by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
composers, copyright, propaganda, songwriters


ASCAP Continues Propaganda Campaign With Laughably Bad Video [Updated]

from the but-you're-giving-it-away-for-free dept

While ASCAP is apparently too busy to debate Larry Lessig, they aren't too busy to produce silly and ridiculous propaganda. ASCAP member Damian Sol notes that he recently received an email from ASCAP asking him to "spread the word" about ASCAP's new propaganda video that compares getting songwriters paid for music to getting chickens and cows paid for their eggs and milk. Seriously. I'd embed it here, but the technologically savvy folks at ASCAP are apparently too clueless to figure out how to include an embed on a video they claim they want people to "share." Update: Aha. While they don't make it clear on the page, the video has also been uploaded to YouTube, where it is embeddable:

Anyway, since ASCAP believes that every public performance needs to be paid for, and the idea of "free promotion" is a myth, I do have to ask: is ASCAP paying Peter Himmelman, the guy who made the video, each time it's played?

Update 2: Also, as many in the comments have noted, they've also produced a second video, which is just ridiculously misleading. You can watch it here:
Two major problems with the video. The first is that ASCAP continues to falsely portray "open source" believers as being somehow against compensation. It includes a guy in a t-shirt that says "open source dude," which morphs into "fair payment man" in the video.

The bigger problem is that it sets up a total strawman to knocks down, in saying that people don't think music is "as valuable" as a variety of tangible goods because you can hold/eat/watch those goods "and because people made them." The conclusion of the video? Music is valuable because "people made it." Uh, ok. Except that the debate isn't over the value of music. It's about the price of music, and it's intellectually dishonest to pretend that value and price are the same thing. And while some people might actually find a TV set or a pair of shoes more valuable than music, it's not because one is tangible and the other is not. It's because they simply value one more than the other. What people are actually arguing -- a point that ASCAP won't address because it can't -- is that setting up a bureaucracy that gets a government granted ability to demand money from venues promoting musicians music can actually do serious harm to musicians by making it that much more difficult to find venues that can promote their music.

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  1. identicon
    Marius, 2 Aug 2010 @ 12:23pm

    Not accurate

    The movie doesn't even make sense.

    Cows and chicken complaining about not getting a fair price for their milk and eggs - how about receiving a stable, warm hay to sit on, salt that they can't find in nature easily, protection from other predators (such as wolves, hawks and so on).

    It's basically a relatively fare trade, a relation between humans and animals.

    Movie should at least be appended with something saying "Join ascap and if you're big enough to sue ASCAP, you may get your fair share of money, otherwise you'll be ignored or you would get bogus, very small payments"

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