Early Results and Evolution of the UGA Undesirable Lyric Website Study to Include Advertisers. | UGA

As a result of the publication of the UGA Undesirable Lyric Website List and action taken by the National Music Publishers Association there have been a number of noteworthy updates. Many sites have come forward wishing to obtain licenses and others updated their licensing compliance. We updated our database accordingly. We also learned of at least one website that now has an expired licenses.

In addition we are now ready to expand the study to examine which brands are advertising on these unlicensed sites.

Finally the next iteration of the list will be followed by a list of brands which appear on the top 10 Undesirable Lyric websites.

READ THE FULL REPORT AT UGA LYRICS:
http://ugalyricwebsitelist.org/2014/01/01/early-results-and-evolution-of-the-uga-undesirable-lyric-website-study-to-include-advertisers/

The 10 Most Important News Stories of 2013 |CoS

#8 Musicians Declare War on Spotify

Why it matters: Musicians like David Lowery and Damon Krukowski have been questioning the royalty practices of streaming services and online radio for years. When it’s the frontman of the biggest band in the world calling bullshit, though, people start listening. Streaming was supposed to be the next evolution of music consumption, but if the royalty models are really as bad as they’ve been made out to be (and by all accounts, they are), that particular evolutionary branch may be stunted. In the end, that might be for the best: a financial model that doesn’t support new artists will, inevitably, cripple the music industry.

Yorke called companies like Spotify “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse” and said, “What happens next is the important part.” This is where Neil Young and his long in-development PONO music service might have to step in. Set to launch next year, PONO reportedly solves the audio loss issues Beck pointed out, though there hasn’t been much word on pricing models. Still, Yorke remarked that musicians “can build the shit” themselves, and Young’s company may be the first step in a new direction. Either way, the medium listeners absorb music is going to keep changing for everyone involved. –Ben Kaye

READ THE FULL STORY AT CONSEQUENCE OF SOUND:
http://consequenceofsound.net/2013/12/year-in-news-2013/

Bills to Eliminate Pirate Sites like The Pirate Bay get Unanimous Approval | IBT

AGCOM, an independent Electronic Communications Authority of Italy, devised various measures to bring down the pirate websites and their owners. The measures put forward have been unanimously approved. The new system that ensures the fast removal of copyrighted content by hosts and blocking of various file-sharing websites will be implemented on March 31, 2014.

In the past, Italy has emerged as a nation that is taking proactive actions to tackle pirate sites and other online piracy issues. Numerous leading torrent websites like Kicka** Torrents and The Pirate Bay are blocked at the Internet Service Provider (ISP) level after orders from different courts.

READ THE FULL STORY AT IBT:
http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/530351/20131216/bills-take-out-sites-pirate-bay.htm#.UrISnY3Kf_A

RELATED:

If the Internet Breaks and No One Notices, Did it Really Happen?

Google Slammed by Mississippi Attorney General for “Inaction” on Piracy

David Lowery: Silicon Valley must be stopped, or creativity will be destroyed | SALON

Below is just one excerpt from the interview with the always insightful David Lowery in Salon.

Silicon Valley’s making money off the work of others. David Lowery is on a crusade for copyright, fairness and art

SALON : People sometimes use the Industrial Revolution metaphor. They talk about how factories replaced the artisan and the farmer, and it took decades for things like child labor, dangerous working conditions, and pollution and all the stuff that industry brought to Britain and the U.S. to be eradicated, or made humane and sustainable.

LOWERY: But whenever anybody — I mean, you’ve just brought up David Allen, and we’ve just posted this idea on my Trichordist blog that we should have an ethical, fair-trade Internet, but you’ve got people like David Allen saying you can’t have that. That would be like in the Industrial Revolution saying, “You can’t have a non-polluting factory; you can’t have a factory that doesn’t have child labor; you can’t have a factory that’s safe to work in.” Of course you can!

We’re the ****ing masters of our own destiny, we pass the laws for this country, we create this country, we decide what kind of a society we’re going to have — not the Internet. And, besides, the Internet is coded by humans. We can make the Internet do what it needs to do. I’m a technologist. I program computers. This is what I did before I played in bands.

There is nothing deterministic about the Internet. Basically, what these people are saying is that this is the first technology whereby we must change our principles to match the technology — that’s what these people are saying. Do you want to live in a world like that, with these people running it?

READ THE FULL STORY HERE AT SALON:
http://www.salon.com/2013/12/04/david_lowery_silicon_valley_must_be_stopped_or_creativity_will_be_destroyed/

Rap Genius Says It Will Seek Licenses for Lyrics | NYT

It’s been an interesting week in the battle over unlicensed lyric websites. These lyric sites, likes music piracy sites earn revenue from advertising but don’t “share” any of that revenue with artists and songwriters. The New York Times reports.

