Morrissey: Don't Buy My Music

from the no-royalties dept

We keep hearing from the big record labels and the RIAA how they're doing everything they do "for the artists." Yet, everywhere we turn, we see artists who are anything but happy by what's being done to for them. The latest, sent in by Bryan Colley, is that the singer Morrissey is going on fan sites, warning fans not to buy the new box sets of his music that EMI is putting out, noting that not only did he have nothing whatsoever to do with them, he won't see a penny in royalties from them. But it's all for the artists, right? These days, when artists are finally learning to connect with fans directly, those fans want to know that when they choose to spend money on an artist, that money actually goes to the artist.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 8:46am

    these are the musicians that deserve our money, I hope more main stream, currenttly under the RIAA start coming out also against the RAPING of music by the fawking RIAA!

    Richard Marx is another one

    Fawk you too Mettalica,U2,PRINCE or whatever he calls himself these days,Garth Brooks and the rest that are right there with the RIAA

     

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  2.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 8:47am

    Uh...

    "noting that not only did he have nothing whatsoever to do with them, he won't see a penny in royalties from them"

    ....Really? I mean, I tend to think of these big conglomerate multinationals as being as evil as....well....Dick Cheney, for instance, but usually, like Dick Cheney, they like to HIDE their evil from me a little bit, so that by the time I find it, I'm so tired from looking I'm too tired to be angry.

    But...really? EMI can put out a compilation box set of an artist's work and that artist won't see a DIME from the box set in royalties? I mean, where's the hiding? Don't just come out and piss on my shoe, for Christ's sake.

    Ok, coffee time. I feel a good Tech Dirt post coming up soon that will REALLY piss me off and send me on one of those wonderful six paragraph rants that I like to go on. C'mon, Mikey, do me proud....

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 8:52am

    Morrissey seems to want it both ways. At one time he was apparently pleased to take a label's money for his work product, but now is urging people not to pay the label anything more.

    It is difficult to reconcile these two positions.

     

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  4.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 8:59am

    Re:

    "It is difficult to reconcile these two positions."

    Position #1 was when he was getting paid for his work.

    Position #2 was when he was not.

    ....Anything else I can do for you today?

     

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  5.  
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    PaulT (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:14am

    Re: Uh...

    IIRC, EMI did the same thing to Radiohead with the boxset they put out after the In Rainbows hype. I might be wrong, but I don't think Radiohead received anything (or not much if they did).

    It's down to the hideously one-sided contracts that major labels traditionally have. Artists who sign with them often sign away the rights to their music, and this includes royalty clauses that mean the artists rarely see much income past the initial "advance".

    Why did they sign such ridiculous contracts? They came up during a time when the majors held all the cards, and they were young/dumb enough for the wool to be pulled over their eyes. Now that the contracts are expiring and the majors are no longer necessary, expect to see more big names coming out against the majors like this over the next few years. Hopefully, this will start getting enough mainstream attention for the RIAA to stop the ridiculous "for the artists" crap.

     

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  6.  
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    Me, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:16am

    No problem

    Don't worry Morrissey, I won't buy any other your depressingly horrible music :)

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:17am

    I have a couple of problems here: Too much of the story is missing. he hasn't been paid since 1992 but never took any legal action? Warner didn't pay him for 10 years, same thing?

    I think there is MUCH more to this story than this guy is letting on.

     

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  8.  
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    deadzone (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:20am

    Re:

    I fail to understand your logic at all. Could you please expound upon your opinion a little more so I can have a better understanding of it?

    Right now, it almost seems as if you are taking the position of those that you fight so hard against. I thought you believed in the inherent right to protect that which is yours and to get paid for it indefinitely?

    Does this not apply to the artist in question that created everything that is going to be sold? It only applies to the label that owns the copyrights?

     

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  9.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:22am

    Re:

    And he's not taking any legal action now. He probably can't, the RIAA more than likely stripped away all his rights to his own work.

    But isn't that what we've been saying here for a while? The recording labels go out of their way not to pay their artists.

     

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  10.  
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    rjk (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:25am

    Re:

    well let us know what you dig up from your investigation.

