Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

So Many Different Arguments Over One Word

Copyright like streaming is an argument that is loaded with emotion instead of facts.

Copyright supporters will argue that copyright is tied to creativity while culture supporters will argue that copyright makes culture disappear and the Public Domain supporters will argue that Copyright has been hijacked by corporations that seek to lock up culture in order to preserve profits. On top of all that you also have the PIRACY argument which in a nutshell is really copyright infringement and finally you have the issue when songs start to sound similar, the songwriters go to war with each other over plagiarism, which somehow gets linked back to the copyright.

So many different arguments over one word. COPYRIGHT.

What is true is that Copyright is MEANT to be the piece of legislation that encourages creativity. However, copyright as it currently stands does everything in its power to oppose creativity.

In a nutshell all humans create and we do that without any thoughts of copyright. We don’t wake up in the morning and say, “Gee, thanks to Copyright, I can now create”. We wake up, with an idea in our heads and we get to work on fleshing it out, be it a story or a song or a script or a play or a piece of art.

And that is how it is has always been. Humans create because they want to.

“We always say that the copyright system supports creativity and artists. But copyright’s foundation is about the allocation of economic rights that are bought and sold. It’s a system that’s built on money.”

That is what copyright is today, a monopoly system controlled by corporations and the argument that these corporations push forward with is that “stronger copyright is needed to encourage creativity”. That is why so many works are locked up by these organisations that control the copyrights. That is why they get laws retroactively passed to stop works from falling into the Public Domain.

The whole British Invasion happened because those artists built on the works of the artists that came before them. By doing so, a whole cultural movement happened and the world as it was known changed forever.

Did you know that Sony (who is one of the Corporations that scream for stronger copyright) is now getting sued by musicians for using 10 to 15 seconds of their music without a proper license in “The Interview”.

But with everything that involves money, Sony will pay up to make it go away and then claim it back on their various insurances for the mistakes. But the point is, it shows that everyone infringes on Copyright all the time. It could be intentional or unintentional.

And this happens a lot because copyright is broken. If you need further proof that the true purpose of copyright has been hijacked, then look no further than the various biopics that are getting made.

The Jimi Hendrix biopic does not have any original Hendrix music. The Bon Scott biopic is going down the same boat. For both of these, the heirs of the artists used copyright as blackmail to get the biopic creators to change their story because they didn’t like the way the creators depicted the musical heroes. Very similar to how Judas Priest pulled out of the Rock Star movie when they didn’t like the way the script was heading. By pulling out as consultants they also refused to license their music as well.

We also have a new film about Martin Luther King that has his heirs refusing to allow the filmmakers to use his speech. However in this instance, the heirs didn’t count on the filmmaker being so savvy. What the filmmaker did was create a derivative version of the speech that has the same effect but uses totally different words.

And the reason why the heirs refused permission is money. King’s heirs want as much as they can get for it and Copyright law allows them to do it. What we have here is an Estate that contributes nothing creatively however they do their best at stopping other creations from happening unless they get paid. So can someone please tell me how Copyright is promoting creativity in this instance?

The deeper issue here is that Copyright lasts way too long. The speeches occurred over 50 years ago and Copyright was not designed to provide an income to the heirs of the creator.

Copyright was always meant to provide an income to the creator themselves which very often was not the case. George Clinton the grandfather of funk was in a lengthy court battle with Bridgeport Music who owned the rights of his most popular songs. John Fogerty got sued by his ex-label boss from the CCR days. Both of those artists signed deals without fully understanding what they signed away. And guess what. They still kept on creating regardless of how they were getting blindsided and shafted by the creative accounting of the record labels.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Unsung Heroes

The Art Of Copying, Tweaking and Creating

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

“Success is dangerous. One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others. It leads to sterility.”

“To copy others is necessary, but to copy oneself is pathetic.”

One person said all of the above and that person was Pablo Picasso who is seen as one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century and who is also known as a co-founder of the Cubist movement. His comments about success leading to copying oneself is spot on. Bon Jovi re-wrote “Slippery When Wet” and called it “New Jersey”. Jovi and Sambora re-wrote “Living On A Prayer” and called it “Born To Be My Baby”, “Keep The Faith”, “It’s My Life”, “Bounce”, “We Aren’t Born To Follow” and so on.

Stryper re-wrote the “To Hell With The Devil” album and called it “In God We Trust”.

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to”.

