Want to Protect Speech? Strengthen Copyright | The Illusion Of More

If we want to strengthen free speech; if we want a hedge against invasions of civil liberty; if we want to speak truth to power, then we must continue to empower those who speak the truth and do so openly and professionally. To put it whimsically, a great bulwark against tyranny would be a class of unusually wealthy poets. As Congress resumes the process of copyright review in 2014, we should seek not to weaken these laws on an assumption of their irrelevance in the digital age, but to strengthen them on the grounds that they are more important than ever.


Intellectual property — Our forgotten constitutional right? | Fosters

This story originally ran on Constitution Day, but we just got hipped to it now. Worth the read.

Cyber-piracy increasingly costs the U.S. economy money that instead of creating and supporting jobs goes into the pockets of criminals. The government must act, and swiftly, by exercising its constitutional responsibility to ensure that this trend is reversed. This may require breaking some new ground and should be done only after careful, principled debate, with respect for liberty and adherence to our other, equally important, constitutional rights.

If the framers could understand this matter in the eighteenth century, we must believe the current Congress can grapple with it today. Previous efforts to update our intellectual property protection system were defeated in a flurry of misinformation. The proposed legislation may have been opaque and overly broad, but the concerns expressed by many conservatives and libertarians were overstated.

On this Constitution Day, let’s remember that even in the Founder’s concept of a limited federal government, it is the proper obligation of that government to secure the property of its citizens against lawlessness. Protecting intellectual property is a property rights issue. There is a difference between liberty and lawlessness: We should favor the former and oppose the latter. On Constitution Day we should think about the protection of intellectual property rights on the Internet as a logical, contemporary extension of the basic Constitutional rights of authors, scientists and inventors that our framers set forth so plainly two and a quarter centuries ago.


Copyright: The Inverted Human Pyramid | The Cynical Musican

You are no doubt aware of the hearings currently being undertaken by the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet – part of a major review of existing copyright law (and if not, I just told you). As can be expected in this enlightened (or, at least, interconnected) age – recordings are available on the web and I’ve been trying to catch up with the debate.

Whilst watching the hearing from two weeks ago (with representatives from the “rights holder side” present) I couldn’t help feeling that none of the witnesses was able to articulate just why copyright was so important to the nation as a whole – not just the small portion of it that actually owns marketable copyrights. Given that the House of Representatives represents all Americans, it would seem that such an explanation is deserved.

This got me thinking of how I would go about explaining it and I offer it for your reading pleasure.


Copyright and Control | The Cynical Musician

Faza at The Cynical Musician explores the question of control in copyright.

Copyright “skeptics”, like TechMike, tend to focus on the language of the “Copyright Clause” and construct elaborate theories about what “promoting the progress of science and the useful arts” really means. While they’re at it, they may wish to also consult the dictionary with regards to the meaning of the word “secure”2 and how it isn’t a synonym for “grant” – though that is besides the point here. Giovanetti rightly points out that promoting progress is the goal of the Copyright Clause and doesn’t actually say much about the means (that’s done in the other bit, about securing exclusive rights). What I wish to do today is to examine how the control aspect of copyright helps promote progress and why it is important.


Uncertainty, Copyright and Courage by Paul Williams

On Wednesday, June 5th, ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams delivered a powerful keynote to attendees of the CISAC World Creators Summit in DC. He spoke passionately and pointedly about what it means to be a creator in today’s challenging digital environment.

This excerpt of the talk touches on one of many well made points.

Literature, music and art have value to individuals, to businesses and to countries. They open our hearts and minds. They inspire. They teach. They comfort. They drive economic growth and innovation. They define our time; they define our cultures; they bring us together.

So then, why are we now in the position of having to defend ourselves against the insidious erosion of the basic principles of copyright in so many parts of the world?

Intellectual property rights are a cornerstone of democracy. As a citizen, a creator and a consumer, I should have a reasonable expectation that I live in a society where thieves and outlaws are not allowed to run rampant – even when they are operating in cyberspace. But when lawmakers in North America and Europe tried to enact legislation that would help enforce laws against online fraud and theft, the technology sector said it would break the internet. They called it censorship.

