by Mike Masnick
Mon, Dec 27th 2010 8:36am
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Nov 4th 2010 9:57am
from the who's-going-to-sue-first? dept
"It's like giving away ice cream samples--someone has to pay the cost," said Rick Carnes, president of the Songwriters Guild of America. "I think it would be a good thing for consumers to go to 90 seconds. But they're tripling the amount of time, and they want it for free. I think there ought to be compensation. I believe anytime you use music, you ought to reward the people making the music."Does Rick really believe that? If so, the Songwriters should fire him as their leader. What he should be looking for is what will maximize the revenue overall, not what will maximize the revenue per use. If you get paid per use, and it means shorter previews -- but that means many fewer sales and less overall money for the artists, then Carnes with his "anytime you use, you pay" philosophy is doing serious harm to the songwriters. And, of course, the actual evidence goes against Carnes. Studies have shown that such longer previews increases purchasing, but the publishing folks and the songwriters like Carnes are more interested in licensing than in direct sales anyway (even if that's really short-sighted). It's too bad that the Songwriters Guild would be represented by someone without their best interests in mind.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Sep 2nd 2010 10:24am
from the it-helps-you-sell-more dept
The latest comes from rumors that Apple was going to double song sample lengths in iTunes from 30-seconds to 60-seconds. There's apparently plenty of good reasons for this, as research has shown that 60-second samples lead to more purchases.
And yet, despite the rumors, you'll notice that Steve Jobs did not announce the expected doubling of samples. Why? Apparently Apple had the approval of all four of the major record labels... but he forgot to go groveling and beg for permission from the other side of the coin: the music publishers. Apparently, various music publishers read the rumors of the doubling and were quite upset that Apple hadn't asked for their permission, and even started lawyering up to sue, in case Apple announced such a plan without first getting permission from various music publishers.
And people say we're exaggerating when we show just how ridiculous music licensing is. This isn't about copyright or revenue or anything. This is just childish foot-stomping by a group that demands that everyone ask permission before helping them make more money. Stunning.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, May 17th 2010 4:54am
from the you-need-a-court-to-tell-you-that? dept
Thankfully, the Canadian appeals court disagreed, saying that consumer research definitely can count as "research" under fair dealing:
The legislator chose not to add restrictive qualifiers to the word "research" in section 29. It could have specified that the research be "scientific", "economic", "cultural", etc. Instead it opted not to qualify it so that the term could be applied to the context in which it was used, and to maintain a proper balance between the rights of a copyright owner and users' interests.Of course, this is somewhat similar to ASCAP down here in the US recently trying to claim that those same 30-second previews required a performance license -- which, thankfully, was also rejected. Both situations show the ridiculous lengths that some of these organizations will go to, in their attempts to squeeze money out of places that are clearly promotional and where it should be obvious that the uses aren't just "fair use" or "fair dealing," but in the best interests of the songwriters in getting their songs heard and known.
If, in essence, the legal research such as that referred to in CCH has a more formal and rigorous aspect, the same is not necessarily true for that conducted by consumers of a work subject to copyright, such as a musical work. In that context, it would not be unreasonable to give the word "research" its primary and ordinary meaning. The consumer is searching for an object of copyright that he or she desires and is attempting to locate and wishes to ensure its authenticity and quality before obtaining it. I agree with the Board that "[l]istening to previews assists in this investigation".
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Sep 17th 2009 10:38am
from the are-they-insane? dept
So, I guess it should come as no surprise at all to find out that their latest target is the 30 second previews that you hear on iTunes or Amazon.com. Yes, they're claiming that those 30 second previews should count as a public performance, and they want to get paid. Now. And they're asking Congress to make it happen -- because, as we've been learning recently, if you're inept at running an actual business, just go to the federal gov't and ask them to bail you out.
Rick Carnes, the head of the Songwriters Guild of America -- and who, we've been reliably informed, is a big fan of this site (that's sarcasm) after our previous articles debunking some of his more absurd claims -- explains the situation:
"Yesterday, I received a check for 2 cents. I'm not kidding. People think we're making a fortune off the Web, but it's a tiny amount. We need multiple revenue streams or this isn't going to work."Talk about entitlement culture. Because Rick Carnes is unable to structure a smart business model, and thus makes pennies, everyone else needs to just cough up and pay? Yeah... that's reasonable. How about rather than trying to squeeze every penny out of everyone else (and then funnel it to the top artists instead of the smaller artists, anyway), you spend some time actually understanding basic business models -- such as ones where you convince someone that something's worth paying for, rather than just demanding Congress give you a cut of everything, in a way that harms the very musicians you claim to represent?
And, of course, as the article above notes, it's a flat-out lie that songwriters aren't getting paid for a lot of this stuff:
"These guys are afraid that the business model is shifting away from public performances to a model of private performances," [David] Potter [from the Digital Media Association (DiMA)] said. "This is a turf battle. They are saying, 'The songwriters aren't getting paid.' Baloney. Songwriters are getting paid. They're paid sync rights and (mechanical) rights. They aren't getting paid for the public performance in a download because there is no public performance in a download."This is a pure money grab by people who don't want to come up with a business model demanding free cash from those who did come up with a better business model. They're blaming everyone else for their own unwillingness to adapt.