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.


Hypebot Have No Defense of Ad Supported Piracy So They Resort To Name-Calling.

East Bay Ray of The Dead Kennedys  and I had an informal bet going.  Well maybe not a bet,  just a sort of prediction that once Ray spoke against ad supported piracy at SF Music Tech,  the music tech bloggers would start with the usual name calling. 
 Sure enough right on cue we see Bruce Houghton’s Hypebot giving Mike Masnick (see the “Google Shill List”) a platform to bash Ray and other  artists. “Whining” “Old” “Grumpy” and “Rant” were some of the unfair and unbalanced terms  that Ray and I predicted they would use in the de rigueur  postSF Music Tech cyber bullying. And they did.
This is pretty sad since ending ad supported piracy is a no-brainereven Google and Yahoo! fall over themselves to try to explain their unexplainable connection (see USC Annenberg Innovation Lab report).   Both artists and the legitimate music tech firms are negatively affected by ad supported piracy.  For instance legitimate music streaming services have to compete against these same unlicensed services for ad revenue.   Why the music tech space bloggers fail to grasp this is a mystery.
Bruce Houghton also owns the talent agency  Skyline Agency.   This agency tends to have a lot of “Old” and “Grumpy” artists that would probably go on a “Rant” if they were to see that their agency head is tacitly defending this practice.  So we prepared a few screenshots.  
Any comment Bruce?  Do you think that this practice is acceptable?  How do our “future” music models like streaming compete with the  guys that don’t pay any royalties to artists?   We’re all ears. 

Pure Prairie League piracy brought to you by BMW.

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Al Stewart By Celestion and zZounds.

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The Smithereens By Priceline

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Grand Funk Railroad By Banana Republic, Amazon and others. 

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The Trichordist Random Reader Weekly News & Links Sun Jul 22nd

Grab the coffee!

Recent posts on The Trichordist:
* The DMCA is Broken…
* Artist! : Be The Change, Send A Letter – JULY 25th Deadline <- We’re not Kidding, Do it if you haven’t!

For those who remain confused about the difference between FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION and FREE BEER (er uhm music) please read this report from Amnesty International regarding the band Pussy Riot and do take action. Freedom of Expression is truly a right to be protected and preserved, as ARTISTS RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS:

We’ve been alerted to a couple of websites (and organizations?) that are fighting against illegal artist exploitation on the front of cyberlockers and payment processors (Visa, Master Card, Pay Pal, Etc). Read more here:

Thanks to Copyhype for noticing this one, an epic and essential read “How Free Is Ruining Everything” from Eamonn Forde at

Kim Dotcom is not Robbin Hood. The billionaire and alleged mass scale media pirate is awaiting trial and created a video this week that has been described as a pirates “Triumph of the Will” or even perhaps in it’s absurdity, “A Burns for all Seasons.” Prof Jonathan Taplin from the USC Annenberg School of Innovation muses in this blog post, “The Big Lie”:

Speaking of Kim Dotcom, Billboard reports that the Judge that ruled the raid on the compound was illegal has now stepped down and out of the case for bias regarding a comment made at an EFF event… wow, just wow… Maybe he should have stepped down before making a ruling?

Ok, ok, ok… last one… it’s a Kim Dotcom-athon… Indie filmmaker Ellen Seidler writes an open letter to Kim in response to his “Letter To Hollywood”, read more from this guest post at Copyright Alliance:

So now that Coke A Cola can legally use music from any band on Spotify to sell it’s drinks, doesn’t this imply some kind of endorsement? If for example a playlist by Coldplay is embeded on a Coke A Cola website, the previous cost of licensing that music for that application would have been very expensive. Whereas this could be very good for developing artists, it could also be exploitative of established ones. We’re not really sure what this means, but we’re interested to see how it actually is implemented. Read more on the Coke A Cola website:

Here’s a way to bring attention to the issues of artists rights and illegal online exploitation. Woman strips in public to protest e-book pirates, ZDNet reports:

Digital Music News reports on absurdity at it’s best from Richard Stallman. Perhaps a future Nyan Cat Award Winner?
and a response here from the cynical musician:

Pirates want to go legit? Well… not so fast, Torrent Freak reports:

