SAY NO TO SOPA PIPA Support Local Musicians
Call for Creative Copyrights Against Global Corporatisms
When the US Copyrights laws were last over hauled and changed there were good provisions and bad provisions. I am a member of ASCAP and the holder of a number of copyrights with at least another pending, and more to come. But unlike many who hold copyrights I challenge the emphasis of corporate boilerplate legalese into these laws, as what I call unfeasible, unrealistic, and unreasonably oppressive.
Lets see first things first I don’t make a lot of money from what I do, but I would not mind making some more money in relation to what I do creatively but generally when the copyright laws were re-written they were re-written by legislators financed, lobbied and elected by large corporation media types. There are many great videos on the travesty of copyrights which generally I can agree with. I first mention the self-serving “RiP! A Remix Manifesto” by Brett Gaylor and mashup artist Girl Talk (http://www.nfb.ca/film/rip_a_remix_manifesto).
Because he is well known, that was one of the first videoss I watched arguing the real issues, in great arguments that I had already thought about before he was born, but which he addressed first. In fact you can say I am “his daddy”, but who cares as we are in agreement on the basic points as I was steeped culturally in what constituted another period of time when America was fighting the Cold War of Capitalism and represented itself as free enterprise that today no longer exists in the stale corporate environment of crime advanced by the contrived legal fictions of large gangs of corporate lawyers.
First of all the US Copyrights Laws are not fair as they treat individual copyright holders differently from corporate copyright holders, individual copy right holders who are not fairly treated and they are unequally treated in that the length of the Copyright terms based on the authors’ lives and deaths and dates of publication are not the same for individually produced works and corporately produced works.
Second of all and as such what constitutes copyright infringement is completely unlawful and unconstitutional.
Lastly the theoretical basis of what constitutes copyright infringement is completely ludicrous as it is based on the intents of the artist to determine what is unlawful based on a very finite and limited basis in music comprised by the use of 12 musical note A,A#,B#,C,C#,D#,E,F,F#,G,G# or do, re, me, fa, sol, la, te, do, in what constitutes nothing more than a complete and total legal fiction contrived, coerced, fabricated, manipulated, which is solely based on the premise of another modern legal fiction the business models of corporations (The Corporation  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379225)
How many times can a man kiss a woman, or a woman kiss a man, or some maniac go postal so as to constitute plagiarism and infringement(?) as I am addressing the question not from the point of view regarding reproduction but performance, performance, composition and creation versus reproduction. Performance as in even playing music on a deserted street corner, or in a near empty bar or night club where also copyrights currently apply, but totally impractical and totally unenforceable, as in if I perform in a club open ended improvised compositions who is to say what the hell are the tunes am I performing. Which is a great response to the recording industry in “SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL MUSICIANS!”
The recording industry was once a mom and pop industry, many copyright holders are individuals and smaller businesses, which are not represented by the interests of the Recording Industry conglomerates. In the 1940s there were many more recording companies, but in the ensuing economic period between 1944 and 1980 record companies died out as quickly as they had formed, and by the end of the 1980s, the “Big 6″ controlled the bulk of the recording media entertainment industry.
When I first was involved around the recording industry in the 1970s, in essence it was controlled by the BIG SIX largest music corporations: EMI (The EMI Group, also known as EMI Music) a British multinational music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, CBS, BMG (Bertelsmann Music Group), PolyGram, WEA (Warner Music Group), and MCA (MCA Records) dominated the industry. Sony bought CBS Records in 1987 and changed its name to Sony Music in 1991. In mid-1998, PolyGram merged into Universal Music Group (formerly MCA), dropping the leaders down to a “Big 5″. Today “Three “major corporate labels” dominate recorded music — Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group”.
In 1944 Atlantic Records began as a family business, long before it became part of the Atlantic-Warner Group, aka Warner Entertainment, aka AOL Warner Entertainment Group. That recording Company is what I would consider under capitalism a natural corporate out growth in society, it is not perfect. Such small corporations today are what I would consider normal under capitalism if there is anything normal under capitalism.
