This is from Gerd Leonhard's 2009 book The End of Control. Leonhard is a media futurist and writer. He discusses how the record industry has attempted to control their product but ultimately failed. The music industry must admit to what is happening and let go of there old economy business models and belief that content is king. They must accept it fast as the longer the wait the more they have to lose. Advances in technology such as memory sticks, iPhones, wireless hard drives / music players have made file sharing easier and easier and its popularity will grow exponentially. Record companies must embrace the end of distribution control and stop harassing their customers with lawsuits and threats. They must move to a service based model.
Leonhard proposes blanket licensing as the best solution. Existing public performance blanket licenses given by collectives are easy to get and make economic sense. The system is straightforward and benefits performers and artists but a new method will be needed for the internet. A blanket scenario would work best and he likens music to commodities such as water or electricity in that everyone should be a legal user. However, it is important to recognize in any discussion that music can be consumed unlimitedly, thus in determining the appropriate fee, TV is provided as an example. Flat rates could be connected to service or other methods.
The article's most interesting topic is its emphasis placed on control. Music companies still hope to maintain control of their product which does not make sense considering how uncontrollable it is. The movement of data has become so commonplace that controlling it seems almost ridiculous. Record companies have no other choice; they should strongly consider the prospects of blanket licenses. Flat rate licensing would work better as it would get money to creators who are not being served properly by the groups trying to represent them. I think this is probably the reason voluntary collective licensing has still not hit the mainstream. Middlemen like record companies realize their role will be diminished in a world where artists can provide their product directly to their fans.
tagged blanket_licensing choruss collective_licensing copyright file_sharing fisher free_music isp_licensing leonhard licensing music_piracy new_economy piracy voluntary_collective_licensing wired by neild ...on 15-APR-09
The Higher Education Opportunity Act written in August 2008 contained a few mentions of file sharing on campuses. The act addressed three main areas. First, students must be warned about illegal downloading and illegitimate P2P file sharing. They must be notified about potential repercussions such as civil and criminal liabilities. Next, institutions must certify that they have developed plans to combat the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials including technology based deterrents. Third, they must, to the extent possible, provide alternatives to illegal downloading. The timing for this is 1 year after the Act was signed.
The Act is quite specific in its requirements. Universities must both combat and provide solutions to the peer-to-peer file sharing dilemma that has run rampant on college campuses since the creation of Napster over a decade ago. Numerous attempts of other services have been tested, but all have failed the ultimate goal of compensating creators and giving students the music they want. Ruckus was the most recent failure. With the Act in place, universities must address the issue in the near future giving Choruss a unique opportunity as it is backed by both labels and file-sharing proponents. The controlled nature of campuses and use of a central ISP makes them a very attractive place to test the subscription model and this will be important to watch develop for the future of collective licensing.
tagged choruss collective_licensing copyright file_sharing free_music isp_licensing licensing music_piracy new_economy piracy voluntary_collective_licensing wired by neild ...and 2 other people ...on 15-APR-09
The editorial by Reihan Salam discusses the benefits and issues with voluntary collective licensing. Four music companies (Universal, Warner, Sony BMG, EMI) control 90% of all record sales in the U.S and have blamed piracy for the 40% decline in music sales over the past decade. Some opinions in the article describe voluntary collective licensing as a "music tax" or even an extortion scheme. Issues such as the masses paying for the actions of a few and the recording industry gaining too much are reflected. Salam believes the system is actually beneficial as it rewards smaller artists and will help creativity. If artists are not compensated and royalty streams dry up, they will in fact stop recording. I do not necessarily subscribe to this as plenty of musicians do so out of passion not profit.
The part of the article that is most interesting is related to Apple, which record companies believe has a virtual monopoly on music downloading and must be kept in check. Voluntary collective licensing helps record companies ease their reliance on the software. Apple's counter attack to voluntary collective licensing is also discussed which poses an interesting proposition. A one-time fee on an Ipod purchase would give purchasers access to all music available on the iTunes website. The reason this hasn't yet happened is price and that it further entrenches Apple in its power against record companies.
Additional concerns are raised about how VCL would hurt independent labels; the other 10% of record sales and with the Apple plan its effects on other music software programs. It also discusses what actually may work best and sides with William Fischer’s book Promises to Keep and its strategy of an actually government music tax. Such a strategy would benefit artists and consumers but may cut out the powerful RIAA, which is well liked by the current administration.
