[Reader-list] Re: Phone tone sequence copyright
arunmehtain at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 10 09:56:38 IST 2001
Hilarious story! Bravo, Helyer and Drummond! (Thanks for the pointer, Zaki!)
Copyright: your number's up
By FERGUS SHIEL
Thursday 4 October 2001
Tonal: Jon Drummond, left, and Nigel Helyer.
Listen up, they've got your number. Australian composers Nigel Helyer, aka
Dr Sonique, and Jon Drummond have copyrighted 100,000,000,000 telephone
You might not know it but every time you dial a number, you play a short
With the aid of a computer, Helyer and Drummond have notated the tones of
every imaginable phone number combination and, in turn, claimed the
melodies as their own. Next time you make a phone call, therefore, chances
are you'll be in breach of international copyright law.
If business can claim ownership over the elemental building blocks of human
life, the composers say it's only fitting that artists lay claim to the
"DNA" of business and are paid for it.
"We're saying to (big business), 'Okay guys, the boot is on the other foot.
If you really believe in copyright, you've got to pay'," Helyer says.
"I think Mr Howard will be high on the list. Universities. Lots of
corporations. We'll go for it."
The composers say their Magnus-Opus is a playful way of lampooning
copyright laws that protect big business rather than artists.
You can check your home, work, mobile, fax or modem number against their
compositional database by logging on to www.magnus-opus.com.
If your number is matched, the melody will be played, the notes scored and
a direction given to complete the licence agreement supplied online as soon
Helyer and Drummond, who've only just launched the website, say they've had
one offer of payment already. "An American guy tired of direct sales people
calling him has told us he'd like to purchase the copyright for his number
so that he can stop them," Helyer says.
The website explains in greater detail how the composers went about their
creation by throwing 16 tone pairs into an algorithmic generation to
produce countless melodies.
"The whole telecommunications system is entirely musicalised," Helyer says.
Magnus-Opuswill be installed at the Adelaide Festival of the Arts next year. "
Such a lovely piece, and in the spirit of the article, I had to violate
copyright and cite it in its entirity!
It is said, in the French revolution, that one of the leaders looking out
the window saw a mob rushing past. He ran out, saying, "There go my people.
I better find out where they are headed, so I can lead them there." That is
sensible behaviour as a "leader" in a revolution!
In my view, the law cannot lag seriously behind the way people vote with
their feet. Copyright is nonsense when it is so blatantly being violated,
and at least for 26 years now -- that's when the xerox machine came
seriously into my life. Which of these music executives that sued Napster
never xeroxed a newspaper article? Or faxed a report? Wasn't that equally a
copyright violation? Or is audio, somewhat holier than print?
For that matter, neither can business lag seriously behind in adapting to
technology, for there are fortunes to be won and lost here. The question
in light of the world of Napster, does the conventional music business have
a future? Of course it does, in nurturing and marketing talent. But no
longer will that be as profitable as it used to be. And who knows? Soon
there will be marketing agents specializing in pushing music through
Morpheus -- people who are more sharing than the current crop of music
companies. Maybe there are people who can nurture musical talent through
the Net -- people kinder than the music industry. Can the music industry
learn to live with the Internet?
I guess a similar question could be asked of telecom, radio, newspapers,
books,... they all have to adapt to the new realities, be able to provide
value of the kind that the Internet cannot, else watch their profits shrink.
At 01:16 PM 10/9/01, Zaki Ansari wrote:
>>Australian composers Nigel Helyer and Jon Drummond have copyrighted
>>100,000,000,000 telephone tone sequences (that make up most dialled
>Arun Mehta, B-69, Lajpat Nagar-I, New Delhi -- 110024, India. Phone
>+91-11-6841172, 6849103. http://www.radiophony.com mehta at vsnl.com
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