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

THE COPYRIGHT SWINDLE

WILL IT EVER BE FIXED TO REWARD THE CREATOR MORE THAN THE ORGANISATION?

I thought Stallone owned the “Rocky” franchises. Otherwise why would he be involved (by writing, directing and acting) in six movies and three spin offs. He did get paid to write the script but the power balance equation back in the 70’s meant Stallone had to keep his mouth shut or never work again. MGM created movies, and when they did so, it also created work for agents, lawyers and managers. No one wanted to upset anybody.

But today, everyone is upset and litigation is an all-time high. That hit song, has a writ. That hit movie, has a writ. Artists are even putting in bogus copyright claims against rival artists.

And just like that, a song from an artist is taken down on Spotify without any repercussions to the person making the false claim. And there is no counter notice. As the Torrentfreak article states; “The problem with Spotify’s system is that it’s relatively easy to flag a track and have it removed. However, there is no official option for the accused party to appeal the takedown. Instead, they have to resolve the matter with the accuser directly. If the accuser doesn’t respond, the artist is simply out of luck”.

And this puts the power back into the big labels who would find it easier to address wrongful takedowns than smaller independent artists, which creates an unfair situation.

I’m not sure if people remember Hipgnosis Songs Fund. They had a pretty big acquisition period in the first six months of 2021, which led them to acquire a lot of music catalogues. Well, by the end of March 2022, their 65000 song catalogue was worth almost $2.7bn. In one year, their revenues grew by $200m, on the back of streaming revenues.

While the artists cashed in once when they sold their rights, Hipgnosis is cashing in, over and over and over again. And since the Copyright Term in the U.S, lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years after their death, this will be a long time return as long as the music is still listened to. And our neighbours New Zealand just extended their terms by 20 years to make it 70 years from release date otherwise their free trade agreement with the EU couldn’t happen.

One artist who still controls their copyright is Kate Bush. And if you have watched “Stranger Things”, you will know that her song “Running Up That Hill” is back in the charts and getting streamed a lot, earning her over $2.3 million in music streaming royalties alone. And that number will keep on rising.

And of course, Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” is also enjoying a nice wave of streaming revenue, courtesy of “Stranger Things”. And they also own their copyrights.

Those who own valuable copyrights will be banking.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – November 7 to November 13

4 Years Ago (2017)

DIARY OF A MADMAN

Back in the 80’s, when songs from the 60’s and early 70’s used to come on the radio, I used to say, “really, play something more current.”

They sounded old.

Fast forward to today and all I play is old tunes. Actually 70 percent of the music I listen to is pre 1995.

More specifically; 1980 to 1992.

It’s hard to believe that “Diary Of A Madman” is 40 years old. 

Like the “Blizzard” album before it, “Diary” is a listening experience from start to end.

And because of my addiction to the “Tribute” album, I was blown away by the depth of material on “Diary” that didn’t appear on the live album, like “Over The Mountain”, “SATO”, “You Can’t Kill Rock N Roll”, “Tonight” and the unbelievable title track.

To top it off, it clocks in at 43 minutes which meant back in the 80’s I could dub it one side of a 45 cassette tape and the other side I could devote to the “Blizzard” album.

Check it out.

RELEASE DAY FRIDAY

Back in 2017, during this week I was listening g to;

Sweet And Lynch – Unified

Babylon A.D – Revelation Highway

Shakra – Snakes & Ladders

These three artists had my attention back then. Tomorrow it would have been someone else. They might come back at another time and get my attention. Maybe they won’t.

But if they are not releasing new product on a regular basis, they become forgotten.

So heading towards the end of 2021;

Sweet And Lynch are reading a new album.

Babylon A.D haven’t released any new music since 2017.

Shakra released “Mad World” in 2020 which I missed and they dropped a new single this year which I also missed.

8 Years Ago (2013)

WHO IS THE STAR (The Band Name Or The Personnel In The Band)?

When Metallica started on the scene, I dont recall anyone walking around saying that they got into Metallica because James Hetfield was such a cool cat or Lars Ulrich was the man.

