Universal Music: We Need PROTECT IP Because Musicians Are Dying!

from the hyperbole-much? dept

Last summer, we pointed out that Universal Music Group Distribution President Jim Urie had sent out a letter on behalf of MusicRightsNow — a laughable astroturf group that pretends to support musicians, but is a front for major label and legacy industry interests, asking people to submit letters to Congress in support of a new law against online infringement. At the time, we had thought it was a push for a three strikes law, but it was really just pre-COICA posturing (showing, of course, that the major labels knew all about COICA before the rest of us did). Once COICA was out, Urie sent out another such letter, and followed it up with one more right before COICA was set to be up for a vote (before Ron Wyden thankfully blocked it).

With PROTECT IP being the reincarnation of COICA, it should be no surprise that Urie has sent out yet another such plea letter, asking people to alert their Congressional representatives of why they should support PROTECT IP. Just as with the past letters, if you follow the link in Urie’s letter, it takes you to a website where the letter is static. There is no way to edit it. In fact, the site claims that the text is required. Yup. It’s “required” that you leave the letter intact. There is no way to express your own opinion at all. You may only parrot Jim Urie and Universal Music’s position on PROTECT IP.

Doesn’t it seem somewhat ironic, for an industry that talks up the importance of individual creativity and not copying others, that it only wants you to copy the letter they’ve pre-written?

So what does the static letter say? After kicking off with a rather false offer to “compose message,” when you can’t do any composing, it offers the following required text:

My livelihood depends upon a healthy music industry ? and that?s why I hope you will support S. 968, legislation to protect Intellectual Property and encourage action against online theft.

Lots of people’s livelihood depends on a healthy music industry, but S. 968 doesn’t do anything to create a healthy music industry. As plenty of studies have shown over and over again, there exists a very healthy music industry today — more healthy than before the internet came along. What’s unhealthy is the part of the business Urie is in charge of leading: the part that’s about selling recordings. Just because Urie failed to lead Universal Music into the modern world, it doesn’t mean we need a law designed to break the internet to cover up for his failings.

And, seriously, can we stop calling infringement theft?

The online theft of music is killing artists, singers, songwriters, musicians, retailers, production engineers and others. It is destroying jobs, dreams and careers. The music community is at risk, as is the unique culture of American music itself.

Yes. Read that again. He doesn’t say that it’s killing their careers (even though it’s not). He literally says that it’s KILLING THEM. Talk about ridiculous hyperbole. Even if they really just meant that it’s killing their careers, this is flat out wrong. Over and over again we’ve shown that more and more people are making music and making money from music than ever before. The music community is not at risk and neither is the culture of American music. What’s at risk is Jim Urie’s job. For shame. Probably should have adapted to a changing market. Pleading to Congress by lying about dying musicians is a desperation play, but won’t save your job, Jim.

Despite an astounding array of legal and convenient ways to obtain digital music today, online theft continues. Of course, music is just the ?canary in the coal mine? ? books, movies, television programs, games and software are suffering damage that will grow more profound if left unchecked.

And yet, there is no evidence that stopping infringement leads to more purchases. You know what would lead to more purchases? Adapting to a changing market. It’s a shame, then, that Urie and Universal Music is unwilling to do so.

S. 968 would provide law enforcement with new tools to stop criminals engaged in piracy and counterfeiting online. I urge you to support this legislation and any other efforts designed to assist our nation?s creative community.

S.968 would provide law enforcement and Universal Music with new tools to stifle speech, attack innovations and generally hold back progress hopefully for long enough until Jim Urie can retire. What it won’t do is stop “criminals.” It certainly won’t assist our nation’s creative community. Our nation’s creative community (the truly creative ones) have learned how to embrace new forms of distribution and new business models and will actually be held back by laws like this.

Anyway, we eagerly await the evidence Jim Urie has of musicians deaths from infringement.

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Companies: music rights now, universal music

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Comments on “Universal Music: We Need PROTECT IP Because Musicians Are Dying!”

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80 Comments
Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Damn pirates

What with all the pirates costing the poor corn farmers their jobs there isn’t enough food to go around. The “poor starving artist” is now the “poor starving to death artist”. You don’t see the famine because your just a filthy pirate, you just copy the corn.

But in all seriousness, do you think they would be pissed if I set the salutation to “You would be an idiot to believe this” and the signature to “seriously apposed to this”.

