NEWSFLASH! In September I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside the legendry Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as economics editor in my own right.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

On this site are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC over the past few decades. I recommend the Search function. The site is a record for you, as well as me.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why does Elton do it? Intellectual property question


Tight. Flawless. Incredible sound. That was Elton John, at the Canberra Stadium Wednesday.

I don't often go to concerts, but two things surprised me.

1. There was attempt whatsoever to stop people making their own videos (maybe that's impossible these days).

2. As we left the stadium listening to the car radio we heard the concert replayed on Mix 106.3. Really. The very same concert. The "brought to you by" radio station had taped the whole thing straight from the mixing desk and was playing it back, song by perfectly-mixed song, ad lib by ad lib.

It made the concert experience richer, thicker, more long-lasting. For my daughter, who has grown up during the digital age, it validated the experience - made it more real.

Clearly Elton doesn't mind bootlegs. He probably sees them as advertisements, gathering an audience for his next concert.

It's light years from the days when academics would give lectures in the dark so students couldn't take notes (believing that if notes were in circulation students wouldn't pay to go to lectures) and when movie studios forbade the release of their songs on records (believing that if people could hear the songs on records they wouldn't pay to hear them at the movies).

Oh yes. And in 1970 Australian record companies forbade the playing of their records on commercial radio, apparently believing that if they weren't heard on radio music lovers would rush to buy them.





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