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Songwriters Guild: Network Neutrality Means More Piracy

from the oh-really-now? dept

There has been an effort made by some to try to connect the totally unrelated issues of network neutrality and unauthorized file sharing together. There is no connection between the two, but that won’t stop busy lobbyists from doing their best to drum up such a connection. Copycense points us to the news that Grover Nordquit’s group has decided to push this line of nonsense by parroting claims by the Songwriter’s Guild of America (SGA) that accepting net neutrality is akin to encouraging piracy. How? That’s not clear, because there’s really no connection at all. The best they can say is that net neutrality would prevent efforts to crack down on file sharing (except, every plan for net neutrality has explicitly had exceptions for such things). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am not in favor of laws mandating neutrality, but the arguments made by those against it are so over-the-top ridiculous that it’s actually making me wonder why. There are reasonable arguments against mandating neutrality, but these groups don’t make them.

That it’s the SGA making these arguments initially shouldn’t come as a surprise. The group has a rather antiquated view of business models and modern technology, and its boss has declared in the past that songwriting would not occur without copyright — an obviously incorrect statement. The SGA has become a caricature of itself in the last few years. Rather than admitting that the market is changing and working with songwriters to help them adapt, it has basically decided the only reasonable strategy is to go crying to the government for more protectionism, and greater mandatory licensing fees. This is an odd group for the anti-net neutrality types to team up with, since most of them claim their reasons for being against net neutrality is to get away from government meddling in the internet industry. And then they go and team up with the SGA, who’s entire purpose is to encourage more government meddling in the music business? Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed…

Separately, it’s probably worth noting that ITIF, a “think tank” in DC and which has been a huge anti-net neutrality voice, has just come out with a poorly researched, poorly argued, joke of a report on “reducing digital piracy.” In it, they promote kicking people off the internet (based on accusations, not convictions) under a three strikes regime, and also that ISPs should filter and monitor their networks to try to stop infringement. Apparently, ITIF is not a big fan of your privacy… but it’s own… well, just try to find out who funds ITIF? That’s secret. Funny how that works. Otherwise the report repeats a bunch of sweeping claims that have no support in reality, and does not back them up. It states, repeatedly, that you can’t compete with free, even as many smart businesses do that every day. The report advocates DRM, and amusingly fails to mention the massive failure of every DRM system to date, and the harm it has done to legitimate users. But, of course, it saves most of its focus on supporting “technical measures” from ISPs to inspect your content and stop you if they think you’re doing anything wrong. Welcome to the big brother state. The report also supports ACTA, even though it admits it doesn’t know what’s included. Basically, it’s “recommendations” straight from the entertainment industry, with no basis in reality. And, with a nice “net neutrality” tie-in. Those ties seem likely to get closer, which is unfortunate. Funny that those who keep claiming they want the government to “stay out” of the internet, are so keen to have them very actively involved when it comes to copyright.

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Companies: itif, sga

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Comments on “Songwriters Guild: Network Neutrality Means More Piracy”

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50 Comments
Lobo Santo's Ugly : says:

Another smart - dumb argument

That it’s the SGA making these arguments initially shouldn’t come as a surprise. The group has a rather antiquated view of business models and modern technology

Mike, I always get a chuckle when you get off on your “business models” argument. It doesn’t take a very wise man to see that, outside of piracy, not very much business is getting done outside of the old business models, and there are still no business models put forward that replace and meet the consumers desire for high quality songs, recording, and “take home” music (aka, CDs, digital downloads, etc). There is a huge public demand for music, it is the product people value.

Heck, by your own postings, it appears that as soon as piracy was dealt a blow in Sweden, sales of legal music went up. People are apparently willing to pay for music when they can’t safely “infringe”.

The real answer to this: You can have all the net neutrality you want, but you give up your anonymous status. Basically, IPv6 enforced, everyone has to be identified, ISPs required to know exactly what user is on each IP, and end users being responsible for anyone connected to the internet via their connection. Same rule for VPN or proxies providers, they would be required to log and know who is using their services, and provide that information directly in response to a DMCA or similar style notice.

