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ASCAP War On Free Culture Escalates 335

An anonymous reader writes "After ASCAP declared war on free culture and Creative Commons responded on the incident, the war of words is escalating. Drew Wilson of ZeroPaid has been following this story closely. The EFF responded to the ASCAP letter, saying 'we don't think that ASCAP characterized EFF and its work accurately. We believe that artists should be compensated for their work, and one proposal we have for that is Voluntary Collective Licensing.' The response from the EFF came with a study and a letter written by one irate ASCAP member who donated to the EFF and to Public Knowledge as a result of the ASCAP letter. Public Knowledge also responded to the letter, saying, 'It's obvious that the characterization of Public Knowledge is false. Public Knowledge advocates for balanced copyright and an open Internet the empowers creators and the public. What we oppose are overreaching policies proposed by large corporate copyright holders that punish lawful users of technology and copyrighted works.' Now the National Music Publishers Association has weighed in to support ASCAP, saying that organizations like Public Knowledge and the EFF 'have an extremist radical anti-copyright agenda,' according to a transcript of a speech posted on Billboard. Public Knowledge has dismissed those allegations, saying 'anybody who has spent more than five minutes on our website or talking to our staff knows that these things are not true.'"
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ASCAP War On Free Culture Escalates

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  • Ha. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bbqsrc ( 1441981 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:18AM (#32742732) Homepage
    It gives me great pleasure when these things escalate, because the more they escalate, the higher chance the media may accidentally make these arguments mainstream, and people might actually wake up and notice how flawed the system currently is.
    • Re:Ha. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Seriousity ( 1441391 ) <Seriousity AT live DOT com> on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:27AM (#32742798)
      Indeed, the sheer audacity of the industry giants behaviour has increased over the years and is becoming more and more visible.

      If only we had better coverage of the issue offline. The mainstream media is wroth to anger their corporate overlords.
      But millions of people are discovering the war on freedom through websites online...
      Hence the need for an INTERNET KILL SWITCH!

      Honestly, it's nearing the point where we should physically confront these politicians and smack them upside the head. The farcical pretense of democracy has been stretched so damn far that it might just tear down the middle.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by richlv ( 778496 )

        it seems to be going in the wrong direction. for some reason eff and public knowledge are _defending_ themselves, so they look half-guilty and inefficient.

        calling ascap greedy thieves who are doing blackmail would be more appropriate and effective. couple that with stories of their wrongdoings, and it is more likely to touch the common person.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by erroneus ( 253617 )

          That's an interesting observation. EFF and Public Knowledge are usually defending ideals, not themselves. And defending themselves does tend to make them look guilty of something which is probably the plan since "public opinion" invariably targets "middle ground." By making these accusations and negative assertions, it shifts the perceived middle further away from the freedom-fighting EFF and PK.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Just remember, corporations are evil, shareholders are evil, and the fact that they often do society a great deal of good should never confuse anyone to the fundamental immorality of these groups. You're average corporate shill would stab you in the back, cut your heart out and eat it if general societal mores weren't in the way. They are deviants that should be controlled, and one way to do this is that when one of them makes this sort of claim, they should be seized and dropped somewhere in the Pacific,

      • Honestly, it's nearing the point where we should physically confront these politicians and smack them upside the head.

        Nearing the point? Only in the sense that we're so far past that point now that we've actually circled the earth and it is once again looming on the horizon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
      Exactly. Most people may not understand the intricacies of DRM and its inherent flaws but they can recognize greed when they see it. More importantly, I wish some artists (which by definition have an audience) take some positions. They will determine how this thing ends.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        They will determine how this thing ends.

        No they won't, the people with the shekels will decide how this thing ends, as always. And thats not some greedy corporation my friend, that's you and me.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        If you are talking about music artists then most seem to think they automatically deserve to be paid for producing their music while the few that talk back about the tyranny only do just enough to get people to notice but don't follow through with putting their money where their mouth is.
        • Re:Ha. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by geekd ( 14774 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @12:36PM (#32746484) Homepage

          Do you know music artists? I am one, and I know a lot of them. I don't know any who think they "automatically deserve to be paid for producing their music". Most are thrilled when they can make a living from their music, but none expect to. Most musicians I know make WAY more money from shows and t-shirt sales than from CD or MP3 sales.