People get into a band for multiple different reasons.

Like being a fan of genre and looking for similar artists of that genre or the songs connected or the album cover connected or the artist was getting a lot of word of mouth and people wanted to be part of the conversation and so on.

Of course some outliers do exist and some people become a cultural influence that transcends their music. In other words, they become institutions themselves like Ozzy.

Slash also comes to mind but it took him almost 14 years from when he left Gunners to re-establish and re-brand himself as a force to be reckoned with.

But he’s back with Gunners.

Because the band name is the star and it always will be.

That is why Axl Rose went all legal to claim the name.

That is why Tommy Lee returned to Motley Crue.

That is why James Hetfield returned to Metallica after rehab. That is why Lars Ulrich never contemplated anything else except Metallica during this period.

That is why Dave Mustaine resurrected Megadeth after he disbanded the band towards the end of the 90s.

That is why David Coverdale resurrected Whitesnake after he disbanded it.

That is why Dimebag didn’t want Pantera to end. He knew that Pantera was the star.

That is why David Lee Roth worked with Van Halen again. That is why Sammy Hagar wanted to work with Van Halen again.

That is why Alex Skolnick returned to Testament.

That is why there was a fight over who owns the right to the Queensryche name.

That is why Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters went all legal for the Pink Floyd name and the rights to “The Wall”.

That is why Benjamin Burnley went all legal for the right to use the Breaking Benjamin name.

That is why Bruce Dickinson and Adrian Smith returned to Iron Maiden.

That is why Rob Halford returned to Judas Priest.

That is why Black Sabbath reformed with three of the original members and released ’13’.

That is why bands like Ratt, Quiet Riot, Dokken, Poison and Skid Row are still continuing with very different line ups and in some cases no original members.

To finish off with the immortal words of Ronnie James Dio “And on and on and on and on it goes….”

COPYRIGHT

For all artists that sign record deals remember this. The label owns your copyright.

And guess what the labels are pushing for.

Even longer copyright terms. Because their is value in copyrights for the corporate entity holding it.

GREED

Greed from the major record labels could end up killing streaming services.

Back in 2013, musicians from Sweden were threatening to sue major labels Universal Music and Warner Music over streaming royalties.

These artists had identified that the problem lies with the major record labels rather than the streaming service and they took action to get royalty rates that better reflect the costs involved in digital production and distribution.

Even the UK Government did a review of streaming paymnets in 2020 and found that the labels are at fault.

Spotify is just one streaming service and they pay 70% of its revenues to music rights holders. Apple is similar and Tidal as well.

And Spotify, as at 2020 has paid $23 billion to the rights holders. When you add the numbers from the other streaming services, it’s a prettty massive profit the labels are making.

Once upon a time, the artists had the power.

Then in the Eighties, the labels stole it back. With the rise in revenue due to the CD, it made the labels mega rich powerhouses.

Well it’s time for the artists to take back the power. Basically the labels without any artists are worth nothing.

But there’s a new player in town. Hedge Funds and Investment firms. And they have cash and artists are cashing in.

TIME

It’s 1992.

The labels are signing Seattle bands, left, right and centre while at the same time they are dropping hard rock and heavy metal bands left, right and centre. This is the power the label had. Not only could they make an artist famous, they could also destroy an artist.

Because the labels controlled all the points of distribution.

But in 2013, things had changed dramatically.

But the power is still with the major record labels. They gathered enough of it during the Eighties and Nineties to be a force to be reckoned. Then in the Two Thousands the massive mergers and takeovers happened, further enhancing the power of the labels. Then in order to allow digital start-ups, the labels did one of three things; charge high licensing fees or litigate the start-up to bankruptcy or negotiate a large ownership stake in the start-up.

So even though the internet has lowered the barriers of entry, without the money and power of the label behind the artists, there is a pretty good chance, the artist would probably go unnoticed.

One thing is certain in 2013.

We move on fast.