Atlantic Records beginning when brothers Nesuhi and Ahmet Ertegun elected to remain in the USA when their mother and sister returned to Turkey, following the death of their father Munir Ertegun, who had been the first Turkish Ambassador to the United States. The brothers had become ardent fans of jazz and rhythm & blues music, amassing a collection of over 15,000 78rpm records. Ahmet ostensibly stayed on inWashingtonto undertake post-graduate music studies atGeorgetownUniversitybut immersed himself in theWashingtonmusic scene and decided to enter the record business, then enjoying a resurgence after wartime restrictions on the shellac used in manufacture. He convinced the family dentist, Dr Vahdi Sabit, to invest $10,000 (a small fortune in those days) and recruited Herb Abramson, a dentistry student, who had worked as a part-time A&R manager/producer for the jazz label National Records, signing Big Joe Turner and Billy Eckstine, then founding Jubilee Records but had no interest in its most successful artists and now sold his share, investing $2500 in the new label.
Atlantic Records was incorporated in October 1947 and was run by Abramson (the company president) and Ertegun (vice-president in charge of A&R, production and promotion) while Abramson’s wife Miriam ran the label’s publishing company, Progressive Music, and did most office duties until 1949 when Atlantic hired its first employee, book-keeper Francine Wakschal, who remained with the label for the next 49 years. Miriam quickly gained a reputation for toughness: staff engineer Tom Dowd later recalled; “Tokyo Rose was the kindest name some people had for her” and Doc Pomus described her as “an extraordinarily vitriolic woman”. When interviewed in 2009 she attributed her reputation to the company’s chronic cash-flow shortage: ” … most of the problems we had with artists were that they wanted advances, and that was very difficult for us … we were undercapitalized for a long time.” The label’s original office in the Ritz Hotel,Manhattanproved too expensive so they relocated to an $85 per month room in the Hotel Jefferson. In the early fiftiesAtlanticmoved from the Hotel Jefferson to offices at301 West 54th Stand then to its best-known home at 356 West 56th St. Atlantic’s first batch of recordings were issued in late January 1948, and included Tiny Grimes’ “That Old Black Magic” and “The Spider” by Joe Morris. In its early yearsAtlanticfocused principally on modern jazz although it released some country and western and spoken word recordings. Abramson also produced “Magic Records” which were children’s records with four different sets of grooves so each side had four different stories of which the story which got played was determined by where the stylus landed on the groove.
Soon after its formation, Atlantic faced a serious challenge – in late 1947 James Petrillo, head of the American Federation of Musicians, announced an indefinite ban on all recording activities by union musicians, and this came into force on 1 January 1948. The union action forcedAtlanticto use almost all its capital to cut and stockpile enough recordings to last through the ban, which was initially expected to continue for at least a year.
Ertegun and Abramson spent much of the late 1940s and early 1950s scouring nightclubs in search of talent. Ertegun composed many songs under the alias “A. Nugetre”, including Big Joe Turner’s hit “Chains of Love”, working them out in his head and then recording them in 25c recording booths inTimes Squareand giving the recording to an arranger or straight to the session musicians. Early releases featured Joe Morris, Frank Culley, Art Pepper, Shelly Manne, Pete Rugolo, Tiny Grimes, The Delta Rhythm Boys, The Clovers, The Cardinals, Big Joe Turner, Erroll Garner, Mal Waldron, Howard McGhee, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, Jackie & Roy, Sarah Vaughan, Leadbelly, Sonny Terry, Professor Longhair, Mabel Mercer, Sylvia Syms, Billy Taylor, Mary Lou Williams, Sidney Bechet, Django Reinhardt, Earl Hines, Barney Bigard, Pee Wee Russell, Al Hibbler, Meade Lux Lewis, Jimmy Yancey, Johnny Hodges and Bobby Short.