Respect for copyright

Wolver­ine is not amused.

I’ve argued before in this blog about the con­strict­ing ele­ments of copy­right: that the mate­r­ial you are look­ing for is harder to come by in legit­i­mate form. (The full score of Doc­tor Atomic? The piano/vocal score?)

Here’s an exam­ple of cross­ing the line with copy­right: On April 1, 2009, thou­sands of peo­ple were able to watch an online, unfin­ished cut of X-Men Ori­gins: Wolver­ine. This film is not due to open for sev­eral weeks. First of all, piracy of this sort is just plain theft. Peo­ple have ded­i­cated months if not years to real­iz­ing this film, and salaries are paid to not only Hugh Jack­man but also, say, the caterer. Steal­ing the film reduces the eco­nomic incen­tive to pro­vide work to the public.

Equally annoy­ing is that this is not even a final cut of the film! Let’s put this in com­poser per­spec­tive: Imag­ine you have been com­mis­sioned to write a sym­phony to the New York Phil­har­monic. (It’s okay to imag­ine big!) Now, sup­pose you are lis­ten­ing to your MIDI mock-up of the score–and we all know how bad those can sound — and you are con­sid­er­ing adding a sec­tion to your slow move­ment, and maybe cut­ting a large por­tion out of the third move­ment, Why? Because you think it will bet­ter serve your aes­thetic inten­tions. Now sup­pose you dis­cover your MIDI mock-up of your incom­plete mas­ter­pieces sud­denly hits the inter­net some­how. You are embar­rassed because it is not your com­plete vision, the NY Phil is angry because they want the pre­miere with all its atten­dant excite­ment, etc. etc. etc.

The point: we should sup­port the arts we like, just as much as we expect to be sup­ported as artists. To be audi­ences of art car­ries resposnsibility.

About Richard D. Russell

This was written by Richard D. Russell, New York City based composer of fine music.