UK Newspaper Licencing Agency Says Musicians Need To Pay To Quote Reviews

from the live-by-copyright,-die-by-copyright dept

I wonder how copyright maximalist musicians feel about this particular story. Techdirt reader glassneedles alerts us to an offline (!?!) news article in the publication Private Eye, about how the UK's Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) has declared that musicians who quote positive reviews from newspapers need to pay £1,250 per year (which would allow them to quote up to 50 reviews). Seriously. Apparently, the NLA went around to various music agents and managers a while ago, and they (quite reasonably) ignored the threats. That just made the NLA mad.
... the phoney war has turned into a real one, with the NLA chasing agents, threatening legal action and demanding not just license payments for future quotes but also retrospective payments for past ones.

The amounts are crazily excessive for the modest, shoestring operations that most classical music management and PR companies tend to be, with £7,000-£8,000 a typical demand.
For folks who help market a number of musicians, the NLA claims are apparently adding up to being fairly serious.
The most outrageous example... concerns a small PR company called ElevenTenths, which is effectively one woman, Claire Willis, working form a spare bedroom.... Poor Ms. Willis was collared by the NLA a few months ago, required to fill in forms about her clients and activities, and then received a bill for £23,500.
Willis complained and apparently the NLA "backed down" and offered a deal for "only" £1,588.45. In the past, we had written about the NLA winning a lawsuit against news aggregators, so perhaps it's now turned to those who quote its reviews as a new, highly questionable, revenue stream.

I wonder if folks in the UK are regretting the decision, in the Hargreaves report, that the UK doesn't need an explicit fair use rule.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 10:44am

    This is just Extortion. Also it encourages positive reviews if they'll get bought.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 10:45am

    Honestly, is there a downside to artists quoting reviews as long as they provide a source? The artists gets to plug their album and the newspaper will inevitably get traffic to their website by fans looking to read the full review, which will keep their advertisers happy.

    Everyone's a winner, so what's the problem?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 10:51am

    It's offline news because the agency in question doesn't want it in the news or people talking about it. Yeah, they know they're being naughty.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 10:51am

    *fade in*
    - A musician, types away on his trendy laptop (look into product placement dollars) updating his blog with a review of his recent work.
    - Cut to front door -
    *The door bursts in, pieces flying everywhere. A SWAT style team rushes in, guns leveled at the musician.*
    - Close up on the musician looking frightened as the SWAT team forces him face down on the floor handcuffing him -
    - Cut to well dressed businessman walking in carrying a bill for using the review without having paid the fee -
    Musician - "Why are you doing this to me?! All I did was share positive comments about my work! What are you talking about I owe you money for "stealing" the review! What gave you the idea to do this horrible thing?!"
    Businessman - "We learned from your industry music man!
    With penalties, fines, and the willful bonus multiplier you owe us $43 million dollars!"

    Friends don't let friends fall victim to copyright.

    Brought to you by the Partnership for Copyright Reform.

     

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  5.  
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    Michael, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 10:53am

    That's the problem

    That's the problem:

    "Everyone's a winner"


    Legacy newspapers simply don't understand how that can be the case. The assume zero-sum games - if someone else is winning, we MUST be losing.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 10:58am

    the music industry nor any other entertainment industry worries about the amounts they charge for anything or what they charge for. they certainly dont worry about 'extorting' money from anyone. perhaps now they may be on the receiving end of being forced to pay a lot of money for very little, they will realise how everyone else feels, although i doubt it.

     

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  7.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 10:58am

    Re:

    The parasites aren't getting 'their' cut, that's what.

    Nothing makes a parasite angrier than it's host not playing along, and hence this kind of mess springs up.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:00am

    i wonder if they are not regretting implementing the Hargreaves recommendations a damn site sooner?

     

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  9.  
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    Michael, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:06am

    Re:

    I hope you have cleared the rights to use:

    1) trendy laptop (I think Apple has a patent on that)
    2) SWAT (even if they don't have a trademark, let's not piss them off)
    3) well dressed businessman walking in carrying a bill (let's face it, there must be a lawyer that has patented this)
    4) "stealing" the review (the MPAA has patented the use of "stealing" to refer to use of something in a way that bothers someone)
    5) you owe us $43 million (another one the MPAA has exclusive rights to - totally inappropriate monetary penalties)
    6) Friends don't let friends fall victim to copyright (yeah, you are not getting away with that one)


    I'm pretty sure your licencing for your movie will be around $200 million.

