Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Copyright Fund

“I don’t really know what it means to choose a hit. I just like writing songs”
Ed Sheeran

And he keeps getting sued for it, because the greedy heirs and greedy lawyers are always looking at sneaky ways to get their slice of the hit machine pie.

“People prefer paintings that they’ve seen before. Audiences like art that gives them the jolt of meaning that often comes from an inkling of recognition.”
From the book, “Hit Makers” by Derek Thomspon

Everything that we listen to or watch or read has come before. Its similar with small changes here and there.

That’s how it works.

It’s unsettling how the heirs, along with their lawyers, spin the story that the works of the dead creators is super original and free from influence.

Which is a load of BS.

Because;

“In 2012, Spanish researchers released a study that looked at 464,411 popular recordings around the world between 1955 and 2010 and found the difference between new hits and old hits wasn’t more complicated chord structures. Instead, it was new instrumentation bringing a fresh sound to “common harmonic progressions.”
From the book, “Hit Makers” by Derek Thomspon

A new take on an old sound.

Copyright needs to expire on death.

Once the creator is dead, the copyright ends. Copyright wasn’t created to benefit the heirs of the creator or a manager or a corporation or anyone else except the creator so they could create even more while holding an interim monopoly.

That’s it, problem solved.

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Copyright, Derivative Works, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

Hallowed Copyright

Remember that whole “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and “The Nomad” suit filed by retired band manager Barry McKay against Iron Maiden and Steve Harris.

Remember how McKay stated it is all about intellectual property rights and how these IP rights need to be protected from blatant copying while the other side stated that music is all about inspiration and influences and that McKay never actually wrote anything and is a serial litigant.

Well, these IP rights that McKay was championing for protection, all revolve around a fee to be paid. If you haven’t read the stories, you can read em at Loudwire or Blabbermouth.

Remember when any rights to intellectual property ceased when the creator died (provided they still had a right at the time of death). Well, the corporations who held the copyrights to a lot of these works pushed really hard to get laws changed in the 70’s to last the life of the artist plus another 70 years, so what we have now is people who really contribute nothing to culture, locking up culture for a generation and getting paid in the process.

But there was a side in the Government who actually cared about culture, the public domain and were against Government granted monopolies, so they put in a clause that allowed the actual creators to get their rights back after 35 years. But, the labels and the publishing companies who control the rights don’t want to let go of the works as it diminishes their power.

Remember John Waite, from The Babys, Bad English and his work as a solo artist. Well, he wanted his songs back, Universal Music Group said “No”, your works are created under a “works for hire agreement”, John Waite said, “no chance in hell are the songs created under a works for hire agreement” and off to court they went.

So how did it all come to this?

You need to remember that any aspiring artist, had/have/has no bargaining power when for negotiating and signing contracts. If they wanted to get their music out there (pre internet), they more or less had to give away their copyright in their works as part of the contract to get their music out there and monetised.

Then, when an artistic work turns out to be a “hit,” the majority of the royalties goes to the organisation who holds the rights to the works rather than to the artist who created them.

But this “ownership of copyright” by the organisation was meant to be limited. And if the artists wished, they could reclaim their rights. Some artists used the threat of “termination rights” as a tool to negotiate higher royalty rates and advance payments.

But as artists grew popular and they realised they could make some money, they created loan out companies, which is basically a business entity used by the entertainment and sports industries in the US, in which the creator is the ’employee’ whose services are loaned out by the corporate body. The corporation is used as a means to reduce their personal liability, protect their assets and exploit taxation advantages.

And the courts have determined that any rights granted to the labels from the loan out company cannot be terminated, only the rights granted by the actual creator themselves.

For example, John Waite created a loan out company called Heavy Waite Inc. So if he signed a contract to give his copyrights to a label via the loan out company, these rights cannot be terminated. Only the rights that John Waite himself gave up.

It’s pretty fucking stupid if you ask me, but nothing surprises me when lawyers get involved and try to get these termination suits booted on technicalities.

And check out this article for some insight on copyrights from the one and only Desmond Child. Here is the snippet in case you don’t click on the link;

Have you retained your copyrights?

Well, tragically, I fell into some lean times in the late ’90s. I had moved to Miami – we’d fled LA after the [1992] earthquake and we were picking up the pieces.

At that time I got an offer for my catalogue, and I sold my song writing and publishing share to Polygram [now Universal Music Group] – and it was a mistake. I retained my song writing performance rights, and that’s how I know how big a mistake it was, and how much I sold myself short. They made their money back x 20.