Look at the Top 10 lists of pirated movies that TorrentFreak publish each week. It’s always changing and very rare for the same movie to be at number one spot for two weeks in a row.

Look at the Top 10 of the streaming Charts published by each country. The artists in the list are always changing.

And that’s another wrap for another week.

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

Sacred Copyright

I thought I’ll go with a Dio title for this post since I’m on a Dio kick at the moment.

Ahh, Copyright. A right created for creators to have a monopoly on their creations for a limited time, which was hijacked by corporations (Record Labels, Movie Studios and Publishers) and recently Investment funds.

I’m not a fan of “The Jesus and Mary Chain” but like so many artists before them, they are going to court because their label Warner Music doesn’t want to give them back the rights to their debut album, “Psycho Candy” released in 1985, even though the law states that they should.

This got me thinking about John Waite, who also went to court, because UMG wouldn’t give him back his rights.

And he didn’t win, because on the contract he signed, it was his “loan out company” on the paperwork and not him. Loan out companies are set up by the creator to employ themselves. This gives the artists a lot of tax benefits and when organisations make agreements with the artists, it is via their “loan out company”.

Read this post on CopyrightLately.com for an excellent explanation.

So UMG took the position that Waite didn’t grant them the copyrights, his company did and a company is not eligible to terminate a copyright.

Now for the triple smack down.

Are you ready?

The termination clauses in the Copyright Act, only allow natural persons and the heirs to terminate a copyright, so individuals benefit and not corporations. Yet, it is a corporation like Warner Music and UMG who benefit if the copyrights don’t revert back to the creators.

What a mess?

Waite’s tax-planning vehicle has crashed his termination rights and he had no idea that would be the case when he formed his loan out company.

And while creators are fighting to get back their songs, other creators are fighting to get back control of their brand. The estate of Chris Cornell, which is run by Vicky Cornell, has been controlling Soundgarden’s website and social media accounts. The surviving members of Soundgarden have asked previously for access, but they have been denied and they have not been happy about it.

Vicky Cornell sued the remaining members in 2019, accusing them of withholding royalties to force her to hand over recordings that Chris Cornell worked on before his death. And at the start of 2021, she sued them again over money and then offered to buy out the other members so she could control the Soundgarden brand.

But the change of ownership is a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, Gene Simmons from KISS has become a lobbyist, making his prophetic lyrics in “Cadillac Dreams” come true. Instead of recording new material, he is meeting with members of Congress to get laws passed so streaming services pay them more.

From the lips of Gene Simmons, “most people don’t realize every time you download a song, the songwriter is making minuscule amounts of one penny”. Umm is he talking about downloads or streams. Two totally different things there. And he goes onto a rant that there will be never be another Lennon, etc., but when you live in an ivory tower, you’re so out of touch, you have no idea what is happening and how much money new artists are making.

New Organisations which come from the labels or the publishers are still rooted in the same crappy innovation ideals of those organisations. So when Congress passed a law to create a new arm to match the unpaid royalties to artists, the first thing the new organisation did, called MLC, is nothing.

Their claim portal for artists to log in and search through unmatched songs and claim the ones they own is still not up and running.

Someone should tell Gene, to lobby this corporation to get the Claim Portal up and running.

So potentially, the unpaid royalties will now sit with MLC for at least 5 years and maybe more, before they even get a chance to be distributed.

But in all honesty, this will be a disaster, because there are a lot of conflicts of interest present when it comes to songs. Ex band members will claim songs out of spite, not because they wrote them.

Meanwhile, Gene’s punching bag, YouTube, paid over $4 billion to the labels and publishers over the last year. How much of that found its way back to artists or songwriters remains to be seen?

And the Federal Court of Australia made Clive Palmer pay even more money back to Universal Publishing, for his recreation of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” into the song “Aussies Not Gonna Cop It”, which he then used in all of his campaign videos across the nation. So instead of paying $150K for a 12 month licence to use the proper song, he has ended up paying $1.5 million in damages plus lawyer fees and what not.

What a dickhead?

