Legacy Music Industry Shouldn't Get To Watch Over The Royalties Of Independent Songwriters

from the we've-done-this-before dept

Last year, a very strange thing happened in the copyright space: a pretty major update to copyright law was passed and it wasn't that controversial. Leading up to that passage there had been plenty of concerns, but a compromise was worked out last fall that was... actually pretty good for everyone involved. It wasn't how any sane society would craft copyright law from scratch, but the key aspects of the Music Modernization Act were to attempt to fix a lot of other really broken stuff. At the time we focused on the fact that it would help expedite moving some very old music into the public domain, which was great. But the much bigger deal to the music world was a reform of the mechanical licensing process for songwriters.

As we discussed in walking through one of a few lawsuits that had been filed against music streaming platforms over mechanical licensing, it was such a complex area of copyright law that basically no one fully understood it. Every single copyright lawyer I spoke to in trying to understand it would give me a totally different answer. So part of the Music Modernization Act was to clear up the questions around mechanical licensing and internet services, making it easier for songwriters to actually get royalties they're owed, without the convoluted process that used to be in place.

As with all things, the devil is very much in the details, and suddenly things are looking a bit problematic. The law directs the Register of Copyrights to designate an entity to become the new "mechanical license collective" (MLC), effectively creating a brand new collection society for these mechanical royalties. The Copyright Office has an open comment period on this, which is about to end, and musician Zoe Keating has noticed that the entire process appears to be rigged to (of course) help divert money to the big music publishers and away from independent artists. She's written a very detailed, but well worth reading, description of the problematic aspect of what's happening, and is asking the Copyright Office to extend the comment period as more songwriters -- especially independent ones, learn what's going on and can weigh in.

The key part in all of this is that the organization that represents the biggest music publishers, the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) is angling to run this new MLC. Indeed, it appears to be acting as if it already is in charge of it:

The NMPA very cleverly named their proposed group the “MLC” and continually refer to it as the “industry consensus” group. David Israelite in his sworn testimony to congress said the NMPA “is the trade association representing all American music publishers and their songwriting partners.” That’s not quite true. The NMPA does not represent songwriters like me.

Again, there is so much confusion on the street about mechanical royalties. I’ve been talking to all the songwriters I can the last couple weeks. So many are confused about what these royalties are and how to collect them. Some songwriters have tried to educate themselves and have read up about it only then to be confused by the NMPA’s naming confusion and as a result, think that the NMPA’s MLC is already The MLC or that it is the same as the AMLC or that everyone is on the same page. In short, there is confusion. That confusion benefits the NMPA.

A big part of the role of whoever becomes the MLC (whether it's the NMPA's version or another one) is, of course, to get the money they've collected to the artists who deserve it. And therein lies a bit of a concern:

There is a pot of unclaimed royalties that have already been paid by music services that is estimated to be between $1.5 and $2.5 billion. A major task of the new MLC will be to apply some clever technology to match that money to its rightful owners. I’ve already explained the difficulty of collecting when you’re unrepresented. Without question, a large portion of these unclaimed royalties belong to self-published songwriters.

The new law says that after three years the board of the MLC can decide to liquidate that pot of unclaimed royalties and distribute it to themselves by market share. This strikes me as a huge conflict of interest. Does the NMPA even have any incentive to do what it takes to match the royalties to whomever earned them? Are the unclaimed royalties of unrepresented songwriters just going to keep getting distributed to Sony, Universal etc now and forever going forward?

If you've been reading Techdirt for a really long time, this may sound familiar. Way back in 2004, the law over a different kind of royalty -- for interactive streams -- that was collected by a new group (SoundExchange) spun off from the organization representing the big record labels (the RIAA) said that it, too, could keep the money for itself, if the organization couldn't find artists. And, magically, SoundExchange had "trouble" finding lots of artists, including some really big names. By 2009, we noted that SoundExchange was hanging on to over $100 million that belonged to artists. Public outcry over this did eventually result in SoundExchange promising not to just keep the money for itself, and to its credit, after a lot of work, the organization did become much better at finding artists.

But it boggles the mind that having already gone through that experience 15 or so years ago, the Copyright Office would set up a nearly identical boondoggle. And, as Keating notes, the NMPA doesn't want much oversight over its proposed organization (unlike the competing proposal, which Keating is supporting):

If the NMPA is awarded this contract by the Copyright Office they will control billions of dollars in royalties without oversight (unlike the AMLC, the NMPA proposal says the Copyright Office will not oversee their entity) and with a conflict of interest that gives them incentive to liquidate and distribute unclaimed royalties to their members rather than to the songwriters who actually earned them.

This is increasingly important. As we've continued to show in our latest Sky is Rising report, the number of musicians and music being created continues to skyrocket. And a whole lot of that is coming from independent songwriters and musicians. The idea that the legacy industry should be able to collect and be in charge of distributing many millions of dollars owed to those independents seems problematic in many ways -- and it's not helped by the presumptuous attitude of the NMPA in pushing its own organization as the solution.

