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

Is Copyright A Government Granted Ponzi Scheme?

Culture is all about emulation. Up until 1971, music culture had 11 years of progress by copying what came before and making it better. All you need as proof in the quality of music released around a descending bass line during that period.

In the United States Constitution it states the reasons behind Copyright is “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” Most countries have similar reasons for copyright. Fast forward a century later and Copyright has become the get rich scheme of the century. It’s being used for everything except what it was originally intended for, “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts”.

All of those songs from “Hardwired To Self Destruct” will be in the public domain by 2120 (approx. based on the current terms of life of the creator plus an additional 70 years after death). Even Led Zeppelin’s IV will not be in the public domain until 2110 (approx.). I will be long gone by then, however my great great grandchildren will probably be able to benefit from a robust public domain in the same way that Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones benefited from using blues and folk songs in the public domain to build their career. Then again, the record labels, movie studios and Performance Rights Organisations have done a wonderful job in getting Copyright laws retroactively changed to suit their profits, so by 2120 there could be no Public Domain whatsoever.

The crazy thing is the 10 year difference of the estimated public domain date between Metallica and Led Zeppelin however the albums are over 40 years apart in release date. Remember how I’ve always said Copyright was hijacked by business people in the 60’s and 70’s to benefit a corporate entity. Led Zeppelin created their main profitable catalogue of songs between 1968 and 1976. The copyright terms of the era were 28 years, with the option of another 28 years if the Copyright was renewed. After that, the song would fall in the public domain. So for a song written in 1968, its normal public domain date would have been 2024.

Copyright is an outgrowth of the privatization of government censorship in sixteenth-century England. There was no uprising of authors suddenly demanding the right to prevent other people from copying their works; far from viewing copying as theft, authors generally regarded it as flattery. The bulk of creative work has always depended, then and now, on a diversity of funding sources: commissions, teaching jobs, grants or stipends, patronage, etc. The introduction of copyright did not change this situation. What it did was allow a particular business model — mass pressings with centralized distribution — to make a few lucky works available to a wider audience, at considerable profit to the distributors.
Question Copyright article 

The 60/70’s era had the children of the WW2 survivors turn into teenagers. Add to the mix, all of the nation rebuilding going on and suddenly the modern family had money. And these kids looked for an outlet, which proved to be music. On the backs of Elvis Presley and The Beatles invasion, the sale of recorded music brought in a lot of money to the recording business, so something had to be done to protect those songs bringing in so much gold. The record labels (along with the movie studios who had their own boom in film) took the money meant for the creators and lined the pockets of politicians to write and pass laws.

Hell, the person that co-authored and brought the Copyright Act of 1976 to the U.S Senate was John Little McClellan. The funny thing is he led a Special Committee to Investigate Political Activities, Lobbying and Campaign Contributions many years before he was asked to co-author and submit the 1976 bill. Guess he would have seen everyone on the take, so why shouldn’t he. Let’s look at a few facts. He was 79 years old when approached by the movie studios/record labels. He was the perfect kind of senator to push their case as he was well-respected and in his 35 years as senator he introduced over 1000 bills which 140 were signed into law. A year after the bill was signed into law, he passed away. He didn’t care what damage the bill would cause.

So copyright becomes a government granted monopoly. Its value is based on another government bill that determines royalty rates. There is also the unregulated price labels charge to license music catalogues to streaming services and prior to the internet, the price they charged for recorded music.

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation where the individual/organization, pays returns to its investors from new capital paid to the scheme by new investors, rather than from profit earned through legitimate investments or business activities. Hell, streaming at the moment is a Ponzi scheme. New investor money is given to old investors.

So how can Copyright be a Ponzi scheme?

A Copyright operator is a company that collects royalties on behalf of artists or songwriters and then distributes those monies to the artists whose works were performed.

A copyright operator has the following investors;

Music consumers, TV networks, cable networks, terrestrial and satellite radio stations, streaming services, background music services, colleges, universities, concert presenters, symphony orchestras and hundreds of thousands of bars, restaurants, hotels, circuses, theme parks and any other place that plays music.

The Copyright operators brings in a bunch of venues and organisations and gets them to pay for blanket licences because the Copyright Operator has so many artists on their books, there is a high chance the music being played is an artist from their roster. The Copyright operator then uses the money from the newer venues to pay the Top 1% of the artists so the enterprise looks legit.

In 99% of the cases, the monies collected via the process mentioned ends up going to the Top 1% of earners. This is changing as artists see the value in holding their own copyrights, however the laws are stacked against them in relation to paying stupid fees to Copyright Operators.

As much as everyone hates Spotify, why do you think Spotify had to set up a $50 million fund to pay independent creators?

They had no information as to who the creators were. So what did the Publishing Rights Organisations and Record Labels do with the royalty monies they received from these works in the past (from recorded sales) because how can they pay royalties if they don’t have the information needed to determine who is entitled to the royalty.

Operators of Copyright schemes usually entice artists with the offer of high returns if they sell their copyrights back to the Copyright operator. Steve Perry got millions recently for selling his copyrights to a publishing company, while a brand new artist will get ZILCHO as their songs are not popular right now. But they could be in the future. Steve Perry would then get short-term returns, which will be inconsistent. And when that dwindles down to pennies, a new technology will get blamed for the pittance in payments back to creators, while the Copyright operators swim in cash.

Seriously, how much of the Spotify license fees go back to all of the artists and songwriters (not just the Top 1% of earners)?

It’s because of Copyright laws, that the Copyright operators have this bargaining power?

The Copyright Operators had it easy while the record labels controlled the distribution gate. But the internet became a game changer and suddenly the copyright business was failing to achieve the returns expected. So the business went screaming to the Government to write laws to protect its business model. This time the government didn’t listen and the copyright business still continues to operate under fraudulent terms. But, the money pool is increasing, as music consumers turn to an access model and streaming is providing billions to the old investors.

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