A Day In The Life Of Legalized Extortion: How The BMI Shakedown Works

from the sickening dept

A bunch of you sent in this NY Times puff piece that basically follows around a BMI "enforcer," for a day, watching as she tries to get restaurants, clubs, bars, skating rinks, etc. to pay up for playing music in their establishments. It's all legal, but it has all the hallmarks of a pure shakedown -- which is why operations like BMI and ASCAP are notorious for doing more harm than good, by making it much more difficult for up-and-coming musicians to find venues to play in. Many venues simply stop playing music, rather than deal with expensive BMI/ASCAP licenses. On top of that, because of the way these systems work, they tend to funnel money disproportionately to big name artists, again harming less well known songwriters. BMI, in fact, has been particularly obnoxious about this. Last year, when a songwriter who had not received any of the promised royalties was brought up, BMI responded that it wasn't their problem, and "I would like to tell him is that he needs to write a hit song." Nice, huh?

The NY Times piece highlights a few interesting points. I don't know if it was on purpose or not, but a VP from BMI in the article refers to one of the large group of folks who call and visit these venues as "salespeople." We've seen this before. The role that is supposed to be an auditor or an investigator is actually defined as a sales role, meaning that they often have a specific stake in squeezing as much money as possible out of the people they talk to. I don't know if BMI's compensation is structured that way, but certainly other Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) are set up that way.

As such, it's no surprise that BMI uses cheesey motivational techniques found in sales training:
One afternoon, I sat with Baker at her cubicle. Besides pictures of her fiance, Mike, and her nieces, she also has a smiley-face chart. Her boss made it up for all the licensing executives, to remind them that their moods and their tones will determine their success. The chart is like a traffic light. There’s a green smiley face, a straight face in yellow, then a face in red, frowning. "You never wanna be on the red," Baker said.
Then there's the new tools that BMI is using to track down everyone who's playing music. It's spying on more and more areas where music is played, and the reporter discussed with a few people, and they all found it creepy. BMI's response? They like that people refer to them as "Big Brother."
Friends I talked to had a similar reaction. To a one, they said: "Jesus. Sounds like Big Brother." When I mentioned this to DeBusk, he smiled ominously. "Yes. Well. We're here to help."
Finally, the closing vignette is really kinda sickening. The reporter follows the "salesperson" as she goes to talk to a struggling restaurant who has trouble paying the bills. After a bit of "negotiation" she gets them to pay up and then admits she knows she's taking money that the owners really need:
Baker accepted Ross's invitation and sat down in the booth with Ross and her pug, Frank. Out came the checkbook. "I could tell she was low on money," Baker told me later. "I could tell it was hard for her to shell out the money."
Sickening. This is legalized extortion. And, make no mistake. It's all very legal. But we should be asking why.


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  1.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 5:38am

    Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?

    They like that people refer to them as "Big Brother."
    Have any of these people ever READ Nineteen-Eighty-Four???
    /FacePalm
    /HeadDesk

     

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  2.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 5:39am

    Re: Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?

    What was I thinking that would require a brain....

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 6:46am

    Insurance policy?

    Nice place ya' got here. It'd be a shame... If sumthin were to happen, like.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 6:47am

    Restaurants should either start playing only music that is directly licensed to them (that shouldn't require BMI et al to collect anything) or CC (or other) licensed music that gives them permission to freely play.

    Then someone should start a website that allows any restaurant owners to join under the condition that they only play either directly licensed music or music that gives them permission to freely play. The website should include all free music that gives such permission so that owners can download it.

    Next the website should allow owners to document, in detail, all of the problems that they have with BMI et al so as to make the public more aware of what these collection societies do wrong.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 6:53am

    Re:

    (the website should also allow owners to document the problems that collection societies give them for having non infringing public performers on stage. Techdirt and the rest of the Internet document a bunch of cases but it's so disorganized and so all over the place it becomes a pain to reference. One place dedicated to document nothing but these problems in an organized fashion would make it easier both for people to discover the problems that these collection societies cause and to allow restaurant owners to document these problems in one central location giving them more incentive to document them knowing that they will be heard and easily found and their message easily spread by interested citizens).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 6:59am

    Yes, it's disgusting. It's the music industries version of the IRS, except they are being paid twice.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 6:59am

    Why do link to a paywall?

    Why? Why?

    Did I did something wrong? why do you hate me so much?

     

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    Call me Al, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 7:02am

    Re: Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?

    Oh I'm sure they have read 1984. Unfortunately they appear to think its a How to guide.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 7:03am

    Now if we could only get them to pay the musicians we would have a real capitalist system.

     

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    jilocasin, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 7:05am

    People that don't make taking money from people who do...

    Once again we have a case of people who don't make anything using the _law_ to take money from people who do.

    That's what the world has devolved into. When I say world, just look at the recent "New Zealand Authors Demanding Compulsory Blanket..." article.

    Why bother to actually produce anything, just pass a law to force other people to give you their money.

    Before people get on their high horses, artists should get paid for their work, once, if they can find someone to buy it. Until the advent of 'intellectual property' you had to actually do something, then convince someone else to pay you for it in order to make money. If you paint a picture and you convince someone to buy it from you. Good for you. You don't get the right to charge someone for taking a picture of it. You don't get a cut, if the first person resells it to someone else for even more money. They might have been a lousy painter, but a really good salesman. Good for them.

    You compose a song and get someone to pay you for it, good for you. You don't get the right to charge for everyone that's hears it, or that _might_ be inspired by it.

    If you won't write/sing/paint/compose without some guarantee of income, that's your choice. People have been creating/sharing art and culture for hundreds of years without the advent of 'intellectual property'. I'm fairly confident that people still will.

    Of course, without the legalized extortion that is 'intellectual property' perhaps the non-art companies can get back to making things. Just think how much more productive we would be without the forced transfer of assets from companies that make things to companies that don't. As an added bonus we wouldn't need quite so many lawyers.

     

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  11. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 7:12am

    To penetrate and dismantle Internet source groups closed communities

    Position: Director of Content Protection - EMEA Salary: Up to €80,000 per annum Location(s): Brussels, Belgium Job description: The position will take responsibility for a number of countries (Including United Kingdom, Ireland, Poland & South Africa) You will coordinate and drive Anti Piracy enforcement efforts as well as specialist work on enforcment activities to penetrate and dismantle Internet source groups closed communities etc. Our client is a very exciting organisation to work for and is considered to be a leading body in the world of Anti Piracy enforcement. You will oversee, liaise and manage the relationship with local offices in selected territories. The role is mainly to support the local offices in content protection, with main focus on consultation and co-ordination. Apart from the operational responsibility, we are looking for someone who is "tech savvy" and will focus on our "source piracy" investigations (including screener leaks, topsites and release groups). Candidate profile: In general, we are looking for someone with international scope and experience in managing operations on the ground. Someone that is "technically / internet savvy" and can adapt to environment where more and more operations are internet focused (including ISP outreach, content recognition technology, various content distribution platforms - e.g. newsgroups, p2p etc). Experienced in working with Agencies such as Europol and Interpol is advantageous. Possibly you may have a Law Enforcement background within cyber crime / Internet Investigations but we are very keen that this person has gained experience with a commercial organisation where diplomacies and sensitivities are key to winning hearts & minds. Applicants from the commercial sector with considerable experience of managing online Anti Piracy Strategy but with strong hands on Investigations experience in this highly specialist area are prefered. Position will be based in Belgium and we would consider this to be a local appointment therefore applicants must be prepared to live and work in Belgium. For more details contact Andrew Fletcher on +44 (0)20 8816 8685, or by e-mail to afletcher @ ssr-personnel . com, quoting reference 4822193.

     

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    Yogi, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 7:18am

    Re:

    I second this motion. I have no idea how this hasn't happened yet.

    I know if I was opening an establishment and needed music, I'd go CC all the way.

     

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    ac, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 7:23am

    Re: Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?

    make no mistake, if they could fine you for the songs that get stuck in your head, they would. I have no doubt they have read 1984.

     

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    Jon B. (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 7:31am

    "Peer-to-peer (P2P) file swapping of movies and music currently accounts for up to 80 percent of Internet traffic"

    [Citation Needed]

    Also, I know you're adamant that this is legal, but why doesn't it fall under illegal extortion?

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 7:37am

    This is legalized extortion

    Well done Mike for recognising that copyright meets the definition of extortion.

    Not so well done for persisting in your claim that copyright (aka legalized extortion) was enacted to promote progress.

    The Constitution empowered Congress to secure the author's exclusive right - to promote progress. It said nothing about monopolies.

    While later, Jefferson did suggest adding monopolies in literary works to the Bill of Rights, this was not done. Queen Anne's 1709 Statute that did so was simply re-enacted by Congress. And everyone is left to incorrectly infer that "exclusive right"="literary monopoly".

    Why do you recognise corruption in the act of exploiting the privilege, but not in its legislation? It has always been about the power to legally threaten someone (who prior to copyright was otherwise doing something perfectly natural). So, you must recognise that the legislators knew they were creating a legal weapon - not protecting an individual's natural, exclusive right.

    Copyright has always been legalised extortion, and the legislators were as corrupt as those who exploit their legislation. Even a protection racket has the pretext of 'insurance', so don't be so ready to believe the sanctimonious pretexts ascribed to copyright.

    Copyright doesn't incentivise the production of original works, it disincentivises the use of 'protected' works - the better to enrich their publishers - at the far greater cost of the public's suspended liberty to its own culture.

    Copyright is a crime against the people. A wholesale theft of its culture into the hands of immortal publishing corporations.

    Copyright is beyond criticism. It's overdue for abolition.

     

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    interval (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 7:42am

    Re: Re:

    Shouldn't need to. I don't understand how this all started happening. I recall most of the establishments I frequented as a kid often had the radio on, and it was never questioned. Now we fast forward 30 or so years and suddenly its an issue. What's changed?

     

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    greg.fenton (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 7:46am

    Re:

    Small business owners are very busy people. They don't have the time to deal with the hassles that BMI and friends provide them. And if you think a restaurant owner saying "but I have a license for everything we play" is going to make BMI go away, you haven't been paying attention. These organizations believe that they own every sound a person hears, and those that their horses hear...

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    What's changed?

    Pirates stole all the music and now the artists are starving and shirtless..duh!

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 7:54am

    Re: Re:

    They can make the time to sign up to a website and document the troubles that these collection societies cause. I understand they cause a lot of trouble but I find it hard to believe that they can't sign up to a website (put their first and last name and the restaurant they own and the location of their restaurant) and simply type up the problems they have and submit it. How hard is that? and whenever a BMI gangster enters their restaurant and demands payment of them, when they go home they simply sign in and type up what happened. It's really not that difficult.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 7:55am

    Pejorative and misleading headlines serve no useful purpose when the subject matter discussed in an article represents no more than efforts to secure payment as fully sanctioned by law for the use of goods and/or services.

