Charity Threatened For Children Singing Without Paying Royalties; History Repeats Itself

from the public-domain dept

About a decade ago, the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) made news for idiotically threatening the Girl Scouts for singing songs around campfires without paying licensing fees. The resulting publicity forced ASCAP to back down, but gave the group a huge black eye for being copyright bullies. This story coincided with a growing interest in copyright issues, and many credit the story with generating initial interest from many into copyright policy issues. You would think that this story would have made its way across the pond to the UK and its Performing Rights Society (PRS), the UK equivalent of ASCAP. Apparently not. PRS, who was last seen around here badgering a chain of auto mechanics for having its mechanics listen to music so loudly that customers can hear (but without paying for a performance license), is apparently now demanding royalties from a charity that happens to have children singing carols at a Christmas concert. Apparently PRS first visited the charity to threaten them over a similar issue to the auto mechanics. The building has a tea room, and workers in the kitchen apparently had the radio on too loud, leading to a demand for performance royalties from the PRS. That resulted in further discussions about what other music occurs on the premises, and the PRS’s demand for a license for the caroling. This all seems quite similar to the Girl Scout campfire fiasco, with the added wonders of a Scrooge-like Christmas twist. Either way, it’s yet another example of a dying industry trying to greedily squeeze ever last penny out of every possible place before it dies for good.

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Comments on “Charity Threatened For Children Singing Without Paying Royalties; History Repeats Itself”

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63 Comments
Shohat says:

Charity

First of all, don’t let the word “charity” fool you.
Charities are extremely profitable for the people that run them

Either way, it’s yet another example of a dying industry trying to greedily squeeze ever last penny out of every possible place before it dies for good.

It is not dying, it is changing. You see better and stronger DRMs appear monthly. Just like any young technology, the first generations are problematic, hackable, and do more damage than good. Of course, the industry came to this fight unprepared, but you see that they are making every technological and political effort to compensate for that.
Don’t underestimate the enemy.

Felix Unger says:

Re: Charity

Charities are extremely profitable for the people that run them ALL of them? I don’t think so, and it still isn’t right to sue for kids singing at campfires. If it’s not a public performance then what’s the problem?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all FOR stopping the Macarena, but they’re doing it anyway so what has been accomplished? The PRS has eggs in a basket all over its face.

You see better and stronger DRMs appear monthly No, I don’t. I will not pay for DRM’d music and I make sure everyone I talk to is educated about it. DRM prevents me from doing what I, legally, want to do with my music. So my wallet will not shed one more dollar, period.

-FU

Mike C. says:

Re: Charity

You see better and stronger DRMs appear monthly. Just like any young technology, the first generations are problematic, hackable, and do more damage than good. Of course, the industry came to this fight unprepared, but you see that they are making every technological and political effort to compensate for that.
Don’t underestimate the enemy.

Just one simple point and one comment.

– As far as DRM is concerned, for every dollar spend on DRM “protections”, there are likely 10 people each spending ten dollars each on the other side of the equation. If you want an example, take a look at the AACS fiasco. It took the combined efforts of maybe a half dozen people to allow the last guy to have enough information to crack the encryption. The people that cracked it did not get paid for their efforts. Yet the company that came up with the standard invested how many millions? Will they ever see a net positive return on their investment? I seriously doubt it.

– As for “Don’t underestimate the enemy”, you might want to take your own advice… 🙂

MeatyMcBeef says:

Ha!

You have to be kidding me! This looks like the doing of companies who let themselves be run by lawyers.

It’s the equivilant of allowing government officials to make decisions that benefit the companies who the government officials own.

If you let lawyers make decisions for you, you’re going to be making decisions that benefit the lawyers firms.

fuse5k says:

prs

I dont know what the set up is in the US,
but the PRS here are actually the good guys…

All money collected by the PRS in the UK is distributed to the songwriters, not the record companies…

if you are a musician you pay a one off fee of about £100 and if your music is broadcasted on tv or radio you get money from it. ( about £300 for three minutes on BBC or £90 for 3 inutes on radio1)

i agree this is a bit sharp going after carollers, but in the end they are helping musicians, not record companies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: prs

I dont know what the set up is in the US,
but the PRS here are actually the good guys…

All money collected by the PRS in the UK is distributed to the songwriters, not the record companies…

if you are a musician you pay a one off fee of about £100 and if your music is broadcasted on tv or radio you get money from it. ( about £300 for three minutes on BBC or £90 for 3 inutes on radio1)

i agree this is a bit sharp going after carollers, but in the end they are helping musicians, not record companies.

