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

Entertainment Industries Innovation V4.0 – When Will “Smoke On The Water” enter the Public Domain?

As a fan of music and the public domain it’s hard to understand why longer copyright durations are requested from the Corporations that control/hold the majority of copyrights. The majority of the music that I like was under copyright when I was born and by the time I die, it will still be under copyright. So how is that benefiting the creator in creating more works (who will be long gone) and the public who are meant to build off previous works because that is how culture thrives.

Remember, copyright was designed to give the creator a monopoly on their works for a certain period of time so that the creator can monetize their work, which in turn provides an incentive to create further works.

So without really realising it, we (the public) have a copyright law that more or less lasts a lifetime.

Let’s use “Smoke On The Water” as an example. It was released in 1972. Copyright on the work is meant to last the lifetime of the songwriters plus 70 years. The male life expectancy is 80 years. The songwriters listed for “Smoke On The Water” are Richie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Ian Paice, Roger Glover and Jon Lord (RIP).

Let’s start with Jon Lord. Due to his death in 2012, his copyright in the song will expire in 2082. However the song will still remain under copyright due to the later deaths of the other members.

Let’s assume that all of the members live to the life expectancy age of 80 years old. That would mean Richie Blackmore, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover would have an end date of 2025. Add another 70 years to that and the copyright that they hold in the song would expire in 2095. However at this point in time the song is still under copyright.

Ian Paice is born in 1948, therefore his life expectancy end date would be 2028. Add another seventy years to that and the copyright monopoly held by the corporations on “Smoke On The Water” will finally expire in 2098, 126 years after the song was released. That is when, the public (provided that no more retroactive extensions are added) are allowed to use the song to build other works and derivative versions.

So the next time a copyright maximalist insists that copyright has an expiry date, tell them they are full of it. Copyright in reality has no expiry date during our life time. Remember in the US, the “Copyright Term Extension Act” extended the copyright of old works that should have been in the Public Domain to 2019.

And guess what the copyright corporations are gearing up for?

Yep, you guessed it. They are gearing up for another secret lobby/bribery effort to extend it. Using PIRACY as their weapon of choice, the lobby groups are pushing hard for the Government to step in and protect their business models.

Maybe they should focus on paying their artists accurately and properly. A story over at Hollywood Reporter, mentions about how Sony Music Entertainment is getting sued by the music company “Thursday by 19 Recordings” for royalties not paid, to the tune of $10 million. The interesting part of the case is how the record labels treat streaming payments.

The lawsuit is making the claim that streaming payments to the artists need to be classified as licensed works and not as sold works. The difference between royalty payments for licensed works and sold works is huge.

On what about this for a piece of innovation from the entertainment industries. Poor old LeaseWeb, the web hosting provider. One if it’s clients was Megaupload.com. As we all know, Megaupload was taken down in an Osama Bin Laden style raid in a classic example of overreach by the entertainment industries. The law enforcement bodies took action on this case based on evidence provided/lobbied by the Entertainment Industries namely the MPAA. Anyway, fast forward to 2014 and LeaseWeb is now being sued for allowing the hosting of websites that infringed on copyrights. While we are at it, let’s sue the car manufacturers for allowing us to infringe on the speed limits.

In Australia, the Attorney General, George Brandis wants the ISP’s to outlay money and carry the burden of protecting the business models of the entertainment industries. How about the entertainment industries releasing content on time and at a reasonable price. Graduated response schemes haven’t worked in France, the US and New Zealand, so let’s keep on pushing for them.

And to make this story even more interesting, the lobby group that is pushing for this three strikes rule has donated close to AU$4 million to the Liberal and Labor parties since 1998.

The Australian Screen Association (ASA), formerly known as the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) who is well-known for the triple knockdown they received from iiNet in the courts. So of course, since the 2012 ruling, ASA has lobbied the government hard for a graduated response scheme. ZDNet did a great piece on this around the donations.

Keeping with the Australia theme, I just finished reading a story over at News.com.au about how Foxtel (the ONLY Pay TV provider in Australia) is planning on taking on the people who pirate “Game of Thrones” with a new cut-price plan. Before we get into the new cut price plan, it’s important to set the scenario.

Foxtel holds the exclusive rights to the “Game of Thrones” season 4 run in Australia. This means that the only legal way to watch the fourth series of “Game Of Thrones” in Australia is to pay for a subscription. Nice innovation.

Obviously this is an unpopular choice. No one wants to take out an expensive Pay TV subscription just for a TV show that has a 10 week run. Foxtel has another package called Foxtel Play, which is pay TV over the internet.

So Foxtel is saying to people, hey, if you have a Foxtel Play account, which costs $25 a month for a package based on a genre and of course the movie genre/Showtime is not included in that package, however if you chuck in another $35 over three months, you can watch “Game Of Thrones” legally.

So in reality, that three month run is going to cost a fan of the show, $110 to watch Game of Thrones legally in Australia. That is $75 (from the $25 a month for a Foxtel Play package that will still continue after the shows run is over) plus the $35 for the Showtime channel.

Yep, that is typical innovation from the entertainment industries.

Or how about the comments from John Landgraf, CEO of FX Network and Rick Cotton, Senior Counsellor of IP protection at NBC Universal.

“The legal copy of a property that’s been placed online can then be pirated.”

Yep, much the same way a legal DVD and Blu-Ray can be copied. Much the same way a legal airing of the TV show can be copied. Much the same way a legal VHS cassette could be copied.

Yep, sounds like typical innovation from the entertainment industries to me. I also like the part how they are trumping up the stats that piracy websites make a whopping $4.4 million annually on ads. If that is the case, then why don’t the entertainment industries offer the same service as the piracy websites do and make that same money. That is one way to compete with free. The reason why they don’t do it, is that the licensing deals they have around the world is worth way more. A lot more.

