John Walker's Electronic House

CW 179

Copyright Watch 179

Sony proven guilty of bribery, again. The BBC defiant in the face of corporate greed. John Walker’s got that grin on his face.

It’s a happy month, Copyright Watchers. Sony BMG, one quarter of the record industry, has been found guilty of bribing radio station employees with free holidays and the like in return for playing their wretched songs. The court saw emails proving this scandal was known about all the way to the top of the company, and it is with delight we remind you that these repeatedly convicted criminals are the ones weeping over the unfairness of the odd downloaded Britney drivel.

More on topic, there’s been more whining and whinging from the record industry at the actions of the increasingly brilliant BBC, and their newfound understanding of how a decent-minded society works. Radio 3’s recent Beethoven month saw the superb station play every work by the composer, and then in an astonishing move, provide all nine of his symphonies, beautifully performed, for free download from their website. No clearer indication of the utterly broken-minded nature of copyright can be found than in managing director of the Naxos label, Anthony Anderson’s comments. “There is the obvious issue that it is devaluing the perceived value of music. You are also leading the public to think that it is fine to download and own these files for nothing.”

/Devaluing/?! He honestly believes that hearing entirely uncopyrighted symphonies for free (Beethoven is very slack in claiming his royalities) is to somehow damage the music itself! It’s “obvious”, apparently. And good heavens, just imagine a public being allowed to think that free things are free! What is the world coming to?

Ralph Couzens of label Chandos bleated, “If the BBC is going to offer recordings for free, that is going to be a major problem.” And he’s right. It’s going to remind a nation of how classical music always used to be free, for hundreds of years, until last century. Which is no good for their more recent greedy little ways.

The BBC have responded to the industry’s tantrums by announcing a similar programme of Bach’s works for this Christmas. Damn, we love those guys.