10 November 2011

I Thought You Got Five Years?

If there's a theme for today's platter of link sausages — aside from the dubious ingredients common to sausage-making — it is the Blues Brothers, and in particular the film. (We do not speak the name of its progeny in this household.)

  • Is James Murdoch the twisted, privileged next life of Jake Blues? After his "performance art" piece today in front of Parliament blaming everyone else for his lies bullshit during his previous sworn testimony, I wouldn't be too surprised if he shows up for dinner at a relatively nice restaurant in the West end and tries to put a price on little girls. At least Chicago is relatively safe from him — that's Conrad Black's territory.
  • The BBC's latest version of "penny wise, pound foolish" is its refusal to pay an additional £5,000 to a rightsholder to rebroadcast a classic series. Sadly, this is entirely consistent with the BBC's attitude toward rightsholders, ranging from claims of electronic download rights in old radio programs produced entirely by freelancers in their own flats to obstinate refusal to pay as much as 60% of the going market rate for the right to turn its old tapes of an author reading his work on the air into an audio book. (N.B. I have personal knowledge of multiple incidents in both categories.) The BBC appears to believe that its status as the BBC lends such prestige that no rightholder/creator/artist should question its valuations, let alone try to negotiate terms close to the market value. Any relationship to the preceding item is purely coincidental (yeah, right).
  • Julie Taymor may not look all that much like Carrie Fisher, but she's got her rocket launcher aimed right at the dubious "residency hotel" abode of one Elwood Blues of the producers of the Spidey Broadway musical. In law school, one of the first things that one learns is the image of law being a "seamless web." Leaving aside that later on (and certainly by the time of the bar exam), one learns that it's a seamy web indeed, Ms Taymor's demands might use law to bring down the webspinner... and, frankly, rightly so, regardless of the artistic merits of the production. Spinning off into another part of the web: If I'm building a Manhattan skyscraper, I have to expect to pay the subcontractor who excavates and pours the foundation. More to the point, I have to expect to pay the architect who designs the building, especially if the building is in the form of a unique sculpture. And it's my own damned fault if I was too cheap to get all of the necessary clearances and permissions during the initial construction and/or conception to do the things I suddenly decide to do later.
  • Another territorial rights claim begins to crumble — this time, Australia. Combine this with legislation introduced to allow states to more-easily collect sales taxes on internet sales, and there's a clear trend: For commercial purposes, anyway, borders will matter less and less. I suppose this means that in Australia, you'll be able to get both the in-country and the Western-languages editions more easily...