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New IFPI Boss Vows to Extend Recording Copyrights 225

Posted by michael
from the class-war dept.
JamesD_UK writes "John Kennedy, President and COO of Universal Music is to succeed Jay Berman as Chairman of the IFPI, the worldwide equivalent to the RIAA. Andrew Orlowski of The Register has written an article covering John Kennedy's views on copyright infringement and the public domain. Although Kennedy's thoughts on the former are predictable, he has vowed to fight hard to extend European recording copyrights past the current fifty year term. An extension of the European term to match the US would be particularly damaging to the public domain and efforts such as the Internet Archive as well as increasing the control that the recording industry holds over performers. For those interested, I run a small blog of articles regarding copyright recordings."
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New IFPI Boss Vows to Extend Recording Copyrights

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  • by garcia (6573) * on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:05AM (#10329225) Homepage
    The combative former shipping lawyer will succeed Jay Berman as head of the lobby group the IPFI - the international version of the Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) - and he defended both the the lawsuits and file poisoning at the In The City music conference in Manchester this week. (emphasis mine)

    Coincidence on their choice of abbreviations? I think not.

    He'd be more sympathetic to songwriters, he said, the day that record companies had "50 per cent margins". In fact, he claimed that record companies spend more on R&D than technology companies, because of the marketing spend required to create a hit [*]. The implication was clear: the success of an artist was down to the Shock and Awe bombing of the record company's marketing team, which is very expensive.

    I can guarantee you a hit every time. Let me listen to the song. If the song sucks I'll tell you that. Then you can go and pay off every one of your little radio stations owned by ClearChannel and Inifinity (and various other conglomerates) and they can play the sucky song over and over again until people like it. If the song is good the artists should go on tour and make their own money as they have talent and they don't need your pay-offs.

    "For 79p you've got a work of art that's like a Picasso, only one that's as close to the original as you can get," he said. [**]

    To each their own on musical tastes but man, fucking Picasso is painting a gigantic brown-eye all over the inside of his grave after that comment.

    Isn't there something the music purchasers can do to stop this asshole from taking over? Write letters, boycott, something?
    • I can guarantee you a hit every time. Let me listen to the song. If the song sucks I'll tell you that.

      You know, sometimes people have varied tastes.
      • Taste and weather or not a song sucks can be two different things. I don't care much to listen to country but I know when a good country song is made compared to a shitty one, same for pop music.

        You can look at a painting of a turd and say that it is a perfect rendition of a turd without liking pictures of turds. (I used turd way to much in that sentence:)
    • by hype7 (239530) <u3295110NO@SPAManu.edu.au> on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:10AM (#10329283) Journal
      the man is so far off base from a normal human being I'm wondering if he's not the RIAA's Manchurian Candidate:

      The UMG boss had little sympathy for the twelve-year-old girl in a New York housing project who had harbored an MP3 of the theme tune to her favorite show on her computer, and had been sued by the RIAA. Her family paid out thousands of dollars in a settlement. She was a "serious file sharer", insisted Kennedy.

      The first step in beating these pricks is to get Congress's hands out of their pockets. Until that happens, people like this will be put in positions of power where he can continue to go after the little 12-y-o criminals.

      -- james
      • the man is so far off base from a normal human being I'm wondering if he's not the RIAA's Manchurian Candidate

        Unfortunately, John Kennedy failed to dispel this notion when he declared "Ich bin ein RIAA puppet!" in his IFPI chairmanship acceptance speech. He did, however, receive great applause from the puppeteers in the audience.
      • About stuff already placed in the PD? Like in Germany, there are all sorts of Elvis compilations coming out. 50 years folks and you could do what you like with it.

        So what would they do? Roll back this stuff or simply extend it ala Disney - the other branch of government.

    • by Roadkills-R-Us (122219) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:27AM (#10329482) Homepage
      Emperor Palpatine, is that you?

      Every one of these industry moguls wants to be the Emperor of the Universe. They hate the way things are now, think they have the answers, and they want the power and the money.

      The great thing is, just like in Star Wars, *we're
      letting them do it*.

      Don't like it? Join the rebellion now. I made a vow not to buy any more big RIAA-approved CDs until the insanity stopped, and I haven't. Used and indie CDs? No problem. But it takes more than that (they just blame it on piracy). Write your government representatives (ussuming you live somewhere you have representation). Refuse to support the Empire. There's lots we can do.
      • Don't just stop buying things yourself. Convince other people to do so as well, and for god sakes, please support the EFF [eff.org] by becoming an active member.

