Wednesday, January 03, 2007


I.P., Freely

Madscribe Reporting:
(Okay, so I bit off of a very old Simpsons joke for the headline. It's post-holiday, and my brain is fried)

While the battle for crafting a modern intellectual property (I.P.) jurisprudence to deal with evolving technology rages on, and IT leaders like Google and YouTube push the limits of such I.P. boundaries, let us enjoy for the moment the availability of rare gems such as this 1966 music video of The Temptations, featuring Arte Johnson of Laugh-In (SNL and Mad-TV wish they were half as funny as a single episode of Laugh-In):

One of the problems I have with I-Tunes and practically ALL of the so-called legitimate music downloading services is the paucity of offerings to the discerning customer. Sure, if you’re interested in the latest warbling and butt-shaking of untalented pole dancers on BET, MTV, or VH-1 (or as Ben Folds so aptly phrased it in his song “Rocking The Suburbs,” “some producer with computers / fixes all my sh*tty tracks these days”) there is plenty to be had. However, try to find some lightweight 1980s chestnut like General Public’s second album Hand To Mouth, let alone some esoteric Frank Sinatra work like Watertown, and you’re back to sorting through used record store bins, or hoping that you get lucky on Amazon or E-Bay.

Case in point: I searched YouTube to see if someone had uploaded a video clip of the opening theme for the TV show Mannix. The theme song, written by the great Argentinean jazz composer Lalo Schifrin (who is more famous for the Mission: Impossible theme) was my introduction to jazz and big band arrangements as a pre-schooler in the late 1960s. A wonderful gentlemen who goes by the handle VinylJunkie1960 had uploaded a recording from the out-of-print soundtrack.

Now, I’m sure that some I.P. legal eagle would jump all over YouTube and our friend for uploading the recording. I would claim fair use, as it is evident that VinylJunkie’s intent is to generate interest in forgotten music as a video editorialist, not deprive the copyright owner of subsequent reproductions or sales.

Had the soundtrack to Mannix been available on I-Tunes, however, VinylJunkie’s post made me immediately want to purchase the whole album. Has ANYONE at the record conglomerates read The Long Tail yet, and realized that there is money to made off of the gems stored in their vaults? And do the music moguls recognize the value of people like VinylJunkie in generating potential sales and interest for a nominal cost to the copyright owners? In the early 1990s, Apple enthusiast Guy Kawasaki used to refer to such people like VinylJunkie as “evangelists.” They spread "the gospel" of the favored product, with little to no marketing costs to the manufacturer. It would be nice if the music conglomerates “got religion” and started moving more product besides Jessica Simpson’s inane screeching into the cyber realm.

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