This nOde last updated September 17th, 2005 and is
(4 Lamat (Rabbit) / 6 Ch'en (Black) - 108/260 - 22.214.171.124.8)
"The fundamental problem
is that copyright pretends that information
is property" - Ian Clarke, developer of Freenet
Talk of generosity, of information that wants to be free, and of virtual communities is often dismissed by businesspeople as youthful new age idealism. It may be idealistic but it is also the only sane way to launch a commercial economy in the emerging space. "The web’s lack of an obvious business model right now is actually its main event," says Stewart Brand, of the Global Business Network.
- Kevin Kelly - _New Rules For The New Economy_
"Piracy Is Your Friend" by virtual reality guru and
musician, Jaron Lanier
"music is ultimately going to be free... you don't pay to watch the Knicks game or the Lakers game, you pay by watching commercials." - Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins
(next stop, ad filters)
Proudhon said it long ago, that "property is theft," and if anything current intellectual property fights on the Internet bolster his claim. Intellectual property is for those with power, who can use the force of the state to enforce their claims. But intellectual property simply gets in the way of communication and the sharing of ideas, be it in the arts or in biology. - from Against Intellectual Property
Anyone who has ever bought a piece of software in a store has had the curiously deflating experience of taking the bright shrink-wrapped box home, tearing it open, finding that it's 95 percent air, throwing away all the little cards, party favors, and bits of trash, and loading the disk into the computer. The end result (after you've lost the disk) is nothing except some images on a computer screen, and some capabilities that weren't there before. Sometimes you don't even have that--you have a string of error messages instead. But your money is definitely gone. Now we are almost accustomed to this, but twenty years ago it was a very dicey business proposition. Bill Gates made it work anyway. He didn't make it work by selling the best software or offering the cheapest price. Instead he somehow got people to believe that they were receiving something in exchange for their money.
When Gates and Allen invented the idea of selling software, they ran into criticism from both hackers and sober-sided businesspeople. Hackers understood that software was just information, and objected to the idea of selling it. These objections were partly moral. The hackers were coming out of the scientific and academic world where it is imperative to make the results of one's work freely available to the public. They were also partly practical; how can you sell something that can be easily copied? Businesspeople, who are polar opposites of hackers in so many ways, had objections of their own. Accustomed to selling toasters and insurance policies, they naturally had a difficult time understanding how a long collection of ones and zeroes could constitute a salable product. Obviously Microsoft prevailed over these objections, and so did Apple. But the objections still exist.
fossil record--the La Brea Tar Pit--of software technology is the Internet. Anything that shows up there is
free for the taking (possibly illegal, but free). Executives at
companies like Microsoft must get used to the experience--unthinkable
in other industries--of throwing millions of dollars into the
development of new technologies, such as Web browsers, and then seeing
the same or equivalent software show up on the Internet two years, or a
year, or even just a few months, later. By continuing to develop new
technologies and add features onto their products they can keep one
ahead of the fossilization process,
but on certain days they must feel like mammoths caught at La Brea,
using all their energies to pull their feet, over and over again, out
of the sucking hot tar that wants to cover and envelop them. Survival
in this biosphere demands sharp tusks and heavy, stomping feet at one
end of the organization, and Microsoft famously has those. But
trampling the other mammoths into the tar can only keep you alive for
- Neal Stephenson - _In The Beginning Was The Command Line_
"As an artist, what I think is important is that people listen to your work, and if you are properly rewarded for it, that's the bonus."
Pete Townshend - creator of _Lifehouse_ and member of The Who
there is an argument about "breaking existing laws" regardless of the higher philosophical issues.
we all break laws. all of the time.
we speed 10mph over the limit daily. a lot of good, upstanding citizen smoke pot, a victimless crime.
just because it is currently legal doesn't make it an issue. the POINT is to break the law so those laws will be changed. all these new programs that bypass the web simply illustrate and accelerate what has always been going on - the copy and distribution of media without paying for it. i feel nothing wrong with this so i will continue to facilitate this action. this includes software, movies, music, books, text, images, anything. my conscience is free. no problem. i feel that by doing so i am actually doing everyone a favor. maxim: "it's not whether you steal or not it's WHO you steal from..." i won't steal from the homeless or hard working families or artists. by burning cd's, downloading mp3's, i'm only "stealing" from those that are in charge of distribution, marketing, and hype. i've paid huge amounts of my income to support small record labels. if i d/l an mp3 (and like it), i'll find out the mailing address of the artist and send them a check for a buck or two. that's direct many-to-many transaction, all of it going to those who deserve it. the big record stores and labels will not get my money. i will gladly "steal" from them.