        It's quite obvious that the best way to be heard in the US government today is by founding or joining a large group which supports your cause, and the EFF is the group that we need to support if we want to see progress toward fair intellectual property rights.
    • We should be glad (but not too glad) that the music industry always appoints their most aggressive attack dog lawyers to the most public positions of their trade groups. These people can always be counted on to make over-the-top mean and stupid statements that makes our point for us that these people are greedy pigs.
      If the music industry were smart (no worries there, so relax) they would get Janis Ian or Don Henley to head their trade organizations. That would make it easy for them to portray us as g
  • by stratjakt (596332) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:05AM (#10329228) Journal
    n/t
  • by drunkennewfiemidget (712572) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:05AM (#10329233) Homepage
    Most recordings that're > 50 years old are no longer profitable anyway, aren't they?

    I mean, isn't the real cash cow in the new 'hit' stuff they're making with cookie cutters nowadays?
    Is it actually worth their time and energy to be able to go back that far? I thought they'd go where the money is...

    Perhaps I'm just misguided...
    • by stratjakt (596332) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:15AM (#10329352) Journal
      Sure, they can be profitable.

      Maybe some director want's to use some old song in his '50s era gangster epic.

      Hell, stuff like Chuck Berry, Elvis, Beatles, Buddy Holly, Hendrix... That'll always be profitable.

      How much is Brockheimer (sp?) paying to use those Who songs as the theme for his umpteen billion CSI spinoffs?

      The stuff that isn't well known or popular... Who knows? Society is weird, all of a sudden some obscure song from 1961 is the biggest dance craze of 2005.

      Even if it's worth no more than a nickel, they don't want to take the chance of losing it.

      It doesn't cost them anything to keep they copyrights for decades or centuries.

      Perhaps if it did, things would change. They'd have to decide, song by song, which are worth holding onto. But, if holding copyrights are a financial burden to the holder, it'd bar regular folks from the same protection that rich folks or corporations have.
      • If copyrights are extended retroactively to copyrights which have already expired, then copyrights should probably extend retroactively to copyrights which expired at the time they were used from the public domain.

        So soon Disney can be busted for all their profits drawn from infringing on the then-copyrighted intellectual property of the Grimm fairy tales.

        Of course it will never happen... in this world, Mickey mouse is protected for longer than anyone alive, both his property and his image.

        • Mickey Mouse is a bad example, since he's a trademark.

          His older movies are copyright, and should be public domain by now, but noone but Disney would ever be able to use the image of Mickey Mouse in any derivative work.
        • 'So soon Disney can be busted for all their profits drawn from infringing on the then-copyrighted intellectual property of the Grimm fairy tales.'

          Actually, the Grimm brothers were collectors of the oral tradition; they did not originally write the faerie tales they published. (I guess Anon could sue Disney ;^)

          • If Disney used the Grimm works then they would have been using a copyrighted work.. but I suppose if it is as you say, they could aruge that they borrowed from the oral tradition which predated the works... and have no material which derives directly from the Grimm works :-(

            The Disney stories are so divergent from the Grimm stories, that it's plausible I suppose.

            • by Sique (173459) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @01:59PM (#10331355) Homepage
              On the other hand they borrowed from Carlo Collodi to make Pinocchio. And they made Pinocchio in 1940, the year after Carlo Collodi's Copyright ran out. He died in 1890, just 50 years before. Strange, isn't it? ;)

              Disney played very well on the copyright instrument, grabbing everything as soon as it was free of charge and put their own version in place, for which the copyright should never ever expire.
      • It doesn't cost them anything to keep they copyrights for decades or centuries.

        Perhaps if it did, things would change. They'd have to decide, song by song, which are worth holding onto. But, if holding copyrights are a financial burden to the holder, it'd bar regular folks from the same protection that rich folks or corporations have.

        That's probably the best idea I've heard this week. Also, it doesn't need to bar the 'little guy' from holding a copyright. Give them the first 20 years for free, then charg

    • most don't, and most defintely most don't make money _to_the_author_.

      but think about the children! won't somebody think about the children?!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:17AM (#10329379)
      From what I've seen so far, the propaganda here in Europe has mostly circled around the fact that the earliest recordings of Elvis are due to turn 50 soon and they are apparently still bringing in cash for the record companies.

      They even made some remixes of old Elvis songs and used the fact that they managed to top some charts to argument that "old" music could still be "fresh" and generate money. This (according to lobbyists) was an argument when lobbying European politicians to prolong the copyright.

      Personally, I feel it's an argument for the opposite side...apparently cool music can be made when the public creativity is unleashed upon the "old" music as it falls into public domain...that's part of the reasoning *for* time-limited copyright.
      • Copyright I think is really a way of granting something we don't really want to grant - that is the right for something not to be copied, the right to protect ideas, and as such, people are granted a temporary license to them. That is, you get to exploit it for a time (quite a long time).

