Dear Permission Culture: This Is Why No One Wants To Ask For Your OK

from the you-need-a-seriously-large-staff-to-get-nothing-done dept

"Just ask for permission."

When it comes to dealing with the "permission culture" that goes hand-in-hand with copyright these days, there's really no way to win. Certain rights holders claim they just want to be asked, but the actual process involved makes it seem like you'd save a ton of time just assuming the answer is "no."

Hugh Brown (a.k.a. Huge), an Australian recording artist and music business coach, experienced this circuitous process firsthand when he attempted to craft a parody of Adam Lambert's "If I Had You," entitled "If I Had Stew." Parodies are handled a bit differently in Australia, despite recent concessions in Australian fair dealing laws. According to APRA (Australasian Performing Rights Association), "lyric changes and parodies of works must [be] cleared directly with the copyright owner."

"If I Had You" wasn't written by Lambert, but by Swedish songwriting team Maratone (Max Martin, Shellback and Kritian Lundin). But Huge couldn't approach Maratone directly as its website indicated that all the trio's songs were owned by the writer's respective labels. So he emailed Maratone and sent another form asking RCA/Jive Records for permission to make this recording.

Huge heard nothing from Sony but did hear back from Maratone... who told him to contact Kobalt Music Publishing and clear it with EMI as well. Quick count of players involved: There's Maratone, the trio of songwriters behind Adam Lambert (who's likely off sleeping the undisturbed sleep of successful angels). Sony Music. RCA/Jive Records. Kobalt Music Publishing. And EMI. That's four labels and not a single person willing to discuss clearing Huge's parody.

A couple of weeks pass and Sony still hasn't responded. Kobalt UK and EMI Australia have... sort of. The two labels directed Huge to yet another set of forms to fill out, despite him having given them all this information in his initial emails. The new forms aren't even for requesting permission to record a parody. All they do is assist the labels in compiling a price quote on the as-of-yet unrecorded song. And even if permission is granted, it likely still won't be enough. EMI only owns one-third of the track in question. Songwriter Savan Kovetchka, an EMI signee, contributed to Lambert's track, along with Max Martin and Shellback. This means Huge still needs permission from the other two songwriters and some sort of answer from Sony.

It's now nearly a month since Huge first made contact and no progress has been made. Sony appears to be ignoring his requests. If anything, he's further behind than he was 27 days ago, when this whole thing kicked off. The "good" news is that Kobalt Media (representing Kotecha) said "yes," giving Huge one-third of a "permission" -- pending EMI's approval... and when it comes to getting written permission, one-third of a permission slip is worth approximately one-third of nothing. Huge did the right thing and asked (and asked... and asked) for permission, but despite the ever-growing list of interested parties, it looks as if "permission" might be something they simply can't give. And then... things go completely off the rails

Huge opens his last post on the debacle with, "Well, I'm gobsmacked! No wonder the major labels are in so much trouble." Kobalt has given their blessing but EMI begins a long process of royalty-related correspondence so twisted it would make Joseph Heller proud.

It starts out with a simple request for clarification by EMI.
What is your main goal for this use?

In your original enquiry you have noted that you intended to make a video for the song but have said "maybe" in your request form. Is this principally for release as an mp3 single?
Huge responds:
To be honest, my main intention is to make the song for my own amusement.

If I play it to few people who agree with me that it's fun and good, then I'll think seriously about making a video as cheaply as possible and releasing it on YouTube. I have a few people who are interested in helping with that, though they wanna hear it first.

If it gets any traction on YouTube, then I'll think about releasing it as an MP3 and via iTunes, etc ... I just wanted to clear everything properly first.
Gauging the market before putting the song up for sale is just common sense and YouTube's a pretty good place to get quick feedback. But as soon as YouTube is mentioned, EMI fires off a preliminary standard contract for sync rights, showing that its share of any money generated would be 33.34% and a guesstimated one-time fee of $1000.

Huge forwards EMI his approval letter from Kobalt, which sends the label off on an entirely different tangent.
I just want to clarify with you that we are the licensing department of EMI Publishing, so we are quoting you on the synchronisation rights if you intend on using the work in a video clip. If you want to request approval to record and release this song you will need to get in contact with our copyright department.
So, Huge has been talking to the wrong people. He sends a letter back acknowledging the fact that he (obviously) can't sync the video until after he's recorded the song. He asks EMI for a contact name in the copyright department and receives this in response:
Will you be getting a mechanical license from AMCOS before putting this song on youtube or will you be putting it on youtube before you get a mechanical license?
This a question that can't be answered. According to APRA/AMCOS rules, Huge needs to secure permission before he can worry about uploading it to YouTube. He tries again to get EMI to follow his line of thinking: get permission, record, upload.
That depends on whether I am allowed to use Sony's backing music or whether I have to completely re-record it myself ... still no word from Sony.

