Archive for September, 2009

Ships, pirates and bootleggers

I went to the movies the other night, and while the movie was good, if forgettable (thanks, Julie and Julia), one of the previews stuck in my mind and my craw. It was a preview for a film called “Pirate Radio,” about a wacky band of renegade music fans/radio station operators who broadcast from a boat stationed just outside of British waters during the late 1960s. Based on the true story of Radio Caroline, the film follows the story of the crew (and their fans) as they circumvent the state-owned radio of the BBC to carry rock and roll to awaiting audiences.

Apart from simply being the latest installment of the “how great are the 60s” psychedelic sideshow, the trailer got me thinking about the correlation between those, now celebrated “pirates” and their contemporary counterparts, those youngsters bucking “the system” by up-and-downloading music outside the rule of law. It seems, if not an interesting parallel, then at least a thoughtful comparison of the ways in which folks can celebrate a particular kind of law-evasion while condemning another that seems, on the surface at least, so similar.

I have about as little sympathy for the major record labels as I do for the BBC, and I do believe that artists ought to be paid for their work. And while I love the idea of “pirate radio,” something tells me that those folks on the boat weren’t paying ASCAP or BMI royalties to the artists whose songs they played.

So, I’m just wondering: even with talks of a facebook movie in the works: are we gonna see a napster movie next? And what will those pirates look like?


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