Stop SOPA, Protect The Web

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MrK's picture

(THE HERALD, RT) US eyes blackout of ‘rogue websites’
Saturday, 29 October 2011 00:00

WASHINGTON. - New anti-piracy legislation placed before the US House of Representatives would allow copyright law to be used to close down websites.

Sites such as WikiLeaks would be vulnerable, sparking fears that the bill could be used to stifle free speech.

The bill, submitted on Wednesday, is called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and will be reviewed by the House Judiciary Committee on November 16.

If approved, SOPA will enable individuals or organisations claiming copyright to effectively block any website they suspect of infringing their rights.

They would simply send complaints to advertisers, payment services, search engines and even Internet service providers operating in the US, who would stop doing business with the site in question.

No court decision would be necessary, and third parties would be granted immunity from any reprisals resulting from their voluntary action against the alleged offenders.

Not-for-profit websites would not be spared.

The lawmakers behind the "rogue websites" bill say it would deal a blow to online pirates and producers of counterfeit brand products like designer fashion items or medicines, reports AFP.

"The bill prevents online thieves from selling counterfeit goods in the US, expands international protection for intellectual property, and protects American consumers from dangerous counterfeit products,"

House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, said in a statement.

Howard Berman, a Democrat from California who co-sponsored the legislation, said it is "an important next step in the fight against digital theft and sends a strong message that the United States will not waiver in our battle to protect America's creators and innovators."

This stance is not shared by some human rights groups, however. The Washington-based Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) says the House bill "raises serious red flags."

"It includes the most controversial parts of the Senate's Protect Internet Protocol Act, but radically expands its scope," the CDT said in a statement.

"Any website that features user-generated content or that enables cloud-based data storage could end up in its crosshairs."
There are fears that the legislation could be exploited to gag political rivals.

Recently, the controversial whistleblower website WikiLeaks had to stop publishing new leaks due to what they called an unlawful financial blockade by payment services and banks. The move leaves open the possibility of the US State Department copyrighting cables to give them protection under SOPA.

- RT.


Rodger97321's picture
and PIPA it's (also) evil

and PIPA it's (also) evil twin.

As we learned a while back there are (so called lobbying) businesses willing to put together and execute plans to discredit opposition views.

These laws (and their guilty until proven innocent if you have the time and money to exonerate yourself) would encourage more such sabotage behavior.

This would become another tool to undermine competition in the so-called free market, leading to even more monopolies.

Likewise for any organization that any group has a political or so-called religious difference.

Department A will plant the IED (Incriminating Evidential Data) and Department B will capture and catalog it for use whenever it suits its agenda.

captbebops's picture
They hate us for our freedom

They hate us for our freedom (and our Internet).


Sprinklerfitter's picture
Looks like another attempt by

Looks like another attempt by the 1% to control free speech by the 99%. I told my dad several years back once the powers to be figured out how to control the information on the internet they will do it and we'll be screwed again. Maybe we need a competing internet or two?


In my opinion the internet is the only way for information to move at high speed around the world before it can be censored by those who have other agendas.

captbebops's picture
Some of us have talked about

Some of us have talked about creating a "counter net" by using open wifi routers and amplifying them so they cover a larger distance.  Of course the cops would be after us but then this would be sort of "prohibition" thing and open to things that went down during that era.  The "control freaks" never learn.


I'm completely shocked just

I'm completely shocked just how one-sided this debate has been amongst liberal progressives. I'm a daily viewer of the Big Picture and Democracy Now, and this is the first issue I can remember ever butting heads with Thom and Amy Goodman over in the past 10 years. Their naivety about Google, Wikipedia and other "Big Brother" billionaire internet corporations is mind numbing. Don't you get it yet? Google profits from piracy!

Google is an advertising company. Remember people: ADVERTISING = BAD BAD BAD! ;) If you want to know just how bad digital piracy is, I urge you to read this article: What 'Ownership Means for Digital Media (Hint: Not Much) and this one entitled: Internet to Artists: Drop Dead. 

And if aiding and abetting copyright piracy (ie, theft) isn't enough reason to prosecute these internet crooks, how about the latest news? Just this week, Google's recent change in privacy terms now bundles up a user's personal life to the extent George Orwell's vision of "1984" has finally come to fruition. Why aren't my progressive brothers and sisters complaining about that?! Occupy Google, for christ's sake! Don't you know the internet was invented by the government over at the Pentagon?!

I used to work for an internet company in the very early days back in the 90s (D.C. area, of course) and believe me, it's always been about the sweet cashish for all those start ups (many are now-top 1%ers). Don't let their flip flops and tendency towards introversion fool you. Most of these internet elites want to retire as young as possible so they can spend their time hanging out drinking coffee in the a.m., beer in the p.m., and doing "cool" things like traveling the world, playing in rock bands and banging chicks (hey, who would blame them!). But I've yet to meet one who fits the liberal journalist, political activist type. We "little people" tend to have very different ideas about keeping the internet free than do billionaires who own internet web sites and profit from advertising traffic as well as direct funding from pirate sites.

I can't believe just how naive progressives are about who's really behind the scenes at Google and that ilk. Do your homework Thom! Google aint about the "freedom and democracy" buddio! It's ALL about Google, don't you know? Since when did Thom Hartmann start trusting the PR from big corporations anyway?  At least the entertainment industry does a hard day's work, actually owns copyrights and has every legal right to get paid a living wage. Let's not forget that entertainment jobs include many blue collar workers like janitors, carpenters, struggling independent artists, writers, etc. The internet may do wonders for an already-famous writer like Thom who can afford to give away a couple of his books online as business cards. But for the rest of us, we need to earn a living wage before we can enjoy that luxury.

My, how easy it is for Silicon Valley to dupe liberals into believing they're "one of us." Obviously there were provisions in SOPA and PIPA that were insanely wrong, which is why both sides wanted that language taken out. The legistlation was premature which is why it was killed, thankfully. But the pro Google/Wikipedia rally was, quite frankly, nauseating and deeply troubling to behold -- especially from the news and opinion organizations like The Big Picture that we patriots have come to depend on for helping us understand the issues better.

No hard feelings. Keep up the great work Thom!

Roger Casement
Roger Casement's picture
There should be restriction

There should be restriction on the duration of copyright protection, especially in technology, because it is stifling development.

If there had been restriction on copyright for Windows, Microsoft would never have become a multi-billion dollar company; there would be much better, faster and leaner operating systems; back in the 1980s, there was a lot of competition among OS creators, nearly all open source.

We don't need copyright to enforce international standards, the industry can get together and create a standard, as they did with Bluetooth, through the Bluetooth Special Interest Group.

From Wikipedia:

The specifications were formalized by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG). The SIG was formally announced on May 20, 1998. Today it has a membership of over 14,000 companies worldwide. It was established by Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Toshiba and Nokia, and later joined by many other companies.

What I am saying is that it doesn't require a Microsoft copyright supported monopoly to set the Operating System standards for the entire planet.

So you really also have to weigh the damage done by copyright protection.

captbebops's picture
Google has been using their

Google has been using their trackable links for awhile.  It used to be if you right clicked on one of the search links all you got was the URL now you get something like this:


(I've obliterated most of the unique codes and hashes).  But without tracking it would just say "".  It should be possible to create a plugin for Firefox that would parse the Google link and break out the url (the part from url=& to the following ampersand and use it instead.  My bet there will be such a plugin soon.

