Steve Albini Takes On 'Parasitic' Record Labels And Copyright's 'Outdated' Illusion Of Control

from the the-future's-here-if-you-want-it dept

Musician and producer Steve Albini has never been a fan of the recording industry. He posted the definitive essay on how labels screw artists over 20 years ago, and it's just as relevant today as it was then. The internet (read: file sharing) has been public enemy #1 for the recording industry (and now the motion picture industry), despite offering a host of benefits to artists and labels. Those at the top see its decentralized distribution as a threat, with any accompanying gains in marketing power and reach deemed a net loss after totalling up the "lost sales."

Albini -- similarly affected by these same "negatives" -- doesn't see it this way. While acknowledging the fact that infringement occurs in amounts previously unseen (but that it's not in any way a new thing -- just far more efficient and not necessarily a bad thing), he continues to point out that the problems the music industry suffers from are mostly self-inflicted.

Speaking to an audience in Barcelona, Albini elaborated on his "updated" rant against the industry. Now expanded to include the massive increase of internet usage, the points still remain largely the same. There's a problem in the recording industry -- one virtually identical to the one pointed out by Albini in 1993. And that problem is… the recording industry.

“I don’t feel like I’m part of the music industry, the music industry meaning the corporatised business structures where you have people who are in the lower level, people in the upper level, people in administration, and people making legal relationships between all those people. [...]

This administrative business structure that’s syphoning money out of that whole scene has always seemed artificial and unnecessary and I’ve spent my life trying to remove its influence.”
While the industry frets about "lost sales," it has done very little to evolve from the bloated form it took on during the 40+ year run where multiple format shifts resulted in unprecedented sales figures. It's not just the corporate structure that's a problem. And this isn't to say labels haven't shed personnel over the years. It's just that they've been forced to make cuts due to falling revenue, rather than actively working to streamline their operations to fit the expectations of the internet age. Frontline staff and low-level employees have lost jobs but there are still many layers of employees distancing artists from those who own them.

Then there are the lawyers. Some are there to ensure every last bit of revenue can be wrung out of an artist before any royalty checks are cut. Some are there to explore every possible legal angle that might be used to combat piracy The first sort have always been present. The latter still exist only because industry heads still hold out hope that file sharing can somehow be defeated with court orders and legislation.

Albini says the first set are roughly as useless as the last.
“The idea that you have to have contracts to do [business] agreements, that you have to have formal understanding between people in order to have a long relationship, is a complete fallacy.

If you enjoy working with someone and both feel the relationship is working out, you naturally carry on indefinitely.

That’s the way I’ve approached essentially all of my business, you don’t need contracts."
But you do need a contract if the "relationship" is actually just exploitation. This is why contracts are of utmost importance to the recording industry. Artists may initially show enthusiasm when offered a recording contract, but a few years down the road, they often find they're cranking out recordings just to avoid going deeper in debt. An equitable agreement -- like those used by Albini (who prefers a flat-rate fee for his production work, rather than seeking a cut of every sale or stream in perpetuity) -- doesn't need a multi-page contract or a team of lawyers. Honesty and openness up front can trim a lot of pages from an agreement... as well as the jobs of lawyers whose entire purpose is to ensure "agreements" are as long and inscrutable as possible.

Lastly, Albini goes after copyright -- itself a legacy business model.
“The old copyright model – the person who creates something owns it and anyone else that wants to use it or see it has to pay them – has expired in the same way that around the world you’re seeing structures and social norms [lapse] that were standard for many years.

It’s going to take a lot for the business to catch up to where the audience is, in the same way it takes a while for the church and the laws to catch up to where the people are.

But there is no longer the possibility to exclusively control music through copyright.”
Those arguing that stronger copyright protections will somehow "control" social sharing aren't grasping the reality of the situation. As it stands now, any copyright holder can demand $150,000 per infringement in statutory damages, and yet, that has had no appreciable effect on infringement. Just ask Rightscorp, which offers $20/infringement "settlements" while waving threats of $150,000 "fines" over internet subscribers' heads. It's in the business of spending money to lose money.

The idea that lifetime+ copyright terms will put creators' grandkids through college is likewise suspect. Grandkids are going to college thanks to these terms, but they're the descendants of label execs and studio heads.

The "control" offered by copyright is an illusion. The continued belief in this misconception allows labels to take advantage of artists. An artist may feel (incorrectly) that an individual can never hope to fully exploit his or her creations without the assistance of the marketing and legal teams of major labels, but they almost invariably have to give up full control of their creations to make use of these services. What good is their copyright then? It's not even theirs. And the assistance they're receiving is charged up front at full retail and paid off with royalties -- a tiny percentage of actual sales and profit.

As Albini points out, the way people enjoy music continues to change, and attempts to offer iterations of existing platforms and services is missing the point. People, for the most part, don't care about the quality of streaming music. They only care about the convenience. Albini notes that people carried around transistor radios to enjoy music on the go, something that offered truly terrible sound quality, but was no less popular for doing so. The way people consume and distribute creations will continue to change, but trying to harness that potential using contracts, outdated business models and delusions of control will never work.


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  • icon
    Violynne (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 6:34am

    Someone please send the 20 year old letter Albini wrote to Taylor Swift, who wrongly believes Spotify should pay her instead of the label she signed with.

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  • identicon
    AnonCow, 1 Jun 2015 @ 7:21am

    There should be a law that requires all musicians or bands to read Albini's letter before they can sign a record label deal.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 7:50am

      Re:

      Why?

      If an Artist wants to sell their soul to the devil they get what they get. Stop feeling sorry for the fucking mules! It's not like it is not some big secret with how the industry has shit all over the artists.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 8:14am

        Re: Re:

        Why you ask.

        Because it comes down to education. If you grow up in an abusive home studies have shown that victims tend to grow up thinking that abuse is normal and just how the world works when in truth it is not normal and is not to be tolerated.
        If the victim is educated about the reality of the situation (e.g. abuse in the home is not okay) then the victim can take steps to either stop the abuse or leave the home if need be.

