Does The US Government Pay Royalties When It Blasts Music As A Weapon?

from the just-wondering dept

There have been plenty of stories about how the US military uses music as a weapon. For many years, the military has blasted certain songs, hoping to annoy certain people. It’s not clear that this “acoustic bombardment” is particularly effective, but it hasn’t slowed down its use. The Register has an article quoting someone suggesting that musicians who are against the war might want to use their copyrights to stop the U.S. military from using their songs. No matter what you think of the war or the use of music in this manner, it doesn’t seem like this would be a particularly effective effort. At most, it would just force the government to switch to other music — and there’s no shortage of music out there that people might find annoying. However, it does raise a second question that isn’t clearly answered in the article: is the U.S. government paying performance royalties when they blast music in this manner? It certainly would seem to qualify as a “public” performance of sorts. Or, as with some patents, does the government itself get to decide when it can ignore the intellectual property laws it forces everyone else to use?

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Comments on “Does The US Government Pay Royalties When It Blasts Music As A Weapon?”

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Layne says:

War Music

I think that it is a waste of time. But, if they use it, they should pay for it. I have looked around and don’t see any mention of royalties, and there is also a lack of any noise being made by the music industry. I guess it is probably just another case of, “we won’t charge for the music if you leave us alone and help us route out piracy.” Which, is just another indication of how corrupt the government really is.

Nick Jones says:

I’d’ve thought that any music – or noise for that matter – played repeatedly at high volume would have the desired psychological and, possibly, physical effects, i.e. hearing loss. Presumably they play metal or ‘rawk’ because of its loud & discordant nature and because it’s pretty much alien to those being detained.

To be honest, I find it a bit surreal; they are using something which, to Muslim extremists, might possibly embody some of what they apparently find wrong with Western civilisation – I’d venture that it only serves to reinforce their perceptions, so those in charge are to be congratulated for their clarity of thinking. Still, you’re not gonna use the speeches of Bush, Rumsfeld and Bush are you? That’d just have ’em rolling in the aisles…

Anonymous Coward says:

unwanted Public Performances ...

If the gov’t has to pay, then I can think of a few people with car stereos who should be paying for providing a ‘public performance’ as well …

In fact, maybe we could ship some of those youngsters over with their cars and CD collection and have them drive around Sadr City … let ’em do what they do best.

fuse5k says:

annoying noises

i would say that very low frequency noises would be most effective if they were not to use music.

something about 70-80 hz would be confusing if it was played for long periods of time, as because of the mechanics of the sount its disorientating. the waves are longer than the distance between your ears, so you have no sense of direction for the sound.

either that or pink noise

TDizzle says:

Music Types

I have a friend who was in the special forces when the government was trying to force Noreiga out of his compound in Panama. They played Barry Manilow over loud speakers for days on end. I don’t think that was some soldier’s mix tape they had, but rather a calculated choice to annoy those inside and be more likely to deal with them.

Anonymous Coward says:

The anecdote supporting this is over 20 years old now, so things may have changed, but I believe that the U.S. Federal government claims an exemption from royalty payments because it is source of the copyright protection in the first place.

My recollection is fuzzy, so I may have that wrong. I remember, however, asking the question specifically in reference to an album made by one of the military bands.

The international aspect is interesting – once you enter a foreign country, you are no longer the provider of the copyright, the other country is. Whatever treaty is in effect may have some bearing on royalty payments.

But given that we’re talking about use of music in a PsyOps manner, we can assume that some form of hostilities are underway. War has its own set of rules.

Best the musician can probably hope for is a bunch of publicity when they gripe about it, but the way copyright legislation is going, who knows.

Maybe Congress will add a “Would you like your music used in war?” check box to the submission forms in the next copyright extension. That bill will also be the one that requires us to leave our HD tvs on at all times and activates the internal cameras installed in every set. 🙂

Jane N. Singleton says:

Response on music as weapon

I don’t know about music as a weapon. What about the way a case is allowed to be handled? What about conspiracies? What if they could get a whole community to turn against you and try all sorts of psychologically damaging actions intended to benefit them financially? I no longer have any doubts as to where our country is headed and how warped some of the officials are.

Jane N. Singleton says:

Re: Response on music as weapon

I mean the whole thing is to get submission. These are not my suggestions !!! They are just my observatons of the 1984 mentality of the government (democratics and republicans) that is taking place in our country. Why not just use the same tactics on innocent civilians in order to win a case? Drive the plaintiff or the defendant insane — who cares I just don’t want to be held accountable for anything?
Why stop at music? Why not put hidden cameras in their homes and perhaps you could blackmail them in some manner. These ARE NOT MY SUGGESTIONS !!!! THEY ARE OBSERVATIONS 1!!!! WHY CAN’T PEOPLE SEE WHAT IS GOING ON AND WHAT THE FUTURE IS GOING TO BE INSTEAD OF WORRYING IF THEY HAVE TO EAT TURN INSTEAD OF FILET MIGNON?

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