Banning things, thought crimes, and dangerous guitarring

And the new airport etiquette

Letters We've got a bumper letters bag today, covering an almost ludicrously diverse range of topics. We've got renegade planets, flaming guitars, pornography legislation and literal pontification.

So, get a cup of tea, settle down and enjoy.

We'll start with the very popular news that the record industry has decided that tabulature = copyright infringement. You take this kind of silliness to its logical conclusion:

Is the music industry hell bent on finding new and unusual ways to eventually sue all its customers?? Perhaps this is some new strategy to squeeze more money out of people though I can’t see how that’s possible since it must be costing them a fortune in fancy lawyers!! In my opinion it amounts to little more than bullying since they know full well that online communities cannot possibly afford to fight them in court! They are taking our money in CD sales then using it to sue us, how is that a good business model? The answer is simple, do what they hate the most, download your music from file sharing networks! At least that way they won’t have the money to sue you later!! The artists will be fine as they have talent and can play live gigs (ticket sales have doubled in recent years). Support the archaic structure of a decaying non-technological regime no longer and help destroy a business that sues its own customers! They cannot be allowed to block the path of progress indefinitely. Rant ends.


This is utter nonsense. Not the article you wrote, but the notion that learning to play a song on guitar via tablature is copywrite infringement. I learned to play guitar this way via purchased books with tablature. There was no internet back then. It's one thing to download songs for free and re-distribute them. It's another thing to learn to play a song. Are bands who play cover songs at gigs infringing copywrite? If I sing a song someone else wrote, am I infringing copywrite? These people need to STFU and go get a life. Cheers Mate!!

E. Dennis

Is THIS the last straw ? Or will it be when those bastards start suing someone for whistling part of a tune, or worse, THINKS about whistling part of a tune.

I'm glad I play my own music, I don't have to worry about the asshat suits stealing my computer one day for music related SERIOUS lawbreaking.

I mean, I'm so confused why they're doing this, I can't even imagine. Must be the debbils work.

what REALLY gets me, people accept this.

Jeez, we started (here in the usa) a whole country because some idiot in another country decided to tax something as minor as tea. (well, that and other things, but the tea thing was the straw on that camel's back)

we're a world of wussies, and we get what we allow.


Bugger the lot of them. I'm not going to spend another penny on published music - digital, paper, or analog - for the rest of my life. I'll listen to what I have, and what's free on the radio (and I'll record it from there, too), and I'll work out how to play it myself, and share that information privately with a few hundred thousand of my close friends.


Perhaps the people who put tabs together should copyright their work. Then perhaps it would be up to the MPA to demonstrate that this published copyrighted tab broke the copyright on a non-existant (hence uncopyrighted?) work, rather than just pushing this assumption through the courts. Sure, if the songwriter has themselves published their song's tab then they do have ownership of that and no one else should copy it. But isn't there some established precedence that the tune itself can be owned?


Sticking with popular themes, we also brought you news of a school fingerprinting its students to make sure they actually are in the classrooms. What was wrong with a register? That's what we want to know:

It seems that the fingerprinting of children is becoming more and more popular as schools in the Portsmouth area jump on the bandwagon, see this article from the Portsmouth News.

They say it's "only for library books" but what this is really teaching children is that it's OK to hand over Biometric data to "the Authorities" without wondering if it will be used in other places or other ways or shared with anyone else.

Cheers, Graham.

When they say that the recorded fingerprints will be only used to monitor school attendence, and not shared with any third party... what they really mean is that the fingerprints will not be used for anything other than attendence UNTIL some kind of minor crime or prank takes place, and the print database will be kept out of third-party hands UNTIL it is actually requested by a third party.

Just like every other disgustingly invasive, wide-blanket invasion of privacy and rights perpetuated by every sickeningly politically-correct and fattened government that has abandoned common sense, it always starts as the most innocent of methods with the most noble of goals.


I wanted to hire a car this weekend from AVIS car at Stansted airport. Apparently I need to provide a thumbprint for my security.

See excerpt from booking conditions below:

Stansted Airport, Essex, *In partnership with Essex Police, Avis and all other car rental operators at Stansted Airport require a thumbprint impression for non-corporate rentals. This is a security measure to minimise identity fraud for the safety of our renters.


Also hitting the headlines this week, Pappa himself, the grand fromage of the Catholic Church, called a meeting to work out what the Church ought to be saying about evolution. An interesting set of responses:

I don't understand why these people don't believe that evolution can be a divine mechanism. After all, what is more amazing: that God created the Universe in a week, or that God engineered the very fabric of space so that it would unfold in an infinitely diverse cornucopia of variation, combining and condensing and evolving into the unbelievably beautiful, vast Universe we see around us, varying and changing without end? And emerging within it, a creature with the amazing ability to comprehend the incredible nature of her own tenuous existence, coalesced from self-organizing matter, clumped together from the dust of dying stars, evolved through the patiently self-redesigning mechanisms of molecules that build themselves.

Isn't that amazing? Isn't that beautiful? And all that with a single touch; all the information needed to create you, me, cats, Income Tax and suet pudding was present at the very start, before particles, before fields, when the Universe was just a membrane about to start expanding; all of this was written somehow into its structure. God must be one heck of a pool shark.

Remember that nobody said that Science precludes God until the literalists came along and decided that was the case.


Thank you thank you thank you for describing the huge difference of opinion on evolution in Christianity, even in a conservative branch like the Catholic Church. Some people, often those who are keen on science, assume that all Christians are creationists, which just isn't the case at all, especially in Europe. The misunderstanding seems to stem from American churches which are often obsessed with condeming evolution, and speak much louder than their numbers worldwide deserve. This is probably partly because the American TV and film industry dominates the world to a great extent. The obsession with creationism possibly isn't so important to the fundamentalists in itself, but is a test of how much control they can exert over the US education system. If they get away with "intelligent design", they'll probably start pushing for all kinds of other things to be taught as fact.


To be honest, I'm getting fed up with so much web space being taken up by anti-evolution stuff; after all, it was invented for exchange of scientific ideas. Anyway, if one believes in God, which god would be greater: the god that makes Adam and Eve or the god that creates a universe where evolution of people is possible?

Regards, John.

Nice subtitle.

I too am confused as to why we need the Catholic Church to form a committee of MEN to decide what GOD thinks. Surely the answer will magically appear in a piece of burnt toast somewhere in France or Italy?


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