ASCAP Claiming That Creative Commons Must Be Stopped; Apparently They Don't Actually Believe In Artist Freedom

from the protectionism-all-the-way dept

About a year and a half ago, we reported on the news that ASCAP, who represents songwriters and publishers as a collection society, was holding strategy sessions on how to “counter” proponents of free culture, as if they were some sort of attack on ASCAP. Since then, we’ve actually noticed a growth in both the number of hilarious conspiracy-midned “attack blogs” from people tied to ASCAP, as well as an increase in the number of “anonymous” commenters on the site coming from IP addresses used by a few law firms that have connections to ASCAP. Funny that.

Now it appears they’re stepping things up to stage two: they’ve sent around fundraising emails that specifically ask for money to fight Creative Commons, EFF and Public Knowledge. What’s amusing (but really sad) is that this proves that the rhetoric out of ASCAP about protecting “artists’ rights” is bunk. Creative Commons does nothing whatsoever to undermine artists’ rights. It merely offers them more options for how they choose to license their works. It’s the sort of thing that ASCAP and the rest of the music industry should embrace. In fact, when confronted, many of these organizations often make the point that they have no problem with Creative Commons, and they’re happy if artists choose to use CC licenses.

But ASCAP’s blatant attack on Creative Commons (and EFF and PK; both of whom focus on consumer rights, but not undermining artist’s rights at all) shows their true colors. They’re not about artists’ rights at all. They’re about greater protectionism — which is not (at all) the same thing.

Of course, all this makes me wonder why ASCAP members would support an organization that is, in fact, actively trying to diminish their options for licensing? ASCAP has a huge ulterior motive, of course. If alternative business models and things like Creative Commons become more widely used, the reliance on ASCAP diminishes, and ASCAP doesn’t want that at all.

Below is the letter itself, which was posted by Mike Rugnetta:

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Really sad day for ASCAP that it would stoop so low as to claim that giving creators more options and more business model and distributions options is somehow bad. Pretty much takes away all of its credibility.

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Companies: ascap, creative commons, eff, public knowledge

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Comments on “ASCAP Claiming That Creative Commons Must Be Stopped; Apparently They Don't Actually Believe In Artist Freedom”

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163 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

actually, if enough content was out there in copyleft, it would create confusion in the marketplace.

“your honor, i didnt violate copyright on the music i downloaded and then shared on futuretorrent, i thought it was copyleft”.

“i didn’t know it was copyright,as someone had created a copyleft creative commons noticed and falsely attached it”

“because some of the music we play is copyleft, we are now required to maintain an exact log of all music played in our club in order to figure out rights payments and usage”.

and so on.

this thread smacks of friday on techdirt, putting up an *aa or in this case asacp pinata for you guys to swing at.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

it would create confusion in the marketplace

Apparently you’re saying that artists do not have the right to license their music differently and separately from the ASCAP. According to you, any difference from the ASCAP model somehow creates confusion in the marketplace which somehow would destroy copyright. Even though the Creative Commons model depends entirely on copyright.

Which makes it apparent that you’re either an idiot or a troll.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

So, you are afraid that people are going to use creative commons licenses to hide behind uploading of copyrighted material? That’s a weird thing to be afraid about. Those kinds of defenses probably won’t work anyway. “Ich habe es nicht gewusst” does not stand up in court.

Also, I don’t think that that’s ASCAP’s intent with these letters. They see that they are losing control over what an artist can do with their creative works… and wish to put the creative commons genie back in the bottle.
BTW, CC != copyleft. There is copyright on a CC-licensed work. It’s just clearer what you are allowed to do with the work, as it’s explicitly named.

KD says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I do not disagree with the main part of your comment, but I wonder whether you might be a little confused about copyleft.

Copyleft, at least in the form of the specific license GPL, depends on copyright, just as much as the Creative Commons licenses do. In fact, they *are* the same in at least some aspects. The point of the GPL is to have a well-known license to use when you want to encourage sharing of some software. Creative Commons licenses provide the same sort of thing, but written to be more applicable to other kinds of works besides software.

While it is true that they are not identical, they both are motivated by very similar philosophy, and are based on the same approach of using copyright, but not in the usual restrictive way that most people use copyright.

Jamie says:

Re: Re: Nice.

If enough artists refuse to join ASCAP, it will create confusion in the marketplace, so you’d better start twisting arms on that one, too. Who knows which artists aren’t owned, ahem, represented, by you?

I think we need a “humming without a license” tort. Who knows which bars of music aren’t owned? Better to just require anyone with vocal chords to license up front. After all, there’s so much confusion in the marketplace as to which tonal progressions are the property of whom.

Comboman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Free over-the-air television needs to be outlawed because it creates confusion in the marketplace; people will think they should get cable TV for free.