In the case of carols, most of which have been around for many decades, how does the PRS decide who to give the money to? I also recall something called public domain… you know that thing where really old stuff is free to everyone…

MeatyMcBeef says:

Prepare for flamage

Shohat, have you ever worked in a charity? 90% of charities work on a shoestring budget. There is very little benefit to working for a charity unless you already have stable income.

There are a few charities that the organizers make large incomes but again they are taxed and typically charities like those are big enough and require the experience that makes that level of income reasonable.

There will always be people looking to rip off the good will of others but don’t generalize.

DRM is a lost cause. CD sales are headed that way. The companies that are not adapting to easily accesible downloadable media and other revenue streams will eventually go under, but not before pulling bonehead moves like this and making themselves look bad.

Asi9 says:

WTF?

Wait, so if I roll down the block banging some beats and my neighbors hear me does that mean I should have to pay performance license?? I’m pretty sure I bought the damn cd, and I’ll play it as loud and as often as I like in any location…..btw I won’t be charging if someone happens to walk to close or hear my obvious disagreement with this bogus attempt for the record industry’s bored lawyers to make a couple extra bucks..

Phil says:

Girl Scouts

Those Girl Scouts are rebels! Imagine singing a song around a campfire and not paying royalties. Shocking! If you give them an inch they’ll take a mile; imagine these girls getting away with this and then they’ll start singing songs at slumber parties and pay no royalties there either! Then they’ll get older and have boyfriends and maybe they’ll sing together and not pay royalties. Then they’ll get older, marry and have children and maybe they’ll sing together as a family and not pay royalties.

Teach them the lesson when they’re young I’d say or it’ll be anarchy!

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re #2 Shohat

As McBeef stated in post #9, don’t generalize the charities.
There are a few corrupt ones looking to rake in money from the unsuspecting just for themselves and not for the benefit of less well off / research / insert charity cause here, but they are not all like that.

Another note:
Better and stronger DRM schemes every month?
You must work for a DRM company or a record company.
They are the ONLY ones who believe that A) they are better and stronger, and B) That they in ANY way help / improve stuff for the consumer.
ALL consumers do NOT want DRM, but in some cases some will suffer with it due to lack of alternatives.

Here, let me sell you this lunch meat from the deli, but you can ONLY eat it at home. No taking it in your lunch to work. Just because I say so. This is intended to open up more business opportunities (read: I want to sell you different lunch meat there so I can rape you for more money). That analogy seems to be the Same idea as DRM. How would you like that as a consumer? Probably not too much.

Shohat says:

Re: Re #2 Shohat

I don’t work for a record company.

You must work for a DRM company or a record company
They are the ONLY ones who believe that A) they are better and stronger,

You forgot another option, which is engineers and mathematicians, people who actually have a chance at understanding the DRM mechanics.

I would like to remind you that “Unix security” used to be an oxymoron. Unix always had the reputation of being the most unsecure and hackable OS on the planet. But technology improves, mistakes are fixed, better methods are discovered. While we don’t have much innovation in our time, progress does occur, especially when it comes to fields with great commercial interest – ie, DRM.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re #2 Shohat

You forgot another option, which is engineers and mathematicians, people who actually have a chance at understanding the DRM mechanics.

ahh, so you have no idea how DRM works. i get it now.

here’s a little primer:

1) DRM is impossible: drm is based on encryption. encryption is based on secret keys. to decode DRM’d content you have to have a secret key. all the cryptography engineering (the “mechanics”) in the world is useless if you keep distributing the secret keys along with the encrypted content. the best lock in the world won’t stop a single intruder if you keep the key taped to it.

2) DRM does not stop piracy: pirated content is not DRM’d and never was. people who pirate rarely come into contact with DRM. pirated content is often leaked from an original source.

3) DRM hurts paying customers: if you buy a DRM’d file and the company stops supporting that file, you will have to either buy the file again or use some “unauthorized means” to gain access to the data. most customers won’t stand for this and will warn their friends. not being able to convert content you purchased to the format you want is hardly and incentive to buy again, or to encourage your friends to buy for the first time.

