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Harmony Through Harmony

“Harmony through harmony” is a phrase we like a lot around CASA. It neatly sums up a powerful experience we’ve all had: seeing positive personal and social change arise from singing a cappella music. Whether you hear it or sing it, it’s pretty hard not to get the message of cooperation and mutual respect. No one needs to say, "Hey now, cooperate." It's obvious from listening. Beauty transcending culture, class, race, sexual orientation, education and every other conceivable division springs up from the subtleties of dynamic phrasing and ringing intonation. The experience is miraculous. And as it echoes in those who witness it, it inspires the miraculous.

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Fair Enough

Fair Use is a concept in copyright law that allows you, under certain limited circumstances, to use someone else's copyrighted work without paying them any fees or obtaining their permission. The idea is so enticing however, that some have begun to hallucinate, to see Fair Use mirages shimmering everywhere in the desert of copyright. Despite what we may personally believe to be the ethical harmlessness of our actions, sometimes the answer is just "No, you can't use this without permission." This article may not give you the answers you want, but it will help you ask the right questions.

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Here's My Pinky, Here's My Thumb: Here's My Copyright Infringement Suit; You Better Run

More and more members of the a cappella community are hosting their own sites. And being musicians, we often, for better or worse, include copyrighted material on those sites. In looking for guidance on what we're allowed to do, many look to the big guns, the Googles of the world to see if whatever we're planning is OK. ("But Maaaaaaa, Google did it!" "Oh really? Well if Google jumped off a bridge...") But how many of us look into the code? (Ok, sit down Geek Squad. Even you guys don't read the friggin' code. Often.) This article discusses how one bit of coding made the difference between "Okee dokee" and a court injunction due to likelihood of copyright infringement. The case is Perfect 10 v. Google Inc. [416 F. Supp. 2d 828 (C.D. Cal. 2006)]. 

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Top Ten A Cappella Competition Rookie Mistakes

Just got back from Washington DC where I had the pleasure of judging the Finals in the 2006 National Championship of High School A cappella (NCHSA). As I sat with fellow judges Wes Carroll and Dave Baumgartner, we discussed the surprisingly good caliber of the competitors. We also discussed the pervasive rookie mistakes. Here are ten, at least half of which you can fix in one rehearsal. I both dare and beg you to master all ten by your next competition.

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Who’s With Me?

{mosimage}I often write casual versions of brilliant scholarly analysis. Or at least inside scoop stuff. Today I’ve chosen to simply ramble in my blog. Blah blah blah blog. If you’re like me, you still buy CDs. But you immediately rip them to high-quality unrestricted MP3 format (192) and listen to the ripped tracks on the computer (wirelessly streaming to the stereo) and the adorable, elegant and ubiquitous ipod (video 60gig). (One reason I’m including the specs in this piece is to see how fast the technology appears antediluvian. Six months? A year? I should be so lucky.) Eight and half bizillianquadrillion songs in one molecule. It’s coming. But honestly, I’m still pretty psyched about taking every piece of music I own with me. Always.