Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Remember the old adage "Truth is stranger than fiction"? I was just reading about the Senate hearing on Peer to Peer sharing at (the article can be found here) and I was mystified by this LL Cool J quote, courtesy of the wordsmiths down at MTV.
LL used a rather bizarre metaphor to render the practice of illegal file-sharing down to its basic element: stealing. "If a contractor builds a building, should people be allowed to move into it for free, just because he's successful?" asked Mr. Cool J, as he was addressed at the hearing. "Should they be able to live in this building for free? That's how I feel when I create an album or when I make a film and it's shooting around the planet for free."

His albums rarely shoot onto my computer, since I've never been much of a fan. LL Cool J may be the most successful rapper ever but he's definately not the Best. Sadly, his attitude is what is keeping the artists of the music industry beneath the heel of the Corporate Machine that feeds off of their life-blood.

Whoa. That was a mouthful. Let me explain. If Kazaa et al. were to become legally sanctioned, competing businesses, just like Radio stations or music stores, people would finally be free to download what they want, pay the artists, and cut out the record company middlemen. Warner and Sony wouldn't be totally out of luck, though. How many artists want to manage, promote, record, and release everything on their own label? Even with Pro Tools, most people prefer the studio for the technology and the expertise that real pros bring to the table. The record industry would have to survive by evolving, instead of trying to force everyone to live in their Pre-Napsterian era and forget that P2P ever existed.

So if Peer to Peer sharing was legitimized instead of being punished, the artists could get paid, the music fans would be happy and no longer law-breakers, and LL Cool J could spend more time trying to remember what it was like to be cutting edge instead of a washed up old rapper with a little "ice" around his neck. (Contrast LL with Chuck D, who said "P2P to me means power to the people," and "I trust the consumer more than I trust the people at the helm of these [record] companies." Even if Public Enemy is a little less mainstream, I'd buy one of their albums over LL Cool J's any day.)

No wonder Canibus called him out. LL is scared to play with the other kids, hiding in his crib, clutching the fame that used to be his, and trying to stop my Adam Green download in the process!

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