        Similar to artists, if they start in the industry thinking that the only way to make it is to sign up with a label then they will do just that. If the artist is educated then they can choose to sell their soul to the label or they can stop the abuse cycle and find another way to make their music.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 9:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          ha ha ha... why is is everyone else's responsibility to educate others? This is why humanity fails.

          The reality has been and will always be. Learn for yourself... there is only so much you or anyone can help stupid, ignorance, and lazy.

          If a people do not give a shit themselves, why should I give a shit on their behalf? All that does is corner the helpers into a corner where they are then feed upon instead.

          Any infrastructure you create to help people just becomes another tool to oppress or continue the problem. Proof is world history... War on Drugs and War on Poverty are fantastic examples of this.

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

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 9:43am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "why is is everyone else's responsibility to educate others? This is why humanity fails."

            That's funny! If people didn't take the responsibility to educate other people then we would never have a society or the concept of "humanity" at all.

            "War on Drugs and War on Poverty are fantastic examples of this."

            No, they aren't, as neither of those were created to help other people. They were created to increase the power and wealth of a mall subset of people.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 10:42am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So which mall is in the subset?

              because it would take a lot of small malls to make up a giant mall to see the same benefits.

              :P

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 10:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I direct you to the Allegory of the Cave http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegory_of_the_Cave

            Learn for yourself if you can but if you don't know where to look or even that there is something to look for then you will be stuck for a very long time in the darkness.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 11:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "ha ha ha... why is is everyone else's responsibility to educate others?"

            I bet that is what your teachers thought too :P

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 8:50am

        Re: Re:

        I'd rather take the record sales money Taylor Swift made in the last year, thanks very much.

        Steve Albini is the Bill O'Reilly of Rock.

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

        • icon
          jupiterkansas (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 9:18am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Taylor Swift isn't getting screwed by the label. It's the 100s of other artists that signed up hoping to be Taylor Swift that are getting screwed over. It's a game where only a few artists win - the ones that make the most money - and everyone else loses everything.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 9:47am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Agree, an exception is damn sure not a disprovable of the norm.

            So tired of exceptions being trotted out to rail against stereotypes... as terrible as they are, there is at least some meaningful truth to them all or they would not be so easy to trot out. And yes, there are some exceptions to that one as well, but again, still not disproving the normal use of stereotypes!

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

          • identicon
            Just Another Anonymous Troll, 1 Jun 2015 @ 10:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So basically the record labels are all giant Ponzi schemes?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 3:11pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Bullshit. Bill O'Reilly represents the big corporate establishment. Albini is the antithesis of that.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 2 Jun 2015 @ 3:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Taylor Swift isn't getting screwed by the label."

            Oh, I bet she is. If nothing else, she's losing potential income from all the people who don't wish to buy her music but would occasionally throw on a track in a Spotify playlist for various reasons. Long-term, passive income. She's just been lied to enough that she probably doesn't realise it's out there. It's probably a lot lower than the money she's getting from other sources, but it most certainly exists.

            As Prince, George Michael and many others have shown over the years, just because you're on the top of the heap at one particular moment, that doesn't mean that the label still isn't screwing you. They're just experts at distracting everyone with the new shiny thing.

            "It's a game where only a few artists win"

            ...just as it's always been. It's just that they've been able to parade the wealth of new big stars in front of people enough so that most don't notice how badly they're all being screwed.

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

            • icon
              jupiterkansas (profile), 2 Jun 2015 @ 7:58am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Then let's just say she's getting screwed the nice way, where she still gets to be rich even though she could be richer.

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

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 2 Jun 2015 @ 11:37pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Oh, absolutely. But it's worth bearing in mind that she's still getting screwed even if she doesn't notice it yet, and that the labels are fighting to screw artists without that extra income in the same way. All while getting people like her to support it as a positive move "for the artists".

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 9:03am

        Re: Re:

        Because it's the same fucking mules that sing the praises of how the industry screws them over.

        The less ignorant mules the industry has, the less ammo they have for their PR campaigns.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 8:16am

    it's often stated that without copyright and terms as long as 1,000years, creativity would stop. it is, in fact, the exact opposite! people dont bother to create because they are getting money for something that a relation did, 70+ years ago. in other words, they are continuing to get the egg from the golden goose and as long as it keeps laying, they will continue to scoop up the results! what i am waiting to see, is what happens as these terms get closer. is music going to stop being created? of course not, but it wont be as profitable to the studio heads etc as it has been and that is the only reason these ridiculous rules and laws are coming in, not for the future, but for the now!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 8:35am

    "...you don’t need contracts..."

    Unfortunately with today's litigious courts and society you do need contracts for any business venture, not just the entertainment industry. Granted not all contracts are equal, but until the courts stop assigning liability where there isn't and stop awarding unreasonable non-documentable damages contracts will be a necessary evil.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 10:01am

      Re: "...you don’t need contracts..."

      So, if it weighs the same as a duck....

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 10:26am

      Re: "...you don’t need contracts..."

      There is one really great reason for contracts: it makes clear what the details of the agreement are. It's shocking how often people think they're on the same page about things when they aren't even in the same book. The process of hammering out a contract goes a long way to fixing that problem.

      The other reason for a contract is to bring in the force of law. This can be valid, but is pretty weak, since the force of law is largely only available to those who can afford it, contract or no.

      I have a close friend that I've been engaging in ventures with for decades. We know and trust each other very well, and we haven't bothered with contracts for decades. There's no need, since all of our arrangements are the same anyway, so there's no need for clarifications.

      However, I want a contract with anyone else I do business with, because of the first reason I stated above: so that I'm comfortable that we understand each other. The second reason is usually irrelevant to me.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 11:03am

        Re: Re: "...you don’t need contracts..."

        This is exactly the problem with contracts created by lawyers, for lawyers. Clarity is their last concern, since they are focused on the eventual lawsuit for breach, which will of course create more work for them.

        The overuse of legalese makes it much more difficult for the parties that mainly want to understand exactly what each will do under that agreement. I've been party to contracts where, as you mention, we were really not on the same page, but managed to agree on all the legal disclaimers.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 11:04am

        Re: Re: "...you don’t need contracts..."

