Copyright, Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

Copyright, It’s Been A While

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post on the insanity which Copyright has become.

Over at YouTube, the copyright holders like Warner Music Group (WMG) are sending takedown notices for a super popular video called “The Fans Deserve Better” which has been allowed to operate since July 2014. In this takedown, WMG even blocked it, so nobody could watch it.

All the video shows is an 11 second clip of Iron Maiden’s “The Number Of The Beast” to demonstrate what a great vocalist is and then 11 seconds of an Asking Alexandria song to demonstrate how bad a vocalist can be.

In my own backyard of Australia, the music labels and movie studios pumped up the political parties with lots of cash to get legislation passed and site blocking is a real thing in the land of Oz.

This time around, the music labels Sony, Universal, and Warner, with assistance from Music Rights Australia and the Australasian Performing Right Association, are asking Australia’s Federal Court to approve their demand for the ISP’s to block stream-ripping sites.

So the ISP’s need to be the Copyright Police for the labels, because they haven’t been able to figure out the stream ripping market, and why people stream rip and what relationship to music these stream rippers have.

Do they attend concerts? Do they buy any recorded music? Do they just want to have content? What do they do with the content?

I know people who have terabytes of books, movies and music on hard drives which they’ve never listened too, watched nor read and they will never have the time to devote to all of that culture. But they want to say they have it. And it makes them feel good. There are articles stating the same about people who hoard digitally.

Is site blocking really needed as the labels and studios profit and loss statements are looking pretty healthy.

Did you know that recorded revenue earned by the labels keeps going up and up and up?

Four years straight.

And of course streaming revenue was the star of the show, which offset the decline in physical and download revenues.

Along the way to these increases in revenue, something magical happened.

The record labels for a long time complained about Latin And South America being a haven of piracy activity. In previous blog posts I’ve mentioned how metal and rock bands continually tour these areas to massive crowds and the bands haven’t sold any recorded product in these areas. Basically the people were starved of legal offerings and resorted to bootleg recordings and then piracy.

Finally Spotify is allowed to open their servers for the people of these countries to stream and these areas along with Australia (which the labels class as another haven for piracy and needs more court blocks) have been the fastest growing markets.

The labels didn’t create this new income stream, the techies did, but hey, the techies are the bad guys here. And isn’t it funny when people are given the choice to stream at a super low price, the majority would pay for that. So instead of focusing on 90% of the music fans who do the right thing, the labels and their lobby groups believe the 10% who obtain music illegally is worth spending money on and to increase the price the other 90% pay for legal options.

Mmmm.

Speaking of the techies as the bad guys, you might have noticed headlines like “Spotify Sues Songwriters To Pay Less Royalties”. It’s all B.S. but with the way the internet spreads news and with people looking for someone to blame at their own failings in connecting with their fan base, these headlines spread like crazy.

What is happening is that Spotify and Amazon have taken issue with the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (which should never ever exist), raising the royalty rate amount that Spotify needs to pay to the Copyright Holders. So instead of paying 10% of their revenue, they need to pay 15% of their revenue.

Spotify is not suing songwriters at all. What they and other streaming services are proposing is a different payment model.

And then you have Apple, which went from an innovative leader to meh, coming out in support of these increases, because hey, since streaming is a small portion of their bottom line, it can only help them out if their competitors close shop. 

And the solution to make users pay more, will get some people paying more, and the rest will return to torrents and stream ripping.

But, what everyone seems to forget is that the money in music is due to the relationship a customer has with the music and the artist. They determine the price they are willing to pay.

Here are a few articles on the Spotify vs The Royalty Board to form your own viewpoints on.

Rolling Stone article which summarises the facts without any bias.

Music Business Worldwide article that has Sony and Warner Music reps urging composes to fight Spotify’s royalty rate challenge.

A Vulture article which explains the facts even better than the Rolling Stone article.

Here is the rock and metal worlds response via Loudwire.