Keating is asking the Copyright Office to, at the very least, extend the deadline for comments beyond April 22nd, and hopefully the Copyright Office will listen.

The education issues here are huge. All the songwriters, large and small, that I’ve talked to have asked why they haven’t heard about any of this controversy when so much money is at stake. “If it was a big deal, why haven’t I heard about it?”. I can’t believe the deadline is as soon as April 22. We need more time to educate songwriters on this issue so they can choose which entity will administer their mechanical royalties.

I call on the Registrar of Copyrights to extend the comment period.

Meanwhile, I call on all songwriters to submit comments to the Registrar of Copyrights.

As Keating points out, one of the biggest challenges she's always had in making a full-time living as a successful independent musician is not piracy, but rather the legacy industry getting in the way and keeping money it owes her.

Ironically, a lot of the obstacles in the early stages of my career came not from file-sharing/piracy sites but from the established music industry and their gate-keeping. I understand that the NMPA is trying to protect its members from an industry that most often tries to siphon off as much of their member’s earnings as possible, but they should not protect themselves at the expense of unrepresented songwriters. Lets not bake the mistakes of the past into future systems.

Filed Under: independent song writers, mechanical royalties, mechanicals, mlc, music licensing, music modernization act, songwriters, zoe keating
Companies: nmpa


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:51am

    That money should revert to the Treasury. Hopefully there will be a lawsuit that attempts to make this happen.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:52am

      Re:

      If not to the Treasury, then it should go to fund music programs in schools, or better yet, be kept in a trust where the principal is never touched and it can fund those programs in perpetuity, perhaps inversely proportional to the wealth of the school districts involved.

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

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 7:10am

        Re: Re:

        This isn't public money. The government has no legitimate interest in it.

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

        • icon
          Mark Atwood (profile), 18 Apr 2019 @ 8:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The government" has "no legitimate interest" in forgotten and abandoned checking accounts either, but the law is if you abandon a checking account that has money in it, after a fixed and known number of years, the balance reverts to the local state government.

          The law exists in large part to remove the temptation of the banks to "lose" the account holder information and then take the money for themselves.

          This seems the same sort of thing to me.

          If the mechanical licensing process cannot identify and pay the copyright owner after 7 years, the money (and all interest that it has earned) reverts to, say, a split between the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Arts.

          If the NMPA fights that, that is direct proof on it's face of their malicious duplicity and intent to steal.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:54am

    BTW, the "legacy" has more to do with bloated overhead than with copyright.

    New artists who are internet-savvy don't have the "legacy" expenses of large staffs, offices, payola, etc. that have to be recovered. The internet does not pay as well as traditional media, which is where the financial divide occurs.

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  • identicon
    Glenn, 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:16am

    As everyone already knows, the labels are the real pirates (still).

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:27am

      Re:

      They're no different than large corporations who exploit workers by making a fortune while paying a pittance. Smart workers know their worth and demand it (they get overpaid), while most people don't care about business and just want enough to survive or live a middle-class lifestyle. Artists often want fame (which translates to other opportunities and groupies, etc.), so it's not always as exploitative as it seems.

      The problem the "legacy" companies have is they were set up for an era that did not include the internet. If their overhead were lower, they could and would adapt, but they are, financially speaking, too big and too slow. Even in a world without piracy, they'd still be dinosaurs.

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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:25am

    musician Zoe Keating has noticed that the entire process appears to be rigged to (of course) help divert money to the big music publishers and away from independent artists

    "Divert."

    As important as it is to call out publishing interests on their continuous abuse of the word "steal" WRT copyright infringement, it's equally important to apply it appropriately instead of using euphemisms. So let's call a spade a spade here: the process is rigged to allow big music publishers to steal money from independent artists. The NMPA has designed a system in which they get to take money that rightfully belongs to independent artists, and stuff their own pockets with it instead. That's legitimate theft.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:36am

      Re:

      There should be a lawsuit to stop this, brought by anyone who owns a sound recording copyright (hey I have standing!).

      Split the money evenly, fund public music education with it (preferably in a trust), or revert it to the Treasury.

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

      • icon
        Gary (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:43am

        Re: Re:

        Or, you know, don't charge manadary fees without actually tracking the source and paying the right people.

        But hey, like I say - Copyright is Theft.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The fees are charged in case the rightsholder steps forward.

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

          • icon
            Mason Wheeler (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 1:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            And that seems backwards to me. If a rightsholder wants to be represented, they can sign up for it. If not, then they don't get the benefits of the program, and the rest of us don't get charged on their (rather dubious) behalf.

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

            • icon
              Gary (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 1:08pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Exactly. Everytime they charge for a work and don't make the payout they are committing theft twice.
              Once from the artist that isn't getting paid.
              Once from whoever is laying the license fee.

