You Would Think The Recording Industry's Main Magazine Wouldn't Copy Other's Works Without Permission

from the wouldn't-you? dept

Well, well, well. While I actually enjoy Billboard Magazine, and think that the current management there is doing some interesting things (and actually has a somewhat forward-looking attitude) even if they occasionally write bizarre hit pieces on me, it still is the magazine for the legacy recording industry in many ways. So I have to admit a bit of amusement in seeing that it apparently copied a blog post from Ethan Kaplan and posted it as a “guest post” on their own site… but did so entirely without permission from Kaplan.

Kaplan is being cool about it, saying he’s happy to have it reposted, but would have liked Billboard to have asked him first. You would think that a magazine that believes so strongly in copyright law would have done so. But, I guess it’s one of those situations where it doesn’t seem like such a big deal when “we” do it. It’s only when those dirty “others” do it that it’s “theft.”

Anyway, as with other thoughts by Kaplan, I highly recommend this post as well, though, you should probably read the original on his own site, rather than giving Billboard the traffic. The post discusses Kaplan’s discussion of why it’s time to kill off the shiny plastic disc (and how he once made that suggestion at Warner Music… and was rapped on the knuckles for it, since “the shiny disk still paid for my shiny servers.”)

The crux of Kaplan’s argument:

Consider for a moment the amount of supply chain management, staffing and processes in place just to produce a CD and get it out to third party retail. And consider the CD itself: a 74 minute bit conveyance mechanism that is pretty much disposable. They are often used just once: to rip the bits.

So in the end, the CD is this:

A once major source of high margin revenue which is now taking disproportionate back line expense to prop up, in order to justify the size of an industry which does not exist anymore. And even if that expense is not significant in hard numbers, the inertia it creates at the resultant diverted and stifled innovation sure is.

It’s time to kill it. Bring it out back and shoot it. And then really take a look at what is left.

Go read the full thing (at Kaplan’s site). It’s well worth it.

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Comments on “You Would Think The Recording Industry's Main Magazine Wouldn't Copy Other's Works Without Permission”

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Cojeff says:

The only problem I have getting rid of the shinny disc is that there really isn’t way to buy lossless digital copy. I just bought some CDs only because I can’t get the lossless. I’ll rip it into itunes myself with the setting I choose. Also the digital copies (IMHO) are still a little overpriced.

So for me, bring down the digital price some, offer lossless copies and of course no DRM.

Kaden (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

As a medium unto itself, vinyl isn’t lossless. You’re scraping a hard pointy thing through a groove in a soft piece of plastic… do that 30 times in a row and the high frequency transients are audibly reduced.

An analog pressing of a digital master has had the dynamic range, bass content and phase based imaging effects drastically reduced for the sole purpose of keeping the stylus in the groove… it’s lossy before it ever sees the turntable.

Vinyl is warm, soft and nostalgic, but it most certainly is not lossless.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

CD’s are terribly unreliable in the long run. When they first came out, I used to somewhat fall for the hype “oh, they last 100 years without any quality loss if you take good care of them”. Over the years, my experience shows that not to be true at all. It’s just a marketing gimmick. DVD’s seem somewhat more reliable than CD’s (they have some improvements in their design that help) but I still think they have problems. The type of CD/DVD you buy also seems to make a slight difference as well.

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Do you anontrolls ever get tired of this particular strawman?

Every single time someone points out the hypocrisy of the copy maximalists with a “Hey, I don’t mind, but doesn’t that go against everything you say you believe in?” some idiot rushes in here with a “I THOUGHT FREETARDS DIDN’T MIND LOLOLOLOL”.

Seriously, can you connect even two neurons in your malformed brain and form some semblance of a rational thought before you hit the Submit button? Please? Do it for the children.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Chris, if he is all for open source, shouldn’t his blog posts be the same way? There is no indication of copyright claim on his site (except, oddly, for the design by someone else), and only mentions in his “about” page that he supports open source and other initiatives.

It seems that he shouldn’t be shocked to have his content re-used without asking. It seems to be what he supports.

After all, if you guys are going to call out any copyright supporter on little things, you need to grow thicker skin and accept the same sort of questions will be asked back.