And let’s not forget the reapers hand hovering over “Blurred Lines”, the song written by Robin Thicke and Pharrel Williams, which had no infringing riffs or licks, but a funk feel similar to Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up”.

In this case, a homage to funk led to $5 million being paid to the heirs of Marvin Gaye plus 50% of all future earnings. And the worrisome part is, these kind of cases put the idea out there that Marvin Gaye was so original and free from influence and that his songs did not pay homage to any artist or style.

From a rock perspective it’s the same as Led Zep suing Greta Van Fleet over a song of theirs for having a rock feel similar to a Led Zep song.

Ed Sheeran is also going to court to defend “Thinking Out Loud,” from the heirs of Ed Townsend who co-wrote, Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.”

A few years before that, Ed Sheeran’s song “Photograph” had a few extra writers added to it (out of court) as well. In this case, the writers of a song called “Amazing” believed their song is so original and free from influence that other artists couldn’t resist copying it (that’s sarcasm by the way). The fact that Sheeran’s song went huge and their amazing song didn’t, meant a writ needed to be served. 

In relation to “Thinking Out Loud”, it looks like another out of court settlement is on the cards and an extra songwriter who is dead, will be added to the credits of an Ed Sheeran song. Yep, Copyright was meant to expire when a person died, but not in this lifetime. They still get songwriting credits.

And these out of court settlements keep coming.

The most ridiculous one out of them all was where a person called Alisa Apps, took Universal Music Group and artist John Newman to court, because Newman’s song had the lyrics “I need to know now” in it, which is the same lyric line as her song.

Are you serious on this one?

Lucky the Justice system actually came to the party on this one and said you can’t copyright generic words or short phrases.

And finally, here is copyright as a shakedown tool, as collection agencies sue bars, nightclubs, restaurants and any place playing music over licensing fees.

In this case, the place in question is meant to owe BMI (a collection agency for 900K plus artists) $6,850. BMI alleges the organisation played music without a proper public license in place. I’m just curious for which songwriter is BMI collecting these monies for. Because when a collection agency sends employees to visit establishments and log the music they hear being played, it sure sounds like a shakedown than a warning or to educate business owners.

P.S. COPYRIGHT AS AN ENFORCEMENT TOOL

One last special Copyright case is how the RIAA, and the labels are suing an ISP for the fast speeds it offers because those high speeds foster piracy and it wouldn’t kick off the people responsible because it might damage their brand. I kid you not. I’m waiting for the day, when the makers of knives are sued because the sharpness of their knives foster greater damage to human organs when someone plunges it through skin in a fit of rage.

P.S.S. – COPYRIGHT AS AN ENFORCEMENT TOOL

People who create a tool that connects to the TV and internet and allows people to watch content they didn’t pay for are jailed for a total of 17 years. I’m waiting for the day when gun makers (a tool created by people) get jailed for 17 plus years, when their tools are used to take the life of people who didn’t want to die.

P.S.S.S – COPYRIGHT AS A MONOPOLY

And one of the outcomes of the Music Modernization Act was that a new music collective would be created for streaming royalties and suddenly we have groups fighting over who should be in it and lots of money going into different people’s hands to approve.

I thinks that’s all I have patience for. Till next time.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

The Way The World Works

Corporations lobby the Government to have their taxes lowered while banking titans rort the system, say sorry at a Royal Commission and all is forgiven.

Welcome to Australia or any democratic country for that matter which has become a plutocracy.

Read this Guardian article about donations from a lobby group called Village Roadshow to Australian political parties.

Put enough coin in the pockets of politicians and watch them vote YES for the laws the corporation wants even though said law is bad for the people who voted the politicians in.

In this case the laws are all around Copyright legislation and site blocking powers. Plus Village Roadshow is allowed along with other entertainment lobbyists to direct search engines to remove links to sites they don’t like and there is no due diligence done.

Village Roadshow is basically allowed to become an internet police force as they tell ISPs to take down sites at their choosing.

