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A printer dies screaming, and Olive jerks it out of the rack and stumbles toward the recycler. Mildred follows, sour and unhelpful. “It violates the spirit of the law,” she says, raising her voice above the fans.

“The law violates the spirit of the law,” snaps Olive. “We’re just an engine of prior art. Release it all into the public domain immediately. No hassles, no suits. Free the music.”

“And no songwriter ever gets to own anything again?”

“Scorched earth,” shrugs Olive. “They started it.”

Behind them, the servers kick out melody after melody, playing with the edges of the audible.