ASCAP Working To Shut Up Free Culture Supporters

from the we-are-the-enemy,-apparently dept

Well, gosh darn it. Apparently, folks who believe that freeing up your music can help you make more money are actually the enemy of musicians everywhere. At least that appears to be the opinion of ASCAP, the group that's supposed to represent songwriters' interests -- but often does the exact opposite. The latest is that ASCAP has put together a private luncheon for February 3rd... and on the agenda: "working together to counter the growing prevalence of the 'copy left/free culture' pontificators in the public discourse about creators rights."

Wow.

Is ASCAP really so confused that they think that the rise of such "pontificators" is harming musicians and songwriters? We're seeing story after story after story of musicians who find themselves much better off after embracing new business models based on the fundamental economics of music. For ASCAP to somehow think that these alternative models represent a force that needs to be "countered" just shows how incredibly out of touch ASCAP really is. It's a shame that a group that is supposed to represent the best interests of songwriters (unlike the RIAA who has always been about representing the best interests of the big record labels) is so confused.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Ima Fish, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 8:20am

    "For ASCAP to somehow think that these alternative models represent a force that needs to be "countered" just shows how incredibly out of touch ASCAP really is"

    While I agree that ASCAP is out of touch, the organization is only protecting its future viability. If new musicians stop using the current out-of-date music industry, which ASCAP is a part of, ASCAP will be out of business in a matter of a decade, maybe years.

    All the ASCAP wants is to protect the status quo by forcing new musicians to use the out-of-date music industry. ASCAP made money on the old rules, it does not want to take any chance with new rules, most of which have not been written yet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    mudlock, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 8:20am

    First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    P. Warnes, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 8:24am

    Seppuku

    It is very rare that an organization will commit suicide, even if it corresponds to their mission statement. They just need a ‘Larry the Liquidator’ to give them a speech about why sometimes organizations need to die.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    GeneralEmergency (profile), Jan 26th, 2009 @ 8:57am

    Virtual chant from the back of the room...

    "Hey! Ho! Whaddaya know! Corporate Copyright's GOT TO GO!



    Hmmmm... So -that's- what it feels like to go to Berkley.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Analyst (profile), Jan 26th, 2009 @ 9:27am

    Confused? Really?!?

    They aren't confused; they're greedy assholes. There's a difference.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Copyrights & Campaigns, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 9:32am

    speaking out isn't shutting others up

    The notion that by doing more to advocate for its own interests, ASCAP is seeking to "shut up" its adversaries, is absurd:

    http://copyrightsandcampaigns.blogspot.com/2009/01/techdirt-up-is-down-black-is-white.htm l

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    mike42 (profile), Jan 26th, 2009 @ 9:38am

    Re:

    I may be an ignorant idiot, but judging from the benefits listed on the ASCAP homepage, it looks like the organization is more focused on the independent artist rather than a signed one. Health insurance, CD duplication discounts, etc. aren't really necessary for a big-label band.

    This sounds like corporate shills sowing the seeds of FUD anywhere they can.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Jesse, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 9:44am

    I am actually happy with this turn of events.

    "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you..."

    That only means that "this side" is gaining more credibility and more support, and those on the "other side" feel more threatened. It also means it's becoming less of a legal issue and more of an ideological issue.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 26th, 2009 @ 10:07am

    Re: speaking out isn't shutting others up

    Hi Ben (for those who don't know, Ben is a copyright lawyer who has worked for both NBC Universal and Fox, as well as the McCain campaign),

    I find it rather amusing that you accuse us of bad "reporting" when you get so many of your facts wrong.

    Fact 1: Claiming we are reporters. We are not. We have always made clear that this is an opinion site, not a reporting site.

    Fact 2: We are "copyleft." I don't even know what that means. I talk about issues concerning business models and the economics of the entertainment industry. I am not a "copyleftist," whatever that means. I find it funny when you say I make ASCAP out to be something it is not, and you do the same thing about us in your post.

    Pot, there's a kettle calling...

    Fact 3: You call us "ideological adversaries" which again is entirely wrong. We are looking at business models where musicians and songwriters can make *more* money. How the hell does that make us an ideological adversary?

