Self-Perpetuating Copyright Enforcement

from the but-think-about-the-artists dept

One of the most powerful emotional tricks used by the copyright industry against those seeking to reduce the term and reach of copyright to more rational levels is to invoke the poor, starving artists, who would suffer if this were to happen.

The fact that the vast majority of creators earn most money soon after producing their work, and relatively little years later, means that taking copyright back to the original 14-year term specified in the Statute of Anne would have minimal effect on them, but it's an undeniably clever pitch.

In reality, the copyright industry couldn't give two hoots about the artists it feeds off, as the following makes clear:

RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy previously told TorrentFreak that the ‘damages’ accrued from piracy-related lawsuits will not go to any of the artists, but towards funding more anti-piracy campaigns. “Any funds recouped are re-invested into our ongoing education and anti-piracy programs,” he said.

If the copyright industry *really* cared about the artists, this money would go straight into their deserving pockets.

Moreover, this "re-investment" in anti-piracy programmes makes such actions self-fueling: the money supposedly gained for those poor, starving wretches is actually used to fund the next action, which funds the next action, and so on.

This means that the copyright organisations have a real incentive to choose a strategy that privileges heavy-handed enforcement over new business models. The latter might result in creators getting paid more, while the former ensures that the fat-cats running the enforcement machine continue to lap up the cream....

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca.

Cross posted from Open....


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 7:21am

    So,

    What happens when the RIAA has all the money?

    Perhaps they'll invest in a self-perpetrating copyright enforcement so they can immediately sue for copyright infringement anybody who creates anything copyrightable...

     

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  2.  
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    A.R.M. (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 7:24am

    Lost, but not forgotten.

    Don't forget about our friend Mitch Glazier ( http://riaa.com/newsitem.php?news_month_filter=&news_year_filter=2000&resultpage=19&id=1 1948427-C0BF-47DD-AFA8-154E2DD8BF9E ) who was once a congressional aide helping millions of artists allow themselves to be hired indirectly by those hard working RIAA folk. He was so concerned for their well being, he decided to dumb down the middle-of-the-night change to "as work for hire" so people wouldn't miss the meaning.

    Copyright. The definition of "oxymoron".

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Josh Taylor, May 19th, 2011 @ 7:31am

    Money in damages of piracy doesn't go to the artists and creators, it goes to the companies, RIAA, MPAA. Piracy not robs the artist/creator's money, big business does. Corporate Materialism and love of money will grow cold. The end is near. Repent, pray, and hope that we escape on May 21, 9/11, or December 21, 2012.

    We must reach out to the artists and creators and get them to come to Jesus and tell them that Piracy doesn't rob money off of them, big business/Corporate Communism does.

     

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  4.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 7:39am

    Re:

    I'm glad I've got three options for Doomsday. I'll take a look and see what fits in my schedule the best.

     

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  5.  
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    sheenyglass (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 7:48am

    If copyright benefits starving artists...

    ...then why are they still starving?

     

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  6.  
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    Mr. Feasible, May 19th, 2011 @ 7:50am

    Watch your language!

    "Copyright industry?" What do you mean by this phrase?

    Artists -- and even if they aren't "Artists" but create something in which they have rights -- need marketers, PR people, distributors, etc. Do you think they can do all of it without getting paid? Do you know how expensive all of it is? And tell us about all the "Artists" who create works that make NO money, but lose money. Most of them. And who is to pay for that?

    "...this money should go into the artist's pocket," indeed!

    And I am a musician!

     

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  7.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 8:17am

    Re: Watch your language!

    Artists -- and even if they aren't "Artists" but create something in which they have rights -- need marketers, PR people, distributors, etc. Do you think they can do all of it without getting paid? Do you know how expensive all of it is?

    Strawman argument.

    As far as I know, Glyn has never said that some artists do not benefit greatly from PR, marketers and distributors and such. Neither has Mike - and Mike has even offered many suggestions in which labels can make themselves more valuable to artists by providing specific services - basically a reversal of roles, where the artists offer a contract to a label for those services.

    And tell us about all the "Artists" who create works that make NO money, but lose money. Most of them. And who is to pay for that?

    Might I point you to posts about "RIAA Accounting" and "MPAA Accounting" - where the labels and studios intentionally set up those works to "lose" money on paper (so they don't have to pay the artists) but actually make millions for the studio/label.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2011 @ 8:26am

    Re: So,

    They will just start suing the people they pay to put up infringing material.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    HothMonster, May 19th, 2011 @ 8:31am

    Re:

    what happens May 21st? should i take the day off work, if im gonna die it should be sleeping off a hangover.

    Also ask Jesus how long he knew how we would design our calendar. I mean for him to know 12/21/12 would exist and schedule our end on a date so easy to remember is kind of him. I guess if you are all knowing you can plan for stuff like this and if you have to remember when you scheduled the end of the world best to do it on a day with a easy to remember date.

    Im pretty sure we lived through 9/11 already...unless the terrorists know something I don't and were trying to line up their attack with the end of the world but just got it a decade+ off.

