Psy Makes $8.1 Million By Ignoring Copyright Infringements Of Gangnam Style

from the selling-the-scarcity dept

A couple of months back, Mike wrote about how Psy's relaxed attitude to people infringing on his copyright helped turn Gangnam Style into one of the most successful cultural phenomena in recent years, and that includes becoming the most-viewed video on YouTube ever.

Ah yes, the maximalists will retort, this free-and-easy, laid-back approach is all very nice, but it doesn't put food on his table, does it? If you want to make a living from this stuff, you've got to enforce copyright to stop all those freeloaders ruining your business. Well, maybe not:

With one song, 34-year-old Park Jae-sang -- better known as PSY -- is set to become a millionaire from YouTube ads and iTunes downloads, underlining a shift in how money is being made in the music business. An even bigger dollop of cash will come from TV commercials.

From just those sources, PSY and his camp will rake in at least $8.1 million this year, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of publicly available information and industry estimates.
The AP story quoted above goes on to give a detailed breakdown of where that money comes from. Interestingly, it's mostly from things not directly connected with either his music or video:
It is television commercials that are the big money spinner for the most successful of South Korea's K-pop stars. PSY has been popping up in TV commercials in South Korea for top brands such as Samsung Electronics and mobile carrier LG Uplus.

Chung Yu-seok, an analyst at Kyobo Securities, estimates PSY's commercial deals would amount to 5 billion won ($4.6 million) this year.
This is yet another great example of how artists can give away copies of their music and videos to build their reputations and then earn significant sums by selling associated scarcities -- in this case, appearances in TV commercials. Now, not every musician may want to take that route, but there are plenty of other ways of exploiting global successes like Gangnam Style -- none of which requires copyright to be enforced.

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    fogbugzd (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 9:18am

    I was talking to the instructor of a digital animation course that will be running this spring. He was planning on having the students do an animation to a music video, but it occurred to him that he might run into copyright problems. I told him he might get by with a fair use defense, but that anything his class posted would probably get hit with DCMA takedown notices.

    In the end I recommended Gangnam Style or perhaps http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CayMeza487M because of their lack of interest in copyright over-enforcement. I just hope that policy continues to hold through next semester!

     

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      Zakida Paul (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 10:22am

      Re:

      A school here in Northern Ireland has done this with Gangnam Style and the resulting video has proven very popular.

       

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        Lolrighteyo, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 5:30pm

        Re: Re:

        Yeah it is doing well, but how cringe worthy is that "cover"?
        Thats not to say fair play to everyone in it but.

         

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      Michael, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 10:30am

      Re:

      "but it occurred to him that he might run into copyright problems"

      Considering the class being taught, it may not be so bad that the students have these problems while still in school - where they can get some help understanding how to combat improper takedowns and threatening letters.

      Of course, they may need to look into their mandatory self-destructing eBooks from the previous semester, so it could be that they are out of luck anyway.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 7:09pm

      Response to: fogbugzd on Dec 10th, 2012 @ 9:18am

      A lot of electronic music is free to use. Pretty Lights , for example, and anyone else that releases it free. Lots of bands, such as Radiohead, wouldn't give a damn either.

       

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      JTR, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 10:29am

      Re:

      "He was planning on having the students do an animation to a music video, but it occurred to him that he might run into copyright problems. I told him he might get by with a fair use defense, but that anything his class posted would probably get hit with DCMA takedown notices."

      This a pretty standard type of exercise in a creative arts course.

      Why put them on YouTube? Post them on Vimeo. Or on the school's internal network - it's not necessary to publish the results, is it?

       

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      Jayme, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 12:14pm

      Response to: fogbugzd on Dec 10th, 2012 @ 9:18am

      Please feel free to use any of my copyfree music!

      http://www.youtube.com/user/jaymegutierrez

       

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      Jayme, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 12:15pm

      Response to: fogbugzd on Dec 10th, 2012 @ 9:18am

      Please feel free to use any of my copyfree music!

      http://www.youtube.com/user/jaymegutierrez

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 10:27am

    good for him! the moral of the story being, what the hell do we need copyright for anyway?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 10:31am

      Re:

      To keep Hollywood Fat Cats in fast cars and faster women.

       

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      Michael, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 10:31am

      Re:

      But you have to think of the poor lawyers!

       

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      Lowestofthekeys (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 10:45am

      Re:

      Careful! The thought police may brand you as immoral and a sociopath for that kind of thinking.

      /s

       

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        Rekrul, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 7:47pm

        Re: Re:

        Re:
        Careful! The thought police may brand you as immoral and a sociopath for that kind of thinking.

        /s


        What's the '/s' for? It's not sarcasm when it's true...

         

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      Robert Doyle (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:48am

      Re:

      Well, without any copyright he wouldn't be making the money from the TV commercials.

      Copyright isn't a terrible thing - abusing it is.

       

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        RD, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:58am

        Re: Re:

        "Well, without any copyright he wouldn't be making the money from the TV commercials."

        Wow. WRONG.

        Copyright does not enable making money from commercials. It has nothing to do with it. Endorsing a product is how he will make money, and that endorsement is what the advertiser will pay for.

