Dear Permission Culture: This Is Why No One Wants To Ask For Your OK

from the you-need-a-seriously-large-staff-to-get-nothing-done dept

“Just ask for permission.”

When it comes to dealing with the “permission culture” that goes hand-in-hand with copyright these days, there's really no way to win. Certain rights holders claim they just want to be asked, but the actual process involved makes it seem like you'd save a ton of time just assuming the answer is “no.”

Hugh Brown (a.k.a. Huge), an Australian recording artist and music business coach, experienced this circuitous process firsthand when he attempted to craft a parody of Adam Lambert's “If I Had You,” entitled “If I Had Stew.” Parodies are handled a bit differently in Australia, despite recent concessions in Australian fair dealing laws. According to APRA (Australasian Performing Rights Association), “lyric changes and parodies of works must [be] cleared directly with the copyright owner.”

“If I Had You” wasn't written by Lambert, but by Swedish songwriting team Maratone (Max Martin, Shellback and Kritian Lundin). But Huge couldn't approach Maratone directly as its website indicated that all the trio's songs were owned by the writer's respective labels. So he emailed Maratone and sent another form asking RCA/Jive Records for permission to make this recording.

Huge heard nothing from Sony but did hear back from Maratone… who told him to contact Kobalt Music Publishing and clear it with EMI as well. Quick count of players involved: There's Maratone, the trio of songwriters behind Adam Lambert (who's likely off sleeping the undisturbed sleep of successful angels). Sony Music. RCA/Jive Records. Kobalt Music Publishing. And EMI. That's four labels and not a single person willing to discuss clearing Huge's parody.

A couple of weeks pass and Sony still hasn't responded. Kobalt UK and EMI Australia have… sort of. The two labels directed Huge to yet another set of forms to fill out, despite him having given them all this information in his initial emails. The new forms aren't even for requesting permission to record a parody. All they do is assist the labels in compiling a price quote on the as-of-yet unrecorded song. And even if permission is granted, it likely still won't be enough. EMI only owns one-third of the track in question. Songwriter Savan Kovetchka, an EMI signee, contributed to Lambert's track, along with Max Martin and Shellback. This means Huge still needs permission from the other two songwriters and some sort of answer from Sony.

It's now nearly a month since Huge first made contact and no progress has been made. Sony appears to be ignoring his requests. If anything, he's further behind than he was 27 days ago, when this whole thing kicked off. The “good” news is that Kobalt Media (representing Kotecha) said “yes,” giving Huge one-third of a “permission” — pending EMI's approval… and when it comes to getting written permission, one-third of a permission slip is worth approximately one-third of nothing. Huge did the right thing and asked (and asked… and asked) for permission, but despite the ever-growing list of interested parties, it looks as if “permission” might be something they simply can't give. And then… things go completely off the rails

Huge opens his last post on the debacle with, “Well, I'm gobsmacked! No wonder the major labels are in so much trouble.” Kobalt has given their blessing but EMI begins a long process of royalty-related correspondence so twisted it would make Joseph Heller proud.

It starts out with a simple request for clarification by EMI.

What is your main goal for this use?

In your original enquiry you have noted that you intended to make a video for the song but have said “maybe” in your request form. Is this principally for release as an mp3 single?

Huge responds:

To be honest, my main intention is to make the song for my own amusement.

If I play it to few people who agree with me that it's fun and good, then I'll think seriously about making a video as cheaply as possible and releasing it on YouTube. I have a few people who are interested in helping with that, though they wanna hear it first.

If it gets any traction on YouTube, then I'll think about releasing it as an MP3 and via iTunes, etc … I just wanted to clear everything properly first.

Gauging the market before putting the song up for sale is just common sense and YouTube's a pretty good place to get quick feedback. But as soon as YouTube is mentioned, EMI fires off a preliminary standard contract for sync rights, showing that its share of any money generated would be 33.34% and a guesstimated one-time fee of $1000.

Huge forwards EMI his approval letter from Kobalt, which sends the label off on an entirely different tangent.

I just want to clarify with you that we are the licensing department of EMI Publishing, so we are quoting you on the synchronisation rights if you intend on using the work in a video clip. If you want to request approval to record and release this song you will need to get in contact with our copyright department.