The Apple tax idea is interesting and one that sticks in my mind, but again grants power to Apple who the record companies are too dependent on already. If an agreement was reached, I think it would be revolutionary but still limit consumers full access to the world’s music catalog as iTunes only holds a small percentage of all music available.
tagged choruss collective_licensing copyright file_sharing free_music isp_licensing licensing music_piracy new_economy piracy voluntary_collective_licensing wired by neild ...on 15-APR-09
This is a New York Times article written by Eric Pfanner in January 2009. It discusses a proposal by the Isle Of Man to test voluntary collective licensing. For $1.38 a month, the eighty thousand residents, who all have broadband access, would be able to download unlimited amounts of music. A fee would be collected by the ISP. The music industry estimates that currently 95% of tracks distributed online are pirated and this is a potential solution offered by the Isle.
The article discusses European perspectives on the issue and they do appear to be farther along than the U.S. A similar proposal made it Parliament in France, but it was eventually rejected after a fierce battle by copyright holders. Currently European countries seem more interested in the idea of holding ISPs responsible for illegal downloading on their networks. They have also proposed ideas including a 3 strikes your out rule and the banning of individuals from broadband access. While these idea are taking shape in the U.S., it seems unreasonable to hold ISPs responsible for reporting their customers actions. It also could create competitive advantages for those ISPs who refuse to participate and also distrust in them in general. Similar to phone tapping under the Patriot Act, it impedes on individuals freedom without the concerns of national security. It seems to be another example of the record companies alienating their own customers and building ill will and holding onto their past control ideals vs. adjusting to the future and the fact that file sharing is here to stay.
tagged blanket_licensing choruss collective_licensing copyright file_sharing fisher free_music isle_of_man isp_licensing licensing music_piracy new_economy piracy voluntary_collective_licensing wired by neild ...on 15-APR-09
The article brings up some interesting questions on what is remaining up in the air with the Choruss service. One of the biggest concerns is the what methodology and technology to use to track downloading which is a key component of the concept as artists are eventually funded based on their popularity. Cost also seems to be a concern and the appropriate method to actually charge the fee is still up for debate. Whether the school picks up the cost or passes it on as an activity fee is not yet established and past results have shown students are unwilling to pay. Certain leaders feel Choruss is nothing new and the same concerns exist that made past sites fail. However a break-even analysis of the current cost to protect against illegal downloads on university IT departments vs. the Choruss model may make it feasible. It also is important to find something soon as only 25% of schools currently have some sort of alternative which need to be in place by August 2009 per the Act.
What I find interesting in this article as universities will be the testing grounds for voluntary collective licensing. This seems clear and makes sense as universities are often first adopters of new technology and provide a microcosm to work out any kinks. The insight provided on the cracks in the mirror of the model is important. The devil of the plan is in the details. If Choruss can work out appropriate royalty distribution strategies that creators agree with and help protect against opt-outers and other issues, it gains credibility. After which plans to scale the model become more reasonable.
This is Chapter 6: An Alternative Compensation System from William Fisher III's 2004 book Promises to Keep. Mr. Fisher is the Hale and Dorr Professor of IP Law at Harvard and Director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. This is a very comprehensive discussion of the creation of a governmentally administered reward system for music and movie file sharing. Its basic premise is musicians or filmmakers would register their work with the copyright office and be given a unique identifier that would be used to track downloads of their work. The government would enact taxes which would be used to create a central fund. Using techniques created by television rating agencies, performing rights organizations, etc. the government would determine what frequency the work was used. The artist would then receive their royalty payment. The benefits would be consumers would pay less for more entertainment and artist would receive their fair share. Distribution companies would largely become obsolete over the long run. Society at large would benefit with less litigation and transaction costs.
The chapter goes on in detail to explain the various components of the plan. It also performs a deep analysis into revenue sources to determine the financial impact of the system. In the end, Mr. Fisher determines a tax of approximately $27 per year per household would make the system work. Concerns with this do exist such as consumers potentially supporting music they are morally or ethically opposed to. Another funding source could be taxes on the goods and services that are used to gain access to the media. Items such as ISPs, mp3 players, etc. are all explored and in the end an approximately tax of 12% is calculated as being appropriate. This is very deep and thoughtful analysis on what the actual numbers are that is helpful in pushing the discussion of voluntary collective licensing forward.
The chapter raises very important issues about voluntary collective licensing including derivative works, artists gaming the system, the inadequacy of the current copyright office, and how to create an appropriate sampling system. This is deep dive is essential to my research project as it peels back the surface to explore further ideas that will have to be confronted as the method moves forward. While a required government tax may face strong opposition, the idea of taxing devices is logical. My other concern with this strategy is the involvement of the government as the EFF plan to have non-profit collectives seems more in-line with letting the market do its work in maintaining innovation and efficiency.
tagged choruss collective_licensing copyright file_sharing fisher free_music isp_licensing licensing music_piracy new_economy piracy voluntary_collective_licensing wired by neild ...on 15-APR-09
The Higher Education Opportunity Act made it mandatory for universities to provide alternatives to illegal peer-to-peer networks.
