Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bookmarks: Some stuff to read on the internet - Copyright

Thanks to James P for the tip-off about Ars Technica's piece on 100 years of the content industry calling for technology to be stopped before it ruins their business. Take, for example, John Philip Sousa, pointing at the recorder-music machines which surely would... well, kill us all:

"From the days when the mathematical and mechanical were paramount in music, the struggle has been bitter and incessant for the sway of the emotional and the soulful," he wrote. "And now in this the twentieth century come these talking and playing machines and offer again to reduce the expression of music to a mathematical system of megaphones, wheels, cogs, disks, cylinders, and all manner of revolving things which are as like real art as the marble statue of Eve is like her beautiful living breathing daughters."

In fact, things were so bad that amateur music-making was threatened, something that could lead indirectly to the rampant sissification of the entire country. "Under such conditions," Sousa believed, "the tide of amateurism cannot but recede until there will be left only the mechanical device and the professional executant. Singing will no longer be a fine accomplishment; vocal exercises so important a factor in the curriculum of physical culture will be out of vogue. Then what of the national throat? Will it not weaken? What of the national chest? Will it not shrink?"