So, Huge has been talking to the wrong people. He sends a letter back acknowledging the fact that he (obviously) can't sync the video until after he's recorded the song. He asks EMI for a contact name in the copyright department and receives this in response:

Will you be getting a mechanical license from AMCOS before putting this song on youtube or will you be putting it on youtube before you get a mechanical license?

This a question that can't be answered. According to APRA/AMCOS rules, Huge needs to secure permission before he can worry about uploading it to YouTube. He tries again to get EMI to follow his line of thinking: get permission, record, upload.

That depends on whether I am allowed to use Sony's backing music or whether I have to completely re-record it myself … still no word from Sony.

My instinct is to clear everything before I do anything. If I know what it's all gonna cost me I can do up budgets and set targets and so on. I just figured that securing permission was the first step …

EMI takes this clear statement of ducks-in-a-row and it decides that the mechanical license question needs to be clarified before anything else can proceed, except that other stuff (getting permission) also needs to happen first and perhaps simultaneously.

So does this mean that you do not intend to release the song with a mechanical license prior to putting a video on youtube?

If you intend on getting a mechanical license first you will need to get approval to record and release an adaption but if you do not intend on releasing the song first you will need a synchronisation license.

At this stage, Huge is still waiting for permission from two more writers. EMI, however, only seems to be concerned with properly licensing a song that a.) doesn't exist and b.) quite possibly won't exist if permission is denied. It's also given Huge the “opportunity” to pay an upfront fee of $1000 for a track he might not even make. Huge (once again) points out his thought process: permission, record, YouTube/mp3. This repeated clarification makes no difference. EMI is still hung up on the mechanical license for syncing when it's not trying to just punt the whole thing over to the copyright department. EMI also insists that its previously mentioned $1000 “contract” is valid for only four weeks, after which it will need to issue a new contract. Huge points out (again) that he still is waiting on permission to record.

EMI responds with this amazing statement, which baldly states that the label doesn't particularly care whether or not Huge ever gets a chance to record this parody if he's not willing to throw some cash its way:

We can not give you permission to do anything with the song until you commit to a sync license (internet video) or a mechanical license (release) so please confirm if and when you are ready to proceed.

Huge attempts to wrap his mind around this:

OK, so let me get this straight: EMI will not contact the writer and ask for permission for me to make a parody unless I fork out $1000 upfront and possibly also a mechanical license … for a song I might not be given permission to make and that might turn out to be unreleasable …

Alternatively, they won't ask for permission for me to record the parody until … I've recorded it and know what I'm gonna do with it. No wonder people are just breaking the rules and doing what they want with recorded music!

Precisely. If you want artists to play nice within the confines of your system, then you need to have a workable system, not just a set of loosely-related entities all acting independently and in their own best interests. Having multiple layers of corporate bureaucracy standing between two artists only hurts those who are actually trying to do the right thing. If Huge had gone the other way and decided that it was easier to ask forgiveness than permission, I can guarantee that any sort of takedown or cease-and-desist would come from a single source. When it comes to saying “no,” you generally only need one person. But to get a “yes?” That's a “team” effort, apparently.

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Companies: emi, maratone, sony

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Comments on “Dear Permission Culture: This Is Why No One Wants To Ask For Your OK”

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130 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I thought it was an uninteded consequence of people speaking freely, their quirks fall out. I didn’t realize people woke up in the morning thinking, I really need to share with the world how I passive aggressively harassed the black family that moved in next door.

“Hehe, look I made it look like they are the ignorant fucks, hehehe”

hmm (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

You DO realize that that racist comment came from an EMI IP address right?

Trying (and failing as they do at everything including the music business) to derail the conversation…

Lord, how many times must Sony, EMI and Universal try to push unwanted topics off-track before they realize people will just vote them down into obliteration?

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Re: Wow

Now, think 50 years in the future. You go back and try to get permissions when the artists are dead or scattered and the companies that currently hold bits and pieces of the copyright have been acquired by other companies, gone through bankruptcy and had their assets sold, and a half dozen other things we have not even thought of. Now try to get the rights.

Tim Griffiths (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I think the term “intellectual disobedience” has started to be thrown around for this kind of active refusal to follow current IP laws. While most people may not think they are taking part in civil disobedience in regards to copyright laws and such a lot of people kinda are. Who actually refuses to break digital locks to legally copy content they own because it’s illegal? We just need people to start understanding why they should be breaking that law and that they actively and knowingly are doing so.

