July 1st, 2008

abstract butterfly

Frog in the Well--on guitar

How do you strike a blow for creative freedom and the public domain? How do you show that it is in the best interest of everyone to allow works to become public property after a reasonable time period?

Lucas Gonze has a solution. His website Soup Greens features songs he has found in the public domain, performed in audio and video formats on his solo guitar, and made available for free download to everyone. Lucas shows with these simple instrumentals what a rich world it can be when we allow things to fall into the public domain, so that we all may share them. Here's an example of his work, which I really enjoy:

This is "Frog in the Well", a Civil War-era fife and drum song, rendered on solo guitar. It's just lovely, and it's a reminder of how, in a more enlightened era, we would ensure that copyright terms are finite and not extended for Mickey Mouse lengths, so that the public can enjoy the public domain in return for granting a limited term of copyright for a new song.

In his "day job" life, Lucas invented the basis for a number of flash music players which make the internet a wonderful place. I am pleased that Lucas is fighting the legal, admirable and entirely listenable way to
move from a world in which everything is tied down by copyright, and into a world in which some things are liberally licensed to share.