My instinct is to clear everything before I do anything. If I know what it's all gonna cost me I can do up budgets and set targets and so on. I just figured that securing permission was the first step ...
EMI takes this clear statement of ducks-in-a-row and it decides that the mechanical license question needs to be clarified before anything else can proceed, except that other stuff (getting permission) also needs to happen first and perhaps simultaneously.
So does this mean that you do not intend to release the song with a mechanical license prior to putting a video on youtube?

If you intend on getting a mechanical license first you will need to get approval to record and release an adaption but if you do not intend on releasing the song first you will need a synchronisation license.
At this stage, Huge is still waiting for permission from two more writers. EMI, however, only seems to be concerned with properly licensing a song that a.) doesn't exist and b.) quite possibly won't exist if permission is denied. It's also given Huge the "opportunity" to pay an upfront fee of $1000 for a track he might not even make. Huge (once again) points out his thought process: permission, record, YouTube/mp3. This repeated clarification makes no difference. EMI is still hung up on the mechanical license for syncing when it's not trying to just punt the whole thing over to the copyright department. EMI also insists that its previously mentioned $1000 "contract" is valid for only four weeks, after which it will need to issue a new contract. Huge points out (again) that he still is waiting on permission to record.

EMI responds with this amazing statement, which baldly states that the label doesn't particularly care whether or not Huge ever gets a chance to record this parody if he's not willing to throw some cash its way:
We can not give you permission to do anything with the song until you commit to a sync license (internet video) or a mechanical license (release) so please confirm if and when you are ready to proceed.
Huge attempts to wrap his mind around this:
OK, so let me get this straight: EMI will not contact the writer and ask for permission for me to make a parody unless I fork out $1000 upfront and possibly also a mechanical license ... for a song I might not be given permission to make and that might turn out to be unreleasable ...

Alternatively, they won't ask for permission for me to record the parody until ... I've recorded it and know what I'm gonna do with it. No wonder people are just breaking the rules and doing what they want with recorded music!
Precisely. If you want artists to play nice within the confines of your system, then you need to have a workable system, not just a set of loosely-related entities all acting independently and in their own best interests. Having multiple layers of corporate bureaucracy standing between two artists only hurts those who are actually trying to do the right thing. If Huge had gone the other way and decided that it was easier to ask forgiveness than permission, I can guarantee that any sort of takedown or cease-and-desist would come from a single source. When it comes to saying "no," you generally only need one person. But to get a "yes?" That's a "team" effort, apparently.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:12am

    I know this is off topic but I feel like I must tell the world.

    Some black peeps moved in next door to me a couple days ago so while I was high last night I fired up an extra router and named the network FUCK YOU CRACKERS.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Randy, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:32am

      Re:

      Oh come on, like anyone thought it was naggers.

      Let it go already

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:51am

      Re:

      Why, why do you feel the need to share your passive-aggressive racism with the world?

       

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

      •  
        icon
        Tunnen (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:01am

        Re: Re:

        I thought that was the 3rd main purpose of the Internet (I'm lumping it in with trolling). Behind massive amounts of free porn viewing and pirated music/video/games. =P

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:50am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I thought it was an uninteded consequence of people speaking freely, their quirks fall out. I didn't realize people woke up in the morning thinking, I really need to share with the world how I passive aggressively harassed the black family that moved in next door.

          "Hehe, look I made it look like they are the ignorant fucks, hehehe"

           

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

  •  
    icon
    AdamR (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:18am

    Wow

    That's one complicated web they have weaved. Spiderman would be proud.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      fogbugzd (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:10am

      Re: Wow

      Now, think 50 years in the future. You go back and try to get permissions when the artists are dead or scattered and the companies that currently hold bits and pieces of the copyright have been acquired by other companies, gone through bankruptcy and had their assets sold, and a half dozen other things we have not even thought of. Now try to get the rights.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Jason, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:19am

      Oh, quit belly-achin'!

      It's what they gotta do to promote the progress!

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    Last time I looked, which was just minutes ago, your so-called "permission culture" encompasses virtually every aspect of our daily lives.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    droozilla (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    Fuck the hoops, fuck the labels, fuck the laws, just put it out.

    Seriously, this is the only way to win. Ignore the system entirely.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      gorehound (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:20am

      Re:

      +1
      I support your view.
      Fuck The Corporate A-Holes !!!

       

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

    •  
      icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:49am

      Re:

      and then deal with the lawsuits designed to bankrupt you for 20,000 times anything you might earn from it, of which you will never see anything as they squash it over and over around the globe to stop you from making a dime.