I use Google for a lot more than things I'm interested in buying or even interested in.  Sometimes just to make sure term I'm using in a post is the correct one and that it is spelled right.  That was another trick people have thought of and that is an app or program that sends Google all kinds of random searches not even related to the user.  It would make their profiles useless.

Who dreams up this privacy violating crap?  Marketing, that's who.  I've had many arguments with marketing people in the past over things like this.  They always seem to win out over engineering unfortunately.

As for SOPA and PIPA (as well as OPEN and ACTA) I have a music video in the works for that.  In spirit the Silicon Valley companies are correct about keeping the Internet the way it is.  Hollywood and record company execs are tech illiterates and have no clue.  And some websites like MSNBC I think have purposely overloaded their sites with ads which makes their pages load far slower than sites like Thom's.  I don't think it is for the revenue but to get their users to complain and they will then say "get rid of net neutrality and we can deliver our pages faster."

Keep the Internet for the people not just be big corporations.






captbebops's picture
Turns out there already is a

Turns out there already is a an Addon for Firefox that will strip out everything but the URL on a Google link.  It's called Google Search Link Fix:

Works great.

However I've got a feeling that some legislator will sponsor an "Internet Privacy" bill and what Google wants to do won't be allowed.



captbebops's picture
Think_R, what do you think

Think_R, what do you think about the democratization of the media?  I'm university trained musician with but from my experience in the music industry it has more to do with luck than skill.  It has more to do with who you know than what you know.  I had an okay career through the 1970s and played on commercials, records and with a successful jazz trio.   I winged it in the 1980s and switched to computer programming and started getting a decent income (programming is much like writing music).

Here's an excellent documentary called "PressPausePlay" about the democratization of the media:

As you can see there are some people in the creative world wondering about where things like YouTube will take us.   It is indeed and interesting phenomenon.

amplefire wrote:We "little

amplefire wrote:
We "little people" tend to have very different ideas about keeping the internet free than do billionaires who own internet web sites and profit from advertising traffic as well as direct funding from pirate sites.

I can't believe just how naive progressives are about who's really behind the scenes at Google and that ilk.

And the irony is that ten years of demonizing the media industries and casting us as "fat cats" (Ha!) has actually worked!  Try living in L.A. and meeting middle-management media types -- they leased those Range Rovers to look cool, but so many lost their shirts AND their jobs at the same time with the Bush Great Recession.  And the kids taking their places at the media companies really assume they should play the Internet hustle the same way it's been played for the last ten years, by cozying up to the free "action" Twitter et al. bring along.  B.S.!  If you get EYEBALLS to look at a SCREEN in the broadcast world, you get PAID.  If you get EYEBALLS to look at a BANNER AD you get...SCREWED!  "Oh, it's PROMOTION!"  "F.U.!!!"

And what if EMI Music wanted to start a video music channel a la YouTube/Google?  EMI has around 8,000 COPYRIGHTED videos on YouTube RIGHT NOW, legally -- EMI receives a relative pittance for this, and I am almost certain that NONE of it makes its way to copyright owners down the line.  But if EMI pulled those videos to start its own channel, would Google retaliate?  Google has already shown its ability to get its "hands dirty" in a propaganda war.

The principle of foisting a royalty system on broadcasters for the purpose of creating a fair "playing field" for commerce has been with us for about a century.  The powers that be could have JUST AS EASILY put forth the argument in 1920: "that radio play, on Marconi's machine, is...ummmm...PROMOTIONAL!  YOU SHOULD BE PAYING US!"  But it DIDN'T go down that way, and we as a society had eighty or so years of "music for the ages" until Napster took the financial wind out of the commercial sails.  Performing Rights Societies paying royalties created a middle class of creatives who could have actual CAREERS.

Here is an email sent recently to Mike Malloy on the same topic:



Dear Mike,


As a music producer/engineer in Los Angeles for a decade plus, I have seen the ravaging of an industry.  But, moreover, I have witnessed what COULD have been a "Golden Age" in which music artists, producers, writers, and audiences communicate and justify each other's existence, much as the small-business economy in American mid-century village life allowed participants a stake in the community.  Let me summarize: The current music business model makes a LOT of money -- only that money goes to Silicon Valley and big media (ComCast, etc.: folks subscribe to internet at home with much of the purpose being access to gray-market media).  And without a serious system for royalties, copyright owners miss the chance to make money on the exploitation that is already happening.  --  As a BMI composer, I routinely get checks based on usage of my copywritten material on cable and TV.  People enjoy media, ads get sold, and I get a cut.  It's a small cut of the money made, but in the aggregate, it adds up.  If I put up an antenna and rebroadcast popular programming (with MY ads, of course!), the FCC would shut me down, and rightfully so.  The copyright owners would NOT have to submit complaints in writing to the pirate broadcaster (or "antenna owner," to continue the metaphor).  Why must copyright holders, thanks to the DMCA, be "on the hook" to "police" the internet for illegal usage of our copywritten material?  --  This fight does not have to be about the isolated use of a Bob Dylan quote on a website.  What I think is in serious need of addressing is sites at which wholesale exploitation of entire libraries of copyrighted work are occurring.  A close friend of mine paid a nice amount of money for a successful ad banner campaign on lyric and music "chord chart" sites.  It pains me to think that some Silicon Valley tech grad made a car payment on a nice new Audi from those checks.  If you have been in the music business for long, you know that it's not all glamour and big money.  Believe me -- most copyright owners and ASCAP/BMI/SESAC members are, like me somewhere in the vast middle.  Many work their day-to-day jobs even as their work is hitting the airwaves.  Getting music on the radio or TV is not a "lottery win."  It is hard work, a "spark," and a labor of love for many, with rewards for a few.  VEVO ads at the top of a big YouTube song video are approx. $25k per million views, which is in line with ad buy rates for traditional media.  What's the songwriter's share?  Obviously, Google/YouTube does just fine...  --  Sure, SOPA and the Senate bill go too far.  But the DMCA was a power grab of immense proportions.  Don't let the Silicon Valley foundations take you in: they are exploiting us every day through the notion of a semi-legal/tolerated "gray market"..."1000 songs in your pocket..." "download your favorite music..." etc.  And the worst part of it for me is this: I DON'T EVEN MIND.  I JUST WANT MEDIA CREATORS TO SEE OUR SHARE.  Regards (from a big fan),  XXXXXX

* note: my previous post was

* note: my previous post was before captbebops...I edited and it "bumped" me down.


Thanks for the link on "PressPausePlay."  I caught the first 10 min and look forward to seeing the whole thing.  From what I saw so far, the filmmakers are taking the audience on a round-trip journey through this multifaceted topic.

My problem (so far) with the film (correct me if they do shift topics in the movie, but I don't suspect they will) is the same problem I alluded to earlier, the problem I have with the media world at large.  Creators and audiences alike have not internalized the FACT that viewership IS value on the internet.  There is enough commerce happening with streaming music already (and growth is ramping up exponentially right now) that all that is needed is a "referee," kind of like Thom talks about vis a vis the nation-level economy and regulation.  The referee makes "playing field" and "rules" become meaningful concepts, and then innovation and creative decision making can proceed in a productive way.  I hope this metaphor works for you -- Thom lays it out much better than I do!

Sorry about summarize my thoughts: I think this should be a "Golden Age" for cottage-industry media.  I am really surprised that there is no accepted path for posting and exploiting media as-is.  The notion of YouTube as a way to "PROMOTE" music is short-sighted -- people don't look at "Seinfeld" showings on TV as a "way to promote DVD sales!"

