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SCREWTUBE
by Charlie Finch
 
I'm an old guy. I live way out in the forest. Like a lot of old guys, I get up at four in the morning to experience the dark night of the soul and to relax I go to YouTube.

On YouTube, I watch real old music videos, research art-related material and savor ancient television clips of people like Orson Welles and Katharine Hepburn. But, a funny thing has been happening to YouTube since the inauguration of Barack Obama. Warner Music Group (which, for those who care, was conceived by the late Mafiosa Manny Kimmel and started out as a funeral home service before Kimmel's protege, the late Steve Ross, merged it with Time, Inc.) has been systematically forcing YouTube to delete reams of material for "copyright violation."

In case you haven't noticed, the "entertainment industry" has been desperate for awhile to soak our wallets in every way possible, as it struggles, with its old cartel model, to suppress the freedom of information-sharing in the advancements of information technology. "American Idol," for example, is a low-rent come on for young suckers, because it recycles crappy decades-old pop songs through a bunch of naive performers, and every time they sing one, a royalty check gets written to the owners of the copyright, who are mostly not the original songwriters.

Instead of realizing that YouTube could continue to be a promotional vehicle to publicize material for free, Warner Music and others are just gonna clamp down and control the distribution of culture. Here's where Obama comes in: perhaps you think Barack is the leader of new path to, among other things, more freedom of expression. Not to his Hollywood supporters.

Viewing the success of commercial YouTube-imitator Hulu, the Hollywooders are determined to use Obama to clamp down on information sharing as the price of their financial support. The floating of ex-Time Warner chairman and all-around hack Richard Parsons as a potential Commerce Secretary, before he became chairman of beleaguered Citibank, is not an encouraging sign. If electing Obama means subordinating cultural freedom to the same mobsters who have always dominated American culture under the phony guise of "liberalism," then we will remain outlaws, Obama or not.


CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).



 



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