by Mike Masnick
Tue, Aug 4th 2009 12:56pm
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jul 8th 2009 1:07pm
from the smarter-business-models dept
The same is quite often true with today's "infringers." Copyright law was really written for commercial infringement, and today because of its clumsy nature, it's capturing and punishing people who are really the content's best promoters and distributors. In many ways they should be rewarded rather than punished. And, it appears at least some businesses are trying to leverage that recognition. Jon Healey has the story of a product called Fotoglif that is targeting blogs and small publishers who don't have the money to license news photos. Thus, they either don't offer the photos or they use infringing images. However, Fotoglif tries to create an actual win-win situation for everyone involved, by allowing these sites to use photos for free and to profit from them. That's because the photos (licensed from the big agencies) include some small ads in them as well, with the ad revenue being split between the copyright holder, the publisher and Fotoglif.
Who knows if this particular business succeeds. I have my doubts that it can actually get enough usage or ad rates high enough to actually make it work as an ongoing business. But the general strategy, of recognizing there's a better way to build win-win business models, rather than assuming that all of the value is in the content alone while ignoring the value of so-called "infringers" promoting and distributing the content for free, is definitely a step in the right direction.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jul 7th 2009 5:33pm
from the how-is-this-possibly-good? dept
Since then, there has been a wide variety of back and forth details until the official agreement was put in place today... and even though many of the news stories present this as SoundExchange somehow backing down and "Pandora" winning, the details, frankly, seem so out of touch with reality it's difficult to see how it makes any sense at all. The main issue is performance rights, which radio stations already don't have to pay because radio is helping to promote artists. The idea that webcasters/broadcasters should need to pay artists for the right to promote them to fans just seems bizarre and borderline incomprehensible in the first place.
Also worth noting is that the royalty rates that traditional broadcasters do pay (to composers/songwriters/publishers) averages out between 3 and 4% of revenue. So, if you really had to come up with a reasonable rate to pay performers as well, you might think that it would start around that same 3 or 4%. Even that would be a pure bonus for performers who are used to getting nothing as a royalty (tax) from radio. But... no. The agreement is an astounding 25% of revenue as a bare minimum, with a requirement to kick-in $25,000 just to be a webcaster at all.
Pandora claims they're happy about this because it keeps Pandora in business (and settles a big legal dispute, which hopefully allows them to go raise some money to stay in business). But it's a stunningly large percentage of revenue that will make things prohibitively expensive for most webcasters to really stay in business. You now have to have huge margins to get anywhere in a notoriously competitive business.
Who loses? Well, just about everyone outside of SoundExchange/RIAA. Already, despite being happy about this deal, Pandora has announced that it's sharply curtailing its free service, and if you listen to more than 40 hours per month, you'll need to start paying. Most webcasters now have a huge expense that will make it difficult for many of them to remain in business at all. Musicians are severely harmed as well. While a few top musicians might get a new royalty check from SoundExchange (when and if it gets around to "finding" those artists), most musicians will now get less exposure, making it that much more difficult for them to put in place the successful modern business models needed to succeed today. This basically just rewards the RIAA/SoundExchange and a few large artists who will get an extra royalty check. Everyone else is worse off.
Some might say the NAB and traditional radio stations also make out nicely, in that since these rates may harm webcasters, it takes away some competition, but even if the radio stations are happy in the short-run, it's a bad deal. These rates, certainly, will likely influence any eventual "performance right" that's added to terrestrial radio, and could significantly jack up the cost of running a regular radio station as well.
We're living in an era of amazing technological progress, where it's easy for anyone to go out and promote musicians to others and help get those musicians and a larger audience, and all the RIAA has done, time and time again, is work as diligently as possible to prevent anyone but itself from promoting artists. What a shame. This "deal" does nothing to help up-and-coming artists and will significantly limit their ability to get their music noticed.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Mar 16th 2009 11:48am
from the with-fans-like-these... dept
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jan 26th 2009 10:21am
from the yet-another-use-of-free-in-a-business-model dept
They're not giving away all the tracks, but at least half of the soundtrack. They worked with a bunch of indie bands for the movie -- and most jumped on the idea pretty quickly, recognizing that the more successful the movie was, the more attention they were likely to get. He admits that bigger bands almost certainly wouldn't go for such a thing (nor would bigger movie studios), but they might be missing out on a lot in fearing the free promotion.