I would like to see "Digital Streaming" charts on Billboard.  I would like to see ASCAP/BMI/SESAC or SoundExchange collect and distribute SERIOUS royalties -- to artists AND songwriters (not just to songwriters, as is the case on American terrestrial radio) -- on a mandated per-performance basis.  "Clicks" can be metered in an absolute way that radio audiences can't -- ever wonder why radio ratings are done by "Arbitron?"

And I would like to see the RIAA and the PRO's (ASCAP et al.) take this issue straight to Congress and TRY TO MAKE A CASE FOR THE MID-LEVEL INDIE instead of the big conglomerates.  There is a statutory minimum of 8 cents per song per mechanical copy sold, for instance.  This is LAW set by CONGRESS.  I would like to see Congress let everyone at the $200 BILLION company known as Google/YouTube (how they are seen as the "upstarts" is beyond me...) and everyone else in Silicon Valley know that they will pay "x" fraction of a cent ANY time a songwriter's work is broadcast, period.  Maybe two different rates: "On Demand" and "Streaming Radio."

Find a price, and let both sides build an "economy" around it.  Playing field, referees..."'supply', meet 'demand.'"  That is "regulated commerce."  And, in this case, without it, we will get SCREWED.  And if it goes on for a generation or so (we are already halfway there), people will come to expect all-you-can-eat music, with the OPTION of being a paying consumer...meanwhile, they will pay $75 a month for cable AND watch the ads in between the shows (?).

I will post a letter I wrote to Rolling Stone on this topic (they did not print it).  Maybe that will save me some time elaborating...

 This was in response to Paul

 This was in response to Paul McGuinness' RS article (Oct. 2010?) about new media solutions to piracy and revenue issues:

Bono, celebrity and longtime political activist, has the means and power to get past the gatekeepers into the corridors of power for one-on-one discussions with leaders from Africa to the White House.  Paul McGuinness, manager and integral part of the entire 30-year history of the juggernaut that is U2, has the Rolodex and the "juice" to similarly confer with anyone in media.  For the record, I am a big fan of so many things about U2, from their music to their, lack of a better term, noblisse oblige (here, desire to leverage their luck and success into doing good for the world at large).  But I disagree fundamentally with McGuinness' opinion of paid subscriptions as a solution to the music distribution crisis.

As a music engineer with network and major label credits trying to eke out a middle-class living for ten years in the cauldron that is the media business in L.A., my insight may tend to be a little different.  If I had an article like this to write, my "New Deals" sidebar on "Online Videos" would not read "THE BOTTOM LINE: Labels are excited about this new revenue stream, but it remains tiny compared to selling songs or albums."  I believe that this revenue stream not only represents the future, but it represents an approach to an ideal of uniting producers, artists, and their audience in a creative symbiosis that benefits all three with a minimum of financial spillover to those who make their living outside of the creative process.

Case in point: On page 28, the 'home grown' "Bed Intruder Song" is cited as having 27 million views on YouTube.  If "major advertisers from McDonald's to Colgate [pay] $20 to $45 for every 1,000 page views" (p. 45 sidebar), that figure represents total ad revenue of between half a million and a million dollars.  Even at "fractions of a cent per stream" (the level of income which makes its way to the artist according to the same sidebar), that still represents a very significant amount of money.  In fact, that still represents a six-figure sum -- more money than many artists with major label deals in the post-Tower Records music business ever personally see!

The "Bed Intruder Song" made it #89 on the Hot 100 as an iTunes release.  A six figure ad revenue sum almost certainly represents more money, possibly an order of magnitude more than the iTunes revenue this song generated.

And no audience member had to pay for the privilege of seeing the YouTube video.


A similar quandary which faces the music business faced the movie/TV business around 1960.  TV was growing in popularity, and the old "studio system" was suffering -- RKO ceased to be, L.A.'s Century City came about when a certain studio had to sell their back lot to pay bills, the movie industry was foisting gimmicks like "Cinemascope" (pretty good) and primitive attempts at 3-D (not quite so good) in a futile attempt to maintain their market (which would actually return within a decade or so, anyway, but that's another story).  But the good news for the creative community was that TV ad revenue more than managed to fill the gap, and the TV and movie industries could synergize (and continue to do so), supporting thousands of individuals and the families of people like the SAG/AFTRA actors, the WGA writers, the DGA directors, the ACE cinematographers and videograpers, the IATSE stagehands, the composers who get quarterly PRO checks from ASCAP and BMI, the makers and dealers of all the fabulous production equipment, and so on, with union and (sometimes) non-union work, usually (especially up through the 80's) at very good wages, which pushed career people at Warner's and Paramount into upper-middle-class with the doctors and lawyers, made some lucky independents who had a "hit" show wealthy, and helped others hold on through the tough times while trying to push labors of love, like "their story" which they had finally committed to a screenplay for instance.

And these wages allowed people who found a niche in Hollywood to develop over a relatively short time into a creative force whose best work represents a century of all-encompassing expression unequaled in the history of mankind -- and this is from an industry which moved to L.A. in the early 1900's as mavericks going into the unknown, purposely locating themselves as far from civilization (read: New York) as possible.

As I drive the streets of L.A. now, I see bus shelters, sides of buildings, and billboards emblazoned with logos and faces from popular shows -- most of the heavily promoted shows are on network (NOT subscription) TV, whose traditional existence does not demand dollar number one from its audience.  Advertising can completely pay for and justify modern media production at the highest financial level with the biggest production values.

Ten years ago, a well-anticipated album would have been heavily promoted within the mass market.  Not now.  Clearly, we represent an industry in crisis.


My solution would take us back philosophically to the cottage industry days of Sun Records, Sam Phillips, Johnny Cash, Chess Records, and so many more.  Here is what is needed:  The powers-that-be need to fight harder to legitimize for all of us a toehold in the enormous and growing pot of money that is internet ad revenue -- basically we have to rewrite the "story" of music consumption (from basement indie to mass market) in the culture to make the music-on-demand view/stream numbers carry the financial weight that the Nielsen Ratings do in the TV business.  The sooner the battlefield ceases to be "iTunes/downloading/CD sales" and becomes "views & streams," the better off we will be.  Then somebody, whether it is PRO's (ASCAP/BMI) or Harry Fox Agency or labels with micro-licensing deals, SOMEBODY needs to aggregate and exploit (or force the YouTubes of the world to recognize that the exploitation is already happening) this marketplace.

Example: A music producer goes to Sunset Strip, scouts and signs a new, promising band to a 50/50 "singles" deal for two songs (with no further commitment) and cheap "in-studio" videos and then pursues a business plan with them which seeks to leverage four days of production and the band's sweat equity (promoting themselves on and off the internet) into a target number of views.  Half a million views for each video would pay in the thousands, which would pay the band's rent and bills for the month and allow the producer to create and exploit audience/ad supported art full-time by repeating this formula every week or so and hopefully eventually discovering this generation's great artist in the process.  And a "hit" would make a small fortune for everyone involved.  A string of hits creates a studio/label dynasty with a stable of artists and a home-grown ethic and identity -- like Sun Records, or Chess, or even Sub Pop, and finances touring or other business (or community) ventures.

Internet ad revenue is growing worldwide every day, and SOMEBODY is making that money -- right now it is all going to Silicon Valley and the ISP's, just like McGuinness said.  Those ad banners aren't free.  YouTube's traffic is exploited as effectively as that of any TV network.  He and I agree on the problem, but I believe we disagree on where we should go next.  But we need the people at his level to be willing to make changes "outside the box" which would make things better for all of us.  The indies cannot do this alone.  Ad revenue based around a free-on-demand model is the answer, but we need those in the right positions to ask the questions.