Rap Genius, a website that was accused by music publishers on Monday of reprinting thousands of song lyrics without permission, revealed that it had a major licensing deal all along — and also indicated that the site was likely to pursue more such deals in the future rather than fight with publishers over copyright.

“We want to spend our time building an interesting product and community instead of building a legal case, even though we’re sure it would be interesting,” he said. “We chose to partner up with the music publishers and license the lyrics so we could get on with our work and establish closer ties to songwriters and artists.”

David Israelite, the president of the publishers’ trade association, said of Rap Genius’s deal with Sony/ATV, “I think it proves that what Rap Genius is doing is not fair use, and I am hopeful it is a first step toward becoming a fully licensed site.”

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE NEW YORK TIMES:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/business/media/rap-genius-says-it-will-seek-licenses-for-lyrics.html

In Music Piracy Battles, Lyrics Demand Respect Too | NYT

David Israelite, the president of the trade group, said that his organization was filing take-down notices against what it called the 50 “worst offenders” based on a web search conducted by David Lowery, a researcher at the University of Georgia. Mr. Lowery, best known as the lead singer of the alternative rock bands Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, has become an outspoken advocate for artists’ rights in the digital age, which has often put him at odds with technology companies large and small.

“These lyric sites have ignored the law and profited off the songwriters’ creative works, and N.M.P.A. will not allow this to continue,” Mr. Israelite said in a statement, referring to his organization. “This is not a campaign against personal blogs, fan sites or the many websites that provide lyrics legally. N.M.P.A. is targeting 50 sites that engage in blatant illegal behavior, which significantly impacts songwriters’ ability to make a living.”

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE NEW YORK TIMES:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/12/business/media/in-music-piracy-battles-lyrics-demand-respect-too.html

Lessons from the Music Industry: Should We Put Our Faith in Technology Companies? | TSK

The new landscape is instead dominated by technology companies who see all creative content as mere fodder for fueling their own business models (selling ads or devices for example) and they offer no support, no insulation:

The new bosses further cement their position by “waging a cynical PR campaign that equates the unauthorized use of other people’s property (artist’s songs) with freedom.” Through an army of “quasi-religious” surrogates (“freehadists”), the industry pushes for a “Cyber-Bolshevik campaign of mass collectivization,” where creative output is devalued. He sees it as particularly cynical because there’s one exception to this devaluation, one type of IP that is seen as sacrosanct — and that exception is software patents.

Lowery states that suggestions that artists simply need to find a new business model are a clear indication of awareness that artists are getting a raw deal. The new business model is already here, it’s been in place for over 10 years, and it’s making an enormous amount of money. But very little of that money goes to the creator.

At some point, one has to question whether it is still possible to earn a living as a musician, or any type of creator.

READ THE FULL STORY AT THE SCHOLARLY KITCHEN:
http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2012/06/05/lessons-from-the-music-industry-should-we-put-our-faith-in-technology-companies/

David Lowery in The New York Times | Defining and Demanding a Musician’s Fair Shake in the Internet Age

The New York Times business reporter Ben Sisario profiles David Lowery on the artists rights in the Copyfight. Maybe advocacy is the new radio?

The issue has become hot as technology companies like Pandora and Google have replaced major record labels as the villains of choice for industry critics. Recently, Thom Yorke of Radiohead caused a stir by removing some of his music from Spotify and saying that the service would hurt new artists.

To his detractors, Mr. Lowery is a divisive ranter who pines for a lost, pre-Internet economy. But his knowledge of legal and technological minutiae — he is a lecturer at the University of Georgia’s music business program — make his arguments hard to dismiss.

“He’s telling his personal story and standing up to the big corporations who claim to support songwriters, even as they work to undermine our rights behind the scenes,” said Paul Williams, the songwriter and president of Ascap. “He hasn’t flinched, and I think that’s given courage to other artists.”

READ THE FULL STORY HERE AT THE NEW YORK TIMES:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/01/business/media/defining-and-demanding-a-musicians-fair-shake-in-the-internet-age.html?_r=0

Third Nyan Cat Award For Web Based Idiocy: Cathy Caverly of Creative Commons.

Nyan Cat awards are given for outstanding achievement in disinformation, web myths and general web based idiocy.

I just read with some amusement this article in the UK Guardian whereby author Phillip Pullman rightly calls piracy “Moral Squalor”. But that’s not the part that’s funny. It’s the quote that they use for “balance” from Creative Commons Chief Cathy Caverly.

“By default, copyright closes the door on countless ways that people can share, build upon, and remix each other’s work, possibilities that were unimaginable when those laws were established.”

