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The Music Industry Is Begging the US Government To Change Its Copyright Laws (theverge.com) 209

An anonymous reader shares an article on The Verge: Christina Aguilera, Katy Perry, deadmau5, and dozens of other musicians are asking the U.S. government to revamp the Digital Millennium Copyright act (DMCA), the piece of law that governs access to copyrighted work on the internet. Musicians, managers, and "creators" from across the industry co-signed petitions sent to the U.S. Copyright Office arguing that tech companies -- think YouTube and Tumblr, sites with vast reserves of content that infringes on some copyright -- have "grown and generated huge profits" on the backs of material that's illegally hosted. "The growth and support of technology companies should not be at the expense of artists and songwriters," reads the letter signed by Aguilera, Perry, and their peers. "The tech companies who benefit from the DMCA today were not the intended protectorate when it was signed into law two decades ago."
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The Music Industry Is Begging the US Government To Change Its Copyright Laws

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  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Saturday April 02, 2016 @04:14PM (#51829439)

    They want people to pay for background music on tv, streaming, sporting events, movies and more. And to have auto take downs expand.

    • Background music can already get you nastygrams on YouTube. I uploaded video of an event I attended where some song was being played. YouTube silenced the video because the music that happened to be playing in the background was under copyright. Ironically, it was probably licensed for the event but there's little room for recourse with them.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Saturday April 02, 2016 @04:16PM (#51829443)

    Same Music Industry that sues bars and arcades as they have pinball and video games that have there music in them and they want to double dip on the fees.

    • by innocent_white_lamb ( 151825 ) on Saturday April 02, 2016 @06:27PM (#51829955)

      I own and operate a movie theatre and I pay a yearly per-seat fee for the music that's in the movies, believe it or not.

      I questioned this once since I have difficulty believing that the film companies don't own the rights to the music that's in their own product (and most of the film companies are music publishing houses), and this is what I was told:

      QUOTE:
      The movie company does not own the public performance rights. Generally speaking they will have negotiated the âoereproductionâ right â" or the separate right to reproduce the musical work in their films. Once a film is shown in theatres, this engages the âoeperformingâ right, or the right to perform the work in public.
      END OF QUOTE

  • Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 02, 2016 @04:20PM (#51829453)

    "The tech companies who benefit from the DMCA today were not the intended protectorate when it was signed into law two decades ago."

    Well, the music industry that benefit from copyright now were not the intended protectorate when copyright was signed into law, but I guess that doesn't fit with the narrative.

    Why don't they bring up some struggling artists instead of those who the record industry didn't screw over? Oh right, no-one actually cares about those.

    • Real Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 02, 2016 @05:17PM (#51829685)

      Irony is Deadmau5 signing this bullshit. YouTube made him more than just another shitty club DJ, and stealing content via "remixing" and "sampling" is how he "made" music in the first place.

      Its just proof those who get on top want to cut all the ladders so no one else can join them.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "Irony is Deadmau5 signing this bullshit...."

        What makes you think that he signed it?
        All we have up to now is the RIAA assertion that he did.

        This is a quote supposedly from the "Artists":
        “The next generation of creators may be silenced if the economics don’t justify a career in the music industry,”

        Now go ahead, Google it. I got 7 results, all of them quoting the RIAA Press release.

        Why, on this particular subject, is Slashdot collectively willing to believe _anything_ stated as fact by the R

        • Even just from the wording of it, it is abundantly clear that it does not come from any performing artist that I know of.

  • by Zappy ( 7013 ) on Saturday April 02, 2016 @04:21PM (#51829459) Homepage

    Well the article was published on April 1st, that's more or less the one sensible explanation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 02, 2016 @04:30PM (#51829497)

    "not the intended protectorate" ?
    neither were the artists. the intended protectorate of copyright law, from the VERY BEGINNING has been the PUBLIC GOOD
    public good only comes from encouraging creation of useful arts and sciences by granting a monopoly for a SHORT TIME and then releasing the content into the public domain.

    copyright terms need to go back to 14 years, and in the internet age, even that might as well be a billion years.

  • she have to wait a few months to get that gold plated shark tank installed in the bar next to her pool.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • #WheresTheFairUse (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dissy ( 172727 ) on Saturday April 02, 2016 @04:32PM (#51829517)

    Some details to keep in mind as this unfolds.

