Swedish Performing Rights Society Demands Cash From Companies That Let Employees Listen To Music

from the oh-come-on dept

It appears that the Swedish performing rights society STIM is taking lessons from ASCAP (in the US) and PRS (in the UK) in trying to extend the definition of a public performance in order to demand licensing money from just about anyone. In this case, STIM has apparently sent out demand letters to thousands of Swedish companies telling those companies that if anyone at the company listens to music on the job, the company needs to pay for a license:
Perhaps someone has the radio on or is listening to a CD and if so, you need to have a permit that allows for music to be played the workplace... A workplace isn't private and therefore you should have a license for music to be played so that the copyright holders get paid.
This is, of course, quite misleading. The copyright holder has already been paid if they're listening to the radio or a CD. This is an attempt to get paid multiple times for the same thing. We've been hearing stories about how these various collection societies are in trouble lately due to low interest rates and poor investment choices, but watching them flail around and start demanding money from everyone, and trying to get paid multiple times for the same work is really quite an amazing abuse of power. Why isn't any gov't agency cracking down on such an abuse?


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    Anonymous Poster, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 8:43am

    Because the government agencies don't know any better, that's why.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 8:53am

      Re:

      "Because the government agencies and large corporations in industry are made up of the exact same people."

      There, fixed that for you.

       

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        ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 8:56am

        Re: Re:

        "Because the government agencies and large corporations in industry are made up of the exact same people."

        True, which explains why the laws are so lopsided. Share a song? Thousands of dollars. Claim a public domain song as your own property? No penalty.

         

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    Anonymous Howard, Cowering, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 8:53am

    Because the people who make the laws that the government agencies "enforce" are the same ones who take massive campaign contributions (or bribes, the terms are less differentiated than they used to be) from the collection societies and labels.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 9:18am

      Re:

      "Because the people who make the laws that the government agencies "enforce" are the same ones who take massive campaign contributions (or bribes, the terms are less differentiated than they used to be) from the collection societies and labels."

      No, the corruption goes deeper than that. The government is made up of people that were heads of industry, plain and simple. That's why when Cheney's the VP, Haliburton gets contracts. When Rumsfeld is in the Cabinet, Searl gets FDA approval over the recommendation of the FDA board.

      And no bias here, the Dems are no better, I just can't think up pertinent examples, other than the fact that it seems like EVERYONE in the Executive Branch for the past 60 years has been a member of either the Council on Foriegn Relations or the Trilateral Commission, or both.

       

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        Ryan, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 9:31am

        Re: Re:

        It doesn't have anything to do with the business ties of people who are elected into office, or with businesses themselves. They are going to aid whomever pays them the dough. If I owned a corporation in the current environment, I would be trying to get in as many politicians' pockets as I could, too, because it would probably make me money in the end and I can guarantee you all my competitors would be doing it as well.

        The problem is simply the scope and power of the government. When it has the ability to hand out billions of dollars like candy and regulate everything under the sun, the people in charge will get biased and corrupted and slant the rules in favor of their friends and it doesn't much matter who you elect to do it. This is why I laughed when during the election campaign Obama promised to cut down on lobbying; lobbying and government influence have practically a one-to-one relationship. The only people I trust with this power are the ones who attempt to absolve it.

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 9:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The solution is to bring back state level government. States (most of them, anyway) seem to be in that sweet spot in terms of size in which they are large enough to have power of governance and small enough that they don't go batshit out of control.

          ....on the other hand, I AM from Illinois, where our Governers pre-reserve suites in Federal prison, and we can't even run a big city correctly...

           

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            Ryan, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 9:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That would definintely help; one fallacy I see among critics of the federalist system is that state governments would just do the same thing they're doing now as they wait for the federal government to do anything "progressive"(ha!)

            If you leave it to the states, you basically have what the federal government is now, except that it would be more accountable and less wasteful being closer and more direct with its constituents, and we would all be watching them more closely instead of Washington.

            Even better, the states would have to compete against each other. Illinois wants to raise taxes and waste it appeasing Chicago teacher unions for one of the worst school systems in the country? It's a lot easier for businesses and citizens to just move across the state line to Indiana or Wisconsin than to another country entirely.

             

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    Another AC, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 9:16am

    Another perfect example

    of why copyright laws should be completely torn down.

    I truly do not understand why anyone would support such tyranny from a private organization. This is just as bad as someone who throws themselves in front of expensive cars for a quick cash pay off.

    Up next

    STIM nails pedestrians for whistling while they walk on their lunch break.

    PRS sends letters to those that can be heard singing in the shower because they forgot to close the window.

    ASCAP sues Cellular providers for public performance of musical ringtones... OH yeah, well the other two dont sound so sill do they.

     

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 9:24am

      Re: Another perfect example

      [sarcasm]Send someone down my way. I got some kids up the street that like to blast their rap so loud that I can't hear my TV.[/sarcasm]

       

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    Ima Fish (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 9:20am

    When I hear stories like this, or about how a ringtone constitutes a public performance, I think about the old days when we used to carry around boom boxes (aka ghetto boxes). There was absolutely no talk in the 70s that playing your music at the beach required a performance license. What changed? Greed? Copyright being bent way too far? This is purely insane.

     

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      Ryan, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 9:35am

      Re:

      There's nothing wrong with "greed". Of course businesses are going to endeavour to increase their profit. I think the problem is the rise of computers and the internet; we had to redefine IP to prevent all the innovative uses they enabled, and our paradigm thus shifted from seeing copyright as a tool to incentivize innovation and progress to seeing it as a tool to subsidize a living for musicians.

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 9:43am

        Re: Re:

        Greed:–noun- excessive or rapacious desire, esp. for wealth or possessions.

