Archive for music business

Virgin Media’s Filesharing Tracking System

Posted in copyright with tags , , , on November 29, 2009 by lindahurd

This is an interesting article about Virgin Media’s trial of its new filesharing monitoring system.  It says that right now they are using this technology merely to gather information about the amount of copyright infringing filesharing that’s occuring in the UK, and that the data they collect will be anonymous.  It may be anonymous right now, but what does the future hold for this monitoring system?  Will the British government eventually use it to prosecute copyright infringers?

From the article:

“To begin with at least, Virgin Media’s implementation will focus on music sharing. The ISP is preparing a legal download service in partnership with Universal, the largest of the four major record labels, which it hopes will be the “carrot” to Lord Mandelson’s “stick” of technical measures against those who persistently infringe copyright.

“Understanding how consumer behaviour is changing will be an important requirement of Virgin Media’s upcoming music offering and, should they become law, the Government’s legislative proposals will also require measurement of the level of copyright infringement on ISPs’ networks,” said Jon James, Virgin Media’s executive director of broadband.”

 

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RiP: A Remix Manifesto

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 28, 2009 by lindahurd

If you’re at all interested in remixing, mashups, copyright, RiP: A Remix Manifesto is a must-see film.  It follows mashup artist Girltalk and goes in depth about the mashup culture.

From ripremix.com:

“Immerse yourself in the energetic, innovative and potentially illegal world of mash-up media with RiP: A remix manifesto. Let web activist Brett Gaylor and musician Greg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk, serve as your digital tour guides on a probing investigation into how culture builds upon culture in the information age.

Biomedical engineer turned live-performance sensation Girl Talk, has received immense commercial and critical success for his mind-blowing sample-based music. Utilizing technical expertise and a ferocious creative streak, Girl Talk repositions popular music to create a wild and edgy dialogue between artists from all genres and eras. But are his practices legal? Do his methods of frenetic appropriation embrace collaboration in its purest sense? Or are they infractions of creative integrity and violations of copyright?

You be the judge by watching RiP: A remix manifesto.”

You can watch it for free at Hulu.com or download it here and pay what you want for it.

The coolest thing about this film is that you can contribute to it, remix it, etc.  For example, they had a times square clip on their website that they got people to remix, and then used it in the film.

Britain’s “Three Strikes” Law

Posted in copyright with tags , , on November 24, 2009 by lindahurd

In August 2009, the British government proposed  “three strikes” law to combat piracy on the Internet.  It cuts off Internet access to households that are accused of copyright violation three times.  This proposed law caused a lot of commotion and controversy.  For a while there was even a petition circulating to stop this law from being passed.

The Digital Economy Bill was summarized a few days ago in the Queen’s speech, and it sounds even more restrictive and anti-copyright than ever.  The three strikes law is just part of the Digital Economy Bill.  It also includes age ratings for video games.

The introduction of the three strikes law is a two-step process. “Initially the government will aim to educate consumers and, those identified as downloading illegal content, will be sent letters.”  Then, households even suspected of copyright infringement via the Internet will be cut off completely after three violations.  This portion will be enforced in Spring 2011.

Copyright protection is important, but not at the cost of hounding so-called “pirates”.  This law is protecting and limiting the digital industry, not encouraging expansion, innovation, and creation!  Is protection at the expense of the freedom of the citizens really worth it?  And who really benefits here?  With regards to music, the three-strikes law is more for the protection and profit of the record industry, not the musicians.

According to Cory Doctorow, my favorite blogger and proponent of Creative Commons, the Digital Economy Bill includes:

“£50,000 fines if someone in your house is accused of filesharing. A duty on ISPs to spy on all their customers in case they find something that would help the record or film industry sue them (ISPs who refuse to cooperate can be fined £250,000).

But that’s just for starters. The real meat is in the story we broke yesterday: Peter Mandelson, the unelected Business Secretary, would have to power to make up as many new penalties and enforcement systems as he likes. And he says he’s planning to appoint private militias financed by rightsholder groups who will have the power to kick you off the internet, spy on your use of the network, demand the removal of files or the blocking of websites, and Mandelson will have the power to invent any penalty, including jail time, for any transgression he deems you are guilty of. And of course, Mandelson’s successor in the next government would also have this power.

What isn’t in there? Anything about stimulating the actual digital economy. Nothing about ensuring that broadband is cheap, fast and neutral. Nothing about getting Britain’s poorest connected to the net. Nothing about ensuring that copyright rules get out of the way of entrepreneurship and the freedom to create new things. Nothing to ensure that schoolkids get the best tools in the world to create with, and can freely use the publicly funded media — BBC, Channel 4, BFI, Arts Council grantees — to make new media and so grow up to turn Britain into a powerhouse of tech-savvy creators.”

 

BBC News: Government Lays Out Digital Plans

What does this law do?  It stifles creativity and forces people to live in fear of copyright violations.  In regards to the evolving record industry (and the digital economy as a whole), they can’t just STOP copyright infringement with this strict law.  They need to change their business model and take the industry as a whole in a new direction that involves embracing creativity and liberal copyright laws.  Copyright laws shouldn’t be so open to adjustment.  Peter Mandelson should not have the power to spy on citizens and make up punishments.  The Digital Economy Bill sounds a bit too much like 1984.  It’s scary, really.

Radiohead and the New Model of Music Distribution

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on October 27, 2009 by lindahurd

Radiohead is the face of the evolving business model of the record industry. As most people know, their last record, In Rainbows, was first released as a digital download in 2007. The kicker is that fans could pay whatever price they saw fit.

By releasing their own album and bypassing their former record label, Radiohead made a bold statement. Bands are now realizing that the business model that record labels use is antiquated. Up until recently, if you wanted to release a record, you had to get signed to a record label. Now with resources such as MySpace, bands can more easily get their music heard.

Following this trend of bypassing the record label bureaucracy, In 2008, Trent Reznor released his album “Ghosts I-IV” on the Nine Inch Nails website. It was available as a free download and offered a $300 Ultra-Deluxe limited edition package. Two weeks later, Nine Inch Nails released “The Slip” as a free download on their website.

The big record labels have tried to combat piracy and protect copyrights through a myriad of lawsuits, but haven’t gotten very far. It’s time for a change in the business model. Artists are beginning to bypass the record labels, which is only contributing to the demise of the record label.

However, in June, Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth criticized Radiohead for their supposed “marketing ploy” in releasing In Rainbows. Gordon said:

“It seemed really community-oriented, but it wasn’t catered towards their musician brothers and sisters, who don’t sell as many records as them. It makes everyone else look bad for not offering their music for whatever.”

In my opinion, Radiohead is embracing the changing model of music distribution. Other bands can follow their lead by releasing their albums online, even if they aren’t offered for free. By releasing their album straight to the consumer, Radiohead has created a very user-centered method of distribution. People want easy access to music, and Radiohead has given them just that.

inRainbows