Saturday, February 07, 2009

Arthur Lipsett's 21-87 from the National Film Board of Canada

Ah, there are times when you find jewels among the muck. There has been a lot of discussion of late about copyright, creativity and the use of another person's work to build a transformed piece of art, music or video.

I wanted to share with you a video by filmmaker Arthur Lipsett called 21-87. It is a montage of video, images and sounds that will lead you to an unexpected place in 1963 that may resonate with you today.

Nothing in this current world was conceived without prior inspiration. Now I do believe in right livelihood and being compensated for your work and efforts. I should explain what I'm talking about first, huh?

Yesterday I wanted to post a video I had seen of Johnnie Ray performing his classic tune "Cry." I didn't want a photo montage or someone else doing a cover. I knew that I had seen it on YouTube so I go there to get the code. It had been pulled down for terms of use violation.

I wanted to share that video because for one thing very few people under 30 would have heard of him or the song. Johnnie Ray was profoundly hard of hearing. He had this voice that was clear as a bell and it made you feel something inside. Viewing his other work you can tell he was a precursor to pop music and Rock and Roll.

Now here is where it gets stupid. If you have a backlog of forgotten artists and you do nothing to promote that backlog I guess that is your right and your business.

But who does it serve to keep these artists out of the public eye? I first heard KoKo Taylor on the radio, it was the tune Insane Asylum with Willie Dixon. I heard it one time. Bone rattling good. The next day I bought the CD of her greatest hits.

I feel frustrated when laws that were created to protect creators rights have been misshapen by media companies and (I hate typing these letters) the RIAA.

If I could say something to the dinosaurs I would point them to the National Film Board of Canada's open film archives and say, "Hey, by freeing your older properties you can gain exposure, embed yourself as a cultural touchstone and gain supporters for your products."

These has been pointed out to them before. They will not listen. But if you do happen to see the actual video of Johnnie Ray singing "Cry" count yourself lucky that you were able to before the bean counters and musical history hoarders yanked it from your sight.

No comments:

Post a Comment