       

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

    •  
      icon
      Tim Griffiths (profile), Jul 31st, 2012 @ 3:33am

      Re:

      I think the term "intellectual disobedience" has started to be thrown around for this kind of active refusal to follow current IP laws. While most people may not think they are taking part in civil disobedience in regards to copyright laws and such a lot of people kinda are. Who actually refuses to break digital locks to legally copy content they own because it's illegal? We just need people to start understanding why they should be breaking that law and that they actively and knowingly are doing so.

      I know a lot of people who don't see a problem with downloading a copy of content they've brought. A friend of mine pointed out that it's easier and quicker for him to go torrent a rip of old album his owns rather than go digging around to find the CD and to rip the content off it.

      The way people live day to day is becoming more and more illegal and tipping point will be reached when we'll be faced with the question "Do we keep living as we feel we should and have a moral right to in the face of breaking the law and being taken to court for doing do?" That's when I think the term Intellectual Disobedience will actually start to become meaningful.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:23am

    Refactoring.

    This reminds me of the book The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison when the protagonist is attempting to get a job with his "recommendation letter" which instructs the business owners to keep stringing him along until he gives up. (I'm paraphrasing)

    They could save a lot of money if they just hired one guy to answer the phone and tell people "No."

    ..unless their plan is to waste other people's time, too.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:29am

      Re: Refactoring.

      Seems like their plan is simply to try and extract as much money from gullible idiots as they can. How many people will cough up $1000 just to record their own spoofy version of a song that nobody but their mom will ever hear?

      Just record whatever you want. The worst thing they'll do is takedown your Youtube video (hint: try Vimeo). They'll only sue if you're actually making money/getting noticed, which 99% of all musicians aren't.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    Nina Paley (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:30am

    This.

    Oh my god, this. This is how I became a copyright abolitionist. I spent about a year in the Kafka-esque nightmare that is the music license permission system. I made it out alive, but Never Again.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:31am

    How to make a parody song:

    Step 1: Try to play by the rules and ask for permission
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: Despair

     

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:40am

    Having to ask permission to use other people's property? Shocking. It takes time to make such arrangements? Double shocking. You're not really whining about a permission culture--you're whining because you all have this crazy sense of entitlement to use other people's property. That's not the way it works. Sorry, freetards. Just ask Nina. She made the movie first and asked for permission later. Woops. And then she whined when it wasn't easy to arrange. Too funny.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Nina Paley (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:43am

      Re:

      ...and Huge asked for permission first. Notice how my movie actually got made.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Another AC, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:54am

        Re: Re:

        WIN!

         

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:10am

        Re: Re:

        Oh look nina's still here, suck it troll AC in the other topic.

         

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
         
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:46am

        Re: Re:

        ...and Huge asked for permission first. Notice how my movie actually got made.

        And you showed your movie before you even had permission. Guess you don't care about other people's property rights. No big surprise there. He's trying to get permission. He may never get it. Life goes on. But you, Nina, you're super special. The rules don't apply to you, right?

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          gnudist, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:50am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So? You do not have a moral right to stop other from copying.

           

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

        •  
          icon
          Ninja (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Jesus man, have you taken a look on the madness this copyright system is?!

          Hint: it is NOT promoting creativity.

           

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

        •  
          icon
          Torg (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "He's trying to get permission. He may never get it. Life goes on."

          Yes, but it goes on without "If I Had Soup". A condition that would not apply if Huge didn't need to ask permission to make fun of someone's song.

           

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

          •  
            icon
            Ninja (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's amusing that ppl like him accuse pirates of killing music when the copyright system is effectively the one killing music. Because music today is being made outside this system if it wants to actually be born.

             

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 12:59pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think what Nina's trying to say is that the current set of rules are so bad creators would be better without them. She doesn't want these rules inflicted on anyone.

           

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 1:37pm

          Except...

          ...it's not property. If it were, the "owner" could lock in up in a safe.

          It's not property, so the "owner" can put it out there for people to consume and enjoy, and, yes, make parodies thereof...

          You can't have it both ways. Get over it.

           

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

        •  
          icon
          jupiterkansas (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 1:53pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Do you realize the person singing the song Nina had to get permission for died in 1985? Who the hell is benefiting from this so-called property?

           

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

        •  
          icon
          SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 2:58pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And you shoved your monopoly down everyone's throats after you became obsolete. Guess you don't care about other people's cultural rights. No big surprise there. You're trying to keep monopoly. You may never keep it. Life goes on. But you, MAFIAA, you're super special. The rules don't apply to you, right?

           

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

    •  
      icon
      The Infamous Joe (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:49am

      Re:

      I think you're confused at the message. No one is complaining at getting permission; the story starts out with someone trying to play by the rules-- the message is that it is so complicated to do something so simple that most people say "fuck it" and do what they want. You're not seriously arguing that this is an efficient process, are you?

      The "way it works" is that the people who play by the rules get shafted and the people who say "fuck the system" are successful.

