It’s sad reading the stories below, because it shows how far removed Copyright Law is from what it was intended to be.
There are copyright battles happening everywhere. Most of the news is on how the record labels and movie studios are calling on governments to pass stronger dictatorship style copyright laws which would give these organisations police like powers.
Because if being creative on the accounting side for the labels isn’t enough, they also need to have police gestapo like powers. And remember that Copyright was originally designed to help the creator of the art. However, it’s assisting the corporations to make billions of dollars while the creators make a lot less.
Remember the movie, “This Is Spinal Tap”. Well, the movie has made over $400 million in profits, however the co- creators have received $81 from merchandise sales and $98 from record sales.
If you think those amounts are pretty low, well the co-creators thought so as well, and off they went to court, for fraudulent accounting and to get the copyright back in the hands of the creators. And lucky for them they got a judge that saw their side, so the case is going to get interesting. Other cases, got judges that had backgrounds in the copyright industry, so guess how those cases turned out. A victory for the copyright corporation.
The “Spinal Tap” case is a perfect example of a large corporation using copyright to benefit the corporation instead of the creators. Unfortunately for UMG/Vivendi, the co-creators in this case, also found fame with “The Simpsons” and they have a voice in the market as powerful as the corporation.
In other copyright news, the creators of TV show “Empire” got sued by another person who claimed that “Empire” is based on his script called “Cream” which he pitched to the show runners 8 years ago. Both shows centred on a black record label executive.
Yep, that was the similarity between the two scripts and the judge basically said, an African-American, male record executive is un-protectable.
Is the creator of the “Cream” script to blame here?
The blame rests solely with the movie studios and the record labels who lobbied hard to get copyright extended to these current terms (life of the creator plus 70 years). Instead of assisting the public domain and giving people an incentive to create, these organisations are intent on destroying the public domain and giving people an incentive to sue, because hey, someone stole their idea. Well think of another idea. Or take that original idea and make it better.
And speaking of long copyright terms, remember all those cases involving streaming company payments over pre-1972 recordings, because those high commercial recordings fall under various state laws in the US. Well, organisations were trying to get remastered editions of those recordings passed as new derivative originals so they could come under the current copyright laws that would only benefit the copyright holder, which as we know is usually the organisation and very rarely the creator.
Meanwhile, Disney made a doco about Michael Jackson and they used some of his music in it without asking the Jackson Estate.
The Estate didn’t like that and thought Disney should have asked for copyright permission, in the same way Disney asks other documentary makers to seek copyright permissions from Disney when they make documentaries on Disney. So Disney cited the principle of fair use, a small section in Copyright law, Disney and other large organisations tried to kill off as their actual defence.
Funny how a large corporation which tried to kill off fair use in various copyright revisions are now using it as their defence.
And the copyright dispute is still going on, but it never should have even been an issue. Both organisations are holding on to intellectual property that should be in the public domain because the creator of the said works is dead.
If the creator dies, then there are no more works from that creator, so their previous works fall out of Copyright and become part of the public domain. It’s exactly how the 60s music explosion happened.
And what about YouTube’s Content ID system taking down works that are copyright free.
Isn’t it funny (a lot of sarcasm here) as to how an algorithm created by YouTube to protect the interests of the copyright holders (mainly the large organisations) is now over protecting them, to the detriment of the public domain.
Read the Torrentfreak article to find out how much time is being wasted to “protect the interests of large corporations”. A Professor uploads copyright free music and YouTube is taking them down. Time wasted. The Professor then counter claims and YouTube then restores. Time wasted again to be back at the start again. And the way the algorithm works, it will pick up these videos again in due time.
Seriously, this is the world that Copyright controlled by Corporations has created and for YouTube to exist they needed to create something for the Corporations. And if users uploading copyright free music isn’t a problem, then allowing websites to stream rip videos from YouTube is a problem to the large copyright organisations.
I think people are forgetting that the “users” of the service are responsible for how they use the service. And if the record labels can’t get the message that the users are sending them, then they will continue to miss business opportunities to monetise these users. These users go to so much effort to find videos and use another third party software to stream rip that video. That is a lot of effort there by a user to own music in a digital form.
And YouTube is still in the firing line for not paying the copyright holders fairly. They seem to make billions in ad-revenue and pay thousands to artists.
Artists claim that a song needs to be streamed 51.1 million times before they can make the average UK annual salary of £27,600. Revenue is based on the number of streams a video has received and funded through advertising.
It is claimed that YouTube pays creators 0.00054p per stream of music, meaning a track that is streamed one million times would earn about £540. Artists say that 85% of YouTube’s visitors come to the site for music, contributing £2.33 billion to the website’s revenue in 2017.
It’s a new world we live in. People want to get paid right away, even if they have a hundred thousand views. But be careful what you wish for.
Organisations like YouTube have given artists access to a world-wide market instantly. If you compare now to the past, for an artist in the record label controlled era up to when Napster hit our internet lines, artists needed a record label and a lot of money behind them to have access to a world-wide market.
And this is the model the record labels want back. The gatekeeper control model. And misguided artists are pushing for it. Scary if you ask me.