Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

Copyright Stupidity Again And Again

Remember the days of going into a restaurant or a pub/bar and hearing live music. Depending on the venue and what they offered, in most of the cases the bands would play cover songs. Well those venues are drying up faster today than the lands starved of rain.

You see when you have a law that gives power to organisations that contribute nothing creatively to the arts, however their whole business model is based around the arts, you get some nasty juju going down.

The music licensing agencies are financially challenged. Their whole business model was based on radio plays and sales. So when the Record Labels controlled the gates, the music licensing agencies smiled all the way to the bank. However, when that gate was blown open by Napster, then P2P, then the iTunes store and now streaming, the monies coming in to these agencies started to dry up.

So these agencies decided to diversify (and I use that world with a lot of sarcasm). Their diversification efforts involved shaking down venues that provided a live music service to the community and getting them to pay extortion like amounts if the bands played cover songs.

It has been happening for the last five years.

Does anyone think that the monies that BMI (one of the music licensing agencies involved in these shakedowns) collects from these venues would end up going back to the artists that had their songs supposedly “infringed on”.

Or what about the monies that Universal is aiming to collect from companies that offer care packages for prisoners. For those that don’t know, Universal Music has filed a complaint against companies selling “care packages which contain mix tapes” for families to send to prisoners.

Is it another shakedown attempt to extort money from companies or a sincere attempt to compensate their artists?

Asking an owner of an establishment to pay three sets of license fees just to allow local bands to perform is always going to end with the owner ending live music at their venue. Especially the smaller venues.

It’s simply bully tactics by an agency and Copyright Laws allow it to be a bully. Of course those Copyright Laws got re-written by the large associations like the RIAA and the MPAA over the last 60 years to ensure that laws kept the balance of power on their side.

BMI says that it’s songwriters and composers deserve compensation for their creative works.

So they view the collection of licensing fees from venues that are of zero risk to the music industry as crucial. But what they are actually doing is harming the music industry.

Does anyone seriously believe that Diamond Head was compensated when Metallica performed their songs at venues prior to being signed? I have bootlegs of shows from Motley Crue, Poison and Ratt before they were signed. A decent amount of cover songs are performed at the gigs and there is no way that the songwriters got compensated back then for these performances. The licensing agencies didn’t give a shit about venues at that point in time.

But now they do and the law allows them to do what they do. Just because it is law it doesn’t mean the practice is acceptable. Copyright Law is stacked in favour of the monopolies. Hell, they had a big hand in ensuring that it was re-written to keep that power in tact. So what we have are a bunch of government granted monopolies that contribute nothing to the arts, but have a large say in the arts.

That is why organisations like Rightscorp come to be. Again they contribute nothing to the arts. They are copyright trolls sent in to shakedown people. There is no other word to describe their business models.

But we still get the same bullshit from these agencies and associations that the world needs stronger copyright.

What the world needs is sensible copyright.

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

THE CCC!! Capitalist Copyright Crap And How The New Breed Of Artist Will End Up Making More Than The Old Breed Of Artist

We live in a capitalist society. The wealthy dominate us and anyone who gets in the way gets their dues. Don’t believe me, then tell my why copyright laws are at their most protective.

Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, the copyright length was set at 14 years with an option to renew it for another 14 years after which the work falls into the public domain. This was enough incentive for the people of that era to enjoy the profits from sales of their works and be encouraged to write more. What was made clear back then was that the ultimate beneficiary in all of this was the public. Then copyright was expanded to 42 years, then 56 years, then life plus 50 years and now it is life plus 70 years. Throughout all of the copyright term extensions, each passing was heavily supported by the ones that held the power, like book publishers, film studios and record labels.

“I worked half of my life for free. I didn’t really think about that one way or the other, until the masters of the record industry kept complaining that I wasn’t making them any money…. As I learned when I hit 30 +, and realized I was penniless, and almost unable to get my music released, music had become an industrial art and it was the people who excelled at the industry who got to make the art. I had to sell most of my future rights to keep making records to keep going.”
Iggy Pop – John Peel Lecture 2014

So what went wrong with copyright.

MONEY is what went wrong.

When people in the recording/entertainment business got very rich for doing absolutely nothing, they decided that they needed to pay their local politician a visit, send them some money and get laws enacted that helped to protect their monopolistic business models.

Don’t you just love how the powerful lobby groups like the RIAA and their stooges talk about “piracy” and how “piracy corroded the livelihoods of musicians who put blood, sweat and tears in creating those works”.

Don’t you just love how they seem to forget how the labels employed creative accounting to ensure that almost no album ever recouped.

