In case you were wondering, as Tim Westergren's crew prepares to reintroduce legislation to require the Congress to reduce artist royalties paid by SoundExchange, old "million a month" Tim continues to make bank on Pandora stock sales. Pandora's only product? Music.
This is part of a broader attempt by Pandora to win the hearts-and-minds of working musicians, and bolster support in Congress. Here’s an email shared with Digital Music News; we blotted out the name of the artist (and some other identifying details) but everything else is intact…
READ THE ENTIRE LETTER AT DIGITAL MUSIC NEWS:
ALSO AT DIGITAL MUSIC NEWS:
Pandora Tries to Convince a Musician That He Isn’t Getting Screwed…
From: Blake Morgan
To: Tim Westergren @ Pandora
Without us, you don’t have a business.
The idea of “allowing” us to “participate” in a business that is built solely on distributing and circulating our copyrighted work is like a grocery store saying it has an idea to “allow” the manufacturers of the goods it carries to get paid. The store isn’t “allowing” Del Monte to get paid for their cans of green beans, right? Of course not.
The Daily Beast published a must read on the new ruling class and the transfer of wealth in the economy, America’s New Oligarchs—Fwd.us and Silicon Valley’s Shady 1 Percenters. Of particular interest was one sentence in this paragraph,
Perversely, the small number of jobs—mostly clustered in Silicon Valley—created by tech companies has helped its moguls avoid public scrutiny. Google employs 50,000, Facebook 4,600, and Twitter less than 1,000 domestic workers. In contrast, GM employs 200,000, Ford 164,000, and Exxon over 100,000. Put another way, Google, with a market cap of $215 billion, is about five times larger than GM yet has just one fourth as many workers.
This is an equation that defines inequality: more and more wealth concentrated in fewer hands and benefiting fewer workers.
Here is the operative sentence from the paragraph above with one word added…
Google, with a market cap of $215 billion, is about five times larger than GM yet has just one fourth as many [PAID] workers.
It occurs to us in the new exploitation economy of loser generated content that many people are “working” for Google and other tech companies supplying endless hours of consumer created content from Facebook posts to Instagram photos. That’s just the stuff that people are willing to give away by consent (although we don’t know how much privacy they are actually consenting to give up in the process).
But the larger truth is even more scary. Google and other internet businesses profit greatly by avoiding paying for the cost of the goods they are monetizing (primarily by advertising). YouTube is a company built on infringement and theft as a business model.
In other words, it’s a lot easier to make money when you don’t have to pay for the labor or fixed costs of developing and producing a product. You know products like music, film, books, software, etc.
Obviously if all of these creators and producers were paid fairly in the value chain to which their work is creating revenue, than there would be less profit for the distributor. What we have now is a distribution mechanism that profits without paying the creative producers. Which is exactly how a company like Google can earn such extraordinary wealth, essentially through stolen labor.
Read the whole story here at The Daily Beast:
The Constitutional and Historical Foundations of Copyright Protection
By Paul Clement, Viet Dinh & Jeffrey Harris 
Article I, section 8 of the Constitution grants Congress authority “[t]o promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” There was little debate over this provision during the Convention, but James Madison (as Publius) emphasized in Federalist 43 that “[t]he utility of this power will scarcely be questioned,” and “[t]he copyright of authors has been solemnly adjudged, in Great Britain, to be a right of common law.” With respect to both copyrights and patents, Madison asserted that “[t]he public good fully coincides in both cases with the claims of individuals.”
* * *
This history flatly refutes any notion that copyright law is a matter of legislative grace intended solely to serve utilitarian ends. The Copyright Clause of the U.S. Constitution was inspired by a long intellectual tradition—extending back to the very origins of printing and publishing—in which legislators, jurists, scholars, and commentators recognized authors’ inherent property rights in the fruits of their own labor.
Just as the scope of the pre-existing right informs both the contemporary public understanding of, and the Supreme Court’s interpretation of, the right enshrined by the Second Amendment, see Heller, 554 U.S. at 592, 603, this pre-constitutional history is useful both in interpreting the scope of Congress’ copyright power and in informing policy debates about how that power should be exercised. The Supreme Court itself has harkened back to the Statute of Anne in interpreting the copyright laws. See Feltner, 523 U.S. at 349-50. A view of the copyright laws that ignores this history is sorely incomplete.
We heard a new twist on the Copyright Principles Project--because the participants are academics, they are not "self interested" the way that creators are. Ah, disinterested elites on a quest for truth that only the anointed can divine.
Although this point of view is common to academics (who frequently seem to think that their views are superior to everyone else's--as any law student can attest), allow this non acolyte to diverge from the path to an "A" (or other form of approval, such as a nice fresh fish so appreciated by trained seals) and express a contrary view at the risk of getting an "F".