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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5507/a-plea-to-save-our-music-copyrights/

A Plea to “Save” Our Music Copyrights

August 22, 2006 by

In a post last month, I mentioned “Weird Al” Yankovic’s dispute with Atlantic Records over a song parody recorded for his new album. Yankovic ended up releasing the song as a free download rather than include it on the album, which is scheduled for release next month. Now, Yankovic has made a second song available for free download. This song will actually be on the album–called “Straight Outta Lynwood”–but the subject matter lent itself to a free download. Sung to a melody reminscient of “We Are The World” is “Don’t Download This Song”:

Once in a while maybe you will feel the urge
To break international copyright law
By downloading mp3s from file-sharing sites
Like Morpheus or Grokster or Limewire or KaZaA
But deep in your heart you know the guilt would drive you mad
And the shame would leave a permanent scar
‘Cause you start out stealing songs, and then you’re robbing liquor stores
And selling crack and running over school kids with your car

SSo don’t download this song
The record store’s where you belong
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh, don’t download this song

Oh, you don’t wanna mess with the RIAA
They’ll sue you if you burn that CD-R
It doesn’t matter if you’re a grandma or a 7-year-old girl
They’ll treat you like the evil, hard-bitten criminal scum you are

So don’t download this song
Don’t go pirating music all day long
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh, don’t download this song

Don’t take away money from artists just like me
How else can I afford another solid gold Humvee?
And diamond-studded swimming pools, these things don’t grow on trees
So all I ask is, everybody, please…

Don’t download this song
Even Lars Ulrich knows it’s wrong
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh, don’t download this song…
Don’t download this song
Or you might wind up in jail like Tommy Chong
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh, don’t download this song…
Don’t download this song
Or you’ll burn in Hell before too long
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh, don’t download this song

Perhaps the lesson here is that supporters of libertarianism and Austrian economics need to spend less time writing treatises and journal articles and more time recording humorous songs to spread the word.

More on the RIAA’s download crackdown here, here, here, and here.

{ 10 comments }

David C August 23, 2006 at 9:57 am

One thing I find interesting about copyright is how they distort the market. People think that the hype in Hollywood, and million dollar actors, singers, and sports stars are just a normal free market. But actually they are a distorted market caused specifically by copyright.

Also, people think that Hollywood and the music industry putting out moral trash is also a normal part of a free market. While there would be all sorts of entertainment, a non copyright market would be forced to center around service value instead of the hype that attracts most eyeballs or ears. Mainstream entertainment would probably shift to a more ‘PBS’ style or closer to BBC style instead of the hype style in a copyright market.

The publishing industry would also be radically shifted. Currently you go into a book store and find 20 different books on the same technical subject, in a non copyright world there would probably be a lot more consolidation on the familiar technical subjects and a lot more separate publications on specialized subjects.

Killing copyrights would profoundly shift the news industry. Right now, the hype in the news industry is specifically exploited by terrorists and politicians and centers around a very shallow depth. IMHO that would radically change.

Another thing I think a lot of people don’t understand is that copyrights cause knowledge research in the private sector to become so fragmented that society finds a need to counter by shifting knowledge research to the education sector. With the Internet attacking copyright controls in the knowledge space, that is changing rapidly, and eventually – all knowledge research will be in the private sector.

Finally, in the software industry, it is already happening. Linux and open source software is effectively emulating the killing of copyrights in the software sector. As expected, software services in the Linux sector are starting to explode, as well as innovation. Linux has already mostly chewed up SCO, AIX, HPUX, and is working on Solaris – which starved off death by going open source itself. Linux market share is expanding at a break neck 20% per year and appears to be taking over at the data-center level. Contrary to popular belief, the main thing holding back Linux on the desktop is not technical difficulty, but that companies don’t want to divert Linux skill sets from more profitable areas like the data-center side (having strong Linux skills myself, I saw this several times as companies I worked for had to make decisions about where to apply my skills). Free software already runs a majority of services on the Internet like the web, and email, and has a strong presence in almost every part of the software industry – and I mean every, even cell phones and phone PBX systems.

As society enters the information age, more and more information will become commoditized and the distortins that copyright impose on the market will get killed as the service value of information becomes infinitely more important than the content value.

quincunx August 23, 2006 at 10:13 am

David C,

Most open source software is copyrighted. Only the BSD-non-attribution license is not really copyrighted.

Joe Cesarone August 23, 2006 at 2:03 pm

The video for “Don’t Download this Song” is now premiering on Yahoo Music; you can view it here.

Curt Howland August 23, 2006 at 2:38 pm

View it? Bah! That requires Flash. Flash is copyrighted, I don’t have it on my Linux box.

So the real question is, where do I download the video? :^)

Anthony Gregory August 23, 2006 at 6:38 pm

You can watch the video on YouTube:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=G9t59_SVb5Y

I’ve long been a fan of Weird Al. I’m glad he did this one.

David C August 23, 2006 at 10:28 pm

quincunx,

Both the BSD and the GPL are a licence to copy freely, but the BSD license allows one to fork off a proprietary copy, while the GPL doesn’t. That’s why the GPL more closely emulates a non copyright environment than even public domain.

quincunx August 23, 2006 at 11:49 pm

“That’s why the GPL more closely emulates a non copyright environment than even public domain.”

How can a copyright more closely emulate a non-copyright? The claim of property right still exists.

BTW, I am aware of the fact that the GPL tries to use the current copyright law to it’s advantage to reduce restrictive copyrights.

Marty August 24, 2006 at 10:27 am

Perhaps the lesson here is that supporters of libertarianism and Austrian economics need to spend less time writing treatises and journal articles and more time recording humorous songs to spread the word.

BINGO!!!

quincunx August 24, 2006 at 2:29 pm

I don’t if songs like ‘Fuck tha police’ will consistently get the right message across.

Cherry Macaskill March 15, 2010 at 10:48 am

[...] A Plea to “Save” Our Music Copyrights — Mises Economics Blog – http://blog.mises.org/archives/005507.asphttp://www.GetShawty.com [...]

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