion, for which we should probably make an effort to find info). Those are my observations, what are yours? Any comments?
posted by Clint Phipps on Oct 20, 2000 02:43PM

The major party replies are laughably vague. You couldn't get more middle-of-the-road than saying "We must embrace new technology but preserve author's rights." That's playing both sides in a bland, uninformative, uncreative way. If you're going to play both sides, why not offer some real possible solutions to try?

Cute! Al Gore grew up in Tennessee, songwriting capital of the world! The millionaire son of a millionaire US Senator! But he's jes' plain folks, y'all, he loves his music and he loves his wife.

I wonder if Bush knows what "peer-to-peer file sharing" is. His handlers have been doing a better and better job trying to make him look literate. I like Nader's quip: "No wonder he's in favor of education -- he needs so much of it."

Hagelin's response has a nice bit of reality in it; delivery companies have traditionally fought tooth and nail against any form of competition. I don't agree that "intellectual property is a key motivator in creating new content." I think for many creative individuals, there's a desire to satisfy a creative drive, and getting paid to do that is one of the ways to support yourself while satisfying that drive. However, most creative output isn't subsidized (how many poets and artists make a living at it?); only the most popular, marketable, and easy to package output is rewarded by the intellectual property paycheck.

The Constitutional Party response is nice for not pandering to technology enthusiasts, but I think it's also too vague.

Personally, I think that availability of art and music should be practically unlimited, and technology helps to make that possible (to folks in the technology club who can afford computers, anyway). I think exposure to works of art are of such public value that it should be a vital public interest to expand availability and fund publicly available art in any way possible.

There's an issue of control, and an issue of choice. Should artists be forced to share their recorded works? I think it's impossible to prevent the reproduction of certain types of work, so I would be interested in seeing a shift from "how can we prevent sharing" to "how can we facilitate sharing" and "how can we build a public interest in funding public art."

It's tough, since the commercialization of art is centuries-entrenched, and the technology for vast, low-cost or free public distribution of works of art is less than a decade old. But I think now's a perfect time to try and make a difference in the attitudes about commerce, art, and the public interest.

posted by Zach Beane on Oct 23, 2000 10:37AM

Well-said, Zach. Thoughtful, literate, well informed, carefully reasoned, open-minded, and with a positive prescription for the future - in short, a model for future message-board discourse.
posted by Thudy Cydides on Oct 23, 2000 06:29PM

This is a quick little reply, but I think its worth it. I've gotta be brutally honest here. I agree with Clint and Zach. In fact, I think I learned more from reading Zach's response than I did from reading what our "political leaders" had to say about the subject. And you know what? Its probably better that way!
posted by Cody Phipps on Oct 23, 2000 07:46PM