    Fact 4: "nothing in the original DMN story, in my follow-up, or in the lunch invitation itself (which I have read) contains the slightest hint that ASCAP is seeking to shut anyone up." This is simply untrue. The invitation clearly states that they are trying to "counter" those who support free culture concepts. From the context, it's quite clear that they are trying to quiet their voice in the public discourse. To me, that's an effort to quiet the impact they're having. The intent, quite clearly, is to shut them up.

    Fact 5: "ASCAP deserves kudos for doing more to speak out on copyright issues from copyright owners' and creators' perspective."

    The point we are making is that they are NOT speaking out in the best interest of copyright owners. That's why we show so many examples of copyright owners doing so well by choosing a different direction. ASCAP is speaking out for the best interests of ASCAP, and ASCAP only.

    So, before you go accusing us of falsely stating things, maybe look at your own writings?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Jerry in Detroit, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 10:11am

    Is this the same ASCAP?

    Is this the same organization that cannot seem to find very well known performers to send their royalty check to? Is this the same organization that collects royalties whether the artist is signed up with ASCAP or not?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Matt, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 10:21am

    ASCAP doesn't get enough spotlight

    people don't realize that the ASCAP + RIAA = all music under attack, not just big labels.

    ASCAP has done far worse before the RIAA got started. It was ASCAP who sued for the happy birthday thing, for example.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Copyrights & Campaigns, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 10:52am

    Re: Re: speaking out isn't shutting others up

    1) Even when you are engaged in opinion journalism, you still have an obligation to get your facts right. Whether you call yourself "reporters" doesn't matter; if you write posts on a site like Techdirt, you're a reporter, like it or not. You reported that ASCAP is seeking to shut people up. That is false. As Pat Moynihan famously said, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."

    2)"Copyleft" is a term that describes the broad movement that is critical of copyright owners, their efforts to enforce their rights, and the scope and term of copyright protection itself. Anyone who spends 5 minutes reading Techdirt can see that it falls within that movement.

    3) You are ideological adversaries of those who seek strong copyright enforcement. I don't see how anyone can seriously dispute that; countless Techdirt posts criticize copyright owners (or their representatives) for their enforcement efforts. Of course, you are free to disagree with them, but you can't deny that you are critical of their actions.

    4) "Counter" simply means they want to engage more actively in the public debate. How anyone could interpret "counter" as "shut up" is beyond me. ASCAP's invitation itself said the meeting was about "advocacy efforts." "Advocacy," of course, means pressing one's own message -- not shutting others up. There is no indication whatsoever that ASCAP wants to shut anyone up. None. I have no idea how one would even go about shutting up one's opponents if that were the goal. And if ASCAP actually were trying to shut anyone up, I'd be the first to criticize them. I support more public discourse on copyright issues, not less.

    5) Actually, the point you made -- you said it right in the headline! -- is that ASCAP is trying "To Shut Up Free Culture Supporters." As I've said repeatedly, this claim is false, and there is no evidence whatsoever to support it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 26th, 2009 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re: Re: speaking out isn't shutting others up

    Ben, you have yet to show a *fact* I got wrong.

    1) You keep saying that I was factually incorrect, but I don't see how that's the case. As their invitation makes clear, they are trying to "counter" (i.e., "quiet") the impact of those who take a different view.

    2) Again, it is YOU who seem to be factually incorrect. I am not "critical of copyright owners." You seem to have lumped me into a movement I am not a part of. I am suggesting alternate business models where they could make more money. How is that possibly critical? I find your statements on this matter quite odd.

    3) Again, how is it being an ideological adversary by showing them how they could make more money? Being critical of their actions does not make me an adversary. I would think that in suggesting ways in which they could make more money I am the opposite of an adversary, but a helping hand. If I were an adversary, I would seek to hurt them, not help them.

    4) You read the ASCAP invitation in a rather generous light, which is no surprise since you believe their view of what's best for copyright owners. But anyone who actually has seen them in action knows exactly what "counter" means here. It means getting them out of the public discourse, not increasing it.

