by Mike Masnick
Mon, Aug 13th 2012 10:15am
by Tim Cushing
Mon, Jul 30th 2012 9:00am
from the you-need-a-seriously-large-staff-to-get-nothing-done dept
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?Huge responds:
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?
To be honest, my main intention is to make the song for my own amusement.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.
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.
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.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.
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 ...
So does this mean that you do not intend to release the song with a mechanical license prior to putting a video on youtube?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.
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.
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 ...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.
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!
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jun 13th 2012 8:59pm
from the remix-this dept
However, as I just discovered, if you head over to YouTube, you can find the movie in pieces... but apparently part I has been disappeared down the copyright hole thanks to a copyright claim by eOne, an "independent music company."
Whether or not you think this music is original isn't the point. Because the rules of this game don't depend on who made the songs. They depend on who owns the copyright. And according to the people who do, sampling even a single note is grounds for a lawsuit. That means these kids should not be dancing. And you shouldn't be watching, because using these songs in my movie is against the rules too. And the fact that there are people out there calling my favorite artist a criminal, is exactly why I need to make this film.To be honest, I have no clue how long that clip has been down, but it does strike me as quite ironic. As far as I know neither Gaylor nor Gregg Gillis (who is Girl Talk) has been sued for infringement. And even though the movie (and Girl Talk's music) are widely available all over the place...apparently eOne decided that it couldn't have that on YouTube.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jun 8th 2012 2:14pm
from the keep-it-up dept
That said, it's also been interesting in the last month or so to watch the Radiolab crew start to embrace some of the ideas that we've been exploring for some time, concerning CwF+RtB (Connecting with Fans and giving them a Reason to Buy). I first noticed this about a month ago, when Radiolab announced its Lab Partners premium offering. Just as we've seen with artists who offer up content for free, but give people "subscription" style offering for premium features (sorta like our own Crystal Ball offering), Radiolab is giving people a ton of extras if they subscribe.
Some will argue, of course, that this is nothing more than a modern update to the traditional patronage model of public radio -- wherein they beg for pledges every so often and you might get a tote bag if you spend enough. And, clearly, the ideas come from the same general place. But there are some key differences -- mainly that the premium features aren't worthless tote bags, but are actually related to the show, and include things like access. So, for example, you can join an editorial chat with the Radiolab team, or, my favorite:
Toss Your Name in the Hat: Enter your first name to a pool of names that we’ll draw from whenever we need to use a made-up character name in a story.Like many of these kinds of offerings, Radiolabs has a couple tiers to let fans self-select. My one quibble is that I think there aren't enough tiers -- and there isn't a really low entry-level tier. In watching these kinds of experiments, at least having a very low level of support as an option can really help get more people involved and build up the buzz for a program. But, either way, it's neat.
Of course, that's not all Radiolab is doing. They really are doing a lot on the "CwF" side of things too. They've done a number of touring live shows (where they often bring along great musicians, like Zoe Keating). But they've also just launched a remix contest for the show. Remix contests are nothing new in the music world, but I've never heard of one for a radio show/podcast before. But they're doing the same basic thing -- releasing the stems, allowing you to re-score the music, etc.
If you've never listened to a Radiolab production, you might not understand why it would ever make sense to remix a radio show. But, the level of production that goes into every Radiolab episode is astounding. And they do a great job with how they reveal stories and plots. I'm honestly not sure that anyone could actually do a better job editing together an episode of Radiolab than host Jad Abumrad, but I'm actually really curious to hear what other fans can come up with.
As a brief aside, last fall, another great radio/podcast story teller, Ira Glass, from This American Life, did a thorough writeup of why Radiolab is so amazing, and it goes into some amount of detail about how Jad and Robert put together an episode. I think anyone seeking to remix an episode of Radiolab might learn a bunch of useful things from reading it.