P.S.: Ad-supported on-demand music would be a boon to the big artists too.  They just need to treat it as the next-level market that it really represents, and not as a "low-buck" alternative to traditional and iTunes distribution.  Ask any well-placed TV composer how ad-supported music treats them -- and try to pose the question while they are on the way to the mailbox for that quarterly ASCAP/BMI check.

Roger Casement
Roger Casement's picture
About 3 years ago, there was

About 3 years ago, there was this terrible movie with the lovely Diane Lane, about the dangers of the internet, called Untraceable.

In it, the world is besieged by sinister nerds, who are hellbent on killing people with their clicks.

Anyway, was this some kind of effort to psychologically prepare us for regulation like SOPA and PIPA?

captbebops wrote:Think_R,

captbebops wrote:
Think_R, what do you think...
Sorry to "bump" the thread, but I really want to get captbebops (and anonymous green)'s responses to the letters above.  I know it's a lot of info, but it's a quick read, and it's all there.

"We need to legitimize peer-to-peer sharing as a business model, because it's already a business. If [the P2P companies] are going to make money on us, we should have a chance to make money along with them."

-- Perry Farrell on the failure of national intellectual property policy to keep up with the rapid evolution of online media

captbebops's picture
Roger, I remember

Roger, I remember "Untraceable" and spoke out about it being propaganda.  Remember the opinionated FBI agent who "didn't like movies?"  Makes one wonder what kind of drab world the FBI would  like us to live in?  Probably not one creative people would enjoy.

Think_R, you overwrite.  I would have to find time to read and analyze what you have to say but I do agree with the return to recording being a "cottage industry."     The arts are a communication skill and the ability to communicate your ideas in a time frame that works for people is part of the mastery of the arts.  When I see a "wall of words" in front of me I often just move on.  And there are a few others who feel on this forum that feel every post must be a college essay and wonder why no one reads them.

I've always had a problem with Hollywood being a "closed shop."  It is difficult to break into and it's "who you know not what you know."  In the early 1970s I had a couple of music friends who moved there to break into the scene.  They were excellent musicians and actually had an ace in the hole given one was related to a local 47 officer.  They put on a concert at one of the clubs and many of the Hollywood's studio musicians attended.  Then they were pretty much run out of town.

I hope you got a chance to see the rest of "PressPausePlay" because there are some very salient points and concerns about these issues and they are well presented.




captbebops wrote:Think_R,

captbebops wrote:
Think_R, what do you think about the democratization of the media?
I think this is a multifaceted debate not suited to a soundbite, a bumper sticker, or, for that matter, a mass-market movie for a general audience.

I apologize for cutting and pasting in those letters.  I thought a small but significant portion of this audience, on this forum, in this specialized topic, would have the attention span and inclination to plow through it, and maybe the "light bulb" would go on for a couple of people -- "oh...THAT'S how it could work."

I am involved in this scene every day on an "insider" level, and if I write something on-topic that's shorter than the average Krugman column...well, am I guilty of misjudging my audience?  I was hoping to explore a dialogue.  I am not some know-it-all kid at Starbucks with a laptop -- I distilled a LOT of insight "from the trenches" into what is posted above.  There is "philosophy," "how we got here" and "business plan" in a 5-minute read.  It's easy: Pick something that stands out, put your spin on it, and provoke thoughts or responses.

captbebops's picture
Sorry to have sounded so

Sorry to have sounded so harsh, but it isn't about attention span but apportionable time.  I didn't have time to read your articles and probably should have said I'd have to get back to them.  I've also been "inside" the industry all my life, just not in Hollywood.  Though I've had business dealings there I just didn't want to live there.  

Now having gone over your posts I again will say you might find that "PressPausePlay" raised some of the issues in your posts.  What I took from it was that industry insiders were having a hard time with this change in the culture. Sounds like you do to.

You do know that Thom thinks that copyrights should only be good for 3 years?  I think they should go back to the 17 years and one renewal.  I've always observed being a musician that about every town has talented people but for the lack of karma would be stars themselves.   Same true of actors.  These days I can make recordings on my computer that rival what I did in the 1970s on 8 and 16 track machines.

My issue with these laws Hollywood is trying to pass is they are plain ignorant pieces of legislation with ridiculous penalties.  This is why the EFF went after them.  It's also because the entertainment industry has (as you mention) such inexperienced management that they are trying to make what has always been a "crap shoot" a sure deal.

captbebops's picture
Here's my music video about

Here's my music video about SOPA and PIPA and how protests brought them down:


Quote:hard time with this

hard time with this change in the culture.
I can deal with that -- believe me, give me 1967 or 1991 any day, but this world requires of us to dive headfirst into the future.  And "now" is an interesting, vibrant place in its own right.

What I have a hard time with is the fact that we are being deprived a chance to establish a "playing field" which gives proper financial incentive to creative people who generate media which draws viewership.

You know how the "one size fits all" solution which indirectly solves many of our political problems is "publicly financed elections" or "get money out of the election process?"  This is very similar: Establish a fair price and payment mechanism to collect and distribute money to the writers and master owners ANYTIME music is exploited (broadly defined) on the internet, and you will see a creative "golden age."  Period.  My BMI royalties are calculated TO THE PENNY from television plays.  The internet is even EASIER to track.  The only reason it isn't regulated, tracked, and monetized (like EVERY OTHER BROADCAST MEDIUM) is because we were BLINDSIDED and people came to EXPECT that the internet was a free-for-all and that quid-pro-quo sales on iTunes would somehow save the "industry" (with no one bringing up the fact that ADS ARE WHERE THE MONEY IS) while the press and audience "dogpile" & demonize people who are JUST TRYING TO MAKE A LEGITIMATE LIVING -- the ONLY coverage on the creative side of this topic is "RIAA lawsuits!"

I know no press ever stopped by any studio I was working at, asking the Second Engineer "are you able to make that next car payment?"  Audience members still think this is about "rock star money!"

Maybe the idea is to start with something as simple as an "opt-in" blanket license for "low-view" play -- kinda like if a publisher (internet or otherwise) wants to use a "stock photo" -- log in to SoundExchange, pay $25 for a "streaming license" on a song (chosen from a list whose writers and publishers consent to their use in a "discount portal") and you get a "max view" allotment of "x"-thousand views.  A lot of small and medium sized-business entities would actually love this because it would simplify access to the legit marketplace, and users with "i-Thingys" will be customizing their internet presences more and more.  Keep it cheap & easy -- people pay good money for ringtones.  This isn't that far removed.

captbebops's picture
Think, most creative artists

Think, most creative artists I know including myself enjoy creating things.  We do it whether we get paid for it or not.  And if some folks feel it is worth paying for then all the better.  But there are more people who are talented and good at creating things than the old form of the industry can support.  Times have changed and maybe the solution is not to make your art your rice bowl.  I've argued in support of "stipends for everyone" and some folks here believe that is the solution for this age.  Would you continue with your art if you didn't need to earn money from it or is it just about the money?



Quote:Would you continue with

Would you continue with your art if you didn't need to earn money from it or is it just about the money?
I appreciate our dialogue.  To answer the question, sure, I would create here and there, but I would obviously find something else to do with the majority of my waking hours.  And so would a lot of other career "creatives," many of whom are really, really good and "meant" to do this, whatever that means.  Or, putting it in an objective light, there is appeal and enjoyment generated by the creative output of my neighbors and colleagues, and society makes a (passive or active) choice to support a bunch of us, or not.