        Usually the punishment to someone that screws you over once is that you will no longer do business with them again.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 11:45am

          Re: Re: Re: "...you don’t need contracts..."

          And if the screwing is thorough enough they will guarantee you never do business with them again because you won't have a business left to operate.

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

      • icon
        beltorak (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 1:51pm

        Re: Re: "...you don’t need contracts..."

        I vaguely remember having an on online discussion with someone who does freelance programming work. They used the length of the contract they created as a measure of how much they distrusted the other party. Once the contract grew past a certain length, they felt there was no point in pursuing the business opportunity.

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

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 2:28pm

          Re: Re: Re: "...you don’t need contracts..."

          Yes, I do this as well. The less I trust you, the thicker the contract I have with you will be. I assume the same is true in reverse.

          The deal that I was the most skittish about in my career was cemented with a contract that was about an inch and a half thick. I was right to be nervous. Although I thought I had covered every square inch of my ass with it, I missed one little detail and got ripped off anyway. From then on, I determined that if I feel the need for such a comprehensive contract, I need to just pass on the deal altogether.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 12:39pm

      Re: "...you don’t need contracts..."

      You're taking this a little too literally. If there is not a relationship, how could there be a contract?

      Perhaps you are suggesting that we get contracts with the labels saying we aren't part of them? Ill bet the labels would like that. Hey are you a shill?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 8:59am

    That’s the way I’ve approached essentially all of my business, you don’t need contracts.
    We are not really a company. We are an experiment in human nature. I protected myself from the dilemma of selling out by having nothing to sell... Before you leave, I ask you to invade the offices and loot them.

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

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 9:14am

    Check out this quote

    I loved this from the article: (emphasis added)
    I would like to address a platitude about the online exposure of music. From all quarters we hear that, this is the platitude: “We need to figure out how to make internet distribution work for everyone.” I use finger quotes to indicate intellectual distance between myself and the quotation. I have a friend, Tim Midgett, who uses three fingers for finger quotes to indicate extra irony. . . . .

    I disagree with this rather inoffensive platitude. It’s innocuous and vapid and fills the air after someone asks the question, “How is the music scene these days?” And it maintains hope that the current state of affairs as mentioned, presumed to be tragic, can be changed for the better. For “everyone”. That word everyone is important to the people using the sentence. In their mind the physical distribution model worked for everyone. But the new one does not. Not yet, not yet. Not until we “figure it out”. I’m sure we’re all going to get tired of me doing that [air quotes].

    I disagree that the old way is better. And I do not believe this sentence to be true: “We need to figure out how to make this digital distribution work for everyone.” I disagree with it because within its mundane language are tacit assumptions: the framework of an exploitative system that I have been at odds with my whole creative life. Inside that trite sentence, “We need to figure out how to make this work for everyone,” hides the skeleton of a monster.
    That says a lot. That's pretty damning.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 12:32pm

      Re: Check out this quote

      Yeah, the 'work for everyone' argument is a joke.

      I'd love to see some numbers regarding how well the previous distribution model worked 'for everyone' as I'm almost positive that, with very few exceptions, it didn't work for anyone but those who controlled the distribution channels.

      If you even wanted a chance to get your music out there, known, and maybe make some money off of it, you had one option: The labels. You either signed away everything to them, in the hopes of maybe making it big or even known, or you were stuck doing shows in bars or other tiny, local venues.

      And of those that did sell everything for that chance, again, I'd love to see some numbers(though I know the labels would probably rather be sued into the ground before handing them out), but I'm pretty sure the vast majority never made it big, never became stars or even 'broke even' with the one-sided contracts they were forced into.

      That... doesn't sound like a system that 'works for everyone' to me, far from it. The old system worked for a very select number who got really lucky, and everyone else was left in the dust, without even a chance to maybe make it.

      Now the internet on the other hand, that is a level playing field. If you can put together your music, you have option after option on how to get it out there for people to listen to and buy it. Sure standing out in the crowd of countless others who are doing the same can be tricky, but that's always been the case, in every field, so nothing new there.

      If you are interesting in the opportunity to get noticed and be successful, or even just to have your music heard, the internet very much does 'work for everyone.'

      If you're looking for a way for everyone to succeed and become rich and famous, then you're wasting your time. No such thing exists, it never will, and pretending otherwise is either naive or intentionally dishonest.

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

      • icon
        DannyB (profile), 2 Jun 2015 @ 5:47am

        Re: Re: Check out this quote

        Turn that line around and use it against them.

        We must continue to encourage online distribution of music until the old exploitative record label model can be made to work for everyone.

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

  • identicon
    Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 1 Jun 2015 @ 11:32am

    It seems much more logical to hire an ad agency for promotional activities than rely on a record label: They are much more cost effective due to a competitive market and you can choose yourself how much to spend on it. You can pick the one that suits you/your music best, based on their portfolio. They are much more creative and client-oriented, with a much broader view and the ability to think outside the box.

    Off course there are pitfalls here as well but at least you can build a working relationship with mutual benefit and the artist can retain the rights to their music.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 1:54pm

    So can we steal your music Steve?

    “The old copyright model – the person who creates something owns it and anyone else that wants to use it or see it has to pay them – has expired"


    I guarentee that if you tested Albini on this, say, by releasing your own CD of Albini's Greatest Hits - because why not, I can do what I want with them. He would be the first one lawyering up to try and stop you.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 2:47pm

      Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

      You are almost certainly wrong. If you burn it to physical media and sell the media, you're selling your work to burn them. Albini will get more people to hear his music, and the potential that they will follow his work and pay to attend his concerts. He gets it.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 3:28pm

        Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

        I was more thinking about them being manufactured and sold in shops, and having someone reaping the profits, than burning a disc and giving it to a friend.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 6:05pm

          Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

          Funny you should mention that.