     

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  10. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:10am

    Who needs advised on what music to listen to?

    This piece is due to Mike's elitist 1% bias. No one living in the real world would bother reading reviews -- or getting advice on music except from well-known friends, implying same general tastes. But I've always found all such "advice" highly unreliable, while ten seconds of a tune is generally enough to rule out group/artist forever.

    So what I'm saying is that here Mike illuminates for me a previously unconsidered corner of a third-hand world where such "reviews" and quotes matter. Like discovering cockroaches when you turn on the kitchen light. Thanks, Mike, for bringing down my opinion of humankind when I didn't think it possible.

    As to your ranting: who cares? But if those musicians and promoters find it worthwhile to quote, then let 'em pay up for value received. It's no skin off my nose either way.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:11am

    Ha Ha Ha LOL A Million Times !!!
    The only Artists who get affected by this will be the Sold-Out MAFIAA Signed Ones.
    Stuff like the Underground Punk Music I do will get a lot of LOL's and just do what we do while the Big Sold-Out Artists have a good hissy fit.
    I feel no Sympathy at all for Traitor Artists who Sign with the Big Ripoff Pricks.
    Why should I even bother to care ? A Move like this only helps to drive more folks to my kind of great scene.
    We got Fanzines !!!
    Nothing you can do about guys like us putting out Fanzines and we do not ever have to Mention anything from MAFIAA or from Mainstream News.

     

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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:16am

    Re: Who needs advised on what music to listen to?

    No one living in the real world would bother reading reviews -- or getting advice on music except from well-known friends, implying same general tastes. But I've always found all such "advice" highly unreliable, while ten seconds of a tune is generally enough to rule out group/artist forever.

    You've really built quite the self-righteous bubble around yourself, haven't you?

    I shudder to think of all the things you are missing out on in life.

     

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  13.  
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    James Burkhardt (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:20am

    Re:

    Because Absent a fair use clause, you can not use copyrighted works in any form without permission, which means $$, or in this case I guess.

    In America this sounds stupid, because we have, since the inception of the ACA, had fair use.

    It makes common sense that if I said "I love Weird Al's 'Alpocalypse'", and I was a music reviewer whose opinion mattered, Weird Al might want to use that review to market sales. That's marketing 101, and is used all over American media.

    The UK is seeing the same issues with copyright holders tightening the reigns. But without fair use, heavier abuses of the system can occur. Such as preventing standard marketing until the holder gets his cut.

     

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    MrWilson, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:21am

    I see a thermonuclear IP war coming our way. Everyone charges everyone for any reference to their IP. So the music reviewers get charged for making reference to the songs they review. The musicians pay to quote the reviews. And the industry execs don't pay anyone because they own everything...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:21am

    Thank god my agency only quoted the negative reviews of our band. Money in the bank, my glowingly-reviewed friends!

     

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    Mike C. (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:26am

    I wonder...

    This makes me wonder if the reviewers have paid for an appropriate license to discuss the music in the first place... or if an enterprising musician has considered that angle yet... lol

     

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    Lord Binky, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:28am

    This makes me glad I just make up all my quotes.

    Besides, who wants to associate themselves with something like a newspaper.

    It's really just saying, "Outdated Business' opinion on new things!" at which point they either like you or not.

    They would be better off quoting some drunk at a bar than an 'expert' anyways.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:32am

    Re: Who needs advised on what music to listen to?

    What the are you saying, y'all? That if an advertising trope is ineffective or discredited, than should be illegal?!

     

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  19.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:33am

    Say goodbye to free CDs for reviewers, and to reviewers pocketing the money when they sell off those Not-for-Resale CDs to used record stores.

     

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  20.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:33am

    - Write glowing reviews
    - Sue all musicians who use your reviews
    - Put the musicians out of business
    - ...
    - Profit!

     

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  21.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:36am

    Re:

    Heh, Tom Lehrer used to do that. "Mr. Lehrer's muse [is] not fettered by such inhibiting factors as taste."

     

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  22.  
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    Shane, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:42am

    Musicians are giving these writers material for their papers. If the newspaper writers aren't paying the musicians for the material they have been given, I don't see why musicians need to pay the papers.

