Friday, May 28, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The reason we have separate laws to deal with copyright is, quite simply - and whatever Ray Winston's offspring is paid to say about it - because it isn't the same as theft. Theft is the deprivation of someone else of their property, meaning, once you've deprived them of it, they don't have it anymore. As this isn't true when you move 1s and 0s into the same pattern as someone else without their permission - they still own the pattern they made - copyright infringement is not theft at all. It is closer to trespassing.If the Bill becomes law, people who 'steal' copyrighted data will be subject to expulsion from the space where the 'property' they've 'stolen' is legally available. It is akin to ASBO-banning a persistent hoodie thief from all town centres that have shops in. As such, the harshness of the punishment redefines society's view of where on the spectrum that runs between property and non-property copyrighted data lies. If you can be cut off for copying - as the ORG points out - £18 worth of music, then consumers of music will have to stop looking at downloaded data as trivial information and start looking at it as a real purchased object.
The entertainment-industrial complex's stupid adverts declare that "you wouldn't steal a car" and ask why, in that case, you are happy to download their stuff. This implies that there is a moral equivalence between the two. If the Bill is passed, society will have recognised this moral equivalence.
So. When you buy music, you will be buying a real object. People who don't pay for it are thieves - if you do pay for it then you are now a consumer. Consumers have rights.
For a start, DRM will have to go. It's an object you bought - they can't tell you what to do with it - if you can deprive them of it, then it isn't theirs anymore. DRM should be made illegal immediately.
Secondly, it is time to start demanding full consumer rights for all goods purchased, whether tangible or not.
In the past, before copyright infringement was officially stealing, we were able to allow a certain sensible line to be drawn when we were dissatisfied with the data contained within a product. Obviously, if we considered the data to be shoddy then we were stuck with it; if the CD was scratched, we took it back. Now though, the data itself is the only product on sale. If we are going to view the data as something stealable then we deserve full consumer protection when we purchase it legally.
The sale of goods act, 1979 (amended) is clear:
If you have bought goods you have a right to expect that they should be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality:
- ‘As described’ means that it should correspond to any description given about the goods such as the quantity, colour, measurements etc. These descriptions may be verbal statements about the goods, statements in the brochure, on a shelf edge or even on the box.
- Goods are of ‘Satisfactory quality’ if they reach the standard a reasonable person would expect taking into account the price and any description.
- The law says that goods that are of satisfactory quality are free from minor defects, have good appearance and finish and are durable, safe and fit for all the purposes for which such goods are commonly supplied.
- In addition to being fit for their every day purpose goods should be fit for any specific purpose you agreed with the seller at the time of sale [for example, if you specifically asked for a printer that was compatible with your computer]
So say, for example, that prompted by their earnest, heartfelt and passionate pleas for money on Panorama I were to buy 'She's So Lovely' by Scouting For Girls. As a consumer, I have a right to expect that the data will reach the standard a reasonable person would expect of it.
As a piece of new music from the esteemed Sony corporation, I would expect it to be wholly original, to have lyrics that express something about the human condition and for it to cause a positive emotion to be generated in my brain.
Sadly, very little about the track can be called original.
It shares a title with a 1997 John Travolta film about a violent ex-husband causing trouble for his remarried wife. The Band's name is a 'repurposing' of the title chosen by Baden-Powell for his handbook establishing the boy scout movement only with 'girls' instead of 'boys', presumably in order to emphasise the band's affinity with kerb-crawlers and pimps.
Musically, the song is built around a four chord progression (G, C, Am, D) which is repeated for most of the duration. As any pop musician will know, the actual musical content of a chord sequence is not in the notes but in the progression - and this progression: from the 1st to the 5th to the minor 2nd to the 7th, while less common than the 1st, 7th, minor 9th, 5th sequence found in the majority of pop songs, is not new or original. It can be found (though with less repetitions) in 'True Love Will Never Fade' by Mark Knopfler, 'An Eluardian Instance' by Of Montreal, 'I'm Set Free' by the Velvet Undergound, 'Three Little Bears' by Jimi Hendrix and 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' by The Smiths among a host of others. The topline melody of the chorus consists of four notes: D, C, B and A with the latter two repeated one after the other for the majority of the tune - only adding the D and C to spice things up a little at the end. The song is in standard 4/4 time.
Given that there is nothing in the music that we can identify as uniquely original, perhaps we should turn to the lyrics. As a consumer, I have a right to expect that they should be 'fit for the purpose for which such goods are commonly supplied'. As such, and as words deliberately arranged into a meaningful order, I can expect that they should convey something with a reasonable degree of skill.
