June 20, 2002

Textploitation.com and SMS

Ran into a cool site, Textploitation (while looking for http://www.techsploitation.com).Textploitation has some kind of government money for an SMS project. Those interested in such things might want to check it out.

Letter From James Newton About the Decision on Beastie Boys Sampling of His Tunes

Here's an article for more backround about this situation, of which I just heard of today for the first time, and am not claiming to know anything about.

Nevertheless, I found the letter below (that was forwarded to me on a mailing list) pretty interesting:

To whom it may concern,

It seems like a real "Weird Nightmare" to be writing you this email. For the last two years I have been involved in a suit because the Beastie Boys sampled a part of my composition "Choir" and did not contact me for permission. They did not change in any way what they sampled from "Choir". It begins with the sampled six and a half seconds and loops in the song over forty times. "Pass the Mic'" has appeared in CD, MP3, LP, and DVD formats.

The law clearly states that to use someone else's music one must contact and receive permission from both the record company and the copyright owner. "Choir" was registered with the copyright office and ASCAP in 1978. My publishing company JANEW MUSIC controls 100% of the rights. Nevertheless the Beastie Boys only contacted and received permission from ECM Records and ignored me.

The case went up for summary judgement one month ago and Judge Nora Manella of US Federal Court ruled against me!!!!!!!!!!! She stated as a fact of law that my music was unoriginal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The liner notes of Axum begins with a quote from the New York Times that "James Newton is the most accomplished and original flutist now playing Jazz".The year that Axum was released (1982) was also the first year that I won the Down Beat International Critics Poll as the best jazz flutist. The judge must feel that her opinion is more significant than all of the experts in the field.

The six and a half second sample consists of three sung notes C,Db ,C and a held flute harmonic C2, as a result of the combination of voice, harmonic and a balanced distribution of each a series of shifting multiphonics are created. She ignored the multiphonics because they weren't written on the score and said that there are just three notes in the score which aren't protectable. If you go to the Beastie Boy's DVD of the piece "Pass the Mic" to signify the song their is only my flute sample and a drum beat . There is a spectrograph that moves wildly when my multiphonics are played. If there was only one pitch the movement would be minimal. She also consistently used European paradigms to judge my music. An aria from Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas" and Cole Porter's "Night and Day" were examples of what is protectable. "Choir" is about four black women singing in a church in rural Arkansas. This work is a modern approach to a spiritual. As you well know, one would be hard-pressed to find multiphonic fingerings in most jazz scores, even when multiphonics are used!!!! If I'm writing for a classical ensemble I'll write out the multiphonic fingerings because of how notation is used in that culture of music.

Spirituals come out of the oral tradition, and if they are notated they're in the most simplest form which is the way that I wrote out "Choir" On the same LP one can find "The Neser" which is influenced by Ravel and is a 8-minute work for flute quartet where everything is written out except a short alto flute cadenza. I certainly didn't become dumb when I dealt with my own culture in "Choir." The urgency of this letter is that after unjustly winning the case the Beastie Boys have filed a motion with the court for me to pay their legal fees of $492,000 after they stole my music. I have already spent a considerable amount of money for a creative musician and college professor. This would, of course, send me into bankrupcy, and I stand a chance of losing my home and all that I have worked for through the years. If you can spread the press release around to your colleagues in the European press, it will help the cause greatly. The more newspapers, magazines and journals that this is placed in will help. Please inform us of any press that appears so that we can use it in our legal endeavors. Also any of you that are heads of organizations or lawyers please contact my lawyer, Alan Korn (aakorn@igc.org), and he can give you the information of where to send Amicus letters.

This decision is a dangerous one that would affect jazz composers and other composers that choose to write in other ways. I have had plenty of training to write all of my scores in the most eurocentric Boulezian fashion but why should I be forced to to please a Judge who has very limited musical knowledge, certainly little of the Afro-American musical tradition. The strain on this trial and subsequent rulings have been immense. It has curtailed much of my artistic output because of the seriousness of this situation. For many years I have tried to give much as an artist and educator to the world community. This is a time when I have to now ask for your help. I have never sued anyone in all of my years on the planet up to this point. I am fighting for my rights and the abilty to express myself in my own and any other cultural perspective that I choose as an artist. Please spread this around as much as possible.

Yours in music and freedom,

James Newton

Backlogged Bad Puns Over Dinner

During our celebratory Creative Commons dinner a few weeks back, Cory and Aaron were arguing about the randomness of numbers that come after the first billion numbers after the decimal in pi (3.14nextbillionnumbershere...then what dammit?) (Specifically, they were arguing about whether the distribution of digits in a non-repeating number is also Gaussian -- the answer is no, because of distributions such as 1001110011001010 -- Aaron won :-)

At one point, Matthew Haughey commented: "Oh my god, they're arguing over pi over dessert."

June 18, 2002

One Small Step Closer To Teleportation? Maybe?

I still don't really understand it completely, but something pretty cool happened over in Australia with regard to the hypothetical possibility of being able to someday transport matter instantaneously.

See the New Scientist article by :
Quantum Teleportation Technique Improved.

Great CARP Factsheet on Future of Music Coalition Website

I just came a cross an unusually understandable CARP Fact Sheet over on the Future of Music Coalition website.