Who is the internet anyway? We’re always kinda amazed when a singular entity or point of view “speaks for the internet” as if there is no social, economic, geographic or political diversity. Is the “Internet’ a demographic onto it’s own, and if so, what defines that demographic? Which begs the question, does “the internet” speak for you (as an artist, as an individual)? Though this entry is somewhat cute, it is also disturbing to see “the internet” as a single block with a Borg like hive mind… TechDirt reports:

The French Supreme Court May Order Google to block unlicensed, infringing, illegal sites, ‘Torrent,’ ‘RapidShare’ and ‘Megaupload’. Again, Torrent Freak reports:

Last but not least, several of our friends report success using Google’s DMCA Search Link De-Listing tool for infringing links, try it for yourself! Up until recently the only way to send infringing link DMCA notices to Google was via MAIL or FAX (not kidding). More on this to follow…

The Trichordist Random Reader News & Links Sun Jun 10

Grab the Coffee!

This past weeks posts on The Trichordist;
* How Copyright Encourages Creativity In Hollywood
* Artists Know They Enemy, Who’s Ripping You Off and How…
* Google Tells Ari Emanuel To Change His Business
* Artist Exploitation Calculator – Internet Edition
* Musicians, What to do when you find your Lyrics on Pirate Lyric Sites
* CopyLike.Org – Evil Corporations, We Don’t Like Them

We discovered two Artists Rights groups this week definitely worthy of support:
and in English via Google Translate;

Electronic Musicians grapple with having their work being Illegally Exploited, Synthtopia reports:

Billy Corgan and Noel Gallagher are quoted in this fantastic piece by the UK’s Guardian about the illegal exploitation of artists work on line and how the next generation of upcoming developing artists are negatively effects, well done;

Writer David Newhoff wrote a compelling piece this week for Copyright Alliance addressing the frequent “Copyleft” argument that copyright and free speech can not co-exist;

Spotify was the subject of hot debate this week as both Digital Music News and Hypebot picked up and republished the current “Steaming Price Index” from The Trichordist;

Speaking of Spotify more and more artists are realizing the model is unsustainable, artists Hyland and Lewis discuss;

We found this enlightening and ironic.  A Pirate Party Australia Spokesperson  is opposed to Spotify, guess they don’t like the competition. What does it say about a commercial legal service when the pirate party doesn’t like it for cutting in on their business?

Editor’s note:  Mr Olbrycht-palmer wrote us a very polite note begging to differ on our characterization above. He notes he was speaking for himself not in his official capacity as Press Officer for  PPAU.  We stand corrected! And it is duly noted.   He has written a thoughtful rebuttal to our piece here:

Not surprising, the same people ripping off artists are also trying to rip off their governments. Once a thief, always a thief, good luck with that, Torrent Freak reports;

This one is so over the top it should be eligible for a Nyan Cat Award as presented by The Magic Beaver. TechDirt goes down the rabbit hole thinking about the likelihood of copyright infringement post-Singularity, pure comedy at it’s best;


The Trichordist Random Reader News & Links Sun May 6

Grab the Coffee!

Probably the biggest story of the week is the UK has ordered it’s ISP’s to block access to The Pirate Bay, the BBC reports:

You may recall that The Pirate Bay lost their final appeal back in February and are headed to jail, Time reports:

Here is an insightful editorial from the Boston Phoenix on the new music “Super PAC” model and asks some very interesting questions about Amanda Palmer’s record Kickstarter campaign while giving a shout out to David Lowery’s, “New Boss / Old Boss”. Highly Recommended Reading.

Digital Rights Corp will track and remove your titles from Torrent File Sharing sites, Contact them from more info:

Remix without Romance How Free Culture Get’s It Wrong, from Copyhype:

Hypebot reports that Reddit is attempting to “Crowdsource” a hit song… isn’t that what labels have been doing for decades? Bookmark this one…

Tech contradicts itself (again), “Freemium” no longer viable, must give away valued content, HypeBot reports:

There was a major dust up this week as Prof. Jonathan Taplin of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab challenged the tech establishment on artists rights. The tech community’s hatred of artists seems to have come to boiling point. The situation is both disappointing and disrespectful, Fast Company and Tech Dirt report:

More evidence that Touring is NOT the solution for musicians in the digital age, Digital Music News reports:

Google is watching you, believe it. While Google is spending record amounts of money lobbying, and trying to convince you that the protection of artists rights is a “censorship” issue, they continue to challenge the law by invading your privacy, Ars Technica reports: