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Attention Seattle and Northwest Washington Artists! TONIGHT! Attend @Local76_493 Fair Trade Music Meeting

August 13, 2012 Comments off

See the Seattle Musicians email for more information.  And make sure you’re registered to vote!  Ask the candidates where they stand!

Bunk about “Fair Use Industries” from the CCIA: What do Derek Jeter, Tom Adams and Ari Emanuel have in common?

March 3, 2012 Comments off

Now that the WIPO and OAS report on the economic contributions of copyright has been released, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (of which Google is a dominant member) is recirculating one of those greenhouse studies that comes with more than the usual ration of gas: “Fair Use in the U.S. Economy: Economic Contribution of Industries Relying on Fair Use.”  This is not to say that “fair use” (a defense to copyright infringement in the US) does not have its place in the infringers toolbox, but if the recent “Hargreaves Review” debacle is any guide, destroying copyright in order to save it is going to find barren ground–particularly when the “evidence” is founded on, well, tripe.

The CCIA’s piece of work was heralded by Rep. Polis (and we know a lot more about whose side he is on now than we did at the time the report was released) in a special press conference in which he emphasized the jobs created by the vast “fair use industries.”

Meaning Google mostly (which is why it’s often called the “Google Review“).  It didn’t wash in the UK with either the press or the Commons, even though the Joe Camel of Search actually hired the wife of one of the Prime Minister’s top aides to sell it to Hargreaves and stacked the Hargreaves Review task force with people like James Boyle of Creative Commons who loathes copyright.  Remember–Google gave millions to Creative Commons.

The way that the CCIA gets to this large number of jobs represented by the “fair use industries” is simply by counting all of the industries that most of its members are—to be kind—borrowing from.  Their methodology is based on the analysis of a leading anti-copyright academic, not the economist whose name is on the report.

If you think that the movie, television, recording, book and newspaper businesses think that they are in the “fair use” business, think again.  But even if you did believe that these companies receive some small benefit from the fair use defense, wouldn’t you think that the benefit to the U.S. economy from the fair use defense should be limited to the economic benefit from fair use?

And wouldn’t that require the companies themselves participating in the study to accurately allocate their revenues from works that had nothing to do with fair use?  Not to mention the fact that the fair use defense is largely a U.S. concept, so a further adjustment—downward–should be made for earnings outside of the U.S.?

And is it not just a little disingenuous to say that Viacom benefits the Joe Camel of Search based on Google’s fair use defense against Viacom? Or that any book publisher benefits Google on fair use grounds given Google’s spectacular loss in the Google Books case?

We will first take a look at the double counting fallacy imbedded in the flawed CCIA study and then bizarre notion that the management of CCIA’s largely non-union members whose employees are forced to give up their IP rights as a condition of their employment seeks to challenge the judgment of the legitimate union members.

The CCIA Study

According to The Hill, “[t]he study, which was commissioned by the Computer & Communications Industry Association, found that industries that depend on “fair use” exceptions to copyright laws make up one-sixth of the U.S. economy and employ one in eight American workers.”

Does that sound like bunk stuff to you?  It does to me.  What exactly is a “fair use industry” and does that not sound at least intuitively counter to the purpose of the fair use defense to copyright infringement?  (See 17 USC Sec. 107(4): “the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work”.)

The Hill also reports that CCIA asserts that “[f]air use industries weathered the recession better than many other sectors of the economy, according to the report.”  I wonder what other explanation there might be for that assertion aside from the one they want you to draw—which is that fair use leads to profit.   Actually–Google’s definition of fair use leads to one of the biggest income transfers of all time (see Ellen Seidler’s description of that income transfer at Popup Pirates).  I don’t mean the drug ads sold by the Joe Camel of Search, I mean the cyberlocker ads.

I ran into one of the senior CCIA folks at a public policy conference a few years ago and was struck by how little he actually knew about how the music and movie businesses actually work, particularly from a rights perspective.  For example, he had no understanding at all of the independent label and artist part of our business, and did not understand that the RIAA did not speak for songwriters and that the RIAA could not license for its members.  Very basic misunderstandings.  So it is not surprising that they got it wrong on this study—and since it’s a study they commissioned to advance their agenda, you have to assume that they got it wrong intentionally.

