02 November 2003

A Busy Weekend

Last night John got home after 8 p.m. from work for the week. It was nice to see him. He leaves Sunday night and comes back Friday night having done this since mid August.

So this morning, John gets up at a quarter after four a.m. to feed the cats. And then Rusty wakes him up at 7 a.m. by swatting John in the face. John rolls over. Rusty moves to the other side of John and swats him in the face. This goes on until Rusty wins. John is up and in the shower. After my shower, we take Moocher to the vet to get his shots. Rusty's attitude: Better him than me. Ashley's attitude: One down, one to go. But then we bring Moocher back. When Moocher gets out of his carrier, he walks up to John and gives him a talking to.

Since we do not have much time to get everything done, we do not stop to make anything to eat. We are off to Target to buy cat food so the poor guys do not starve. Considering Moocher has gained 2 pounds since his last visit to the vet, I doubt that is going to happen. We buy 60 cans. Then it is off to Lowe's to try to find something work-related. Our search was unsuccessful. By this time we are starving, so Ryan's steak house for their all-you-can-eat buffet is a necessity. Then we are off to Home Depot to see if the work related item is there. It is not. So John decides he will have to build one himself. Next stop: Sam's Club. We buy 4 tires for our poor car that has been screaming neglect. It is amazing how a tire that advertises it is only 68 dollars a tire quickly ads up with all the extra charges like sales tax, tire disposal, service charge, etc. So while we are waiting the hour it takes for them to install the tires, we wander around Sam's Club practicing extreme restraint. By the time we get our car back, I see it is too late to go do laundry which definitely needs to be done before tomorrow afternoon. And they are advertising that they will be closing the bridge tomorrow that leads to the laundry mat. I am so glad it is not tomorrow yet.

So, since we do not have time to go do laundry after Sam's Club, John wants to go to Books-A-Million which is like a candy store to a child. John shows extreme restraint by just buying 2 papers, and I get a free publication, which brings me to my next subject: Insane lawsuits.

While reading Free West Virginia Entertainment Guide *November 2003* Vol. 14,page 24, there is a commentary by Darwin Smith titled, BMI sues Huntington bar over karaoke show. In the article, Mr. Smith writes,"...No one is safe. Everyone knows that the Recording Industry Artists Association is pursuing grandmothers and small children for what they call internet piracy, and the Motion Picture Artists Association is ruining the prints of their own films to track internet piracy. But did you know that the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers has sued the Girl Scouts for their campfire sing-a-longs?

At the heart of the struggle between small-city entertainment centers and BMI is a dispute over what constitutes fair use, and BMI's renewing of the rights of songs that, did the company not exist, would have passed into public domain long ago.

BMI and ASCAP insist that every performance of the songs licensed by them must be performed in either a licensed venue, or by a licensed performer. However, karaoke jockeys already pay a licensing fee which is factored into the cost of their music catalog. This is why karaoke CDs cost more than common CDs.

Since the license has already been paid, fair use dictates that it should well be within the discretion of the KJ where and when these songs are performed, with no further licensing being required by either the venue or the performers who sing to the KJ's discs.

However, BMI and ASCAP's behavior leads one to believe that they feel you don't pay enough when you purchase your music. From their behavior, one could only presume that they want everyone who ever performs or sings their songs to be licensed.

For example, you shouldn't sing "Happy Birthday" to your kids on the anniversary of their first breath. Should one of the children decide to play "Spies" as per Orwell's 1984, you may find yourself the target of a $10,000 lawsuit leveled at your head by ASCAP.

This sort of behavior on the part of BMI, ASCAP, the RIAA and the MPAA displays an adversarial relationship with their own customers, which goes quite a long way to explain why all four organizations are experiencing a drop in revenue. ...

I completely agree with Mr. Smith. Before these wealthy corporations got even more greedy, we used to buy a lot of videos, CD's, tapes. Since they sued Napster and are continuing this insanity, we have completely stopped buying their products. I have not gone to see a movie in over 2 years. On television, I see a lot of ads talking about the "poor entertainment industry." This same industry forgets that they need us far more than we need them. And if they are doing do poorly, why are they living in million dollar mansions throwing million dollar parties? How audacious of them to expect sympathy from us. It is time they got their heads out of the sand and started realizing that their egos are far more inflated than their actual worth.

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