      How about we meet in the middle, though? If you pay taxes on your property, people have to ask permission to use it. Deal? (hint, you don't know what property means)

       

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

      •  
        icon
        velox (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:31am

        Re: Re:

        For most people who do not own a business, "property taxes" are just a real estate issue, but for those of us who own businesses, we unfortunately know better. Businesses pay annual property taxes on the hard assets possessed by the business until those assets are either disposed of, or the value is written off according to a schedule written into the tax code.
        The issue of paying property taxes for intellectual "property" was discussed in the LA Times more than 4 years ago in an opinion piece by Dallas Weaver, which was a response to an earlier opinion article by Jon Healy
        Mr. Weaver's observed that if it was necessary to pay property taxes for IP, then there would be incentive to release non-performing instances of IP to the public domain. This would be a very laudable outcome, although I remain quite conflicted about this because it would be acknowledging that IP is actually property in the first place. As has been discussed at great length here, intellectual property has considerable differences from all other forms of property as it consists of nothing more than a government ordained right to operate a monopoly.
        On the other hand, further discussion of property taxes for IP is worthwhile because it would bring the inconsistency of IP maximallist arguments into the public focus.

         

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

        •  
          icon
          John Fenderson (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          For most people who do not own a business, "property taxes" are just a real estate issue, but for those of us who own businesses, we unfortunately know better.


          Indeed.

          When I started my first business, this was what surprised me more than anything else. Chairs, desks, etc., are all taxable property. I even had to pay property taxes on certain office supplies.

          Although IP is not, in fact, property and so I don't think that property taxes should apply to it, the maximalists often make the argument that it is property. I wonder if they realize that's a sword that cuts more than one way.

           

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

        •  
          icon
          art guerrilla (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:50am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Wowie Zowie! ! ! i think you are on to something there...
          until you just mentioned it, i didn't think about the flip side of the 'rights' the MAFIAA insists upon, and that is the 'responsibility' part which they are avoiding...
          IF so-called "intellectual property" is a 'real' thing, AND it confers benefits, AND we 99% have to pay real taxes on real property; why don't patent holders, copyright holders, music rights orgs, and all the rest of the parasites have to PAY TAXES on this 'valuable' 'property' ? ? ?
          i pay taxes on my property, why don't they ? ? ?
          oh, they want all the (made-up) 'rights' and privileges without ANY responsibility (WE even get to pay for enforcing THEIR 'rights' ! ! !)...
          nice 'work' if you can get it...
          art guerrilla
          aka ann archy
          eof

           

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

        •  
          icon
          velox (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I recommend readers have a look back at Mike's response to the Healy article in 2008. The article and following discussion in the comment section are excellent.

           

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:44am

        Re: Re:

        I think you're confused at the message. No one is complaining at getting permission; the story starts out with someone trying to play by the rules-- the message is that it is so complicated to do something so simple that most people say "fuck it" and do what they want. You're not seriously arguing that this is an efficient process, are you?

        Um, if you don't get the permission you need, then you don't get to use the property you don't have permission to use. Just like everything else in the real world.

         

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

        •  
          icon
          Torg (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:41am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Except that this isn't "just like everything else in the world". Parody is fair use in the part of the world I live in. No one in my portion of the world needs to ask permission to make "If I Had Soup" and upload it to YouTube.

           

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

        •  
          icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 12:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Um, if you don't get the permission you need, then you don't get to use the property you don't have permission to use. Just like everything else in the real world.

          Except most everything else in the world does not involve the Kafkaesque process above.

          Seriously: read the article once more and think for a second (I know you can do it) about what exactly you're defending here. You can defend copyright without defending this. That you still choose to defend this... well... that says a hell of a lot about what sort of person you are.

           

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

          •  
            icon
            The Infamous Joe (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 12:18pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            His job isn't to defend copyright, it's to take the opposite stance of this blog. He's doing that like a boss.

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 5:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I agree with this blog on some things. But the incessant whining about how you can't use other people's property to the extent you feel as though you should be entitled (even though in fact you aren't) just gets old. I mean, give me a break with this whining. If you don't like how someone licenses their property, then don't do business with that company. It's called the free market.

               

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

              •  
                icon
                The Infamous Joe (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 6:37pm

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

                The free market breaks when you introduce monopolies- like copyright.

                 

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

              •  
                icon
                Torg (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 6:47pm

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

                "But the incessant whining about how you can't use other people's property to the extent you feel as though you should be entitled (even though in fact you aren't) just gets old."