        Copyright was put in place from the point of view that if you don't have copyright, you'll get people just ripping off your work and therefore, people won't create. That's very reasonable.

        But, 50 years is quite long eno

        • Copyright was not created in a time of giants of publishing. When copyright first arrived, it was more about individual creative people, for whom a copyright of even 20 years would grant them sufficient income.

          Bzzzt. Sorry, wrong. When copyright started it was ALL ABOUT the rich and powerful maintaining their monopoly over a resource. Writers could give a rip about "protection" - they didn't make a living writing, anyway. They just wanted their ideas to be read.

          You can find a brief history of copyri

      • by real_smiff (611054) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:34AM (#10329561)
        I know someone who works as an accountant in BMG NZ (or rather did, before they laid off most of their staff). I can confirm Elvis is one of their biggest sellers, and certainly most profitable. it costs the label almost nothing to put out a new compilation/greatest hits. I'm not even talking about remixes! She often joked that all their biggest earners are dead. Mind you, this could also be something to do with why BMG were having problems..
      • by OwnedByTwoCats (124103) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:41AM (#10329630)
        The deal that "the public" had with Elvis (etc.) is that if he recorded his music, he would get exclusive rights to it for 50 years, and the public would have rights to it afterward.

        What does the public get in exchange for losing their rights to music published in 1953?
      • You are exactly right. The purpose of copyright is that old music falls into the public domain, allowing any schmuck to utilize their own individual creative juices with these works to create new, interesting works. If they're remixing old music to make new hits, then that new music has a new 50 year copyright on it, and they can make money on that instead of on the old stuff, which should rightfully be in the public domain.
      • Personally, I feel it's an argument for the opposite side...

        Me too. There was a guy on TV the other night saying that if they can't have guaranteed rights to an artists work for at least 70 years, then there will be no incentive for record companies to release new music. It looks to me like longer copyright terms are holding back new music more than anything, as the record company is able to keep milking their back catalogue forever. Personally I think 20 years would be enough. Time to move on folks, the

      • They even made some remixes of old Elvis songs and used the fact that they managed to top some charts to argument that "old" music could still be "fresh" and generate money. This (according to lobbyists) was an argument when lobbying European politicians to prolong the copyright.

        Fuck, what a red herring. Stupid politicians will probably buy it, though.

        Putting those Elvis recordings in the public domain does not pose any barrier to either activity described. The record company could still put out "Best

    • by Maul (83993) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:32AM (#10329541) Journal
      No, they are. At least the stuff that has lived on to become part of our culture.

      These de facto infinite copyrights that we have now will enable the entertainment industry to charge over and over again for music and movies that should be in the public domain.

      You can be guaranteed that if a new physical format for distributing music (the successor to the CD or whatever) takes hold, the record companies will re-release old Elvis and Beatles albums in this format (among plenty of others). They'll probably release them as "commemorative editions" and charge up the wazoo for them as well.

      With how things are now, some record company executives who weren't even born yet when the Beatles were creating music will continue to get rich off of their work, even after the remaining two are long dead and buried.
      • There's only one living Beatle. Paul died a long time ago and the guy who took his place doesn't count.

        C'mon, I thought everybody knew that.
      • They'll probably release them as "commemorative editions" and charge up the wazoo for them as well.

        You missed a step - reduce issues of the older media. I haven't really looked recently, because there's nothing I care to buy, but I don't think new vinyl LPs are commonly available. I doubt if you could get a new LP of either Beethoven or Britney.

        I'm not trying to start a war over the relative merits of vinyl, CD, valve amps, etc, I'm just pointing out that both old and new stuff will be released on the

    • It's been raised before on slashdot but I like the idea of a intellectual property tax. Copyrights should last for between 20 and 30 years after which the copyright holder must pay a tax each year to keep the intellectual property out of the public domain. This tax is effectively paying the government to uphold the copyright. If the copyright holder lets a work lapse into a public domain then there should be no way to reclaim it.

      This would allow copyright holders to keep hold of the profitable intellect
      • Patents last for twenty years. They used to last only seventeen years. Why is this acceptable for patents but not for copyrights?

        I mean, I know why -- but is this unreasonable from anyone's viewpoint who doesn't charge $13.99 for a CD?

  • by hype7 (239530) <u3295110NO@SPAManu.edu.au> on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:06AM (#10329236) Journal
    is the Register's commentary about this quote by Kennedy:
    "For 79p you've got a work of art that's like a Picasso, only one that's as close to the original as you can get," he said. [**]

    the [**] equates to: Don't write to us - we'll find him a good earwax specialist.