    5) Only an entertainment industry lawyer would likely think that ASCAP's words are not about shutting people out of the public discourse. You are using loopholes rather than what is rather clearly meant. If ASCAP were honest about wanting more public discourse, as you suggest, then they wouldn't talk about "countering." They'd talk about opening more of a dialogue. They did not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Copyrights & Campaigns, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 11:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: speaking out isn't shutting others up

    I think our respective positions are now pretty clear, but one more shot:

    The "fact" you got wrong is your false assertion that ASCAP is trying to shut anyone up. They aren't, and they can't, and I'd be the first to oppose them if they were.

    I really don't get your point about how "counter" supposedly means "quiet." In a political debate, if one side says, "Taxes should be raised," the other side might "counter" that by saying, "No, that's a bad idea that would harm the economy. Taxes should be lowered." That kind of debate is exactly what ASCAP is advocating. There's zero evidence that they're trying to silence anyone.

    Do you have any evidence from "see[ing] them in action" that they want to "get[] [their opponents] out of the public discourse"? Any at all? Even one time that they tried to get anyone "out of the public discourse"?

    I applaud you for advocating what you believe are promising new models for copyright owners. But you can't deny that Techdirt is routinely critical of copyright owner for the way that they go about enforcing their rights. A few recent examples here:
    http://techdirt.com/articles/20090123/1506253510.shtml
    http://techdirt.com/articles/20090123 /0734253502.shtml
    http://techdirt.com/articles/20090121/0703443476.shtml
    http://techdirt.com/artic les/20090116/0403073433.shtml
    http://techdirt.com/articles/20090116/0356233431.shtml

    You are certainly "adversaries" in the sense that you oppose their enforcement efforts, even if you share the ultimate goal of making more money for copyright owners. Democrats and Republicans are "adversaries," even if they share the common goal of making this a better country.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    amh, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 11:40am

    the meanting of "to counter"

    from dictionary.com. Note that nowhere on this list are the words to "shut up," "quiet," or "suppress."

    Synonyms: backtalk, beat, bilk, buck, circumvent, contravene, counteract, counterwork, cross, dash, disappoint, fly in the face of, foil, frustrate, have bone to pick, hinder, hit back, match, meet, offset, oppose, parry, pit, play off, resist, respond, retaliate, return, ruin, take on, thumbs down, vie, ward off

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 26th, 2009 @ 11:43am

    Re: the meanting of "to counter"

    from dictionary.com. Note that nowhere on this list are the words to "shut up," "quiet," or "suppress."

    Um. I would argue that an awful lot of those mean basically the same thing: beat, counteract, dash, disappoint, foil, frustrate, hinder, hit back, ruin, ward off...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 26th, 2009 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: speaking out isn't shutting others up


    I applaud you for advocating what you believe are promising new models for copyright owners. But you can't deny that Techdirt is routinely critical of copyright owner for the way that they go about enforcing their rights. A few recent examples here:


    Yes, critical of dumb decisions that do them more harm than good. That doesn't make us some sort of "adversary." How dare we actually speak the truth in a way that might help them? How adversarial is it to try to help someone not shoot themselves in the foot?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    RD, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 11:55am

    and now...

    Cue music industry apoligtards in 3, 2, 1.....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    amh, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: the meanting of "to counter"

    No. Those words mean active opposition to a thing. Not the suppression of it. To suppress something, "to shut it up" means to prevent it from ever being aired and openly opposed. If one were to take your meaning of "countering" a position, it would mean that at this very moment I am blocking your posts, comments, and replies and attempting to prevent you from publicly expressing your views. That is not what is happening here. I am "countering" your position by offering alternative facts and interpretation -- precisely what ASCAP, and every other advocacy organization, does everyday.

    Some may believe that this is just a matter of semantics, but it is an important distinction. To counter does not imply an act of suppression, but open opposition -- a legitimate and necessary exercise of free expression in a democratic society.

    And that's the last I'll say on that. So, please be my guest and counter away!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 12:05pm

    I'm confused...

