Copyright, Music, My Stories

And Copyright For All…

There is a great article over at the WSJ on all of these catalogue sales of copyright.

It’s asking the question as to how does the music industry decide who the writer of a song is?

This is more relevant now than ever before, especially since artists are selling percentage points in their catalogues to investment houses and publishing companies.

It’s a double edged sword.

While the artists and songwriters would like to get a lot more in streaming payments, it is because of streaming that their catalogues have become valuable. The Beach Boys even took it a step further by selling their masters and their actual brand.

For the fans its worthwhile knowing that what is on album liner notes could be misleading. “1984” from Van Halen had the original release crediting all songs to Edward Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony, and David Lee Roth.

In the UK release, “Michael McDonald” was listed as a co-writer for “I’ll Wait” but not the original U.S release. Eventually by the start of the 2000’s, Van Halen re-negotiated the publishing deal for the “1984” album and Michael Anthony was removed from the credits.

Each album will have a band/production agreement in which the actual writers (which could be the artists or a songwriter or a producer) would give a percentage split of their copyrights to other people (like other songwriters, producers, other band members, lawyers or management) in exchange for more work later on.

Bob Rock has a percentage split on the Metallica “Black” album and I’m pretty sure he would have a similar split on the “Load” and “Reload” albums. But the difference is that he’s not listed as a writer of the tracks.

Not sure if anyone remembers Stock-Aitken-Waterman. They had a string of number 1 hits in the 80’s. Judas Priest even worked with them on a batch of songs, which Rob Halford hopes would get released one day.

Well, if you saw any of the writing credits, it was always listed as “Stock-Aitken-Waterman” as the writers. All three would get the equal split but Stock and Aitken did all the song writing and producing, while Waterman did not write music or lyrics instead he acted as a publicist instead.

And while these kind of writers will still get paid in some way (by selling a stake in their songs, royalties, etc.) what about the $435M in unmatched royalties sitting in the bank account of a new government granted organisation/monopoly called The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC).

And this new Collective will start the process of reviewing and analysing the data in order to find and pay the proper copyright owners. And once they do find the proper copyright owners (provided they are still alive, still not sure on what happens if they are deceased), there will be an administration fee to be paid and whatever is left gets paid.

There’s always someone getting paid who didn’t contribute anything to the creative process.

P.S. The title of this blog is based on the “And Justice For All” title from Metallica. Because everyone is taking a piece of copyright royalties and the last ones to be paid are the independent artists. All because the labels and the publishing companies didn’t really track or keep a database of who wrote what song.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – February 13 to February 19

4 Years Ago (2017)

It was busy during this period as I got my mojo back for writing.

I started writing a series of “Score Card” posts a few years before this and within three years I rechecked in with some of the artists I wrote about to see what was happening with them.

Because three years in the music business is a long time.

Bands like Vanishing Point, Harem Scarem, Rev Theory, Adrenaline Mob, Lizzard, Thirty Seconds To Mars, Audrey Horne, Stryper, Nonpoint, Breaking Benjamin, Sound Of Contact and Kingdom Come all got mentioned.

I wrote about how fast we move on to other things. The BlackBerry was “the phone” with emails and phone capabilities and then iPhone’s launch with apps in 2007 changed the game.

People wanted to do more with their phones and that more came from apps which put tools into the hands of their users. Developers and companies rose up all around the world, to create apps for the iPhone. But they couldn’t do the same on the Blackberry.

In 2007, Blackberry was number 8 in global smartphones sold. By 2017 it had zero market share. The speed at which people abandon one thing and move on to another is huge. Remember MySpace. Remember Yahoo. Remember dot-matrix printers. Remember film cameras.

The Pirate Bay (TPB) was about to turn 14 years this year. From its inception, it was a facilitator, spreading the disruption caused by Napster years earlier to even larger audiences. It showed the entertainment industries how they needed to change.

But they didn’t change and it took companies like Netflix and Spotify to make this happen. And they did it by using the same technology made famous by The Pirate Bay. While Netflix realised that the money is in producing your own content, Spotify and other streaming providers have not.

Licensing content from someone is not a satisfactory business model. Just ask HBO, formerly known as Home Box Office. Their early business model was all licensed content and they lost money year after year, while the movie studios got richer. It wasn’t until HBO went into original content, that they started making some serious cash.

