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Re: Copyright discussions

Postby iab » February 1st, 2011, 2:27 pm


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ip_wirelessly wrote:Well there is a rub....

While I agree that the price will be dictated by what the market will bear...if the market says that music is FREE....well, I have a hard time believing that musicians are going to continue making music. Some might, but we're going to lose out on a LOT of innovation and amazing music because we've effectively told the musicians that their work is not worth paying for. What I find really sad about this, is that people take a TS approach to this for no other reason than the internet has made it EASY to download music. We're a cheap, lazy society that places very little value on a group of people that fundamentally MAKE US HAPPY.

Now, all I hear is how expensive it is to go to a concert anymore. I even complain about it. But there is no other form of profit. People complain about bands "selling their music out" to corporations. Heck, Colbert had a couple bands on recently mocking this very idea. That bands whore out their music to make a buck. But a primary revenue stream (albums) is gone. So, for a typical band, 4 - 5 people...you have to make a minimum of $1,000,000** per year to cover expenses, salaries (assuming $100K USD for a round number indicating a "good" living). That's $400 - $500 to cover salaries. The rest covers equipment costs, travel expenses, management fees, and other business expenses. These are a all small businesses, afterall. So...they have to make money somehow. (**I'm sure you could argue the $500K is high or low based on an annual run for a "decent" band). $1,000,000 isn't something to sneeze at.

Music is part of our culture. It makes our soul taps its foot. And because its EASY to download, we tell the people who do this for us TS.

I, for one, can't do that.


OK. Let's look at nearly free music. First, I'll disagree with Mr. 914. Digital recording costs are extremely low as compared to the past. A little capital and a basement will get you a quality (not necessarily the best) recording. Distribution, especially file sharing, is free. Those two things drive an over-supply. If demand stays the same, or drops because the over-supply dilutes quality art, price will drop. Why shouldn't the artist look to a new model? Yes, the low-hanging fruit will be gone. It will discourage some artists and many will quit. But the amatuers won't quit. They are not creating art for the sake of money. I'd say most, if not all artists start by just wanting to express themselves. So I don't think the supply of artists will diminish.

So can an artist transition from amatuer to professional? I think absolutely yes. Will it be as "easy" or reap the rewards as the past? Absolutely not. Will this stop "a LOT" (as you put it) of innovation? I don't know. But then again, I don't think you are certain either. Plus, what exactly is a lot?

There needs to be a new model of artist. If Colbert and others want to make some phony construct of "artistic integrity", that is their right. But it is ironic coming coming from a guy sitting on a mountain of ad revenue selling junk food and penis enhancement. Not exactly moral high ground. So an artist can sell to advertising, a LOT of money is there.

And again, concert revenue is determined by what the market will bear. Deserves has nothing to do with it. $100K may be a lot, it may be a little. Art has no special standing over a ditch digger or a doctor. All are necessary to society. Making an exception because it is good for the soul and easier than innovating the profession?

To quote you, I, for one, can't do that.

Re: Copyright discussions

Postby jon_winebrenner » February 1st, 2011, 2:46 pm

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Where we agree, iab, is that value is impossible to quantify. It isn't a moral position I am taking on the societal standing musicians/artists hold over another.

Where this thread starts, is the idea that the value starts at free. Downloading music because you CAN, does not mean you should. Replicating a piece of artwork (a photograph) because you CAN....it holds true across the board. I don't find free acceptable. The woman who made this Sita Sings the Blues argues that because the song is old, she should be able to use it however she wants....for free.

I threw out $100K because that's a number that is pretty solid for saying you have made it solidly into middle class. Again, the numbers can scale. I concede that the value is subjective.

What I still do not hear, is any reason why a song, photograph, or other copyright covered piece of artwork should be FREE unless the artist chooses for it to be.

Re: Copyright discussions

Postby Mr-914 » February 1st, 2011, 3:53 pm

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Whoa...time out.

I think that all intellectual property laws should be, as in the beginning, limited monopolies for creators to profit on their work to encourage them to produce more. Here is current US law:

copyright is 95 or 120 years (depending on type) or the life of the author plus 70 years.

design patent is 14 years

utility patent is 20 years

I think that copyright is, essentially, no longer a limited monopoly, but a complete monopoly that discourages people from continuing to create & shackles future generations from being able to use works as they wish.

The thing that I found most interesting in the case of the director of Sita Sings the Blues is how hard it was for her to use music. First, she wanted to use music that is no longer available on CD or iTunes. Not because the music isn't popular, but rather no one knows who the right's holders are! Part of that is the antiquated system of managing the rights, but part of it is also because who the hell is around 70 years after the death of an obscure author to care who uses their work? Other than the case of Disney*, not many.

