Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

Kim’s Video Raided

This blog is about media and culture and I’m increasingly thinking about adding a section devoted to copyright because its effects on ideas are relevant and because so often the subject gives me something to really go off about. Anyone in New York knows Kim’s Video. It was Netflix before there was Netflix. By that I mean that it had the most obscure objects, from music to movies to comic books and graphic novels. They’re on the edge and everybody who’s gone there loved them for that. So, of course, when they start offering special mixes of DJs from around the city, some Sony jerk gets word, finds out that one of Sony’s artists is on one of the mixes and tattle-tales. The rest, you can read about yourself.

Besides the absurdity of the “raid” and the fact that the police did not arrest the makers or distributors, but rather the close-to-minimum-wage employees, you really have to ask about the monetary outcome. I know Kim’s Video and I can promise you that 95% of their clientele don’t listen to the radio, don’t like mainstream music and very likely wouldn’t have purchased an album from that aforementioned Sony musician. They were looking for something eclectic, something different from Pop or R&B, something of a collage or maybe a riff.

Nobody wins in these kinds of legal battles. This is not copyright infringement as Rip, Burn, Sell. This is copyright infringement as Rip, Re-mix, Add and Sell. These “crimes” are different. One takes music as a commodity and just sells it at a cheaper price. The latter approaches music as art and tries to weave something new. We have to find a way to get typical corporate-types to stop viewing their intellectual property as some dead-on-a-disc commodity. New art flows from old art and I’m really starting to think that this same Sony jerk who told on Kim’s would’ve done the same to a good jazz musician in the 40’s who quoted a riff from a Sony artist.

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