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Latest a Risk To Copyright

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Lisa was good enough to highlight this article on the Washington Post:




The article is about the latest danger to Copyright, where the latest casualty in the ongoing war between the creative industries and free content advocates (like Google and Microsoft) appears to be the head of the US Copyright Office.


In essence, musicians, writers, actors etc getting paid is not a concern of free content advocates. It is simple. They want free content so that their service users are unrestricted in social sharing, and importantly, Microsoft and Google get to use and distribute videos, graphics, songs, without paying a cent.


This is not new, but it is the latest, and very significant, exchange in the copyright administration war.


The fact that streaming services pay so little for distributing content is no accident. Just look back a few years. Napster and other peer to peer content sharing sites were at war with primarily the music industry. There was an information war. A disinformation war. It went something like this:


"Pirate: Music is too expensive. It only costs a band 75 cents to press a CD yet we pay $15 - $20 per CD and most of the songs suck! We think music should be free! After all, record labels make all the money from selling music! Hit back at the labels ripping artists off. Rip their music!"


Of course anyone in the music biz knew this was fantasy with almost no relation to reality. The reality bit being that the cost to press a CD was between 60cents and $1, depending on how many were pressed.


But that was completely misleading. It didn't cover any other costs. For example, the glass master, on body printing ( image on CD), jewel case ( or other), booklet (various pages color or black and white), bar code, shrink wrap, distribution costs, rehearsal costs, recording costs, mastering costs, promotion videos, promotion graphics (web and real world), wages for band, songwriter etc during writing process, share for manager, promoters, administration staff and offices, promotional gig costs which can be expensive, launch party etc etc etc.


All of which made the cost of making music much more than the 75 being claimed to justify piracy.


It didn't gain traction at first, but then something interesting happened. Most articles supporting piracy went to the top of search engine listings, meanwhile those supporting the music industry disappeared somewhere passed page 10. Curious!


Accusations of collusion started, and then Google bought YouTube, and everything became much more clear. You see, if Napster was to be guilty of breach of copyright, then so was YouTube, and YouTube would face a massive bill in unpaid license fees. It may well have closed YouTube, and Google would not be happy.


Connection, who knows? (lol)


An agreement was reached and Napster lived to fight another day. So did YouTube.


A little while later the first agreement was running out and YouTube and others had failed to reach agreement regarding license rates, with PRS, a UK based PRO. So YouTube effectively shut off all video content that contained copyright material to the UK. At the same time, curiously, articles supporting PRS and Bands bombed out the of the rsearch results and pro free content articles fill the top fifty search results.


Not that I would suggest that Google fixed the search engine results in order to win an information/disinformation war and heavily influence public opinion. It just happens that public opinion was what won the war.


I could go on, but I think that is plenty background information, to help put the latest events within a realistic context.


What do you think? Are things about to get much worse for people in the creative inductries?






PS thanks Lisa!



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Interesting topic and something I have been banging the drum about for years. The problem is and always will be, the cost involved in making music has probably gone done over the years, but the price of CD's have remained fairly consistent. Now that may be for the record companies to recoup more money, due to the small amount they make from streaming sites, radio, tv etc.... but, the record companies have always put themselves first and ripped off nearly every artist who has made music over the years. Yes, some get fantastic deals worth multi-millions, but they are few and far between the reality.

I used to take pride in buying my favourite artists albums, feeling like I was helping them to make a living and they would keep making the music I love, but now it is all about playing live for them to make their money and then the prices for gigs start going through the roof.

I recently joined Apple Music and you know what, I love it.... I can download any album I want for a monthly fee. This kind of deal makes it difficult for Joe Public to keep putting their hands in their pockets and buying CD's, especially when the standard of living is getting worse for the majority.

and then when you look at where the majority of the money for streaming goes... it is into the record companies pockets, with a piddling amount going to the actual artist.


I am waiting for the revolution, where the people rise up and demand more equality in all aspects of life. Why should the rich keep getting richer off the back of everyone else. Do the Rolling Stones need to release another compilation album with the same songs as the previous versions and then do another retirement concert and charge a fortune for tickets!!!! There are some great bands out there who will give up as they are not being heard, or a lot of talented composers, who will never release what could be regarded as the best song ever written, because they don't know how or where to start and they have no interest in playing live. (I'm not talking about me before anyone thinks I am getting big headed ;) ).

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We are living in both the best of times and the worst of times for music creators.   For a time before the advent of home CD burners I spent a small fortune for music production equipment with the hopes of operating a small but profitable recording studio.  It bankrupted me and I'm still carrying some of the notes 26 years later.


As for talent, and performance.   Many many great musicians I knew left the scene pre internet.  One of the greatest guitarists I knew put down the guitar, never to play again.   There are many who try but not hard enough, or try and find other interests.  Persistence is always key.   With regards to "DJ's"  I usually run into a lot of them on other forums that are daw and plugin centric.  They all want to be the next big thing.  When I ask them about who they admire as "artists" I do research and find out that those same ppl had experience as musicians and engineers before switching over to acid, or dubstep or whatever.  The frustrated ones refuse to accept that hard work, dedication and practice are the key.  Instead they think they can be all juiced up after midnight and the magic will come.


There are always those who think owning a guitar is the same as being good at guitar.  As there will always be those that thinking they have logic or live or reason makes them a DJ/Producer.


I've had students that I couldn't get to sit down and play a simple scale to save their lives.  Honestly, week after week would go by and it seemed like the only time they would put guitar in hand was for the lesson.   That's why I don't teach anymore.  I teach to teach so that someone can apply and learn.  I don't teach to babysit.

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