Copyright, Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity

Appetite For Copyright

Seriously you can’t make up the madness that Copyright comes up with these days.

It looks like the music labels will get even more richer. Facebook is making licensing deals with all of them so users are allowed to upload their own videos to copyrighted music.

Of course musicians can earn royalties from the views/plays, but how much of the licensing fee is going back to the musicians, because it’s those works the label used in the negotiations. So far Universal and Sony have made the deal and Warner Music Group is in conversation.

And music creators believe a government bill increasing the royalty rate services that play music need to pay, will increase the payments get back. Umm, it won’t. The record labels and publishers will have more money in their bank account and the creators will still get the payments they always get based on their publishing and label contract.

And seriously how many times are we going to read how the music industry’s revenue declined to about $15 billion in 2015, from the $40 billion it brought in around 1998. First, those figures are about the RECORDING industry, not the music industry. The music industry encompasses income from tours, merchandise, radio royalty payments, licensing and sales of recorded music. Sales of recorded music is just one portion of recorded music. And if the people who are writing the songs are not getting paid, then they should be renegotiating their agreements with the organisations.

And being a music creator doesn’t guarantee you an income.

Then again, suing other artists for creating a song which is similar to another song has become a new income model for businesses who hold the copyrights of songs. And these cases bother me, because it sets a precedent that the person suing has created an original piece of work, in a vacuum, free from influence and other songs that came before it.

Here are two more suits around copying.

Ed Sheeran and Tim McGraw are being sued by Australian songwriters. Seriously, how many suits has Ed Sheeran faced in the last 5 years.

And then you have Boomerang Investments, the copyright holder to songs written by Harry Vanda and George Young suing an American band for their 2011 song, “Warm In The Winter” because it contains a line “love is in the air” with a similar melody. Now I have heard interviews from Vanda and Young back in the day where they state how classical music is a great influence for writing melodies.

The issue with this case is not the copying or the similarities, it is the fact that Air France paid a license fee to use Glass Candy’s song and the subsequent song is now making decent money.

And somehow people own the copyright to white noise. You know that noise you hear when you can’t find a TV channel. Suddenly on YouTube, a video containing “white noise” had a copyright complaint made against it. What’s next, copyright complaints against songs featuring distorted guitars. It’s madness.

Read about the white noise takedowns here and here.

And Spotify is still getting sued for licensing issues over songs played on the service. Someone is always aggrieved. Check out the text from the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that Spotify hired Harry Fox Agency (HFA) to obtain the correct licenses, which Wixen calls “ill-equipped to obtain all the necessary mechanical licenses.” Moreover, the complaint alleges, “Spotify knew that HFA did not possess the infrastructure to obtain the required mechanical licenses and Spotify knew it lacked these licenses.”

You see, this is what happens when you create a law that creates a monopoly, which in turn gives rise to corporations who become powerful entities. Wixen is not about helping the creators and paying them the correct monies. They are all about their own pockets. People who have created no value and no art which is popular, living off the hard work of others.

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

Rockin In The Free World

I’m a great believer that information should be easily obtainable.

Just recently, I heard “Rockin’ in the Free World” again. The last time that I remember hearing that song was on some MTV awards show. It was the one that had Neil Young and Pearl Jam playing it together. Fast forward almost twenty years later and we have a megalomaniac that no one cares about, using the song for a presidential campaign.

If I associate the song with anything that is happening today, it will be about music and how it is free. Back in the nineties it would have had a different meaning.

But let’s look at the title, “Rockin’ In the Free World’.

What does “free world” actually mean these days?

Back in 1989, the free world to me came down to democracy “being free” and communism being “oppressive and restrictive”.

In 2015, Australia, the U.S and the majority of the democratic, free nations, are spying on its citizens for the perceived “greater good”.

In 2015, democratic nations are trying to pass secret bills that the people who voted them in cannot see or know about, however the Corporations that finance their campaigns are allowed to see the bills and ask for changes.

In 2015, democratic nations are imprisoning whistle-blowers who expose their secrets, labelling them as terrorists and dissenters.

In 2015, our courts of justice are overrun with requests for the courts to approve the handover of personal information to the ones who pay the most.

In 2015, copyright is used to suppress free speech.  If you don’t believe me, a court in France has ruled that a magazine violated copyright law.

What did the magazine do that was so bad?

They had an article that showed people how to access illegal sources of music and movie content online.

Isn’t it funny how on the one hand, the “free world” that we know has become restrictive and oppressive while on the other hand, a lot of the information or content that was once restricted, is now free because of people sharing.

People are sharing because they are infringing on a restrictive law called copyright. And the response by the industries affected is to pay politicians a lot of money to write and pass even more restrictive laws.

Even when technology companies like Spotify and Netflix or the pirate sites themselves show our governments that giving customers what they want is better than restrictive legislation, what do our governments do in response?

They pass legislation that is restrictive and oppressive. Australia has now joined other democratic “free world” countries in introducing site blocking legislation in order to keep media companies happy.

Copyright was designed to protect the creator.

However, as the Recording, Book and Movie Industries started to grow, business people came out from their corporate offices and stuck their claws into Copyright. So what we have today is business people defending the copyright monopoly, while they are robbing artists and their fans dry. These same defenders of the copyright monopoly are laughing all the way to the bank while exploiting the system in a legal way.

Seriously, would an artist need a copyright on their works 70 to 90 years after they have died. Of course not, but the companies that built their business on obtaining copyrights sure have a need.

Artists create not because they can make money off it as individuals, but because of who we are. We have been creative creatures from the start of civilisation.

Meanwhile, while the Australian government bends its backside to the legacy media companies, Netflix keeps on making huge inroads in the Australian market, with over 1 million users since its April launch this year. The reason why this number is staggering is that Netflix’s competitors in Australia have about 300,000 users combined.

Surely this is proof that Australians do pay for movies and TV shows if they are provided in a way that is convenient to them. And we are paying for a Netflix subscription that doesn’t have nowhere near the content that the U.S version has. But we still pay, because it allows us to watch their content, when we want to watch it, over and over again.

Not in a time slot like PayTV. Keep on rocking is what I say.

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