Creators are in the business of free expression. Freedom of speech is about political speech, it is not about protecting fraud or theft. They trivialized what free speech means. Forces that want to control and diminish the value of our work for their own economic benefit are systematically attacking the rights of creators. They are methodically attacking the validity of copyright laws. They are building their businesses in a way that makes enforcement of our copyrights next to impossible.

The hope that creative work will pay off for the author, composer, filmmaker or photographer if it becomes successful is no longer a given. Fair payment has become another profound uncertainty in the professional life of every creator. This is true for people at the top of their game, and especially so for those just starting out. This is true globally – not just in the United States, in Canada, in the European Union – all over the world.


The Constitutional Foundations of Intellectual Property Law

via copyhype:

Randolph May and Seth Cooper of the Free State Foundation look at some of the philosophical underpinnings that drove the inclusion of copyright and patent protection into the United States Constitution. According to May and Cooper, the origin of the right is explicitly Lockean, while the protection of the right is explicitly Madisonian. An engaging and enlightening read.

The Constitutional Foundations of Intellectual Property Law

Artists Rights Watch – Sunday Feb 3, 2013

Grab the coffee!

Recent Posts:
* Over 50 Major Brands Supporting Music Piracy, It’s Big Business!
* @pepsi and @beyonce @superbowl Ads Supporting Pirate Lyrics Site That Exploits Adele and Skyfall
* Derek Khanna is Wrong: Copyleft Mystery Man’s Misleading Memo Creates its Own Myths…
* It’s Not Whack A Mole if You Own the Mole: New York Times Coverage of Brand Sponsored Piracy
* Zero Dark Thirty, Best Picture Academy Award Nominee, Exploited by AT&T, Verizon, MetroPCS, Nissan, H&R Block, British Airways, Progresso, and more…
* #StopArtistExploitation – Tweet Daily for Artists Rights!
* Underreporting and No Accountability: Another Reason Streaming Royalties are So Small
* Internet Pay To Play: Payola’s Revenge – Guest Post by Robert Rial of Bakelite78

From Around The Web

* YouTube Stars Fight Back

“I woke up today hoping to make a video, but I went into a call with Machinima this evening and they said that my contract is completely enforceable. I can’t get out of it,” Vacas tells the camera. “They said I am with them for the rest of my life — that I am with them forever.

“If I’m locked down to Machinima for the rest of my life and I’ve got no freedom, then I don’t want to make videos anymore,” he says quietly.

The screen fades to black.

* Playing Whac-a-Mole With Piracy Sites
* As Music Streaming Grows, Royalties Slow to a Trickle

Spotify, Pandora and others like them pay fractions of a cent to record companies and publishers each time a song is played, some portion of which goes to performers and songwriters as royalties. Unlike the royalties from a sale, these payments accrue every time a listener clicks on a song, year after year.

The question dogging the music industry is whether these micropayments can add up to anything substantial.

“No artist will be able to survive to be professionals except those who have a significant live business, and that’s very few,” said Hartwig Masuch, chief executive of BMG Rights Management.

* Online pirating: sponsored by many brands, and now, one government.

* How Jobs In The Media Industry Got Demolished In The Last 10 Years [Charts]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has put together a presentation on the recent history and direction of media jobs. It’s not pretty.

* Piracy, Free Books, etc

* Does Piracy Hurt Digital Content Sales? Yes

* Photographers find support in House of Lords in copyright fight

* Ray Charles’ Children Win Lawsuit Over Song Rights Termination

* TOOL Frontman Sounds Off On Illegal Downloading, Music Industry And Digital Distribution

“There’s a disconnect between people not buying music and not understanding why [bands] go away. There are people who are like monkeys in a cage just hitting the coke button. They don’t really get that for [musicians and artists] to do these things, they have to fund them. They have to have something to pay the rent.”

* New Spotlight on Piracy Profitmongers

* Think File Sharing is Sticking it to The Man? Really?
* On Being a Luddite

* Yes, Piracy Does Cause Economic Harm

Decisions about business and policy have to be made based on the best information we have available. After a certain point, simply poking holes in studies — particularly those whose results you don’t happen to like — isn’t sufficient.

It may indeed, as the GAO suggested, be impossible to measure the economic effects of piracy with a large amount of accuracy. But if dozens of researchers have tried, all using different methodologies, then their conclusions in the aggregate are the best we’re going to do. Put another way, it will henceforth be very difficult to dislodge Smith and Telang’s conclusion that piracy does economic harm to content creators.

* LATAM pay-TV operators unite against piracy

* Kamal Haasan fans help curb Vishwaroopam online piracy

* Worldwide Independent Network Announces ‘Independent Manifesto’
* Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus Talks Piracy, Pros and Cons of Digital at MIDEM

“I believe that artists should be paid for their creativity. There’s no other industry where people can come in and take what you create for free and give it away for free and that’s acceptable.”

* U2 manager Paul McGuinness: ‘I don’t want to engage in Google-bashing, but…’
* Irving Azoff sticks it to Pandora and StubHub
* Midem 2013: How the Music Industry Manages Innovation

“We are the last fortress against this YouTube situation, and we are fighting hard on that,” he said. “The problem is the fair price, getting statements and getting all the business plans… The biggest problem to solve the YouTube deal is they want a non-disclosure deal, and we are not allowed by Germany law to do with any partners a non-disclosure [deal]. We have to do it open.”

* Pandora Executives Cash Another $3 Million In January…
* Hey Advertisers: You Might Want to Ask VEVO for a Refund…

* Myspace Allegedly Hosting Unlicensed Indie Music, Merlin Prepares Legal Response
* The Most Honest Interview About the Music Industry Ever, Featuring Jacke Conte of Pomplamoose

“YouTube seemed like a really incredible opportunity, but it’s not repeatable. I don’t know how to make it in the music industry. I don’t think anybody really knows how, and I’m unable to repeat what happened to Pomplamoose.”

* 4 New-ish Pro-Copyright Sites To Read

* Laws of Creation: An Examination of Intellectual Property Rights

* Copyright and Innovation? No. Copyright IS innovation.

* New Order’s Peter Hook: Musicians, Journalists Only People Who Don’t Get Paid for Work

Hook expressed astonishment that in the internet economy, consumers act aggrieved if musicians ask to be compensated for their music or if reporters object to having their stories re-purposed by other news organizations without getting credit or cash.

“If you love and respect music, you should pay for it,” Hook said.

* Creators and Consumers Should Cut the Strings

* Russia Wants To Fine Websites For Poor Copyright Takedowns
* University of Illinois Disconnects Pirating Students, Staffer Asked To Leave
* Pirate Bay Founder Could Be Prosecuted For Hacking “Within a Month”

* Music retail giant puts tunes online (Amoeba Archives Project)

* New look at copyright key to digital boom

* Your content is Freely Shared; their Profit is Closely Held

There’s enormous potential in this ‘Your Content, Their Profit’ crowd-sourcing business model, and it’s turned companies like YouTube, Google and Twitter into multi-billion-dollar corporations.

Whether you realize it not, what you post online (your words, your pictures, your pictures of other people, you name it) becomes someone else’s revenue generating opportunity as soon as you post it.

Top social networking sites build into their user agreements and conditions of use the automatic rights to profit from the content that’s posted (or stored or indexed).

* Meet the new Boss, Worse than the Old Boss

* Creators v. Consumers : Restating the Obvious

* Aaron Swartz and “Hactivision”

Giving Thanks for Creators Rights and Copyright

It’s been said that the only thing more sacred than a human being sharing their love, is their labor. We agree. Copyright is the institution to protect the innovative artists, musicians, filmmakers, photographers, writers, illustrators and creators of all types. We are thankful for Copyright.

One of the enduring myths that we constantly hear from those who would deny individuals these fundamental protections of their labor is that copyright is an instrument of corporations to exploit artists and creative innovators. Fortunately this myth is not true. It is in fact very much a lie that copyright is for corporations. Copyright is the instrument that protects the individual from exploitation by and from the tyranny of exploitation by corporations.

Copyright is what grants the individual liberty as expressed in the freedom of choice as to who (if anyone) and how the creator allows their work, labor and love to be exploited. Exploitation in this sense is not a bad word, in so far as the creator has the right to determine who, where and how their work is exploited. Without copyright the individual is powerless from such unwanted exploitation, without consent or compensation. This is why copyright, in it’s essence, very much an issue of human and labor rights.

We are thankful for copyright and to all of our representatives and government officials who do so much good work on our behalf to protect the integrity of the individual spirit as expressed in our art.

