Copyright vs Copywrong

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Copyright vs Copywrong

Postby Moderator » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:44 pm

(Transferring from the Sounds of Evil Thread)

FrankChurch wrote:Thom Hartmann mentioned some study that said that downloads actually help the artist get his or her pr out there.

How do we know that people who take free stuff would pay if they could? I listen to many songs on the radio but would never buy the actual albums. The Rolling Stones come to mind.


If you cannot afford to pay the artist for your work, walk away. I can't afford a Jaguar XK, does this mean I can then just take it from the lot? How about a bottle of perfume from Macy's? A steak from the market?

The radio plays the songs, which is the "free download" you get. The stations pay for the music in exchange for using the music to attract listeners and advertising revenue. Pulling your own personal copy without paying BMI or ASCAP is theft. As is downloading a picture, book or other work without the permission of the copyright holder. Period.

(BTW - The oft-repeated argument "I would never pay for it so you might as well give it to me for free" is patently offensive to the creator of the work. It dismisses any sense of relevance or importance to the piece in question, and essentially tells the artist that they're just damned lucky someone's looking/listening. Can you think of a more insulting comment?)

(BTW 2 - Regarding the value of free downloads, Hartmann is well off the mark. Again, let's see his reaction to free streams of his radio programs and elimination of his advertising revenues. That simple.)
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Re: Copyright vs Copywrong

Postby Moderator » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:45 pm

Frank -- Several of us have tried to demonstrate how it really, truly is an effective pickpocketing of the artist when someone downloads or illegally distributes copyrighted material. I think we've shown that producing such works costs someone money, in many cases the artist or their label/publisher. Not just the big guys. Producing as little as a thousand CDs for a band to sell at concerts costs upwards of $1500, and that's just the physical production. It doesn't include the thousands of dollars in studio time (for a band) or hours of work (for a painter) or salaries for engineers/assistants/professionals/musicians, etc.

It isn't as if someone simply whips up something in an afternoon and lobs it onto Youtube/iTunes/Amazon.

It takes time, effort and money. Yes, it's a labor of love, but since when is it wrong to match labors of love and being fairly reimbursed. If they are professionals -- not amateurs -- they are doing what they do in expectation of some coin.

Think about your own world. Most of the long-term food service people I know work for the love of it. Love/Hate, actually. Owners, chefs, cooks, etc. The people who are the backbone, who do the work because it's the only livelihood which makes them happy (which, of course, makes them mad) (You know the type I mean.) And we both know they're amongst the worst paid people in business. But they're paid.

In the case of artists, what you're not understanding -- at least as far as I can tell -- is that fair reimbursement is an expectation anyone who works at something worthwhile is entitled to have. No one wants to pour their heart into something for free then see others steal it -- and then have the thugs insist the artist isn't entitled to payment.

What you're missing is that copyright doesn't mean every covered work will cost money. What copyright means is that the person who owns the copyright has the right to decide what to do with their property. Hartmann is perfectly welcome to stream his work for free. It's his decision. What he does not have the right to do is decide, for example, that he's going to stream The Stephanie Miller Show for free as well. That's HER decision.

THAT is what copyright is all about. I get to decide what I do with MY work.


And anyone who disrespects my right can be prosecuted for taking away my rights to decide for myself what happens to my own property.
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Re: Copyright vs Copywrong

Postby FrankChurch » Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:00 pm

I guess this is a good place to discuss this issue.

Let's say we are in a public park. You come to sit next to me while I'm feeding the birds. I put up my hand in anger and say, "hey, pal, this is my bench, go get your own." You would rightly be angry because you know that a public park is part of the commons, where we all share in its bounty, but we also let people from out of town into our parks, even when they don't pay for it. We also allow homeless people, who we may not want there. Free speech works the same way. Think of freedom as a public park. We have a first amendment because speech is more important of a concept than property.

We can legally limit the size of what land holdings someone can own, through zoning, monopoly laws. Property rights also don't give you the right to pollute the common ground water and air. If you have a barking dog, it is right for your neighbors to complain, even though your dog is in your house. You also have no right to shoot a Jehovah's Witness, for invading your porch.

Speech is fairly absolute while property is limited, or should be. Jefferson, Madison, they agreed. We can debate this but we should admit that I am on the mainstream side of this one.

Stopping piracy is a good thing. We need to do that without infringing on bigger rights. Simple.

This goes back to my mention of Chomsky's interview on CNBC--the guy who posted that on youtube could be sued by NBC news. What monetary benefit does stopping that video have on them? None, because they will never offer that video for sale. At least make it possible to post stuff of news or other value without having to ask permission. Our access to that interview, in my opinion, is more important than the fact that NBC owns the rights to that show.

