from the can-we-review-some-history dept
What changes do you foresee in the landscape of music law over the next five years?Let's take this bit by bit.
Issues like the “value gap” and obligations of intermediaries will continue to dominate the legal landscape. Ideally, the Byzantine legal structure today would give way to a system where creators are fairly compensated and competitors are on equal footing. Those who have an interest in music could come together to figure out solutions. While litigation can be an important tool, it often takes a long time and the results are unclear. Solutions between business and industry partners can clear a path through thorny legal issues. The combination of partnership and technology can go a long way to ensuring a healthy music ecosystem.
Issues like the "value gap"....The "value gap" is a completely made up concept by the RIAA and friends, arguing that internet platforms aren't paying the record labels (not the artists) enough. It's based on a series of out and out lies, including the simply false claim that artists make more from vinyl record sales than from online streaming.
The "value gap" is the RIAA cherry picking misleading numbers to argue that internet platforms aren't paying them enough. Note that they don't make any effort to improve what they're doing -- they're just demanding more money from platforms... just because.
And, really, that's the same issue with the rest of that sentence:
... obligations of intermediaries will continue to dominate the legal landscape."Obligations of intermediaries." That's legal speak for "we want everyone else to act as our private police force, and they should automatically block infringing material or we should be able to sue them for billions of dollars." Never mind the fact that the industry can't even keep track of its own copyrights, and has been known to sue over authorized works or that the RIAA itself has a history of falsely claiming infringement on works that were actually authorized -- even in cases that resulted in the bogus takedown of a site that was sent promotional works to post. And yet it expects "intermediaries" (read: Google) to magically know which works are authorized and which are not -- and to face billions of dollars in possible judgments if it guesses wrong.
Ideally, the Byzantine legal structure today...The reason copyright's legal structure today is so "Byzantine" is because of lobbying by the RIAA and its friends at the MPAA. Every time a new technology comes along, the RIAA flips out and demands a patchwork of add-ons to copyright law to protect its gatekeeper powers, allowing it to extract monopoly rents.
Of course, the "Byzantine legal structure" Marks is whining about here is actually the very one that the RIAA itself lobbies heavily for with the DMCA's 512 notice-and-takedown provisions. The RIAA wanted a way to censor the internet via copyright law, and the DMCA was the trick. The fact that the RIAA no longer likes the deal that it fought for is just a bad joke.
And, let's not even get into the "Byzantine" structure of RIAA label contracts designed to keep artists from actually getting paid... Or, wait, let's dig right into that following the next bit of insanity from Marks.
... give way to a system where creators are fairly compensated...Wait. The RIAA is asking for "creators" to be "fairly compensated"? Hahahahahahaha. Oh, that's a good one. This is the same RIAA who has worked incredibly hard to screw over artists time and time again to make sure they are not fairly compensated? The same RIAA whose member labels create contracts where artists routinely note that they made $0 in royalties, because the label contracts make it so impossible to recoup the advance that when you ask for an "accounting" of how much money an album has made, the labels just make shit up to avoid paying.
These would also be the very same RIAA member labels who take the vast majority of the revenue from new platforms, leaving just a pittance for artists -- and then whine that it's the platforms not giving them a fair deal. The very same labels that make sure that artists get close to nothing of any money coming in to the label. And, yes, the very same labels who for years pretended that digital music was classified as the same as a CD sale -- with much lower royalty rates than "licensed" music, leading numerous artists to sue just to get what they were clearly owed. The very same labels that many artists have had to sue, just to get a proper accounting of what is owed.
So, I'm sorry, but what a load of bullshit for the RIAA, of all organizations, to claim that it's fighting for "fair compensation" for artists. The RIAA has a decades-long history of screwing over actual artists at basically every opportunity.
... competitors are on equal footing...Another completely ridiculous claim. The "equal footing" that the RIAA is talking about here is forcing online platforms to all conform to one particular business model -- a totally unsustainable one where an insane percentage of revenue all flows back to the labels (not the artists) despite the fact that the labels fought these platforms and did absolutely nothing to help make them a success. The whole "equal footing" or "level playing field" is really just the RIAA demanding a particular business model and saying that any innovation in business models (even if they're better for actual artists) should not be allowed, unless the RIAA gives its okay. It's basically the "we don't want any innovation" stance.
Those who have an interest in music could come together to figure out solutions.This is hilarious. For decades, the RIAA has been the major obstructionist party here. It was the internet industry that dragged the RIAA kicking and screaming into the 21st century while people like Marks focused on suing music fans. To now claim that he just wants to "come together to figure out solutions" is laughable. The only "solutions" the RIAA wants are ones where it does none of the work, and it gets all of the money.
While litigation can be an important tool, it often takes a long time and the results are unclear.Translation: we sued a bunch of fans and that made everyone hate us. Also, we sued a bunch of platforms and lost badly because the law isn't actually what we want it to be.
Solutions between business and industry partners can clear a path through thorny legal issues. The combination of partnership and technology can go a long way to ensuring a healthy music ecosystem.This is just a repeat of the opening line, basically. It's the RIAA saying that the internet industry needs to solve all of its problems, and what it means is that the recording industry doesn't want to budge an inch, doesn't want to do anything, and just wants the internet companies to give tons of money to the labels and to wave a magic wand and make piracy disappear.