         

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          Robert Doyle (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 12:38pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And how would he be endorsing it? Please explain.

          This is about the use of his music - not his personality specifically endorsing anything. Yes, he can make very good money for endorsing a product but if they were only to use his music, as it is, without any further action required by him (such as sitting for a commercial and recording any dialog or additional tracks), then what is his direct compensation?

          I'm not saying he cannot gain additional wealth through indirect compensation (such as when your music is heard and people buy your CD or see you perform etc.).

           

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            The Real Michael, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 4:56pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "And how would he be endorsing it? Please explain.

            This is about the use of his music - not his personality specifically endorsing anything."

            So what are you saying? In this case, he is free to both use his song/persona in a CM while retaining the copyright on his music ...without resorting to suing all his fans. He can have his cake and eat it.

            Do you have tunnel vision, seeing copyright ownership solely as a tool for litigation and shutting down websites?

             

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              Robert Doyle (profile), Dec 24th, 2012 @ 7:50am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Do you have tunnel vision, seeing copyright ownership solely as a tool for litigation and shutting down websites?"

              Huh?

              Don't know where you got that from, buddy.

              I just don't think copyright in and of itself is an evil thing that needs to be abolished. I think what many people do with it is ridiculous (such as suing everything that moves just because it looked at a picture they took and didn't pay them etc.).

              I do think that content creators should be rewarded and I do think that copyright is supposed to be a mechanism to help facilitate that, but I certainly don't think that just because you create something means you have or should have absolute control over it in every way imaginable.

              I'm just not on either of the bandwagons that seem to be present here around copyright (the 'it must go' or 'it must be strictly enforced' camps).

               

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                nasch (profile), Dec 24th, 2012 @ 8:05am

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

                I'm just not on either of the bandwagons that seem to be present here around copyright

                I suspect the biggest camp here is the "it's out of control and needs serious reform" camp.

                 

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            IronM@sk, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 5:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I think you misread the article. It wasn't talking about using his music in TV commercials. It was talking about him appearing in TV commercials. You know, all the things the "artists" get upset about having to do to make money, rather than just making one hit and sitting back and letting the money roll in.

             

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        That One Guy (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 12:43pm

        Probably missed the /s, but I've just got to ask...

        Alright, I've just got to know, what part of copyright is required for him to profit from being in TV commercials?

        Keep in mind the reason he's getting paid for his appearance in a commercial is because he is famous and well known, something that has nothing to do copyright.

         

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          Marc John Randazza (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 1:01pm

          Re: Probably missed the /s, but I've just got to ask...

          Right... so if you decide that you would rather have fame than direct income, and then you can monetize that income, then that's sorta the point.

           

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            That One Guy (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 1:32pm

            Re: Re: Probably missed the /s, but I've just got to ask...

            But, again, what's that have to do with copyright? Fame is not something you can copyright, so I'm rather confused as to how the two are supposed to be linked here.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 2:32pm

            Re: Re: Probably missed the /s, but I've just got to ask...

            You're still missing the point.

            PSY can now make money from selling his fame, which he acquired by distributing his song freely throughout the internet. This was done in spite of copyright, and not because of it.

             

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          Urugi Ka, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 9:38pm

          Re: Probably missed the /s, but I've just got to ask...

          Commercials generally have 2 fees paid to the performer, the actual day rate for being on set and shooting it, and then the usage fee - which is paid for use of the footage/advert (this is usually not individual instances but per campaigns... eg there'd be an amount that he'll be paid for its 3 months on TV station X in S. Korea, then the campaign is expanded to the US on 3 networks for 3 months and he's paid again)

          I'm not a legal expert, but this seems to be a sort of Copyright, right?

           

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            That One Guy (profile), Dec 11th, 2012 @ 12:48am

            Re: Re: Probably missed the /s, but I've just got to ask...

            Not in the slightest. That would just be a case of being paid for acting, and then being paid royalties(or whatever the correct word is) from the commercial after that, neither of which has anything to do with copyright at all.

             

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:51am

      Re:

      But how can the record companies afford to give away all those Cadillacs to ensure the artists are in debt to them for eternity without copyright?!

      /sarcasm

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 10:36am

    I must be missing something here; it sold a lot on itunes and he allowed it to be monetized on YouTube. It was his decision.

    Not seeing how this has anything to do with copyright infringement.

     

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      fogbugzd (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:03am

      Re:

      >>Not seeing how this has anything to do with copyright infringement.

      Bingo! You got the point of the article, although I don't think you understand what the article is saying at all. The fact that Psy is making millions from his video really does have nothing to do with copyright.

      Let me back up and explain because I think you have fallen into the trap of believing that copyright is necessary to make money from music.

      The article is pointing out that Psy made a lot of money by not filing a ton of DCMA notices or being a copyright bully. In fact, one of the secrets of his success seems to be that he encouraged people to copy, remix, adapt, and parody his work.

