Arrogant New Librarian of Congress Told Register of Copyrights: Go sell T-shirts


Hayden to Pallante: Go Sell T-shirts.

The tired advice used by the anti-copyright-industrial-know-nothing complex is that musicians should not worry about the unlicensed uses of their works and  “you know, just go on the road and sell more t-shirts.”  This “brilliant new business model” pedaled by the digital know-nothings is actually something musicians have been doing since the early 1970s.    It’s become such a cliche that musicians have taken using it as a joke.  For example last time I went to SXSW a panelist was complaining that digital music services weren’t profitable because of “high royalties paid to musicians.”   Someone in the back of the room shouted “Tour! Sell more T-shirts!”  There was much snickering.  Nevermind that the company in question will pay 140 million dollars in stock compensation to senior executives in 2016. So selling T-shirts, merch and swag is the most cliche of all bad tech advice. It’s the music tech conference equivalent of drunkenly shouting “freebird” at a concert.

So check out this unbelievable bit of arrogance from the new Librarian of Congress Dr Carla Hayden.   She reassigned the US Register of Copyrights to a position called “Senior Advisor to the Librarian of Congress”  but in the description of her new job, it appears one of her main new duties is -wait for it- LOC  retail and licensing!  As in swag, merch and “point of sale.”   Yes, that point of sale part would be the US Library of Congress Gift Shop.   The most powerful copyright official in the world was “reassigned” to run a gift shop.   Pallante didn’t quit.  She was forced out by what can only be described as the US Government’s most condescending and arrogant public servant.  And that in and of itself is quite a feat.  By any objective measure Hayden is off to a terrible start.

Here is an excerpt from the reassignment letter from Dr. Hayden describing Pallante’s new duties:



One thought on “Arrogant New Librarian of Congress Told Register of Copyrights: Go sell T-shirts

  1. Hey David,

    How did you get access to this document and what’s next? It just seems to be getting worst at every twist and turns. I’m not in the US but, it’s the same everywhere. The art of music has been devalued to such an extent that indeed, selling T-Shirts is starting to look like an interesting avenue.The miserable degradation of our rights and the ensuing pittance we are meant to accept for trying to make a living out of our craft doesn’t seem to have an end in sight? What can one do?
    Are there any positives happening?

    Here in Quebec, the more commercially successful artists are looking to get the governments to give grants and monies to compensate for the hit they have all taken with the streaming-revenue- (non) sharing model that is now the norm.

    In other words they are not making enough money to earn a living although, some have streaming in the millions…It’s becoming clear that there is less and less avenues to make a living for even the most commercially recognisable artists, mind you the rest of them.

    What happens next? How’s your lawsuit coming along?


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