I know a lot of people who don’t see a problem with downloading a copy of content they’ve brought. A friend of mine pointed out that it’s easier and quicker for him to go torrent a rip of old album his owns rather than go digging around to find the CD and to rip the content off it.

The way people live day to day is becoming more and more illegal and tipping point will be reached when we’ll be faced with the question “Do we keep living as we feel we should and have a moral right to in the face of breaking the law and being taken to court for doing do?” That’s when I think the term Intellectual Disobedience will actually start to become meaningful.

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Refactoring.

This reminds me of the book The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison when the protagonist is attempting to get a job with his “recommendation letter” which instructs the business owners to keep stringing him along until he gives up. (I’m paraphrasing)

They could save a lot of money if they just hired one guy to answer the phone and tell people “No.”

..unless their plan is to waste other people’s time, too.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re: Refactoring.

Seems like their plan is simply to try and extract as much money from gullible idiots as they can. How many people will cough up $1000 just to record their own spoofy version of a song that nobody but their mom will ever hear?

Just record whatever you want. The worst thing they’ll do is takedown your Youtube video (hint: try Vimeo). They’ll only sue if you’re actually making money/getting noticed, which 99% of all musicians aren’t.

Anonymous Coward says:

Having to ask permission to use other people’s property? Shocking. It takes time to make such arrangements? Double shocking. You’re not really whining about a permission culture–you’re whining because you all have this crazy sense of entitlement to use other people’s property. That’s not the way it works. Sorry, freetards. Just ask Nina. She made the movie first and asked for permission later. Woops. And then she whined when it wasn’t easy to arrange. Too funny.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

…and Huge asked for permission first. Notice how my movie actually got made.

And you showed your movie before you even had permission. Guess you don’t care about other people’s property rights. No big surprise there. He’s trying to get permission. He may never get it. Life goes on. But you, Nina, you’re super special. The rules don’t apply to you, right?

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I think you’re confused at the message. No one is complaining at getting permission; the story starts out with someone trying to play by the rules– the message is that it is so complicated to do something so simple that most people say “fuck it” and do what they want. You’re not seriously arguing that this is an efficient process, are you?

The “way it works” is that the people who play by the rules get shafted and the people who say “fuck the system” are successful.

How about we meet in the middle, though? If you pay taxes on your property, people have to ask permission to use it. Deal? (hint, you don’t know what property means)

velox says:

Re: Re: Re:

For most people who do not own a business, “property taxes” are just a real estate issue, but for those of us who own businesses, we unfortunately know better. Businesses pay annual property taxes on the hard assets possessed by the business until those assets are either disposed of, or the value is written off according to a schedule written into the tax code.
The issue of paying property taxes for intellectual “property” was discussed in the LA Times more than 4 years ago in an opinion piece by Dallas Weaver, which was a response to an earlier opinion article by Jon Healy
Mr. Weaver’s observed that if it was necessary to pay property taxes for IP, then there would be incentive to release non-performing instances of IP to the public domain. This would be a very laudable outcome, although I remain quite conflicted about this because it would be acknowledging that IP is actually property in the first place. As has been discussed at great length here, intellectual property has considerable differences from all other forms of property as it consists of nothing more than a government ordained right to operate a monopoly.
On the other hand, further discussion of property taxes for IP is worthwhile because it would bring the inconsistency of IP maximallist arguments into the public focus.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

For most people who do not own a business, “property taxes” are just a real estate issue, but for those of us who own businesses, we unfortunately know better.

Indeed.

When I started my first business, this was what surprised me more than anything else. Chairs, desks, etc., are all taxable property. I even had to pay property taxes on certain office supplies.

Although IP is not, in fact, property and so I don’t think that property taxes should apply to it, the maximalists often make the argument that it is property. I wonder if they realize that’s a sword that cuts more than one way.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Wowie Zowie! ! ! i think you are on to something there…
until you just mentioned it, i didn’t think about the flip side of the ‘rights’ the MAFIAA insists upon, and that is the ‘responsibility’ part which they are avoiding…
IF so-called “intellectual property” is a ‘real’ thing, AND it confers benefits, AND we 99% have to pay real taxes on real property; why don’t patent holders, copyright holders, music rights orgs, and all the rest of the parasites have to PAY TAXES on this ‘valuable’ ‘property’ ? ? ?
i pay taxes on my property, why don’t they ? ? ?
oh, they want all the (made-up) ‘rights’ and privileges without ANY responsibility (WE even get to pay for enforcing THEIR ‘rights’ ! ! !)…
nice ‘work’ if you can get it…
art guerrilla
aka ann archy
eof

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I think you’re confused at the message. No one is complaining at getting permission; the story starts out with someone trying to play by the rules– the message is that it is so complicated to do something so simple that most people say “fuck it” and do what they want. You’re not seriously arguing that this is an efficient process, are you?

