Thursday, October 23, 2003

Some people have no sense of humor

An early Halloween prank in Waikiki last night got a 21-year-old Haleiwa man arrested for unauthorized entry into a vehicle.

Police said the man, who was wearing a “monster” mask, went up to a car that was stopped at a traffic light at the corner of Kalakaua and Ohua avenues about 10 p.m., stuck his head through an open window and screamed. The driver of the vehicle notified police who located the suspect and arrested him.
Music Wars Scene 23:
In Which the Empire RIAA says Please Mr. Postman
It seems the RIAA is going to be nice enough to send you a letter, and politely, and in a most plesant manner, tell you that they are suing your ass:
The public backlash to the suits was immediate, prompting the Recording Industry Association of America (news - web sites) to agree that, in the future, it would issue warnings before formally filing lawsuits. On Friday, the industry made good on that promise, announcing that it had sent letters to 204 people informing them that they face imminent legal action.

According to The Associated Press, the "letters give the recipients 10 days to contact the RIAA to discuss a settlement and avoid a formal lawsuit. The RIAA declined to identify the individuals, but said they were sharing an average of more than 1,000 songs on their computers. The advanced notice also could help the RIAA avoid embarrassment. Last month's targets included a 12-year-old girl and a grandmother who claimed she was falsely accused of sharing rap songs. Many of the accused learned of the lawsuits when they were called by reporters." "In light of the comments we have heard, we want to go the extra mile and offer illegal file sharers an additional chance to work this out short of legal action," RIAA President Cary Sherman said in an oft-quoted statement.
How very white civil of them. Don't even think that they are doing this out of the kindness of their heart. This new tactic only serves to cover their ass so the next 12 year old they sue won't be informed by the press of the pending lawsuit. Although the fact that they had to change their approach shows that they know that they are abusing the DMCA that is the legal basis for all this.
In a related commentary, Todd Rundgren had this to say:
The plain reality is that, except for a few notable aberrations, musicians will always be more appreciated, certainly in a financial sense, by live audiences than by labels and the listeners they purport to represent. The seemingly quaint idea that recordings were promotion for great performers is no less true today. Ask Phish.

Ask also whether, as a musician, you ever believed the RIAA was actively protecting your interests until they got into a fight with their own customers and started using your name, your so-called well-being, as justification. And when the customers became skeptical they became the enemy. And to follow the RIAA's logic, customers are therefore the enemies of musicians. Let us ignore the fact that if you ever got compensated for your contribution, it would have been because your manager and lawyer (and many before) forced the labels to recognize your labor in financial terms.

The reason why the RIAA comes off as a gang of ignorant thugs is because, well, how do I put this -- they are. I came into this business in an age of entrepreneurial integrity. The legends of the golden age of recorded music were still at the helm of most labels -- the Erteguns, the Ostins, the Alperts and Mosses by the dozens. Now we have four monolithic (in every sense of the word) entities and a front organization that crows about the fact that they have solved their problems by leaning on a 12-year-old. Thank God that mystical fascination with the world of music has been stubbed out -- hopefully everyone will get the message and get over the idea that the musician actually meant for you to hear this.
You tell em Todd.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

It's not like this is a surprise or anything
Looks like Hasbro is suing David Chang, maker of Ghettopoly:
NEW YORK (AFP) - Hasbro, the manufacturer of Monopoly, said Wednesday it had filed suit against the creator of "Ghettopoly" -- a spoof version of the celebrated board game that stereotypes gangsta rap culture. "Hasbro will not tolerate unlawful use of its intellectual property to sell the reprehensible 'Ghettopoly' game," Frank Bifulco, president of Hasbro's US Games said in a statement.


The protests prompted Urban Outfitters to pull the game from its shelves. Chang acknowledges the stereotyping charge but insists that the accusations of racism miss the point.

"Ghettopoly is controversial because it's both fun and real life," Chang says on his website

"It draws on stereotypes not as a means to degrade, but as a medium to bring people together in laughter," he argues. "If we can't laugh at ourselves and how we each utilise the various stereotypes, then we'll continue to live in blame and bitterness."
Shorter explanation: "can't we all just get along?"