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YouTube has removed the second of the videos that was embedded in my last post, Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy", on Letterman last summer, for copyright violation. It's a shame, because this was a great performance, far better than the version on the album, and showing a stage presence and confidence that was a joy to watch, and which of course could not be conveyed in only audio.

This is an aspect of the war for intellectual property rights which is raging these days. Of course the artists, and anyone they contract with for such things, have IP rights in their works. But I wonder whether, in a world in which rights were generally respected, where fighting for the concept of rights didn't require fighting tooth and nail for every concrete manifestation of rights, the record companies would find that it was to their benefit to let some things slide up to a point.

I wrote, about the two videos in that post:
Thanks to YouTube, I'm starting to see what I've been missing since I started paying less attention to new music in the last several years. There's an enormous amount of crap out there, but I deeply regret missing these two for so long.
Ask yourself how many others that might pertain to in some way. Then ask, are the record companies better off if I (and others like me) had never seen this?

This war has become incredibly nasty. The sharers and pirates and bootleggers have gone way beyond "fair use" into outright organized theft. In response, the industry, with the complicity of government (of course), has gone way over the line of what is morally permissible in attempting to defend their own over-broad definition of their rights. There's collateral damage in this war, and quite a lot of it to those who fight for the letter of the law of their rights so hard that they forget what the point of those rights is in the first place. And the artists themselves, the fountainhead of these produced values, are caught in the middle.

The good news is that there probably won't be any record companies in ten years. They provide four basic services, as far as I can tell: Selection of artists, recording and production of media, promotion, distribution. The first is only necessary a-priori when the resources for the other three are limited. They are not, and so now that function can be performed at the consumer end. Anyone can record and produce professional music, on any available media today, with a pretty small investment. Distribution is handled just fine by the internet, with iTunes leading the way. Promotion is still an iffy thing, but the internet is quickly taking up the slack on that as well.

That leaves the record companies as middle-men who no longer provide any value to the transaction. They're dinosours who haven't had the decency to go extinct yet. Their legal maneuverings are mostly designed to stave that off. Rather than protect anyone's rights, their purpose is to maintain their rent-seeking position, no matter whose expense it comes at.

UPDATEAnother version that appears to be the "official" version is still up on YT. My comments on the larger issue of the IP wars still stand.


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