If we define Internet as a wild ecosystem of hyperlinks that fosters a collective intelligence built up by e.g. swarms of anonymous users and protocols that do not discriminate between different content, the Internet seems to be dying. It’s atleast changing in serious ways. Why?
If your IP-address does something naughty like distributing content that copyright owners or publishers want money for, the ISPs are obliged to reveal the “identity” behind the IP-address if they are asked (e.g. Sweden), or shut down your Internet access (e.g. France) — without evidence or trials, as suggested by EU’s IPRED. And recently in Sweden, a small ISP was demanded (by law) to shut down the Pirate Bay or pay 50,000 euros, due to copyright infringement that happened somewhere in their cables. So ISPs are responsible for what flows through their cables. Hm. Hello censor! And according to a recent boingboing-article, this style is about to go global thanks to ACTA.
Even if it’s bad enough that IP-addresses (e.g whoever uses your wireless connection) are policed by ISPs (concerned more with profits/survival than politics), it is even more alarming when such procedures can be automatized. Youtube and its ContentID analyzes the audio of videos and pays a part of ad revenues to copyright holders/publishers. IFPI’s ISRC embeds copyright information into audio. Similar systems are likely to be demanded for open networks to satisfy those in line with 4 bloated music corporations, like with the re-launch of Napster. As my favourite doctor of copyriot says, copyright control is no longer focused on works but on regulating the tools/media.
And how does all this relate to chipmusic? Well, chipmusic culture as I know it grew out of the will to copy. Early 1980s cracktros used chipmusic ripped from games. 1990s Amiga demoscene lived the ruined dreams of hiphop and sampled whatever music they wanted in its own network culture using mod-files, BBSs and postal mail. In the 2000s there is keygen-music and online there is hundreds of thousands of (copyrighted) chip-songs nicely indexed, free for download in its original format, ready to deconstruct or remix. That situation won’t come again if corporate protocols and codes permeat chipmusic just because e.g. ISRC seemed like a convenient way of making a few MP3-bucks. And remember, Internet politics is not some obscure matter for a separate digital world. It is probably already in your pocket. Bzzzz!