You can imagine the heads of Village Roadshow agreeing to take some losses now financially and reap the benefits later. No different to the drug cartels who will allow a shipment to be lost while many more slip through and millions come flooding in.

We will know in February 2019, how much Village Roadshow donated to the parties for the most recent legislation. And for those people who still don’t know what I’m talking about, this is basically a rich corporation trying to influence the passing of legislation to benefit their business model.

In saying all of the above, the public will also find out how much the internet providers and companies like Google would have donated to politicians for them to stop the legislation.

Again this is for their own business models to succeed. Once again the people who matter the most, the consumers of entertainment are nowhere in the conversation. Remember, if there is no connection between a consumer and art, there is no money.

What Village Roadshow and the entertainment industries want is a return to their business model which more or less began 100 years ago. Seriously if you want to look at organizations resistant to change, look no further than Village Roadshow.

And Politicians should be embarrassed as they failed the people who voted them in, for a selfie with the rich and famous.

At least one politician raised the concern or maybe he was paid by Google to raise the concern;
“As lawmakers, just because we might get a selfie with Richard Roxburgh — I love Rake as much as anyone else — or a political party gets a donation from a rights holder, does not mean that we should stop looking at how to make the types of reforms that balance the needs of creatives and the needs of producers versus the needs of consumers.”
Ed Husic – Labor MP

It’s hard work to balance the needs of creatives and producers versus the needs of consumers and no one right now likes hard work, so people go down the simple route of serving the needs of creatives and producers and screwing consumers.

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

Price Reset

All prices have a reset.

The live business greed at the moment is like the record label greed pre-Napster. Releasing albums with two to three good songs and charging too much for it.

If artists allow corporations to keep exploiting their fans in this way, there will be a backlash.

A price reset.

In the same way housing prices and share prices have a reset.

Even the recording business consumer prices have had a reset however the licensing fees the labels charge to services have increased exponentially.

On demand TV has had a price reset because of Netflix. There is a whole new generation who don’t even remember what Cable is.

Artists need to make money, there is no doubt, however just because they release new music it doesn’t mean they are not entitled to make money.

No one has a right to make money from music. Ed Sheeran gave his music away for free and played for free. It was only after Sheeran established his worth in the market that he was able to start making some money.

In other words, just because Ed Sheeran decided to write and produce music, it didn’t mean he had an entitlement to be paid from the start; he had to prove to people that he was worth paying for before people did so.

The internet distribution methods allows everyone to create. There are no gatekeepers. So anything an artist creates is competing with everything released today and in the past.

You have to remember that it’s only a few hundred years, if that much, that artists are working with money. Artists never got money. Artists had a patron, either the leader of the state or the duke of Weimar or somewhere, or the church, the pope. Or they had another job. I have another job. I make films. No one tells me what to do. But I make the money in the wine industry. You work another job and get up at five in the morning and write your script.

This idea of Metallica or some rock n’ roll singer being rich, that’s not necessarily going to happen anymore. Because, as we enter into a new age, maybe art will be free.

Maybe the students are right. They should be able to download music and movies. I’m going to be shot for saying this. But who said art has to cost money? And therefore, who says artists have to make money?

In the old days, 200 years ago, if you were a composer, the only way you could make money was to travel with the orchestra and be the conductor, because then you’d be paid as a musician. There was no recording. There were no record royalties. So I would say, “Try to disconnect the idea of cinema with the idea of making a living and money.” Because there are ways around it.

Francis Ford Coppola on answering a question about how a start up artist can make money in the current P2P 2011 climate.

It’s an old interview from 2011 but Coppola makes some relevant points especially the last line about disconnecting the idea of cinema (and in my view any art in general like music and books) with the idea of making a living or earning money.

And it’s hard for people because we’ve all grown up in an era that showcased the millions movies and bands made.

And there are always different ways around making money. You just need to put the hard work in.

Trent Reznor had some albums released for free on P2P and they proved popular. He released a super deluxe edition afterwards and people purchased this limited edition run and he grossed $700,000.