Either way, I always think it's great to see more and more people in various areas start embracing these basic concepts and doing really cool things with them. At this stage, it's really just a bunch of experiments, but that's how amazing new things happen.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jun 5th 2012 8:06am
from the a-loss-to-society dept
In a recent interview, he expanded a bit on the reason he did this and what his thinking was. Basically, he said that it's similar to when a director takes acting lessons to better understand actors (but with no desire to be one). He's not planning to do video editing professionally, but he believes editing is the key part of how a video story is told, and he wanted to understand it more. As he said:
There's this expression that [a movie is] written three times: during the script, when you're filming it and when you're editing it. And I believe that's wrong. I think it's written once, in editing -- and everything is clay for that. And I wanted to learn about it -- I thought it would be neat. It's like learning to play the piano and I need a lot of clay. And I thought if I did one movie out of these three ...But, here's the thing. You and I and everyone else -- other than the small group of folks Grace invited to his screening -- will never see this movie. He's promised never to show it, because he doesn't want to upset Lucasfilm or violate their copyrights. Of course, Lucasfilm has actually been pretty cool about allowing such fan edits, but others in the industry, led by the MPAA, have not. And, of course, it seems that even just the one screening that Grace had for his friends in the industry and some reporters almost certainly violated Lucasfilm's copyrights on the work.
And Grace isn't stopping there either. He plans to do more of these, starting with an edit from the various versions of Close Encounters -- but again, none of us will ever get to see it:
I think, for people who like to edit, this is a cool way to do it. And it's just a great community thing. But they'll never be on YouTube, or any of that stuff.And that, to me, sounds like a pretty big loss. Fan edits and remixes of music are pretty popular and widely encouraged by artists these days. But, for whatever reason, the same viewpoint doesn't seem to extend much to movies (again, Lucasfilm is a slight, but not complete, exception). And, for the most part, it seems that not just allowing but encouraging the making and sharing of fan edits would be a great way to not just have fans even more engaged in the films, but also to introduce new audiences to films, and to give people more reasons to watch the originals again, just to compare them to some fan edits.
So here's a situation where we have someone doing something incredibly cool and creating a bit of culture that those who have seen it seem to have enjoyed thoroughly. And the rest of the world will never experience it, even though it wouldn't do any harm to the original films. That seems like a huge loss to the collective culture.
Fri, May 18th 2012 6:29pm
from the reclaiming-fair-use dept
Fair use was in eclipse for decades, with judges, lawyers, legal scholars, and creators unsure of its interpretation and convinced of its unreliability. Since the late 1990s, fair use has returned to the scene, and has become a sturdy tool for a wide range of creators and users. This transformation has been remarkable; we discuss it in detail in Chapter 5, and provide highlights here.
It happened in part because of changing scholarship. A generation of legal scholars has developed arguments for fair use as they have analyzed copyright’s effect on cultural expression. At the same time, cultural studies scholars have showcased the relevance of fair use to their work, which often involves analyzing popular culture. Teachers and scholars are beginning to take up the fair use banner, publicly using their rights and encouraging their students to do the same.
Settled, established communities of creators, administrators and users—filmmakers, teachers of English and visual art, librarians, makers of open course ware, poets, and dance archivists--have identified fair use as a necessary tool for them to use to achieve their missions. They have turned to the sturdy tool of consensus interpretation, by making codes of best practices in fair use through their professional associations.
Members of these communities have become active advocates for fair use. Their organizations and representatives have appeared before the Copyright Office to testify about the way that the DMCA, which makes illegal the breaking of encryption on DVDs, limits their ability to employ fair use in their work.
Remix artists of all kinds, working online, have come to adopt the claim of fair use as an anti-corporate banner. They trade information on fair use in conferences and conventions. When they receive takedown notices on YouTube, they issue counter-takedown notices and explain why their uses are fair. Remixers have also gone before the Copyright Office to protest the way that the DMCA impedes their creations, which are often socially critical.
