Questions - you got 'em; answers - we got 'em

87 For every ACTA there is an equal but opposite re-ACTA, Seventh Heaven verdict is in,
knotty rations but wimbled, unfortunately

From: Peter Cejka

Hello Ian, I have read your answer yesterday and I finally decided to answer. The reason is quite suprising - Im almost in precise agreement with your arguments, but in final conclusion - I simply cannot agree with you. Honestly - it's the first time ever when I disagree in political questions (for example about EU). I hope that you would not mind to tell you my reasons:

I will help with your description in one case:

1.) I do not mean this as compliment, but as a fact - you as solo artist and as DP have the most positive attitude to fans, but sadly almost none of artists do this (for example your support from DP Hub). When I bought your DualDisc Gillan's Inn I was pleasantly surprised by contain of DVD side. Why? I will tell it easily - you are not making a criminal from me by the thing that I would grab a bought CD to my mp3 just to listen your music on my way to school, or job, on roads, etc. You simply know that people wants to hear the music wherever they can... Sad fact is that the organizations which should support artists, consider this as breaking the law. Why? Because a lot of artists take action as steal, because when you buy CD for example, you have the right to listen it just and only as CD. You want to listen it in your iPod? Buy it again as mp3 file. This is sadly the official statement of our local organisations and sadly many artists.

2.) Now I'm going to help with your example of wild rose, and use the similar one - which fits better to the situation as I see it: - you have a house with garden, your neighbour has the same thing, in the corner of his garden is the apple tree. When this apple tree grows, the branch of that tree are getting to your garden. The normal solution would be to cut the branches of three which got to your garden. But - as I see it, the ACTA thing do something else. Its as you would go to his garden (his privacy) and cut down the whole apple three.... This is how I see this ACTA thing and this is why I see it very danger.

I don't want you to see me as someone who's afraid about downloading illegal stuff. Nope. I have an issue with making a "criminal" from me just because I'm watching or sharing link for some video uploaded on YouTube by someone else, because I don't have an account there...

Also I have no problems with deleting illegal stuff from these YT sites, although I have to admit that sometimes I share on my FB wall even your official stuff which is uploaded there as promotion. But, the thing I have never done for example was the sharing the link for "whole" officially available show - my goal is to show people "look, it looks/sounds like this, great, isn't it" and tell them "buy it" without saying that word. I mean it positively, not as "steal" the stuff, which l already own legally.

3.) you may think that I see it to serious, but I don't think so. We recently got confirmation from our Czech MEP, that ACTA is making a generic medicaments illegal. We recently got unsure comment from our government, that they are not sure, what ACTA really means for normal life and people freedoms (border controls of notebooks / iPods / smartphones etc). I live in a country where we had dictatorship - I don't remember nothing from that era (I was 3 years old when this ended), but Im really worried of this, because the censorship which used to be there is coming back... just in different way, but maybe (in worst possible version of ACTA) even more dangerous than that we had here before. That's the reason why most serious protests against this contract are in Eastern Europe - we got our freedoms few decades ago and we don't want to lose them. I was really pleasantly surprised by the reaction of Switzerland government, I hope that we will follow them soon.

4.) Last - just very short idea: the licence agreement. Very easily, the licence should have been a contract of both sides, shouldn't be? Then why there is avoided the basic phase of signing contracts - negotiation?

I hope that you understand why I asked about your opinion now. Thanks for your reading and sorry for my English - I hope that it was understandable.

Peter Cejka

From: Gonzalo Guerra

Dear Ian,

Allow me to introduce myself, I'm Gonzalo (24 years old) from Uruguay. You've been here with Deep Purple a couple of years ago, great show. We're a bit more "introspective" than Argentinian crowd, even though we're so close.

I have read the reply you've posted about "piracy" and so on. I really don't mind about political issues, I've made up my mind about those "thugs" a long time ago. They are the lower part of the upper-class in every part of the world. But that's not the issue at hand. I really find myself in a crossroad. I have two strong beliefs, being the premise that Art (which music is) is the perfect combination between artists who express themselves and the interpretation made by the people who receive it.

Having said that, the first "strong belief" is that, obviously, as everyone who makes a living, works, or attends to any job in particular, deserves the proper retribution for his job (not that this happens at all). And that includes artists, with whom I empathise enormously, as I am myself an amateur fan who tries to make something here and there.

Secondly, I strongly believe that art is NOT a commodity. It is not a privilege that people who can afford it have. It's, for me, a right. Right in every single way. It helps people in ways sometimes artists themselves don't even realise. It's been proven that art develops the intelligence, allows children to think outside the box, promotes innovation and creativity (Wait! I know why governments want to limit their access to it). Moreover, as we are growing into a deeply ignorant society, as Carl Sagan once warned, there is no doubt about it that Art is a candle in the dark, as it cultures the society. So I do believe Art must be accessible to all human beings.

