A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

What Do Artists Need? Stronger Copyright Laws or Better Business Models

I absolutely support that musicians should be paid for their work.

What I don’t get is how the record labels and misguided artists feel entitled to push for stronger copyright enforcement as a way to guarantee an income which is contrary to the foundations of what copyright was designed to do.

As we all know, Copyright laws have been hijacked by Corporations that at this point in time, copyright is contrary to freedom, and in particular freedom of speech, to a degree where it is illegal to sing “Happy Birthday” at a birthday party.

The “Happy Birthday” song goes all the way back to 1893 and right now it is “protected” by copyright until 2030 because someone decided to retroactively place it back under copyright. If that doesn’t tell everybody that something is very wrong with Copyright then I really don’t know what will.

Because people who really believe in stronger copyright laws believe that if those extra enforcement laws do not exist then musicians will cease to create. Those same people believe that if people are not paid upfront to write an album, then musicians will cease to create.

The maximalist viewpoint doesn’t seem to be supported.

Look at Sweden, the birth place of Spotify and The Pirate Bay. Guess what, the country has a thriving culture around music. Sweden to me is the scene to be at right now. Other policy changes by the Swedish Government around making medical care free has also contributed to this vibrant music scene. And all of this has been achieved with the threat of copyright infringement.

Remember all of the lies that have come out from the entertainment industries.

“Home taping killed music” was a good one. Guess that is why the music business and as a by-product the recording business grew exponentially once cassettes came into the market. I guess that is why no popular music has been made since cassettes came into the market.

The point is that copyright protectionism is purely about protecting old business models. Stronger Copyright has nothing to do about supporting thriving new industries. Stronger Copyright has nothing to do about finding new ways of doing things. The thing is the Copyright cartels have had a big win in successfully skewing the argument that file sharing is “theft”.

Remember all of those commercials about stealing that seemed to appear on a legally purchased DVD. The irony. I purchase a DVD and then I get blasted with ads that links copyright infringement to theft. BUT, if file sharing was actually “stealing”, then file-sharers could no doubt be prosecuted under existing theft law.

But they don’t. Because file sharing is not theft of property. It is a violation of copyright. That’s an important difference.

Duplicating a pile of 1’s and 0’s does not deprive anybody of the original content. What all of this copying does is drive down the value of the product. What is the price of a song when the internet is littered with millions of copies of the same song and they are free.

That right there is a market with a customer base in the billions and it needed to be satisfied. And that is where YouTube, Spotify, Pandora and other streaming services come into play. They are there to monetize that market by competing with free through ad-supported business models. Hey, if it is good enough for the free to air TV networks, why can’t it be good enough for music networks.

But this “free market” has a big problem when it runs up against Government protected monopolies.

And the thing is, people do also pay for music. Many studies are actually showing that the biggest consumers of illegal media are also the biggest purchasers of legal media. Ultimately this seems to show that people are more than happy to pay for content they enjoy.

Metallica’s self-titled Black album is still moving on average 2000 units a week. And it is doing this even though millions of copies of the album are available to be downloaded for free. It is doing this even though it is available for streaming on Spotify and YouTube.

Volbeat has been selling records on a weekly basis in the U.S since 2011. They are doing these numbers even though their album/s are available to be downloaded on peer-to-peer networks. They are doing these numbers even though their albums are available for streaming.

Same deal with Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold and Skillet. Still selling, regardless of the state of piracy.

So what is it. Do artists need stronger copyright laws or better business models and terms that pay them a fair days pay for a fair days work?

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