And on the topic of dickheads, the major record labels (Sony Music, UMG and Warner) along with the music publishing companies are doing their best to own the title.

There hell bent nuclear strategy to go after internet service providers (ISPs) for the actions of a few users, these organisations have found a way to cut people off from the internet based on a mere accusation of copyright infringement.

A recent court decision in the U.S, has given these organisations unprecedented power and the Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF) is doing their best to get this bad decision overturned due to the incorrect instructions the judge had given the jury.

Basically these organisations claim for damages when people use the songs they have the rights for and then they get the courts and the law and the politicians to fight their battles.

Meanwhile, in Germany, the labels, publishers and independent copyright holders have teamed up with the ISP’s to block sites without the need of a court approval.

Each Copyright complaint by a label or TV producer is reviewed by a committee made up of retired judges. Streaming services make up 55% of revenue in Germany and piracy has reduced significantly. However people still seek out P2P services hence the reason why they want this kind of power.

But web-freedom activists are not happy as they believe this kind of power restricts internet freedom. The method here is to attack the services that offer illegal content rather than the users.

As the article in Billboard stated: “In Germany, the legislative environment is heavily weighted against censorship and attacks on internet freedom. Having lived under the Nazi Third Reich and communist East Germany, Germany considers privacy a hard-won freedom.

The power granted to corporations for Copyright Infringements is a form of censorship and for the German people, censorship will never happen again.

Meanwhile Twitch is getting hit with thousands of copyright infringement claims on a daily basis. So the entertainment corporations close down or take down or shake down people and services from trading in pirated works, and then when they use music in their live streamed videos, these same bodies issue infringement claims to take it all down.

Maybe a conversation between Twitch and the entertainment corporations would have resulted in a better outcome.

But that’s too difficult.

Talking, that is.

And remember when Steven Spielberg was trying to destroy streaming services and Netflix in general and he didn’t want Netflix movies nominated for Oscars because the movies that Netflix makes are shown on TV screens. Well Netflix won seven Oscars at the recent Academy Awards and that was more than any other studio.

Well good old Steve knows a good deal, and he just signed up to make movies for Netflix. I guess reality is a slap in the face.

Thank you for your cooperation. A copyright complaint is just around the corner.

And I feel like listening to “2112” from Rush right now.

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

The Week In Destroyer Of Harmony History – May 10 to May 16

4 Years Ago (2017)

Barry McKay was at war with Steve Harris over “Hallowed Be Thy Name” and “The Nomad”.

I posted my viewpoint and McKay posted his replies and we had a bit of a back and forth.

I did my 7th post on the the year 1983. It included the bands Slayer, Queensryche, UFO, Motörhead, Heavy Pettin, Saxon and Choirboys.

And I was questioning how many of the social media followers artists have are actually fans or invested in what the artists has to say.

And it’s okay to be influenced. For example, Poison – “Unskinny Bop” (1991).

The song has over 7 million streams on Spotify. The guitar riff is influenced by the intro guitar riff in Billy Squier – “Powerhouse” from 1986.

The bass lines are very similar to the bass line from 45 seconds onwards in Great White – “Mista Bone” from 1989. Then again, that running bass line is pretty common in most songs. You hear it in “Disturb The Priest” from Black Gillian’s album “Born Again”.

And “Unskinny Bop” still sounds original.

8 Years Ago (2013)

I was discussing the prices of tickets for Bon Jovi’s Australian tour.

If a Bon Jovi fan wanted to sit in Row 1 and purchase a Diamond VIP package, the price of one ticket is $1975 + $10 booking fee.

If a Bon Jovi fan wanted to sit in Rows 2 to 5 and purchase an Emerald VIP package, the price of one ticket is $1475 + $10 booking fee.

If a Bon Jovi fan wanted to sit in Rows 6 to 13 and purchase a Sapphire VIP package, the price of one ticket is $975 + $10 booking fee.

And for the Sydney show, these VIP tickets had been sold out. And after the JBJ website sale, the next stage of the sales was the Telstra pre-sales, the Showbiz pre-sales, then the Ticketek VISA pre-sales and the general pre-sales and finally the public release.