          A system where the artist doesn't control the distribution of his work and some other middleman makes money off directly selling his work was precisely what Albini was talking about. That's the legacy industry he rails against. The industry - and you, it seems - appears bent on conflating selling music for profit without handing money to the artist with innocuously burning a copy of a disc for a friend.

          Congratulations on missing the point.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 6:40pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

            "The old copyright model – the person who creates something owns it and anyone else that wants to use it or see it has to pay them"

            I've not missed a point, I've asked a question. If I truly don't have to pay him, what would happen if I started to directly profit from him by ignoring his copyrights (that he's claiming shouldn't exist)?. What if a rogue label starts selling their own Albini records. This isn't the legacy model as I have no contract, or master tapes. It's the legacy model only in as much as traditional distribution is involved.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 7:29pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

              He does not appear to be overwhelmed with loss aversion, as you seem to be. He's focused on how to connect with his audience, and make a profit. You can't get past the idea that someone else might make money, even if it enhances your own chance to make more.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 9:19pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

              Contracts don't define the legacy model. Screwing over the artists defines the legacy model. The legacy model simply points to contracts as the reason why they're entitled to screw artists over. If contracts didn't exist the legacy model would simply decide that it has free licence to screw artists over however they wanted with no consequence.

              As for your question, that's commercial copyright infringement. Albini's main point was about how the industry has failed in its conquest against non-commercial copyright infringement, and how using copyright to put this point across has likewise ended in failure. Your question misses the point because it doesn't refer to what Albini is actually saying.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 10:15pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                But if there is no copyright there is no commercial copyright infringement, and everything is free game, the creative and the commercial. I'm just wondering if he has really thought it through.

                Screwing over artists is just the model - full stop. Major labels do it, Indie labels do it (with a smile), streaming does it, venues do it, collection agencies do it, and fans do it.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 12:03am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                  You seem intent on grabbing a mythical point Albini never made and running away with it, like someone grabbing the football and running off the field and out of the stadium to ruin the game for everyone.

                  Albini isn't saying to get rid of copyright. He's saying that the legacy industry has constantly used copyright - and the costly penalties associated with it - to intimidate and extort from users committing non-commercial infringement. Those efforts have primarily failed, largely because the damages claimed by the legacy industry are ridiculous and unproven, and they rarely ever manage to sue the correct person. For that purpose of exercising control, the legacy industry has failed, and given that it shows no sign of stopping to pursue non-commercial infringement, the situation is unlikely to change.

                  That doesn't magically turn into "there should be no copyright". What you're doing here is something like this:

                  Person: "The police should exercise more caution during no-knock raids. I do not think police intervention should result in a scenario where a flashbang is thrown and injures an infant due to the police getting the house number wrong."
                  You: "Aha! You're clearly advocating that we have no organized police force! Gee, I don't think you really thought this through."

                  And your last paragraph is simply incoherent railing at everyone else. Are you trying to suggest that since everyone screws the artist - including the fan that buys the album and merchandise - the major labels can do whatever they want, and you'll continue to defend their behavior?

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 12:22am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                    See you're getting mixed up between what Albini has said, and what Masnik has said that may mean. Masnik said "It's in the business of spending money to lose money," not Albini. Albini said the waste of money is in the multi-tiered music industry, and lawyers and middle men. See you're conflating two points from two different people.

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

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 1:40am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                      "Albini said the waste of money is in the multi-tiered music industry, and lawyers and middle men."

                      And that magically translates into "no copyright" how?

                      See, you're getting mixed up between what Albini has said, and what you think he's said so you can magically turn that into a "Gotcha".

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                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 2:59am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                        For crying out loud, there's only 3 Blocks of quotes from Albini in the story. It's the first one. The third one is about there being no need for copyright.

                        There doesn't seem to be a full transcript anywhere.

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                        • identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 5:01am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                          You're still getting it wrong. Saying that the church and laws need to catch up to where social norms are is not the same as saying there's no need for church or laws.

                          The same applies for copyright. Albini's point is how copyright as a mechanism cannot be the sole means through which artists control their work - or, at least, not the level of control which a lot of industry middlemen think copyright affords them. Many of these middlemen and misguided artists who agree with their incorrect interpretation of copyright law think that copyright law allows them to prevent you from talking about, discussing, referencing, criticizing, editing, remixing, etc. anything they do or create. That's the level of control they want, and it's a level of control that not only can copyright not give them, a lot of what they want flies in the face of what most people consider reasonable. Regardless of how big a fuss the labels kick up, copyright does not give them absolute, complete control. It is the mindset of thinking that it does that Albini is criticizing. Extending that to "Albini claims no copyright needed" is as ridiculous as saying "You disagree with police brutality, therefore you want no law enforcement at all and complete anarchy."

                          And really, if you want to comment on something, then whine about how only select quotes are mentioned, it helps to click the hyperlinks leading to the original article. Which after reading, there is nothing that says "Albini wants no copyright law".

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                          • identicon
                            Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 2:32pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                            So I saw that this had gone so far to the side that I decided to type here just so that we can see how squished the paragraph can get.

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                            • identicon
                              Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 2:34pm

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                              So I saw that this had gone so far to the side that I decided to type here just so that we can see how squished the paragraph can get. take 2

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                              • identicon
                                Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 2:37pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                                But really Steve you should comment and settle this debate of whether or not people can take your music.

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                                • identicon
                                  Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 2:38pm

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                                  Test number 3

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                                  • identicon
                                    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 2:39pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                                    need a really long word for the next test Honorificabilitudinitatibus

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                                    • identicon
                                      Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 2:40pm

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                                      what about this one Lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimhypotrimmatosilphioparaomelitokatakechymenokichlepikossyp hophattoperisteralektryonoptekephalliokigklopeleiolagoiosiraiobaphetraganopterygon

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                                      • identicon
                                        :), 2 Jun 2015 @ 2:42pm

                                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                                        Well at least it does a break for the super long words. But shouldn't it also have a hyphen to separate the word?

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                                        • identicon
                                          Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 2:44pm

                                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                                          1

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                                          • identicon
                                            :), 2 Jun 2015 @ 2:45pm

                                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                                            I bet this is getting old. Also I should probably just automate the process but I don't have time to do the test now. maybe someone else can take this column stuff to the limit and see what happens.