So why did they release this “study”?  The Hill reports that “[Rep.] Polis compared some stringent proposals to combat copyright infringement to fighting piracy at sea by shutting down seaports [that would be the rogue sites legislation Polis lead the opposition on]…. Ed Black, president and CEO of the CCIA, said in statement, ‘Too often we hear about the cost of piracy without also considering the cost to legitimate sectors of the U.S. economy of poorly targeted copyright enforcement measures like the pending Protect IP Act.’”

Ah, yes.  Of course.  This is all about CCIA member Google’s opposition to the Protect IP Act—which will have an extraordinary negative effect on the earnings of the Joe Camel of Search–Google could have really used that $500,000,000 they paid for a drugs fine to bolster their fourth quarter 2011 earnings.  (Because, to quote Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Google is engaged in “aiding and abetting theft.”)

Or alternatively, the ever-popular theory of the “positive effects of crime” which the GAO has taken such a fancy to.

So what they want you to believe is that the members of the AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, the American Federation of Musicians, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Directors Guild of America, the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, the Screen Actors Guild, Nashville Songwriters Association International and the Songwriters Guild of America do not speak for American workers.  Because they are…you know…union thugs according to Net Coalition and the EFF.

No, no.  You know who speaks for American workers?  Yep, The Man 2.0.  The CCIA speaks for American workers.  And this authoritative voice is because of their largely non-union member companies whose workers are required to give up any ownership interest in their work product as a condition of their employment in the “fair use” industry?

The Double Counting Double Cross

So who is in this “fair use industry”?  The Hill tells us that “[i]ndustries that rely on fair use exceptions include the news media and search engines such as Google.”

Ah yes.   Google, of course.  We expected to see Joe Camel get mentioned.  But who else?

In order to know that, one has to drill down a bit into the tables and appendices of the study.  The study breaks down the “fair use industries” into core and non-core businesses and each are listed in the tables.

I knew there was skullduggery afoot when I saw this sentence: “Portions of this report were prepared with the assistance of Professor Peter Jaszi of American University Washington College of Law.” (Buried in the fine print on page 2.)

Now who is Professor Jaszi?  He is, among other things, the Faculty Director of the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic at American University.  (The mothership Glushko-Samuelson clinic at Berkeley just received $200,000 from Google in the controversial class action settlement of the Google Buzz litigation.   See “Google Hands Millions to ‘Independent’ Watchdogs“.)

Professor Jaszi’s unit at the Glushko-Samuelson clinic was reportedly unusually influential in the drafting of the 2006 orphan works report by the U.S. Copyright Office (and in implementing legislation that was itself heavily influenced by Google).  That report led to several years of failed legislative attempts to impose an orphan works regime that was almost unilaterally opposed by artists, particularly visual artists.  And just one other implication of Google involvement: during the seleciton of cy pres beneficiaries in the Google Buzz case, the Glushko-Sameulson group was referred to by EPIC in court filings as one of the proposed cy pres recipients who were either consultants or lobbyists for Google.  To which none of the recipients objected when given the chance to do so.

This passage from the APA website about the (now) failed 2007 orphan works legislation sums it up:

“Copyright, [Jaszi] wrote, is rooted in outdated concepts of ‘possessive individualism.’ The ‘romantic myth of authorship,’ he argued, is a vestige of the 18th and 19th centuries ‘in which entrepreneurial publishers…[and] entrepreneurial writers…played out their shared conviction that the “individual [is] essentially the proprietor of his own person or capacities — and thus of whatever can be made of them.’

Professor Jaszi has criticized the US for joining the international Berne Copyright Convention, calling it ‘an international agreement grounded in thoroughly Romantic assumptions about creativity.’ And he noted with disapproval:

‘The first Act of this preeminent ‘authors’ rights’ treaty in 1886 represented the culmination of a process which got underway in the mid-nineteenth-century with Victor Hugo’s vigorous campaign for the rights of European writers and artists. Other famous ‘authors’ rallied to the cause: Gerhard Joseph suggests that the manic energy with which Charles Dickens championed international copyright stemmed from the novelist’s private insecurities about his own ‘originality.’”*” (Emphasis mine)

So naturally, Professor Jaszi would be on the short list to work on the CCIA study: “Data for the key economic measures listed below—revenue, value added, payroll and employment—are segregated into core and non-core industries according to the structure developed by Professor Peter Jaszi, as described above and detailed in Appendix I.” (Study, at p. 19)

Naturally, all of the economists and business experts lack the special insights of an anti-copyright campaigner when it comes to providing the econometric basis for the study’s conclusions.

