The Day The Music Died

Jammie Thomas and her idiot lawyer

Pictured above is Jammie Thomas and possibly the most inept lawyer ever to set foot in a court of law.

Yesterday Thomas, a single mother of two, was presented with a $222,000 bill from RIAA by a jury who found her guilty of sharing 24 tracks on the Kazaa P2P network, specifically:

  • Aerosmith – Cryin
  • Bryan Adams – Somebody
  • Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me
  • Destiny’s Child – Bills, Bills, Bills
  • Gloria Estefan – Here We Are, Coming Out of the Heart, Rhythm is Gonna Get You
  • Goo Goo Dolls – Iris
  • Green Day – Basket Case
  • Guns N Roses – Welcome to the Jungle, November Rain
  • Janet Jackson – Let’s What Awhile
  • Journey – Faithfully, Don’t Stop Believing
  • Linkin Park – One Step Closer
  • No Doubt – Bathwater, Hella Good, Different People
  • Reba McEntire – One Honest Heart
  • Richard Marx – Now and Forever
  • Sara McLachlan – Possession, Building a Mystery
  • Sheryl Crow – Run Baby Run
  • Vanessa Williams – Save the Best for Last

Never mind that each of these tracks are available on the iTunes Music Store for 99¢ each; much more troubling is that this verdict was reached without the RIAA ever having to prove that any file sharing actually took place!

Comedians: Do Your Research, Please!

So last night Al Howell took me to The Spiegel Show at the Spiegeltent’ntavern. It was a fairly authentic tribute to your classic German-style cabaret — I mean, who doesn’t like pasties? But I did take great exception to one of the acts.

A local actor (who shall remain nameless) pretty much brought the house down towards the end of the second act with a mimed routine set to Bonnie Tyler‘s classic ’80s hit Turn Around Bright Eyes. While the rest of the audience screamed with repeated peals of delight I sat stoically with my arms crossed, because some six weeks ago I had the pleasure of watching the above Google Video — a much better execution of pretty much the identical premise… In my humble opinion, of course!

Had this actor seen the same video and shrewdly swapped in a different tune? Does changing said tune make it any less of a rip-off? Why take the chance?

With the great wealth of recorded performances available on the internet it seems to me that every performer should do at least a cursory search for similar material before taking something out on stage and passing it off as their own.

On any other day I would have called the guy out on what I perceived to be a misappropriation of someone else’s bit, but a moment later I was once again distracted by pasties…

Hey Warner Bros.

The Finger

Oh, no… A big Hollywood studio has put the kybosh on sneak previews of their shit films in this country. Now pedophiles will have only Emma Watson’s enhanced breasts on the Harry Potter poster to fuel their masturbatory fantasies for that extra day or two before the actual movie opens (and subsequently tanks).

Like your typical schoolyard bully (and about as smart) this aggressive manoeuvre by Warner Bros. is no doubt an attempt to pressure our government into ratifying a Canadian version of the US and A’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Only problem is, it’s based on the faulty assumption that the generally vapid dreck that Hollywood attempts to pass off as “cinema” is actually worth something.

Me, I’m of the opinion that Parliament Hill should tax the crap out of any Hollywood tent-pole blockbuster, like they would for cigarettes or any other toxic substance…

A Message to Bev Oda

Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda

As the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Bev Oda is lobbying hard in Ottawa for stricter controls on content downloaded from the internet.

Perhaps she might be interested in a recently-published academic paper by Harvard University Business School’s Felix Oberholzer and Koleman Strumpf from the University of Kansas, School of Business.

Its title, The Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales: An Empirical Analysis, doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue — but the message is loud and clear:

Downloads have an effect on sales that is statistically indistinguishable from zero. Our estimates are inconsistent with claims that file sharing is the primary reason for the decline in music sales during our study period.

You can read more on the report and even download your very own souvenir copy here.

Thanks for visiting, Bev 🙂

Phone Campaign Against DRM


Today’s your day to hassle to RIAA!

Defective by Design is today organizing “Freedom Rings”, a worldwide campaign against restrictive copyright on music purchases.

Click here for their list of phone targets, keeping in mind that a carefully thought-out voicemail will probably have more impact than leaving the message “you suck”.

I’ll be calling Graham Henderson of the CRIA later this afternoon, from my local HMV…