By Stephen Carlisle, Nova Southeastern University
If you read the internet, copyright, and especially long copyright terms are an unfathomable evil. In their eyes copyright “hinders learning, destroys our cultural legacy, hurts innovation and the general public, but most importantly it impedes filmmakers, artists, DJ’s and other content creators that need to be able to build upon the work of others to create new content”. There are lots of dire pronouncements, with lots of invective and insults hurled, particularly at the Walt Disney Company (quote “responsible for one of the greatest thefts in world history”) . Yet as typical with such cyberspace broadsides, there is very little explanation of precisely how this suppression of innovation occurs.
That’s because copyright doesn’t suppress either creativity or innovation. And here’s why:
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Arguments for digital piracy are drivel – it’s high time we steered away from this cultural cliff, argues author Chris Ruen.
Piracy may feel like victimless “free culture” to the user, but they are in fact participating in a digital black market. It’s not about information wanting to be free, but rather it’s about exploitative black marketeers and willfully blind tech companies wanting to get rich. They are simply capitalising on loopholes in the regulatory framework. In this sense, mass digital piracy is a symptom of underdevelopment. It’s the Internet Third World, with outdoor markets hawking counterfeit goods and purveyors bribing the local cops to look the other way.
Tech companies will go on skimming profits off the top of this black market until enlightened governments cooperate to squeeze out these illicit profiteers in an effective and transparent manner. As Google’s own Chief Economist Hal Varian has written, “all that is required is the political will to enforce intellectual property rights”.
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“Following the money is the key to shutting down the vast majority of websites that host illegal material,” said Weatherley. “This report explores a number of issues surrounding the piracy debate and I hope that it will spur further discussion both in the UK and, given the international nature of this problem, in other countries across the world.
“As the Intellectual Property Adviser to the Prime Minister, I feel that it is my role to highlight just how damaging piracy is to the UK economy. It is paramount that we curb advertising revenue that is going to pirates who are, in turn, seriously damaging our creative industries.”
Commander Steve Head, head of economic crime at City of London Police, said: “Disrupting revenue to pirate websites is vital to combating online intellectual property piracy and I therefore welcome the recommendations in Mike Weatherley’s report. We must take the profit out of this type of criminality and where legitimate companies, such as payment providers, are facilitating that profit they must be held to account if they fail to act.
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It’s not just music…
“With most of these games being $20 and $50 or more to download, the loss of revenue from this amount of piracy is huge,” said Kyle Reed, Co-Founder and COO, CEG TEK. “There’s been a lot of debate about whether or not piracy is really an issue for the massively successful video game business, but if publishers like Electronic Arts are losing nearly $30M a day in potential revenue on 13 of their hottest titles, that’s something to be concerned about.”
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Financially, it’s less and less possible for a songwriter to make a decent living. I know of a few who have contributed to hit songs that are still having trouble paying their rent. I can’t help but wonder about the aspiring up and comer with big dreams and empty pockets, pockets that might still be pretty bare even after their dream comes true. Some reason that if they get their name on a few big hits it will open the door to bigger and better opportunities. They may be right about that but it remains to be seen whether the resulting royalties will allow them to make a down payment or put their kids through college.
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Last week, the dispute spilled out into the streets of New York. On Saturday afternoon, a few dozen supporters of the Content Creators Coalition, an artists’ advocacy group, picketed Google’s office in Chelsea, playing New Orleans-style marches on horns and carrying signs like “Economic justice in the digital domain” and “What YouTube pays? Nothing.”
Marc Ribot, a guitarist who has played with stars like Tom Waits and Elvis Costello, summarized how the larger conflict over streaming revenue affected artists’ careers.
“If we can’t make enough from digital media to pay for the record that we’ve just made,” Mr. Ribot said, “then we can’t make another one.”
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Posted in Ad Sponsored Piracy, artist revenue streams, Artists Rights Watch, the future of music
Tagged #stopartistexplitation, artist revenue streams, CCC, Content Creators Coalition, google, Marc Ribot, the future of music, youtube
I am a singer/songwriter, author and performer. I wanted to be a songwriter from the time I was a teenager. I thought songwriting was an honorable, even noble profession. I believe that songwriting is far beyond just self-‐expression, but a powerful means of service: we, songwriters and musicians, help people to understand themselves better by helping them to feel— through music. We shine light on the dark corners of the soul. We help reveal the nooks and crannies of our shared humanity. We provide a community for the language of the heart. As Hans Christian Andersen said, where words fail, music speaks.
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We’re looking forward to seeing coverage from the event in NYC yesterday.
Google-owned YouTube’s new streaming service has rates so low it will put many indie labels and hardworking artists out of business. According to the CEO of Merlin (rights licensing organization), “the service that pays the least is the service that’s the most well funded and run by the biggest company in the world: their figures are by far the worst, whether you measure them on a per-stream basis or a per-user basis.”
Support Artists’ Rights by demanding that Google and others:
1.Stop using the copyright reform process to attack artists rights.
2.Cease brokering ads to the corporate black market.
3.Support sustainable pay models for the cultural creators on whom its profits depend.
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Google’s Poor Track Record on Piracy
We reported on the 100 million takedown request milestone that Google sheepishly pushed past earlier this year. Compared with the rapid action the company has taken on European privacy rights, the earlier figure and the lack of action that it represents is even more astonishing.
And it’s not only privacy where Google flexes its significant muscle to disrupt illicit operations.
Since becoming the world’s most popular search engine, accounting for roughly 70% of North American searches and as much as 90% of those in Europe, the company has worked tirelessly to upgrade its algorithm to destroy low quality sites that aim to game Google’s system.
Those sites, it says, devalue its search product and leave users frustrated from a sub par experience. Sounds a lot like poor quality piracy sites that are riddled with malware, doesn’t it? So those sites should really receive similar punishment in the form of demotion or even being stripped from Google’s results. Instead, the company maintains a double standard that now stretches back more than a decade.
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The decision made several important findings related to enforcing rights online including that:
* the court had territorial jurisdiction over Google
* the court had the jurisdictional competence to make a blocking order under its broad equitable jurisdiction even if it would have extra-territorial effects
* URL blocking was not as effective as website blocking
* the balance of convenience favored granting a blocking order to assist the plaintiffs in enforcing their judgment against defendants who continued to violate their intellectual property rights
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