ASCAP Seeking Funds to Fight CC, PK and EFF

This is surreal to say the least. Cory has a post at Boing Boing sharing a letter sent to a member of ASCAP. The mind boggles at the suggestion that these public interest and non-profit organizations have more lobbying power than the music industry. Maybe ASCAP’s influence specifically is waning relative to the record labels but this characterization that the evil forces of free culture are conspiring to rob composers of their right to make a living makes my head spin. The plea for funds is insult on top of injury as ASCAP already generates revenue on the back of its members.

More seriously, this sort of sloppy thinking and rhetoric really irks me. It stomps on the idea that culture should be a shared and shareable good, not locked up behind the current effectively perpetual range and extreme reach of copyright. No one from CC, PK or EFF has ever suggested artists shouldn’t have a choice in how to exercise their copyright. CC in particular is all about giving creators far more choices beyond the flat assertion of all rights reserved.

I will avoid descending into a whacky Batman-Joker style dialogue of who created whom in terms of the rapacious enclosure of the public domain, DRM, etc. inspiring the desire to foster a new commons as the old one has been eaten away, followed by this latest turn. I will suggest that the real heartbreak here is that if ASCAP had sought a dialogue with any one of its perceived enemies, I know for a fact that would have opened a rich and rewarding conversation around how everyone concerned can support both our cultural heritage and creators trying to support themselves while contributing to it.

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