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Stock Music Artists Aren't Always Happy About How Their Music Is Used (wired.com) 147

mirandakatz writes: If you're a stock music composer, you sign over the rights to whatever music you put up on a variety of hosting sites. That can get complicated -- especially when your music winds up being used to soundtrack hate speech. At Backchannel, Pippa Biddle dives into the knotty world of stock music, writing that stock music is 'a quick way for a talented musician to make a small buck. But there's a hidden cost: You lose control over where your work ends up. In hundreds, if not thousands, of cases, a tune becomes the backing track to hate speech or violent videos. Often such use violates the license the buyer agrees to when purchasing the track. But nobody reads the licenses -- and, more importantly, no one enforces them.'
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Stock Music Artists Aren't Always Happy About How Their Music Is Used

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  • Hate speech (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 20, 2017 @11:08AM (#55587359)

    Nobody has clearly defined what hate speech actually means. In practice, it is taken to mean anything that conservatives say.

    • Re:Hate speech (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 20, 2017 @11:17AM (#55587445)

      While this is true, the artist enters into a contract with an agency that provides stock clips and a condition of this is that they can be used by whomever the agency decides to allow to pay for them. They generally don't know how they are going to be used, and in most cases don't care. It's just an extra money opportunity that for most will never yield anything, but for a few might result in a few bucks every now and then.

      So, if for example you were a tech worker who is a hobbyist bluegrass guitar player and you home-recorded a lot of compositions in various keys and styles and put them out there for use, you might never hear anything again. Or, you might have a deposit for a few hundred dollars show up one day and you have to check to find out that it was used in (TV series episode XX) as a few seconds of background music when two characters were listening to the radio in a car. However, you also may not ever know where it's been used and how if this escapes your notice, so your material may end up on a show that you severely disagree with, but you've signed over the rights so it's not your song anymore. And for most of us, it's the equivalent of clip art and we don't care what happens to it so if a check comes in every so often, so much the better.

      Posting for a friend of course.

      • I don't do stock music or art not just because I would have trouble whipping out enough generic content to make it profitable but because of this also. I prefer my work is used in ways I know about and feel comfortable, posting up pices to a stock music site wouldn't really allow that.

        That being said I did write a commercial soundtrack for an industrial product at a company a sibling worked for she was also one of engineers that designed the product. It's not on internet, TV, or Radio it's only shown at con

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I don't know how good a musician you are, but after seeing those run-on sentences I think you did well choosing not to be a writer.

    • Re:Hate speech (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Scroatzilla ( 672804 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @11:18AM (#55587453) Homepage Journal

      The most accurate definition I've seen/heard is "speech that I disagree with."

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        The most accurate definition I've seen/heard is "speech that I disagree with."

        No, its speech that CNN and MSNBC tell you to disagree with.

        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Why did you leave Fox off that list?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Thus spake someone who's never been the victim of targeted racism, people calling for your death due to your sexual orientation, or stating that you should be denied basic human rights because of your religious beliefs.

        It's easy to dismiss a defense you don't need personally, but for some of us the ban on hate speech means that there can't be a neo-nazi like rally in the streets calling for people like us to be treated as subhuman.

        • Re:Hate speech (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @12:52PM (#55588333) Journal

          I've been actively targeted with Hate speech. "White people just need to die" is hate speech, but it is okay, if uttered by a minority. Followed by "You're old, and you just just die" also uttered by some PYT who didn't like that I made sense to idiotic emotional vomit she was spewing.

          The point is, it is only "hate" if you disagree with it, or affects white straight cisgendered males.

          In other words, you idea of hate is probably not inclusive enough. Which is itself "hate" (or so I've been told)

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Yeah, I'm white, and this "white people need to die" speech really isn't a problem.

            Some fringe element here and there, but overall the left wing hate speech crap is a right wing meme.

            As a white man in his 50's, I don't feel like I'm mistreated.

            But I do know some white snowflakes on the right who feel scared and hurt all day long from imaginary liberal boogeymen.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Sexual orientation applies only for gays. Try being pedophile. Hate speech is suddenly all right.

          Not a sexual orientation? I disagree, but that's topic for another discussion.

        • "Thus spake someone who's never been the victim of targeted racism, people calling for your death due to your sexual orientation, or stating that you should be denied basic human rights because of your religious beliefs." [Citation Needed]* *Please cite something recent, not from the 1800s, ww2, or the 1960s, thanks.
    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Hate speech is speech that is calculated to instill fear in some group; specifically fear of exercising their civil rights.

