May 26th, 2004

Hypochristy?

Salon has an interesting article -- possibly subscriber-only -- on the file-sharing practices of practicing Christian teenagers:
A recent study commissioned by the Gospel Music Association found that born-again teens file-trade just as much as their not-saved peers.

"I think that we perhaps naively hoped that the Christian teens would have been taking the moral high road," says John W. Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association. "Among teens, they just don't see it as a moral issue. Ninety percent of them don't see illegal downloading as wrong. It may be illegal, but everyone is doing it." A survey of 1,448 teenagers, including both Christians and their peers "of other faith commitments," found that 80 percent had engaged in one type of music piracy or another in the last six months. Among Christian teens that number was nearly the same -- 77 to 81 percent.

And in perhaps the most chastening blow, in April the most widely available pirated film on the Internet was "The Passion of the Christ." The digital piracy tracking firm BayTSP found 36,693 copies of the film free for the taking, putting it well ahead of April's runner-up for the ignominious honor, "21 Grams."

The Gospel Music Association, along with its affiliated group the Christian Music Trade Association, has responded to its flock's cavalier attitude about file trading with a new public-service campaign, hoping to appeal to a churchgoer's sense of right and wrong. The slogan: "Music Piracy: Millions of Wrongs Don't Make It Right."
Since I've been known to occupy the moral high ground on this question myself, I'll offer the long-awaited -- by Steven, at any rate -- statement of my position on file-sharing.

I don't have any problem with people sampling music by downloading it "illegally," provided that they pay for songs or albums that they enjoy. I figure, if you listen to a something more than five times, you owe it to the people who made the music to pay up.

I make exceptions for tracks that are offered for legal downloading, but have made it a point to purchase records by artists I discover that way.

And I also make exceptions for music that is no longer available for sale, whether because it is out-of-print or because legal action has removed it from the marketplace, a la DJ Danger Mouse's The Gray Album.

I will say, though, that the difficulty of finding certain records in the stores here in Tucson -- I don't mailorder -- means that there is often a big time lag between the period when I realize I should buy a record and the time I actually purchase it, usually at Amoeba.

I also think it's perfectly fine to buy used CDs, even those cut-outs you see in the bargain bin which nobody has purchased before.

There's more than one aporia in my position, but I think it's pragmatic and fair.

My last CDs purchased at full price? I got Destroyer's Your Blues at the Club Congress concert Sunday. Before that, it was Yo La Tengo's Today Is the Day EP (purchased at ZIA on Speedway) . And before that, it was Modest Mouse's superb Good News For People Who Love Bad News (purchased at CD City) and N*E*R*D's Fly or Die (purchased at Target).

My last CDs purchased used? The acappella mix of Jay-Z's The Black Album (purchased at ZIA on Oracle); Burning London: The Clash Tribute (purchased at ZIA on Oracle); the Tuxedo Moon and Tarwater records I mentioned in a recent entry (purchased at CD City); In the Cole Mind: A Tribute to Fred Cole and Dead Moon (purchased at CD City); Czeslaw Marek, vol. 4: Die Werke für Klavier I (purchased at CD City); The Fucking Champs, IV (purchased at CD City); and the Kronos Quartet record with the cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" on it (purchased at CD City).

My last CDs obtained gratis from a label, publicist, or publication? The new Tortoise, It's All Around You and Roy, Big City Sin.

My last CDs listened to with any attentiveness? The Clash, Give 'Em Enough Rope (purchased at full price back in 1988 before Amoeba existed); Bob Mould, The Last Dog and Pony Show (purchased at full price in the Berkeley Amoeba); Destroyer, City of Daughters (purchased at full price in the San Francisco Amoeba); the aforementioned Tortoise; Trans Am, Liberation (purchased used for $7.99 at CD City); Caetano Veloso, Brazilian Collection: From A to Z (purchased at full price at CD City); Java: Court Gamelan, Volume II (purchased used for $8.99 at CD City); Kill Bill, Vol. 1: Original Soundtrack (purchased at full price at Target).

Here's my question:

Do I get into heaven?
  • Current Music
    Hey Ya! - OutKast - Speakerboxxx/The Love Below

Home Alone, Not Alone

Skylar's is off pre-school today for Shavuot. We're going to see Shrek 2 with her this afternoon, but I can assuage my guilt with the knowledge that, even though she isn't Jewish, she learned how to kiss the Torah last week.

Right now, though, she has happily ensconced herself in the family room, largely oblivious to my presence. Surrounded by her toys, themselves surrounded by a variety of cultural artifacts along the walls, she is happy being who she is.

This morning she was talking about being an only child. She's in favor of it. Can you see why?

  • Current Music
    Coma Girl - Joe Strummer And The Mescaleros - Streetcore