I want her
Was she this fit When she was ten years younger?
Come see me,
She says she's got a trick or two to teach me
I don't know how we'll make it through this (repeated)
I think that you are lovely"
leaving aside the suggestion of paedophilia in the 'ten years younger' remark, we might wonder who is being asked to 'come see' the narrator given the confusion of tenses. Perhaps the grammatical ambiguity is designed intentionally to create a sense of dislocation in the listener and prompt a questioning of the protagonist's sanity and reliability? Is this a song about a tragic figure - literally out in the streets, delusionally but literally Scouting for Girls? Unlikely - as the 'she; in question has apparently already confessed her interest by implying that she has 'a [sexual] trick or two' that she intends to teach our hero. The only interpretation of this passage is that the writing is, in itself, faulty - a reading underscored by the seemingly random insertion of existential doubt inherent in not knowing 'how we'll make it through this' and the laughably clumsy and meaningless final assertion.
This neither uplifts or pleases me.
The packaging of this product suggests that it is a professional release conforming to a reasonable standard of quality. As the music is an entirely unoriginal cobbling together of slowed down trills and regularly used chord progressions - we can only look to the lyrical content of the data to determine it's compliance with consumer protection law and trading standards. As the lyrics fail to reach a basic level of competence - any consumer would be well within his or her rights to return the goods to the seller and demand either a full refund or that the song be repaired to a reasonable standard.
If the digital economy bill is passed and if the pedlars of such data are to be afforded enormous protection against 'theft' of their goods then consumers must demand the right to treat data as goods themselves and be entitled to rights when the goods are substandard.
I'm not sure how one goes about returning a copy of a digital download. And I'm pretty sure that every song I've ever heard or written is every bit as unoriginal as 'She's So Lovely' music wise and nearly as inept lyrically - but still, if this is how it is going to be - it's time to demand better. After all, the music industry says that without the Digital Economy Bill it will be unable to discover and develop new talent. They haven't appeared to do this for quite a long time now - but if they're going to take our rights, it's about time that they started.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
The New Album From
"Songs For Swinging Lovers"
released exclusively on corporaterecords.co.uk
physical and special editions released June 2010
Cast your mind back to the halcyon spring of 2008. Indie distributors danced happily through the acid green money-fields of Camden, hand-in-hand with the joyous executives supping decadently from the salary cocktails served by sub-prime indie labels. Every other haircut was the genius we'd been waiting for and everything was amaaaaazing. There were banks and mortgages and public services. There were advertising revenues and advances. All was well in the western world.
Somewhere in this fisher price quagmire, The Indelicates saw fit to release their debut album, American Demo - a spite fuelled howl of discontent, it sat distinctly at odds with the time - but still succeeded in gaining the band a serious national and international following. Now, having successfully begged their label to let them out of their contract they are back with their new album - Songs For Swinging Lovers - and a new record company - that anyone can sign themselves to anytime it suits them.
Recorded in Berlin by gifted producer Ed East (Chikinki), Songs For Swinging Lovers is a stunning, diverse and intellectually complex record that marries the band's trademark lyrical precision and songwriting skill with a broad palette of musical styles and influences. The strains of country, Weimar cabaret, holy bible-era manics, belle epoque cafe music, Muder Ballads-era Nick cave, 90s indie and 70s sleaze can all be heard in the arrangements.
A more personal album than it's predecessor, Songs For Swinging Lovers veers between the furious (Your Money, Flesh) and the reflective (Savages, Sympathy For The Devil) with detours into the metaphorically historical (We Love You, Tania) and the outright disturbing (Roses).
The Indelicates are convinced that the much discussed collapse of the record industry is being absurdly hyped as something that will harm 'artists' and even 'music' itself. They believe that the weakening of the economic power held by labels and the undermining of their business model by various facets of the Internet can only benefit those who are actually committed to making music. They are vociferous opponents of the measures proposed in the governments' 'Digital Economy Bill' and are heavily involved in the campaign to stop it becoming law.
As such, they are treating this release as an opportunity to experiment with the long-accepted norms of the recorded music market. Working with investors, web developers and artists they have built 'corporaterecords.co.uk' an innovative new digital audio platform that is free and easy to use and that allows anyone to release their recordings quickly and simply in a way that encourages the free sharing and promotion of music while giving fans an incentive to reward artists as they see fit.