the music industry made more money last year than any other year, amidst the continuing rise of piracy in music. same with software. everyone benefits from pirating. so do it.
this doesnt mean, however, that i don't pay for ANYTHING. i am going broke paying for vinyl records (which i can easily d/l the tracks themselves off the net, but that's not the point. information wants to be free, but acetate, cardboard, and mastering are not), a medium i find fascinating because of its hands on experience. i had no problems trading cassette tapes of stuff all of my life of things that either never made it onto vinyl or were unobtainable in that form. i see no difference between this and burning cd's.)
i also tape movies off of cable tv and rentals. which is perfectly legal. i have no problem in the future when the dvd burners arrive on the consumer level to trade and burn those either. just like i trade copies of movies on vhs right now.
the hoopla should come from those SELLING copied, dubbed and burned material. that's the REAL definition of piracy. the type of information exchange experienced today is actually putting the real pirates out of business. why buy something "illegal" when you can just get it for free? i've sold nothing and i've bought plenty. sue me. - @Om* 4/28/00
this seems to be a mantra that is quite infectious. it feels like language or information has its own agenda and consciousness because everything is gravitating towards "free". the term started off as a hacker staple to justify a rebellious "just because we can" attitude and has morphed into something that is seemingly built into us biologically. we have this NEED to persevere and get what we want for "free" (more on that term in a minute) because it "feels" right. anyone going against this notion has something to protect, meaning money and income. if you keep these things apart (not becoming dependent on them), things become much more efficient. one can view this notion as shaking hands with the 2nd law of thermodynamics, but it seems to have a "pulling" affect, an extropian vibe. we are all doing this and it's useless to fight it. "it" being better efficiency, group dynamics and cooperation. it seems to fall right in line with many-to-many bartering. the middleman (salesperson) gets in the way so we find ways to go around it. let's trade mp3's (great advertising meme conduit), burn our own music onto cd's, spin them out, sell them for a couple of bucks. the music industry hates napster because it bypasses them - like water. some "artists" (those already invested into the current outmoded system) complain and whine that it's stealing.
the ironic thing is that the companies that distribute and market their work are the ones already stealing from them, and managing to get the victims to defend the criminals as well. this is just a legalized notion of "paying protection money" to the thugs. there is no more need for rock stars, no more need for superstar dj's when this many-to-many system gets implemented to the fullest extent. just pure self expression sending and receiving without a central server. this whole concept is a mirror of what is happening with us biologically. - @Om* 4/20/00
if you release something to the public, as in the outmoded idea of "publishing", then whoever "buys" that piece of information (film, music, books, text, images, etc.) owns it and should be able to do whatever the fuck they want with it. (e.g. sampling, distribution, copying, remixing).
if i "make" something or "produce" it, i'm basically taking my influences in the course of my life and outputting a processed, individualized piece of information. we all do this w/o crediting our resources (subconscious influences of "stuff we like") nor paying royalties.
the institutionalized structure of intellectual property now comes into play.
if someone tries to make a profit from someone else's work, that's one thing (and the true definition of piracy). so the ideal is to eliminate the notion of profit through expression. expression should be immediate and bartered, not mediated and sold. we all influence each other and steal and borrow from each other and make things into our own individual style.
the problem comes from the notion of "he's getting rich off of MY ideas". well, let's get rid of the possibility of "being rich" and now we're on an even keel. eliminate that motive and you are left with nothing but "good stuff" since it's pure expression motivated by the need to express. it's a lot of hard work to wade through crap to get to the genuine heartfelt stuff. this is the simplest way to do it. there is no more pretense of "art" - a term anyone can use to appear holier than the other person REALLY working and sweating to create true art. by knowing the background of the producer and the artist, i personally make the determination whether i should give them my money or not. if they are selling something and trying to make an extravagant living off of it, nay even demanding the RIGHT to get compensated, then i usually do a minor boycott. why? because the intent is not to my liking. i don't care how good you are at what you do, if you are demanding my money for something then there's an immediate stink about it. i'd rather volunteer my earnings to those meek and ernest, doing an honest bit of expression. they are usually pleasantly surprised and GRATEFUL that someone appreciates it, and their work is potentially good too. given a little support, they can blossom into great producers, and hopefully avoid the cocky ego-driven route of EXPECTING to get compensated for "art". if there is no intent to sell, no intent to corrupt the true art form with commerce, then i give them what i think the piece is worth. this includes music, drawings, parties, performances, etc. phenomena like napster is finally stripping away all the pretense and giving the power back to the person that wants to experience the expression by giving them the choice to either pay for it if they like it, or not pay for it if it's crap (shareware). in the meantime, great work can be tainted beyond interest if the conduit (so-called artist) is an ego-driven rock star. this is why i cannot stand Picasso, no matter how "good" he was perceived by others. i would much rather pay homage to Duchamp, who gave up art to play chess because of the reasons i described.