      The recording industry fell into the trap of thinking that copyright was needed in order to make money from music. The RIAA companies would probably be making a lot more money today if they had not been so heavily invested in the idea that making money required draconian enforcement of copyright. They still waste a lot of political capital and economic resources trying to preserve this way of thinking.

      Most of the regulars here at TD have absolutely no problem with people monetizing their work and making money from it. We just don't think that being a copyright bully is always necessary.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:22am

        Re: Re:

        I guess I need to look at the numbers more. Did he get paid for all the remixes that were done; the ones on YouTube?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:32am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Directly or indirectly? Indirectly he got paid millions for all those remixes...

          Directly perhaps not very much. The question is, would he have made more if those remixes had never been made?

          The opinion here, and this is something that is pretty much impossible to empirically prove is that no he would not have made as much.

           

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          fogbugzd (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 6:00pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          That is another mistake made by too many companies that rely on copyright. They often think that they have to make money off of every single use of their product. Psy's success is in large part because he connected with fans. His fans directly support him by buying his products, going to concerts, and spreading the word about Psy. As other posters note, he does not worry about collecting a cut of every use, but as a result he does collect more money on the things that he is selling.

          Companies that try to shut down fan-art are cutting their own throats. They are alienating their own fans and ignoring some of the best publicity they could possibly have. Plus they spend money and corporate resources trying to track down their most loyal fans and turning them into ex-fans.

           

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        doublespeak, Dec 13th, 2012 @ 1:10pm

        Re: Re:

        Well sure if you take the most viewed song ever on youtube then it didn't need copywright, but it's likely an outlier not something to base this article off of.

         

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          nasch (profile), Dec 13th, 2012 @ 1:35pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well sure if you take the most viewed song ever on youtube then it didn't need copywright, but it's likely an outlier not something to base this article off of.

          Masnick's Law! Every non-major-label musical success story will be discounted as an outlier or exception that has no relevance to the market.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:06am

      Re:

      There were other things, from a 'gangam style' restaurant, to re-mixes and other adaptations that would normally be magnets for people with copyrights to be issuing takedowns left and right. PSY has done nothing of the sort and has encouraged it. As a result, people who are normally gunshy over possible copyright know that doing something cool with Gangam Style won't get them in any trouble... thus awareness of his music spreads MUCH faster than it would have otherwise.

      Because it is so wide-spread and generally seen as a 'good guy' by the public (who's growing increasingly weary of copyright trolls) so advertisers want him.

       

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        Niall (profile), Dec 11th, 2012 @ 5:07am

        Re: Re:

        Well, the first I heard of it was in reference to parodies, so they certainly worked. I'm much more likely to respect (and buy) something that is parodied or parody-able if it is outside my normal interests.

         

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      Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:08am

      Re:

      Did you know many others are monetizing on the Gangnam Style phenomenon? Many of which would be considered copyright infringement. But PSY doesn't care...he is still making his money.

       

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      frothyburger, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 6:28pm

      Re:

      The fact that he isn't enforcing copyright laws on Youtube and yet is still making bank is evidence the music industry may not be losing as much money to piracy as they'd like us to think.

       

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      Hello, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 8:02pm

      Re:

      The point is, you don't have to be a copyright warrior to gain tons of profits. This is just off one single song, not even an album.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 9:49pm

      Response to: Anonymous Coward on Dec 10th, 2012 @ 10:36am

      He didnt bother sueing people who did steal or copy his song

       

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      Kaega (profile), Dec 11th, 2012 @ 4:32pm

      Re:

      He's debunking the theory that copyright is required to make money off of music or movies. Needing copyright to "sell media" is the only real reason copyright is still around.

       

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      Joey Batz, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 3:42pm

      Re:

      I believe the song became popular because he decided not to enforce copyright infringement, allowing the song to spread and become popular quicker and easier. If he HAD protected his music, it wouldn't have become popular enough and he wouldn't have made that money.

       

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    Ima Fish (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 10:40am

    Did he get a free pair of boots? Nope. Google owes him big time!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:03am

    He is successful, because he markets his popularity, not his music. He used his music as as a means to gain popularity.

    Basically, *He* is the product, not the music, the music is just the advertisement of the real product.

    And that is what music is nowadays for the artists. free ads, that foster their popularity and fanbase, letting them make money on concerts, merchandise and whatever they can think of *around* themselves and the music they play. Getting income directly from the music is mostly just icing on the cake now.

    And nobody needs copyright for that, unless you invent a perfect cloning machine

     

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    Cory of PC (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:04am

    Huh. So I wonder if I ever do make it in the entertainment world and sell my first book, I should take PSY's style and be lax on my infringement enforcement and let people do whatever they want. Then again, I was considering the idea ever since of learning of this site and the different viewpoints of copyright, and with me being a fan-fiction writer that wants to be noticed.

    And this is coming from someone who never heard or seen this person's hit video (until I saw a review of it). God I hate being sheltered sometimes...

     

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    RD, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:22am

    Yeah, but Mike...

    Yeah, but Mike, this can NEVER work for an unknown artist!! The only reason this worked for Psy is because he is such a huge, well-known artist now!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 2:16pm

      Re: Yeah, but Mike...

