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ASCAP Continues Propaganda Campaign With Laughably Bad Video [Updated]

from the but-you're-giving-it-away-for-free dept

While ASCAP is apparently too busy to debate Larry Lessig, they aren't too busy to produce silly and ridiculous propaganda. ASCAP member Damian Sol notes that he recently received an email from ASCAP asking him to "spread the word" about ASCAP's new propaganda video that compares getting songwriters paid for music to getting chickens and cows paid for their eggs and milk. Seriously. I'd embed it here, but the technologically savvy folks at ASCAP are apparently too clueless to figure out how to include an embed on a video they claim they want people to "share." Update: Aha. While they don't make it clear on the page, the video has also been uploaded to YouTube, where it is embeddable:


Anyway, since ASCAP believes that every public performance needs to be paid for, and the idea of "free promotion" is a myth, I do have to ask: is ASCAP paying Peter Himmelman, the guy who made the video, each time it's played?

Update 2: Also, as many in the comments have noted, they've also produced a second video, which is just ridiculously misleading. You can watch it here:
Two major problems with the video. The first is that ASCAP continues to falsely portray "open source" believers as being somehow against compensation. It includes a guy in a t-shirt that says "open source dude," which morphs into "fair payment man" in the video.

The bigger problem is that it sets up a total strawman to knocks down, in saying that people don't think music is "as valuable" as a variety of tangible goods because you can hold/eat/watch those goods "and because people made them." The conclusion of the video? Music is valuable because "people made it." Uh, ok. Except that the debate isn't over the value of music. It's about the price of music, and it's intellectually dishonest to pretend that value and price are the same thing. And while some people might actually find a TV set or a pair of shoes more valuable than music, it's not because one is tangible and the other is not. It's because they simply value one more than the other. What people are actually arguing -- a point that ASCAP won't address because it can't -- is that setting up a bureaucracy that gets a government granted ability to demand money from venues promoting musicians music can actually do serious harm to musicians by making it that much more difficult to find venues that can promote their music.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 12:11pm

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 12:12pm

     

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  3.  
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    Kevin (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 12:16pm

    Well

    I have seen a 9 year old with a web cam create something more coherent and original than that crap.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Marius, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 12:23pm

    Not accurate

    The movie doesn't even make sense.

    Cows and chicken complaining about not getting a fair price for their milk and eggs - how about receiving a stable, warm hay to sit on, salt that they can't find in nature easily, protection from other predators (such as wolves, hawks and so on).

    It's basically a relatively fare trade, a relation between humans and animals.

    Movie should at least be appended with something saying "Join ascap and if you're big enough to sue ASCAP, you may get your fair share of money, otherwise you'll be ignored or you would get bogus, very small payments"

     

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  5.  
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    Jay (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 12:23pm

    "Ascap exists for fair payment to song writers"

    ...

    So am I the only one that can debunk this piece of drivel when ASCAP is shutting down businesses that don't pay them through their extortion schemes?

     

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  6.  
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    Spyder (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 12:30pm

    I like how they erase the "Open Source Dude" shirt in the "People Make It" one (about 75% of the way in) and replace it with "Fair Payment Man" before adding color. Do they really have no clue what or who their whole campaign is about? Am I the only one missing where OSS comes into this picture?

     

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  7.  
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    Matt Jones (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 12:32pm

    As-cap

    I always pronounced it ass-cap in my head, as a joke, while always thinking it was spelled out, like NAACP. Looks like I was a lot closer than I thought.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Ralph, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 12:32pm

    Very funny

    I like how his T-Shirt goes from "Open Source Dude" to "Fair Payment Man", as if those two things are related somehow. Even how Open Source (d'oh, some people can transcribe music, so even if it gets paid for, the "source" is open) relates to music anyway is a mystery to me.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Simon, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 12:32pm

    CC?

    How do I know for sure I won't get into trouble for sharing this? Wouldn't it be wonderful is there was some kind of easy to use license they could publish it under so I'd know it was safe to use it...

     

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  10.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 12:36pm

    Bunch of bull

    I noticed a bull complaining about not getting paid for milk. He must represent the ASCAP execs who don't make music but expect to get paid. In fact, the bull seemed to be running the show, so he must be an exec who expects most of the royalties on the eggs and milk will be going to him because he recruited the chicken and cow.

    It sort of makes me want to go out and eat a steak.

     

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  11.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Well

    a 9 year old with a web cam create something more coherent and original

    Sounds like a DMCA take-down waiting to happen.

    This video is as creative as we're allowed to get under the Bill of Copyrights.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    Just what does the video contain that makes it propoganda?

    Admittedly, not the best story line, but propoganda implies falsity.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 12:54pm

    I like how they don't even provide sensible links. There's 2 videos (the cow nonsense being the second one) at the time of this comment. The first video is extremely absurd. I want to be paid for everything I do!! It's valuable because I do it!! There's a very simple strawman here: people think music isn't as valuable as x. Nobody ever said that, AFAIK. Then there's the confusion between value and price.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 12:55pm

    Definition: ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause; also : a public action having such an effect

    makes #12 = falsity (sic)

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 12:56pm

    Re:

    False statement in video one: people says music is not valuable.
    False statement in video two: people don't pay the chicken for the eggs. Ok this is not false, it's simply absurd. The analogy (people don't pay the composer for the music it composes) is only true for members of ASCAP and people who haven't figured out how to get paid.

