Copyright, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

What The…. The Alliance For Creativity And Entertainment

Don’t you love how 30 entertainment companies joined together in The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE).

Check out the list.

Amazon, AMC Networks, BBC Worldwide, Bell Canada and Bell Media, Canal+ Group, CBS Corporation, Constantin Film, Foxtel, Grupo Globo, HBO, Hulu, Lionsgate, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Millennium Media, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, SF Studios, Sky, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Star India, Studio Babelsberg, STX Entertainment, Telemundo, Televisa, Twentieth Century Fox, Univision Communications Inc., Village Roadshow, The Walt Disney Company, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Its business model is working with law enforcement to shut down pirate sites and services, file civil litigation, and forge new relationships with other content protection groups. It will also strive to reach voluntary anti-piracy agreements with other interested parties across the Internet.

Funny how there is nothing about providing the people/consumers with what they want.

What about providing content to the people at a price they prefer or allowing people to select the content they want to watch at a time they want to watch it?

Funny how an alliance for Creativity is all about suppression and control.

I pay for Netflix and paid for Amazon (which I canned because 90% of their content wasn’t able to be streamed in Australia, so what’s the point). I like “Game Of Thrones” from HBO, but I will not pay for an expensive cable TV subscription anymore to watch HBO shows at a scheduled time the cable TV station decides to run them. Give me the option to pay $10 a month to watch “Game of Thrones” and I’m in, as long as I can cancel it without penalty when the season ends. HBO have something similar in the U.S however nothing in Australia.

I pay for Optus Sports and Telstra Sports via my mobile subscriptions. I pay for BeIN Sports when I need to stream certain sporting events not shown on free to air TV and guess what, I can cancel it at any time, without penalty. What a brilliant and simple concept?

These organisations need to stop operating like it’s the 80’s in 2017. The consumers have created an on demand world where they want access to whatever they want, whenever they want it. But our content providers want to bring it back to when choice was limited and everyone was forced to the same gatekeeper. The internet liberated the people and rich organisations want to censor it. Control it. Regulate it. Suppress it.

All this Alliance wants to do is bring the internet under their control. And then, they would go back to delivering what once worked decades ago in a world that’s moved to on demand.

Want to get eradicate piracy?

Give the people what they want, how they want it and when they want it. Guess that’s too creative for the Alliance to tackle.

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

Rambles About The Industry

How many times do you hear the record label/RIAA people talk about the “music industry” suffering or hurting or getting back on its feet after piracy decimated it?

How many times do you hear the Publishing Rights Organisations talk about the “music industry” suffering or hurting or getting back on its feet after piracy decimated it?

What these “industry people” fail to understand is there is no industry, no economy, no market if there isn’t people who consume music. And people will act with money if they care. People obtaining content without purchasing is nothing new. It’s been happening since the 70’s. People going to the rock and roll show and not owning a legitimate copy of an album is as old as the 50’s.

Think about it. For a person in the 50’s to listen to music, they needed to have electricity coming into the house, a system to play the purchased vinyl and then they had to purchase the vinyl product. So a lot of people couldn’t afford to purchase a vinyl product and a system to play the vinyl and an electricity bill to listen to music at home. But people wanted the experience of the rock and roll show and they went out in droves.

Is it okay for a person to obtain content for free?

There is no right answer. But there are plenty of wrong ones and when it comes to free music, the answers the industry puts forward are around the short-term. How can the current industry executives benefit and get paid handsomely. The answers and solutions are selfish, lazy and have significant holes in them.

I still reckon streaming is priced too high. If it is priced lower, more people will convert to paying. It’s better to have 100 million people paying $5 a month than 50 million people paying $10 a month.

What the “industry” failed to take into account is the shift in people’s attitudes.

Think of the music market in the following three ways;

  • The base is made up of people entering the music market. This is 20% of the music market.
  • The middle is the people who have been consuming music for a while. This is 70% of the music market. They either pay for recorded music or they don’t. They either go to the show or they don’t. They either buy merchandise or they don’t.
  • The top is the super fans who would give extra dollars to get something special. This is 10% of the music market.

Here’s what happens to the three layers when the price goes up happens to the industry.

Since the entry to access music is high, the base of the market will shrink. They base could turn to illegal means of access.

  • Without a base replenishing the middle, the middle decides it’s better to obtain music for free and go to the show instead. Businesses that relied on the middle purchasing recorded product struggle to attract business and they disappear. The “industry” does nothing to bring in new ways to access music to the market place. Instead the “industry” goes screaming to the politicians to act on their behalf.
  • The top then becomes super expensive. Bands super deluxe packages can go for $4000 dollars plus. New ways to access music is introduced by companies not associated with the “industry”. But to participate, a person needs to be part of a walled garden. This could be Apple, Spotify or Tidal. They need to hand over credit card details and other personal information.