The “Music, Money, and Sampling” chapter (6) of the book Music, Money, and Success (by Jeffrey Brabec) offers a thorough overview of how sampling works within the music business. It provides an all-encompassing layout of how deals usually go down between copyright holders of a song—artists, record labels, or music publishing companies—and someone who wants to take a portion of that existing song and integrate it into a newly recorded performance—songwriter, recording artist, or record producer. It serves as a tutorial for someone interested in the standard operating procedures of procuring clearances. It can also serve as a source of knowledge to someone curious about how music companies and artists are compensated for allowing samples from their catalog. It ranges from what happens when sampled songs are released without permission to the in-depth negotiating options that exist between the sampling party and the sampled party when clearance is approved.
The options mentioned are one-time “buy-out” fees, the payment of a percentage of income received from the new song, and the transfer of a portion of the copyright of the new composition with the income that this would generate. Also mentioned are the criteria that copyright holders use in analyzing the new song to help determine types of deals. This type of analysis takes into account: duration of sample, nature of the sample, sales of the new song if it has been released, and whether the sample was a key element or recognizable piece of the original composition. Although there is nothing exact, as it comes down to negotiating, the specific percentages that copyright holders usually bargain are covered.
The information in this chapter is relevant to my creative project because all of it would be applicable if I were to try and clear the songs I produced by integrating copyrighted work. Here I can see how companies would analyze my music and the type of deal I could expect. It really covers just what people have to go through to clear their samples and how much money they forgive in doing so—paying for the sample and then losing out on publishing percentages. On top of all of this, the chapter helped give me a greater perspective on why so many artists were outraged over court decisions regarding sampling…it cost them a lot of money, and some probably couldn’t afford to keep sampling at all!
Music, Money, and Success
Schirmer Books; 2nd edition (October 15, 2000)
Call#: Van Pelt Library TR581 .W45 2006
The book Licensing Photography is heavily copyright-optimistic and written to teach photographers how to make the most money off of their photos. Only one chapter is dedicated to online photography issues, and it is not a very thorough discussion. It is indicative of the lack of innovation in traditional photography circles, and the lack of education regarding many new digital photography markets. For being a “how-to” guide, it is obviously lacking some key insights in the integration to the internet and online/digital photos. Their only discussion of the use of new technology is of an offline database for linking licensing info to a photo or group of photos.
Even though the book was written in 2006, there is no mention of Creative Commons or DIY licensing issues, even though there are commercial Creative Commons licenses. Their insistence of holding onto traditional methods could potentially harm photographers, as Creative Commons licenses can increase online exposure. The book is not marketed just to commercial photographers, and therefore omits the interests of a large group of people who may be looking for an education in digital photography copyright concerns. The authors also do not take into account that artists may want to use their photos in different ways and still have them available for wide use. The chapter discourages the use of watermarking, image recognition software and web spiders, by claiming they do not work. While being a very copyright-optimistic book, it has a very bleak and pessimistic look at online photography issues. They mention how vital it is to track and enforce your photos’ licenses, but there is no discussion of modern licensing models.
There is a quote in the chapter regarding copyright infringement and how it is a “double edged sword”: “Make sure the edge closest to the offender is the sharpest one”. This is a troubling attitude, as there is no further discussion on sending letters to copyright infringers, cease and desists, or alternatives in internet technology – even in 2006. For being a very recent book on photography licensing issues, it is disconcerting that there is but one chapter on the topic of the web, and basically no discussion on modern issues. This plainly indicates the need for a greater education in the photography world of recent innovations and licensing matters. Many photographers are looking for a solution like Creative Commons, as it has the potential to balance commercial and creative interests. It can make it easier to track your licenses, and yet also increase your business and exposure. If more artists were aware of Creative Commons as an option, it might open their minds to the issues it addresses- like a wider public domain, and more moderation in our copyright culture.
Call#: Van Pelt Library KF2979 .M348 2005
Freedom of Expression is a very recent book in the tradition of Free Culture and The Future of Ideas. McLeod describes how the two main enemies of the creative public are the CTEA and the DMCA. He has a more optimistic view than we see in Lessig’s writings – he believes that individuals do have options when it comes to “overzealous copyright bozos”. Fair use is expensive, but should be used in court cases, following the principle of “use it or lose it”. And individuals should not back down when confronted with frivolous threats or lawsuits – they should do their research, educate themselves and others, and explore spaces and holes in the law. He also gives examples of free speech cases where the “copyright bozos” lost, including Nader v. MasterCard, “Victor’s Little Secret” v Victoria’s Secret, and Annie Liebowitz’s case against the Naked Gun franchise.