Or perhaps you remaining neurons can’t manage to understand that. Please, do it for yourself, child.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You see nobody is going out to sue them for having copied that, people just noticed that they copied and didn’t ask for permission while those same people insist that is the thing to do, so is rather amusing to see the ones that support the permission culture and scream bloody murder when they are not asked doing exactly the opposite of what they preach.

It is that not a sign that the world really works better with less permissions to ask? When even the supporters of said permissions can’t make use of it?

Also you forgot to mock Mike’s very recent post still on the front page about how it is better to just let others copy, while making fun of people who didn’t ask, you could almost imagine that he did that on purpose to bait people, to come and get the articles and then mock them when they do, but enough of the tin foil theories.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

One thing about bias.

I’m more likely to let things go of those little mistakes everyone makes about the people I like or don’t care, that is why I don’t trash Mike all the time, because I don’t have nothing against him and he mostly is aligned with the way I see the world.

Not to say he doesn’t suffer from cognitive dissonance from time to time(i.e. the article Sometimes It’s Better To Just Let People Copy Your Content Than Deal With Licensing” is the complete opposite of what he is doing here in this one, also his position on supporting new legislation about federal anti-slapp laws but not net neutrality rules), but I just don’t care that much and I wouldn’t care either about the mistakes of the entertainment industry if they didn’t annoy me and tried to change social norms that are dear to me.

Sharing is a basic fundamental of all societies, that is more important then any business interest in this world could ever be, business are transient, they don’t last, sharing on the other hand has been with us for 10’s of thousands of years since the dawn of humanity on earth, you really think I would support anything that threatens that?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

How that can be minor?
If somebody took an article from them do you think you people would be quiet about it and grow a thicker skin?

Nope you would be screaming bloody murder, bloody thieves and all that hyperbole that is customary to ip-maximalists.

The whole stand of you people is that others need to ask for permission and pay for it, so when you people don’t follow those rules you hold so dear what that makes you guys?

People are not shocked because somebody took it, but because of who took it.

Anonymous Coward says:

How about instead of having a third party store distribution, have a single shipping/storage center, since there is still a demand for the discs, and rather than trying to guess where and how many will be sold, have it be mail/internet order only, while still keeping the prices reasonable for the disc.

trish says:


plastic discs are garbage waiting to be thrown away. In 2011 music and movies should not be sold in plastic discs, because it’s bad for the environment. Has anyone thought of the landfills? (or the planet we will leave our children…)?
Maybe the recording industry hasn’t heard of this nifty thing, been around a few years now, called the Internets. Maybe they could sell their music there? Environmentally-friendly-ly and oh so cheaply?

Huph (user link) says:

Re: garbage

Actually, I don’t see it quite the same way. CDs are somewhat collectible to many people. I don’t think they are thrown out in the volumes that disposable packaging/bottles/etc are thrown out. Well, except for those AOL discs in the 90s.

And consider this: if we can make the manufacture of carbon-heavy plastic as “green” as possible and primarily use it to manufacture items that a person would hold on to forever, then we are successfully removing carbon from the atmosphere and trapping it in a plastic tchothke that hopefully *won’t* end up in a landfill.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

I just read the Billboard "Hit Piece" Article

Billboard is a very well known site and publication. When I read the “Hit Piece” article it had a single “Like”. My first article here at techdirt got over 100 tweets and 500 plus facebook likes.

Several questions and thoughts came to mind. Do people actually still read billboard? Is this guy a real writer? Did people in the music industry see Mikes name have a panic attack and fail to finish reading the article? Perhaps it is considered blasphemy in music industry circles to say “The Masnicks” name. Perhaps they consider him “he whose name can not be spoken aloud”. Perhaps they looked away in fear.

I do wonder about the single “Like” on that article and what it means for the record labels.

Anonymous Coward says:

Pointing out hypocrisy is not the same as being hypocritical – Mike is pointing out that the magazine of a group that believes strongly in copyright copying someone else’s work without permission is amusing.

This does not mean that Mike thinks the action was wrong (or right), simply that it was inconsistent with their stated beliefs. The correctness or incorrectness of the action is a separate topic.

This doesn’t seem inconsistent with Mike’s thoughts about avoiding licensing in the future by giving permission to use what they like … after all, by telling them to use what they like, he is giving permission before the item is used – exactly as did not happen in this case.

By the way: the blog post / article that was copied wasn’t Mike’s.

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