        If you don't understand that there is something wrong with that, I'm not sure how to intellectually discuss these things with you, because for me that's the basic thing. Too much, i.e. excessive, desire for material possessions IS WRONG. This idea that it's okay to use and use and have and have is stupid.

        Have what you're going to use. To own six houses and almost never use 2 of them is stupid. I'm not big on morality, but those possessions could be used to do a hell of a lot of good, and when they aren't, when they're just collected and sat upon in order to win some real life Monopoly game, it makes me nuts.

         

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          Ryan, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 9:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, I don't see anything wrong with that. Wealth is not a zero-sum game, and it's certainly not like we don't have plenty of available houses right now. And this isn't even the situation we're discussing; we're discussing companies fighting for market share. You think it's greedy for the RIAA to pursue additional funds even as its future flounders(for its own stupid decisions) and thousands of other smaller companies struggle to make a living before failing.

          Plus, the wealthiest are more charitable by percentage of income than anybody else, despite paying the huge majority of taxes. I don't know how many houses Bill Gates or William Buffet have, but they've given billions to charity.

           

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            Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 10:03am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "No, I don't see anything wrong with that. Wealth is not a zero-sum game, and it's certainly not like we don't have plenty of available houses right now."

            Wealth doesn't HAVE to be a zero-sum game. The problem is that when you have the majority of corporate wealth being made by taking advantage of others, you've turned it into a zero-sum game. That's what these collection agencies do, they change the game. And available housing isn't the point. Excessiveness is WRONG, end of story. That's why it's called excessive.

            "You think it's greedy for the RIAA to pursue additional funds even as its future flounders(for its own stupid decisions) and thousands of other smaller companies struggle to make a living before failing"

            I think the RIAA is greedy by nature in that it's sole purpose to exist, being a collection agency, is to collect as much as possible. The purpose is to collect, not to collect reasonably. Therefore it needs to be done away with.

            "Plus, the wealthiest are more charitable by percentage of income than anybody else, despite paying the huge majority of taxes. I don't know how many houses Bill Gates or William Buffet have, but they've given billions to charity."

            Wonderful point, but largely meaningless. I'm less concerned with the taxes being paid by individuals and more concerned with corporate taxes. During WWII corporations paid something like 55% of total tax revenue. Today it's in the 10% neighborhood. In the early part of the century 5% of the population worked for the largest 10% of the nation's companies. Today it's closer to 90%. If that isn't a consolidation of corporations and government, I don't know what is. And like Mussolini said, the first stage of Fascism is Corporatism.

             

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            Ima Fish (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 10:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Plus, the wealthiest are more charitable by percentage of income than anybody else"

            So your augment is that normal rules, laws, and morality shouldn't apply to the wealthy because their wealth will trickle down to us poor peasants, eventually. Are you sure you're not David Stockman?! What decade is this anyway?!

             

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            ChrisB (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 10:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Plus, the wealthiest are more charitable by percentage of income than anybody else, despite paying the huge majority of taxes."

            This is absolutely not true! While the wealthy give more, they DO NOT give more as a percentage of their income. For example, look at Table 2 in this PDF document (which is specifically religious donations, but supports my point).

            http://journals.sfu.ca/philanthropist/index.php/phil/article/download/352/352

             

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          btr1701 (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 1:11pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          > Too much, i.e. excessive, desire for material
          > possessions IS WRONG.

          And who gets to decide how much I'm allowed to have and how much is too much?

          You?

           

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            Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 1:19pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "And who gets to decide how much I'm allowed to have and how much is too much?

            You?"

            Absolutely not. Fortunately we have this thing called public discourse. Theoretically, we all have this constant ongoing discussion from separate sides of the spectrum, which leads to the likely ideal middle ground being the generally accepted view of society.

            But hey, I love a good strawman.

             

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              Ryan, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 1:29pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Not to be disrespectful, but that is not a strawman. If you claim that there is a point beyond which accumulated wealth is excessive, then it is a fair point to raise how that point is defined. Determining how much wealth a few are allowed to accumulate in a legal manner by polling the opinion of the many is, to me, an example of tyranny of the majority.

               

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                Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 1:34pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Not to be disrespectful, but that is not a strawman. If you claim that there is a point beyond which accumulated wealth is excessive, then it is a fair point to raise how that point is defined. Determining how much wealth a few are allowed to accumulate in a legal manner by polling the opinion of the many is, to me, an example of tyranny of the majority."

                You're not being disrespectful. Hell, I love public discourse, I find this whole conversation to be EXTREMELY productive and informative, for myself included.

                To address why I called it a strawman: I didn't see it as questioning how the point is defined, I saw it as painting a personal attack by insinuiating I thought I was better able to determine that point than another, thereby painting me as either a dictator or a benevolent prince type of figure. Such a figure is inherently easier to argue against that the idea presented, therefore = Strawman.

                Unless I have the definition COMPLETELY wrong?

                 

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                  CastorTroy-Libertarian, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 2:23pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Wow both of you are to be congradulated, your points where well thought and interesting while not devolving to attacks on person... much different from the liberals (not saying you are one) but it is refreshing to see to points while not in the same direction, discussed cleanly and clearly with citings and intellegence

                  BRAVO

                   

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 2:04pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Too much, i.e. excessive, desire for material possessions IS WRONG."

          Excessive? There's no such thing! You can never be too rich!

           

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        Ima Fish (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 10:01am

        Re: Re:

        "There's nothing wrong with "greed'"

        I think you're confusing "greed" with "profit."

        There is nothing wrong with collecting profits to which you are entitled.

        Greed, however, goes beyond such profits. It's about collecting profits to which you are not entitled. Greed makes you do things you shouldn't be doing to get those extra profits. Greed equates a musician performing in a venue in front of paying customers to ringing phone.

