Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Birds Do It

There is considerable discussion about copyrights, intellectual property, and how all of that works in the brave new digital world on the web. Here is an article describing research into the evolution of bird songs.

Note where imitation, near neighbors, migration and competition for sex are strong determininants of the evolution of songs. Note where it is better to get one style and stick with it versus constantly having to hunt for the next new thing. Note that the preferences vary but how little the songwriter actually controls the environment in which they work, but rather have to adapt to it or find one where they fit.

Nothing about copyright impedes creativity. Territory can.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Apropos of the Daily News

Crediting my friend, David Blalock, for this one:

Who knew when this financial crisis began that 'bonus' was two words?

I can't improve on that.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Odd bits that show up in my world:

  • Get a drawing of Akhenaten, father of Tutankhamen and the first monotheist, and put it next to a picture of Barack Obama. Spoooooky. Of course, put a picture of Nefertiti next to Michelle Obama and there is no comparison. A good friend of mine, David Blalock, pointed this one out.

  • We've been having a very long thread at Jon Taplin's blog on DRM, copyrights, and so on. What if all you had to do to copyright a song was to fill out a form and upload an mp3 on the web? Wouldn't that be cheaper? What if we treated songs like software and released alpha, beta versions and updates? Some of us (me included) do, but then I'm not part of the industry where rights to first recording and publication are a very big deal. One thing is certain, we get a lot of advice and criticism from people who don't do any of this for a living; they just want free music anyway they can get it. And yes, that includes Kevin Kelly.

  • Is it better to be good than lucky? Only if you want to get lucky twice.

  • So the manager tells him, "I'm sure the next person doing your job won't be as good as you are. Six people have had your job so far and every one of them was worse than the one before them.

  • The story of Noah and the Ark always seemed cruel when I was a kid. As an adult, I found out that the Bible was a heavily edited book and the parts of the story that would have made sense were in a banned book, The Book of Enoch. Oddly enough, it was an informative and possibly normative text in its day because even Jesus quotes from it. But he wasn't an authority then.... anywho, the flood not only got rid of the bad people, but several species of demons roaming the Earth in those days because wicked angels knocked up willing human women and their offspring were chips off the old block.

  • Or so the stories go. The power of text over time is one of the true wonders of life among the mammals... at least until blogging was invented and the power meter went sub-db. Copyright everything. Cheap tricks are the essence of the market when the customer wants it for free and you have to make a living off of volume instead of quality and originality.

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