In Bach's time, it was the church employing composers.  In Haydn and Mozart's time, the nobility would patronize composers.  Beethoven "broke the mold" and took control of the income from publishing and performances.  Liszt and Paganini engaged in touring and composing in the Industrial Age.  In the Jazz Age, composers could look to exploit a combination of recording sales, performances, and a burgeoning system of tabulating and distributing royalties (of course, I am oversimplifying all of this).  Ditto for Rock & Rollers.  In the Internet Age, touring income takes a hit and revenue from recording sales takes a nosedive, but an entirely new advertising economy builds multi-BILLION dollar corporations, with a lot of the "action" centering around a "Wild West" of gray market media and tolerated illegalities.  End result: Creative elements are unjustly left out of (or marginalized from) a once-in-a-century new revenue stream, and society as a whole loses, as career creatives find another way to support themselves.  Meanwhile, an empire is built on the backs of their collective (past and present) output.

When you see multiplatinum, #1 music mixers go "into post" (post-production audio, i.e.: TV/film) because there is no longer a strong opportunity for a TOP CAREER PRO to make what other career professionals make (but TV ads still generate a solid revenue stream), and you see publishers having to police the ENTIRE INTERNET thanks to the DMCA (this is absolutely unprecedented), with the vast majority just letting go as Google/YouTube sucks up all the new money, you realize that there is a philosophical disconnect happening.  If we were "outmoded," it would be time to "take the ball and go home."  But we are not.  Every kid has an iPod.  Every kid goes on YouTube.  Every kid explores and enjoys popular music, much of it online.  Those banner ads are big money.

The tragedy is that the new media could streamline the revenue stream SO MUCH that 1/10 of the money previously going around could really support an entire class of music pros.  No longer do we need a lawyer, manager, or publicist, or at least, not in the same way.  Can we post a video and expect a nice-sized check if we get 500,000 people to look at it?  THAT'S what I want to know.  If the answer is yes, creative people can create, develop an audience, and create some more as the audience attention keeps them alive and solvent.  And someone will write this generation's "Dark Side of the Moon." That wasn't Pink Floyd's first record.  They needed the audience, financially and otherwise.  They needed the resonance and empowerment that a revenue stream can provide.

Somebody who can get 500k views on a screen with ads on it should have at least a month or two "break" from working at Starbucks, don't you think?  Or should Google/YouTube get ALL that money?

Times have changed and maybe the solution is not to make your art your rice bowl.
I disagree.  Of course I live in the "real world" and make the best of an imperfect situation.  And I do OK.  But I can still point out that elements of this situation are as UNJUST and tilted to favor the rich and powerful or corporations as any "robo-signed" mortgages or any extra-low "capitalist" gains tax.

Do you ask your pediatrician (or other medical professional) if he/she "enjoys" giving patient care?  Is it even relevant to their role as a professional within society?  When you frame the question the way you did, I just think you're missing the boat.  And it's not about market dynamics or supply/demand.  It's a propaganda war and societal precedent being set in our lifetime.  The majority painlessly and without second thought goes along with plenty in this world that is unjust -- we are all familiar with the examples. "Creative people should be happy having an outlet for their media, f&*k them if they feel exploited."  Wouldn't you agree that there is something wrong with that picture?

captbebops's picture
Ah, you reminded me of a

Ah, you reminded me of a point  I disagree with and that is the DMCA and the fact that the publisher or content owner must initiate the take down notice.  I think that was somewhat wise probably because someone (maybe even Orin Hatch) realized that people with songs that might be similar but fail the "note test" would get taken down (resulting in some sticky lawsuits) and other artists who feel the want to donate their work the public domain might not like the hassle that might entail. 

With that video I just made I had a hard time out of all the footage on YouTube of SOPA protests finding anything shot decently that was Creative Commons.  My bet that some of the better footage I saw uploaded by amateurs not news agencies held the "Standard License" because they didn't know (nor understand) the "Creative Commons" license.  Hence my plea if you are going to shoot video of protests do as I have done allow others to use it (unless you figure some news bureau is going to improbably pay you $1000 for it) by using the Creative Commons license.

Somebody who can get 500k views on a screen with ads on it should have at least a month or two "break" from working at Starbucks, don't you think?  Or should Google/YouTube get ALL that money?

You have to allow for the ads and in doing so Google shares the revenue with you.  Not sure it would be enough to take a month or two away from Starbucks though <grin>.  I have one video they have offered to monetize but it is "Republican Cry Babies" that for the life of me I don't understand why they chose that one?  Maybe Republicans want to buy has to cover the crawl at the bottom they don't like.  There are others like "Downtown Girls" with higher views that I would monetize instead.  Political protest videos especially mocking capitalism I wouldn't as that would seem hypocritical.

I think you misunderstand the "rice bowl" metaphor.  Mao used it as a metaphor meaning "a living".  And what I mean is taking away the need to sell your art (in many cases prostituting it) to make a living by providing a basic stipend to cover life's essentials.  There have been studies and proposals on this.  Even the Nixon administration suggested  such a thing.  What kind of art would you create if you weren't trying to fit the mold of what the commercial world wants?  We might have a more interesting world if everyone weren't trying to be "Lady Gaga" wannabe.




Quote:You have to allow for

You have to allow for the ads and in doing so Google shares the revenue with you.  Not sure it would be enough to take a month or two away from Starbucks though <grin>.  I have one video they have offered to monetize
Bingo!  There it is!  Monopoly capitalism at work!

Here is my point: YouTube as an aggregator "channel" transcends the entire
"supply/demand" model -- YouTube becomes a destination, and they don't have to know/care what the user clicks on.  So the idea that there is a "glut" of art is irrelevant.  100 separate videos viewed 10,000 times each is (virtually) the same to them as a 1,000,000 view "hit."

There was a "glut" of music when * Congress made a statutory rate ($.08/copy mentioned above) for mechanical (sales) royalties,  likewise when * ASCAP/BMI set a blanket rate for radio & TV performances.

So: 1) Government, i.e.: "We The People" creating a playing field for a healthy marketplace, and 2) collective representation and negotiation in the marketplace setting an agreed-upon "fair" rate so that individual entities don't have to negotiate individually.

Now do you see why I am a big Thom Hartmann fan?  What do we have now?  We have a propaganda dogpile that keeps this conversation from even happening, because, ummmm..."Free the Internet?"  So I feel two steps removed: A conversation needs to happen bringing this topic into focus, and then an economy needs to be established, with organizations and/or government picking up where entrepreneurship and raw "free market dynamics" leave off.

Otherwise, we get Standard Oil, I mean Google/YouTube telling Captbebops that they will "tithe" a pittance to him for drawing viewership.  Welcome to the unfettered free market!

captbebops's picture
I was watching an Alex Jones

I was watching an Alex Jones rap last night about what YouTube is doing to his channel and videos.  What he was finding is that his videos disappear or gets lower numbers than they used to when introduced.  So he did search during the report and found that someone else had posted his video and was getting the numbers.  And then he discovered they had an ad on it.  Now Alex doesn't care if people repost his videos and even encourages it but he refuses to "monetize" them.  IOW, if you put an ad on your video it gets promoted more on Google.

YouTube is not at all a monopoly and other video startups are appearing.  So you do have some choice. One of the bigger ones that has been around a while is Vimeo which is Canon's site they set up for people to post HD videos (particularly made with their cameras).  There are others, some humor oriented and some political.  My $7 a month web hosting plan has unlimited bandwidth so I could and have hosted videos there. I suspect if it started clogging their servers they would want to sell me a dedicated server though.