        There's nothing wrong with collecting profits from a musician performing at a venue. However, it's pure greed to collect profits from the guy (or from his phone company) merely because his phone is ringing.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Greed, however, goes beyond such profits. It's about collecting profits to which you are not entitled. Greed makes you do things you shouldn't be doing to get those extra profits.


          That's why we have laws" To determine which profits one is entitled to and what "things you shouldn't be doing". Greed is not illegal.

          However, it's pure greed to collect profits from the guy (or from his phone company) merely because his phone is ringing.

          Greed is good! (as long as it's legal)

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 9:52am

    Actually... not a bad idea.

    Actually, this wouldn't be necessarily a *bad* thing. Ever work at a job where someone in the next cubi-cell(cubicle) played their music too loud, and you just wish they'd shut if off or at least turn it down? And if you ask them nicely, they spew off some BS about they 'have a right to listen to a loud radio if someone else can listen to their headphones, blah blah blah". If you want to listen to music, wear headphones. Don't bother other people unless they tell you specifically they have no problem with it.

    This might not actually be so bad... :)

     

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      Yakko Warner, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 10:20am

      Re: Actually... not a bad idea.

      I-I-I-I-I was told that I could listen to my radio at a r-r-reasonable volume from 9 to 11, a-a-a-and if Sheila could listen to her music while she's collating, then I can listen to my music wh-wh-while I'm stapling, and they took the Swingline staplers and replaced them with B-B-Boston staplers, but I kept my Swingline because it doesn't bind up as much...

       

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      Rob R. (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 10:24am

      Re: Actually... not a bad idea.

      That would be the silver lining, but this is definitely still the cloud. Tromping more and more on the rights and liberties of citizens must stop. Let us not forget that this is how the Civil War began. Not from copyright zealots, but from normal people getting fed up with how the leadership of their home area were out for naught but themselves and their liberties and freedoms were slowly eaten away. I have friends that I admit are extremists, but they are already predicting CW2. I don't think we need to add fuel to the fire.

       

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    shmengie, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 9:56am

    public, private, whatever...

    "...A workplace isn't private..."

    unless you work for the government, is sure the hell is, you commie fuck!

     

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    Mark, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 10:05am

    @ Ryan

    "Plus, the wealthiest are more charitable by percentage of income than anybody else, despite paying the huge majority of taxes. I don't know how many houses Bill Gates or William Buffet have, but they've given billions to charity."

    2 examples does not support that statement. If you have data that supports this then please link to it. I would be happy to change my own belief that the rich are rich because they don't give any of it away - including to the tax man.

     

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      Ima Fish (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 10:18am

      Re: @ Ryan

      "If you have data that supports this then please link to it."

      Actually, any such data would be irrelevant because Ryan's underlying argument is flawed.

      His argument (whether it's true or not) is that laws and mortality should not apply to the wealthy because they give us so much in return.

      Should we allow people to murder, steal, rob, etc., merely because they give society a cut of it back? Should we let the bank robber go free because he donates 10% of it to charity? Maybe Ryan does, but I don't think so.

      Regardless of how much the wealthy give to their pet causes, they should follow the same laws we follow. We're a nation of laws, not a nation laws for some and not for others if they give us a cut.

       

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        Rob R. (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 10:25am

        Re: Re: @ Ryan

        Should we allow people to murder...a cut of it back?

        I know this wasn't intentional, but I thought it was an interesting choice of words. : )

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 10:26am

    Wow, so much having a constructive conversation about STIM.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 10:30am

    If they want money

    (sarcasm)
    They could tax the companies that make the equipment that people put in to there cars to make them so loud that their can hear them 3 blocks away and rattling your windows or the people that drive those cars its not like there hard to find.
    just a thought

     

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    Vic, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 10:33am

    What is happening...

    Just a thought. What the collection societies are doing looks to me like a reverse side of new trends. On one hand there are people who (now) can and do copy everything digital. Music, movies, photos, whatever you can digitize. Multiple copies are created FOR FREE.

    On the other hand the Recording industry via ASCAP, PRS, GEMA, STIMA and so on are trying to get MULTIPLE payments for the SAME creations. Seems kinda logical. If it works in one direction, it should work in the opposite direction.

    Unfortunately, legal support in this tug of war is totally out of balance. The consumer is bound to lose. And that is the main problem I see here!

     

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    Marconi, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    I am sure the NAB equivalent in Sweden would love to hear that businesses all over were going to stop playing their stations (and commercials and decreasing the listening prospects).
    Maybe if fewer people were listening to those stations, their rates would decrease??

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 10:55am

    Come try to charge me for listening to music at work. I have a shovel and 40 acres of marshland right out the back door.

     

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    Sergio, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 11:24am

    Down with music

    I am ready, willing, and able to stop listening to all music that is roped into all these pay-me-pay-me-pay-me conditions. I honestly don't need music to live (same goes for TV). It might be a little boring, but I'd get to hear all these great bands that don't punish their fans for liking them.

    I don't need to listen to the Beetles or Metalica. I'm all set. Is there a master list of these performers that are unfortunately stuck under this umbrella of Pay that we can send to radio stations and music stores?

    Again, I can go a lot longer without music than ASCAP can go without money. Who's with me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 11:54am

    To hell with ASSHAT or ASCAP or whatever they call themselves. And any other music industry group. From now on, I'm only buying music from musicians who are smart enough to use the new business models like Radiohead.

    In fact, I never used to listen to Radiohead until they made their music available. Those guys are pretty good. I would never have heard them if they hadn't done it.

     

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    Ryan, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

    Huge Ass Post

    Wow, went to lunch right after my last post. Kind of fired up a storm...