    These are not debt collectors calling at all hours of the day and making threats to either pay up or suffer the consequences of poor credit ratings, attacks on one's character, etc. Perhaps activities such as these could be labeled extortion, but to suggest BMI, ASCAP, etc. are doing much the same is simply wrong and terribly misleading to your readership.

     

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  21.  
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    john, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:06am

    There are big problems with how the PROs hand out their money, and their "salespeople" might not do as great a job as they could about letting people know that there are alternatives. Additionally, I don't think the occasional live cover song should require any sort of payment.

    That said, most people who support copyright reform--as I do--think there ought to be a clear line between commercial and noncommercial uses. If you want to make commercial use out of something, you need to pay.

    Now, it's possible to argue about whether particular uses are "commercial," but I'd say that any business that is playing music in its shop is making commercial use of it, and should pay.

    There are ways around this--some business can play radio broadcasts for free, there are cheap services that provide iPods with cleared music, and so on.

    If the line between "has to pay" versus "doesn't have to pay" should be focus on commercial exploitation, I don't see how you can carve out exceptions to sympathetic small business owners. Do you think the line should instead be only "large scale" commercial uses? Because that line seems a lot harder to draw.

     

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    Sedate Me, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:07am

    In Canada, we have a group like this called SOCAN. A couple years back, it went around intimidating even the smallest stores to pay "performance fees" for playing music....INCLUDING MUSIC STORES!!! (They've even gone after buskers.)

    This kind of moronic, self-defeating, thinking is ultimately responsible for the decline in sales. This protection racket may shake a few dollars out of intimidated store owners' pockets, but it only encourages people to stop paying for music out of a sense of indignancy or vengeance.

     

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  23.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:08am

    New York Times Schizophrenia Continues

    For a paper that supposedly advocates on behalf of the disenfranchised and champions social justice; the Times when it comes to so-called "intellectual property" seems to loose all sense of propriety. To think, the supposed advocate of honest journalism turns out to be a biased self-serving lackey of the content industry!

     

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  24.  
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    jilocasin, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:11am

    Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    Just because a particular method of extortion is currently legal, doesn't mean it's not extortion.

    "Perhaps activities such as these could be labeled extortion, [yep, it looks like extortion from here] but to suggest [who's suggesting the author was documenting it] BMI, ASCAP, etc. are doing much the same is simply wrong [huh?] and terribly misleading to your readership."

    Actually, I find it terribly helpful to be documenting actual cases of legal extortion lest apologists like yourself claim that while the laws could be used that way, there isn't any proof that they have been.

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:18am

    what a beautiful racket

    Too bad the New York Times doesn't let people leave comments on their website. I'm sure there are a LOT of people that have a lot to say on this issue, but we only get to hear the story from one person. A lot more people are going to read the NY Times instead of TechDirt, and are going to feel sorry for the poor little cute music collector collecting for the starving artist. All legal of course - the music industry dictates laws to the government.

    It'd be nice for businesses to have free options, but between BMI and ASCAP, there's no music left. Somebody needs to follow this lady around and offer businesses an alternative.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:22am

    Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    The NYT article did not suggest collection societies are engaged in extortion. The word extortion was raised by the author here solely as a pejorative jab, if for no other reason than to generate "How dare they!" comments.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:23am

    Re:

    Unfortunately, BMI can legally claim that the restaurant is liable for costs whether they have a stated policy of not playing BMI music. Essentially, legally, BMI has no burden of proof and no actual need to procure it as it is the restaurant's owner's duty to report what music is played.

    The justification here is that the restaurant owner will always lie about music played, and thus must always pay a fee no matter if there is corroborating evidence.

    The power of a contract, people. Never sign one that you don't intend to follow.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    Or the author raised the word extortion because it accurately describes the net effect of the activities of the collection societies.

     

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  29.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:31am

    Re:

    Commerce IS exchange.

    All cultural exchange is commercial.

    To say that cultural acts are permissible only so long as the individual doesn't get anything in exchange for their efforts is spiteful.

    All artists should be able to exchange their labour in a free market.

    The Free Software Movement recognised this and demonstrated considerable wisdom in doing so.

    But no, you'd have those who sing "Happy Birthday" to be denied payment for their labour UNLESS they'd paid the due protection money to the copyright holder's 'collecting society'.

    Before copyright, there were no 'collecting societies', no thugs going round hostelries to demand taxes for the benefit of the composing minstrels who'd originated mankind's folk-song from their magical backsides.

    Copyright benefits the extortionists and racketeers. It neither benefits mankind, nor our culture.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:36am

    Re: what a beautiful racket

    Ideally, figure out where she's going next and forewarn her next victim.

     

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  31.  
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    Jason, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:40am

    nonprofit venues boycotting?

    John makes a good point about the commercial / noncommercial distinction.

    Does anybody have good examples of nonprofit venues who've boycotted music covered by ascap/bmi/sesac?

    One example is Providence RI's incredible community art space AS220. Their reasoning can be found here. AS220 built a jukebox full of music by local musicians who've submitted their tracks royalty-free, and the jukebox money goes directly to the artist with no collecting society middle-man. AS220 also plays a lot of Creative Commons music, from sites like the Free Music Archive (full disclosure: that's my baby)

     

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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:40am

    This is sickening. Who is for establishing a list of these thugs and boycotting them?

     

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  33.  
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    Bob, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:44am

    Where's the open source, creative commons music?

    But we should be asking why.

    The restaurant owner doesn't need to use ASCAP licensed music. In theory, there should be more than enough CC-licensed music to build an ambiance. Why isn't there? Everyone talks a good game about how free music really is good and the musicians just want to be heard. If so, where's the tool that will let these restaurant owners play CC-licensed music and avoid the shakedown? Quit grousing and start writing!

     

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  34.  
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    greg.fenton (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    ex-tor-tion[ik-stawr-shuhn] -noun

    the act of securing money, favours, etc. by intimidation or violence; blackmail

     

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  35.  
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    PaulT (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:49am

    Re: Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?

    No. They only know the name from the TV show and think it's a compliment. Intelligence is probably not an asset when enforcing these kinds of rules.

     

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  36.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    The Times is using Orwellian "Newspeak". Do you really expect the Times to use clear language that really tells the reader what is happening?

     

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  37.  
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    greg.fenton (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 8:56am

    Re: Where's the open source, creative commons music?

    You miss the point where, even if they are playing CC-licensed music, the collection agencies are still coming and knocking on the doors. Your comment assumes a few things:
    • small business owners realize that something they do freely on their home (play the radio) is not allowed in their store/restaurant/shoe-shine booth
    • small business owners know anything about music licenses and the fact that alternatives exist
    • small business owners have the wherewithal to fend themselves from raquet...er...music licensing cops.

     

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  38.  
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    Lonny Paul (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 9:03am

    When I was a BMI auditor...

    Was several moons ago, but I was paid $25 an hour to go to clubs and bars and write down the music being played. They also covered expenses during the audit.

    That was an awesome job for a 19 year old!

     

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    Pierre Wolff (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 9:27am

    Establishments as discovery engines

    It has always surprised me that musicians haven't been more vocal on this matter. Afterall, having their music played in an establishment enables it to be discovered by potential buyers of their music or attendees of their concerts. It's not like musicians are getting rich from this aspect of their income (certainly not those who haven't written a hit song ;).

    I can't remember how many times I have approached the bar tender or the maitre d at an establishment and asked the name of the song or artist that was playing, then went home and bought the album or song. Why this isn't seen as a simple marketing channel that s/b encouraged not taxed, is beyond me.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Re:

    Despite all the Techdirt outrage, BMI is just asking people to pay for something they have already used. There is no reason why that should be illegal.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 9:44am

    Re: This is legalized extortion

    How are you distinguishing between exclusive rights and a literary monopoly?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    Would not the threat of huge legal fees if the case is brought to court count as intimidation? Give us what we want ($100) or we'll hurt you (monetarily, in $100,000 fine). Yes it is currently legal, but it still fits the definition.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 9:51am

    Re: Re:

    Are you saying this is true if you sign with BMI? It's certainly not true otherwise.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 9:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    By that logic, anybody asking for payment that is owed to them is engaged in "extortion.". Such use renders the term meaningless.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    Your comment rings true. Unfortunately, it echoes off a brick wall...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:06am

    Re: nonprofit venues boycotting?

    I think that's a great idea. If you don't want to pay for BMI music; don't use it. The thing is BMI and ASCAP music is desirable to lots of people. That's why they use it. They just don't want to pay.

     

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  47.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    An individual has a natural, exclusive right to their private possessions, including their writings - and this includes the right to prevent others removing or copying them.

    A literary monopoly is the power to exclude others from making and distributing further copies of a published literary work.

    NB Copyright is not a natural right, but a privilege and has come to be termed a 'legally granted right', or 'legal right' for short - or these days simply 'right'.

    This enables people to describe copyright as an exclusive 'right' or 'bundle of exclusive rights'. The term 'right' in this case is not the natural right necessarily referred to by the Constitution, but the unnatural, legal right granted a few years later.

    Logically, the Constitution cannot refer to or specify the securing of a legal right that hasn't yet been granted (the Constitution cannot grant rights, neither can it give Congress power to grant them).

    However, people do like to pretend that the term 'exclusive right' used in the Constitution refers to the privilege of copyright as later legislated - a paradox.

    This paradox is achieved primarily due to the change in language concerning rights, and is to a large extent affected by the use of 'right' as a contraction of 'legally granted right' and alternative to 'privilege'. Today, people have the notion that all rights are legal rights, granted and protected by law. The distinction between natural right and legal right has disappeared from the layman's vernacular and consciousness - disastrously so.

    Copyright is a legal suspension of the individual's natural right to copy, their cultural liberty.

    To convince people that copyright is their 'right' and not the opposite, a privilege designed for their cultural exploitation by publishing corporations, is a magnificent trick of the devil.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights_of_Man

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    By your logic, any and every kind of extortion is not extortion, since it's just "payment that is owed to them". Like, for not breaking your stuff.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    I wasn't really looking for an essay on Locke.

    Anyway, what is your distinction between "the right to prevent others...copying them [i.e. "their writings"]" and "he power to exclude others from making and distributing further copies of a published literary work"

    I don't see any meaningful distinction between having an exclusive right in my work (i.e., the power to prevent others from using it) and a "literary monopoly," and I'm incredulous of your apparent attempt to suggest the Constitution does not really allow for granting exclusive rights in "writings," as Congress has done through variuos Copyright Acts since shortly after the Constitution.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Are you so sure those establishments didn't pay ASCAP or BMI?

