Fight the power!

Jay Thomas (
Sun, 13 Dec 1998 00:27:44 -0500

Gotta love Chuck D :)
Saturday December 12 4:55 PM ET=20

Chuck D Fights the Power (Again)
Public Enemy is once again fightin' the powers that be.=20

Chuck D found himself at the center of controversy this week when he
posted four songs from PE's upcoming Bring the Noise 2000 CD on the
Website in MP3 format.=20

The always outspoken rapper says he released the highly anticipated
tracks on to protest his group's treatment by its
label, Def Jam
(which he calls "weasels"), and the recording industry's attempts to
eliminate MP3 sites.=20

"That we don't like the way [the label] has been handling the album,
that goes without saying," Chuck D, 38, tells Billboard. "But the
bigger picture is
the entire industry and the legal aspect of the game skewing toward
executives and against the creative. There are tons of artists that
are having the same
problems, but now we're in a situation where the industry can't pimp
this technology like they've pimped every other form of technology.=20

"[The labels] invented the wild, wild west, and now that everybody's
got a gun, what are they gonna do?"=20

Music's main lobbying body, the Recording Industry Association of
America, backed by the major lables, has been fighting to shut down
MP3 sites.
The RIAA believes the MP3 format, which allows the easy compression
and transferral of near-CD-quality songs, facilitates piracy.
Especially since
Web surfers can download files to their PC then onto disc with a CD

Obviously, the format allows for artists and fans to send music
directly to one another, cutting the record company giants out of the
loop. The RIAA
says labels and artists could lose millions of dollars in royalties
due to MP3.=20

While it's a boon for unsigned and low-profile bands, the format
causes severe headaches for companies trying to keep unreleased songs
long-established bands under wraps.=20

Many Websites offer dozens of unreleased songs by bands available for
anyone to access. Earlier this year, Pearl Jam's new album was
available on the
Web before it came out in stores thanks to cyber-bootleggers. The PE
sound files in question have already resurfaced on unofficial fan

While he has removed the offending files for the time being, the
rapper tells Billboard, "I'm gonna ride the MP3 like a muthafuckin'
cowboy riding a
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