    Damn straight! :)

    -- james
  • by archevis (634851) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:07AM (#10329248)
    ... Lee Harvey Oswald admits his mistake of popping the wrong John Kennedy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:08AM (#10329255)
    It is in the best interests of the entertainment industry to extend copyrights. So before everyone gets their panties in a twist, remember that it's going to be this guy's job to improve the standard of living for executives in the recording industry.
    • Hmmm

      Personally I have no problems with harmonising the world's copyright laws so they all last the same amount of time, however only new works created after that date should benefit from the extended duration.

      • Nope. Copyrights should be good for the lifetime of the artist who creates the work, and requires a specific delcaration of assignment of rights to allow a corporation to make use of that copyright for the lifetime of the artist, or some shorter period of time, with the rights reverting to the artist.

        An artist who would like their works to be made publicly available over the internet would have to publish a list specifying what works are available.

        Yes, there will still be problems, copyright violators, an
        • Why should the length of the copyright have anything to do with the length of the creator's life? That implies that something made by a 20 year old is more valuable than something made by an 80 year old! I'm all for reform of copyright law, but anything that ties the length of the copyright to the length of the creators life (including current copyright law) doesn't make any sense to me.

          IMO, copyright should be a fixed length such as 10 or 20 years for all works (though, perhaps some classes of works, su
          • Samuel Clemens started Huck Finn, got to a point where he wasn't sure what he wanted to do story wise, and put the manuscript on the shelf to revisit it some number of years later. Should the copyright on that work have started when he started the book, when he paused the book, or when he finished the book?

            If an author puts a manuscript on the shelf for some odd number of years, say perhaps the lenght of a copyright lifetime, then what incentive does he have towards finishing the work if the copyright is t
    • The fact that its his job to be a dick doesnt cease to make him a dick.
  • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:08AM (#10329263) Homepage
    Afterall, they're the ones signing their souls (and rights) away for promises of riches and fame. They don't deserve our pity, let alone our money.

    Stop downloading their music, stop going to their concerts, and instead reward independent musicians for resisting the temptations of the RIAA etc.
    • I do.

      www.iuma.com
      www.magnatune.com

      the ONLY new music I have bought over the past 12 months has been from artist on those sties.

      RIAA artists I like? I buy only USED cd's.

      buying Used CD's is the best way of kicking the RIAA and those that love them in the nuts.

      Buy Used CD's only if it is not an Indie artist.

  • by KneepadsOfAllure (805661) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:12AM (#10329303)
    But he had even less sympathy for songwriters, who receive only a small fraction of royalties that recordings owners receive. that was fair, he insisted, as hits were down to investment in marketing, he said. At Polygram (which became Universal), Kennedy had stopped the practice of chart-fixing, he said, "because we were so bad at it. Songs that were supposed to chart at No.6 were coming in at No.34". Don't you love it when the people who run the music industry don't actually care about the people who MAKE music? And he said they stopped chart-fixing because they were bad at it?! He does think that it's WRONG to outright lie to the public to try to shove shitty music down their throats, he's just disappointed it didn't work as well as they thought it would. What a joke.
  • by squatex (765966) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:13AM (#10329320)
    But record companies were still needed, he said, because "no unsigned band has been broken by the internet," he said. "Bands are screaming in space on the internet." Its really only a matter of time. And while no artist has become a "superstar" online yet, there are some artists who have built some rather large fanbases (see Mc Chris [mcchris.com]
  • Limited? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BillyBlaze (746775) <tomfelker@gmail.com> on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:13AM (#10329327)
    If time continues to progress at 1 year per year, and copyrights are extended faster than that, then no copyright will expire in a limited time. Granted, this may not be constitutionally mandated in Europe, but what if they extend it further than it currently is in the US? Then we will have to extend it it to match them.

    If governments won't stop this trend, maybe competition can. If people come up with a licence that expires in, say, 15 years, and a trademark logo ("Sane copyright inside!"), and companies who wouldn't be impacted by this start using it, it might become popular. Then, people who care could exert direct competitive pressure against those who don't go along.

    No, I don't think this will actually happen, but wouldn't it be cool?

    • Founder's Copyright? (Score:4, Informative)

      by MenTaLguY (5483) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:42AM (#10329642) Homepage
      You mean something just like this [creativecommons.org]?

      O'Reilly has released a number of titles [creativecommons.org] under this arrangement.
      • Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of O'Reilly doing this, but for a publisher of current computer science reference works, 14 years vs. perpetuity is a distinction without a difference: the odds of Building Cocoa Applications: A Step-by-Step Guide being of any use beyond idle curiosity in May of 2026 are not measurably greater than the odds of it being of any use beyond idle curiosity in May of 2126.

