Saturday, July 6, 2013

My thoughts on music downloading and sharing

You can blame Brenda (Living Simply Sassy Classy) for this as well as my civics/speech professor, Ms. Lisa Clark at SEMO University. I don't consider myself a "writer" per se, but I do have a lot of thoughts and I find those thoughts coming out in my head as possible topics for speech class.

A topic that has always caught my attention is music downloading. This isn't nearly the big issue it was 10+ years ago when Napster and WinMX were making the rounds and that's due to the fact iTunes and Amazon (among others) have started offering legal downloads. In reality, it is the pirate sites that led to the creation of legal downloads.

There is still the situation, even today, that a myriad of releases have never saw legal download status nor even CD releases. A case in point is Hank Williams, Sr. The man known as the King of Country, a man whose music is still popular today, has a host of albums that have never made it to CD or download. Many of his albums were "overdubbed" in the 1960's when stereo started hitting the market (his recordings were did in mono, straight to disc). The only way to find these is either online or through collectors who have them for sale.

I understand copyright law and the consequences for breaking it. I'm not one to go breaking the law on a frequent basis. I also understand the argument of "too bad" if you can't find an album you're looking for and it doesn't justify downloading it.

Last year, I uploaded a tune from a 1968 Hank Williams album, an album that has never saw the light of day on CD, to YouTube. I ran afoul of Universal Music Group and got flagged for violating copyright law. I challenged it and it was still removed for violating "community standards" and copyright law. I protested to no avail that they should focus their efforts on doing the Williams catalog justice instead of going after a small potatoes guy on YouTube.

I have the same issue with CBS Home Entertainment. They refuse to release seasons 4-9 on DVD. I have quite a few of those shows unedited on VHS. No, I haven't uploaded those to YouTube but it has been tempting at times to do so in an effort to say "look what they're withholding."

In the end, I believe copyright law should be revamped. If you haven't released something to the public after a certain amount of years, individuals should be able to share it.


  1. And per my friend Dana's recommendation, here is a link to a company who specializes in rare American recordings and not so rare. They've did the complete works of Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Jim Reeves, Johnny Horton and many others on CD:

  2. Hey Ron, Great blog! And on a topic that riles me up! If you really want to stir up the pot, start researching when music falls out of cocpyright and becomes public domain. I know Hank has only been gone the amount of time I've been on this earth, but it is worth a shot since I know I'm getting old. Again, great blog!

  3. I also should have said it's seasons 4-9 of The Beverly

  4. Thanks, Brenda. I think I blogged this way back on MySpace but the run in with YouTube prompted me to revisit it.

    I'm a capitalist at heart but the greed of record labels kills me. They are so afraid somebody is going to get a slice of the pie and they'll spend $1000's on lawyers to defend that itsy bitsy slice.

    I won't bore you with a lot of details on this, but this isn't the first time Hank's music has been subjected to greed. Hank, Jr and Jett (Hank, Sr's daughter) found this out first hand in the late 90's when they tried to license a batch of rare radio shows known as "Mother's Best Shows."

    The shows (72 15 minute shows) have been known to exist since the 60's. Collector's have traded them on tape and CD (I had the whole of the shows on one MP3 disc). Universal nor any of its predecessors showed any interest in the music until Jr. and Jett attempted to shop a record deal to release the shows to the public. Bam! Universal Music Group filed a lawsuit against Jr. and Jett. No interest in those shows whatsoever until they thought they were losing a share of the pie, a pie they weren't even releasing nor any plans to do so.

    Thankfully, a court ruling put these back in the possession of the Hank Williams Estate and Jr. and Jett got these released to the public via Time-Life.