Jammie Thomas pays my music


In the trash they go. There will be no new ones.

Jammie Thomas, one of the most ordinary people in the western world, was just fined nearly 2 million dollars for having made 24 songs available for upload on the file sharing service Kazaa. (The songs became available for upload because she downloaded them – this is the nature of most file sharing systems.)

I get the impression that the court’s decision did not spark much controversy in the USA, and this seems reasonable:  Americans are used to farcical trials, where the best paid lawyers win more or less by default; so much more when the opponent does not belong to the ruling ethnicity. For us Europeans it seems strange, but once you get to know a number of Americans, you realize how little faith they have in the judicial system.  And if neither the particular crime nor punishment has any direct consequence for you, you just ignore it.  Mind your own small business.

The reaction here in Scandinavia is very different.  A wave of hate  and contempt is sweeping Norway (the homeland of “So sue me” DVD-Jon) and neighboring Sweden (harbor of The Pirate Bay). Particularly the younger generation vow to never buy a CD again. I am not sure they will stick to that always, but probably as long as they can effortlessly download the songs from file sharing sites.  Certainly whatever sting their conscience may have offered them before is now gone, nay reversed:  A deep sense of righteous glee filling them each time they get to stick it to the fascist recording industry and the corrupt governments that allow it to run rampant over the back of the poor.

My reactions are more mixed. I developed a pretty large software package for certain businesses a couple decades ago, and I remember the murderous rage I felt at the thought of people stealing it.  I would not particularly mind seeing them in debt for the rest of their life – actually how I felt at the time was that they were not really human and their lives worthless.  Of course, this is true most of the time for most of us, but I was still projecting much of that then, thus the intensity of feeling.  Objects and random strangers cannot incite such intense emotions, they always need to have an anchor inside us.

For the young and angry virtual mob, the anchor is no doubt the reasonable fear because they too have been sharing songs online, and probably more than 24 of them at that. The thought that their entire lives could be ruined any random day and that there is nothing they can do about it would be pretty upsetting.  (This does not in any way change the fact that this was a gross miscarriage of justice and should never have happened.) Personally I have bought and paid for my hundreds of CDs, which I am throwing away, except for the Japanese ones.  I am even more motivated to get rid of them now.  I do not really want to have physical objects in my house associated with the cRIminal Association of America and its lickspit running dogs here in Norway.

Actually downloading music used to be legal here in Norway, until the current mainly Social Democrat government changed it. Their minister of culture is still supporting the record label industry, whereas the state’s less political privacy watchdog is pulling in the opposite direction.  This is no great wonder, for the Social Democrat leadership is strongly in favor of the European Union, from which we got the current law.  This again makes sense since the EU is dominated by Social Democrats. As such it has an extensive bureaucracy with many leading positions that may be available to former politicians who have been good at wagging their tail, and with no more need for elections to maintain your status.

When I was young – in the 1970es – we had cassette recorders, which people used to play music casettes they had bought, but probably more often songs they had recorded from the radio or copied from one another.  This had been going on since the days of the spool tape recorder, about half a century ago.  Kids these days have probably not seen those contraptions, but I have one stashed away in a closet here, as well as a couple tapes with songs copied form Light knows where.  (Although by far most of my tapes are recordings of meetings at conferences in the Christian Church, popularly known as Smith’s Friends. I am keeping these for as long as the tapes may still last, or I do, lest they be lost forever.)

OK, that’s a pretty roundabout entry.  But I am currently working on getting Opera Unite running stably on my machine, so I can stream all those thousands of songs I have bought and paid to friend and family.  (Who else but friends and family would wade through a blog like this?)

I will come back to the actual address of my music streaming server if I get it to work stably. So far it stops working on my home machine with Windows, my old Linux machine is too weak to pull it, and the new Linux machine is only active a few hours a day.  But my intention is good, at least.  ^_^

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