        Record labels, on the other hand, look back at Pearl Jam, U2, the Dead, the Beatles, Elvis, the Andrews S

    • The license shouldn't expire totally. After 15 years years or whatever the terms should drop down to Creative Commons style terms. What we don't want is the music industry making derived works with insane copyright terms from works with your "sane terms" on them. The long term goal should be to get enough culture under sane terms that the industry will be forced to deal with us as equals. With notable exceptions like Sun and MS, the IT industry already deals with FOSS projects as equals.
  • Labels (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The-Bus (138060) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:15AM (#10329350)
    "as well as increasing the control that the recording industry holds over performers."

    I'm not shedding a tear. People act as if labels are the only way to do things. Don't want to sign with Universal? Don't. Publish on your own. Don't use the labels. You still have a choice.
    • I'm not shedding a tear. People act as if labels are the only way to do things. Don't want to sign with Universal? Don't. Publish on your own. Don't use the labels. You still have a choice.

      Music labels are all about marketing. And that doesn't just mean marketing to you, it means marketing to all those up anc coming independent bands, saying that the big label is the only way to go. Have a read of Some of Your Friends are Already this Fucked [indiecentre.com] by Steve Albini (a man who certanly knows the business). The
  • Limit copyright (Score:5, Interesting)

    by teeth (2952) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:17AM (#10329377) Homepage
    ...to 15 years and real humans.

    Exclusive licences should be limited to 5 years and carry an obligation to publish; if a licencee fails to publish they should lose their rights without compensation.

  • by Large Bogon Collider (815523) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:19AM (#10329394)
    Copyright is a monopoly on use/distribution for a _limited_ time so as to grant the authors/creators some time to recoup their expenses. Afterward, it is meant to go into the public domain so as to benefit all of mankind. Most of our great works of literature and songs are in the public domain, which allows anyone to create derivative works without being unduly hampered by fees and such. If you can't make an adequate return on an investment in 50 years, it is safe to say that it was a flop. A copyright extension does nothing to change that! These greedy pigs ought to be slapped down.

    An interesting sidenote is this: remember when copying a chord (dunno how many notes that was) of song was considered infringement? I wonder what would happen if someone went out and made a pseudosong with every possible combination of a chord. Then they could sue every new song as being "infringing." The whole notion is ridiculous

    • This reminds me of the Magnus-Opus project. http://www.magnus-opus.com/index1.html [magnus-opus.com]
      Basically, they wrote a piece of music that contains every possible phone number in Austrailia. The tones made by a touch-tone phone in dialing a number are now copyrighted. When you call someone, you are performing one of their songs and must pay for a compulsory licence. It was a great idea to poke fun at the absurdity of copyright laws. (And it is a fun read too.)
    • An interesting sidenote is this: remember when copying a chord (dunno how many notes that was) of song was considered infringement? I wonder what would happen if someone went out and made a pseudosong with every possible combination of a chord. Then they could sue every new song as being "infringing." The whole notion is ridiculous.

      Copyright only refers to derived works. If I create something on my own that happens to be exactly the same as something you previously created, I should be in the clear as long

  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:21AM (#10329417) Homepage
    Do we need any more proof as to why the music industry is in the dumps?! The top dog of the music industry cannot distinguish between a good song or a bad song. He appears to believe that any succession of notes could be a hit merely by marketing.

    I hear people say again and again that they buy less music because music sucks today. (At least the crap pushed by the industry.) Now we have evidence to back that up.

  • by Bloody Templar (702441) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:31AM (#10329525)
    Seriously, that's a real question. There's a really good round-table discussion in this month's Playboy about the music industry and how they're running themselves into the ground with this crap. Most everybody - except for the RIAA dick - seems certain that the record industry's days (as we know it) are numbered.
  • Why, again? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bokmann (323771) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:32AM (#10329531) Homepage
    Why do copyrights need to be longer than 50 years? Not everything is Mickey Mouse... I mean, in 50 years, is Brittany Spears going to be relevant to anyone other than her grandkids?

    Copyrights hinder things from becoming 'common' in our culture, and life becomes bland. Imagine if noone knew the words to 'happy birthday' or common Christmas carols...

    -db
    • Re:Why, again? (Score:3, Informative)

      by darkstar949 (697933)
      Well as it turns out 'Happy Birthday To You' is still copyrighted. For more information head over here [snopes.com] and read the article. From the looks of it the song will be copyrighted until 2030.
  • by upsidedown_duck (788782) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:32AM (#10329536)

    A thought just occurred to me: why do corporations take ownership of employee's copyrights instead of taking limited exclusive license? It's the employees doing the creating. Why not make Disney pay employees and former employees for continuations of exclusive license, until the copyright formally expires?

    Regardless, copyright terms are getting too long. The great masters of 20th century classical music, for example, would gain much greater appreciation if their sheet music were affordable and not artificially jacked up in price by someone who really has no claim to the work.

