14th February 2001

Napster & FREEDOM! [Napster Series, Part 4]

posted in `Roids |

Fuck Metallica!
Fuck the geriatric, 80 year-old Rod Stewart!

Napster’s future and how it effects art & the Internet!

Julie Strain and Arban:
Defenders of Indie Art!

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals filled the trough on Monday for the greedy record executives to get their snouts wet. By ruling that Napster can no longer trade copyrighted material, the law has taken the first steps from the court/boardroom into your hard drive to dictate what you can and can’t hear.

Now that the corporations are involved it appears that Napster will become a subscription-based service. If this is the case, then the powers that be, like the media conglomerate Bertelsmann who bought a large piece of Napster, should be pushed to institute an Independent Organization to collect royalties so it doesn’t end up like a Top 20 countdown.

Elitist associations like ASCAP and BMI are, without a doubt, unqualified to handle this job. Instead Napster should look to groups such as the American Film Marketing Association (AFMA), a trade organization for independent film companies, of which I am vice-president, to serve as a model for equitable distribution. Otherwise, Napster is certain to go the way of every other (now commercialized) medium; it will be a clarion for industry fluff like the Backstreet Boys and Aerosmith.

For a year and a half, Napster has been a shining path for independent artists to find their public. It has also offered the fans a chance to explore outside of the Geffen produced, MTV-packaged and Mega-Store marketed shite!

The corporations fangs are drawn
and they’re going for the jugular!

According to a recent article by the Wall Street Journal (hardly the most communal-minded company) 60% of Napster samplers go on to buy the music they download. In fact the last two years have been record setting for the record industry’s profit margins! Clearly this indicates that the real threat Napster poses is its variety, not its absence of cost. If you had a chance to hear The Grass Roots, The Loose Nuts or Flipp, there is absolutely no reason why you would buy an album by N’Sync.

Songs are now being shared like social diseases in Bangkok. 250 million files were downloaded over the weekend as users anticipated the unjust judicial decision. The ruling wasn’t hard to predict, as the courts have been little more than gatekeepers for the corporate syndicates for the past twenty years. They’ve watched as one presidential hack after another helped dismantle the Monopoly Laws giving Time-Warner, Disney and Beelzebub a stranglehold on art. All this in order to sell you Rod Stewart’s 80th birthday album, our sources tell us.

The Internet came with a promise of parity. It was a level playing field in which all the participants could distinguish themselves by their performance. However, the entertainment cartels need to tip the scales in their favor by manipulating every environment to favor their terms. For 25 years Troma has seen many mediums fall to their satanic ends, but none with the potential of the World Wide Web. Napster is the first straw, let’s defend it while we can.

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