Liberation: Musical Copyrights nearing the end. Music labels in for drastic reality check come 2013.

Copyrights and other law topics aren’t really covered here a whole lot. It’s for good reason though. This is a tech blog aimed more at gadgets. But being the nerd that I am, I follow many more areas than just gadgets. Music copyrights and the whole music label tango that so many deal with on a daily basis interest me. We see daily how the digital world in which we love constantly gets lambasted by labels and content owners as the cause for declining music sales, the reason for sinking profits, and overall the start of the end of the world. Those facts have been disproven many times over but that doesn’t stop them from repeating the same sentences over and over. They claim that because of the digital age, copyrights need to be protected to a higher degree and more of them filed.

Thankfully for us the end user as well as artists, the end (or at least significant decline) of label control of the music scene is one that desperately needs to come. It seems like an implausible, almost laughable dream — that labels will lose their copyright with the artists getting back what is rightfully theirs. But it isn’t that far of a stretch. Thanks to a law passed in 1976 called the “U.S. Copyright Act of 1976″, artists will very soon be able to reclaim their property giving them the ability to succeed where the labels have failed time and time again — to properly manage, distribute, and market musical content in the digital age…

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Music groups ASCAP and BMI hit new level of stupidity — demanding compensation for music previews and videos because they’re “live performances”

Because we all need another reason to hate music groups/labels, a developing story that makes me shake my head in utter disbelief because of the outright stupidity being shown by the ASCAP and BMI. These two fine, shining examples of how not to do business is highlighted with their latest scheme to get more money than they deserve. Specifically, these two groups are arguing that digital samples of tracks, such as the infamous 30-second preview on iTunes as well as any video download, are technically a “live performance” and as such should be charged a live performance royalty fee. Anyone with the intelligence level of a 2 year old can see this is ridiculous.
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We are the fallen: “Bury me Alive”

You may remember back a few months ago I wrote about a new band called “We are the fallen”. Bands come and go everyday. However, the way this particular band is planning on marketing themselves and connecting with the public is in stark contrast to many bands/labels and their sue first, continue to stall innovation, and apply old business models to new technology. I figured that since I will start adopting music/tech related news into my normal allotment of gadgets and other digital goodies, why not add this band, whom is embracing technology in an increasingly digital age to the list of videos to check out.

One other tidbit that shoehorned We Are The Fallen into my new music spot on the site is that you can actually embed their content — something that some other bands and pretty much all record labels feel will rob them of precious dimes and nickels. If you idiots only knew…

Hope you enjoy it!

Moby wants the RIAA disbanded

Whether or not you’ve ever heard of Moby, a musician that hasn’t enjoyed much spotlight time lately, his fight for consumer rights is a noble one to say the least. It all started several years ago when the RIAA started their onslaught of lawsuits against various individuals. Moby wasn’t happy when he found out the RIAA was suing people for downloading his songs, regardless of legality. Since those early days, the RIAA has only painted itself a darker picture that is impossible to clean. Because of the unconstitutionally large fine for Jamie Thomas (ah em…$1.92 million to be exact…or $80,000/song) Moby is calling for the RIAA to be disbanded (I would wager beaten and flogged personally), which is sadly, a rare stance for musicians and artists today. So what exactly did he have to say?

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Billboard “music” charts prove that crappy music gets crappy sales numbers

Music experts and those that claim that the CD and the music industry are being destroyed by more consumer friendly digital means and P2P file sharing services have pointed to CD sales for years showing the declines that have swept (slowly) across the market. Many thought that the CD/music industry wasn’t doing that bad as April had year-over-year sales down only 9%. Compared to the even more gut wrenching 17.9% and 11.5% for YOY sales from February and March, I would think a 9% drop is a blessing. So what gives?

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EU bends over to copyright/record labels…extends musical copyrights another 20 years

The world is truly truly turning into a world run by the greedy few.  The sickness: The EU pressured by copyright holders and music labels to increase the current 50 year limit on copyrights has bent over and extended it by another 20 years for a grand total of 70 years.  The whole reasoning behind it is complete BS.  Those under the rule of the EU should consider themselves lucky however as the labels wanted to nearly double the term to 95 years.  However *slightly* cooler heads prevailed, in this case the UK, and refused the lofty number.  Eventually, a “compromise” was met and they all settled on 70 years.  Andrew Gowers of the UK looked at the issue in 2006 and found that there was absolutely no reason to extend copyrights longer than the 50 years they used to hold.  Another separate group and study lead by Prof. P. Bernt Hugenholtz of the University of Amsterdam also came to the same conclusion: that an extension on copyrights would be a bad idea, hurting “consumers, producers, and society as a whole”.  And boy is he right.  Of course, not to be deterred from making their pockets deeper, the copyright holders and music labels turned away from petitioning government and instead went to bed with the EU who again…bent over.  Hopefully this crap doesn’t come stateside.  Anyone with a clear mind…or any mind at all for that matter, can easily come to the conclusion that 50 years is more than enough time for copyrights to stick.  After that, the material you made way back when, if even talked about/used today, is anything but popular.  Wherever you are in the world, start writing your leaders voicing your opinions on the issue.  While one voice isn’t enough, the collective voice of many has some pretty amazing powers.  



Source: Ars Technica

Amanda Palmer to her record label: “Drop Me”

Score one for the little guys!  Amanda Palmer (I’ll be honest…never heard of her until I read this article) has taken a stance against her music label, Warner Music.  You may recall in the steel trap of a mind you have that Warner Music and Google aren’t exactly the greatest of friends and don’t quite see eye-to-eye regarding how much Google should pay Warner Music for Warners content on  YouTube.  Because of this little fiasco, Google has been removing Warner Music content at the order of WM.  Besides the fans and consumers like us being a little peeved by WM’s blatant greed, musicians are even starting to feel the hate.  One particular musician that is stepping up and speaking out is Amanda Palmer.  What lengths is she going to to let the her music label know she’s not happy?  (Get a snack and come inside.)


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iTunes going *almost* DRM FREE…For real this time! (hopefully)


Apple Insider has learned form Cnet that Apple has potentially cut deals with 3 major record companies in order to finally shed the poisonous caner also known as “DRM”.  The record companies involved are Sony BMG, Universal, and Warner Music.  In order to reach this deal it is said that Apple has finally given in to demands from the three labels agreeing to tiered pricing instead of the current fixed $.99/song that has remained since day one *save for the short time iTunes plus was a few dimes more*.  Another very exciting topic to hear is that Apple has also come to agreements with the labels concerning over-the-air downloads.  This agreement would finally let iPhone users download music over the cellular networks without the aid of Wi-Fi, you know just like every other carrier has had for some time now!  Apple which announced the deal last week could release this earth shattering announcement officially as early as tomorrow at the Macworld Expo!   Read the rest of this entry »

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