Those who are against copyright are also fundamentally against personal liberty and aggressively against the pursuit of the freedom of choice. These are the people who wish to exploit artists for their own personal or corporate gain and like to suggest that artists would be better off without copyright. This is simply not true.

There are those who point to democratized services available to musicians such as TuneCore and CDBaby which allow any musician to access distribution such as Itunes, Spotify and others without the need for a record label. We wholehearted support these services as pro-choice for the power of the individual to make the decisions that are important to them.

These services that provide more choices to artist to determine how they choose to exploit their own work are only viable because the individual artist has the choice to use these services and not sign to a traditional record label. Without copyright, the artists ability to make these choices does not exist. The choices would be made for the artist without any ability determine the uses or the compensation for those uses. This would mean more predatory exploitation of artists, not less.

Copyright is Pro-Choice. Anti-Copyright is Anti-Choice, or Pro-Exploitation.

We think few artists would be in support of losing these rights for all the reasons detailed thus far. Opposition to copyright is opposition to individual rights and supports the unchecked corporate exploitation of artists which we have unfortunately witnessed for the past decade plus online.

We hear from many who are outraged by the wrong doings of record labels, and justifiably so. So let us be clear, any wrong doing should be unacceptable be it by record labels, or those exploiting artists online such as the many illegally operating and infringing business such as the pirate bay and others who literally pay artists nothing, not one penny. The logical disconnect that somehow record labels are bad and the illegally and infringing online businesses are good defies any reasonable justification. Unless of course the motivation is not actually the empowerment of artists, but rather the profits of these tech companies.

So lets get the facts straight. Artists have been given the choice of whom they wish to be in business with. Does anyone really think that artists will be better off with less protection of their work? There is no basis in reality for this assertion and as of this writing, over a decade into the digital economy no new robust middle class of professional musicians has been established in the one place where this theory is being tested. The exploitation economy has failed miserably to create a new sustainable professional middle class of musicians.

For those with an axe to grind with major labels and the RIAA please take note of this, without copyright, the record labels who are more powerful than the individual could just as easily take the artists work without compensation. Surely those who advocate for weaker copyright are not suggesting the records labels should be given more power over the artist? The same would be true of television producers and film studios. If these massive corporations were granted weaker copyright, than artists and creators would be subject to unrelenting exploitation. You can not weaken copyright in one area and not others. The true fallacy of the argument for weaker copyright is that in the areas where copyright is well enforced, creators are compensated greater than where copyright is weaker. This is just common sense.

Weakening copyright would not be isolated to just how rights are granted on the internet, but rather, the individual would be catastrophically disenfranchised. Those with power would exploit those with less power, be it by record labels, film studios, television producers or internet technology companies (as we’ve seen). We need to look no farther to the internet to see this already happening where copyright law is hopelessly out of date for the protection of individual freedom and where artists are so hopelessly disenfranchised and under compensated for their work.

Perhaps it is Metallica’s Lars Ulrich who first (and correctly) noted that “If the record labels are not going to get the money, the internet companies are – and if the internet companies are not going to pay artists that is profiting illegally.”

Copyright provides the foundation for each artist to make individual choices about how to leverage their work. So the truth is that every artists who has signed to a record contract has done so of their own free will, and negotiated contracts which have been reviewed lawyers. As a result of this protection of copyright the record labels must compensate the artists in exchange for a grant of rights. On the much of the internet however, there is no grant of rights, no consent and no compensation. This is categorically unacceptable.

In closing we are thankful for copyright in giving us, the innovative artists, writers, authors, photographers, filmmakers and creators the ability to chose a course of individual freedom and liberty that is fundamental to the ideals of good, fair and honest people everywhere.

CopyLike.Org – We Do This For The Love

Check out this Organization:

We do this for the Love,
But unfortunately the supermarket
doesn’t accept love, they want money.

You might have heard that music is very cheap to make these
days and computers make everything easy, and you don’t even
have to be able to sing.

That’s partly true. Big businesses have made a lot of money
selling cheap crappy junk to you. But that’s not our fault,
we’re real artists, we make real art.

Art takes time, its not easy at all. If you don’t believe us
try writing a song or directing a movie.

We all need to eat and keep warm. If we want to charge
anyone for our work, why should we feel any shame?

Defend Copyright.
It’s All We Have Left.