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Re: Copyright vs Copywrong

Postby Moderator » Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:45 pm

Two quick observations:

1 - If I built the bench and it was sitting on my property, or offered at my garage sale, you would be a thief if you walked off with it. (You don't "use" a download, you appropriate it.) My work is not on public property. If someone else wrote my book and left it on an open website your analogy works. But then, it wouldn't be my book, would it? My book is not free speech, it's my story, not the world's.

2 - Regardless of who makes what coin against a property, it's the decision of the person/entity who created it and/or owns it to make the decision as to who can use it. No one has the right or moral standing to take someone else's work against their will unless there is a legal decision allowing it. Appropriating and using it in any other way is morally and legally wrong.

There is no societal claim on private works of art. None. The owner -- copyright holder -- has the sole claim to action regarding their property. This applies to physical theft, as well as illegal digital copying.

There is no defense for claiming society -- or worse, private individuals who steal and distribute electronic copies -- can make decisions for the private owner of a work of art. None.
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Re: Copyright vs Copywrong

Postby Ezra Lb. » Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:17 pm

Frank posted this somewhere else...

Barber, Bill Maher is in your tent:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7bIDBD6 ... AAAAAAAAAA


I understand the point of view that sees the recent attempts at legislation as overreaching but let me play devil's advocate.

Why shouldn't YouTube be held responsible for allowing posters to upload copyrighted material? The site is full of illegal material. If lawyers come calling then they take stuff down yes but not every artist has the wherewithal to hire big name attorneys. YouTube knows full well that their site contains illegal material.

So somebody tell me why they shouldn't be held responsible?
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Re: Copyright vs Copywrong

Postby Moderator » Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:37 am

Ezra -

First, the internet, as you know, is designed for the transport of information. Yes it can take a myriad of forms, but it's all essentially bits and bytes of data. But just because transporting information is the nature of the internet, making the leap that all information is entitled to be moved is incorrect. Owners get to decide what is done with their content. The internet is essentially an electronic shipping company, no more. It's universally accepted as illegal for someone to either intercept a FedEx package, or send stolen materials through FedEx --but those who aregue for illegal downloads on the net are essentially stating it's okay for me to steal a bunch of books/cds/photos from a nearby store and send them to friends via FedEx. Ultimately it's not FedEx we would hold responsible for that activity, it's me for presuming I can do such a thing. They're not the thugs, I am. But for some reason people don't see virtually the same activity as unacceptable when it comes to the net. Just because you CAN do something doesn't mean it's right, acceptable or permissible to do it.

There is such a thing as Good Faith. Anyone can send anything via FedEx if FedEx doesn't know what the contents are. And if they are advised and act to stop that particular item from being transported they are making the good faith effort...much like online content companies (like Youtube) expect that their users follow certain published guidelines, acting only when a complaint is registered. I own the copyrights, so I can legally post things like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY5KOUx9bDg.

It's mine. *I* get to decide what is done with it.

But I'm not exonerating Youtube for the posting of illegal materials. Yes, I think they turn a blind eye towards the posting of copyrighted works, but they also do take steps to take such things down when they're notified. With millions of things going up it is an understandably difficult job to police the content, and at some point you have to trust that the vast majority of posts are going to be put up by thoughtful and honest people. The police know damned well that virtually everyone on the freeway is speeding. You just don't want to be the one driver who gets their undivided attention by blowing past them and flipping the bird. That's just stupid.

And in the case of copyright it is usually assumed that the copyright holder does have the responsibility to enforce their copyright. Law enforcement and the courts are there to provide the teeth, but they don't generally go after the thugs without a complaint. But what is missing here is the blame on the people who believe they are entitled to content. To art. To freely distribute that content in any way they feel they want to, regardless of ownership. That's irresponsible and unethical, and yet perfectly rational people think it's defensible to do allow it. THAT is where the problem lies.

Anyone who believes they are entitled to steal and/or distribute someone else's property are thugs, yet society seems to think that artists (and the companies who represent and pay them) are overreacting.

I will listen to the argument only and if the person making it themselves work pro bono. Otherwise it's hypocrisy.
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Re: Copyright vs Copywrong

Postby Anthony Ravenscroft » Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:59 pm

BARBER -- on another site (maybe SoundOnSound.com), a poster who'd done gruntwork for a Jan Akkerman tour of Europe said the guy made far more from back-of-house sales (CD & merch) than from actually playing.

This kinda takes advantage of the old industry shell-game of "what's paying for what?" Since at least the 1950s, labels would claim that the tour was a writeoff, marketing the records... then turn around & claim the records were marketing for the tour. The labels also "double dipped" at every turn: control of the signed act's career (can't do a "guest appearance" without label permission), inflated charges (cost-plus) for studio time & session musicians & producers & engineers & mastering, charge-backs for unsold copies, a generous cut of sheet-music rights, & so forth. Possibly "first look" rights to each member's future output, in perpetuity, as well as control of the back-catalogue even if not commercially available (Janis Ian, for instance).

Look at profit from sales & profit from performances. Take the lowest, then claim that the other is cost of marketing. Voila -- a paper loss, & more income.

