Well it's clear that you're political philosophy is Libertarian (or Libertarian inspired).
This is one way to look at it. It isn't the wrong way, but to suggest it's the only way is disingenuous. I think the copyright clause implicitly means that the founders of the United States thought that the promotion of sciences (including what we would call the arts) and the useful arts (which we today would be more likely to call sciences...) is a worthwhile endeavor regardless of what the free market has to say.
I know the Ludwig von Mises' and Murray Rothbards of the world may disagree, and that's fine. I just want to espouse the point of view that there are certain principles that a may society values that trump the point of view you seem to be a proponent of. I would further suggest that the United States is one of those societies. After all, nobody gets behind the view that if music can't be profitable there should be no music...
"The biggest problem with your whole deal in the end is that adding fans (especially casual "someone gave me the CDs" type fans is that they may be less inclined to spend money to start with. Are they FANS or just fans, or even just "enjoying the tunes"? How big of a pot of these people do you have to get to sell a single concert ticket?"
I think There are a lot of these people. I'm one of them. I admit that I'm a bit more of an audiophile than your average joe, but my friends and I share music all the time. I hardly think my little circle is unique. I've gone to concerts on the strength of a few songs heard on Grooveshark or someones iPod, let alone whole albums.
I agree that there aren't an infinite number of fans. If there are 1 million people, only one in one thousand need take enough interest to head to a concert hall for the a band fill up a decent size room or field. No one said this music career thing was easy! You need to have appeal and you need to sell your product. If the product is the music, then artists must realize that the proportions of the revenue streams have changed.
A common misconception is that if you're not selling out arenas, you're not living off your music. This is false! You don't need to sell out a 20,000 or even 2,000 person hall on a nightly basis to put food on the table and pay the bills. I used to gig semi-regularly. Some of my colleagues would play 4-5 nights a week and never to a group bigger than 500 people. They aren't rich, but they're happy making their living off their original music (and the odd cover tune...)
" First off, I have enough t-shirts to last me 3 lifetimes already. I am not dying to buy more band shirts..."
Well that's cool. Except I think you missed the point. T-shirts is a synonym for merch. in this context. Stickers, patches, hoodies, posters and other artwork (very big, particularly at festivals) etc. It seems you underestimate the ability of bands to find novel promotional merchandise.
As for the intimate performances and lessons etc., the whole goal for the professional musician is to make money! I don't see how being "forced" to give smaller unplugged converts or guitar lessons (things that are right up the alley of many gigging musicians anyways) is different from being "forced" to record an album. In both instances the artist is furthering their career and making money through the exploitation of their craft. Again, I speak from experience here when I say that many musicians teach anyways. The ability to parlay your artistic fame into being able to charge a little more for lessons is not coercion...it's business.
I never said these avenues haven't always been here. Indeed they have. The difference is that they should and are being given more importance now that another revenue stream, record sales, has dried up significantly.
None of this is to say that artists can't or shouldn't still try to sell their music. In fact, it's easier to record, produce and distribute music now than ever before. So much so that for between $5,000-$10,000 of equipment and a little knowhow, one can accomplish what used to take a million dollar studio and experienced engineer and producer. Pro tools to the rescue!!!
Finally, it's true that the price of top bill artists has gone up significantly. I find it to be a little ridiculous actually. That said, small and medium level artists are not charging exorbitantly for their shows.
For example, I saw Reel Big Fish when I was 15 (I'm now 25) for $35. They're currently charging in the $40-45 ballpark. An increase, yes, but hardly outrageous. A fan (not only a FAN) may very well pay that price. And we're not talking about nobodies here. While they aren't a top bill act, they're a well established band with a well established and loyal fan base.
This is all to say nothing about other more minor revenue streams like the sale of sheet music and royalties collected by copyright collectives.
I think your view is heavily predicated on the outdated perspective that for an artist to make it- and by make it, I mean make a living off their music...or more- they need the muscle of a record label and music publisher with a complaisant population who will consume as they are told. With respect, I don't think this accurately reflects reality.
Musicians have to view their craft as a business. When one revenue stream fails, you redouble your efforts in others. Thinking outside the box and hard work is critical, but it can be done!
I appreciate your reply. I agree that this site could use more respectful and on-point discourse!
"Perhaps, but we've seen an explosion of content creation in the same age as the explosion of piracy, so I'm not sure this is a point in favor of Copyright or Copyright enforcement...."
I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, you've hit the nail on the head with regards to why copyright law MUST change to adapt to this new paradigm. Still, copyright (according to the doctrinarians and I agree) is first and foremost an economic right. It's a right for creators to exploit their works for gain. With that in mind, we need to come together and find a way to make sure authors get compensated- not outrageously, but fairly- for their work.
Not doing this presents certain dangers; namely that if professional artists (and by professional I mean that they survive off their artwork and that it isn't simply a hobby pr passion) can't earn a living, they will be forced to do other things which presents a net loss for society as a whole.
