IMMF Is Not MMF: But are they even worse?

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The International Music Managers Forum is the parent organization which nominally oversees the Music Manager Forum affiliates in various countries around the world.  Last week we broke a story that a whistleblower indicated the Music Managers Forum in the UK along with its sister organization Featured Artist Coalition are taking money from Google and Spotify.  We have since had a second source corroborate this.

This is important because MMF and FAC have been  strong advocates for Spotify and its low paying ad supported free tier. Further many artists feel betrayed that MMF/FAC hosted a series of “informational” meetings with Spotify while apparently taking money from Spotify.   It’s not a good look for the (formerly) well respected institutions.

Naturally  in the wake of this revelation we received communications indicating that certain members of the IMMF were not happy with this news, and seemed to want to distance themselves from the MMF.

Fair enough.  So we looked into the IMMF to see what they are about.  What we found is just as ugly:

1) The IMMF is a member of  Copyright 4 Creativity. Other members include the artist-hostile-anti-copyright-Google-funded EFF as well as the CCIA and CDT.

2) The Executive Coordinator of  Copyright 4 Creativity is Clara De Cook.  She also appears to be the lobbyist for Google in the EU.

3) The IMMF is a signatory to the Copyright 4 Creativity manifesto which contains this clause:

“Ensure Monopoly Rights are Regulated in the Online Environment: Limitations and exceptions act to counter-balance the lack of competition that is created by the granting of monopoly rights in copyright law. In order to protect creativity and innovation we must ensure that these monopoly rights are also regulated in the online environment.”

Sounds okay right?  No one likes big monopoly corporations!

Uh… except that’s not the kind of  monopoly they are talking about.  They are talking about YOUR individual rights as a monopoly!! Specifically your copyright “monopoly” over your songs and sound recordings, which is the same kind of “monopoly” you have over your guitar, your car, your house or your body, not an anti-competitive monopoly.   “Regulating” means taking away your right to decide how your sound recordings and songs are exploited in the online environment and at what price.   Implicit is the government would somehow set the rates and uses.

What could possibly go wrong?  The big internet companies would never out lobby and out spend us in Washington and force us to take rates we’d never agree to in a free market!  That would never happen!  Right?  (See Pandora Media.)

4)  The Copyright 4 Creativity Manifesto which is endorsed by the IMMF  contains cute little graphics like this cartoon:

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This is some real intelligent thoughtful stuff here.   Next manifesto maybe they should try using only decade old internet memes.  And BTW the last frame to be accurate should read:

“Lawsuits! When the artist figures out the manager stole his copyrights”

Not cool at all.  But it’s really no surprise.  Sleazy managers ripping off artists? Again?

Same as it ever was.



2 thoughts on “IMMF Is Not MMF: But are they even worse?

  1. What Google and other technology parasites are suggesting is that songwriters are monopolists because they hold all the rights for the songs they produce. What is wrong about that suggestion is that other songs created by other songwriters are available as substitutes. And there is no shortage of available substitutes from multiple songwriters.

    If I were to create a restaurant with two golden arches and sell a sandwich there called a Big Mac that happened to be much like the Big Mac we all know, I would find myself in trouble for trademark and other IP violations. Because of that, one could say that McDonalds holds a monopoly on their restaurant and their offerings. But do we see the Justice Department rushing in to force McDonalds to sell their goods at Justice Department mandated prices and dictate how they must sell them? No, because other restaurants like Burger King, Wendy’s and a slew of others offer other restaurant offerings that are acceptable substitutes of the Big Mac. If I were to try to make a shirt that looked just like one made by Nike with their logo on it, I would find myself in trouble there too. Again, the Justice Department is not rushing in and forcing Nike to sell their shirts at a court set rate and telling them how and where they must sell them. There is no rational to call a songwriter a monopolist and there is no justification for the Justice Department or any other government body to tell a song writer what they must sell their work for.

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