"Yes and the affiliation of a label with ASCAP is also a contractual obligation for them to let ASCAP handle the negotiation and collection for them. That contractual obligation has advantages and disadvantages, just the same."
Yes, but the contractual obligation is between ASCAP and the publisher. So it should be up to those two parties to renegotiate or enforce terms of the contract, not Pandora. Nonetheless, Pandora has succeeded in convincing a court that publishers must either be all in or all out of ASCAP. So now the major publishers "have a gun to their head" and must decide whether they want to stick with the crappy rates that ASCAP can negotiate under the terms of their consent decree, or negotiate all of their deals in the free market while losing the benefits of having ASCAP as a collective to administer for them. The most likely scenario, in my view, is that the major publishers will eventually pull out of ASCAP and Pandora will end up paying them more, while the independent publishers who cannot afford to negotiate and administer thousands of individual deals will be left with the crappy ASCAP rates.
"And how do you spin the part about ASCAP and the labels refusing to let Pandora know which songs were pulled and using that as a negotiation weapon against Pandora? That is most defiantly collusion and an antitrust violation, isn't it?"
I'm not familiar enough with that aspect of the dispute to weigh-in, but I am highly suspicious of the "truthiness" of that characterization in this article. If, indeed, ASCAP was not forthcoming with Pandora about the songs that were no longer covered in their repertoire, I'd agree that is not defensible as a business practice. But that is an entirely separate issue from whether individual publishers have the right to negotiate their own rates and whether those rates should serve as a relevant benchmark when a collective licensing society like ASCAP tries to negotiate their rates. And as far as the collusion accusation goes, ASCAP and BMI initially fought the withdrawals of their major publisher members, and now with the recent court ruling are at risk of losing a large segment of their members entirely. It's hard to conclude that was their master plan was to increase their royalties by threatening their very existence.
"Many artists choose to affiliate with major record labels because it would be crazy to try to go to every individual retailer in the country and negotiate individual deals to sell their music, but that doesn't meant that they shouldn't have the right to negotiate directly. Right?"
I'm not sure that your example is analogous. Artists have contractual obligations with their labels, which may limit their ability to negotiate anything outside their contracts. I think you're trying to make a point about labels having all of the leverage in most of those relationships, and getting taken advantage of at times as a result. I won't disagree with you on that front.
Mike - Before you opine on this situation perhaps you should take the time to learn some basics about the music industry. Record labels collect their royalties through SoundExchange and are under a compulsory license where the rates are set by the Copyright Royalty Board. ASCAP collects royalties for songwriters and music publishers, who are technically in a free market when it comes to negotiating rates for the performance of their songs. They choose to affiliate with ASCAP because it would be crazy to try to go to every bar, restaurant, radio station, etc in the country and negotiate individual deals and collect royalties. But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't have the right to negotiate directly. Publishers have been understandably frustrated because ASCAP is unable to negotiate a market rate for them with Pandora because of their consent decree, so they pulled out and directly negotiated rates that were much higher. Sounds like the free market at work to me, but when you are an anti-copyright conspiracy theorist everything around you must seem like the man colluding to screw the public (or in this case a publicly traded company valuated at more than $5 billion). If all of the publishers are forced to pull all of their rights out of ASCAP to get a fair rate, the result will be chaos in the market place. That's hardly good for anyone.
Most of you really have no clue what you're talking about. You hear "evil record companies" or "legacy recording industry" and it's like blood in the water causing a feeding frenzy of misinformed comments. ASCAP represents SONGWRITERS, not record labels. The record labels are currently paid streaming royalties through SoundExchange and receive over 50% of Pandora's royalties, while the songwriter/publisher receives about 4%. The disparity between the levels of compensation is attributable to the fact that two of the performance rights organizations that songwriters/publishers rely on to negotiate licenses and collect royalties on their behalf (ASCAP and BMI) are subject to restrictive consent decrees that severely undercut their ability to negotiate rates that reflects the fair market. Recognizing this, several of the large publishers withdrew their catalogs from ASCAP and BMI in order to negotiate directly with Pandora and they were in fact successful in getting a better rate. Pandora doesn't like this and wants to chain them to their PROs so that they can get a lower rate through a Federal Court rather than pay them a negotiated rate where the publisher/songwriter can actually say NO. So this is indeed an attack on songwriters by Pandora. Songwriters whose only source of income is royalties. Sorry, Mike, they can't sell T-shirts or tour or beg people on kickstarter for money to pay for their groceries.
Another shoddy Masnick piece that doesn't tell the whole story. ASCAP is governed by a department of justice consent decree which dictates that they license anyone who asks for one. If they can't agree on a rate, a federal court decides what the rate will be. In other words ASCAP actually has very little leverage when it comes to negotiating rates. Broadcasters who also offer streams receive a break on their streams because almost all of their royalties are paid for their use of music over the air. Their streams are incidental to their overall business. Pandora, which is currently a 100% streaming service is trying to say that if they own a single radio station that serves a few hundred individuals in bum fuck that they should receive the same preferred rate. The real story is Pandora going to court, to Congress, and now buying a radio station to try to screw songwriters (the guys who don't tour or sell T-shirts) out of royalties instead of trying to figure out a way to raise their revenue through ads or subscriptions. Funny what incumbents like Pandora will do to preserve their business model. Admittedly, Pandora does have a point that their competitors are screwing songwriters even worse and that's not fair. But the answer is to level the playing field by doing away with below-market, government imposed rates for broadcasters, not allowing Pandora to thrust their dick further up the ass of the songwriting community's collective bunghole.