     

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  23.  
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    Colin Davidson, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:48am

    Three things needed here...

    *Sigh* Talk about lack of "due diligence". Private Eye is a satirical publication. Note, NOT a news publication, a SATIRICAL one. This was not a news story about a real event, it was a satire, showing a logical consequence of the musicians' behaviour. This is easily (trivially!) discovered if you simply google "private eye".

    And as for those three things needed, just about everyone involved in this techdirt story (especially the commenters) need the following: A grip, a clue and a life. I suggest everyone drop this thread and go try to find one of each.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:48am

    Re: Who needs advised on what music to listen to?

    Funny how you find it fit to comment on a fuckton of things that are no skin off your nose, then mock everyone for doing what's effectively the same.

    How about you go find a well, out_of_the_ass, and go drown yourself? It'd be a vast improvement. For one, your intelligence might increase to zero!

     

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  25.  
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    Titania Bonham-Smythe (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 12:03pm

    Having briefly looked at their website I see that the NLA is a private company created by UK's eight national newspapers to protect their interests that arise from copyright law. They don't seem to have powers delegated to them by parliament. The thing that worries me is that I don't see what's stopping them from saying it's not just copyrights relating to physical newspapers - they also control rights relating to their online equivalents. And it's not just music, it could relate to any area of interest in which they publish. And why stop with PR agencies? At which point, if you Tweet the headline of an article from an online paper, then would the NLA expect to charge you for having published that Tweet?

     

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  26.  
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    Reality Check, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Who needs advised on what music to listen to?

    This is revealing:

    " No one living in the real world would bother reading reviews -- or getting advice on music except from well-known friends, implying same general tastes."

    Really? A 'well-known friend' implies the 'same general tastes'?

    I have lots of people I consider well-known friends, whose musical tastes are NOTHING like mine.

    I base friendships on a lot of factors, and 'general tastes' in music really doesn't make the list of factors.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Who needs advised on what music to listen to?

    Then you should ask the question: Promotional material is given to some media before release to assure a review at the time of the release. Shouldn't the media pay for this "opportunity"? I mean, if there is anything giving advantages to accredited press as opposed to the rest of the reviewers, it is cheap opportunities like this and press conferences/press releases. Why should promotional material be free, when it is also an advantage for the registered press?

     

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  28.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Three things needed here...

    Sigh* Talk about lack of "due diligence". Private Eye is a satirical publication. Note, NOT a news publication, a SATIRICAL one.

    Thanks for pointing that out. Saves me the trouble of looking it up myself and spares me from making a comment based on incomplete info and therefore looking silly.

     

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  29.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 12:35pm

    You mean this offline publication: http://www.private-eye.co.uk

     

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  30.  
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    Loki, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: Who needs advised on what music to listen to?

    There are, sadly, people who are really as clueless as this one tries to sound. I don't believe he is one of them, though. In my opinion, he's just a sad soul trying to spout rhetoric and controversy for the sake of attention because he thrives on drama. He's decent, but I've seen a lot better.

    However, if there is one thing I've learned in all the years of discussion/debate forums is trolls absolutely require direct attention to thrive. Talking around them (like this) is almost always the worst kind of action a person can take, and they often resort to outlandish attempts to get people to respond directly to them and their commentary.

     

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    Loki, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 12:49pm

    Simply yet another in a very long line of examples of why an increasing percentage of the population simple ignores copyright altogether.

    At first, I had no sympathy for the music industry, but then I realized that the big boys might actually appreciate this turn of events. They have the pockets to afford these kinds of fees by essentially doing the same to other people, and simply passing on a portion of their ill-gotten gains. But it also serves as yet another method to effectively help prevent/slow possible competition to their efforts to funnel everything through them and continue to control all the avenues of distribution.

     

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    Richard (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Re:

    UK has fair dealing - and the provisions it makes are similar to fair use in many cases - including this one.
    see http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/copyright/p27_work_of_others

     

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  33.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Re: Who needs advised on what music to listen to?

    Yeah, that struck me as odd too.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Three things needed here...

    You appear not to have done your own due diligence .

    Private Eye is a a satirical and NEWS magazine and that story was in the news section

     

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    btrussell (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 4:04pm

    Re: Re: Three things needed here...

    What made you change your mind?

    Colin Davidson a personal friend of yours?