And the techies are now trying to convert the middle into the top, so there is only a base and a top. No more middle. Sort of like life. The disappearance of the middle class.

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Copyright, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

Graham Burke – A Puppet To The MPAA

In Australia, Channel 10 (one of our free to air channels) is bleeding money and it needs an investor to pay off its debt, otherwise it will cease to operate.

The first problem with channel 10 is that it doesn’t have a large sporting code on its books like Channel 9 and 7.

The second problem is it shows its news at 5pm. Seriously who is home by 5pm to watch. Most people are still at work and don’t get home by 6pm at the earliest. And if some people do finish earlier and they have kids, there is a very high chance they are with their kids at some sport and get home after 6pm. Even singles and couples will be doing something at 5pm.

The third problem is the majority of people don’t really care about its hit show “The Project” but the station believes people do as it’s got no idea how to really track its reach. Data is king these days and Channel 10 has none of its own.

The fourth problem is its own content. You cannot operate a business without your own content as it’s drawcard. Ask Netflix or even HBO.

The last problem and one that all free to air stations have is they all operate under old business models that used to work before.

There are many other problems and according to Village Roadshow boss Graham Burke, a puppet to the MPAA lobby group, piracy is the reason why Channel 10 is going under.

But wait, it gets better.

Burke links the piracy of movies his organization was responsible for back to Channel 10.

So let me get this straight. Movies that leaked on the internet many years before the movies got licensed to Channel 10 is the reason why the station is losing money.

Seriously what the….

Burke believes that an audience exists many years later for movies to be seen on free to air TV with ads.

Umm, no it doesn’t exist.

Did it ever occur to Burke that people have already seen these movies legally or maybe own a copy of the DVD or BluRay?

And Burke is meant to lead the movie business into the new age. By denying the new age exists and trying to get back the old age.

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

We Have A Payment Problem

The music business has a payment problem.

Streaming payments from record labels and publishers to artists  have the most focus but man, those live promoters ain’t no angels either.

Twisted Sister is going to the courts to get paid their appearance fee for a festival in the States. Non payments or small payments is a systemic issue in music. Lack of transparency around those payments is another issue. Breaking contracts to suit the organization with the cash is common. Getting DIY bands to pay to play is another.

But then again,  promoters also don’t get it easy.

Councils and Venues all around the world have been accused of exorbitant and extortionist fees for events that cripple the live industry. Then you have the unions to deal with. And then you have the ticketing companies putting their fees onto ticket prices and the secondary ticket market is another industry putting more fees and making millions in the process.

And so many of these organizations employees are flying first class or private on the backs of artists.

The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame business model is built on the hard work artists and songwriters put in, yet it’s an exclusive club based on who is cozy with who.

Steve Miller spoke truth in his acceptance speech. Miller took offense to how he and his wife get a ticket to the show and for anyone else (like his band members) it was $10K. Miller had to make his own way there in second class while RRHOF execs fly private. But its songs from artists that give income to all of these organisations.

The RIAA is a lobby group that is funded by the record labels, distributors and publishing companies. Money meant for artists and songwriters gets funneled into this lobby group. The politicians who the RIAA lobbies to write and introduce bills then end up as RIAA employees when they lose office. What a brilliant concept for some?

And it’s the artists that are shafted once again.

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

Is Copyright A Government Granted Ponzi Scheme?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So how can Copyright be a Ponzi scheme?

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

A copyright operator has the following investors;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Stupidity

Progress Is Derivative 3

Playlist 

Good artists copy, great artists steal is the saying. We can paraphrase it to “Good artists try to sound original by hiding their influences”, while “great artists let their influences show”. It’s how the language of music is learned. We imitate our influences.

If you don’t believe me, what is the first thing a person does when they are learning an instrument?

We start by learning songs created by other artists.

Inspiration is not theft. Theft is me taking something and you not having it to use anymore, like your apple or your car. Taking a musical expression and using it in your own song is not theft, as the original musical expression is still there. Here are some examples of taking musical expressions and re-using them in different songs. And in each example, the original expression is still there.