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                                            • icon
                                              That One Guy (profile), 2 Jun 2015 @ 4:58pm

                                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                                              If you can find some of the older articles, where the comments are literally in the hundreds, you can find out. It can actually get pretty insane, with one word per line and a comment only a few dozen words long stretching down along the screen as a result.

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                                              • icon
                                                jupiterkansas (profile), 3 Jun 2015 @ 9:59am

                                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

                                                You guys just need to get wider screens.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 3:29pm

        Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

        Interesting note: Not once in the entire talk did he ever refer to file sharing as theft or stealing. He did say that his previous business based on the old model was lost due to it but not stolen. Technology changed the market and he adapted instead of trying to fight it. This is what the dinosaurs refuse to do.

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        • icon
          jupiterkansas (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 4:53pm

          Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

          The dinosaurs are actually incapable of doing it, because of all those contracts.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 6:52pm

          Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

          I'm not sure he's adapted as much as you think. Touch'n'go is still a pretty trad record company, it's just much smaller and doesn't need contracts with it's artists. This is actually quite common in the world of small indie labels as the money involved is too small for anyone to afford lawyers.
          Factory Record's contract with Joy Division was, famously, "'The company owns nothing, the musicians own their music and everything they do, and all artists have the freedom to fuck off.' Written in blood. And that was the 70's.
          He talks the talk, but he still walks with the dinosaurs.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 9:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

            You seem to be under the impression that if someone disagrees with something he has to be the complete antithesis of whatever he disagrees with.

            Albini's point is that he disagrees with labels screwing artists over, and spending tons of money to relentlessly go after non-commercial infringement instead of using that money to pay artists.

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    • icon
      Karl (profile), 2 Jun 2015 @ 12:39pm

      Re: So can we steal your music Steve?

      I guarentee that if you tested Albini on this, say, by releasing your own CD of Albini's Greatest Hits - because why not, I can do what I want with them. He would be the first one lawyering up to try and stop you.

      Probably not, because he's come out before as saying he doesn't care about sites like The Pirate Bay. And I'm sure at least some of the torrents there are of the "Greatest Hits" variety.

      Of course, if you're talking about commercial piracy (releasing that CD for sale), then you're arguing a completely different point than Albini was. He was talking about using copyright to control "anyone else that wants to use it or see it," meaning fans and "consumers" - a.k.a. the audience.

      Here's the quote in context:
      The old copyright model – the person who creates something owns it and anyone else that wants to use it or see it has to pay them – has expired in the same way that around the world you’re seeing structures and social norms [lapse] that were standard for many years.

      It’s going to take a lot for the business to catch up to where the audience is, in the same way it takes a while for the church and the laws to catch up to where the people are.

      But there is no longer the possibility to exclusively control music through copyright.

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  • identicon
    AnonCow, 1 Jun 2015 @ 9:06pm

    MechaWhat?

    Say the word "mechanicals" to an artist and watch their eyes instantly glaze over...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 4:16am

    Right now, the problem is two-sided:

    1) Someone consumed content without authorization (i.e.: payment), but there's no by-product, no contract, no agreement. They never agreed to any contract when downloading the latest Lady Gaga song (or whatever), so there's no breach.
    As for DMCA the breach is on whomever decrypted the original file, since DMCA doesn't (and really can't) apply to non-encrypted media.

    2) The owner didn't give authorization (i.e.: receive & confirm payment) so they feel cheated. They try to rely on copyright to get their due, but copyright was never created with this purpose in mind.

    A proper analogy would be: someone with perfect memory scans through a book in a bookstore, remembers it all, goes home and writes it down and then reads it, all without paying the author.

    In the past such people were extremely rare, but nowadays anyone and their dog can have a "perfect memory" in their pocket.

    The author does indeed deserve her/his due, but the only answer proposed up until now is basically "lobotomizing" the "perfect memory" of our devices. And this is a bad answer.

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  • identicon
    Pragmatic, 2 Jun 2015 @ 6:00am

    I don't suppose I could persuade you good people to stop using the word "consume" when discussing copyrighted material?

    Please can you use "experience" instead?

    Using loaded words plays into the hands of the maximalists by framing the argument in their terms. Let's get THEM on the back foot by challenging their assumptions, otherwise we'll never be free of their eternal grasping.

    Remember, every syllable of their contention that copyright is property (it's not!) is based around the idea that there is a scarcity and they are the curators and gatekeepers. The old curator/gatekeeper model used by the MAFIAA is the problem; the solution is to attack the underlying mythology of copyright as property and copyrighted items as consumable and move artists and creators towards other business models.

    As long as we let the incumbents control the narrative and the nomenclature, the best we can hope to achieve is the halt of term increases. If we gain control of the narrative and frame the arguments in our terms using our words, we can get the reform we so desperately need.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 2 Jun 2015 @ 6:55am

      Re:

      Good luck. I still have to explain the very important reasons why "theft" and "stealing" cannot possibly apply to a copied file. Yet, at least 20 years after this argument first started, we still get idiotic analogies based on the idea that those words are accurate descriptions.

      "Consumer" is still at least very much applicable to the argument even if it has some connotations that do not apply (such as the idea that something is gone when it's consumed). It might be annoying, but there's more important battles and effective to fight.

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  • identicon
    Anon, 2 Jun 2015 @ 8:02am

    Steve sounds like an asshole

    I'm such a fan of Steve's work, but the fact is that he is a cynical asshole that really doesn't know what he's talking about.

    EVERY industry is run with contracts. All a contract is is an agreement. Steve may say he works on relationships, but if at some point, he's agreed to perform work for someone and they agree in return to pay him money for said work, there's a contract in place, whether or not it's written or formalized.

    And if you think record labels are screwing over and/or exploiting artists, or exerting too much control over their music, fine. But equating that with copyright is dumb.

    Labels aren't trying to "control" all the sharing of music. They're trying to control the market for the product that they've invested in, just like any other producer of goods. And the ONLY reason they're willing to invest in an artist at all is because that artist, by virtue of the fact that they created an original expression fixed in a tangible medium, owns a copyright.