The audience for entertainment products has changed. Napster changed everything. That happened almost 15 years ago. So why haven’t the entertainment industries given the audience what Napster did 15 years ago.

http://m.theaustralian.com.au/business/latest/brandis-mooted-piracy-crackdown-riles-up-isps/story-e6frg90f-1226831754567

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/game-on-foxtel-takes-on-game-of-thrones-pirates-with-new-cutprice-plan/story-e6frfmyi-1226835839975

http://www.zdnet.com/au/lobby-pushing-for-australian-piracy-crackdown-donates-millions-7000026421/

http://variety.com/2014/digital/news/nbc-universal-fx-chiefs-call-for-increased-anti-piracy-measures-1201111186/

http://www.vcpost.com/articles/21728/20140219/digital-citizens-alliance-report-shows-piracy-websites-also-make-a-whopping-4-4m-annually-on-ads.htm

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

The Ballad Of Bob Daisley

The music business is tough. Regardless of the opportunities that the Internet has given to creators, it is the rich that still control the business. The term rich these days can range from executives to artists. For those artists that played the game and succeeded, kudos to them. For those artists that played the game, succeeded, lost it all and re-succeeded, special kudos to them.

However as time passes, the artists and executives that have come out on top start to rewrite history, trumping up their roles in previous events in order to suit their point of view and positions of power in the present day.

The wife of Peter Criss has called his biography “full of lies”. Tom Werman has disputed events in Nikki Sixx’s “The Heroin Diaries”. Dee Snider even disputed the authenticity of an heroin addict keeping a diary.

However, what happens when an artist in a position of power at the moment, does their best to undermine the work of previous people in their career. One such case is Ozzy Osbourne and his partner in crime Sharon Osbourne.

Has anyone heard of the “Whigs”? The whiggish view on history is a view which holds that history follows a path of inevitable progression and improvement and which judges the past in light of the present. They fail to look at other factors and failures or other paths that where taken.

This is what the Osbourne’s have done to Bob Daisley. They are trying to re-write history to show that Ozzy Osbourne himself was the main reason why his solo career progressed. They are omitting important facts that when Randy Rhoads and Bob Daisley signed on, it was always spoken of as a band. They are omitting important facts that the band was actually called Blizzard Of Ozz. They are omitting important facts of Ozzy punching Randy, because Randy didn’t want to do a live covers album of Black Sabbath songs. Most importantly, they are omitting the main fact, that Bob Daisley served as the lyricist for the band for six albums.

The first slap in the face of Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake was the “Diary of A Madman” album. On the sleeve, Rudy Sarzo is credited as playing bass and Tommy Aldridge is credited as drummer, however both people have come out and said that they didn’t play a note on the album. Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake played on the album, however they are not credited. That is why a dispute occurred. It is in relation to unpaid performance royalties.

In 1986, Daisley and Kerslake took Jet Records and Don Arden (Sharon’s father) to a London court. Of course they won the case, and they thought that they would get their royalties and that “Diary of a Madman” credits would be changed. It didn’t happen. Having had a long relationship with Ozzy, he still believed that it would be sorted out. Promises were made, however nothing changed. His life was threatened when he asked about his royalties.

Unbeknown to Daisley was that Ozzy and Sharon had bought the rights to Ozzy from Don Arden and Jet Records in 1983.

If Daisley was not good at what he did, why would the Osborne’s call him back to write lyrics and music for “Bark At The Moon”, “The Ultimate Sin”, “No Rest For The Wicked” and “No More Tears”.

Daisley was constantly ignored, until he took the Osborne’s to court for unpaid performance royalties for the “Blizzard Of Ozz” and “Diary Of A Madman” albums. In response to that, the Osbourne camp removed both Daisley’s bass and drummer Lee Kerslake’s parts from the new re-issued versions of Blizzard and Diary, opting for Ozzy’s current drummer (Mike Bordin from Faith No More) and bass player (Rob Trujilo now Metallica) to record their own parts onto the CD. This happened for the 2002 re-issues.

However in 2011, the original tracks were reinstated for the 30th anniversary issue.

Entertainment attorney Steven Machat, who was involved in the deal Osbourne signed with Jet Records, said in his 2011 book “Gods, Gangsters and Honour: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Odyssey” that Osbourne’s soon-to-be manager and wife Sharon Arden was not happy with the level of creative input Kerslake, Rhoads and Daisley had in the “Blizzard of Ozz” album and did not want them to share the credit.

As a songwriter I have had people that were not even in the band when the song was created put in song writer percentages claims on songs. Those songs I also had registered years prior. It is a frustrating and unregulated process, where the onus was on me, the main songwriter to prove that I was the sole songwriter, while the fraud claimers on my songs just sat back. Because, they didn’t care. If I couldn’t prove that they were my songs, then they get a credit for something they didn’t do. If I could prove that they were my songs, then they just lied a bit more, until they lost interest. So I can feel the frustration and disappointment that Bob Daisley would have felt being written out of Ozzy’s history as merely a session player.

Especially when you look at the plethora of information out there that clearly states that Ozzy’s post Sabbath project was a band. All of the Randy Rhoads material written after his death states the same, Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake state the same, initial publicity releases state the same, however Ozzy and Sharon state differently.

The sad thing is that if anyone reads the credits to the “Bark At The Moon” album, you will see it listed as “All music and lyrics by Ozzy Osbourne.” Like, yeah right, Ozzy really churned out all of those riffs. It is sad at to what level the Osbourne’s stooped at that stage. One more thing, read the book from Ozzy and tell me how many times he mention Jake E. Lee in the book. But that is a story for another day.

Standard