Um, if you don’t get the permission you need, then you don’t get to use the property you don’t have permission to use. Just like everything else in the real world.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Um, if you don’t get the permission you need, then you don’t get to use the property you don’t have permission to use. Just like everything else in the real world.

Except most everything else in the world does not involve the Kafkaesque process above.

Seriously: read the article once more and think for a second (I know you can do it) about what exactly you’re defending here. You can defend copyright without defending this. That you still choose to defend this… well… that says a hell of a lot about what sort of person you are.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I agree with this blog on some things. But the incessant whining about how you can’t use other people’s property to the extent you feel as though you should be entitled (even though in fact you aren’t) just gets old. I mean, give me a break with this whining. If you don’t like how someone licenses their property, then don’t do business with that company. It’s called the free market.

Torg (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“But the incessant whining about how you can’t use other people’s property to the extent you feel as though you should be entitled (even though in fact you aren’t) just gets old.”

Except I am entitled to do what this guy was asking permission for. Parody is fair use in America, which means that I can do this without fair of retribution:

Bad laws, bad laws, bad laws, bad laws
They cripple innovation, they make singing a sin
If you aren’t a corporation then you just can’t win
They need evaluation, but so much money’s coming in
A heinous crime? Rewriting songs,
Unless you suck EMI’s dong
Bad laws, bad laws, bad laws, they’re bad
Electric and Musical Industries is watching so beware
There are no parodies that they will let you share
So just pay them and say please,
Or you will know true fear
They’re lawyered up, they’ll find your flaws
There’s no saving you
Signed, bad laws.

See that drivel I just whipped up in half an hour? That’s what Huge was trying to do. It’s what he was being asked a thousand dollars for the honor of doing. If this post had been written by an Australian, they could be taken to court for this, but it’s cool since I’m posting from the other side of the ocean. That doesn’t seem the least bit silly to you?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Funny how it works: we don’t do business with various entertainment companies, they earn less money and blame alleged losses on piracy. Subsequently they purchase legislation that makes it harder to be legitimately paying customers, all the while their shills insist that we’re hopelessly addicted to their content – despite us already refusing to have anything to do with them.

“Don’t do business with that company” is clearly not working out, despite the fact that it should.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Except most everything else in the world does not involve the Kafkaesque process above.

Seriously: read the article once more and think for a second (I know you can do it) about what exactly you’re defending here. You can defend copyright without defending this. That you still choose to defend this… well… that says a hell of a lot about what sort of person you are.

First of all, there’s obviously more to this story that you guys aren’t reporting. You’re doing what you usually do: Take an anecdotal story and say, “See! The whole system is broken!” Common sense tells me that if they’re into the business of licensing content, then they don’t make licensing content some labyrinth that no one can figure out. Something tells me the market would have weeded out such self-destructive companies. Give me a break. I’d love to hear their side of this. Of course, we won’t get that from TD. We get only yellow journalism and stories about the bogeyman. You don’t have a right to license someone’s property. If you don’t like doing business with someone, don’t do it. But please stop whining. Don’t you get tired of whining about copyright every single day? If the “sky is rising” and the business is at an all time high despite the copyright cartels, then why isn’t your friend using all that great music that isn’t so locked up?

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

1. there is ALWAYS ‘more to the story’, we are ALWAYS making decisions on imperfect knowledge; THAT IS ALL WE CAN DO…
2. pardon me, but your extreme deference to authority is showing… ‘oh, i cain’t nebber ebber bewieve that masters of the universe would ebber do nuthin’ untoward; must be those dirty fucking freetards…’
3. u r a dick, and an authoritarian one at that… get your nose out of the collective butts of the MAFIAA, and maybe the world will smell a little better…
art guerrilla
aka ann archy
art guerrilla at windstream dot net
eof

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Bullshit. I highly doubt you asked Mike (and all the other editors, of course) for permission before posting here. Just because the site has comment’s section doesn’t mean you are allowed to post here, that’s like saying you are allowed to trespass on someone’s property because the door is unlocked.

