Copyright v. Culture

In the case of the written word, I can quote a few words from the latest best-seller and know that I am legally protected by the doctrine of fair use.  In the case of digital media, the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that no such fair use exists at all when it comes to sampling.  In the case of the written word, it is possible to quote and rearrange concepts as a form of criticism, satire, parody, or public discourse, but the record industry claims there is no such right when it involves quoting from their music catalogs.  In the case of the written word, it is possible to draw inspiration (and characters) from multiple sources and to bring those characters together in a new context to reveal new truths (or at least discussions) about the human condition, but when this is attempted with musical materials (such as Danger Mouse’s The Gray Album), the music industry demands no less than total destruction of all such works.

Whatever freedoms have been won when it comes to the textual world of the printing press have been forfeited when it comes to the digital presses of the musical world, which is surprising because both the written word and the musical sound are fundamentally covered by precisely the same law: copyright.  Why should copyright treat one expression, one media so differently than another?

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Week 85 (Top Roof Beams Established)

Despite a very dubious long-range weather forecast (which called for isolated/scattered thunderstorms every single day of the week), the weather day by day was good enough to give our two crews a good five days of work.  By the end of the week, the masons had raised the booth walls 2′ above the base of the booth window sills and the rear control room/sound lock walls to 4′, while the framing crew finished the top of the ceiling and established all the major roof beams.  Here’s the finished product so far:


I love how perfectly scaled the 32′ roof line is with the surrounding trees!

And now the details of how we got to this point, in pictures:

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Week 84 (Framing begins, masonry continues)

This has been a pivotal week for the project.  The masons have finished their work on the Music Room and are now turning their attention to bringing up the walls of the control room and the isolation booths.  At the same time, a framing crew has joined the project full-time, and they made a grand entrance indeed.  Here is the crane that presaged their arrival:


Let’s take a closer look…

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Week 83 (Music room masonry complete)

This week saw the completion of another major milestone in the studio construction project: the Music Room masonry is now complete.  The blocks were all in place as of last week, but the major remaining task was the final grouting: 5 yards of concrete for the inner wythe and 5 yards of concrete for the outer wythe.  To put that into perspective, there are 27 ft3 per yard, and since each ft3 of concrete weights 150 lbs, that’s over 10 tons of material for each bond beam.  Moreover, each beam had to be built as a continuous entity, so each beam had to be poured quickly enough so the cement didn’t set and yet not so quickly that we might make a mistake that would mar seven months of work (or worse).

To begin at the beginning of the week, the blocks were all in place, but no so the steel rebar…

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Week 82 (Top Bond Beam Progress)

Alas, the weather showed its effect this week, preventing the completion of the top bond beam by the end of July.  Instead, we see that about a quarter of the 36th course has been laid, leaving a very short day’s work to lay the remaining 90 or so blocks.  Here, in one picture, you can see pretty much the sum of what has been done (on the East wall) and what remains to be done (with unlaid blocks waiting in front of the North and South walls):


But for the curious and the technical, more images await:

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