If I were god-emperor, I would knock it down to 30 years from the time of first publish. Ideally, I would say 20, like a patent, but I'll compromise to 30.

As for "music is free", I don't believe that either. I still buy CDs and vinyl. I hate dealing with iTunes and other software. It's even more of a big deal for me, because the stuff I want I can't find in stores (especially now...HMV is like a desert). I used to pop into the store once a month and buy a couple CDs, now I need to plan ahead and order stuff. It's a pain. I only torrent if I can't find something available (more often than you think) or I want to listen to a whole album before buying.

As for "music is a profession"...ugh, I don't agree there. 99% of music is just people who enjoy playing an instrument or singing. I practiced and took guitar lessons for a year. I know it's hard. It doesn't mean that everyone who can play should get a career out of it. Which compares nice with design. I think only 1/4 or less of ID students stay in the career after five years. That is probably optimistic...

Lastly, I think everything we do should eventually become public domain. I don't think that Bach's fifth concerto should be free because we can't do the accounting to figure out who holds the rights. I think it should be public (owned by humanity) because it has passed into something greater than just another concerto. It's part of our collective culture. The same goes for any art or invention in my mind.

As for my work, I pray that someone values it 20 years from now! I would die a very happy person I'm fortunate enough for that.

* footnote on copyrights. Disney is the driving force for copyright law. Steamboat Willie, the first appearance of Mickey Mouse is copyrighted until 2023, 95 years after it's release and 44 years after Walt Disney's death.

Re: Copyright discussions

Postby seurban » February 1st, 2011, 5:10 pm


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*NOTE* I wrote this before I saw Mr. 914's last post but got busy with other things before I had a chance to submit it. But now I have more things to do so here it is unchanged:

One part of this discussion which hasn't really been touched upon, and which I haven't fully figured out for myself, is the relative value of types of creations and when they become free, if ever.

If I invent something and get a utility patent I can profit from anybody recreating my invention for 20 years. A design patent is even less. After that I can still profit if I make it myself, but I have no control over who else makes it and can't profit from their recreation.

If I write a book or a song I have rights to it until my death, and my heirs retain these rights for 70 years. Even for work for hire the copyright is in effect for 120 years. After that my heirs can no longer benefit, except perhaps by selling memorabilia.

If I make a painting or a sculpture, I believe all the same copyright rules are in effect for reproductions of the work. But unlike a book, where value is retained in the copies, the primary value is in the original (which is sold to someone else). And the original can exist and be sold essentially forever. I imagine for most works of art a couple centuries old, besides perhaps a dozen frequently reproduced works, the value of the original is far greater than 100 years of reproduction rights.

So we're left with a system that makes some things free sooner than others, and leaves the creator with more or less of the value, either by decision or by the nature of the work. The company line for patents, as I've heard it, is that patents give you protection for your work, in exchange for full disclosure so that in time it can be recreated by all, for the overall benefit of society. This says to me that yes, you are allowed to profit from your work, but that work can have value for society that outweighs any claims that you should have exclusive rights forever. Which leads me to ask whether art (creations covered by copyright) has value for society (an easy yes) and whether or not its value to society outweighs claims that you should have exclusive rights forever, and furthermore, whether your heirs can make those claims.

Personally, I think the basic idea that a copyright is in effect for the creator's life plus a little extra after which it is freely available is a good one. Give the author full benefit of their creation and creative control, but after they're gone it is (at least can be) a valuable part of our culture, and at a certain point should be freely available throughout our culture. It's similar to the patent trade-off, plus I don't think any author can know what society will be like or what their heirs will do decades in the future, so I think it's actually unreasonable to extend their control beyond a few decades (erring on the side of an open society). Personally, I think 70 years is a little long, but that's probably due to my general feeling towards inheritance (I'm pro estate tax).

And yes, you should pay for your music - iTunes, CD, whatever. Small-time infractions should be overlooked as people spread the word of your music, but pay for the album if you're going to keep it. Though I wonder if music distributors will ever go the way of print publishers and offer "classics" (past copyright recordings) at a significant discount - essentially distribution cost (approaching zero digitally) + profit.

Re: Copyright discussions

Postby jon_winebrenner » February 2nd, 2011, 12:41 pm

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Mr-914 wrote:Whoa...time out.

I think that all intellectual property laws should be, as in the beginning, limited monopolies for creators to profit on their work to encourage them to produce more. Here is current US law:


I don't get this at all. How is the creation of something (an animated mouse, a piece of music, etc.) creating a Monopoly? Prior to the age of Disney (I'm taking your word that they effectively pioneered Copyright Law), people did not form companies, or estates to protect their assets.

Isn't the job of an artist to be able to create something new, and unique? How is Mickey Mouse creating a Monopoly, and subsequently, preventing me from creating an icon that is as powerful and long lasting? This idea that Copyright creates a Monopoly doesn't hold water for me.


Mr-914 wrote:I think that copyright is, essentially, no longer a limited monopoly, but a complete monopoly that discourages people from continuing to create & shackles future generations from being able to use works as they wish.


So, where that leaves me wondering, is how do you define "USE"?

Why should I have any right to USE Mickey Mouse as something of my own? So, after 95 years expires, I can go start making Mickey Mouse Theme Parks, and printing Tee Shirts Willy Nilly (Pun intended)?

I dread the day with Hacks like the Sita Sings the Blues woman has access to Mickey's image to "use how she wants".

Mr-914 wrote:The thing that I found most interesting in the case of the director of Sita Sings the Blues is how hard it was for her to use music. First, she wanted to use music that is no longer available on CD or iTunes. Not because the music isn't popular, but rather no one knows who the right's holders are! Part of that is the antiquated system of managing the rights, but part of it is also because who the hell is around 70 years after the death of an obscure author to care who uses their work? Other than the case of Disney*, not many.


We're in a new age where corporations (estates) can, and are created around images. It really comes down to the individual creator to defend, or set up the protection for their work. If the let it lapse, then, by all means people can/should use it. If someone buys the creation as an asset, it is now their right to do so. No?

Mr-914 wrote:As for "music is a profession"...ugh, I don't agree there. 99% of music is just people who enjoy playing an instrument or singing. I practiced and took guitar lessons for a year. I know it's hard. It doesn't mean that everyone who can play should get a career out of it. Which compares nice with design. I think only 1/4 or less of ID students stay in the career after five years. That is probably optimistic...


Just like everyone who can pick up a pen and paper shouldn't be an Industrial Designer. Copyright isn't protecting tinkerers (well, it does, but if the market rejects it because its not good enough....).

Again, I don't get the point here. Its not a profession, why? Because the industry is saturated with hack/wannabe musicians?

Mr-914 wrote:Lastly, I think everything we do should eventually become public domain. I don't think that Bach's fifth concerto should be free because we can't do the accounting to figure out who holds the rights. I think it should be public (owned by humanity) because it has passed into something greater than just another concerto. It's part of our collective culture. The same goes for any art or invention in my mind.


Like my previous question of the definition of "USE". Can you please define "OWNERSHIP"? And by being "OWNED" by the public....what does that mean to you?

Mr-914 wrote:As for my work, I pray that someone values it 20 years from now! I would die a very happy person I'm fortunate enough for that.


If you create something worthy of long term public consumption. Something that has the possibility of providing your following generations with financial stability...would you not want that protected?

Re: Copyright discussions

Postby Mr-914 » February 2nd, 2011, 4:21 pm

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Professional musicians: I interpreted your posts as claiming that it is difficult for musicians to make a living because of people not buying music, but downloading it for free. I was arguing that it was never easy to be a musician and that anyone that gets into it, regardless of talent level, should be prepared to not make very much money. The downloading is irrelevant to the fact that the music business is probably the fiercest around.

My intellectual property: I can't say this any better than Warren Buffet, although I'm far from living my kids in the position that his are:

The perfect amount of money to leave children is enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they would do nothing


I don't want to burden my children with either sloth or having to worry about managing the artifacts that I produced decades ago.

Public ownership: Disclaimer - This is completely based on my feelings and a little bit of my own analysis of the world around me. I don't believe that everyone has to buy into it, but I do think that, as a society, we should examine how we feel about ownership of ideas and negotiate a more equitable agreement on how to deal with the subject moving forward. I think that it is critical to do this now because we are moving from an age where only a few large companies needed to worry about these laws to a new age where hundreds of millions will be directly effected.

I believe that no one really owns an idea once it is outside their head. I feel this is our natural state. Any deviations are social agreements. That's where my statement about monopolies comes from. Disney does have a monopoly on the mental conception known as "Mickey Mouse" and all of the physical media that has been produced using that concept. However, no one can own my feelings about something I've seen or heard. No one can own or control my imagination and what I can do using this cultural artifact. However, with our i.p. laws, they can control who I share these new ideas with.

ie, I can draw a lewd picture of Mickey and Minnie, but I can't print a poster of it, or make a movie and put it on TV.

That's where public ownership comes in. Eventually, if something exists long enough and captures enough imaginations, I think it moves beyond any concept of ownership. Kinda like how a brand name can become a generic term for an object (jeep, kleenex, etc.). It's a question of balancing the good of the owner/creator with the cultural reality of the society.

Lastly, just think of how much great work we would be denied if we couldn't use the characters, songs and stories of the past. No Shakespeare movies. No stories with any references to specific greek gods. At some point, all culture moves from being one person's work to being something that belongs to all of us.

Re: Copyright discussions

Postby rkuchinsky » February 3rd, 2011, 4:16 pm

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More thoughts later.

For now to provoke discussion, I give you this-

Image

And these - (sorry can't get the embed code working)

http://vimeo.com/14912890

http://vimeo.com/kirbyferguson/everythi ... mix-part-2

from here: http://www.everythingisaremix.info/

R
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http://www.directivecollective.com

Re: Copyright discussions

Postby rkuchinsky » February 3rd, 2011, 4:23 pm

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Another good one on the same issue of authorship and mash ups.

http://vimeo.com/11749071

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http://www.directivecollective.com

Re: Copyright discussions

Postby jon_winebrenner » February 3rd, 2011, 5:21 pm

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I like the jist of that manifesto. Confusing "stealing" with "inspiration" is the risk.

There are variations on the theme of Shakespear, or other pieces of art. "Stealing" Mickey Mouse and creating T-Shirts with his image for profit, is far different from gaining inspiration from Mickey's character and creating your own work of art in the same vein.

Copyright, in my opinion, protects creators from the first example.

Most people who view Copyright as a PITA are likely not the ones who are going to violate the terms in the first place.

Re: Copyright discussions

Postby Mr-914 » February 3rd, 2011, 8:13 pm

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Always +1 for Jim Jarmusch.

Also: thanks IP. I don't know if we have anything left to say now hehe. You sure made me think this out far more than I had ever intended.

Re: Copyright discussions

Postby iab » February 4th, 2011, 10:31 am


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ip_wirelessly wrote:Where we agree, iab, is that value is impossible to quantify. It isn't a moral position I am taking on the societal standing musicians/artists hold over another.

Where this thread starts, is the idea that the value starts at free. Downloading music because you CAN, does not mean you should. Replicating a piece of artwork (a photograph) because you CAN....it holds true across the board. I don't find free acceptable. The woman who made this Sita Sings the Blues argues that because the song is old, she should be able to use it however she wants....for free.

I threw out $100K because that's a number that is pretty solid for saying you have made it solidly into middle class. Again, the numbers can scale. I concede that the value is subjective.

What I still do not hear, is any reason why a song, photograph, or other copyright covered piece of artwork should be FREE unless the artist chooses for it to be.


We are in full agreement that if the woman who made Sita Sings the Blues is profiting from the music, she should pay for the music. Not paying is getting something for other's work.

But what about when there is no profit involved? E.g. listening to music for personal pleasure or if Sita Sings the Blues is free for the taking.

There is precedence for free music. Radio has been playing free music for decades. Musicians see it as a marketing tool. I copied music and made sappy mix tapes for my gf 30 years ago. The music industry never enforced copyright laws if no profit was involved then.

Also, you cannot unring the technology bell. Because of that bell, recorded music, or any art for that matter, is now just a commodity that can be stored as a sequence of ones and zeros. The music industry has done absolutely nothing to bring the value of their recorded art above zero. If the industy CAN'T show value, why SHOULD the price be above zero? To be fair? Tell that to the last buggy whip manufacturer. The dinosaurs are the last to see it coming.

Tell me, what can the artist do to prove value other than hiding behind an arbitrary law? Personally, I think they need to give up the notion that digitally recorded art holds value and look to original art as a source of income. If they want to live in a free market, they have to accept dying in a free market too.

Re: Copyright discussions

Postby Mr-914 » February 4th, 2011, 4:21 pm

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1. It should be noted that the music in Sita Sings the Blues was paid for.

2. Image

Re: Copyright discussions

Postby iab » February 4th, 2011, 4:58 pm


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I can't see #2. My computer here at work is blocked by something called websense. As it turns out streaming media, amongst other things, is verbotten.

Re: Copyright discussions

Postby Mr-914 » February 5th, 2011, 11:24 am

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iab: that is a sin!

It's a tape cassette from the 1980's band, The Dead Kennedy's. The B-side has the following printed on it:\

Home taping is killing record industry profits! We left this side blank so you can help.

Re: Copyright discussions

Postby iab » February 7th, 2011, 11:11 am


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Mr-914 wrote:iab: that is a sin!

It's a tape cassette from the 1980's band, The Dead Kennedy's. The B-side has the following printed on it:\

Home taping is killing record industry profits! We left this side blank so you can help.



I guess they don't want me watching "Like a Cheesehead" on youtube all day. Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad.

I love the Dead Kennedy's. It wouldn't surprise me if I put them on one of those sappy mix tapes for a gf.

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