          In fact, many, like myself, give the music away for free (I license it under the Creative Commons) in order to get more fans, so to have more people at shows and sell more merch.

          Get my music for free at []

          Making music is a labor of love, and anyone who does it expecting to get rich is an idiot.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hairyfeet ( 841228 )

          The problem with the "artists can fight it" theory is this: They gotta eat like everybody else and the gateways are controlled completely by the cartel. Thanks to the corporate whores in government removing what little barriers we had just look at how many radio markets are 100% owned by Clear Channel. I know in my own market you can spin the dial all day and all you will hear is the same CC playlist over and over and OVER.

          My last band had built a pretty decent regional following, especially among the coll

  • ASCAP = All Sound Cr@p Always Prevails .....?

    • Re:ASCAP is (Score:5, Informative)

      by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:28AM (#32742800)

      No, it's easier than that.

      AS = Ass.
      CAP = Hat.

      They're just a bunch of asshats. I don't think there is an actual composer or author left in the group; ASCAP years ago drove anyone with any common sense into either individual publishing and licensing, or the arms of rival groups.

      I mean seriously. These are the same group of dickfaces who tried to sue 5-year-olds for singing songs at summer camp. [] No joke.

      • David Bollier (Score:5, Informative)

        by Neil_Brown ( 1568845 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:39AM (#32742868) Homepage

        I mean seriously. These are the same group of dickfaces who tried to sue 5-year-olds for singing songs at summer camp. [] No joke.

        For those who are not going to click the link, the material referenced there is from David Bollier []'s book "Brand Name Bullies".

        That is still on my bookshelf, but I can highly recommend Bollier's work [] generally, as a promotion of the concept of a "commons" - "Silent Theft" being a prime example, or, for those who prefer shorter reading matter, Bollier's paper, which gave rise to the book, "Public Assets, Private Profits" [].

        (As a lawyer with a keen interest in this area, I'm a big fan of David's work, and his easy-to-access writing style.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by HeckRuler ( 1369601 )
      eh, they're just a bunch of asshats.
  • by Lord Bitman ( 95493 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:21AM (#32742750) Homepage

    I think that copyright should exist to promote the creation of content. Once the money involved in creating that content has been paid, copyright should automatically expire.

    This isn't just about money. It's gotten to the point where I can't go a month without hearing someone mention something they'd like to do, or would like to track down, or would like to show others, but can't because of short-sighted copyright laws. How many books, movies, TV-shows, radio plays, and other content, is irretrievably lost for all time, not because of a lack of technology or willingness required to preserve it, but because of some insane and nonsensical copyright laws which prevent archival of content whose monetary incentive was long-since paid? This must end. Culture is dying.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
      We lost many of 19th century plays because on the beginning of the 20th century they refused to be recorded (yes, copyright law). We lost many movies of the first part of the 20th century, save for a few blockbusters. Most books are not edited anymore, but copying them instead of letting the content die is forbidden. They fight for copyright, we fight for culture. Yes we indeed have an agenda, and they have none, save personal greed.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Garwulf ( 708651 )

        That tears it - I want to see your sources.

        I'm sorry, but I actually work in the publishing industry, and I own a publishing company, and I think you're talking through your ass. So, I'm calling bullshit on these claims.

        Aside from which, not only are most books edited (that's a key part of the publishing process), but whether they're edited has no bearing whatsoever on whether you can copy them. That's faulty logic on the level of South Park's Chewbacca defense.

        So, provide your sources, or stop making the

        • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @10:26AM (#32744146) Journal
          Sorry, I made an English mistake. I didn't mead edited, I meant published. Most books ever written are not published anymore and can't be bought anywhere anymore. Ok, here is one quickly-found source : []
          That states that in Canada there are more original titles published every year than reprints. Apart from having a number of titles doubling every year, the only explanation for that is that some (most in fact) books go into oblivion after their first print (I mean, is there a single person claiming that the majority of books are reprinted several times ?)
          It happened to me several time to pick old books on garage sales, and when liking it, looking for books of the same author. When the book is 50+ years old, it is incredibely difficult ! There is one author that I liken to Saint-Exupery, but with more humor, that is completely unknown and unpublished as of today. Thanks to internet, it is now possible to find used copies, but for how long ? The one I have is losing its yellow pages.
          Even famous people like Henri Laborit have some of their works unfindable today. (I am willing to pay twice the normal price if you find me the book "La Nouvelle Grille"). And don't get me started on comic books and roleplaying games (Amber, Circus, Bitume, Starwars D6, very good games out of print for other reasons than lack of success). Current copyright laws may allow some authors make a living, but they are also erasing a volume of culture that should qualify as "vandalism against humanity". That is something that is important to correct.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Neil_Brown ( 1568845 )

          Most books are not edited anymore, but copying them instead of letting the content die is forbidden.