    Of course a label has more leverage up front. That's the nature of business. The newer or lesser known an artist is, the less valuable that artist's brand is. As an artist gets bigger, they gain leverage. Just like any other industry, the more valuable YOU are, the more leverage YOU have.

    But, regardless of whether an artist chooses to sign with a major label, an indie label, or elect to invest in and produce an album entirely on their own (ensuring complete control and ownership over master rights), it's entirely THEIR prerogative, BECAUSE, through virtue of their copyright, they have private rights that they can exert in the free market (this is entirely related to the privately negotiated rights, not the highly-regulatory structure that is unique to the music industry under § 114 and 115 of the Copyright Act).

    Just to give an example, the Foo Fighter's self-titled debut album was written and recorded almost ENTIRELY by Dave Grohl, someone with whom Steve Albini has worked with extensively. Dave didn't create the album to make money, or to become one of the biggest rock icons today, he created the album because it was something therapeutic to him as he was mourning the loss of Kurt Cobain. Grohl created a limited release, pressing only 100 LPs, and 100 copies on tape, and gave out the tapes for free. The recordings became such a hit among those who heard it that it eventually attracted the interest of Capitol Records, and boom, 20 years later, the Foo Fighters are one of the biggest rock bands today with a lasting legacy. The subsequent albums were increasingly more well-polished and the Foo Fighters turned into a full band, and have been able to put on incredibly expensive, high-quality shows, selling out arenas. You think Grohl could afford this stuff on his own?

    Now imagine if Grohl had no copyright in his music from the start. Assuming Capitol Records was even interested in the recording, there would simply be no way to calculate an ROI because, without a copyright, there's no possible way to forecast future earnings (this is assuming a business, and by extension, an entire industry devoted to recording and releasing records, could exist without this private market mechanism). But EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, if Grohl never had a copyright over his recordings to begin with, Capitol Records would have had no incentive whatsoever to sign Dave Grohl, because THEY WOULDN'T HAVE TO. They could simply rip off his music and get someone else to record it if they wanted to, without paying Grohl even a dime. Sure, we could all speculate on alternative scenarios, like Grohl's relationships in the music industry, but the fact is that without some private right in the marketplace to control your own creative works, any little leverage or control you may have as a newer artist is utterly and completely wiped out.

    And just to be clear, EVERY industry works exactly like this. No rational business or individual will ever invest in a product without some potential way to estimate the ROI. What makes copyright-based industries unique is that the products they create can be easily copied and distributed over digital platforms. That's why there's copyright protection. It's not to exert control, just for the sake of control. It's to exert meaningful control over the market so that there is enough risk management to actually spend the money to create and distribute the product in the first place. Labels aren't stupid; they know that illegal filesharing won't be completely wiped out and never will. But, and this applies to ANY OTHER INDUSTRY, record labels at the very least want to ensure that whatever loss there is due to circumvention of the law is limited to reasonable breakage costs.

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 2 Jun 2015 @ 8:28am

      Re: Steve sounds like an asshole

      "Labels aren't trying to "control" all the sharing of music"

      Then why is it that literally everything they do indicates otherwise? Based on their actions, the labels appear to want to stop all data sharing that they don't have control over, whether it involves "their" music or not.

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      • identicon
        Anon, 2 Jun 2015 @ 9:20am

        Re: Re: Steve sounds like an asshole

        Hi John,

        Thanks for your reply. What actions do you believe they are taking to control data sharing that they do not have control over, specifically? It will be easier to address your viewpoint if I have a better sense of what you're indicating.

        Regardless, the point is that the products sold by copyright owners are fundamentally different than other products, by virtue of the fact that the very aspect of the product that is most valuable is the aspect of the product that can be most easily reproduced and distributed, which, of course is easier than ever due to the nature of the Internet. Any other manufacturer relies on property laws and contracts to ensure that any loss caused due to shoplifting, breakage, etc. is kept to a minimum. But manufacturers that create physical goods will never have to worry about the complete, uncontrolled distribution of EXACT copies of their product because, by its very nature, that's just not possible. Copyright owners do have to worry about this, and are consistently trying to find ways to ensure that the marketplace for their works can continue to function. A completely unrestrained marketplace where anyone can essentially publish and redistribute the product is just not sustainable. Copyright owners aren't deliberately trying to "control" data sharing, or the Internet; they're just trying to establish meaningful protection over the Internet so that it is harder for sites that are obviously running solely for the purpose of unlawfully sharing their product to continue running.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 9:53am

          Re: Re: Re: Steve sounds like an asshole

          Unfortunately, they are trying to control ALL sharing. That's the point you're missing.

          Copyright owners should ensure they are controlling data they actually own copyrights to.

          Here's the thing: lots of non-RIAA-group-member copyrighted material was up on various sites targeted by the labels. Indies released their music on The Pirate Bay. The majors didn't own those copyrights, but they destroyed that medium. Collateral damage? No, it was intentional to kill competition.

          And, as people on this site have said many times, when you try to control and kill competition, you shoot yourself in the foot.

          Steve Jobs gave the consumers what they wanted, choice. The labels fought hard against it because they would be happy if you bought a full 14 song CD for just 2 songs. 2 songs through iTunes is $2 but a 14 song CD (before being SUED for price fixing) was $17 - 25. Yes, sued right around the time of Napster, a convenient distraction. In 2003 they were hit (labels) with a $384 million fine (or something similar) for price fixing.

          So it IS about control of everything and not because of copying but because they want the prices to be the same as the physical product, but their costs to be far less (distribution through the web is clearly cheaper than physical stores).

          It is all about control and competition. The labels were also against home taping not only because of someone copying and giving/selling a copy of their produced works, but because it meant people could create their own music and release it, free or for a fee, to the public, without going through the label-controlled studios.


          Copyright owners do have to worry about this, and are consistently trying to find ways to ensure that the marketplace for their works can continue to function. A completely unrestrained marketplace where anyone can essentially publish and redistribute the product is just not sustainable.