Hey Kids, It's Fun to Spy on Your Friends with Spy Ear

I am speechless. Just watch the cartoon.

The bad news is: this isn't a joke. It's a real product. (And it looks damn affordable.)

Salon won't fix a glaring error in one of its premium features

Marc Perkel was interviewed by Jennifer Liberto and asked if he knew about Media Whores Online, to which he explained he didn't. She then proceeded to print an article saying the project got started with some funding from him -- and now Salon won't amend it or pull the piece.

Here is the exact language in question:

As best can be determined, Media Whores Online originated in Tulsa, Okla., in 1996 when a self-proclaimed "ADD Catholic with an IQ of 64" began an irreverent left-leaning e-mail listserv called RL-LNW, short for "Rush Limba -- Lying Nazi Whore." Shy yet passionate, its low-profile editor, Terry Coppage, took on right-wing agendas with cutting and often crude humor. He received some financial help from Marc Perkel, an eccentric computer programmer who ran against incumbent John Ashcroft in the 2000 Missouri Republican Senate primary, garnering 10 percent of the vote with almost no campaigning. Soon Coppage began publishing his commentaries on a Web site called Bartcop, and adopted the moniker "Bart."

Since the HTML version of the article in question cannot be accessed by the public at large, I've also created a plain text version for everyone's convenience.

Here's the actual Letter To Salon from Marc Perkel, but he also explained some of the details to me in an email:

I talked to her as she researched the article. She came across as if she were doing a pro-media whores article and asked questions relating to how sites like mediawhoresonline.com were a reaction to the failures of traditional news media.

In our discussion she asked who was behind the site and I made it clear that I had no idea - which is true. We talked about Bartcop.com - a site that I am behind and founded - with a guy in Tulsa OK in 1996 and I talked about why I was doing that.

I do think Bartcop did coin the term "Media Whore" so there was enough of a connection for this writer to deliberately confuse the facts. I think that mediawhoresonline was a bartcop inspired publication as are many sites on the web.

As best I can tell - this all started with people on CNN crossfire started arguing about who is behind MWO and made it out to be some sort of mystery or secret. This reporter who wrote the Salon piece did it from the perspective of smearing the left and to out the secret author of MWO. Having failed to get the facts as to who MWO is - she decided to out me and Terry as MWO.

Bartcop has dedicated an issue to her with links to many other sites that reacted to Salon's story and Salon's refusal to pull the story after Salon realized it was a false piece.

June 17, 2002

Two More Days Till CARP Decision

Here's a Christian Science Monitor piece by James Turner on the countdown to James H. Billington's pending decision on the CARP webcasting rates:
Why Internet radio may fade.

The Librarian of Congress is usually not considered a magnet for controversy.

But on June 20th, the eyes of Internet broadcasters and music industry insiders will focus on James H. Billington as he decides what royalties Internet radio stations will pay to record labels.

Depending on how the rates are set, some insiders believe the announcement could put some Web broadcasters out of business.

The issue of Internet-radio royalties was first raised when Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in 1998. This law, intended to strengthen the copyright protections of digital media such as software and CDs, also required the recording industry to negotiate with Internet broadcasters to determine how much artists should be paid when their music is played on an Internet radio station.

The sides failed to reach an agreement, so Congress directed Mr. Billington to form a panel to set the rates.

Henley Rags On Courtney

From the "and you smell bad too" department, we have Don Henley mincing no words whatsoever regarding his opinion of Ms. Love.

Check out the Vancouver Sun story by Kerry Gold:
Eagles still test the limits .

As for Courtney Love, who's also waging battle with the recording industry for the same reasons, Henley is quick to separate himself from the loud-mouthed grunge rocker turned Hollywood actor.

"She's not a part of our group, nor do we want her to be, because she's a pain in the ass, and she's a loose cannon. She's her own worst enemy."

But Henley's not finished.

"She's an asshole, okay? I can't say it any plainer than that. She is a huge asshole. She's bright but she's wasting it, because she's so interested in being a personality that that is all she can think about.

"God knows we have enough image problems to overcome as it is. Artists are known for being flakey, and mindless and self absorbed... and Courtney doesn't help us in that arena."

Mozilla's lack of default Formatting for XML docs Still Sucks

Well I just found the first thing out that sucks about Mozilla 1.0: it still has no default CSS or XSLT stylesheet when none is specified so you can view and parse, view and debug XML fragments easily.

It just means that Internet Explorer is stilll my XML Development browser of choice, for now.

There's supposed to be some way to configure client side stylesheets, so I'll try to go find that feature...I guess (shrug).

Distributed Chess, Anyone? Non-commercial Distributed Computing Platform, Anyone?

The ChessBrain Project (which "seeks to create a massive chess playing computer by utilizing the idle processing power of networked machines") and the The Distributed Chess Project ("Creating Chess Playing Artificial Neural Networks with Distributed Evolutionary Algorithms") are working towards creating non-commercial distributed computing platforms.

Dixie Chicks and Sony Kiss and Make Up

All's well that ends well, I suppose. The Dixie Chicks were basically demanding more cash and it looks like they got it. Good for them.

See the L.A. Times article by Chuck Philips:
Dixie Chicks, Sony End Feud With a New Deal.