Free drinking fountain water needs to be outlawed because it creates confusion in the marketplace; people will think they should get bottled water for free.

Hitch-hiking needs to be outlawed because it creates confusion in the marketplace; people will think they should get taxi rides for free.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Hitch-hiking needs to be outlawed because it creates confusion in the marketplace; people will think they should get taxi rides for free.

hitchhiking /is/ against the law…

But not because it creates confusion, but because of the safety issues involving stopping on a highway to pick up a perfect stranger. Only a shill believes that all laws exist to protect their dying business models.

Hitchhiking laws (in California at least) are in the same category as drunk-in-public laws. It is against the law to be drunk in public because you are a danger to yourself (mostly) and others. With a punishment of spending a night in the drunk tank (in most cases) the crime is more a method of keeping a potential victim of more serious crimes from danger by prohibiting the behavior. Hitchhiking laws were enacted because some hitchhikers, and some of those who picked up hitchhikers, liked raping or murdering the other person. By outlawing hitch-hiking, they hoped to stop the rapes and murders by keeping the potential victim of more serious crimes from danger by prohibiting the behavior.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Sorry Richard but copyleft, a term coined by Richard Stallman to explain the difference between GPL and commercial licenses is, in fact copyright. Just a different license and conditions attached. Certainly nothing that’s made Stallman rich.

And Creative Commons is not “copyleft”. Sheesh! Go take an antiTAM pill before you become further infected!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Copyleft is a derogatory term for those with a distaste for the pro-copyright movement. It is not a organized proposal for a new copyright model. That’s why we have CC licenses for that. Claiming such models will confuse the marketplace is pure conjecture and a straw man argument. Troll harder.

Christopher Bingham (profile) says:

Re: Re: As in Europe

One of the reasons that ASCAP and other PROs are bad for the vast majority of composers is that they fight that kind of record keeping – the actual logging of actual songs performed – so they can funnel the collections to their major market composers.

They’ve been doing this kind of logging of plays at clubs in Europe all along. The people who actually write the songs are the people who get paid – not just the special designees of the major labels.

The PROs create more problems for upcoming artists by shaking down small venues.

Billy Wenge-Murphy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Sure it would, and that would be fine. That’s how copyright is supposed to work. It isn’t supposed to be clean-cut where big companies own all music in existence, and they are judge jury and executioner regarding how anyone is allowed to use anything – there’s no such thing as fair use, you can’t even sample 3 notes, and if you download anything ever, the RIAA sends out Judge Dredd to cut off your internet connection. It should be a nuanced grey area, with judges and laywers left to figure out copyright violations and fair use on a case by case basis. Average people competing fairly and openly in the free market with their own intellectual property will be confusing indeed. I can’t wait! I want this confusing world, this world full of freedom where rights are restored to the average joe where they belong.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

I’ve said it before, because the copyright industry’s entire business is based upon government granted monopolies, they have no clue about competing in a free market.

When a copyright business is faced with competition they sue. If the court says they can’t sue. The have the law changed so they can. If that doesn’t work. They have treaties enacted to force new laws. They never learn about giving value to consumers because they feel the consumers should pay under force of law. They honestly believe that.

This mentality goes back to internet radio, the VCR, radio, the player piano, etc.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You seem to be confused. If I wanted to open up an online radio station and only play CC licensed music that allows me to freely play that music I am free to do so all I want without paying anything to anyone. I don’t have to pay soundexchange or anyone anything provided I only play music under appropriate licenses.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: SoundExchange

Do you have a citation for this? Because as far as I know, this is false.

The royalties are compulsory, so an Internet radio station would have to pay them no matter what type of music they played. In the case of public domain music, I have no idea what would happen to the royalties (I’m guessing SoundExchange pockets it).

To make sure, I actually wrote to SoundExchange (twice) asking for clarification on this, and of course they never replied. I would ask the Creative Commons folks, but I don’t think even they know the details.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: SoundExchange

Have a look at this: http://blogs.magnatune.com/buckman/2006/12/soundexchange_m.html

because it implies to me that you can play any music you like provided the copyright owner has directly licensed you to do so.

Of course the collection organisations will pretend that this isn’t true – like they pretend that CC doesn’t really exist most of the time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: SoundExchange

No, the royalties aren’t compulsory, the licenses are compulsory. The site that you have misinterpreted the quoted text, and thanks to them I initially misinterpreted it (retarded me) and believed you.

Here, I discuss this here

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100611/0351569781.shtml

Start where it says

“From what I gather the compulsory license only applies to copyright holders who do not wish to license their music.”

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: SoundExchange

From what both you guys have said, the situation appears to be this:

An internet radio station can avoid paying licensing fees to SoundExchange, provided that they personally enter into their own licensing deals with every single copyright holder of the music they play. If not, they’re required to pay the statutory royalty fees.

