“Sure thing, my little gnarly gnat. It was back in 2002 and American citizens were reeling from the shock that NBC would no longer advertise hard liquor. The entertainment industry was in turmoil.”

“Turmoil? Is that anywhere near Fresno?”

“Pretty darn close, my little Muppet brain. You see, up until that time, the industry was as happy as a bug in a rug, for it had complete control of the distribution of its product. It decided how you could watch TV, when you could see a movie and how you could listen to music.”

“Music? You mean like 112 and Midnight Oil?”

“Uh, uh, and don’t forget The Hellacopters, Galactic and Echo & The Bunnymen.”

Those must have been great times.”

“Oh, they were my little wiggle wart, but then something happened that changed everything. It was called ‘Napster,’ and it was invented by a fellow named Shawn Fanning.”

“My teacher says he was a very bad man.”

“The baddest. He came up with a way for people to share their music collections over the Internet. Before you knew it, people all over the world were sharing songs by The Breeders, Alicia Keys even Paul McCartney.”

“Without paying for them, right Grandpa?”

“That’s right, my little fur-brained troll. They started swappin’ them songs, and soon, due to increased bandwidth, started trading movies. Hollywood was mighty ticked.”

“What happened next, Grandpa?”

“Well, those entertainment people were pretty smart, and it didn’t take them long to realize that technology was evil. So, they lobbied Congress to pass a law prohibiting any digital device from being sold in America unless it was fully compliant with technical copyright protection standards as set by the U.S. government. The entertainment industry was saved!”

“Yippee! I’ll bet that taught that dastardly Fanning a lesson, uh Grandpa?”

“That it did, my little HervĂ© Villechaize clone. With one stroke of the presidential pen, artists like Jack Johnson and Britney Spears breathed easier knowing that the fruit of their labors would be fully protected from malevolent Silicon Valley tricksters bent on providing the means for millions of otherwise law abiding citizens to become copyright pirates.”

“Horray for Hollywood!!”

“That’s right. No longer would our society’s great artists be threatened by CD burners, personal MP3 players and digital TV recorders that skip over the commercials. But that was only in America, of course. At that time we had yet to take over the world.”

“And that happened in 2002, Grandpa?”

“That’s right, my little gerbil flea. Right before Microsoft and Intel moved offshore and started their own nations. Well, that’s enough storytelling for one evening. How about some music? Who do you want to hear tonight? Ty Herndon? Or how about Kittie or John Mellencamp?”

“I wanna hear Weezer, Grandpa.”

“Then Weezer it is, my little carpet iguana. Why don’t you grab the recording while I crank up the Victrola? And be careful with that album. Vinyl doesn’t grown on trees, you know.”