Power in numbers

9 03 2010

The peculiar thing about music is the means through which it allows the listener to escape in the most passive way, and yet, the music industry is perhaps one of the most restricted businesses out there. This is especially true in light of recent shifts in copyright legislation both at home and abroad, like the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which criminalizes the dissemination of atrists works through digital means in what would have previously been considered fair use (or fair dealing, here in Canada). It is specifically targeted at those who use the unregulated internet as a means of circumventing the copyright laws of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Act also restricts how much control artists have over their own music.

Some artists have taken a stance against these shifts and against the amounts of profit for which artists are robbed of by their labels. Canada’s very own Broken Social Scene which is comprised of as few as 6 and as many as 19 members – all of whom perform with other groups or as solo acts – has retained their independent status by working with independant labels and actually give away some of their music for free!

I think BSS stands for something more, though. The groups is a powerful collective of incredible artists, including Feist, Emily Haines and James Shaw from Metric, members from the Stars, and a host of other notable Canadian indie sensations. They represent the power in numbers. Not numbers in terms of wallets; but numbers in terms of how many people they can bring together under one roof, or within one medium, and how seemingly disparate these people can be.

Below is first release off of their forthcoming album, Forgiveness Rock Record, due May 4th. You can listen to it here. If you like it, click on the link above the playbar and you’ll be re-routed to the BSS website where you can download it for free.

Broken Social Scene – World Sick

And because they are so awesome, here are a couple more:

Broken Social Scene – Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old

Broken Social Scene – Almost Crimes

Broken Social Scene – Cause = Time]


Creativity vs. Law

1 02 2010

Harvard law professor and political activist Lawrence Lessig, gives a really neat an insightful discussion on the state of the creative realm in the video below. He suggests that copyright laws, while originally derived to protect the work of artists and encourage creativity, are headed in the a very dangerous direction that could ultimately stifle creativity. And instead of protecting the artist’s work, this legislation is simply deepening the pockets of those in control of content production and channels of distribution.

You can learn more about Lessig and his interests by hopping over to his website, here. It’s worth noting that Lessig allows the free download of a number of his books, including Code 2.0 – a book that was partly written in concert with bloggers and other online folk via a wiki, and a seminal text in understanding some of the regulatory issues surrounding the World Wide Web.

If you like what Lessig has to say, or would like a to learn a little bit more on similar issues but from a Canadian perspective, check Michael Geist’s blog.