Saturday, July 07, 2007

Wow! RIAA forces YouTube to remove videos of free guitar lessons

In their infinite wisdom, the RIAA has forced YouTube to remove free guitar-lesson videos, because the guy who posted them strums some chords from a copyrighted song as one of his examples. Is this even legal? What happened to fair use? Clearly a free guitar tutorial video is an "educational" application of copyrighted material? How can a new musician even learn unless they have audible feedback that what they're playing sounds like a song they know? I can just see the logical conclusion of this line of argument. And it's relevant to me, as I have been planning to publish some free resources on how to become a better Music Director for live theater.

Dear Dr. Fox: It's come to our attention that your published document, The Music Director's Survival Guide and Cheat Sheet, makes references to the chord "G11(+5)" and to the melodic device of "passing tones". That chord and that melodic device appear in a number of copyrighted works. You must withdraw your work to avoid infringing on that copyright.

It's stuff like this that makes me hope people will steal as much music as possible. Does the RIAA not realize that it is betting the warped, antiquated vision of its leadership and the abiltiies of its lawyers against a succession of generations of tens of millions of people who are not only consumers of entertainment, but producers of it as well? If Emma Goldman were alive today, she'd be preaching anarchy against the RIAA. And if I ever have an opportunity to criticize the RIAA in public, or contribute even a tiny bit toward its permanent demise and the public flagellation of those who are steadfastly standing in the way of cultural progress in the name of scraping extra pennies from the artists while they hold them down and rape them with curare-tipped barbed wire, I will embrace it eagerly. Disgusting.

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