      Actually Psy was reasonably popular in Korea before Gangnam Style. It is just as much the recording industry in South Korea we have to thank for the way they handle music and music videos. Girls Generation is pretty big too outside of Korea because of the lax enforcement from the recording industry.

       

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      Jam, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 7:53pm

      Re: Yeah, but Mike...

      Are you saying that Psy was well known before Gangnam Style? Or are you saying that Psy enforced copyright on Gangnam Style before it became popular? Because neither of these are true. In fact it would appear this song shows exactly the opposite of what you're saying...

       

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      uhhh, Mar 2nd, 2013 @ 11:02am

      Re: Yeah, but Mike...

      .... he wasnt exactly well known in the world before this. as far as the us/canada/other random places that arent keeping a very close eye on south korea, he was just a random dude that posted a youtube vid.

      so basically if you could find some random person that posted a song as catchy as gangnam style next year, and got lucky enough to get it viral, this entire string would repeat regardless of the popularity of the maker... you dont have to be popular to start it... it makes you popular

       

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    out_of_the_blue, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:30am

    And he wants to get more by weaseling out!

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9731576/Psy-apologies-for-rapping-about-k illing-US-soldiers.html

    How's that news? Money, money, money! You all want to either get rich quick or absolve yourselves of stealing other people's work, so you keep buying Mike's snake oil notions.

    But yet again, tell us HOW to get noticed and self-promote on teh internets. This is just another anomaly, CAN'T be applied to your notions. You need a formula. So long as you claim this is relevant, I want to know your everyday formula for succeeding -- with or without copyright!

    Dang, guys, all you do is keep repeating: "Anomaly x means Mike is right!"

     

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      RD, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:34am

      Re: And he wants to get more by weaseling out!

      "But yet again, tell us HOW to get noticed and self-promote on teh internets. This is just another anomaly, CAN'T be applied to your notions. You need a formula. So long as you claim this is relevant, I want to know your everyday formula for succeeding -- with or without copyright!"

      And this right here proves our suspicions all along - ootb is a FAILED ARTIST who couldnt/didnt make it and now wants the world to pay for his lack of talent.

       

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      Cory of PC (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:56am

      Re: And he wants to get more by weaseling out!

      You do realize that for self-promotion, the name says it all: you yourself are the one in charge of your own promotion. So there's no real perfect way of self-promotion, just take this advice:

      DO. IT. YOURSELF!

      And it can't be called "self-promoting" if you're taking someone else's method.

      ... wait.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 12:08pm

      Re: And he wants to get more by weaseling out!

      By your logic ALL acts that signed and became popular with the labels in the day were 'anomalies'... as they were FAR from the 'normal' musician of the time...

      What every good snake oil salesman needs is a shining star who is an example of what his 'snake oil' will do for you...
      How many musicians would have signed with labels without seeing those anomalies they had created?

      I'll pretend that you aren't the 'weasle' here and that you just really don't understand how the industry was built by creating anomalies that the rest of the 'lowly populace' could dream of becoming some day...

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 12:17pm

      Re: And he wants to get more by weaseling out!

      Correction: Any success makes my dick sad because it might mean Masnick is right.

      Wow, out_of_the_asscrack, you really have it bad don't you?

       

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      explicit coward (profile), Dec 11th, 2012 @ 8:25am

      Re: And he wants to get more by weaseling out!

      "You all want to either get rich quick"

      Don't jump to conclusions by using yourself as referential example...

      "absolve yourselves of stealing other people's work"

      No absolution needed for a crime not commited.

      "You need a formula"

      Nope, we don't. Industry does - where you need to streamline your production. But I doubt that nowadays we need an industrial organisation to spread arts.

      And hey, if I had THE formula, I wouldn't tell you - you might STEAL it, you THIEF!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:35am

    I'll applaud the guy, but just please do not make me listen to that song again i will do anything

     

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    Elder-Geek, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:36am

    Easy Money

    What is even better for him is that he is NOT fighting the record company. No dishonest accounting, no promo costs, etc and everything else they pull.

    His song was able to become a hit, with no record company controling it and preventing "infringing uses" and he is able profit from it, instead of some record company "owning" most of his rights.

     

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      Ben S (profile), Dec 11th, 2012 @ 6:48am

      Re: Easy Money

      Just did a quick check. Psy's signed on to multiple record labels. He's signed onto several labels across multiple countries it looks like. The first one he signed on to was YG Entertainment in 2010.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:41am

    maybe because he knows he just stole the beat from space jam

     

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    Marc John Randazza (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

    Misleading Premise

    He didn't make $8.1 million by ignoring copyright infringements. He made $8.1 million while or despite ignoring infringements.

    But, what is important here is that he made that choice. And, perhaps it shows the wisdom of making that choice. On the other hand, he's also lost a lot of the ability to control the use of his work - and he may not care about that. But, he ought to have the right to make that his choice.

    If other musicians take the opposite approach, we very well may find that the free market shows us the right way to do this.

