Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Copyright Central

You may have heard that Comedy Central very unfunnily took down a lot of vids of theirs from YouTube. Mine survived. After I heard about it, I changed my keywords so they'd be harder to find. Today, one of the two got taken down. There's a big, thick line between "stealing" and "paying tribute to." The stiffs at Comedy Central are too businesslike and stupid to see it. The ones I put up were just some random things from 1997, which CC is never going to use. Why people would want to keep their creations, that were free in the first place, locked away for no one to see is beyond me, but, hey, they have that right. To be idiotic. And mean.

I sincerely apologize for giving you free advertising, Comedy Central. I hope you waste a LOT of your precious time continuing to sift through websites. The stuff I do on this blog, for example, is all here. If I did some awesome thing, but then didn't have the means to keep it up on this public space, I wouldn't have a problem with someone who captured it at the time posting it somewhere a decade from now, as long as they didn't try to pretend it was their work. I'd rather have it be out there than hidden.

It's interesting, because TV networks never really had a place for old stuff, except dusty old vaults and "best of" episodes. This is a case of the public beating the networks to the punch. The technology exists for people to make video widely accessible in an indexed and archived setting. So we went ahead and started doing it. The networks have their DVDs, but everything else they ever did (the stuff too new or not good enough for home DVD release) was just sitting unused. Those who taped that stuff at home simply provided a service for those networks, taking credit only for being the one who taped and posted it, which I think is okay. And the networks said, "Uh...uh... yeah, we, uh, meant to do this but we, uh, just haven't gotten around to it so we're taking down your five second clip from 1995 that we'll never, ever use, so that we can one day, uh, continue to hide from everyone." None of those actors were going to get any royalties anyway. And, like I've said, I'm quite certain an actor who appeared once in their life on TV would rather have someone be able to see it (hence, they'd be fine with it being on YouTube) than get a twelve-cent royalty check.

I think this is a good time to post the lyrics of a song I wrote once. I stole the line "music is free/play it yourself" from a homemade T-shirt made by someone I know (who gave me her blessing at the time). It's about the whole copyright thing, specifically referring to music (and also art as a "job," and people who think technical skill is more important than heart, that kind of thing), but it applies to all art:

I don't need to get permission
To be a rogue musician
And I'd take the heart of Ian MacKaye
Over the chops of Steve Vai

If you had worked at CBs
Back in the 70s
Would you have told The Ramones
To go and get degrees?

This is not my job
I am not at work
I think one boss is enough

Music is free
Play it yourself
Don't ever let it sit on a shelf

Music is free
Play it yourself
Don't ever let it sit on a shelf

Music is free
Play it yourself
Don't ever let it sit on a shelf

Music is free
Play it yourself
Don't ever let it sit on a shelf

I'd rather have my songs make new friends
Than get a check for two cents
I'm only payin' tribute to you
You want my money, too?

Why the hell would you write
All of those friggin' songs
If you had no intention
To let us sing along?

If this was my job
I'd steal all the Post-Its
And make flip-books all day long

Music is free
Play it yourself
Don't ever let it sit on a shelf

Music is free
Play it yourself
Don't ever let it sit on a shelf

Music is free
Play it yourself
Don't ever let it sit on a shelf

Music is free
Play it yourself
Lend me some sugar
I am your neighbor

Just after I wrote this, I watched Colbert do a "The Word" segment on Comedy Central taking down their stuff from YouTube. Pretty funny...

Didn't see the Colbert bit...can you post a YouTube clip of it here?
The only punishment for putting up a copyrighted video is losing your YouTube account. So you just open a new one.

So I hope even more people start posting Comedy Central stuff and creating new accounts. I just searched Colbert on there, and a bunch popped up.

Maybe this is their plan, though, for us to continue to give them free advertising...
Great song, Jere. Which band was this for?
Thanks. It was for Ruato. All Pac-Men lyrics were written by Brian. Except Soccer Mom was a Pat. Even though we all wrote music. Except Tim. But then again, we'd ask Tim "can you do a beat like this?" and make the sounds with our mouth or hands, and he'd turn what was in our heads magically into drum beats, only they'd be ten times cooler than what we had in mind. You probably know what that's like.
That's what I figured. Well done.

Never underestimate the value of the Timm. He took us from toiling in obscurity to the big time, toiling in New Milford.
I wonder if any of my readers have been in a band where Tim WASN'T the drummer..
Lesson from the band C++:

Drummers may be divas, but do not assume the convenience of carrying a drum machine in a backpack will compensate for the tedium (and terrible drumming) of a machine.
Did you have your "quantize" on?

Also, did you like how I wrote out the chorus each time, instead of "x4"?
I have been playing with drum machines for 6 or 7 years. I have no idea what quantize means, or if there will ever be an amount of "swing" that will enable the sound to be an appropriate mix of "getting the beat right, but way too stiff" and "not sounding like a sloppy mess."

I'm still deciding if you writing out the chorus is good old-fashioned puritan work ethic, or you trying to impress us by making the song look longer.
Speaking of drum machines, I always loved how Big Black named their Roland Drum Machine "Roland." That's funny to the easily amused, which I am.
How is it possible that song never appeared on some comp?
Maybe cuz I don't know how to sing...

I still could put some vocal effects on it though with Garage Band.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States