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    Ok, let's try to be serious for a moment.

    You don't "owe" anyone anything for not breaking your stuff, because they have no right to break your stuff in the first place.

    Nobody is disputing (as far as I see) that songwriters and their publishers have a right to either (a) prevent restaurants from publicly performing their songs and/or (b) collect payment for past violations of that right.

    People here may disagree whether they *should* have that right, but they do in fact have it.

    There may be communists who disagree whether I should have any right to my private property, but if someone steals my lamp, I'm "extorting" them when I ask for payment.

     

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  52.  
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    PaulT (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:30am

    Re: When I was a BMI auditor...

    If true, I'll bet that $25/hour + admin + legal costs + loss of future business outweighed the actual money clawed back for the record labels by the audit, especially if the venues changed their music policies afterwards or were forced to shut down after the fines.

    Although, I'll admit at 19 years old I would probably have been ignorant of this and would have enjoyed that job for a time. Knowledge + morality would prevent me doing so now.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:31am

    Re: Where's the open source, creative commons music?

    Word.

     

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  54.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    Re:

    These are not debt collectors calling at all hours of the day and making threats to either pay up or suffer the consequences of poor credit ratings, attacks on one's character, etc.

    That's true, they're calling during business hours and making threats to either pay up or suffer the consequences of enormous lawsuits.

     

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  55.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:34am

    Re:

    That said, most people who support copyright reform--as I do--think there ought to be a clear line between commercial and noncommercial uses.... Now, it's possible to argue about whether particular uses are "commercial,"

    In other words, you can't draw a clear line.

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    The later requires an institution, a government, to implement. The former does not.

     

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    nasch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: nonprofit venues boycotting?

    The other problem is, they'll try to collect even if you don't use their music.

     

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    seriousfun (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:37am

    Performance Rights Organizations

    TD, your lack of understanding on this issue is breathtaking and ignorant.

    Our PRO system is one of the few ways in the United States that creative artists get compensated for their work. When a work registered with BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC is played via Broadcast or in a Venue, the use of that work, protected under federal Copyright law (one of the few rights granted by the original framers of the Constitution), needs to be paid for. These organizations collect money from users of this content and distribute revenue to the copyright holders. It's not a perfect system, but it works for many.

    Name another industry or business that insists upon getting its supplies and materials for free!

    Would it be extortion if the coffee shop owner refused to pay for her coffee beans on the grounds that they should be free?

    There are many alternatives to using licensed music if the venue uses music to attract customers, etc.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    Understanding an 18th century Constitution is not something that can be achieved without understanding the natural rights philosophy of the time.

    Natural exclusive right: You may not read nor copy another's literary work through burglary:

    Privilege: You may read a literary work you have purchased, but you may not produce further copies nor perform it in public unless permitted by a holder of this privilege.

    To compare with material works:

    Natural exclusive right: You may not use nor copy another's wicker basket through burglary:

    Privilege: You may use a wicker basket you have purchased, but you may not produce further copies nor offer it for hire to the public unless permitted by a holder of this privilege.

    I agree with you that Congress has granted the privileges of copyright and patent, and amended them each time technology has threatened their unnatural basis, but however incredible it may sound to those indoctrinated to find such privileges natural, the Constitution cannot grant nor sanction the granting of privileges.

    Copyright and patent are privileges and unconstitutional.

    Would it make any difference to you whether they were constitutional or not?

    Does a privilege become ethical simply because you believe it to be constitutional?

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    "You don't "owe" anyone anything for not breaking your stuff, because they have no right to break your stuff in the first place."

    and no one is owed a monopoly (copy protection laws) on anything either.

    "There may be communists who disagree whether I should have any right to my private property, but if someone steals my lamp, I'm "extorting" them when I ask for payment."

    and if a restaurant plays non infringing music or has non infringing bands on stage they are being extorted when someone asks for payment with the threat of having to face expensive lawsuits. It maybe legal but it's still extortion.

     

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    jilocasin, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:40am

    Re: ^7 Getting a law passed may make it leagal but it doesn't make it right

    Personally, what they are doing shouldn't be legal. In some cases (ring tones anyone), it's been found to be down right illegal.

    There should be no performance rights and therefore no collection societies. At any other time, excepting our own of course, the whole thought would seem ludicrous.

    The thought that if you sing "happy birthday" to your child, sing songs around a campfire, sing to yourself while stocking grocery shelves, or play the radio, you owned some nebulous organization a fee. Why that's just stupid.

    The thought of some character stopping over at your tavern, barber shop, or blacksmith demanding payment, because a mistral may walk by where you could hear him. That's just wrong. Just because he's got an edict from the sheriff/king/Congress doesn't make it any more right.

    What the apologists here don't seem to grasp, is that having a member of an organization, that you may have never heard of nor should you have, stop over demand payment because music can be heard in your place of business reeks of extortion. The "you better license your place of work for $x or we'll take you to the cleaners for $xxxxxxx" sounds just like the stereotypical mobster coming over and asking for protection money, otherwise something bad might happen.

    The fact that the monied interests have managed to get laws passed making their racket legal doesn't make it better, if anything it makes it worse.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    and no, asking for payment for taking a lamp is not extortion, threatening to break your lamp if someone doesn't pay up is extortion. Likewise, threatening someone with an expensive lawsuit if someone doesn't pay unowed money is also extortion.

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    "There may be communists who disagree whether I should have any right to my private property"

    Oh, and IP is not private property, it's an unowed monopoly. Communism requires an institution to implement, a lack of IP does not.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    You have a natural right to your possessions, and empower a government to secure that right, so you can prosecute thieves.

    Because the corrupt government you empowered had the de facto power to grant privileges to its publishing industry buddies, and did, then as a representative of a 'collecting society' (aka protection racket) you now have the privilege (copyright aka legalised extortion) to prosecute restaurants for playing covered songs, but you don't have the natural right to do this.

    A singer who sings a song you wrote and published takes nothing from you when they sing that song. It is up to you as a songwriter to encourage others to commission you to write and publish songs. This is how things works since Homo Sapiens first learnt to sing - and it stopped abruptly, only relatively recently, to feather certain lobbyists' (aka racketeers') nests.

     

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    Shawn (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 10:58am

    Re: Performance Rights Organizations

    the coffee shop owner is selling coffee, if she stops paying for them they will no longer be delivered. If she plays the radio she is liable for thousands of dollars in penalties. If I am inline at the coffee shop listening to the exact same radio station through my headphones all is cool.

    Yeah makes sense to me

     

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    jilocasin, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 11:13am

    Re: Performance Rights Organizations

    seriousfun;

    I find it interesting that you claim performance rights are "...(one of the few rights granted by the original framers of the Constitution)..."

    If we go back to that hallowed document we can read;

    "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Copyright_Clause)

    In fact it isn't until fairly recently that PRO organizations even existed:

    "In the United States, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) was founded in 1914; Society of European Stage Authors & Composers (SESAC) in 1930 and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) in 1939. (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Performance_rights_organisation#United_States)

    Th ere is No constitutional basis what so ever for creative arts to be covered by any sort of copyright. It was expressly limited to the Useful arts. Rest assured that meant things like carpentry & gunsmithing, not singing, or performing theatrical pieces.

    So now that I've demonstrated the utter lack of any constitutional basis for this form of modern legalized extortion, let's see what we can do about your willful and erroneous conflation or the limited with the unlimited.

    My singing music doesn't diminish the supply of music in the world, in fact it adds to it. My grinding coffee beans to make a cup of joe, does diminish the supply of coffee beans in the world. Yep, I can see how the two are exactly the same... or not.

    How do I hear music coming from my radio? I paid a company for the radio. A radio company paid for music CD-ROMS (or not, they may be using promotional music). They paid for antenna's and transmitters and all the other technology of a radio station. They broadcast over the public airwaves. The music was made by artists who were compensated enough to have made the music in the first place. So just what did any of these 'PRO' people do to enable any of that? What materials and supplies did the small shopkeeper steal from the 'PRO'?

    To use your own words:
    seriousfun your lack of understanding on this issue is breathtaking and ignorant.

     

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  67.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 11:22am

    Re: Performance Rights Organizations

    TD, your lack of understanding on this issue is breathtaking and ignorant.


    I understand the issue in great detail.

    Our PRO system is one of the few ways in the United States that creative artists get compensated for their work.

    Indeed. Via a system of legalized extortion. I have a problem with that. The fact that it's how many artists get compensated today doesn't make it any better. In fact, it makes it worse, because it shows that they're relying on this legalized extortion, rather than working on better business models.

    When a work registered with BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC is played via Broadcast or in a Venue, the use of that work, protected under federal Copyright law (one of the few rights granted by the original framers of the Constitution), needs to be paid for.

    Indeed. That's why it's legalized extortion. That doesn't mean it's a good thing.

    These organizations collect money from users of this content and distribute revenue to the copyright holders. It's not a perfect system, but it works for many.

    We've shown over and over again how this actually distorts and harms the market for up and coming artists. It's a system that favors established artists.

    Would it be extortion if the coffee shop owner refused to pay for her coffee beans on the grounds that they should be free?

    Entirely different situation and you know it. Coffee beans are a scarce good that the coffee shop is selling. If they don't pay, they don't get it.

    In this case, we're talking about coffee shops turn on a radio that is playing music over the air. They paid for the radio. The radio station pays songwriters already, and the music helps promote the artists. If they can't figure out how to capitalize on it, that should be there problem. We shouldn't allow an organization to come in and demand fees.

    There are many alternatives to using licensed music if the venue uses music to attract customers, etc.


    Again, we've shown time and time again that operations like BMI and ASCAP say they don't care if you try to not play their music -- they assume you will anyway.

     

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  68.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 11:40am

    Re: Re:

    So if there was an organization that went around asking people to pay for air that they have already breathed, you'd say there was no reason that should be illegal? That kind of thinking is what's wrong with our whole copyright system.

     

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  69.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 11:44am

    Re: This is legalized extortion

    The Constitution empowered Congress to secure the author's exclusive right - to promote progress. It said nothing about monopolies.

    While later, Jefferson blah, blah, blah.


    You suffer from BRS. Broken Record Syndrome.

     

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  70.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 11:55am

    Re: Performance Rights Organizations


    1. Natural rights cannot be granted, and privileges (aka legal rights) cannot be granted by Constitution, nor may it empower their granting.

    2. The Framers were just men. They could not grant rights.

    3. The Constitution could not empower Congress to grant rights.

    4. Congress unconstitutionally ASSUMED power to grant the privilege of copyright and was unchallenged.

    5. Some members of Congress who were Framers of the Constitution may have been involved in the subsequent legislation of copyright, but this does not mean the Framers granted copyright, nor does it make copyright a right rather than a privilege.