4) DRM encourages piracy: if you buy a DRM’d CD and want to rip it to your MP3 player and cannot, you will find a non DRM version on the net and use it on the player instead. next time you want a new CD, you may not bother with buying the disk in the first place since you will have to download the format you want anyway. it’s even funnier with DVD’s and laptops or handheld players.

DRM is doomed and there is no technology or law that can save it.

Shohat says:

Re: Re: Re: Re #2 Shohat

Don’t be so close minded. In the future, DRM might not have to rely only on encryption as a method of confirming the user’s right to use it
.
I happen to understand exactly how DRM works. That’s the thing, I do understand that the method is flawed, but it doesn’t mean that the industry will find the concept obsolete.
The future is all about marking people with unique and irremovable identification devices, constantly following the person’s movement, actions, assets and purchases. I am sure that they will figure out how to incorporate content rights into such a system.
Until then, it would be mighty stupid of them to just give up the idea of DRM – their lack of vision has already hurt them when the digital era hit.

Chronno S. Trigger says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re #2 Shohat

Mathematically DRM works, it already douse. But you’re not seeing the big picture. You ever see those GE commercials talking about the human element? That’s what you’re missing here. No one likes DRM. No one likes the idea that they have an iPod so they have to have iTunes. Napster is not compatible. (I’m in that boat) Once we add the Human element into the equation we realise that realistically DRM is self defeating.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re #2 Shohat

Don’t be so close minded. In the future, DRM might not have to rely only on encryption as a method of confirming the user’s right to use it

even if you were able come up with a new scheme for DRM that doesn’t use encryption (or watermarking, or steganography), that doesn’t change the fact that 1)pirated content is not DRM’d and never was 2)DRM only hurts legitimate users while never affecting the pirates it was intended to stop and 3) DRM encourages piracy by frustrating legitimate users and forcing them to download pirated copies so they can use the content as they see fit.

that’s the thing with pirated content, it never touched the registration system or any legitimate channel. you can register and track me all you want, but you can’t register something that was never legal to begin with.

pirated content was off the grid from the beginning and will continue to be. read the darknet paper. if downloading from the internet becomes too difficult, people will just go back to usenet or IRC or people will just trade thumb drives in person. how can you track that? you gonna make open source software illegal? you gonna outlaw PCs?

even if you have to register everything by law, stuff will just go unregistered, you know, like guns and immigrants do today.

just like prohibition, if the american public wants to do something, and you make it illegal, not only will they circumvent your efforts in minutes, you will end up creating a new criminal element that is far worse than the thing you wanted to make illegal. prohibition created the mafia, trusted computing will create the darknet syndicate.

Until then, it would be mighty stupid of them to just give up the idea of DRM – their lack of vision has already hurt them when the digital era hit.

stupid, right. the industry never gives up, that’s why audio cassettes, VHS tapes, recordable CDs and DVDs are illegal today and why they outlawed radio all those years ago.

read doctorow’s paper on DRM it discusses times whe the music industry faces threats from new technology and survived by figuring out how to give people what they want.

TheDock22 says:

This wouldn't fly in the US

But as a previous commenter pointed out, this is happening in England and the PRS is representing the artists, which is what Techdirt and most readers support.

So why is this issue upsetting people now? Like I have always said, people can say what they want but in the end all they really want is free music and to leave to artists in the cold.

Chronno S. Trigger says:

Re: This wouldn't fly in the US

So your saying that you would rather not be allowed to play your music at work in case someone else heard it? You’re saying that you don’t want to hear a chorus sing because they didn’t play the licensing fee (even though that is supposed to be payed when the sheet music is purchased). You’re saying that the artist should be given 300 euros for 3 min of their music? (referring to fuse5k’s remark.)

I’d say that having all the money go to the artists is a good thing but how they collect it can be and is worth disputing. Strong arming charities and mechanics.

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, FILE SHARING WILL NEVER GO AWAY. I don’t care if they put all of the police force into enforcing a civil matter it will never go away. There are two choices in this matter, embrace that fact or die trying to avoid it. By embrace I mean give the customer what they want, DRM free music at a reasonable price. I’d pay for it, and the success of allofmp3 proves that a lot of other people will too.

Yes there are people who will think “why should I pay if I can get it for free?” I know people like that but that’s not the way the world works. Most people are kind people who just want to do the right thing. Making the right thing the easy thing to do just makes sense.