AJBarnes says:

Music prices are KILLING me

So we need a canned form to send to the same recipients saying that these bloated prices are killing consumers. The music industry is the antithesis of a competitive marketplace and Congress is wont to enforce any monopoly laws on the industry. Congress is just there, apparently, to take money from music execs and do their bidding.

Mr. Smarta** says:

This is true!

This is absolutely true! Every time somebody downloads a band’s song, God kills every member of the band in the most horrible way possible, by loading up a baby into a bow and shooting it into the heart of every band member! I’ve seen it happen.

Fifteen hundred people downloaded a song entitled “Don’t download this or we’ll die” by The Boofwaffles, and sure enough every member was killed fifteen hundred times. The drummer even complained about the number of times he was shot with a harmless baby through the chest.

Right now, musicians who’s songs are being downloaded are getting slaughtered over and over again, sometimes no less than eight million times.

WE NEED TO STOP THE MADNESS AND THE SENSELESS KILLING!!

Raphael (profile) says:

Re: This is true!

Well, that explains the trillion-dollar losses the RIAA has been suffering. They’re not outright lies–the RIAA accounting department has just been counting sales lost in the alternate universes used by pirates to kill band members. It’s all there in black and white, and even the MPAA has officially stated that alternate universes usually involve pirates.

Anonymous Coward says:

Yes, we should just sit back and let counterfeiters foist fake products upon an unsuspecting public.

Likewise, we should just sit back and let parties infringe copyrighted materials for profit without any impediment.

After all, the original manufacturers and rights holders are just “buggy whip” makers who are stupid for not adopting new business models.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I respectfully diaagree with your answer to the first comment. Time and time again comments have been made on this site that persons who order counterfeit goods are almost certainly aware of what they will receive.

The same is true of the second comment. You have recited time and time again that copyright is an anachronism, and that all rights holders need to do is adapt and change their business models.

My comment was made with the totality of articles and comments presented here in mind, articles and comments that stretch back for a number of years.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I respectfully diaagree with your answer to the first comment. Time and time again comments have been made on this site that persons who order counterfeit goods are almost certainly aware of what they will receive.

You were not responding to the comments on this site. You were responding to my article about Jim Urie’s letter.

Besides the fact that many people do (and studies have shown this to be absolutely true) purchase counterfeit goods knowing full well that they are counterfeit, does seem to weigh heavily on the false claims of harm, does it not?

The same is true of the second comment. You have recited time and time again that copyright is an anachronism, and that all rights holders need to do is adapt and change their business models.

Indeed, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with this post.

My comment was made with the totality of articles and comments presented here in mind, articles and comments that stretch back for a number of years

I see. In other words, you can’t respond to the issues actually raised in this post, so you’re going to post off-topic thoughts.

Moot says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

If you aren’t being humorous in comparing killing people with creating copyright police on the web… Watching everything under pretense of collecting ip abusers… I din’t getcha. If you break broken laws, like helping slaves escape in those day are you a criminal?

What isn’t cool is making laws for your buddies. Those laws are born broken.

Moot says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

If you aren’t being humorous in comparing killing people with creating copyright police on the web… Watching everything under pretense of collecting ip abusers… I din’t getcha. If you break broken laws, like helping slaves escape in those day are you a criminal?

What isn’t cool is making laws for your buddies. Those laws are born broken.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Silly Bad Rhetoric.

…except this isn’t about counterfeit drugs.

In fact, counterfeit products that actually can harm the consumer have no business being conflated with “pirated creative works”. You’re trying to dishonestly hijack the sympathy that people would have for an individual victim. You are then trying to have that misplaced sympathy applied to a corporation.

In this context, the “counterfeiting” of musical recordings is in fact a victim-less crime. Similarly, there is no “victim” if someone goes down to canal street and knowingly buys a knockoff of some designer label.

Your nonsense is the perfect argument against throwing together quite different issues and types of intellectual property and trying to turn them all into the same thing as if everything was run through a sausage grinder.

Also, consumer protection from fraud is not something that needs to have any association with “copyright” or “patent” what-so-ever. That sort of thing really isn’t an intellectual property issue at all.

Of course the idea of protecting the consumer will get no traction in the rather crass corridors of power.

Buck Lateral says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, instead you raise specious free speech and due process questions. Why don’t you just bankroll a lawsuit if you’re so sure you’re right? Oh yeah, the same reason that the Google-funded professional apologist groups (EFF, PK, CDT) don’t- it would mean having to put money where your mouth is and risk having a court rule that your arguments are so much bullshit.

