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Big Media Smackdown

by Paul Rapp March 20, 2013

  I’m happy to report that the U.S. Supreme Court got something right. Some months ago, we talked here about a case before the court involving a Thai student who bought inexpensive English textbooks in Thailand ...

In the Public Interest

by Paul Rapp March 6, 2013

Maybe the most obscene trend of our lifetime is this mania about free markets. It’s part of the racist Tea Party dogma. It’s central to neocon dogma. It’s why we have a sequestration happening in ...


Esperanza’s Boombox

by Paul Rapp February 21, 2013


A week or so ago I got a very agitato e-mail from the proprietor of one of those fine live music clubs in town. He’d just received a nastygram from a purported professional photographer hundreds ...


Baby Got Plagiarized

by Paul Rapp February 7, 2013

A bunch of people have asked me to write about this Jonathan Coulton/Glee thing, so here goes. Those of you who are over, say, 30, have probably never heard of Jonathan Coulton until now. The rest ...

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Sing, Sing, Sing

by Paul Rapp January 24, 2013

The Internet is abuzz at the moment as to whether Beyonce lip-synched the national anthem at the inaugural. I watched it live and was stunned at the performance—it was understated and controlled, and when the ...

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Take It to the Freakin’ Bank

by Paul Rapp December 27, 2012

Holy crap, it’s prediction time again. Looking over last year’s, a couple of purely wistful-thinking predictions came through—that SOPA/PIPA would go down in flames and that Mittens would get nominated and then get pounded in ...

Art of the Steal

by Paul Rapp December 13, 2012

Let’s talk about stealing versus taking. Let’s start with stealing. While walking around Miami’s huge Art Basel fair last week, artist Jason Levesque spotted three paintings that looked familiar. In fact, they were fairly precise ...

Happy “Accident”

by Paul Rapp November 29, 2012

Well, it happened again. Facebook blew up on Monday with a cut-and-paste declaration of “rights” that went seriously viral. It was very similar to something that flew around earlier this year; it boldly proclaimed something ...

Someone Call J. Edgar

by Paul Rapp November 15, 2012

I wasn’t going to write about the Petraeus thing because everybody else is. But since most everyone is missing the most important story here, what the hell. Here we go. A certain amount of familiarity with ...

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You Don’t Own It?

by Paul Rapp November 1, 2012

Several years ago, when the whole e-book thing was just starting, there was a bunch of controversy over what exactly you got when you bought an e-book. In one of those turns of events that ...


Truth in Labeling

by Paul Rapp October 17, 2012

  The mantra for musicians is “Screw the record labels.” Anachronisms, thieves, buffoons. Who needs them? Do it all yourself, you can make three times the money with one-tenth the sales. And it’s sustainable, and oh-so ...

Playing with Amanda

by Paul Rapp October 4, 2012

It’s time to talk, once again, about musician Amanda Palmer. A couple of weeks ago, she posted a notice that she was looking for a couple of musicians to play a couple of songs with ...

The Money Shot

by Paul Rapp September 20, 2012

In recent months there has been a flood of federal copyright infringement lawsuits that are having a severe impact on a lot of innocent people. These lawsuits are a variant on the P2P suits brought ...

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Gone the Way of the Buffalo

by Paul Rapp September 7, 2012

Last week I got an e-mail from a Berkshire Eagle writer who was concerned that my last article could be interpreted as saying that the Eagle ignored the story about the Berkshire blogger being ordered ...

Speaking of Pussy Riot

by Paul Rapp August 23, 2012

Unless you’ve been sequestered under a boulder somewhere, or watch Fox “News” 24/7, you know that the members of the Russian grrrl band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in a Rooskie slammer for ...

The Internet, Alcohol and EDM

by Paul Rapp July 26, 2012

Picking up more or less where we left off last time, talking about why David Lowery is so FoS in his damning of the Internet, tech companies, and the generation of music lovers who don’t ...

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Why David Lowery is Full of Shit

by Paul Rapp July 12, 2012

A few weeks ago a short screed by Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker frontman David Lowery about the music acquisition practices of our youth went seriously viral. A surprising number of Facebook music pals reposted it with ...


Real-Time Social Networking

by Paul Rapp June 13, 2012

Facebook vs. Twitter. They don’t really compete, but I’ve always thought about them in competitive terms, probably because of how they compete for my time. A year or so ago, one of my favorite people said ...

Open-Source Scholarship

by Paul Rapp May 30, 2012

A lot of what we talk about here is how the Internet has brought the traditional companies that trade in copyrights (like the film, music, and publishing industries) to their knees. This is largely because ...


Moron in a Hurry

by Paul Rapp May 16, 2012

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Trademark law can be a lot of fun. Some of you ancient folk might remember the great QE2 debacle of the late ’80s when Dave and Char Shortsleeve got a nastygram from Cunard Lines, telling ...

A Good Kickstarter in the Ass

by Paul Rapp May 3, 2012

By now, you all must be familiar with Kickstarter, the crowd-funding site. It (and similar sites like Indiegogo, Sellaband, etc.) allows for bands, filmmakers, inventors, almost anybody, to raise money for a project from the ...

Cloudy With a Chance of Infringement

by Paul Rapp April 19, 2012

I just became aware of a two-part article about what’s wrong with copyright law that ran recently on the business news site Bloomberg.com. It’s by the brilliant copyright scholar (and Google counsel) William Patry, and ...

Woolly Bully

by Paul Rapp April 4, 2012

The drapes got pulled last week on one of the most absurd aspects of major media culture—the MPAA’s movie rating system. The MPAA’s Film Ratings Board, the people who attach the G-PG-R-NC17 ratings on mass-distributed ...

The People in Gray

by Paul Rapp March 22, 2012

A number of folks have pointed me to reports that Internet companies are about to start some heavy-duty spying on their customers. That’s kind of right, and if you had nothing better last summer than ...

Google Vision

by Paul Rapp March 8, 2012

Gotta love this. The Wall Street Journal reports this week that one of the fastest growing segments of the electronics industry is sales of . . . television antennas! What’s going on is that, as ...