Now, the other side has overstated this danger. Some would have you believe that "there won't be anymore music" if professionals can't make money. This is false, mainly because of the paradigm shift you rightly alluded to above. Now, you don't have to exercise music as your profession to put out "professional quality" (or damn near close) music. The same can be said for visual arts. Technology has made possible a whole new class of creators which have been coined (not by me) "ProAms" or professional amateurs.
Unlike the copyrights fundamentalists, I don't think the end of record labels is the end of recorded music- far from it. But I do see the value in maintaining a "music industry" where people can in fact devote themselves entirely to their craft. We should therefore try to find a happy medium between outright piracy and strict adherence to the mœurs of copyright law.
"I had no intention of seriously suggesting that the 1st amendment repealed copyright law. It may LIMIT it, or limit its enforcement, but not repeal.
Instead, I was pointing out that the quoted source's claim to some importance of copyright over the 1st Amendment because it came first could cut both ways, depending on how you assign privelage to both clauses. The truth is that no such assignment should exist, so the whole point is moot."
I agree 100%. I apologize if I mis-characterized what you wrote. As you say it's moot because neither interpretation makes sense in the given context.
Your right. That's one principle of statutory interpretation, but it isn't the only one. Also, the laws aren't in direct conflict. By that I mean it isn't as though law 1 says "you must do "x" or you will be punished" and law 2 says "you must never do "x" or you will be punished". In a case like this, then your absolutely right. But come on...even for the biggest 1st amendment proponent that's not the case...
He may be guilty of oversimplifying, but there's more to making money in the music business than selling discs these days.
If we take your economics argument a little farther, you like 100 acts but only go to see 2 per year. The more people hear the music, the more people like the act which increases the chance that they'll go to the show. So, if a band has 1,000 fans and each one shares the music with 10 people (who for the sake of argument like the music and become fans) they now have 10,000 fans. if each of the 10,000 fans likes 100 bands then only a percentage of them will go see the band in question this year. but the pool of people who "may" go see them has grown 10 fold.
In the event that the people a fan shares the music with don't end up liking the band, no love lost. The band wouldn't have made any money off that person anyways.
...and then there are t-shirts...(and other promotional products which also grow the bands goodwill. Other goodies like "celebrity guitar lessons" or "intimate show bookings" are in the mix as well!)
So you see, there's more to it than album sales. I think that Mr. Geigner would have been hard pressed to include all this in the article and it wouldn't have really been on point...so there you have it.
I agree with Mr. Geigner on a lot. The argument made by the First Amendment Center is easily refutable. I would also like to preface my comments by saying that I agree grosso modo that copyright is broken and isn't accomplishing it's stated goal in many cases.
That said, a couple things:
- You're right that the "ultimate" goal (or purpose) of copyright law is the dissemination of works of knowledge and culture. However, the manner in which it is supposed to do that is by securing rights for a limited time in those works encouraging authors to create them. The "ultimate" goal of copyright is exactly as you say; but the operational goal (the goal immediately in the cross hairs of copyright for achieving that ultimate goal) is to see that as many works as possible be created in the first place.
The way you frame it- securing rights for authors will serve to disseminate knowledge and culture- copyright doesn't make any obvious sense. But in reality the securing of the rights is for the goal of stimulating the creation of new works, not (directly) the dissemination of knowledge and culture. It's a fine nuance but it needs to be pointed out.
- I disagree as to the argument that, if anything, the first amendment should "repeal" the copyright clause because it came after. This is false. When a law is repealed, it is done so expressly. You don't enact a conflicting law as a tool to repeal an old one. The only reasonable statutory interpretation is that these legal principles must coexist and it falls on courts of law to interpret the often jagged boundaries of these principles.
Now, the First Amendment Center fellow's argument is equally untenable. He's completely and totally wrong and there's no merit to his reasoning.
- Copyright has come to cover musical works. This shouldn't be questioned. The more salient question is the contours and limits of that protection. I've done some interesting research on substantial similarity in music plagiarism and the line is far from clear.
- I'm not sure that the narrow scope you confer on copyright is 100% accurate. The Act has been revised (and I don't mean recently, over 100 years ago) since the inception of the commerce clause). Congress has seen fit to allow copyright to cover what it does. Again, I'm referring to congress well before the birth of the RIAA and other lobbying groups.
The point is that congress et al. have to get in touch with the 21st century and the manner in which people consume content TODAY.
Most of the arguments and pity speeches made by the content industry reflect their lack of will to get with the times and take the plunge into a new business model. It's been shown that when a company does so (Apple) they flourish (iTunes). Apple is not a singular example. Netflix is doing rather well. Spotify and alike are breaking ground. I share Mr. Geigner's desire to play the worlds smallest violin for the record execs...
We have to find a happy medium. One that recognizes the rights of authors int heir creations, but simultaneously recognizes the needs and demands of the public.