  • by argoff (142580) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:33AM (#10329555)
    For a primer of anti copyright arguments, I attack some of the main arguments on my web page, see .... Bitter Protest Against Copyrights [inetsoda.com]
    • If someone said there was no incentive to grow potatoes unless they could rip up your yard and plant some

      Huh? There's incentive to grow FOOD, it's called human metabolism.

      there was no incentive to say good things unless can control your speech

      This is false. There is incentive to say good things without control, but there's MORE incentive to say things when there is control.

      But the Renaissance happened without copyrights, so why can't the information age?

      The reasoning expressed here is a fallacy, a
  • The cost of music... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by HerculesMO (693085)
    There used to be a pretty tried and true idea, that people are willing to pay for what they get. It's not true universally, but it's relatively speaking, pretty true.

    I still, suprisingly buy music. I do too, also pirate some, but they are deleted in short order. It's the nature of the industry nowadays -- most artists know they won't last longer than a few years and the goal is to get every penny they can. Look at Metallica, now winding down their career (because it was downhill anyway) -- they started out
    • They started out singing against the 'man', 'halls of justice painted green, money talkin'

      Started out? That's from the first album on the downhill slope - the album that housed the song for their first video (which pissed off a lot of fans at the time). I think it marks the point at which they noticed that money buys you more than "staying true to the scene" does....

      Shame to drop so low, for a band that got 2 albums in the Top100 with _NO_ radio support (Kill Em All and Ride The Lightning)...
  • by lynx_user_abroad (323975) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:36AM (#10329579) Homepage Journal
    There's a saying I'm quite fond of:

    Innovation will occur where it's allowed.

    I've read-up on all the Lessig arguments [the-future-of-ideas.com] and I think he's done a good job of understanding and explaining the mechanics of how overzealous copyright law can hinder the development of derivatives. But I have to disagree with his conclusions.

    Lessig's arguments, in a nutshell, are that because of draconian copyright law, the culture we would expect to see developing around protected works is not developing.

    Maybe he's right, but maybe who cares?

    It seems to me that the actions of the RIAA and friends will primarily result in the next generation developing it's own non-derivative culture, and with it, a derivative culture based on it.

    Here's one example: the fastest growing software culture right now is not the proprietary software culture where everything is fairly adequately protected, but the free software culture where sharing and derivations are king.

    Or consider this: The BBC is investigating the possibility of opening their archives to the world, placing them on the Internet, and allowing anyone who cares to create their own derivative works. If this happens, is there any doube that the next geveration of American kids will enjoy a culture of Dr. Who remakes, and be scarcely familiar with the culture of Friends and (God forbid) it's remakes?

    The culture will grow wherever the culture is allowed to grow.

    There's plenty of music out there on the internet which the RIAA can't complain about you downloading because the artist has already authorized it. (I don't want to bias anyone, so I won't post links here, but I'll invite replies and follow-up to post their favorite sites.)

    What would happen if the onling music sharing community were to declare January, 2005 as Free Music Only month and take a pledge to refuse to offer, download, or purchase any music which isn't Free To Share for 31 days. Would the RIAA notice if all priacy stopped? Would they modify their prices or policies to compensate for the sudden reduction in the behavior they are soo keen to stop?

    Would the industry ever recover from the loss of customers to the Free Music culture.

    I submit that we don't have to build our culture on top of the one created by the RIAA; that the culture we have created for ourselves is really quite good, and certaintly adequate for our needs.

    I'd say let the RIAA keep their worn-out cookie-cutter tunes. Let the culture they created die by their own silly overly-protective rules.

    Wouldn't that be ironic; the RIAA, faced with the prospect that their primary market just doesn't care anymore, pleading to reduce copyright terms just so that future genrations will bother to remember them at all?

  • by The Breeze (140484) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:38AM (#10329604) Homepage
    I hate taxes.

    However, since corporations seem to think that once something is created they should own it forever, make them subject to the same taxes everyone has to pay - if intellectual property is truly property, treat it as such.

    In other words, we must all pay taxes if we own real property - it's called the property tax. If you own a vacant lot, you must pay tax every year on it, whether you use it or not.

    I hate that. I think it's stupid. I think once you own a piece of real estate, you should own it forever. However, that is the way the world is.

    Let's extend it. The MPAA, RIAA & company pretty much have Congress and the Supreme Court bought off one way or another. It's pretty clear we can't fight them directly. So, let's start a campaign to collect intellectual property tax. Force companies to register and maintain title to created works. Give them a twenty year window, from time of first publication, to own the IP free and clear of tax. After twenty years, charge 'em tax if they don't relinquish the copyright to the public domain.