What a collusive, exploitive and unregulated process.

And the Telstra presales were a disaster. The website went down and people couldn’t get tickets but eBay had tickets on sale for triple the price.

In other words the band was scalping its own tickets.

And the “What About Now” album continued its free fall, sitting at 133.

And I was always trying to tie together various threads from different artists. This post was called “The Crazy Lifestyles of the Rockers and Metallers”.

All our heroes are flawed and far from normal.

I was spinning the “Operation Mindcrime” album and wrote about the title track, “I Don’t Believe In Love” and “Eyes Of A Stranger”.

Continuing my Queensryche kick, I wrote about “Bridge”.

And “Silent Lucidity”.

And how good is the Vince Neil – Exposed album?

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Treating Fans Like Shit

Copyright City

Eminem is going after everyone.

Eight Mile Style is Eminem’s publisher and it is going after Spotify first.

The case alleges that Spotify has no license to have the songs on its service, and while the songs have been streamed billions of times, “Spotify has not accounted to Eight Mile or paid Eight Mile for these streams but instead remitted random payments of some sort, which only purport to account for a fraction of those streams.”

A judge now has also cleared the way for Eight Mile to go after the Harry Fox Agency who acts as an intermediary between organizations who secures licenses.

And while Eminem is going legal to be paid monies which only the lawyers will gobble up, other Copyright organizations are buying out other Copyright organizations.

Concord last year spent over $200 million acquiring the Copyrights for songs. Now in April 2021, it’s estimated that Concord has acquired another 145,000 copyrights from Downtown in a deal worth $400 million.

The deal will take Concord’s catalogue of works over 600,000 songs. Included in the deal are works performed by Adele, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars, Carrie Underwood, David Bowie, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Sam Smith, Stevie Wonder, and The 1975.

How much of the sale would go back to the original artists and creators remains to be seen, as the artists would have probably gotten a payment from Downtown for their works in the first place.

So imagine the fear these organizations must get when they read about Google’s court case vs Oracle.

You see Google, ‘copied’ 11,000 lines of Oracles software code, and Oracle didn’t like it, so they sued. Google argued it was fair use and after going back and forth in the Courts, it was ruled in Google’s favour because the end use of what the code was used for, was very different for both organizations.

And now the Andy Warhol Foundation is trying to get the Courts to use the Google case verdict in their case against a photographer who took pictures of Prince, which Andy Warhol used to color differently like the Marilyn Monroe and Campbell Soup cans pictures.

This in turn has brought in other heavyweights like the movie, book and music industries as they want the Google verdict to remain within software only and not be brought over into music, movies and publishing.

Because Hollywood lobbyist and music lobbyist oppose everything that could benefit people.

Recently, the WHO got a waiver written into Copyright law which said that all drug manufacturers should share their research and formulas, so that COVID-19 could be defeated and that vaccines could be manufactured by others.

The MPAA and RIAA didn’t like it, but they never clarified what language bothered em.

Then again, when an organization like these have spent their whole life exploiting loopholes in Copyright Law to benefit them and turning black and white areas into grey, they are now afraid of others doing the same, like the thief who has Fort Knox like security on their house.

I guess Copyright City just keeps getting interesting. And nothing mentioned about how the actual creators benefit. And what about the fans.

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Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

AFM Records And International Orders

It’s great how the label gets the money when I click buy on the item, as they put up money for the album to be made, but as a fan I still don’t have the physical album.

Let me explain.

Evergrey is one of my favorite acts. They will always be a favorite, regardless of the crap service of their label.

When I saw they had a few different release packages set up for the new album “Escape Of The Phoenix”, I was interested to get one.

The album release date was set as 26 February, 2021.

So on 23 December, 2020, I clicked buy on the EVERGREY – Escape Of The Phoenix – Ltd. Artbook (incl.CD + 7″-Picture-Vinyl). The only place that had it was the AFM store and all the items come from Germany.

