by Mike Masnick
Mon, Dec 7th 2009 7:22am
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Dec 3rd 2009 2:55am
from the down-under-confusion dept
Of course, that's not true. In reality, if those earlier works are so valuable, so are many newer works as well -- which the artist can create and sell for much more than ever before. Meanwhile, the problem with an artist resale right is it actually decreases the incentive for anyone to buy the original artwork, knowing that they'll have to sell it for that much more before they can actually make a profit -- since they'll have to kick back fees to the artists. It adds an unnecessary tax that acts as friction in the art market. The Australian plan tries to limit at least some of this issue by only having the resale tax kick in after the second resale. But, of course, this just moves the unnecessary friction up a level, and doesn't change the thought process that goes into the buying decision. With any other product, once you sell it, you've sold it. It makes no sense to allow the original creator to retain a cut of any later sale. Imagine if that were the case with cars or houses as well? Who would ever think that was reasonable?
by Michael Ho
Mon, Sep 28th 2009 11:54pm
from the symbiotic-content dept
The details of this deal are a bit unclear to me, but it sounds like Scher gets free publicity for his work -- and the New York Times gets some interesting content that might help promote its own reputation (and reason to buy). Also, according to Rosefelt, Scher retains ownership of his artwork, but the NYT has an exclusive license to show his work for the first month that it's on the NYT site. While that detail may appear to be a shrewd clause for NYT to help it gain audience, it shouldn't rely too heavily on that exclusivity. The NYT needs to focus on providing interesting and unique content all the time -- and the month-long time limit suggests that someone in the deal might understand that fact. But in any case, this is yet another example of how providing digital content for free can create a viable business for an artist.
In the bigger picture, though, this promotion alone obviously won't budge the NYT's bottomline. However, this deal highlights one of the NYT's strengths: that it can help artists (not just journalists) to connect with a large community -- and an expanded business could be built around that strength. There's an opportunity here for newspapers to reach broader audiences with content (beyond news) that is not a commodity. Experiments like this could point to more newspapers turning to curating unique content and providing more useful services to readers -- services that can't easily be copied.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jul 17th 2009 6:47pm
from the protecting-designs-makes-no-sense dept
"They believe that each time they create something, it is not they who worked, but it is God who worked through their human body and soul," Gunawan said. "Being grateful [to God] is sufficient for them."What's funny, then, is to see the politicians fret about this, worrying how people in Malaysia might copyright the design first and "there is little that we can do." Except... if the designers don't care, what needs to be done? If someone else profits from it, so what? How does that harm the original designer?
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jun 9th 2009 8:23am
from the get-it-straight dept
The music business is about relationship. And now it's the artist's turn to have one.But, today, that equation has changed, and artists need to learn how to have very different types of relationships -- and it's difficult for some:
Success in the music business once hinged on only a handful of relationships: a publicist and a magazine, a salesman and a bookstore, a radio promoter and a radio station, a booking guy and a promoter, an artist and a manager, a writer and a publisher. If all these relationships were working, if all parties' interests were respected and pursued, if no personalities collided to the point of impeding progress, then the project or artist they were tied to would succeed (from a business standpoint.)
Technologies can foster relationships. But not without a lot of personal investment and intentionality from an artist.I know that whenever we write stories about artists successfully connecting with fans, we get angry messages from music industry folks about "what if artists don't want to connect with fans." What Shaun is suggesting here is that if they don't, then they're not going to have the type of relationships necessary in the modern music world. In some ways, saying "what if musicians don't want to interact with fans" is the equivalent of saying "and what if Widget Co.'s employees don't want to interact with customers." That's fine... but then they can't complain when their widgets don't sell. Shaun concludes by stating:
This is a big shift in thinking for artists, especially at the top levels of this industry. Artists aren't accustomed to being so accessible, accountable and out of control. Artists are accustomed to being in front of audiences that care about what they do, audiences they know are fans and they keep in the seats for a couple hours by charging a ticket price. But on-line, where spending time with an artist is free, anybody can wander into the crowd, boo, change the subject, or walk out. And they will.
Also, artists are used to hiring people to handle their relationships for them. That's at least 90% of what a manager does. Labels congratulate and critique through a manager, for instance, who adds his own diplomatic spin to every word so the artist's feelings aren't hurt and the relationship is preserved. Not so on-line. Someone can be hired to hit the "publish" button on a blog post that gets e-mailed over, invite people to a Facebook event and even write to people for an artist and signed their name (it happens), but no one can convincingly be the artist every day in post after post or interact with commenters regularly. Artists can't hire anyone to be them 24/7 and the internet demands those kind of hours.
