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Project Hudson DRM

“PROJECT HUDSON” IS a plan being hatched by the major record labels and some electronic makers to lock down music with a new universal DRM system (the New York Times broke the story yesterday). Details are lacking right now, but if these corporations get their way then all commercial music will be required to use a single proprietary encryption standard. Apple devotees take note– with iTunes dominating pay-for-download services and iPod dominating mp3 players, Apple may be the only thing that can stop this. We’ll be writing more on this topic as information becomes available.



Richard and Danielle from Kansas City ordered a bunch of major label warning stickers from us and went to the mall for some adventure:

Take a look at their handiwork.

In other stickering news, we’ve sold out of our second batch of stickers (6,000 out the door so far) and a third batch of 11,000 just arrived today. Every time we get a bigger batch they’re cheaper, so now we can send you 100 stickers for only $10! Order some or print your own.


We’ve posted several times about the damaging effect that the major record labels have on artistic freedom, both by manipulating the work of their artists and by using copyright as a bludgeon to prevent sample-based music and mix tapes from ever being created or heard. These copyright issues should be a concern to anyone who cares about music, whether you’re a post-modern theorist glorifying pastiche or a bat mitzvah DJ trying to warm it up (most of us are either one or the other). Hip-hop– much of which is built on samples and spread through mix tapes– dominates youth culture, tops sales charts, and is finally being recognized as the most creative pop music (by far). Copyright was designed to encourage innovation, so why is it being used to stifle innovation in the most popular and the most innovative music form? Simply because the goals of individual corporations have no relationship to the public good, and a handful companies have been behind legislation that turns copyright laws into property laws (for more, watch this Lawrence Lessig flash presentation). But we still have parody, protected by the first amendment, and this week there was a big victory for the public. Last year, Mattel sued an artist for making sculptures and photographs of Barbie in a blender in and tortilla and other places. They claimed that he was infringing their copyright and damaging their brand, despite the fact that the art was clearly commentary. This time at least, art won.

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