So let’s look at these “core” and “non-core” industries in Appendix I, which has a handy list of industry sectors and a cross-reference to the section of the Copyright Act—the U.S. Copyright Act—that qualifies them as a member of the “fair use industry.”

The first few listings are mostly companies that either make things that copy or that make the things that go into the things that copy.  Then we get to the first of the odd inclusions as a “core” sector of the “fair use industries”: Newspaper Publishers.  The Copyright Act code sections they rely on?  “102(a) (noncopyrightability of facts); 102(b) (idea/expression dichotomy); 107 (fair
use: criticism, comment, news reporting); 105 (no copyright in U.S. government works).”

I find this reference to newspapers peculiar.  Aside from the fact that many newspapers have sued to keep Google’s paws off of their copyrights, the noncopyrightability of facts and disclaimed copyright in U.S. government works has nothing to do with fair use.  Remember, fair use is a defense to copyright infringement, so if there’s no copyright, there’s no copyright infringement, so no defense to copyright infringement, so no fair use.  So why is that category even there?

Reliance on the idea/expression dichotomy is also not about fair use, it’s about whether an idea is subject to copyright protection (usually not until fixed in a tangible medium of expression).  So why is that in there at all?

So that’s just weird.  But it gets weirder still.

CCIA now includes in the mighty “fair use industries” all software publishers—be sure to let Tom Adams at Rosetta Stone know about that one.

And then we have the motion picture and video industries, the sound recording industries, bookstores, cable television networks (like Comedy Central maybe?), radio and television broadcasting, live event promoters, agents and managers.

Be sure to let Ari Emanuel know that he’s in a fair use industry.

Note: Songwriters and music publishers are not included at all.  Like I said, these guys have a fundamental lack of understanding about the industry they are trying to screw over.

My personal favorite is “independent artists, writers and performers” who are “independent (i.e., freelance) individuals primarily engaged in performing in artistic productions, in creating artistic and cultural works or productions,  or in providing technical expertise necessary for these productions. This industry also includes athletes and other celebrities exclusively engaged in  endorsing products and making speeches or public appearances for which they receive a fee.”

Derek Jeter—you’re in a fair use industry, brother.  Be sure to alert the MLB licensing folks.

So as you can see, CCIA is including in its “fair use industries” list the industries that its members cannibalize for supposedly fair use purposes.

What that means is that if you start with industries that should not be included at all and add to those industries Google and  similar companies that steal from us, you should not be surprised to learn that the “fair use industries” will always look like a bigger group than they really are.

And then you can get someone to stand up and talk about how important jobs are and that the Protect IP Act will kill jobs not protect jobs.

And how the non-union management of CCIA companies can tell everyone how the members of AFL-CIO, the Teamsters, the American Federation of Musicians, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Directors Guild of America, the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees, the Screen Actors Guild, Nashville Songwriters Association International and the Songwriters Guild of America–you know, union thugs–do not speak for American workers.

It’s all just bunk–but here’s the fun part.  You know you’re winning when the other side starts lying.  Now if the press would just do a little fact checking….

From the people who brought you "cultural rape"

May 7, 2010 Comments off

The Register reports that Google has sued “tiny indie blues label” Blues Destiny in order to obtain a ruling that would absolve Google of liability for including sites like the Pirate Bay, Rapidshare, Megavideo and the like in search results to make it ever more convenient for Google to profit from the kleptomania that has swept the world–particularly stealing from blues artists. Google of course filed the lawsuit in the Temporary Autonomous Zone known as the Northern District of California.

If you want a nice visual summary of this story, Ars Technica’s Nate Anderson obliges–his coverage features what appears to be a stock image of a older black guitar player with a frowning smiley drawn on in white face. A low blow, even for the Mollywood crowd.

And what was the offending act by Blues Destiny? Viddy well, little brother: they dared to fight back against the Leviathan of Mountain View and its droogs.

This should come as no surprise to anyone who understands Google’s history–the only search company whose executives have been both criminally convicted for refusing to remove a video of a child with Down syndrome being bullied and tried for “cultural rape“. If that doesn’t qualify them for eternal adulation by Lawrence Lessig and the Pirate Party, what else could?

And then there’s those YouTube emails–if YouTube isn’t criminal copyright infringement, exactly what other evidence do you need.

We have railed about Google’s “make me” litigation strategy as unseemly for a public company which can create what is essentially a rateless compulsory license given both its interpretation of the DMCA and the fact that it can essentially print money in the U.S. public financial markets to fund its bottomless litigation strategy to rip off America’s cultural treasures. Blues–like jazz–is one of America’s original contributions to music. And these people–and I use the term loosely–want to help thieves steal it. And profit from the stealing themselves.