    It's drastic. It's yet another stupid tax. On the other hand, it's a potentially huge source of revenue and a way of bypassing the lobbyists and hacks who prevent enforcement of the LIMITED copyrights mentioned in the Constitution. Go to a politician and tell them that the campaign contributions they take in from the copyright holders can't match the goodwill generated by bringing home the pork money that this tax will bring in.

    How much will a .5% tax on Mickey Mouse bring into the government till?

    Let's do it. Anyone want to work with me to make it happen? It'd be difficult - copyright is usually a Federal issue, but there must be a way to get something done at the state level. Send me email if you're interested.

    I'm a conservative Republican. The idea of working to create a new type of tax is hateful to me. Unfortunately, I must conclude the idea of turn the right to think and create freely over to corporations is even more hateful.

    -Steve Calabrese
  • by ShatteredDream (636520) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:41AM (#10329623) Homepage
    They seem to have no conception of a need to foster public good will, which is just bizarre for a corporate entity. Whenever I think about things like steamboat willy, I just can't help but wonder why Disney didn't release those really old cartoons just to keep old fans happy. Yes, they would lose out on a small amount of revenue, but a company that "gives back" gets a good reputation that can make its future offerings more attractive since it adds a more human face to an otherwise faceless entity.
    • by multimed (189254) <mrmultimedia@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday September 23, 2004 @12:07PM (#10329953)
      Blame it at least in part on the stock market. Executives are not rewarded for the future, they're rewarded of increasing the share price in the short term. Not that good will can't have a positive impact on share price, but it's less so than short-term profits and takes longer.

      Though I guess in fairness it's not the market's fault persay--the market does what it's supposed to. But individual shareholders, mutual funds and corporations are driven by not just greed, but instant gratification at the expense of long-term growth.

    • Because they DON'T need to.

      The reason is simple: you can't get much substitution involved when it comes to copyrighted works. If Dell annoy you, you can go buy a Simply PC instead. If Microsoft get on your wick, you can use Linux.

      But if all your friends are talking about "Pirates of The Caribbean", you can't decide you don't like Disney and thus go watch some other pirate film. Well, you can, but it won't enable you to join in those conversations. The films might be similar, but they're not the same.
    • They seem to have no conception of a need to foster public good will, which is just bizarre for a corporate entity

      Not at all. Corporation's responsibility is to make money for its shareholders, not foster public good will. Unless of course that leads to more profits.

      See the book "The Corporation" by Joel Bakan.

  • What the hell (Score:2, Informative)

    by hackronym0 (812439)

    The Recording Industries keep mentioning how much money that they have to spend to market their music... Well, let me explain why. If you play a crappy song for me and then ask me if I like it, I'll say no. And if you play a crappy song for me 1000 times, I'll still say I don't like it. BUT..., if you pay people that I or my peers respect to say that they like it and then play it 1000 times, I will LIE and say that I like it.

    That is part of their problem, they need to get the songs that people like with

    • Re:What the hell (Score:2, Interesting)

      by real_smiff (611054)
      Hmm. you may have just hit something important. A lot of it is to do with presentation of particular kinds of music as "cool". People, especially youngsters are herd animals often without a well formed taste of their own. thus they are vulnerable to this pressure. It would be fascinating to know what people would like if they were brought up in a vacuum, with access to all music, but never hearing anyone else's opinion on music. i know it's impossible, but i bet a lot of what's now independant/alternative m
      • Re:What the hell (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hyphz (179185) *
        The problem is that, like so many other things, music runs right up into a fundamental problem with capitalism.

        Part of the idea of capitalism is that people should buy the products that generate the most value for them. But with music, that's paradoxical, because until you've heard a song you don't know how much you like it; and once you have heard it, you've already consumed entertainment value from it.

        If someone was brought up in a vacuum, they'd try randomly until they hit on an artist they like and t
  • by John Jorsett (171560) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:46AM (#10329686)
    The recent changes to US copyright were supposedly to conform to the European standards. Now the Euros are supposedly needing to conform to the US standards. Clearly, the intent is to ratchet the period forward inexorably until copyright is effectively perpetual. I had hopes that the US Supreme Court was going to put a stop to this insanity, but noooooo.
  • What would be nice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by samberdoo (812366)
    would be that after a certain time period, the artists get 100% of the royalties. I'm sure these companies would be so happy with that.
  • Crap... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gentlewhisper (759800) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @11:54AM (#10329789)
    When will all this stop?

    Will it ever lead to a day when we would finally have the MCXCIII compilation of Britney Spears FOREVER and on the case instead of showing a busty Britney, it just shows a mound of dust.

    That's what Britney would be in say.. 70 years, the way they keep extending these God damned copyrights.

