Megaupload shut down by Feds, who waited a day to not look THAT bad

Megaupload shut down by Feds, who waited a day to not look THAT bad

Yesterday was a pretty interesting day. On the one hand, The Internet, spearheaded by Google and Reddit, invoked a protest that included a site blackout (of which we were a part), enough to scare Congress and the White House into rethinking its actions on SOPA/PIPA. On the other hand, the Supreme Court handed down a decision less steeped in an understanding of copyright law and more steeped in the judicial branch’s recent tendency to nod their heads in agreement to whatever the federal government says when they don’t have a fucking clue what the case is about.

Today, another setback occurred in the War on Copyright. Department of Justice prosecutors, likely under orders from the RIAA, ordered the shutdown of cyber locker Megaupload, as well as the arrest of seven executives, including founder Kim Dotcom (a.k.a. Kim Schmitz) in New Zealand. The indictment cited over $500 million in supposedly lost revenue due to copyright infringement.

Megaupload’s tale has been a weird one. Last month, in a show of solidarity, several artists (including and Kanye West) created “The Mega Song,” showing their love for the cyber locker. Said song provoked the ire of Universal Music, who had the YouTube video of the song taken down temporarily on the grounds of non-existent copyright infringement, adding fuel to the anti-SOPA/PIPA fire. Just yesterday, it was discovered that the song’s producer Kasseem Dean (a.k.a. Swizz Beatz) had become CEO of the site. The federal government did not name Dean in the indictment, but it is possible that such an indictment could come later.

Zammuto (the guy from The Books who sings all pretty and delicate) announces new album; sure hope it’s pretty and delicate

Nobodaddy here, reporting from the trenches, where, for the past two months following my deft and dutiful reporting on The Books’ mastermind Nick Zammuto’s colorfully-titled Zammuto project and the release of its first single, I’ve been waiting outside his house in my 1993 Honda Civic to tease details about whatever release may be forthcoming from the man’s garbage cans. I haven’t showered since the YMCA kicked me out of their bathroom on Christmas Eve, and I’ve been surviving solely on a particularly long English cucumber and one of those “squeezable” bottles of jelly.

But now it’s all worthwhile, because I finally got a lead on the Zammuto album!

Okay, ready? The new Zammuto album is titled… Zammuto!?!? Oh, fine. Thanks, Nick. Oh well. I can at least further report to you that it’s coming out April 3 via Temporary Residence Ltd. But to be honest, I didn’t get too much else from rooting around out here. Not even a tracklisting. Fuck, let’s see: there’s a discarded DVD with a cool little interview on it that I guess I can rip and upload and post for you guys. And here’s some shredded press release scraps that seem to refer to the album as “a deep reinvention,” “progressive and forward-looking,” and “intense and driven”; but since it’s torn up and in the trash, I’m guessing that maybe Nick wasn’t happy with the wording. Besides, come on; we all know that it’s just going to sound like The fucking Books.

2012 Live dates:

02.03.12 - North Adams, MA - Mass Moca
02.04.12 - New York, NY - 92YTribeca
02.06.12 - Allston, MA - Brighton Music Hall

Meanwhile, here’s a stream of an EP called, yes, Zammuto - Idiom Wind EP:

• Zammuto:
• Temporary Residence:

Built to Spill go on tour to see their old buddy, you!

Doug Martsch isn’t a man with things left to prove. Over his 20+ year career, he’s conquered the worlds of indie rock and beard. There is no continent left for Doug Martsch to discover. When Martsch and his compatriots in Built to Spill make a move these days, they do it for love. In fact, Martsch said that he put out 2009’s There Is No Enemy because “I just thought you’d like it, man.” I made that quote up.

Keeping in that spirit, when Built to Spill go on tour, it’s not to woo a young audience. Let them find Built to Spill themselves. By the way, discovering Built to Spill is still an indie rock rite of passage, right? Never forget that summer I got Perfect From Now On. Anyway, sorry to get off track, but when Built to Spill go on tour, it’s because they want to see their ol’ buds out there. One of those buds is you! They’re going on a short tour at the end of February/beginning of March, just to see you, you lucky dog. Incidentally, you do live in California or Louisiana or Texas, right?

Built to Spill dates:

02.23.12 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
02.24.12 - Visalia, CA - Visalia Fox Theater
02.25.12 - Napa, CA - Uptown Theatre
03.08.12 - Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon
03.09.12 - New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
03.11.12 - Denton, TX - Denton 35 Festival
03.12.12 - Houston, TX - Fitzgerald’s

• Built to Spill:

RIP: Johnny Otis, R&B pioneer, bandleader, and disc jockey

From the Los Angeles Times:

Pioneering rhythm-and-blues singer, songwriter, drummer, bandleader and disc jockey Johnny Otis made the kind of conscious life choice early on that few people have the inclination, or circumstance, to carry out.