TPB stood strong against the pressure put on it by the MPAA and the RIAA and their sister organisations throughout the world. It has stood firm against government officials (loaded up in lobbyist dollars) trying to prosecute it. It was taken down, raided and it still survives. And it keeps on innovating even when court orders become the new normal, requesting ISP’s to block the web address or domain registries to deny any applications for TPB domains. Even in it’s home country of Sweden, court appeals and cases are still ongoing. Google was even pressured to alter (in my view censor) its search algorithm, so TPB doesn’t come up.

But TPB is still alive. It has become a vessel for people to access content they normally wouldn’t have access too. In the process, it has made the world a better place.

Metal music in general has grown to all corners of the world. Suddenly, every country has a metal scene and the larger metal bands that have the means to tour are suddenly hitting markets they’ve never hit before.

The high rates of software piracy in Eastern Europe caused an IT skills explosion.

The high rates of music creation software piracy led to the electronic dance explosion coming out of Europe.

The Pirate Bay spread via word of mouth. It didn’t embark on a scorched earth marketing policy. Maybe there’s lessons there for all.

And I went down memory lane for a post called “In The Name Of Metal”, writing about the record shop days and how all the bands I like got labeled as Metal.

If you wanted to find their music, you had to go to the heavy metal section of the record shop. Even Bon Jovi could be found in the metal section.

And I wrote about Metal history and how it was to be a metal fan, in the 80s.

8 Years Ago (2013)

The labels were trying to destroy radio by getting it to pay more. And if listeners went to streaming services, that would be okay for the labels because they get most of the streaming money, pus they have a percentage stake in these organizations.

I was cranking the Journey catalogue and I couldn’t resist not writing about how similar “Seperate Ways” and Measage Of Love” are similar in the Chorus.

I went 2000 plus words on a Mane Attraction review from White Lion that covers some back story, the year 1991, the competition, some hindsight views from artists after 1991 and the album review itself.

And what it means to be the main songwriter in a band and other band members wanting a songwriting credit for doing sweet fa.

And finally I was pissed about CDs.

Lyric booklets became non existent and if they did come with lyrics it would be something like fitting the lyrics of 12 songs on two pages.

We still had those stupid FBI Anti Piracy Warnings.

Did the labels and the FBI seriously believe that these labels work or deter people from piracy?

You couldn’t even skip those ads on DVDs.

Well that’s my DoH history for the week?

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Copyright, My Stories, Stupidity

Takedowns – Copyright Style

It’s all happening in Australia.

Our government wants companies like Google and Facebook to pay news creators for having their articles appear in search results or when they are shared on a social media feed.

Google is negotiating with them while Facebook said “fuck you” and blocked or restricted all news content on the platform.

The thing is, these news outlets have never adapted to the changing marketplace that the World Wide Web brings.

They put content behind paywalls and it’s not working as good as the news content providers hoped it would do. Physical sales are down.

They have articles on the site with a lot of ads running on the side. Most of the article’s that generate money from ads are click bait stories and not the proper well researched long form articles.

So if you’re a serious journalist, there is a very high chance that your well written story that takes 15 minutes to read will be ignored because click bait short stories end up rising to the top.

And it’s all in the name of copyright.

Copyright allows the news creators to say to Google or Facebook that these companies are using copyrighted material without permission or proper compensation on their services.

And if you are in doubt as to how much power copyright has, look no further than the Beverley Hills Police Officers.

The officers are playing copyrighted music at each arrest and stop, so if they are filmed and that video is shared, they are using copyrights take down tool to remove the videos on copyright grounds.

Remember that the intention of copyright is to give the creator a short term monopoly on their art so they could make money from it.

And then once that term expired, the art enters the public domain so future generations can use it to create.

Add enforcement to it.

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

Copyright Again

I love Copyright.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving forever. Many years after the creators death, people who created nothing are still making money from it. And now we have investment firms buying the rights to songs from creators for large sums. And suddenly there is a new emperor in town when it comes time to discuss copyright terms at a political level.

One thing I know about hedge funds and investment firms; they don’t like to lose and they don’t like to give away what they have.

Bob Rock sold his shares in the Metallica “Black” album to Hipgnosis Song Fund, an investment firm, founded by Merk Mercuriadis a former label head, joining people like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Shakira, One Republic, Dee Snider and many others.

Music today, is like real estate, generating money on a consistent basis. Streaming has shown how much money can be generated if you own the rights to the songs.

Previously an album would be released, if it didn’t sell, it would be removed from shelves and replaced by something else and eventually deleted from production. Well today, nothing is deleted and storage space is infinite. Suddenly every song is available again. Well almost every song. But you know what I mean.