          I too did not understand the editing point. However, if one replaces "edited" with "published", then it makes more sense - only a fraction of the literature that has even been written is still published or sold - there are many, many works which one can no longer buy, otherwise than finding a copy in a second hand bookshop or the like.

          However, despite these works not being available on the market (i.e.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Garwulf ( 708651 )

            Seriously, where the hell do people get this idea of creative artists sitting on their work like evil geniuses, expressly to prevent somebody else from using it? That's not the way it works. Hell, I challenge you to name one author who has done it, just one.

            As far as availability goes, that has to do with economics of demand. So long as the demand is present, the book is available - it does the publisher and its author no good if it's sitting in a vault. Once the demand goes away, the book goes out of c

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Neil_Brown ( 1568845 )

              Seriously, where the hell do people get this idea of creative artists sitting on their work like evil geniuses, expressly to prevent somebody else from using it? That's not the way it works. Hell, I challenge you to name one author who has done it, just one.

              I'm sure it's not the general rule at all - I talk to authors regularly (mainly to say thank you for books I enjoy, but also as part of research), and I have yet to come across any who would sit on a work, as you suggest, to prevent publication. Dis

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Garwulf ( 708651 )

                "But, the system, if not the authors, does not support the making available of books once the initial rush has died down - as you say, it is a matter of economics as to what gets published. However, if it is no longer economic to publish, then the author no longer makes any money from sales (since the books are not available to buy new, once stocks are depleted), and so it strikes me that there is very little reason to maintain a restriction over the book."

                So, let me get this straight - you're actually sayi

                • You are talking about dropping a book into the public domain once the sales are no longer enough to keep it in print, and in order to do that, you have to strip all rights the author has to their own book away. So, if the author wants to try again, they can't - the book is in the public domain, and they no longer have any say in the matter.

                  You do realize there are alternatives to just "all or nothing", right? For example, bringing back copyright renewal accompanied by a registration fee (which in fact used to be the way it was done in the U.S.). Statistical evidence shows that the vast majority of works were not renewed, indicating that the copyright owners did not think the fairly small renewal fee was worth it.

                  That sort of system both enhances the public domain and allows authors who believe their work has continued economic value to contin

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by mattsucks ( 541950 )

              As far as availability goes, that has to do with economics of demand. So long as the demand is present, the book is available

              How do you know there is demand for a book (ie people are interested in it and will read it) if there is no supply?

              Chickens and eggs; although in this case the eggs can be made available for pennies each in digital form.

              Mmmmm digital eggs .... need breakfast.

    • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:49AM (#32742946)

      Once the money involved in creating that content has been paid, copyright should automatically expire.

      It sounds to me like you are unfamiliar with Hollywood Accounting. Have you ever wondered how the MPAA can claim that the companies it represents keep losing money, yet somehow those companies never seem to go out of business? The movie studios never post profits, because they deliberately spend money on nonexistence services -- they have contracts with shell companies that simply hold their money and use it to fund the next movie. The purpose here is to cheat actors out of their fair share of the profits. Any copyright system that maintained monopolies on works up to the break even point would only result in even more widespread use of these tactics.

      Really, copyright terms should be shortened, reined back to 20 years, maybe even less. This would be a compromise that helps establish a strong public domain without eradicating copyrights entirely. Of course, that will never happen, since the copyright lobbyists have more power in congress than the rest of the population...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Twinbee ( 767046 )

        Maybe we should all discuss the most appropriate expiration for copyright (say 10 to 30 years), and then create a website and try to change copyright to the new limit.

    • The worst to my recollection would be WKRP in Cincinatti. The company that wound up with the rights to the show was unable to reach a reasonable deal for the music rights (possibly ASCAP et al) -- so all the shows (originals IIRC) were dubbed with other tracks.