Any Mouse (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Free speech and due process are among the cornerstones of our nation and our system of law. ANY questions regarding them are meaningful, not specious. To make this sort of statement marks you. Marks you as one who does not think these things are important. That the rights and liberties of the many must be trampled by the few in the name of the Almighty Dollar. (Buck? Right.)

Putting money where your mouth is doesn’t mean that you are right. It just means you have money to purchase a decision in your favor. As I love my country, I despise my government (Which is as it SHOULD BE!), and I argue that corporations are being given far too much power in our courts, our government, and our lives.

That Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

His staffer has the copyright over the drivel he wants to mail off to congress, and he is encouraging them to copy it.

HES KILLING STAFFERS!!

But nice try at connecting counterfeit real good with digital copies of things, could you please explain how Suzy downloading a track from bittorrent makes her a profit.

Its a nice refrain, but please provide a factual basis to the delusion that there are billions being made by these copyright infringers. I’d like to understand the source of this misinformation so I can hunt it down and murder it.

No right now rights holders want to use their buggy whips to shred the Constitution to support a business model that in unsustainable. They want to have all of the power based on “because we said so”, not on anything factual. Given how they continue to deceive, inveigle, obfuscate the facts from how they make their money, to their campaigns to “support” artists that all just seem to line their own pockets, and now cross into complete farce with everytime you download an artist explodes in a puff of brimstone – When you Torrent, Your supporting SATAN! form letter.

AltaVoz (profile) says:

Buy Indie Support Locals

While it’s great to vilify the majors, we do it all the time, the fact of the matter is that artists that many of love, enjoy and support aren’t on a Major label.

So when when the press or fans goes and paints the whole spectrum of artists as Major Label suckwads, The indie band (often a family run business) that supports their local economy by playing, recording and giving the gift of music back is hurt.

Just look at every discussing of now going about the Cloud services, royalties payments and IP. It’s all from the Majors perspective; Yet they only produce 20 percent of the music and rarely do their releasase show up in our exports.

We say how about writing a letter to your officials saying we want to the U.S. Gov to once again back the U.S. musical community. As opposed to multi-National-Corporations that aren’t exporting U.S music as they haliburtonize the entertainment biz and encouraging U.S. consumers to entertain our economy to death.

While your at it. Ask your local media why they only cover the Majors’ we know the MSM works for MultiNationals’ so they’re not going too say boo about it.

Buy Indie Support Locals ain’t just recommended for food~ it’s the best way to serve music to feed your soul.

AltaVoz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Buy Indie Support Locals

The music you have that anchors the moments either glad or sad in your life is not a service nor can some machine make the notes, feeling and words blend together into soulful meaning that is the gift that is overlooked.

While I know that that your trying to reframe the underlying message with the fact that it paid for by someone I say that folks don’t think twice about paying 7 bucks a day for water poured over beans, which I happen to think are gift too The water pouring part is a service. Just like packing and distribution is in entertainment.

Raphael (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Buy Indie Support Locals

Thanks. I think if I was doing it now, I probably wouldn’t have posted that first comment asking for a definition. It was a knee-jerk reaction to what looked initially like a deceptive use of language, but which I now see was simply a matter of word choice.

I still think it’s better for all artists to release their work under Creative Commons licenses, because that way their work is allowed to become part of a (probably eternal, based on what I’ve seen of the internet) global culture. But I think that’s a choice that people get to make about their work: choosing whether they want the archiving, publicity and relevance-maintenance services that ecosystem provides in return for trusting their fans to show love. It looks like AltaVoz is trying to support artists but doesn’t think that tradeoff has a real chance of success. I disagree with that outlook, but I wish you luck supporting artists.

AltaVoz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Buy Indie Support Locals

No worries, IMHO, we’re on the same track. I have to laugh, I got stuck on the that point and pulled out gift since I had just been thinking about music and charity.

We plan on allowing our artists to use the creative common licenses on tracks or projects that they feel like offering them up as and not on others that they feel are important either as it part of a whole story, aka record, or is statement in and of it’s self.

We are going to the next step and allowing our musician’s to have a charity or local group become part of the mix by tying whole products or a single download to a given cause or concern. BTW We do plan to do both Clicks 2 Bricks Distro.

Richard (profile) says:

Death as a career move

They’re forgetting that death is a great career move for musicians.

Think of Buddy Holly, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, even Freddie Mercury and John Lennon.

It’s an old saying that you can’t be a great composer until you stop composing and start decomposing.