I was pressured by people around me to sell. Especially my father, who had grown up in the depression. When I told him the amount, he said, ‘Grab the money, you’ll write other songs, grab the money.’

Also, my lawyers told me, ‘Don’t worry, you get your songs back after 35 years,’ but that’s not true. You don’t get them back for the whole world, you get them back for the US only. And you don’t get your songs back for the versions that made them hits, you only get them back for the new versions – versions made after you sold.

When I found out those two things, it was like two buckets of ice water being poured over me.

The people doing the deal for me were so keen to get their percentages that they didn’t explain these things to me. Had I known, I wouldn’t have signed the deal and I would have been in a much better financial position.

And that my friends is how far Copyright has evolved, where people who create nothing of value get paid and everyone is trying their best to lead the artists astray so they can get paid.

It has nothing to do with intellectual property rights or an incentive to create.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

Silliness

I pay for Prime Video, but I had to download Bosch S6 from other sources to watch it, as it’s not available in Australia at the moment, even though it was released in the U.S on April 17, 2020.

What the.

I paid for a PS4 game disc (the NBA one) and then the kids had to spend three hours downloading something from the PS4 web store before they could even play it. It sure takes the joy out of it. There is no way that you can just buy a game and play it straight away.

The game makers are using a legally purchased disc as a piracy protection measure. No wonder people download games illegally on jailbroken consoles as well. Look at the work they do to get around these measures.

Remember DRM (Digital Rights Management) platform Denuvo. They got a lot of game makers to sign on and pay huge amounts for its unbreakable anti-piracy software.

The game makers put this DRM on their games and then they released the games. The unbreakable DRM was cracked on the day the games were released. But some game makers got even more creative by putting on another layer of DRM to some of their games, which basically made the legally purchased game unplayable for the consumer.

What a great way to treat a law abiding customer?

But piracy is still an issue.

Yeah right. More like dumb organisations are an issue.

The major labels tried this exercise back in 2003 to 2005. They even went further. Those legally purchased discs had malware on them and if you put the disc into your computer it would install malware on your hard drive, which led to a class action lawsuit against Sony and the other labels.

I was catching up on some movies I purchased a while back. So I put on a legally purchased DVD or Blu-ray (in this case it was the movie “Children Of Men”) and I am confronted by those stealing movie ads. Remember those.

They would say, you wouldn’t steal a car so don’t steal movies because piracy is a crime. So the movie studios are creatively trying to link the downloading of copies to actually stealing a physical product.

And I can’t skip it. I need to watch it.

So this is the punishment that people get for doing the right thing?

No wonder people go and download illegally as the ads are removed and as soon as you press play, you get to watch. No advertisements and no copyright rules on a black screen.

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

Blues For Copyright

Here is a great post about the blues and how the genre was appropriated by others and on many occasions the original creator is not even credited.

The 60s blues explosion from the UK happened because the artists took the blues standards from the 30s and made em their own (either by building on an existing work or by just saying that they wrote the song without any credit to the creator).

Remember that histories are written by the winners.

I watched a documentary on “The Australian Sound” and there is no mention of the black blues musicians who influenced the white musicians. It just goes back to the white blues musicians from the 60s and it moves forward from there.

Music is all about influence and experience. What you hear, what you read, see, smell, taste and live, all end up in the song.

Similar sounding songs is big business for lawyers. When you have an artist covering another artists songs and claiming that songs as their own, well, that’s morally wrong and also big business for lawyers.

It’s all because Copyright lasts 70 years after the death of the creator. Remember that Copyright was designed to give the creator a brief monopoly on their works so they could make money and as a by product, an incentive to create more works.

These terms originally were 14 years to 28 years. And if the creator passed while they still had a copyright it expired on death and it all went to the public domain for it to be built on and reused.

So what incentive is there if the creator is dead.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Copyright Sweet Copyright

Don Henley wants to censor the internet in the name of Copyright.

Who knew that by writing a few songs which ended up being popular gave him (the creator) so much power to get legislation changed. As Peter Parker’s grandfather said, “with great power comes great responsibility”.

It feels like this whole industry of “intellectual property” is becoming more a police state than anything that’s meant to foster creativity.

And while Henley is testifying, there is one crucial segment which is not represented for these Copyright discussions.

From a U.S point of view, that is 229 million American adults who use the Internet to pay bills, to learn, to work, to socialize, to watch content they pay for and to create.

And the public is not part of the conversation and it’s the public who have their rights taken away to please the corporations who hold the rights to content.