if an "artist" doesn't want their stuff played with, altered, sampled, or spun out, according to their narrow vision w/o letting the memetic entity evolve on its own course, they they shouldn't put it out for the public to obtain it (i.e. don't "set it free". instead, enslave it in your own little world and pretend that you produced these ideas in a vacuum). by claiming monetary compensation and credit for "being an artist", you forfeit the notion of a valued idea/information. chain the fucker to the wall and don't let it grow.
the complaint goes like this: they claim they are "investing" time and money in hopes for a return, in equipment and gear, software (paid for, or pirated?), instruments, talent, etc. . that's fine, but the rules are changing, as you cannot keep information chained to the walls like the old days when the church stayed in power by doing this literally. i will find a way to obtain any piece of information for free if i work hard enough, just to prove a point. the lazy masses will go into Sam Goody and pay for their latest marketed and hyped and distributed britney spears and n'sync. the rest of us will find a way to experience more interesting things, like clandestine gatherings of sound and music in nature, and dats, cd's and md's being traded many-to-many, with good intent. if i produce a track, i'm giving it away, trading it, or selling it for the cost of blanks. this method keeps things pure. once you start depending on this for an income, you mediate it and spoil it. yes, "artists gotta eat too". that's why most artists i like have day jobs. they don't spend all of their free time in their art, which means they are struggling. the outcome is usually good art.
to me the labels are unnecessary. they can serve a great purpose for distributing decent amounts of vinyl, cd, etc. but the days of selling quality product to millions and getting rich enough to buy expensive sports cars is, i think it's safe to say, over... the producer should be able to trade directly with other producers, dj's, etc. in the spirit of music and mutual support, and if lucky, a decent living from direct sales. no promotion or marketing should be necessary. eliminate the middle man. immediatism.
it's not like this now. but i think it
will be. finally. the future will be evenly distributed...
- @Om* 4/27/00
even though my perception of the Grateful Dead's music is that of inconsequential, i give props to their fan base and their methods of supporting them. encouraging bootlegs enabled them to gross more than any other musical tour for several years right before they disbanded. giving your stuff away is the best way to increase returns. - @Om* 5/4/00
Information not only wants to be free, it wants *us* to be free. It withers and dies if there aren't plenty of well-stocked inquiring minds out there to fertilize and seed. Of course, the trouble is that by 2050 it will probably have found a more spacious home: inside the larger minds of our posthuman successors, whether augmented genomic beings somewhat like ourselves or artificially evolved machine minds I'm not sure. I just hope that nanomedicine kicks in soon enough to allow me to be there to see it, and take part.
- Damien Broderick
If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property."
-- Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President, Deist
structures) (one-to-all)(geographically and mentally centralized)
gutenberg press (one-to-many)(mentally centralized)
telephone (one-to-one)(base structure of the network)
(one-to-many)(organized religious structures)(mentally and culturally
bulletin board systems
(one-to-many/local)(geographically centralized, culturally
desktop publishing (zine revolution) (eighties)(many-to-many)(geographically and mentally decentralized)
internet/web publishing (nineties) (many-to-many)(decentralized sans client/server system)
freeware/open source (decentralized information building)
web bypassers (napster/hotline/cutemx) (decentralized everything)
Freenet does not have any form of centralised control or administration ...leading to increased reliability and reduced vulnerability to attack. The World Wide Web currently relies upon the "Domain Name System", or DNS, a means to translate easily readable names such as "www.yahoo.com" into an Internet Protocol address, such as 192.168.134.100, which is required to communicate with another computer. The DNS is arranged in a hierarchy with large sections of that hierarchy under largely unregulated commercial or governmental control. This hierarchical structure also provides a single point of failure which is prone to attack, and has already proved unreliable even without malicious intervention. Freenet's design carefully avoids any such reliance upon individuals, or organisations. Even the designers of Freenet will not have any control over the overall system. Freenet is a near-perfect anarchy.
