Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

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Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby Box Boy » Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:31 pm UTC

Alright then, this has been something which I've been working on for quite some time now. I'll get into it, but first I'd like to clear some things up.
Firstly I do not normally pirate anything. I'll download backup files of games I own, occasionally if I lose a movie I'll grab it also, and as for music I regularly buy the album and only download the rarer stuff I can't find. eBooks are legaly aquired, be it through iTunes or the Gutenburg Project.
Secondly, I hate current copyright laws with a passion and believe that nearly every artist/producer/writer gets ripped off like crazy considering how many sales their are of their creations most of the time. This idea is my solution to creating a free way to download stuff, that also pays the creator for their work.

The Basic Outline
My idea relies on current copyright laws being gotten rid off for all music, movies and eBooks. It would require a major overhaul to the system, including putting all old and new materials under the Creative Commons licence and the creation of a international organization which would freely distribute the files online, while using the ad revenue to pay the creators per download of their files.

PLAN
Spoiler:

Implementation

First of all, every willing artist would need to be signed up as fast as possible and any major ones should be approached about this. Then, a draft in the US, Australian and European Parliaments (I'm guessing that others would follow, or that all major acts are covered by this) would abolish the aforementioned copyright laws and replace them all with the CC licence.
I understand this would be incredibly difficult, most likely taking a decade (minimum) and a lot of legal struggles with companies, but once this is done and a fairly large number of acts are signed up and the files are collected, the next phase shall begin.

Website
Now then, this is perhaps the most delicate part of the operation and if this part fails, I'm guessing a lot of stuff is going to happen and the music/movie industries will take years to recover.
An agency run by, let's say, the U.N will be set up and it shall create a single website for the hosting of the files.
It will have a simple main page with links to various sections of what is available, most likely divided into movies, music and eBooks.
Each major band/studio/author would have a page of their own, with various links to torrent files of things they have created. The torrent files would hopefully reduce bandwidth and server space needed, while also meaning that after a set group of seeders of a to-be-determined size consistently upload, the computers run by the U.N seeding the files can be focused on other things. If someone is willing to seed a large number of files, they could receive a small monetary incentive to encourage their help. However, for torrents with larger amounts of seeds the incentive would be smaller, and for less popular ones it would be larger.
Anyone could upload a file, however Indie groups that are not official companies would be required to pay a decent sized sum of money to cover server costs if they do not get a sufficient number of downloads. If someone spams the site, they would have all their files removed and would be required to wait a minimum of three moths before being considered for un-banning.

Funding, Paying The Artists And Uploading
The site would be funded by advertisements and contributions made by the general public.
There would be a group of three randomly selected ads on each page which change each time you refresh it, chosen from any ads submitted. Due to the fact this website would receive a very large number of hits-per-day, I'm guessing this would eventually cover the costs of maintaining it and payment of the artists. The contribution button would be at the top of every page and contributions could be done through PayPal and all major banks.
artists would be payed about one cent a download of each file, max. They would also be able to have "Donate To The Creator" button on their main page.
To upload, one must either be approached by the company or pay a small fee (50$ or so) to the agency to be able to upload anything. the people who uploaded through the first method could upload an infinite number of files, while those who get in through the latter would have to earn the right to upload more files by having a certain number of downloads for them to be able to upload infinitely.

PROBLEMS AND SOLUTONS
Spoiler:
Potential Problems
Stage by stage;

Implementation - It would take a lot of legal trouble, negotiation and hard work to make this real. there would be murder about it, and I'm guessing quite a few people would end up un-employed.

Website - This site would have larger bandwidth needs than YouTube and FaceBook combined for the first few months of it's existence. After this rush, the bandwidth requirement would simmer down as people stopped downloading as much and the server strain would increase as more files were added. I will not lie, this site will require a lot of cash to keep going.

Funding, Paying The Artists And Uploading - The biggest problem would be setting a fair wage to the artists, as those with smaller download numbers would be piss poor and those with larger numbers would be rolling in swiming pools of fifty dollar bills. The funding would hopefully go well, however donations would be very important early on.


Solutions
Stage by stage

Implementation - nothing you can do really but brow-beat the companies in court with the best lawyers available.

Website - I'm guessing that the U.N or someone eccentric and rich would give a starting fund to help cover the maintenance costs, while the server strain would just have to be dealt with. Really though, the small size of torrents should mean that no huge problems come in there. It would also need a lot of seeders to combat the rush, but hopefully this wouldn't last long as I'm counting on the pirating community and various people to lend a hand.

Funding, Paying The Artists And Uploading - I'm guessing even the tight fisted person would donate to keep getting stuff like this for free, so paying the artist would be easy. Also, as for the amount of cash for each download, I'm thinking files with larger download numbers would pay less than those that have smaller ones, thus helping new people to support themselves when they start out.


So, thoughts and ideas anyone?

(I'm not even sure if this would work, it is just an idea and I realise there is a ton more stuff that could go wrong.)
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby scienceroboticspunk » Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:46 am UTC

iTunes would probably both be against this. iTunes wouldn't want all music to be publically available for obvious reasons

Physical copies such as CDs should also be available on the site and also link to that bands shows. I thought I had more to add but hope this helps your idea.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby Indon » Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:19 pm UTC

I question the value of making free music contingent upon advertising.

Having some degree of the industry so contingent (radio) doesn't necessarily seem bad, but the proliferation of advertising in the industry strikes me as having a potentially significant and subtle cost to our culture.

Secondly, I question the need for musicmakers (and possibly other artists, but music in particular) to profit at all simply by virtue of creating music.

Many people around the world create various creative or artistic works and release them to the public for free, and few people in those fields make a living off of it. Yet, nobody has advocated that we take steps to allow bloggers or webcomic artists to be able to widely make a living off of their work.

What if the proliferation of technology is simply leading to a slow shift of previously for-profit artistic fields to become the province of hobbyists instead? Is there anything wrong with that?

That is to say, why not just let commercial media die a natural death?
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby Sharlos » Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:35 am UTC

Indon wrote:I question the value of making free music contingent upon advertising.

Having some degree of the industry so contingent (radio) doesn't necessarily seem bad, but the proliferation of advertising in the industry strikes me as having a potentially significant and subtle cost to our culture.

Secondly, I question the need for musicmakers (and possibly other artists, but music in particular) to profit at all simply by virtue of creating music.

Many people around the world create various creative or artistic works and release them to the public for free, and few people in those fields make a living off of it. Yet, nobody has advocated that we take steps to allow bloggers or webcomic artists to be able to widely make a living off of their work.

What if the proliferation of technology is simply leading to a slow shift of previously for-profit artistic fields to become the province of hobbyists instead? Is there anything wrong with that?

That is to say, why not just let commercial media die a natural death?

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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby dedalus » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:22 am UTC

Bloggers can become journalists/column writers, and many webcomic artists do make some money off of their endeavours. Many don't, but many bands and musicians don't make a living from their music either.