One of the key points Gielen makes is that to get The Graduates attention, they had to do something different because:
We don't compete exclusively with low-budget films. We compete with everyone. So what do we have to offer our potential audience to set us apart? A great film and a great soundtrack isn't enough, we need people to know about it.Of course, it also helps to have good music, which is why the team working on the movie went out to find indie bands that they actually liked, which they felt would really mesh well with the movie and match well with the tastes of the target audience. But, of course, someone will stop by in the comments to explain why such a thing could never work on a bigger scale.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Dec 1st 2008 5:56am
from the you're-a-pepper-too dept
The fear, then, is that since Dr. Pepper executed poorly on the giveaway (and people might think that the band was behind the promotion), consumers would be pissed off at the band about not receiving a free Dr. Pepper. I can sort of see the logic, though it's difficult to believe that a GNR fan is suddenly going to hate the band because they didn't get a free can of Dr. Pepper. Also, the claim about GNR being upset about Dr. Pepper's use of GNR in its promotion is undermined by the fact that Axl Rose seemed quite happy by the promotion when it was first announced, writing on the band's site at the time:
"We are surprised and very happy to have the support of Dr. Pepper with our album Chinese Democracy as for us this came totally out of the blue. If there is any involvement with this promotion by our record company or others we are unaware of such at this time. And as some of Buckethead's performances are on our album I'll share my Dr. Pepper with him."To later claim to be upset that this promotion somehow was a "commercial exploitation" of the bands' rights, seems undermined by that statement.
Thu, Nov 20th 2008 2:28pm
from the release-it-already dept
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Sep 10th 2008 6:58am
from the wrong-approach dept
As if to provide even more evidence of that, Bob Lefsetz does a quick email back-and-forth with Eric Garland of BigChampagne, the company that tracks file sharing activity. Garland points out that prior to the arrest, there was almost no file sharing of the album, despite the fact that the leak happened a while back. However, since the arrest, the numbers have shot way up, as the arrest has really only served to alert the public that the album is available for download on BitTorrent.
Now, the cynical among you (you know who you are) may conclude that this is all a marketing ploy by the band, knowing that it would attract a lot more attention for the album, and that's why they did it. Of course, that doesn't explain why the FBI is involved and why a fan of the band may now have to sit in jail for many years for helping to promote the band. If this really is a cynical marketing ploy, it's rather sickening that the FBI is assisting and a big fan of the band may end up in jail for it.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Sep 9th 2008 9:11am
from the it's-called-advertising dept
Another way to think about it is that BMW creates some entertaining advertisements -- and plenty of people enjoy those ads without ever buying a BMW. Yet, those same people don't complain that folks who watch BMW ads without buying a BMW are "freeloading" off of BMW -- despite the fact that they are. Instead, they understand the nature of advertising is that not everyone buys the product that's actually for sale. In fact, a very small number of people may actually buy the product, but that's okay. It's not freeloading, it's just the nature of a promotion.
Cory Doctorow has taken this concept a step further in explaining yet another reason why micropayments aren't the solution for content online:
I don't care about making sure that everyone who gets a copy of my books pays me for them -- what I care about is ensuring that the everyone who would pay me decent money for a book has the opportunity to do so. I don't want to hold 13-year-olds by the ankles and shake them until their allowance falls out of their pockets, but I do want to be sure that when their parents are thinking about a gift for them, the first thing that springs to mind is my latest $20-$25 hardcover.We've long pointed out plenty of reasons why micropayments aren't a real solution for the "online business model" question surrounding content, with most of the focus being on the mental transaction costs, and the fact that competitors will always beat micropayment solutions by eventually embracing business models using free, but Doctorow makes another good point about the failure of micropayments. Beyond the reasons we've discussed in the past, micropayments also focus too much on shaking the pennies from every passing individual, rather than recognizing the real win is in getting someone else to spend more on a bigger scarce product down the road.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Aug 18th 2008 11:31am
from the about-freakin'-time dept
In fact, the NY Times notes that a growing number of media companies have stopped sending takedown notices to YouTube, preferring to use the videos on YouTube as a part of their business model. Google has helped them out in this manner by allowing copyright holders to "claim" videos that they did not upload, and choose to share in the revenue created by ads, rather than requiring a takedown. Among those who have stopped doing takedowns entirely are CBS, Universal Music, Lionsgate and Electronic Arts. Universal Music is a bit surprising, given how it's been even more adamant than any of the other major record labels concerning how evil copyright infringement is. The NYT's is surprised by CBS's involvement, given that it's the sister company of Viacom, who is famously suing YouTube for $1 billion. Yet, CBS has always been much more open to YouTube, recognizing that if its shows were being uploaded, that was a sign of having a lot of fans, not something to be shut down.
The president of digital media at Lionsgate makes the point pretty clearly. saying that the company:
“[Doesn't] like the idea of keeping fans of our products from being able to engage with our content. For the most part, people who are uploading videos are fans of our movies. They're not trying to be evil pirates, and they're not trying to get revenue from it."If only others would recognize this simple fact. Of course, a good starting point would be recognizing that copyright infringement isn't "theft."