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Re: [Fsfe-uk] Richard Stallman 1st seminar

From: Tom Yates
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] Richard Stallman 1st seminar
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2002 09:43:08 +0000 (GMT)

On Mon, 2 Dec 2002, Rogue M. Vox wrote:

> Hi Nick,
> good to speak to you (briefly) tonight at the LSE.
> forgot to ask if you got a recording done?

frog!  i meant to record it as well, and forgot to take the kit.  i
thought it was a good talk, though.
> I'm particularly interested to have a second listen to RMS arguments in
> support of music sharing... I was not particularly impressed by that
> part to be honest. If the FSF has for goal to achieve freedom for the
> consumers in that area, maybe they should consult some insiders before
> spreading a message. I could happily demonstrate that a system without
> record companies applied today would completely kill the average
> semi-professional musician and as a result not benefit the public at
> all!

i'll take issue with that <grin>.  i am also a semi-pro musician, and i'd
agree with rms that what big recording entities mostly provide is
publicity;  secondarily, thy're also finance houses, in that they advance
the money for recording (to be precise, they advance the technology
itself, and then charge it back to the artist).

he allowed that the first part is probably beneficial for the artist, and
by implication that it might be difficult to do without, and i'd accept
that.  but the recording technology is increasingly a matter for commodity

the recordings i've done have either been done by small private studios 
(the band has ponied up the money to have the recording and media made, 
hoping to recoup that investment from the sale of media), or been done by 
contracting in the expertise to make the recording (invariably on 
high-quality commodity-grade equipment) and then creating the media 
ourselves.  digital post-processing is also rapidly coming into the 
commodity arena, although it's not relevant to my kind of ensemble.

it is true that the recordings thus made are not of the quality of those
of the LSO.  but they're already 80% of the way and getting better, and
that's good enough for a small ensemble.  rms's excellent point that the
fraction of sales money returned to artists - 4% of gross - was not
distributed evenly, but instead went disproprtionately to large ensembles,
is relevant here.  why should i subsidise the LSO's superior recordings,
merely to get a class of recording that i don't need - as well as a
financial drubbing?

so i don't think there would be any major change in the status of a 
semi-pro musician in my field if all the record companies popped their 
clogs overnight.  i have no idea if i'm right, i just wanted to offer a 
> I liked his distinction on the type of work and the approach necessary
> in order to reform copyright in each case though.

yes, it was very novel.  i thought the questions it generated were
interesting, too;  i'm used to hearing rms speak in front of hackers, who
ask hackish questions.  last night's home audience was economists and
political scientists, and they asked different questions, which he
answered well when he understood the point.  he seemed to think fast on
his feet, too - the answer about "least protection applies" for
mixed-category works was a disinctly Gordian response to questions that
attempted to acquire higher protection for a work by categorising it aross
classes, and it was an answer that wasn't present in response to earlier
forms of the same question.

the question from the chap who was complaining that free software was 
useless to him because he wasn't a coder was pretty funny, though.  rms 
let him down lightly.
> btw I'll be there tomorrow at around 6pm.  If I can be of any help with
> leaflets or something, let me know.

me too.


  Tom Yates  -  address@hidden  -  http://www.teaparty.net

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