@Box Boy: I think that alongside advertising revenue, the project should be government subsidised, simply because that in effect means that people pay for it, and the measure that they pay for it is proportional to what they can afford. I really don't think advertising + donations alone would ever be able to pay for that. And you've also got to take into account that a website that hosts close to every single piece of music ever created and allows for download across the world requires massive server space and bandwidth.

The other thing is that you're not taking into account production and advertising. The reason that record companies have musicians by the balls for their first contract is because musicians never have the money or gear to actually produce an album. And though the record companies do screw the musicians a lot for their money, it's no cheap venture on their part to get a bunch of songs made, produced, and then distributed. Obviously, if you're distributing via the internet, then you're removing the final part, but personally I like getting my music on disc (and CD shopping is some of the only shopping I do for fun), and I'd hate to see all of that go up in smoke. I'm also prepared to pay for the extra costs of having that happen.

In saying that, I think the idea is sound, and personally I like the idea of a taxpayer-subsidised semi-non-profit record company that has free downloads, minimal cost cd's, and provides record contracts to musicians that don't screw them over - this seems to be the realistic version of what you're suggesting. The only problem is that I doubt it will ever happen, as people are going to complain about their taxes not going to something that they use (and the only real way we have of otherwise implementing this is charging the user and we're back to square one of demanding that record companies stop screwing the artists and the fans at the same time).
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby Indon » Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:20 pm UTC

dedalus wrote:Bloggers can become journalists/column writers, and many webcomic artists do make some money off of their endeavours. Many don't, but many bands and musicians don't make a living from their music either.

But bloggers don't profit off of blogging, and webcomic artists don't profit from their webcomics - the most popular make a living selling merchandise or from donations.

Similarly, even right now, most musicians who make a living off of music do so through live performances and merchandise - not the music itself.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby diotimajsh » Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:21 am UTC

Indon wrote:What if the proliferation of technology is simply leading to a slow shift of previously for-profit artistic fields to become the province of hobbyists instead? Is there anything wrong with that?

That is to say, why not just let commercial media die a natural death?
I suggest there are two problems with that, one problem for the audience, and the other for the entertainer. Without commercial support, the quality of artistic media may decline--not because there isn't an incentive to produce high quality work, but because artists won't be able to devote their lives to their crafts, and will instead need to use 8-10 hours of the day putting food on the table. Thus, the audience may suffer from a lack of quality craftsmanship.

The entertainer, correspondingly, will suffer by not being able to do what she loves as a full-time occupation. "Yeah, big deal, everyone hates their jobs," we might say. Perhaps I'm unnecessarily sentimental; but I do think that, where a vocation provides valuable services to others, it's better to keep it open for professional pursuit if possible. (That is, to keep it a vocation rather than an avocation). It makes everyone happier all around.

Here's something else to consider, to put things in perspective: we could, similarly, imagine dropping all funding for mathematicians and scientists. Would there be anything wrong with scientific fields becoming exclusively the province of hobbyists?
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby MiB24601 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:22 am UTC

Box Boy wrote:Secondly, I hate current copyright laws with a passion and believe that nearly every artist/producer/writer gets ripped off like crazy considering how many sales their are of their creations most of the time.


I don't actually think it's the copyright law you have such a big problem with. Oh, I would agree that the terms of copyright protection are ridiculously long but I think what you are talking about are the extremely unfair balance of power involved in the contracts between creators and corporations. That's not copyright law. In fact, there are provisions in copyright law that exist to prevent creators from loosing all the rights in their work to big corporations.

Box Boy wrote:My idea relies on current copyright laws being gotten rid off for all music, movies and eBooks. It would require a major overhaul to the system, including putting all old and new materials under the Creative Commons licence and the creation of a international organization which would freely distribute the files online, while using the ad revenue to pay the creators per download of their files.


The Creative Commons license, like every other license of its type, is able to exist because of copyright law. Creative Commons has little power and no real enforceability without copyright law backing it up. Copyright law doesn't have to be eliminated in order to broaden the rights of consumers via Creative Commons.

As for the plan itself, it seems to underestimate the sheer logistic difficulties involved merely with the website. There is a lot of media out there and trying to centralize it would be a herculean task. I don't want to think about the legal issues. Copyright law internationally, as it stands today, is the result of centuries of development. Trying to change it over the course of a decade, that still seems way too short a time in which to accomplish that.

If you do want to accomplish this, I'd say the best way would be to just try to get the ball rolling and then build up momentum. Don't try to change the laws because you need them if you want to use Creative Commons. Just start the website, get creators and then get advertisers. It will take time, money and an unbelievable amount of effort, but if you have a good website, some good content and a little bit of luck, I think you can make it work.

diotimajsh wrote:Here's something else to consider, to put things in perspective: we could, similarly, imagine dropping all funding for mathematicians and scientists. Would there be anything wrong with scientific fields becoming exclusively the province of hobbyists?


Well, scientific endeavors that will obviously result in sellable products would still get funded. However, pure research, the type of stuff that changes the way the world works but no one can think of a useful product for until after it's been discovered, that will certainly suffer as a result.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby dedalus » Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:29 am UTC

MiB24601 wrote:If you do want to accomplish this, I'd say the best way would be to just try to get the ball rolling and then build up momentum. Don't try to change the laws because you need them if you want to use Creative Commons. Just start the website, get creators and then get advertisers. It will take time, money and an unbelievable amount of effort, but if you have a good website, some good content and a little bit of luck, I think you can make it work.


What you need to get this going is the money to fund a studio (because, believe me, you DON'T want to be paying studio costs) and the server. If you want, I'll ask a few friends about exactly how much you'd need for the first one.

The costs associated with keeping a project like this running are the following:

- Website design and maintenance - if you make this project decidedly non-profit and are prepared to put time into it without expecting to be paid, I'd dare say there will be people out there willing to do this for free, however. You could set up some sort of donation fund for them, but there's going to be a big sink for money that I'll point out later, so this may be fairly hard to achieve.
- Production costs - there are costs to run a studio, hire technicians and producers (it's fairly rare for artists to produce all their own work. Pick up any album from your collection, and see how many people get credits that aren't band members. All of these people work for wages). It's also important to note that studios tend to be locational, meaning that travel costs will be incurred for travelling artists. However, artists who can produce their own music somewhere bypass all of these costs (though they have to produce them whilst retaining rights).
- Payment for artists. Because you'll be running this off your own back, it's not wise to attach a standard rate at the start; rather set aside a fund for this as being 'X% of revenue per month' and distribute this equally between artists. For this purpose, you'll also need to prevent people registering multiple accounts to accumulate downloads; this is hard.
- Any excess money you manage to find will need to go towards advertising and lobbying. Advertising to get this project known (so as to attract more artists and show off the ones you have), and lobbying to get government funding for this organisation. Both are as important as each other, as these are the main ways that you'll actually serve to get your main plan working (of getting music off of record companies and onto this system).