     

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  11.  
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    deadzone (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:26am

    Re:

    It's pretty much common knowledge that the Labels don't actually pay most of the artists but rather use them as one of their many justifications in their fight to stay relevant.

    Do you not know this or do you just work for them?

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re:

    the RIAA doesn't strip rights. PLEASE! Show me where the RIAA specifically strips anyone rights. Answer, you can't.

    Perhaps MOrrissey signs a contract that paid him over well to start with, perhaps he made his millions up front. Perhaps he sold his authorship rights for a bottle of whiskey. Perhaps he isn't listed as a writer in any of the songs.

    Like I said, there is more to the story we aren't see here.

     

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  13.  
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    AndrewL, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:31am

    artist's rights...

    I wonder if he didn't sell his rights to those songs years ago...

     

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  14.  
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    PaulT (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:35am

    Re:

    It's simple.

    Morrissey isn't getting paid for his work, presumably as a result of a one-sided contract he signed when he was trying to get his career started. Maybe he was tricked, maybe he was too young to know any better, maybe he didn't think this far ahead. Whatever.

    So what's wrong now? Here we are, over 15 years later, and EMI are still going to make a profit from his work while he makes nothing. In the mean time, the company is involved in lawsuits against his (and others') fans, citing artists' welfare as the reason.

    It's pure hypocrisy, and Morrissey has decided to point this out rather than stay silent. He's probably not taking legal action because what the label is doing is technically legal, but that doesn't excuse the hypocrisy or make it morally correct.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re:

    Here is a telling quote:

    "The singer made a similar move in August 2008, asking fans not to buy a DVD of one of his live shows, 'Live At The Hollywood Bowl', describing the sleeve art as "appalling". "

    Sounds like an agreeable sort of a guy.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hence stripped of his rights, thank you for reiterating and giving us examples of how he was stripped. Sold his land for a bottle of whiskey and now all he can do is whimper at his fan's doorsteps to stop the record company form making more money from his work. Everything perfectly legal just underhanded.

     

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  17.  
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    PaulT (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So what? He can make whatever comments he wants about products with his name on them, especially if he's not involved or being paid. Whether or not he's "agreeable" about it is fairly irrelevant, especially if his statements are helping to expose blatant hypocrisy and profiteering.

    Just because you don't like him, that doesn't mean his words are not true.

     

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  18.  
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    PRMan, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:51am

    Sounds depressing...

    Maybe he should write a new album and release it himself on the web a la Radiohead, except he would be using the record label's publicity for himself.

     

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  19.  
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    dmntd, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:53am

    seriously?

    "PERFECTLY legal"..oh man that not even human speech. When everything is falling apart around you just remember, its PEFECTLY legal.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 9:54am

    He didn't have to tell me not to buy his music.

     

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  21.  
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    ChimpBush McHitlerBurton, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:06am

    Re: Hello?

    "Morrissey seems to want it both ways. At one time he was apparently pleased to take a label's money for his work product, but now is urging people not to pay the label anything more.

    It is difficult to reconcile these two positions."

    Hello?, "difficult to reconcile these two positions? Really?

    Let's break it down:

    He was apparently pleased to take the label's money for his work, and now, he's *not pleased* to *not take* the label's money for his work.

    Yeah, that's a brain scrambler...

    CBMHB

     

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  22.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re:

    I think to the AC, the person who owns the copyright gets paid indefinitely, not the original creator. The original creator, in this case, essentially signed a work-for-hire contract wherein they were paid in full at the time of creation, and sold all rights to the label.

    The creator received their full compensation for the work when they recorded their music, and probably received more money upfront than they would have under other contract situations. EMI took a larger financial chance and gained all copyrights in the process.

    Perhaps Morrissey didn't have other contracts offered to choose a better situation to create in where they retained at least some rights ... or maybe they made a poor decision and took more upfront money at the expense of potential revenue later (i.e. they DIDN'T bet on themselves). Either way, Morrissey signed a bad contract, and are now throwing up a stink about it.

    That, I believe, is a problem with the old system. To get their music heard, musicians felt they had to sign these bad contracts. Hopefully, more will learn they can create their music, and leverage the Internet & free music models to get heard & make money on their own without the need to sign away all rights to a label just to get an audience.