New businesses have flourished employing fair use, and their trade associations have supported them. Google, the Consumer Electronics Association, and the Computer and Communications Industry Association have all advocated for fair use. Legal and professional services for communities of practice, such as lawyers and web developers, have built their fair use expertise to serve their clients better.
Think tanks and advocacy organizations have promoted fair use. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, the American Civil Liberties Union, Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain and the Stanford Fair Use Project have all taken action on fair use. Between the scholars, the creators, artists, and organizations, fair use is emerging out of a twilight existence where, for decades, it had lived. During those decades, many professionals and especially professionals in the corporate media environment—whether broadcast journalism, cable documentary, or newspapers—routinely and extensively employed fair use. But if you weren’t a professional, you might not even have heard of it. That has changed.
The goals of various actors in this resurgence of fair use differ. Some simply want to assert their rights to be able to improve their work, lower their costs and start or grow new businesses. Some want to expand the sphere of freedom of expression, so that copyrighted culture does not become off-limits for new work. Some believe that an expansion of fair use rights is imperative both to keep fair use as copyright policy is tinkered with, and to maintain the crucial principle of balance between owners’ rights and the society’s investment in new cultural creation. Some believe that fair use, exercised to the maximum, will provide concrete experience of the limitations of today’s copyright law, and point to more effective change. They all share a common understanding that individual and community action simply to assert their rights has an immediate and long-range effect on markets and policy.
The resurgence of fair use, the topic of this book, forms part of a much greater discourse in the U.S. and world-wide, critiquing the most stifling, confining features of copyright practice today. That discourse is variously called copyright reform, copyfighting, the copyleft, and cultural/creative/intellectual commons, depending on your angle of entry. Some people call it a movement, though it still lacks evidence of broad social mobilization (as Patrick Burkart has noted for music). The people in this discourse share an acute awareness that copyright policy and practice are tilted unfairly toward ownership rights, in a way that prejudices the health and growth of culture. This broader discourse is evident in many ways, besides the efforts to make fair use more useable: proposals for formal copyright reform; efforts to create copyright-light or copyright-free zones or to expand the public domain; and civil disobedience.
Some propose copyright reform to shrink the monopoly claims of owners. Veteran legal scholar Pamela Samuelson has proposed reconceptualizing copyright law from a blank slate. She imagines a simpler, shorter copyright law, grounded in principles rather than the “obese Frankenstein monster” it has become through stakeholder pressure and endless tinkering. Neil Netanel has proposed a range of tweaks to pull back the extent of copyright protection, such as limiting copyright length and dropping protection against the preparation of derivative work, so that less licensing is needed. Lawrence Lessig also has argued for simplifying and minimizing copyright protection for owners.
Some people offer suggestions to improve the efficiency of licensing, which today is messy, clumsy, and frustrating. Prof. David Lange, for instance, proposed increased use of statutory (or compulsory) licensing schemes, such those that allow today for the retransmission of TV signals by cable and satellite systems. Others have suggested new voluntary digital platforms through which users could make “micro-payments,” tiny payments for each individual access to copyrighted material offered commercially. Legal scholar William Fisher has proposed a voluntary collective administration system, akin to those that today enable public performances and broadcasts of music, and to collect licensing payments through Internet service providers and distribute them to copyright owners and artists whose material is used online. Some copyright owners, including the Association of Commercial Stock Images Licensors, are even toying with how to restructure their own licensing schemes, to eliminate archaisms such as regional rights in a transnational Internet age.
The ideas and projects all respond to the real problem that copyright law now fits ever more poorly the way people are actually making culture. They may well take some time to become useful, though. The big stumbling block both to fundamental copyright reform and to licensing reform is that large copyright holders—key stakeholders in any change in licensing schemes—are not able to agree on what they would like to do. They do not know what business models will be most relevant in a few years, so living with a lumbering, archaic licensing system with a lot of holes in it looks better to them than change that might have unanticipated downsides. As major stakeholders in any legislative reform, they will stall, derail or rewrite legislation in the same unbalanced direction as today, until their interests shift with shifting business models. As major actors in licensing, they will collaborate on new methods of licensing when they understand how emerging business models favor their interests.