It will be virtually impossible to forcibly remove a piece of information from Freenet ...making censorship of information virtually impossible. There are a variety of methods to remove information from the world wide web. If you happen to control the computer upon which the information is stored this is straight-forward. If you have large financial resources and the provider of the information does not, you can threaten or initiate legal action - regardless of whether the legal action is successful, the person in question will almost always comply with your demands due to the large costs involved. If you are sufficiently powerful, you can even use threats of violence to ensure that information is removed from the Internet. It is also possible to remove the information (or at least make it unavailable) by attacking the computer hosting using techniques such as "Denial of Service" or DoS attacks. Freenet makes it difficult to determine which computer is storing any given piece of information, and even the act of trying to determine where the information is stored will result in the information spreading to othernodes within Freenet - i.e. having the opposite effect of that which you intended.
Both authors and readers of information stored on this system may remain anonymous if they wish ...protecting users of the system from censorship of any form and permitting true freedom of information. Currently all information sent across the Internet are labelled with both their source and destination IP addresses. Using this information anyone capable of monitoring Internet traffic can determine who is consuming what information. Even now this technique is being used to build up detailed profiles of people without their knowledge or consent. Currently this information is being used for commercial purposes, including directed advertising, however when combined with sophisticated statistical analysis there is the potential that even more detailed personal information, which people might normally consider highly confidential, could be collected and used for a variety of purposes both legal and illegal.
Anyone can publish information, they don't need to buy a domain name, or even have a permanent Internet connection ...meaning that people's ability to communicate ideas is not dependant upon their personal wealth. Anyone can insert a piece of information into Freenet, and the worth of that information will be determined purely by how many people are interested in reading it, not by the wealth or position of the person publishing the information. Information will be distributed throughout the Freenet network in such a way that it is difficult to determine where information is being stored ...protecting those who allow their computers to form part of Freenet from attack. Unlike the World Wide Web, where every available piece of information is stored on a particular machine (the owner of which can easily be determined), Freenet protects those who choose to donate some of their computer's resources to Freenet by making it extremely difficult to determine what information is being stored on a particular node (even by the owner of that node).
Availability of information will increase in proportion to the demand for that information ...meaning that extremely popular information will never become unavailable. With the World Wide Web extremely popular pieces of information often become slower to access, or even completely unavailable due to high-demand on the servers hosting the information. Freenet's design means that if a piece of information increases in popularity, the task of providing that information to those requesting it will rapidly be distributed or "mirrored" among other nodes in the Freenet system. The more popular a piece of information is, the more "mirrors" will be created. Should the demand for the information reduce, the number of mirrors will be reduced accordingly. If there is no demand for a piece of information, it will be removed from Freenet.
Information will move from parts of the Internet where it is in low-demand to areas where demand is higher. Making more efficient use of network bandwidth Presently if a piece of information is extremely popular, say, in America, but is hosted in Europe where it is less popular, it will remain hosted in Europe, with a new copy of the information being sent over the Atlantic every time someone requests the information. In this scenario, Freenet will move the information to America where it can be accessed more quickly, and without placing high demands on trans-Atlantic communication links.
Again, the idea is how
to, like Napster, create milieu where people can exchange culture
and information at will and create new forms, new styles, new ways
of thinking. Think of my style of DJing as a kind of memetic contagion, a thought storm brought about
by my annoyance and frustration with almost all the conventional
forms of race, culture, and class hierarchies. Hip-hop is a vehicle
for that, and so are almost all forms of electronic music. Again -
it's all about morpholgy of
structure - how things can go from one medium to another. Culture in
this milieu acts kind of like what Derrida describes in his infamous
essay "Plato's Pharmacy:" "science and magic, the passage between
life and death, the supplement to evil and to lack... the difference
between signifier and signified is no doubt the governing
pattern.... in being inaugurated in this manner, philosophy and
dialectics are determined in the act of determining their OTHER..."
Dialectical triangulation - language
become its own form of digital code...
the theater of the rhyme as it unfolds in time.
