Writing about music now considered identical to pirating it.

It seems like everything is being steadily reduced to one of three categories these days: terrorism, child pornography, or piracy. Mention of any of them will stop intelligent discourse with the rapidity of a falling watermelon striking the ground, and within the halls of government will derail legislation as surely as 1+1=2. When the categories begin to blur, however, is when the trouble really starts. In the past week that I know of (and probably a bit before, because this sort of shitstorm takes a while to ramp up) blogger.com was forced to delete six music blogs …

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The RIAA demands a cut from cover bands and coffee shops.

With stuff like this going on, you have to wonder if the mainstream music industry has pretentions to replacing the Mafia in its business practices. It seems that the major music licensing bodies (ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC, among others) have been shaking down restaurants, coffee shops, and other places where people can gather to listen to music, either over the radio or played live. Some of the songs played at these places were covers of other songs, which it used to be legal to do so long as you didn't turn a profit off of it, but no longer. Specifically …

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