                Except I am entitled to do what this guy was asking permission for. Parody is fair use in America, which means that I can do this without fair of retribution:

                Bad laws, bad laws, bad laws, bad laws
                They cripple innovation, they make singing a sin
                If you aren't a corporation then you just can't win
                They need evaluation, but so much money's coming in
                A heinous crime? Rewriting songs,
                Unless you suck EMI's dong
                Bad laws, bad laws, bad laws, they're bad
                Electric and Musical Industries is watching so beware
                There are no parodies that they will let you share
                So just pay them and say please,
                Or you will know true fear
                They're lawyered up, they'll find your flaws
                There's no saving you
                Signed, bad laws.

                See that drivel I just whipped up in half an hour? That's what Huge was trying to do. It's what he was being asked a thousand dollars for the honor of doing. If this post had been written by an Australian, they could be taken to court for this, but it's cool since I'm posting from the other side of the ocean. That doesn't seem the least bit silly to you?

                 

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

                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2012 @ 5:24am

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

                  Careful what you write!
                  They might extradite!
                  Don't try to make a funny
                  Cos when it comes to money,
                  They'll find an excuse
                  To tie the noose
                  From near or far
                  So put your cash in their jar.

                  (Etc.)

                   

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

              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Aug 1st, 2012 @ 4:42am

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

                Funny how it works: we don't do business with various entertainment companies, they earn less money and blame alleged losses on piracy. Subsequently they purchase legislation that makes it harder to be legitimately paying customers, all the while their shills insist that we're hopelessly addicted to their content - despite us already refusing to have anything to do with them.

                "Don't do business with that company" is clearly not working out, despite the fact that it should.

                 

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I found the flaw in your logic:

            "and think for a second (I know you can do it)"

             

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 5:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Except most everything else in the world does not involve the Kafkaesque process above.

            Seriously: read the article once more and think for a second (I know you can do it) about what exactly you're defending here. You can defend copyright without defending this. That you still choose to defend this... well... that says a hell of a lot about what sort of person you are.


            First of all, there's obviously more to this story that you guys aren't reporting. You're doing what you usually do: Take an anecdotal story and say, "See! The whole system is broken!" Common sense tells me that if they're into the business of licensing content, then they don't make licensing content some labyrinth that no one can figure out. Something tells me the market would have weeded out such self-destructive companies. Give me a break. I'd love to hear their side of this. Of course, we won't get that from TD. We get only yellow journalism and stories about the bogeyman. You don't have a right to license someone's property. If you don't like doing business with someone, don't do it. But please stop whining. Don't you get tired of whining about copyright every single day? If the "sky is rising" and the business is at an all time high despite the copyright cartels, then why isn't your friend using all that great music that isn't so locked up?

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2012 @ 12:41am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              First of all, there's obviously more to this story that you guys aren't reporting

              Excellent, so if you could just point out what that is...

              *crickets*

              No, didn't think so.

               

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

            •  
              icon
              drew (profile), Jul 31st, 2012 @ 4:17am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "then why isn't your friend using all that great music that isn't so locked up?"
              Because he wants to make a parody of THIS FUCKING SONG!

               

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

            •  
              icon
              art guerrilla (profile), Jul 31st, 2012 @ 7:51am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              1. there is ALWAYS 'more to the story', we are ALWAYS making decisions on imperfect knowledge; THAT IS ALL WE CAN DO...
              2. pardon me, but your extreme deference to authority is showing... 'oh, i cain't nebber ebber bewieve that masters of the universe would ebber do nuthin' untoward; must be those dirty fucking freetards...'
              3. u r a dick, and an authoritarian one at that... get your nose out of the collective butts of the MAFIAA, and maybe the world will smell a little better...
              art guerrilla
              aka ann archy
              art guerrilla at windstream dot net
              eof

               

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

        •  
          icon
          SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 2:53pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Um, if you don't get the permission you need, then you don't get to use the property you don't have permission to use. Just like everything else in the real world.

          Did you get permission to act like a jackass on this blog?

          No? Well STFU & GTFO.

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 5:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I would say that I'm an invitee to this blog, which is open to the public. Mike could lock it down and exclude me if he wanted to. That's his prerogative because it's his property. So yes, I do have permission to be here. As do you. Sorry.

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:38pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Bullshit. I highly doubt you asked Mike (and all the other editors, of course) for permission before posting here. Just because the site has comment's section doesn't mean you are allowed to post here, that's like saying you are allowed to trespass on someone's property because the door is unlocked.

               

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

    •  
      icon
      ComputerAddict (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:50am

      Re:

      I don't mind asking permission to use other people's property... like asking to use my neighbor's Ladder. I DO mind having to asking my neighbor permission to create something similar on my own.

      Imagine if you had to wait a year or more for permission to make a garden bed that was similar to your neighbors in your own yard. First you need a mechanical license to operate a shovel. Get permission to use the same mulch as him, add curves to your planting bed.. remember he did it first, and if you choose the same species of flower... bam Synchronization license so that both plants can grow at the same time.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:13am

        Re: Re:

        The analogy already works for the ladder.