     

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    Jay (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    Two suggestions:

    1) follow the second link

    2) google ASCAP, Girl Scouts

    3)???

    4) Profit!

     

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  72.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 11:59am

    Re: Establishments as discovery engines

    Why this isn't seen as a simple marketing channel that s/b encouraged not taxed, is beyond me.

    What these small business owners need to do is tell the BMI/ASCAP "sales people" that they'll pay the licensing fee, but only after BMI/ASCAP pays a promotion fee to them for giving their artists a wider audience. The promotion fee would just so happen to equal whatever amount BMI/ASCAP's licensing fee was.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    Perhaps you'd like to participate?

    Do you think people have a natural right to make copies, say tape recordings, of the records they buy, e.g. in case they get broken?

     

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  74.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

    Re: Re: Performance Rights Organizations

    Th ere is No constitutional basis what so ever for creative arts to be covered by any sort of copyright. It was expressly limited to the Useful arts. Rest assured that meant things like carpentry & gunsmithing, not singing, or performing theatrical pieces.


    Conceptually you are correct, but technically, you are a little off. The "useful arts" portion referred to patents. The "Science" part was for copyrights. The purpose of copyrights was to encourage education and learning in the science field, not creative endeavors for entertainment. Those things were covered later and sound recordings much, much later.

     

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  75.  
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    jilocasin, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    Thanks for the clarification...

    Mike,

    Thanks for that wee bit O' clarification.

    So, if we went back "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times [not forever minus a day] to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

    Then the hard line constitutionalists should be happy and we can send ASCAP, BMI, and the rest home empty handed. Much to their chagrin and the joy and cheering of the masses.

     

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  76.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:36pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, I wouldn't, and I have no idea how to got from my statement to that ludicrous statement.

    The difference, which is quite important, is that no one has any exclusive rights to the air I breath. People do have exclusive rights to the songs they write, though. Maybe you think they shouldn't, but they do under our laws, and the fact that businesses operate under that system isn't some sort of outrage.

     

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  77.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    Please explain how "the right to prevent others...copying" does not require a government, but "the power to exclude other from making...copies" does? Are you focusing on power?

     

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  78.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    It makes every bit of difference to me whether any law passed by Congress is constitutional, including copyright and patent laws.

    Are you suggesting that the language "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries" is only intended to enable Congress to enact laws preventing burglarly of physical embodiments of writings? Or only to prevent copying of writings obtained by such methods?

    Congress can do plenty of things under the Constitution that are unethical, but that's a different conversation.

    I'm really just questioning your assertion that Congress is not constitutionally empowered to enact copyright laws. That is an opinion I have never heard before.

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    This story is not about non-infringing songs, is it?

    Let's get this out of the way: If someone threatens to sue you out of existence based on a total lack of any evidence that you've infringed, that could be realistically called (or at least compared to) extortion. This article has nothing to do with that.

     

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  80.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    Has there been a story about allegedly unowed money in the past? Yes.

    Is this story about unowed money? No.

    So why are we saying this story describes "extortion?"

     

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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So if the government passed a law giving exclusive rights to air to a few companies that gave a lot of money to every member of Congress' campaign funds, then you'd be fine with it. Okay. Got it.

     

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  82.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    OK, so you believe IP is wrong and the government is corrupt for allowing it to exist in the first place. I disagree with your conception of "natural rights" and what the government can legally ethically do.

    But, putting that aside, can we at least agree that there is a fundamental legal distinction between (a) someone threatening to commit a crime (an actual, legally defined and punishable crime) against you if you don't pay something they have not legal right to, and (b) someone threatening to take a legal action against you that they have every legal right to take if you don't pay them money to settle your violation of their legal right?

     

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  83.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "and the fact that businesses operate under that system isn't some sort of outrage."

    Well, then it should be an outrage. Maybe not to the businesses that benefit from legislative subsidies, but to the public at large it should be.

     

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  84.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    If I have physical position of something that I wrote then no institution is required for me to deny you physical position. You can't copy it without physical position. If I give others physical position of it or a copy then it's their right to copy. It would require an institution to prevent others from copying once physical position has been released.

     

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  85.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: ^7 Getting a law passed may make it leagal but it doesn't make it right

    If there should be no performance rights organizations whatsoever, why only use the most extreme cases as examples?

    Let's do away with the borderline (or over the line) cases of someone whistling while they stock shelves and singing happy birthday at a private party. Those are red herrings if your argument is that songwriters shouldn't have any exclusive performance rights.

    Is it just as ludicrous to say that songwriters should have no rights regarding a dance hall making money hand over fist based on the performance of their songs? I don't think it's outrageous to say the songwriter should have some rights, and there's plenty of room to quibble over what those rights should be.

    Also, the notion that copyright or similar exclusive rights/monopolies have only been present in "our time" is wrong.

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "So if the government passed a law giving exclusive rights to air to a few companies that gave a lot of money to every member of Congress' campaign funds, then you'd be fine with it. Okay. Got it."

    Of course not.

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As the article notes, the public at large (talking about the U.S. anyway) seems to think it makes sense for songwriters to get paid based on people using their songs.

     

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  88.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    While I don't necessarily agree with your statement 100% (you could easily take your item back to prevent copying with the same physical force you would use to prevent it's copying while in your possession), I at least understand your distinction now.

    As noted in my other responses to Crosbie, I don't think that distinction has any relevance to the U.S. Constitution.

     

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    Modplan (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: ^7 Getting a law passed may make it leagal but it doesn't make it right

    Is it just as ludicrous to say that songwriters should have no rights regarding a dance hall making money hand over fist based on the performance of their songs?


    They shouldn't. If a song has already been paid for either for that particular copy or for it to be broadcast over public radio, there's no reason someone should make even more money purely because a business uses those.

     

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  90.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Re:

    First of all, none of these lawsuits against a small restaurant is going to be "enormous." Even a small lawsuit is expensive, so the point stands, but let's do away with the hyperbole.

     

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  91.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    A: Monopolies are unowed.

    B: I never said that this story involves extortion, just that when BMI et al threaten restaurants with expensive lawsuits if they don't pay them for playing music that they shouldn't have to pay them for (or having bands that they shouldn't have to pay BMI for) that's extortion.

     

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  92.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:06pm

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

    I highly doubt the public at large believes in 95+ year copy protection lengths. It was the corporations, with their disproportional influence, that lobbied for these laws. Just because something is a law doesn't mean the public at large agrees with it.

     

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  93.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    Perhaps you'd like to participate?

    Do you think people have a natural right to make copies, say tape recordings, of the records they buy, e.g. in case they get broken?


    That isn't what I'm talking about. What I mean is that you're rehashing arguements you've made in the past in other comment threads. Instead of doing that, perhaps just a link to your previous discussion on the matter would suffice, unless you are bringing something new to this particular discussion. But it's hard to tell since you first start out with a history lesson. As soon as I see your name, the length of your post, and the fact that it starts out pretty much exactly the same each time, I just stop reading. Which is probably what many people do.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    monopolies, roads, the Federal Trade Commission, and lots of other things paid for/enacted by the federal government are "unowed," but might just benefit the populace. I understand you think that copyrights (at least in this case) don't fall into that category, but I disagree generally (though I'll readily agree that copyright law should be restricted in several capacities).

    I also agree that threatening to sue over a supposed infringement that has not actually ocurred is bad. I just think that is not really relevant to the article.

     

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  95.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

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

    and seriously, if the public at large really agreed with you then no one should have a problem with file sharing networks because only a small minority, hardly enough to make a difference, will be using them. The problem is that the public at large disagree with the laws and you know it because you know that their disagreement will drive them to file sharing. I also doubt the public at large agrees with the department of homeland security announcing at Disney that they will combat file sharing. Give me a break, this is not the public will, this is the corporate will in charge. Just because the government does something or something is a law hardly means it agrees with the public at large.

     

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  96.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:11pm

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

    "I highly doubt the public at large believes in 95+ year copy protection lengths."

    I agree.

    "Just because something is a law doesn't mean the public at large agrees with it."

    I agree.

    Neither of these things negates the popular sentiment that songwriters should have some rights in and get paid for their songs. Maybe the public would agree that the oldest third of songs in BMI's or ASCAP's catalog should be dropped, but that doens't change the fundamental structure of the payment system.

     

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  97.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:13pm

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

    How many people do you think engage in illegal file sharing? Any backup?

    Even assuming that more than 50% of the U.S. public does, do you think it's more likely that (a) the public lies in opinion polls, or (b) makes excuses to themselves to justify their own violation of what they think is right?

     

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  98.  
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    Karl (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Small businesses don't "sign with" BMI.

    If they use music at all, they are sent a bill (by BMI, ASCAP, and SEASAC - you have to pay all three, something the article neglects to mention).

    According to the PRO's, you have to pay them, whether you play "their" music or not.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    "monopolies, roads, the Federal Trade Commission, and lots of other things paid for/enacted by the federal government are "unowed," but might just benefit the populace."

    So if you agree that monopolies are unowed then it negates your previous statement that

    "By that logic, anybody asking for payment that is owed to them is engaged in "extortion.". Such use renders the term meaningless."

    IP, like all other laws, should only exist to the extent that they promote social welfare. Perhaps some IP laws are good but our current laws cause much more harm than good.

     

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  100.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: ^7 Getting a law passed may make it leagal but it doesn't make it right

    Well, I generally disagree.

    However, if the law were to change to that model, I suspect what you'd see is either copies costing a lot more, or coming with EULAs (End-User License Agreements) saying that the purchaser agrees not to do X, Y, and Z, or to pay A, B, and C if they do engage in such use of the copy.

     

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  101.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:18pm

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

    "How many people do you think engage in illegal file sharing? Any backup?"

    To the extent that people disagree with file sharing they simply won't file share and artists will get paid. If it's only a small minority of people that disagree with file sharing then artists will naturally have no problems making money without copy protection laws. Or even if a majority of people disagree with it.

    "makes excuses to themselves to justify their own violation of what they think is right?"

    If their violations of what they think is right is justified then they don't see it as wrong.

     

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  102.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Small businesses don't "sign with" BMI."

    Yes, in fact, they do. They sign license agreements. My point is that, in the absence of such an agreement, the prior commenter's statements regarding burden of proof are false (and I think they're probably false anyway, but I haven't seen a BMI agreement recently).

    "If they use music at all, they are sent a bill (by BMI, ASCAP, and SEASAC - you have to pay all three, something the article neglects to mention)."

    Well, that's not necessarily true. You don't always get calls/letters from all three.

