New Economics Paper Explains How Shorter Copyright Stimulates More Music

from the nice-to-see dept

In the recent debate in the UK about copyright extension for performances, one of the key points raised by many who were against the proposal was that economic studies suggested that it would really only help a few big superstars (who probably were well enough off already) while harming up-and-coming artists greatly. Christian Zimmerman points us to a recent economics paper by Francisco Alcala and Miguel Gonzalez-Maestre that models why this happens, and points out that copyright extension actually serves to decrease incentives for the creation of new content. The full paper (pdf) basically points out that extending copyright really only helps the superstar performers, since, for everyone else, the economic value of the content is exhausted by the time the extension would matter. That’s pretty obvious. But the more troubling part is that this also then negatively impacts the market for new artists, because money and attention that might have gone towards new works end up going instead to those older works.

Increasing the returns in the case of success may be counter productive for helping new artistic careers. Most artistic markets operate in the framework of an overwhelming machinery of promotion and advertising. Incentives to invest in the promotion of the superstars rise as the prospects of superstars’ revenues improve (as caused by modifications in the regulation of copyrights or the size of global markets). In this environment, the expected discounted return of a young artist’ career may be reduced as a result of a positive shock to superstars’ revenues. As a consequence, larger high-type artists’ revenues may result in the long run in fewer numbers of artists, and therefore, less high-quality artistic creation.

Nice to see more economists recognizing the problems of the current copyright system.

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Comments on “New Economics Paper Explains How Shorter Copyright Stimulates More Music”

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144 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

I hit the summary page, and the end line is this:

As a result, in the long run, longer copyrights do not always stimulate artistic creation.

notice, doesn’t ALWAYS. But apparently does some of the time.

But let’s take this further for a second. How would long copyright affect the creation of new music? Answer is that it should not. It might affect the re-recording of other people’s songs, or the re-release of them, but it doesn’t stop any new songs from being made.

It would appear that their entire premise is that because a small number of artists make the most money ( their uk example has 80% of the “rents” going to

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Lengthy copyright does affect the creation of new works.

Remember, good art is borrowed but great art is stolen. It’s asinine to think that the public domain has essentially stopped growing because, hey, copyright needs to last centuries, otherwise Some Corporate Trust can’t make money off of Some Dead Artist.

Art takes from the past and the present and the future.

But then you’re talking about music like it’s a commodity and not a piece of human expression.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

As a result, in the long run, longer copyrights do not always stimulate artistic creation.

notice, doesn’t ALWAYS. But apparently does some of the time.”

None of which affects the fact that retrospective term extension is theft from the public and therefore should be rejected on moral grounds.
I don’t believe anyone would bother with term extensions that only affected works being created now since terms are already so long that we will all be dead before it makes any difference.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The copyright deal is a limited-term monopoly in exchange for public ownership of the works at the end of the term. So in this case it is a kind of theft because someone (the public) is being deprived of the use of their property (ownership of the works). This differs from calling infringement “theft” because infringement is not depriving the authors of ownership of their works.

But if you prefer, we can call it “reneging,” or “immoral monopoly,” or any other number of more specific euphemisms.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Theft yes – certainly much more so than standard copyright infringement since it
a) Deprives the victim of something (in this case the right to copy.

and

b) Puts the item in question into the complete control of the thief.

Both of these tests are incorporated into law and are failed by ordinary copyright infringement.

And Yes you can steal something bad too – like the right to murder and that would be bad – because it would give the thief the right to murder.

The law against murder doesn’t steal the right to murder since it doesn’t give the state the right to murder – failing test b) above.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

But if you prefer, we can call it “reneging,” or “immoral monopoly,” or any other number of more specific euphemisms.

To me, it makes more sense to compare the extensions to a breach of contract, i.e. the terms stipulate temporary monopoly (which we usually don’t want to allow) in exchange for public ownership at the end of the term. Unfortunately, it’s not a 1:1 relationship with a contract breach, because the “contract” itself has been made dynamic where it would have to be static in order to be meaningful.

As-is, though, it’s been rendered meaningless by the very people it was trying to help out, which has led to the much-lamented (among suits) lack of “respect.”

Comboman (profile) says:

Re: Re:

How would long copyright affect the creation of new music? Answer is that it should not. It might affect the re-recording of other people’s songs, or the re-release of them, but it doesn’t stop any new songs from being made.

Did you read the article (or even the summary)? It affects the creation of new music because record companies focus their promotion and distribution budgets on their back catalog instead of promoting new artists (or even new music from old artists). It’s a lot easier to slap together yet-another-greatest-hits-album than to go out develop new talent.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I just posted this at the end of all the current comments, but realized it is also relevant to what you quoted from the summary: (As a result, in the long run, longer copyrights do not always stimulate artistic creation.)

__________

As far as I can tell, the paper DOESN’T say that shortening copyrights will result in more and better music because there might be more sharing of music. (I skimmed the entire paper rather than reading it all very carefully, so if it is there, I could have missed it.)

It says that right now copyrights encourage more money to go into established artists. And if the money goes to established artists rather than up-and-coming artists, fewer new artists get funded, so there is a smaller pool of artists which to draw upon.

It doesn’t say that artists need the availability of songs to make themselves more successful.

And if there are fewer major labels investing, the point of the paper might not matter much because everyone will have to be self-funded. No one will be investing in either established or new artists.

Here is part of the conclusion:

This implies that changes in superstars’ revenues have little direct impact on young artist’s career expected value. In the long run, increasing young artists’ opportunities to gain an audience and succeed may be more effective in promoting artistic creation than increasing returns only in case of success (i.e., increasing only superstars’ returns).

… Incentives to invest in the promotion of the superstars rise as the prospects of superstars’ revenues improve (as caused by modifications in the regulation of copyrights or the size of global markets). In this environment, the expected discounted return of a young artist’s career may be reduced as a result of a positive shock to superstars’ revenues. As a consequence, larger high-type artists’ revenues may result in the long run in fewer numbers of artists, and therefore, less high-quality artistic creation.

Fred McTaker (profile) says:

You can't legislate or bribe creativity

One essential problem with all attempts legislating creative works, no matter what the term length, is that you cannot force or bribe anyone to be creative. Creativity requires inspiration, and all inspiration is derived from only two sources:

1. Nature.
2. Prior creative works.

Money has nothing to do with creativity — it can only speed up or slow down the process of discovery and creation, dependent on context. Inspiration via number 2 is diminished when the sharing of prior creative works is suppressed. Number 1 is a lot more difficult to suppress, but all current human nature is partially derived from exposure to prior creative works, so the two factors are related. Therefore, any effort to increase creativity cannot by definition involve suppressing its distribution, once created. All IP laws that require suppression in distribution are counter-productive against their stated Constitutional goals, and should be abandoned. No monopolistic “rights” should involve the suppression of copying or distribution of creative works.

Requiring attribution with distributed works can create an incentive to refrain from hiding or keeping secret a work, once it is created. Anybody can take a priori credit for a public work, when all other versions or copies are hidden from the public. Only the first to file a work for attribution into the public domain can rightly claim original ownership. There is no way to prove any ownership of a work while it is secret, except to those few exposed to the secret. Attribution rights are therefore productive, toward the dual goals of public dissemination and eliciting inspiration in others, and should be enforced accordingly. Secrecy at the source withholds creative works from the public, even more than externally suppressing distribution does. Such secrecy should not be encouraged, and therefore not legally defended.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You can't legislate or bribe creativity

Fred, we have had copyrights for hundreds of years, and I think everyone would agree here that it appears there is even more music being made now than ever before. I think the only thing that copyright is stopping is idiot remixers and DJs from running two songs together and calling them “new”.

