Senate Judiciary Committee Approves the RIAA-Backed Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act, Now Steps Away From Becoming Law; Senator Patrick Leahy Makes Damn Sure that He Gets Every Penny from That Dark Knight Cameo

On September 11, 2008, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported a piece of legislation called the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act, which passed through the committee by a 14-4 margin. If turned into law, the act would expand the federal government’s jurisdiction over copyright and counterfeiting cases. The RIAA-backed act grants federal prosecutors with the authority to slap P2P file-sharers in violation of copyright laws with civil lawsuits, while also establishing an intimidating-sounding position within the executive branch to oversee these more stringent IP laws — the IP Enforcement Coordinator.

I know this intellectual property rights business gets a little complicated, so why don’t I just let one of the original proponents of the bill, Democratic Vermont senator Patrick Leahy, explain the significance of these potential copyright laws:

I know first hand how important it is for criminal investigators, and the lawyers who prosecute those cases, to have a full arsenal of legal tools to ensure that justice is done. I also know how important the intellectual property industries are to our economy, and to our position as a global leader… The Vermont Teddy Bear Company relies heavily on its patented products.

See, the Justice Department isn’t using your tax money to pursue harmless file-sharers on behalf of billion-dollar industries such as the RIAA -- they’re leveling a crusade against evil counterfeiters bent on wiping out the wholesome mom and pop teddy bear industries that this country is built upon.

And combining what seems to be one of those MasterCard “priceless” advertisements with severe head trauma, Leahy further elaborates the importance of intellectual property rights to our national economy -- and the his own personal importance as a rising motion picture star:

I was once a prosecutor. I am now a Senator. But I have always been a fan of movies. My cameo in the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight, was priceless to me but we can put real numbers on the value of that production to the economy.

Mitch Bainwol, CEO/Chairman of the RIAA, cheered the Senate panel’s decision, stating in a RIAA press release, “This legislation is a welcome verse in a great song.” So, in honor of the RIAA’s victory over individual privacy and decent metaphors, I’m announcing the kickoff of the completely imaginary “The RIAA is Conspiring with the Federal Government to Eradicate All Traces of Internet Privacy in a Desperate Ploy to Recoup Diminishing Revenue / Name that Tune Contest!” Because I think that there is a pretty good joke somewhere in there, especially if I pretend that the prize is an original teddy bear from the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.

An Exploratory Tour With High Places of Steep Cliffs and Large Mountains Around the Continental United States

High Places, the beloved electro-pop duo of tragically flat Brooklyn, NY, would like to invite you on an expedition sure to raise the altitude and perhaps your blood pressure. They’re embarking soon (today, in fact) on a tour around the country to support their upcoming self-titled album (due September 22 on Thrill Jockey). But, brave explorers, this is not the main focus of their journey! Those among you who enjoy both glorious music and glorious views are encouraged to attend pre-show hiking trips at high places (See how it’s not capitalized this time? Comedy, people!) “near” each city’s venue. You are encouraged to bring:

- hiking boots (for rough terrain)
- light luncheon (for sustenance)
- parasol (apparently the sun gets way intense up there)
- baseball bat (to ward off bears)
- buttons (no clue)

Be advised that this band is pretty high-energy, so you could get left behind. That’s where the baseball bat comes in handy.

Ready, set, exhaustion!

* Dan Deacon

# Yo La Tengo

! Ponytail

^ Wet Hair

@ Peaking Lights

Huffington Post Has Nothing on Noise for Obama.org

Quick! Between McCain and Obama, which one is more likely to show up at a Nautical Almanac gig? Give up? Well, Brian Chippendale from Lightning Bolt and Brian Miller from Foot Village already know the answer to that one and recently raised the Noise for Obama barn. Noise for Obama takes on a multi-pronged attack, featuring artist statements from the hottest hearthrobs in noise waxin' on why they're voting for Obama in November, a place for fans to have their say, and info on registering to vote.

The Noise for Obama idea originated after both gentlemen changed their MySpace pages to an Obama ’08 theme. Afterwards, Chippendale, Miller, and friends noticed a lot of political apathy in the noise scene. It was high time to give everyone a little push toward civic responsibility. Miller wrote in the site's press release:

We were both concerned that a lot of people, both audiences and artists, in the noise/underground music community don't vote and may not have considered what an important election year this is. So I started writing to other noise rockers and found that there are others that feel as strongly about Obama as we do.

Check Noise for Obama for statements from No Age, Friends Forever, and Deerhoof. You can bet Obama has been pumpin' his fist to Friendship Nation (TMT Review) and Hypermagic Mountain (TMT Review) all week. Meanwhile, both Lightning Bolt (TMT News) and Foot Village (TMT News) are set to tour this fall.

SHRIMP SCAMPI: Fleet Foxes and Blitzen Trapper Interview Each Other

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Read the full coverage of MusicfestNW here, where you can also find more videos.

