Music Publishers: We Need Strong Copyright Laws Because We Don't Like The Consumer Electronics Association

from the um,-what? dept

A few folks have sent over a Forbes article by David Israelite, the head of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), provocatively entitled: We Need Strong Copyright Laws Now More Than Ever. I read it carefully, expecting an argument to discuss concerning copyright law… but it never comes. Instead, the entire article appears to be about how the Consumer Electronics Association is big, and the NMPA is small. So, copyright.

Technically, the article is a “response” to another Forbes piece, by Gary Shapiro, the head of the Consumer Electronics Association, in which he notes that a series of recent issues suggests that copyright law is not serving its proper function, and the time is right to take “a fresh look at copyright laws.” The article makes the case that copyright laws do have a purpose, and it even celebrates some actions by the entertainment industry to seek to innovate and embrace some new technologies. There’s actually very little that I think anyone on any side of the debate should find particularly controversial. So, without an actual argument possible to make, Israelite decided to just focus solely on the fact that CEA is bigger than NMPA.

The first eight paragraphs of the article are just attacks on CEA. Then there’s finally one paragraph that actually talks about copyright. Just one:

Copyright significantly contributes to the trade balance for our nation. A song written decades ago in Nashville can be heard, legally, in Japan, and today’s American hits instantly become top international downloads. Products associated with copyright, and this goes beyond music to include television, movies, newspapers, magazines, books, and computer software, are one of the few sectors expanding internationally. The most recent data finds copyright industries outpacing aircraft, auto, food, and pharmaceuticals in sales and exports. And as our economy gets back on track, consider the power behind songwriter-driven small businesses that provide jobs in every state.

Of course, there are multiple problems and misleading aspects to this paragraph. It assumes that copyright is the same thing as the music itself. While the music may contribute to the economy, that does not mean that copyright itself contributes to the economy. Second, he assumes that “stronger” copyright laws would somehow increase the ability of those sectors to make money, when there’s little evidence to actually support that. There’s just a big correlation/causation error. Either way, nothing in the post actually touches on the title of the article. It basically is just a piece to bash the Consumer Electronics Association because Shapiro mentioned in his article that the NMPA supported SOPA last year, and how that was a move in the wrong direction.

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Companies: cea, nmpa

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Comments on “Music Publishers: We Need Strong Copyright Laws Because We Don't Like The Consumer Electronics Association”

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53 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

“A song written decades ago in Nashville can be heard, legally, in Japan…”

What does that even mean regarding copyright? Japanese people have ears and voices and eyes, of course they can hear an old tune or see it performed. Copyright has jacksquat to do with that. Legal issues have jacksquat to do with that.

Hearing something legally…what a preposterous belief system this guy has! What a tiny mind!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Heh. Oh god, I hope it’s not 5! It’s my favorite number and my entire life may depend on it some day…like I need 5 milligrams of lorazepam or liters of…vodka…for medicinal purposes!

No fives…no rounded corners…no old nashville tunes sung in Japanese…the world fades to grey. 🙁

They must be stopped!

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I love the fact that he included the word “legally” in there. The moron doesn’t realise that the only reason why it would possibly be illegal is because of the extended copyright he demands. If it weren’t for his demands on monopoly, the Japanese person could listen to all the country music of the 1960s without any fear of retribution, just as he can listen to all the pre-war Japanese music he wishes quite legally. But, of course, his industry demands payment…

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Huzzah!

“The most recent data finds copyright industries outpacing aircraft”

So…more movies are sold than aircraft? Strange, I could’ve sworn that would be a given, what with aircraft being large, expensive and scarce relative to movies. Why point that out? It’s not apple to apple comparison, or even apple to oranges. Its comparing two things that have, well, nothing in common as far as I can see.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: There is something seriously wrong

Well keep in mind the copyright people seem to think that grocery stores are ‘IP intensive/dependent’ places, so if you consider everything a ‘copyright industry’, then it’s only natural that the ‘copyright industry’ as a whole will massively outnumber, outsell and outgrow any particular part of it.

Bergman (profile) says:

Reading that made me wonder…if copyrights (not music, not movies, but copyrights themselves) are such a big moneymaker and export, I wonder where people are getting all of these blank copyrights?

Are there manufacturing plants cranking out tons of blank copyrights per year, ready for music or movies or text to be inserted into them? Are the proper patent owners being paid, or are these illicit bootlegged blank copyrights?

And if I were to offer to sell blank copyrights to the recording industry, how much money would I make per copyright?