Born white, the son of Greek immigrant parents, and raised in a predominantly black neighborhood in Northern California in the 1920s, Otis decided as a youth that he’d rather be black.

The choice put him on a path to a life in music during which he created the sensually pulsing 1958 hit “Willie and the Hand Jive.” It also gave him a deep connection to black culture that helped him discover such future stars of R&B and rock as Etta James, Little Richard, Jackie Wilson, Hank Ballard and Little Esther Phillips.


“Today’s musicians are better technically,” Otis said in 1979, “but that’s not a virtue in itself. What’s important is the emotional impact…. Most rock or disco today doesn’t stir up anything in my heart — not the way a Picasso does, not the way the blues or gospel does.”

• Johnny Otis:

Bruce Springsteen announces new album Wrecking Ball, and we’ve got an EXCLUSIVE EXPERIMENTAL TRACK

Consequence of Sound reports that — according to those nifty iTunes Store preview pages — a brand-new album by our nation’s most treasured treasure is finished and set for release on March 6 through Columbia Records. Produced by Ron Aniello, Springsteen’s 17th studio album is set to shock long-time fans with its use of “unexpected textures — loops, electronic percussion… influences and rhythms from hip-hop to Irish folk,” according to a press release — not sounds one would normally associate with a dependably rockin’ guy like Bruce.

Lead single and opening track “We Take Care of Our Own” is available for download starting today, and you can listen to it streaming here, but that particular ringing anthem might not give a good sense of Springsteen’s bold new direction for the album as a whole. For those who doubt Bruce’s dedication to “unexpected textures,” we have an EXCLUSIVE stream of a deep cut from the album, which you can stream below:

A truly fascinating blend of past and future… we at TMT couldn’t be more excited to hear the rest.

Wrecking Ball tracklisting:

01. We Take Care of Our Own
02. Easy Money
03. Shackled and Down
04. Jack of All Trades
05. Death to My Hometown
06. The Depression
07. Wrecking Ball
08. You’ve Got It
09. Rocky Ground
10. Land of Hope and Dreams
11. We Are Live
12. Swallowed Up *
13. American Land *

* iTunes bonus track

• Bruce Springsteen:
• Columbia:

US Supreme Court gives Congress the power to apply US copyrights to foreign-produced works in the public domain; forget about seeing Rear Window in your Intro To Film class

Wired reports that the US Supreme Court ruled yesterday that congress may bestow copyrights to foreign-produced works that had never previously received a copyright in the US. This decision upholds Congress’ decision in 1994 to sign the Berne Convention, an international agreement set up to acknowledge other countries’ copywriting of foreign-produced materials, as well as to uphold US-issued copyrights in foreign countries. Since many foreign-produced works are still under copyright in their native countries, Congress has been granted the right to retroactively apply a copyright in the US to those materials.

This handy map shows the bigger picture across the globe, with European works holding copyrights for the lifetime of the creator plus an additional 70 years. This means that the films of Alfred Hitchcock (who died in 1980 and whose films’ copyrights are mainly held by Universal), for instance, are under copyright until 2050. Stravinsky’s work would be under copyright until 2021, 50 years after his death in 1971.

The ruling by the Supreme Court was in response to Golan v. Holder, a case brought forth by a collective of people who rely on foreign-produced materials previously not covered by copyright, such as educators and orchestras. The ruling significantly eliminates many of the works that these groups rely on for their livelihood and will prevent the general public from benefitting from their presentation, performance, and general availability in public places like libraries and the internet. Urgh!

The court decision came down 6-2 in favor of the plaintiffs, with Justices Alito (!) and Breyer dissenting and Kagen sitting this one out due to the fact that she worked on the case for the Justice Department before being promoted. Instead of keeping existing public domain works available for the public that relies on and benefits from them, the court potentially opened the door allowing congress to legislate copyrights. Since the only people who benefit from copyrights are copyright holders, even when the original producer of the works is long since dead, this ruling is blatantly favoring large corporations who are most likely to hold these copyrights. Despite the fact that the US Constitution says that congress shall define copyrights and patents “… for limited times…”, this is an unfortunate part of a long pattern of dragging out copyrights on recorded audio and video works. Good job, America.



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