    But, lets remember that the plural of "anecdote" is not "data." If we examine every musician (or a statistically significant sampling of musicians) and try and figure out whether just giving the music away is a smarter business move, or if PSY is a statistical outlier, we might come to a different answer. (Maybe not, but you have to do the work -- don't just be lazy and say "look! guy ignores copyright, gets money! The end!)

     

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      That One Guy (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

      Re: Misleading Premise

      You might be missing the forest for the trees here.

      More than anything, I'd say this whole 'Psy makes boatloads of money and gets insanely famous by ignoring copyright' is a great example, and direct refutation, of the claim that copyright is so important due to it being the only way for an artist to make money in an environment where copying is so easy.

      Now, copyright may be important for other reasons, but the idea that it's needed for an artist to make money off of their works doesn't exactly hold up under scrutiny, as most of the time, if they aren't making money, it's due to some other reason(lack of availability, insane pricing, and horrible restrictions placed upon the buyer being probably the main three), with copyright infringement/piracy being a symptom of the problem, not the root cause.

      Also, to counter your 'shows us the right way to do this' line, as has been stated over and over on this site, there is no one right way. What works for one artist may be disastrous for another, and vice versa. What's important is focusing on the core ideas of 'make people want to buy from you/give you money' and 'make it easy and convenient for them to do so'. How an artist goes about this differs between person to person, and again, what works for one might not work for another, meaning there is no 'magic pill/technique' for success.

       

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        Marc John Randazza (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 1:48pm

        Re: Re: Misleading Premise

        I can't disagree with your conclusion - yes, there is no magic pill, and what works for one might not work for another. Let the artists make the decision to abandon their rights or not. If they do, and it works for one, maybe it works for 10, and maybe it works for so many that the market changes.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 2:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: Misleading Premise

          I am against of giving a choice to people who give none to others.


          That means I am not supporting anyone that support granted monopolies.

           

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          nasch (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 6:10pm

          Re: Re: Re: Misleading Premise

          Let the artists make the decision to abandon their rights or not.

          And perhaps we can leave off the emotionally charged language such as "abandon their rights".

           

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            Milton Freewater, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 3:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Misleading Premise

            "Let the artists make the decision to abandon their rights or not.

            And perhaps we can leave off the emotionally charged language such as "abandon their rights"."

            It's not just emotionally charged, it's a lie. This is a discussion about rightsholders asserting new rights, not giving up old ones. Psy didn't abandon anything. He (and his team) chose not to make certain claims and they directly benefited.

             

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      Person, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 7:57pm

      Re: Misleading Premise

      No, no. He made $8.1 million BY ignoring copyright infringement because people didn't hesitate to share and play his song and add their own twist onto it. Had he not ignored copyright infringements and cracked down on everyone who used his song without permission, people would have stopped. No one would have continued sharing it. It's popularity would have been much much smaller.

      Popularity= money
      Ignoring copyright infringements= Popularity

       

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      Justin G., Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:18pm

      Re: Misleading Premise

      Very well said. Perhaps PSY could have made twice as much by enforcing copyright. Nobody knows for sure. At the end of the day, let the artist choose how he/she wishes to enforce his/her RIGHTS. This limited monopoly is in the Constitution. I love people who believe they DESERVE free music. There are plenty of artists who will give out their music for free...listen to theirs. Don't cry about others who enforce their copyrights. Boycott them all you want...if they are good enough, people will buy their music. Stop talking shit about copyright law; talk shit about the artists who enforce their rights, to your disliking.

       

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        PuqTheWorst, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 12:28am

        Re: Re: Misleading Premise

        You just took a minute writing that, and you are completly right. The shitheads above us took 1 hour just to fight. (mother of god that rhymed!) But that is completly up to the music creator to put on copyright on the song. Its exactly like i would make a new soft drink. I ofcourse put a trademark and a copyright sign on it so no one can copy it and sell it. Now i see music production like 2 cans. The first one is filled with coke, and the second one is filled with pepsi. The coke bottle is what started it all, and is the creator of the "song" and pepsi is the remix/parody. Now pepsi and coke isnt the same drink, and coke doesnt sue them since it is almost completly different, and so should the music production work too, now dont get me wrong, but what i mean is that the companies shouldnt sue because they took the song beats and took other lyrics.

         

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        nasch (profile), Dec 11th, 2012 @ 7:38am

        Re: Re: Misleading Premise

        Stop talking shit about copyright law; talk shit about the artists who enforce their rights, to your disliking.

        It's the laws I have a problem with, not the artists (generally). Why would you want us to trash artists rather than the law?

         

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    out_of_the_blue, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 1:03pm

    How do you make a cent by IGNORING?

    "Psy Makes $8.1 Million By Ignoring Copyright Infringements Of Gangnam Style" -- Glancing at the lead again caused me to laugh at the TOTALLY wacky assertions on Techdirt! What a Freudian slip! So Mike and his fanboy-trolls actually believe it's the ignoring and not the exposure that's important! This explains much.

     

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      silverscarcat (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 1:25pm

      Re: How do you make a cent by IGNORING?

      I can answer your question...

      By ignoring the way people were making parodies of it, and not claiming copyright infringement, it's become quite popular to the point of annoying.

