Re: Copyright, - we won't solve it here

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#1 Wed, 1994-11-09 22:41
daniel plonsey
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Re: Copyright, - we won't solve it here

Trudy's right that we won't solve the copyright issue here in general, but we can make decisions about this specific question.

She mentioned Richard Stallman, who believes that all information should be freely available. I had an argument with him about this once, and found him to be as fanatical as anyone I've ever met: entirely unwilling to concede that there might ever be a reason for secrecy. The issue we were discussing had to do with gamelan music: Stallman was upset because a magazine article about an American gamelan discussed the response of Balinese musicians to the Americans. Stallman said that no one should feel that they own music, so that Americans have just as much a right to play it as Balinese, and to defer to Balinese as authorities is a form of racism.

I bring this argument up, because I think it's revelant to the question of whether anyone owns Sun Ra's music and poetry. Stallman would say no one owns it, and that even if Sun Ra was still alive, he wouldn't own it, and that basically, what Sun Ra did was present ideas which anyone can pick up and run with.

I consider his point of view to be curiously consistent with the ongoing exploitation of the world by people who don't have anything real going for themselves. I don't believe that music or poetry or anything can be taken from the context of its actual creation without there being some loss. One of the key points to making music (or doing anything) is to create for oneself.

I could go on about this, but I don't know if this is of general interest here, or if we just want to focus on the purely legal issues around publishing or making available Sun Ra's poetry. I'd be more inclined to try to figure out a solution that we can be happy with, and for that to happen, I'd want it to be something Sun Ra would have been happy with. I talked with Peter Hinds about this, and he says that he pretty much had free reign assembling the IE's he put together. Sun Ra only asked that Peter include "spiritual" photographs (he didn't like one picture of himself sitting at the piano scowling), and he asked for accuracy (Peter got an irate phone call from Danny Thompson, saying that Sun Ra was angry that a photo caption of Robert Barry read "Bob Barry").

Also, Peter said that it's possible that his friend who did some typesetting for his IE's would still have the text on disk somewhere; he'll try to find it.

Lastly, I would advocate that if we attempt an anthology of poetry that it be printed, and that proceeds go to the Arkestra. I think there's a gesture of respect that's made in buying something that goes beyond the economics.

Dan Plonsey