              Theft is when you take something from someone and they don't have it anymore. Sharing is when everyone has more. :)

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 5:01pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              That money can revert to the treasury.

              It is up to the creator or rightsholder to collect what's due.

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

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Copyright is not theft, but rather an incentive to produce, and it eliminates the need for producers to make their own contracts with their audience.

          Queen Anne ruled a world without copyright protection, just like some ancient society had a world without laws against murder.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 12:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Cool story bro. None of it’s true in the slightest but it’s nice to see that you’ve figured out how Wikipedia’s search function works.

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

          • icon
            Gary (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 2:03pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Copyright is not theft,

            No, Copyright is actual literal theft as I outlined above. I even cited an example which you ignored.
            It is also stealing from the public domain. Taking works out of public use for two lifetimes.

            But I'm so glad that dead authors are "encouraged" to make more books by archaic laws that were drafted not to promote creativity, but to stifle the free flow of knowledge. Because Queen Anne was terrified that the masses would have easy access to works via the Gutenberg press.

            You really should tell your employer to give you better retorts for the astroturfing, eh?

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 4:59pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Those authors have heirs.

              Copyright is what encourages people to create in the first place. Eventually, the public benefits from it. Only a pirate would care that this happen immediately.

              Those who make content need protection from those who take it.

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

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 5:04pm

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

                “Those authors have heirs.”

                They should teach their kids to work for a living instead of being whiny little bitches like you.

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

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                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 5:05pm

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

                  Said the whiny little bitch.

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

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                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 5:06pm

                    Re: Poor crybaby Jhon

                    I thought I didn’t matter bro. Guess I struck a nerve.

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

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                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:32pm

                      Re: Re: Poor crybaby Jhon

                      No nerves struck, but keep talking, motherfucker.

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

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:46pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Poor crybaby Jhon

                        Yeah I don’t matter so much you spent about 70 comments and counting whining and impotently shaking your fiat at me, today alone.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 6:33pm

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

                Okay, I'll bite. You're saying that copyright holders would produce less content if copyright lasted 50 years after author death than 70?

                How about now, since the RIAA/MPAA didn't appeal to have the limit extended to 95 years? You're saying we can expect less content?

                Has the copyright allowed Kurt Cobain and Michael Jackson's corpses to start creating?

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                • icon
                  Seegras (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 3:56am

                  rights for the dead to take from the living

                  1841, in front of the House of Commons, MP Thomas Babington Macaulay held the following speech:
                  http://www.thepublicdomain.org/2014/07/24/macaulay-on-copyright/

                  "And you will find that, in attempting to impose unreasonable restraints on the reprinting of the works of the dead, you have, to a great extent, annulled those restraints which now prevent men from pillaging and defrauding the living."

                  Of course, everything he warned from has already happened, because of these copyright-maximalist wankers.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 17 Apr 2019 @ 12:52pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Because Queen Anne was terrified that the masses would have easy access to works via the Gutenberg press.

              How wrong can you be, as in her reign the censorship version of copyright was repealed, and then after intense lobbying by the the printers, and their use of the term, for the authors, the basis of modern copyright enacted. That is, she assented, by signing bills passed by parliament, the liberalization of printing,

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

    • icon
      TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 12:06pm

      Re:

      It isn't "theft" when it is government sanctioned. Like robbery at badgepoint, below-the-line fees, user and usage taxes....home destruction fees...hospital bills for invasive searches...

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 2:17am

        Re: Re:

        "It isn't "theft" when it is government sanctioned."

        Eminent domain?

        Would only apply if the government de facto claims ownership over private property rights. That's not the case here.

        Copyright is theft, but the government's role is only standing to the side holding a big bat while the sleazy weasel asks for the protection fee.

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

        • icon
          Coyne Tibbets (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 2:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          In the case of eminent domain, the government has to pay fair market value for what they take. How are the independent right holders being paid, again? Oh, right, they're not being paid. Just robbed.

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    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 1:13pm

      Re:

      Hmm.

      Since these thieves are operating under government sanction, perhaps we should call them "privateers."

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:41am

    "As Keating points out, one of the biggest challenges she's always had in making a full-time living as a successful independent musician is not piracy, but rather the legacy industry getting in the way and keeping money it owes her. "

    Where are the "good" lawyers to fight a case like this? It could be lucrative, or a class-action? Is the legal profession so fatally flawed that it cannot give justice to anyone but the wealthy?

    On the surface, it sounds like pure theft, which raises the question of why this has not been litigated.

    This website is great practice for logic skills.

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

    • icon
      Matthew Cline (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 12:15pm

      Re:

      Is your conclusion from using your logic skills merely that there's a big problem the legal profession, or do you have any more specific conclusions?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 4:58pm

        Re: Re:

        If there is this horrible, obvious injustice with so much money being stolen, where are the lawyers and lawsuits over this?