    Wealth doesn't HAVE to be a zero-sum game. The problem is that when you have the majority of corporate wealth being made by taking advantage of others, you've turned it into a zero-sum game. That's what these collection agencies do, they change the game. And available housing isn't the point. Excessiveness is WRONG, end of story. That's why it's called excessive.

    It's still not a zero-sum game, certain players are just making their wealth at the expense of others by choice because it is the easiest course of action. Why are they able to do that? Because the government forces everybody to play by those rules.

    As a citizen, I hate many of the shit the government is doing as a "stimulus" even as it may help my employer(whom I own stock in) because it hurts the country and taxpayers overall, but since they made those rules, I will do everything in my power to help us get as many of those funds as possible because they're going to go to somebody. A business that voluntarily chooses not to play the game loses the game--we need a systemic change, and the only way to do it is to change the government setting the rules.

    I think the RIAA is greedy by nature in that it's sole purpose to exist, being a collection agency, is to collect as much as possible. The purpose is to collect, not to collect reasonably. Therefore it needs to be done away with.

    Every business' purpose is to collect as much as possible. If somebody wants to give me 10 grand, I don't even need a reason. But the best/only way to do that should(and still is in many cases) be by giving the consumers what they want and thereby convincing them to pay for it voluntarily. The RIAA doesn't have to do that because of the government. If you hate them, as I do, then change the system and force them to sink or swim.

    Wonderful point, but largely meaningless. I'm less concerned with the taxes being paid by individuals and more concerned with corporate taxes. During WWII corporations paid something like 55% of total tax revenue. Today it's in the 10% neighborhood. In the early part of the century 5% of the population worked for the largest 10% of the nation's companies. Today it's closer to 90%. If that isn't a consolidation of corporations and government, I don't know what is. And like Mussolini said, the first stage of Fascism is Corporatism.

    Sorry, but I don't understand for a second why corporations pay any taxes on profit(corporate assets are another thing). Corporations are made of people; all those people are paying taxes on income they acquire via the company. Why not let corporations have their funds? More to spend on R&D, personnel hirings, lowering prices, etc. And to say that lowering taxes levied by the government is somehow fascist is completely backwards.

    2 examples does not support that statement. If you have data that supports this then please link to it. I would be happy to change my own belief that the rich are rich because they don't give any of it away - including to the tax man.

    http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/national-news/portfolio/2008/02/19/Poor-Give-More-to-C harity

    I take it back, the poorest bracket gives the most, but only those not receiving welfare even if they make the same as those receiving it(interesting). Second is the highest bracket, by percentage.

    There is nothing wrong with collecting profits to which you are entitled.

    Greed, however, goes beyond such profits. It's about collecting profits to which you are not entitled. Greed makes you do things you shouldn't be doing to get those extra profits. Greed equates a musician performing in a venue in front of paying customers to ringing phone.


    They are entitled to them. They shouldn't be, but they are legally able to get them because we allow the government to interfere in everything, and so corporate interests are predictably put first. If one corporation decides not to take advantage, another will. The answer is to hate the government, not the players.

    I do not understand for a second why anybody is concerned with "excessive" wealth that doesn't come at the expense of others. There are probably many starving children in Africa that feel your wealth to be excessive. Should you be forced to give it because somebody else thinks you have too much? Great way to incentivize labor and innovation, no?

    So your augment is that normal rules, laws, and morality shouldn't apply to the wealthy because their wealth will trickle down to us poor peasants, eventually. Are you sure you're not David Stockman?! What decade is this anyway?!

    My point is precisely that the normal rules, laws, and morality should apply to everybody. Somebody should not suddenly have to start playing at different rules because they have more money, ala progressive tax brackets, onerous antitrust regulations, etc. But many corporations are able to change the laws for their own benefit. The answer is not to punish those individuals, because somebody else will just come along and do the same thing, which is why you can't blame them in the first place. The answer is to better the system, by removing the unnecessary interference of government.

    And what does the "trickle-down" thing have to do with anything? Direct charitable contributions is the "trickle-down" effect? And on a side note, many proponents of high taxes seem to completely misunderstand supply-side economics; if you impose high taxation, it won't hurt wealthy individuals that much, because they'll just pass it on. Corporations will hire fewer people and impose higher prices on the consumer so they can still make their money.

    This is absolutely not true! While the wealthy give more, they DO NOT give more as a percentage of their income. For example, look at Table 2 in this PDF document (which is specifically religious donations, but supports my point).

    That document is huge, but you say it is specifically religious donations; doesn't that kind of eliminate its applicability to the overall picture?

    Should we allow people to murder, steal, rob, etc., merely because they give society a cut of it back? Should we let the bank robber go free because he donates 10% of it to charity? Maybe Ryan does, but I don't think so.

    No, we shouldn't, and I never said so. I mentioned the charitability of Gates and Buffet to show that people that spend their whole lives trying to make as much money as possible are just as giving as the rest of us when some of you criticized "greed".

    Regardless of how much the wealthy give to their pet causes, they should follow the same laws we follow. We're a nation of laws, not a nation laws for some and not for others if they give us a cut.

    Totally agree here. But now your argument has done a 180 from criticizing them for greed, if you say it doesn't matter how much they give to charity. Remove government interference and implement a free market(backed up by government enforcement of transparency and accountability only) and we all have to play by the same rules, rich or poor.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 12:39pm

      Re: Huge Ass Post

      "It's still not a zero-sum game, certain players are just making their wealth at the expense of others by choice because it is the easiest course of action. Why are they able to do that? Because the government forces everybody to play by those rules."

      I know what you're saying, but when the government you're talking about is largely made up of former reps and board members for the corporations your talking about, and they are funneling money from one entity to another, we're back to a zero-sum game. Wealth isn't a zero-sum game in a free market economy. But a free-market economy is NOT what America has. Not by a long stretch.