Even then, they just need permission, and they can do what they like.

Seems like your who argument is a non-starter, just look on the internet to see how much more music there is today than there was 50 years ago. Copyright really hurt things.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: You can't legislate or bribe creativity

“it appears there is even more music being made now than ever before”

There are also more people than ever before, so there is more of almost everything.

“I think the only thing that copyright is stopping is idiot remixers and DJs from running two songs together and calling them “new”.”

Well, true folk music can’t really exist, and quite a lot of art outside of the music business (much photography, collage, etc.)

Why all the hate for remixers, by the way? Every time I see a comment like that here, I read it as “If I don’t like it, it can’t be art.” It sounds a bit elitist and petty. If I were to use “what I like” as the basis for something being “real art,” then corporate music has been nothing short of devastating to real art, and there is less new music now than there was many years ago.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: You can't legislate or bribe creativity

remix “artists” are musicians in the same way that house painters are “artists”. yes, they work with paint, and yes they paint things, but it isn’t really art. There isn’t anything particularly special about slamming an even bigger beat over a song that already had a big beat anyway.

True artists “roll their own”. Remixing lacks creativity. Sort of like slapping a body kit on a car and claiming you built a new car. It’s just not true.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

If you are just cutting out the images from your old comics and sticking them on a background, I wouldn’t consider that “art”.

If you are drawing them from new, then you are a good copy artist, but not particularly original. Perhaps you should develop your own characters and work to create something truly new, rather than exceptionally derivative?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

Right, because artists aren’t allowed to comment with “exceptionally derivative” work. Got it. Not art.

How stupid of me to assume their was a long and very varied history of collage in the arts.

Got it. Not art. Not original. Copyright can last for centuries because all art created today is 100% original.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

If you are drawing them from new, then you are a good copy artist, but not particularly original. Perhaps you should develop your own characters and work to create something truly new, rather than exceptionally derivative?

well, after proper due diligence to make sure you aren’t infringing on anyone’s copyright, vague patent, or running afoul of someone’s overzealous trademark protection.

you’ll probably want to assemble your legal team before you create anything, to make sure that your creative process doesn’t overlap someone else.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

BY your definition the following are not true artists/artistic works

Shakespeare (almost all his plots are borrowed from pre-existing plays).

Leonardo da Vinci’s last supper (lots and lots of prior “last supper” s)

Beethoven’s first composition ( a set of variations on another composer’s music)

Almost all “traditional” music genres where each participant builds on what already exists.

Now you may believe that certain remix artists don’t put much originality into their work and I might agree with you. You might also say that certain remixed works simply aren’t very good and I might agree with that too. However that is a long way from saying that it is impossible to be creative when remixing.

Also remember – a lot of so called “original” work is actually just derivative rubbish.

Every artist brings in some pre-existing things and introduces some new things.

After all the occupation of “house painter” is on a continuum that includes Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

Shakespeare (almost all his plots are borrowed from pre-existing plays).

Leonardo da Vinci’s last supper (lots and lots of prior “last supper” s)

Beethoven’s first composition ( a set of variations on another composer’s music)

Indeed. Make sure you add Mozart and Ray Charles to the list. Both of them had their most successful works actually are “mashups” of others’ works.

What our friend the doubter above really doesn’t seem to understand is that a music file is an instrument as well. He seems to think it’s not an instrument because it’s a recording, but that makes no sense. Plenty of artists create incredible new music doing remixes and mashups — because they’re wielding that content as an instrument and creating something wonderful out of it.

In the meantime, since our friend seems to think that you should do everything from scratch, I have to ask why he uses the English language. After all, he’s merely copying the works of others. Hell, he hasn’t even added to it. Come on, live up to your own standards: create your own language and stop “stealing” from those who came before you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

The Mike standard list of answers. It fails to address the key point. Your answers are basically on the level of ‘everyone else was speeding officer, so I was as well’.

How did someone else call it? “smart – dumb” answers that come off as smarmy?

Many musicians make a living off of playing other people’s music, and some of them are even great musicians. But a true artist can take their knowledge and push past and develop something new. Remixing doesn’t bring anything particularly new to the game. Sorry, but a musical track isn’t an instrument, at least not in any real sense. It’s someone else’s work being re-used.

For me, it is like buying a cake at the store, dropping a cherry on top, and having the balls to call myself a baker. I am not a baker, I am at best a “cherry placer” or perhaps a “presentation enhancer”. I certainly didn’t bake anything.

Roll your own means pick up an instrument and play your own music. Don’t use someone else’s music and think that slicing it up on a computer is somehow being a musician. It isn’t.

As for language, let’s just say it’s proof that you can be a smarky DH when you want to be. It’s a meaningless comparison created to stretch my point to a bizarre absolute. I suspect you do it just because you hate to find out you are wrong.

Sorry Mike, but you really come off as smug and self congratulatory. It’s not very nice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

Sorry, i meant buy a cake fully baked, in a box, open it, drop a cherry on top, and call yourself a baker.

In the end, what Mike posts is just the standard smug excuses that get put up when anyone questions “art”. Anything is art, even breathing. Who gives a rat’s patoot about it? The reality is there is a significant different from someone coming up with a new some and someone adding a louder beat and the occassional “baby baby” to an existing mixed down song. If you want to call that crap art, well, I know some cows that would like to “art” all over your lawn too.

Smug pat answers don’t even begin to address the issues. Snarky crap from Mike is his usual answer when someone asks one (or more) of the questions that are uncomfortable for the Techdirt guru.

What Mike won’t address is the simple issue: the only thing (in music) that copyright stops is people going over the same exact things again. It stops people from claiming other people’s work as their own. It stops remixers from slapping stuff together without permission. It doesn’t stop new music, it doesn’t stop creativity, it doesn’t stop advancing.

Well it does, again if you think that the stuff coming out the back of cows (or from remixers and cover musicians) is art.

It’s the basic flaw of the who techdirt theory against copyright – the only people being stopped by copyright aren’t doing anything useful anyway.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

That is patently false. Lengthy copyright in music stops creativity.

It stops creativity in other forms of art so why is music different? Why are you so unwilling to see how remixing is a valid form of expression?

Do you not understand art?

Yes, copyright prevents a wholesale 1:1 copy. But we’re not talking about that, are we?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

So please, explain to me what NEW expression is stopped in music by copyright. The only ones I see complaining about copyright are people who want to perform other people’s music, who want to use other people’s recordings wholesale to make something “new” (that isn’t new), etc.

I see tons of song writers who create new songs every year, not at all impeded by copyright. So explain to me who is stopped by copyright.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

That’s cool. I see tons of song remixers every year, not at all impeded by copyright.

I see tons of song remashers every year. Song mashers. Song mixers. You name and it’s being done and copyright is the last thing on their and their fan’s minds.

Girl Talk isn’t allowed to release an album. Girl Talk is stopped. Or does he not count?

Because he’s just a remixer?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

Girl Talk is blocked by copyright because he isn’t doing anything original musically. If he made his own music, he wouldn’t have an issue. he is trying to do something with other people’s performances without permission.

That’s what I said before: The only people impeded by copyright are those who aren’t making their own music. Too bad for them, they can go learn how to play music or get a real job.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:11 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

“That’s what I said before: The only people impeded by copyright are those who aren’t making their own music. Too bad for them, they can go learn how to play music or get a real job.”

