Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Unsung Heroes

What Is Democracy?

Wikipedia states that “democracy” originates from the Greek word dēmokratía which means “rule of the people” and it’s the opposite to the word aristokratia which means “rule of an elite”.

So how does “democracy” really work for us?

Every three to four years, we tick a box on election day, to elect a leader that has been pre-selected by the ruling elite. In Australia, the Prime Ministers the people have voted in have been thrown out by their own parties ruling elite half way into their terms.

So how does the rule of the people exist?

There is a great post from last year by Ilya Somin on democracy that I have kept in my inbox for a post like this.

Recent debates over the meaning of “one person, one vote” and the lessons of ancient Greek democracy for the modern world highlight an important truth about democracy: it can’t be democratic all the way down. Lincoln famously said that democracy is “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” But before “the people” can govern anything, someone has to decide who counts as a member of the people, what powers they have, and what rules they will vote under. And that someone usually turns out to be a small group of elites.

Yep, democracy has elitism at its heart. Before people can vote, someone has to decide who the people will vote for and how and for which policies.

Before a democratic process can even begin to function, some nondemocratic process has to make the rules. And those rules will have a major impact on the choices available to “the people” once they finally begin to have a say.

While the majority of people don’t care about laws and how they are made, they should care about the elites massaging the laws to benefit them.

All of this brings me to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement which has been negotiated in secret. Corporations (a form of elitist’s) and their lobby groups (another form of elitist’s) have a seat at the table with the people voted in. The only time the people hears about the terms of the agreement are from leaked documents. And it’s a bad agreement that gives corporations the power to sue Governments, if the sovereign government passes laws that interfere with the corporation’s profits. It’s taking government granted monopolies into the world. If TPP goes through, it would be a government granted world monopoly.

What about Copyright?

Money and wealth are in control of it. The corporations have taken a monopoly granted to a creator and made it into a corporate monopoly that expires 70 to 90 years after the creator’s death. And these corporations are now trying to skew the copyright laws to benefit themselves.

I came across an interesting story about “This Is Spinal Tap”. I had that movie on VHS cassette. Due to video tape destruction and lending it out to people, I purchased the original tape 4 times and eventually got it on DVD.

Harry Shearer from “The Simpsons” fame was one of the main co-creators of “This Is Spinal Tap”. He also starred in it, as the bass player, Derek Smalls. Who can forget the image of Derek stuck in the pod during the concert, unable to get out due to a malfunction or when Derek was going through the airport screens with a cucumber wrapped in foil in his pants?

Shearer and the other creators are meant to get 40 percent of net receipts however he hasn’t been getting paid, so he served papers to Vivendi and StudioCanal for $125 million.

The movie is a classic and it’s hugely popular. The fictional band is also hugely popular. However;

Despite the film’s legacy and Spinal Tap’s enduring success as an actual band able to sell out arenas, Shearer’s company Century of Progress Productions alleges that the four lead creatives have received just $81 in merchandising income and $98 in musical sales income in the past three decades from the franchise.

Have a read of the Hollywood Reporter article for more detail, but it’s these two points that prove copyright is a corporation business.

  • Harry Shearer is NOT ALLOWED to reprise “Derek Smalls”, a character that he created and played due to threats from the studio.
  • Harry Shearer does not have the rights to the songs he wrote and co-wrote for the movie. In other words he cannot do anything to monetise his own songs. However, there is a termination provision in the Copyright Act that allows the creators to cancel the copyright grants to the corporation and regain their rights. However, 35 years needs to pass before it can happen, and the termination claims need to be in by a certain period.

There is a saying in I.T that whatever sticks around long enough will break eventually. Copyright is no different. It’s been around for a long time and due to laws passed to benefit corporations in the 60’s and 70’s, copyright in its current state, is buggy like you wouldn’t believe.

The fact that copyright has given rise to new jobs around “music forensics” is enough to make me break another guitar.

Read the article, even just for the following quote;

“is evidence of one truth about the world of music copyright: There can be a lot of money involved.”

And when there is money involved, the main recipient would do anything to keep that money fountain flowing.

Advertisements
Standard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s