Amanda Palmer is the crowd funded hero.

Even Protest The Hero was surprised how large their fan base is when they went the crowd funded route after being dropped by their label. For the next release, they did a special Bandcamp release with a 6 month subscription for a song a month. They then released the songs in vinyl and people still purchased them.

I recently did a post about an R&B artist who uses Spotify listening data to organize tours and making some good coin around it.

So what are you waiting for.

You have the tools, it’s time to find the business model that fits.

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

Piracy

The debates and arguments never cease. There is no doubt that piracy has grown the fan base of established acts but it hasn’t brought the recorded income with it. For newer artists, look no further than Ed Sheeran, who used peer to peer services to spread his music. Without it, he wouldn’t be the megastar he is.

Researchers also try to quantify how ticket sales equate to people who pirated music. And there is a lot of research out there supporting it. Metallica post Napster started to play stadiums on their own. They rarely did that previously. On top of that, Metallica tested the waters on ticket prices.

Read this interview about how they seized the moment.

I know I became a fan of a lot of bands because of pirated material. Bands like Trivium, Coheed and Cambria, Shinedown, In Flames, Evergrey, Killswitch Engage, The Night Flight Orchestra and Corroded just to name a few. And I had no qualms paying ticket prices if these bands came to town.

High profile bands from the Eighties also had a renaissance in the 2000’s because of pirated material. Motley Crue, Metallica, Guns N Roses, Iron Maiden, Twisted Sister, Megadeth, Judas Priest, Europe and Whitesnake come to mind immediately.

In the same way MTV gave the Seventies bands another chance in the Eighties, piracy gave all the Eighties acts who had some traction another chance in the Two Thousands. Provided they still wanted to work together. Bands like Skid Row, Ratt, Warrant and Dokken unfortunately missed out because key members hated each other.

It’s a pretty simple business model.

Have your music available worldwide for free and people will access it.

All of those bands mentioned above have played cities they’ve never played before and to crowds larger than before. They played these cities without selling any real recorded product in those cities.

But the Copyright holders still complain.

Seriously, is stream ripping really an issue these days. Think about the work/time involved to rip a stream. The people who are doing all of that are not interested to pay for recorded music. Those people will pay via other methods.

I can tell you that in Eastern Europe, I have not come across a legitimate music shop. The few shops I have come across (and I use that term loosely) sell rips of albums. So how do you think the people in Eastern Europe will access music.

In most cases, they will download a copy of the album. But that hasn’t stopped bands from hitting Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Hungary and Russia on tours. And streaming services are fragmented. Spotify is not available in Serbia, Romania and Russia. Apple Music is available in Russia, but not in Serbia and Romania.

And YouTube is always to blame when it comes to stream ripping, but all the service did was to provide a gap that existed in the market, which Napster highlighted and the labels tried to kill.

Seriously if stream ripping us an issue, then video ripping of video clips in the 80s would also have been an issue.

Who knew that my video ripping ways would end up being a $2000 a year music habit.

It happens. People start to invest when they are ready or have the means to. And again if there is no artist to fan relationship, all of these issues the labels find are pointless.

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

Missed Opportunities

The record labels and music news sites that benefit from reporting positive articles about the labels, talk about the billions of dollars the music industry made in the financial year just before Napster hit. So from a simple viewpoint, when Napster hit, sales of music started to decline. For the RIAA and the record labels, these two events correlate, so it implies that one is causing the other to move. But actually the sales of music have been falling for some time.

What happened during the 90’s just before Napster went worldwide was a lot of re-purchasing. This is people who had music on vinyl or cassette and they started to re-purchase the music they already owned on CD’s. These re-purchased items, in most cases re-mastered or super deluxe editions with bonus content at higher prices would skew the record label figures to make it look like new music was bringing in billions of dollars when in fact it was people purchasing old catalogue items of their favourites. And once you had those albums on CD, you didn’t really need to re-purchase them again.