      In the 80s (and early 90s) at least, I know the CBC still had originals - though doubtful they would be allowed to air them if they still did.

      You certainly cannot buy the DVD's as they originally aired.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        That's unrelated to ASCAP. ASCAP does not have any part in negotiating synchronization rights. Those are negotiated individually between the composer, the publisher, and the company wanting to do the synchronization. All ASCAP can do in the matter is provide contact information for the publisher and composer.

        The problem is not unusual. Most TV shows don't pre-license the rights for subsequent DVD release, and when they decide they want to do so, the publishers feel like they have them over a barrel, and

    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:16AM (#32743280) Homepage Journal

      Art, like science, is built on what has come before. Nothing is created in a vacuum; culture feeds on itself. If the Grimm Brothers' work had still been under copyright at the time, most early Disney cartoon could not have been made. This journal [] is a violation of copyright, for example, but it shouldn't be; the copied part is 35 years old. Copyrights should be short so the work can pass into the public domain, like they are supposed to.

      ASCAP and their ilk are against fair use and the public domain. Who's the radical extremist here?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:22AM (#32742756)

    if you want to sell air, don't bother the politicians, the law makers, and law enforcement with your "intellectual property" security concerns.

    the politicians are supposed to serve the people. the greater good. not the good of companies with ideas that are akin to selling me a license to breath the air in my own house.

    if you can't create works that you or a service provider can't secure, then you need to find another product to sell, or job to do.

    I'd love to be paid every time someone used the word "yeppers". and with enough money and attorneys and influence in the district of columbia, I could probably get it to pass.

    Then I'd start suing all the john does...

    • by Seriousity ( 1441391 ) <Seriousity AT live DOT com> on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:38AM (#32742860)
      The line between the government and the corporation has been blurred.

      In fact, every time something like this happens we scramble to find that line, and it's nowhere to be found.
      And some of us can scarcely remember what it looked like.

      What we have now is a global Corporatocracy, the compromise between government and corporation.
      What have the compromised? Our rights.

      If we don't fight ACTA, our grandchildren will have no idea that a line ever existed at all.
    • Welcome to the USA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:21AM (#32743324)
      Hi, I see you are new here. Some basics:
      1. Citizens are supposed to vote for politicians that represent them; however, those citizens rarely take more than 30 seconds to look at what those politicians are actually doing, and less than half of those citizens even bother voting
      2. The two dominant political parties serve the interests of corporations. One of those parties is up front about it, the other pretends to serve the interests of the majority of the citizens while really pandering to corporations
      3. Corporations send people to Congress to represent their interests, ensuring that even those politicians who are considering representing the interests of the average citizen will have a nonstop stream of communication with corporations; most citizens do not bother contacting their representatives (many are not even sure who represents them)
      4. Anyone who dares question this system is immediately labeled as a "socialist," which is something you are supposed to be terrified of; most Americans cannot actually define what socialism is, but they "know" it is a bad thing
      5. You do have a right to protest all of this; however, the government will tell you where to hold your protest, and if you try to hold it somewhere where it will be more effective (say, in front of a major stock exchange, instead of the park 3 miles away where nobody will notice), you will be arrested because you did not exercise your rights the way you were told to -- after all, we can't have protests that disrupt anything!

      While you are here, do try to follow all our laws. Unfortunately, there are so many of them, that nobody is even sure what the exact number of those laws are, and most people wind up breaking them anyway, but you should at least try to follow them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Relative to your first point, we would be better off if fewer people voted, especially if we could make sure that the ones who continued to vote were the ones who were willing to pay enough attention to know who they were voting for and why. The "motor voter" laws were a bad idea. If someone can't be bothered to take the time to figure out how to register to vote and then do so, what makes you think they will take the time to know the difference between candidate A and candidate B?
  • Extremism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) <> on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:26AM (#32742776) Homepage Journal their word to associate us with terrorists in the public's mind.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by McGiraf ( 196030 )

      A Canadian politician used the same language a week ago, coincidence?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Up here in Canada, we've got a new copyright bill [] coming down the pike. It's been spearheaded by two Cabinet ministers, Tony Clement (Industry) and James Moore (Canadian Heritage). While Clement has been sensitive and seems open to suggestions [], Moore has definitely taken a more combative approach.