     

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  36.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 4:17pm

    Re: Three things needed here...

    *Sigh* Talk about lack of "due diligence". Private Eye is a satirical publication. Note, NOT a news publication, a SATIRICAL one. This was not a news story about a real event, it was a satire, showing a logical consequence of the musicians' behaviour. This is easily (trivially!) discovered if you simply google "private eye".

    Before posting the article I not only "Googled" Private Eye, but asked people I know from the UK if Private Eye was a satirical publication in the vein of the Onion -- because the story had me wondering. However, their website DOES NOT indicate that, and two separate London residents told me that it is considered a *news* publication, and a very popular one.

    So...

     

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  37.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 4:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Three things needed here...

    What made you change your mind?

    I've seen photos and stories on Facebook that I am about to share, but before I do, I check them out and realize they are satire. It's gotten common enough that I should double check every story/photo now before taking it at face value. Most of the time I do, but sometimes I don't take the time and have to backtrack afterward. I feel silly when I treat a satirical story as a real one.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 4:57pm

    Re: Re: Three things needed here...

    so....?

    From this you should learn the old adage.. never trust anyone from London.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 12th, 2012 @ 9:35pm

    The copyright extortionists strike again. When will the police act?

     

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    techflaws (profile), Nov 12th, 2012 @ 11:19pm

    Re: I wonder...

    My thoughts exactly. Why don't the musicians demand money from the reviewers? Cause you know, they couldn't make a living writing reviews if it weren't for the musicians to produce said music to be reviewed by the writers.

     

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  41.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 12:32am

    Re: Re: Three things needed here...

    Thanks for pointing that out. Saves me the trouble of looking it up myself and spares me from making a comment based on incomplete info and therefore looking silly.

    So you'd prefer to trust that incorrect info rather than find out that this was NOT satire? Yet by trusting an anonymous comment online, you don't look silly? Really?

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 1:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Three things needed here...

    I wasn't going to say much anyway (mostly just to say how I would get around the problem). But I'll just wait now until I get more background on the story. Like I said, I've nearly fallen for stories/photos on Facebook which upon checking I've found out were either satire or fake. So it's buyer beware with news stories these days.

    I'm just making an observation that I'm learning to verify before responding. All the commenter did for me was to remind me of that.

    I did try to verify the story online myself but couldn't find much, so I'll just wait until it evolves more. That's all.

     

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  43.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 1:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Three things needed here...

    I'm just making an observation that I'm learning to verify before responding.

    Except you didn't do that. You took that commenter's obvservation as fact and then DID respond based on that. If you were being honest here, you wouldn't have responded at all.

     

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  44.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 1:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Three things needed here...

    I responded the way I would respond when someone said the same thing on Facebook. "Thanks for the heads up."

    I was being chatty and evidently I've hit a nerve. I'm not taking his comment at face value, either. I was just saying to him, "Oh, good to know that the publication is known for satire. I'll keep that in mind and not say more yet."

    His comment just reminded me that satire abounds these days. I've nearly tripped over it on Facebook multiple times. I didn't realize it never appears here. :-)

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 1:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Three things needed here...

    I'm not taking his comment at face value, either.

    No offense, but that seems to contradict what you actually said. In response to his original comment, you stated: "Thanks for pointing that out. Saves me the trouble of looking it up myself and spares me from making a comment based on incomplete info and therefore looking silly."

    That clearly implies that you've taken his statement as fact, since it "saves" you "the trouble of looking it up" yourself... and also you suggest that you now have "complete info" thanks to that comment.

    Anyway, it's pointless to argue with you over this. Just pointing out a rather silly statement on your part. Would have been nice for you to just admit it upfront rather than pretending you said something different than you actually did, but whatever.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 2:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Three things needed here...

    Look, he said it was posted on a satirical site, I said, "Thanks for the heads up."

    Yes, if someone says something "might" be satire, I will self-censor to avoid looking silly. I don't need to confirm that he is right to self-censor myself. If someone says, "Don't go there, you'll fall off a cliff," I'll probably say, "Thanks. Now I know not to go there" whether or not it's true.

    You have totally missed my point all along. I've spotted lots of satire recently, so whenever anyone sends out "satire alert" it stops me in my tracks before posting. I don't feel I have go confirm the alert to stop posting.