So surely anything than kills musicians is probably doing them a favour… (career wise)

LordBinky says:

I just want to make it completely clear IP THEFT EXISTS and I agree with Jim Urie that IP theft is killing musicians. Let me explain. First if it is copyright theft, that means I stole the copyright (I don’t know if I need to ominously cackle here or laugh like Snidely Whiplash). I would think that is possible through online means of changing some database that stores ownership of a copyrighted work. That makes online copyright theft completely possible and a reasonable fear if your livelihood depends on it. What Jim Urie fails to do is statements is correctly identify what is being stolen, which as far as I can tell is nothing. So therefore I agree with Jim Urie that nothing is killing. As for Jim Urie’s efforts I do not agree with since he is trying to fix nothing, which usually leave you with something broken that you will need to fix.

ComputerAddict (profile) says:

Okay Here is my Stab at this thing Bold letters/words are replacements / additions:

My Livelihood depends upon a healthy music industry – and that’s why I hope you will REJECT S.968, legislation to DESTROY INNOVATION and encourage LEGACY BUSINESS MODELS.

The online theft of music is PROLIFERATING SMALL artists, singers, songwriters, musicians, WEBHOSTS, CODERS, and others. It is CREATING jobs, dreams and careers. The Music community is GROWING, as is the unique culture of American music itself.

Despite an astounding array of legal and convenient ways to obtain digital music today, online MUSIC SUFFERS. Of Course, music is just the “canary in the coal mine” – books, movies, television programs, games and software are suffering damage that will grow more profound if CONSTRICTING LAWS ARE CONTINUOUSLY PASSED.

S. 968 would provide law enforcement with UNCONSTITUTIONAL tools to stop INNOCENT BUSINESS STARTUPS engaged in INNOVATIVE and CUTTING EDGE online CONTENT. I urge you to REJECT this legislation and any other effors designed to HINDER our nation’s creative community.

Please do everything within your power to encourage a meaningful and swift response to this OVERREACH.

Sincerely

ComputerAddict

iveseenitall (profile) says:

The pie is shrinking because the industry giants have less artists under contract and own the rights to a smaller percentage of what feeds the publics appetite.
Many of the vehicles used to attract the listener are gone thanks in great part to the demands of the industry giants. More and more of the surviving, as well as new, entertainment channels look to serve a different master.
Who killed radio? Who tried and tried to impose unsustainable restrictions on the end users? Who did all that work?
How many times do we have to pay for your sins?

Eric Schwartz says:

Sign this Petition

This online piracy act bill is trying to kill free speech. It was already done in England and now they are trying to do it here. This bill will limit free speech and tell search engines like google not to produce search contents when you write in a search. GO TO http://www.dontcensorthenet.com and sign and tell the senators NO TO THE ONLINE PIRACY ACT BILL. S.968

Damien Bizeau (profile) says:

Eric F. Vermote

identicon
Damien Y. Bizeau, Apr 1st, 2011 @ 7:15am

Eric F. Vermote illegally used P2P in Maryland during 2003-2004 (bootlegs & audio files for his car). This man with a IT degree works for NASA & the University of Maryland but went to jail for automobile theft in Florida… he is definitely not at all scrupulous with music too obviously and filed a defamation legal suit in France against me in July 2009 stipulating he never got involved in on-line piracy because he is a manipulative liar & because the case involved never got officially substantiated or couldn’t ever be substantiated; my point is that if the Internet had been better regulated by the US government Eric F. Vermote would not have had the opportunity to lie against me and pretend what I accused him of (on-line piracy) is frivolous. On-line piracy cases almost absolutely never get substantiated unfortunately! Damien Bizeau – Classical Music, France.

Damien Y. Bizeau (profile) says:

Eric F. Vermote

Eric F. Vermote illegally used P2P in Maryland during 2003-2004 (bootlegs & audio files for his car). This man with a IT degree works for NASA & the University of Maryland but went to jail for automobile theft in Florida… he is definitely not at all scrupulous with music too obviously and filed a defamation legal suit in France against me in July 2009 stipulating he never got involved in on-line piracy because he is a manipulative liar & because the case involved never got officially substantiated or couldn’t ever be substantiated; my point is that if the Internet had been better regulated by the US government Eric F. Vermote would not have had the opportunity to lie against me and pretend what I accused him of (on-line piracy) is frivolous. On-line piracy cases almost absolutely never get substantiated unfortunately! Damien Bizeau – Classical Music, France.

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