    "According to the PRO's, you have to pay them, whether you play "their" music or not."

    I've dealt with PRO reps before, and never had anyone say this. I've heard third-hand reports that I don't fully credit.

     

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  103.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:22pm

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

    "To the extent that people disagree with file sharing they simply won't file share"

    I'm not sure if I believe that. People do things they disagree with all the time. People give into temptation, make excuses for themselves, etc.

    I take your silence on the issue as an acknowledgement that you don't know how many people in the U.S. actually engage in unauthorized file sharing.

     

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  104.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: nonprofit venues boycotting?

    Honestly, I doubt that really happens as much as people on here like to say it does (if at all).

     

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  105.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    That clause only provides Congress with the power to secure that NATURAL right of the individual (to exclude others from their physical possessions, but being stated nowhere else, this clause expressly includes any intellectual works/writings/designs/discoveries as may be fixed in a physical medium).

    People can naturally prevent burglars obtaining access to their intellectual works, but they can't naturally grant themselves a reproduction monopoly (to deny others the liberty to copy or make use of their purchases, or use designs/discoveries of their own, no matter how similar to those of others).

    Congress is empowered only to secure the individual's exclusive right, not to grant them any monopoly.

    Moreover, the Constitution cannot implicitly sanction the derogation of liberty since its raison d'etre is about its preservation.

    Also see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights_of_Man

    There was much discussion and hand-wringing after the drafting and ratification of the Constitution concerning the granting of monopolies, and ultimately these monopolies were granted, but they weren't sanctioned by the Constitution. That they were granted doesn't mean they were sanctioned.

    It is only today that people make out in a colossal leap of inference that the progress clause empowered Congress to grant monopolies. And that's largely to do with copyright lawyers' nasty habit of describing copyright as an exclusive right - in order that people infer that the Constitution referred to the privilege (that hadn't even been granted) rather than the natural right (that is self-evident).

    Privileges, not yet existing, may be subsequently granted. Natural rights, already existing, are secured.

    Congress did not enact law to secure an individual's exclusive right or today you'd be able to ring the police and complain that your writing had been copied by a burglar and reproduced/performed without your permission. They'd then take remedial steps.

    Instead, Congress enacted law that granted the privilege of a reproduction monopoly attaching to original literary works (for the ulterior benefit of state & press). However, as a transferable privilege it must be prosecuted at the expense of the current holder. Moreover, being a privilege, it annuls the right to copy in the majority in order to leave the right by exclusion in the hands of a few (copyright holder, assigns, licensees). Copyright thus derogates the right to copy from the individual's right to liberty.

    You won't have heard this opinion before, because until now anyone who's ever had it has never been permitted to air it - and hardly anyone has any interest in sharing it. You do not bite the hand that feeds you (however much of a case you have against it). As the privileged press loses control as gatekeeper, so the views it does not welcome see the light of day. Moreover, as copyright is betrayed as an ineffective anachronism and instrument of injustice the more people are willing to entertain arguments that challenge its allegedly ethical foundations.

     

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  106.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:28pm

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

    "Neither of these things negates the popular sentiment that songwriters should have some rights in and get paid for their songs."

    There is a difference between such a sentiment and the sentiment that they should have a monopoly. Song writers and performers can make money by directly contracting with restaurants with stages, they can make money via concerts, or make money asking for donations or selling CD's or maybe autographed CD's or finding other ways of making money. No one said they have no right to make money. But they don't have a right to a monopoly. It's a privilege, a privilege that should only exist to the extent that it promotes the progress and nothing more. The governments job isn't to ensure that artists can make money, it's to ensure the overall welfare of humanity. If a particular artist can't make money without copyright and the lack of copyright better promotes the progress then we shouldn't have copyright, that one artist should find another job. Even if existing artists can make less money from art and music without copyright, if the lack of copyright better promotes aggregate output and the progress of art and music then copyright shouldn't exist, those artists would have to find another job to supplement their income and promote the economy as well.

     

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    Modplan (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ^7 Getting a law passed may make it leagal but it doesn't make it right

    The artist has already been paid for the work they did either through payment for the copy or for radio play, or through various other models discussed on Techdirt. The only reason you'd see the model change to that is from labels demanding laws sustain their revenue streams for no other reason than just 'cause.

    In non-copyrighted industries (and even in some copyrighted ones), you do not get further payment just because someone was able to make money off of or using your product as part of their business. I'm sure you'd be one of the first in line in claiming the second hand sales are a problem as the video game industry has been claiming because the likes of Gamestop make money from them and publishers don't.

    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/29119/Analyst_Used_Game_Market_Significant_Drain_On_Sof tware_Sales

     

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  108.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: nonprofit venues boycotting?

    Yeah, why would we ever believe what the collection societies themselves say about how they don't care if you don't play their music?

     

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  109.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:31pm

    "privileges (aka legal rights) cannot be granted by Constitution, nor may it empower their granting."

    Good lord, you're further off your rocker than I thought.

     

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  110.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:32pm

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

    "People do things they disagree with all the time."

    Sure, people eat candy even though they think it's bad for them, but that hardly means people agree with laws banning candy or that eating candy is unethical. Likewise, even if people disagree with copying music without paying an artist that doesn't mean they think it's unethical or that laws should forbid it.

    "I take your silence on the issue as an acknowledgement that you don't know how many people in the U.S. actually engage in unauthorized file sharing."

    If it's such a small minority then it shouldn't have a huge impact. To the extent that it has an impact it suggests that people disagree with file sharing abolition.

     

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    Karl (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, in fact, they do. They sign license agreements.

    I've known quite a few small business owners. Not one of them ever signed any licensing agreement. They were either sent bills out of the blue, or they were contacted in person by a PRO rep, who said they had to pay the fees, quit using music altogether, or face lawsuits.

    The article quoted, pro-PRO (ha) as it is, never claimed that these small business owners ever signed anything before Devon contacted them. They never entered into any agreement; they were just told they had to pay. I've never heard it works any differently - not even from a PRO rep.

     

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  112.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:38pm

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

    "I take your silence on the issue as an acknowledgement that you don't know how many people in the U.S. actually engage in unauthorized file sharing."

    Actually it was you that said

    "As the article notes, the public at large (talking about the U.S. anyway) seems to think it makes sense for songwriters to get paid based on people using their songs."

    If you're asserting that the public at large agrees with copyright then the burden is on you to provide the numbers and evidence. I'm just noting that increased file sharing suggests that fewer people believe in these laws.

     

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  113.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:39pm

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

    "It's a privilege, a privilege that should only exist to the extent that it promotes the progress and nothing more. "

    I agree. I think this privilege of an exclusive right (monopoly) does promote the development and dissemination of musical compositions.

    I agree there could be some changes to copyright law that would maximize this promotion/incentive (e.g., limitations on rights to prevent sampling in some instances, shortening of copyright terms, etc.).

     

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  114.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:51pm

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

    To clarify, you usually sign the license agreement *after* BMI (or the other PROs) contact you saying you need to pay.

    I.e., BMI says you need to pay, the biz owner says ok, BMI sends an agreement, the biz owner signs and sends regular payments.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    I often link to previous discussion. However, I too like to see discussion develop and that means providing the necessary context and risking repetition - especially to people unfamiliar with the subject and points of contention.

    If you have made up your mind, no worries. You as anyone are at liberty to ignore my argument.

    These comments are a two way street - you get back in proportion to what you put in.

    If you want to start discussion in a direction that interests you, go for it.

     

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  116.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You're joking, right? Do the names Tenenbaum and Thomas ring a bell? Those were for non-commercial infringement even. There was no hyperbole.

     

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  117.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:53pm

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

    "If you're asserting that the public at large agrees with copyright then the burden is on you to provide the numbers and evidence."

    I just pointed to the poll numbers in the article. You read the article, right? It mentioned something like 85% of people saying they agreed songwriters should get paid of people play their songs (or some other vague formulation).

    You made some counterargument based on supposed numbers of filesharers. If you're not going to support that argument, I'm going to ignore it, because I don't believe more than 50% of the U.S. engages in unauthorized file sharing.

     

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  118.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    Sorry, dude, your say-so doesn't carry much water.

    Do you have any support for your bare assertion that the so-called copyright and patent clause only relates to physical writings?

    Why would they include a specific clause regarding physical writings and such when, according to you, it simply enables Congress to treat them like any other physical object (why not the horses and candlesticks clause?).

     

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  119.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You're joking, right? Do the names Tenenbaum and Thomas ring a bell? "

    Yes. Those cases are unrelated to performance rights or performing rights organizations.

     

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    Karl (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    You're assuming that any of these businesses entered into an agreement with BMI beforehand. They did not.

    Take Doreen Ross from Coyote Flats. Did she sign anything before Devon contacted her? No, she did not.

    If she had refused to pay, would BMI have eventually sued her? Yes, they would.

    Would BMI win? Yes, they would.

    I'll refer you to this paragraph, in the article itself:

    But in the end, she knows it’s a game, a game she’s going to win. Because after all the phone calls, letters and visits, she possesses a secret weapon: the law. Whether or not a music user believes copyright infringement is a big deal, violators face fines of anywhere from $750 to $150,000 per song. If after several years, a violator refuses to back down, Baker ups the ante and sends what is known in-house as "the Larry Stevens letter," named after one of Baker’s bosses, informing them that their case is being referred to BMI’s lawyers. Most but not all cases are settled out of court. That’s because in 51 years, BMI has never lost a single case it has tried.

    This happens even if no business owner ever signs anything. They're not guilty of breaking a signed contract. They're guilty of copyright infringement, a federal law.

    That's what makes it extortion: you have to pay whether you agree to or not.

    And as to "payment owed to them": There is usually no way to prove to a PRO's satisfaction that you are not using their music, so they are collecting money whether it is owed them or not.

    And there are three PRO's, all of which operate the same way, so you have to pay all three if you don't want to get sued.

    Let's take this sentence as an example:

    Then there was the female punk-rock-club owner in Colorado who ripped up Baker’s licensing agreement, ordered her out of the club, followed her out the door, spit a huge goober on the paperwork and stuck it to Baker’s windshield.

    That horrible punk-rock-club owner. How dare she!

    What the article doesn't tell you is that, if that club is like all of the punk rock clubs I've been to, not a single performer ever played a BMI song. Yet BMI is trying to get performance money from the club, and will eventually sue to get it - even though the club should not owe them a single penny.

    If you came to my house, and demanded money for a "gas license" when I don't own a car, I'd be tempted to hock a loogie at you too.

     

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  121.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 2:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: nonprofit venues boycotting?

    Of course you've heard this first hand from a PRO rep, right?

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    The legal distinction that some might make is that one is a threat of violence by an individual, and the other is a threat of violence by the state.