      The classic example is burning a cross. Compare burning a cross to burning a barrel of leaves over the line to your neighbor's property; that's just trespass. Burning a cross is about sending a message: it's not safe to live here.

      • Except these days it seems to be the receiver of the message who gets to determine what "hate speech" is. If you burned barrels of leaves on my property and I felt it was because of my race or gender, then does that make it hate speech? What if I didn't like *you* because of your race or gender and so I decided to declare something innocuous that you said as "hate speech"? It's incredibly muddy waters, and the fact that there is not a clear definition is the biggest problem with hate speech.

        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          Intent is a part of every crime; without "mens rea" (guilty mind) there is no crime.

          Suppose your neighbor comes from a country where fires in barrels carries a disturbing and threatening significance, but you don't know it. You burn a barrel of leaves on this lawn, but you have no mens rea as to the crime of intimidation; you have no idea. You're just guilty of trespass because that's all you intended to do, even though your act has the effect of terrorizing the victim.

          Now suppose you burn a cross on his

          • by BWS ( 104239 )

            Actually you're wrong. There are "strict liability" crimes in the US in which intent (mens rea) is not required.

            • by hey! ( 33014 )

              For criminal law the default mens rea for strict liability offenses, IIRC, is negligence. For example if you travel faster than the speed limit, you don't need to intend to go faster than the speed limit, you need to intend to operate your vehicle in a negligent fashion.

              If you'd been carjacked and someone was pointing a gun at you, you probably wouldn't be liable to speeding prosecution, even though you intend to operate your vehicle faster than the speed limit.

        • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

          That's the whole point. It helps keep the existing fires burning as well as encourage new spontaneous combustion. It's hard to justify clamping down on freedom when no one is angry.

      • Re:Hate speech (Score:4, Insightful)

        by boudie2 ( 1134233 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @01:04PM (#55588435)
        The concept of hate speech contradicts free speech. You can't believe in both. You either have free speech or you don't.
        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          How about threats of bodily injury? How does that fit into your "believe in free speech or don't" framework?

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Threats of bodily injury fit the legal definition of assault. That's established law. Why did you even bring that up?

            • by hey! ( 33014 )

              Because it shows that the poster's conception of free speech is broken. There is no jurisdiction, anywhere, where you are immune from legal consequences for anything you say regardless of intent because it is *speech*.

              It's actually not true that intimidation fits the legal definition of assault, at least in most places. It's its own crime. But even if it were technically rolled into "assault" it would not change the fact that it is also speech.

              • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

                > Because it shows that the poster's conception of free speech is broken.

                No it doesn't. It's just a strawman.

          • You're right. What was I thinking? Free speech in the United States, must have heard it in an old speech or something back when people were dumb enough to believe it. Never had it and never will. There's probably more freedoms that I "imagined" people had, maybe it's something to look into. Thanks.
            • by hey! ( 33014 )

              Or you never learned what it was about.

              There has never been immunity from legal consequences of speech in this country. Never. Libel, fraud, revealing state secrets, intimidation... even copyright infringement have been speech crimes since the very beginning. Nor has providing a forum or copyrighted material for speech you like ever been compulsory on private individuals.

          • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

            Threats of violence != violence.

        • That's beyond retarded. We already disallow specific threats while believing in free speech. According to the poster you are responding to, hate speech is a non-specific threat aimed at a group of people to coerce an action (the examples given were moving away or not exercising civil rights.) Now, it may be difficult to prove that was the intent, but that's hardly a matter of it "contradicting free speech" instead of "makes prosecution difficult. Or you may disagree with that definition, but in that cas

          • Fortunately for you I don't consider your calling me "beyond retarded" hate speech although some might. That's my point, hate speech is poorly defined. What was acceptable last week may not be next week. What is hateful to one may not be to another. And yes, you can't yell fire in a crowded theater or say the CIA killed JFK (even if they did) or that the holocaust never took place. Where does the slippery slop end? Retard?
            • by hey! ( 33014 )

              I agree that people use the term too loosely. The choice of terminology itself is misleading, since the criminal act is not hate per se; it's intimidation. It is not even necessarily motivated by hate, although it usually is.

              • One of the things I like about slashdot is that we all have a wide latitude and nothing is taken too seriously. To me, it seems that there's enough limits on free speech already. But some won't be happy until there's no free speech left.
            • Where does the slippery slop[e] end?