Conversely, if you’re a copyright holder, you can enter into licensing deals with individual radio stations. You cannot, however, offer a “blanket license” so all stations can use your music royalty-free.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 SoundExchange

Think of it this way. Say I make a song and release it under a license that allows any radio station to use it royalty free. Now you decide to use it royalty free. SoundExchange sues you. You contact me.

The plaintiff, SoundExchange, is suing the defendant, the radio station, for violating the a third parties copyright. The defendant claims that the third party is fine with it and in court here is the defendant AND the third party as a witness. That would look silly.

In order to sue you need standing to sue. SoundExchange simply won’t have any standing to sue. What, is SoundExchange going to sue both the radio station and the copyright holder? That’s silly.

No, the law allows such blanket licenses. Where in the law does anything mention to the contrary.

The compulsory license only applies if the copyright holder refuses to give a voluntary license. Then the radio broadcaster can get a compulsory license from SounExchange provided they pay what SoundExchange demands.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 SoundExchange

Besides, I don’t even think SoundExchagne can even initiate a lawsuit? Does anyone have any examples of SoundExchange suing anyone or initiating any lawsuits? The copyright holder would have to initiate the lawsuit. Paying royalties to SoundExchange only immunes the online radio station from being successfully sued from the copyright holder.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 SoundExchange

It appears you are right.

From the SoundExchange FAQ:

If I join SoundExchange can I still negotiate a license with a webcaster if I want to?

Yes. Although membership in SoundExchange prohibits you from licensing your sound recording copyrights to another royalty collective for purposes of collecting and distributing Sections 112 and 114 statutory royalties on your behalf, your membership in SoundExchange does not in any way limit your ability to enter into direct (i.e., nonstatutory) licenses of any sound recordings that you own, whether with webcasters or other potential statutory licensees. SoundExchange simply requires that SRCOs notify it of any direct licenses entered into with statutory licensees or digital music service providers so that it can ensure that payments received from services that hold direct licenses to certain recordings are calculated correctly and allocated properly.

That seems to be covered in the “legal code” of the various Creative Commons licenses. For example, if your work is cc by-sa:

Non-waivable Compulsory License Schemes. In those jurisdictions in which the right to collect royalties through any statutory or compulsory licensing scheme cannot be waived, the Licensor reserves the exclusive right to collect such royalties for any exercise by You of the rights granted under this License;
Waivable Compulsory License Schemes. In those jurisdictions in which the right to collect royalties through any statutory or compulsory licensing scheme can be waived, the Licensor waives the exclusive right to collect such royalties for any exercise by You of the rights granted under this License; and,
Voluntary License Schemes. The Licensor waives the right to collect royalties, whether individually or, in the event that the Licensor is a member of a collecting society that administers voluntary licensing schemes, via that society, from any exercise by You of the rights granted under this License.

We’ll just see if this stands up in court…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 SoundExchange

Uhm… perhaps I was mistaken before. I should read up more on this. Is it saying that in some jurisdictions copy protection holders can’t waive their legal right to collect royalties? If so, this is unacceptable. It creates huge risks for webcasters. RIAA et al can release CC licensed music under the pretext that they won’t collect and, after webcasters broadcast said music, the RIAA can nefariously decide to collect anyways. This will make webcasters think twice before playing CC music. That is UNACCEPTABLE!! The right to rave your privileges should be allowed.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 SoundExchange

Uhm… perhaps I was mistaken before. I should read up more on this. Is it saying that in some jurisdictions copy protection holders can’t waive their legal right to collect royalties?

(I’m assuming you meant “copyright” instead of “copy protection.”)

First, keep in mind that “jurisdictions” here is legal rather than territorial; it means “performance royalties vs. mechanical royalties” rather than “California vs. New York.”

And yes, that’s exactly what’s going on. With statutory rates assigned to copyright, you cannot waive the right to collect royalties. However, you apparently can set those royalty rates, including a royalty rate of zero.

According to the CC license, it also means that you choose to collect those royalties yourself, rather than having SoundExchange collect them on “your behalf.” According to SoundExchange, you need to send in a written statement saying that’s what you want… for each station that you don’t want to collect royalties from.

RIAA et al can release CC licensed music under the pretext that they won’t collect and, after webcasters broadcast said music, the RIAA can nefariously decide to collect anyways.

The RIAA will probably never release CC music. But artists who are signed to a label, might – even though they aren’t ware that they legally can’t do that (since artists on major labels don’t control their own copyrights). My guess is that the situation you describe is already happening for hundreds of webcasters.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 SoundExchange

I know the RIAA won’t do something like that, I was being facetious. I’m not worried about artists signed to a label, I’m more worried about copy protection holders who nefariously release songs under a CC license and later change their mind and decide they want to collect. Can an online radio station then be forced to pay?