      In fact, in a recent speech, Moore decried copyright "radical extremists []" with a "babyish" attitude toward copyright.

      Notice the same phrase?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by thijsh ( 910751 )
      Extremist capitalists... Who terrorize ordinary civilians with bankruptcy... What a bunch of wankers, I hope this will get a *lot* of publicity!

      And if this war breaks out and the EFF shows they can stand their ground I will support them (i'd rather give all my money to the EFF than let a dime go to these thugs), and I hope many others will because of this.
  • The EFF is incredibly clever. They propose an unwieldy collective sharing system that's incredibly bureaucratic and then spend the rest of the time undermining every other system out there. The existence of this proposal lets them claim that they're not anti-artist, but the net effect is that they just make Google and the hardware companies richer. And who's their biggest donors?
    • by Dogun ( 7502 )

      I am having a very difficult time making sense of this comment. Elaborate?

    • by thijsh ( 910751 )

      an unwieldy collective sharing system that's incredibly bureaucratic

      "Pool all the money and divide among the scavengers who claim their part of the loot"... seems to me this bureaucratic part is already being done with the tax on CD-R's. And that sure as hell wasn't an idea from the EFF!

    • by sorak ( 246725 )

      So they're just a tool of big hardware? Somewhere, Nathan Lane's ears just perked up.

  • Radical extremists? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:30AM (#32742808) Homepage Journal

    It looks to me like it's the established music (and film as well) industry whose position on copyright is radical and extreme.

    ASCAP itself is an incredibly mafia-like entity. I've known bartenders who have been shaken down by ASCAP thugs for fees that they clearly didn't owe, as bands that performed in those bars played their own, non-ASCAP compositions. The bar owners soon find out that the ASCAP fees are far cheaper than the legal fees.

    And these lying, theiving sociopaths have the gall to say that the EFF is radical and extreme? I'd laugh if it weren't so pathetic. ASCAP execs belong in prison for their extortion of bar owners (and likely other establishments).

    • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:37AM (#32742850)

      Have to agree. Since when is it considered illegal for me to give away my own content, if I chose to do so? How is that forcing anybody else to give away content? How is that stealing anything?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by grahamd0 ( 1129971 )

        Since when is it considered illegal for me to give away my own content, if I chose to do so?

        It isn't. ASCAP's position is that it should be.

        • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:19AM (#32743306)

          Since when is it considered illegal for me to give away my own content, if I chose to do so?

          It isn't. ASCAP's position is that it should be.

          That's very true. ASCAP (and the RIAA, and all other such abominations) feel that they are entitled to a piece of every sale or performance of every copyrighted work. Doesn't matter if they have no rights to such works. Doesn't even matter if the work is under an expired copyright, is public domain, or was released under some other terms. So far as they're concerned, we owe them for the right to "consume" creative material, whatever the source because, well, we just do that's all. Bloodsuckers, all of them.

          And they call Public Knowledge and the EFF "extreme"?

          Their level of hypocrisy is just stunning, really, it is.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by caseih ( 160668 )

        It's practically impossible for you to create your own content without infringing on some copyright that we already own (since we own a copyright on practically anything that has been created or will be created), we are therefore protecting you from yourself by prohibiting you from giving away things for free. If you're a composer, you cannot create music without using at least one two-note sequence that we've already copyrighted. Very similar for books. We clearly have a copyright to the phrase "he said

    • It looks to me like it's the established music (and film as well) industry whose position on copyright is radical and extreme.

      Moreover, their own extreme position is the real motivator behind their opinion of the opposite side of the debate. It's similar to debates in the culture wars or similar debates where one side accuses the other of having an "agenda" when in reality it is they who have ulterior motives beyond the matters at hand.

      Essentially what is going on here is that the copyright industry is trying to label those in favour of reform as extremists in an effort to shut them out. It's actually surprising that its taken them this long to reach this strategy. As history has shown, such tactics work very well--in the US in particular--where you can turn a debate completely on its head by proclaiming the exact opposite of what's going on. The best example of this is: "The Media has a Liberal Bias."

      The ultimate objective here is to make copyleft illegal and ensure that copyright is legally the only game in town. It's not implausible that ASCAP et al may succeed in this endeavor.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Moryath ( 553296 )

        I see a large amount of cognitive dissonance in your post.