Another part of this broad copyright critique is a range of efforts to expand copyright-free and copyright-light zones, discussed by David Bollier and James Boyle. People in this arena often invoke the phrases “the public domain,” “open access,” and “Creative Commons.” Projects such as open source software (collaboratively created and freely offered software), open source (free and accessible to all) academic and scientific journals and databases, and OpenCourseWare (freely available curriculum materials) offer such alternative zones. The various Creative Commons licenses contribute to this alternative zone by offering a way for creators to give their work away more easily, although with conditions, by labelling it appropriately.
These efforts have indeed created significant copyright-light zones, as well as creating enormous enthusiasm for a more flexible copyright policy. They work well for people who want to give their work away and share it without economic reward. A pool of noncommercial works now exists, but it is tiny compared with the field of copyrighted and often-commercial work. Viacom and News Corp will continue to copyright their holdings and treat them as assets. The existence of copyright- light zones, however large, does not address the frequent need that people have to access mass commercial culture to make new cultural expression.
Finally, copyright critique is seen in opposition and resistance, such as giddy, open flouting of copyright law by “culture jammers,” pranksters and appropriation artists. Burkart describes this work as part of the incipient and still-inchoate cyberliberties social movement, taking up “the politics of symbolic action,” typically “weapons of the weak.” These people and groups—Negativeland, the Yes Men, Adbusters magazine and others—position themselves on the margins of official culture, and see themselves as reclaiming culture one image or gesture at a time. They also see themselves as challenging the terms of long and strong copyright. Ironically, many times the uses they make of copyrighted material are actually completely legal fair uses.
This broad and diverse discourse calling for changes in long and strong copyright thus has many faces and approaches, each with opportunities and limitations. They add up to a broad public awareness of trouble around long and strong copyright. Within this discourse, efforts to make fair use more useable stand out because they can be done now, by people in many walks of life; they can be publicized and celebrated, thus spreading the word; and because using this right expands its range of uses.
Fair use is not necessarily a popular phrase for all in this broader collection of copyright critics. Some regard it as hopelessly compromised because of technologies such as encryption, which override a user’s will to excerpt. Some believe that exemptions such as fair use are good but that fair use is too murky or unclear to be a helpful exemption. Some believe that fair use partakes too much of the status quo, and that another copyright-free world is possible. One way that concern is expressed is to argue that it is too limited a doctrine, and that we need to reach beyond it to accomplish our goals.
In fact, under the current interpretation, fair use does apply in a wide variety of situations. They range from making copies of TV programs on our DVRs to creating digitally annotated critical texts to making an archive of the worst music videos ever to making relevant curriculum digitally available to students. Fair use has evolved, having different functions at different moments in U.S. history. Today it has an ever-growing importance and value within copyright, as a primary vehicle to restore copyright to its constitutional purpose, and the transformativeness standard assists in creating that value. Fair use is like a muscle; unused, it atrophies and exercise makes it grow. Its future is open; vigorous exercise will not break fair use.
Fair use will continue to be important, no matter what the success of other aspects of long and strong copyright protests and proposals. Even if we could wave a magic wand and execute reform of copyright policy that rolls back some of the longest, strongest terms in copyright policy, fair use would still be an important tool to free up recent culture for referencing in new work. Even if licensing were much easier than it is today, it would never address all the needs people have for use of copyrighted material. Even if copyright-light zones vastly expanded, the need to access the copyrighted material existing outside those zones without permission or payment would still remain. Sometimes people need to use materials that the copyright owner simply will not license to them. Fair use will be important to anyone working in the cultural mainstream. Culture jamming can be fun, although some culture jammers are actually just employing their fair use rights without knowing it. But most creators, teachers, learners and sharers of information don’t see themselves as criminals or pirates, and don’t want to.
Reclaiming fair use plays a particular and powerful role in the broader range of activities that evidence the poor fit between today's copyright policy and today's creative practices. In a world where the public domain has shrunk drastically, it creates a highly valuable, contextually defined, “floating” public domain. The assertion of fair use is part of a larger project of reclaiming the full meaning of copyright policy—not merely protection for owners but the nurturing of creativity, learning, expression. Asserting fair use rights and defending the rights of others to use them is a crucial part of constructing saner copyright policy.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 16th 2012 12:42pm
from the going-beyond-creative-commons dept
According to Wikipedia, "Open Source" is a philosophy that promotes free redistribution and access to a project's design and implementation details. The end user who edits the program is then allowed to send his/her input to the author for possible inclusion in the project.Of course, many folks in the "free culture" world would point to Creative Commons as the artistic equivalent of an open source offering. However, two interesting things strike me. First, as of the time I'm writing this post, no one in the dozens of comments posted to that story mentions CC at all. Second, the request actually goes a bit further than CC. It's not just about making the works free to distribute or use... but the second part: sending it back to the original creator for possible inclusion in the project. Now, again, we have seen some examples of this with various remix projects. In particular, I'm reminded of the experiment by K-OS, where rather than having fans remix an album, he pre-released all the stems, and let fans create their own original mixes, and then took the best for each song and released a combo album: one of his own mixes, and a second of the best fan mixes. In the hip-hop world, releasing instrumentals or acapellas for fans and other artists to remix (and building contests or other promotions around that) is fairly common—but only a few artists have gone further and offered up the individual bits and pieces. Perhaps that's along the lines of what The Polish Ambassador is looking for.
If an artist like The Polish Ambassador were to become an open sourced project what might that look like? Is there room/possibility for art/music/brands to become open source? Is it already happening? Could this ideology serve some purpose? Maybe a way to get other people's ideas out there? A way to collaborate? A way to merge efforts of like minded folks? A way to create art from art? A way to generate $ for end users/charities? It seems to me the possibilities are endless. We all use open sourced software every day. Linux, Firefox, etc, but I haven't heard of many artists that when I think of their name, I also think, "O yea, she/he's that open source artist." Maybe there's a reason for this, maybe not. With Twitter/Facebook and the web in general, technologically speaking, we have never been more connected. Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Could "open source artists" be an evolutionary step for art?
Either way, this has me wondering if there isn't something Creative Commons could include in their offerings, or if if this goes beyond that. It is an interesting point however. One of the thrills people get in working on open source software isn't the fact that they can do what they want with it, but that they can collaborate to make the project better. Open source developers feel well-earned pride when a contribution gets included in a larger project. Imagine the same situation with musicians. What if your favorite band released your remix of their song? That is, what if they effectively worked with you and said your version was one they really liked -- such that you got the official stamp of approval that had the work more widely distributed? Again, it appears that some artists are doing this on the margins, but it seems like the kind of thing that could be more clearly formalized and promoted as a cool way for artists to connect with fans and for fans to gain some form of validation for their own help with certain projects.
Oh, and in the meantime, it appears that The Polish Ambassador is currently offering up its entire discography for free -- 7 hours worth of music, all in FLAC format.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Apr 18th 2012 7:15am
from the oh-look-at-that dept
"Rip it, burn it--the last few years parents and children have been given a pass when they knew in their hearts that [what they were doing] was wrong," Iovine said.Indeed, he seems to suggest that parents share some of the blame for their kids infringing:
"(Piracy) is hurting kids because kids are learning a disrespect for the basic relationship between creativity and ownership. It's hurting parents because they are in on the sham."So, one would assume that Jimmy Iovine's kids are squeaky clean, right? Especially, say, if they were professional DJs whose websites indicate they're a part of the Interscope/Universal Music family, right? Yes, that's the website of DJ Eye -- also known as Jamie Iovine, son of Jimmy Iovine. Jamie actually has a really good reputation as a DJ but, like many DJs, he releases mixtapes/remixes/etc. And, recently, it appears, Jamie's Soundcloud account was shut down due to copyright infringement:
My soundcloud is temp disabled due to some copyright bullshit. Getting it cleared up and should be re activated soonHis account is now back but a recent remix has gone missing. It was a remix that included Will.I.Am (Interscope Artist) along with Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger (not on Interscope).
