IP

The Featured Artists' Coalition

The Featured Artists' Coalition campaigns for the protection of performers' and musicians' rights. We want all artists to have more control of their music and a much fairer share of the profits it generates in the digital age. We speak with one voice to help artists strike a new bargain with record companies, digital distributors and others, and are campaigning for specific changes.

This coalition includes some of the best-selling acts in British Music Business and is yet another sign that the business model of the record label has become unacceptable, even for the those for whom it works relatively well. As the labels's exclusive control over on distribution has vanished, their ability to dictate the terms been reduced as well. Really, the only reason they still matter is the monopolistic control over our musical history, i.e. the back catalogue.

The Coalition will begin by focusing on six areas where it is seeking change:

1. An agreement by the music industry that artists should receive fair compensation whenever their business partners receive an economic return from the exploitation of the artists’ work.

2. All transfers of copyright should be by license rather than by assignment, and limited to 35 years.

3.The making available right should be monetized on behalf of featured artistes and all other performers.

4. Copyright owners to be obliged to follow a ‘use it or lose it’ approach to the copyrights they control.

5. The rights for performers should be the same as those for authors (songwriters, lyricists and composers).

6. A change to UK copyright law which will end the commercial exploitation of unlicensed music purporting to be used in conjunction with ‘critical reviews’.

Who will profit from EU plans to extend musical copyright?

As Ars Technica reports, the Open Rights Group has published an estimate how revenue -- created if musical copyright in the EU would be extended by another 45 years -- is going to be distributed:

Only the labels and the top performers would benefit, while the great majority of musicians would little -- less then € 30 -- or nothing at all. This makes it abundantly clear that the main argument for the extension of the terms, helping aging musicians, is utterly insincere. Yet another indication that the expansion of copyright does not benefit creators, but amounts to a subsidy of the exploiters. (see also Berndt Hugenholtz on the subject, or more generally, Martin Kretschmer's work on IP based incomes of creative producers.)

Shift from p2p to Video Streaming?

Ars Technica reports on changing traffic patterns, with streaming video rising while p2p traffic, overall, stagnating, now accounting for only one quarter of the overall traffic. They conclude:

The shift, as it take hold around the world, benefits everyone. For content owners, the gain is obvious: the vast majority of high-traffic streaming content is legal and licensed (Dr. Who, Battlestar Galactica, Colbert Report, etc.). This stands in contrast with P2P, of course, and even though user-generated content sites like YouTube still have copyright issues, those issues are "above water" and easy to deal with.

For users, legitimate on-demand access to huge troves of high-quality video removes the risk of lawsuits, but it also has other beneficial effects. For one thing, the P2P blocking/delaying/filtering schemes being trotted out around the world don't affect most of these services. ISPs have gotten away with such blocks using the argument that most P2P is illegal anyway; without that support, it will politically be much harder to block or limit access to legal streaming in the same way.

In a way, this seems to follow suit with a more general trend related to web2.0 of centralizing infrastructure, thus the ability of big organisations, media companies, to reassert control. Very troubling.

Opentape invites RIAA to play whack-a-mole post-Muxtape

Seems like there is no learning in the music industry. What happens when you kill a centralized service that might not have all the right licenses, but at least an address and presumably someone willing to do business (think Napster)? Well, a decentralized service appears with no address and no business model (think Bittorrent, the protocol, not the company).

So, here we are again. Ars Technica writes:

The RIAA's unending game of cat-and-mouse with unlicensed music distribution sites has taken an abrupt turn with the introduction of Opentape, a purportedly unrelated open-source clone of Muxtape that the RIAA got shut down last week. Opentape's appearance demonstrates that the RIAA has opened a much larger can of worms than it may have expected when it convinced Muxtape's owners to take the site offline.

....

Whether Opentape truly has anything to do with Muxtape, the RIAA now has a whole new set of headaches. By striking down a centralized, streaming-only music discovery service like Muxtape, the RIAA has apparently inspired the release of a simple, decentralized software package for easily streaming and sharing music from any host and URL across the globe, with nary an affiliate link for a legitimate music shop in sight.

product placements (2008)

http://www.kreidler-net.de/productplacements-e.html

music piece / performance ("music theater")

70,200 samples in 33 seconds: nightmare for GERMAN RIAA

If you want to register a song at GEMA (RIAA, ASCAP of Germany) you have to fill in a form for each sample you use, even the tiniest bit. On 12 Sept 08, German Avantgarde musician Johannes Kreidler will —as a live performance event—register a short musical work that contains 70,200 quotations with GEMA using 70,200 forms.