Got it. Girl Talk and every remixer, remasher and reinventor in the world will just have to get real jobs.

Otherwise they’ll starve. Or have starved? Copyright doesn’t really change the reality that these people still earn a living regardless of copyright.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

let me try to explain.

remixing is an art only in the sense of the work done to remix. it isn’t art in the sense of making music, as it is entirely dependent on someone else to make the music. Remixers are incapable of generating a new, unique piece of music from scratch because they aren’t musicians.

They have a skill, in a sense no different from a tape machine operator in an old style studio, or something similar. Left by themselves, they create nothing.

I am all for sanctioned remixes,that is the artist’s choice to have their music remixed. It’s like choosing a producer in the studio, different producers might generate different sounds. Remixers can approach a song a little differently and generate a somewhat different version, but like a producer, they aren’t actually making music, just manipulating it.

When it comes to art, art is to the creators, not those who build a new frame to put around it (although some might consider framing as an art… certainly small A art).

It’s just a different set of mechanical skills, not truly “art” in many ways.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

“Remixers can approach a song a little differently and generate a somewhat different version, but like a producer, they aren’t actually making music, just manipulating it.’

That’s it! Copyright prevents me from manipulating my environment!

That’s why lengthy copyright is immoral!

Thank-you! Thank-you so very much!

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

The fact is that much supposedly “original” music isn’t.

Consider the song “A groovy kind of love” Most people who don’t know better think it’s original whereas in fact it is simply a movement from a Clementi Sonatina.

The creative music input here was just to slow it down and leave a few bits out. Compared to this most mashups and re-mixes are major exercises in originality!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

>> The fact is that much supposedly “original” music isn’t.

True, and we all have technology and cheap storage to thank for that. What was once maybe hummed, and tossed aside can now be claimed as someone’s copyright and intellectual property. Because the processes were much more difficult several years ago because it was all done on paper. Today, paper is removed from the equation. And in some cases such as copyright, no forms have to be filed or registered.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

To add:

Because the process is much more easier, the very definition, and barrier of what qualifies as copyright or invention should be raised, and should also be dictated by the inventors and assignees ability to get a product to market.

Perhaps a good model for Copyright would be something similar to .com registrations and resolution process. With .COMs, people can register for as little as a year, and all the way up to ten years. If someone is nafarious, and desires to make it rich by cyber-squatting names (read: patents or copyrights), they may get 1000 names for a year in hopes to sell one for a million. But if your a legitimate business, you may get 3 names for the full term of ten years.

This process seems to work pretty well, and may be a model for copyright and patent/IP allocation. What do you think? If a label wants to “ride a song hard and put it away wet” they could have copyright for 5 years, then at the conclusion of the five years someone else can have a shot at the pinata.

This idea also takes into consideration that the artist signed a non-exclusive contract with the label/publisher.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

Funny stuff. You don’t actually respond to anything I say, you just throw in some insults towards me.

Again, I have to ask, was Shakespeare an artist? He remixed the works of others. Mozart? Remixer. Ray Charles?

According to you, none of what they created should have been allowed without asking “permission” first.

Forgive me for believing that all three of those were artists — even as all three would be in violation of today’s copyright laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

Were you speeding yesteday before they put up the sign with the new lower limit?

No.

In different times you could do different things and it was acceptable. Your continued use of Shakespeare as the holy grail of copying is nice, but those were very different times, under very different systems.

I didn’t throw insults at you, I throw insults are your warped ideas. The Shakespeare thing is a good example: Look through history to find someone, anyone, who might have done different, even if it is hundreds of years ago, and that makes everything “okay”. Sorry, but in the end, it’s weak tea.

Was Shakespeare an artist? For his day, sure. In today’s terms, where everyone would be aware of his duplication of other’s works? Nope. He would be so busted, and long forgotten.

Your answers are just weak tea.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:: You can't legislate or bribe creativity

Were you speeding yesteday before they put up the sign with the new lower limit?

No.

In different times you could do different things and it was acceptable.


Yes the point is that these are stupid times because the “speed limit” as you put it is now so low that you can break it on foot.

Was Shakespeare an artist? For his day, sure. In today’s terms, where everyone would be aware of his duplication of other’s works? Nope. He would be so busted, and long forgotten.

So instead of realising that the rules are bad because they would prevent much great art you just unilaterally decide that the person who is universally acclaimed as at least one of if not the greatest artist of all time isn’t even an artist at all.

It seems like if the facts don’t fit your theory you change the facts.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Re:: You can't legislate or bribe creativity

Sorry Richard, I disagree. In Shakespeare’s time, most people would not have been aware of the works that he apparently “copied” from. Today, it would be headline news, a wikipedia entry, and the subject of grand debate on blogs like this.

Would he be hailed today as the great artist? Probably not.

Yes the point is that these are stupid times because the “speed limit” as you put it is now so low that you can break it on foot.

Sorry but you are trying to take an analogy too far. Nice try, but you missed the point.

Laws are put in place to handle circumstanced that have happened before and don’t have desired results. Copyright is a well thought out concept and accepted almost universally. Speed limits are put in place not specifically to limit speeding, but to stop people from getting injured, or to cause traffic to flow on other routes. Speed limits are often lowered in response to conditions, not randomly.

In copyright, it comes back to the same thing: The only examples I have seen so far brought up are remix artists, collage makers, etc. All people dependant on the art of others to do whatever it is they do. The world isn’t a worse place because we don’t have anyone making collages.

So again, remind me what actual creative new art is being stopped by copyright?

Lisa (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

True artists “roll their own”. Remixing lacks creativity. Sort of like slapping a body kit on a car and claiming you built a new car. It’s just not true.

*sigh*

When did people adopt such an impossibly idealistic notion of art? Works of art don’t just pop up out of thin air, they all have roots in previously created works or nature itself.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

Well, if you’re not an artist then it makes sense to have an impossibly idealist notion of the arts.

Why they never bother to apply the same standard towards the sciences is something I have yet to fathom.

Probably because their shills who are paid for their opinion.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: You can't legislate or bribe creativity

“Fred, we have had copyrights for hundreds of years, and I think everyone would agree here that it appears there is even more music being made now than ever before.”

More music is being made because

1 There are more people in the world than ever before.

2 There is a bigger economic surplus than ever before so more resources are available for things beyond food and shelter.

Once you take out these factors it is not at all clear whether copyright is a positive effect.

Fred McTaker (profile) says:

Re: Re: You can't legislate or bribe creativity

“I think everyone would agree here that it appears there is even more music being made now than ever before.”

Prior comments show that you are wrong — there is plenty of disagreement. Appearances can be deceiving — perhaps there “appears” to be more music because you have more access to it, thanks to technologies like P2P file sharing, which to me is the modern equivalent to radio broadcasting. The RIAA doesn’t hate P2P because it’s any worse than radio in how it allows “free” distribution — they just have less control over it, because its an egalitarian peer exchange instead of a top-down broadcast. They can work out payola schemes to control finite radio air time, and they can’t do that with infinite P2P.

Yeebok (profile) says:

Re: Re: You can't legislate or bribe creativity

Ah the peanut gallery speaks. Learn to type your name, shill! There’s significantly more PEOPLE these days too. If 1% of a given population is musical, then more people = more music. Same as there’s more pollution, higher food requirements and all the rest that goes with a larger population. Did you even -think- before posting ? I bet not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: You can't legislate or bribe creativity

If 1% of a given population is musical, then more people = more music

That’s the point – if copyright was such an impediment to new music, the level of music wouldn’t go up with the number of people, it would go down. The proof is right there, copyright has no direct effect on new music, only on duplication, reuse, and theft of music (aka “sampling”).