        Attorney fees are on the table in this type of action. Surely some lawyer would take a case like this.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 6:36pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Aren't you the guy who claimed pirate stole your mailing list, stole your e-books and replaced all the names and credits so no one could tell it was your work? (Or, specifically, you couldn't name what the work used to be so you can't provide any citations? Not that it stops you from saying the new name of the book(s), but that's a logic bomb for another day...) And claimed the reason why you didn't take it to the courts was because the name behind the theft was too big to be sued?

          You'd think that you'd know what it's like to go up against an opponent with superior money, time, resources and lawyers. But that would require you having a modicum of decency or honesty, Herrick...

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:29pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Wow everyone here is so obsessed with me.

            Let's see how they do when they're no longer anonymous.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:35pm

              Re:

              Not increased bro. We just like to take self important fuckwits down a notch.

              Back to the impotent threats bro? I kinda liked you better when you were threatening to rape me.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:43pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Not obsessed, just trying to keep track. If you're as important as you say you are surely I ought to know who or what I'm up against? Seeing that you're going to lawsuit, police action and rape me after all. Or are you trying to get a free pass into my rectum? You know only pirates who want freebies would think like that, right? Are you a pirate, Herrick?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 12:44pm

      Re:

      “This website is great practice for logic skills”

      Well yes. But debunking your AC garbage is logic 101. Try taking on one of the named bosses like Stephen T Stone for a real challenge. But something tells me you’d be kinda shit at it.

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

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 4:57pm

        Re: Re:

        "Stephen T. Stone" seems almost an internet ghost for someone who uses a full name.

        Where do we find this person outside of here?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 5:05pm

          Re:

          Where do we find you bro? Other than crapping your pants at the old people’s home I mean?

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:24pm

            Re: Re:

            I'm not the one supposedly putting my legal name out there. "Stephen T. Stone" is, and there's just not much on that name online other than this site.

            If I did post as me, police involvement and civil lawsuits would follow the next day. Some of Masnick's close buddies deliberately incited people to threaten to come to my home and kill me. One day this story will be told, but on my timetable, not his.

            Masnick belongs in prison and hopefully he'll be put there one day. That's a natural consequence of thinking everyone online is a defenseless loser. That prick poked the wrong bear and he's gonna take down a lot of others with him.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:41pm

              Re: Re: Re:

              Boy, I've waited since twenty-fucking-twelve for Masnick to get his comeuppance from the millions of artists who supposedly have cardiovascular infarctions simply because of the fact that he breathes oxygen just like they do.

              This bear of yours is dead. It's joined the bleeding choir invisible. It's an ex-bear.

              Either put your rich patron money where your insufferable little mouth is or piss off.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:42pm

              Re: Super cool story bro

              “If I did post as me, police involvement and civil lawsuits would follow the next day.”

              It’s like you can’t help but lie. So tell the gathered throng. Are you a police investigator, a private eye, a rock star, a best selling author, a small business owner, a multi millionaire, or a Hollywood producer today? It’s is so hard to keep up with all the lies you tell on a pee minute basis.

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

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 2:55am

                Re: Re: Super cool story bro

                "Are you a police investigator, a private eye, a rock star, a best selling author, a small business owner, a multi millionaire, or a Hollywood producer today?"

                You forgot he's also a certified genius, a lawyer, and an IT professional according to his prior claims.

                Why he tends to end up threatening people with assault and rape every now and then is beyond me, because anyone that multitalented surely has better ways of countering arguments. Like basic logic and factual truth, neither of which he has so far been very good at finding and deploying.

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

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:27pm

            Re: Re:

            You won't have to find me. Just keep running that mouth.

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

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:38pm

              Re: Stop trying to hit me and hit me

              Bring it on you fat, old, impotent, fuckwit.

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

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:43pm

                Re: Re: Stop trying to hit me and hit me

                Way ahead of you.

                It's time to swat the gnats.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:48pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Stop trying to hit me and hit me

                  Oh you gonna bring out the big guns and threaten to rape me again?

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:10pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Stop trying to hit me and hit me

                  It's time to swat the gnats.

                  Ah, so you're the kind of Call of Duty player who gets triggered by getting his ass kicked in online gaming and thinks calling a SWAT team so his opponent dies in the line of trigger-happy cops is appropriate retribution.

                  Wish I could say I was surprised that you were this sort of bottom scraper, Herrick.

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

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 4:57pm

        Re: Re:

        Good example of slanted language.

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

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:15pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Whatever you say, Asperger's Rape Fantasy Man.

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

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:20pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            This is why Masnick will never be taken seriously as a journalist.

            One day a network news camera will be recording his answers to questions he refuses to answer here. Let's see how he behaves then.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:24pm

              Re: We all know you can’t get it up much less rape anyone

              “This is why Masnick will never be taken seriously as a journalist.”

              How many times you gonna shit that little nugget out jhonboi?

              “One day a network news camera will be recording his answers to questions he refuses to answer here. Let's see how he behaves then.”