McLeod’s book is a veritable encyclopedia of examples from every aspect of modern life as to how the privatization of our culture is harming us irrevocably. He goes over sampling and music, collage art, book publishing and education, filmmaking, the internet and online content, the privatization of nature and public spaces, and electronic voting. He explains how in today’s world such innovators as Woody Guthrie, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Muddy Waters would be copyright infringers of the highest order. He argues that “freedom of expression” (which he trademarked for the book as an example of the extreme to which private ownership has gone) needs to have greater meaning to public life. This ownership, branding, and franchising of life impedes innovation and creativity. It is better for business, but worse for creative people. Society as a whole needs the existence of “the commons”, because the alternative goes against our cultural traditions. In the discussion of folk and blues music, he stresses the importance of building on tradition, and states that “a rented future forgets the past”.
McLeod explains how compulsory licenses in music would help artists and the market, and how Creative Commons licenses are good for society because they increase the public domain. He advocates for moderation, and a balanced public policy that takes into account private and public interests. This book is Free Culture’s “hip” younger brother, and could educate younger generations and pop culture experts to the current state of copyright in the US.
Call#: Van Pelt Library KF2979 .L47 2004
Lessig illustrates a wide variety of specific examples, offers a thorough discussion of the important issues, and describes complex legal and economic issues in very easy-to-understand language. His mission seems to be to get this information about the current state of American copyright out to the public, since they are the ones being most harmed by the extremes of copyright control. The two main arguments are that over-extensive copyright goes against the tradition of developing new creative works from what has come before, and that the continuing extension of copyrights is unconstitutional (by ignoring the wording of the law that states a copyright will be for “limited times”). The lament is for the lack of a plentiful public domain, and how that negatively affects transformational and innovative expression. It also prevents important information from being disseminated to the public.
Much of the book centers on the Eldred v Ashcroft case which made it to the Supreme Court. The case focused on the two issues mentioned above. Lessig’s honesty about the arguments and outcome of the case are refreshing, but his overall view is pessimistic. The Supreme Court decision was against Eldred, stating that Congress can continue to extend older copyrights at their discretion, setting up a system of lobbying and corruption.
Lessig’s dislike and distrust of extremes is clear, and he does offer some ideas for a more moderate copyright culture in the US. One of the ideas expounded is Creative Commons, a way for content owners to license their own work, and start creating a richer public domain. It is now up to creators and artists themselves, since large corporations and Congress seem to be working together to restrict the public domain.
The goal of Creative Commons is to build a reasonable layer of copyright for the public to access. The licenses are simple, and easy to read - no need for a lawyer. There is a variety of licenses offered, so the creator can choose what they want; somewhere between “all” and “no rights reserved”. It gives copyright owners a wider realm of freedom, but also creates a world of content that others can use and build on.
Ms. Murphy describes some cutting-edge technology to track down online piracy, including digital watermarking and web “spider” services like Cyveillance. She admits that nothing is perfect, and much of the work of catching online copyright infringement is left up to the photographers themselves. Many photographers were not willing to spend the money on watermarking, or monthly service fees for services like Cyveillance. It is easy to see how quickly online content owners were lulled into a sense of complacency, that it just “wasn’t worth it” to track down copyright infringers. In 1999, the alternatives were pricy and unreliable.
Another key issue discussed is that the contracts photographers signed when licensing their photos to a website were weighed heavily in favor of the website owner, and against the photographer. Many of them took all rights from the photographer forever. Those rights would then be transferred to a client, in the case of a stock photo website for example, and the photographer’s rights would be omitted yet again. Licensing is only mentioned in this context, not in the context of the photographer creating or controlling their own licenses.
The article seems to be geared toward photographers who sell their photos to “big business” or stock photo sites, and displays a desire for stronger copyright and better online piracy detection. This was a time when the future of internet content and technology innovation was unsure. Very few people had the insight to sense what the internet would become, or how important individual content owners would become; on sites like Flickr for example. Creative Commons deals with some of these issues – it allows photographers greater control over their rights. It allows people to dictate how their work can be used, and allows for the possibility that not all photographers want “all rights reserved”, as this article would suggest. Using Creative Commons licensing on your photos will not stop piracy altogether, but it can go a length to prevent unintentional piracy, and make your work more accessible on the internet. Creative Commons can help create a realm of work online that is in between the two extremes suggested by this article – complete anarchy with constant photo piracy, or strict licensing that takes and wields all of someone’s rights.