You Say You Want a Revolution: Music & Technology–Evolution or Destruction?


Image by Fred Rockwood on Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Gateway’s recent “RipBurnRespect” advertising campaign subtly placed such terms as copyright protection, digital encryption, and fair use in the background of sexy commercials playing during afternoon television programming. It seems that even daytime programming has succumbed to the seduction of copyright law. Once a tired, dust-covered text resting on the shelves next to the tax code, copyright law is in the middle of glossy ads filled with vibrant colors and images flashing quicker than a beating heart. Tired and ignored, copyright law has been awakening with a vengeance, placing it on the list of nifty things to sound heady about over a scotch on the rocks. Yes, copyright law. We are all well-acquainted with the “copy” function in Microsoft Word and the ease of downloading images, text, music, and films online. It is not surprising that the ability to create a perfect copy with the click of a mouse has stirred the sleeping beast. In the realm of sound recordings, even one copy is equal to infringement.

In the wake of brilliantly written articles and books addressing the phoenix that is copyrights, this discussion humbly stops, looks back, and asks “Why?” merely as an exercise in masturbatory thinking. Nothing new or useful is likely to emerge from this discussion except possibly the ability to throw into the conversation fun words like “piracy” and “anti-circumvention.” So, when it boils down to rip, mix, and burn or “RipBurnRespect,” how should we adjust to the needs of the market and the needs of the consumer in light of the constitutional purpose behind the monopoly grant?

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Rebekah O’Hara, You Say You Want a Revolution: Music & Technology–Evolution or Destruction?, 39 Gonz. L. Rev. 247 (2004).

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