No one is asking "to make the internet responsible for propping up their business model." In fact, clearly under the status quo the products of the copyright industries are used to "prop up" these "innovative" Internet companies.
I actually don't think Mike had a point other than to bash Hollywood, yet again. And those 4 Google executives mentioned were not the Chief executives of the company. No, their CEO can afford to work for nothing as he already has $20 billion in the bank. I'm sure the fact that their CEO lists his compensation as $1 skews the overall picture of compensation in the tech sector. Regardless, this is all a distraction designed to further Pirate Mike's sole focus of criticizing the greedy content industries that are driven by nothing but profits and get off on screwing their customers whenever they can. I'm gonna go steal some shit from Wal-Mart this afternoon, because they pay their CEO too much. Sound about right?
If the fact that movie execs are paid so handsomely makes some feel justified in breaking the law, well, more power to them. Let's face it, they were going to do it anyway because copyright term is too long, the evil companies won't let you watch Game of Thrones for free, you can't resell your MP3s you bought on iTunes, etc, etc, etc.
As usual, just another pointless attack against Hollywood by Pirate Mike. Nothing to see here.
That's not what I'm saying at all. If you believe the law should be changed, getting politically involved is certainly a proper way to pursue that goal. But I also don't think someone who has been openly flouting the law for years - and was convicted for doing so - should be commended for now trying to go through traditional channels to change it. My point was that Mike doesn't support piracy, so I can't believe he would support the candidacy of someone who has made a career out of it.
Pirate Mike endorses convicted founder of the Pirate Bay who is running for parliament as a member of the Pirate Party? I am shocked because Mike has made it crystal clear that he doesn't support piracy.
Agreed that GoT-level content will never be offered a la carte for that price. The point is that if this is successful, it has the potential to shake things up and perhaps pull many incumbents toward an a la carte model. It may take some time, but I say withhold judgment and see how it plays out.
How can this not be seen as a positive thing? Assuming the content offered is good quality, this will result in more consumer choice in the marketplace. So many have groused "if only HBO was an a la carte offering, I'd gladly pay for it rather than steal Game of Thrones." Now YouTube is at the initial stages of attempting to give you exactly what you've said you wanted - premium channels offered a la carte - but instead of focusing on the potential upside you pick it apart. Wah, $1.99 seems steep. I guess if it's not free, it's never worth it.
So let me get this straight. Offering songs a la carte for $1.29 or less after you've had an opportunity to preview 90 seconds of it is not a compelling legal offering? Oh, right, they also need to also make it DRM free and allow you to resell it when you don't want it anymore. Or better yet, offer it to you for free and maybe you'll buy a T-shirt or something down the road. Until then, it's a pirate life for you.
Yeah, man. Fuck those greedy copyright holders. We should totally abolish copyright. I'm sure some disruptive innovative type can raise $200 mil on kickstarter to make the next Dark Knight. And if we crowd source songwriting to the Internet masses, we'll certainly get some quality shit. Right? And don't forget about those who are willing to work for the prospect of selling an occasional T-shirt. That will pay the bills and keep creators motivated. Fact: under the current "broken" copyright regime, you have access to more content than ever (spare me your grumbling about how you can't buy an a la carte subscription for HBO to watch Game of Thrones). Doing away with "gate keepers" and "legacy business models" sounds great up until the point where you actually succeed and all you're left with to watch is videos of water skiing squirrels on UGC sites. Be careful what you wish for.
As someone alluded to earlier, ensuring law enforcement activities are portrayed accurately is valuable to both the entertainment and law enforcement communities. I'm sure that Hollywood would gladly pick up the $1.5 million tab for any consultation they do with DOJ to that end. However, I'm certain that they aren't allowed to make a direct financial contributions to a federal agency. And one can only imagine what all of you Hollywood haters would say if they were giving money directly to DOJ. Of course, the studios pay a substantial amount annually in federal corporate taxes. This is a non-story, but Mike can't resist taking a shot at the movie industry whenever he can. Guess what. The US military offers similar technical services to the studios. If everyone on this site has all of a sudden become a flock of fiscal hawks, I suggest we have some articles about how silicon valley companies like Google and Facebook are bilking the taxpayers out of millions of tax dollars so they can offer their employees gourmet meals.
Copyright owners have worked with Apple to address many of the sorts of challenges you describe, which is why iTunes allows you to transfer music onto multiple devices (that and fair use as you mentioned). Perhaps iTunes and Amazon will at some point work out a deal with copyright holders that allows for certain digital media to be resold. The initial purchase won't cost 99 cents to. That's for sure.
I know Alice and she isn't interested in selling any of her tracks. Before Redigi emerged, there was no expectation from iTunes customers (at least for the overwhelming majority of them) that they should have any ability to sell the music they purchased. The court essentially affirmed this original assumption that most consumers about the digital goods they purchased. Why the outrage? Because it wouldn't be Techdirt if we couldn't be slamming copyright law or content companies in some way every day.