      "Every business' purpose is to collect as much as possible. If somebody wants to give me 10 grand, I don't even need a reason. But the best/only way to do that should(and still is in many cases) be by giving the consumers what they want and thereby convincing them to pay for it voluntarily. The RIAA doesn't have to do that because of the government. If you hate them, as I do, then change the system and force them to sink or swim."

      While I agree with the end of this paragraph, the opening line is patently false. Companies practice controlled growth all the time. They even actively attempt to stifle expansion and remain the same size, for a variety of reasons. However, it IS true that most/all of these non-greedy companies have the something in common: they're small and medium sized. The problem begins when a company doesn't have a President/owner that is responsible, but rather some faceless anonymous "board", or shareholders, to which profit is the only thing that matters.

      "Sorry, but I don't understand for a second why corporations pay any taxes on profit(corporate assets are another thing)."

      I'm not talking about taxes on profits OR assets, I'm talking about TOTAL taxation disparity between individuals and corporations. There has been a nearly 1:1 correlation in a decrease in taxation of corporations and an increase in taxation of individuals in this country since we began importing Nazis into our corporate, scientific, and government entities through intelligence operations like Paperclip, Overcast, etc.

      When the government responds to corporate concerns over its citizens, that's corporatism, and according to Mussolini, it's the 1st stage of fascism.

       

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        Ryan, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 12:57pm

        Re: Re: Huge Ass Post

        I know what you're saying, but when the government you're talking about is largely made up of former reps and board members for the corporations your talking about, and they are funneling money from one entity to another, we're back to a zero-sum game.

        While incumbents with Congressmen in their pocket make it much harder to impossible for new players to succeed, I still disagree with labeling it as a "zero-sum game". I make the distinction because there is still no reason why they can't somehow make more money regardless of the profits of others; thus, I disagree that greed is inherently a bad thing. Second, as I said before, many member of our government may be former representatives of large companies, and there is clear bias, but I think this is incidental to the larger problem; that a large, interfering federal government is going to get gamed by special interests whether it is composed of those representatives or not, because politicians in general are no better than CEOs in general. I would argue they are much worse, in fact.

        Companies practice controlled growth all the time. They even actively attempt to stifle expansion and remain the same size, for a variety of reasons. However, it IS true that most/all of these non-greedy companies have the something in common: they're small and medium sized. The problem begins when a company doesn't have a President/owner that is responsible, but rather some faceless anonymous "board", or shareholders, to which profit is the only thing that matters.

        I'm guessing many would do this not for altruistic reasons, but to avoid the drawbacks of being larger. In any case, what is it to us what these companies decide? If they are poorly run, then they will lose to the competition and fail. Perhaps go bankrupt and be liquidated, and their stockholders--that wanted profits so bad--will lose everything. I have no problem with that. Other business will step in and provide a better service to fill the void in the market. If they engage in illegal business practices, then absolutely, punish them. If their actions are legal but the laws are clearly more for the benefit of corporations, then government is the problem.

        I'm not talking about taxes on profits OR assets, I'm talking about TOTAL taxation disparity between individuals and corporations. There has been a nearly 1:1 correlation in a decrease in taxation of corporations and an increase in taxation of individuals in this country since we began importing Nazis into our corporate, scientific, and government entities through intelligence operations like Paperclip, Overcast, etc.

        But they are two completely different things. Why does one have anything to do with the other? It's not like the employees or CEOs or stockholders of corporations don't pay the same high individual tax rates as everybody else. If the executives are living high and taking advantage of corporate assets, like plane rides and lush office furniture, then it comes at the expense of the stockholders, not the taxpayers.

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 1:29pm

          Re: Re: Re: Huge Ass Post

          "While incumbents with Congressmen in their pocket make it much harder to impossible for new players to succeed, I still disagree with labeling it as a "zero-sum game". I make the distinction because there is still no reason why they can't somehow make more money regardless of the profits of others;"

          Fine, but can we at least agree that it's a LIMITED-sum game, then, thanks to the inbreeding of corporations and politicians? And if we can agree on that, doesn't it follow that once we start down that path, it's only going to get worse? So, don't we do something to head that off now?

          "thus, I disagree that greed is inherently a bad thing."

          Okay, in a non-zero sum game, where that greed results in the rapacious desire for wealth or possessions that DON'T gain at the detriment of others, it probaly isn't a bad thing. But is it a GOOD thing? Many businessmen and economists spend so much time and effort today determining whether they COULD, but they rarely ponder whether the SHOULD (yay for Ian Malcolm). If there are 15 banannas on an island of 14 people, what is the justification for that 15th bananna going to person A instead of person B if they are both adequately fed by one bananna?

          "I'm guessing many would do this not for altruistic reasons, but to avoid the drawbacks of being larger. In any case, what is it to us what these companies decide? If they are poorly run, then they will lose to the competition and fail. Perhaps go bankrupt and be liquidated, and their stockholders--that wanted profits so bad--will lose everything. I have no problem with that. Other business will step in and provide a better service to fill the void in the market. If they engage in illegal business practices, then absolutely, punish them. If their actions are legal but the laws are clearly more for the benefit of corporations, then government is the problem."

          It's not a question of altruism, it's a question of priorities of BUSINESS. If you want to make a comfortable living while meeting a need, you might decide that a firm of 10 employees running an IT consultancy is more nimble and provides better service than a 50 person shop, which might make you more money in some interim. You limit your growth in order to provide a better service and build a sustainably profitable business. This grow at all costs mentality is part of what got Wall Street in trouble.

          "But they are two completely different things. Why does one have anything to do with the other? It's not like the employees or CEOs or stockholders of corporations don't pay the same high individual tax rates as everybody else. If the executives are living high and taking advantage of corporate assets, like plane rides and lush office furniture, then it comes at the expense of the stockholders, not the taxpayers."