        Essentially what is going on here is that the copyright industry is trying to label those in favour of reform as extremists in an effort to shut them out.

        This, at least, is true.

        As history has shown, such tactics work very well--in the US in particular--where you can turn a debate completely on its head by proclaiming the exact opposite of what's going on. The best example of this is: "The Media has a Liberal Bias."

        Hmm. Oddly enough, a long-term poli

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Nadaka ( 224565 )

          I'm sorry, rationality and human compassion have a liberal bias.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sorak ( 246725 )

          Of course, they arrived at that figure by assuming that the 2005 congress was "centrist", and comparing everything between 1995 and 2005 to them. Anything to the right of the Republican controlled congress was considered "liberal". I am curious how that exact same study would work if the 1995-2005 coverage were compared to the current congress, or, for that matter, if the 2000-2010 coverage were compared to the current congress.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by caseih ( 160668 )

          Nah. I think Steven Colbert got it right when he said, "reality has a well-known liberal bias."

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Just Some Guy ( 3352 )

      I've known bartenders who have been shaken down by ASCAP thugs for fees that they clearly didn't owe, as bands that performed in those bars played their own, non-ASCAP compositions.

      Ever daydream that you're on a jury, and you get to convince your fellow jurors to acquit the biker gang who just beat an ASCAP representative into retardation? And afterward, the gang buys you a beer out of gratitude, and it turns out that they're pretty OK guys who just didn't want someone shaking down their favorite hangout?

      Yeah, me neither.

  • by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:32AM (#32742818)

    I don't know, but I suspect that most money from movies, books, or songs, is made in the first year.

    • I can confidently say that most movies, books and songs don't make money at all (though it's hard to back up with stats). But the lure of the gravy train is strong.

      The sad thing is that it isn't just some evil lawyers behind this. Would-be artists want to think of themselves as "professional", and will support mandatory licensing, copyright violation detectors in every device, suppression of speech and knowledge, whatever it takes. Even though they themselves are hurt far more by it than they ever stand to

  • Helpful Links (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:35AM (#32742840)

    Support the EFF: []
    Support Creative Commons: []

  • by electricprof ( 1410233 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:37AM (#32742846)
    At least to me it confirms my belief that big media is absolutely terrified of its own demise. The complete hyperbole of their statements only makes sense to me as a expression of this terror. Unfortunately, since they have great influence I don't forsee them doing anything but morphing into some other greedy monopolistic form. Still ... watching the terror makes for a good show.
  • Too late. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AntEater ( 16627 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:38AM (#32742862) Homepage

    'anybody who has spent more than 5 minutes on our website or talking to our staff knows that these things are not true.'

    That, in a nutshell, is why the public in general will ever know what is true. We've pretty much reduced our collective thinking to ingesting media prepared "sound bites" and have no motivation to think beyond that point. I heard a politician or campaign manager once summarize the problem with the statement: "if you're explaining, you've lost" (or something to that effect.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      But pointing out that information is available is itself a soundbite, perhaps one that people might buy, even though they might not be bothered to look up the information personally.

      I have this problem a lot when trying to have political conversations with my friends. They get pointed the same news stories on the same topics by people close to them, so regardless of the context of the information inside, which they don't actually examine with a critical eye (if they read it at all!), they're led to beli
  • Buffer Copies? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dogun ( 7502 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:39AM (#32742864) Homepage

    From the speech, item #7 on the list of reasons they hate the EFF et. alia: 'They favor the elimination of the songwriter and publisher rights for server, cache and buffer copies.'

    I am actually rather shocked that ANYONE can rationalize royalty fees for 'server, buffer, and cache' copies of content. This is content that people are not seeing or hearing. These are invisible pink unicorn copies.