TheDock22 says:

Re: Re: This wouldn't fly in the US

So your saying that you would rather not be allowed to play your music at work in case someone else heard it?

I use headphones, but most companies don’t let you play music at all so it is irrelevant.

You’re saying that you don’t want to hear a chorus sing because they didn’t play the licensing fee (even though that is supposed to be payed when the sheet music is purchased).

The licensing fee is paid for when the sheet music is bought (in the US at least, I can’t speak of Europe), but most music teachers only by 1 copy of the sheet music and the photocopy the rest for the choir. The license covers 1 individual singer. I used to sing for a choir, so I know how it works most of the time.

You’re saying that the artist should be given 300 euros for 3 min of their music?

Well if the artist wants to push it, it is their choice even if it is bad for PR. It is their song after all.

One thing that the article fails to mention is these children were singing licensed songs. If they would sing songs that were out of copyright then there would be no issue. Other articles suggest that they did not even buy sheet music, that the teacher wrote their own compilation of the song which means the artists were not being paid at all for the performance.

But, in the end it just looks like a big business picking on a charity which is pretty low. At some point these companies need to decide what is more important, good PR or money/bad PR. Personally if I were this charity, I would just write a letter to the artist and ask that the fee be dropped. If the artist says no, well then ditch the song and stick to the basics.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: This wouldn't fly in the US

you’re talking about music teachers and choirs, not ads for mcdonald’s. there is a universe of difference between teaching kids about music, charities, and actual profits.

there are more important things in this world than media company profits, things like free speech, fair use, privacy, and charity.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: This wouldn't fly in the US

> > So your saying that you would rather not
> > be allowed to play your music at work in
> > case someone else heard it?

> I use headphones

Nice dodge. Your use of headphones is irrelevant. A person shouldn’t have to use headphones because some music industry goon thinks that their radio constitutes a public performance otherwise.

> but most companies don’t let you play music
> at all so it is irrelevant.

Every company I’ve ever worked for has. In fact, as I type this, I’m at my desk listening to my iPod docked into a player. (I hope it’s not too loud. I haven’t paid my public performance royalty to the RIAA this month.)

> but most music teachers only by 1 copy of the
> sheet music and the photocopy the rest for the choir.

You obviously don’t know how sheet music is sold. A typical package comes with a conductor’s score and all the individual parts and it’s all included in the license. But now we have the RIAA coming back and saying, “Oh, yeah, you paid for the paper the music is printed on but if you want to actually make the sounds, you have to pay us again.” If that doesn’t red-line your bullshit meter, then you’re just a hopeless industry apologist.

TheDock22 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 This wouldn't fly in the US

Nice dodge. Your use of headphones is irrelevant. A person shouldn’t have to use headphones because some music industry goon thinks that their radio constitutes a public performance otherwise.

Not a dodge, I was just commenting. I personally have never worked anywhere in which you can have a radio playing. Besides, this is all happening in Europe with different rules even if they are kind of silly.

You obviously don’t know how sheet music is sold. A typical package comes with a conductor’s score and all the individual parts and it’s all included in the license. But now we have the RIAA coming back and saying, “Oh, yeah, you paid for the paper the music is printed on but if you want to actually make the sounds, you have to pay us again.”

I believe you are mistaken. The director’s copy just gives them the right to conduct the song, they are still responsible for buying copies for each performer and can not just photocopy them.

http://www.jwpepper.com/cpyright.html

But as I also said and since you never read all of my comments, I still think picking on them is silly and will just make the PRS look like bad guys. While they may have legal ground to demand licensing, doing so to a non-profit is just despicable.

BTR1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 This wouldn't fly in the US

> The director’s copy just gives them the right to conduct the song,
> they are still responsible for buying copies for each performer
> and can not just photocopy them.

That’s exactly what I said: “a typical package comes with a conductor’s score AND ALL THE INDIVIDUAL PARTS and it’s all included in the license.”

Take this suite from the movie “Jaws” by John Williams, for example:

http://www.lucksmusic.net/cat-symph/showdetailMain.asp?CatalogNo=13104

You’ll notice that it’s sold as a conductor’s score alone for $60.00 (mainly for music scholars who just want to study the music) and the complete orchestral performance set (conductor’s score and a full set of individual parts for every instrument in the orchestra) for $465.00.

