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Is The Internet Destroying Copyright?


David

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Music legend Pete Townshend has laid into computer giant Apple blasting its music service iTunes as a "digital vampire", as he called for greater support and financial rewards for artists from online firms.

 

In a keynote speech, The Who's guitarist claimed the internet was "destroying copyright", and said writers and musicians should expect to be paid if their work was generating money for others.

 

Townshend also dismissed suggestions that "sharing" music helped to spread the word about artists.

 

The guitarist - delivering the first annual BBC 6 Music John Peel Lecture at the Radio Festival in Salford, Lancashire - said: "The word 'sharing' surely means giving away something you have earned, or made, or paid for?"

 

However he reserved his greatest venom for Apple's online music store iTunes, criticising it for creaming off profit without providing any support mechanisms for music acts.

 

The company is the market leader of around 70 legal download services, accounting for upwards of 75 per cent of all music downloads.

 

It also gives away a track from an emerging artist each week and has hosted a month-long festival each year that has featured 300 artists over the past five years.

 

iTunes did not wish to respond to Townshend's comments.

 

The musician - whose Lifehouse rock-opera predicted a concept similar to the internet 40 years ago - said the public also needed to adjust the way they approached digital music.

 

"It would be better if music lovers treated music like food, and paid for every helping, rather than only when it suited them. Why can't music lovers just pay for music rather than steal it?" he asked the audience of broadcasting executives.

Source: MSN.co.uk

 

During a period of support & recognition for Apple in the aftermath of Steve Jobs death it's certainly going against the grain to come out critically of them. What do you think? Is Townsend in the right?

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This is the guy who went on the internet to "research" child pornography ferchrissakes. He's way off about iTunes. If you are an independent recording artist and you own the copyright to your recordings, iTunes pays you around 55p in the pound for your stuff, which is a very high royalty rate considering how much you make from labels and other services.

 

If he was talking about Spotify and people uploading music to Youtube, I'd agree.

 

Basically, he sounds about 5 years out of date.

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Copyright is meaningless. Record labels are a weird historical anomaly. There have been professional musicians forever and a "music industry" for less than a century. We'll get over this hump soon enough and we'll be left with a system where more musicians can earn a decent living as skilled tradesmen but have far fewer Bonos and Elton Johns.

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Copyright is meaningless.

How's that?

 

Record labels are a weird historical anomaly. There have been professional musicians forever and a "music industry" for less than a century.

Jesus Christ. There have been professional actors forever and a "motion picture industry" for about a century, and a "television industry" for less than that. It's not a weird historical anomaly, it's technology allowing for mass communication. As long as that technology exists, people are going to market and monetise recordings and artists.

 

We'll get over this hump soon enough and we'll be left with a system where more musicians can earn a decent living as skilled tradesmen but have far fewer Bonos and Elton Johns.

What exactly are you suggesting there? That there'll be a new system with loads more (and better-attended) pub gigs and nobody playing in stadiums? Or just that nobody will have the longevity of the likes of Bono and Elton John?

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I probably had more free shit in the early 90s when my brother used to rent videos from the video man and copy them using two video recorders and a lead. Also, music was incredibly easy in the tapes of double tape decks. There's always been ways to get stuff for less than you would normally pay for it. The internet just gives you that extra help.

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This is the guy who went on the internet to "research" child pornography ferchrissakes. He's way off about iTunes. If you are an independent recording artist and you own the copyright to your recordings, iTunes pays you around 55p in the pound for your stuff, which is a very high royalty rate considering how much you make from labels and other services.

 

If he was talking about Spotify and people uploading music to Youtube, I'd agree.

 

Basically, he sounds about 5 years out of date.

 

Much like you with your reference.

 

Copyright is meaningless. Record labels are a weird historical anomaly.

 

Complete nonsense. Labels have been around for decades! If they had been around for 4 or 5 years, then fine. But they haven't.

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You can't "destroy" copyright. The Internet just makes it easier to breach. Doesn't make it fair game.

 

It comes down to a lack of education. Too many people think, "Well, if it's on a website for free then I'm not breaking copyright." And the amount of people that upload videos and then put in a little diddy "disclaimer" in the description box saying, "No copyright infringement intended" when that's exactly what they've done makes me want to punch something.

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This is the guy who went on the internet to "research" child pornography ferchrissakes. He's way off about iTunes. If you are an independent recording artist and you own the copyright to your recordings, iTunes pays you around 55p in the pound for your stuff, which is a very high royalty rate considering how much you make from labels and other services.

 

If he was talking about Spotify and people uploading music to Youtube, I'd agree.

 

Basically, he sounds about 5 years out of date.

 

Much like you with your reference.

 

Still doesn't change that Townshend doesn't know what he's talking about.

 

Or the fact you're a chippy prick.

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You can't "destroy" copyright. The Internet just makes it easier to breach. Doesn't make it fair game.

 

It comes down to a lack of education. Too many people think, "Well, if it's on a website for free then I'm not breaking copyright." And the amount of people that upload videos and then put in a little diddy "disclaimer" in the description box saying, "No copyright infringement intended" when that's exactly what they've done makes me want to punch something.

 

 

Absolutely. I read that piracy dropped 32% since the introduction of the "you wouldn't steal a car, would you?" advert at the start of films.

 

 

 

 

 

People do it because it's easy and there are no consequences. No one gives a shit that they're breaking the law.

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The internet's not destroying copyright, but it is changing the way IP is monetarised.

 

Music is a good example I suppose. My first contract with a record label was a "recording contract" - which meant that they would pay for any recording costs for the album. In return for that outlay, I'd bet a handsome 15% or something of any net income.

 

Even at that point, that was already an outmoded type of contract - I recorded the stuff myself in my bedroom, so the cost/profit ratios were all wrong. Now my current contract is a 50/50 split of net profits. And those profits are generated in very different ways to 20 years ago. The number of physical units the average musician shifts is much lower, and the mechanical costs make it practically a loss-leader unless you're Oasis or something.

 

iTunes is the mainstay of income, pay per tune, and then you have all the other download sites like trackitdown.net and so on. You also get a penny or two whenever someone listens to your music on LastFM, Spotify or whatever, but getting hold of that is much harder as it requires MCPS membership and various other things. I've never bothered to jump through the hoops of all that, but then I'm not really doing this for the money. Literally millions of pounds a year must slip through the cracks with radio/internet radio play (worldwide, obv, no just me!)

 

The best way to make money out of music is - live gigs and licensing. The usage of your music on compilation albums or in jukeboxes, or on tv or adverts, is very lucrative, and playing live gigs can be decent pay too once you're a bit known.

 

This change, from shifting physical copies to small payments for plays and live/licensing, is definitely down to the internet. The end result though is that nobody is making as much money as they used to - not the labels and not the artists. I think the last remix I did, there were 10 times as many illegal downloads of as copies sold. No matter how motivated you are to chase every legal penny, that's still a lot of copies stolen.

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