Run your P2P, your skypes, whatever. But you cannot do it with the cloak of secrecy, you have to be out there and traceable. I suspect that P2P traffic would dwindle rapidly when people could no longer sneak around and hide their “infringing”.

The song writers have it right: If you don’t address the issue of piracy, the profession of song writer will disappear.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Another smart - dumb argument

A) If you’re going to imitate my moniker, please learn to reason.

B) I guess you’ve never heard of the ‘sneaker-net’–the single best method of pirating software/music/moves (et al). The bandwidth of the sneaker-net rivals (and in many cases exceeds) that of the internet. Always has.

To give you an example (considering your displayed ignorance, this is likely required): Mobile drives sizes continue to increase. In the near future the following scenario will play out all over the world:

Person 1: “Hey friend! I happen to have a copy of every song ever made from 1854 thru 2013 on my 32 exabyte USB drive. Would you like a copy?”

Person 2: “You’re still using that crappy tiny drive? Anyways, yeah, my music collection has a couple holes in it, I’d love a copy. Thank you.”

Viola! Massive “piracy” has just occurred and no interweb involvement involved.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Another smart - dumb argument

Shhh. Copyright maximalists hate hearing about the future. They assume that the 32 exabyte USB drive will have a media levy on it that pays all the various intellectual property stakeholders. Why not just manufacture your 32 exabyte USB drive at home with your 3D printer?

THEM STEALERS ARE DESTROYING OUR ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY!!!

Ima Fish (profile) says:

Re: Another smart - dumb argument

the profession of song writer will disappear.

Obviously written by someone who has never written a song. It would simply be impossible to kill off the creation of new music. Music, well, quality music, does not come from your wallet. It comes from an unstoppable force within you.

The question I have for you is this: Why should we artificially prop up a failing business model? If this one dies, a new one will come into existence. As someone once said, P2P will not kill off the music industry, only the current industry.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Another smart - dumb argument

“Obviously written by someone who has never written a song. It would simply be impossible to kill off the creation of new music. Music, well, quality music, does not come from your wallet. It comes from an unstoppable force within you.”

Thank God someone said it before me. This is a concept that people who don’t create simply don’t seem to comprehend. Like all forms of art, be it music, film, poetry, fiction, paintings, etc., true art is created because it MUST be created and can’t NOT be created. That art can vary in degrees of quality, but I have never spoken with an artist who created solely for monetary gain, nor even primarily for monetary gain. The urge to create comes from within, it simply MUST be done.

“The question I have for you is this: Why should we artificially prop up a failing business model? If this one dies, a new one will come into existence. As someone once said, P2P will not kill off the music industry, only the current industry.”

What I think is going to be the wonderful outcome of all of this is the return to regional art, music, fandom, etc. The mega-star on the international stage might be going away to some degree, whether they like it or not. What might, and I for one hope, replace the current artistic business will be one where many more artists have much smaller but much more passionate followings that are based more on common geography than label or publisher promotion. Smaller regional concerts at smaller venues….but three times as many of them!

Lobo Santo's Ugly : says:

Re: Re: Another smart - dumb argument

What I find amazing is that you quoted me and didn’t even read it.

“the profession of song writer will disappear.”

I didn’t say that song writing would disappear, but the PROFESSION of song writing would disappear. It is signficant, because much of the music that is popular is also NOT written by the performers. The best performers are often not very good song writers. Many of the best song writers are not powerful performers or don’t have the look / attitude / desire to be a live performance musician.

It’s the nature of the game. Remove the song writer’s ability to turn their work into income, and they stop be song writers. That is turn removes much of what the masses enjoy today.

Will there still be people writing songs? Yup, probably the same sort of people who make buggy whips, right?

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Another smart - dumb argument

” didn’t say that song writing would disappear, but the PROFESSION of song writing would disappear. It is signficant, because much of the music that is popular is also NOT written by the performers.”

Funny thing … on the list of applications for the business plan we are working on is an app to build songs line by line. The beta works rather well with 74,000 individual unique lines ripped from lyrics. We ran a thesaurus over it and ended up with over 500,000+ lines. The beta took only 1-2 hours to build in visual studio, the dataset took half a day (12 hours, import, clean, thesaurus modifications). Randomly generating songs is really fun
most of them suck, but if you give it some search words and drop and drag the lines to organize them, then manually tweak them they end up rather good.

Song writing isnt all that tough when you have Poems, lyrics, and other sources to pull individual lines from.

Also your comments about IPv6, really dumb. Do you think the cable companies are going to replace all their hard ware for you? They wont even spend the money to upgrade unless forced to by competition or break downs. Every article I have read says it will take 20-25 years to go fully IPv6, and that we will be running a hybrid net work of IP4 and IP6.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Another smart - dumb argument

Creative algorithms with AI-like programming will be the death of professional songwriting.

“Smack that ass!” So professional. Or you could crowd-source song writing. An army of amateurs. Which would lead to more songs being written which kind of sounds nothing like a death.

Oh, right, the professionalism is dying. Good riddance.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Another smart - dumb argument

“What I find amazing is that you quoted me and didn’t even read it.

“the profession of song writer will disappear.”

so by your logic the profession of song writer could not possibly have existed before 1710.

If that were true I would be very sad because a lot of my favourite songs were written before that date. Happily it’s nonsense.

AND the profession of hymnographer existed long before copyright: eg
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Joseph_the_Hymnographer

and it will exist long after.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Another smart - dumb argument

“Same rule for VPN or proxies providers, they would be required to log and know who is using their services, and provide that information directly in response to a DMCA or similar style notice.”

Yeah, screw due process! We need to jettison the very foundation of our justice system to deal with the evil scourge that is threatening to destroy music forever! We’re not over-reacting at all!

Actually, the idea you present here is impossible. You don’t need any third-party providers to run a VPN, and good proxies are already stationed well outside the reach of the long arm of the law. Lawmaking to prevent these things are just bluster.

Lobo Santo's Ugly : says:

Re: Re: Another smart - dumb argument

Yeah, screw due process!

Pay attention! All it is to do is to START due process by pointing out WHO TO SERVE. It isn’t to short cut and find them guilty without process, it’s just to know who to process.

There is no shortcut of due process, except in that users wouldn’t be able to hide under being their ISPs and go “neener-neener” all the while pirating software and music without stop.

Think past the end of your nose!

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Another smart - dumb argument

“Pay attention! All it is to do is to START due process by pointing out WHO TO SERVE. It isn’t to short cut and find them guilty without process, it’s just to know who to process.”

Given the provision advocated in cutting internet connections due to allegations without convictions, how is that not an end around of due process?

Luci says:

Re: Re: Re: Another smart - dumb argument

You are advocating the loss of basic freedoms. Privacy is a very, very basic freedom. You don’t need to know who I am. If you do, get a goddamned court order and THEN find out. I’m not going to tell you who I am just because you want to know ‘just in case.’ ‘Just in case’ is the reasoning used by those who don’t truly believe in freedom. This is still a free country that I live in. When that is no longer the case? Well, Canada is less than 30 minutes away.

mkam says:

Re: Another smart - dumb argument

Run your P2P, your skypes, whatever. But you cannot do it with the cloak of secrecy, you have to be out there and traceable. I suspect that P2P traffic would dwindle rapidly when people could no longer sneak around and hide their “infringing”.

-Look up encryption and tunneling on wikipedia. If you try to track and harass them they will just further underground.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Another smart - dumb argument

The real answer to this: You can have all the net neutrality you want, but you give up your anonymous status. Basically, IPv6 enforced, everyone has to be identified, ISPs required to know exactly what user is on each IP, and end users being responsible for anyone connected to the internet via their connection. Same rule for VPN or proxies providers, they would be required to log and know who is using their services, and provide that information directly in response to a DMCA or similar style notice.

you sound like those idiots that think DRM will somehow be “fixed” in order to be effective.

ipv6, as a standard, is 11 years old and it’s still not in widespread use. something like 1% of the internet uses it, mostly for fail over. good luck rolling that out in time to save the recording industry ๐Ÿ™‚

and remember, anonymity works both ways. if ipv6 does away with ISP’s using dynamically assigned IP’s, then apps like moblock or peer guardian that refuse connections from “suspicious” peers on lists will vastly improve in accuracy because the lists will be far easier to keep up to date.

and a 128bit address space doesn’t suddenly render NAT and proxy systems unusable. they will still work fine. and even if they stopped there are other, “darker” methods for sharing files, like freenet, tor, ip2p, or just encrypted links between small worlds networks.

also, lately i have been getting a decent amount of stuff from sites like rapidshare in addition to my usual BT shenanigans. the right thread in a forum can yield terabytes of goodies.

i won’t even mention trading hard drives with friends.

so unless you are willing to go house to house and shoot people, you can’t stop filesharing.

RD says:

So sick of...

I am SO sick of the copyright maximalists creed of “you cant compete with free.”

TV – FREE tv, movies, shows
Radio – FREE music, discussion, old radio dramas
Libraries – FREE books, magazines

And there you have nearly our entire artistic culture being given FOR FREE.

If you cant compete with that, you shouldnt be in business, as you obviously dont understand how “Free” works.

RD is still not getting it says:

Re: So sick of...

RD, you still don’t get it, do you?

TV – FREE tv, movies, shows
Radio – FREE music, discussion, old radio dramas
Libraries – FREE books, magazines

TV = NOT FREE. It doesn’t extract money directly from your pocket, but it isn’t free. You pay for it with your attention to advertising. If you want it without advertising (like HBO) guess what? YOU PAY. Over the air TV may be “without cash cost” but it isn’t free.

Radio? Same deal – it’s not free. It’s “without cash cost” but you pay for it with your attention. Want it without commercials? Subscribe to XM and PAY!

Libraries? Well, first, the books are paid for. Second, the books can only be used one at a time. If each person takes a book for 1 week, only 52 people a year can read the book. So if you are #150 in line for the book, well, call me in three years when you get to see it. Of course, you could just PAY to get a copy now.

It ain’t free.

I am SO sick of copyright minimalists who just can’t figure out basic business.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: So sick of...

All of those things are infact FREE as I the end user percieve it. Instead of paying 8 bucks for every paperback and 30 bucks for every hardback book I read I just read a common copy that circulates around everyone in town.

Certainly that 50,000:1 reduction in purchased copies makes a difference to “professional authors” fixated on the almighty dollar.

The problem of free content on the internet is just an extension of long held expectations of the consumer. The consumer is simply used to getting a lot of content for free. The internet really has nothing to do with it.

The net only makes things more visible and gives people with a poor grasp of math and economics and inflated notion of their own value.

Michael Turk says:

Re: So sick of...

TV – FREE tv, movies, shows
Radio – FREE music, discussion, old radio dramas
Libraries – FREE books, magazines

Several problems with that theory.

First, TV isn’t free. It’s not paid for by you, but it’s paid for by advertisers hoping to reach you. Since more and more people are avoiding commercials with DVRs, that model can only continue so long before that “Free” TV comes with a real cost.

Free radio is the same

As long as we’re on the topic, let’s throw in the number of newspapers who are folding because they decided to give all of their content away for free.

Finally, “free” libraries are paid for by the people in the form of taxes. That’s hardly “free”.

So your argument that “nearly our entire artistic culture being given FOR FREE” is complete and total nonsense. Just because you don’t get a bill doesn’t make anything free.

. says:

Re: Re: So sick of...

Ask anyone if they pay for TV and radio?

They don’t.

The business side is of no concern to people watching TV they don’t pay and doesn’t matter if somebody else pays the fact is the consumer is getting free videos and free music.

It is not a failure from the people is a failure from the business people, it is a management failure.

Now people still watch free TV. Why is that TV can do it and others can’t do it on the internet?

Google did it, yahoo did it, even microsoft is doing it and maybe that is the kind of management that artists should be looking for the ones that get it.

Maybe in the future there will be blockbuster coming out of “google studios” because they are the ones with money to do it and proven know how on how to monetize the internet.

It is not people watching TV or listening to music for free on the internet that are thieves,

Is manager that are dumb ๐Ÿ™‚

Other make money why can’t they?

South Korea have some of the more stringent laws on earth and it didn’t stop “piracy”, China crackdown on bittorrent sites but didn’t touch the client that uses FTP, torrents, gnuntella, http, and others transfers protocols so there is no reduction of anything is there?

Still artists are booming, local blockbusters are being created.

And on the flip side artists that were employees before are now bosses. They hold the leverage because the money shifted from physical sales to performance acts.

ps: people selling books still manage to make money ask cory doctorow.

. says:

LoL

Run your P2P, your skypes, whatever. But you cannot do it with the cloak of secrecy, you have to be out there and traceable. I suspect that P2P traffic would dwindle rapidly when people could no longer sneak around and hide their “infringing”.

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2009-12/high-performance-ski-goggles-heads-display

Next news 2015.

Ski tourists were arrest for sharing video with their goggles.

They just were seeing a movie together with the ski goggles syncronized with wirelles transmission.

http://www.walyou.com/blog/2008/03/06/camera-goggles-record-and-tag-your-every-move/

Law enforcement would love those. But there is in the market one that goes around the neck and take pictures every 15 minutes.
http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2009/10/camera-records-your-life-10-days-at-a-time/

Now imagine girls going crazy about how they tell stories to each other and are able to share those images in close proximity with a group of friends they can show “that guy” they like, they could share that incredible moment, or they could just share music and movies.

And all will be encrypted. People trying to see what is going on will se just packets being passed but won’t know what the data is.

Now lets assume that cryptography gets outlawed, there are still ways to do it right bellow the nose of people.

Now the question is. Are we going to let commercial interests trump civil liberties?

If we do we deserve all the pain.

Laurel L. Russwurm (profile) says:

2 sides: Canadian music take on P2P

The SGA sounds like Canada’s SOCAN (mired in the past, unable to grasp the concept of adaptibilty) but Canada also has the Songwriters Association of Canada who are looking at change: ThisMagazine: Pay indie artists and break the music monopoly โ€” Legalize Music Piracy

What I worry about is that this awful ignorance will kill off freedom (privacy IS freedom) and also file sharing, which is so important.

In the latter part of my StopUBB public service blog post explaining BitTorrent for the non-technically minded, there’s a fair bit about “other uses for BitTorrent that are not only legal, but even perfectly acceptable in polite society.” I get so angry at all the people slamming P2P when it does so much good.

William Goldman (writer of The Princess Bride and Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid) famously observed of the movie biz: “Nobody Knows Nothing”. The same is true of the music biz. Yet for the last half century both of those businesses were controlled by a few executives in a few corporations. When your company is only backing a handful of artists you’re not going to be promoting much that’s “outside the box”.

Dark Helmet is right, we are already seeing “the return to regional art, music, fandom, etc. ” because artists can find an audience without selling their souls to a corporation that then enslaves them, making a tiny few mega stars and keeping the rest in penury.

Yes, there have been some really good artists and some really great music in the last fifty years… But many as many really good creators never got a chance because some ignorant executive didn’t get it.

Myself I am looking forward to the new golden age of music.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 2 sides: Canadian music take on P2P

[Doug] Morris [Universal’s CEO] insists there wasn’t a thing he or anyone else could have done differently. “There’s no one in the record company that’s a technologist,” Morris explains. “That’s a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn’t. They just didn’t know what to do. It’s like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?”

Personally, I would hire a vet. But to Morris, even that wasn’t an option. “We didn’t know who to hire,” he says, becoming more agitated. “I wouldn’t be able to recognize a good technology person โ€” anyone with a good bullshit story would have gotten past me.” Morris’ almost willful cluelessness is telling. “He wasn’t prepared for a business that was going to be so totally disrupted by technology,” says a longtime industry insider who has worked with Morris. “He just doesn’t have that kind of mind.”

http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/magazine/15-12/mf_morris?currentPage=all

. says:

About net neutrality.

I think Net Neutrality should be guidelines and not law like the bill of rights.

Still, what many already pointed out in other forums is that ISPs in the U.S. own the physical infra structure and the services part and that is bad.

If you own the lines you should not own the service part it creates a fertile ground for abuse and misconduct and still is what the U.S. did.

Traffic management is not the same thing as service management they are two different things.

Like you don’t put red lights for trucks, buses and cars you don’t discriminate what is going on.

If ISPs don’t want to let go of the infra-structure, people should build their own in their communities and contract a service provider.

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