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

Entertainment Industries Innovation V2.0

Yesterday I posted about how the music industry innovates. If you caught the drift of the post, it was full of sarcasm around their “innovation” practices.

Seriously the music industry thought it was wise to spend money on an anti-piracy app. Paul McGuiness thought it was time to complain again about Google not doing enough to protect his 1990’s income stream and finally a copyright troll called “Rightscorp” is looking to shakedown people that they identify via IP addresses, even though judges across the world have stated that the IP address doesn’t show who the actual infringer is.

So continuing on with yesterdays innovation theme, what goodies do we have in store today.

First off, the Hollywood Reporter has an article about Voltage Pictures shaking down people that are sharing the “Dallas Buyers Club” movie. For those that don’t know, Voltage Pictures made the headlines 4 years ago for “pioneering” a new breed of copyright troll lawsuits around “mass swarms” of torrent users. However the question needs to be asked, IS piracy really hurting the movie? Wikipedia states that the movie cost $5 million to make. In the US it has grossed over $22 million. Now what Voltage Pictures should be doing is making the movie available to the whole world on the day of it’s release.

For example;

Portugal had a cinematic release date of January 16, 2014. Colombia had a cinematic release date of January 24, 2014. The Czech Republic, Netherlands, Singapore and Thailand had a cinematic release date of January 23, 2014. France had a cinematic release date of January 29, 2014 and Italy had a cinematic release date of January 30, 2014. In 2014, Geographical gated releases are stupid. The movie came out in the US in November, 2013. It came out on DVD in the US know in February, 2014. Once the movie is out in a country, it is out to the whole world.

Anyone heard of David Braben. He is known as “The Godfather of Gaming” and at one stage he was a very vocal piracy critic. However he now has a very different view on the issue;

“Piracy, while frustrating, can contribute to game evangelism.”

“It can also help you reach new territories. For example, we are huge in China now. In the old days of silver discs, it would have been impossible to break the whole country. We would have needed an office in every province but through piracy, our games are circulating and fans are now seeking us out.

“Piracy goes hand in hand with sales.”

“If a game is pirated a lot it will be bought a lot. People want a connected experience, so with pirated games we still have a route in to get them to upgrade to real version. And even if someone’s version is pirated, they might evangelise and their mates will buy the real thing.”

As the Techdirt post points out, Braden acknowledges that the piracy of his games is irritating. Every creator and artist can relate to that. However, instead of fighting them, he is putting strategies in place to turn those pirates into customers. His latest project, Frontier: First Encounters, the latest iteration in the “Elite” series was funded via Kickstarter. The initial goal was to raise £1.25m. In the end it raised over £1.5m, however the important part of this, is that once the mainstream media started to report on it, the project got another £700,000+ from investors. And that is what fan funding is all about.

It’s not about the money raised, it is about the marketability of the product. Are people interested in what you have to offer. Protest The Hero fan funded “Volition” and then they got label interest for the physical distribution of the album, along with merchandise interest for the tour.

So while Voltage Pictures are spending their money mobilising their legal teams to capture pirates and make them pay up, David Braden and his company are turning those pirates into loyal customers who are paying up because they want to participate in what Braden has to offer.

Going back to the anti-piracy app launched by the music business, I still can’t believe they actually spent money on that rubbish, especially when you have the company behind the BitTorrent client pushing the boundaries in relation to DIY distribution.

The BitTorrent Bundle has been around for a while and it has been used by various artists and creators to promote their works. Basically it is showing itself as another great distribution product, which gives any creator another way to connect with fans of their content and something to be used in conjunction with Netflix, iTunes, Spotify and YouTube.

This is how the entertainment industries fail. They fail to think with a different mindset. Everything is so locked up with profit margins and sales, they fail to see the many opportunities on offer to their creators. While the executive boards of the entertainment industries focus on profits in return they are exercising a poor duty of care to their creators, who are the ones that actually make money for them.

No one wakes up in the morning and thinks to themselves, “I want to hear some music from Universal artists” or “I want to watch a movie from Fox Studios” or “I want to read a book from Titan Books” or “I want to watch a TV show from HBO”.

We wake up with the mindset of “I want to hear Lynch Mob” or “I want to watch Star Wars” or “I want to read “Darth Bane: Path To Destruction” or “I want to watch “Game Of Thrones”.

In Australia, there has been outrage about how HBO signed an exclusive only deal with our only PAY TV provider FOXTEL for “Game Of Thrones”. Basically, if an Australia resident doesn’t have the stupid and expensive PAY TV contract in place, they cannot watch “Game of Thrones”.

So of course, Australians download it. Illegally.

However if you dig deep into HBO’s exclusive rights deal with FOXTEL, you will see that HBO really doesn’t care about “Game Of Thrones” being locked up behind a paywall. The reason why HBO doesn’t care is that they make a shit load on the DVD/BluRay sales in Australia. The profit margins from a DVD and a BluRay sale are exactly what HBO wants.

So while the entertainment business are trying to teach the consumers that piracy is bad, the technologists (like BitTorrent) are innovating even further and are providing creators even more options to distribute their product and connect with fans.