     

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  23.  
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    Obvious Shill, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:27am

    Well, now I am going to buy two boxed sets just to piss Morrissey off. Or should I say Morrisissy!

     

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  24.  
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    Bubba Gump (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:32am

    Re:

    AC, you don't see why an artist would say, "Don't buy this product because it doesn't make me any money." ?????

    Do you suppose he should just keep his mouth shut like a good little errand boy for EMI? Or, perhaps, does he have a right (if not an OBLIGATION) to let his fans know that the product they think is HIS (and possibly think some of their money for it might be going to reward him for his artisty) actually is NOT?

    Please, if you don't understand the article, ask someone for help reading it before you comment.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So...

    EMI has contracted rights to use Morrissey's name and face in whatever way they choose, without compensating Morrissey and without his explicit permission?

    It'd be interesting to see something like this taken to court. It's hard to imagine such a contract being upheld.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:37am

    Re: Sounds depressing...

    His contract probably gives EMI the rights to the next few albums he creates.

     

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  27.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "It'd be interesting to see something like this taken to court. It's hard to imagine such a contract being upheld."

    Well, not north of the Mason Dixon line, anyway...

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So? It's perfectly legal for him to tell people not to pay the company that uses perfectly legal just underhanded tactics.

     

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  29.  
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    yozoo, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:49am

    rights question

    who gets Johnny Marr's cut?

     

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  30.  
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    mobiGeek (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:50am

    Re: Re: Sounds depressing...

    I suspect that Morrissey has long paid off the "7 albums" portion of his original label contract. I don't know of any artist who ever signs a second such contract, at least none in the past 30 years or so.

     

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  31.  
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    diabolic (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:51am

    First, I do not support the RIAA, not even a little bit. I'm starting get the feeling that the 'for the artists' line does not mean 'for artists that are already signed' but it means 'for the next artists to get raked over the coals'. The RIAA needs to keep bringing in cash so they can provide a tiny bit of cash up front to the next 'artist' they are going to screw over. Once that artist has signed over all their rights the RIAA moves on to the next sucker. 'For the artists' means a bit 'for the next sucker'. I think history has shown that you can fool some of the people all of the time.

    Second, I do not have any sympathy for artists like Morrisey that signed bad contracts and now want to complain about - the money was good enough at the time, quit whining. Anyone that cares already downloaded all of Morrisey's music and won't buy the box set anyway.

    This same thing happens with folks that create patentable work for a corporation, the corporation owns the patent. If the company I work for makes tons of money from a patent I worked on I do not get any 'extra' pay. You do not hear me bitching about it and telling the world to boycott the product.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:51am

    Re:

    Why not? It's perfectly legal to tell you not to buy his music.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    Re:

    Oh wait, never mind, I guess you mean you weren't anyway.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 10:59am

    Re: Uh...

    Hey, I enjoy reading your rants, so rant away.

     

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  35.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 11:00am

    New Business Idea

    I'm agonna get me someone with some nice pipes to record an audiobook of contract law. Apparently there's an underserved market out there....

     

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  36.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re: Uh...

    Well, thanks. I'm awaiting an appropriately infuriating post to explode upon. So far today has been pretty ho-hum...

     

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  37.  
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    Michial Thompson, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re:

    But isn't that what we've been saying here for a while? The recording labels go out of their way not to pay their artists.



    Wouldn't it be kinda funny if it turned out this guy never wrote a single song, and the reason he isn't getting money from the studios is because he had work for hire contracts with the????

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 11:58am

    The funniest part of all of this?

    Morrissey is performing a number of concerts coming up. Now, in the CwF world, a new box set (even if he never makes a penny) should be promoting him and making his concerts bigger sellers.

    After all, what is the difference to the artist between EMI selling a box set and people "infringing" the music on a torrent? NOTHING - they still get absolutely f-all for their work.

    Seems like he is a Masnick Winner, he just doesn't know it

     

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  39.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In use for promoting the works they have copyrights for, there is a good possibility that EMI does have rights to use his likeness. And even if they don't have explicit rights, there are fair use rights that come into play, since it is his music & performance, that EMI has fair use rights to use his likeness in promoting it.

    It's just an example of the mess that is known as copyright. I say total destruction of the system, remove the government involvement, and let the market figure itself out.

