The Oakland Fire

As some of you may have heard, there was a fire in an artist space in Oakland, California.The fire happened during a performance at the space of live electronic music. Golden Donna, Cherushii, Nackt, Russell Butler, Obsidian Blade, Piano Rain, and RADAR were on the bill.

The fire was severe. As of this writing, thirty bodies have been found, and most of the building has yet to be searched. All of the artists there have lost their homes and possessions. It is a terrible situation.

CNN is tracking the story here:

If there’s even a possiblity that you were anywhere near the fire, please mark yourself safe on this Facebook page:

(Incidentally, this is the first time I heard about Facebook safety check pages, which is a wonderful idea.)

Gray Area Foundation for the Arts has set up a relief fund through YouCaring:

(EDIT: There is a Facebook group that is set up for this tragedy, but apparently it has been taken over by spam nonsense.

I did not know any of the performers personally, but we had lots of friends in common, and this space is exactly the kind of space I would perform at.

My sympathies go out to everyone involved, the people who lost their lives and the artists who are now homeless.

I’m also hoping that this doesn’t become yet another excuse to shut down these types of collective spaces, which have been under attack (especially here in Boston) for years. Artists need these types of spaces; hopefully this will push cities nationwide to make allowances for them, so that they can exist legally and safely, instead of being more aggressive in shutting them down.

SiriusXM Loses To Turtles

Things are about to get weird in California. As has been widely reported, the Turtles have won summary judgement against SiriusXM for the public performance of their music.

Having read the judgement, and the relevant California statutes, it’s actually not that surprising.

California is one of the very few states that creates blanket rights in sound recordings, not just rights of reproduction and distribution, and the only one I’m aware of that doesn’t explicitly carve out radio and television broadcasts. SiriusXM’s argument that the rights are meant to specify those that are “left over” from federalization likewise don’t have much teeth, since federal copyright explicitly leaves all rights intact for pre-1972 recordings.

But legal wranglings aside, this ruling is going to create a whole mess of interesting problems. Here’s why.

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