    In other words, one is illegal extortion and the other is legal extortion.

    So, we're back where we started: people engaging in natural and ethical acts of cultural intercourse (singing a song they've learnt from the radio) being threatened with severe penalty (even incarceration) unless they pay protection money.

    You can call it the charitable collection of the poor, starving artist's dues. Others can call it extortion (or private tax collection).

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    It cannot refer to ethereal or abstract 'writings' or patterns as they are not subject to any individual's natural right (much as people would like to believe otherwise). You cannot claim ownership of Pi for example.

    The treatment of material objects as an individual's property is highly familiar. However, with the advent of reproduction technology (printing and mass production) the Framers rightly recognised the individual's natural right to the intellectual as well as the material aspect of their possessions.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 2:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    I'm not assuming any contract.

    Just because it's not contract based doesn't make it extortion. If someone takes my cow without permission and I say pay up or I'll sue, that is not contract based, but it's also not extortion.

    "if that club is like all of the punk rock clubs I've been to, not a single performer ever played a BMI song. "

    FYI, Minor Threat is a BMI artist. That took 5 seconds of Googling. I'm sure I could find others that get covered in punk clubs.

     

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  125.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 2:23pm

    Re:

    Ah, you mean there IS a privilege that has been granted by the Constitution?

    Or perhaps there's a privilege granted by Congress that the Constitution has clearly empowered Congress to grant?

    Please let me know.

    It sounds like it should be an easy question for you to answer.

     

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  126.  
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    Karl (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 2:31pm

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

    And if the biz owner doesn't sign, he or she has two choices:

    1. Stop using all music (not just BMI's music).
    2. Get sued, and lose.

    Here are some examples:

    One proprietor of a small restaurant in Western Massachusetts, who says he’s lucky if 25 people show up for live music on Tuesdays and Thursdays, has written letters to each of the PROs explaining that entertainers in his establishment play only originals and traditional folk songs, which aren’t protected by copyright.

    "They wrote back and said, 'I don’t believe you,'" he said.

    http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2010/06/09/pay_to_play/

    Bruce Schrader, who owns the Sacred Grounds Coffee House, tried to keep his open mics going by having his performers sign waivers stating they were playing only their original songs. Nevertheless, he was faced with demands for $6,000 in license fees from the agencies and had to shut down the weekly event last year.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Music/2009/0109/p14s01-almp.html

    I'm sure I could dig up more if I wanted to. I've known bar owners who have shut down their music programs because they can't or won't pay the fees. (I know because I tried to book some of those nights.)

    Apparently AS220 in Providence has a strict "no PRO music" policy. I hope they succeed. The music scene will be better (and in the long run, more profitable) if they do.

     

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  127.  
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    Karl (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 2:37pm

    Re: nonprofit venues boycotting?

    I fully, 100% support AS220.

    Not just because of this stance (which is absolutely terrific), but because they're a great place to play, and a great place to see music. I know this through experience, both as a performer and audience member. Any artsy/noise people who go through Providence, swing by.

    I'm guessing they're still going to get sued, though. I hope not, but not playing PRO music has never stopped any PRO from suing before. It might be good for America if AS220 goes to court and wins, but that's a pretty steep price for AS220 to pay.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    "It cannot refer to ethereal or abstract 'writings' or patterns as they are not subject to any individual's natural right"

    Please link me to the Constitutional text saying "disregard everything in here that is contrary to Corsbie Fitch's conseption of 'natural right'"

    Thanks!

    Copyright (e.g. Statute of Anne) and other monopolies were familiar at the time of Constitutional drafting.

     

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  129.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 2:43pm

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

    "1. Stop using all music (not just BMI's music).
    2. Get sued, and lose."

    Those are not the only options. It's true that if you stop using a PRO's music, they can still sue you for your past violations (and win). But if they can't prove you played their music, they won't have a case in court. Now, almost all establishments that play any music probably *do* play ASCAP and BMI music, because those PROs cover the vast majority of music.

    Getting a waiver from a band isn't much help, because (a) the band will probably disregard it and play whatever they feel like playing, and (b) if they do so and you get sued, the band probably doesn't have any money to pay your fees.

     

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  130.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re:

    How bout this:

    "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

    I'd say that authorizes Congress to grant legal rights.

     

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  131.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Or maybe this more directly fits:

    "The Congress shall have Power To...grant Letters of Marque"

     

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  132.  
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    Modplan (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:04pm

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

    The case never gets to court because the businesses they extort don't have enough money to argue their case. It's irrelevant whether you play or don't play music covered by PRO's, they'll bully you into paying knowing you don't have the money to defend yourself.

     

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  133.  
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    Karl (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    If someone takes my cow without permission and I say pay up or I'll sue, that is not contract based, but it's also not extortion.

    If someone owns a bunch of cows, one of which may or may not be a child of one of your cows, and you demand money for that cow just the same... then yes, it's extortion.

    FYI, Minor Threat is a BMI artist.

    Maybe I'm just out of the loop, but all of the punk clubs I've been to have had bands who either played all originals, or played songs by people they knew personally.

    Of course, I haven't been into punk since the very early 90's, so what do I know.

    In any case, if Ian heard about an underground club being hassled by BMI for fees because a band played a Minor Threat cover, I doubt he'd be very happy about it.

     

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  134.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:14pm

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

    I just pointed to the poll numbers in the article. You read the article, right? It mentioned something like 85% of people saying they agreed songwriters should get paid of people play their songs (or some other vague formulation).


    Nice selective quoting. Yes, the survey quoted says that 85% say songwriters should get paid, but when they asked them about the specific PRO method of getting money, they were against it.

    No one is against people getting paid for what they fairly sell in the marketplace. People are very much against a process by which the gov't allows one group to demand money from others without any previously agreed-upon transaction.

    The difference is key and it's odd that you ignore it. Occupational hazard, I guess.

     

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  135.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:14pm

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

    "Getting a waiver from a band isn't much help"

    It should help.

    "the band will probably disregard it and play whatever they feel like playing"

    Then the band should get sued, not the restaurant simply because they have money.

    "if they do so and you get sued"

    They should have no standing to sue you.

    "the band probably doesn't have any money to pay your fees."

    The fact that the band has no money to pay for its torts shouldn't be the restaurants problem any more than the fact that the post office doesn't have money to pay for my torts if I send infringing content via UPS.

     

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  136.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:15pm

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

    The fact that the band has no money to pay for its torts shouldn't be the restaurants problem any more than the fact that the post office doesn't have money to pay for my torts if I send infringing content via UPS should be a problem to UPS *

     

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  137.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:21pm

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

    "It mentioned something like 85% of people saying they agreed songwriters should get paid"

    and I never disagreed with that, but that's not what I said.

     

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  138.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:22pm

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

    But we're talking about the restaurant's torts (mmmm...delicious restuarant torts!).

     

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  139.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:26pm

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

    I don't really think that's a key distinction as far as public perception goes.

    I mean, there's no previous agreed transaction between a rancher and someone that takes his cow, but people would generally agree the cow-taker should pay the rancher. (I understand these are different scenarios w/r/t tangible property and intangible property, but I don't think that's really material to whether the "preexisting agreement" issue plays a key role in public perception).

     

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  140.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:26pm

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

    "But we're talking about the restaurant's torts (mmmm...delicious restuarant torts!)."

    No, we're talking about the bands torts, not the restaurants torts. Or at least what shouldn't be a tort against the restaurant to the extent that our broken legal system makes it.

     

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  141.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:30pm

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

    "You made some counterargument based on supposed numbers of filesharers. If you're not going to support that argument, I'm going to ignore it, because I don't believe more than 50% of the U.S. engages in unauthorized file sharing."

    I never said they do, I'm only pointing out that people's beliefs reflect their behavior and that if people are truly against file sharing and think it's wrong and that they have no right to it to the extent that it should be illegal their actions will reflect it and file sharing won't be a problem. If file sharing truly is such a huge problem to the point of making it difficult for artists to make any money then that suggests that too many people disagree with copyright laws. It's a matter of economics, the degree of file sharing automatically reflects the extent that people believe in these laws, if the majority of the people don't believe in these laws then fewer people will file share and it won't be a problem.

     

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  142.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:30pm

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

    err. that people's behavior reflect their beliefs *

     

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  143.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:31pm

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

    errr. to the extent that they think it should be illegal *

     

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  144.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:36pm

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

    "You made some counterargument based on supposed numbers of filesharers."

    In other words, I am merely pointing out that the degree of file sharing will reflect the degree that people believe it to be wrong. To the extent that a majority sees it as a problem they naturally won't do it, no laws required, and it won't be a problem. and for those who do it, who cares, if they are only a small minority of the population then they won't make such a huge difference. If they're the majority then I want the govt, and the laws, to reflect the will of the majority and so I want it legalized. Got it.

     

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  145.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    Yes the granting of monopolies was familiar (as great nuisances), however, the nature of information and the cases in which intellectual work could be recognised as property were not at all familiar. Even in England there was debate as to whether copyright was a natural right.

    Mankind has been familiar with material objects as property since the stone age. In this information age, we are still getting to grips with intellectual work.

    The Internet is helping to demonstrate that a reproduction monopoly is not only unnatural, it's also ineffective and unethical - interfering with the individual's liberty to do what they will with the intellectual works in their mental and physical possession.

     

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  146.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:46pm

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

    and don't buy the argument that the majority of people will do things that they believe should be illegal. That's counter intuitive and non-sensual.

     

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  147.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    So, no Constitutional cite that it only allows Congress to protect/enforce "natural rights?"

    I'm not particularly interested in arguing about what is/isn't a "natural right," because I think it's irrelevant to a discussion on copyright.

    I don't believe Congress is limited to protecting "natural rights" and I believe the Constitution explicitly authorizes exclusive rights such as copyrights based on reasoning distinct from any "natural right" argument.

    You can feel free to post long comments regarding "natural rights," but until you show why it's relevant to this discussion, I'm not sure why you're doing so.

     

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  148.  
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    drew Roberts, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 3:59pm

    Re:

    Perhaps each such establishment could have one of these setups:

    http://freemusicpush.blogspot.com/2009/10/free-music-distribution-setups.html

    and make all the Free songs available for a free download on the premises.

     

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  149.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The Constitution limits the power Congress has, so you need to find where the Constitution specifically empowers Congress to grant privileges.

    'make all Laws which shall be necessary' does not mean that Congress can assume power to enact any law (or grant of privilege) simply because it appears conducive or expedient in executing powers permitted by the Constitution. It must actually be necessary.

    I've already demonstrated that a monopoly is not necessary to secure an individual's exclusive right.

     

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  150.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 4:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    So, would you agree then that demanding payment from someone who damages your car (or else you'll sue) is "legal extortion?"

