¶ 1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 As rhetoricians and communication scholars have long known, the way in which a debate is “framed” is at least as important as the manner in which it is argued. To accept a set of terms and definitions at the outset of a conversation is to accept the worldview that gave rise to those terms, and therefore to preclude alternate interpretations of a given object or situation.
¶ 2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 My aim in the first part of this book is to reframe the debate surrounding music, technology, copyright and “piracy,” by examining the historical circumstances that gave rise to our current understanding of their meanings and relationships. This is a necessary precondition if we are to have a more nuanced understanding of the complex changes currently taking place within our musical cultures and industries, as well as our legal systems, as digital networked technologies continue to grow in power and scope.
¶ 3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 To reduce the staggering diversity of innovative digital music technologies and practices that have emerged over the past 15 years to a simple permission/theft binary is not only to miss the point of these innovations completely, but to insure that they can never be effectively integrated into our cultural, legal and commercial systems. Instead, we must take a “first principles” approach to understanding the role that music plays in society, the methods by which it has been commercially exploited and legally categorized, and the reasons for which these decisions were made.
¶ 4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 In the chapters that follow, I will examine the coevolution of music, technology, law and industry, from the dawn of moveable type, through the era of recording and broadcasting, and finally, to the dawn of the networked age. Seen from this vantage point, we can understand what is currently referred to as “digital music piracy” as merely one in a long line of innovative disruptions, rather than the death knell of a static and unchanging industry.