              I can’t wait to see you answering questions about threatening to rape mentally ill people.

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

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:26pm

                Re: Re: We all know you can’t get it up much less rape anyone

                Brave mouth there...

                Masnick really doesn't know who's observing him does he?

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:43pm

                  Re: Re: Re: We all know you can’t get it up much less rape any

                  Your “threats” are getting more pathetic by the day.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:06pm

                  Re: Re: Re: We all know you can’t get it up much less rape any

                  Masnick really doesn't know who's observing him does he?

                  Going by Alexa rankings apparently there's only 27 sad fucks in Bangladesh watching him. Is that supposed to be scary?

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

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Watch your step, motherfucker.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 2:49am

      Re:

      "Where are the "good" lawyers to fight a case like this? It could be lucrative, or a class-action? Is the legal profession so fatally flawed that it cannot give justice to anyone but the wealthy?"

      Lawyers want profit, therefore they go where the profit is.

      For Keating this is no doubt a sizeable chunk of money. However, whether it's enough to keep a first rate lawyer in a business which will occupy several billable months of time is another question entirely.

      As for the pro bono lawyers...they do exist, but thanks to the actions of copyright trolls such as Prenda's spiritual successors, Keating is one of VERY many people fighting avaricious fraud claims.

      "This website is great practice for logic skills."

      Surprising to see you make that claim, Baghdad bob, given that you've spent your years around here strenuously avoiding causal logic like the plague.

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

  • icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:46am

    Give these jokers a badge...

    and you have the "asset forfeiture" program on an even more epic scale!

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

  • icon
    Rico R. (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 12:02pm

    I'm an independent musician, and this is the first time I'm hearing about this comment period on the Music Modernization Act, and it's almost over! I say this with the utmost respect, but if Techdirt, a non-major small-time news operation, is the first time I hear about a potentially troubling implementation of updated copyright law in a way that directly affects me, there's a major disconnect between legacy gatekeepers and actual creators. I have to wonder if legacy players are hoping that smaller independent artists (like myself) just don't do anything so they can make money off of works they don't own or represent. And they say that copyright law is designed to protect small creators like me? Yeah, right!!

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 3:05am

      Re:

      "I have to wonder if legacy players are hoping that smaller independent artists (like myself) just don't do anything so they can make money off of works they don't own or represent."

      Of course that's the case. Any company will try to make as much profit as the law allows. One problem with copyright law is that it makes racketeering effectively legal.

      "And they say that copyright law is designed to protect small creators like me? Yeah, right!!"

      "They", by which we mean the copyright cult of legacy gatekeepers and middlemen, have tried to promote that lie ever since Queen Anne's statutes. The reality is that copyright law was always meant to be a protectionist tool for gatekeepers to retain a monopoly while locking actual creators into the role of kept sheep.

      It's pretty obvious that copyright law can't protect a single creator from having his/her work copied. Ever. Its only practical use for the creator is to prevent retail sales of said work and in preventing someone else from claiming the work as theirs.

      For the gatekeeper/middleman, however, copyright forms the core of a legal racketeering analogue usable as a business model with extreme return on investment and few risks.

      Anyone telling you that copyright is for the creator is trying to sell you the brooklyn bridge.

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

      • icon
        Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 5:27am

        Re: Re:

        Confirmed correct.

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

      • icon
        Samuel Abram (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 10:01am

        Re: Re:

        It's pretty obvious that copyright law can't protect a single creator from having his/her work copied. Ever. Its only practical use for the creator is to prevent retail sales of said work and in preventing someone else from claiming the work as theirs.

        Hence why I license all my original music with a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

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

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 10:07am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Techdirt has criticized the Noncommercial licenses in the past; see the creative commons and noncommercial tags.

          Up to you which license you choose; I've used NC licenses in the past myself. But it might be worth reading up on the debate and considering alternatives like Share-Alike.

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

          • icon
            Samuel Abram (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 10:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I did read up on the debate, and I'm still in favor of the NC condition. I wouldn't receive an income from it otherwise (Even Jonathan Coulton and Cory Doctorow don't eschew the NC condition nor would they be likely to do so in the future). I'm not convinced that the "share-alike" would suffice. Also, I don't necessarily care how people license derivative works of mine. as long as they attribute it for me and don't use it to make money without my permission.

            That being said, I've written it in my will that every work of authorship I have ever created will enter the public domain upon my death. Also, I didn't sync my music for monetization in youtube because that would go against the NC part of my license.

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

            • icon
              nasch (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 11:19am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I wouldn't receive an income from it otherwise

              Would you mind explaining what you mean by this? I don't follow.

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

              • icon
                Samuel Abram (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 11:35am

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

                Would you mind explaining what you mean by this? I don't follow.

