The Tech Industry is a “Special Interest” too!

Vox Indie’s Ellen Seidler points out that the Tech Industry is a special interest too in response to Derek Khanna’s assertion that “Hollywood” or rather the musicians, artists, filmmakers, photographers and other creators are a “special interest” who should not have a voice in how the fruits of their own labor are monetized and exploited, and by whom.

Let us not forget that these are rights not just granted by the United States Constitution but also in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948.

Derek Khanna argues that the special interest that is the elite Silicon Valley internet and tech businesses who profit from exploiting artists should be making the rules. Fancy that, self serving, self interests for profit hungry corporations the size of a nation states wanting to make their own rules over the proceeds from individual labor.

Mr. Khanna gives readers a list of examples that, to him, demonstrate why copyright law is bad for creators and industry innovators alike. Why’s that a problem? Well, it’s a problem because, as is often the case with the copy-left, he doesn’t see fit to talk to tell the full story as to how crucial copyright protection is for those whose livelihoods depend on content creation. Khanna lists Hank Shocklee of Public Enemy, as an example of an artist constrained by current copyright law, but fails to mention that while Shocklee is a musician, he’s known for work often derived from sampling the work of others. His situation is not exactly representative of all artists, musical or otherwise, who have a stake in this debate.

Why not talk to some 45% of professional musicians who are no longer working in large part because our current copyright law is flouted by today’s digital pirate profiteers? Why not make mention of the independent filmmakers whose innovations are routinely stolen and monetized by bootleggers and online thieves?

READ THE FULL POST HERE AT VOX INDIE:
http://voxindie.org/Derek-Khanna-one-sided-copyright-reform

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The Sky Is Rising : Magic Beaver Edition

It’s unfortunate that some people are gullible enough to take a tech lobby funded Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) sponsored report “The Sky Is Rising” researched by a tech blogger as fact. As we detailed in our post about the SF Gate blundering the facts (obviously without fact checking!) here are some quick responses to the grossly selective and highly biased reasoning that enables such propaganda, and should have everyone questioning the credibility of such work.

Eventually there will a complete break down of the fallacy’s presented by a real economist but until then here are five quick standouts of absurdity:

#1 :  This is not an academic study or serious scientific study. It is a tech / internet industry commissioned (CCIA) lobby report.

#2   : The report falsely claims that the value of global music business grew from 130 billion to 160 billion. They do this by including iPod and music instrument sales. We are not joking about this!!

#3:  To claim that the entertainment business grew 50%  they include revenues from computer and video games.  Video gaming has exploded over the decade. And global gaming revenues are about 5x the size of global recorded music revenues. Console Gaming also has very robust DRM booting users off console networks if pirated or cracked copies are detected (Xbox, Playstation, Wii).

#4 :  Instead of showing the fact that gross recorded music revenues which have fallen over 50%,  the report uses the number of transactions.  Of course there are more transactions since a single album is now available by tracks which can contribute 10-15 times more “transactions.” Clearly the use of this metric is intended to deceive. This chart from The New York Times represents the actual facts.

#5  : Number of tracks cataloged?  Pointless.  This is mostly hobbyists using Tunecore and CD baby to “release” their tracks.   How do we know this?  Of 75,000 albums released in 2010, 60K sold less than 100 copies. Here’s more info spelled out by Ted Cohen and Tom Silverman from a Midem Presentation.

This all really begs the question, if the internet is really working for musicians than why are there less musicians working professionally?  Salon reports a decrease of over 45% less working “Musical groups and artists” from 2002 – 2011 according to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics. The tech / internet community it seems has confused  the democratization of distribution with the democratization of talent.

Of course coming from people who insist that “the internet is different,” (different from what?) and “old economic laws do not apply to the cyber economy,” (despite Google’s Chief Economist disagreeing with them) it’s not hard to take the leap to such absurd and nonsensical beliefs that a magic beaver lives in a space ship under the googleplex, which could also lead to the distorted magical thinking that produced The Sky Is Rising.

It’s also important to understand the near religious devotion some in the tech and internet community have taken to these issues. There is a fanaticism that is blind to all logic and reason that can only be described in the cult like obsession of “The Singularity,” as Jaron Lanier comments.

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