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BY Heather Greenfield
March 31, 2011

Repertoire Group Slapped With Infringement Suit for Performing Cage’s 4’33”

Plaintiff Says Musicians Played Minimalist Composer’s Silent Piece “Note for Note”

Washington — John Cage broke new ground with his 1952 experimental piece 4’33”, featuring a musician sitting quietly and motionless at a piano for precisely four minutes and thirty three seconds.  Now the famed silent composition is at the center of a copyright suit brought by the Recording Industry Performers Ombudsman Freedom Foundation (RIPOFF).   The group claims the Kaleidoscopic Symphony performed the work without permission at a March recital.

“I was just sitting there speechless,” says RIPOFF President Yuri Kordingus, who says he attended the offending performance, ostensibly billed as a recital of early 20th century Austrian composer Gustav Mahler.  “All of the sudden they break into 4’33”.  They were playing it note for note!”

Kordingus says RIPOFF has also contacted Sprint to encourage them to join the lawsuit because  “I definitely could hear a pin drop, and I doubt they got permission for that either.”

Reached late yesterday, a Kaleidoscopic Symphony spokesman claimed the four and a half minutes of silence on the stage was pure coincidence. “It was just intermission!” he said.  “Usually we like to break a bit longer, but we had a lot of Mahler to get through.”

Let the Punishment Fit The Crime For Piracy

Tougher New Penalties Expected

Washington — In spite of reports posted on WikiLeaks that the RIAA & MPAA have decided on a new set of punishments to stop copyright infringement, no official confirmation has been issued, but spokespersons at both hinted at what was to come.The two organizations did confirm that their latest scientific economic studies positively prove that the economic impact of continued “piracy” will lead to a global recession by mid 2014, and the starvation of at least 4.2 Americans by the end of 2015.  Their joint spokesperson asserted that, “In spite of the catastrophic consequences of such heinous conduct we have not yet finalized our corporeal punishment guidelines in this area.  We do believe, however, that it is time to make sure that the punishment fits the crime.”

Unnamed sources indicate that the internal controversy is not over whether vision blinding, for watching illegally downloaded movies, or eardrum puncturing, for listening to illegally downloaded music, should be applied.  Rather, there was disagreement over whether pursuant to their gradual response,  “three strikes” policy, a first offense warning would result in a one or a two year sentence to a sensory deprivation chamber.

Reportedly there is also controversy between the groups over whether the next Grammy or Academy Awards show would be the venue to announce their proposed policy creating secondary liability for parents of underage copyright felons, subjecting them to equivalent corporeal punishments, including forfeiture of all parental rights.

When asked about these developments, Vice President Biden indicated the federal government would continue to be guided by the core principle “Hollywood knows best.”

“It’s 10pm, Do You Know Where Your Children Are?”

Parents Sell Out to Download Police for the Answer

Washington — Government officials, hoping to use wiretaps to scan for online copyright infringement, have gained the support of a key constituency: parents of teens. This, after parents initially decried the administration’s proposal to spy on Internet traffic of those suspected of copyright violations.

CCIA President Ed Black fueled the opposition with a statement he made after meeting with officials about the scope of the proposal. “What’s the threshold the government plans to use when considering someone a suspect?,” Black asked. “Apparently, simply having a teenager in the home would be enough to get a warrant to wiretap.”

But today, the Obama Administration and the bipartisan group Momsters, which includes both hockey and soccer moms, unveiled the “Hack for Track” accord, in which parents consent to federal monitoring of teen downloads in exchange for government tracking information gathered from cellphone data on their whereabouts .

“This is a partnership of government, parents and teens,” said the IP Czar at a White House ceremony. “It’s a win-win-lose situation.”

The British Word for “Interoperability”

Washington – Jaws dropped among AT&T’s critics when they heard CEO Randall Stevenson go on record to say interoperability and more wireless competition are actually good things. Toggle to around 1:30 in this clip to check it out.

Shocking right? Luckily AT&T provided much needed clarification, saying the remark was taken from a conversation conducted with a British interviewer for a British television audience. Stevenson, therefore, was using British words, not American words.

“We need to remember that our two countries split more than two centuries ago, and so there’s been a huge departure in the nuance and meaning of words,” said an AT&T spokesperson. “Even if our CEO wasn’t speaking with a British accent, he was still using British words for the benefit of the audience.”

The spokesperson said linguistics was the sole cause of the confusion, and that AT&T’s underdog role in the European wireless market had nothing to do with the apparent contradiction.

CCIA VP Cathy Sloan, who has criticized AT&T for doing the same thing to small U.S. carriers that they’re complaining about in Europe, said, “Anticompetive behavior is unfair – no matter what side of the pond you’re on.”

Meanwhile Sloan said she could not confirm the rumor that Sprint/Clearwire is in talks to acquire Metro/PCS, Leap/Cricket, US Cellular and Cellular South. But Sloan did say such a deal may be an attempt for smaller carriers to qualify for volume discounts on local access, backhaul and roaming from AT&T and Verizon.

Nautical Nonsense

Los Angeles — Attorneys for Hollywood producers released an open letter to news publications today demanding they use the term “nautical pirates” when referring to those who pillage on the high seas. The producers claim the stand-alone word “piracy” should rightfully apply only to copyright infringement because, the letter claims, “that’s the most important thing.”

Inspired by the assertive wordsmithing, CCIA, in turn, released its own admonition to reporters not to use the word “theft” as a synonym for “infringement.”  And unlike the piracy issue, CCIA Attorney Matt Schruers says “we’ve got that 1985 Supreme Court ruling to back us up on this – infringement is not theft.”

Hollywood plans to celebrate the nomenclature change at next month’s premier of the newly retitled “Nautical Pirates of the Carribean 4.”

Happy April Fool’s Day from CCIA!

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