I'm back from SXSW. The Darknets panel was a good and touched on some of the copyright issues. Personally, I think a system where something like "The Grey Album" is illegal, doesn't work. Now the MPAA (they had a representative on the panel) and the RIAA still look at this as theft. As long as that's the case, things are not going to change. And they certainly won't listen to me as an individual on the issue. But if people in aggregate willfully disregard these laws where they're just plain stupid, I think, they'll be forced to come up with some sort of solution. Just as background - I come at this as an artist who very much respects people's right to get paid for their work and on the other hand I also believe that by contributing to and participating in culture (popular and otherwise) you give up total control over your work. A few years ago I made a short film about my brother and I playing Star Trek as kids (here's the link all you fellow Star Trek nerds: http://www.michaelverdi.com/video/mjplaystartrek.mov ). I wrote to Paramount asking for the right to use the tricorder and transporter sounds. What I got back from them was a letter explaining how I could not use (with no option to license for a fee) those sounds along with the words "Spock", "Enterprise" or "Phaser." I just think that's complete bullshit. We didn't play Star Voyages as kids or run around with Quadcorders or something. It was Star Trek. Those are my memories and this film is my way of remembering. I don't really give a shit if you've trademarked that stuff - it's part of the culture and they've benefited from that by both ripping lots of others off in the ideas behind it and in the billions of dollars they've made because of it.


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