Thee Oh Sees Tour, Hopefully Honor My Request To Not Change Name to The Oh Say Can You Sees

Talk about great track record. Just take a look at Jon Dwyer's basic list: Pink & Brown, Coachwhips, and OCS/The Ohsees/Thee Oh Sees -- all pretty damn great. His current project, Thee Oh Sees, has not only experienced a few name changes (more like tweaks), but it has also gone through just as many modifications in sound. From its early sparse acoustic songs to the haunted, slow-psyche molasses rock sound of 2008 LP The Masters Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In (TMT Review), the band has maintained a high level of quality.

If you are a regular reader of TMT, you already learned how to be a fan, so it is time to take that knowledge and put it to good use. The band is going on a month-long tour of the USA, and unless you live in some out-of-the-way place (like Denver or Detroit), then the tour will likely hit near your town. You could also buy some new stuff, like the band's recently released live CD+DVD, Thee Hounds Of Foggy Notion (Tomlab). This live recording is a collaboration between the band and director Brian Lee Hughes, filmed around the time of last year's Sucks Blood LP.

Thee Hounds Of Foggy Notion tracklist:

Best Buy Snags Napster for $121 Million, Lehman Bros. Upset It Didn’t Switch Industries Overnight

Monday, September 15 was a bit of a free-for-all in the land of the big boy businesses, but the weirdest bit of news is this: someone actually paid for Napster, and even weirder, Napster came with 700,000 subscribers. 700,000 people still actually use Napster, though I would be curious to find out how many of those people still think 56k is cutting edge. I suppose there's gotta be a population somewhere that's stuck in the Dark Ages of the internet. Anyway, the lucky bidder -- at $121 million -- was Best Buy, which has ruffled industry feathers as of late with its venture into the world of musical instruments (TMT News), vinyl (TMT News), and local music (TMT News).

$121 million is roughly double Napster's estimated stock market value, so Best Buy must have a pretty good master plan as to how it'll make a nearly-dead digital music service work. However, it's keeping on current CEO Chris Gorog along with most of the other HUs, the same folks whose investors threatened to take over the company if Napster didn't stop hemorrhaging. Best Buy hopes to use Napster's current resources and staff to expand its digital presence in all forms of media, but it has a unique set of variables to deal with first. Napster currently sells DRM-free individual MP3s, but users who want to access a $13/month subscription catalog get DRMed. Also, Napster currently offers free and on-demand MP3s through free.napster.com, which probably won't make the cut. Hmm. Out of those 700,000 subscribers, I'm 100% positive that 99.9% of them will be cheesed off unless Best Buy can find a good solution for it all. The plot thickens... I know I'll be keeping an eye on this one.

RIP: Richard Wright of Pink Floyd

From an article by The Associated Press:

Richard Wright, a founding member of the rock group Pink Floyd, died Monday. He was 65.

Pink Floyd's spokesman Doug Wright, who is not related to the artist, said Wright died after a battle with cancer at his home in Britain. He says the band member's family did not want to give more details about his death.

- Richard Wright online memorial
- Richard Wright Wikipedia entry
- Pink Floyd official website (UK)
- Pink Floyd official website (US)
- David Gilmour official website

Dungen Storms the U.S. with Flute Solos in Tow

If you're like me, you're probably bumming hard on the fact that you never got to see Jethro Tull in their prime. Well, never fear, as Gustav Ejstes plays a psychotically mean flute, looks like he just dropped by to say hi on his way to 1974, and is bringing his band Dungen to our shores this fall.

Dungen, probably the most technically proficient psychedelic rock group currently functioning, will storm the U.S. with brain-melting visuals, a slew of new material, and courtroom evidence that you actually can jam out without ever having to resort to the dreaded "white blues" (I'm looking at you, half of Bonnaroo). No word yet on opening acts, but I had the privilege of seeing cock-rock champs Cheeseburger open for them in 2005. Hopefully this year's tour will be up to those standards.

This fall's tour is in support of their forthcoming Kemado Records release, 4, expected September 30. The new joint is, um, actually not their fourth record. Technically, it's their sixth, which is too bad considering the aforementioned "forthcoming" would've been a killer, monumentally creative pun. Well, Ian Anderson would've chortled on one leg, anyway.

Band from Brooklyn Plans Fall Tour! This Time It’s Yeasayer!

For many people, this band was the sound of summer. For others, the sound of Urban Outfitters. And for still more people, they were simply the band that released that album with the kinda nu-ravey, kinda creepy cover where the person's head is all a bunch of wires or cables or something, and the chest is made out of blonde gleaming hair. Hair! They are, as I'm sure you were able to tell instantly from that intro, Brooklyn's Yeasayer. Now that we've gotten through the whole intro thing and are rapidly coming to the mid-section and dramatic conclusion of this story -- because let's face it, there's not much of one! -- you'd be right to assume that Yeasayer are preparing to embark on a fall tour.

That's right! They are! They are going to so many places too -- maybe they are going somewhere near you? Why not take a look at the following dates, slip into a cozy Urban Outfitters novelty tee, and get ready to contemplate the meaning of that album cover! It's a person with cables for brain! Cables! What could that even MEAN?

*Chairlift

SHRIMP SCAMPI: Fuck Buttons (2-Minute Interview)

Read the full coverage of MusicfestNW here, where you can also find more videos.

  

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