                Gladly. I'm signed via Songtrust to BMI for performance rights. I also own all my master rights via bandcamp. If other people share my work, I'm okay with it, nay, support it because it shows people are actually interested in it. However, if somebody were to sell my work or a derivative work from my work, I'd like a cut from it. The Noncommercial condition does this. The ShareAlike does not. This is not hypothetical, considering that I actually have earned money from not only my own music on Bandcamp, iTunes, and Spotify, but through BMI as well (I have 20% songwriting credit in the Mega Ran song O.P.). While it is true I would receive more income from live shows, booking gigs is hard and I rarely perform live. That being said, if I play my cards right, my music may be in an upcoming rapper's album (won't spill the beans, sorry).

                Does that explanation suffice? I apologize if it doesn't.

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

            • icon
              Samuel Abram (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 11:27am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              and by this:

              Also, I didn't sync my music for monetization in youtube because that would go against the NC part of my license.

              I meant this:

              Also, I didn't sync my music for monetization in youtube because that would go against the "free to remix noncommercially" part of my license.

              Fixed that for me.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 1:21pm

    So many tireless experts on the subject and ardent defenders of artists come and spew all sorts of bullshit when there's even the tiniest attempt to suggest copyright needs adjustments that I'm kind of surprised there isn't any bullshit spewed so far in this article comments. If it was about fairness and supporting artists copyright would be radically different to begin with, even considering the MMAct. The bright part is that business as always isn't as easily accepted by the public as it was in the past so it seems things are slowly evolving and improving. Not that we won't see the MAFIAA attempting to implement absurdities or trying Mickey Mouse expansions in the future but it will at least be harder.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 1:31pm

    Oh that's easy

    All the songwriters, large and small, that I’ve talked to have asked why they haven’t heard about any of this controversy when so much money is at stake. “If it was a big deal, why haven’t I heard about it?

    Answer: Because it's harder to screw someone over when they know about it and have a chance to protest.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 5:04pm

    I once quit a computer job because the employer was making $50-100 for every dollar they were paying me, on a job I could have done for a fraction of the price for the firm I had previously quit who had contracted my new firm to do the work. They had turned a simple job into something four of their partners were feeding from.

    These places make the music industry seem honest, and the consumer is the one that pays the price.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 5:06pm

      Re:

      Cool story bro. Is that when you decided that being a scam artist was more lucrative?

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:17pm

        Re: Re:

        Which alleged "scam" do you refer to? Your posting sounds libelous except for my being an alias. If I posted as myself you'd be sued for this.

        You don't make Masnick look very professional when you pollute his comments section with remarks like this.

        My stories are much cooler than you'll ever be, that's for sure.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:29pm

          Re: you’ve got me there.

          I liked the one where you were running a multi-year multi police agency investigation into “Mikes dirty deeds.” You can write some nice fiction.

          As far as your threats, we both know that much like you, they are impotent.

          “You don't make Masnick look very professional when you pollute his comments section with remarks like this.”

          As ever jhonboi you are the maestro of grade level projection.

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

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:31pm

            Re: Re: you’ve got me there.

            Keep talking, motherfucker.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:38pm

              Re: Re: Re: you’ve got me there.

              Ah, is this the part where you threaten your months-long police investigation, on the behalf of the Internet persona who was mildly offended?

              C'mon, Herrick, put some effort into it this time. You're not fighting Grindr here, you might actually have a fighting chance! Not much of one going by your track record but let's face it, it's an improvement.

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

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:42pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: you’ve got me there.

                I don't do police investigations.

                As for the rest of the stuff, looks like it might be time to get that going. Getting REALLY sick of Masnick and his crew.

                Every name that posts here is discoverable. Anyone who thinks they can harass me anonymously is making a very large bet on that.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:52pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: you’ve got me there.

                  Bro you claimed to have the local, state, and Feds looking at Mike. Or did you forget that particular series of lies?

                  Next you gonna go all “I know people with a particular set of skills and you don’t want to cross me. Which is about one step up from “my big brother is gonna beat up up.”

                  You do realise that you have to use your real name to file, right bro? I can’t wait to laugh at the pathetic life of the “real” Jhon Smythe.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:56pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: you’ve got me there.

                  I bet you a dollar your threat is as impotent as you are.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:05pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: you’ve got me there.

                  Every name that posts here is discoverable.

                  Including yours.

                  C'mon, Herrick. Put your actual name on a court document. Unless you're a Daddy's little girl there won't be a gag order.

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

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 1:01am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: you’ve got me there.

                  "Getting REALLY sick of Masnick and his crew."

                  Then why do you spend so many hours shitposting here every week?

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:56pm

              Re: A quote I once heard from a loser

              “Every name that posts here is discoverable.”

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

    • identicon
      Rocky, 16 Apr 2019 @ 5:23pm

      Re:

      Did they also demand to get paid for jobs someone totally unrelated did for some other unrelated entity?

      No?