The places where you could find money from something like this:

- Advertising is as good a place to start off as anything, though I'd dare say you'll be hard-pressed to get much more then enough money to cover website maintenance costs.
- Donations will probably be the main source of your money. Especially if this plan looks like it may have a chance of growing large and getting mainstream artists interested, people will be willing to contribute. And doubly so from many people if this looks like something with a chance of overthrowing the music industry.
- Eventually, if you're lucky, the government might decide that this is in the public interest to receive grant money.
- At the start of the project, depending on how things go, you may need to implement some kind of download fee/membership scheme. This is possibly (and hopefully) avoidable, and there's ways of minimising it (e.g. only charging for downloading more then X files per day, or putting a wait/advertise time on non-members).

Anyway, that's the main thing you have to consider, because though this isn't a money-making venture from you, in reality it's a case of having to set up and manage a financial system, which means you have to beable to balance costs with revenue. As for setting it up, the main thing to do is look at the website design, and start spreading the word around everywhere to get people to help out in all of this, and to get bands interested.

Box Boy, if you're wanting to do this, it looks somewhat feasible, but requires a large amount of money to set up. But hey, if you're keen to give it a go, then I'm up for trying as well, and there's a lot that can be done before needing to worry about actually getting money together.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby nitePhyyre » Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:17 am UTC

MiB24601 wrote:As for the plan itself, it seems to underestimate the sheer logistic difficulties involved merely with the website. There is a lot of media out there and trying to centralize it would be a herculean task.
dedalus wrote:And you've also got to take into account that a website that hosts close to every single piece of music ever created and allows for download across the world requires massive server space and bandwidth.

BitTorrent guys, BitTorrent.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby MiB24601 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 8:50 am UTC

MiB24601 wrote:As for the plan itself, it seems to underestimate the sheer logistic difficulties involved merely with the website. There is a lot of media out there and trying to centralize it would be a herculean task.

dedalus wrote:And you've also got to take into account that a website that hosts close to every single piece of music ever created and allows for download across the world requires massive server space and bandwidth.

nitePhyyre wrote:BitTorrent guys, BitTorrent.


Even if the website was just a place to download torrents for each work of media created, that would still require a tremendous amount of time and effort, especially if the website is also supposed to be a medium for transferring money from consumers to creators.

However, I'm not sold on the effectiveness of BitTorrent as a method for making media available in the long-term. I will agree that BitTorrent is effective in the short-term but just how long will a seeder be willing to upload a file, especially if it's a less popular file that's several years old? I've used BitTorrent to download software packages and when it's newer software, it can be very convenient. However, if it is a discontinued program or an older version, then seeders just aren't prevalent and I have to find the package on an FTP server somewhere. I'm just not convinced of the viability of BitTorrent for an endeavor such as this.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby dedalus » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:19 am UTC

Personally I'm against the idea of solely p2p sharing, though having a strong p2p network would be a good other method of getting files. In fact, it may be a good idea to offer p2p sharing as the primary source of getting data, and have actual downloads as a secondary method (easiest way to do this is capping bandwidth), but to preserve integrity the server itself would need to store all the songs the project holds (I would say owns, but the main idea of this is that the music is owned by the artist and contracted to the project.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby nitePhyyre » Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:46 pm UTC

The artist would have a vested interest in seeding their own songs. So at the very minimum you will always have at least one seed. More likely 3-5 if each person in the band has a copy on their PC. A CD in mp3 format is what 50mb? Even at slow speed that won't take too long. Assuming a reasonable kbps, how much music is there in existence? How would we even begin to estimate that?
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby dedalus » Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:04 pm UTC

Well, a hundred thousand albums is about 10 terabytes. I'd say that seems a fairly good estimation. My friend used to have an awful lot of underground death/doom/thrash metal, that was about maybe 200gb, and if we were to consider that the majority of that genre I'd dare say we could find at least 10 or so more, which puts it at 2 tb minimum, however some other genres may be larger (e.g. solo artists and previous era music), so I'd honestly say if you wanted to hold EVERYTHING you'd be looking at around about 10tb (and possibly more if people were going to store at higher bandwidth). Which to be honest isn't THAT large, but is still pretty damn huge. If I was to say anything about the server size of something like this, I'd go with 1tb to start off and increase from there. As for bandwidth however, if we started out with a maximum usage of 10000 at any one time, and limited downloads to 100kb/s from the server (to give incentive for people to use p2p), then we're talking about needing something of the order of a gigabit connection... I'm not the best when it comes to server stuff, does that sound reasonable, and in which case what kind of costs are we looking at?
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby Box Boy » Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:20 pm UTC

Spoiler:
MiB24601 wrote:Even if the website was just a place to download torrents for each work of media created, that would still require a tremendous amount of time and effort, especially if the website is also supposed to be a medium for transferring money from consumers to creators
No, it's purpose would be to make the music free and pay the artists with ad funds and donations if necessary. I'll admit it would take a lot of work, which is why I'm guessing that ten years for the laws to kick in (with enough effort).
MiB24601 wrote:However, I'm not sold on the effectiveness of BitTorrent as a method for making media available in the long-term. I will agree that BitTorrent is effective in the short-term but just how long will a seeder be willing to upload a file, especially if it's a less popular file that's several years old? I've used BitTorrent to download software packages and when it's newer software, it can be very convenient. However, if it is a discontinued program or an older version, then seeders just aren't prevalent and I have to find the package on an FTP server somewhere. I'm just not convinced of the viability of BitTorrent for an endeavor such as this.

BitTorrent has two main advantages:
1) Server space taken-per-file would be tiny compared to, let's say, iTunes.
2) It means that if anyone wants to, they can set up groups and clubs to seed anything, and get a reward in the form of monthly payments if they seed enough. It would mean that if something is good, it is seeded, and if something is bad it wouldn't be. Also, so long as the artist are alive, you can be guaranteed at least one seed for every file. I'll admit this makes things harder for indie bands, but they'd still get publicity at least, as well as a way to reach and absoulutely HUGE audience.

dedalus wrote:The costs associated with keeping a project like this running are the following:
- Website design and maintenance - if you make this project decidedly non-profit and are prepared to put time into it without expecting to be paid, I'd dare say there will be people out there willing to do this for free, however. You could set up some sort of donation fund for them, but there's going to be a big sink for money that I'll point out later, so this may be fairly hard to achieve.
- Production costs - there are costs to run a studio, hire technicians and producers (it's fairly rare for artists to produce all their own work. Pick up any album from your collection, and see how many people get credits that aren't band members. All of these people work for wages). It's also important to note that studios tend to be locational, meaning that travel costs will be incurred for travelling artists. However, artists who can produce their own music somewhere bypass all of these costs (though they have to produce them whilst retaining rights).
- Payment for artists. Because you'll be running this off your own back, it's not wise to attach a standard rate at the start; rather set aside a fund for this as being 'X% of revenue per month' and distribute this equally between artists. For this purpose, you'll also need to prevent people registering multiple accounts to accumulate downloads; this is hard.
- Any excess money you manage to find will need to go towards advertising and lobbying. Advertising to get this project known (so as to attract more artists and show off the ones you have), and lobbying to get government funding for this organisation. Both are as important as each other, as these are the main ways that you'll actually serve to get your main plan working (of getting music off of record companies and onto this system).
- I'm hoping, with all my heart, that if this ever became real that a number of supporters would pffer help, mainly because I know of some programmers and other computer knowledgeable type people who'd love this.
- Hmm, you're right. Perhaps the the studio could be maintained, or alternatively a government run one could be set up for artists to record in so long as the payed a small fee for it's services. I mean, if done in bulk, would it really be more expensive than keeping the existing ones running?
- That area of my idea is, unfinished admittedly, but that isn't a half bad idea.
- I kind of thought that was a given, but yeah, the advertising would mainly be word of mouth and the lobbying would e given priority. i dare say that this would first of all start as being run by the Pirate Party.


