13 September, 2011

Would you like to hear a song? You can't. All because of stupid stupid laws.

You know what kind of pisses me off? That I can't find 7 Year Bitch's "Sore Subject" (from 1996's Gato Negro) streaming anywhere on line. Now I realize that I can do something about this: I can upload the song to SD&A's Bandcamp page or I can upload it to YouTube under the auspices of U.S. Copyright Law §107. Remember that? That's the part that goes...
§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.
The problem is this: With the movie sample sets* I put up on the Bandcamp page, I could argue each of the points: 1) My use was non-commercial for purposes of criticism and comment (I can't argue "educational purposes" since I never showed you how to make the samples yourself), 2) the copyrighted works are both popular films from twenty five years ago and well known to the public, 3) the portions used are all under half a minute in length (sampled from full-length feature films that clock in at an hour and a half or longer) and not presented in their original context, and 4) the effect upon the potential market? Six people read this blog. Maybe one of them Netflixed one of those movies because they thought, "Hey, I remember that shit!" Otherwise? The effect is nil.
But in the case of posting a song to the SD&A Bandcamp? That would take some fancy work. You see in this instance, the points would now be: 1) My use is non-commercial for purposes of criticism and commentary (chiefly that I like this song and I want you to like it, too), 2) the copyrighted work is the ninth song from a record released by a band fifteen years ago by a band that existed from 1990 to 1997 with (I hate to say it) no wide-ranging mass cultural impact (Come on, would you have heard of them if I wasn't writing about them?), 3) I would be using the song in its entirety, 4) four people read this blog. Maybe one them will illegally down load that record. (I'm just trying to be a realist, here.)
So, if that's the case, I would not only be skirting the edges of violating of U.S. Copyright Law - which, you know, means that absolutely nothing will happen - but I would surely lose the Bandcamp account - you know, if somebody flags me which they won't because nobody cares. But, you know as well as I do that low probability does not negate possibility; there is the chance - as off a chance as it could be - that something "bad" might happen.
I guess I could upload it to YouTube, hell, I could just upload it as a Blogger video which keeps the video off of the YouTube radar even though it uses the same player.** But then I'd have to make a video and I don't want to reinstall Windows Movie Maker again. I forgot why I got rid of it in the first place and made the mistake of reinstalling it for this video:
And, yeah, as long as we're on the subject of Copyright Law, I get that The Bride of Frankenstein is a copyrighted work, blah blah blah, whatever. The goddamned song is mine, and hey, 1) I'm not making a fucking dime off of this, 2) the copyrighted work is a popularly known eighty six year old movie with a cult following, 3) I used the part where they woke the bitch up, and 4) nobody's going to give a shit. They didn't give a shit when I made that back in June, they're not going to give a shit now, so come sue me, Universal, because I used two minutes of your old assed necrophile soft core flick.
Back on point, I just kind of wanted to point out how things are a hassle for a law abiding citizen like myself...
... to simply share a song with you, my little illiterati. That the law is set up to make things needlessly difficult.
So, you know what, Atlantic Records? Good luck squeezing blood from a turnip. I just want people to hear the damned thing.

1) Non-commercial usage for purposes of public demonstration and criticism, as well as educating the public on §107 of U.S. Copyright Law.
2) It's a song from 7 Year Bitch's last record.
3) The song is presented in its entirety.
4) Two people read this blog. One of them will hit the Play button on the above embedded player.

* Weird Science and The Monster Squad.
** For those who didn't know, because they live under rocks, Blogger and YouTube are both owned by Google. That they use the same video player makes sense but that videos I upload to Blogger aren't hosted by YouTube doesn't make a whole lot of sense; if I upload a picture to Blogger, it's hosted by Picasa (Google's image hosting site) and if I upload a photo to my Google+ profile, it gets an album over at Picasa as well. Meh, whatever.

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