Quiet. Too quiet.

September 27, 2000

NUblog points us at a description of weblogs that's the best look at the subject I've seen so far. It's interesting how the form evolved from a list of links to interesting sites and pages, occasionally with commentary, into a more social form.

ZedneWeb, in its current incarnation, is somewhere near webloggishness. I don't update daily, but my entries also tend to be long. (These are related facts. Unfortunately, now I'm reluctant to post anything unless I can throw a few paragraphs into it.) #

More Copyright Stuff

In my previous look at copyright, I came down firmly in the middle: I believe that freely copying music is, at a minimum, disrespectful to artists, but at the same time I disagreed with the recording industries attempts to stop it.

Partially, this is for technical reasons. The fact is, it is impossible to completely copy-protect music (or video). At some point, the music has to exist in a form that can be heard by the human ear, and at that point it can be re-recorded without copyright protection. That's illegal, of course, but copying music is already illegal and that doesn't seem to be stopping people.

This brings us to Andrew Leonard's comparison of open-source software and music swapping. There are a number of rules regarding what people may or may not do with open-source software, and they tend to be followed even though it's unclear whether those rules would actually stand up in court. Mr Leonard argues that people obey the open-source licenses because they believe in their fairness, whereas the music industry is busy going around charging far more for a CD than it takes to make one and ripping off its own artists. Who's going to respect a system that itself shows no respect?

This isn't a perfect argument. The only real restrictions on the use of open-source software apply to programmers who want to use its code in their own projects and who, presumably, can appreciate that something they create might be protected by an open-source license someday. With music, the people swapping tracks with their friends generally aren't musicians themselves, and are don't necessarily care about license restrictions.

That may not be a meaningful point in a few years. If it ever becomes convenient to transfer small amounts of money ("micropayments"), we may see artists put up web sites that allow you to send them a few dollars if you heard their music and liked it. If that turns out to be a viable way to make a living, then we can expect some major changes in the music world. #