In the world of “real” music, their continues to be all sorts of new songs, new styles, and new artists. It’s funny to see Mike say on one side that the “free!” music thing is making more and more music available, and then post up a crock piece like this that shows the opposite. He can’t even seem to get pick a side to stay on with this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

You don’t understand music do you?

You only understand music from a very short historical perspective. The past twenty years or so?

Imagine if copyright only lasted 14 years. Don’t you think there would be more music instead of less?

Experimentation is very important to creativity but then you would know that if you actually understood how art functions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 You can't legislate or bribe creativity

Imagine if copyright only lasted 14 years. Don’t you think there would be more music instead of less?

It’s the same argument Mike makes on aggregate output. If you want to say there would be more recordings, more duplication of the same music over and over, perhaps. More new music? Nope.

Duplication is easy, and dull. Repetition doesn’t advance much of anything.

IDEAS and "things" are copyrighted says:

Copyright isn't just about music

allow me ot way in its nto just about music
lets take books and ideas that are copyrighted

somehting you know you can invent off but cant afford too pay the extortion fee to do so.

This THEN STOPS the inventor and somehting wonderful never happens…..man does not pass go , he does not get 200$ anywheres and no one is better off.

HOW CAN 50 year Canadian copyright benefit me? SIMPLY it does not, least of all the 95 or greater terms that the usa has. PERIOD end of storey thats the truth and when i see a 29.95 CDR of some crap arsed music in 2005 in future shop i said…
THATS IT IM NOW A PIRATE FOR EVER

senshikaze (profile) says:

Re: Copyright isn't just about music

Please, for all of us here, use your grammar. Failing that, at least use your browser’s spell checker (if it doesn’t have one, try FF or chrome).
And please, for the love of God, remove your Caps Lock key. Completely. From the keyboard. We can read English in lowercase just fine.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Copyright isn't just about music

Oh man. Don’t get me started. Most publishers do offer editing as part of a normal publishing package, but if you’re an expert of the subject, the best idea is to get a book press-ready and then approach a publisher.

Same thing applies to music. If you can have something press-ready, you hold more bargaining chips to maintain your rights.

Most authors, artists, and musicians would be like Chris Matthews… Get a thrill up their leg if someone wanted to recreate a work. Unfortunately, in most cases, it all comes back down to the contract and maintaining rights under a non-exclusive contract. And any agent worth their salt will push you towards an exclusive contract because it usually means more money in the front end.

I’m all for shorter copyright, but until that’s fixed, Authors, Artists, and Musicians can secure their future by paying attention to, and understanding how an Exclusive Contract limits your work, and to some extent, derivative works in the future.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Copyright isn't just about music

>>lets take books and ideas that are copyrighted

In most cases, an author will only be able to get all their rights back if the publisher goes out of business. It’s called exclusive publishing contract. Many new authors don’t know about this because many publishers don’t offer non-exclusive publishing contracts.

Ultimately, what this means if you have a book with a publisher, and let’s say you want to make it an audio book, or e-book, you have to obtain permission from your publisher, even if you, as the author, do the conversion or narration of the book yourself. In many cases is an uphill battle.

IDEAS and "things" are copyrighted(part 2) says:

also

I have created imagery, i have created software and i have created animations and videos. I do so because i enjoy to do so not 1stly to make money. I do so because i like to share.
I do so because there are poorer people and a lot more of them then you think that should get and enjoy life and that the more they enjoy and are able to enjoy life the fewer crimes and problems society will have. I have been paid 100$ a hour for website designs when i knew that is wrong to get paid that much for somehting i know was so easy for me to do and enjoyed.

GREEDY people are always going to be a factor. Are you an artist to make money then you are not an artist. ART implies you want it seen and heard or shared. Otherwise its a product and if your price or distribution model is not paying you enough change it. piracy only exists because the price model is to high or the product is too restricted.

chairs says:

lets go back to the liscneing of a chair then YOU cannot own them you must pay a liscnse to sit on them and when HollyWOOD the makers of the chairs aren’t getting paid enough they will raise the new monthly to sit on chairs to 1000$.

all a sudden pirated chairs start up and we will have WSP ( wood service providers ) that will stop this heinous act form occurring.

NOW start applying this type a thought to everythign you think you own now and continue to see how ridiculous it is when you consider NON MUSIC, NON SOFTWARE

herodotus (profile) says:

“But a true artist can take their knowledge and push past and develop something new.”

Sadly, very few people in the world will have any interest in it. That is, if it’s really new. Chances are that it’s not. Chances are that it is ‘new’ in the same sense that Lily Allen or Puddle of Mud is ‘new’.

“Sorry, but a musical track isn’t an instrument, at least not in any real sense. It’s someone else’s work being re-used.”

Well sure. But see above, regarding Lily Allen, Puddle of Mud, etc. Is any of their music any less derivative? The fact that they aren’t using someone else’s audio files isn’t really very impressive when you consider that every phrase that comes out of their mouths is a cliche; that every riff they use is just like a thousand other riffs that date back to the 90’s or the 70’s or even the 60’s; that every song is in 4/4 time and in one of about 10 different ‘grooves’ which are as stereotyped as the cliche lyrics.

“For me, it is like buying a cake at the store, dropping a cherry on top, and having the balls to call myself a baker. I am not a baker, I am at best a “cherry placer” or perhaps a “presentation enhancer”. I certainly didn’t bake anything.”

Kind of like what Timbaland does, right?

You do realize that this is far from being representative of remixing as a whole? No, I guess you don’t. Try googling DJ Shadow for some enlightenment. DJ Shadow has created more original sounding tracks than the top ten major label acts in the country combined. And I say this not because I am a fan of his. I am not. But credit where credit is due.

And speaking of which, you do know, don’t you, that most ‘superstar’ original artists of the recent past like Lily Allen and Michael Jackson and Madonna and Cher and Brittney and Gwen Stefani and so on all have staffs of people doing the lions share of their ‘writing’ with them? That if they were given a guitar or a piano and nothing else most of them would be as impotent to create anything new as a tone deaf soccer mom? That they have a huge entourage of talented professionals airbrushing and retouching and editing and autotuning their every move? That it is this entourage that does all of the actual work?

Original My Ass.

Anon says:

This presupposes the purpose of copyright is to foster innovation as the primary, perhaps exclusive, goal.

That’s okay as a thought experiment, but has nothing to do with reality.

There is an interplay of interests, individual and collective, monetary and artistic. None are *best* served by any policy.

The best one can hope for is everybody gets a little something.

By arguing this is soley and exclusively an innovation issue, and that somebody (somewhere) will not get filthy stinking rich no matter what you do is, frankly, disingenuous or naive.

Arguing this on the basis some bands or some distributors or some evil “exploiter” is making too much money is cartoonish and unrealistic. You are not arguing for some exploitation free utopia.

You are, rather, drawing convenient distinctions that paint you as not exploiting the situation to your own advantage. People don’t want to end the exploitation of artists, they just want to take the place and receive the advantage of being an exploiter. Each and every one.

Eldakka (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“This presupposes the purpose of copyright is to foster innovation as the primary, perhaps exclusive, goal. “

Based on the Copyright Clause of the US constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 ):

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

then I’d suggest that the presupposition you mention above is indeed accurate.