If the music industry dies it won't be because everything changed. It will be because artists didn't. Artists today have to - no, we get to - do what the rest of the industry and human race has been doing for eons: We get to be real human beings spending time with other real human beings. There's no shortcut for that.This is a fantastic point. In my MidemNet presentation about how Trent Reznor connected with fans and gave them a reason to buy, one point I raised briefly (which got a laugh from the audience) was the crazy idea that some of Reznor's actions made him "seem human," and how rare that was in the music industry. It's a point that bares repeating, so I'm glad Shaun called it out (and that Mark alerted me to it). Nearly every success story we've discussed has had that in common: it's about making the artists seem human -- and that helps people feel like they want to help the artists out and they want to pay for things, rather than feeling pressured or coerced into paying.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Mar 11th 2009 9:03pm
from the economic-illiteracy dept
The problem is that, thanks to the rise of the copyright lobby, people really do think that "creation = permanent ownership" at this point. If you're going to create a resale right for art, why not for everything else? If I build a house, why shouldn't I get a percentage of the transaction every time it's sold? The argument is the same as for a resale right for art. Keep applying the argument in other sectors and you realize how dumb it becomes. As part of my job, I use a Lenovo laptop. That laptop helps me make money -- and therefore, under this reasoning, shouldn't I pay a percentage of any profits I make back to Lenovo? Of course not. Why? Because I paid Lenovo originally for the laptop and that was a completed transaction. The fact that I then went on to create value with the laptop is for me to benefit from, not Lenovo. The same is true with someone buying a piece of artwork. They paid for that artwork, and the reward for investing in that artwork and recognizing its potential is that it helps to add value to the artwork, which they profit from when they resell it. The artist made their deal, just as Lenovo made its deal. To come back later and demand a piece of the profits for value added later makes no sense.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Mar 10th 2009 4:36pm
from the getting-paid-multiple-times dept
Lawrence D'Oliveiro alerts us to the good news that New Zealand has decided to scrap such a plan. There's not a full explanation for why the plan was scrapped, but it has economically ignorant artists complaining that it's just not fair and it means New Zealand "doesn't value its artists." Hopefully someone will explain to them that making it more expensive for their artwork to be sold means that they'll be selling a lot less artwork -- and that doesn't seem very "valuable" at all.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Oct 7th 2008 10:04am
from the wouldn't-that-be-nice dept
The Arts Minister who supported this is apparently Peter Garrett, who some of you may recognize as the lead singer of the popular rock band Midnight Oil (who I saw in concert many, many years ago). He claims that: "It's a really, really good day for Australia's artists," but that betrays a rather troubling lack of understanding of basic economics. Adding this resale right, actually serves to significantly depress the market for these artists that he's supposedly trying to protect. Because any buyer now knows that there's an additional tax on any resale, meaning that they're less willing to purchase in the first place (or only interested in purchasing for a lower price). It also makes them a lot less willing to sell the piece, because the selling price now needs to be even higher. On top of this, it will encourage more sales to be to foreign countries, where this "right" does not apply.
Garrett is also confused in saying: "Why should artists not have had the opportunity for some copyright protection of their work, or equivalent rights that writers, for example, have?" There's a very easy answer to that. Copyright protection is designed to deal with the issues of copies, not the original works. When it comes to these artists, they're selling original works. And, when I put my old Midnight Oil tapes and CDs up for sale, I'm certainly hoping that Garrett doesn't expect to get paid again for them. That would just be silly. He already received the money when I purchased them originally -- just as these artists received their money when their artwork was purchased.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jul 18th 2008 8:11am
from the incentive-to-create? dept
So, of course, it should come as no surprise that the wealthy artists who benefit the most from this resale right in the UK are looking to expand it (found via Against Monopoly). Currently, it only applies to living artists. However, they're now pushing to extend the right to 70 years after death, where the family of the artist will be compensated -- claiming that families deserve to be compensated for artwork a family member may have sold off a century earlier because: "Our loved ones often sacrifice a lot to support an artist in the family." Of course, there are lots of sacrifices that families make for people in other professions as well, but they don't get paid a century later for their efforts. This clearly has nothing to do with encouraging more art, since it seems to discourage that. It is, like so many "intellectual property" grants, a way for established creators to get more money out of what they already created, while hurting the market for new upstarts.