    Yes, a hundred or two "creators" such as those in the list above have asked the copyright office to expand the DMCA to remove more of our rights and to take more from the public than they already are.

    But *hundreds of thousands* of "creators" that produce content on youtube using nothing but content they create themselves and is copyright to themselves have asked the copyright office to fix the DMCA by providing evidence how it is illegally used to harass, steal money from people with no audio what so ever in their videos, restrict opinions of those using nothing but their voice, and otherwise game the system to cause harm to them.

    Hundreds of thousands of people vs a couple hundred.

    It will be very telling to see how this latest DMCA petition plays out.

    Some videos on the subject for those interested:
    Doug Walker [youtube.com]

    MundaneMatt [youtube.com] regarding Jim Sterlink vs Digital Homicide
    The game studio started an attack against Jim for his unflattering* review, threatened a DMCA take down as revenge, and proceeded to do so.
    Jim is now one of only 12 youtube channels "protected" so any copyright claim is handled by a human being.

    Brad Jones [youtube.com] video that is long and you don't need to watch more than a few seconds of - that got a copyright strike that stole his ad revenue.
    Note that it is three people sitting in a car in a parking lot talking. Nothing else.

    And these are only the big subscriber base channels that can complain and be heard.
    Uncountable small channels are taken offline with zero recourse for not using copyright material they didn't make themselves all the time, and nearly no one hears about it due to their small size.

    These couple hundred artists claim "The growth and support of technology companies should not be at the expense of artists and songwriters" ?
    How about the artists and songwritters, harassers, trolls, and people who don't like what you say shouldn't be protected at the expense of the rights of everyone else.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If there is one tweak it is this here. Give the takedown some teeth if you accuse and you get it wrong. Instead of the takedown now which is nothing more than a method to harass and steal money.

      The problem is *if* we let them open this sucker back up who the hell knows what sorts of other provisions they will tack in. *That* I am more scared of than anything else. I seriously do not trust my congress or senate to do the right thing.

  • by Duncan J Murray ( 1678632 ) on Saturday April 02, 2016 @04:33PM (#51829521) Homepage

    So Katy Perry who earned between 30-50 million every year between 2009 and 2014 (sorry not verified, but I suspect ball-park is not far off) thinks she's losing out because of the modern internet.

    There are so many things wrong with this. Firstly, it's the record companies that are suffering. But they are suffering because artists don't really need them nowadays. They used to have a monopoly on the recording studios and publicity, but with modern electronics and software that allows you to find music you might like on spotify, soundcloud, youtube, what role do they play now? If they can get the artists on their side to help them with their profits, bonus to them, but sorry artists - you're being fooled.

    Secondly, I frankly don't think Katy Perry deserves the multimillions of dosh, when I spend more time listening to and appreciate more the artists who put up their music for free on soundcloud. Don't get me wrong, I like the odd track from Katy Perry, but there's some great stuff being made by people who I don't think are doing it to be multimillionaires.

    I think we're at a golden age of music precisely because of sites like soundcloud and youtube. It's important that money flows from listeners to the artists, but less should go to Kate Perry and more to the great and many artists I actually listen to.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 02, 2016 @04:48PM (#51829575)

      Katy Perry is just the figurehead for her music really. The lyrics were written by someone else (probably a team of people). The music was composed by another composer or composers. The musical production was done by a whole team of producers, technicians and assorted experts. The marketing team made sure her music was played, which is the only reason you ever heard it. Her stage show was designed in conjunction with a whole team of artists, and only made possible by teams of dancers and technical types. And if it wasn't for the various social media and content platforms she would never have become anywhere near as popular as she is.

      So... who should be the beneficiary if any copyright windfall? Katy et al?

  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Saturday April 02, 2016 @04:33PM (#51829525) Homepage

    http://www.michaelgeist.ca/200... [michaelgeist.ca]
    and finally
    http://www.michaelgeist.ca/201... [michaelgeist.ca]

    From one artist to another

    http://www.gerryhemingway.com/... [gerryhemingway.com]

    http://www.gerryhemingway.com/... [gerryhemingway.com]

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp ( 442658 ) on Saturday April 02, 2016 @04:41PM (#51829549) Journal

    The law was to give host systems safe harbor by allowing them to escape a lawsuit as long as they took down infringing stuff in a timely way when complained to. Other coutries allow lawsuits, and to their detriment as it hampers their Internet industry.