    The last line in the Forbes article linked on Copyright & Campaigns is, "In fact, making music free could make songs even more popular."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    RD, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 12:08pm

    well THAT didnt take long

    Guess I hit submit too late. Only took about 15 seconds for apolitards to show up screaming about how ASCAP is really just a reasonable organization who just wants to help foster understanding and help the fellow artist. Sadly, in my opinion, none of this is true. Like the RIAA, they exist only for themselves. The little bit they give back to the artist is only because they HAVE to. Like the RIAA, they hide behind "helping the artist" and then do as little as possible to return any collected funds to the artist, instead lining their pockets, protecting their interests over anyone else and making sure they can push through legislation that will benefit them and them only via lobbying, buying votes and whatever other means are available to them. This "we just want to discuss the issues" is flat out false. I GUARANTEE you that when it comes to this meeting (or whatever it ends up being), NO ONE from the other side (copyleft, alt. business models, etc) will be either invited or allowed to participate. They will be BLOCKED from entry, then when its all over and the ASCAP have decided the course they have already made up their mind about even before this "event", they will emerge from the meeting and declare that no one opposed showed up, and that this proves their points to be righteous and true. This has happened time and again with the music and movie industry, and yet everyone in those industries thinks NO ONE notices and we are all too stupid to see through their thinly veiled attempts at being reasonable and open to discussion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 26th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: the meanting of "to counter"

    No. Those words mean active opposition to a thing. Not the suppression of it.

    Hinder? Frustrate? Foil? Ruin?

    Yeah, ok...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    RD, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 12:23pm

    Here

    "Do you have any evidence from "see[ing] them in action" that they want to "get[] [their opponents] out of the public discourse"? Any at all? Even one time that they tried to get anyone "out of the public discourse"?"

    Here:

    http://www.filmmusicmag.com/?p=529

    and here:

    http://nxport.com/pipermail/fmpro/2006-March/005411.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    someone else, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 12:27pm

    Meh, BigMedia and their cronies. Robber barons of the 20th century, dying in the DigitalAge.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Sammy Stephens, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    It's just like a mini mall.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: speaking out isn't shutting others up

    Mr. Sheffner,

    I appreciate learning about your blog and have added it to my Favorites. It is refreshing to read articles that do not draw conclusions on the basis of equivocal information, that have been researched beyond slavish reliance on articles appearing in other blogs, and that manifestly exhibit a firm grounding in copyright and other related law. For example, the recent blogsphere activity regarding Neeson is quite nicely balanced by your observations of the facts pertinent to the ongoing litigation.

    Though he may have a contrary view, I do appreciate Mr. Masnick's economic insights. Yes, there is money to be made independent of copyright, patent and other related law. It is the constant, plainly inaccurate ranting that appears in many of the articles at techdirt that do become a bit tedious. "Countering" them is many times much like trying to whistle into the wind.

    My thanks for your efforts.

    M. Slonecker

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Copyrights & Campaigns, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: speaking out isn't shutting others up

    Thanks for the kind words. Just be careful when you "counter" -- you don't want to be accused of shutting anyone up!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Spade, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: speaking out isn't shutting others up

    To Mr. "Copyrights & Campaigns",

    As an aspiring musician, I have to say that it's people like you who demonstrate just how anti-musician the existing music industry bodies (and their advocates) truly are. Thanks for the fresh reminder on that front.

    How's that for "counter", eh? ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Copyrights & Campaigns, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Here

    Those documents refer to what seem to be typical internal governance disputes (on which I have no opinion, and I certainly wouldn't form an opinion based on what are clearly one-sided accounts). But they are not evidence of ASCAP trying to "shut up" public ideological opponents, which is what Techdirt falsely charged.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    RD, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 2:00pm

    Fine

    Since you wont listen to anyone else, so be it. Just remember what I said about how that "meeting" will go down. I'll be back here to accept your contrition when that happens.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    LostSailor, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: speaking out isn't shutting others up

    Actually, Ben makes some good points. "Counter" is in no way to "quiet." As Ben points out, its about making counterarguments. I am as surprised that you don't know what "Copyleft" means (another description for a creative commons license that essentially remove copyright restrictions while technically maintaining copyright) as by your assertion that you're not critical of copyright owners.