The rationale for Google suit? Apparently it is because the little blues label had the temerity to refuse to dismiss their case with prejudice–meaning they weren’t stupid enough to believe that Google wouldn’t link to their records again as soon as the ink was dry on the settlement.

Well now, I guess you’d have to believe that Google wasn’t evil to buy into that argument. And then of course, Google saw a chance to use its stockholders vast cash holdings to crush the little guy and bring their case in the Temporary Autonomous Zone where the courts like to side with The Man 2.o.

If you ever needed a clearer demonstration of why all artists should loathe and fear Google, of why Google needs to be broken up for any of a host of reasons, of why Google is entirely, ontologically and existentially evil to its core–you now have it in this lawsuit. And you also have a clear illustration of why artists need the government to step in, and quickly. Remember, Google defied every government in the world with Google Books, and I’m sure they think they own the Obama administration. Erroneously, in my view, but I would not be surprised if they think it.

Another thing to remember is that all these decisions come from the top. Just like Eric Schmidt couldn’t find his YouTube emails, and the other founders had no recollection of anything having to do with their criminal enterprise when they finally got to court–they’ll all deny planning to use this underfunded defendant to advance their larceny. This is the mark of the bully. All full of brass when nobody is looking, then running for mommy when they get caught giving the weaker kid cigarette burns behind the garage.

Google needs to go down, and go down hard. No opportunity should be missed and no expense should be spared. If you are a part of the professional creative community, you have nothing more important to do today, tomorrow and for the foreseeable future than to do everything you can to stop these people.

If you want to read a truly pathetic example of “Vichy journalism” read the sickening apology for Google by Nate “Pétain” Anderson in Ars “don’t mess with Texas” Technica. Anderson really needs to stop what he’s doing and locate his manhood. And get rid of that racist picture. It may appeal to your psychophantic Google fanboys, but it is what it is, and what it is is racist.

See also: Artist rights are human rights

See also: AFL-CIO Comes Out For Artist Rights in Performance Rights Act

Google v Blue Destiny Complaint

Only the shadow knows: Let the Geist games begin anew

May 5, 2010 Comments off

Comments do not a plebiscite make

It’s well worth noting Patrick Ross’s post about the comments that were themselves posted by the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator at the White House. (“Kudos to the White House for posting hundreds and hundreds of comments online in response to the call by Victoria Espinel, the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, for guidance on how to improve enforcement of IP rights. You can see them here.”) Hundreds of them were heart felt comments and life experiences of the professional creator community in America, and demonstrates the breadth of the creators who are affected by intellectual property laws from photographers to illustrators to songwriters to recording artists. As we have seen with the recent controversial use of essentially untraceable electronic form letters in the Canadian and UK copyright consultation and Digital Economy Act, real artists will write real letters with real life stories. These creators may not understand the nuances of IP law, but they understand how they are affected.

However, no one is trying to palm this commendable view into the minds and hearts of the creative electorate as some plebiscite or some form of “vote”. As we found in “A Dedicated Group of Like-Minded People” (Français) Cass Sunstein of the Obama administration’s Office of Management and Budget recently issued a memo to the heads of executive branch departments and regulatory agencies which dealt with the use of social media and web-based interactive technologies. Specifically, the memo warned that “[b]ecause, in general, the results of online rankings, ratings, and tagging (e.g., number of votes or top rank) are not statistically generalizable, they should not be used as the basis for policy or planning.” As one source noted, “[A] million Americans can Digg or retweet an important blog post, but government officials shouldn’t use that popularity as an indicator of the post’s value. That’s not always a bad thing considering that a dedicated group of like-minded people can game a casual voting system.”

Only the shadow knows

Contrast the IPEC’s treatment of the important but not generalizable enforcement responses with the latest blunder in public commentary by someone commenting under the sobriquet “SB” posting on Michael Geist’s blog. (Michael Geist (aka “he who shall not be named,” according to a prominent Canadian artist. Geist is advisor to the U.S.-backed Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, the Alcan of IP with its almost 100% American board, and the paid consultant to Industry Canada. SG-CIPPIC’s board includes Lessig and the EFF legal director, so it shouldn’t shock anyone that Geist’s objections to the legislation bears a strikikng resemblance to the EFF’s own anti-worker positions.)