     

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  40.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 12:10pm

    Re:

    "The funniest part of all of this?"

    Oooh, tell me, I love to laugh!!!

    "Morrissey is performing a number of concerts coming up. Now, in the CwF world, a new box set (even if he never makes a penny) should be promoting him and making his concerts bigger sellers."

    Wait a minute, you said it was going to be funny. That's not funny, that's just you being an ass. Why? Well, because I have yet to hear Morrissey say anything along the lines of DON'T download his music for free. Sounds like he's pissed at his label and is trying to make sure that they aren't profitting off of his music when he isn't. More to the point, EMI putting out an expensive box set is NOT CwF. However, Morrisey reaching out to his fans and speaking directly to them about how this whole box set thing works AND encouraging them NOT to spend their money IS CwF, particularly in that this connection is generating news that ultimately resulted in YOU filling us in on his upcoming concerts. Thanks for the help!

    "After all, what is the difference to the artist between EMI selling a box set and people "infringing" the music on a torrent? NOTHING - they still get absolutely f-all for their work."

    On one a ginormous corporation makes money when the artists does not for what is essentially rehashed work by an artist, on the other fans get the music for free (meaning there is no chance for buyer resentment at the product) while still retaining its promotional value. See the difference, you very, very Wierd Coward?

    "Seems like he is a Masnick Winner, he just doesn't know it."

    I added a period, since you're clearly on yours. But seriously, all odd mis-capitalization aside, I love the way you punctuate your idiotic comments with nonsensical soundbyte-ish sentences, you Anonymous Harold.

    Seriously, do you have any idea how easily identifiable you are simply by your writing style and vocabulary?

     

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  41.  
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    HolaJohnny (profile), Aug 14th, 2009 @ 3:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Uh...

    I'm with you so far... I can't even find a AC to ho-hum me. Maybe Patenthawk has recovered from his suck session to try and compete for patent whore of the year. Honestly if Oregon says I don't know you. Who will have him? Yes patenthawk you are the new prison pussy of TD. If your good maybe we'll call you Oregon...

     

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  42.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Aug 14th, 2009 @ 7:38pm

    Re:

    If you view creativity as property, Morrisey's position makes perfect sense. It also makes perfect sense under the "enlightened fan" approach as well.

    Morrisey as the rightful owner of the relevant works should get paid for their commercial exploitation.

    Morrisey as the fellow you want to encourage gains nothing by you throwing money at EMI.

    I would love getting advice from my favorite artists regarding which products yield the most "encouragement" to the talent. Will you get any royalties if I buy X?

     

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  43.  
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    Richard, Aug 15th, 2009 @ 3:31am

    Re: Re:

    "I would love getting advice from my favorite artists regarding which products yield the most "encouragement" to the talent. Will you get any royalties if I buy X?"

    The folks over at Question Copyright have devised a mechanism for this. Its called the creator endorsed mark - see

    http://questioncopyright.org/creator_endorsed

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward (profile), Aug 17th, 2009 @ 5:57am

    Re:

    Fan X has $50 to spend, and wants to support Morrissey.
    Fax X knows the box set is coming out for the example-frendly price of $50.
    Fan X also knows that Morrissey will be playing the next town over, and costs to see the concert are conveniently also $50.

    All else being equal, the box set would provide repeatable enjoyment and seeing the show would have the added cost of time spent driving/watching the show/etc. The Box Set looks like a marginal winner. Fan X buys the box set and doesn't see the show. Unbeknownst to Fan X, he loses his $50 without getting a dime to Morissey.

    Contrast this with free music which could potentially have the same or more promotional value as the box set, but will not deprive Fan X of his $50. Fan X can not get the music AND see the show, and Morrissey gets paid.

    See? Box Set != Free Music.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2009 @ 7:16am

    I don't have any problem with Morrisey telling me not to buy his music. I can't stand it anyway.

     

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  46.  
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    RecycledBottle, Aug 18th, 2009 @ 10:16am

    Be careful what you sign.

    Morrissey was paid under his contractual terms. He probably signed a contract at some time that allowed for re-issues and compilations. If EMI is making money illegally off Morrissey's music, then he would be suing rather than whining.

    This is not an RIAA issue.

     

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