dedalus wrote:The places where you could find money from something like this:
- Advertising is as good a place to start off as anything, though I'd dare say you'll be hard-pressed to get much more then enough money to cover website maintenance costs.
- Donations will probably be the main source of your money. Especially if this plan looks like it may have a chance of growing large and getting mainstream artists interested, people will be willing to contribute. And doubly so from many people if this looks like something with a chance of overthrowing the music industry.
- Eventually, if you're lucky, the government might decide that this is in the public interest to receive grant money.
- At the start of the project, depending on how things go, you may need to implement some kind of download fee/membership scheme. This is possibly (and hopefully) avoidable, and there's ways of minimising it (e.g. only charging for downloading more then X files per day, or putting a wait/advertise time on non-members).
All of those are really great ideas, but at the moment this is at best a dream of what could be achieved in the future. Until I have some way of paying to setthis up and getting at least one big-name band's help, this isn't going to happen.

I'll post a revised edition of this later, hopefully ironing out some of the kinks in it.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby Indon » Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:59 pm UTC

diotimajsh wrote:I suggest there are two problems with that, one problem for the audience, and the other for the entertainer. Without commercial support, the quality of artistic media may decline--not because there isn't an incentive to produce high quality work, but because artists won't be able to devote their lives to their crafts, and will instead need to use 8-10 hours of the day putting food on the table. Thus, the audience may suffer from a lack of quality craftsmanship.

The entertainer, correspondingly, will suffer by not being able to do what she loves as a full-time occupation. "Yeah, big deal, everyone hates their jobs," we might say. Perhaps I'm unnecessarily sentimental; but I do think that, where a vocation provides valuable services to others, it's better to keep it open for professional pursuit if possible. (That is, to keep it a vocation rather than an avocation). It makes everyone happier all around.

This is why I gave two examples of fields in which what I describe has already happened.

For the first, quality is compensated for through sheer quantity: As the field opens from an industry into a hobby, more people become interested and get involved in it, inspired by other hobbyists.

For the second, I've noted that successful bloggers and webcomic artists still make a living doing what they love - they just make profit in ways indirectly related to their product, similar to a musician doing live shows.

In no way would allowing the market shift to this state prevent musicians from doing, and living off of, live performances and merchandise.

Where the analogy breaks down is that webcomics and blogging have never been for-profit industries - so we don't know how the transfer from for-profit to hobbyist might affect the field.

diotimajsh wrote:Here's something else to consider, to put things in perspective: we could, similarly, imagine dropping all funding for mathematicians and scientists. Would there be anything wrong with scientific fields becoming exclusively the province of hobbyists?

Considering there is scientific work that requires funding (like the LHC), and we want that work to be done, yes. And that's a fine point in regards to, say, the movie industry becoming the province of hobbyists, as there are things a high-budget movie can do that a low-budget movie can not (I think; an aspiring indy filmmaker is welcome to correct or elaborate on this). However, is there anything a high-budget musical production can do that a low-budget musical production simply can not, given today's technology (or, possibly, the technology of the very near future in which this theoretical shift would take place)?

I've heard some of the freely distributed indie music out there, and some is of very high quality (some's crap, too, but you get that with record companies too).

MiB24601 wrote:However, I'm not sold on the effectiveness of BitTorrent as a method for making media available in the long-term. I will agree that BitTorrent is effective in the short-term but just how long will a seeder be willing to upload a file, especially if it's a less popular file that's several years old? I've used BitTorrent to download software packages and when it's newer software, it can be very convenient. However, if it is a discontinued program or an older version, then seeders just aren't prevalent and I have to find the package on an FTP server somewhere. I'm just not convinced of the viability of BitTorrent for an endeavor such as this.


A server which also seeds is, at very worst (that is, it's the only seed), performing a rough equivalent of direct download. For low-traffic downloads such as you describe, that's unlikely to be a problem.

But as a download's popularity increases, successively greater amounts of the bandwidth load shift away from the server to the peer network.

It's a solution that allows for vastly more effective scaling than direct download, with only minimal overhead costs. Additionally, instead of mirrors just hosting additional availible copies, they can host additional availible seeds, which can make for more effective use of total bandwidth. I'd definitely recommend BitTorrent, with the server also seeding, as a file distribution system.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby MiB24601 » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:20 pm UTC

MiB24601 wrote:Even if the website was just a place to download torrents for each work of media created, that would still require a tremendous amount of time and effort, especially if the website is also supposed to be a medium for transferring money from consumers to creators

Box Boy wrote:No, it's purpose would be to make the music free and pay the artists with ad funds and donations if necessary. I'll admit it would take a lot of work, which is why I'm guessing that ten years for the laws to kick in (with enough effort).


If the purpose is merely to make music free, then I'm not sure why the site needs to exist. (And it's just music now? I thought it was to be all forms of media?) There are plenty of avenues that exist to make free music available, at either no cost to the creator or at about equal cost as constantly seeding the song.

And again, why do the laws need to be changed? Creative Commons exist under the current statutory system.

Box Boy wrote:It means that if anyone wants to, they can set up groups and clubs to seed anything, and get a reward in the form of monthly payments if they seed enough.


It seems that this system isn't rewarding creators but rewarding seeders. I can understand rewarding seeders but why treat them as being more valuable then creators?

Box Boy wrote:It would mean that if something is good, it is seeded, and if something is bad it wouldn't be. Also, so long as the artist are alive, you can be guaranteed at least one seed for every file.


I don't grant your premise that what is popular is necessarily good and vice versa. Additionally, there is a lot of good content by creators who aren't able to seed their own work, simply by not being alive or having some other disadvantage, such as not having the available funds that are necessary to consistently seed (e.g. a broadband connection with a great deal of bandwidth, a computer that is always online, etc.)

Box Boy wrote:I'll admit this makes things harder for indie bands, but they'd still get publicity at least, as well as a way to reach and absoulutely HUGE audience.


Considering just how many creators you are hoping to get involved with this site, I'd say that this system wouldn't be an improvement for indie bands. They would still be a single unknown band among an overwhelming number of other unknown bands, all of whom are trying to find an audience.

Box Boy wrote:I'm hoping, with all my heart, that if this ever became real that a number of supporters would pffer help, mainly because I know of some programmers and other computer knowledgeable type people who'd love this.


This is why if you started the project now, you might actually have a chance of succeeding at it. You don't need to change the laws to get it started, you can just get it started the moment you decide to put your mind to it.