     

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  16.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 12:57pm

    "is ASCAP paying Peter Himmelman, the guy who made the video, each time it's played?"

    Sure they will. Out of the profits from the video. You see, they produced the video by setting up a shell company. That shell company owes a lot of money to ASCAP. After that money is paid, and if there is any profit left over, I'm sure Peter will get what's coming to him.

     

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  17.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 1:03pm

    Re:

    "Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position."

    Propaganda isn't necessarily false, although these videos are very, very wrong. In any case they're certainly propaganda.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda

    btw "not the best story line" has to be among the most overly generous reviews of any movie, ever.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    tombstorm, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 1:06pm

    ASCRAP

     

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  19.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Well

    "the Bill of Copyrights."

    Great....I just shit myself. Thanks for that....

     

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  20.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 1:18pm

    Updated post

    Hey guys. I've updated the post with the YouTube-embeddable versions of the videos. When I wrote this, I had only seen the farm animal one, but they just added that other one too, so I added it and commented on it as well.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 1:18pm

    So I dunno if anyone else noticed, but the cow and chicken were complaining about the farm industry taking all their money. To me that sounded more like the cow and chicken (the "artists") were complaining that the people who employ/own them (the "labels") are taking all their money. Doesn't even closely resemble people taking their milk/eggs for free, it sounds like people are buying their milk/eggs and then the assholes who "employ" them are taking all the money for themselves. Way to go ASCAP, putting in a message against record labels!

     

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  22.  
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    BAlbrecht (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    Nice analogy

    Actually, the bull analogy kind of works:

    Bull's frame of mind: "I am spreading the seed of prosperity for all"

    Everyone else's frame of mind: "Here comes that damn bull to f*%* us in the a%$ again..."

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 1:26pm

    Is ASCAP Revealing Its True Ambitions?

    I don't know whether chickens and cows are the best analogy. Laying hens and milk cows are commonly converted into chicken soup and hamburger ('cutter'-grade beef), when their production of eggs and milk falls below a certain economically calculated threshold. In the case of chickens, it is not even an individual matter, but an average for 50,000 chickens in a single "battery cage." What can't be sold as the raw material of fast food gets sold as dog food. What can't be sold as dog food gets cooked down into fuel oil. Efficiency above all else. In human terms, that is basically the system of Auschwitz and the Gulag.

    If the music industry really did own artists as chattel-slaves, they could adopt the same system. When executions were conducted in public, say until the 1860's or the 1870's in most parts of the developed countries, they were a popular spectator sport. All kinds of people made money from public executions in much the same ways they would now make money from a football game: selling seats, either in temporary bleachers, or on buildings overlooking the place of execution; selling food and drink; selling "broadsheets," one-off tabloid newspapers about the person being executed; and selling souvenirs, such as pieces of the hangman's rope. I doubt human nature has changed very much.

     

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  24.  
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    Rabbit80, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 1:28pm

    From here on in...

    I will always remember that ASCAP is the "American Society of Cows And Poultry!"

    @Marius

    "It's basically a relatively fare trade, a relation between humans and animals."

    It's hardly fair... Would it be fair to give a pregnant woman a house - then attach her boobs to a milking machine and eat her children?

     

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  25.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 1:29pm

    Re:

    And then there's the totally made up reasons why people think an X is more valuable than a song: because you can do something with it, and somebody made it. WTH? Nobody says those things! It makes no sense.

     

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  26.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 1:35pm

    Re: From here on in...

    Cows and people are different. So your question is really not relevant.

     

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  27.  
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    JTO (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 1:49pm

    Umm...

    Mr. ASCAP exec, that's not milk if it comes from a bull or steer. And judging by the smile on his face, I think you've already paid for it...

     

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  28.  
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    WDS (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 2:10pm

    Re:

    That caught my attention right away. I'm sure they didn't really want to highlight how the industry (including ASCAP itself) robs the people they supposedly represent, but that was the most accurate point of the video.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 2:42pm

    Chicken and cow suck like ASCAP does. They framed whale and dolphin and dropped the bombs on Japan.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 2:43pm

    Re: From here on in...

    I approve of this.

     

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  31.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 2:53pm

    Re:

    ah-FUCK YEW, RHALE! ah-FUCK YEW, DORLPHIN!

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    Meh, instead of that video how about typing "scary stories" there are a dozens of good stories on youtube.

     

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  33.  
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    Jamie, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    After watching the chicken/cow one, all I can think is,

    What the hell was that?

    I think that if I were a song writer who generally agreed with ASCAP's stated positions, I would be angry with them for such an absurdly bad effort. Since I'm not, and I don't, I'm just going to point and laugh.

     

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  34.  
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    Ray Beckerman (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 3:18pm

    is this an April Fool's joke?

    It's August. This can't be real.

    Can it?

