Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"Year Zero" by Rob Reid - Our First Book Review (Music Related, Of Course)

     It turns out that earthlings have horrendous taste in macramé and interior decorating, but we generate the best music in the universe. Perhaps the better way to state the situation is that the music of other planets is so bad that the theme song from a 1977 episode of “Welcome Back Kotter” is enough to send non-earthlings into a state from which some never return.
     Year Zero is 1977, when the rest of the universe discovered earth's music and reset the universal calendar. At least partially because of the discovery of earth's music, everything seemed better in the universal. That is, it was better until copyright law was discovered. The non-earthlings realized they were pirates.

     The strengths of the author, Rob Reid, are most evident when he uses satire in referring to subject matter for which he has strong opinions, such as the difficulty in justifying the statutory damages under copyright law. On the other hand, he is less adept at “painting” pictures of alien worlds. But if Reid’s goal was to reach an audience that would not otherwise listen to his message regarding the need to revisit some legal principles, we tip our hats. The book is a good blend of entertainment and message.

     Still, we wish "Year Zero" made more refererences to the history of earth-generated music. For example, just looking at the start of the calendar, it is easy to dismiss 1977 as a dismal year for music, since it was a year in which disco was still popular and Ringo released one of his albums. But 1977 also brought us:
   1. Meatloaf's "Bat Out of Hell" album, arguably one of the best;
   2. A double album from Emerson, Lake and Palmer;
   3. The "CSN" album from Crosby, Stills and Nash (Stills still had a good voice);
   4. "Slowhand" by Eric Clapton; 
   5, "Rumours" by Fleetwood Mac; and
   5. Album drops by Journey, Jethro Tull, The Kinks, Yes, Dan Fogelberg...

     Below is the trialer for "Year Zero"

     To watch the TED talk of Rob Reid regarding copyright math, go to 

    The book is timely, because the recording of David Bowie's "Space Oddity" while on the International Space Station has raised some discussions of applying copyright protection in space. The recording can be vewed at An article regarding application of copyright law on the recording may be read at

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