The News Brothers
(Business 2.0) – A lot of writers I know are musicians. Maybe that's because music and writing share the concepts of phrasing, harmony, and tempo. Or maybe it's some desperate desire to communicate any which way they can. These are some of the things I think about when I plink out primitive ditties on my own guitar.
I'm no pro. But two of my staffers are: Senior editor Andy Raskin (on trombone) and senior writer Paul Sloan (on guitar) both moonlight in Stymie & the Pimp Jones Luv Orchestra, San Francisco's No. 1 funk band. (See Stymieluv.com for upcoming shows.)
The duo share more than musical talent and a knowledge of the lyrics to "Tyroneasaurus Rex." Both of them have a gift for turning abstract ideas into interesting, lively stories. Hollywood's post-Napster struggle with technology is an ongoing and critically important story, for instance. So is the current state of copyright law. Sloan and Raskin found the narrative lines in each sweeping topic and hit all the right notes in their features this month.
In Sloan's cover story ("The Offer Hollywood Can't Refuse," page 88), he details the film industry's dilemma: The one company best positioned to help protect the movie studios from piracy is the behemoth that Tinsel Town fears the most--Microsoft. Will Steve Jobs come to the rescue? Don't bet on it.
Maybe Hollywood ought to forget about locking up its content and learn to love the free, file-sharing economy. Those folks would do well to read Raskin's tale of a grassroots effort to remake copyright for the 21st century ("Giving It Away (for Fun and Profit)," page 112). His story takes us from the hills of Slovakia to the halls of Stanford University. Along the way, he explains the growing momentum behind the Creative Commons license, which lets artists keep a financial stake in their works while sharing them for free. It's a bold idea that could make a small fortune for creative types--and a larger fortune for the companies equipping them with the hardware and software they use to express themselves.
According to Raskin, the members of his band have debated using a Creative Commons license to release Stymie's music. But I'm glad Raskin's and Sloan's Business 2.0 writings are mine, all mine--and I don't plan to share them with anyone but you.
JOSH QUITTNER, EDITOR email@example.com