    • Greed (Score:3, Interesting)

      The answer is greed, pure and simple. Whether people actually hear the music is irrelevant, the point is that a copy is made in the most extreme technical sense, and the greedy folks from ASCAP 'n pals want to charge everyone for that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by salesgeek ( 263995 )

      Perhaps a demo of what happens to the average streamed MP3 without buffering and with no caching. Or without allowing access to server copies.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      everybody has a right to their opinion. the ASCAP believes that the invisible pink unicorn are real, even though nobody is seeing or hearing them. or are you one of those who thinks if a tree falls in the woods it makes no sound unless there's someone there to hear it?

      you, sir, are the perfect example of a radical extreme terrorist! the way you say "invisible pink unicorn" makes me think that you don't even like unicorns, so you are obviously a very bad man.

      the dollar bill says "In God we trust". and everyb

  • Irrelevant. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by inode_buddha ( 576844 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:42AM (#32742898) Journal
    These ASS-CAPS have been largely irrelevant for a long time, at least for me. The problem as I see it, is that copyright is all about money for them - it's not about art anymore. In order to be fair, they should re-publish their entire back-catalogs clear back to World War One, on CD's for $8 each. Basically if they're going to lock up copyright for that long, then they should be required to publish and sell for an equal lenghth of time, else they should STFU. I have *hundreds* of record albums recorded back in the 1950's and 1960's that you won't find anymore, and I wouldn't mind getting them on CD's from the original labels. If the labels cry that this would cost them too much, then I guess that shows a lot about them, and what they're really after. If they're not making anything off a recording anymore, then they should relinquish the copyright on it.
  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:45AM (#32742920) Homepage

    Copyrights are government granted monopolies contrary to the free market. That should be the argument against ASCAP's belief that anyone who disagrees with them are radical anti-copyright extremists.

    The EFF should be hammering it: Why does the copyright industry need increased government handouts and draconian government monopolies to survive? Let the free market sort it out. If they can't survive in a free market without massive government help and an erosion of our rights, so be it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LihTox ( 754597 )

      Creative Commons, for one, is NOT anti-copyright. Look at the "no commercial use" clause in particular: people who use that CC license are relying on copyright law to keep large corporations from using their work without royalties.

      CC's best strategy is not to take down copyright or even to take down ASCAP and their like, but to displace them. Persuade enough artists to take out copyright licenses that allow for non-commercial copying, and persuade enough people to prefer artists who do, and the draconian

  • by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @08:48AM (#32742940) Homepage

    They should find a better use for my money than the music industry.

    Here's the EFF donation [] page, for those who'd want to contribute as well.

  • To be fair, I'm sure they think my local library has an extremist, leftist agenda.

  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:02AM (#32743100) Homepage Journal

    EFF is pretty much moderate copyright/freedom balance organization.
    OTOH, ASCAP is a rabid extremist radical pro-copyright agenda.

  • More telling (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mystik ( 38627 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:04AM (#32743128) Homepage Journal

    What's more telling is rather than defend their positions with facts, economic or otherwise, they are simply name-calling groups that are attacking them. "They're stupid because their ideas are stupid" Bonus points for using words like 'extremist' to label their opponents in there too.

    Part of the strong-copyright groups problem is that they have been producing reports in their favor for years, and folks are finally coming around to realizing that those reports were wildly inaccurate, and skewed heavily in favor of their position.

    The art of debate in politics and policy has been lost. No --- the art has simply been reduced to kindergarten-like school fights.

  • John Perry Barlow (Score:5, Informative)

    by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:07AM (#32743164)

    Some of the older Slashdotters here may remember, but one of the founding members of the EFF was John Perry Barlow, who is intimately associated with the Grateful Dead, having collaborated as a lyricist, primarily as a partner with Bob Weir (Garcia tended to collaborate with a poet named Robert Hunter). The reason this is relevant is because the Dead is perhaps one of the best examples of the model that "free culture" advocates promote. The band pretty much encouraged bootlegging of concerts, sometimes even letting the occasional fan tap into the mixing board. There are millions of bootlegged recordings available, yet they still sell tonnes of records. More importantly, they were a huge concert draw and one of the biggest touring acts prior to Garcia's death. The spin-off bands with the remaining members, such as Dark Star and Rat Dog continue to go pretty strong, as do bands who were culturally influenced by them, and not just musically influenced, such as Phish.

    While EFF is probably more famous around here for providing defense funds for MOD hackers in the late 80s and early 90s, outting NSA wiretapping programs, and stuff like that I think it really is kind of important to remember that from their founding, they were probably the most qualified organization to take a stand on this particular issue.