The Piece:

Essay by the artist Johannes Kreidler, Telepolis Article about the performance (both in German)

Court: violating copyleft = copyright infringement

Ars Technica writes about a recent federal appeals court ruling:

A federal appeals court has overruled a lower court ruling that, if sustained, would have severely hampered the enforceability of free software licenses.
(...)
The Federal Circuit appears to have been heavily influenced by the Stanford brief, as it specifically cited Creative Commons, MIT, Wikipedia, and various free software projects as examples of organizations that benefit from copyleft licenses. In a short, clearly-reasoned opinion, the Federal Circuit summarized the public benefits of public licensing and found that the district court had dismissed its terms too lightly. Unlike the lower court, the appeals court seemed to understand that reciprocity lay at the heart of free software licenses. Just as traditional software firms thrive on the exchange of code for money, free software projects thrive on the exchange of code for code. The Federal Circuit recognized that "there are substantial benefits, including economic benefits, to the creation and distribution of copyrighted works under public licenses that range far beyond traditional license royalties." Allowing those rules to be flaunted undermines the free software model.

The main issue of the case was whether violating the copyleft license was a breach of contract or a copyright infringement. Now it's clear that it's the latter which strengthens the enforceability of such licenses considerably.

Jean-Luc Godard on "extract" vs "quotation"

Referring to his unauthorized use of material for his major "Histoire(s) du cinema" Jean Luc Godard said in an interview in 1996:

For me there's a difference between an extract and a quotation. If it's an extract, you have to pay, because you're taking advantage of something you have not done and you are more or less making business out of it. If it's a quotation--and it's more evident in my work that it's a quotation--then you don't have to pay.

Of course, copyright does not make this difference (yet). But this was mid 1990s, and times were different. The first two episodes in Godard's series, each of which lasts 50 minutes, have been shown on five separate state-funded European TV channels without any permission from the copyright holders. It's hard to imagine this happening today.

Source: http://www.chicagoreader.com/movies/archives/0297/02217.html

80% want legal P2P - survey

The Register has an interesting survey concerning the use of p2p file sharing (the sample, though, is quite small, 773 people, no word on how they were selected.)

A fascinating survey of music consumption conducted for British Music Rights has good and bad news for the beleaguered music business.

The bad news: online file sharing is more prevalent than other surveys suggest. The good news: a lot of people are willing to pay for a service that offers legal, licensed P2P file sharing. Half the people surveyed think distributors such as large telecomms companies should pay creators from the proceeds of such a license. And a surprisingly large number of people still value physical music goods, with two thirds of potential subscribers to legal P2P saying that they would continue to buy CDs.

The numbers are quite high:

63 per cent acknowledge they "illegally" download unlicensed music - with the average monthly download being 53 tracks a month.

Also interesting is this fact:

Altruism plays a large part, the survey discovered. More than two thirds said they were giving something back to the community. The reason that most frequently appears on website comments - that music is "too expensive" - was only cited by around 10 per cent of respondents.

"This suggests that respondents recognise the value in the ‘share-ability’ of music and are motivated by a sense of fairness and the principle of reciprocity – something for something illegally," BMR concludes.

Tech giants form group to buy patents

CNET June 29, 2008

Google is part of a group of tech heavyweights going on the offensive against the threat of patent-infringement lawsuits, the Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site Sunday evening.

The group, which calls itself the Allied Security Trust, plans to buy up key intellectual property before it is obtained by parties who might use it against them, the newspaper reported. Joining Google in the group are Verizon Communications, Cisco Systems, Telefon AB L.M. Ericsson, and Hewlett-Packard, among others.

Is this an attempt to create a "walled garden" or a space for innovation, open to all?

see also: Selbsthilfegruppe gegen Patent-Trolle Spiegel.de and the ArsTechnica article

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