Box Boy wrote:Hmm, you're right. Perhaps the the studio could be maintained, or alternatively a government run one could be set up for artists to record in so long as the payed a small fee for it's services. I mean, if done in bulk, would it really be more expensive than keeping the existing ones running?


This would be what part of your costs should be going to. And then, congratulations, you've now become a major music company.

Box Boy wrote:I kind of thought that was a given, but yeah, the advertising would mainly be word of mouth and the lobbying would e given priority. i dare say that this would first of all start as being run by the Pirate Party.


This really doesn't seem to be under the purview of a political party. Additionally, I have concerns with the Pirate Party, especially when it comes to Creative Commons. As usual, Lawrence Lessig does a good job highlighting them.

Indon wrote:For the first, quality is compensated for through sheer quantity: As the field opens from an industry into a hobby, more people become interested and get involved in it, inspired by other hobbyists.


So, there would be a lot less high quality media being released but that's OK, because now there's a lot more low quality media available as well? Yeah, I'm not a fan of that trade-off.

Indon wrote:For the second, I've noted that successful bloggers and webcomic artists still make a living doing what they love - they just make profit in ways indirectly related to their product, similar to a musician doing live shows.


Right, musicians don't make their money from CD sales (there is just so much cost involved in making an album) but from going on tour. There is no reason why copyright law needs to change for musicians to keep making money from going on tour. I'm concerned that all the other people besides the band who are necessary to make good quality albums (technicians in a studio) would suddenly be unable to make a living, unless the site spends a good amount of its capital to keep recording studios running.

MiB24601 wrote:However, I'm not sold on the effectiveness of BitTorrent as a method for making media available in the long-term. I will agree that BitTorrent is effective in the short-term but just how long will a seeder be willing to upload a file, especially if it's a less popular file that's several years old? I've used BitTorrent to download software packages and when it's newer software, it can be very convenient. However, if it is a discontinued program or an older version, then seeders just aren't prevalent and I have to find the package on an FTP server somewhere. I'm just not convinced of the viability of BitTorrent for an endeavor such as this.

Indon wrote:A server which also seeds is, at very worst (that is, it's the only seed), performing a rough equivalent of direct download. For low-traffic downloads such as you describe, that's unlikely to be a problem.

But as a download's popularity increases, successively greater amounts of the bandwidth load shift away from the server to the peer network.

It's a solution that allows for vastly more effective scaling than direct download, with only minimal overhead costs. Additionally, instead of mirrors just hosting additional availible copies, they can host additional availible seeds, which can make for more effective use of total bandwidth. I'd definitely recommend BitTorrent, with the server also seeding, as a file distribution system.


That's a very good solution.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby dosboot » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:56 pm UTC

It's not a bad idea, but this kind of philosophical position on copyright is not for me. People who produce creative works may not want to make it freely available or available at all. Why are we going to dictate that they no longer have those rights? And if the author does want it to be freely distributed and bring in ad revenue, what if they think they can do better than the central system? Having copyrights and a having a central distribution system is not an "either or proposition" anyway. Removing/Revoking copyright only strong arms everyone into your system.

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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby dedalus » Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:10 am UTC

@Indon re paying musicians for music: Though musicians don't make profit, they need some kind of incentive to actually join. If it comes between 'yeah ok, I'm going to be screwed for almost everything' and 'yeah ok, I'm going to be screwed for absolutely everything, but it's ok, because it's being done by an NPO', plenty of musicians won't choose the second. Especially if they suffer a loss of publicity that will happen whilst signing up to a comparatively unknown website.

Indon wrote:However, is there anything a high-budget musical production can do that a low-budget musical production simply can not, given today's technology (or, possibly, the technology of the very near future in which this theoretical shift would take place)?

To put together music, you're always going to need a studio, and you also need to pay a producer unless you're going to do it yourself. Some very good artists do produce and mix their own music, as well as having a lot of their own gear, but most don't, and definitely most local bands that could possibly wind up big need to do their work in a studio. There's a large difference between recording on mediocre gear and an 8-track and recording on professional equipment, you can hear it, and most artists can't afford the best quality gear.

Some of the indie stuff you might have heard may have been produced by a studio without being funded by a label (there's a lot of competitions out there with prize money specifically for studio time, and the competition runners usually don't take copyright of the music (for example, there's a competition in my local area with a prize total of $10000; $5000 has to be spent at a specific local studio and often the other $5000 is as well; this is usually the cost for a band to put together an EP in a very short period of time and is quite a sizeable investment). Because the band isn't signed with a label they don't get any distribution or advertising, which is the other main cost, and they also have to pay to produce the CD's (from memory this is ~$1 per CD).

Just using those figures, a band has to sell 1000 EP's at 11 dollars each by themselves (so not through a store) to make back the cost of the recording. This is the main reason why bands have to sign to record labels, and to be honest, for an unheard of band, as a financially-motivated company taking sizeable risk (when you talk full albums you increase revenue per CD, but you massively increase production and studio times, and the figures for producing an EP assumes that the band walks into the studio for about a week or so with their material completely produced, rather then occupying a studio for many months; the cost increases linearly), you can understand why they'd expect to get most of the profit out of the first record deal for an artist. We're talking tens of thousands of CD's needing to be sold before any profit at all is made, and the record company is the one absorbing the risk that the album might flop.

Now, to reduce the cost, most record labels have their own studios etc, and if you want to free the artists from the grip of the record companies you'd need to do the same. This is the main investment you need to make in respects to this project, and is a fairly sizeable one. And it's the other reason why you'd want to get government funding; the project is going to need to take risks by taking on new artists, and though the benefits of not having shareholders is that all profit and funding can go towards costs, you also miss out on the ability to absorb risk they provide. And as artists get more popular and the risk of keeping them decreases, then they get more out of record deals with record companies (the statistics we see don't account for this disproportionality; artists get massively screwed on their first record deal (which usually goes for about the first 3 albums) and if they stay on after this their share of the profits increases quite a lot. There's a lot of statistics involved; surprisingly enough, actuarial studies aren't just used by insurance companies.

-----------------------------------------

If you wanted to start this off though, what I'd suggest is buying a server and starting a webpage. You can still get revenue from advertising and donations, and if you take what you need for server costs, you could split the remainder between the musicians who have submitted their own work and a fund to get a studio going. This does restrict you to indie bands who hold their own copyright; to them this effectively becomes an extra distribution channel and I'm sure they'd be interested, but if they got large enough to make a serious album they'd immediately be looking for a record contract and studio time, so until you get a studio this becomes more of a halfway house then anything. But, if you get it set up now then you can start churning out small profit that adds towards the large investments needed, and the investment needed here is a lot smaller (We'd be talking about 50-100gb of storage to start out with, and if you're using the method of p2p transfer with the server as an initial seed, then the bandwidth doesn't need to be very high). It also helps to get the idea out there, as this means that when you actually get a studio people will already know about everything. So again, if you actually want to give it a go rather then just discuss it in theory, I'll see what I can do to help out, and as I know the music scene in my own locale, I could probably get some interest in it as well. Building a web page is no easy task, but considering what this is for chances are there's going to be a lot of people willing to donate some time.