          They're not different, they're the sum total of taxation of the country, and they are DIRECTLY correlated. This country was built up by small businesses and is now run, both in economics and government, by large businesses. When most politicians were at some point involved in these Mega-Corps, it's a consolidation of power, plain and simple. I know I'm repeating myself, but I'm not sure how I'm not being clear here. Our politicians all come from the same place, and that place is a place that 99.9% of Americans will never visit, let alone live in. That corruption occurs isn't a fault in the system. It IS the system.

           

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            Ryan, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 2:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Huge Ass Post

            Fine, but can we at least agree that it's a LIMITED-sum game, then, thanks to the inbreeding of corporations and politicians? And if we can agree on that, doesn't it follow that once we start down that path, it's only going to get worse? So, don't we do something to head that off now?

            I agree completely that the system is gamed together by corporations and politicians(or, rather, special interests and politicians--it is not being a corporation that provides influence but wealth). What I disagree with is blaming and subsequently adressing the business players. In the current system, if they don't play nice with the government, somebody else will. And even if they didn't, the whims of ignorant politicians interfering with the market may burn them anyways. I don't have a problem with greed because I see it as a human condition; we all want to better ourselves, some more than others and some focus in on money more than others, but stil. Greed is everpresent, and it will take the path of least resistance. Punishing the players does nothing, because they do what they do as a result of the game; we need a systemic change, so I profess to limit the government, thus elminating its ability to provide favors for businesses, and force greedy businessmen to channel their ambitions toward providing innovative new goods and services to their consumers in order to make as much money as their heart desires.

            Okay, in a non-zero sum game, where that greed results in the rapacious desire for wealth or possessions that DON'T gain at the detriment of others, it probaly isn't a bad thing. But is it a GOOD thing? Many businessmen and economists spend so much time and effort today determining whether they COULD, but they rarely ponder whether the SHOULD (yay for Ian Malcolm). If there are 15 banannas on an island of 14 people, what is the justification for that 15th bananna going to person A instead of person B if they are both adequately fed by one bananna?

            Yeah, I think it's a good thing. We want the wealthy, with tons of assets, to be greedy so that they will plug that wealth back into the system and take risks and invest in R&D and new information, property, etc. in order to eventually make even more money for themselves. Don't we want person A to make a grueling effort to find some way to produce more bananas; something that will benefit himself the most, but also everybody else?

            It's not a question of altruism, it's a question of priorities of BUSINESS. If you want to make a comfortable living while meeting a need, you might decide that a firm of 10 employees running an IT consultancy is more nimble and provides better service than a 50 person shop, which might make you more money in some interim. You limit your growth in order to provide a better service and build a sustainably profitable business. This grow at all costs mentality is part of what got Wall Street in trouble.

            Alright...but the problem there isn't greed, it's stupidity and shortsightedness. And a lot of that is ultimately tied in with government interference as well.

            They're not different, they're the sum total of taxation of the country, and they are DIRECTLY correlated. This country was built up by small businesses and is now run, both in economics and government, by large businesses. When most politicians were at some point involved in these Mega-Corps, it's a consolidation of power, plain and simple. I know I'm repeating myself, but I'm not sure how I'm not being clear here. Our politicians all come from the same place, and that place is a place that 99.9% of Americans will never visit, let alone live in. That corruption occurs isn't a fault in the system. It IS the system.

            I disagree that that many are from corporations, although many are. Why is that though? Because they have money and influence, not because they're in a corporation. The problem is that government offices can be bought and influenced by money. Do we want to limit individual freedoms and then innovation, labor, and the general welfare down the way to prevent those people from ever getting enough power? Politicians will just be influenced by other sources. I think unions, for example, are probably even more influential and corrupting of government than corporations are. Why not just limit the government and let the people keep their money? Private enterprise can eventually provide nearly all the services government does faster and more efficiently because people aren't legally forced to go along with them (unless the government says so).

             

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              Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 2:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Huge Ass Post

              "I agree completely that the system is gamed together by corporations and politicians(or, rather, special interests and politicians--it is not being a corporation that provides influence but wealth)."

              I think I see where I'm not being clear, because the way you're responding indicates you're not getting what I'm saying. You talk about big industry and government as if they're seperate entities. I do not believe that they are. Again, the examples are our foriegn policy changes upon the oilmen Bush/Cheney coming to power. Anyone who thinks it's a coincidence that to big oil guys come to power and we suddenly go to war with two oil-rich nations and topple their anti-American business regimes is crazy. Again, no bias, the dems aren't any better, because they're ALL controlled by the corporate-bred CFR and Trilateral Commission.

              And I think I might be using greed in a way you are not, because in my definition, which I took from definition.com, it only talks about the accumulation of goods and wealth, and says nothing of your "plugging back into the system". I don't define what you're talking about as "greed". I also don't think this plugging back in is currently going on to any significant degree, rather that money is being jacked into these collection agencies and patent lobbying groups that limit freedom.

              "Alright...but the problem there isn't greed, it's stupidity and shortsightedness."

              I just flatout disagree. The stupidity and shortsightedness were on the part of those duped, not those doing the duping. Those doing the duping, that purposely shortselled the market into a free fall, knew EXACTLY what they were doing, but they didn't care. They just wanted to accumulate. And that is the greed.

              "I disagree that that many are from corporations, although many are."

              Typo?

              If not, some examples in just the last administration of exec and cabinet level big business people:

              GW Bush: Spectrum7 and then Harken Oil, served on the board that was investigated for insider trading.