Remember there are two types of copyrights in music.

One for the songwriter of the song, which is known as “publishing” and the other for the sound recording, the final track which ends up on albums and streaming services.

For example, a songwriter like Steve Harris, will own this copyright or he might lease it to a publishing company for a limited term in exchange for a large up-front payment. The publisher will make their money back by collecting and keeping the royalties it collects on behalf of the artist.

The sound recording should always be owned by the artist/band who recorded the song, but in most cases, it’s the label who has it, because they paid the money to get the artist/band into the studio to record their songs and they will also own it for a larger time frame. And they will also collect royalties on this for an even longer time, still claiming they the artist hasn’t recouped.

In this Pitchfork article, it mentions that “Hipgnosis calculates that it will own the songs in its catalog for an average of 101 years before losing copyright protection.”

101 years.

God damn. That’s a long time.

So Bob Dylan’s songs released in the 60’s will be under copyright all up for about 160 years.

Think about that.

And even then, there is always a politician looking for a large hand out to write and introduce laws to keep copyright forever.

Meanwhile artists still can’t get their copyrights back from the labels, even though the law states they can.

Dwight Yoakam is another artist suing his label, this time its Warner Music, because they refuse to accept or acknowledge that copyright law allows the artist to reclaim their works after 35 years.

And if you are not aware, Universal and Sony are also in the courts because of the same thing; not allowing artists to reclaim their rights.

And the world just keeps creating money out of thin air, as Tik Tok now has a licensing arrangement with Universal Music Group, along with Sony, which it announced in November. So here is another revenue stream for the major labels.

How much of it gets filtered back to the artists?

Probably none.

That’s why they are selling their rights for a large upfront payment. Take the money and run.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

Working Class Man

It’s about Jimmy Barnes and his life from leaving Adelaide in the early 70s with Cold Chisel and his solo career.

“Working Class Boy” is the book the covers his childhood in Scotland, the trip to Australia and growing up in a broken and violent home. This one was a tough and uneasy read because of the stories he told.

Chisel like all bands of that era started off as a cover band. They introduced originals for one gig and the audience was disappointed. Back to covers they went.

Jimmy Barnes left the band early on to fill the Fraternity vocal spot left vacant by Bon Scott joining AC/DC.

But it didn’t last long and he was back with Cold Chisel albeit a more focused singer courtesy of the tutelage given to him by Fraternity bassist Bruce Howe who was the taskmaster in that band and he wanted the singer to sound a certain way. Barnsey reckons that Howe also assisted in Bon’s singing prowess.

Like all bands of the era they gig and get crowds and they get managers who promise things and deliver nothing and they kept changing them with the hope that one of em would push the band with the labels.

And a post party gathering at a posh apartment involving sex and drugs which Don Walker attended, ending up being the event that sealed the deal for them in relation to management.

Rod Willis was at the party and he was bemoaning the lack of great managers in the Australian business. Walker was listening and after watching the band play live, Willis became their manager for 32 years.

And in Willis, main songwriter Walker had an ally when it came to implementing new music into their sets. So they started rehearsing.

And all of this is up to 1976.

They got their deal in September 1977. And got a crash course in copyright. There are two copyrights for each song.

The first belongs to the artist who recorded the song, which the record label controls as they paid the money for the recording and they are meant to keep it for a limited time before returning it back to the artists.

The second belongs to the writer/s. And this is controlled by the music publisher.

Barnes sums up his first recording experience in the best way.

“Recording was making something in a dark room with no one to bounce things off, and then waiting three months until it was finished, and then another three months until it came out – only to listen six months later and say to yourself, “Oh, I wish I’d done this or that”.

He wanted to put the producers head in his hands for the second record “Breakfast at Sweetheats”.

Live music television was unmasked as miming to a recording version of the song and Chisel did that for their first appearance but the higher they got the more power they had and when it came to the Countdown awards Chisel was allowed to play live so they upped the ante by walking on with half a bottle of Vodka, and then proceeding to play a song which they changed halfway to slag off the Awards and then smashed their instruments and everything else. .

The more popular Chisel got, the more wilder Jimmy Barnes got. And you need to read his recollection of their North American tour starting with the first show in San Diego, opening up for Loverboy, and ending with their last show in LA in which their Elektra label rep didn’t even turn up for, because it was his Djs friends dog birthday.

The US tour put the writing on the wall. Chisel then imploded and he went solo. His first release “Bodyswerve” went to number 1 in Australia.

And while he’s doing songs in the U.S with Jonathan Cain and other writers for what was hoped what be his break through album in the North American market with Geffen Records, Eddie Van Halen and Ted Templeman paid him a visit, asking him to audition for the vacant singers spot in Van Halen.

According to Barnesy, EVH mentioned it’s gonna be a new band and their gonna do ballads.

He said “no”.

“For The Working Class Man” came out in 1985 and Barnesy became a legend in Australia. It was everywhere and it debuted at Number 1. But it bombed in the U.S.Apparently it sounded too Australian.

Whatever that means.

Eventually the Geffen deal went bad when Barnes took the masters for the “Freight Train Heart” album back to Australia because he wasn’t happy how Jonathan Cain was producing it.

In Australia, he could do no wrong and his manager organized another US deal with Atlantic this time. In the space of 12 years, Barnes had deals with Elektra with Cold Chisel and Geffen and Atlantic as a solo artist.

Like Ozzy and Black Sabbath, the more records Barnesy sold as a solo artist and singing a few Chisel songs live, generated to a lot of sales of their former bands catalogue.

Black Sabbath and Cold Chisel grew during the 80s and 90s because of the deeds of their singers.

But for all his successes, by 1994 he was almost bankrupt. And he was still out of control.

A lot of rebuilding commenced.

Read the book to find out.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories

Copyright and Public Domain

January is a big month when it comes to copyright. You get old works entering the public domain for creators to use and create new works based on em.

So every 1 Jan, copyrighted works become copyright free.

Copyrighted works from 1925 entered the U.S. public domain, where they became free for all to use and build upon.

But these works from 1925 really expired in 2001 however the U.S. Congress extended the 75 year term to 95 years on the recommendation of the corporations that held the rights.

So if your a writer, you can use the story and ideas from “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald for your next story or “In Our Time” by Ernest Hemingway. Hell you can even rewrite them and include zombies. You can use them to make your own video game or movie without paying a fee.

The worrying part is how would the Public Domain look in the future.

Artists are selling off their rights to Investment organizations. And if there’s one thing I know, organizations will fight tooth and nail and lobby and bribe their way to ensure they do not lose out on their investments. More on that below.

First, Nicki Minaj paid Tracy Chapman $450K to make a copyright suit go away over an uncleared sample.

You see these popular artists and their producers and co-writers, use an existing famous song as the “foundation/bed” of a new song.

And they work it up, change the lyrics and bring in some other stuff and so forth. And if it still sounds similar to the original they will ask for a clearance or in some cases, run the gauntlet and release it, without a clearance.

Anyway this song was pulled from the Minaj album because Chapman wouldn’t give the clearance but Minaj liked the song so much and in a devious move, she gave the song to a radio DJ who played it and then uploaded it to social media.

Which of course pissed off Chapman.

And artists keep selling their copyrights to investment firms.

Here is a current artist in Ryan Tedder from One Republic who apart from writing songs for One Republic, he also writes for others.

An Investment firm called KKR doesn’t want to miss out on what other investment firms are doing, so they made a deal with Tedder to get a majority stake in his copyrights, which the firm valued at $200 million.

But Tedder previously made deals.

Check it out.

In 2016, he sold a percentage of his publishing, (but not the OneRepublic publishing), to Downtown Music Holdings. This firm will continue to own and administer those copyrights.

This is a usual business practice in which the artist tries to get the best price for their catalogue from a publisher for a limited term. Especially a valuable catalogue.

Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records still owns the master recordings to OneRepublic’s recorded music and they will earn the majority of revenue from sales and streaming and pay the artist as per the recording agreement.

KKR will earn income from Tedder’s and One Republic royalty income, as well as his producer royalties from other recordings for other artists.

A lot of hands are involved and it’s a complicated payment structure and who would have thought that Copyright would have become so complicated with so many deals.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, My Stories

Selling Your Songs And Creative Copyright To Get Around Laws

Richie Sambora sold his 200 song catalog to an investment fund called Hipgnosis Songs for a large undisclosed sum. Hipgnosis was founded by a former manager called Merck Mercuriadis, who has spent over $1 billion on catalogs over the past 4 years.

So did Bob Dylan for $300 million and Stevie Nicks sold 80% of her stake for $100 million. Desmond Child sold his share in his songs a long time ago and regrets it.

All of this activity is because of streaming.

Spotify is the great paradigm shift.

Streaming scales and it pays for the big songs. The publishing companies and investment funds are not stupid. The return on their purchases of catalogues can now be quantified because of the data available. It’s not hidden and shrouded in record label secrecy anymore.

Desmond Child mentioned in the linked article how in 2017, the publishing company that purchased his songs in the mid 90s made up that huge purchase price x 20.

And since Copyright terms last forever, these purchases are guaranteed to keep bringing monies into the companies for the life of the creator plus 70 years after death.

And Copyright law is designed for songs to fall into the public domain but artists and labels are finding different ways to circumvent these laws.

Like Bob Dylan.

His label released a collection of songs/jams with George Harrison in Europe. This release was in response to a European law which states that recordings will enter the public domain if they aren’t officially released by the copyright holder 50 years after their creation.

Since 2012, the Dylan team have been avoiding copyright laws by releasing albums in limited runs to avoid these songs from the entering the public domain.

I guess it’s not a bad time to be a musician with a huge catalogue of songs and a popular one at that.

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Copyright, movies, Music, My Stories

Streaming And Theaters

There will always be just a few.

Facebook and Twitter control social media at the moment. Snapchat is there and TikTok is rising until Donald Trump got his government to pass a law to suppress it. Regardless who comes, in the end, only a few will remain. Google has search and Trump doesn’t like their dominant market position, so they have an Anti-Trust hearing happening. But no one is rushing to use the other search engines.

Netflix controlled visual streaming, but COVID-19 has shown how versatile Disney can become, pivoting their company to focus on Disney+ within a matter of months. It’s a big F.U to all the theatres who overcharged anyway and Disney has positioned the company as a proper streaming rival to Netflix. They have seen how much money they have left on the table by not being involved in the streaming market. Even Apple and Amazon have seen how much money is to be made by creating original content. And let’s not forget the biggest one, YouTube.

And the only ones who made money and released new content when COVID-19 hit, were the streaming services.

Of course there will always be other players popping up here and there, but they don’t last forever.

Quibi is one that comes to mind, the 10 minute or less mobile video streaming service created by people who watch documentaries on the History channel and suddenly they thought they knew what the young wanted.

Short episodes to watch on your mobile, while you walk.

And they convinced a lot of entities to invest. Well, it’s dead and buried, taking the $US1.75 billion from investors to start up and then shutting up shop, six months later.

The big labels are down to a few when once upon a time it was many.

Music streaming started off with YouTube.

Then others came like Pandora, Grooveshark, Spotify, Tidal, Apple and Deezer. There are others, but only a few will remain in the end. Pandora is entrenched and so is YouTube. Spotify has decent market share and is continuing to expand. The next step for them would be to produce new music themselves, like a label.

Apple is all about their gadgets and streaming is a means to an end. Grooveshark was found guilty of copyright infringement and closed while Tidal is there for the owners Jay Z and other artists to cash in.

Like the movie Highlander, there can be only one. Maybe two.

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Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories

Copyright Ain’t Gonna Take It

Dee Snider and Universal are facing off against the army of lawyers from Clive Palmer over his parody version of “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, which he called “Australia’s Not Gonna Cop It”.

All because he didn’t want to pay the original licence fee.

But Palmer has a team of lawyers, who are really good at getting him out of things and Snider has Universal and it’s lawyers.

And when it comes to entertainment lawyers, Aussies still remember that iiNet case, when the labels and movie studios took one of our favorite ISP’s to court. It was a test case by the entertainment groups to see if a court would find an ISP guilty of copyright infringement on behalf of its users before they took on the big ISP’s in Optus and Telstra. But the labels and movie studios lost their case.

And the entertainment lawyers are usually on the other side of the argument here, defending themselves and trying to weasel their way out of things. But now Palmer is doing the weaseling and the labels need to prove.

Palmer’s legal team is pushing a real grey area of Copyright law around parodies. They are saying that what Palmer did constitutes a parody, which Copyright law allows them to do. And they are saying that since “We’re Not Gonna Take It” is a copy of “O Come All Ye Faithful”, Palmer didn’t need to pay for a licence.

And I don’t think Universal is doing a great job putting their case forward?

Universal are arguing that copyright has been breached and are seeking royalty payments and additional damages.

And Palmer is doing to Universal what the labels normally do to artists or ISP’s. Twist the truth. Mislead.

Suddenly, Palmer is a creative, who has a book next to his bed, to scribble down thoughts and ideas at 4am in the morning, because that’s what creatives like him do. Wake up early and create.

Please.

A rock on the ground is more creative than Palmer.

Even Mariah Carey got thrown into the mix.

And the hearing continues.

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

Theater Of Copyright

It looks like the “Stairway To Heaven” case going to die?

For those that don’t know, Michael Skidmore (from here on in, known as “The Trustee”), is the trustee for the Randy Craig Wolfe Trust, which has the rights to the songs written by Randy Wolfe and his time in the rock band Spirit. The song in question here is “Taurus” and the similar feel and structure that both songs have.

My view on this is easy, a dead artist cannot hold a copyright and the law which changed copyright terms to last the life of the artist plus 70 years after death is a stupid one.

Because this is the rubbish you get. But Jimmy Page didn’t win because of the silliness of dead people holding copyrights.

Jimmy Page won because the sheet music is different. But “The Trustee” believes that the court should have been able to hear the sound recordings. But that rule allowing sound recordings came into place in the mid 70’s and the songs in dispute here are under old laws.

Anyway, the case got booted.

But for how long will “artists of the now” be taken to court over copying claims from the trustees or heirs of dead artists. Institutions cannot charge fees to the dead, so how can the dead claim a copyright and be paid for it and whoever passed a rule to allow copyright to be transferred to others has committed a wrong to the public domain.

Did you see that Universal Music Group announced a $1.2B Hotel, Performance Venue and Casino in Mississippi? It’s also going to do a similar venture in Atlanta and Orlando.

You see, this is what happens when artists give away all of their rights to the labels. It gave the labels power. They used that power to lock up culture for the life of the artist plus 70 years after the death.

But David Crosby still tells everyone streaming is the enemy. Gene Simmons as well. The enemy to an artist is ignorance and a fixed mindset. There is a lot of money in recorded music. As long as you hold the copyright to the recorded music.

Otherwise why would companies spend a lot of money buying the copyrights to popular songs. The return on these songs because of streaming payments is always going up, while stocks on Wall Street go down.

And look no further than Frontiers Records from Italy. They are releasing a lot of product compared to other labels because their President knows that music scales and will keep paying forever.

And the Labels, they are pieces of work. It’s a power play. You know how artists are trying to reclaim their copyrights back from the labels after 35 years, which is legislated in Copyright Law, but the labels are fighting hard to keep the rights. So while those court cases are ongoing, the labels are now counter suing the artists for selling their own albums on their websites or for using the album art on their websites.

So the artist make the labels rich and somehow the artists are the problem.

And Copyright keeps getting very ugly because artists sue each other.

You see an idea is an idea. I could have an idea for a song here in Australia, and there is a very high probability that other people would have a similar idea, somewhere else in the world. And when one song becomes a hit, then expect a writ, because even though ideas are not copyrightable, there is also someone who believes they are.

But.

And there is always a but when it comes to Copyright.

If there isn’t a court case for similar ideas, then there are cases over licensing, samples and whatever else lawyers can fit into the grey world which is Copyright.

Not sure if you have seen the stories about Tracy Chapman suing Nicki Minaj over a sample from Chapman’s song “Baby Can I Hold You” which appears on an unreleased track from Minaj called “Sorry”.

The song “Sorry” was pulled from the album’s release because the label couldn’t get clearance to use the sample. Minaj even begged Chapman over Twitter to approve it, but Chapman is anti-samples.

And even though the song was pulled, it still didn’t stop the song from getting played on radio stations and once the song was aired, the fans quickly ripped it from the broadcast and sent it out onto the worldwide web.

Hence the court case. Chapman wants payments and Minaj says there are none.

And the arguments have all gone off track and no one really knows what the hell they are arguing and counter arguing over. Anyway, Minaj won the case.

And labels just keep doing wrong on behalf of the artists. Here you have a label called Trax Records who specialise in dance and house recordings being accused of fraudently filing sound recordings to the U.S Copyright Office of other artists and claiming the recordings as their own.

Sony Music is also doing everything it can to keep as much money from old artists in the Sony bank account. Sony paid $12.7 million to settle a case and is allowed to deny any wrongdoing. It’s amazing what $12 million buys. The fact that these old songs are still under copyright, long after the artist has passed away is an issue for me.

I guess Copyright just lives on and on and on and the courts are kept busy with cases and the labels keep ripping creators off, while they invest in start-ups, make billions and then build casinos.

All in the name of Copyright.

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