My conclusion is that some people are interested in stating and making up our minds that those two beliefs I have are mutually exclusive. They are most certainly NOT. We live in a society where we've manage ourselves to buy cell-phones that can cook pancakes, we are constantly being bombed by advertisement, being billboards, tv commercials, website banners, radio advertisings, brands in movies and television series. We can see Mercedes Benz everywhere, Coca-Cola or Budweiser. But we cannot find a single way to promote artists without limiting the culture of a human being? Come on, I don't buy it. The marketing rats, if they wanted, could figure something out.

I most likely lack the skills and gifts you as a musician have, and one could only dream. But, the fact is, somewhere there is a guy who does, and what if he couldn't access good music? What if he, like me, is born in a third-world, what if he is a second-class citizen. Is he not worthy? Just because to being able to listen to the music he needs/wants will often become in choosing music over basic needs? Sure, we can buy one disc per month, but is that enough? I don't know, it does not seem right to me.

I, like you Ian, really don't care for those thugs and worms who steal intellectual propriety and sell it. That should not be permitted and I agree with you in that. However, I truly applaud initiatives like YouTube. That's the world we're in. And even if you don't agree with anything I said, that's reality. The corporative thugs will have to find a way to allow people to access culture and become better human beings, and for artists to get payed.

Perhaps I've omitted to ask a question, but wanted to express myself with respect, and maybe introduce a couple of interesting things to the table. I believe that, again quoting Carl Sagan, when we watch a football game (say Danubio Vs Defensor) as an neutral spectator, we always end up cheering one or another to win. The same happens when two seemly opposite opinions are being debated, we always tend to go one side or the other, and almost always forget that there are other options. Here it's been established that either artists get paid, or people access art freely. That's wrong, both things can coexist. And that's the answer to that tricky question.

Hoping you'd read this, even as extense & boring it may be, with the knowledge you must be quite busy. And having said that, my appoligies.

Yours sincerely,
Gonzalo Guerra

 

Hello again Peter and hello Gonzalo,

Thank you for your letters, analyses and opinions in response to my ACTA comments (Q&A 86) and Garth's cameo appearance on CTV. I have respect for your considered views but still feel uncomfortable about the future of song writers and performers bereft of residual income.

I have a lawyer friend (I know, I know) who specialises in entertainment contracts. When faced with irreconcilable differences between two parties preparing to embark upon a long term business relationship (artist and record label for example), he encourages the opponents' representatives to face up to the reality that neither of them will get what he wants so they should try to reach an accommodation where both sides are 'equally unhappy'. I guess that's where we are for now with ACTA.

Paradoxically, the main thread of your argument and mine relates to entitlement; this is the basis of the whole conflict.

Is song-writing an art or a craft? Of course it is both; once a piece is in the public domain now, everyone wants to have a say in the matter of its availability and cost. Traditional protection by way of copyright is being threatened by the rejection of ACTA.

Regarding payment for music, I recall an interesting scenario backstage at a German venue back in 1970. The Edgar Broughton Band was the supporting act for a Deep Purple concert. Edgar himself was in the production office and a small crowd was outside the venue demonstrating in favour of free music. I was present during the conversation Edgar had with the promoters, Marcel Avram and Marek Leiberberg of MAMA Concerts. He was arguing passionately that music was 'for the people' and that all concert tickets should be free…up to the time when he was due on stage. At this point he asked for his money up-front. The promoters cunningly asked who was going to pay the hall rental, the employees, the equipment hire, Edgar's accommodation and expenses etc. Edgar said that wasn't his problem and took his cash…but of course it was his problem, just the same as it is our problem now.

The major contributory factors to this 'problem' have been a) the greed and lack of foresight shown by the lawyers and accountants in music and publishing, and b) the change of habits that came with the internet. We are faced with the distressing prospect of a pyrrhic victory for freedom fighters as the music business collapses in upon itself. As we can all see with eyes wide open such an implosion is already taking place; most damagingly in artist development as investment risks are not offering any returns in the long term. So maybe energies should be redirected, in order to distance the argument for music protection from the greater issue of internet freedom and concomitant demonisation. That, I think would be a sensible and pragmatic, but probably hopeless move.

And just to muddy the playing-field…Behold, one of the clearest ever examples of the EU's contempt for democracy comes in the shape of the recent vote on our beloved/hated - and surely we all agree on this - badly framed ACTA. I will quote Charles Arthur in the Guardian (an English newspaper)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jul/04/acta-european-parliament-votes-against



The European Parliament has overwhelmingly defeated the international Acta anti-piracy agreement, delighting its opponents and plunging its supporters into gloom.