              Cheney: Chairman on both AEI and Haliburton, not to mention multiple chairs in the CFR

              Condie Rice: Policy coordinator for Chevron, who during the Bush administration had an oil tanker named after her, for no given reason despite repeated questioning. Also served on the Board of Dir. for Chevron, Rand, HP, and Charles Schwab

              Paul O'neil: Treasury Secretary, Chaired both Rand and Alcoa, the prime subject of a book on economic irresponsibility in the Bush Admin.

              Donald Rumsfeld: Where to begin. Aspartame had been blocked repeatedly by the FDA as an artificial sweetener because of it's toxicity (it's a byprodcut of the creation of aluminum and other metals) as well as it's dulling effects (it was put in Nazi concentration camp water supplied to placate Jewish prisoners). When he joined the the Ford Administration, it was suddenly pushed through by the head of the FDA even though it was rejected by the FDA's board. Searl is the chief manufacturer of aspartame, which is now in most diet sodas. Rumsfeld Chaired Searl. He also chaired Gilead Sciences in the late 90's, which was then mostly unknown. They created Tamiflu during his time there. In an amazing coincidence, shortly after he reentered a cabinet level position under W., Bird Flu came about. Tamiflu is the chief script for Avian Flu.

              I could go on, but you get the idea.

               

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                Ryan, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 3:33pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Huge Ass Post

                But...they are different entities. That they may become so closely tied is just evidence of government's vulnerability to corruption. But if they are exactly the same, why does the U.S. have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world? Why do we have so many pro-union, anti-business policies? When we have two large corporations competing, which one is the government? And anyway, we seem to agree that government is unduly influenced. So...why do you think we need to blame corporations for that? Are we going to punish all profitable businesses? How about unions? NGOs? Seems to me this is a systemic issue, not a couple of rich CEOs that took over the government that we can just replace with some nice old men and fix it.

                Your definition refers to the desire for wealth; you sound as though you honestly believe if you lined up a trail of dollar bills to a cliff, the average stockbroker would start picking them up and go right off the cliff. These are still intelligent actors. Greed refers to their desire for more wealth, not necessarily the most immediate wealth. When the market crashed, those most hurt were the ones immediately involved--at least until the government bailed them all out. Which, of course, is precisely the reason they took irresponsible risks in the first place, knowing they would be bailed out. neither greedy people nor anyone else knowingly accepts some temporary gain if they know they'll lose it all in a few weeks/months/years.

                I also accepted that many have corporate ties, just not to the degree that you claim. You listed five out of all the players in Washington. The Democrats are chock full of proponents of unions and NGOs for the environment, poor communities, etc. They all wheel and deal, to whomever may be the highest bidder or controls the most votes.

                 

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                  Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 8:41pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Huge Ass Post

                  "You listed five out of all the players in Washington"

                  You tell me how many it will take. Remember, I specifically mentioned the Executive office. So tell me, I've outlined 5 that you didn't attack as being wrong/illogical/whatever. So how many will it take to convince you? Because I guarantee I can accommodate any reasonable number.

                   

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                    Ryan, Jul 13th, 2009 @ 7:09am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Huge Ass Post

                    535 in the legislative branch, 12 in the judicial, and the current President, VP, and Cabinet. Since your contention that government and corporation is one and the same. But since I stated that many members of government do have ties to corporations, I'm not sure what listing five people does...

                     

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      Advocate for the Wealthy, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 4:06pm

      Re: Huge Ass Post

      It's still not a zero-sum game, certain players are just making their wealth at the expense of others by choice because it is the easiest course of action. Why are they able to do that? Because the government forces everybody to play by those rules.

      That's right, the gov't tells them that they must make their money off the efforts of others. It's not their fault productivity and honest work is prohibited by the gov't, so they don't have any choice but to be leeches!

      As a citizen, I hate many of the shit the government is doing as a "stimulus" even as it may help my employer(whom I own stock in)

      You can ease your conscience by giving that stock to me.

      Every business' purpose is to collect as much as possible.

      Absolutely.

      If somebody wants to give me 10 grand, I don't even need a reason.

      But I know it makes you feel bad. Here, give it to me.

      If you hate them, as I do, then change the system and force them to sink or swim.

      No, no, no. The system is fine. This talk of change is very bad.

      Corporations are made of people; all those people are paying taxes on income they acquire via the company.

      Well, the little ones are anyway. This is as it should be. There is no reason the wealthy (corporations included) should have to pay taxes that are just going to come back to them anyway. That would be inefficient, like a band having to pay royalties to itself to play it's own songs!

      More to spend on R&D, personnel hirings, lowering prices, etc.

      Exactly! The more money the wealthy have, the more they can spend! Tickle down, baby!

      Somebody should not suddenly have to start playing at different rules because they have more money, ala progressive tax brackets, onerous antitrust regulations, etc.

      You're preaching to the choir here! Monopolies are good, they show that people like you!

      But many corporations are able to change the laws for their own benefit.

      But of course, that's the way free markets work: gov't officials respond to those who put the most money in their pockets. It's just capitalism applied to plutocracy. Nothing wrong with that. If you don't like the laws, don't whine about it, go buy your own!

      http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/national-news/portfolio/2008/02/19/Poor-Give-More-to-C harity
      I take it back, the poorest bracket gives the most, but only those not receiving welfare even if they make the same as those receiving it(interesting).

      But you see, even there the wealthy are helping. By creating more poor people, they are actually creating more donors! See how that works?

      And what does the "trickle-down" thing have to do with anything? Direct charitable contributions is the "trickle-down" effect? And on a side note, many proponents of high taxes seem to completely misunderstand supply-side economics; if you impose high taxation, it won't hurt wealthy individuals that much, because they'll just pass it on. Corporations will hire fewer people and impose higher prices on the consumer so they can still make their money.