    Indeed, you admit to being "critical of dumb decisions that do more harm than good," at least in your opinion. If a copyright owner has the presumption to act to protect his/her copyright, you are generally quite critical in rather stark terms, labeling such actions as "stupid" or "dumb."

    Your model, at least in the example you show, may work for some musicians and performers, but ASCAP provides services for songwriters and composers as well. Since many of these folks may not produce or perform the music (which under your model is given away for free and revenue gained from "selling other things"), what happens to the royalty income these folks have derived from their work? Are they going to make "lots" more money?



    In your opinion. Apparently this is the only truth possible. How dare anyone else deny or--heaven forbid--act in a way to protect their legal rights counter to your truth!

    That you have an adversarial attitude toward anyone who might raise questions about this "truth" is quite clear from your blog. Are you not trying to "quiet" ASCAP by this post?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    LostSailor, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: speaking out isn't shutting others up

    The last two paragraphs of my comment above should have been preceded by a quote from Mike's comment:

    How dare we actually speak the truth in a way that might help them? How adversarial is it to try to help someone not shoot themselves in the foot?

    Apologies.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 26th, 2009 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: speaking out isn't shutting others up

    Your model, at least in the example you show, may work for some musicians and performers, but ASCAP provides services for songwriters and composers as well. Since many of these folks may not produce or perform the music (which under your model is given away for free and revenue gained from "selling other things"), what happens to the royalty income these folks have derived from their work? Are they going to make "lots" more money?

    We have discussed, at great lengths, how songwriters and composers can adapt as well. I find it silly that people keep bringing this up as if we have not.

    Yes, they can make lots more money, because that's what happens when you *REMOVE* protectionist policies. This isn't difficult...

    In your opinion. Apparently this is the only truth possible. How dare anyone else deny or--heaven forbid--act in a way to protect their legal rights counter to your truth!

    Well, until someone actually proves that basic fundamental economics is wrong, I have a hard time simply accepting the idea that we need protectionism.

    That you have an adversarial attitude toward anyone who might raise questions about this "truth" is quite clear from your blog. Are you not trying to "quiet" ASCAP by this post?

    Not at all. I am not *countering* them. I am not trying to hold them back or hinder them. I am trying to help them see how they can actually help songwriters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    LostSailor, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: speaking out isn't shutting others up

    We have discussed, at great lengths, how songwriters and composers can adapt as well. I find it silly that people keep bringing this up as if we have not.

    You have discussed at great length how you think musicians and performers can "adapt", but, and apologies if I've just missed those posts, I've not seen a lot of discussion on songwriters or composers who are not performers can use the same methods of "selling the scarcity" will benefit as much. The would certainly have to change their contractual agreements with anyone who performs their songs and initially distributes the music, but replacing revenue/income from royalties and licenses in the absence of copyright protection is going to be difficult.

    Well, until someone actually proves that basic fundamental economics is wrong, I have a hard time simply accepting the idea that we need protectionism.

    One of my point all along, Mike, has been that "fundamental economics" and actually running a business are different things. To turn this around, until someone proves, on a larger scale than the current on-the-ground evidence suggests, that your model is inherently superior such that a business should immediately change their entire model, it make eminent sense to continue with the current model and experiment on the margins with the new one. Especially if that business has to answer to shareholders.

    Not at all. I am not *countering* them. I am not trying to hold them back or hinder them. I am trying to help them see how they can actually help songwriters.

    It's your opinion that you're "helping them;" they may disagree. And of course you're "countering" those who disagree with you or who fail to adopt your suggestions...that "counter" discussion makes up the majority of your postings (note that I haven't and would never accuse you of "quieting" opposing views as you admirably respond to those views here; often ridicule, yes--silence, no). Just how is ASCAP going to silence you by advancing counterarguments?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 26th, 2009 @ 3:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: speaking out isn't shutting others up


    You have discussed at great length how you think musicians and performers can "adapt", but, and apologies if I've just missed those posts, I've not seen a lot of discussion on songwriters or composers who are not performers can use the same methods of "selling the scarcity" will benefit as much.