Now typically that $465.00 would entitle the orchestra to not only the sheet music but the rights to actually perform the piece in concert but lately groups like the RIAA are claiming that the orchestra still needs to pay them a public performance royalty ON TOP OF the $465.00 they’ve already paid for the sheet music. What they’re essentially saying is that for $465.00 all you get is the printed notes. Any production of actual sound based on those pages must be paid for separately.

If you don’t think that’s absolute nonsense, you’re beyond my ability to reason with.

dorpass says:

Re: This wouldn't fly in the US

Like I have always said, people can say what they want but in the end all they really want is free music and to leave to artists in the cold

As usual, you make a claim unsupported by the reality. If people want to leave the artists in the cold so badly, why are concerts still packed and why do people still pay loads of money to scalpers just to be able to get into sold out shows for many different artists? Yes, that’s their secret way of leaving the artist in the cold, paying them for their performance. And you can’t just dismiss this part and say “well, they want to download free music” because it’s obviously not what your quote above says.
By the way, if “people” which in itself implies majority, really want to leave those poor artists in the cold, why aren’t music sales down by 50-60%, even though P2P is accessible even to the most computer illiterate. Wait, don’t explain, you might have to deal with reality if you do.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: This wouldn't fly in the US

But as a previous commenter pointed out, this is happening in England

Did you read the post? It started with an example of the same thing happening in the US.

and the PRS is representing the artists, which is what Techdirt and most readers support.

You seem to have misinterpreted what Techdirt supports. Yes, we support artists, but support artists finding reasonable business models that don’t involve shaking down every business that plays music or sings songs. There are business models that allow musicians to make a living that don’t require getting a fee everytime the music is played or shared.

So why is this issue upsetting people now?

Because it’s a demonstration of how idiotic the old business models are.

Like I have always said, people can say what they want but in the end all they really want is free music and to leave to artists in the cold.

Then you don’t do a very good job reading what we write. We’ve have pointed to countless examples of ways to make plenty of money (not leaving artists in the cold, but actually allowing more artists to make a decent living) without having to get paid for every use of the music.

TheDock22 says:

Re: Re: This wouldn't fly in the US


Then you don’t do a very good job reading what we write. We’ve have pointed to countless examples of ways to make plenty of money (not leaving artists in the cold, but actually allowing more artists to make a decent living) without having to get paid for every use of the music.

Concerts and things are fine, but the artists do not really make all that much money from doing them. Merchandising, they would be lucky to raise a couple bucks a shirt. These things are okay revenue for artists, but their music is an important income for them.

I do think the business model needs changing, but not to the extreme of making artists give their music away for free online to consumers while hoping they make up the profits in merchandise and concert tickets, where they would still need to pay the cost of transporting their equipment, buying new equipment, staff people wages, etc. With music, they can pay the cost to record it once and then reap the benefits from cd sales.

But as my favorite band does to keep me buying their cds, they offer bonus discs or items if you pre-order their cds (like t-shirts or other items). I think that’s a pretty good idea and works pretty well which goes along with what most articles are written about (offering something to the consumer in exchange for buying their album). Some artists are embracing a new model (and still associated with the RIAA) but I don’t think it will be an overnight change. And if the RIAA would quit suing people and start helping the artists change then they could stay in the loop as well.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: This wouldn't fly in the US

Concerts and things are fine, but the artists do not really make all that much money from doing them. Merchandising, they would be lucky to raise a couple bucks a shirt. These things are okay revenue for artists, but their music is an important income for them.

Then you apparently don’t know much about the music industry. Most bands make NOTHING from their music and make most of their money from other sources of revenue.

I do think the business model needs changing, but not to the extreme of making artists give their music away for free online to consumers while hoping they make up the profits in merchandise and concert tickets

Again, please stop making this lame assumption. It’s not about “hoping” you make the money up, it’s about setting up a real business model where you absolutely can make more money. And you miss the point: when you are giving away and promoting the music for free, it’s much easier to build up a much larger audience willing to pay for a lot of things (beyond just concerts and merch, btw).

With music, they can pay the cost to record it once and then reap the benefits from cd sales.