Edit: @dosbot; I think we've moved beyond insisting that this applies to everything around.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby Indon » Thu Dec 17, 2009 1:47 pm UTC

MiB:
Spoiler:
MiB24601 wrote:If the purpose is merely to make music free, then I'm not sure why the site needs to exist. (And it's just music now? I thought it was to be all forms of media?) There are plenty of avenues that exist to make free music available, at either no cost to the creator or at about equal cost as constantly seeding the song.

It strikes me that some forms of media would be more condusive to this proposed approach than others. Movies, for instance, probably wouldn't work as well. Books might work pretty well, though.

MiB24601 wrote:Considering just how many creators you are hoping to get involved with this site, I'd say that this system wouldn't be an improvement for indie bands. They would still be a single unknown band among an overwhelming number of other unknown bands, all of whom are trying to find an audience.

What is lacks is a distribution system to get people aware of music and bands, such as radio. That's a part of the plan that seems like it could necessitate the big record companies going out of business, as they have disproportionate control over radio content, at least in the US.

MiB24601 wrote:So, there would be a lot less high quality media being released but that's OK, because now there's a lot more low quality media available as well? Yeah, I'm not a fan of that trade-off.

Not necessarily less high-quality media. A lower proportion of high-quality media compared to total media, but more media total, hopefully leading to more high-quality media by quantity.

To draw upon one of my examples again, compare editorials with blogging. There's a whole freaking lot of low-quality blogging. But there's also a lot of high-quality blogs, possibly even providing more high-quality editorial, uh, ing... than the newspaper industry did in its' height.

MiB24601 wrote:Right, musicians don't make their money from CD sales (there is just so much cost involved in making an album) but from going on tour. There is no reason why copyright law needs to change for musicians to keep making money from going on tour. I'm concerned that all the other people besides the band who are necessary to make good quality albums (technicians in a studio) would suddenly be unable to make a living, unless the site spends a good amount of its capital to keep recording studios running.

Doesn't change tend to do that? I mean, the collapse of the CD-distributed album would put an entire infrastructure out of business. Internet radio could replace normal radio. Internet news could drive newspapers out of business.

If you had a job doing something people need, then people don't need it anymore, you lose the job. But people can find new jobs.


dedalus:
Spoiler:
dedalus wrote:@Indon re paying musicians for music: Though musicians don't make profit, they need some kind of incentive to actually join. If it comes between 'yeah ok, I'm going to be screwed for almost everything' and 'yeah ok, I'm going to be screwed for absolutely everything, but it's ok, because it's being done by an NPO', plenty of musicians won't choose the second. Especially if they suffer a loss of publicity that will happen whilst signing up to a comparatively unknown website.

Do they? What's the incentive for a webcomic artist to join KeenSpace (er, Comic Genesis now), or a blogger to join WordPress? By your logic, wouldn't these ad-driven distribution systems for essentially free media be, well, less crowded?

dedalus wrote:Some of the indie stuff you might have heard may have been produced by a studio without being funded by a label (there's a lot of competitions out there with prize money specifically for studio time, and the competition runners usually don't take copyright of the music (for example, there's a competition in my local area with a prize total of $10000; $5000 has to be spent at a specific local studio and often the other $5000 is as well; this is usually the cost for a band to put together an EP in a very short period of time and is quite a sizeable investment). Because the band isn't signed with a label they don't get any distribution or advertising, which is the other main cost, and they also have to pay to produce the CD's (from memory this is ~$1 per CD).

A dollar per CD? It's too close for me to call without crunching the numbers, but with a computer, a printer, and the ability to walk to a store and buy CD-Rs, I think I could offer a similar deal and make a profit off of the process.

Which leads me to another thought: Should studios really be as expensive as the industry has them? It seems to me that the disproportionate control over the music industry of record labels could be keeping prices high by reducing or removing incentives to reduce the operating costs for studios - instead, incentives would be to increase quality at even very high cost, spiking studio costs much to the advantage of the bigger players in the industry.

I imagine that if/when the major labels finally die, the studio recording industry will adapt, by applying technology towards reducing costs in order to increase accessibility, so that they can make up a smaller amount of higher-paying customers with a greater amount of customers who would be paying less.


I'd like to chime in with my own advice if this becomes a serious venture - look up KeenSpot's (/KeenSpace/Comic Genesis, all the same organization) business model, since this is basically KeenSpot for music. KeenSpot hosts a bunch of webcomics on ad-generated income, and encourages webcomic artists to support themselves via merchandise and supports their efforts there.

One thing in particular you can swipe from their model is internal ads: Advertisements on your network that advertise for a different artist in your network.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby dedalus » Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:59 pm UTC

Assumably the artist stands to make some gain on Keenspace etc, more then if they were on their own. One of the advantages could quite well be advertising of their own comic. Which is something this project would have little of.

As for CD production costs; remember that this is en masse; CD's take maybe 5-10 minutes to burn on a normal computer, so burning a thousand is no small task. That figure is approximately correct from what I recall; I think a friends band had 1200 cd's for 1000 dollars or something? Either way though, this isn't a large sum of their costs.

Studio gear is rather expensive, and producer/tech rates are quite high (maybe 25-35pH) so costs are associated. The thing is that if a project like this could get a studio from donations then it wouldn't need to worry about repaying loans etc, so associated costs would be lowered. But the thing is that we can't magic ourselves a studio. This has to start from the ground and work up.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby Indon » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:09 pm UTC

Another thing that could really help this site is if someone knowledgable about low-budget recording pitched in what they knew on the topic.

If it's possible to use inexpensive computer equipment then clean up the sound so that it's something like 90% of studio-quality, at 50% of studio cost, or similar, then proliferation of that expertise in this project could really help get it off the ground, invoking that 'hobbyist inspiration' phenomenon I mentioned earlier.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby MiB24601 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 5:12 pm UTC

MiB24601 wrote:If the purpose is merely to make music free, then I'm not sure why the site needs to exist. (And it's just music now? I thought it was to be all forms of media?) There are plenty of avenues that exist to make free music available, at either no cost to the creator or at about equal cost as constantly seeding the song.

Indon wrote:It strikes me that some forms of media would be more condusive to this proposed approach than others. Movies, for instance, probably wouldn't work as well. Books might work pretty well, though.


Certainly true, but the big question I still have for the OP, Box Boy, is what purpose is this site supposed to fulfill? If it's to make music available for free, there are already avenues that do that and at less cost for creators (since the creators are apparently expected to be the main seeder and seeding has a cost). If there is some other purpose for the site, such as paying creators for their work, this method doesn't seem conducive to it.

MiB24601 wrote:Considering just how many creators you are hoping to get involved with this site, I'd say that this system wouldn't be an improvement for indie bands. They would still be a single unknown band among an overwhelming number of other unknown bands, all of whom are trying to find an audience.