    Then you haven't been reading very long or very carefully. Songwriters have plenty of scarcities to sell themselves: mainly their time. They have the greatest scarcity of all: the ability to write new songs.

    The would certainly have to change their contractual agreements with anyone who performs their songs and initially distributes the music, but replacing revenue/income from royalties and licenses in the absence of copyright protection is going to be difficult.

    Says the folks who rely on such deals to make money. It's not difficult at all out here in the real world where such deals get done every day.

    I have yet to see a market where protectionist policies are removed where the market does not increase in size and opportunity. I'm curious as to why you believe that would be the case here? Are you really willing to against pretty much all of recorded economic history?

    One of my point all along, Mike, has been that "fundamental economics" and actually running a business are different things.

    Not if you plan to stay in business very long.

    To turn this around, until someone proves, on a larger scale than the current on-the-ground evidence suggests, that your model is inherently superior such that a business should immediately change their entire model, it make eminent sense to continue with the current model and experiment on the margins with the new one. Especially if that business has to answer to shareholders.

    Well, I'm curious as to what more proof you want than all of economic history?

    In the meantime, those who insist on "waiting" will find that by the time the proof *they* want (as opposed to the proof that's actually out there) arrives, it will be too late, and they'll likely be out of business. Such is the history of economic advancement. I guess I'm trying to hold back the tide in thinking I might be able to help some folks avoid the usual fate.

    It's your opinion that you're "helping them;" they may disagree. And of course you're "countering" those who disagree with you or who fail to adopt your suggestions...that "counter" discussion makes up the majority of your postings (note that I haven't and would never accuse you of "quieting" opposing views as you admirably respond to those views here; often ridicule, yes--silence, no). Just how is ASCAP going to silence you by advancing counterarguments?

    Ah, now I think I see the point you and Ben and MLS are trying to make. No one is saying that they'll physically quiet us, but it's quite clear that they are trying to quiet the influence that such folks have on the *policy* level. Of course they can't quiet people absolutely, but they absolutely can (and want to) hinder us from having much of an impact on policy or business models. Otherwise why "counter" those trying to help you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    TonsoTunez, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 5:03pm

    Speaking Out Isn't Shutting Others Up

    The moment someone creates something they instantly own a bundle of rights granted to them by the copyright law. They need take no action other than the act of creation itself and expressing that creation in some tangable form, to have secured those rights.

    They can do anything the want with their rights - give them away, sell them, grant them to others, protect them, chose not to protect them, try to make money from selling products embodying their creations, etc..

    In other words they have complete and total freedom to do with their property as they see fit.

    Before they make any decision as to what to do with their rights, however, they should have a clear understanding as to what those rights are and what their decisions mean ...

    How often do people in all walks of life make poor decisions because they have failed to comprehend what the actual results of those decisions might be? Their reaction to a bad outcome is always, "If I had only known."

    TechDirt and the other purveyors of the copyleft point of view always set their arguments up as, "It's my way or the highway.' Sadly, their positions are laced with double speak and false and accretions and accusations which are designed to confuse those who may not have taken the time to learn enough to separate truth from the fiction - a capacity needed to lead one to a balanced determination.

    From what I am reading here, it appears that ASCAP wishes to add a voice to the debate that they hope will helpful to creators, especially songwriters, in making informed decisions... A voice that is either never heard - or is shouted down - on blogs like this and the many other one sided diatribes it emulates.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 26th, 2009 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Speaking Out Isn't Shutting Others Up

    Funny that you say "speaking out isn't shutting others up" and then conclude by claiming that we are shutting up ASCAP.

    Hilarious.

    Anyway... thanks for the lesson on copyright. It's not like most of us here have been researching and writing about copyright for years.

    And, of course, you totally fall back on the copyright defenders false bottom: insisting that because the law allows (a) then it must be the right thing to do. We are focused on what's best for content creators, and copyright does not always align with that.