ComputerAddict (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I don’t mind asking permission to use other people’s property… like asking to use my neighbor’s Ladder. I DO mind having to asking my neighbor permission to create something similar on my own.

Imagine if you had to wait a year or more for permission to make a garden bed that was similar to your neighbors in your own yard. First you need a mechanical license to operate a shovel. Get permission to use the same mulch as him, add curves to your planting bed.. remember he did it first, and if you choose the same species of flower… bam Synchronization license so that both plants can grow at the same time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The analogy already works for the ladder.

Say you have some gunk clogging up your roof gutters, and you want to clean it out, but you don’t have a ladder.

Of course you ask your neighbour for permission to borrow his ladder for half an hour. However, when you ring the doorbell, an unknown person opens and says that you cannot talk to your neighbour. You cannot borrow the ladder from this unknown person but he can redirect you to someone that might be able to. He gives you a phone number and sends you on your way.

The phone is not answered for days and when you do get someone on the line, he first wants to know what you will be using it for. He can borrow you the ladder if you provide a photo of the ladder in its intended use.

Oh, and of course, while you would then have permission to use the ladder, you are not allowed to go and *take* it. For that, you will need permission from two other people, one to go to the shed where the ladder is, and one to move the ladder from the current location to the location of use. The first is unavailable for comments right now, but his representative knows that he’ll most probably happily give you permission if the second one agrees.

The second one first wants a sample of the roof gutter, to prove that you are actually going to use the ladder for the purposes you claim.

So, the steps involved are:
1. take ladder
2. use ladder to get gunk
3. take photo
4. put back ladder
5. show gunk to person in charge of ladder movement
6. receive permission for ladder movement
7. show permission for ladder movement to persion in charge of ladder acquisition
8. receive permission for ladder acquisition
9. show photo from step 3 to person in charge of general ladder-borrowing
10. receive permission to perform step 1.

RadialSkid (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Attitudes like yours are the reason 80% of the silent movies are lost. You treat art as “property” and actually believe the copyright holders have a right to destroy it and deprive the world of it…or just let it rot away on a shelf.

That’s bullshit. Once you publish it, it’s the “property” of the world. Got a problem with that? Don’t publish.

RD says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Attitudes like yours are the reason 80% of the silent movies are lost. You treat art as “property” and actually believe the copyright holders have a right to destroy it and deprive the world of it…or just let it rot away on a shelf.

That’s bullshit. Once you publish it, it’s the “property” of the world. Got a problem with that? Don’t publish.”

This. A million times, this. Copyright is an agreement WITH THE PUBLIC. You HAVE to give SOMETHING back in order to have this GRANTED privilege, and then eventually you MUST also give it ALL back.

Any copyright-defender or ShillTroll(tm) must accept this as reality, or they are being disingenuous liars who are willfully attempting to twist and subvert this constitutionally granted privilege through misleading deception and outright falsehoods.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Having to ask permission to use other people’s property?

Except it’s *not* their property. It’s they property of the public, and they’re just allowed a limited ability to charge rents.

Nothing is created in a vacuum. All art is built out of existing material.

“Oh, but they built it! Of course they own it!”

Suppose you were going to build a house. You had all the materials delivered one day, with the plan to start the following week. You show up, but lo and behold, I had used the materials to build my own house. Do I own it because I built it, or do you own it because you owned the stuff it was made out of?

you’re whining because you all have this crazy sense of entitlement to use other people’s property.

No, that would be you. You’re using “property” that belongs to everybody, and then claiming that because you built something new out of it, it belongs to you. Sorry, that’s not the way it works.

Andrew (profile) says:

But as soon as Youtube is mentioned, EMI fires off a preliminary standard contract for sync rights, showing that its share of any money generated would be 33.34% and a guesstimated one-time fee of $1000.

So, assuming the other labels responded similarly, does this mean Brown would have to pay 100.2% of money generated + $3000 for the privilege of putting his track on YouTube?

This is a Name says:

No Surprise

It’s not that complicated. They (Sony) want $1000.00 to get out of bed and send an e-mail (to EMI). That’s it.

They deliberately frustrated the artist by wriggling through a long, stupidly worded legalistically defensive e-mail chain. They did this to send a message: This might be a waste of time, and we want money right now, up front to do ANY work. That includes talking to you. At all.

None of them smell blood in the water, so they aren’t looking to feed. What else is new?