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8 SoundExchange

I’m more worried about copy protection holders who nefariously release songs under a CC license and later change their mind and decide they want to collect.

According to the CC FAQ, you can’t do this:

What if I change my mind?

Creative Commons licenses are non-revocable. This means that you cannot stop someone, who has obtained your work under a Creative Commons license, from using the work according to that license. You can stop distributing your work under a Creative Commons license at any time you wish; but this will not withdraw any copies of your work that already exist under a Creative Commons license from circulation (…)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 SoundExchange

My mistake for being behind the times (as usual), SBE has later been invited.

“We are pleased to inform you that the FCC has since contacted the SBE and has invited the organization’s participation in the day-long forum. SBE has accepted the invitation.”

http://www.sbe.org/pub_sc.php#LegislativeUpdate

Which is nice.

Anonymous Coward says:

There seems to be a double standard here.

Groups sending out communications to fight copyright law are lauded.

Groups like ASCAP doing the same are lambasted.

It seems to me that this and some other sites are becoming increasingly intolerant of those who may hold contrary views, the very same sites that constantly scream “the First Amendment” controls no matter what.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I take it you do not take seriously the many federal court decisions at all levels of our judiciary where the First Amendment has been deemed to be not the absolute many here demand it be.

Obviously you are not a student of constitutional law and its associated jurisprudence. Equally obvious is that you have no desire to become such a student.

This is disappointing because there is much to be learned from such studies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Obviously you are not a student of constitutional law and its associated jurisprudence.

Obviously, neither do you. Using words like “constitutional law” and “jurisprudence” sounds nice and academic, but your manifest ignorance of those very things is undeniable.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I happen to use “constitutional law” and “jurisprudence” precisely because it is within these areas that the metes and bounds of the First Amendment is discussed and defined.

In the context of copyright law it almost universally arises in cases exploring the parameters of fair use.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

But what does the First Amendment have to do with people’s “intolerance” of “those who may hold contrary views”? Are free-speech advocates supposed to celebrate free speech by allowing those contrary views to go unchallenged? Are they supposed to tolerate the intolerance of those who would strip away their rights?

What you choose to call a sign of “intolerance” I call instead a difference of opinion. I’m not allowed to suppress your contrary opinion, but I am allowed to express my disagreement, and to do so aggressively. That is not hypocrisy, that is free speech in action.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

What double standard? Groups that try to fight aspects of copyright law that actually harm artists or consumers are lauded because that’s the right thing to do. Groups that try to change copyright law to erase competitors or increase harm made to artists or consumers (as per the case of ASCAP’s actions) are criticised because that’s a bad thing to do – especially in the case of a group like ASCAP who claim to be working for artists’ interests while trying to undermine them.

There is no double standard from this site, only from trolls like yourself who feel the need to attack Mike and regular posters no matter how correct the article is.

By the way, the 1st amendment merely states that you have freedom of speech. It does not protect you from the consequences of said speech. If the consequences of your posts are that people posting messages from all over the planet attack you for being a moron, maybe you should consider not being a moron. Your freedom to act like a moron is secure either way.

Jamie says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Would you like to actually make a point about the 1st Amendment that has something to do with the story?

Please indicate why, exactly, the distinction you are making is applicable, and in what way the distinction provides a relevant counterpoint to the assertion to which you are responding.

That, or quit pretending to be a lawyer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I think you are confusing licensing and copyright. Things like the GPL and CC are built on top of copyright laws. Without copyright laws, they terms of the licenses (which is what the GPL and CC is all about) would be meaningless.

ASCAP is fighting against alternative licenses. Them doing so isn’t good for anybody (except their lawyers).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I used the phrase “in essence” deliberately to note some of the groups are not advocates of the wholesale elimination of copyright law. In may respects, however, the positions they advocate would in large measure have such an effect.

Please note, I am not an individual who believes that copyright law is fine and dandy as it now exists. I happen to believe that the “Sony (“Where did that tree come from?”) Bono Act” associated with the extension of copyright was unwise. I happen to believe that the addition so many years ago of a derivative works right was likewise unwise. And, I also happen to believe that the wholesale elimination of statutory formalities that were an integral part of our copyright law since its original incarnation in 1790 was unwise.

I do believe that fair use is a vital part of copyright law as it does serve the important function of recognizing the importance of the First Amendment. I do believe that in egregious cases third party liability, a long established legal doctrine, is entirely appropriate. I also support the wisdom embodied in the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA and Section 230.

The point to be made is that one who seeks to remark upon what the copyright law in place today actually embraces does not mean that he/she agrees with its current embodiment.