As David Braden stated; “It (piracy) can also help you reach new territories.” and “It can lead to an increase in sales.”

And that is what HBO is very aware of. They have seen the results, especially in Australia. PIRACY of “Game of Thrones” has led to huge sales of the DVD/Blu-ray releases of each series.

Finally, while the recording industry screams piracy, one of their own executives is accused of using major label money to fund an extravagant lifestyle. While the recording industry ignores innovative ideas like “BitTorrent Bundles”, the ones that do embrace them are seeing their products reach millions of users. For the record the most downloaded torrent for 2013, was a legal one.

The sad thing in all of this is the artist/creator. They are the ones that actually create the content that the people want. When they get into bed with a record label, it rarely ends well for them as the record label is only interested in profits RIGHT NOW.

They don’t care about the exposure that other distribution channels can offer them, which could lead to increased sales in the long term.

http://www.indiewire.com/article/bittorrent-sets-the-record-straight-about-piracy-wants-to-partner-with-filmmakers

http://variety.com/2014/digital/news/bittorrent-looks-to-spruce-up-its-image-with-hollywood-1201086470/

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/box-seat/game-of-thrones-finale-sparks-viewer-frenzy-20130611-2o1bw.html

http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/news/international-news/383823/former-major-label-executive-accused-of-embezzling-1-million.htm

http://nypost.com/2014/02/04/former-warner-music-exec-allegedy-embezzled-over-1m/

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Copyright, Music, My Stories

This Is How The Out Of Touch Music Business Innovates

The Music Business launches an Anti-Piracy App to educate young people on piracy while at the same time copyright infringement of music is declining each year due to decent legal options.

The game allows players to select an aspiring artist from a list of hopefuls, compose tracks from a roster of song-writers, producers and studio technicians and balance the books by keeping an eye on how radio play, streaming and piracy impact on profits. So maybe the game will show players how much an artist REALLY gets for a song.

However, if the recording industries want to be treated seriously, what about the income from live shows, merchandise deals, licensing, video games, YouTube, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Pledge and the many other ways an artist can make money these days.

Then you have Paul McGuiness who wants Google to do more to protect the old business models of the recording industry. This is what Paul McGuiness had to say;

What needs to be done is simple, take the sites down and keep them down. If the pirates can manage to replace their sites instantly with legions of bots, Google, with their brilliant algorithm engineers can counter it.

Umm, can someone tell Paul McGuiness that Google is only a search engine. It is not their job to police the internet for the entertainment industries.

We need the technology giants like Google to do the things that labels, the publishers, the artists, the writers repeatedly ask them to do. They need to show corporate and social responsibility. Take down the illegal sites, keep them down and clear the way for the legal digital distributers like iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, the new Jimmy Iovine Beats service, which promises to be a very serious competitor. Those services now exist, it is no longer acceptable to say that the music industry is not available, not making its wares available online.

People have been downloading since the Napster days. So it’s pretty clear to the recording industry people that their customers want to download an albums worth of music, they want to do it for free, they want it DRM free and they want to do it anonymously. So why isn’t the recording industry offering this service to their customers.

They claim illegal pirate sites make money from the advertisements. So why can’t the recording industry offer the same service, via the BitTorrent protocol and make money from the Advertisements.

We’re all aware in this room that subscription is now replacing downloading — legal or illegal — but we do need those mega corporations to make a genuine effort to cooperate and feed the industry that has been so good to them.

Corporations exists to offer a service to their customers. They do not exist to prop up dated business models based on high profit margin CD’s.

Finally you have a company called Rightscorp who is accumulating Copyrights

I’ve posted previously about the whole shambles around Copyright and how their extended copyright terms are purely there to protect the interest of the Corporations that have paid the creator a sum to control their copyright or the Corporations that have paid the record label (who is the current holder of the Copyright) to control the record label right. In the metal and rock sphere, two record labels come to mind, where I feel that their intentions are motivated by having a copyright monopoly on certain songs.

One is Frontiers and the other is Rock Candy. Frontiers are getting a lot of the Eighties greats to create forgeries of their hits, while Rock Candy is buying up albums from the Eighties and re-releasing them with expanded packaging, so that all these forgeries and new versions of the Eighties albums fall under a new copyright term.

While the two labels deal with music, Rightscorp Inc, is otherwise known as a COPYRIGHT TROLL. Rightscorp claims that they have a “patent pending digital loss prevention technology” that focuses on the infringement of digital content such as music, movies, software, and games and ensures that owners and creators are rightfully paid for their IP.

The Wall Street Journal article also mentions that the following;

Rightscorp implements existing laws to solve copyright infringements by collecting payments from illegal file sharing activities via notifications sent through Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The Company’s technology identifies copyright infringers, who are offered a reasonable settlement option when compared to the legal liability defined in the Digital Millennium Copyrights Act (DMCA).

It is very interesting reading the above paragraph, especially when the Justice system in the U.S is waking up and realising that an IP address does not identify who the actual copyright infringer is.

While the music business innovates in their own litigious way, the so called “pirates” are innovating in a very different way by making it even easier for fans of music to download and even stream music.

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