        Say you have some gunk clogging up your roof gutters, and you want to clean it out, but you don't have a ladder.

        Of course you ask your neighbour for permission to borrow his ladder for half an hour. However, when you ring the doorbell, an unknown person opens and says that you cannot talk to your neighbour. You cannot borrow the ladder from this unknown person but he can redirect you to someone that might be able to. He gives you a phone number and sends you on your way.

        The phone is not answered for days and when you do get someone on the line, he first wants to know what you will be using it for. He can borrow you the ladder if you provide a photo of the ladder in its intended use.

        Oh, and of course, while you would then have permission to use the ladder, you are not allowed to go and *take* it. For that, you will need permission from two other people, one to go to the shed where the ladder is, and one to move the ladder from the current location to the location of use. The first is unavailable for comments right now, but his representative knows that he'll most probably happily give you permission if the second one agrees.

        The second one first wants a sample of the roof gutter, to prove that you are actually going to use the ladder for the purposes you claim.

        So, the steps involved are:
        1. take ladder
        2. use ladder to get gunk
        3. take photo
        4. put back ladder
        5. show gunk to person in charge of ladder movement
        6. receive permission for ladder movement
        7. show permission for ladder movement to persion in charge of ladder acquisition
        8. receive permission for ladder acquisition
        9. show photo from step 3 to person in charge of general ladder-borrowing
        10. receive permission to perform step 1.

         

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

      •  
        icon
        RyanNerd (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:30am

        Re: Re:

        If you apply how business is done in any other industry to the way things are done in the music industry things get strange and silly quickly. Thanks for the flowerbed example. Don't forget that your neighbor deserves royalties every time you replant your flowerbed because he thought of it first.

         

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

    •  
      icon
      PaulT (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:57am

      Re:

      Do you attack the corporations who "steal" both from independent artists and the public domain in the same way without repercussions?

      Didn't think so. You only attack independent artists, as shown here. Try not being an asshole and a hypocrite, it helps.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:09am

      Re:

      If it was actually about using someone else's property I would agree, but we're talking about being hindered by regulations preventing us from creating

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:23am

      Re:

      Culture is not property...get a clue.

       

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

      •  
        icon
        The eejit (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:42am

        Re: Re:

        No, culture is property....of the inaginary kind.

         

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:50am

        Re: Re:

        Culture may not be property, but copyrighted works are. Your sense of entitlement is hilarious.

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:03am

          Re: Re: Re:

          How's that working out for you?

           

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:11am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Copyright was a mistake.

          And like all mistakes, it'll be fixed, eventually.

          And we'll all be better for it.

          * * *

          Entitlement?!?!...I'm a producer of culture as are all (even you trolls) people.

           

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

        •  
          icon
          RadialSkid (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 12:55pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Attitudes like yours are the reason 80% of the silent movies are lost. You treat art as "property" and actually believe the copyright holders have a right to destroy it and deprive the world of it...or just let it rot away on a shelf.

          That's bullshit. Once you publish it, it's the "property" of the world. Got a problem with that? Don't publish.

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            RD, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 6:58pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Attitudes like yours are the reason 80% of the silent movies are lost. You treat art as "property" and actually believe the copyright holders have a right to destroy it and deprive the world of it...or just let it rot away on a shelf.

            That's bullshit. Once you publish it, it's the "property" of the world. Got a problem with that? Don't publish."

            This. A million times, this. Copyright is an agreement WITH THE PUBLIC. You HAVE to give SOMETHING back in order to have this GRANTED privilege, and then eventually you MUST also give it ALL back.

            Any copyright-defender or ShillTroll(tm) must accept this as reality, or they are being disingenuous liars who are willfully attempting to twist and subvert this constitutionally granted privilege through misleading deception and outright falsehoods.

             

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

        •  
          icon
          John Fenderson (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The physical works that embody an idea are, but the idea being embodied (i.e., the thing that is actually being copyrighted) are not.

           

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 1:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You obviously know nothing about "culture", or "art".
          We are trying to have an adult conversation here - something that could not possibly interest you. Run along, sonny.

           

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

        •  
          icon
          SujaOfJauhnral (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 2:47pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Your sense of entitlement is hilarious.

           

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:52am

      Re:

      Having to ask permission to use other people's property?


      Except it's *not* their property. It's they property of the public, and they're just allowed a limited ability to charge rents.

      Nothing is created in a vacuum. All art is built out of existing material.

      "Oh, but they built it! Of course they own it!"

      Suppose you were going to build a house. You had all the materials delivered one day, with the plan to start the following week. You show up, but lo and behold, I had used the materials to build my own house. Do I own it because I built it, or do you own it because you owned the stuff it was made out of?

      you're whining because you all have this crazy sense of entitlement to use other people's property.