First off, You're free to look at laws as whatever you want. But when you say you don't care what these things are called in the law or common parlance one wonders if you're living in a post-semantic world. Ok, that was a little rude. But my point stands. Consider them whatever you want. Call intellectual property "intellectual licorice" if you want! All you're saying is you don't like the verbiage, and that's your right.
Now one thing we seem to agree upon is that patent, trademark, copyright, plant breeders rights, integrated circuit topography etc. sound kind of funny grouped under a single "domain" of law. It's weird, I admit it. But again it seems you're reducing your argument to a semantic game. Who cares what people call it? It is what it is!
Sounds like you're trying to have your cake and eat it too.
Why do you have the right to be alive? Assuming you're not going to give a religious answer, there are a few ways you can go here. The natural law theory way (which I admit I have limited experience with) or the positive law theory way. Without getting too deep into it, if you exclude religion and dogma, your right to life is based on the social contract you refer to. That's another way of saying that society itself determines your right to life. So I disagree when you say you "naturally" have a right to X. Naturally...truly naturally, might is right. All the proof you need is out there in nature (natural...nature...get it?)
Now, as far as the natural right vs. artificial right (although you don't want to call it a right so...licorice?) the difference seems to be that in the right to life example, you feel that right is inherent. In the IP example, the right is granted by a democratically elected government. Granting that as true, I still fail to see why one is a right and the other isn't.
You've drawn a distinction between two KINDS of rights and I agree with you that they're not the same. But you're still assuming your conclusion...I can't take this any farther unless you clear up that logical fallacy.
Agreed. That act deals with sound recordings...no argument here.
I didn't "misunderstand". I misinterpreted because the reference was ambiguous. Mike never referred to the above Act. Had he done so, I would have properly interpreted what he meant by performance.
As I wrote bellow. When a person refers to performance royalty without any qualification, the base assumption is that they are talking about the performance of the musical work, not the sound recording. The former right predates the latter (for obvious reasons) and when unqualified, performance refers to the underlying work. This is standard.
Again, as I wrote bellow, I jumped the gun and I apologize to Mike for that. The ambiguity led to a misinterpretation on my part.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Disingenuous Mike...They're not bailing out the RIAA...
You're right and I was wrong. It is about the performance of sound recordings. Although, quite frankly, I wasn't the one reporting a story here.
Like a lot of other people, this post confused me. I read every word twice and looked at all the sites Mike linked to. I also did a search of my own. It seems the other sites that have covered this issue wrote much the same thing as Mike (hence why he cites them but doesn't add anything).
I've read the text of the old proposed act. You're absolutely right, it covers performances of sound recordings. But you must understand that this article was totally ambiguous. How is one supposed to know? When I hear the term "performance royalty" without any further qualification, it means performance of the musical work, not the sound recording. There are historical reasons for this...one significantly predates the other.
I'm a big boy and can admit when I jump the gun. That said, my original criticism remains valid!
I would suggest calling ASCAP and BMI...ASCAP and BMI.
I don't call you Mike Masnick even though you often comment on his writings.
If that sounded patronizing, that wasn't my intention. I just see no reason to refer to entities as anything other than what they are. Especially because ASCAP/BMI doesn't represent record labels...at all! It's misleading for the sake of being inflammatory...uncool!
I do realize that. However, it's just plain wrong to generalize ASCAP and BMI under the RIAA. They don't represent record labels...they represent artists.
If people in the comment section want to call them the MAFIAA (grow up) all power to them!
Mike, on the other hand, should show a little integrity. After all, he's a journalist, right? he's reporting on issues that mean something to him, right? doesn't he owe it to himself and his readers to not shover enriched BS down their throats?
I'm sorry, but there's no excuse for this flagrantly one sided and poorly explained article.
Re: Re: Disingenuous Mike...They're not bailing out the RIAA...
No. I stand behind what I said. Performance rights are administered by performance rights collectives (ASCAP and BMI).
SoundExchage does administer performances of SOUND RECORDINGS (not the underlying musical works).
Does this draft bill remunerate the sound recording makers or the musicians/song writers?
I can't get a text of the draft bill so I can't tell. But Mike certainly hasn't made that clear. Everything I've read so far leads me to believe that it would be ASCAP/BMI administering these royalties, not the RIAA ro SoundExchange.
If you say "performance royalty" without qualifying it, it leads one to believe your talking about performance rights on the composition. But of course Mike didn't specify that either.
At best, this is confusing, at worst, it's disingenuous.
yes...and the most important thing...THE RIAA HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE COLLECTION OF PERFORMANCE ROYALTIES!
They have nothing to do with this bill. I think Mike knows that when he writes "RIAA" people get all flustered and angry at the world...He exploits the average persons lack of knowledge of the music business and copyright law. It's irresponsible journalism...
Either that or he's unaware that the RIAA (in this case) has no interest and definitely isn't doing ASCAP and BMI a "favor" by lobbying on their behalf...