These corporations, like the Majors (Sony, Universal And Warner) won a suit against telecommunications company Cox for $1 billion.

They convinced a judge and jury that the ISP is responsible for policing what its users do with their internet access.

If only we can hold the gun makers and knife makers accountable for what their users do with their devices.

Imagine that.

And instead of the labels doing something worthwhile to compete in a vast changing marketplace for the creators they claim to represent, they want the ISPs to play the Copyright Cop for them.

The majority of income the labels get, comes from streaming services and mp3 downloads. And none of these services were created by the labels.

But they still want stronger Copyright restrictions because apparently piracy still exists.

Come on. Really.

Warner Music was valued at $2 billion in 2004 and today its valued at $15 billion.

And 10% of the population will never pay for content. Michael Eisner from Disney said that once upon a time. So why bother with them.

How crazy will Copyright get?

A lot more crazier than right now because the public is never in the discussion.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Vinegar Syndrome

As a person who loves history and culture, it pains me to read articles like this of culture disappearing.

This is what happens when organisations lock up content and then don’t store it properly. Remember the warehouse fire in the U.S, which destroyed a lot of masters from the catalogue of movies and music that Universal held. And for some insane reason the back-ups to those masters were held in the same vault.

Madness.

And negligence.

All because the organisation failed to spend some of the billions they earn from these copyrights to properly store the masters in one location and their back-ups in a different location.

And in proper temperatures.

In the article, the tapes of the films are developing a “vinegar syndrome”, which happens because acetate films are stored in a warm, humid room.

It’s pretty obvious these organisations don’t know how to store cultural history. And they have no interest to preserve or to spend the money to digitize it. So why can’t they release the tapes to organisations like the Internet Archive or even the Public Domain to digitize the films for preservation.

Because they are scared that others will do something great and make money from content they produced once upon a time.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Copyright Sickness

I haven’t done a copyright post for a while, but I haven’t stopped reading on the subject. Because once you have been exposed to the laws of copyright and how those laws are meant to protect the creator but all they do is protect the organisation who holds the rights, well, I just can’t look away. Because the creator never had a proper seat on the negotiation table. In order to get a chance to make music, they had to give away their rights to their music for a long time.

First up is a little snippet on how much an organisation makes by holding on to copyrights. The organisation her is Sony.

For a three month period, Sony was paid just over $654 million for streaming. Now I don’t know about you, but that’s some serious money.

How much of it went to the artists, well that is a different story? And because Sony has a publishing arm, that division also received $375 million. This is $375 million which is meant to go to songwriters.

Again, how much of this makes its way to the songwriters, is unknown?

And I’m not sure if people are aware, but Copyright laws do have a termination clause, which allows an artist to reclaim their copyrights after 35 years have expired.

But the labels like Sony are not letting go easily. So these cases are in the courts, because the labels know that if they don’t have an extensive copyright collection of songs, they have no income. Because at this point in time artists who released big selling albums in 1985 can reclaim their rights to those albums.

Next year, Jon Bon Jovi can reclaim the rights back for “Slippery When Wet” and then he will own his biggest selling album, with all streaming monies to go back to his organisation. The year after, in 2022, Guns’N’Roses, Whitesnake and Def Leppard can reclaim back the rights to “Appetite For Destruction”, “self-titled 87 album” and “Hysteria”.

Do you reckon the labels will allow that to happen so easily?

They will either throw some extra millions at the artist or off to the courts.

And here is another one on payments to musicians.

PRS For Music is an organisation in the UK which collects copyright payments on behalf of songwriters, composers and publishers. For the 2019 year it collected a record £810m. The amount involves a few different segments, like public performance, streaming, radio, TV and international. With public performances being put on hold because of COVID-19, streaming subscriptions are becoming popular.

But the streaming money pie is not distributed evenly. What the labels get and what they pay back to the artists is based on contracts and what monies have been given to the artist vs what needs to be paid back. And if the artist owns their own rights, then they are in position to negotiate better especially if they have had some success in the past. Metallica and Motley Crue come to mind, as artists who own their own rights.

The thing that streaming companies do wrong is that they treat it as a pool of money and then they work out what ratio each artist is entitled to, based on the streams played on the artists songs divided by the total streams for the service.

So even though fans of Metallica, Tool, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, etc, listen to those artists, their subscription monies are also distributed to Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and all of the rest of those high streamers.

I know as a consumer, I want my subscription fee to go to the artists I actually listen to and not to a central pot, where the money is divided on a percentage basis against every single artist on Spotify. But the system is as fair as it could be right now.

And here is what happens when an IT organisation creates a streaming service to allow music to the spread to the masses because in reality, the labels were negligent in their duty of care to the artists to do it much earlier on.

So for Spotify it’s court case after court case. Because people who contribute nothing to culture and made some serious money because they hold the rights to other artists songs, still want that money train to continue.

There is this dude from the U.S called Jake Noch who has an independent label called Sosa Entertainment and he has his own collecting society called PRO Music Rights.

So Spotify removed his labels recordings from the service because Noch was manipulating the streaming count of his labels music.

This scam is common, where the teams behind artists, create enough streaming accounts to just stream the music of the artist so they get a bigger piece of the pool of monies distributed to the rights holders. Noch didn’t like how Spotify pulled his labels music and he sued. He accused Spotify of “unfair and deceptive practices” and Spotify called him a “fraudster”. And via his collection society PRO Music Rights, he has accused every other streaming service of copyright infringement.

It shows the amount of manipulation involved here by a record label, who hired a bot farmer to set up millions of streaming accounts (all of them on the free ad-supported tier) who would then listen to the songs on the service. 99% of the revenue for Sosa Entertainment came from the free-ad supported tier.

Smells on Payola, it is Payola.

Finally, remember those MTV shows from the 80’s which actually had music videos and interviews. Well the Internet Archive uploaded heaps of em. It shows the early stages of MTV and the steps they took to become a cultural icon. All of the material is from a user’s own VHS tapes of MTV recordings.

But these have been taken down on copyright grounds. Basically an organisation which holds the rights to an artist has made a claim to censor a part of history. Or it could be the VJ themselves via an organisation. Whatever the reasons, history is being censored and locked up. Copyright was never intended to censor. From day one, back to the 1700’s it was to give a creator an incentive to create more works by giving them a monopoly to monetize their works for a certain period of time.

And it gets worse and will only get worse, because after the death of the creator an organisation holds on (in other words, locks up) the copyright for another 70 years after death and they are pushing for another 20 more to take it to 90 years.

P.S. Remember the British invasion in the 60’s and early 70s.

It happened because all of the blues and folk music created between the 1930 and 1940 had expired and become part of the public domain because they all had 28 year terms. Classical music was already in the public domain and a lot of jazz standards were as well.

And suddenly we had artists who pieced all of these styles together.

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Music, My Stories, Stupidity

IsoRamblings And IsoThoughts

In the last couple of years, everything we knew has changed. The tech heads who we pledged our loyalty and private information to, stopped innovating and started protecting their riches, selling out data and search/like histories to everyone and anyone.

Remember the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data breach.

It’s old news now. Irrelevant. That’s how quickly we move on.

And then comes a company called Clearview who builds a database of peoples faces which can track where that face appeared by using cameras in streets, shops and traffic lights.

Sounds scary right.

But the scary part is that, we the public, willingly gave em our faces and we didn’t even know we were doing it, because of our social media accounts or tags from other social media accounts that didn’t haven’t their privacy set high.

And the biggest topic before COVID-19 was climate change. It got that big that grown adult men felt threatened and decided to make fun of Greta Thunberg.

But Michael Moore has brought that topic back in the conversation with his latest documentary. Moore definitely knows how to stir up shit. But that was last week’s news, it doesn’t even rate a mention today.

And what side are we on for COVID-19?

Are we on the “health before the economy” side or the “economy before health” side.

The Governments are really about the economy and if people die, so be it, it’s all collateral damage.

How will live music return to the masses?

You can’t really practice social distancing and one person per 4 metres square in a live venue.

Bryan Adams went on a Twitter meltdown because he couldn’t do his residency and Brent Smith from Shinedown wants to tour because he’s healthy and eats right and he’s telling his fans to do the same. And if they do, they will be fine in the venue together and not get Coronavirus. Umm, yeah.

And the U.S via Trump are getting a lot of press around the world for the wrong reason. And he keeps calling it the China Flu.

Do people even know that the Spanish Flu started in a farm in Kansas, USA and was then spread to the local garrison there and then spread all around the world by US troop movements during WWI?

It was a U.S flu.

And even back then the leaders of the U.S failed to acknowledge it, and they put economics before public health. It didn’t turn out too well did it.

And I never thought in my lifetime I’ll see a pandemic. But I have.

And music still lives. It thrives. Because of digital distribution. And if that stops I still would have my collection.

So read critically, read from different sources and make up your mind that way, because our leaders are not the ones to trust.

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Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Spreading The Disease

On Thursday, March 19th, a cruise ship called “Ruby Princess” was allowed to dock in Sydney and all passengers were allowed to disembark. Four people went straight to hospital and tested positive for COVID-19.

The storm had just begun.

As of yesterday, March 24th, 133 people (107 in New South Wales and 26 interstate) have COVID-19. One person has already died and experts reckon this will get worse.

The PM blamed NSW Heath and NSW Health blamed Border Force. This is what happens when you have people employed in positions who don’t question the status quo. This isn’t the time to just do your job like you’ve always done and to just listen to the people above you.

This is the time to be brave and ask questions.

NSW Health asked the ship Doctor for a report on sickness, and deemed the ship low risk based on the report.

Border Force just carried out what NSW Health told them. But NSW Health is not protecting our borders, Border Force is. So they had one job to protect our borders and failed.

Don’t let the people off the ship and demand that NSW Health come in and do swabs on all of them.

And for NSW Health to trust the ships Doctor.

Seriously. How fucking negligible?

These kind of doctors are not trustworthy because they work for a corporation who is in the business of making money and who also pays the Doctor their wage.

The ship couldn’t afford to be quarantined, so it wouldn’t be surprising that they would advise the Doctor to report what they need to report, in order to operate.

Because after it docked, the “Ruby Princess” reloaded with new passengers and set sail again on the same cruise to New Zealand.

Talk about spreading the disease.

The intro to “Among The Living” which goes for almost two minutes, is as good as any Megadeth or Metallica or Slayer cut.

And Anthrax were one of the first acts to branch out and merge metal with hard core. Of course the metal elitists hated them for it, but in the 90’s with John Bush on vocals, they delivered some of the best metal albums of that decade with “Sound Of White Noise” and “Stomp 442”.

Disease, Disease, Spreading the disease, with some help from Captain Trips, he’ll bring the world down to his knees

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My Stories, Stupidity

COVID-19

There’s an evil virus that’s threatening mankind
From Virus by Iron Maiden

Yeah, I know, the Maiden song is using virus as an analogy of the ills that the two faced elites and backstabbers do to society. Regardless, the song highlights a troubled society and we are living in troubled times.

COVID-19 is spreading around the world and people are scared.

I’m due to go to London, Mallorca and Munich at the start of April with two of my boys for a football tournament. And there is no travel insurance for a pandemic. Although the virus hasn’t been classed as one yet, it’s getting close.

There also isn’t any insurance for travelling when a virus is circulating. Yeah there is some grey wording around it, like, “if you took out the insurance policy before it became a known event, you might be covered”, but I’ve worked in insurance and policy of the insurance companies is to deny all claims from the outset. Then if people persist with appeals, they will revisit the claim, and try to wear down the people, hoping that they give up.

Viruses are contagious based on their R-nought rating, and the R0 rating of COVID-19 is 2, which means that for each person who has it, another two more people will get infected. And looking at people who are coughing in a strange way doesn’t help the situation, as people who are not coughing are as contagious.

And no one cannot escape this or buy their way out of this. It’s something we will need to face and a mask will not do the trick nor will the riches of a person.

The public is scared, panicked and fearful. And Governments like fear, because fear is control,

On the way to paranoia
From “Hardwired To Self-Destruct” by Metallica

We live in a world where facts don’t matter.

So social media spreads the paranoia even more with disinformation mixed in with facts to suit the narrative. People start panic buying, because its every person for themselves. And the ones who need it most, the sick, have no supplies, because all of the hospital gear comes from China and all imports are stopped or delayed for 14 days.

Yet, millions of people would die from smoke related illnesses, a motor vehicle accident, a cancer or heart related complications then they would die from this virus.

China was first, then Japan, then a cruise ship, then Korea, then Italy, then Iran and the rest of the world is slowly getting cases. And how the hell did the patients of a hospital that caters for the elderly in Washington State get it. In Australia, the virus entered via the returning citizens from Italy, Iran and China.

Dean Koontz even wrote about a biological virus called “Wuhan-400”, manufactured by the Chinese to kill humans. It appeared in a book he released in 1981, called “The Eyes Of Darkness”. It’s another event of fiction mirroring real life, sort of like that Simpson episode that had Trump as President in the future.

So, once again, we are on our own.
I don’t want to live forever but I don’t want to die

From “Live Forever” by Black Sabbath

To a pandemic.

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