      Which is what the music industry regularly does and I'm not at all surprised that you think they are the more honest party.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:18pm

        Re: Re:

        If you think having three white-collar professionals billing at $100-300 an hour for work done by a $12-an-hour computer worker is good for the economy, bless you. I think it's bloated.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 1:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'd love to see some real details. I'm guessing you're either full of shit, or are utterly ignorant of what they were actually billing for.

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

        • identicon
          Rocky, 17 Apr 2019 @ 3:05am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Nice goal post moving there and which is totally besides the point of which of them are more honest.

          They didn't steal, they inflated the cost up front and got paid which could be considered morally dubious. If we on the other hand look at the music industry and the collection agencies that regularly steals (as in actually depriving someone of real money) from independent artists among others - I'd say the persons in the example you gave is indeed more honest.

          You do understand that someone can be honest AND morally corrupt at the same time, don't you? It's called not being a hypocrite.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:19pm

        Re: Re:

        My point is that capitalism causes executives to exploit workers in every industry.

        That's why socialism is taking off. It keeps capitalism's empty promises.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And yet only one industry allows people to sue others and demand payment based on unproven accusations.

          If the US being the only country to have Section 230 is grounds for its repeal, I hold that copyright fanboys can piss off and get a job like everyone else instead of having their corpses paid for 70 years of doing fuck all.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 6:37pm

      Re:

      Welcome to the real world, I guess?

      Just in case you're wondering... repealing Section 230 would not help you here.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 12:55am

      Re:

      "the employer was making $50-100 for every dollar they were paying me"

      "I could have done for a fraction of the price for the firm I had previously quit"

      Two things to mention here. First off, you seem to think that salary is the only cost involved with hiring someone. I'd look into that if I were you. There's a massive amount you don't understand.

      Second, no wonder these companies decided to use contractors instead of hiring full time staff, if people like you were quitting at the drop of a hat. Even hiring for the kind of basic entry level job you were surely doing involves a lot of overhead expenses, and it's often cheaper for those companies to hire contractors than it is to rehire and retrain every few months.

      The fact that you think the above is restricted to the tech sector also exposes your utter ignorance.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 3:09am

      Re:

      "I once quit a computer job because the employer was making $50-100 for every dollar they were paying me..."

      Ah, so today you're pretending to be the IT expert, Baghdad Bob?

      IT companies still work according to market conditions and as displayed in your "example" it's possible to quit the job and go to work as a consultant or some more credible company.

      Whereas an artist doesn't have the ability to take the business elsewhere if said artist ever put pen to a Sony contract.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 16 Apr 2019 @ 5:39pm

    Seems like it's time for all of the independent artists to get together and create their own group to combat music industry thievery.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 16 Apr 2019 @ 6:40pm

    One does wonder why they can't look at the historical timeline of these collectives.
    How much money is in their coffers that remains there because they somehow can't locate the artists they are supposed to pay?
    How much money is paid from their coffers to their staff who can't manage to do the job they obstensively paid to do?

    They image a world where tech else can just glimpse something & decide if it infringes. but can't manage to locate artists they owe money to.
    They find ways to nickel & dime the artists while blaming the boogeyman 'piracy' for stealing all of the money, while hoping we ignore their record profits.

    Perhaps it is time to stop letting them be 'creative' in their accounting methods & demand they clean their own house rather than blame the outside forces who don't manage to get any of the money yet are blamed for stealing it while its just sitting in their coffers ready to buy more laws & give them bonuses for keeping the blame on anything but themselves.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:15pm

      Re:

      Piracy harms small indies much more than large labels.

      It also enriches criminals, and should never be tolerated on the internet.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:16pm

        Re: Re:

        Except for all the times where people download indie music and the news is posted on Techdirt, the usual critics drawl and sneer that nobody would ever download Amanda Palmer or Dan Bull because it's not RIAA-approved material, and nobody downloads indies.

        You fail, Herrick.

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

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          There's no point in educating the willfully blind.

          I've actually created extremely valuable works that people have stolen. Those who criticize me are nobodies who never have done a thing.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            How many times a day do you tell yourself that? I’d be willing to bet that no matter how many times you do that nagging little voice won’t go away.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:03pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So valuable you can't afford to name them. Big surprise. Just like the police you failed to name, your army of failed inventors you failed to name, your big bad enemies and graceful patrons you failed to name...

            Is failing to name shit your secret to success, Herrick? Not surprising why your e-book and white elephant gift package business model was such a huge failure.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:19pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              AC if it turns out he’s the real Herrick, I will buy you a coke.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:28pm

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

                To be perfectly honest I doubt think Jhon boy is actually Herrick. It's certainly tempting to think so, given the way he was wielding the Herrick vs. Grindr case as the definitive death knell of Section 230 before major media caught on, which suggested that he had insider knowledge.

                Of course, an equally plausible explanation could be that Jhon simply reads a lot of Grindr-related news. I believe Jhon boy is Herrick in the same way that I believe "Hamilton" is actually descended from Alexander Hamilton.