    After all, it's the threat of [figurative] violence by the state [working in conjunction with the individual].

     

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  151.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 4:28pm

    See Letters of Marque.

     

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  152.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 4:29pm

    Re:

    Oops, meant to respond to Crosbie Fitch's last comment

     

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  153.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Close, but it is in the context of war, and appropriation of the enemy's property is a military sanction.

    See Paine for context, e.g. "nor shall any State grant commissions to any ships or vessels of war, nor letters of marque or reprisal, except it be after a declaration of war".

     

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  154.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: nonprofit venues boycotting?

    Of course you've heard this first hand from a PRO rep, right?

    Well, as a matter of fact:

    "Basically, we don't know," said Dave Ascher, the SESAC Music Licensing Consultant who sent the letters. "To make a long story short, there's no way, logistically, for us to know whether on a day-to-day basis they're playing SESAC music."


    So they just assume you are and force you to pay regardless.

     

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  155.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 4:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: (Calling a horse a horse, and extortion extortion)

    You wanted to agree about the distinction between the two cases of extortion you specified.

    Finding a case when someone sues for damages does not mean that case is extortion.

    The notion that there are damages for infringing a monopoly is as invalid as the monopoly. I've already agreed that copyright is legalised extortion.

     

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  156.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 4:58pm

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

    Just take the blinders off and look at what you're saying. You sound like a corporate yes-man, or excuse maker. Come on.

     

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  157.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 5:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    Anonymous Coward, here are a couple of tricky questions for you:

    1) How can the Constitution empower the securing of legally granted rights created by legislation that precedes it? (What constitution constrained THAT law?)

    2) How can the Constitution empower the securing of legally granted rights that it isn't yet aware of? (ones it hasn't even specified)

    It simply stands to reason that a Constitution can only recognise natural rights.

     

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  158.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 5:04pm

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

    Um, not sure how to respond to this. I'm well aware of what I'm saying.

     

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  159.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 5:08pm

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

    and I don't buy *

     

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  160.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 5:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    "1) How can the Constitution empower the securing of legally granted rights created by legislation that precedes it? (What constitution constrained THAT law?)"

    How can it? It can be agreement of the people agreeing to be bound by the Constitution (i.e. the same way it empowers other legal actions). I'm not sure how this is relevant, though (and I'm not saying that the U.S. Constitution does or does not do this).

    "2) How can the Constitution empower the securing of legally granted rights that it isn't yet aware of? (ones it hasn't even specified)"

    It can authorize a body to make laws securing such rights in the future by authorizing that body to make law regarding general topics (e.g., taxes, commerce between the states, war, etc.).

    "It simply stands to reason that a Constitution can only recognise natural rights."

    No. No it doesn't.

     

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  161.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I fail to see how that makes it something other than a "legal right" or "privilege."

     

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  162.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 5:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    But he did show why it's irrelevant. Your denying the proof before you, and yes, his explanation of what was written and what history has shown us does constitute proof, does not make your argument at all valid. You are just offering a blanket denial, which is irrelevant to any meaningful discourse on the subject.

    Basically, he's saying 'this is why it is so,' and all you're saying is 'no it is not.' Rather a petulant and sophomoric response to a logical and meaningful explanation.

     

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    Karl (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?

    To play Devil's advocate here:

    Probably they developed this technology partially to do away with disasters like ASCAP's "sampling" of artists on the radio, which benefited top-tier artists almost exclusively.

    With more detail about what is actually being played, royalties can be paid more accurately, and more fairly to artists who aren't in constant rotation on Top 40 stations.

    ...And, of course, to charge anyone who uses anything.

     

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  164.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 5:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    A constitution can only recognize natural rights because an unnatural right doesn't exist for it to recognize (you can only recognize rights that exist and natural rights always exist even without a constitution), but a constitution can create legal and unnatural rights (and another statute or a court decision or congress or a regulatory agency can then recognize those constitutionally artificial rights).

    The constitution creates the legal right for congress to grant monopolies, though it doesn't compel congress to grant any monopoly.

     

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  165.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 5:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    (the assumption, of course, is that a constitution is the first and ultimate legal authority and that its laws are enforced independently of the existence of other legal authorities).

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 5:49pm

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

    The Constitution does empower Congress to grant certain privileges as instruments against the enemy during wartime.

    That is a little unwieldy to add as an exception to my general point, which as yet, still stands.

    It should be unsurprising that if privileges are granted as military sanctions during wartime, that they are properly regarded as instruments of injustice in peacetime.

     

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  167.  
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    Karl (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 5:49pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    In the U.S. (unlike the U.K.), you can play the radio without paying PRO's. That's still true today.

    You have to pay the PRO's for jukeboxes, and for playing pre-recorded music (e.g. CD's) over the sound system. And, of course, for live music.

     

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  168.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 6:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    (come to think of it, I suppose if a constitution is amended its amendments might be able to "recognize" unnatural rights created by subordinate laws created after the constitution? Does this count as creating law or merely recognizing existing laws and giving them greater authority to outlive the documents that originally created them? Kinda like upgrading an existing law from another document maybe?)

     

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  169.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 9:01pm

    This is so cool ...

    I sit here looking at the demise of the copyright types and I smile a little smile, I dance a little dance, and I grin ear to ear.

    While I see this as legal extortion, I see several other things ...

    An opening to run ads in restaraunt magazines for a CC lisc'd music service for 5 dollars a month.

    The ability to hype the horror of curent copyright.

    The ability to call chain restaraunts and promote artists that want publicity over ASCAP and BMI royalties.

    The ability to do the AOL disk thing to restaraunts for CC music.

    Now for a quote ...

    "I have this really great idea for a business model. Lets get all these people together and have them write software. Here is the cool part!!! then give away the software for free"

    Any takers?

     

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  170.  
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    AW, Aug 9th, 2010 @ 9:46pm

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

    Okay since you seem to fail at a few points lets just get this all straightened out.


    A physical object and a non physical object are not the same thing. When something has near zero reproduction costs associated with it, it is not the same thing as taking a rancher's cow.

    "But if they can't prove you played their music, they won't have a case in court. Now, almost all establishments that play any music probably *do* play ASCAP and BMI music, because those PROs cover the vast majority of music."

    Quote from BMI spokesperson Jerry Bailey - "Fewer than 10 percent of copyright infringement suits go to trial, because, he said, “once a business owner gets an attorney, they find out they don’t have a prayer of winning.’’Penalties in court range from $750 to $30,000 per song, and are determined by a federal judge."

    So I guess that since only 10% go to trial and they win 100% of those the 90% that don't go to trial are being paid or close to. Here lies the major difference between the electric company, the water company etc. When they go to court for failure to pay you pay what you owe. When you go to court for music infringement you pay far and above what you owe. 8 songs in one hour on the low end would be $6000 dollars, 6 times the cost of a small coffee shop would have to pay all year. Penalties are so far out of reality as to be exorbitant, which is why it is called extortion. In the finance world this would be called usury. In no other industry, even the software industry is there a per use fee for a non-physical item. There is a per copy fee, but if I install Linux on my work computer I do not have to pay a fee to Microsoft, Apple and IBM because I could possibly be using their source code. In the same token, if I go to a website I do not pay for the privilege of using that businesses web software, I pay for access which is the radio or the cd that was purchased.

    Since we bring up the constitution so often in this post, lets bring up some key points, under the founding fathers corporations were limited, non-person entities, PROs had no right to exist back in those days and the sharing of music was commonplace in the coffee houses and pubs, in fact some of the founding fathers were noted songwriters.
    Under the founding fathers, libraries were established, providing access to scarce items such as books to allow access to free ideas, which is what music is...it's an idea using math to express itself, nothing more.

    Another point, you say these artists should be paid...so work. Software artists get paid once per download not per play. I do the same thing at work every day, but if I were to send the same work in day after day and never change they wouldn't pay me twice for it. I have to go to work every day and actually do something every time I want to get paid.

     

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    Karl (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 11:27pm

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

    But if they can't prove you played their music, they won't have a case in court.

    Doesn't stop them from suing:

    Yet Courtright and Regi Harvey, a drummer and guitarist who was on stage on the night in question, vehemently deny that any such infringement took place. In fact, copies of the lawsuits and supporting documentation reveal two very different versions of what was played that night.

    Harvey said the three songs in question -- "Shop Around," "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and "Where Is the Love?" -- are not even in his band's repertoire.

    "We play original jazz and jazz rock," said Harvey. "We don't even like those songs."


    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2003/12/03/BUGL13CH5H26 .DTL

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), Aug 9th, 2010 @ 11:55pm

    it happened in Lawrence

    There was a pub in Lawrence, KS that stopped playing music because of threats from ASCAP. They were hosting a bluegrass night. Read about it here:

    http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2010/jan/28/re-opened-mic-after-run-copyright-police-mudstomp- /

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 10th, 2010 @ 1:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    It's good that you acknowledge that a constitution can only recognise natural rights.

    A constitution cannot create privileges because it is concerned with conveying limited power from the people to a government. Such a conveyance of power is not also a legislature constraining the people. The government is empowered to act as that constraint, to protect the people (their rights) and make such laws as necessary.

    A constitution cannot empower the granting of privileges without creating instruments of injustice, hence why if it did they could be used only during exceptional circumstances, such as during wartime and against the enemy.

    The US Constitution did not empower Congress to grant monopolies. I have already demonstrated that the Framers were well aware of how to empower the granting of monopolies as this was later proposed as an amendment - which wouldn't have been proposed if the power to grant monopolies had already been specified.

    The Constitution only empowered Congress to secure the EXISTING natural, exclusive right that individuals have to their intellectual works. This is why it wasn't defined - it is the pre-existing, self-evident natural right to be secured. If Congress was to be empowered to grant a privilege it would have been defined. Moreover the clause would have empowered Congress to GRANT the carefully defined privilege.

    How can you still continue to infer that the progress clause empowers Congress to grant monopolies? Because 'everyone believes it'? That's not a very good argument. That's what they said about the Sun orbiting the Earth.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 10th, 2010 @ 1:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This is legalized extortion

    An amendment is still Constitution, it can't recognise or specify law (though it is at least now temporally possible). However, the amendment could specify power necessary to make intervening law (utilising the wisdom of hindsight).

    Thus one could specify an amendment subsequent to copyright's legislation that empowered Congress to grant monopolies in literary works.

    The amusing thing is that such an amendment was proposed, but Madison declined it - because it would obviously have not only made it clear that the original Constitution did not empower Congress to grant them, but it would have made copyright far more vulnerable to a later amendment of repeal. And copyright was far too valuable to be exposed to such risks. Best just to hope that no-one noticed the emperor was naked, that if enough people exclaimed that "Of course Congress is empowered to grant monopolies!" that no-one would double-check that it actually was.