              Somewhere. It ends somewhere. But, leaving aside that the slippery slope is a fallacy, you used an even worse one. You moved the goalposts. Namely, we're talking hate speech as non-specific threats, and you're talking about completely different bullshit and claiming I have to meet or have met some standard that you just invented. I'll respond as soon as you post something responsive to my posts, but I'll only post meta-responses to off-topic bullshit

    • Re:Hate speech (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @11:19AM (#55587463)

      >Nobody has clearly defined what hate speech actually means.

      Canada's done a pretty good job - "don't intentionally incite violence based on prejudice and falsehoods", more or less.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      "statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace."

      " an accused is not guilty: (a) if he establishes that the statements communicated were true; (b) if, in good faith, the person expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text; (c) if the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds he believed them to be true; or (d) if, in good faith, he intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters producing or tending to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group in Canada."

    • Or anything said by people that liberals disagree with, which automatically makes them "conservatives".

      This, no matter how much they differ from other people who are called "conservatives". By people who are not conservatives.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...folks who need cool music should look into indie artists. If the artist doesn't support the cause they won't license the music.

    • ...folks who need cool music should look into indie artists.

      The stock artists are indie artists. If I need theme music or a sound effect, I can search a stock site, click on a few samples, and then pay a few dollars and download what I need, with a total elapsed time of about 5 minutes. There is no frickin way that I am going to waste hours/days trying to contact and negotiate with individual artists.

  • Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by religionofpeas ( 4511805 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @11:11AM (#55587391)

    If you don't want to lose control, don't put your music in a place you don't control.

  • by Comboman ( 895500 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @11:26AM (#55587529)
    Stock photographs also get used for things the photographer (or model) didn't anticipate and may not approve of. Are you a programmer? Guess what, a neo-nazi may be using your software to organize their mailing list. If your are an architect or builder, you may find that building you created is now a porno store, or an abortion clinic, or an NRA office. If you create something, you have little to no control over who uses it and for what once you sell it.
  • ... is available again for political activists' soundtracks.

  • And that's it. If you don't like it then voice your opinion and engage people to that end. But don't do it just because of how your work is being used. Do it because it's the right thing to do anyway no matter what.

    • by mccalli ( 323026 )
      Didn't sell it - licensed it. And the terms of those licenses are being breached.

      As the summary says it becomes a question of enforcement, rather than anything else. Your "if you don't like it then voice
      • by mccalli ( 323026 )
        hit Submit too soon:

        Your "if you don't like it then voice your opinion" is already covered by the terms they put in the license. The problem is that they're being ignored.
        • The problem is that they're being ignored.

          So it's like all the music and movies people are stealing because the terms of use are being ignored, and people keep coming up with excuses why those terms don't apply to them.

          Got it.
  • by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @11:34AM (#55587593)
    The whole point of stock music and photos is so they can basically be used as a neutral commodity. Same goes for fonts. Nazis (or whatever you fear) might use your fonts, too.
    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      If you take the ethical and legal theories under which underpin intellectual property seriously, you can sell the right to use your IP with any kind of strings attached you want, subject to statutory constraints only. A "license" is just a kind of contract, and if the contract says you can only perform a song on a sousaphone on alternate Tuesdays, if you perform it on a harmonica you're a pirate.

      • Largely true (compulsory licensing is a HUGE exception), but again, the whole point of STOCK music is that the contract is very liberal, to the point that it's about as close as you are going to get to licensing that resembles physical goods.
        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          While compulsory licensing is an issue, I'm not sure it applies here. What is the nature of the compulsion? You have to abide by the license or use different music, or no music at all.

          This is a much lower burden on speech than having to comply with, say, social media TOS. If you don't comply with Facebook TOS you're excluded from an important forum for public discussion. If you don't comply with the bundled Windows license you can't use your computer (unless you can install Linux, which is trickier now

      • > If you take the ethical and legal theories under which underpin intellectual property seriously

        I take the doctrine of first sale seriously.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        > If you take the ethical and legal theories under which underpin intellectual property seriously,

        What makes you think the rest of us do?

        I view copyright laws as strictly a means to an end. You have no natural right to boss other people around when it comes to your work. Your legal monopoly should be VERY temporary and exists only as a means to and end.

        Namely you making stuff.

        Beyond that, I don't give a rats ass about your little temper tantrum.

        If you want to engage in artistic megalomania, I would rathe

    • Nazi fonts, Nazi fonts, Nazi fonts, fuck off!
    • Nazis (or whatever you fear) might use your fonts, too.

      Pro tip: don't design Fraktur fonts.