     

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  35.  
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    RayBeckerman (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 3:21pm

    i guess i wasn't logged in

    just wanted to confirm previous comment was mine

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 3:29pm

    Re:

    Uh...these were done on his own (with the help of a friend) by a song writer who is an ASCAP member, and not by ASCAP.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Dave, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 3:34pm

    how embarrassing

    What a bunch of amateurs. I left out the adjective I was going to use before "amateurs", but you know what I mean.

    These guys are an embarrassment to musicians everywhere.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Aerilus, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 4:05pm

    playmobile

    I believe that is a playmobile cow did they pay licensing fees to playmobile to use a likeness of their product in this film, some how I am guessing no. i could get confused and think that ascap sold playmobile cows then i would not buy them from playmobile and that would be illegal.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 4:12pm

    Re: is this an April Fool's joke?

    Mr. Beckerman,

    I hope you have not jumped to the conclusion that these two "videos" were commissioned by ASCAP because this doen not appear to be the case.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 4:39pm

    Related only in the cow sense.

    I like to moo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMoEAfDJ8Iw

    I'm a cow.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WFp4kozlOU

    People do have a serious fascination with cows LoL

    I like to moo moo!

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 4:49pm

    Re: playmobile

    Don't forget about the Asics sign at the beginning. I may never buy another pair of their shoes now.... or ride a Ferris wheel. Did Ferris give his permission as well?

    That video was a giant pile of crap. What artist would be swayed by that unartistic ####.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 4:51pm

    Re: Re: is this an April Fool's joke?

    [citation needed]

    According to Mike, an ASCAP member has received an email from ASCAP pushing these videos. "ASCAP member Damian Sol notes that he recently received an email from ASCAP asking him to 'spread the word' about ASCAP's new propaganda video that compares getting songwriters paid for music to getting chickens and cows paid for their eggs and milk."

    If this is not true, then posting evidence to refute that the email Damian Sol has received as being fraudulent or invalid would be nice. Also, proof that the ASCAP website has been hacked and the videos uploaded by a 3rd Party would also work, since the videos are being served from www.ascap.com. Otherwise, it didn't happen and you sir are a moron/shill/etc.

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 6:13pm

    Re: Bunch of bull

    The bull wasn't complaining, the cow was. The bull was just telling them about ASCAP.

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 9:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: is this an April Fool's joke?

    Perhaps you should contact Peter Himmelman and Jim Hershleder and ask them how it was these two "videos" came about. It is my understanding these two created them on their own volition and later sent copies to ASCAP.

     

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  45.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 10:45pm

    Re: Re: Well

    "the Bill of Copyrights."

    ROFLMAO - Got to agree with Lord Helmet on this one!

     

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

  46.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Aug 2nd, 2010 @ 11:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: is this an April Fool's joke?

    Again! {{Citation Needed}} Pontificating from an Anonymous Coward counts for squat...

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    One of the great unwashed..., Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 5:03am

    if the analogy doesn't hold, you must ....

    I'm going to ignore the first video, it's just plain silly (in my opinion, feel free to have your own)

    In the second video, let's follow these examples in the direction that ASCAP wants to go with music...

    each time I put on my shoes and go for a walk the cobbler should get paid.
    each time I use a bowl to hold my soup, the bowl maker should get paid.
    each time I go for a sail in my fishing boat, the boat builders should get paid.

    and why stop there,each time I wear the shoes, the designer of the shoes, bowl, boat should get paid.

    your thoughts?

     

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

  48.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 6:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Well

    I'll get you diapers for the next time you visit tech dirt ...

     

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

  49.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 6:44am

    Does anyone have the number from ascap on

    New sign ups
    Current membership
    Members leaving

    Here are my thoughts on ASCAP and this silly set of videos.

    1) They have hit the market saturation point and are beginning to see a slide in profits as people start using CC open source type music to avoid paying them.

    2) They are hyping and propagandising before a lobbying effort to increase their reach and what they can charge for.

    3) They are beginning to see artists walk away from ASCAP. If I remember their contract correctly, you have to give notice to them 1 years in advance to leave. So this might be a leading indicator.

    4) The stress of the failure of the recording is causing "Media Mogul Stress Induced Disfunction Disorder" also know as "Crazy as a Shit House Rat Disorder", or they are just plain Asshats

    In a year or so we will see what they are actually up to and the reason for this media campaign. I look forward to what they do next, it is really amusing.

     

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

  50.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 7:50am

    Another thought ....

    I read an article on the Creative commons about the Costa Rican CC draft. It seems that CC drafts and licenses are being created for every country. This could be another reason that ASCAP is having such a bird they see this spreading making their future very uncertain.

     

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

  51.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: is this an April Fool's joke?

    Even if you're right, it doesn't matter. ASCAP has gotten behind it and clearly supports the message. It seems like a minor issue whether they commissioned them or accepted them after the fact.

     

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

  52.  
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    Tom Landry (profile), Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 4:45pm

    at the end of the animal video I wish a foot would swoop in and kick the whole scene to pieces.

    I hope they didn't pay too much for that thing, its abysmal on every level.

     

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


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