          Sorry, you're incorrect on this, especially the second sentence. A completely unrestrained marketplace IS what encourages competition, that's why SO (standard oil), Ma Bell, etc.. were broken up. Monopolies hinder free market operations (of course the monopolies create phony shell companies to give the illusion of competition).

          The nature of competition, the essential part of a capitalist society, IS that anyone CAN enter the market place, unrestrained, and publish and distribute works. The only issue the labels SHOULD have (and they where this mask and you fell for it) is distribution of copyrighted works the distributors (uploaders) do not have permission to distribute. That is the point of copyright, the right to create copies. The original intent wasn't for free, non-commercial distribution. It was for commercial, the guy selling copies on the street corner, distribution.

          And you really can't compare physical to digital because you still have the digital, where-as the shoplifting case is the opposite, someone else has it and the first person does not. Some one is deprived in the physical sense.

          The labels push the "we're corporate and we have a legal right to profit" and then use bogus numbers (1986 it was estimated that if intellectual properly for the ENTIRE US economy were to be stolen, 300 000 - 900 00 jobs would be lost, not per year, in total -- that's it). The entertainment industry used those and skewed numbers as they do, and created bullshit figures.

          Fact: the average person spent only $120/yr on CD's. Fact: the glory days of the 90's were inflated sales because of the format shift, which happened with every new format. But don't let those facts get in the way, instead let yourself be blinded by greed and fear of competition. Those numbers, such as the ENTIRE economy, were exaggerated and the sales figures for the 90's, applied across all years, to create imaginary losses.

          Ignore economy downturns, ignore inefficient spending, just blame people file sharing.

          Times have changed. We don't use horses and buggies. We don't use relays for telecom. We don't use tubes for most electronics. So you adapt and listen to what the consumer wants, or you turn into Eatons.

          And another thing, ever notice the "old" bands touring today? Are they releasing anything new? Nope! Instead they are just touring to make money. That would be fine, but it creates competition for up and coming artists. Who would you see, some local starving artist, or Glass Tiger or Huey Lewis and the News? Has Huey released anything new? No. Neither has glass tiger.

          At least AC/DC release new albums. As does Colin Hay of Men at Work fame, as does Def Leppard, etc.. These folks are still working. If you're not writing, just performing your own hits, you're out for a cash grab.

          Again, free market so it is permissible. Is it fair? Nope! Life isn't fair. So up and comers have to compete with eachother and big-name acts that use their former status and connections with the $$$ of the legacy players to keep themselves relevant and keep the little guys out.

          Digital distribution without restraint is their ONLY chance to be heard! That's the true nature of a free market and competition.

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

          • identicon
            Anon, 2 Jun 2015 @ 11:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Steve sounds like an asshole

            Hey thanks for your reply.

            You make some interesting points, and a lot, so I'm not gonna spend time replying to everything.

            A couple preliminary points though:

            1. You're conflating an unrestrained market with a free market. Maybe it's my bad for the terminology used, but the "unrestrained market" I'm talking about isn't a real market at all. If there's no product, there's no market for the product. The ability to market a product is undermined by sites like Piratebay, which you claim are "tools" used by indie labels, but in reality, are like making money off advertising while a VAST majority of what it hosts, and the traffic that drives the site, are infringing files. You just can't realistically say that a record label (either major or indie) that spends large amounts of money investing in content is fairly competing with a company that wilingly makes money by offering a place for users to illegally download that content, while taking no part in its production. At the very least, the idea that record labels are "parasites," while companies like Piratebay are just tools is simply laughable, and if you believe otherwise, you're drinking that tech kool-aid.

            2. "The nature of competition, the essential part of a capitalist society, IS that anyone CAN enter the market place, unrestrained, and publish and distribute works. The only issue the labels SHOULD have (and they where this mask and you fell for it) is distribution of copyrighted works the distributors (uploaders) do not have permission to distribute. That is the point of copyright, the right to create copies. The original intent wasn't for free, non-commercial distribution. It was for commercial, the guy selling copies on the street corner, distribution."

            If you don't think piracy is a heavily monetized industry, that it's all just free non-commercial distribution, then you're heavily mistaken, or naive.

            3. "Steve Jobs gave the consumers what they wanted, choice. The labels fought hard against it because they would be happy if you bought a full 14 song CD for just 2 songs. 2 songs through iTunes is $2 but a 14 song CD (before being SUED for price fixing) was $17 - 25. Yes, sued right around the time of Napster, a convenient distraction. In 2003 they were hit (labels) with a $384 million fine (or something similar) for price fixing."

            Steve Jobs is well known for creating proprietary, closed-ended products so I have no clue why you're using him as an example of anything. As for price-fixing, give me some type of citation. Lastly, Steve Jobs didn't give the consumer what they wanted, the record labels did, but offering their music to Apple through its iTunes service, under terms that provided decently royalties to the labels. The reason the price of songs was so much lower was because Apple willingly ate profit on its iTunes store because it saw the bigger picture - by selling songs in the form DRM-filled .aac files, playable only on iPods, they could make a killing with by undervaluing the music in the iTunes store. Once people were started building a library in iTunes, they were hooked to the iPod. In case you didn't know, Apple was actually sued under antitrust laws for this. Again, Steve Jobs is just a dumb example.