And a good reason to keep producing CDs.

Now, as for unionization. Great idea, poor execution. IME, the Musicians Union rains down hell on members who even THINK about playing for less than scale, or with non-union musicians, or at venues that haven't been approved.

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Re: Copyright vs Copywrong

Postby Moderator » Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:25 pm

Tony -

How an artist derives profit has little to do with strangers using that property without the artist's permission, other than the latter takes away the ability for the artist to derive the former.

Most of the pro-theft posters often claim "so-and-so does it this way", as an example when free distribution helps an artist. That's completely missing the point that it's "so-and-so's" decision to do it that way. The actual issue is the actions of the masses who take that decision away from "so-and-so" by stealing the work and distributing it without permission.
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Re: Copyright vs Copywrong

Postby FrankChurch » Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:13 pm

Barber's views on this reminds me of people on the left and right who think the Illuminati is around every corner, but this shady group of teen info-crooks go from robbing liquor stores to stealing music. There is just little evidence that widespread downloading hurts sales.

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Re: Copyright vs Copywrong

Postby Moderator » Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:26 pm

That's just absurdly wrong, Frank, and we've used personal examples to demonstrate our own economic losses from theft. In addition, a large number of reports have found that users have decreased spending form between 15 to 30% for products they can download for free. Some claim there is no impact, that that requires a good deal of incredulity to believe.

As I noted above, until you agree to work pro bono, you have no idea what you're doing to professional artists.

I really can't convey just how insensitive and offensive your last remark is, Frank. You're essentially saying the artists ought to just lay back and enjoy the rape.

http://www.ifpi.org/content/library/The-Impact-of-Illegal-Downloading.pdf

http://www.surfnetkids.com/go/safety/417/economic-impact-of-p2p-file-sharing/

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/consumers-still-arent-buying-music-online-20110114

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/peer-to-peer-networks-top-internet-traffic-list-20080625

Sadly, your attitude is precisely why no one can make a living in the music industry these days.
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Re: Copyright vs Copywrong

Postby Anthony Ravenscroft » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:06 am

Sorry -- not meaning to even LOOK like I'm disagreeing with ya. Theft is theft, period. I guess my point in bringing that up is that the "old model" has had plenty of buccaneering already well-entrenched. The "new model" is a half-arsed attempt to graft all that crap into the digital age.

There are increasing rumblings that paid downloads, even when they work as promised, aren't the artist-friendly panacaea heralded by downloaders. An interesting little article from a couple months ago:
http://www.investinganswers.com/personal-finance/rich-famous/who-really-profits-your-itunes-downloads-3818

Similar numbers, rendered graphically:
http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/how-much-do-music-artists-earn-online/

Here's a specific crit of iTunes:
http://downhillbattle.org/itunes/

Piracy is bad enough, but I'm really disgusted by common mantras to the effect that track-theft somehow HELPS sales. The "free advertising" crap really needs to stop.

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Re: Copyright vs Copywrong

Postby Moderator » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:14 pm

Fascinating. Noam Chomsky is a strong advocate of copyright protections, even invoking them himself and assigning them to his children to extend their coverage.

http://www.hoover.org/publications/hoover-digest/article/6222
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Re: Copyright vs Copywrong

Postby robochrist » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:32 pm

One would think the precepts between public and private property were cut-and-dry, except to those, perhaps, who'd grown used to if not addicted to free downloads and became blinded by the convenience.

At any rate, as Thom Hartmann usually gets it right on the mark in his assessment of the issues, I want to talk with him and make sure his position on this topic is as characterized on this board.

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Re: Copyright vs Copywrong

Postby Moderator » Mon Jan 23, 2012 1:40 pm

Rob -

My guess is that we're conflating two different topics in his view.

His own website is clear with ownership including copyright information.

Thom Hartman/Mythical Research wrote:Access and Use: All materials contained in this Site are protected by international trademark and copyright laws and must only be used for personal, non-commercial purposes. This means that you may only view or download material from this Site for your own use and you must keep all copyright and other proprietary notices attached to the downloaded material. The reproduction, duplication, distribution (including by way of email, facsimile or other electronic means), publication, modification, copying or transmission of material from this Site is STRICTLY PROHIBITED unless you have obtained the prior written consent of MYTHICAL RESEARCH, INC. and WYD MEDIAMANAGEMENT, LLC or unless it is expressly permitted by this Site. The material covered by this prohibition includes, without limitation, any text, graphics, logos, photographs, audio or video material or stills from audiovisual material available on this Site. The use of materials from this Site on any other web site or networked computer environment is similarly prohibited.


http://www.thomhartmann.com/articles/2009/03/terms-use
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Re: Copyright vs Copywrong

Postby robochrist » Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:12 pm

I think so, too. I just want to find out if any charges at Hartmann's argument like, "deliberately misconstruing", as I read on this board by those like Diane are justified.


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