Lars and Kirk from Metallica maintain that it was the right action to go after Napster. No it wasn’t. The right action was to build a business model to replace the gap in the market that Napster was servicing. That gap was basically to allow people to share their music collections (bootlegs and original recordings) in a very simple and convenient way. Napster got popular because of it, and the record labels should have created something to match it.

But the labels did nothing, and then a small company called YouTube did fill the gap that Napster was really servicing. And YouTube today, generates billions of dollars. These billions could have been in the profit and loss statements of the record labels but they messed up. Remember, we are 20 years post Napster, and Napster still gets talked about, while the record labels did absolutely nothing to counter it, except scream for legislation and gestapo like police powers.

So going back to Lars and Kirk, creating a service that allowed people to share their music was the best course of action and as YouTube proves a very profitable one at that.

The arrival of YouTube and eventually streaming services put a dent into the traditional sales model, however with the increase in people attending concerts and festivals, one needs to ask the question, did piracy assist in these increased crowds?

Iron Maiden came back with Bruce Dickinson, bigger than ever and played to sold out crowds in countries they’ve hardly sold any recorded product in. Twisted Sister and Motley Crue also came back bigger than ever post Napster and played to their biggest ever crowds until they retired. Did piracy assist in these concert attendances as well?

And what about Metallica?

Having their music illegally available on Napster basically made sure that their music was available in every place in the world that had an internet connection (it was the same deal for Iron Maiden, Twisted Sister and Motley Crue).

In other words, their music was worldwide, which of course led to more fans having access to their music and a correlation of super large concert attendances and highly ridiculous ticket prices to capitalise on their world-wide reach. Even Metallica sold out concerts in countries without really selling any recorded discs in those countries. In some countries their music wasn’t even available legally, only illegally.

And here we are in 2018, with the record labels still trying to kill the market gap that Napster serviced. In this case, YouTube is the one in the firing line. YouTube and Spotify should just become labels themselves and start financing the production of music themselves, the same way Netflix and Amazon create their own content and also license content from others. Then the argument will be different.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

Look What The Copyright Dragged In

It’s sad reading the stories below, because it shows how far removed Copyright Law is from what it was intended to be.

There are copyright battles happening everywhere. Most of the news is on how the record labels and movie studios are calling on governments to pass stronger dictatorship style copyright laws which would give these organisations police like powers.

Because if being creative on the accounting side for the labels isn’t enough, they also need to have police gestapo like powers. And remember that Copyright was originally designed to help the creator of the art. However, it’s assisting the corporations to make billions of dollars while the creators make a lot less.

Remember the movie, “This Is Spinal Tap”. Well, the movie has made over $400 million in profits, however the co- creators have received $81 from merchandise sales and $98 from record sales.

If you think those amounts are pretty low, well the co-creators thought so as well, and off they went to court, for fraudulent accounting and to get the copyright back in the hands of the creators. And lucky for them they got a judge that saw their side, so the case is going to get interesting. Other cases, got judges that had backgrounds in the copyright industry, so guess how those cases turned out. A victory for the copyright corporation.

The “Spinal Tap” case is a perfect example of a large corporation using copyright to benefit the corporation instead of the creators. Unfortunately for UMG/Vivendi, the co-creators in this case, also found fame with “The Simpsons” and they have a voice in the market as powerful as the corporation.

In other copyright news, the creators of TV show “Empire” got sued by another person who claimed that “Empire” is based on his script called “Cream” which he pitched to the show runners 8 years ago. Both shows centred on a black record label executive.

Yep, that was the similarity between the two scripts and the judge basically said, an African-American, male record executive is un-protectable.

Is the creator of the “Cream” script to blame here?

No.

The blame rests solely with the movie studios and the record labels who lobbied hard to get copyright extended to these current terms (life of the creator plus 70 years). Instead of assisting the public domain and giving people an incentive to create, these organisations are intent on destroying the public domain and giving people an incentive to sue, because hey, someone stole their idea. Well think of another idea. Or take that original idea and make it better.

And speaking of long copyright terms, remember all those cases involving streaming company payments over pre-1972 recordings, because those high commercial recordings fall under various state laws in the US. Well, organisations were trying to get remastered editions of those recordings passed as new derivative originals so they could come under the current copyright laws that would only benefit the copyright holder, which as we know is usually the organisation and very rarely the creator.

Meanwhile, Disney made a doco about Michael Jackson and they used some of his music in it without asking the Jackson Estate.

The Estate didn’t like that and thought Disney should have asked for copyright permission, in the same way Disney asks other documentary makers to seek copyright permissions from Disney when they make documentaries on Disney. So Disney cited the principle of fair use, a small section in Copyright law, Disney and other large organisations tried to kill off as their actual defence.

Funny how a large corporation which tried to kill off fair use in various copyright revisions are now using it as their defence.

And the copyright dispute is still going on, but it never should have even been an issue. Both organisations are holding on to intellectual property that should be in the public domain because the creator of the said works is dead.

If the creator dies, then there are no more works from that creator, so their previous works fall out of Copyright and become part of the public domain. It’s exactly how the 60s music explosion happened.

And what about YouTube’s Content ID system taking down works that are copyright free.

Isn’t it funny (a lot of sarcasm here) as to how an algorithm created by YouTube to protect the interests of the copyright holders (mainly the large organisations) is now over protecting them, to the detriment of the public domain.

Read the Torrentfreak article to find out how much time is being wasted to “protect the interests of large corporations”. A Professor uploads copyright free music and YouTube is taking them down. Time wasted. The Professor then counter claims and YouTube then restores. Time wasted again to be back at the start again. And the way the algorithm works, it will pick up these videos again in due time.

Seriously, this is the world that Copyright controlled by Corporations has created and for YouTube to exist they needed to create something for the Corporations. And if users uploading copyright free music isn’t a problem, then allowing websites to stream rip videos from YouTube is a problem to the large copyright organisations.

I think people are forgetting that the “users” of the service are responsible for how they use the service. And if the record labels can’t get the message that the users are sending them, then they will continue to miss business opportunities to monetise these users. These users go to so much effort to find videos and use another third party software to stream rip that video. That is a lot of effort there by a user to own music in a digital form.

And YouTube is still in the firing line for not paying the copyright holders fairly. They seem to make billions in ad-revenue and pay thousands to artists.

The article states:

Artists claim that a song needs to be streamed 51.1 million times before they can make the average UK annual salary of £27,600. Revenue is based on the number of streams a video has received and funded through advertising.

It is claimed that YouTube pays creators 0.00054p per stream of music, meaning a track that is streamed one million times would earn about £540. Artists say that 85% of YouTube’s visitors come to the site for music, contributing £2.33 billion to the website’s revenue in 2017.

It’s a new world we live in. People want to get paid right away, even if they have a hundred thousand views. But be careful what you wish for.

Organisations like YouTube have given artists access to a world-wide market instantly. If you compare now to the past,  for an artist in the record label controlled era up to when Napster hit our internet lines, artists needed a record label and a lot of money behind them to have access to a world-wide market.

And this is the model the record labels want back. The gatekeeper control model. And misguided artists are pushing for it. Scary if you ask me.

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Copyright, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Copyright Lies Are A Business Model

What comes first, the words or the music?

The answer always is, “listening to the words and music of other artists”, however it’s rarely said. Even more so today, for fear of a court case.

Being inspired by artists, story tellers and sounds is how we learn. From the day a child is born, they are listening to the sounds of the voices and learn how to talk from it. They watch people walk and decide to try it themselves. We basically copy what others do. But when big business gets involved and hijacks a law designed to protect artists, well this isn’t what Copyright should be and it shouldn’t be up to any court to decide.

Any musician starting out learns to play the songs of others before writing their own. This builds their style and forms a large part of their song writing. Led Zeppelin just made songs or riffs they had heard from other artists, sound better.

