Saturday, September 15, 2012

New Book

So I heard about a new book on NPR about a month ago.  It's called Year Zero by Rob Reid. 
I highly recommend it if you like copyright law, music, aliens, or movies where a mild mannered hero saves the earth at the last minute.
It's very funny.  Even the footnotes!  My favorite one was when they had a reference to Lawerence Lessig. (It's a librarian geek thing)
The premise is that of all the things the higher evolved aliens inhabiting the universe do, music is the one thing where they kinda suck at and we don't.
So one day one of NASA's exploratory satellites crossed the line and activated  their warning system that we had become a species with reasonable intelligence(they also wanted to know if we were going to keep shooting things into the outer solar system) and started scanning our broadcast transmissions. 
They weren't impressed at first with our advancement.  Then It Happened!  On October 27th 1977 at 8:29pm the most magical event in the universe's recorded history started.  The closing theme to Welcome Back Kotter started.
You can look it up on Youtube or Wikipedia if you haven't heard about the show.  Those of you who know it, go ahead laugh.  But the aliens didn't.  They rejoiced.  Because this was better than anything they had ever heard in billions of years.  Sadly, some died almost instantly because of the joy that small musical ode caused.  So 30 years go by and they can't get enough of our music.  Pop, jazz, rock(lots of rock) classical, and tv themes.  But finally the universe has to go back to work, and then they discover something horrifying. 
They owe every non North Korean human(apparently the only culture on earth that doesn't have good music) ungodly amounts of money.
Damn copyright laws.
There are 2 schools of thought being debated in the outer reaches.  Figure out a way to pay us and license the music so this doesn't happen again, or blow us up(which would cancel the debt out nicely)
So our hero a mild mannered copyright lawyer needs to find a creative solution that will satisfy the masses and still allow him and his law firm to get paid.
Chaos and hilarity ensues as he travels the universe, and the byways of New York City trying to figure out a loophole in the copyright laws so the earth survives to make more music.