Recap, Nerds, Mexico + Cowgirls, Copyright Reform

What a neglectful writer I’ve been. I could blame it on the training session I had to do for my new job and the extra sleep I needed because of that, or some much more pleasant distractions, but I’ll take the fall.

So, what has been happening in my life? Aside from braving the world with a miniscule amount of sleep on Tuesday and recouping sleep the following day, things have been pleasant. I’ve fallen quickly into a marvelously synchronous friendship with Susana that has left me surprised with all we have in common and quite excited by the possibilities that might come with it. It’s been very refreshing getting to know her and at the very least I’ve made a good friend.

Allison‘s Neo-Nerds.net has gone live. It’s still being developed, but you can go take a look. You’ll notice I’m listed as one of the five options under “Choose your nerd” but my profile isn’t ready there yet. Nathan, a.k.a. Dead Smurf, is my friend and former roommate; Andrew is my friend and sometimes gaming buddy who is currently in far-off Texas; Allison is Andrew’s wife of not all that long and I don’t think I have met her in person; I don’t know anything at all about Kristin. I suppose I should soon cook up some content of the nerdy variety.

I’ve fallen in love with Romantica, a band that makes some fine, ecclectic alt-folk music. I found their song “Mexico” on an MP3 blog and was immediately hooked; it’s a sad, longing song that moved me quite a lot. You can download three songs by the band (including “Mexico” and another song I’m fond of, “Honey”) at their Download.com page. I’ve ordered their album and will let you all know what I think of it once it arrives.

I picked up the new release from Matt Mays and El Torpedo this week because I’ve been really digging its first single, “Cocaine Cowgirl” (click the link to view the video) and likewise loved “City of the Lakes” (click the link for the video, which has some local scenery) from their last release. The band’s injecting some freshness into vintage highway rock and roll with dazzling results. The band is from here in Nova Scotia (Dartmouth-Halifax), but I’ve never had a chance to see them play live. I’m hoping that will change soon, though, because I’m caught up in this new album in a way I didn’t anticipate. Remember when Halifax was to be the new Seattle? This is one of those bands that proves that optimism was just premature, not wrong.

It’s no secret I favour copyright reform (i.e. limiting the length of copyrights, encouraging people to use more accessable licenses), so I was pleased to see author Max Barry calling for similar rules. I disagree with some of Max’s positions, but he’s a damn good writer and is dead on here.

I’m a writer and earn my entire living from copyright, but this is nuts. Copyright has become a corrupt, bastardized version of itself. Rather than serving as a way to encourage creative works, today it’s a method of fencing off ideas and blocking creativity. And some of the companies pushing hardest for new intellectual property laws are the same ones that owe their existence to breaking them.
We invented copyright to encourage innovation: to make it worthwhile for people to create their own artistic works, rather than copy and sell someone else’s. The aim is not to bequeath eternal rights to an idea, or to make artists fabulously wealthy; it’s to provide society with new books, films, songs, and other art. Copyright provides incentive, but the incentive itself is not the point of the law: the point is to encourage creative behavior.
Having a few years of copyright protection is a good incentive. But a hundred years? Or seventy years after my death? (If I live to 80, it will become legal to print your own copy of Jennifer Government in 2123.) There’s no additional incentive in that. There is nobody, and no company, thinking, “Well, this is a good song, but if I only get to keep all the money it makes for the next 50 years… nah, not worth developing it.”

Read “Writers for Less Money” to glimpse more of Mr. Barry’s thoughts on copyrights. Yes, many creators want reforms to help increase our creative options. No good comes from limiting our cultural heritage in the way media companies are pushing for now. Hasn’t the world benefitted from Shakespeare’s work being in the public domain? Are the Beatles any less a part of the creative wealth we should share freely and explore however we can? In a couple decades shouldn’t Batman be as Robin Hood and seen as a brilliant, universal archetype?

4 comments on “Recap, Nerds, Mexico + Cowgirls, Copyright Reform

  1. The copyright reform makes me so angry; for years, we've had the ability to be smug about the senseless restrictions our southern neighbours have had to put up with. After watching them deal with it for seven years, and witnessing the many problems with it, we're…adopting it? Oh, it's just so stupid.

  2. Yeah, it seems like quite an unnecessary mess. I favour copyright reform that limits the length of them, not extends them and makes stricter limitations. I'm all for protecting an artist's rights, but not so much for businesses hoarding culture for decades or making it harder for people to enjoy media.

  3. The copyright reform makes me so angry; for years, we've had the ability to be smug about the senseless restrictions our southern neighbours have had to put up with. After watching them deal with it for seven years, and witnessing the many problems with it, we're…adopting it? Oh, it's just so stupid.

  4. Yeah, it seems like quite an unnecessary mess. I favour copyright reform that limits the length of them, not extends them and makes stricter limitations. I'm all for protecting an artist's rights, but not so much for businesses hoarding culture for decades or making it harder for people to enjoy media.

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