13-Nov-2004 (Sat)
Wherein a blow is struck against "major label retardation."

Ok, guess what? It turns out that the extremely dusty amp pictured above never actually died. It is, in fact, still working fine.

More coolness from Chris Randall of Sister Machine Gun and Positron Records: the label is now doing releases under a license that explicitly allows file sharing and derivative works! They say:

Unlike those who suffer from what we like to call "major label retardation," we here at Positron! have never believed it was bad thing for our supporters to share our music with their friends. The Creative Commons licenses we use legally allow you to share songs from these records on peer-to-peer networks. In addition, you can sample portions of these songs for use in your own compositions, whether they are mash-ups for your friends, or a commercial release. The only caveat is that the resulting work must be released under the same license. It is our way of both thumbing our nose at the ridiculous state of copyright law in this country, and letting you, our customer and supporter, know that you are not a criminal, but a trusted ally in the war against corporate stupidity.

Chris's blog entry about this goes into more detail. See also creativecommons.org, and the cover story (and free CD) in Wired 12.11.

Another relevant read is this interview with Chuck D and Hank Shocklee from a few months back: How Copyright Law Changed Hip Hop:

Public Enemy's music was affected [by copyright lawsuits] more than anybody's because we were taking thousands of sounds. If you separated the sounds, they wouldn't have been anything -- they were unrecognizable. The sounds were all collaged together to make a sonic wall. Public Enemy was affected because it is too expensive to defend against a claim. So we had to change our whole style, the style of It Takes a Nation and Fear of a Black Planet, by 1991.