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

One has to go into the system to see how broken it is. The famous artists that support anti-piracy efforts probably never actually stopped to understand how the system works. And frankly, if Sir Elton John wanted to make a parody he’d get permission automagically, because he is one of the milking cows that makes shitloads of money so he’ll never know about this madness. The really hurt ones are the smaller artists. You can replace Elton John with any artist that signed that letter and many others that complain about piracy (U2, Kiss etc).

Maybe we should help rising THEIR awareness that they are not the center of the world and that copyright is broken?

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Makes perfect sense

This makes perfect sense if you assume one thing:

The legacy music industry is not in the business of selling music.

Music is not the product. What they are in the business of is selling promotional and related services to artists. And by selling, I mean doing a bait-and-switch and strongarming by whatever means necessary to get the artists to sign away their “rights” – and then doing a completely shitty job providing those services to 99% of those that signed.

They only care about sales and licensing in as much as it is how their artists pay them – but that is money they can funnel into their own coffers without much work since they’ve got their whole infrastructure of lawyers, accountants, affiliated businesses and industry contacts already built to do it.

Hugh is not their customer. At best, he is a potential small scale revenue source, but they’d have to do a bunch of extra work for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well, let’s see… I want to dig a trench across my property to add drainage. You would figure I could just do it, after all, it’s my property.

Not so simple, right? I need a permit from the city for those sort of works. I also need to clear it with the gas, the phone, and the electric company. I may need to get clearance from the city’s water and sewer department depending on how the drainage goes out. I may need permission from my neighbors (if the drainage comes close to their property, or might drain onto their land), and I may need insurance for the workers and so on.

Real life is complicated. Get use to it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Not trivial perhaps, but every single one of those steps you list is discoverable before you start, is well defined for your municipality and are the same for everyone.

It is also very likely, depending on local laws, that a permission response is required to be given within a certain timeframe from receiving the request, and permission can only be denied for a list of reasons that can be discovered before you apply.

All of that is the complete opposite of the copyright permission debacle in the OP, where there is no way to find out who to speak to before you start, where there is no requirement for them to respond to you, and each respondent is free to make up their own rules and they can have different sets of rules depending on who is asking.

And that’s not even the point. It’s perfectly valid for a copyright-holder to withhold permission just because they feel like it, that is exactly the right that copyright gives them! And THAT is the point. Arguments that copyright is required to encourage people to create new things should not ignore the fact that copyright ALSO prevents things from being created. We should be able to have a rational discussion about the pros and cons of the current (or proposed) copyright systems, or other alternatives, and look at what makes the most sense for artists, and what makes the most sense for consumers… and with luck they may even intersect.

If that happens to also benefit gatekeepers, then that’s fine… but they shouldn’t be the priority, even if they have the loudest voices.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Doesn’t matter how much you post your bullshit, copyright is a right of copy, not property. It says so in the fucking name.
It expires, got it? E-X-P-I-R-E-S. Property doesn’t expire, a monopoly does, in recognition that it is indeed a government granted monopoly. Not natural, artificial. Not saying bad or good, but it is an artificial monopoly on OTHER people’s property. Get that though your thick scull. In life, there property, and then there is a monopoly. Copyright is a monopoly. You can’t change that fact, no matter how much you try.

Real life is complicated. Get use to it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Culture

This ‘everyone can say no, no-one can say yes’ situation smacks of a culture where everyone’s trying to cover their own ass.

IP protection is such a hot topic for this industry that no-one wants to risk permitting use of their material, in case it turns out that they shouldn’t have (for whatever reason).

The irony that this discredits the institution of copyright, and prevents it from being a workable system, scarcely needs pointing out.

Anonymous Coward says:

This is just a ridiculous situation. There should be an openly available, legally binding list of all the copyright holders of each piece of content, with contact details. They should be required to re-register (in a really simple, ‘go to the website, put in my details and click ok’ kind of way) on a regular basis, say every 3 years, and pay a token sum (like, a dollar, or 10 dollars).

This would ensure that:

1. There is a list that people can access to find out who to get permission from.
2. The people/parties who have the copyright actually care that they have it, and it’s an active, not passive, right.
3. There is a simple way to ask permission.
4. The small sum isn’t out of the reaches of everyday folks.

This won’t stop people from saying no, just because they don’t want to share – but this is their right as a copyright holder. It might, however, make it a little bit easier to get permission.

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