  • by PantherX ( 23953 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:10AM (#32743194) Homepage

    Typical. Instead of just defining what copyleft is and isn't we get into a dickering match with people that have more money and resources. Let's get to the point already. In small bites so your grandma can understand in less than 2 minutes.

    Here's a start, under typical creative commons copyleft:

    Copyright - a way to make sure nobody plagiarizes your material, so you get credit for your work, usually with a motive to make profit.

    Copyleft - a way to make sure nobody plagiarizes your material, so you get credit for your work, with little regard to how that material is used, copied, improved, changed, etc.

    The main difference being copyright can be used in a Daffy Duck method. "MINE! MINE! MINE!" and copyleft is generally a "Hey, if you want to use this to do something else with, go ahead. Just make sure I get credit."

    Flame on.

  • by Wansu ( 846 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:11AM (#32743214)

    I'm a musician, one of the people ASCAP claims to be helping. I don't feel helped. ASCAP and BMI shakedown establishments who hire live music. Either they pay this extortion or no cover tunes can be played there. If you post your rendition of a cover tune online to promote your fledgling local band, you may be sued or extorted. Sure makes it more difficult to get a band off the ground.

    I despise these sons of bitches and I'm sure I'm not alone. I also think ASCAP and BMI people are aware that their policies and activities make them unpopular. I've never seen or heard anyone who identifies themselves with ASCAP. I understand why.

    • by NekSnappa ( 803141 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:53AM (#32743736)

      This is exactly the problem. If you're an ASCAP member, but aren't getting air time on the radio you'll see little to nothing from them. ASCAP shakes down every establishment that has live music for a license fee to make sure that their members get paid for "your use of their material to enhance your business."

      But if you're a member with a local following, playing your own stuff in a venue that has paid up. You won't see any money from them because your not being broadcast, or selling a significant number of CD's or downloads from the legal channels. As that is how they determine the distribution of the money from these fees.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

        Which means that ASCAP only has to pay out to performers who are *already* making enough money to hire lawyers to threaten ASCAP if said performer doesn't get paid in a timely manner.

        It follows that all the performers who aren't rich exist only to indirectly fund ASCAP.

  • That's not extremist, here is an extremist: []

    For whatever reason the governments of the world got into misguided attempts to 'promote' wealth creation by actually limiting human ability to do so by copying, these misguided attempts include copyrights and patents (though trademarks are really not such a big problem).

    Having a good working economy relies on production, not on consumption, and when society starts artificially limiting human ability to produce by copying or in any other way, that society starts lo

  • "Radical extremist" (Score:3, Informative)

    by quacking duck ( 607555 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:51AM (#32743710)

    No, that wasn't a misquote from the NMPA, that's a quote from Canada's Heritage Minister James Moore [] in response to reasoned opposition to his Bill C-32, which introduces DMCA-style IP laws, labelling any opposed to it or in favour of a more balanced approach, like Michael Geist, as "radical extremists."

    Unsurprisingly, these inflammatory words come from the ruling party which takes as many pages from the neo-conservative playbook as they can.

    The phrasing is so similar that Moore should sue the NMPA for willful copyright infringement.

  • by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @09:52AM (#32743716) Homepage

    I think that the time has come for the members of our community (individual and organizational) to stop holding ourselves to a higher standard of decency. The simple, ugly fact is that these kinds of battles are won by those who are willing to fight according to the rules of the game -- ie: dirty.

    These fascists are bent on corrupting our legislative process to put more power into the pockets of copyright lawyers and labels with no regard for the artists they manipulate beyond their own corporate self-interest, let alone the interests of other artists or society as a whole. That is, perhaps, as it should be. Corporations are supposed to be purely rationally self-interested. But do not let them pretend the moral high ground.

    Let us put this argument on the ground it should be on. Do not merely defend our position that copyright should be designed to maximize artistic productivity and reach within our society as a whole -- expose their rationally self-interested fascism and corruption for what it is. They do not have the interest of the advance of science and the useful arts at heart. They want the progress of the useful arts strictly controlled in a manner that maximizes their corporations' acquisition of wealth.

    I do not begrudge them this desire. They are what our economic system designs them to be. But it is entirely necessary that we, in our public discourse of such matters, consider them as they truly are. In short, they have made this a matter of public opinion. Tell the public what these vicious animals are, in the harshest and most unflattering light possible.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly