Sunday, March 18, 2007

Who's that a-writin'?

This post is just an experiment to see if I can have audio examples on this blog using a Flash-based player. This player was created by 1pixelout, and I followed the Blogger-specific instructions from here. Let me know if it doesn't work for you! Older computers, and those without a Flash plug-in installed, might have difficulty.

This is a clip of Blind Willie Johnson singing "John the Revelator," one of the tracks recorded for the 1927-1930 Columbia sessions. I just finished reading 30 undergraduate writing assignments about this tune, so I am now something of an expert. Well, an expert in the weird ways that an undergraduate--with little training in analyzing pop music and a deep willingness to trust Wikipedia--can listen to this song. It is a pretty bizarre little tune, I have to say, and I can't really blame them for having trouble with it.

Is it legal to have a clip of a copyrighted song here? Well, the legality of such things is actually highly unclear. There has yet to be a definitive court case on the subject, and fair use statutes are very vague and outdated. Few people have gotten in trouble with having clips that are less than a minute long, since that is more or less the equivalent of providing a short quote from a book. Certain online music journals have used the "one minute example" as a good rule of thumb, although as a non-profit academic journal, there might be a better case for Fair Use than for a personal blog. But who knows, really. I feel like that if I am only have a clip, and if I am making it at least mildly more difficult to download thanks to the Flash player, I've covered my bases as much as I can.


vapaamies said...

Dear Matthew,

I love your blog and am glad to find you are out there doing what you do best. Droit de seigneur really cracked me up, the delivery quintessential Guerrieri, and I could hear your voice while reading it. In fact I can hear your voice a lot. I should see a doctor about that. How do I email you?

I enjoyed the sound clip. Tell me what Wikipedia will not about that tune!

As always,

Alex Freeman

BBound said...

Alex, I suspect you might have meant to have posted this comment over at SoHo the Dog!

vapaamies said...

Woops! Yeah... thanks! I'll copy-paste it.