      Thus, people who have no idea what this is, goes to look for the original, and if they like it, they give money.

      Course, if you weren't a complete copyright apologist, you'd know that.

       

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      That One Guy (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 1:27pm

      Re: How do you make a cent by IGNORING?

      And how much exposure would he have gotten had he not ignored the copyright angle, and instead squashed any and all infringing mashups/remixes of his work?

      Had he only released his own video/song, and then demanded that no-one do anything with it other than watch/listen, odds are good he'd have had his 15-minutes of fame(if that), and then faded from the public's view quickly. By having so many people do mashups/remixes of the original, more and more people were made aware of the original, and thereby him, increasing his fame.

       

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        Marc John Randazza (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 1:53pm

        Re: Re: How do you make a cent by IGNORING?

        Perhaps, but that is because the song fucking sucks.

        The Macarena didn't ignore copyright, and it was just as wildly successful and annoying.

        Gangam Style exploded because most of the market is a bunch of idiots who will eat up auditory junk food like it is a tootsie roll handed out on Southwest Airlines.

        I'm reasonably certain that if Alex Chilton's estate released all of his works to the public domain, that we wouldn't have an explosion of Alex Chilton's popularity. You'd just have a few less people buying it on iTunes.

         

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          The Real Michael, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 5:07pm

          Re: Re: Re: How do you make a cent by IGNORING?

          Oh yeah, and suing fans + taking down content works wonders for careers, right?

           

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          nasch (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 6:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: How do you make a cent by IGNORING?

          The Macarena didn't ignore copyright, and it was just as wildly successful and annoying.

          Were people trying to make mashups and remixes and getting sued for infringement?

          Gangam Style exploded because most of the market is a bunch of idiots who will eat up auditory junk food like it is a tootsie roll handed out on Southwest Airlines.

          I'm reasonably certain that if Alex Chilton's estate released all of his works to the public domain, that we wouldn't have an explosion of Alex Chilton's popularity. You'd just have a few less people buying it on iTunes.


          I'm trying to figure out how this relates to the idea of making money without using copyright. Are you saying this only works for "bad" music? And that "good" music requires copyright to make money? Or something else?

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 1:28pm

      Re: How do you make a cent by IGNORING?

      Bravo OOTB, you always got to go one better. Not content with merely failing to RTFA, you failed to even read the headline.
      Otherwise, you might have spotted the error for yourself.

      Don't even try to pretend you were ninja'd - Marc John Randazza's post is a full half hour before yours.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 4:23pm

        Re: Re: How do you make a cent by IGNORING?

        ootb doesn't read the article or headline, and you expect him to read comments too? I don't think he even reads his own comments, which might explain why most of them are incomprehensible drivel.

         

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      Marc John Randazza (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 1:50pm

      Re: How do you make a cent by IGNORING?

      Correct. I agree that you've hit it on the head.

      I don't agree with your name-calling. I think it is childish when Mike and the EFF do it, and I don't think it is called for when refuting the anti-CR argument.

       

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      Rikuo (profile), Dec 10th, 2012 @ 2:12pm

      Re: How do you make a cent by IGNORING?

      "So Mike and his fanboy-trolls"

      I'm not a troll (unlike a certain someone), but I do consider myself a fan of Mike Masnick. He's earned my admiration and respect, as well as that of hundreds to thousands of other people. He writes multiple articles a day, on the happenings in the tech world and anything relating to it, while also helping develop new ideas for business. Mike, I take my hat off for you. Congratu-well-done.

      What have you done, hasn't_got_a_clue? Unlike you, Mike has earned his fanboys. You haven't. You've done nothing at all but spew vitriol and garbage here since day one. Not once have I seen a single comment from you that contained a logical thought, or something that couldn't be easily refuted by us on the opposite side of the fence with just a second's thought.

       

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      Baron von Robber, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 7:42pm

      Re: How do you make a cent by IGNORING?

      Aw, every time ootb say some stupid, another torrent gets seeded. :-(

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 2:02pm

    And this is the ultimate proof that you need no talent to make money. None. At all. Period.

     

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    TaviRider, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 7:13pm

    Inaccurate article: It's not up to the artist

    Psy may not be interested in pursuing copyright violations, but it's not his call. As soon as he signs with a major publishing house, they call the shots. In fact, this is exactly what happened: Popular YouTuber "CaptainSparklez" made a Gangnam Style parody called "Minecraft Style". It used to be available here but it got taken down by Sony and/or Universal. CaptainSparklez posted this video explaining the takedown.

     

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      Ben S (profile), Dec 11th, 2012 @ 7:08am

      Re: Inaccurate article: It's not up to the artist

      Interesting fact, he's not signed onto either of them. Here's his list of record labels internationally: Bidman, LNLT Entertainment, YG Entertainment, YGEX, Avex Trax, Republic, and Schoolboy. Unless one of those is an alias used by Universal or Sony (I'm not aware of that being the case) then they don't have authority to claim copyright. Further more, he became incredibly popular before signing on to some of these, so he may have been able to negotiate a contract in which he keeps his own copyright, and the label's just have to settle for a license to sell his work.

