rtmark.ANNSERV on Mon, 24 Aug 1998 17:32:44 +0200 (MET DST)

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NEGATIVLAND STOPPED DEAD (see also http://www.negativland.com/riaa/index.html)
  Contacts: mailto:mark@negativland.com (Mark Hosler, Negativland)
            mailto:hrosen@riaa.com (Hilary Rosen, President and CEO, 
                 Recording Industry Assocation of America)
            mailto:ray.thomas@rtmark.com (Ray Thomas, RTMARK)

The career of recording artists Negativland may be over.

Negativland's CD plant has told the group that it will no longer manufacture
their CDs, and Negativland has so far been unable to find another factory
willing to do so. The reason, according to Mark Hosler of Negativland, is the
RIAA's recent guidelines to compact disk pressing plants, which inform the
plants that they risk huge lawsuits if they manufacture CDs with even one
uncleared sample.

Negativland uses uncleared samples extensively, and consider this to be Fair
Use under the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act. Still, the group has had to establish
their own label because other labels consider Negativland music too legally
risky to distribute. With this new offensive by the RIAA, CD factories feel
they cannot afford the risk either, which effectively silences Negativland.

Many bands besides Negativland--including Beck, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy,
Nine Inch Nails, etc.--routinely use uncleared samples, but only Negativland,
Illegal Art (which with RTMARK's help produced Deconstructing Beck), and a few
others do so openly, and as an essential part of their esthetic.

According to Ray Thomas of RTMARK, whose Intellectual Property mutual fund
(http://rtmark.com/projectlist.html) is managed by Negativland, "The industry
saw how much bad publicity Geffen and BMG suffered for
trying--unsuccessfully--to clamp down on Deconstructing Beck. They realized
public opinion would not let them get away with such high-handed tactics, so
now they're cleverly targeting production, which has a much lower public
profile than distribution, but is even more important. The RIAA is putting CD
manufacturers in the position of policing what is and is not acceptable art,
and is thus very effectively practicing censorship."

The problem is a fundamental misunderstanding of copyright law, according to
Thomas. "The music industry says copyright law protects artists. But copyright
law as applied to samples serves only to protect corporate money. As the
recording industry forces this issue to a head, we hope that the facts will
finally become clear, and that the groundwork will be laid to change copyright
law so that it benefits artists and consumers, not corporations and capital."

Negativland's full press release, including e-mail addresses of many RIAA
employees, as well as a response by Hilary Rosen, President and CEO of the
RIAA, can be found at http://www.negativland.com/riaa/index.html.

RTMARK was established in 1991 to further anti-corporate activism, in some
cases by channelling funds from donors to workers for sabotage of corporate
products. Recent and upcoming acts of RTMARK-aided subversion are documented on
RTMARK's web site, http://rtmark.com/. 

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