      No, that would be you. You're using "property" that belongs to everybody, and then claiming that because you built something new out of it, it belongs to you. Sorry, that's not the way it works.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 5:55pm

        Re: Re:

        Copyrighted works and copyright rights are not owned by the public. They are by definition personal property, for copyright is the right to exclude.

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          gnudist, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 6:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Goverment granted monopolies are not private property, they are the erosion of the general public's private property rights to modify their property into the form they choose

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:51pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If memory serves me correctly, the vast majority of privately owned land within the US was granted by the government to private party/parties.

             

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

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2012 @ 12:51am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "If memory serves me correctly"

              You were around during the 1800? Are you Abe Simpson?

               

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

              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2012 @ 2:07am

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

                No, but try doing detailed title searches as are often required for land disputes and you will very quickly come to realize that land as property is not as immutable as many, if not most, seem to believe is the case.

                 

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

  •  
    icon
    Andrew (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:49am

    But as soon as Youtube is mentioned, EMI fires off a preliminary standard contract for sync rights, showing that its share of any money generated would be 33.34% and a guesstimated one-time fee of $1000.

    So, assuming the other labels responded similarly, does this mean Brown would have to pay 100.2% of money generated + $3000 for the privilege of putting his track on YouTube?

     

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

    •  
      icon
      The eejit (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:45am

      Re:

      No, Brown would have had to pay £10m dollars, of which $9m would be in deductibles, and $900k would be in "lobbying" expenses, with $1k going to pay off the actual content creator's "debt".

      And yes, that is accurate before you ask, $99k really did disappear like Shadow on acid.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    This is a Name, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:51am

    No Surprise

    It's not that complicated. They (Sony) want $1000.00 to get out of bed and send an e-mail (to EMI). That's it.

    They deliberately frustrated the artist by wriggling through a long, stupidly worded legalistically defensive e-mail chain. They did this to send a message: This might be a waste of time, and we want money right now, up front to do ANY work. That includes talking to you. At all.

    None of them smell blood in the water, so they aren't looking to feed. What else is new?

     

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

  •  
    icon
    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 9:56am

    Michael Carrier alluded to this issue through the interviews he did.

    Apparently this division of permissions makes it even more difficult for artists to be paid a fair amount of money.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    IronM@sk, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:17am

    Baldy going where no hariy man has gone before.

    EMI responds with this amazing statement, which baldly states

    So, they stated this without hair?

     

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

  •  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:52am

    Holy shit I'm just at 50% of this article and it all sounds like lunacy!

    How the heck did copyright get so fucked up?

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Chosen Reject (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:14am

      Re:

      Oh that's easy. It started to get that way when someone thought it'd be a good idea to give out monopolies on ideas.

       

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

      •  
        icon
        Ninja (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:32am

        Re: Re:

        One has to go into the system to see how broken it is. The famous artists that support anti-piracy efforts probably never actually stopped to understand how the system works. And frankly, if Sir Elton John wanted to make a parody he'd get permission automagically, because he is one of the milking cows that makes shitloads of money so he'll never know about this madness. The really hurt ones are the smaller artists. You can replace Elton John with any artist that signed that letter and many others that complain about piracy (U2, Kiss etc).

        Maybe we should help rising THEIR awareness that they are not the center of the world and that copyright is broken?

         

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

  •  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:52am

    Isn't it wonderful how they have made a system so complex that even the majors can't work their way through it.
    Now imagine what would happen if he wanted to let his parody be seen world wide....

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Ninja (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:03am

      Re:

      That's what he should do. Give this lunatic system a big fat middle finger and just release it. Then set a donation button on his page. Damn it, I'm feeling compelled to donate him some money just to help with his psychological treatment after he's done with this.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    TimK (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 10:53am

    In retrospect, it would have been cheaper, faster, and easier for him to buy a plane ticket, fly to the US, record and release the parody here, and fly back home.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Ninja (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:13am

      Re:

      Or he could ignore everything and just release the thing in the wild. Nobody would ever take it down ever again. You know, like doctors ignore patients afflicted with madness? Ignore.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jul 30th, 2012 @ 11:19am

    Makes perfect sense

    This makes perfect sense if you assume one thing:

    The legacy music industry is not in the business of selling music.

    Music is not the product. What they are in the business of is selling promotional and related services to artists. And by selling, I mean doing a bait-and-switch and strongarming by whatever means necessary to get the artists to sign away their "rights" - and then doing a completely shitty job providing those services to 99% of those that signed.

    They only care about sales and licensing in as much as it is how their artists pay them - but that is money they can funnel into their own coffers without much work since they've got their whole infrastructure of lawyers, accountants, affiliated businesses and industry contacts already built to do it.