5-10 year copyright says:

homes with copyright

again i have to speak on htis

i shall give you examples of creation you be the judge

lets go and take the basic edition of dungeons and dragons
is the rights holder doing anyhting with it …NO
is the rights holder selling the old books YES at really reduced rates via a 3rd party i believe they sold rights to do so too.

so in my private time i go and create the entire dominion , rulership and masscombat into code and make a actual game.
COULD i resell this NO. Needa liscnese

all teh artwork is original all the code is me only and represents literally 1000 hours of work WHY you ask ….cause i was sick n tired of having to consult pdfs or books to do what code can do for me. NOW…

the question here now begs is this infringing if the rights holder says i cant do it. WELL in canada yes if i publish it so i dont its a private me only thing that NONE of you shall ever i doubt see.

THIS IS WHAT LONG TERM COPYRIGHT PREWVENTS
it prevents reinventing the old into new
it prevents smart asses from doing things others would nto or desired not to do.
it creates off older works and makes them new again.

sorry for bad spelling im reaching far to a keyboard.
AS i have also said if the 1st thing out of some alleged artists mouth isn’t about sharing the art its about making money it is not art it is a product. WORLD of Warcraft is not art it is a product….just as microsoft winodws is a product. YOU BUY IT that should be it like a car.
YET we give these people rights that car makers do not have.
Imagine if you apply copyright to cars and homes.
YOU would not be able to modify or do anything to a home without the builders permission
interesting isn’t it how absurd it all is. no more then 5-10 years for non software
5 years for software
thats it and gives you enough time ot make money and is short enough that you ahve to KEEP inventing

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: homes with copyright

Here is where you idea fails:

Take a list of the music played on radio, the music used on TV, etc. Much of the music played is more than 5 or 10 years old. It is still being sold (and still being bought) by the public. Some would call it Long Tail, others would just call it the next generation discovering what is already out there.

Imagine if you apply copyright to cars and homes.

You won’t because the nature of the commercial transaction is different. When you buy a car, you BUY the car. When you buy the house, you BUY the house. When you buy music, you buy a limited license COPY of the product, not the product.

It’s the same stupid argument as why musical instrument makers don’t collect a royalty every time someone uses their instrument to play a song. Quite simply, the person who bought the instrument paid the full price for the instrument and now owns it outright without restrictions. When you buy a muic CD (or download from Itunes, example) you are purchasing a limited set of usage rights, not the actual song. If you wanted to buy the song outright, you could pay $75,000 or whatever the artist was willing to sell the entire song to you for. However, for the most part, we buy the rights to enjoy the song(s), and pay a very small fraction of the actual cost of the true market value of the songs in question.

So sorry, you are getting yourself into a weird mental space, but in the end, you are wrong.

(as a side note, on houses they have a thing called architectural servitudes or neighborhood associates that can in fact limit your choices on what you can do with certain aspects of your house. It’s a condition of sale you are aware of when you buy the property).

Freedom is Freeloading says:

Again, I have to ask, was Shakespeare an artist?

Of course!

He remixed the works of others.

No. He wrote new stories based on common mythology that would arguably have been in the public domain. Again, that is “wrote” not “remixed”. Girl Talk (for instance) doesn’t add anything new, he just rearranges what’s already been done. Shakespeare on the other hand didn’t just rearrange another author’s writing, he re-wrote it completely. Girl Talk would be shit-out-of-luck without four decades of proven hits to compile. Somehow, I think Shakespeare could have gotten along just fine if, like you suggest sans evidence, the works he based some of his plays on weren’t legally available.

This is besides the fact that it’s rather silly to compare 16th century England to now. There are lots of things that we do everyday that would be in violation of 16th century English laws, perhaps someone should look into legally regulating hairstyles again? Your near-constant citing of 600 year old examples helps only to show the frailty of your position.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It depends what the musician plays. If he plays a Beatles song (example) then it isn’t new music, just music.

If he writes his own new song, then yes, it’s new music.

HOWEVER (because I see your trick before you play it), i the keyboard is triggering samples of other songs, then NO, it isn’t new music, it’s just a remix / collage of other songs.

You can’t seem to understand the difference between sounds and music. I guess they don’t teach that in Econ 101, right?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If he writes his own new song, then yes, it’s new music.

Um. Apparently you do not know what remixing is, because most of them are creating “new songs.”

HOWEVER (because I see your trick before you play it), i the keyboard is triggering samples of other songs, then NO, it isn’t new music, it’s just a remix / collage of other songs.

All keyboards are playing prerecorded sounds. That’s how a keyboard works.

You don’t seem to understand music or remixing at all. Are you really telling me that this is not a new song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tprMEs-zfQA

If I use a video clip of a note or a prerecorded version of the note that is triggered when I push the key on a keyboard, what’s the difference? And, really, does it even matter?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

All keyboards are playing prerecorded sounds. That’s how a keyboard works.

Incorrect. You really need to go learn about how different types of keyboards work. That comment shows your level of ignorance on the concept. Some machines use sound sampling, but the samples are not “song” samples but note samples. Many keyboards synthesize the sounds from scratch, and do no use any samples. Electronic pianos often use samples of actual pianos, but again, not samples of actual songs.

It’s the difference between a guitar string and a strummed cord.

Seriously, in this case, your ignorance is showing.

You don’t seem to understand music or remixing at all. Are you really telling me that this is not a new song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tprMEs-zfQA

If I use a video clip of a note or a prerecorded version of the note that is triggered when I push the key on a keyboard, what’s the difference? And, really, does it even matter?

Actually, it is NOT a new song, it a collage of other songs and performances. It’s an amusing example of the use of technology, but there is no new music in the deal.

pre-recorded note and a video clip are two very different things. Again, I cannot see how you can’t see the difference. One is a note, the other is a performance.

It boggles the mind to see you even attempt to argue such a poor line of reasoning.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Have you read the paper?

As far as I can tell, the paper DOESN’T say that shortening copyrights will result in more and better music because there would be more sharing of music. (I skimmed the entire paper rather than reading it all very carefully, so if it is there, I could have missed it.)

It says that right now copyrights encourage more money to go into established artists. And if the money goes to established artists rather than up-and-coming artists, fewer new artists get funded, so there is a smaller pool of artists upon which to draw upon.

It doesn’t say that artists need the availability of songs to make themselves more successful.

And if there are fewer major labels investing, the point of the paper might not matter much because everyone will have to be self-funding.

Here is part of the conclusion:

This implies that changes in superstars’ revenues have little direct impact on young artist’s career expected value. In the long run, increasing young artists’ opportunities to gain an audience and succeed may be more effective in promoting artistic creation than increasing returns only in case of success (i.e., increasing only superstars’ returns).

… Incentives to invest in the promotion of the superstars rise as the prospects of superstars’ revenues improve (as caused by modifications in the regulation of copyrights or the size of global markets). In this environment, the expected discounted return of a young artist’s career may be reduced as a result of a positive shock to superstars’ revenues. As a consequence, larger high-type artists’ revenues may result in the long run in fewer numbers of artists, and therefore, less high-quality artistic creation.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Have you read the paper?

It is the case, artisically.

More color equals more expression. It’s simple artmatics.

That’s fine. But the paper doesn’t talk about it. Its focus is on where investment money might go to musicians/bands. I just wanted to clarify that for those who may not have read the paper.

herodotus (profile) says:

“No. He wrote new stories based on common mythology that would arguably have been in the public domain. Again, that is “wrote” not “remixed”. Girl Talk (for instance) doesn’t add anything new, he just rearranges what’s already been done. Shakespeare on the other hand didn’t just rearrange another author’s writing, he re-wrote it completely. Girl Talk would be shit-out-of-luck without four decades of proven hits to compile. Somehow, I think Shakespeare could have gotten along just fine if, like you suggest sans evidence, the works he based some of his plays on weren’t legally available.”