       

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    ron, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 8:36pm

    good guy psy

    people copying his song.


    doesn't sue them.


    what a guy.

     

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    hardboiled, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 9:00pm

    Art at its highest isn't concerned with imitation. It's flattery and won't be as good, or at least not the same as the original if it is a work of art itself.

     

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    Samuel Jeffery, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 10:23pm

    Great idea!

    I'm pleased to hear he's done this and made money in the process. Besides, some of the Parody videos are funnier than the original.

     

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    HS, Dec 10th, 2012 @ 11:28pm

    a different point of view

    Good argument in favor of DRM-free digital music.. however there is a different point of view to consider. A musician who trains for years to hone his skills cannot hope to get paid enough for his work... anymore than what a music teacher makes teaching kids in school. But if you are willing to be a celebrity, accept the modern materialism/consumerism laced world and participate by peddling more of the unwanted stuff to impressionable masses, you will be a great commercial success and quoted as a role model for others to emulate! Speaks of the times we live in!

     

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    SUE SUE SUE!, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 1:26am

    The RIAA should Sue him

    This Psy person is clearly a filthy pirate with no respect for the work of others. I hope that he is hit with the harshest penalties allowed by the law (life imprisonment) for his role in this nefarious copyright theft.

     

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    Cliff Kuehn, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 2:39am

    I applaud Psy's ability to extract financial success w/o copyright enforcement, but...

    perhaps you also refer to the vast majority of writers, musician's, independent cinematographers who depend on copyrights to secure a living wage. While I agree current copyright laws are a bit ridiculous, likewise, no copyright laws would also be ridiculous.

    It's great that some are highly creative and can get by without copyright laws, but it is overly idealistic to think that copyright law has no place in society, and that all the artists out there will just magically extract a living wage from their work without any protection in their labour.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 5:53am

      Re: I applaud Psy's ability to extract financial success w/o copyright enforcement, but...

      Copyright has very little to do with artistic success. Only one thing determines success, gaining enough paying fans, and this is down to the quality of the work and whether it is discovered by the people with which it resonates. Also, unless self published, their is overcoming the hurdle of finding a publisher.
      A brilliant piece of work will earn no money if it languishes in obscurity. For new creative people in particular allowing a work to circulate on the net for free is a way of becoming known.

       

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      nasch (profile), Dec 11th, 2012 @ 7:45am

      Re: I applaud Psy's ability to extract financial success w/o copyright enforcement, but...

      It's great that some are highly creative and can get by without copyright laws, but it is overly idealistic to think that copyright law has no place in society, and that all the artists out there will just magically extract a living wage from their work without any protection in their labour.

      You seem to be under the impression that the purpose of copyright law is to make sure artists can make money. It is not. The purpose (in the US anyway) is to make sure artists create. If copyright is not necessary to get artists to create, then it has no place in our society.

       

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        Lorne Marr, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 8:09am

        Re: Re: I applaud Psy's ability to extract financial success w/o copyright enforcement, but...

        This.

        Are you people so naive to think that the copyright law exists for protecting the artist's interests? Maybe when it was first introduced, yes, maybe, but certainly not now.

        Remember the lawsuit against the little girl in Finland for downloading one album? That's the result of copyright enforcement, not artist motivation.

         

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    protogenxl, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 3:37am

    not really

    Funny thing this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqHIkPzl0I0 was tweeted by both LMFAO and Psy, then it was taken down by Psy http://stevestreza.com/2012/09/08/so-i-made-a-mashup/

     

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    Iuve Travel (profile), Dec 11th, 2012 @ 4:36am

    Psy

    well done for him, for exploiting the demand of bad taste in music and television... we know that from one bilion viewers 90% are in Asia but, what can you tell? I admire the relaxing way of making business online, well done, one more time...

     

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    Richard92, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 6:49am

    The article seems to imply that the sharing made the success . as a matter of fact the most viewed video is the official one . good for him it didn't get split in multiple semi succesful videos . He made the ads because the single was successful ( 8 millions LEGAL downloads,N1 in a lot of countries on iTunes) not because he didn't file DMCAs .
    On top of that , taking the phenomenon of the year and the historically most viewed video on youtube ( a very rare event) as a guideline for everyone else is a bit of a stretch . Beyonce just signed a 50 millions dollars deal with Pepsi, is it because she didn't file DMCAs?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 11th, 2012 @ 9:16am

    and yet another great example that even within the existing copyright laws, it is still possible to make it big, and make lots of money, so the system is broken.... WHY ?

     

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    Notso Commonsense, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 2:28am

    So Copyright is dead?

    Ok novelty "viral" hits like this can benefit from increased exposure over direct revenue by turning a blind-eye to copyright infringements - but the vast majority of serious musicians are never gonna get asked to do tv commercials whether or not they want to do them.

    And lets just assume we scrap these archaic copyright laws for good - why would youtube pay Psy his share of the advertising revenue? Why would Itunes pay him his cut of sales either? After all Music is an intangible freely distributable commodity whilst Youtube/Apple have electricity and server bills to pay.

