Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The road to serbdom

As a couple of plugged in readers pointed out, the "Road to Amarillo" video linked below featured British and not American troops, lip-synching a song by a British pop star. In retrospect, that only increases the emotional-visual complexity of the piece, as the Blair government lip-synchs American foreign policy and the English soldiers are used as stand-ins for Americans by the local bombsters.

The above lipsynch similarly shows an ironic European relationship to American foreign policy, put together by Norwegian soldiers, suggesting that once-proud Viking marauders are reduced to sissy peace-keepers by the United Nations and American policy.

With the emergence of sue-tube, it'll be interesting to see whether the holders of copyrights to karaoke soundtracks decide to assert that ironic justapositions of their lyrics with the karaoke soundtracks goes beyond "fair use". Bob Rivers asserts his ownership of the modified song in this link, but the piece only rises to the level of first ammendment protected mockery when the Norwegian troops add their ridicule of the song's original creators. The Beach Boys could have asserted their intellectual property rights against Bob Rivers, but not against the Norwegian mockvideo.

In a copyright-choked world, this piece could never have been put together. The irony is that a tribute karaoke or lipsynch that enhances a rock group's brand is discouraged by the law, while disrespectful interpretations are protected. It is a strange twist in the current conjuncture: if entertainment is religion, the legal structure of intellectual property encourages blasphemy and negativity.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone frittering away their precious hours pursuing litigation against these sissy norseman needs to get a life.
Clearly it is fair use and a bitching bit of video at that.

You know though, the whole issue of copyright around music
is rather dodocacaphonous. I believe it was one of Mitterand's finanical advisors, the Frenchman Attali, in
his post structuralist heyday tome 'Noise' , who traced its rise. He said that the ascendancy
of music as abstract representation from Bach to Wagner was a kind of prescient forebearer of the modern market, privileging individual free-lance creators, patents and intellectual
property. Royalities, reflect a soverign rendering to the creator. Or so I recall. Your speculation takes place rather in
the etherous last trails of his., ie: ebating Karaoke soundtrack fair use and defending this waggish group of wikings. But who to arbit these gray areas if not you, Borrow?

4:40 PM  

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