NO IT DOESN”T. IT JUST MEANS THAT YOU HAVE TO ASK PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR OF THE WORK IF YOU USE IT PUBLICLY AND/OR COMMERCIALLY EXPLOIT IT. HOW CAN ANY DECENT HUMAN BEING BE AGAINST THAT?

Permission is the foundation of civilization or have you forgotten that Ms Caverly?

But it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Chief of Creative Commons would utter such idiocy. For they claim they offer a license “that lets creators take copyright into their own hands”. WTF? It actually does the opposite. Isn’t this a false statement? False advertising? Fraud? Reading that statement I can’t imagine there are NOT artists out there that unwittingly put their now valuable work into Creative Commons thinking they were gaining more control over their work when in actuality they were doing the opposite. I’m not a lawyer but isn’t there a problem misleading people in this manner?

Plain old normal copyright IS creators right to their works in their own hands.

Creative Commons licenses are a permanent surrendering of some or all of your copyrights as an artist. To use the same analogy these CC licenses take creators’ works from their hands.

Now some people see Creative Commons as a elaborate put up for a particular large Internet corporation that would like nothing better than to monetize every book, film, photograph and song without ever having to ask permission of the author. They often point to Sergey Brin’s (Google) financial support of the organization and the fact that his mother-in-law is the vice chair. Or they point out that their board is completely dominated by people with ties to technology companies and opponents of Copyright. I don’t agree with this. The pseudo-intellectual Creative Commons movement was afoot long before Google existed. Still one can certainly argue that Creative Commons are “useful idiots” and I won’t object.

But here is the question that no one is asking:

“Why are Creative Commons licenses even necessary?”.

For you can do everything you do with Creative Commons that you can do with old-fashioned-non-googly copyright! For instance I allow the non-commercial sharing of recordings of my bands live shows on the non-profit Internet Music Archive. There are thousands of our recordings on the internet music archive. All I had to do was state on our website that we allow this. Voila. Thousands of recordings appeared.

Neither do we object to fans posting ukele cover versions of “Take the Skinheads Bowling” on their facebook pages. And may I remind you that the Grateful Dead enacted their famous taping policy without a Creative Commons license?

Photographers who wish to freely share their photos in any manner commercial or non commercial may state so on their websites without using a Creative Commons license. Plus they have the added advantage of being able to change their minds later. Something that is not possible with a Creative Commons License.

Why is it left to me rather than a real journalist to point out that there is no point to Creative Commons licenses? Where are the grown-ups?

Well perhaps I’m too hasty. There may be ONE point to these Creative Common licenses:

They serve to confuse the public as to the true nature of copyright. And that looks suspiciously like propaganda to me. “Useful idiots” indeed!

Therefore we hereby present our 3rd Nyan Cat Award to Cathy Caverly of Creative Commons. Enjoy.

My Song Got Played On Pandora 1 Million Times and All I Got Was $16.89, Less Than What I Make From a Single T-Shirt Sale!

Pandora less than t-shirt sale

As a songwriter Pandora paid me $16.89* for 1,159,000 play of “Low” last quarter.  Less than I make from a single T-shirt sale.  Okay that’s a slight  exaggeration.  That’s only the premium multi-color long sleeve shirts and that’s only at venues that don’t take commission.  But still.

Soon you will be hearing from Pandora how they need Congress to change the way royalties are calculated so that they can pay much much less to songwriters and performers. For you civilians webcasting rates are “compulsory” rates. They are set by the government (crazy, right?). Further since they are compulsory royalties, artists can not “opt out” of a service like Pandora even if they think Pandora doesn’t pay them enough. The majority of songwriters have their rates set by the government, too, in the form of the ASCAP and BMI rate courts–a single judge gets to decide the fate of songwriters (technically not a “compulsory” but may as well be).  This is already a government mandated subsidy from songwriters and artists to Silicon Valley.  Pandora wants to make it even worse.  (Yet another reason the government needs to get out of the business of setting webcasting rates and let the market sort it out.)

Here’s an idea. Why doesn’t Pandora get off the couch and get an actual business model instead of asking for a handout from congress and artists? For instance: Right now Pandora plays one minute of commercials an hour on their free service. Here’s an idea!  Play two minutes of commercials and double your revenue! (Sirius XM often plays 13 minutes and charges a subscription).

I urge all songwriters to post their royalty statements and show the world  just how terrible webcasting rates are for songwriters.

The revolution will not be webcast.

* I only own 40% of the song, the rest of the band owns the other 60% so actually amount paid to songwriters multiply by 2.5 or $42.25)

**  I am also paid a seperate royalty for being the performer of the song.   It’s higher but also what I would regard as unsustainable.   I’ll post that later this week.

For frame of reference  compare Sirius XM paid me $181.00

sirius royalties

Terrestrial (FM/AM) radio US paid me $1,522.00

Terrestrial Radio royalties Low