However, Think, I've very unclear about what you want.  Is it, "I paid my dues and I should be the one who makes the money"?  Man, some of us learned (sometimes the hard way) how to keep from being taken advantage of in the industry.  Back in the 1970s I read "Star Making Machinery" which I'm sure you've read too.  It was a text used by colleges to teach the music industry and keep otherwise business green musicians from being taken.  At the same time I was watching the AFM which was still stuck in 1930's style music business started going away.  Even in the late 60's groups were getting fined for playing door share gigs at clubs.  The union saw it as a club owner taking advantage of us but then we saw it as fair since the owner couldn't afford to pay the band if it was empty nor even hire a band under contract.  Some owners were friends who had set up a club.  If you were successful and filled the place you could wind up making far more money than you would have on contract.  The union needed to set up something for that.  IOW, sorta what SAG did for independent film making.

My stuff on YouTube is not to promote myself in any way.  I don't polish much and after all it is YouTube.  I suppose if I made an animation of a talking cat it would get millions of views.  It's just an interesting way to exercise some of the tools I have while making a statement (or sometime not at all).



captbebops's picture
Okay, I've been on the other

Okay, I've been on the other side of the desk.  The game company I worked for (a major one in the 1990s since acquired) wanted to use a well know song for the title music of the game.  The licensing fee was ridiculous.  About a year after I started getting dog and pony shows from record companies some who had put together licensing programs for using their catalog (often 30 seconds for $300).  One visit was from a young president of a big record company who to my surprise was tech savvy and he had a great laugh when I told him the licensing story and he talked about how out of touch the FOX Agency was when it came to new technologies like software.

That said, I can understand the bookkeeping headaches to do per play.  Do you remember DIVX?  That went over well didn't it?  When HD-DVD vs Bluray and whatever else was being sorted out Warner Brothers suggested that DVD using MPEG-4 be released.   MPEG-LA responded they wanted a per play license.  Well that wasn't going to happen.  Obviously they relented later.  And even if that's good you could wind up short changed (I'm assuming the contract prevented any accounting fiascoes).

Entertainment is a crap shoot.  If someone offers $100K for you to do a movie score or $15K and royalties which one do you take?  $100K is money in the bank while $15K and royalties can be a gamble.  It all depends on the studio, their track record and marketing.

But I digress, as others and I often discuss here, I believe capitalism is dead.  It only worked well in smaller populations where their is more wiggle room.  There isn't now.  But the whole scenario of what comes next is a bit beyond the scope of this thread and we thresh that out elsewhere here anyway.  So the arts will adjust too and we need to get them back into schools because they do more than just create artists, they help create great engineers and scientists.  It's just that most conservatives aren't smart enough to realize that.



Quote:YouTube is not at all a

YouTube is not at all a monopoly and other video startups are appearing.
Radio wasn't, either -- Thom even went on a rant on Thursday (?) about RCA being the "Microsoft of its day" in the 1920's.  But that didn't stop folks from establishing the modern notion of music copyrights and royallties.  It could have just as easily gone the other way, as I pointed out above.  And YouTube doesn't even have to be a monopoly for the notions I put forth to be relevant, or for it to exert monopolistic powers, like dictating terms of commerce to the marketplace.  Wait a minute, that's already happening...

Besides, the vague notion of "freeing the internet" can turn into a tyranny of the majority REALLY fast if everyone goes along with it.  I would argue that we are already at that stage.  Most folks don't think twice about it, or if they do, they think Metallica, Napster and RIAA lawsuits, not "our ideals demand that we proactively create the playing field for the new economy."  And that is an awful lot of inertia to overcome.

However, Think, I've very unclear about what you want.  Is it, "I paid my dues and I should be the one who makes the money"?
It's not about me.  It's about fair play.  It's about setting up an economy so that the "back end" money from internet play is meaningful.  Then I can make market decisions on developing acts or being creative -- if the audience is found, everyone makes money.  As it stands right now, the term "back end" is meaningful on TV scoring but meaningless in the indie music world, and yet banner ad revenues are breaking records.  And the creative Sheeple are oh-so-proud of how many "views" they can draw to a video!

from SoundExchange 2012 Commercial Webcasters: monthly usage schedule

"Enter line 17 multiplied by $0.0021 (calculated)" (line 17 is # of performances)

This isn't YouTube ads, this is SoundExchange's form for webcasters who want to play by the rules.  Think of it as radio play -- very different from VEVO ads or banners embedded in on-demand streaming.  (Just a VEVO ad before a video -- not including banners on the same page -- is over 10 times this rate).

And if you're getting 10 spins a day for 3 months with a hit, let's see the numbers:

SoundExchange Revenue:

10x100 days (for ease of calculation): 1,000 spins x .0021 = $2.10 x # of listeners

So the revenue from a hit on a "niche" station with 1,000 listeners would be $2k.  (Yes, I realize it is "gross revenue.").  There are bigger webcasters than this, and it is a growing market.  People still love listening to music.

If societal precedent and consistent sensible-but-firm regulation kept this system (and others like it) in force across the web, you would see Nielsen-rating style "charts," and creative manager types would get into the thing you know, a Sam Phillips or Ahmet Ertegun would pop up, creating music directly for audiences (maybe taking some of the money from the last "hit" and signing what they hope is the next one), only this time, it's not about selling Johnny Cash or Ray Charles 45's at general stores and Woolworths' from Wichita to Washington, it's about creating a buzz and some music compelling enough for to spin the heck out of.  That is a frontier, and that is how legends are made.  The day those checks begin to hit the bank is the day a "golden age" for 100 different genres starts.

Do I think it'll happen?  Not realistically.  But, especially in a world where "clicks" are metered six ways to Sunday and "Shazam!" on your iPhone can tell you what song just played, it is not a Utopian vision anymore than a BMI check from TV/radio play is a Utopian vision.  "I think composers should get a royalty based on how many people watched a TV show they scored."  I am sure that sounded far-out the first time somebody said it, too.


captbebops's picture
Think, why did you edit your

Think, why did you edit your post? This board is buggy and if you chose to edit for some reason it doesn't retain the original date/time and makes it a new message and out of order with the conversation.


Yeah, it's a drag the way it

Yeah, it's a drag the way it dates the post based on the edit.  I usually do edit posts -- otherwise, I would sit on a text file for half a day and then post it, like a journalist or something, but that's not suited to "time-shifted conversation" that works well on a forum with a hot topic.  I like to re-read and clarify.  I guess I am going to have to adjust that habit.  I wasn't changing anything material to the conversation.  I think I wanted to add those SoundExchange numbers.

HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray reminded me of VHS vs. Beta back in the day.  Like "Highlander" 'There can be only one!'

Standards are a funny thing, and I think it is valid to conflate it with our conversation.  Think about MIDI -- a serial data computer protocol -- 30 years and going strong.  How the heck did THAT happen?


I had the "music business" talk last night with a comedian who creates and sells comedy music (as well as doing stand-up) -- he started talking about comedians' deals with Comedy Central and how one particular indie comic drove his "stock" up by pushing his niche-oriented, local/regional sellout live performances until CC upped the price on his special by a factor of, oh, say, 30X, and put him on the national "stage."  And the special was well-received, undoubtedly entertaining millions of people.

I don't bring it up as a "stick to your guns" anecdote.  All I can think of when I hear this story is how the reasonable, regulated (FCC) exploitation of ad time made the entire equation make sense for ALL parties, arguably improving the lives of everyone from the audience to the comic to the video editor to the janitor to the music score writer to the personal assistant.