Again, please realize that most musicians make no money from CDs. If you’d like to understand the math, here you go:

http://archive.salon.com/tech/feature/2000/06/14/love/print.html

But as my favorite band does to keep me buying their cds, they offer bonus discs or items if you pre-order their cds (like t-shirts or other items). I think that’s a pretty good idea and works pretty well which goes along with what most articles are written about (offering something to the consumer in exchange for buying their album).

Yes, that’s a perfectly good business model… and they might get more people willing to buy into it if they had more people listening to their music, recognizing that the songs themselves act to promote those other things.

TheDock22 says:

Re: Re: Re:2 This wouldn't fly in the US


Again, please realize that most musicians make no money from CDs. If you’d like to understand the math, here you go:

http://archive.salon.com/tech/feature/2000/06/14/love/print.html

Thanks for the link! That is actually a very nice article about the inner workings of a recording contract. I can definitely see where the RIAA no longer fits into the grand scheme of things because artists no longer need the million dollars to reach audiences and fans on the Internet.

Of course they will need to dish out money if they want to play in a amphitheater, which I think they would still need RIAA or RIAA-members to negotiate for them. But this could also work out to the RIAAs advantage. They takes a lot of risks by loaning out millions to artists who never make it. With the new model, let the artists work that out for themselves and then step in when they’re ready to move into a bigger part of the industry. There is almost little to no risk involved and they would know ahead of time what the fans are like and where these bands could sell-out shows.

Seems to me the music is only half the market, but until the industry changes I still think the consumers do not need to pirate music and should purchase it instead. Consumers not buying the music is NOT going to stop the recording industry, but artists no longer willing to sign contracts with them will be responsible for the change.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 This wouldn't fly in the US

Of course they will need to dish out money if they want to play in a amphitheater, which I think they would still need RIAA or RIAA-members to negotiate for them.

What a joke. You seriously don’t seem to care if you have any idea about things before you open your mouth.

What a loon.

Bob (profile) says:

The thing is...

I can straddle the fence here a little. I have a close relative that earns their living writing songs and performing music.

I am a board member for a small “very non-profit” community theater. We were “approached” in letter form telling us we needed to have an asscap license for our shows. Not for musicals which rights are acquired differently but for ambiance music. Pre-show, intermission and the like. We of course complied and paid the whatever hundreds’ of dollars per year.

My problem is that they never ask for or accept our play list for the music we are now legally presenting to the paying public.

Shouldn’t the independent artists that we choose to highlight in our pre-show music be getting the royalties? Just how do they decide how to spread the licensing monies around if they don’t gather play lists?

Anyone know this stuff?

PS spell checker suggests ‘ass cap’ as the corect spelling for ‘asscap’ (yes I realize it has one ‘S’)

Barrenwaste (profile) says:

The money goes to the artists? Yup, that makes it perfectley legitiment to take money from a childrens charity christmas pagent. Don’t they put people in prison for that sort of thing?

As for charities being money makers, I work for two of them. I don’t get paid a cent. In the one charity we have three full time staffers who are woefully underpaid. In the other, yes the charity is massive, yes they have many full time workers. Most of us still don’t recieve payment. Do they make money? Of course, that is the point. To raise money to spend among those who need it. They give millions away each year. Thier workers make some of the lowest salaries in thier respective fields. My parents work for them full time and only make 10k a year. Yup, all charities are corrupt money grubbers just bilking human sympathy.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re #24 Shohat

You are still Completely disregarding point B) That DRM in ANY way helps / improves stuff for the consumer.

I will reiterate:
ALL consumers do NOT want DRM, but in some cases some will suffer with it due to lack of alternatives.

Your example of Unix is flawed in that perspective.
People wanted security in Unix. Nobody wants DRM except the record companies and others with similar outdated business models, and those who sell the DRM.
Thank you but please try again.

Shun says:

ASCAP is not the RIAA

I don’t know how this discussion descended into the “RIAA is evil” trough, but I was hoping to address the issue of the original article. I have no experience with the PRS, but if they’re anything like ASCAP, here in the US, then they are probably universally reviled. I would like to know, if anyone has any data, whether these royalty schemes actually work. Do artists get paid for “public performance” when all that is performed is a recording? I know that, theoretically, they are supposed to get paid, but I suspect that somewhere along the way, the royalty money gets eaten away in miscellaneous expenses, or transport fees, or what have you.