Indon wrote:What is lacks is a distribution system to get people aware of music and bands, such as radio. That's a part of the plan that seems like it could necessitate the big record companies going out of business, as they have disproportionate control over radio content, at least in the US.


Right but this site has nothing to do with radio. You were the first person to mention radio and the system the OP laid out won't have an effect on radio. Changing radio will involve changing the practices of companies like ASCAP and BMI and their strategies are unrelated to copyright law.

MiB24601 wrote:So, there would be a lot less high quality media being released but that's OK, because now there's a lot more low quality media available as well? Yeah, I'm not a fan of that trade-off.

Indon wrote:Not necessarily less high-quality media. A lower proportion of high-quality media compared to total media, but more media total, hopefully leading to more high-quality media by quantity.


This goes along with my next point so I'll just address this below.

MiB24601 wrote:I'm concerned that all the other people besides the band who are necessary to make good quality albums (technicians in a studio) would suddenly be unable to make a living, unless the site spends a good amount of its capital to keep recording studios running.

Indon wrote:Doesn't change tend to do that? I mean, the collapse of the CD-distributed album would put an entire infrastructure out of business. Internet radio could replace normal radio. Internet news could drive newspapers out of business.


Some professions will certainly no longer exist and be replaced by new professions. However, unlike jobs involved in making records or CDs, which are tied to technology which is being replaced, studio technicians are still necessary as studios are still a required component for making quality audio recordings. Driving studio technicians out of business would only lower the quality of audio recordings.

And this goes back to my previous point. Unlike writing, which can be done without the support staff of music, music requires staff for their to be quality material. You suggest that there would be more material out there and their will still be high quality material among that but without the support staff that makes high quality music possible, almost all the material released will just be low quality. There will be the rare examples that are fine without studio technicians but that's not the something that can be relied upon. Putting physical studios out of business will merely serve to lower the quality of audio recordings.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby Indon » Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:32 pm UTC

MiB24601 wrote:Certainly true, but the big question I still have for the OP, Box Boy, is what purpose is this site supposed to fulfill? If it's to make music available for free, there are already avenues that do that and at less cost for creators (since the creators are apparently expected to be the main seeder and seeding has a cost). If there is some other purpose for the site, such as paying creators for their work, this method doesn't seem conducive to it.

If I had to guess, I'd say the overall purpose is to let musicians 'be musicians' - to get their music out, get people listening, and distribute the good.

MiB24601 wrote:Right but this site has nothing to do with radio. You were the first person to mention radio and the system the OP laid out won't have an effect on radio. Changing radio will involve changing the practices of companies like ASCAP and BMI and their strategies are unrelated to copyright law.

Well, some of their strategies are unrelated to copyright law. The industry has shown exceptional hostility towards other potential methods of wide distribution of music, even independent music (such as internet radio).

Figuring out a widespread, non-radio distribution method for music (that won't get attacked by record companies on a legal level, hopefully) seems like it would go hand-in-hand with this site.


MiB24601 wrote:Some professions will certainly no longer exist and be replaced by new professions. However, unlike jobs involved in making records or CDs, which are tied to technology which is being replaced, studio technicians are still necessary as studios are still a required component for making quality audio recordings. Driving studio technicians out of business would only lower the quality of audio recordings.

Well, if we're to take dedalus' description of how studio recording works, it looks like hobbyist music might be stuck with it, too (though I'd questioned if it really would be as expensive as it is were it more of a hobbyist thing).

I think I'll go look into a bit to see if I can find anything about less expensive studio recording or even quality home recording possibilities. I'm not expecting to find any studio-quality home recording techniques, but I may be surprised.

MiB24601 wrote:And this goes back to my previous point. Unlike writing, which can be done without the support staff of music, music requires staff for their to be quality material.

Professional writing is edited, though, in much the same sense that professional music is.

Writing editors just work way cheaper than the music equivalents.

MiB24601 wrote:There will be the rare examples that are fine without studio technicians but that's not the something that can be relied upon. Putting physical studios out of business will merely serve to lower the quality of audio recordings.

Well, hopefully the primary people who go out of business would be record labels, and studio recording isn't necessarily tied to that model.

There are expensive hobbies out there. Paintball is a hobby, but there are plenty of paintball ranges and they can get pretty expensive. A music hobby that still requires studio time wouldn't be able to open up as much as it could, but I imagine it'd still be able to open up some.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby MiB24601 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:44 pm UTC

Indon wrote:If I had to guess, I'd say the overall purpose is to let musicians 'be musicians' - to get their music out, get people listening, and distribute the good.


This is what the OP wrote (I added the highlighting):
Box Boy wrote:It's purpose would be to make the music free and pay the artists with ad funds and donations if necessary


From that, it sounds like that letting musicians be musicians isn't part of the purpose at all. It's difficult to be a musician if you have to make your livelihood doing something else.

MiB24601 wrote:Right but this site has nothing to do with radio. You were the first person to mention radio and the system the OP laid out won't have an effect on radio. Changing radio will involve changing the practices of companies like ASCAP and BMI and their strategies are unrelated to copyright law.

Indon wrote:Well, some of their strategies are unrelated to copyright law. The industry has shown exceptional hostility towards other potential methods of wide distribution of music, even independent music (such as internet radio).


The problems with internet radio has been related to ASCAP and BMI distribution fees. That is not part of copyright law.

Indon wrote:Figuring out a widespread, non-radio distribution method for music (that won't get attacked by record companies on a legal level, hopefully) seems like it would go hand-in-hand with this site.


It's never been mentioned at all before with the OP's concept. It would certainly be a complementary idea but there is no evidence that it's part of the plan for the site.

Additionally, the "attacks" by the record companies against disribution of music that doesn't use methods like ASCAP and BMI haven't been on a "legal level", as you put it, but have been on a business method level.

Indon wrote:Well, if we're to take dedalus' description of how studio recording works, it looks like hobbyist music might be stuck with it, too (though I'd questioned if it really would be as expensive as it is were it more of a hobbyist thing).


Limiting fields to hobbyists limits the ability of individuals to enter the market. If you really want to help independents, the last thing you want to do is prevent individuals from entering the field.

MiB24601 wrote:And this goes back to my previous point. Unlike writing, which can be done without the support staff of music, music requires staff for their to be quality material.

Indon wrote:Professional writing is edited, though, in much the same sense that professional music is.
Writing editors just work way cheaper than the music equivalents.


The amount of support staff is also less, which is also part of why writing is cheaper than audio. I stand by my point.

MiB24601 wrote:There will be the rare examples that are fine without studio technicians but that's not the something that can be relied upon. Putting physical studios out of business will merely serve to lower the quality of audio recordings.

Indon wrote:Well, hopefully the primary people who go out of business would be record labels, and studio recording isn't necessarily tied to that model.


No, but that's why it's important not to eliminate all aspects of the industry indiscriminately, as you had previously called for in other threads.

Indon wrote:There are expensive hobbies out there. Paintball is a hobby, but there are plenty of paintball ranges and they can get pretty expensive. A music hobby that still requires studio time wouldn't be able to open up as much as it could, but I imagine it'd still be able to open up some.