      Yep, trickle-down is just another term for supply-side economics and the whole basis of justification for the existence of the wealthy class. Without some such justification it would be much more difficult to get the non-wealthy to go along. Then where would the wealthy be? Well, then they'd have to resort to force to maintain their position, and that wouldn't be good. It is much better to give the non-wealthy something to believe in that gets them to go along willingly. That's what it has to do with it. Do I have to explain everything?

      Should we allow people to murder, steal, rob, etc., merely because they give society a cut of it back?

      No, that's why we have laws that say it isn't called those things if it's gov't approved.

      Regardless of how much the wealthy give to their pet causes, they should follow the same laws we follow. We're a nation of laws, not a nation laws for some and not for others if they give us a cut.

      Totally agree here.


      I am reminded of a quote by Anatole France:
      "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets or steal bread."

       

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        Ryan, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 4:50pm

        Re: Re: Huge Ass Post

        Congrats, I commend you for making an extended satirical post composed of not-so-witty witticisms in response to small, context-less excerpts that as a whole contributed nothing intellectually stimulating to the conversation. I would respond in kind, but I am neither that ignorant nor that large an asshole, so I'll let my words stand for the intended audience: those with an IQ over 50.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 10:32pm

          Re: Re: Re: Huge Ass Post

          Congrats, I commend you for making an extended satirical post...

          What satire?

          I would respond in kind, but I am neither that ignorant nor that large an asshole,...

          Oh, I wouldn't bet on that.

          ...so I'll let my words stand for the intended audience: those with an IQ over 50.

          See?

           

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 10th, 2009 @ 5:10pm

        Re: Re: Huge Ass Post

        "But you see, even there the wealthy are helping. By creating more poor people, they are actually creating more donors! See how that works?"

        That is seriously one of the funniest written statements I have EVER read...

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 4:20pm

      Re: Huge Ass Post

      Sorry, but I don't understand for a second why corporations pay any taxes on profit(corporate assets are another thing). Corporations are made of people; all those people are paying taxes on income they acquire via the company.
      I tell you what, when those "people" each become individually and personally responsible for all of a corporations debts, obligations, and other liabilities, then OK, I'll let their taxes count as the corporation's. But as long as corporations are treated as legally separate "persons", then they need to pay their taxes like everyone else.

       

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    Todd, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 6:06pm

    The different trade organizations would have no way of enforcing the policy as the businesses would never invite the Music Police onto their property for the purpose of licensing inspection. Most work places are indeed private. Small business owners of non publicly trade companies are 100% private with total control over the who enters the onto their property. Even publicly trade companies control who has the right to enter its property as directed by its management team. Just the many protesters who have been escorted off the premises of many publicly traded companies by the police during protests. Even as a share holder of a public company you do not have the right to stroll freely in its corporate halls unrestricted.

    Even if these trades organizations convinced all the politicians to allow the "Music Police" unfettered access to all businesses for the purpose of licensing inspection most companies would simply an enact new corporate policies such as 1. Music could only be by using personal headphones and on non company owned devices. 2. Limiting the music to only public assessable area such lobbies, waiting rooms and elevators for enjoyment their guests.

    Untimely they would be cutting out free marketing for a product that they desperately want to sell. I can recall many times when I went into place of business and discovered new music that I eventually purchased which I may never have been exposed to as I have out the MTV concept and do not listening the radio much anymore. The recording is just a bunch of cry babies that are frustrated that the artists no longer need their hands held to be successful. Once an artist is exposed to and embraced by the public they no longer need the record labels and more often than not they earn the majority of their income for concert tours, product endorsements, and new business ventures they create.

     

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    identicon
    Todd, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 7:00pm

    The different trade organizations would have no way of enforcing the policy as the businesses would never invite the Music Police onto their property for the purpose of licensing inspection. Most work places are indeed private. Small business owners of non publicly trade companies are 100% private with total control over the who enters the onto their property. Even publicly trade companies control who has the right to enter its property as directed by its management team. Just the many protesters who have been escorted off the premises of many publicly traded companies by the police during protests. Even as a share holder of a public company you do not have the right to stroll freely in its corporate halls unrestricted.

    Even if these trades organizations convinced all the politicians to allow the "Music Police" unfettered access to all businesses for the purpose of licensing inspection most companies would simply an enact new corporate policies such as 1. Music could only be by using personal headphones and on non company owned devices. 2. Limiting the music to only public assessable area such lobbies, waiting rooms and elevators for enjoyment their guests.

    Untimely they would be cutting out free marketing for a product that they desperately want to sell. I can recall many times when I went into place of business and discovered new music that I eventually purchased which I may never have been exposed to as I have out the MTV concept and do not listening the radio much anymore. The recording is just a bunch of cry babies that are frustrated that the artists no longer need their hands held to be successful. Once an artist is exposed to and embraced by the public they no longer need the record labels and more often than not they earn the majority of their income for concert tours, product endorsements, and new business ventures they create.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2009 @ 11:00pm

      Re:

      The different trade organizations would have no way of enforcing the policy as the businesses would never invite the Music Police onto their property for the purpose of licensing inspection.

      There are ways to work around that. One way is to offer bounties to customers, employees and others to turn businesses in. Then based on such a report they can file a lawsuit and subpoena others with knowledge (employees, etc.) to give further testimony under oath.

      This is a favorite method with the Business Software Alliance who advertise that they offer snitches rewards of up to one million dollars. Notice the "up to" part, because once they've used their snitches, they often dump them with little or no reward after all.

      I can recall many times when I went into place of business and discovered new music that I eventually purchased...

      But there are plenty of other people out there who would go running to some organization to claim a snitch reward instead. Bet on it.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2009 @ 6:58pm

    tyre6thrhreth

     

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


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