Unfortunately, I can’t off-the-top-of-my-head think of a better solution. Socialism (paying artists for just being artists) seems bound to lead to censorship. Also, the whole royalty schema probably needs to be looked at closely. Does every public performance, including satire, sampling, etc. of every recording necessarily lead to royalties?

We need to do more to support artists. We need to define and build an independent music scene (there probably already is one in your local area). We need to connect with other scenes to build a grassroots network of artists, writers, musicians, and technical people. I’m probably leaving a lot out, but one thing we cannot afford to have are corporate heads of multinational companies calling the shots. Music is still a multi-billion dollar industry. If independents can just capture 1% of that, we can give the big boys a run for their money. Also, we won’t need to sue consumers, so we’d be saving a lot of money, that way.

Instead of stealing from the big boys, we should promote our own small fish. What can the big labels offer. Bigger loans? Somehow, I don’t see that as enough of an incentive. Also, we should stop listening to music, and concentrate on more important matters, like bankrupting charities. OK, now I’ve had my fun.

Devious says:

What's next...

What’s next, we get fined for singing hymns in church, or singing to the radio in the car?
What about singing 100 bottles of Beer with our buddies….
Next thing you know, we will have to pay a fee each time we want to listen to the music we purchased for our Ipod, like paying for Minutes on the Cell Phone…
Or how about fines for Radio Stations for playing music that can be heard on a radio that is turned up too loud.

Don’t go out Christmas Caroling, you might get sued!

Tempest says:

drm will never work

“Don’t be so close minded. In the future, DRM might not have to rely only on encryption as a method of confirming the user’s right to use it”

The only way that would even be remotely possible is if the file is dynamically streamed off of a secure server with some sort of identity check. Even then they’ve got the analog hole to worry about, which can never be plugged as long as the human ear senses things in analog. Not seeing that change any time soon…

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re #38 Shohat

Mmmm, wrong.
“The future is all about marking people with unique and irremovable identification devices …”
If you really feel that way, move to China. I do not know anyone who is willing to give all of their information away or wants to be tracked so closely.
As an example, look at the recent Facebook Beacon issue. People still want to control who knows what. Removing all privacy in matters without choice only leads to anger from the consumers.
You are right about one thing though:
“That’s the thing, I do understand that the method is flawed, but it doesn’t mean that the industry will find the concept obsolete.”
You are right there. The industry won’t find it obsolete. Which is exactly why they are on a sinking ship.
DRM was obsolete before it existed.
Just ask the consumers.
Others in this thread have also posted about it.
Techdirt recently (past couple months) had an article.
There was some content provider that had their program phone home (internet) every time the content went to play. They decided they were going to stop the authentication server.
Whoops, now Nobody who had content through there can play it.
But, they already purchased it. Pirate away! They bought it. Screw everyone else who wants money a 2nd time for stuff the consumers already bought. I will 100% back them pirating the content they already bought. It is the company’s fault for putting DRM on there.

If you give the consumers reasons to buy material, they will pay for it.
You make the material suck, be it a crappy interface, or DRM, or any other such encumberance, then they will not pay for it. Simple.
I honestly don’t see how you can say DRM will emerge victorious in the end. I just don’t understand what would make the entire public change their minds on this matter.

More examples can be found such as the case with those CD’s that Sony had. They had a rootkit in there to track the users. Reaction by public? Outrage. Anger. Huge fines for Sony. Or was a class action lawsuit? One or the other. End result, black eye for Sony.
When will the big companies learn that to make money, listen to the consumer.
I am sure to start out they once did.
Somewhere along the line they lost their way.

Tim Sewell (user link) says:

How PRS works

Just a note to explain how PRS (Performing Rights Society) works. Basically, every venue in the UK which plays music or shows TV etc. has to purchase a PRS license, which is a few hundred pounds a year. That then licenses them for any and all music played in the venue. PRS take that money and distribute it amongst recording artists all over the world according to a weighted formula. They have been very successful with their venue licensing programme as pretty much every pub, club, cinema, and so on is paying each year. In terms of radio, the mechanism is different, but similar. Therefore the payments made to the artists are not directly related to the exact number of times a particular track has been played, rather to a combination of factors such as how many albums they’ve produced in their careers etc. PRS is seen by many as a good thing in that it provides an ongoing income for many artists who are by no means rich and that it also provides an income stream which can’t be mucked about with by the labels.

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