Last month I warned you about your rights to fair use of mp3 files being assaulted by Congress and corporate interests. This issue, as well as other copyright issues on the Net, fall under the provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA has been abused by some parties (most notibly, the Church of Scientology) to get providers and search engines to remove listings that supposedly infringed on their copyright. Because these cases are becoming more common, a website has been created to document the use and abuse of the DMCA and to tell you your First Amendment rights as they pertain to the Internet. Visit the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse at http://www.chillingeffects.org/ .
I hesitate to list this because of all the annoying ads on their pages, but the truepunk.com site is pretty big and there are message boards, free mp3 downloads, contests where you can win stuff, and some unknown bands, so what the heck. The message boards are probably your best bet, by the way. Visit it at http://www.truepunk.com/ .
Also with some lame banner ads, but with a focus on current British punk rock, Punktastic looks like a pretty good choice. They have tour and release dates, online message boards, gig and album reviews, interviews, etc. Most of the stuff is about British bands, some that you've heard of and some that you haven't, though they also have a bit of US stuff, especially if the US band is touring the UK. Anyway, you can check it out yourself at http://www.punktastic.com/ .
Someday Never (http://www.somedaynever.com/) is a site for all you emo fans out there, though they also cover a bit of melodic hardcore and the like. They have reviews of a few new releases, message boards, and a handful of editorials. They also have a cool section for the Omaha, Nebraska music scene, including a separate set of message boards, gig dates, and a band list. Well done.
According to some info I found buried at their site, PunkandJunk.com was supposed to be a site full of punk rock guitar and bass tabulature, and, while it does have quite a bit of that, it also has other stuff. There is a large review section, featuring gig, music, movie, book, and website reviews, though some don't contain much stuff at this point. There are also message boards, music downloads, some editorials, and a pretty funny Frequently Asked Questions page, which is more about punk in general than it is their website. Take a look -- http://www.punkandjunk.com/ .
I ran across a pretty cool self-publishing site for you would-be authors out there. NoSpine, at http://www.nospine.com/ allows people to download "books" by independent authors in a variety of formats (such as text, Word, etc) for a fee, and it allows authors to publish their works online and make some money when people pay to download their stuff. Seems like a pretty good deal, and the company only takes 20% of the purchase price. They don't seem to be too selective about what they'll publish, as long as it isn't racist, sexist, or promoting something illegal. Pretty cool, if you ask me.
I'm going to finish up with those band resources I was mentioning. IndieCentre has been around for 5 or so years, and have amassed a pretty good resource of articles, addresses, and links relating to the whole businees of making music. Included here is the Simple Machine's "Mechanics" guide, Steve Albini's excellent expose on major labels, Jen Angel on starting a non-profit, and a whole slew of other articles on touring, recording, getting records pressed, etc. Well worth a look for anyone in a band. It looks like the webmaster is actually working on this sucker more often, too, if the recent updates are any indication. IndieCentre is located at http://www.indiecentre.com/ .
Another cool resource for bands is Short Run Music (http://www.shortrunmusic.com/). As the name implies, Short Run does small quantity CD releases for pretty decent prices. If you send them a CD master, they'll do anywhere from 10 to 300 CDs printed with your artwork, with inserts and CD cases, for anywhere between 3 and 5 bucks (depending on how many you order -- the price gets cheaper as the quantity increases). That means you can put out 50 of your bands CDs for just 200 bucks. Sell them, and order more.
Finally, you should check out lawgirl.com, which contains useful information about copyright and intellectual property law, as written by an entertainment lawyer in Hollywood. Whether you believe in copyrighting your works or not, it is worthwhile to have some info about all of that crap related to the business of music, and this site is a good start. Plus, she has a cool interview at the site with Legs McNeil. Be sure to read it.
That's gonna do it. Remember to send me your cool web sites at
or check out my past, present, and future columns in the Netpunk section
Until next time, stay away from the computer and go outside. It's