But the author of “60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye” that was banned in the US also ‘didn’t just rearrange another author’s writing’ but instead ‘re-wrote it completely’ but apparently you forgot about that. Certainly what Shakespeare did with stories from Hollinshed was, from a contemporary legal standpoint, quite similar. And before you say it, no I am not saying that this book was on the level of Shakespeare. The comparison isn’t artistic, but legal.

“This is besides the fact that it’s rather silly to compare 16th century England to now. There are lots of things that we do everyday that would be in violation of 16th century English laws, perhaps someone should look into legally regulating hairstyles again? Your near-constant citing of 600 year old examples helps only to show the frailty of your position.”

1 Shakespeare wrote 400 years ago, not 600 years ago. Mozart and Ray Charles are even more recent.

Duh.

2 The reason for bringing up Elizabethan examples is that Elizabethan literary culture was rich and fecund. In fact it was one of the greatest explosions of exceptional literary activity in history. Only Periclean Athens is really on the same level. Now compare these two copyright-free literary achievements to the literary achievements of our time. Now consider the fact that our own population is much greater than the population of those civilizations.

Is that clear enough for you?

Anonymous Coward says:

I’ve been anonymously commenting on these forums for a couple of months now and I have to say that some of you exibit a really strange view of art.

The strangest view would be the notion that one can own creative expression. Sure, you can enact laws requiring a government-enforced monopoly on creative works for a limited time. I get that.

But for centuries? And you think this will last? With everyone carrying a copying super-machine in their pockets?

Art is a gift. Stop treating it like a pair of pants.

Oh wait! You can’t copyright fashion design! Because that would be asinine! Is it too late?

oxana (profile) says:

NEW MODEL FOR MUSIC COPYRIGHT

The world of music copyright is evolving. Monopolies of collecting societies are under pressure. Songwriters complain about a lack of benefit, music users about non-transparent and high tariffs. Collecting societies are old-fashioned. Now is the time for online DIY copyright management.

VillaMusicRights is a website in English, Spanish and Dutch, and plays a role as a facilitator in the contacts between songwriters and users of their music. This means you can upload your music and arrange your rights. The music will be stored in a database and users can download it.
Downloads for home users are free, but business users have to pay a modest amount of money. Both songwriters and users have to register. Songwriters have to declare to own the rights to the music and users have to declare that they won’t use the music for other purposes than agreed.
VillaMusicRights takes care of payments between songwriters and business users and receives a commission in remuneration of the cost of display, advice and transactions.

A lot of music genres already are represented in the database, from rock to reggae and from blues to easy listening.

Website: http://www.villamusicrights.com

Email: oxana@villamusicrights.com

Eric Stein (profile) says:

Unfashionably Late

Perhaps the problem with seeing remixing as art comes from a lack of understanding about what is possible in remixing.

You could compare remixing to film editing. I would consider anyone who thought Walter Murch wasn’t an artist an example of a person ignorant of what is possible in film editing, but then, he doesn’t write or shoot or act, so I’m sure many people have never even heard of him.

A remixer can add and subtract elements to a song to the extent that even the artist being remixed might need to be shown the original elements.

I most like Fran Lebowitz’s take on all of this:

“Original thought is like original sin. It happened before you were born to people you could not have possibly known.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Unfashionably Late

Eric, in the end, the remixer is still more of a plumber and less of a true artist. Film editing, remixing, whatever… it’s all dependant on the actual art of others. It’s the reason why music is about the performer, and not the producer – although I will admit sometimes it’s almost dumb how a producer ends up killing the creating process of artists.

Remixers are the interior decorators of music. They are totally at a loss without a building to work on. Music is the building, and it was created by someone else. Hanging a picture here or repainting a wall isn’t anywhere near as creative as building the building is.

For me, it’s a long strip of dark to light, with “actual new music” at one end and “remixers” at the other end. Somewhere in the middle of that grey, it stops being artistic and starts being derivative and mechanical manipulation.

Most importantly for the discussion, everyone above that middle of the grey isn’t affected by copyright, and everyone below it is. So the ones screaming are the ones dependant on other people’s products to “create”, while the ones who actually create something aren’t at all concerned.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Unfashionably Late

Eric, in the end, the remixer is still more of a plumber and less of a true artist.

Yes, that Mozart. Just a plumber. Ray Charles? Plumber. Most of the greatest American jazz musicians? Plumbers according to you. Elvis? Major plumber.

Sorry, it’s tough to take you seriously when you are so clueless.

Remixers are the interior decorators of music. They are totally at a loss without a building to work on. Music is the building, and it was created by someone else. Hanging a picture here or repainting a wall isn’t anywhere near as creative as building the building is.

My goodness. You should perhaps take a class in musical history after you take that economics class we’ve been suggesting for a while.

Every great music form was actually built off of what came before. Soul music is “remixing” gospel and R&B. But according to you? “Not creative.”

Wow.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Unfashionably Late

Mike, there you go again, trying to play with the words and manipulate them.

Each of the people you list are talented musicians and performers. I didn’t study Mozart enough to know for sure, but I would be pretty confident he wrote at least a few notes of his own music.

Elvis? Credited as a song writer on many of his songs. He was both a very talented performer and a song writer. Ray Charles in the same vein, a talented sing, song writer, and performer.

I think you are trying to suggest because the used other’s music at times,or that they were heavily influenced by types of music, that they are some sort of “remixers”. I have to say that you are playing word games to the very limits here Mike, and you are making yourself look the fool for it.

Every great music form was actually built off of what came before. Soul music is “remixing” gospel and R&B. But according to you? “Not creative.”

Of course it’s creative, quit trying to put words in my mouth. There is a huge difference between “inspired by” and “using the recording of”. What you are spotting isn’t remixing, it’s being INFLUENCED.

I think you just play dense sometimes because you don’t want to face the truth.

Please Mike, turn your brain back on, you are looking the fool.

TDR says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Unfashionably Late

Okay, then, if you know so much about what music really is, show us. Write a new, completely original song with no outside inspiration or influence from anything else in human culture. Right here. Right now. If you can’t, or if you won’t, you’re wrong, and you’ve been wrong from the very beginning.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Unfashionably Late

They’ll just say that remixing isn’t original because it takes from existing culture.

Collage isn’t original. Editing. Not original. Not new. Not creative.

What about making an artistic comment using exisitng culture in a new way?

IT’S NOT ORIGINAL BECAUSE I SAY SO!!!

What if 50% of the work is new content created by the artist and 50% of the work is old content created by others?

IT’S NOT ORIGINAL BECAUSE I SAY SO!!!

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Unfashionably Late

Elvis? Credited as a song writer on many of his songs. He was both a very talented performer and a song writer. Ray Charles in the same vein, a talented sing, song writer, and performer.

So is Kutiman. He *wrote* new songs, and then used YouTube videos to find the sounds needed to make that song. How is that different than using a guitar?

Answer: it’s not.

Keep digging. It’s fun to watch you try to define what is and what is not art. I’m glad the rest of the world knows better and ignores you. Otherwise, there would be no soul music, based on your reasoning.

Of course it’s creative, quit trying to put words in my mouth. There is a huge difference between “inspired by” and “using the recording of”. What you are spotting isn’t remixing, it’s being INFLUENCED.