Anonymous Coward says:

A small point of order for consideration. I grimace whenever I read things like “copyright industry” because there is no such thing. Yes, there are several industries as to which copyright law is quite important, as is the case with patent law, trademark law, and a whole host of other domestic (state and federal) and foreign laws.

Such laws, per se, are not “industries”. They are merely the rules by which commerce is transacted.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

A small point of order for consideration. I grimace whenever I read things like “copyright industry” because there is no such thing.

It is a shorthand that everyone understands, representing a group of legacy companies who rely heavily on existing copyright laws for their business model, and who often move in lockstep, concerning legal and policy issues.

Everyone else understands this. Why can’t you?

Gwiz says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Yeah, what the hell? Relying on a legal tenet that’s been around as long as the country itself to create a business model. That’s just cray, brah.”

Ahh, but when the shoe is on the other foot, like when an internet company sets up a service that relies on the legal tenets of the DMCA, they are accused of all sorts shady activities by the legacy companies.

What is crazy is trying to have your cake and eat it too, Bro.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Why the “dig”? Of course I understand the shorthand. My point was simply that use of the term is a misnomer by all sides of the issue, and this includes much too often the legacy companies who comprise movie, music, etc. industries. I say the very same thing whenever I read articles that use the term “patent industries”.

Patents and copyrights are legal instruments. Imagine, if you will, usage of the term “Semiconductor Chip Protection industries”, “Vessel Hull Design Prodection industries”, etc.

This and my earlier comment were not a criticism directed at TD. They are/were motivated by the contents of the article you critiqued.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

“A song written decades ago in Nashville can be heard, legally, in Japan, and today?s American hits instantly become top international downloads.”

Meanwhile in reality, the songwriter will not be properly paid per the contract. The performer will not be properly pay per the contract. They will be found decades later having been huge stars living in flophouses or under bridges, not sharing in the huge cash windfall that lined the pockets of an industry who can’t manage to find the people they owe money to.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Happy to discuss reality: you’re quite obviously an asshole.

But it was, in fact, you that decided to use that language first, when I thoroughly burned you and the rest of your pirate buddies with the ugly light of logic, and left you with no comeback. Sorry that makes you so butthurt.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Sorry if my language offended you, but you do have a long history of acting just like that. However, your own response to that was kindergarten level, hardly disproving my point.

On top of that, you retort with a blatant lie about me and no attempt to redeem yourself by acting like an adult. My point stands.

Please feel free to present your holy light of logic, oh anonymous one, because all I ever see from your here is lies about the people posting, personal attacks, distortions of the positions presented, and oversimplifications of complex points that you’re not willing to discuss without acting like a small child.

The offer is open – present your evidence, and be open discuss it like someone who’s managed to graduate from middle school, and then we can do so. Otherwise, your lies about me and others here being “pirates” is just that, and you’ve not presented a point yet that isn’t easily disproven with facts.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

Can you say HUBRIS???

Come on trolls, I dare you.

“Many innovative and wonderful music-related products are made by CEA members. But many of these products have no purpose without music.” -David Isralite.

Please support that quote with facts. I double dare you. Because I can’t think of a single electronic device that I own that has no purpose without music.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Can you say HUBRIS???

And btw dumbass, content is everything. Your dorky gadgets mean dick without it.

The other side of that coin is that you can no longer monetize your content without those “dorky gadgets” either. Not too many people buying player pianos these days, are there?

Those “dorky gadgets” are also allowing average people to produce their own content without you. Is that what really scares you? That anybody with a smidgen of talent can now be a part of your exclusive club?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Can you say HUBRIS???

He’s just upset that digital technology means his industry’s “let’s sell everything again on a different format for a higher price” gravy train is over. I’m sure he wasn’t doing the same whining when the vinyl/tape/CD/DVD/Minidisc/DAT/whatever format were invented by the same “dorks” and they managed to sell someone their 6th copy of Sergeant Pepper because they released it on the new format.

He’ll get over it.

TG (profile) says:

Monopoly revenues != value added

“The most recent data finds copyright industries outpacing aircraft, auto, food, and pharmaceuticals in sales and exports.”

Read, the copyright industry is sucking more monopoly rents out of productive sectors of the economy than ever before.

New aircraft and cars add new value to the economy. Decades-old Nashville songs add no new value, whether heard in Japan or elsewhere.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Israelite just seems hurt he was lumped in with the RIAA and MPAA. I can’t really see what point he’s trying to make as a response to the article.

It was just a year ago that the public revolted against the RIAA and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). These groups and others, like the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), convinced Congress that copyright interests trumped innovation on the Internet, leading to the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate.

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