    If you really want to get into this, we can talk about the effect of increasing skepticism when people post satire as reality. Yes, I've run into enough fake stories that my default is to question everything. Somehow you want to defend yourself over this because I said "thank you" to someone who said "satire." Why are you taking this so personally? It was my side conversation with someone, just like I might have in the comments of a Facebook post. I wasn't talking to you. That's okay here, is it not?

    I still haven't found any background on the story because now I have started to look for it. That's not to say it isn't true but I have ended up trying to do my own fact-checking after all. So now I am putting in the time to verify it because people are asking me here why I accepted his view that it might be satire rather than your view that it was true. Surprisingly there is very little on this story. There's an incomplete blurb on the Private Eye site and in Google there's mostly there's just references to this Techdirt story. It's taken on a life of its own because of these comments back and forth, but no verification that I can nail down yet. It's an echo chamber effect so far. Maybe someone can do some more fact checking on it.

    I have, over recent months, begun to learn which sites to laugh at rather than accept as truth. The Onion I've known all along. There's also a faux Christian site and a military satire site. Being in America, I don't know Private Eye, but now I know a bit more about it.

     

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  47.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 3:09am

    For what it's worth

    Ian Hislop: satirist in chief | Media | The Guardian: "Hislop runs the satirical magazine Private Eye, natural home of anarchists and dropouts, while looking like the head of the local Rotary club."

     

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  48.  
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    Paul Keating, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 3:25am

    News May NOT be Shared!!

    Your comment reminds me of something I read in FT but I cannot share it with you because you might use it to make a profit!!!!!!!!!!

    Where does this stop?

    Old professors & employers demanding royalties for recommendation letters?

    Friends whose recommendation for a good movie you pass along must now be paid?

    When I was young I started conversations with "They say..." My father would demand to know who "they" were. If he were alive I would tell him that although I knew, my piddly allowance meant I could not afford to tell him.

     

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  49.  
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    Paul Keating, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 3:30am

    Re: 2xnegative = positive

    You've forgotten your math. If you cite a negative review negatively, then it is a positive and so you must pay.

    The only out is to publish a negative review positively - which is of course impossible because in the UK they have slander laws that would make your head spin.

     

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  50.  
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    Paul Keating, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 3:31am

    Re: 2xnegative = positive

    You've forgotten your math. If you cite a negative review negatively, then it is a positive and so you must pay.

    The only out is to publish a negative review positively - which is of course impossible because in the UK they have slander laws that would make your head spin.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 5:27am

    Re:

    Its not an online paper but a reference to it is here:
    http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=columnists&issue=1326

    Private eye is a satirical British news paper edited by Ian Hislop and is very funny. They are not naughty but they do like to tread the line!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    icon
    F.J. Bergmann (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 5:56am

    tainted journalism rears its ugly ... rear

    If media can profit from "positive" reviews, there will assuredly be pressure on reviewers to write only the kind of reviews that will generate income.

    So does this apply to reviews of books, films, etc., or only music?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: Three things needed here...

    1. don't think it is a crime against humanity either way: either a satirical story was mistaken for true-true (yes, i just saw the big mess that is 'cloud atlas'); or a true-true story was tagged mistakenly as satirical...

    2. here's the thing: with the -literally- unbelievable lengths the MAFIAA and their foreign counterparts engage in to squeeze pennies out of widows, orphans, and the blind for activities that 99.99999999999999999% of us think are acceptable, it is EASY to believe ANY crazy, impractical, unjust extreme bullshit that we hear about is true-true...

    in other words, it is IMPOSSIBLE to exaggerate, make up ANY extreme scenario, or go so far beyond the pale to satirize copyright maximalists; because NO MATTER HOW EXTREME and ridiculous a scenario is, they have already gotten laws to that effect, or would if they could...

    IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to make any hyperbolic statements regarding their draconian 'enforcement' of so-called IP laws, because next week you will be reading that is EXACTLY what they did or are trying to do...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re: Three things needed here...

    TWO London residents?! Case closed!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Nejeeb Bello, Nov 23rd, 2012 @ 11:33pm

    Quoting Reviews

    If the musicians pay the newspapers to quote their reviews, will the newspapers too not then be charged by the artists to review their music?

    This charge is senseless. The newspapers themselves create content by reviewing the musicians'music, and sometimes, even quote the lyrics of their music. Shouldn't they pay the musicians too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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