None of this is to suggest that Jamie did anything wrong here. In fact, it looks like he did something completely natural and certainly very common: remixed some music in a cool way. But the way copyright law often works, you can now get in lots of trouble and owe lots and lots of money for doing something completely natural. Perhaps his father will realize that these issues aren't always so black and white, and even if your children are brought up in a house where they're taught repeatedly just how totally awesome copyright law is, it doesn't mean they won't, someday, discover how copyright law limits them, and get accused of copyright infringement.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Mar 9th 2012 6:43pm
from the but-of-course dept
According to Daryl Hall, when Jackson was recording “We Are the World,” Jackson approached him and admitted to lifting the bass line for "Billie Jean" from a Hall and Oates song (apparently referring to Hall’s "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)" from the 1981 album Private Eyes): "Michael Jackson once said directly to me that he hoped I didn't mind that he copped that groove."Of course, the really amusing part? Hall responded to Jackson... by telling him he had done the same thing himself to get that bassline in the first place! "It's something we all do," Hall later explained.
Indeed. And yet, under today's laws, it's still considered infringement, and we still hear people looking down on "remixing" or people who create works in this manner, by building on the works of others. And yet, this is one of the most successful pop songs of all time. And the bass was a big part of that. Elsewhere in the Wikipedia article, there's a discussion of how the producer of the song, Quincy Jones, hated the song, and specifically the bass line. Yet Jackson insisted that the bass line was the key to the song, and the two of them fought over it until Jackson won. And the bassline was completely copied.
It's stories like this that make us wonder how people can say with a straight face that copying something can't help to create something new.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Feb 17th 2012 9:00am
from the everything-is-a-remix dept
As he notes, this is psychologically understandable. It's all about "loss aversion." People feel a sense that they "own" something which they really do not -- and that's often boosted by the concepts of intellectual property that really spread the idea that you can, in fact, own an idea (and, yes, technically neither copyright nor patents apply directly to "ideas," but that's a nuance that most people fail to grasp when they see how content and inventions are considered "owned" under the laws of today).
The video then talks about the continued expansion of copyright laws, and the more nefarious effort to continue to ratchet things up through trade agreements like ACTA and TPP. But he also points out that this is somewhat ironic, since in its early years, the US refused to sign similar trade agreements, and was a "pirate nation" that ignored copyrights from around the globe.
The video doesn't just cover copyrights, but digs into patents as well -- with specific attention paid to broad software patents that do little to contribute any knowledge to the world, but instead take broad concepts and seek to lock them up for the purpose of suing and trying to extract settlements from those actually creating and innovating.
From there he breaks out the original purpose of both copyrights and patents under the US system. In both cases, they were about benefiting the public: to encourage learning or to promote the progress of "useful" arts (inventions). But when the laws fail to do that, then we should see the system as broken and seek to remedy it.
All in all, Ferguson's series is a great introduction to many of the issues we cover around here. I don't fully agree with everything in all of the videos -- and the latest one has a slight undertone suggesting that capitalism and markets in and of themselves are bad (which I think is conflating a few different issues). But overall the videos are fantastic -- and in terms of production quality, it seems like each one in the series is better than the previous one. He keeps maturing as a video maker, which is cool to see. Ferguson is now moving on to a new project, called This is Not a Conspiracy Theory, for which he's raising funds on Kickstarter, so check it out.