Songs For Swinging Lovers will initially be available exclusively from the corporaterecords.co.uk site. Once it is released, you will be able to blog, twitter or otherwise share individual tracks (or the whole album) with single static links that take your readers directly to a download page where the song or album will be available on a 'pay-what-you-like' basis using the share code and social networking buttons provided.
Following the initial release, we will be releasing in the following formats.
Digital (inc. iTunes enhanced LP)
Special Edition: CD + full length book of supplementary essays 'Apologies and Explanations'
Extra Special Edition: CD + 'Apologies and Explanations' + Art Book + Customised USB album (details TBC)
Super Special Edition: As above + Simon and Julia will come round your house, perform the album for you, record the performance and sign a contract transferring the rights in the master to you.
The books will both be available independently.
The joint project of Simon and Julia Indelicate, The Indelicates formed in Brighton in 2005 - with Simon's lead guitar and Julia's piano backed by Ed Van Beinum's Drums, Kate Newberry's Bass and Al Clayton's Rhythm Guitar. They were joined in 2009 by bassist Lawrence Owen and guitarist/backing vocalist Lily Rae and currently have a floating line-up for live shows, (with much of the new album favouring a lusher, more acoustic sound). They have played and been released all over the world, headlining the second stage at Austria's frequency festival, supporting Art Brut in Germany, Amanda Palmer in Scotland and The Vaselines in New York; as well as touring extensively in europe and the UK. In 2009 they released a well-received poetry book and continued to give performances of Simon's 'Book of Job: The Musical'.
Largely so as to never have to be called a Brighton Band again, Julia and Simon moved to Lewes in 2007.
Please direct all press enquiries to:
For more quotes, artwork etc, see the full Indelicates Press Highlights Doc:
Hi-Res Stills with all permissions granted are available at:
For more on The Indelicates see:
For more on Corporate Records read the full press Outline here:
Simon Indelicate on the Music Business and Economics
Try Out The Corporate Records Automatic Press Release Generator (beta)
More on The Digital Economy Bill etc from the Open Rights Group
Praise for The Indelicates
"...I was hooked in one, as they took apart, with bitter grace, the media /academic obsession with and delight in the downfall of stars and idols."
– NEIL GAIMAN (Author of Coraline, The Sandman Comic series)
"Neo-Brecht/Weill theatricality? Check. Profane razor strop wit? Check. Irreverent misanthropy? Check. Scathing socio-cultural critiques? Check. Acid sweet indiepop songcraft? Check. Meet the fabulously unfashionable, unfashionably fabulous Indelicates."
"It’s impossible to overstate how much music today needs The Indelicates; in our darkest hour, hope may yet be at hand"
– THE FLY
"...this is intelligent, poetic indie-rock. In other words, it bears no resemblance to The View, The Fratellis, or any other examples of that kind of nonsense"
“This record is vicious. It sits in the corner of the pub, performing character assassinations on you and all you hold dear. And you let it get away with it because it is beautiful. “
From Music Towers
“‘We Hate The Kids’, quakes like the cup of water in Jurassic Park as the Tyrannosaurus Rex approaches, and the climax is breath-taking...This is an important album – nothing and nobody will convince me otherwise.”
“Corrosive performance poetry and pop music passion, this is an album on immaculate themes. American Demo really is the aesthetic arm of the outsiders, and The Indelicates right now are pretty much unbeatable.”
From Music OMH
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I don’t really subscribe to any part of such a case. I don’t know if it will remain possible to make a living as a non-classically-trained, artistically uncompromised musician.I don’t know at all that expressing yourself to a rhythm can ever be lucrative. I don’t think intellectual property is the same as property and I don’t think stealing something that the victim still possesses post-crime is the same as theft – but I don’t really like being identified as ‘anti-copyright. Unpaid commercial exploitation of a composition, for example, does deprive a victim and is much easier to call stealing. It is all very grey and defies a labelled position. Most of all though, I don’t really think that internet piracy has anything very much to do with the rapid decline of the music industry.
Let us be clear as to why the music industry was briefly profitable. A small number of companies were able to acquire, by wealth, a few scarce resources. Firstly, the expensive equipment required to record multiple tracks of high-quality audio and mix them together until they sounded nice. Secondly, the spending power to order at a bulk discount lots of plastic circles with data encoded on them as well as to print attractive packaging to house them in. And, lastly access to a large, physical network of shops and printed magazines with which to promote these items for sale...
read on at indieoma.com
Monday, November 9, 2009