“Your voice DOES make a difference. speaking from someone on the inside your letters DO make a difference….Doesn’t have to be long, better if its not a template letter. Just put the bill number and put that you don’t support it.”

The comment then goes on to instruct as to whom the letters should be sent.

Interesting.

“SB”?

“Someone on the inside”?

Having the benefit of a fire hose of disclosed information, I took a quick look through the info to see if there was anyone at Industry Canada who had the initials SB, and sure enough there is. But it seems so unlikely that anyone inside the government would be openly posting advice as to how best to oppose the government’s policies on the Geist blog. Would she really be willing to be that confrontational to her own minister? Is this the voice that uses Geist as a mouthpiece? Is this the shadow on the cave? That just seems so unlikely, it seems like it would have to be really throwing down the gauntlet in a bureaucratic sense, and that’s just not what bureaucrats do. Or at least ones that aren’t desperate.

And why would anyone counsel readers of the Geist blog—who we assume must be fellow sophisticates and smarter than the average bear—to merely scrawl the bill number, say “No” and make their mark? Why would they not counsel an enlightened discussion of the nuances of the bill?

Ah yes.

They can’t do that because the bill hasn’t been introduced yet.

Of course.

Once more into the leak, dear friends

Yet again, Geist seems to have had access to a confidential legislative document that I guess must be protected by some kind of privilege or at least a high degree of trust. And he leaked it. (Just like he was told?)

In reporting by the CBC and on his blog, Geist is again using those words that are unequivocal and precise. According to the CBC “In the end, Prime Minister Stephen Harper sided with Moore, Geist said.” Really? How does he know that? These are not hedged statements, these are statements someone makes who has access.

Kind of like “SB”.

Another interesting twist—Geist emphasizes that the letters to be sent to the government must be paper letters. I wonder why that is? Could it have something to do with the gamed copyright consultation online submissions that were filtered through a lobbying group? Don’t want to make the same mistake twice? And then Geist asks that his readers join his new Facebook group? Is that to somehow give the impression that everyone who joins the Facebook group also sent a paper letter?

Where the elites meet

There are a few interesting facts about the Geist playbook–all of which is so 1999.

1. Excluez les Français: As reported in the Toronto Globe and Mail (as well as artist blog, e.g.,”Re-doing the Math” by Canadian novelist John Degan) fortunately for everyone Canadian lawyer Richard Owens published a small study on the results of the failures of bureaucrats at Industry Canada in the copyright consultations (see “Noises Heard: Canada’s Recent Online Consultation Process–Teachings and Cautions” published by the Osgoode Hall’s IPOsgoode). Attorney Owens asks: “Why did so few Canadians make substantive submissions on copyright reform and, in particular,why were Francophones and women so grossly underrepresented in the Consultation process? Unfortunately, given that the Consultations are over, the answers to these questions cannot save last summer’s Consultation process, but my hope is that the answers we find may help to remedy public copyright consultations in the future.”

Geist’s reply is starkly revealing: “As for the lack of francophones [meaning French Canadians, largely citizens of Quebec or “Québécois“], perhaps it reflects the fact that francophones are not nearly as concerned with creator-focused copyright as some suggest (or perhaps many decided they wanted to do something else with their summer).”

As SB surely must be aware, while Geist’s obligations as an academic may not extend to Francophone outreach, as an “insider” at (presumably) Industry Canada, that obligation is much more precise on a government agency. If you could ever catch those crazy Québécois as they cavort about the Laurentians in the summertime to ask them a serious question.

2. It’s not a plebiscite

Geist clearly understands that the essentially anonymous form letters he encouraged the world to send in during the copyright consultations are clearly flawed and are clearly not a plebiscite–yet he keeps acting otherwise. With one great distinction.

He admonishes his followers to send in a new letter stating their objection to the bill–even if they sent a letter before–but this time “on paper“. And it must be mailed from within Canada with no stamps. Why? Because letters to Parliament require no postage if mailed from within Canada. This would clearly be an attempt to blunt (so to speak) the criticism from the Globe and Mail, Mr. Owens, Mr. Degan and others that the letter writing campaign sponsored by the CCER lobbying group. And, of course, the letters will simply be a reaction to the characterization of the leaked bill by Geist and SB. Such a letter would surely be more of a measurement of fealty to these two than to a considered judgment by the electorate?

The considered judgement by the electorate is called an “election” and neither Geist nor SB have ever stood for election by the sounds of it. (And at this rate, probably never will.)