    Good to know Jesus

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2011 @ 8:31am

    Re: Watch your language!

    "Artists -- and even if they aren't "Artists" but create something in which they have rights -- need marketers, PR people, distributors, etc. "

    Sure, but that's different than saying that they need copy protections. If anything, those copy protections only impede on the ability to distribute and redistribute said content.

    "And tell us about all the "Artists" who create works that make NO money, but lose money. Most of them. And who is to pay for that? "

    and the RIAA and copy protection laws have helped correct this problem ... how? Oh, that's right, they contribute to the problem.

    You complain about all these problems that artists have, but you forget that there does exist (and have existed for years back before the Internet) copy protection laws and the RIAA and these problems still existed. You forget to mention that these problems exist even with the record labels and that the record labels have done nothing to help solve it, otherwise, these problems won't exist.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 19th, 2011 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re:

    hmm, my post cut off. Maybe I offended the comment Jesus. it was suppose to end: Good to know Jesus hearts pirates.

     

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  12.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re:

    I for one hope to escape 9/11. I'm a little confused as to how I'm trapped by it, being as how it happened ten years ago, but I have no doubt that Josh Taylor has a red-phone directly to whichever god he believes in.

    If it's on the internet, it has to be true, or so the Mormons tell me....

     

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  13.  
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    Jay (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 9:30am

    Re: Watch your language!

    "Artists -- and even if they aren't "Artists" but create something in which they have rights -- need marketers, PR people, distributors, etc. Do you think they can do all of it without getting paid? Do you know how expensive all of it is? And tell us about all the "Artists" who create works that make NO money, but lose money. Most of them. And who is to pay for that? "

    Please look into machinima, Red Vs Blue, The Guild, There Will Be Brawl, among the other types of ways to make content without having high overhead.

    Content creators come in all shapes and sizes. Labels or middlemen can't speak for all of them. Neither can Mike Masnick, Glyn Moody, Lawrence Lessig, Stephen Kinsella, me or you.

    The only thing that ANYONE is saying is that the rules should favor artists of all types in moving along with projects without worrying about a lawsuit for their trade. If a DJ wants to use your music in a party, it should be because it's good, not because you're making an indirect commission on it.

    If someone is using a song in a video, it's because it was to the liking of the creator. The rules as they stand prohibit activities for monetary gain. It inhibits creativity in various ways.

    All that anyone wants is to have the rules be fair to all involved. Why is it that everyone wants the rules to be changed to benefit them despite everyone else, I have no idea.

     

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  14.  
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    DannyB (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 9:38am

    > . . . “Any funds recouped
    > are re-invested into our ongoing education
    > and anti-piracy programs,” he said.


    Of course the organization or sub-organization responsible for these anti-piracy campaigns has executives. And executives have to be paid, right?

    Think of the starving executives!

    They need their bonuses.

     

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  15.  
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    Ken, May 19th, 2011 @ 9:40am

    And the copyrighters call the "Pirates" thieves. They are the parasites and moochers that feed off the profits of the artists energy.

    If copyright is a "right" then it could only belong to the original creator who could then licence their works but could not sell it or give it away.

     

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  16.  
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    Krusty, May 19th, 2011 @ 9:41am

    Re: Watch your language!

    He means the industries that are suing people on your behalf and then KEEPING the money for themselves at your expense.
    Got it?

     

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  17.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Maybe it's 09/11. Like, anytime during that month...

     

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  18.  
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    DannyB (profile), May 19th, 2011 @ 12:01pm

    Re:

    Sure you can sell or give away your rights. (/sarcasm)

    Other articles on TD today indicate that people are giving away their rights under the 4th, 1st and probably other amendments.

     

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  19.  
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    Paul Keating, May 20th, 2011 @ 6:33am

    Disconnect in Damages

    I have not read an artist agreement in a long time. However, given that damages in infringement actions are tied, at least conceptually to the actual infringement itself, it is a measurement of the money that the plaintiff would have earned had there been a license. I cannot understand how none of this equates to licensing revenues that should be shared with the underlying artists.

     

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  20.  
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    Mr. Feasible, May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Watch your language!

    So then, it's all free?

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Mr. Feasible, May 23rd, 2011 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re: Watch your language!

    Why should the RIAA correct them? Are their members in business or do they exist for the charitable benefit of the musicians (many of whom are untalented, unproductive or unsaleable)?

    It is not a strawman argument. Why do musicians wish to sign with a label? To take advantage of what a label could provide them (or used to be very capable in providing, but not as much any more). Because the label fronts the capital, oversee production, arrange for distribution, do PR, etc. Sometimes, they do all of these things well, often poorly. But musicians want all of this for free or nearly so. If you don't use a label, you do the job yourself and you keep the whole shooting match. It's a DIY world now!

    Content is only 1/2 the story. The rest is getting it to market. This is true in other industries as well. If I am a food manufacturer, it is not easy getting product on the shelf. There are brokers, pay for placement, etc. -- and when it doesn't sell, they have to take back unsold product. Who should take the loss? Tell me.

     

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


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