So, let me ask you this: is a songwriter creative if he doesn’t play the music for the song? What about the musician who plays the music written by someone else?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Unfashionably Late

So is Kutiman. He *wrote* new songs, and then used YouTube videos to find the sounds needed to make that song. How is that different than using a guitar?

different because he didn’t play the music himself? Different because he didn’t give a performance? Different because he didn’t start with an instrument, but a finished product?

God Mike, you are certainly one of god denser creatures at times.

So, let me ask you this: is a songwriter creative if he doesn’t play the music for the song? What about the musician who plays the music written by someone else?

The songwriter is creative, the musician is a musician. How hard is that?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Unfashionably Late

different because he didn’t play the music himself? Different because he didn’t give a performance? Different because he didn’t start with an instrument, but a finished product?

Ok.

God Mike, you are certainly one of god denser creatures at times

Yes. Perhaps, but work with me for a second, to clear away my denseness.

The songwriter is creative, the musician is a musician. How hard is that?

Ok. Kutiman wrote a new song. So according to you he’s creative. But then he had other musicians play the song. And yet, right before, you said that he’s not creative because he didn’t play the instruments. So is he or is he not creative? Thanks for the help.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Unfashionably Late

you said that he’s not creative because he didn’t play the instruments

Playing an instrument on a recording isn’t the only part of being creative.

Please Mike, you are brighter than that.

I have figured it out. You are doing the Bill Clinton thing. Soon you are going to redefine “is” for the rest of us.

Sheesh.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Unfashionably Late

Playing an instrument on a recording isn’t the only part of being creative.

Ha! I love it. You painted yourself into a corner, and when I point it out you simply ignore it and call me names.

Fascinating.

So, again, please tell me why Kutiman is not an artist. Please. He wrote a song, which you said was a creative work. But then he had others play the instruments. And yet, he did so as a remix — which, according to you — is not creative at all.

I’m still trying to understand where this magical barrier lies. If you just listened to the Kutiman song without knowing how he created it, you’d never know that it was a remix. It just sounds like a song. I’m trying to figure out how the nature of how a song was created can change whether or not it’s a work of art or not, even if it sounds identical. I’m really curious, so please help me out.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Unfashionably Late

It’s so simple Mike, I think you are just trying very hard to be dense on this one. I suspect you are hoping I will make some sort of grammar fault that you can jump on to avoid discussing reality.

Kutiman’s “song” isn’t anything that other “songs” chopped up and collaged in an order. He didn’t play any music to get there. He just stuck stuff together.

I would listen to it in a moment and figure out it’s a remix, it’s pretty obvious. Again, I think you are just playing dumb on this one.

If he wanted to be an artist and perform music, he would have written a song and played it. He didn’t. he edited video of other people performing. Is it art? not in my world. Is it musicianship? nope. Is it performance? nope. It’s at best a technical show of his edited abilities. It’s certainly not “making music”, the performers made the music, he just edited them together.

I would have to say if you are unable to see a difference here, it would explain why so many of your posts on techdirt start with really weird points of view.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Unfashionably Late

You’re such a weirdo it’s not even funny. What about Negativland? Oh right, they’re not artists according to you.

But who the fuck are you? I mean really? Aside from some poorly paid RIAA shill who has no original opinion except the ones written down for you.

By your mommy? God. Get a real life.

TDR says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Unfashionably Late

Apparently you missed this, so I’ll say it again:

Okay, then, if you know so much about what music really is, show us. Write a new, completely original song with no outside inspiration or influence from anything else in human culture. Right here. Right now. If you can’t, or if you won’t, you’re wrong, and you’ve been wrong from the very beginning.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Unfashionably Late

I could do it! It would sound bizarre and alien but I could do it. Then again, I’m an artist so it wouldn’t be horribly difficult for me.

I just have to write it? Like with words? Do I have to compose it? I’m not a musician, just a lowly visualist but writing is like drawing but instead of using lines, shapers or forms I would use words, sentences or stanzas.

Here goes!

Hizzeredly clonk, loppering jert tongles ews . . .

Wow. What boring gibberish.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Unfashionably Late

Whoa….whoa, slow down, there, BoJangles. I wrote basically the same tune in my 1996 Mock Opera, “Jerplatnik Futza Odpingo”. The third line in the opening arpeggio was:

“Hizzerdly clunk, luppering jert tongles ews”

So, as you can see, only two letters different then your nonsense. Mine was art, since I did it first. But your’s was worthless nonsense. Even if you came up with it yourself, you are NOT creative, since I wrote it earlier.

(Others may find it strange that something that had nothing to do with you, unbeknownst to you, could have the effect of changing you from an artist to a non artist, ex post facto. But I’m sure you, with your gift for logic and complete comprehension of what is art, can understand.)

BTW, it was a hell of a show. We performed at our block party, got whacked-out on Jolt cola, and busted all the guitars over the amps in the closing sonata. We artists can be like that! In fact, I’m reading your posts stoned! Why? Because you are more trippy than the film, The Wall.

I guess what I’m getting at is: my lawyers will be in touch.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Unfashionably Late

The editor is very responsible for the final product, in the same manner that an interior decorator is very responsible for the final look of a house. They are not house builders however. Editors are at the mercy of the footage shot and the script in hand, and an interior decorator is limited by the house as built.

It’s different ends of things. One end creates the turd, the other end polishes it. WIthout turds, the turd polishers would be unemployed.

Anon says:

Just because the only thing you want to count is gross tonnage of music released, that doesn’t mean “high-quality artistic creation” increased.

Volume isn’t quality. And sorry for cheating, but I actually read “Artistic Creation and Intellectual Property,” the basic tenet is all about “Promoting high-quality artistic creation…”

One little thing I’m having trouble finding, maybe all you people — who obviously read the report can help me with. Where is the criterion for determining the quality of music being produced?

The Chinese have little regard for copyright — where’s the “Chinese Invasion?” American Idol William Hung sucking up all the “opportunity?”

Eric Stein (profile) says:

And this is where you compound your error. It’s as if you have this vision of the commercially successful artist at the white end of the scale and the remixer, editor, interior decorator, plumber at the black. Every artist is building on what came before.

Elvis stole from the R & B artists. The Beatles stole from Goffin & King. Disney stole from the brothers Grimm. Original thought, true art is a lie we tell ourselves because we can’t see that the shoulders we stand on are so broad that we confuse them with the ground. The ones who aren’t screaming, the ones who “actually” create have been the most successful at believing this lie.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Amen that. I liked this turn of phrase:

“We can’t see that the shoulders we stand on are so broad that we confuse them with the ground.”

Our Anon Coward has two main problems:

1) he doesn’t understand your point, or at least doesn’t agree

2) he is sooo arrogant as to suppose that he is the arbiter of what is, and what isn’t art. I mean, I have an opinion on the matter, but I also understand that no single person could ever be the judge of something so subjective.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Same argument. Elvis ‘stole’ nothing – he was influenced by. If he had stole something, he would have just used their recordings and sung over them. Wait, he didn’t do that, because he MADE HIS OWN MUSIC.

Remind me which one of the remix artists makes their own music, as opposed to using other people’s music and sticking it together electronically?

It’s as if you have this vision of the commercially successful artist at the white end of the scale and the remixer, editor, interior decorator, plumber at the black.

Commericial success has absolutely nothing to do with it, thanks for trying to put words in my mouth.