Not only that, but the special, along with everything else that happens on the national "stage," is a "document" of who we are as a society at a given moment, a sign of the times.  Without the national megaphone, it's just a "performance" that a few thousand people "saw."  Think George Carlin "Seven Dirty Words" or Eddie Murphy "Raw."  Take away the fact that millions of people witnessed it (through the power of commercial media), and it's just a bunch of (really good) jokes told in a bar.

"If a great (popular music) record falls in the forest and nobody hears it, is it still a great record?"  The ability to make waves and create cultural resonance is what makes popular culture in the electronic age what it is.  Take away the money stream and you disempower EVERYONE from creative to manager/producer to PR to even the audience.

captbebops's picture
Generally most forums limit

Generally most forums limit the time you can go back an edit.  It's for noticing that you misspelled something (which somehow here our webmaster has managed to break the browser spellchecker) or used the wrong term and that time limit usually a couple of minutes.  Otherwise editing one's posts after the fact is a bit disingenuous.  Probably better to do corrections or qualify anything in a latter post.   I do that sometimes.  Otherwise things don't make sense.

Well, you're arguing capitalism to an audience here that is largely socialistic.  I'm one of the many jaded artistes that have long considered the entertainment industry run by a bunch of crooks which is the attitude I would say a majority of artistes have.  We just put up with it.  The industry also has no lack of artistes who are narcissistic and think they were deemed by God to be stars.  Hell, we have billionaires that think they were deemed by God to rule.

Bottom line is that SOPA and PIPA were terrible laws who deserved defeat.  Agree?  OPEN is an attempt to fix it by Wyden and Issa who both opposed those laws.  But the entertainment industry needs to be more tech savvy and use those tools or dissolve.  "God" didn't deem that they rule the arts.  <grin -- yup emoticons we've been waiting to have fixed for two years and counting -- frown >




DRC's picture
Agreed, the history of

Agreed, the history of copyrights and ownership of music is sordid indeed.  I have advised most of my friends in music to consider their cds as advetising to get people to come to their live performances.  BTW, there is a very fine piece in the latest New Yorker by pianist Jeremy Denk on the process of recording Ives' Concord Concerto and what he thinks of recordings v. live performance.  He will not be making star money from his cd, but he is an artist, not a pop star.  Much as I admired Whitney, there are a whole lot of jazz singers who are better artists even though she was a mega-pop star.

If you have seen the wonderful movie, "My Favorite Year" with Peter O'Toole, one of the great lines happens when he is cast in a Broadway play and he responds in shock saying, "I'm not an actor, I'm a movie star!"  Having to deliver lines live and without being able to reshoot the scenes is like live music performance v. recording.  There is something about being there in a live performance that cannot be 'recorded.'

captbebops wrote:I'm one of

captbebops wrote:
I'm one of the many jaded artistes that have long considered the entertainment industry run by a bunch of crooks which is the attitude I would say a majority of artistes have.  We just put up with it.  The industry also has no lack of artistes who are narcissistic and think they were deemed by God to be stars.

OK, replace the word "God" with "fate" or "destiny" and let's discuss...OK, Brian May said that Freddie Mercury wanted more than anything to be a "star," his word, not mine.  What the heck is wrong with that?  How does somebody create and harness a larger-than-life persona, anyway?  People do it in their own way, and "it takes all kinds."  Some will seem "crazy," some will be "iconoclastic," and some will take "normalcy" to an 'Everyman' level, maybe becoming "the star/Patron Saint of the Little Guy."  I like living in a world with those people.  I wish there were more of them.  Puffy understood it -- when modern rock (and AAA, for those who know their "formats") was forgetting how to throw a "party," his stable picked up the slack.  Mystique, illusion, fantasy...this is show business, dammit!

Like the idea of telling the Dixie Chicks "Shut up and sing!" -- isn't that an oxymoron?  Would you have told Miles Davis to "Shut up and play?"  If you got away just being called a "MF'er," I'd say you got off easy!

As for the "crooks" thing, well, in my experience, it's no "more" or "less" crooked than, say, the car industry or shopping malls or Best Buy.  Do shifty, crazy, unpredictable, stupid things happen?  Sure, and this business has its share of characters, although that factor seems to decline more and more every year.  But, especially on an individual level, the label folks I have had the pleasure of being around really just wanna get some sh*t on the radio, move some units, and get everybody paid (so they will take their phone calls next time), period.  And, to a person, they would like nothing better than to play a part in helping to create a great record that accomplishes all that.  I personally think the fast food industry is WAY more sleazy.  Can you say "McDonald's pink slime?"

captbebops's picture
Quote: OK, replace the word


OK, replace the word "God" with "fate" or "destiny" and let's discuss.

I think the politicos here know why I said that, i.e. people like the Koch brothers think "God" deemed them to rule.  "Fate", "destiny" and "karma" are all patterns that play out.  Like finding out a record I played on in 1967 wound up in an Adam Sandler production company movie made a couple years back.  How the hell it got there I don't know but karma is strange sometimes.


DRC wrote:Agreed, the history

DRC wrote:
Agreed, the history of copyrights and ownership of music is sordid indeed.  I have advised most of my friends in music to consider their cds as advetising to get people to come to their live performances.

That's like saying "I live in a Right to Work state, and my boss can fire me at any moment for any reason (and I don't believe that is just), but I'm not going to be politically active or work to change it."  It's realistic but apathetic.  I at least call congress ( when copyright issues come up, although I didn't on SOPA/PIPA because 1) I didn't actually think it would go through as-is, and 2) I was hoping against hope that the conversation would morph into something that would provide a public forum for realistic talk about updating the exploitation copyright in the era of the banner ad.

And, lo and behold, instead of saying "let's work on this," the internet went "dark."  Nice going, everybody!  Seen any good car ads on YouTube lately?


Also, niche artists can develop a fan base that supports them well.  Give 5,000 people in a year (that's an audience of 50 every weekend night) a $10 experience (performance or web experience, or whatever) and a $10 product (CD, T-Shirt, mug with crazy logo...) and you are grossing $100k with minimal overhead and no one else's "thumb in the pie."  It's like when Thom says "writing a book...write 5 pages a day for 3 months and you'll have it written."  Even selling out a 1,000 CD pressing can pay an individual's rent for a year -- so what if it takes a year to do it?  I'm not saying this is "easy," but I am saying it's "do-able."

He will not be making star money from his cd, but he is an artist, not a pop star.

Are you going to buy the CD?  If not, would you have at least looked for it in the bins at Tower Records 10 years ago?  Otherwise, how will you be exploring his music now?  Your "attention" is "supply" meeting "demand," and it is not to be underestimated.

By the way, this is not a rhetorical question.  Are you doing Spotify, YouTube, iTunes...?

"I'm not an actor, I'm a movie star!"  Having to deliver lines live and without being able to reshoot the scenes is like live music performance v. recording.  There is something about being there in a live performance that cannot be 'recorded.'

Nice -- you have discovered what in an "aesthetic" drives you, what you "dig," what you respond to.  "Art is what the artist says it is" -- Andy Warhol.  What's wrong with a solid pop record with studio polish dialed in for maximum appeal?  That's an art in itself.  And part of the magic to the 15-year-old is the fact that his/her friends know the words, too.  Capturing a moment like that vaults it into the "intangible" and gives it social currency.  And the moment the music biz ran for the hills (roughly speaking, '02/'03) is the moment that the periodic appearance of those songs dropped off a cliff.  Karaoke is a pretty good indicator -- the 60's through 90's provided fertile ground for songs that folks like to play and share with each other.  But can you name more than a dozen "Karaoke hits of the Bush years?"