    Be very careful if you want to mess with this law.

    One solution would be to direct the copyright black market profits for that infringement to the rightful owners when a successful copyright notice is made.

    This should all be easy and automated, and will not endanger hosting companies with near infinite lawsuits.

  • by CanEHdian ( 1098955 ) on Saturday April 02, 2016 @04:50PM (#51829579)
    I feel so bad for Christina Aguilera, Katy Perry, deadmau5 and all the other starving artists of this world. And at the same time I feel anger directed towards all those illegal downloaders that are responsible for their poverty! So let's all chip in and donate to their food banks. Just have the interviewer ask which food bank they go to (and what bus route they are on in case someone wants to donate a bus pass).
  • by taustin ( 171655 ) on Saturday April 02, 2016 @05:01PM (#51829619) Homepage Journal

    "The tech companies who benefit from the DMCA today were not the intended protectorate when it was signed into law two decades ago."

    Neither are the artists. It was intended to protect the recording industry, and specifically (among other intents) to protect their ability to rob the artists blind at every opportunity.

    If it gets updated, it will be to expand the protections of the industry, at the expense of the artists, same as before.

  • by mhkohne ( 3854 ) on Saturday April 02, 2016 @05:05PM (#51829631) Homepage

    "The tech companies who benefit from the DMCA today were not the intended protectorate when it was signed into law two decades ago."

    In other words "The god-awful changes we paid congress for two decades ago didn't work out the way we thought. Do something different!"

    I won't argue that there are problem with Copyright law and the DMCA, but this quote tells us everything we need to know about the people signing the petition.

  • Your failed business model is not my problem.
  • "The growth and support of technology companies should not be at the expense of artists and songwriters," Nor should your song and dance prohibit the growth and development of the greatest technological achievement since Gutenberg.
  • Bollocks (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday April 02, 2016 @05:35PM (#51829753)
    the pirated content doesn't last 5 minutes unless it's so heavily modified as to be junk. And the most popular videos on youtube are all legit ones. Still, I suppose it doesn't hurt for them to ask for more and more. If you keep giving it to them why would they stop taking it?
  • by Britz ( 170620 ) on Saturday April 02, 2016 @05:52PM (#51829823)

    There are certainly huge problems with copyright infringement on the internet. Though not the way this shameless plug is suggesting.

    First, some background on music: The artists are usually paid in the single percentages of the revenue. The label gets a huge cut, some goes to retail and some covers expenses. Artists get around 3-5% of a sale from a CD at a store. I think it is less (half?) for downloads. The overwhelming majority of people that produce music can't live off record sales. If people earn money, then they do it through playing live, commissioned work or sales of merchandise. Which is why most artists happily give a way their recorded music in the hopes that people will listen to it. Those 0,000001% of artists you see that earn a good living (or are even rich) through sales of their music are a tiny exception. Why should laws be crafted for them anyways? Because it isn't even about them. The whole thing is about the record industry itself, of which those 'artists' are just the front. Behind each sold recording are countless technicians, pencil pushers, lawyers, office workers, managers and marketing people that earn money. And those companies are the ones behind the lobbying. They set up this campaign and probably told their 'talent' to simply sign on the dotted line.

    So this letter isn't from or about artists. This is about a couple large companies that are fighting for a greater control of their product. It's not even that they lose so much money on Youtube. Someone who plays a song on Youtube is actually more likely to buy something from the record company than someone who doesn't. It is mostly marketing. And the companies make use of that. But they would like even greater control and the option of sending out more bills to people.

    But we have a huge problem with copyright on the internet. Just not with music or movies. Small time artists get ripped of all the time. Especially photographers. How much stuff is shared on Facebook and Imgur every day? A lot of that is done by artists, whose copyright is trampled on very frequently. But those photographers are just small people and not companies. Hence no one gives a damn about them and their rights. In fact companies like Google, Facebook and other new media companies largely built their empires on these infringements. The latest blatant example would be Facebook video, where some scumbags rip videos off Youtube and upload them to Facebook to make a little money. The original Youtube uploader gets nothing. Even if they produce content and live off that.

