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October 2003

o-blog  an i.p. blog o-blog: an i.p. blog

§¦ O-blog is evolving. All right. I’ve been doing this side blog in approximately this format for just over a year now, and I’m ready for a change. So, for the time being, I’m going to be trying some things out, making some changes, some minor, maybe a few that are major, and just trying to get the fit right. If you are a reader somewhat familiar with this side blab you can offer your ideas, too. But keep stopping back in any event. It may not be updated today, but it’s still on my mind that maybe it needs it.

09-22 to 10-04

©¦ Lawyer’s perspective.The Copyright Cage” is an essay by Jonathan Zittrain exploring the reasons why so-called ‘cyberprofs’ in Law have the sense that copyright law is a “big mess.” Quote: “A gerrymandered tax code primarily costs the public money — measured by overall inefficiency, or extra taxes unfairly levied on those without political capital. But copyright’s expanding cost is measured by a more important if inchoate currency of thoughts and ideas.”

©¦ Columnist’s perspective. Opinion piece by Graeme Philipson in the Sidney Morning Herald lays out one writer’s discontent with copyright. Quote: “Copyright is not the natural order of things. It was invented only some 300 years ago to protect printers — not writers. And it remains a means to protect the near-monopolistic rights of music companies, publishers and software houses. It distorts the market and is a barrier, not a boon, to creativity.”

©¦ “Death to bland culture.” Russell Smith, of the Toronto Globe and Mail points out that, quote: “File-sharing is a rejection of the social power of bland culture. Why should we pay for crap? “It’s not that I don’t want artists to get paid for their work. This is not about artists: It’s about crap. File-sharing of pop music reflects a refusal of price-gouging for crap, for what is largely a disposable product anyway.” So there.

media¦ Compact cassette is Forty. In 1963, Philips introduced the compact cassette. It raised then many of the issues with copyright that file sharing does today. I remember a record company sticker from the time that admonished: “Home Taping is Killing Music.” A mail-art wag came up with a rejoinder in his own sticker: “… So Remember to do Your Share.” The Guardian has this commentary on the format, which they say is “still going strong.”

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“Delusion” on Synagogue Playbill with Weeklong Sound Installation

John Heck raises the screen in preparation for a Tape-beatles show, Synagoga na Palmovce, Prague.

Ten Years Later, and Still Topical

Your trusty Tape-beatles (Dunn and Heck) brought the aging — but not dated — The Grand Delusion to a Prague audience for the first time last Sunday night, part of the accompanying program to the Geluidkunst sound installation, a week-long resident of the space. The evening marked another first. Never before had our work been seen in a synagogue (well, former synagogue, but still!). I suppose it should be noted that, not since those heady late-eighties days when the Universalist Church basement was the cheapest venue for rent in Iowa City (for activities in the cultural margins, at any rate) have we even had an action of our own even loosely connected with a religious edifice!

Little did we know when we made “The Grand Delusion” some ten years ago that it would have such a long active life. Rippling with references to jingoism, the first Gulf War, oil, blood, and American power in the world, the work seems hardly as though it were plucked from the history books. Instead, it almost seems to have come from today’s headlines. We are pleased to report that attendance was good and the audience response was appreciative.

Watch this space for our report, later in the month, covering our adventures at the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, where we will be screening Matter and Good Times, completing for Czech audiences in a brief few weeks’ time our entire filmic body of work.

The World

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