    We do not believe in "My way or the highway" but thanks for trying to brush off the points we try to make without bothering to understand them. In fact, we're very much open to alternative points of view -- which is why we set up this blog with *open comments* to allow anyone to state their views, no matter how ill-informed they might be.

    However, if you are going to say something that doesn't make sense, be prepared to be called on it. That's all we ask for.

    And, again, I'm confused why you insist on saying we have a "copyleft point of view." I still don't even know what that means.

    But, you know, if you want to throw up strawman arguments rather than anything substantive, I'm sure that makes you feel good, but it is hardly convincing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    TonsoTunez, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 5:35pm

    Speaking Out Isn't Shutting Others Up

    Nice use of double speak, Mike. Good try.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 26th, 2009 @ 6:07pm

    Re: Speaking Out Isn't Shutting Others Up

    Nice use of double speak, Mike. Good try.

    Not a bit of doublespeak in there. But I find it quite telling that you first bash us for stuff we never said, and when called on it, don't respond to a *single point*.

    So much for open discussion, huh?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 6:26pm

    Re: speaking out isn't shutting others up

    “"Copyleft" is a term that describes the broad movement that is critical of copyright owners...”

    Bullshit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 7:50pm

    Look Out !

    The cockroaches are running about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    LostSailor, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: speaking out isn't shutting others up

    Then you haven't been reading very long or very carefully. Songwriters have plenty of scarcities to sell themselves: mainly their time. They have the greatest scarcity of all: the ability to write new songs.

    Songwriters who do not perform their songs...and there are many...have far fewer scarcities to sell, including their time, than the models you've advanced for performers. As I've noted before, adopting the "free/scarcity" model will mean, for many of them, foregoing revenue that they'll have to make up by doing many other things that may or may not have anything to do with songwriting. It may be what's "best" for them in your opinion, and perhaps even in fact, but it's a hard sell.

    Says the folks who rely on such deals to make money. It's not difficult at all out here in the real world where such deals get done every day....I have yet to see a market where protectionist policies are removed where the market does not increase in size and opportunity. I'm curious as to why you believe that would be the case here? Are you really willing to against pretty much all of recorded economic history?

    "Real world?" Mike, you're not the one who is making a living in the businesses you're discussing. It's a bit different when your own livelihood is on the line. I have nothing against economic history, but that history is also also littered with examples where emerging business models in the face of technological change have been embraced before they are fully understood in the business sense and caused a lot of people a lot of damage. What may be good for the abstract "market" in the long term can hurt a lot of people along the way.

    Well, I'm curious as to what more proof you want than all of economic history? ... In the meantime, those who insist on "waiting" will find that by the time the proof *they* want (as opposed to the proof that's actually out there) arrives, it will be too late, and they'll likely be out of business. Such is the history of economic advancement. I guess I'm trying to hold back the tide in thinking I might be able to help some folks avoid the usual fate.

    "All of economic history?" I do give you credit for grand, sweeping statements. You may think you're just trying to help...a good Samaritan of the tech world...but others with skin in the game may disagree. And who ever said that a business should just "wait and see"; a prudent business, as I noted, would continue to garner the value of their current model (which really isn't going away as fast as you think, in my opinion) while experimenting in the margins with new models (and watching what others are experimenting with) while planning planning to implement the successful models as they prove themselves to be stable models.

    I'd agree with you that any business that just sits and waits would be in trouble.

    Ah, now I think I see the point you and Ben and MLS are trying to make. No one is saying that they'll physically quiet us, but it's quite clear that they are trying to quiet the influence that such folks have on the *policy* level. Of course they can't quiet people absolutely, but they absolutely can (and want to) hinder us from having much of an impact on policy or business models. Otherwise why "counter" those trying to help you?

    Finally! Well, sort of. No one was ever saying that "counter" involved any sort of physical silencing. Of course, it's clear that they are trying to counter your influence, and why shouldn't they if they disagree with you? Everyone's side should be thoroughly aired and influence will go to the side that makes the better argument. You seem to think that any counterargument is somehow illegitimate or nefarious, is an attack. No, it's just another side of the conversation. You will continue your side of the conversation and I would support you in doing so, even if I don't always agree.

