KaZaA Kiddie Porn?

Much has been made about Brianna LaHara, the 12-year-old New York girl who was one of the 261 people sued last week by the Recording Industry Association of America for making available more than 1,000 copyrighted songs for downloading on her family's personal computer (LaHara and her mother settled the case for $2,000), even though to us the whole story smells like a plant by the RIAA to scare parents into policing their kids' computer habits more stridently, and "Brianna"—if that's her real name—sounded bizarrely like one of the captured U.S. pilots during the Vietnam War, allegedly saying in the press release, "I am sorry for what I have done. I love music and don't want to hurt the artists I love." Less reported, though—we found it in the Sept. 7 San Diego Union-Tribune—is that the recording industry is also trying to win public support for their cause by equating song downloading with kiddie porn. Their argument is that song file-swapping networks like KaZaA and Morpheus can just as easily stick naked preteens into hard drives as well as a new 50 Cent single. Opportunistic politicians, at least, are falling for it. On Sept. 9, the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Orrin Hatch, held a hearing to look into the connection. But we already know the only real solution: ban the Internet forever! (Rich Kane)

TICKETMASTER & SLAVE

So Ticketmaster will later this year begin web auctions of the best seats for certain concerts, and, predictably, some people are shocked and appalled. Not us. What we want to know is: What took so long? The rapid inflation of concert ticket prices that took place during the '90s was a direct result of Ticketmaster's readiness to compete with regional ticket scalpers—er, brokers—who hire anyone they can (including children, homeless people and homeless children) to stand in line outside ticket outlets during on-sale dates to buy up the best seats and re-sell them at 1,000 percent markups. (We fondly recall our old Music Plus Brea days, working the Ticketmaster machine and watching five-year-olds step up to the counter and pull wads of $100 bills from their tiny pockets to buy Motley Crue and Rolling Stones ducats while their greasy scalper parents waited outside—and there wasn't a damn thing we could do about it or for the real fans who complained to us.) Ticketmaster, reasonably, wants a piece of this free-market action, so they've been engaging in a kind of scalping for years now (and we won't even get into the scandalous "service charges" that magically transform a $30 ticket into a $45 ticket). But maybe our years of big-name concerts from not-half-bad seats (some free, most not) have jaded us, which is why we think anyone willing to pay $150 for a face-value Fleetwood Mac ticket or $250 for a Stones stadium show is an absolute loon. Let Ticketmaster go right ahead and cater to the wealthy, we say. Let them service these people who want to hear the Eagles or any radio/MTV act play their hits, these people who want their sonic taste fed to them, who want to bathe only in the familiar and comfortable. Because, as we've been saying for years ourselves, the world's greatest bands are all local, baby—five bucks, sometimes free, small rooms, good beer, zero bullshit—you just have to work a little. And no service charges, either. (RK)

HELL'S BELLS

Though the best bands are local, not all local bands are best, and occasionally the local music we receive at LowBallAssChatter Central is so terrifyingly bad we're, like, post-traumatic-stress-syndromed, approaching each envelope with the wariness of an Israeli bomb squad. Yet sometimes, a package arrives that's so artfully done we can't resist scrawling about it. Take OC metal band Three Sixes, who've got a crafty death/Satan shtick going. First, they zipped up their press kit in a nifty black body bag, complete with coroner tag reading "Name of Deceased: OC Weekly. Cause of Death: Too much music!" Their bio reveals band members with names such as "Damien LaVey" and "Killswitch," and they sweetly boast, "ARMAGEDDON IS HERE. ITS SOUNDTRACK HAS BEEN WRITTEN." The kicker, though, is the death certificate they lovingly filled out for us. Our Social Security number: 666-66-6666! (!!!) Cause of death: cranial combustion, auto-erotic asphyxiation, metal music, demonic possession and a slipped disc whilst performing multiple acts of necrophilia!? (Damn, we're overworked even when we're dying!) As for the music, well, we ain't into it—"I Fuck the Dead" is Cannibal Corpse lite—but, hey, maybe you'll be. Read more at www.threesixes.com. (RK)

STREET SCENE SCENES

Notes from this year's humongous, 100,000-person-plus San Diego Street Scene, held Sept. 5-7: Of the 90 or so bands that played, 87 included members who at various points announced they were running for governor, a joke that wasn't funny the first time we heard it uttered by the otherwise-fabulous Arthur Lee. Memo to Mojo Nixon—nobody remembers who Debbie Gibson was or why she's pregnant with your two-headed love child. Only single or unhappily married women in their late 30s/early 40s like the Goo Goo Dolls anymore. There were so many things wrong with the Doors of the 21st Century performance we saw that we don't know where to begin, so we'll just say that Wild Child do a much better job. The 45 minutes we caught of REM was terrific, one of the best sets we've seen from them in eons. Same for Wilco, since Jeff Tweedy smartly stored all his computers and gadgetry back home, which left more room for guitar power chords of the likes we hadn't heard since the A.M. tour. Macy Gray is a tower of sweet chocolate lovin', impossibly funky, silky and saucy —we'd almost go straight for her. The Sex Pistols were a fine museum piece, yet we thought it creepy there were so many parents in the crowd bouncing their toddlers aloft on their shoulders whilst singing along to songs about Belsen and the Antichrist as if they were Radio Disney numbers. (RK)

 
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