                Buy yourself a coke anyway, and drink a toast to roasting trolls who think the best way to get a law repealed is to post angry rants on websites they think nobody respects.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 17 Apr 2019 @ 2:38am

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

                  Fair nough’ 😉

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 17 Apr 2019 @ 7:07pm

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

                  Another contender is Don Adi (Karl) Juravin (Jorbin), the scam artist behind Roca Labs who also made up the "evil lawyers using Techdirt and user review sites to defame me" fiction.

                  Though I found nothing about him running the kind of mailer scam Jhon admitted to.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 1:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "I've actually created extremely valuable works "

            Still waiting for the citations...

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

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 3:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "I've actually created extremely valuable works that people have stolen."

            Works you won't name, whose "value" is entirely due to your own evaluation, and whose apparent evaluation by the target demographic has been so low you can't even give them away, is that it?

            For someone as "important" a multitalented self-appointed genius, IT professional, lawyer, successful businessman and prize-winning author as you repeatedly claim to be you certainly spend a lot of time on what you yourself claim to be an unimportant web site.

            I doubt anyone is dumb enough to fall for that shit anymore if they still have the brains left to draw breath, Baghdad bob.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2019 @ 10:30pm

      Re:

      AC does not stand for "Anonymous Coward," does it, AC?

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    John Smith, 16 Apr 2019 @ 11:40pm

    Normally I wouldn't bother posting this, but since some would misconstrue my silence, I'm just posting that I'm not going to be posting after this, at least not here anyway. At some point I'll drop all the information I've accumulated and all the dots I've connected, but it won't be done here.

    I'm sure the anonymous cowards will have fun continuing to give me a free corner office in their brain, or maybe someone will light the figurative match and start a figurative fire that will forever alter the internet landscape. Masnick is up to his ears in many not-so-nice things that are better expressed through the mainstream media, where "snark" doesn't cut it as a reply. The 4chan kiddies who post here don't do very well in that environment.

    Cya. I won't be reading replies so don't act as if I did. I came here to accumulate evidence regarding a group of people who were responsible for repeated threats against my life, and who harmed several innocent people in the process. That evidence has now been accumulated. Some people seem to think it's funny to do that. I do not agree with them. So long.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Apr 2019 @ 12:22am

      Re:

      That's a whole lot of hot air just to say "I broke up with her first", Herrick.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Apr 2019 @ 2:43am

      Re: Bravely Sir Jhon Ran Away!

      Wow Jhon boi. You went from “bring it on motherfucker” to “ I’m taking my ball and going home.” in record fucking time bro.

      Peace out bitch-tits.

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 7:25am

      Re:

      How long do you guys think he'll stay away? A week?

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

    • identicon
      Roy Rogers, 17 Apr 2019 @ 7:37am

      Re:

      I voted funny, he's just horsin' around

      When they've been triggered, they come back for moar

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

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 17 Apr 2019 @ 7:01pm

      Re:

      I came here to accumulate evidence regarding a group of people who were responsible for repeated threats against my life, and who harmed several innocent people in the process.

      Are we supposed to be impressed?

      Not reall a lot of paperwork needed to record the actions of 0 persons.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Apr 2019 @ 3:34am

    "Unrepresented"...You Mean "Uncaptured"?

    <rhetorical>
    "Are the unclaimed royalties of unrepresented songwriters just going to keep getting distributed to Sony, Universal etc now and forever going forward?"
    </rhetorical>
    [Proper markup matters.]

    We all know this is simply the newest way the copyright industry plans to skin the artists they couldn't trick or coerce into signing away their content rights as creators.

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

  • icon
    Jeff Price (profile), 18 Apr 2019 @ 12:30pm

    Redistribution of Songwriter Money

    Full Disclosure. I am a sitting board member of the AMLC, an entity submitting to be designated as the MLC.

    In my opinion, one of the more salient points as to why the NMPA is attempting to have its entity be the MLC with a governing body of its own members that control US market share is found in the following section of the Music Modernization Act. The cut and paste of the language is

    “(11) LEGAL PROTECTIONS FOR LICENSING ACTIVITIES.—

    “(E) PREEMPTION OF STATE PROPERTY LAWS.—The holding and distribution of funds by the mechanical licensing collective in accordance with this subsection shall supersede and preempt any State law (including common law) concerning escheatment or abandoned property, or any analogous provision, that might otherwise apply.

    This language is not needed, not required and serves only one purpose. To make it legal to take people’s money and redistribute it to others with no consequence.

    The accrued but unpaid royalties could have been held indefinitely or board recommendations could have been provided to the appropriate oversite committee at some time in the future with it going towards charities, health care funds for musicians etc.

    This language combined with a board of music publishers that are all NMPA members, control the most market share, that will not be using the MLC if direct licensed (which they currently are) that can recommend other people's money be liquidated and then they receive the lion share of it speak volumes as to the intent of the MMA

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