Film director Jim Jarmusch said the above and he is seen as one of the most ORIGINAL storytellers in the world of cinema.

Metallica took the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal to new heights.

All of the above sort of led me to Black Sabbath.

“Take a tune, sing high when they sing low, sing fast when they sing slow, and you’ve got a new tune.”

The above advice came from the experienced Woody Guthrie to a young Bob Dylan. And that is exactly what Black Sabbath did. They took the blues, distorted it even more, played it faster and sang it darker.

Now some might dispute this way of songwriting where an artist uses the structural template of older songs to create newer songs. And the funny thing is this, music progressed and developed through the ages because of this. The whole British blues rock invasion of the world happened because those artists copied, tweaked and reinvented blues classics. Prior to the recording industry, music mainly spread from performer to performer without any issue of copyright or licenses.

Music’s history is very much like any other form of creativity – influences and ideas are taken, reshaped and reinvented. All of that originality is simply reinterpretation.

But then came the Corporation and Copyright was remade so that others could get unearned income from someone else’s creations. In other words, enter the RECORD LABEL and the PUBLISHERS.

The lawmakers at the time were quite worried that extending copyright to sound recordings would stifle creativity and it could create monopolies, harm consumers, throttle innovation and competition. It is there to protect the profits of the record labels and the publishers, not the artists. Mitch Bainwol and Cary Sherman got paid in millions each year due to their involvement with the RIAA.

This is what Copyright has created. People getting paid so much more than the actual artists who created the works. Copyright law originally lasted for 14 years from production. In most parts of the world, Copyright is now life plus 70 years.

Jimi Hendrix has been dead for 44 hears and it looks like his music will not enter the public domain in my lifetime for others to build on and re-invent.

The rise of digital music, both pirated and legal, has led to a steep decline in revenues for artists yet there has been no decline in the amount of music being written and recorded. More people are making music now than in the pre-Napster era and that is all happening with piracy and copyright infringement being rampant.

Copyright needs a re-think and a re-write so that it benefits the artists again.

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

Living In The Creativity Years – Otherwise You Will Be Here Today and Gone Tomorrow

So it has been almost 20 months since MegaUpload was shutdown. All of its servers and assets were also seized by the US Department of Justice on evidence provided to it by the MPAA.

So what did this shutdown prove? In the immortal words of Dark Helmet, “Absolutely Nothing”.

What the entertainment industries fail to understand is that we live in a global economy. I am not an expert on economics, however in order to compete in this global economy, people need to know how to operate computers and use certain pieces of software. It is expected. Piracy is the leveller between the “advanced” economies and the “developing” economies. Big deal, what does this have to do with music.

Sale of albums in South and Central American countries are normally low for metal bands, however, those bands play to tens of thousands of people when they tour there. How can that be if they have no sales in those areas? I always come back to the Iron Maiden “Flight 666: The Movie” that was filmed during the “Caught Somewhere Back In Time” tour. They played some places on this tour like Costa Rica and India where sales of Iron Maiden recorded music has been low, however they still got tens of thousands of people to attend the shows.

We live in a global pop culture world. This global pop culture spreads via the web.

Artists these days need to forget about the record deals and the hits. We are living in the era that is all about creativity. Artists need to be creating all the time and releasing all the time, otherwise they are here today and gone tomorrow. Metal bands have weathered the storm so far, as fans of these genre’s still tend to purchase albums, however the writing is on the wall. Go on Spotify and you will see the streaming counts of certain songs. Only the great songs get streamed over and over again. The rest, will be forgotten.

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A to Z of Making It, Music

Megadeth

Dave Mustaine.  He has a mouth on him, an influential legacy, a chip on his shoulder called Metallica and an excellent outlet of creativity called Megadeth.  He is super creative on other fronts as well.  He is a book author. He runs his own label. He organises the Gigantour tours. In my view, he is the creator of technical metal riffing.

The shit he did in the early days of Metallica and Megadeth, set the standard for many bands to come.  He raised the bar.  As much as everyone credits James Hetfield for being this awesome riff machine, I believe that James knows deep inside, that angry young Dave Mustaine, was an influence on him.

I am just listening to a new song called Kingmaker from the upcoming album Super Collider.  The first thing that grabs my attention is the Children of The Grave influence in the verses.  At one stage the vocal melodies are identical.

I like it when artists give a nod to their influences.  Of course some “artists” create music in a vacuum and that is why they are so original and never influenced by anyone.  Yeah right, whoever tells you that is spinning bull shit on a grand scale.

It is way better than the major key happy feeling Super Collider.  Actually i wouldn’t be surprised if this song is a left over song from the Cryptic Writings or Risk album sessions.  It fits those musical styles.

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Music, Stupidity

System Of A Down – Calling For The Truth

http://loudwire.com/system-of-a-down-shavo-odadjian-calls-out-singer-serj-tankian/

So one band member speaks the truth, and then everyone goes into damage control.

Shavo Odadjian’s only creative outlet is System of a Down. He wants the band to make another album.  John Dolmayan and Daron Malakian also want to make a new album, however Serj Tankian doesn’t.

The fans want new music,  We want great music, we don’t care if it is one great song or ten great songs.

Has anyone ever been in a situation, where you are in a room with other individuals and they are complaining about the same thing, that really you didn’t care about.  After a while, it starts to get to you as well.  You start feeling the frustration the others are feeling and then you let loose.

This is what Shavo has done.  He has spoken out the words that others have put there.  There is always one in a group that has that explosive attitude.  I commend Shavo for having the balls to say it like it is .

Remember the words from Don Henley, it was a “horrible relief” when the Eagles broke up. That is the nature of the bands. Volatile and unpredictable.  “Bad Judgement” is what the System of A Down Facebook post said about Shavo’s outbursts.  They are placing the blame all on Shavo, however i am sure that Daron and John had a part to play in it as well.  Read Shavo’s part, he is convinced that the other guys are on his side.

The fact is, System of A Down became who they are because of Serj.  As the voice of the band, it was his unique vocal style that captured people’s imaginations, especially at a time where nu-metal was ruling the airwaves.

Daron’s, Scars on Broadway didn’t set my ears on fire and neither did Serj’s solo offerings.  On each, a few good songs existed, but that is not enough these days to keep people interested.  We want great songs.  Good doesn’t cut it anymore.    They are touring together, surely they can record songs together.

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A to Z of Making It, Copyright, Music, Piracy

Creativity involves Diversification

I love creativity.  It could be a song, a story, a novel, a comic, a movie, a photograph, a TV show or even a website.  We are overloaded with people creating something.  Some of it is good, some of it is bad.  However that is subjective to my tastes and interests.  Stuff that I like, a lot of other people don’t like.

Due to the Internet, the entry barriers to promote creative works have diminished greatly.  That is a good thing.  Sometimes it takes years for the creative works to be discovered by an audience that appreciates it.

Check out Randy Blythe’s Instagram account.  This dude, takes awesome photo’s and then adds a story to each photo that he takes.  He personalises his creativity.  You don’t have to be a fan of Lamb Of God, to appreciate the creative work of Randy Blythe.  He doesn’t even advertise that he is the singer of Lamb Of God, all he has are the words, “In some band. I try and be a good man.”  Make sure you check out his photos from Prague, during the court case.

Nikki Sixx is another, that is creating quite a few different creative outlets.  Apart from Motley Crue, he also has Sixx A.M.  On top of that, he is a book author, photographer, web show DJ and many more.

Check out the photos on his Tumblr account and on his Instagram account.  Even Nikki Sixx has started adding stories about his photos, in a similar vein to Randy Blythe.

There are others, like Claudio Sanchez from Coheed and Cambria and Corey Taylor from Stone Sour, that released concept albums and are branching out into graphic novels, comics and movie deals.  Robb Flynn from Machine Head is another that is building connections with his fans, by posting his Journals/Ramblings up once a week.

That is what it takes these days to make it.  You need to be creative 24/7.  You need to remain in the public eye.  You need more than just one outlet.  Selling music is a zero sum game.  Having all your eggs in the one basket, is not good risk management.  Spread out, diversify.

You need to connect with people.  It could take years or it could take days, so be prepared to put in time.  You probably will not be paid and any monies you are paid, would not be enough to support a family, but then again, all creative people create because they love it.  It is an outlet to them.  Somewhere through the years, this changed to people creating just to be paid, which is a shame.  Look back at all the masters of history, from Beethoven to Bach to Dali and Monet.  They created music and paintings, not to be paid in the millions, because they wanted too.

So don’t buy in to all of the piracy and copyright infringement bullshit, put forward by the entertainment industry’s lobby groups like the RIAA or MPAA or the labels/studios themselves.  Creativity can bring back many financial gains, you just need to be prepared to put in the time.

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