The price for the item was €43.86 EUR.

As i was going through with the purchase, I get hit with a €23.99 EUR shipping and handling fee. And I’m thinking, it’s half of the cost of the item. And with most items during the pandemic coming via sea you would think that the shipping would be less.

Anyway the total price came to €67.85 EUR and the Exchange rate at the time was 1 AUD = 0.588771 EUR.

So the final price of the album for me came to $115.24 AUD. I thought fuck it, I’m a fan and it’s coming up to Christmas. Plus I was a few bottles of wine in.

So I clicked buy.

On 19 February, 2021, I got an email that the item had shipped.

You would think AFM would post it a bit earlier for international orders but hey labels have never been customer centric or very smart in that regard, treating their customers as potential pirates, but their whole business model is based on customers.

Hell, I became an Evergrey fan because of piracy.

Since 20 February, 2021, the tracking number tells me that the item is still in Frankfurt, Germany.

Seriously.

On 26 February, 2021, the album hits streaming services and I crank it.

On April 1, 2021, I sent AFM an email and told em, nice April Fools joke as I don’t think I’m ever going to receive this item as it’s still in Germany.

I’m waiting a response.

Now for the album, it’s excellent. And I’ve already reviewed it.

Thank god for streaming and pirates and everyone else who allows access to the music. It allows the fans to crank it.

But the labels don’t realize that the people who buy physical editions are collectors and we can’t wait until we get the item in our hands.

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

Copyright Again

I love Copyright.

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

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

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

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

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

Remember there are two types of copyrights in music.

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

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

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

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

101 years.

God damn. That’s a long time.

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

Think about that.

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

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

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

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

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

How much of it gets filtered back to the artists?

Probably none.

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

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

Theater Of Copyright

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, the case got booted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All in the name of Copyright.

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Copyright, Music, My Stories, Treating Fans Like Shit

Vinyl and CD’s

How misleading can the labels and the RIAA be?

You’ve seen the headlines about vinyl sales surpassing CD sales.

And how vinyl sales brought in $232.1 million and CDs brought in $129.9 million.

But the report also mentions that Physical Album Sales including vinyl is at 27.9 million units and that vinyl on its own has moved just 8.2 million units.

So the other 19.7 units are CD sales. I guess vinyl hasn’t surpassed CD’s in sales, but it has surpassed it in revenue, which the headlines fail to mention.

$232.1 million divided by 8.2 million units is $28 per vinyl record. Which sounds about right on average.

$129.9 million divided by 19.7 million units is $6.60 per CD, which also sounds right.

What’s your preference?

I don’t really have one anymore, except the price being right. I will not pay more than $20 for a vinyl record unless it’s included in a deluxe box set. Then again, I’m happy paying less than $20 for a Family Streaming account.

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Music, My Stories, Treating Fans Like Shit

Import

When I started to buy records in the 80’s, I purchased a lot of records with “IMPORT” stickers and paid a premium for them.

So what did an IMPORT mean back in the day?

An album comes out in the U.S or in the U.K or in other parts of Europe first or Japan. And it gets some traction in those countries, but the Australian Release Window is months away or it doesn’t even exist at all. Since I was a consumer of UK and US Metal and Rock mags, I read the reviews and interviews of the album and the artist and I am interested in getting their music.

The only way to get it into Australia is via an IMPORT.

An import release would have a tariff between $20 to $50 added to the normal price.

So the album that would normally cost $20 to buy if it had a normal release window, would cost between $40 to $90 to get it into the country.

The debut solo album from John Sykes called “Out Of My Tree” released in 1995, was available to buy in Australia but it had a big IMPORT sticker and a price of $80 at Utopia Records.

Most of the record shops made a killing by charging extra for the IMPORT and so did the distributors.

Everyone was making money except the artist.

And the fan got the bill.

In the 90’s, most of the hard rock music I was after was not available in Australia as the overseas label didn’t organise a worldwide distribution deal.

But I wanted em and via IMPORTS, it was the only way I could get em.

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