     

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  175.  
    identicon
    alternatives, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 3:55am

    big lotto winner WAS Re: Re:

    Small business owners are very busy people. They don't have the time to deal with the hassles that BMI and friends provide them

    My lottery dream is to grow heirloom soy (and save seed) to make into tofu to serve at a brewpub that plays CC music. If I feel like Monsanto and BMI aren't enough - live music where the contract is 'all original works' and that they accept liability...then tell ASCAP to sue the musician.

    Perhaps, if I get a wild hair up my butt, write code to act as a jukebox to invoke the "you must keep a log' BMI option, aggregate the data, then get a class action going VS the unpaid musicians.

     

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  176.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 7:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Now BMI, ASCAP, & SESAC are collecting royalties on the artists behalf, keeping the money, and the they are still starving and shirtless.

     

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  177.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 7:31am

    Why are the venues where the music is performed shaken down but the musicians who are being paid to play copyrighted music are not?

    BMI, ASCAB, & SESAC pay off politicians to pass state laws that mimic copyright law because it is easier to take you to state court then it is to federal court.

    Since these guys collect money on the behalf of the creative artists and then do not pass the money on to the artists, they should be charged under RICO.

     

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  178.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Aug 10th, 2010 @ 7:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ^7 Getting a law passed may make it leagal but it doesn't make it right

    However, if the law were to change to that model, I suspect what you'd see is either copies costing a lot more, or coming with EULAs (End-User License Agreements) saying that the purchaser agrees not to do X, Y, and Z, or to pay A, B, and C if they do engage in such use of the copy.

    In other words, even more widespread piracy?

     

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  179.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Aug 10th, 2010 @ 7:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Fair enough, but if a licencse for the small venues is several thousand dollars a year (which it is), you can be sure the lawsuit is going to be for several times more than that as a deterrant. If the amount sued for is much larger than the business can even contemplate paying, I think the point stands.

     

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  180.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Aug 10th, 2010 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I've already demonstrated that a monopoly is not necessary to secure an individual's exclusive right.

    You've said so. There's a difference.

    For anyone who hasn't followed this before, Crosbie believes the so called "copyright clause" of the Constitution protects only unpublished works.

    Have you ever provided any reference for that? I mean something that explicitly says it's supposed to apply to works still in the private possession of the author?

     

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  181.  
    identicon
    Michael, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 8:14am

    Re: what a beautiful racket

    actually, what somebody needs to do is create an "open movement" where artists that create something can decide whether they want to give it away, or get paid for their intellectual property. If you created something, you decide what to do with it. I hate how people who have never created anything sit around and call royalties "extortion"

     

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  182.  
    icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 10th, 2010 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    nasch, my beliefs are irrelevant (and unsurprisingly you are unable to accurately state them).

    What matters is not belief, but whether the Constitution empowered Congress to grant monopolies in literary works.

    I've provided my argument that it didn't, and yet those insisting the contrary adopt argumentum ad populum as counter.

    Are you now attempting to invalidate my argument unless I provide a 'higher authority' to re-iterate it?

    We need to weigh the argument, not belief, nor who can cite the most concurring authorities.

    Are you really going to allow your devout belief (that copyright is Constitutional) to dismiss any arguments to the contrary, on the basis those arguments lack authoritative corroboration?

     

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  183.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Aug 10th, 2010 @ 9:07am

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

    I think you're employing the No True Scotsman fallacy. "OK, that's a case where the Constitution grants privileges, but it doesn't count because blah blah blah. I'm still right."

     

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  184.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Aug 10th, 2010 @ 9:19am

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

    It seems to me your argument is "this is my interpretation of the Constitution". I do not find that compelling, which is why I asked for other sources. If you have nothing else, so be it - your argument is not convincing. If you have something else, I'm listening.

     

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  185.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Aug 10th, 2010 @ 9:20am

    Re: This is so cool ...

    "I have this really great idea for a business model. Lets get all these people together and have them write software. Here is the cool part!!! then give away the software for free"

    Any takers?


    Well... that's not a business model. So no thanks. ;-)

     

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  186.  
    icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 10th, 2010 @ 9:22am

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

    Saying you think I'm employing a fallacy doesn't actually make it so.

    Because you have located an exceptional case in which the Constitution empowers Congress to grant privileges for use against the enemy in time of war I'm respectfully qualifying my general statement that the Constitution cannot empower the granting of privileges.

    See here:
    http://www.techdirt.com/article.php?sid=20100806%2F15462810537&threaded=true#c2296

     

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  187.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Aug 10th, 2010 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: what a beautiful racket

    In case you've missed it in the other comments... these societies try to collect whether venues play covered music or not. So your idea is a good one, but would not entirely solve the problem.

     

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  188.  
    icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 10th, 2010 @ 9:46am

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

    I'm here to argue, not to compel or convince you.

    I remain interested in counter-argument - yours and anyone else's.

    I'm looking for someone to defeat my argument with counter-argument, not simply to gainsay it with "That's just your interpretation". If that is the standard to be set, then there can be no argument - it's all simply a matter of anyone's interpretation. Unfortunately, it would be very dangerous to allow the government to 'interpret' the Constitution as if it were an ambiguous document (especially where those ambiguities only arise due to changes in language, e.g. right qua privilege).

     

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  189.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 9:52am

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

    I'm not surprised that commenters here always take the accused-infringer's side when there is a factual dispute, but that doesn't mean they're always right (I'm not taking either side).

    I'm sure there are mistakes made, and I'm sure that, sometimes, some reps are overzealous. I don't think that should be taken as standard PRO behavior, just as I don't think people should assume all venue operators are liars trying to get something for nothing (although I'm sure some are).

     

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  190.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 10:03am

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

    You're certainly right that the legal expenses associated with seriously pursuing a lawsuit will likely be larger (for both sides) than the "backpay" at issue, unless you're dealing with a fairly profitable venue.

     

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  191.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Aug 10th, 2010 @ 11:59pm

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

    I'm not surprised that commenters here always take the accused-infringer's side when there is a factual dispute,

    It jibes with what I have seen first hand, from working in rock clubs (doorman, sound guy, etc) and as a performer.

    It would also help if any of the PRO's had ever given any indication that they even need to prove their case. No PRO rep I've ever met, or read about, has ever thought that they might be in the wrong. To them, if you don't pay their fees, you're stealing from their artists - end of story.

    It's not just the presumption of guilt, it's the denial of the mere possibility of being innocent.

    Can you tell me what, exactly, is the difference between the PRO's and the people who are suing users who downloaded The Hurt Locker? They're both "pay us or we'll sue" schemes. Why should The Hurt Locker generate ire, and the PRO's get a pass?

     

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  192.  
    icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), Aug 11th, 2010 @ 10:46am

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

    If that is the standard to be set, then there can be no argument - it's all simply a matter of anyone's interpretation.

    I'm pretty sure that the SCOTUS' opinion is the only one that counts. Like it or not.

    Unfortunately, it would be very dangerous to allow the government to 'interpret' the Constitution as if it were an ambiguous document (especially where those ambiguities only arise due to changes in language, e.g. right qua privilege).

    But in many ways it is and was intended to be. The Framers realized they couldn't account for every contingency, and left many things intentionally ambiguous so that Congress and the Courts could deal with these problems as they arose.

     

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  193.  
    identicon
    Taylor Golonka, Aug 17th, 2010 @ 8:50pm

    Trying to help stores get music! Looking for list of stores that have been threatened by BMI or ASCAP

    Hi,
    Im building a stream of music for stores for a cheaper price. My next goal is to try to find the stores that BMI and ASCAP has been sending threatening letters to so I can be the middle man. Any direction would be great to help unsigned artists! gon4myn@hotmail.com

     

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

  194.  
    identicon
    Josh, May 4th, 2011 @ 3:57pm

    Bottom Line Music Rights Fee is the Law of the Land

    Do you feel the same way about restaurants selling contaminated meat for human ocnsumption headed for livestock feed and diverted to the Chinese All you can Eat Buffet?

    For 2,000 sq ft and above retailers/restaurants, playing music from CD's in public, or worse yet from the local radio station, is a crime of ignorance, but nevertheless a crime. That's the federal copyright law. Business owners who follow the law can go to one of several national music suppliers and pay about $2 or less per day for a service agreement to play misic legally and receive all the benefits offered to their customers/shoppers.

     

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  195.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), May 5th, 2011 @ 10:21pm

    Re: Bottom Line Music Rights Fee is the Law of the Land

    Do you feel the same way about restaurants selling contaminated meat for human ocnsumption headed for livestock feed and diverted to the Chinese All you can Eat Buffet?

    What does contaminated meat have to do with music license fees?

    For 2,000 sq ft and above retailers/restaurants, playing music from CD's in public, or worse yet from the local radio station, is a crime of ignorance, but nevertheless a crime.

    OK first thing, it's a civil offense, so no it is not a crime. Second, playing the radio in a restaurant is a violation of copyright law? That is just wrong. I'm not saying you're incorrect, I'm saying it's disgusting.

     

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  196.  
    identicon
    HothMonster, Aug 10th, 2011 @ 7:27am

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

    we need a "wooosh!" button

     

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

  197.  
    identicon
    orisinio, Sep 10th, 2012 @ 3:25pm

    influences

    So, a BMI 'sales rep' visted a winery where I used to play music. The winery managment said, "What about original, unlicensed music? We have musicians here who only play their own material and aren't members of BMI!"

    The BMI rep replied, "Maybe so, but you still owe us because they were influenced by the hit songs of our members!" They laughed him out of the place -- but they no longer host live music, so BMI won, I guess, even though they didn't get paid.

     

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  198.  
    identicon
    Me, Jun 18th, 2013 @ 1:53am

    BMI is doing a shakedown

    BMI are just acting like a bunch of shakedown con men and women as they go around and actually stop free music from being free - terrible what they are doing...

     

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

  199.  
    identicon
    Shawn Prather, Apr 10th, 2014 @ 8:47pm

    Shoot the little guys

    So, the local talent show, the lip sync competitions, the Farmer's Markets with the guy strumming his guitar, they guy on the street corner playing his sax with his case open on the sidewalk - all of these folks need to pay some over bloated corporation to have a little fun and collect a few dollars change? I understand the need for copyright laws to keep folks from recording a song and selling CDs, etc. But to shoot the little guys? That's just abuse of a good idea. We had to shut down high school kids playing for fun at the Farmer's Market in our town of 1200 because of this. We are not an entertainment venue, we're a struggling Midwest community trying to boost the sales of our local farmers..

     

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


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