But what, after all, is a law? [...] When I say that the object of laws is always general, I mean that law considers subjects en masse and actions in the abstract, and never a particular person or action. [...] On this view, we at once see that it can no longer be asked whose business it is to make laws, since they are acts of the general will; nor whether the prince is above the law, since he is a member of the State; nor whether the law can be unjust, since no one is unjust to himself; nor how we can be both free and subject to the laws, since they are but registers of our wills.
- Jean-Jacques Rousseau

I really like Lily Allen. Her music is not only clever, it's nice to listen to. She's someone I really respect and think of as an artist. Lately, she's gotten involved in the music piracy debate, probably out of interest in the issue from the perspective of a regular person. A regular person who knows nothing about copyright. This was made clear when people from TorrentFreak went through her sites with a fine-tooth comb and found that she was infringing a million and two different copyrights.

Fair enough. She's against filesharing, but doesn't have a clue about copyright. Most of us don't have a clue about copyright - as Joi Ito said last week when I heard him speak, we break copyright law every few seconds.

I don't necessarily agree with Allen since her views are a bit uninformed, I understand the point she's attempting to make: artists should be paid for their work. The problem there is that there are a million issues around that point that she (and a lot of other people) aren't taking into account.

The modern world, as I hope we were able to convince viewers in our short doc, needs to catch up and get over the fact that people download. Most downloaders don't have a political agenda - but a lot of them feel like the music industry had a free ride for 70 or so years. Whether old formats/media like it or not, filesharing is a reality. Copyright infringement is usually far from intentional and it's a sticky subject.

I think the main thing to learn from this great example is that no one knows what the hell is going on. That's why we need a clear, universal set of rules and regs that are easily accessible by everyone.

Ultimately, this debate is centred around laws that are no longer effective. Once the general public stops obeying the law, isn't it time to reexamine the law itself?
A little background on OpenMusicMedia – it’s an event founded by Jonas Woost (who we interviewed for Broken Record) and Dave Haynes (UK manager of SoundCloud) where industry insiders and music aficionados alike get together once a month to drink pints and talk about the digital music industry. I’ve been going since I discovered it a few months ago while filming Broken Record.

The past three discussions: music videos in the digital age, the culture of music and most recently, creative commons and its relation to music (you may have noticed Broken Record’s CC license) have all been incredibly interesting.

Speaking of Creative Commons, the OMM people didn’t just plan a discussion, they snagged Joi Ito, CEO of Creative Commons, to come speak at the event. I was definitely chuffed (Briticism!) and quite enjoyed the talk. Joi stressed the fact that he wasn’t against copyright – quite the opposite. CC tries to simplify and standardize copyright law globally in an age where the law is so complex, “You’re probably breaking copyright law every couple of seconds.”

“It’s complicated,” Joi says, “because you think you’re doing something legal, but you’re not.”

He also commented on the current evolution of formats in terms of digital media and advised the label people present (who I’m sure are already well aware) that “no one’s watching the kids to see when they’re pulling out their wallets.” 

In terms of Mr. Lessig’s legacy, Dave commented that there’s “value in teaching people to create things themselves.”

It was an enlightening talk all around. For more information about Creative Commons, check out their site.
Episode One! Check out Episodes page for more info.
Episode Three! Check out the Episodes page for more info.
Episode 4 - for more info, check out the Episodes page!
Well, didn't get much done today... library kicked us out at 5:30 - so I came home and rewatched RIP: A Remix Manifesto for inspiration. Added the CC (Creative Commons) copyright stuff to the site and threw up a forum. If you're at all interested in digital music culture, please to the forum and comment on the questions. We want to hear what you have to say!!

It would be great to get a conversation started. 

almost as ridiculous as this slick cnn reporter who's lambasting a guy who is in almost $700k of debt to the RIAA....