In the end, this is Mike’s favorite sort of debate. Because it is VERY hard in the english language to specifically define “artist” and “suck ass using other people’s material” to his satisfaction, we can talk in circles and ignore the main point:

The only people hurt by copyright aren’t very original, they are derivative.

NEXT.

herodotus (profile) says:

“You apparently haven’t been on the Internet very long…..”

Not true.

I guess I have seen more stupid things here and there. Certainly I have seen worse spelling. But the sour mixture of smug condescension and profound ignorance that this guy brings to the table is pretty unique.

In any case I have certainly never seen anything that was conspicuously more stupid than: “Was Shakespeare an artist? For his day, sure. In today’s terms, where everyone would be aware of his duplication of other’s works? Nope. He would be so busted, and long forgotten”

I mean, it sounds like something that the Onion would write, though not nearly as clever.

Freedom is Freeloading says:

If everything is art, nothing is art.

But the author of “60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye” that was banned in the US also ‘didn’t just rearrange another author’s writing’ but instead ‘re-wrote it completely’ but apparently you forgot about that.

LOL

Who could forget that travesty? A situation akin to a dog trying to fart Beethoven’s 1st.

And it wasn’t banned from existing, only from being sold. They are not the same thing. With the internet, it’s no longer possible to ban a book.

Certainly what Shakespeare did with stories from Hollinshed was, from a contemporary legal standpoint, quite similar.

No, what that it is, is quite a stretch. J.D Salinger is still alive whereas Hollinshed had been dead for around 30 years before Shakespeare used his HISTORICAL, NON-FICTION work for his HISTORICAL plays.

And before you say it, no I am not saying that this book was on the level of Shakespeare.

*Collective sigh of relief from around the world

If you actually did have a modern Shakespeare to point to, I might be more inclined to agree. As it stands all you have is some idiot the size of a flea trying desperately to hang on to a giant’s coattails.

Not very convincing.

The reason for bringing up Elizabethan examples is that Elizabethan literary culture was rich and fecund. In fact it was one of the greatest explosions of exceptional literary activity in history. Only Periclean Athens is really on the same level.

Who are you to define how “exceptional” it was? Isn’t that what a lot of fellow commentors here are arguing? There have never been more professional artists than there are now, in this largely copyrighted world. Even more to the point, the abundance of modern literary output is (by a very large margin) coming from two countries with two of the strongest copyright systems on the planet. The reverse is also usually true. Countries with little to no copyright protection don’t produce anywhere near as much as countries that do. Shouldn’t these freeloading, freewheeling countries with all their supposed creative freedom, be producing more and largely BETTER works? Shouldn’t they be dominating the market and exporting more good art than anyone else? Shouldn’t their work be in the top torrent downloads of all the torrent websites?

…so why isn’t that happening?

Now compare these two copyright-free literary achievements to the literary achievements of our time. Now consider the fact that our own population is much greater than the population of those civilizations.

I have considered it. With copyright, artists now have a better chance of making a living than any other time in the history of civilization. I consider that progress. The “fecund” (Do I smell a Scrabble champion in my midst? LOL) eras to which you refer are littered with examples of amazing artists who died destitute, figuratively if not literally, in the gutter. You can call that success if you want but I happen to think it’s terrible. Additionally, I think that people who purport such eras to be shining examples of how things used to be better — are assholes.

Is that clear enough for you?

Hardly.

How is collage not a viable way for an artist to communicate?

It is, if by “artist” you mean “fourteen year old girl who wants to consolidate her Tiger Beat magazine collection”.

Sorry Richard, I disagree. In Shakespeare’s time, most people would not have been aware of the works that he apparently “copied” from.

Exactly! It was an entirely different culture under entirely different economics with entirely different interests, conflicts and rationales at play.

Um. Apparently you do not know what remixing is, because most of them are creating “new songs.”

Rearranging something does not make it “new”.

Every artist is building on what came before.

EVERYTHING builds on EVERYTHING that came before. What an utterly useless observation.

No one is claiming anything exists in a vacuum. What we ARE claiming is that there is a difference between “inspired by” and “derivative of”. At times that distinction (like ANY distinction between ANYTHING else) can get blurry but 99% of the time, it’s pretty damn clear.

Collage is a form of artistic human expression.

So is painting a bathroom wall with your feces. That doesn’t mean society should encourage such behavior.

The laws should be designed to encourage INSPIRED works, not DERIVATIVE ones. If derivative people with derivative talent get the short end of that deal, so be it. We shouldn’t want more remixes, we should want more music worthy of BEING remixed.

herodotus (profile) says:

“LOL

Who could forget that travesty? A situation akin to a dog trying to fart Beethoven’s 1st.

And it wasn’t banned from existing, only from being sold. They are not the same thing. With the internet, it’s no longer possible to ban a book.”

2 paragraphs of vituperation that completely fail to address the point at hand.

Almost like you are a jerk or something.

“No, what that it is, is quite a stretch. J.D Salinger is still alive whereas Hollinshed had been dead for around 30 years before Shakespeare used his HISTORICAL, NON-FICTION work for his HISTORICAL plays.”

Holinshed is hardly historical, there is no source criticism and clearly dubious stories are printed without comment. You might as well call the Arabian Nights ‘historical’.

And Shakespeare’s earliest historical plays were written less than 20 years after Holinshed died. And in any case we were talking about a scenario in which contemporary copyright law was applied to Elizabethan England. And as I am sure you know, it extends to not 30 years but 70 years after the death of the author. You’re kind of bad with numbers, it seems.

And you still failed to address the point. I will remind you: you said that Girl Talk wasn’t art because he “doesn’t add anything new, he just rearranges what’s already been done” whereas “Shakespeare on the other hand didn’t just rearrange another author’s writing, he re-wrote it completely.” Now when someone points out that by this test that godawful ‘Catcher in the Rye’ sequel should be legally OK, you make a fart joke.

I mean, it’s almost as if you just grab any cheap debating tactic that comes to mind at the time, and count on the fact that no one knows who you are to avoid having it pointed out when these debating tactics contradict each other.

“Who are you to define how “exceptional” it was?”

I didn’t define it. Generations upon generations of educated people have. But pray, tell me who the modern equivalents of Shakespeare and Jonson and Marlowe are?

“There have never been more professional artists than there are now, in this largely copyrighted world. Even more to the point, the abundance of modern literary output is (by a very large margin) coming from two countries with two of the strongest copyright systems on the planet.”

I wasn’t talking about the gross tonnage of ‘literary output’. The number of ‘professional’ artists is similarly irrelevant.

“Shouldn’t these freeloading, freewheeling countries with all their supposed creative freedom, be producing more and largely BETTER works?”

Giving people creative freedom doesn’t guarantee artistic greatness. Nothing does. It occurs only occasionally in the best of circumstances.

“I have considered it. With copyright, artists now have a better chance of making a living than any other time in the history of civilization. I consider that progress.”

Material progress. This is altogether different from artistic progress.

“The “fecund” (Do I smell a Scrabble champion in my midst? LOL) eras to which you refer are littered with examples of amazing artists who died destitute, figuratively if not literally, in the gutter. You can call that success if you want but I happen to think it’s terrible.”

I don’t think that it’s good but it is probably inevitable. People just don’t give a shit about artistic greatness. Copyright sure as hell didn’t earn James Joyce a living.

And for the record: I lose at Scrabble whenever I play it, which is rarely.

“Additionally, I think that people who purport such eras to be shining examples of how things used to be better — are assholes.”

That’s because you don’t care about art. I doubt you would recognize a great work of contemporary literature if it fell on your head.

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