3. Exclusion of working people

One of the most striking events in the last few months is the very welcome appearance of the AFL-CIO’s support for their creative members AFTRA, DGA, SAG, IATSE, AFM and the IBEW among others in the struggle against worldwide theft.

As we have seen, the borderless Internet does not permit one signatories to the overarching trade and human rights agreements that Canada has ratified to pick and choose how they will treat the results of the labor of other humans (regardless of whether they have ratified the WIPO Internet Treaties, a primary reason why Canada has trouble with the USTR). The AFL-CIO has clearly acknowledged that the Internet is a borderless infringement machine and I doubt that they intended to put an asterisk on that statement to read “*except for Canada–it’s OK for them to infringe.”

SoundExchange, for example, does not yet distinguish between the works of Canadians and anyone else. Those laws protect and remunerate all equally. Unlike the Canadian orphan works laws (some of the best on the planet), Internet theft does not stop at the border, whether it is state secrets, cybersecurity issues, or copyright infringement.

4. Yanks Under The Bed

Giest goes back to the bull pen for the old standby–jingoism. “The Canadian DMCA”. Hmmm. Is this something that his nearly 100% American SG-CIPPIC board came up with for him? Is this what Lessig told him to call it? Is this what the the U.S.-backed Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, the Alcan of IP advises because they want to use Canada as an example to beat up the US Congress as part of their remodeled copyright act?

Can we please just once get past the fear mongering? There are no Yanks Under the Bed. Well…maybe in Geist’s own bed? Nahh…they are IN his bed.

Stay tuned, it all just gets curiouser and curiouser.

See also: A handy chart of government contracts with Lawbytes, Inc. f/s/o Michael Geist

See also: A Dedicated Group of Likeminded People

See also: Fair Copyright Canada and 100,000 Voters Who Don’t Exist

See also: What do Canada, Vietnam, China, Russia, Ukraine and Romania have in common? (And, no, it’s not future sites of the Creative Commons Internationale)

See also: Artist rights are human rights

See also: The Spy Who Consulted Me Redux: The Consultation of the Mikado

See also: A closer look at Lawbytes, Inc. f/s/o Michael Geist

AFL-CIO comes out for artist rights in Performance Rights Act

April 29, 2010 Comments off

It’s very encouraging that the AFLCIO (see “Workers Mobilizing to Get Fair Play for Music Artists“), the leading council of trade unions in America, has come out foursquare behind their members in the creative unions twice in the last 6 weeks or so. First, there was a resounding defense of the AFTRADGAIATSE-SAG anti-theft position paper in the net neutrality hearings (as well as several other major unions who filed comments such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers). These unions were also in line with the Songwriters Guild of America that had been the lone voice opposing the loopholes in the “net neutrality” stalking horse that would permit rampant stealing to continue.

But yesterday the AFLCIO backed the professional creators in the quest for a performance right for sound recordings in the United States, and idea whose time has definitely come (and is about 30 years overdue if you ask me). Bear in mind, practically every other country in the world has a performance right for recording artists, vocalists and musicians when their recording is played on the air (including producers in some countries). Currently–these artists get zero. The purpose of the Performance Rights Act is to create an easy to use and easy to pay license for the recordings–bearing in mind that broadcasters already pay for the songs. The sound recording is just the flip side of the same accounting and tracking that is already being done. In fact, for larger stations, the typical software packages that the big stations use to track their playlists already accounts for the sound recording in a different part of the data.

We definitely welcome the support of the AFLCIO and the Obama administration in taking an aggressive posture to support professional creators, not to mention the domestic political clout of trade unions. We need all the help we can get to fight the hundreds of millions that Google alone spends in trying to undermine our rights and our business (Michael Geist notwithstanding).

And PS for those from Mollywood: No reason why you would know this, but “unions” are like these like people who come together to do like “collective bargaining” and they don’t take their pay in free food. In Mollywood, “collective bargaining” is venture capitalists setting a valuation, but in the United States, it’s a process that’s protected by the First Amendment of like the Constitution and stuff! OMG! And also by the National Labor Relations Act! It’s like the law, dude! And it’s not code! They also like negotiate working conditions and stuff, so don’t mention it to the code monkey in the next cubicle who you found laying on the floor naked in a pile of Ring Ding wrappers and Snapple bottles chanting “Lessig is God” or Eric might take back his options.

See also: Artist rights are human rights

See also: Twitter.org? What Would Bob Do? (The Corporatization of Music)

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