However, lawyers these days along with the heirs of deceased artists are trying to turn this into a pension fund, because the current length of copyright terms (which the labels lobbied hard to get in the 60’s and 70’s and 90’s) allow them to do so. But if you look at any guide to becoming great in any field, they all say to copy the greats.

Artists do not operate in a vacuum. They assimilate what is happening around them to create music. They create because they want to create. It’s a human need that needs to be satisfied within. No artist sits down and says to themselves, “geez, lucky for me that Copyright law is for my life plus 70 years, so I have an incentive to create.”

However, the recording industry constantly spews the same rhetoric about the need for stronger copyright enforcement and longer copyright terms, because piracy is killing the industry and if there is stronger copyright enforcement, then artists will get paid, and if artists get paid, more art will be created.

Are they serious?

The true purpose of copyright, is the progress of arts and science.

And while piracy ran rampant, and recording industry revenues went down, there was still plenty of creative output. Artists create because they want to create.

And for getting paid, if you have some traction and are not seeing any coin, redo your contracts with the middle parties. Otherwise if you are an artist who has no traction, obscurity is your enemy, so keep on creating.

There is an article over at Torrentfreak which talks about copyright and how more money leads to less creative output which challenges the bullshit put out by the labels and their stooges.

It’s because overpaid artists don’t work harder; they work less. Jimmy Page is a perfect example. Look at his recorded output since Led Zeppelin finished up.

So Copyright was originally designed to give a creator a short term monopoly on their works so they create more works. However Copyright over the last 50 years has become a scheme which encourages our superstar artists to work less. And this is the opposite of the true purpose of copyright; to facilitate the progress of arts and science.

And what is even more opposite of the true purpose of copyright is this stupid “Blurred Lines” case.

Remember how the Pharrell/Robin Thicke song “Blurred Lines” infringed on Marvin Gaye’s song “Got To Give It Up” because it had a similar feel/groove. No actual music was copied. And what makes it bizarre, “feel” or “groove” is not protectable subject matter under copyright law. But we have a court deciding differently. It’s not like Marvin Gaye’s song was so original and free from influence of other songs from the same era.

Based on this ruling, The Night Flight Orchestra cannot exist at all, because they pay homage to artists who influence them. God damn it, every band that I know off, pays homages to other artists. This is a stupid court decision. Paying homage to other artists, or writing a song in the style of another artist is how musicians first learn to create songs. It does no harm to the original artist, and often introduces more people to the original work.

And, similar lawsuits are rapidly being filed. Ed Sheeran is dealing with one over his song “Thinking Out Loud” and if it is too close to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” The songs do have the same chord progression, but are pretty different.

As the Techdirt article states “having the same chord progression allowed Sheeran to sometimes easily perform a mashup of the two songs at concerts. But again, that’s a tribute, but it’s now being used against him.”

The scope of copyright is creeping into other things. And it’s wrong.

And because of how far gone Copyright is gone, we have a war in the EU over a perceived “value gap” of what YouTube pays versus what those songs would have earned if people had the chance to buy them.

Seriously, the recording industry might as well bring back dial up internet or the telegram.

The truth is, songs are streamed more on Spotify than they are on YouTube these days. And when are people going to understand we are living in a new era. Any person can make music. It’s cheap, you can do it from home and you can release it from home. But the biggest difference is consumption. It’s the listeners who hold the power now, not the labels.

The old model was you needed a major label. They would put some money into the recording and then promote you. Artists felt like they could have a career, even if they never became mainstream or had a hit. Now, there is so much music available, the majority of music fans don’t care about acts. The streaming platforms are not robbing the artist, it’s the fans. They have decided how they want to access music. Revenues are up for the labels, but maybe not for the artist, especially the ones on crappy record deals.

But somehow, the recording industry finds ways to put longer and stronger copyright terms into the discussion. Which is disappointing. And lawyers who represent the heirs of dead artists are waiting to sue. Which is disappointing.

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