And isn’t it funny how the RIAA and their stooges don’t want to talk about the antiquated recording contracts that the labels still get artists to sign. Maybe back in the day it was okay for record companies to keep 80% of the revenues as it was a costly exercise to produce, distribute and promote their fledgling talent’s works. But in 2014, especially with all of the different ways that music is monetized, aren’t these old contracts really out of touch with the real world.

So while the old breed of artists like the top 1% who accounted for at least 80% of the recording business revenue bemoan the new recording industry, the new modern breed of artists understand that online music is essentially a promotional vehicle for live performances. I also predict that these modern breed of artists will end up making more money than their heroes.

I seriously believe bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Shinedown, Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, In This Moment, Halestorm and so on, will make more money in the long run than Metallica, Motley Crue, Kiss and so on.

Why?

The new breeds have leaner organisations than their counterparts and they are more knowledgeable than their counterparts.

What I mean by this is that the new breed of artists don’t have to deal with expensive recording budgets like the artists of old. They don’t have to deal with distribution and breakage costs like the artists of old. They have a better understanding of economics and accounting principles. The new breed is more diversified. Their business is not all about recording and touring. They are branching out into different industries and they are finding interesting and innovating ways to connect with their audiences.

So watch out for the new breeds.

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

What Do Artists Need? Stronger Copyright Laws or Better Business Models

I absolutely support that musicians should be paid for their work.

What I don’t get is how the record labels and misguided artists feel entitled to push for stronger copyright enforcement as a way to guarantee an income which is contrary to the foundations of what copyright was designed to do.

As we all know, Copyright laws have been hijacked by Corporations that at this point in time, copyright is contrary to freedom, and in particular freedom of speech, to a degree where it is illegal to sing “Happy Birthday” at a birthday party.

The “Happy Birthday” song goes all the way back to 1893 and right now it is “protected” by copyright until 2030 because someone decided to retroactively place it back under copyright. If that doesn’t tell everybody that something is very wrong with Copyright then I really don’t know what will.

Because people who really believe in stronger copyright laws believe that if those extra enforcement laws do not exist then musicians will cease to create. Those same people believe that if people are not paid upfront to write an album, then musicians will cease to create.

The maximalist viewpoint doesn’t seem to be supported.

Look at Sweden, the birth place of Spotify and The Pirate Bay. Guess what, the country has a thriving culture around music. Sweden to me is the scene to be at right now. Other policy changes by the Swedish Government around making medical care free has also contributed to this vibrant music scene. And all of this has been achieved with the threat of copyright infringement.

Remember all of the lies that have come out from the entertainment industries.

“Home taping killed music” was a good one. Guess that is why the music business and as a by-product the recording business grew exponentially once cassettes came into the market. I guess that is why no popular music has been made since cassettes came into the market.

The point is that copyright protectionism is purely about protecting old business models. Stronger Copyright has nothing to do about supporting thriving new industries. Stronger Copyright has nothing to do about finding new ways of doing things. The thing is the Copyright cartels have had a big win in successfully skewing the argument that file sharing is “theft”.

Remember all of those commercials about stealing that seemed to appear on a legally purchased DVD. The irony. I purchase a DVD and then I get blasted with ads that links copyright infringement to theft. BUT, if file sharing was actually “stealing”, then file-sharers could no doubt be prosecuted under existing theft law.

But they don’t. Because file sharing is not theft of property. It is a violation of copyright. That’s an important difference.

Duplicating a pile of 1’s and 0’s does not deprive anybody of the original content. What all of this copying does is drive down the value of the product. What is the price of a song when the internet is littered with millions of copies of the same song and they are free.

That right there is a market with a customer base in the billions and it needed to be satisfied. And that is where YouTube, Spotify, Pandora and other streaming services come into play. They are there to monetize that market by competing with free through ad-supported business models. Hey, if it is good enough for the free to air TV networks, why can’t it be good enough for music networks.

But this “free market” has a big problem when it runs up against Government protected monopolies.

And the thing is, people do also pay for music. Many studies are actually showing that the biggest consumers of illegal media are also the biggest purchasers of legal media. Ultimately this seems to show that people are more than happy to pay for content they enjoy.

Metallica’s self-titled Black album is still moving on average 2000 units a week. And it is doing this even though millions of copies of the album are available to be downloaded for free. It is doing this even though it is available for streaming on Spotify and YouTube.

Volbeat has been selling records on a weekly basis in the U.S since 2011. They are doing these numbers even though their album/s are available to be downloaded on peer-to-peer networks. They are doing these numbers even though their albums are available for streaming.

Same deal with Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold and Skillet. Still selling, regardless of the state of piracy.

So what is it. Do artists need stronger copyright laws or better business models and terms that pay them a fair days pay for a fair days work?

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