Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Breaking The Law

 I've got a confession to make - I've been a very naughty boy. Nothing on the scale of robbing a bank using electric guitars and early 80's British metal as weapons, I grant you, but still, 'the law' has most definitely been 'broken' (although very carefully, so that the pieces can be re-assembled without too much fuss - possibly with a small dab of superglue).

Illegal downloading of copyright musical material is the issue at hand. Normally something I'm not in favour of, no matter how great a bunch of low-tax pursuing, corporate-whore multi-millionaires the likes of U2 (just one example out of so many possible candidates) might be. Flouting creative copyright is not, no matter how restricted some people's thinking may be, simply a matter of "sticking it to The Man". But that's beside the point right now.

This is about personal weakness in the face of temptation.

As some poor folk who've endured this blog of mine for a while will already know, I used to be a member of a minor prog rock band - Edinburgh's very own "Citizen Cain". It was all a (very) long time ago, and I only played on one album ("Somewhere But Yesterday", 1994, bought by a few people in Poland and Quebec, as far as I can recall), but thanks to this connection I come into the "obscure" category of musician, rather than merely "non-existent, except in their own imaginations" - although the gap between those definitions can often seem exceptionally slender.

My only copy of the CD, however, is out on loan to a friend - currently languishing in a big box somewhere near Kelso, as far as I'm aware. So when challenged about my musical past by my oh-so-delightful mini-primates, I had nothing to show them, no proof that their father used to be almost-quite-good at something, way back in the Pleistocene epoch.

And that's what broke me, in the end. The pathetic spasms of my tiny-but-still-defiant ego.

In my defence, the album itself had long been deleted, re-released, and deleted again, and was supposed to have been re-issued by Festival Music, but the scheduled date had been and gone with no sign of its re-emergence, soooo...

I searched for a file-sharing site that didn't want to ask too many questions, but also looked like it wasn't necessarily going to hijack my machine for nefarious botnet purposes. That's right, I had no idea, it was a complete guess, but my computer hasn't gone screwy, or slowed right down (yet), so fingers crossed, eh? Downloading was straightforward, and, even if whoever created the archive had cut one of the tracks in two for no particular reason (and no, it wasn't the 25-minute one, which could have made some sort of practical sense), listening to the music again brought back lots of good memories.

The kids even liked some of it, and seemed minutely impressed that their incompetent, decrepit father had been involved.

It does pose a small ethical question, though - the act was illegal, and the CD is currently licensed to a record company (although I've never made anything out of it), but since I've essentially ripped-off myself, exactly how naughty have I been?

I expect I'll be receiving my letter-of-stern-rebuke soon -  I'll consider myself suitably chastened.

p.s. hope folk don't mind all the extra widget-gadget stuff I've stuck on the blog page (YouTube, Facebook, Twit-ter). Trying to keep up even a basic level of shameless self-promotion, while simultaneously providing full domestic services to two small boys gets very tiring at my age, so I thought if I could centralise matters it might make life a little easier. Or not.

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