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Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Relics: Buggy Makers and Songwriters
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My hometown paper, The Rocky Mountain News, just got around to publishing David Bernstein's NYT piece on piracy's effects on songwriters. The piece details the story of 75 year-old composer Charles Strouse, who wrote Annie and Bye, Bye Birdie. Strouse's royalties from his compositions have dropped by half since 2002, which his publisher attributes to piracy. The story is one of an emerging genre that makes the point that piracy affects the livelihoods of real people, as opposed to faceless corporations, from whom it is apparently much easier to rationalize absconding with intellectual property.

Anyway, the "pro-downloading" antidote to the plight of songwriter Strouse is offered by Wendy Seltzer, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She offers that the music industry itself is to blame for its problems, and further:

"Songwriters 'will have to learn how to adapt to the new technology,' Seltzer said. 'The buggy manufacturer doesn't have a place in the world of automobiles.'

Now, if I follow the analogy correctly, in the age of the automobile, there was no place for buggymakers. That means that in the age of downloading, there is no place for songwriters. Huh. I guess we'll really have to start loving the standards.

posted by Ray Gifford @ 2:03 AM | General

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