What is sad, in a way, is that for over 100 years the US resisted the European approach to copyright law as expressed in the Berne Convention. Quite frankly, a significant part of current US law that leads to such heated arguments results from having to somehow bridge the gap between longstanding US law and the incredibly broad reach of European law in order to conform to Berne and subsequent treaties.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No, I do not believe ASCAP is in the least trying to emasculate CC.

Then why does ASCAP mention CC by name, as trying to “undermine our Copyright,” and says they “simply do not want to pay for the use of our music”?

You’re right, “emasculate” probably isn’t the right word. “Destroy” would be better.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

By CC I mean not the organization, but the concept of CC licenses.

Assuming a work offered under a CC license is the original work of its author, none of the organizations that support copyright have any reason to be upset. It is, after all, up to an author or his asignee to determine the legal status of their offerings to the public at large.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Assuming a work offered under a CC license is the original work of its author

Since CC is a form of copyright, the work offered under a CC license must be the original work of the author (or copyright holder).

You can’t offer someone else’s work under a CC license. That would mean you’re falsely claiming the copyright, and that’s a criminal act.

So, no, none of the organizations that support copyright have any reason to be upset. Yet here they are, getting so upset that they call for donations to fund legal action.

Andrew F (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Er … there’s a standard such that you expect Techdirt to treat pro-copyright groups and ASCAP equally? Mike (and his audience) clearly have strong opinions about copyright. Accusing them of a double standard on copyright is like accusing the Republicans of being conservative.

Also, the First Amendment talks about state action. There’s virtually no scholarship that says Mike, a non-state actor, has to take ASCAP seriously.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, the First Amendment does not talk about state action. It is by its terms directed solely to the federal government.

State action pertaining to the First Amendment arises out of our federal constitution via incorporation under the due process provisions of the 14th Amendment.

As yet another example of the incorporation doctrine, at this moment we are awaiting an opinion by the Supreme Court pertaining to whether or not the Second Amendment also applies to the states via incorporation under the 14th. Amendment.

Andrew F (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Okay, now you’re just being nitpicky about terminology. Also, you’re wrong.

Within a legal context, “state action” is used to distinguish between acts done by private actor (e.g. a corporation) and acts by any political entity with coercive power, not just the 50 states.

The federal government is a “state” in that sense. It’s why we say Barack Obama is America’s “Head of State” or Hillary Clinton is America’s “Secretary of State.”

And at any rate, you ignore the overall point — incorporation or not, why are you even talking about the First Amendment here? This particular post implicates nothing in the First Amendment. If you have a beef about the way this site treats the First Amendment, you should comment on a post that actually raises a First Amendment issue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

For First Amendment issues to be properly understood and discussed it is incredibly important to understand its relationship to the federal government, state governments, and private individuals.

For example, were it not for the 14th Amendment there would be precious little the federal government could do against state laws inconsistent with the precepts underlying the First Amendment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Actually…no.

In my view the general tenor of the article suggests that the industry group is out to get the organizations, when what is actually being done is an effort to blunt the positions being promoted by such organizations. It is not out to shoot the messenger, but to address and counter the message.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

In my view the general tenor of the article suggests that the industry group is out to get the organizations, when what is actually being done is an effort to blunt the positions being promoted by such organizations.

If they’re doing that, then they should actually address the (diverse) messages those groups espouse, instead of lumping them all in together and misrepresenting their beliefs.

This has nothing to do with ASCAP addressing their positions, and everything to do with spreading FUD, so ASCAP can scare their members into funding lobbyists.

Hopefully most of their members will see right through this charade.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

And…shockingly (or not), you still have not explained what any of this has to do with the first amendment.

I’ll continue to assume that is because you cannot, you know it, and you’re content instead to flail around in desperation trying to make some sort of point that is entirely unrelated to your original comments.

Peter Harrison (user link) says:

Re: Entitled to their own opinions, not facts.

The First Amendment protects your right to free speech, not your right to avoid critique. Tolerance is not acceptance. Just because we tolerate different views does not mean we cannot disagree.

However, ASCAP went beyond stating an opinion. They made a specific claim about what Creative Commons and the EFF are about. A claim that was grossly offensive, and to be blunt slander.

Neither the EFF or CC have ever said that people should infringe copyright of others in violation of licenses. The CC gives creative people licensing options. The EFF protect existing copyright law by ensuring that content producers do not extend their rights to trample fair use and other existing copyright provisions.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

There’s a bit of a problem here.

“Groups sending out communications to fight copyright law are lauded.

Groups like ASCAP doing the same are lambasted.”

ASCAP is not fighting copyright. It’s fighting someone else’s copyright and licensing, in this case Creative Commons. How EFF and the Public Knowledge Project got tangled up in this is anyone’s guess as neither is in the business of music distribution or licensing.