The vote is the first time that the parliament has used its powers under the Lisbon Treaty to reject an international trade agreement.

However, other countries such as the US and Japan are expected to continue with implementing it. Acta could still be revived if the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, considers that it needs to be implemented and wins a court decision over it.

That last sentence is all you need to know about the EU's contempt for democracy…parliament votes overwhelmingly in favour and the commission says 'hmm…we'll see about that'. Greece and Ireland are well familiar with this kind of thing. Even as this goes against my interest I would accept your judgement and the vote of a parliament rather than the coercive and objectionable power of an unelected commission. This just gets worse doesn't it!

The universally agreed moral distinction that was once drawn between bootleggers and pirates has now been blurred in the miasma of new media, and with it goes the main thrust of my argument. And as you so eloquently put it Gonzalo '…That's the world we're in. And even if you don't agree with anything I said, that's reality.'

However, there's a lot more to this than just the power struggle for rights. We are at the end of an era, so where will all this lead? It was fun while it lasted but the popular music business (now industry), like so many movements before it, has always had self-devouring tendencies. We'll see how this plays out; maybe the next generation of writers and musicians will aspire to work for nothing in a truly altruistic fashion, but somehow I doubt it. We're not all hobo-philosophers musing under a bower with pipe and corduroy trousers; some of us have to earn a living.

Enjoy the music.

Cheers, ig


From: Michael Burrows

Dear Mr Gillan,

I hope this email finds you in good spirit and good health.

I was again listening to my favourite Deep Purple album the other day - Abandon. I've always loved the musical side of Seventh Heaven, but adhered more closely than ever before to your lyric in that track. I know you have enjoyed compiling lyric over the years, and sadly up until recently, with regards to Seventh Heaven I'd overlooked what I believe to be a wonderfully affectionate tribute to your band-mate, and no doubt good friend, Steve Morse. My questions are: "What be your verdict on my reading of your lyric in Seventh Heaven? And, are you willing to elaborate more?

I've been to places where the sun goes down
Each night but never rises
I've been to places in a dark room
Where we played with our disguises

This first verse I believe to be referring to the periods of difficulty associated with trying to share the stage and studio with The Man In Black.

It was a dream, I heard a voice
I put it down to wishful thinking
It was a dream, a silent scream
Out of the blue, a new beginning

For many years it was just a dream to be in Deep Purple without the Blackmore strains. And then, enter The Aviator, and the dream came true.

Heaven, I'm in heaven
I'm in seventh heaven now
Seventh heaven

Deep Purple MKVII (Gillan, Glover, Morse, Lord Paice) - like being in musical Seventh (MKVII) Heaven.

And then I fell upon a stroke of luck
That led to my new fortune
And then I fell upon my knees
And gently kissed the ground you walk on

Seventh Heaven? A stroke of luck? The things dreams are made of? Nitrogen narcosis? Or a well-deserved reward for a lifetime of patience and hard work?

I dare say, albeit from a great distance, given your years of dedication to the industry and the countless thousands (millions?) on whose face you've put a smile, that the joy of working with this unbelievably talented musician AND and all round top bloke Steve Morse, it has got to be the latter.

Thanks for your time, and music. All the best in the studio for the new album.

Warmest regards,

N.E. Phoolnodat
Australia

 

Dear Any, Thank you for your terrific letter. I am humbled by the interpretation but as this kind of writing is intended to be enigmatic at the first level and cryptic below that I really think it would be unfair to all the other songs if I was to agree or disagree with your perfectly correct analysis - well almost (MKV11 is pushing it a bit). Cheers, ig


From: Maciej

It wasn't easy to get Your direct e mail adress . In the beginning i'd like to apologize for my English .. I know that I'm one of thousands who write to you and you even don't read this because of lack of time, I understand that but acctualy I ve got hope- Have you ever had an imagine to catch contact with someone who is thought to be as high as Mount Blanc for normal grey pearson? Maybey when You were young , Today you are the hill for many people (also in Poland) .. I won't tell albout your great voice or many songs you wrote with your friends from band because its wildely known . I 'd like to ask you about loneliness in the shade when scene lights went down.. I know it's personal .. Can you tell me something about todays relations between you and Ritchie ? Waiting for DP concert in Poland maybey this time I get autograph and I wish you lots of luck .

Maciej

 

Dear Maciej,

Thank you for your lettuce. I munch it wimbly or thursdom in a frame of thruppence-halfpenny.

Sally it wasn't earsnip find me but I lift in generous movement on mini planes often stripping for a breathum.

My rations with Ritchie are knotty what you might crawl Norman, but Tim is a grit healer innit, never mind eh?

I will sing your autogram if you are in Poland.

As you mulberry guest I've recently penned a can of worms, so apologise for my English too.

Cheese, ig
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