The Great Copyright Crackup

Originally posted 2005-01-26 22:17:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

ASCAP Launches Infringement Actions against Establishments Performing Copyrighted Music without Permission: The beginning of the end?

I’m not saying they’re not entitled. I’m not saying the law’s not on their side. I’m saying the big-money copyright ownership gang — the ASCAP‘s, the RIAA‘s, the MPAA‘s — gives the distinct impression of Japanese kamikazes. They’re suing everyone and everything, they’ve lost consumers… it’s quite a thing to see.

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Author:Ron Coleman

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8 Responses to “The Great Copyright Crackup”

  1. SharplyShiloh
    January 27, 2005 at 5:50 pm #

    Monoculture. Potato blight. Catastrophe.

    Alright, I may be pushing the analogy, but….by the time empire is created, the seeds of its own destruction are blossoming. The Way The World Works, monocultures do not survive.

    In the beginning when outrageous applications of capital were required to create an industry – like the music industry – a reasonable amount of protection seemed reasonable so that unreasonable actions did not diminish the wealth created and the industry could grow and prosper.

    Back in the day it was impossible to imagine that the recorded song I bought wasn’t now my property, just as buying a book or a newspaper made it mine. Now I’m told by my publishing friends that book is but a temporary possession and does not convey rights of ownership…it’s not really “my book” you see. The publishing house has merely assigned rights of temporary usage.

    What the…?

    When two deck cassette recorders arrived and we began copying music and trading tapes nobody in the industry said boo. When video recorders made it possible for us to record videos and swap them around, nobody in the industry said boo. So how is it with the advent of P2P networks and digital formats suddenly all of us are criminals and thieves and Bad People?

    This is the way a monoculture dies. Trying to defend empire when it is already crumbling. We haven’t seen the bug yet that blights the entire RIAA and ASCAP crop of potatoes, but it’s coming.

    Fools.

  2. Ronald Coleman
    January 28, 2005 at 1:01 am #

    I agree with the thrust of your comments, SS, but is it really the case that “nobody said boo” about two-deck recorders? Even then, there were definitely “substantial non-infringing uses” for them. Are they really the same as Grokster?

  3. SharplyShiloh
    January 28, 2005 at 3:03 pm #

    Beats me. So, the double deck is out of the picture. I cannot grasp how using Grokster to find music another person wants to share is any different than my pal down the hall giving me a mix-tape of his favorite songs.

    Except this – I have friend who is profoundly at the center of IT issues. The central point seems to be that the industry did not act aggressively when their were self-limiting costs for reproduction; but when reproduction costs are effectively zero (digital) this crossed their threshold of tolerance.

    This is to me, and it seems the majority, to be disingenuous. If it was theft back then, they did not establish the proper principle when they could have. Now that the barn is on fire how can they – on principled, moral grounds – make the argument that Back Then it was alright, but Today, sharing music is not?

    No disrespect to you, sir, seriously. But I also realize that these distinctions are nonsense to a plaintiff’s counsel. The point is to win, and to win so big that the other party is crushed for all time. But to the mass of people who’ve been sharing their music…whoops, made a mistake….is it “my music”? Or, am I but temporarily assigned rights of use but not of ownership? Anyway, the majority of people who are quite innocently sharing their favorite music with each other do not understand these distinctions.

    Take for example, the issue of garbage. If I do not “own” the property in question, do I have the right to discard it into the garbage? Do I have the right to destroy a CD I purchased? Do I have the right to wear it as a trashy form of performance art? May I sail it across the room as a frisbee? How much “right” am I allowed in purchasing a copy of the original? Am I allowed to play this music CD for my friends? Do they owe the RIAA and ASCAP a fee for listening, in a non-commercial venue such as a church youth group?

    The industry’s stance is contrary to their previous positions.

    That is the issue. In my mind. Like retroactive taxes.

    Talk about ticking off the constituency.

  4. Ronald Coleman
    January 28, 2005 at 3:23 pm #

    Beats me. So, the double deck is out of the picture. I cannot grasp how using Grokster to find music another person wants to share is any different than my pal down the hall giving me a mix-tape of his favorite songs. No different except in scale.

  5. thanbo
    February 2, 2005 at 11:04 am #

    And where does that leave folksingers, particularly if they don’t write all our own material? One sings at a bardic circle at some event that requires payment for entry – is that an infringing performance? I don’t think anyone has ever made an issue of it.

  6. Al
    February 7, 2005 at 11:23 pm #

    I AM saying that they’re not entitled. Copyright law as corporate welfare

  7. Bruce Hayden
    February 16, 2005 at 2:41 am #

    I do see somewhat why they are doing it – the in terrorem effect. However, there are millions of people these days ripping things off electronically and from a practical point of view only so many of them that can be sued.

    What good is it really going to do to win judgments against a bunch of college kids? Most of them are almost judgement proof anyway.

    I think in the long run, it is going to backfire. Currently, the recording industry is trying to get through Congress legislation that gives them more control in the future over copying. The computer industry is resisting them, for good reason. My prediction is that this rash of litigation is going to give them a bad enough name that their chance at their prized legislation is reduced.

  8. Ronald Coleman
    February 17, 2005 at 12:16 am #

    I think you’re right to the extent that a backlash — whether from Congress or the courts — is definitely brewing.

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