  • Five Finger Death Punch in the verses of “Lift Me Up” paid homage to Ozzy’s vocal melody from “The Ultimate Sin”.
  • Megadeth in the verses of “Kingmaker” paid homage to Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave”.
  • Dave Mustaine wrote “This Was My Life” from his “Phantom Lord” progression that appears from about 2.30 to 3.10.
  • “Live Wire” from Motley Crue borrowed from Girlschool’s “Yeah Right”.
  • “My Sanctuary” from Unisonic released in 2012 has a vocal melody that is very similar to “A Flock Of Seagulls” song called “I Ran (So Far Away)” that was released in 1981.
  • “Hey Hey My My” from Neil Young, released in 1979 is very similar to the song “I’d Love To Change The World” from Ten Years After released in 1971. In addition the riff to Tom Petty’s “Refugee” from 1980 is also very similar to “I’d Love To Change The World.”
  • “Ten Black Roses” from The Rasmus released in 2008 borrows from Muse’s “Showbiz” released in 1998.
  • “Life is Beautiful” from Sixx AM released in 2007 borrows from Duran Duran’s “Come Undone” released in 1993.
  • Even the song “Come Undone” is an amalgamation of other songs. Duran Duran wrote a song called “First Impression” and guitarist Warren Cuccurullo was creating a re-interpretation of the song for a covers album the band was doing which would include some re-interpreted songs. The bass line and drum groove came from producer John Jones and a song demo he did called “Face to Face”.
  • The song “This Is It” from the band Staind released in 2011 has the chorus vocal melody that borrows from The Offspring’s “Gone Away” chorus melody.
  • “Shepherd Of Fire” borrows from everything. The fire and the bell at the start and the feedback riff with the evil tri-tone is influenced from the song “Black Sabbath”. The drum pattern is very “Trust” like from Megadeth which is based on based on AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”. The guitar riffs are also very Megadeth like and also based on “Trust” from “Cryptic Writings”. Yep, it’s perfect and it is a perfect example of the “progress is derivative” effect in action.

The list is just a summary of how the creative arts work.

We take what came before and we build on it. And for creativity to flourish and for cultures to grow like the British 60’s explosion, a healthy public domain is needed which means shorter copyright terms or even no copyright terms.

Copyright is never about paying artists/creators. Copyright was designed by the distributors (book publishers, record labels and movie studios) so who do you think benefits most from Copyright.

For centuries, the distributors have campaigned hard to promote how Copyright is there to help writers and artists. They have PR writers who tell the story of the poor artist who needs Copyright to pay the rent and how dare do people, copy a song instead of paying a price set by the industry for it. These PR writers have turning copying a song, (two songs exists) into theft (now product A is not in your possession).

Yes, Copyright operators do pay artists as a means to make it look like it’s doing the right thing, however more monies end up in the pockets of the organisations than artists.

And all of the great PR work the labels, movie studios and book publishers did in selling the copyright story is biting back at them, via the heirs of dead artists (who in reality should have no rights to songs they didn’t create) taking them to court with plagiarism law suits and what not.

Sort of like our governments who finance revolutionaries, only to have those revolutionaries rise up against their financiers once they seize power.

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

It’s Never The Record Labels Fault

There are a lot of stories of how the recording industry has been transformed since Napster.

Most of it is around the losses of income. Most of it portrays the recording industry as the music industry. And all of the stories told from the main news sites, blamed the technology. It was never the fault of the record labels.

Then the iTunes store came and the purchase of mp3’s became legal. And people still complained. You, see the profit margins are nowhere near as good as the CD profit margins. And still the fault was with the technology for not paying enough or not charging enough. It was never the fault of the record labels.

Then YouTube appeared as the earliest form of streaming there is. Users uploaded their fan made clips and their music catalogues. And again, the fault was with the technology and not with the record labels.

Then streaming came on the scene in Pandora, Grooveshark, Deezer and Spotify and the conversation shifted to the pennies paid per listen.

Song writers (people who write songs for other artists) started to complain about what streaming services pay them. Artists complained about what streaming services paid them. And the streaming services keep on saying they are paying 70% of their income to the rights holders, which in 99% of cases is the record labels and publishing companies. Vivendi, the owner of Universal Music is now considering going to an IPO based on the brilliant profits their balance sheet is seeing from streaming licensing and royalty payments.  But the whole time, the technology is to blame for not paying enough. It’s never the fault of the record labels.

Did you know that in 2016, $3.9 billion dollars came into the record label bank accounts from streaming services?

If you don’t believe me, check out the stats from the International Federation of The Phonographic Industry. I wonder who is taking the lion share of those monies.

Here is a dirty little secret from streaming services. They are not making any money. They don’t have the mass, so they rely on capital investments to keep on going. Sort of like a legal Ponzi scheme. Take money from new investors to sustain the business and keep old investors happy with the hope to get legal paying customers to the service.

In the meantime, the much-loved CD product of the record label is getting sold on Amazon and a lot of them are counterfeits, so no money is going back to the record label or the artist. And again, Amazon is to blame for selling counterfeit CD’s because it’s never the fault of the record labels. To the record labels and the artists they represent, it’s Amazon’s fault for not policing this.

So everyone is to blame for the record labels failures except themselves.

Does any remember back in 2015, when Sony’s contract with Spotify leaked?

The record label is getting over $45 million in license fees and there is no transparency if any of these monies make it down to artists and songwriters. The bigger artists/songwriters will have clauses in their contracts for a larger slice of the streaming revenue, and some artists/songwriters are still operating under the old CD-era contracts. You don’t hear Metallica or Max Martin complaining about streaming monies.

In the end if you are signed to a label, creating music which is being listened too and are not getting paid, your issue is with your employer, the record label. But it’s never the record labels fault.

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