    For that matter, if Samsung, LG etc want him in an advert why not just use clips from his video rather than pay him a ton of money?

    I like a dodgy download as much as the next man, but lets not pretend that the Psy model is a blueprint that would work for the vast majority of musicians.

     

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      nasch (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 6:35am

      Re: So Copyright is dead?

      Ok novelty "viral" hits like this can benefit from increased exposure over direct revenue by turning a blind-eye to copyright infringements - but the vast majority of serious musicians are never gonna get asked to do tv commercials whether or not they want to do them.

      This is called Masnick's Law. In the face of any non-major-label musical success, somebody will say "Sure, this can work for X, but it will never work for Y." In the next story someone will say "Yeah this works for serious niche musicians, but the stuff that's really popular now, the novelty hits, it won't work for them." It's sort of a perfect solution fallacy, because nobody is claiming any solution will work for everyone.

      And lets just assume we scrap these archaic copyright laws for good - why would youtube pay Psy his share of the advertising revenue?

      Perhaps if people know YouTube pays artists, and say Vimeo doesn't, they'll go to YT rather than Vimeo. People like supporting artists that they like. Or perhaps Youtube doesn't pay because of copyright, I haven't heard any statement on them about it.


      For that matter, if Samsung, LG etc want him in an advert why not just use clips from his video rather than pay him a ton of money?


      Because then he isn't saying "I love my LG phone".


      I like a dodgy download as much as the next man, but lets not pretend that the Psy model is a blueprint that would work for the vast majority of musicians.


      And let's not pretend anyone said it is.

       

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        Notso Commonsense, Dec 14th, 2012 @ 7:19am

        Re: Re: So Copyright is dead?

        >somebody will say "Sure, this can work for X, but it will never work for Y.


        Because it's true. Psy became popular because his video went viral and people did parodies of it - that wouldn't work for anything other than comedic novelty songs.

        >Or perhaps Youtube doesn't pay because of copyright

        Youtube have a system called "Content-Match" - which identifies copyrighted work - even if it's a live performance or a parody. The rights holder gets the option of blocking the video, keeping an eye on the stats or making money off the advertising revenue. Psy like many artists has taken the 3rd option.

        I've uploaded dozens of live performances of bands which have been content matched and the rights holder has always chosen to monetize rather than block/take down so what Psy is doing is nothing new.

        >And let's not pretend anyone said it is.

        "Now, not every musician may want to take that route"

        sounds to me like the article is suggesting that it's an option artists are choosing not to take rather than it simply not being feasible.

         

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          nasch (profile), Dec 14th, 2012 @ 8:16am

          Re: Re: Re: So Copyright is dead?

          Because it's true.

          And it completely misses the point. There are many business models; this is not held out as the one that everyone should use.

          Youtube have a system called "Content-Match" - which identifies copyrighted work

          It doesn't use copyright to do so.

          sounds to me like the article is suggesting that it's an option artists are choosing not to take rather than it simply not being feasible.

          Point to where someone said "the Psy model is a blueprint that would work for the vast majority of musicians."

           

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    melissa, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 2:18pm

    annoyed!

    Really upset! Musicians are struggling to survive in our digitalized world yet Psy uploads a ridiculous video to youtube and makes 8.1 million!!!? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?!

     

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      nasch (profile), Dec 12th, 2012 @ 2:54pm

      Re: annoyed!

      Musicians are struggling to survive in our digitalized world yet Psy uploads a ridiculous video to youtube and makes 8.1 million!!!? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?!

      I have no idea, perhaps you could tell us what you think is wrong. Do people like the "wrong" things?

       

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    Canadian, Dec 12th, 2012 @ 9:40pm

    The fact that the song and video had a lot to do with it too. Otherwise no one would have wasted their time making their own versions of it. Relaxing on the copyright sure did help though. Wonder how many views it will end up with long term, as it will probably pass a billion in no time...

     

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    Gregg, Dec 19th, 2012 @ 5:58am

    Many companies forget

    Many companies forget some of the most important rules in Marketing.

    - Free publicity is almost always good, even if it's bad publicity (Even for BP). People will remember your name.

    - Arch-type product that names it's own niche. Look at photocopying. Everyone refereed to photocopying as Xeroxing. Why sue people\businesses for using the products IP when they are spreading and hard coding your market product into the public's brain. You can't buy that, it can only be earned!

    - Give the customer what they want and they will come back for more. The number one golden rule!

    Legislating your business model is not only wrong, it's anti-competitive. I am surprised that Hollywood hasn't been charged for this yet!

     

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    Stephen, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 4:41pm

    Content Management

    Ok so might of made a million or so from his song, but he didn't try to enforce the copyright because the content management from YouTube allows the artist to collect from the parodies, covers and so on. The RIAA can suck a dick

     

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    Christy, Jan 24th, 2014 @ 12:34pm

    Makes sense

    Interesting way to look at things and a very smart move on his part!

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Nelson Mochilero, Feb 10th, 2014 @ 12:53pm

    Internet reputation is everything nowadays

    It seems like there are other stuff more importants than the music itself

     

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


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