    In Germany we have a startup (heftig.co), which is producing clickbait in the purest form. They are a heralded startup that have grown exponentially over the last year. They simply take content from places like Reddit, make up a clickbait title and deliver it via Facebook.

    There are tons of examples like that.

    The whole copyright debate is taking place in the entirely wrong field, because it is about large companies and their fight for more control of distribution channels (and some fights over money, they would surely like Google to cough up more) and money, instead of creators.

    • There are certainly huge problems with copyright infringement on the internet. Though not the way this shameless plug is suggesting.

      First, some background on music: The artists are usually paid in the single percentages of the revenue. The label gets a huge cut, some goes to retail and some covers expenses. Artists get around 3-5% of a sale from a CD at a store. I think it is less (half?) for downloads. The overwhelming majority of people that produce music can't live off record sales. If people earn money, then they do it through playing live, commissioned work or sales of merchandise. Which is why most artists happily give a way their recorded music in the hopes that people will listen to it. Those 0,000001% of artists you see that earn a good living (or are even rich) through sales of their music are a tiny exception.

      And that is exactly why I buy my music from places like Bandcamp or Bigcartel or Indiemerch or similar sites where the artists get paid more directly, and also why I go to tons of concerts and almost always buy some kind of merch while I'm there. Because that's where they make money (if they make money at all).

      Australian band Ne Obliviscaris laid out their expenses for touring and being a band in general. If they do an overseas tour, which they pretty much have to as a progressive death metal band in order

  • by RubberDogBone ( 851604 ) on Saturday April 02, 2016 @06:02PM (#51829865)

    The vast majority of songs composed and written and their performances are not owned by these people. Most of them sold away their rights somewhere in the process of signing up with a record label.

    So the aggrieved party for most of these songs is the record label. They should pursue it if they wish.

    By the same token, these artists won't make much or even any money at all off this. Whatever you might pay to Spotify or other services, and the fees radio stations and internet services pay ... almost none of that money gets back to the artists. It goes to the owners of the material, which is often the record labels.

    Here's an analogy. You work for Acme Hammer company and you make hammers all day. Acme pays you for this, a buck a hammer. They even paid in advance for 1000000 hammers so life is good. You make a lot of hammers and soon Acme has a warehouse full of hammers.

    Somebody breaks into the warehouse and takes all the hammers. Empties it out. Do you get mad? No. because YOU got paid. The hammers don't belong to you. You sold them to Acme. Acme is screwed, or hammered, but you cannot go file a police report or insurance claim. It wasn't your property at the time it got taken.

  • What are you gonna do if your childish tantrum "but I wannawannawanna!" doesn't accomplish your wishes? You're gonna stop making music?

    I really fail to see the threat.

  • by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Saturday April 02, 2016 @09:14PM (#51830621)

    "Dear Christina, We're sorry that you feel that we are using your name and your content on YouTube against your best interest. Unfortunately, our business model doesn't allow to pay you any more than we already do through the licensing organizations set up for that purpose. However, to eliminate any questions of improper use of your likeness, your voice, or your other creations, such as they are, we have simply eliminated you from all our search indexes. That means that users of our services searching for 'Christina Aguilera' or variants thereof, will now simply receive no results. Likewise, we will remove stories about you from our news channels as much as we can. Of course, you are still free to pay for advertising and self-promotion on any of our services. Sincerely, etc. etc."

  • I wonder how many GPL violations the music industry will make manipulating the rights of the artists, to monopolize the rights of consumers.
  • Somehow I doubt this initiative will be backed by the artists who need every album to sell a little better than the one before, the ones who beg for full venues every night on tour, the ones who are living and breathing the life of an artist, and the ones who don't just sit in their mansions while watching the money roll in.

  • This whole thing has been fought already in the 90's and these idiots need to go away. There are companies in place who provide the takedown service. If their label is not already doing it, or they aren't themselves, I'd be surprised. If they are claiming anything else at all, it is already covered under fair use and they should go away. I find it entirely more likely that these people are feeling the record industry squeezing their profit margin rather than the general public.

A motion to adjourn is always in order.

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