In truth, ASCAP is afraid of a little competition as they can’t collect performance fees on music licensed by CC and that’s what they’re afraid of and not some imagined attack on copyright.

All in all it’s a galaxy or two over the top and wrong from the first to last point they attempt to make.

It’s not even a good lie. And it is a lie.

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

Re: Re: not clear what they hope to accomplish

I actually heard such an argument about poetry once. People complaining that because this one poet was publishing his poems for free on his website, he was harming other poets. It was ridiculous. But it sounded basically the same as every argument the copyright industry has made over file sharing etc. Whining because their business models which are propped up by the governement using our tax dollars are failing.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Oh Oh pick me pick me !!! I know !!

“ASCAP has a huge ulterior motive, of course. If alternative business models and things like Creative Commons become more widely used, the reliance on ASCAP diminishes, and ASCAP doesn’t want that at all.”

One of my implementation documents on rebranding the creative commons, creating simple to understand help, video help, Tables of what all the options are, single paragraph descriptions of the various lisc, how to combat industry hype, education, and 40 pages of checklists. Was sent (Not by me) to ASCAP about half a year ago. That might be the reason for ASCAPs attack on the CC.

As to them going after EFF and Public Knowledge more than likely thats because of all the friends of the court briefs and public light they are shining on “The industry”. That and they are getting very good at causing the courts to crap all over the record labels and studios.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: James MOORE will tell you

What you wrote is funny, but I don’t think it’s correct.

If alternate licenses succeed, ASCAP’s influence and income will shrink. A lot of the alt licenses eliminate the middlemen and other parasites and establish a direct consumer-producer relationship.

It isn’t very hard to see what it is they are really trying to protect.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: James MOORE will tell you

“If alternate licenses succeed, ASCAP’s influence and income will shrink. A lot of the alt licenses eliminate the middlemen and other parasites and establish a direct consumer-producer relationship.”

They now realize that ACTA is going to have all sorts of unintended consequences. Including making everyone no mater how cautious a criminal, alienating pretty much every consumer on the planet, and worst of all people fleeing the copyright system they have created for something more realistic and consumer friendly.

bob says:

Hummm

With Creative Commons (CC) works the copy left agreement explicitly spells out what you can do with that work.
With normal copyrighted works you have to either guess or look at the long list of court decisions and laws that cover it.

This very simplicity creates a much better environment for the user, this cuts control and profit for the various rights collections groups (RCG).

So I can see why they would be against CC.

As to credibility, that was lost by the RCG’s when some of them sued their end users.

NAMELESS.ONE says:

@27

and correct, if there wasn’t copyrights at all the gpl would not exist except as might be a contract rather then a copyright license

YOU could still reword licensees to become contracts

E.U.L.A = contract and license

HOWEVER unless the contract forbade you with a non disclosure agreement you could get away with a lot of stuff.

and the reason they are actually fighting CC isn’t because of alternatives , its because they dont want to compete with anyone giving anything away as free as possible like CC does.( AKA do as you wish non commercially and attribute the author of work)
WOW sounds good to me….
when movies decide thats not so bad and watch the fan mixes that could generate more sales of the originating work….THEN they will have “got it”

ChronoFish (profile) says:

Re: @27

“…WOW sounds good to me….
when movies decide thats not so bad and watch the fan mixes that could generate more sales of the originating work….THEN they will have “got it”….”

I am so looking forward to the day when a “Hulu” like site is able provide “Arrested Development” like content without having to worry about broadcasters like “Fox” to determine it’s worthiness.

Let the production crew go straight (or straighter) to the consumer – sink or swim in front of them – not the gate keepers.

-CF

mike allen (profile) says:

It is clear that ASCAP and other others are in this not as they say but for their own ends.
I meet many bands in my worktalk to many artists. I have foir a while been helping one band get some of their material recorded and they are a good band female rock band nothing released yet but when they have about 10 or so tracks down they will release. I suggested they send to a record lable their reply was “no way will we EVER sign with one of those restrictive money grabing let down contract tying bunch of retards” their words not mine. I suggested an indie lable and the answear was the same. and as to ASCAP PPL RIAA etc they said “we dont want them to even touch our music we want people to be free to listen and pass on we can make money from concerts the more who hear our music and like it the more will come and pay to see us play even if we were famous the music should be free” again their words not mine.
They had never heard of techdirt until then cause i ask them. that why i take them in a studio i use for free and work with them on protools.

sumquy says:

“commenters on the site coming from IP addresses used by a few law firms that have connections to ASCAP”

I have read similar statements in several Techdirt articles, and have always wondered: How is that determined? Whoisip will only give you the isp, and if I understand correctly copyright holders have to (and have) filed lawsuits to get that information. So how does techdirt (or whoever originally made the claim) get that info?

chris (profile) says:

Re: Re:

if I understand correctly copyright holders have to (and have) filed lawsuits to get that information.

they have the IP info, and want the ISP to provide subscriber info like name and address. getting a comcast IP isn’t hard.

So how does techdirt (or whoever originally made the claim) get that info?

a lot of corporate IP info commonly known, for example, GE owns the entire 3.0.0.0 block. you can get lists of IP’s for a variety of uses, such as blocking connections from spammers and crackers.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Whoisip will only give you the isp, and if I understand correctly copyright holders have to (and have) filed lawsuits to get that information.

The webserver records each IP address accessing the site, and Mike can run a whois against the IP address.

While most private users will have the name of their ISP returned in a whois query, many businesses maintain their own whois information, and thus will have their own information returned by a whois query. It depends who manages the IP address space and who asked for the IP addresses to begin with, and how they set up their whois info.

In the case of a private citizen accessing the internet through an ISP, since the ISPs info appears in the whois query, in order to find out who was using the IP at that time requires the ISP to go back through their records and figure it out, which takes a subpoena. If the whois returns the name of the industry’s biggest lawfirm associated with the IP address a particular Anonymous Coward is using to post their messages from, then it is a pretty good bet that the lawfirm is in some way associated with them. It is possible that these are false flags or hackers, but doubtful.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You said it…well played. The only thieves here are the copyright maximalists (ASCAP) who are destroying the incentive for people to create music.

This is nothing more than a smear campaign by a copyright maximalist hoping to keep their bread and butter (the poor musician that they’ve treated as slaves) from realizing that there is a better way.

Now if only there was an organization that could take this evidence that ASCAP (the parasite) doesn’t care about musicians (the hosts) welfare and only is in this for the money, and make the musicians aware of it…oh yeah, Creative Commons, EFF, and Public Knowledge, the same groups that the ASCAP is complaining about to their congresscritters.

PhillD (profile) says:

I find it interesting

I find it interesting that in their letter they seem to be referring to even copylefted and creative commons licensed music as “thier music”.

Does ascap actually believe that they are entitled to ALL music, that they have the right to collect money on everything regardless of the songwriters and performers wishes?

Anonymous Coward says:

“These groups simply do not want to pay for the use of our music.”

and what’s wrong with that? If I don’t want to pay for soda I simply will stop buying or consuming soda. Instead, I’ll buy water or something. What’s wrong with that? If I don’t want to pay for something I’ll simply stop consuming it.

“Their mission is to spread the word that our music should be free.”

First of all who are you to tell them and others and I what their mission is? How are you in a better position than they are to determine their mission.

Secondly, so what if they think your music should be free. If I think soda should be free and am unwilling to pay for it I simply won’t buy or consume any. I’ll buy water instead. What’s wrong with that? If they want to spread the word that your music should be free and as a result everyone thinks it should be free and refuses to buy or consume your music and instead switches to free CC music, what’s wrong with that? It’s free market capitalism and competition.

“the music will dry up, and the ultimate loser will be the music consumer.”

I am very skeptical about self serving statements, especially unsubstantiated ones like this one where there is plenty of evidence to the contrary (ie: tons of CC music under the licenses that you seem to oppose, licenses exactly designed to circumvent copy protection laws at least to some extent).

So, because artists are constantly releasing their music and art for free under CC and other licenses the music will dry up? How does that make sense. If the music dries up then you are free to fulfill that void with your licensed music. But if the reason why your licensed music dies is because CC and copyleft licenses take away your market share then how has music dried up if it is the production of competing music that destroyed your licensed music? That makes no sense at all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“are mobilizing to promote “copyleft””

and by mobilizing to promote freely licensed music, how does this result in content drying up? To the extent that it dries up then copyright content will fill the void. To the extent that they succeed in promoting their copyleft that means that people are consuming and, by necessity, producing content to be consumed. In other words, it content never died up.

“in order to undermine our “Copyright””

Undermining your copy protections would mean piracy. These groups are not advocating piracy, they are advocating competition. This undermines your right to sell music no more than someone opening up a competing ice cream shop next to yours undermines your right to sell ice cream.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“First of all who are you to tell them and others and I what their mission is? How are you in a better position than they are to determine their mission.”

Ironic comment for a board that is regularly filled with statements regarding the “true” motive of RIAA, U.S. Copyright Group, ASCAP, “the entertainment industry,” “corporations,” etc.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Also, there is a difference between an organization that profits from monopoly rents and holds a position that just so happens to be consistent with maintaining existing and acquiring stronger monopoly rents and one that wants to “profit from” or benefit society through monopoly rent abolition. Which one more likely has nefarious motives?

Anonymous Coward says:

EFF, PK, and others:

The First Amendment is being stomped into the ground by copyright law.

techdirt groupies:

Right on, brothers. Keep telling it like it is.

ASCAP and others:

The First Amendment is not being stomped into the ground by copyright law.

techdirt groupies:

Boo! Hiss! You and corrupt judges haven’t a clue what the First Amendment is all about. You are all shills for corporations and other monied interests, and do not give a whit about artists.

Observation about the above:

Groupies close their eyes and ears to arguments that may prove helpful and educational in understanding the competing viewpoints, all the while shouting from the top of a mountain “I have a right to copy and share whatever I want since laws restricting my ability to do so infringe upon my First Amendment rights”.

To me this is a double standard. Consistently one argument is lauded unquestioningly and the other vilified without fair consideration of its merits.

People have the right to express their own opinions, but opinions expressed without an understanding of both sides of the issue do not carry persuasive force.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You do, of course, realize that a large number of people who follow this site aren’t from the United States and that to us the First Amendment is something we lack. (Sadly.)

That said, as has been pointed out the First Amendment, free speech, political free speech or speech of any kind is not being discussed here.

It’s ASCAP making false claims about Creative Commons and what a Creative Commons license is (it’s copyright, by the way) and what it may do to ASCAPs business couched in alarming terms.

It’s also making false claims about “copyleft” a term that applies to the GPL group of licenses only and is also founded on copyright and a creator’s right to license any way he or she darned well sees fit as do other OSI licenses.

“People have the right to express their own opinions, but opinions expressed without an understanding of both sides of the issue do not carry persuasive force.”

Try taking your own advice for once.

The only threat to copyright here is in ASCAPs fevered imagination.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Equal Rights

If ASCAP wants to mobilize to “protect” copyright, then it logically follows that the Creative Commons, the EFF, and Public Knowledge have an equal right to fight back.

Over the years copyright has expanded in both breadth and scope. Organizations such as ASCAP never seem to be satisfied with this “favorable” trend. So if organization such as ASCAP can change the law to favor them, there is nothing wrong with “copyleft” trying to restore copyright to its original intent or even abolishing copyright.

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

ASCAP is an organization comprised entirely of douche bags

They always have been douche bags, and they always will be douche bags. Their parents were douche bags, and all of their descendants will be douche bags. That’s the way they like it, and so far, being douche bags has worked well for them. So try to understand their total douchiness, and it will help you hold them in complete and total contempt for being such douche bags.

Jeroen Hellingman (profile) says:

Non-waivable licensing schemes

A country that has non-waivable licensing schemes are for example the Netherlands for mechanical recordings, where the collection agency (SENA) has a monopoly on collecting levies for playing music in publicly accessible spaces.

This leads to the absurd situation that a dentist, who happens to be a composer/musician in his free time has to pay for playing a recording of his own music in his patient waiting room…, and never get anything of it back.

Whether such things will hold under EU law is still an open question, but such cases are very costly to fight.

Another example of non-waivable schemes are the levy on empty recording media in various European countries (as they are not attached to a particular work, so if your CC-BY work gets very popular, you can still claim your share of the booty, if you want to.)

Kevin Carson (user link) says:

This Reveals the Copyright Nazis' Hypocrisy

The Copyright Nazis, despite all their rhetoric, don’t simply regard “intellectual property” as a normal form of property which the owner may dispose of as he sees fit, or own or not own as he sees fit — any more than the slaveocracy of 150 years ago saw slavery as a normal form of property among many.

The Copyright Nazis, like the slaveocrats, see copyright as the institutional basis of a social order, to be defended even at the expense of restricting the individual copyright holder’s right of free disposition over his own “property.” The slaveocracy opposed the right of slave-owners to voluntarily manumit their own slaves, even though this would follow as a matter of course if it were a normal form of property, because it undermined slavery as the institutional basis of social order. And the Copyright Nazis oppose the free licensing of one’s own copyrights under the terms of open source licenses because it undermines proprietary culture as the institutional basis of the corporate economic system.

Anonymous Coward says:

PRS
Which is a bit shit. Considering there is a whole world out there.

Bahamas 29 percent
Bermuda 8 percent
Cyprus 30 percent
Gibraltar 35 percent
Malta 27 percent

http://www.discogs.com/artist/David+M.+Allen

This is my producer should any one want him. Sorry for the shameless advertising. But thought I would add some levity to the world of the ever decining music of business. He has Connie Planks hand carved desk in London UK.

Katedale@aol.com. Record producer manager, Ex Director of Fiction Records for years. etc etc. And I have to say friends of the nice people at ASCAP but not all of them. ‘Id like to teach the world to sing’ etc.

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