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

            • identicon
              Anon, 2 Jun 2015 @ 11:34am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Steve sounds like an asshole

              Sorry, I really should have previewed that last comment before posting... riddled with typos :/

              Here's the last paragraph, fixed:

              Steve Jobs is well known for creating proprietary, closed-ended products so I have no clue why you're using him as an example of anything. As for price-fixing, give me some type of citation. Lastly, Steve Jobs didn't give the consumer what they wanted, the record labels did, by offering their music to Apple through its iTunes service, under terms that provided decent royalties to the labels. The reason the price of songs was so much lower was because Apple willingly ate profit on its iTunes store because it saw the bigger picture - by selling songs in the form DRM-filled .aac files, playable only on iPods, they could make a killing with by undervaluing the music in the iTunes store. Once people started building a library in iTunes, they were hooked to the iPod. In case you didn't know, Apple was actually sued under antitrust laws for this. Again, Steve Jobs is just a dumb example.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 1:17pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Steve sounds like an asshole

              1) You're assuming that every file up there was not intentionally shared by the creator, for free distribution (paid for by the ads). It isn't cheap to host a site and handle the traffic and bandwidth. That's why indies use it.
              You assume that all content up there that is from any sort of label is infringed (meaning put up there without permission) and I clearly stated people put up there for distribution, much like various versions of GNU/Linux (even distrowatch.com has ad-supported funding in order to cover bandwidth). And while distrowatch isn't sharing Windows, if they did, and MS went after them to take down the entire site, it WOULD impact the freely available and legitimate GNU/Linux distros intended to be shared! In effect, MS would be killing competition.

              2) Proven in court that it is NOT a heavily monetized industry! The labels are the ones assuming millions are made, but they are NOT because the labels don't know how much hosting a filesharing site actually costs (sadly, they should have looked into it back when Napster was the thing and iTunes would not have existed)

              3) I am aware iTunes was a tool to promote the iPod and yes Apple tried some shady tricks and suffered for it. Point is, they gave the consumer, the legal purchaser, an easy way to choose what they wanted which is what you failed to notice or comment on. The labels didn't create a one-stop shopping site, Apple did. So no, the labels did NOT give the consumer what they wanted. They tried to shutdown Napster rather than work with Napster because they didn't want to adapt. They wanted control, full control, over distribution. And only a company like Apple, with their money and tough leader, was able to strike a deal where even Apple lost money on the store, but was at least able to give consumers a choice!

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

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 2 Jun 2015 @ 10:34am

          Re: Re: Re: Steve sounds like an asshole

          "What actions do you believe they are taking to control data sharing that they do not have control over, specifically?"

          That's a lengthy list. It would probably be easier and quicker to search this site for the various examples. But I'll provide two of my pet peeves:

          They are trying to destroy (or make illegal) P2P file sharing and they routinely attack and shut down (or try to shut down) nonaffiliated sites and services that distribute music that is being legally served up.

          "the point is that the products sold by copyright owners are fundamentally different than other products"

          Not so much. I've been creating and selling software for over 30 years now. Software has precisely the same characteristics that you are describing, and has a much longer history of rampant piracy and how to deal with it.

          While there are some bad actors in this area of the software business (mostly game companies, which are pretty much movie companies at this point anyway), for the most part software companies have learned how to deal with piracy without causing harm to society at large. The music industry appears to be many decades from achieving equivalent wisdom (and even then, they'll only do it if we keep pressing them).

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

          • identicon
            Anon, 2 Jun 2015 @ 11:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Steve sounds like an asshole

            "They are trying to destroy (or make illegal) P2P file sharing and they routinely attack and shut down (or try to shut down) nonaffiliated sites and services that distribute music that is being legally served up."

            They are trying to destroy or make illegal websites that actively induce or encourage copyright infringement. Websites who's creators actively and openly admit to hosting (or linking to) illegal torrents or copies, and who encourage users to download those torrents, while they make money from shady advertising and subscription services. Nobody is going after file sharing just for the sake of it. You don't hear anyone going after google docs, dropbox, etc.

            "While there are some bad actors in this area of the software business (mostly game companies, which are pretty much movie companies at this point anyway), for the most part software companies have learned how to deal with piracy without causing harm to society at large. The music industry appears to be many decades from achieving equivalent wisdom (and even then, they'll only do it if we keep pressing them)."

            A heck of a lot of software (at least the expensive to make and expensive to buy software) is filled with DRM tools. Doesn't work as well in the music world.

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

            • identicon
              bob, 2 Jun 2015 @ 7:24pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Steve sounds like an asshole

              Actually the music industry tried to do DRM tools but did it so badly that they just pissed off people. Think Sony putting rootkits on their music CDs.

              As far as the expensive to make and buy software filled with DRM. Yes it has DRM in it but those companies have found a way to make it work without putting viruses on customers computers, or disrupting the other pieces of software a customer has on their computer.

              Also you have to remember that that really expensive software is for a niche market, think drafting and layout tools for circuits. Because of all the money involved in purchasing and supporting that software, companies are a lot more willing to change their distribution models to accommodate customers needs and keep their clientele happy.

              The music industry doesn't try to accommodate anyone but themselves. As was seen with the iTunes store it took someone outside of the music industry to actually provide a product that more closely matched a customers needs/wants. Which is why lots of people make the point that if the record labels would adapt and provide the product in a format and distribution model that was easier and cheaper to assimilate for the customer they wouldn't face as much pirating of their product.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 3:02pm

      Re: Steve sounds like an asshole

      " But EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, if Grohl never had a copyright over his recordings to begin with, Capitol Records would have had no incentive whatsoever to sign Dave Grohl, because THEY WOULDN'T HAVE TO. They could simply rip off his music and get someone else to record it if they wanted to, without paying Grohl even a dime."


      They wouldn't even have to re-record the songs, they could just mass produce his album themselves.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2015 @ 6:06pm

      Re: Steve sounds like an asshole

      And if you think record labels are screwing over and/or exploiting artists, or exerting too much control over their music, fine. But equating that with copyright is dumb.

      Copyright is being mentioned precisely because it's the mechanism through which the labels enforce their control. It's their "kill code" that they always bring up whenever they encounter some usage of their work ("their" being used loosely here, since label != artist). Hell, even in these threads you see the usual trolls in out_of_the_blue and antidirt regularly assert that the copyright holder of a work is fully entitled to demand that people cease remixing, criticism, discussion, private humming to oneself, etc. of said work - why? Because copyright.

      Copyright doesn't immediately equate to artist exploitation, sure. We agree on that point. But the fact of the matter is, the labels skewed the definition of copyright to fit their own agendas and attempted to force a worldview of copyright on everyone else. Copyright has a bad rep precisely because the labels took a big, fat dump on it.

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


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