  • "Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday dear [name]. Happy birthday to you." Now let's pay royalties to the two old ladies? Oh yeah...never mind. XP If there ever was a reason to not enforce, this was definitely a good example. Ridiculous...
  • by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2017q4@virtual-estates.net> on Monday November 20, 2017 @11:50AM (#55587699) Homepage Journal

    Some of the open-source software I wrote caries a modified BSD-license. There is a separate item banning any and all usage by persons owning a Che Guevara T-shirt or any other paraphernalia praising or otherwise glorifying the Communist mass-murderer.

    stock music is 'a quick way for a talented musician to make a small buck.

    As long as no one is forced to sign away their rights, there is nothing to see here.

  • Bruce Springsteen songs used by right wing anti-Union politicians because the chorus has a catchy bit of pro-American lyrics while ignoring the verses.
  • Everything created is found in the universe. Originality is a sham.
  • by TheDarkener ( 198348 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @12:11PM (#55587929) Homepage

    This raises a point to open-source style licenses for content, i.e. Creative Commons [creativecommons.org]. Though there are restrictions to prevent using it for commercial purposes, AFAIK there's nothing against using a CC licensed song for, say, a promotional video for clubbing seals and eating babies.

    Comboman made a good point above though, this can be translated into any situation - if you're a builder, your building may be used for 'bad things'. If you're an open source programmer, your code may be used for 'bad things'. You can't have total freedom along with restrictions based on your opinions or viewpoints.

    • I was at a conference around 2000 where this sort of topic came up. Yes CC was all about sharing and growing, there were a few people arguing that *everything* should be CC, or at least CC-BY.

      I took a fairly contrarian stance talking about what could go wrong. The example I used was more topical for the issue of the day (I can't really recall it), but I did raise the CC-BY can be even more damaging for a creative person.

      In the example, a hate speech group not only uses the soundtrack because it goes well

  • Imagine you are an ambitious black metal artist and all your songs are used for are pony videos.

  • by Jason1729 ( 561790 ) on Monday November 20, 2017 @01:53PM (#55588845)

    Often such use violates the license the buyer agrees to when purchasing the track. But nobody reads the licenses -- and, more importantly, no one enforces them

    This right here, from TFS. It has nothing at all to do with small artists releasing rights on a stock website. It's no different if they use a no-name composer from AudioJungle or whoever the RIAA is trying to push this week. It violates the copyright. If you don't want your work illegally used used in a way you don't like, don't make it available.

  • If you're a stock music composer, you sign over the rights to whatever music you put up on a variety of hosting sites. That can get complicated -- especially when your music winds up being used to soundtrack hate speech.

    If you sign over the rights then too fucking bad.

    What, am I supposed to care what George Lucas thinks about the new Star Wars movies? TFA, Rogue One, and Solo are worse than the fucking prequels. But too fucking bad, they're canon now.

  • Did anyone ask Aitken & Waterman what they think?

  • Anyone who subscribes to the idea of "hate speech" or "hate crimes" is a brainless animal.
    Free speech is free speech.
    Crime is crime.

    Tacking on "hate" to either is just political manipulation of our sense of justice and our rationality in general.

    • Anyone who subscribes to the idea of "hate speech" or "hate crimes" is a brainless animal.
      Free speech is free speech.
      Crime is crime.

      Tacking on "hate" to either is just political manipulation of our sense of justice and our rationality in general.

      Thank you. This, people. ^^^

      This is all that needs be said regarding TFS/A.

      "Hate speech" is a political tool to silence ideas some people on the Left don't like and to punish those who dare utter such.

      It has no place in a free and open society. The whole underpinning of the FA/FS are non sequiturs as there is no such thing as "hate speech" in a free and open society.

      Strat

  • If I build a chair, I sell it once - I don't get $x every time someone plants their ass in it. Why do people who sing/dance/play music expect to get paid every single time someone plays their recording?
  • if you sold something, it's not yours anymore.

  • "There is porn of it." Your carefully-composed track will end up in furry-granny-midget-lesbian-scat-hentai ("The Aristocrats!"). Because "That's just business."

    #facepalm

  • If licences are ignored anyway - where is the problem specific to stock music? If I'm ignoring licences, I could ignore any music licence.

  • I have always wonder why some local Advertising Agencies are using YouTube Creator Music for their clients TV Ads. - https://www.youtube.com/channe... [youtube.com] - After you have listened the same tune used (and misused) hundreds of times, it lose the crucial brand building factor for any business. - Today, in the country where I live, this conversation is becoming too common:::: Where I have heard that tune before?... Oh, it's the background music for a lot of popular videos on YouTube... Oddly enough, before the

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