The Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Here is a presentation on the importance of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. For the full text, click here

How Time Travel Will Save The Music Industry

Technology is changing the music industry. Joel DeRoss believes we can do it with time travel. With ideas as far out as virtual reality, check out this TedTalk from Tedx Melbourne from an entertainment industry  music producer, DJ, event organizer and record label owner.

Music and Politics Meet at the White House

Christopher Sabec Grateful Dead PoliticsWhile still at Law School, Christopher received a message from one of his former tutoring students who worked at the White House, Dylan Glen. The message stated to call the White House, as George Bush Sr. needed to get in contact with the Grateful Dead. Christopher hadn’t had the slightest idea of how he’d do this, but since it came from the White House, he made it a priority. George Bush Sr. wanted to invite the Dead over to the White House to discuss environmental issues that their fans faced along with a potential public service announcement of the issue of their choice.

Apparently it was fairly easy to get in contact with the Grateful Dead when you tell them that the White House wants to speak with them. Christopher then went on to set up a meeting with the Grateful Dead and the President of the United States, George Bush Sr. The Dead eventually met with the President and his board of environmental advisors to discuss the issues that were of concern to the band and their loyal followers. The band was impressed by the administrations willingness do promote a pro-environment campaign. There were multiple other meetings after this, and significant amendments to the administration’s environmental policy were made.

Christopher was the catalyst to these environmental policy changes, including changes to the Endangered Species Act and logging policies. After the first meeting, the Grateful Dead’s confidant, John Barlow, showed his appreciation for Christopher and asked if he’d like to hang out with the Dead and join them at their concert that night. Christopher stayed friendly with the band ever since.

Christopher Goes to Law School

Christopher Sabec University of GeorgiaThe University of Georgia was renowned for their program in international law. Dean Rusk, Secretary of State under President Johnson, had built a research center there. It seemed like a great fit for Christopher. After visiting the campus to help Christopher with the decision, he met with the Dead and he offered Christopher a partial tuition scholarship if he would attend. Christopher had already fallen in love with Athens and its thriving music scene. The decision was easy after his visit and he gave notice to the Tax Court that he would start law school in the fall.
Law school began under very difficult circumstances for Christopher. On August 2, 1989, when he was 24 years old, he broke his neck in an auto accident. While sitting at the stop light in his hometown, he was struck from behind by a driver who had lost control of his can. He had suffered a fracture of his C1 and C2 vertebras and there was no choice but to operate. Christopher underwent eight hours of surgery and spent the next three weeks in the hospital. During his recuperation, he struggled with whether to delay law school until the following year, but after a lot of internal debate and with the help of a very supportive family and welcoming student body, Christopher began his first year of law school a couple of days late and with some serious rehabilitation ahead. To say his first year was intense would be an understatement. It was grueling, both physically (due to the surgery) and mentally (due to the workload).
During Christopher’s winder break, he started to consider his options for the summer. Setting a long-term goal of working as an international attorney in either the State Department or on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he began to explore internship opportunities in Washington for the summer. He was pleasantly surprised when he found a directory of all the programs available in Washington for law students. As he had hoped, there were programs at the State Department and the Senate, so he mailed letters and resumes to both. As an afterthought, Christopher decided to send in one more package-a long shot application to The Office of the Counsel to the President at the White House. It was less an exercise in why, then one in why not; after all, he had nothing to lose.

Post-College and Omegasearch

Christopher-Sabec-after-collegeEventually, Christopher’s four years at Georgetown came to an end. He knew he wanted to go to law school, but he thought it best to take a couple years off. The experiences with the high school movie nights and the Princeton Review inspired him to look for another entrepreneurial outlet. The opportunity presented itself just after graduation. A real estate attorney who worked closely with Christopher’s mother asked him to research the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Within a few weeks, Christopher presented the attorney with everything he needed to know about the requirements of the Act and his resulting responsibilities. When Christopher was finished, the real estate attorney asked him if her would be willing to do the compliance work in return for a fee per transaction. Christopher agreed and, as a result, founded Omegasearch, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in the magnetic media processing of IRS data. By the following summer, Omegasearch was servicing fifty-five clients in five states. When one of their clients made an offer to buy the company from Christopher’s parents and himself, they accepted. They had successfully built and sold a company and Christopher had been introduced into the world of business.

Soon thereafter, Christopher began the process of applying to law school. On one of his visits to the career planning office at Georgetown, he stumbled upon a memo from the U.S. Tax Court, a forum for taxpayers to settle their differences with the IRS. They were looking for a traveling trial clerk to administer trials throughout the U.S. Christopher took the job and spent the next year traveling the country conducting trials for the Tax Court. He spent his free time that year exploring his changing cityscapes and applying to law school.

Christopher Sabec’s Passion for Music

Christopher Sabec RightscorpBy senior year at Georgetown, Christopher Sabec had risen through the Student Judiciary to become Director. The Director served as the final arbiter of disciplinary decisions for the University Administration. The Director’s power to veto administrative decisions was a holdover from the student protests during the Vietnam War. It was one of the demands granted to the students during the May Day demonstrations of 1972. The position was for the most part low-key and off the radar throughout his four years at Georgetown, but in his last semester he became embroiled in a controversy between the student body and the administration. A series of protests over Georgetown’s investments in South Africa had led to the construction of a shantytown on the front lawn of the school, occupied by approximately 120 student squatters. After a week of requests for the students to vacate the area went unheeded, the University ordered the students arrested for trespassing and suspended each of them for a semester. As Director of the Student Judiciary, all the suspensions came before Christopher for review and possible reversal. The pressure from the opposing sides was intense, with the administration being particularly irritated when they realized that Christopher was weighing his opinions rather than rubber-stamping their decision. In the end, Christopher reversed all but two of the suspensions to the cheers of the students and the chagrin of the administration. The victory was bittersweet, however, as the incident was painted as revealing a flaw in the structure of the Student Judiciary and it was reorganized to eliminate the veto power over disciplinary decisions the following year.

Throughout Christopher’s experience at Georgetown, music continued to be an integral part of his personal life. He discovered folk-influenced music of the late 60s and early 70s, listening to Bob Dylan, CSN, Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and other singer/songwriters. As for concerts, Christopher kept expanding his life experiences. Between 1984 and 1987 he saw Talking Heads, Roger Waters, Eric Clapton, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, James Taylor, Stephen Stills, and CSN among others.

One of the ways Christopher’s interest in music began to manifest itself into his academic and professional life was a growing fascination with the political and student activism during the late 60s. Due in part to the people he met while working for Senator Hart, as well as the growing opposition at Georgetown to the US involvement in Central America at the time, Christopher was drawn to that period in his political studies. He enjoyed trying to place the music he was listening to into its historical context.

Christopher Sabec Goes Back to School – Part IV

Christopher Sabec Music BiographyChristopher Sabec helped Gary Hart throughout his presidential campaign. In the end, Hart lost the nomination. Despite the disappointment, Christopher’s enthusiasm for politics, and Hart’s vision in particular, continued. Christopher approached Hart’s staff for a position in his Senate office. They welcomed Christopher and soon he was splitting his time between Georgetown’s campus and Capitol Hill, working as a legislative intern for Senator Hart and gearing up with his staff for another run for the White House. Christopher’s primary assignment involved research on the issues surrounding the continuing Senate filibuster of Contra Aid and other aspects of U.S. foreign policy in Central America, as well as research for a book Hart was writing on military reform. Christopher thrived on the Hill and could not have been happier, but his idealism and its resulting enthusiasm took a brutal hit of reality with the eruption of the Donna Rice scandal in the spring of 1986. Suddenly, Hart became the focal point of intense national press coverage and most of the resources of the office were marshaled to react to the growing crisis. This was not what Christopher had signed on for, and with exams looming, he decided he’d had enough of the circus on the Hill and threw himself back into school.

During the last few days of exams that spring, Christopher spotted a flyer soliciting teachers for an SAT prep course called the Princeton Review. He was a National Merit Scholar thanks to his SAT scores and the pay mentioned on the flyer was enticing. He signed on to become an instructor for the summer and supervised four programs for 200 students over the next twelve weeks. It was a terrific way to spend the summer; he thoroughly enjoyed and excelled at teaching. During his last year at Georgetown, he worked part-time as a private tutor, not only helping kids prepare for their SATs, but he also assisted them with their college applications. Some of the friendships he made with these students are still thriving and, unbeknownst to him at the time, he would end up becoming business partners later in life with one of these students.

Biography of Christopher Sabec: Part III

Christopher Sabec Gary HeartChristopher Sabec’s love of music and concerts took root in school projects. The first live concert he attended was Heart and he was immediately hooked. Starting with the first summer that he could drive, and throughout his high school years, he subscribed to the concert series at the local amphitheater for a pair of lawn tickets and attended every concert he could make time for including Tom Petty, Neil Young, the Cars, Pat Benatar, The Tubes, Journey, The Who, Rush, The Police, The Go-Gos, Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, and Bruce Springsteen.

Academically, Christopher was a strong student in high school, gravitating towards English and social sciences. His parents generously made it known from an early age that they were more than happy to send him to college. The question for him was never whether he would go to college, but where – his goal being to find a place where he could focus on his strong political interests. As he completed the application his senior year, the choice came down to the University of Virginia or Georgetown University.

He entered Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in the fall of 1983, majoring in International Affairs and minoring in Theology. The School of Foreign Service is an undergraduate school dedicated to preparing its students for internationally oriented careers, with an emphasis on diplomacy. Not surprisingly, the Washington, D.C. campus ended up being the ideal environment for his interest in politics to grow and much of his education came outside the classroom.

Early in his first year, he has the opportunity to hear Gary Hart speak. At the time, Heart was a Senator from Colorado and long shot presidential candidate. Hart’s speech inspired Christopher and he found himself volunteering to help with his campaign. By winter break, he was working every day at Heart’s cramped campaign headquarters above a Chinese restaurant near the Capitol. Within a few weeks Christopher ventured to New Hampshire, campaigning door-to-door for the primary, which Heart went on to win in an upset over Walter Mondale. With the win came a lot of national exposure and the campaign eventually came down to a two-man race between Hart and Mondale. Christopher soon found himself working directly under Heart’s fundraising chief, as well as coordinating the field in Virginia. On the fundraising side, Christopher spent a great deal of time organizing a series of cocktail parties and concerts hosted by Stephen King and Carole King. Billed as A Night with Two Kings, these events successfully introduced Hart to political donors across the county. Back in Virginia, Christopher was elected a delegate to the Virginia State Democratic Convention. He was 19 at the time and one of the youngest delegates at the convention.

Christopher Sabec Biography Part 2

Christopher Sabec - the song remains the sameNotwithstanding his political interests, Christopher Sabec was fascinated with music throughout his childhood. While he had taken various music lessons, he never considered himself a musician. He was a consumer, rather than a creator, of music. In 1975, the local top 40 station was his entry point to the popular music of the time and many evenings he found himself dialing their request line asking the DJs to play songs like Jackie Blue by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils or Philadelphia Freedom by Elton John. Christopher bought his first record while Christmas shopping in 1976: Wings Over America, by Paul McCartney and Wings. More accurately, his father bought the record for him after his pleading requests, but not before commenting derisively, “What?…that hop head?!?!” The confusion of the statement could not have dampened Christopher’s enthusiasm for the record, and within short order, he made his way to The Beatles, Boston, Led Zeppelin, Peter Frampton, Fleetwood Mac, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, and other staples of rock radio.

Although Christopher Sabec did not realize at the time, a foreshadowing of his future as an entrepreneur in the music business occurred in October of 1980, early in his sophomore year of high school. John Bonham had just died and the Led Zeppelin concert scheduled to occur at the local arena had been canceled. As the Sophomore Class Treasurer, Christopher had an Idea: he would rent a print of the Led Zeppelin concert film, The Song Remains the Same, and screen it the night the concert had been scheduled to take place. Part memorial service and part class fundraiser, the event was a huge success and very profitable for the class treasury. Two more movies followed that year, with screenings of Rust Never Sleeps and Woodstock. Through these events, Christopher raised the bar on class fundraisers and recognized the power music has to bring people together and generate income.

The Life of Christopher Sabec Part 1

Christopher Sabec Simon & GarfunkelFor Christopher Sabec, 1992 was the year that his passion for music and his education as an attorney converged. Until then, he was busy pursuing his calling in politics and international law, turning to the magic of music primarily as a source of entertainment. At the age of 28, however, a series of fortuitous opportunities in the music business presented themselves to him, forever altering the course of his career and his life goals.

Born in Norfolk, Virginia on December 10, 1964, her was the second of two sons. His father was a Naval officer and his mother was a realtor. After his birth, his family moved to Midway, an island in the Pacific halfway between Hawaii and the Philippines. Two years later, his father was transferred to Washington, D.C. It was there that he experienced one of his earliest memories. Just shy of his third birthday, he was walking hand-in-hand with his babysitter, balancing along a railroad track. They were singing along to Simon & Garfunkel’s 59th Street Bridge Song crackling over the transistor radio that was hanging from her wrist. It’s a vivid memory of his to this day.

Fortunately, by the time he began school, his father had retired and they moved permanently to Fairfax, Virginia, a suburb of Washington D.C. His father’s retirement allowed Christopher to avoid all of the moves usually associated with being in a military family. He attended parochial school until eighth grade, then public high school. A main interest throughout his childhood was his fascination with current events. At a young age, Christopher watched the news and was aware of the political process; he clearly remembers the 1972 primary season and conventions, as well as the resulting Watergate hearings. In school, this interest played itself out in student government. Christopher Sabec ran for office every time he had the opportunity, holding various elected positions along the way. In his senior year of high school, he was elected president of the student body and successfully ran for a sear on the Fairfax County School Board. His position on the board was an incredible learning experience. He represented the interests of over 125,000 students and participated in the board’s discussions and debates involving curriculum issues and appropriations for a budget exceeding $450 million.

To be continued…