1) Being familiar with paintball, while I know that it can be costly, the price it costs to enter the hobby is nothing compared to the entry cost necessary to make high quality recordings.
2) Paintball is completely unrelated to content creation and a very poor analogy.
3) Again, limiting content creation to hobbyists only serves to limit those who can take part and will only be detrimental to the quality of the content produced.

EDIT: Fixed tags
Last edited by MiB24601 on Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:41 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby Indon » Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:13 pm UTC

MiB24601 wrote:From that, it sounds like that letting musicians be musicians isn't part of the purpose at all. It's difficult to be a musician if you have to make your livelihood doing something else.

But they do make their livelihood doing something else, right now: Live shows and merchandise.


MiB24601 wrote:The problems with internet radio has been related to ASCAP and BMI distribution fees. That is not part of copyright law.

...

Additionally, the "attacks" by the record companies against disribution of music that doesn't use methods like ASCAP and BMI haven't been on a "legal level", as you put it, but have been on a business method level.

I had the impression they were contingent on aggressive use of their intellectual property stake. I guess I'm mistaken.

MiB24601 wrote:It's never been mentioned at all before with the OP's concept. It would certainly be a complementary idea but there is no evidence that it's part of the plan for the site.

I think the thread's reached the point where we're trying to help get the concept into a workable state, and I think talking about distribution would help with that.

MiB24601 wrote:Limiting fields to hobbyists limits the ability of individuals to enter the market. If you really want to help independents, the last thing you want to do is prevent individuals from entering the field.

Is there any way to limit a field to a larger demographic than the 'hobbyist' demographic? It's going to be larger than the group of people who can break into any for-profit industry.

MiB24601 wrote:The amount of support staff is also less, which is also part of why writing is cheaper than audio. I stand by my point.

I would say that the reason the amount of support staff is less is because the dominant business model in music has overinflated the support structure beyond what it needs to be. Unlike for home recording, I won't be able to look that up to demonstrate my point, but it'd be a related phenomenon.

MiB24601 wrote:No, but that's why it's important not to eliminate all aspects of the industry indiscriminately, as you had previously called for in other threads.

Eliminating the member organizations of the RIAA would not eliminate studio recording.

MiB24601 wrote:1) Being familiar with paintball, while I know that it can be costly, the price it costs to enter the hobby is nothing compared to the entry cost necessary to make high quality recordings.
2) Paintball is completely unrelated to content creation and a very poor analogy.
3) Again, limiting content creation to hobbyists only serves to limit those who can take part and will only be detrimental to the quality of the content produced.


Well, there's no perfect analogy. On one end, there's webcomics, but the entry costs for comic creation is very low, and frankly traditional comics seem to be clearly dying in favor of webcomics. On the other end, there's amateur filmmaking, where the entry costs are potentially very high, and the indie scene has basically no chance of going mainstream anytime soon. Music is solidly in an unexplored grey area between the two in this sense, in terms of competitiveness of independent music and entry costs.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby MiB24601 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 10:20 pm UTC

MiB24601 wrote:From that, it sounds like that letting musicians be musicians isn't part of the purpose at all. It's difficult to be a musician if you have to make your livelihood doing something else.

Indon wrote:But they do make their livelihood doing something else, right now: Live shows and merchandise.


Performing live shows is part of being a musician.

MiB24601 wrote:The problems with internet radio has been related to ASCAP and BMI distribution fees. That is not part of copyright law.
...
Additionally, the "attacks" by the record companies against disribution of music that doesn't use methods like ASCAP and BMI haven't been on a "legal level", as you put it, but have been on a business method level.

Indon wrote:I had the impression they were contingent on aggressive use of their intellectual property stake. I guess I'm mistaken.


No, you are just conflating several different areas of law under copyright law. Record companies aren't using infringement suits to control the market, they're using anti-competitive behavior. These aren't attacks on a "legal level" but on a "business level". The issue may involve copyrights as intellectual property but the methodology is completely unrelated to copyright law.

MiB24601 wrote:It's never been mentioned at all before with the OP's concept. It would certainly be a complementary idea but there is no evidence that it's part of the plan for the site.

Indon wrote:I think the thread's reached the point where we're trying to help get the concept into a workable state, and I think talking about distribution would help with that.


You should do that but be sure to delineate between what you see as art of the OP's concept and areas that you think it should expand into.

MiB24601 wrote:Limiting fields to hobbyists limits the ability of individuals to enter the market. If you really want to help independents, the last thing you want to do is prevent individuals from entering the field.

Indon wrote:Is there any way to limit a field to a larger demographic than the 'hobbyist' demographic? It's going to be larger than the group of people who can break into any for-profit industry.


No, not as the concept is currently outlined. One of the important aspects of the music industries current methodology is to find new creative talent and to develop them. This allows individuals who wouldn't otherwise have the resources to be musicians to focus on their energy on making content and raises the quality of the content produced. So, not only is their higher quality material being produced but due to the need to be constantly producing more material, the music industry is always trying to find more people to produce content for them. If content producers was limited to hobbyists (who are making content anyway), all of these people would suddenly be unable to enter the field.

MiB24601 wrote:The amount of support staff is also less, which is also part of why writing is cheaper than audio. I stand by my point.

Indon wrote:I would say that the reason the amount of support staff is less is because the dominant business model in music has overinflated the support structure beyond what it needs to be. Unlike for home recording, I won't be able to look that up to demonstrate my point, but it'd be a related phenomenon.


You really need to read more about what's involved in making high quality audio. It takes a lot of technical resources to make a studio recording or a good quality concert recording.

MiB24601 wrote:No, but that's why it's important not to eliminate all aspects of the industry indiscriminately, as you had previously called for in other threads.

Indon wrote:Eliminating the member organizations of the RIAA would not eliminate studio recording.


This is what you've said about the RIAA:
Indon wrote:What we need is a system in which such an organization can not possibly exist. Anything else taken down along the way is collateral damage.


You seem to be happy with taking out any other group or individual as long as it gets rid of the RIAA. If you want to get rid of the RIAA, fine but don't use a method that will take out important other groups as well as "collateral damage."

Indon wrote:Well, there's no perfect analogy. On one end, there's webcomics, but the entry costs for comic creation is very low, and frankly traditional comics seem to be clearly dying in favor of webcomics. On the other end, there's amateur filmmaking, where the entry costs are potentially very high, and the indie scene has basically no chance of going mainstream anytime soon. Music is solidly in an unexplored grey area between the two in this sense, in terms of competitiveness of independent music and entry costs.


Actually, filmmaking seems to be a much better analog. It's a content producer with high entry costs, it can be very difficult for independent content producers to break into the mainstream, and it has multiple avenues of distribution, with the internet making great headway in highlighting amateur content producers. Good example. Let's go with that.
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Re: Alternative Copyright Law And File Distribution

Postby Azrael » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:34 am UTC

Holy fucking quote sniping. Clean up your ability to participate meaningfully in a written medium, or stop participating.


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