- DJ Spooky
"Middle-earth is no longer simply the world that J.R.R. Tolkien created," says Michael Martinez, a Net-based Tolkien researcher and guru of the _Xena: Warrior Princess_ community. "It's a large canvas to which many artists have added their perspectives and interpretations." Martinez is a small, chipmunk-cheeked fellow, who, when I visited him, was living in a yellow ramshackle house in Albuquerque, New Mexico. When I entered his tiny, bare office, Martinez was hunched over a laptop, answering an email about the references to lions in Middle-earth, of which there is one.
- Erik Davis - _The Fellowship Of The Ring_ in _Wired_ 9.10 - October 2001 re: J.R.R Tolkien
There is no creation ex nihilo. We always work from pre-existing material, both literal substances (wood, a language, the resonance of strings and reeds) and the existing cultural organization of those materials within history, tradition, and contemporary networks of influence. So as we survey the expanding and converging landscape of electronic, virtual, and immersive production, we might ask ourselves: what material is being worked here? Is it simply new organizations of photons, soundwaves, and haptic cues? Or does the "holistic" fusion of different media and the construction of more immersive technologies actually suggest another, perhaps more fundamental material?
- Erik Davis - _Experience Design And The Design Of Experience_
Andy Warhol was litigated against, a few different times. Also Rauschenberg, and others, and Jeff Koons. The interesting thing is that most of these fine art cases were settled out of court and the settlement involved the defendant simply giving a few copies to the plaintiff, which is ironic, in a way - famous artist creates value from something else, makes it even more valuable than before, pays for this privilege by giving part of the made thing to the maker of the "original" materials. Sort of an ouroboros.
Ubiquity drives increasing returns in the network economy. The question becomes, What is the most cost-effective way to achieve ubiquity? And the answer is: give things away. Make them free. - Kevin Kelly - _New Rules For The New Economy_
Duchamp's found objects were also "shortcuts" to art. He praised this democratizing process as thankfully eliminating physical "originality" from art production, reducing it to concept perception alone, a sigh of comic relief that deflects the worshiping of preciously crafted unique objects for the rich and elite. It's up to everyone to decide for themselves if they meant that or anything more than that, but I certainly do on both counts. - from the liner notes of _The Mechanics Of Destruction_ by Radio Boy
As I may have mentioned before, when you reach this inevitable point in the history of "original" music experimentation where all the best moves have ALREADY been made, recycling becomes "revolutionizing" itself. That's where we are in the 21st Century of music and there's no way around it. New has become old and old has become new. It's only "political" because of copyright laws which are so far oblivious to this contradictory shift in modern creative practices. Otherwise, it is the most natural development out of actual circumstances (mental and technological) that one could expect from any art that has been so fully fleshed out experimentally and, from its inception, was always based on the joys of copying anyway.
As a consequence, modern artists should back off their traditional god complexes, expecting to be prayed for (and payed for) their individual creative efforts wherever they appear in subsequent new contexts by others. Complete propriatory control is neither possible nor desirable in a culture of significantly increased recycling. Ironically, found sample manipulation is the ONLY actually "new" thing to happen in "original" music making since about 1970. If anyone thinks it's "easier" to make something worth while by copping the "best" stuff of other artists, just try it. It has just as many creative pitfalls as "original" ideas ever had, including the one about resting on others' laurels if you don't make it "work" in some new way that's original to you.
"There is no solution because there is no problem" - Duchamp.
Most artists, if pressed, will admit that the true mother of invention in the arts is not necessity, but theft. And this is true even for our greatest artists. Shakespeare's _Romeo and Juliet_ (1591) was taken from Arthur Brooke's poem _Romeus and Juliet_ (1562), and most of Shakespeare's historical plays would have infringed Holingshead's _Chronicles of England_ (1573). For the third movement of the overture to Theodora, Handel drew on a harpsichord piece by Gottlieb Muffat (1690-1770).
Cultural giants borrow, and so do corporate giants. Ironically, many of Disney's animated films are based on Nineteenth Century public domain works, including _Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs_, _Cinderella, Pinocchio_, _The Hunchback of Notre Dame_, _Alice in Wonderland_, and _The Jungle Book_ (released exactly one year after Kipling's copyrights expired).
I always tell people, music is a form of communication that predates language, straight up. It's been around forever. And it wasn't until about the turn of the century that they figured out a way to bottle the water, you know? Before that, music was a river. It was a river and everyone could sip from that river. But then someone came along with the idea that, "Hey, we can bottle this, and we can sell this water." And people were like, "Well, that's kind of cool, that's convenient, because I can take it home with me, or I can put it in my pocket and take it on a walk and have something to drink," which is fine. That's a reasonable industry, to go ahead and put some water in a bottle and sell it. That's fine. But the problem is when they start trying to discourage people from going to the river, or trying to close the river, or even worse, poison the river -- then it's not all right. Then it stinks.
And, for me, music is not an industry. Music is not even entertainment. Music is not just a soundtrack. Music is part of life. It is a straight-up form of communication, and it resides in every person in the world. And that's where I'm coming from in terms of music. That's exactly the world that I want to be… that's what I want to lean toward. It's sort of like clothes -- you live in a cold climate in a country that has these kinds of laws that you have to wear pants all the time, but basically, they're fairly artificial, they're a bizarre thing when you think about it. If you think about it, the whole deal is weird -- why does everyone have to wear clothes all the time? But that's the context in which I exist. I can appreciate [it] and I can go on with that. At the same time, when it comes to music, there are certain elements of what we do with music that are just distasteful. If people see music as just a living, they're just screwed. They're just gonna make something that's not music, in my opinion. But there are plenty of other people out there who are making incredible music who are not even thinking about money, and that's really where you're gonna find all the new ideas. It's always in the free space.
- Ian MacKaye - interview with Mike Watt of Minutemen/fIREHOSE
Chuck Dukowski from Black Flag said that he'd rather work a day job for the rest of his life than be dependent on his music for his living. That was in a _Damaged_ magazine article called "Apocalypse Now". That quote fucking blew me away. It hit me exactly where I lived.
- Ian MacKaye of Dischord Records, Fugazi and Minor Threat
Greg Ginn, guitarist for Black Flag and founder of SST Records: "We didn't turn down any free gigs, because those were the best. It'd cost us money, because we'd rent PAs, but I always liked free gigs because anybody can wander in. You could get different people at random, not pre-selected groups of people, and maybe they would get something out of it. That's how I got into music, through free stuff . . ."
"Words, colors, light, sound, stone, wood, bronze belong to the living artist. They belong to anyone who can use them. Loot the Louvre! ... Steal anything in sight...." - William S. Burroughs
"if artists want to make it big, they have to play the game... that one big hit for the record companies subsidizes all the other no-name arists that want to get signed... sure, artists can market and distribute it themselves, but if you want to be big, a superstar, with marketing push and MTV videos, then the only outlet is through the record companies and the marketing power that they wield.." - 2001 MTV Napster report - interview with Miles Copeland - loser suit brother of Stewart Copeland of the Police
which is precisely the point. throughout history it has been an increasing balance and even distribution of wealth and power and freedom. the old model of the one big hit supplying money for the rest of the people to get signed, is the same thing as the false promise of the trickle down reaganomics. there is simply no more room for the huge dinosaur rock stars that funnel in the wealth and buy castles and die of heroin overdoses. there will never be another elvis or beatles or rolling stones. things are much more evenly distributed because well, we're finding out that rock stahs aren't really that special. it turns out that anyone can be in a band, any shitty garage band from the suburbs can "make it big" through sheer marketing... talent is not an issue... any vocalist with a pinkie full of talent can be pushed into a studio with hundreds of thousands of dollars of effects/time and come out polished and ready for the mack daddy lowered car bass bins. it just took a few decades for us to figure that out. music and pop culture again reflect the process of real life needs in the real world. the "top" will crumble because the bottom will find it increasingly easy to steal it from them. and who wants to steal from them anyway? the only music most file traders are really interested in are hard to find stuff. stuff that would be bought, if it weren't so physically hard to find. the equivalent of the RIAA trying to stop online file trading is the equivalent of the phone companies creating laws to stop people from sending email, because "people are communicating with each other for free, and that takes away from our future profits of long distance phone calls (that don't cost them any more than a local phone call - another type of scam), and our projected losses are in the billions." and all the spoiled whining isn't going to stop it, no matter how many laws are being passed. the only thing the RIAA are looking out for are the prevention of their own inevitable demise, boy bands, and britney spears. the rest will DIT (do it themselves). - @Om* 3/7/02