    So what if they spent 10 billion dollars to market that bitch? Other industries (like drug firms/whatever) spent a lot to develop products too, they don't get protection as ridiculous as these (thankfully)

    Of course, we can go on and on about boycotting them, but as long as Joe Average doesn't know (or care) about what is happening, it won't even make a dent on the RIAA.

    So long "the land of the free", let's all migrate to Nigeria!

    http://www.migrate-nigeria.com/ [migrate-nigeria.com]
    • > That's what Britney would be in say.. 70
      > years, the way they keep extending these God
      > damned copyrights.
      > So what if they spent 10 billion dollars to
      > market that bitch? Other industries (like drug
      > firms/whatever) spent a lot to develop
      > products too, they don't get protection as
      > ridiculous as these (thankfully)

      That's what I think the next step will be, though.

      Instead of finding a Britney Spears, they'll create Britney Spears as a marketing figure first, and then hire a singe
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @12:03PM (#10329909)
    New IFPI Boss Vows to Extend Recording Copyrights

    This is all a stupid game of Leapfrog, taking us all as suckers for a ride. To wit:

    1: Increase copyright lengths in the USA.
    2: Claim Europe is out of step "with the world" because their copyrights are only 50 years now, instead of life + 75.
    3: Increase European copyrights to exceed the "world standard".
    4: Claim the USA is now "out of step with the world" because their copyrights aren't as long as the Eurpoean standard.
    5: Demand increasing USA copyright terms to exceed European copyrights.
    6: PROFIT!!!
    7: Goto #1.

    I believe whatever copyright existed when a work was created and released to the public should remain in force for that work, and expire on schedule. Clearly that copyright was sufficient to insprie the creation of that work at the time, which is the stated purpose of all copyrights!

    You know, the more things get unfair, the less I'm worried about "stealing" music over the Internet. I would not take physical product from a store, but that's a very different thing.

    HOWEVER, the music industry has very little to worry about from me because frankly just about nothing today is worth listening to.

    • I believe whatever copyright existed when a work was created and released to the public should remain in force for that work, and expire on schedule. Clearly that copyright was sufficient to inspire the creation of that work at the time, which is the stated purpose of all copyrights!

      Exactly. That point seemed be partially understood by the Supreme Court in the Eldred case but for whatever reason, they thought of that portion of Sony Bono as bad law but not unconstitutional. I just don't get that--the C

  • by teamhasnoi (554944) <.teamhasnoi. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Thursday September 23, 2004 @12:08PM (#10329960) Homepage Journal
    Music copyrights are being lengthened all the time. Left unchecked, eventually copyright extensions will be subject to diminishing returns, as the body of music grows, 'record' collections expand, there will be less money to be made from music that should have gone to public domain, as less will be 'repurchaced' and more variety will be available.

    Many ad agencies, when making a commercial for TV, use music that has not been cleared. When the commercial is ready for production, they have someone record a 'similar' version with different chords or a melody that differs only slightly - enough that it is considered a separate work, and no license is required. Clearing copyright for movies is similar - a license for distribution in a movie is subject to contracts as long as your leg and the price is shooting ever higher.

    I predict that the music industry will move to have the mood and 'feel' of a song copyrighted. Just think of the money to be made by copyrighting a genre or production style of music! If the music industry can copyright the 'feel' or production style of a song, they will have what they always wanted - absolute control over who makes and distributes music. Independent songwriters who write a song that has a similar style to the Beatles 'Blackbird' will have to clear the copyright on that 'style'. Bands will be prevented from writing or performing 'a song that sounds like Led Zepplin'.

    Yes, it sounds far fetched, yes, it is fraught with loopholes, opinion, and subjectiveness.

    But it would make them rich, and it would make them all-powerful.

    Watch for it.

  • by SloWave (52801) on Thursday September 23, 2004 @12:26PM (#10330171) Journal

    When are people going to realize that the extending copyrights, enhancing patent coverage, or any other games being played by IP monopolists are done at the direct cost of reducing the rights of individual people. That's right, it means taking something that you had as a right and giving it to a corporation. At one time this was justified by the belief that it would provide incentive to create new products and services. As we are seeing more and more, the effect now is to stifle innovation and keep it under control of large corporations so that they may maintain ecomonic power.
  • As long as copyright makes money, the lobbying will go on and more and more terrible laws will be made.

    Break Copyright! Destroy copyright profits!

    Get rid of your iTunes habit. Don't go to movie theaters. Download as hard you can and make an FTP server for your friends. Distribute DVD-R's full of MP3s to your workmates. Explain your teenage sister how to get stuff from binary newsgroups. Install emule for your grandma.

    You can cost the **AA thousands of dollars in revenues with very little risk to yourself
  • "Ich bin ein asshat."

No hardware designer should be allowed to produce any piece of hardware until three software guys have signed off for it. -- Andy Tanenbaum

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