    Why "counter" those that are "just trying to help"? Perhaps because others may not see it as much help. It could be because the tone in which your help is offered is often snarkily dismissive of any other viewpoint, at least on this site. Helpful advise offered in terms of "you're an idiot if you don't see it my way" rarely comes across as actually helpful.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Sam, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 7:27am

    ASCAP Working

    As a songwriter, I feel the need to say ASCAP is SO not the bad guy in a debate about copyright.

    It would be hard to imagine ASCAP doing anything but educating members, listening to all points of view, and trying to find a balance between the needs of its members and the evolution of the marketplace. It's a non-profit organization representing a membership of musicians -- it's not some corporate bully. If anything, musicians are UNDER-protected and always have been when it comes to the marketplace. From my point of view, ASCAP needs even more of a voice, and to engage the voices of its members, in this discussion because it directly pertains to us songwriters.

    After all, it is OUR work and our art and our life’s devotion that is being discussed! It’s the VALUE of music and those who create it that is at stake. For us it is not just a conversation, but a reality -- of whether or not we can pay our bills and take care of our families.

    FREE culture is only as valuable as the arts and ideas that comprise it. Culture has VALUE because people put their time, expertise, love, and ability into it. Most of the musicians and writers I know worked for years and years, and made a lot of lifestyle sacrifices to get any opportunity whatsoever -- and very few receive even a fraction of the income their work has generated for others, especially corporations.

    Copyright, flimsy as its ACTUAL protections are, is one of the few THEORETICAL protections we still have in our vulnerable position.

    Creators need to have choices about their work and to receive compensation for it, as do other members of society.
    ASCAP as an organization recognizes and defends the VALUE of MUSIC and SONGS, and the hard work of the composers and lyricists who write the soundtracks of our lives.

    As a songwriter who makes a living (with ever more difficulty) from my art, I am extremely hopeful that we will arrive at a better balance in the conversation, so that it is FAIR and not just theoretical or extreme; so that it includes the rights of the human beings it affects.

    ASCAP is there to SUPPORT and give voice to musicians' rights and make sure that we, who are so easy to overlook, are not simply trampled in a stampede of good and forward-thinking intentions. Should we not be able to gather our voices together through ASCAP so that our rights are considered and understood? Surely, the FREE culture must include FREE EXCHANGE of ideas, so that our points of view can be voiced too.

    For many of us, whose work has been stolen and/or exploited by large companies and other interests, whose primary value comes from the work and expertise of musicians and songwriters and other creators, this is not theory -- it is about the rapid and progressive loss of our livelihood, property, and choices.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2009 @ 7:13pm

    It's too bad ascap is more interested in lining it's pockets by maintaining the status quo rather than helping songwriters and artists find their own new business models.

    The reason they won't is actually pretty obvious, those models don't guarantee them to be in control of (let alone included) in your revenue stream.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Jan 29th, 2009 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: speaking out isn't shutting others up

    adopting the "free/scarcity" model will mean, for many of them, foregoing revenue that they'll have to make up by doing many other things that may or may not have anything to do with songwriting. It may be what's "best" for them in your opinion, and perhaps even in fact, but it's a hard sell.

    well, god forbid someone work hard on selling something. i guess avoiding hard work is a good idea as any to go into music.

    and why give up revenue streams?

    here's a revenue stream for you: why not try to save some money and stop paying money to lawyers to sue grandmothers who can't pay, and hiring network snoops to unsuccessfully spy on people's downloads (you know, like mediasentry), and spending money on digital rights management technology that doesn't work. that's a good idea.

    i'm not much of and economist but i am pretty sure that spending money on stuff that doesn't help you is not a good business practice. maybe one of you MBA's can explain to me why companies keep doing it.

    i guess if you follow the RIAA logic that not making money on every download is the same as losing money... then not spending money on lawyers, DRM, and mediasentry should be the same thing as making money, right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    POOP HEAD, Mar 3rd, 2009 @ 9:34am

    POOPHEAD

    POOPHEAD

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This