    Hugh is not their customer. At best, he is a potential small scale revenue source, but they'd have to do a bunch of extra work for it.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anon, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 12:42pm

    Seriously

    This is an example that must be used in court when anyone is accused of wrongdoing. The labels must provide a clear path to getting permission to use copyright work or lose that power altogether.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    CaitlinP, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 1:42pm

    Yes We Can't!

    I think it's lovely that they're at least trying to work together. /sarcasm.

    It's like this:

    Yes, We Can!
    No, You Can't

    As soon as someone has to decline something, it's no longer "we" but "I". What a shame.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Beech, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 7:32pm

    What would be really funny is while this Aussie is trying to fight through the system to get permission to do the song, someone else says "fuck it," takes his idea, and releases their own version of "If i had stew" before the guy with the original idea even gets 10% of the way through the red tape.

    By funny i mean sad

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2012 @ 8:46pm

    Well, let's see... I want to dig a trench across my property to add drainage. You would figure I could just do it, after all, it's my property.

    Not so simple, right? I need a permit from the city for those sort of works. I also need to clear it with the gas, the phone, and the electric company. I may need to get clearance from the city's water and sewer department depending on how the drainage goes out. I may need permission from my neighbors (if the drainage comes close to their property, or might drain onto their land), and I may need insurance for the workers and so on.

    Real life is complicated. Get use to it.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Rikuo (profile), Jul 31st, 2012 @ 12:18am

      Re:

      You do realise you're conflating real property (land) with a fucking song? Totally not the same thing at all.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2012 @ 12:23am

      Re:

      Not trivial perhaps, but every single one of those steps you list is discoverable before you start, is well defined for your municipality and are the same for everyone.

      It is also very likely, depending on local laws, that a permission response is required to be given within a certain timeframe from receiving the request, and permission can only be denied for a list of reasons that can be discovered before you apply.

      All of that is the complete opposite of the copyright permission debacle in the OP, where there is no way to find out who to speak to before you start, where there is no requirement for them to respond to you, and each respondent is free to make up their own rules and they can have different sets of rules depending on who is asking.


      And that's not even the point. It's perfectly valid for a copyright-holder to withhold permission just because they feel like it, that is exactly the right that copyright gives them! And THAT is the point. Arguments that copyright is required to encourage people to create new things should not ignore the fact that copyright ALSO prevents things from being created. We should be able to have a rational discussion about the pros and cons of the current (or proposed) copyright systems, or other alternatives, and look at what makes the most sense for artists, and what makes the most sense for consumers... and with luck they may even intersect.

      If that happens to also benefit gatekeepers, then that's fine... but they shouldn't be the priority, even if they have the loudest voices.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2012 @ 12:58am

      Re:

      Doesn't matter how much you post your bullshit, copyright is a right of copy, not property. It says so in the fucking name.
      It expires, got it? E-X-P-I-R-E-S. Property doesn't expire, a monopoly does, in recognition that it is indeed a government granted monopoly. Not natural, artificial. Not saying bad or good, but it is an artificial monopoly on OTHER people's property. Get that though your thick scull. In life, there property, and then there is a monopoly. Copyright is a monopoly. You can't change that fact, no matter how much you try.

      Real life is complicated. Get use to it.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2012 @ 4:42am

    Culture

    This 'everyone can say no, no-one can say yes' situation smacks of a culture where everyone's trying to cover their own ass.

    IP protection is such a hot topic for this industry that no-one wants to risk permitting use of their material, in case it turns out that they shouldn't have (for whatever reason).

    The irony that this discredits the institution of copyright, and prevents it from being a workable system, scarcely needs pointing out.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    arrow101 (profile), Jul 31st, 2012 @ 7:21am

    copying is not illegal, the text on this webpage was copied from a server to your computer....

    intelectual copyright is broken, by the internet

    the genie is out of the bottle

    these are merely echoes of its impending demise

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 31st, 2012 @ 7:54am

    This is just a ridiculous situation. There should be an openly available, legally binding list of all the copyright holders of each piece of content, with contact details. They should be required to re-register (in a really simple, 'go to the website, put in my details and click ok' kind of way) on a regular basis, say every 3 years, and pay a token sum (like, a dollar, or 10 dollars).

    This would ensure that:

    1. There is a list that people can access to find out who to get permission from.
    2. The people/parties who have the copyright actually care that they have it, and it's an active, not passive, right.
    3. There is a simple way to ask permission.
    4. The small sum isn't out of the reaches of everyday folks.

    This won't stop people from saying no, just because they don't want to share - but this is their right as a copyright holder. It might, however, make it a little bit easier to get permission.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    Silver Fang (profile), Sep 27th, 2012 @ 4:00pm

    He should've just uploaded the video and hoped he didn't get caught.

     

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


Add Your Comment

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

Close

Email This