Music "property" in the 21st Century

by phil on Wednesday Jun 25, 2008 9:13 AM

I just read that the Beatles are considering on making their own Guitar Hero video game. This is a godsend to fans and not a bastardization of The Beatles. Nor is it "selling out." Everybody wants to play their favorite band on Guitar Hero.

The same goes for ringtones. Does anybody think nowadays that it's smart for any band to prevent fans on iTunes from turning their songs into ringtones? Nobody thinks that, in a serious way. But the default mindset is that media exists in a stable of intellectual property that needs to be slowly let out of the gates, and only through commercially viable means. This is sad because I wanted a ringtone for the Ting Tings and Vampire Weekend, and iTunes didn't have them available. This has probably to do with the dinosaur lethargy of the record companies that makes enabling ringtones some separate other kind of negotiation. Ringtone-making should be a default feature inherent to all music. I'm sure Steve Jobs would like anybody to create ringtones from any song in their iTunes library, but his hands are tied to these record companies.

Further Googling, now, has shown me how to workaround this limitation, and now I can make ringtones for free. This wouldn't have occurred to me had ringtone-making been enabled by default on all iTunes songs. This would also eliminate the market for those spy-ware, virus-laden "free ringtones" software.

Not only do I want freedom to make ringtones and play them on Guitar Hero, I'd like to get the karaoke CDG versions of my music. Creating a CDG file doesn't take long to create, but they are illegal to distribute.

I'm not sure how this can work politically, though. Would the makers of Guitar Hero be forced by a totalitarian government to make their platform open? Maybe the way is to limit enforcement. Guitar Hero knock-offs, like Score Hero, for example, should maybe be acceptable, as long as they're free. I'd have to think more about that.

Regardless, one can just accept reality as it is. One of my friends in college told me he wanted to be an Intellectual Property lawyer. I think he'll have a job for a really long time.

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