Quote:I think the politicos

I think the politicos here know why I said that, i.e. people like the Koch brothers think "God" deemed them to rule.
OK, but where were you going with that?  Are you just saying "I am repulsed by stars acting out their ego trips?"  OK, fine.  David Lee Roth: "Half the people in the world hate me, the other half buy my records."  Maybe you just weren't meant to be in that particular audience.  I am sure a lot of Ke$ha fans would run screaming if the DJ put on Coltrane at their party.  It has nothing to do with what will stand the test of time -- Faulkner and Hemingway sit on the same shelves as Manga and cookbooks.  It's just a medium of communication.

If I do have one issue, maybe you can agree, it is that the underestimation of the capability of the public to absorb incrementally more sophisticated music than they do tends to "suck the oxygen out of the room" as the business entities tend towards playing it safe.  But I would argue, as I did above (peripherally) that this is a symptom of a market lacking commercial growth.  Less money every year means people get cut as corporations downsize, so of course the business folks won't stick their necks out.  A growth scenario (even just minimal growth) would reverse this trend instantly.  Is it just me, or didn't The Beatles coexist in a world with Sha Na Na and the Archies just fine?

In a vibrant market, the

In a vibrant market, the "pop" side can even finance the more eclectic while simultaneously functioning as a "gateway drug" for the listening public, training the consumer to "buy what they like so they can like what they buy."  Do you reckon any teenagers (or pre-teens) buying the "How Much Is That Doggie In The Window?" 45 were the same people who bought "Pet Sounds" years later, after they had developed a mature "ear?"  I bet some of them even went on to become jazz musicians...

captbebops's picture
My suggestion to you is move

My suggestion to you is move out of Hollywood.  It's really messed with your mind and you need a different perspective.


Quote:My suggestion to you is

My suggestion to you is move out of Hollywood.  It's really messed with your mind and you need a different perspective.

Please elaborate.

captbebops's picture
I've been trying to draw out

I've been trying to draw out what your beef is.  Is it you're not getting the gigs you used to?  Welcome to the Greatest Depression.  It ain't you, it's happening to a lot of people and not just creative folks either.


captbebops wrote:I've been

captbebops wrote:
I've been trying to draw out what your beef is.  Is it you're not getting the gigs you used to?

I think I really spelled it out, probably multiple times.  The transition to "new media" should have pushed all involved to secure an equitable future, and instead, for all the reasons above and more, the internet "broadcast channels" showed up and took all the marbles unjustly.  And the propaganda "dogpile" made it easy for media (Wired Magazine is a prime example) to just say "get with it, it's the new frontier," so the public went along without a second thought.  With Google/YouTube exerting monopoly powers as a "destination site," the overall revenue paradigm is unlikely to change, and, as I pointed out above, they have fought propaganda wars before.

So the "value" that we create is usurped by Silicon Valley.  This loss is compounded by the fact that, for lack of incentive and/or funding, the "next" interesting piece of professional (i.e.: not "amateur") media will NOT be created.

And this stretches beyond the iTunes/YouTube world: I have a friend who wanted an iPad, went to the Apple Store, and came back empty handed.  His reason: The iPad is app-only, and he couldn't watch downloaded movies on it.  This line of reasoning applies to ISP's big time.  Media creates and represents value.  I am not arguing that media creators get a "piece of that (particular) action," I am just pointing out that this is a burgeoning section of the new economy, one that should be responsive to reasonable regulation.  The possibilities for solutions are wide-open, and with some of the world's most innovative people finding ways AROUND rights issues, don't you think it's time we as a culture, a nation, and a society began incentivizing ways to STREAMLINE and INTEGRATE copyright in a proactive way that is protective of ALL media owners, from the basement musician to the biggest movie company?

Saying "DiVX was a failure, oh, well..." and pretending we as a society can't take another shot at a reasonable way to "do this" is like saying "In a post-Solyndra world, We The People cannot make the mistake of kick-starting funding for anything 'green' again."  Hopefully, in the next decade or so, ASCAP/BMI, AMPAS/ATAS, NARAS (the Grammy people), SoundExchange, the RIAA, Silicon Valley, and Congress will try again.  Believe it or not, they have tried already.

And, analogous to union representation of individual workers, we need collective representation for our voice to carry weight.  But it starts with the "national conversation," some of which is occurring right here.

captbebops's picture
I disagree then.  I think the

I disagree then.  I think the way things are evolving is fine.  YouTube is just a popular site.  Others will develop and are developing. 

Hopefully, in the next decade or so, ASCAP/BMI, AMPAS/ATAS, NARAS (the Grammy people), SoundExchange, the RIAA, Silicon Valley, and Congress will try again.  Believe it or not, they have tried already.

For what?  More rules?  We don't need more stinkin' rules.  This is what we're saying about the Internet. It works fine as it.  It's not broken, don't fix it.

Worried about being exploited?  Then simply don't let someone exploit you.  There's plenty of information on how to avoid that.



Quote:For what?  More rules? 

For what?  More rules?  We don't need more stinkin' rules.  This is what we're saying about the Internet. It works fine as it.  It's not broken, don't fix it.

Michele Bachmann couldn't have said it better!  "We don't want things to get too regulate-y!"

And who is "we," anyway?  Internet media consumers?  Of course consumers like getting "milk for free!"  That's all they know!  They never comprehended the "other side of the glass!"  A 15-year-old doesn't stop to think "if I watch the nature show and they sell ads and everybody gets paid, there will be another new and different nature show next year that will add to my well-being."  And this process can stay opaque to the consumer -- most people don't think about where gasoline comes from, either.  That's OK.  But there are rules for that playing field that keep the gears of commerce turning, too.

I think the way things are evolving is fine.  YouTube is just a popular site.

Ahh, the golden rule: "Who has the gold, makes the rules." If I put up a TV antenna and broadcast viewer-submitted DVD's of Star Wars, I'd get shut down, fined, arrested...If I put up a website with user-submitted clips from Star Wars, I'd be...a $200 BILLION DOLLAR CORPORATION.  I really fail to see how your outlook makes sense.  There is a monstrous philosophical disconnect.  At least admit that.

What about downloading software?  Do you think it's just a mistake that console gaming is experiencing massive growth but other forms of media and software are lagging, stagnant, or worse?  It's because they control the format!  Is the internet working "just fine" when it erodes the commercial potential of every OTHER medium?

Worried about being exploited?  Then simply don't let someone exploit you.  There's plenty of information on how to avoid that.

If you're going for snide or snark, it's not working.  I do just fine.  If peer-to-peer, streaming, and downloading move toward legitimacy in a significant way, that would add "artist development" to every independent producer's list of "things to do," and I think that would be a GOOD thing, since it's no longer in the labels' vocabulary.  That's all.  You, on the other hand, sound like you wanna get all "Ron Paul" on the music business, when you're not busy trashing it.  I should have spotted it when you were trashing modern pop artists.  I think that "hater" energy is just manifesting itself in your outlook on the music biz: "they're crooks and narcissists, who gives a s&*t if they feel bad about getting exploited unfairly."  I'm sorry that you feel that way.  I think you're painting with an awfully broad brush, too, but that's beside the point.

Do you think a free-for-all, Wild West in internet media distribution represents "justice?"  Putting everything else aside: Is it philosophically solid or not?

captbebops's picture
Thanks for projecting your

Thanks for projecting your mis-perception of me.   Again what is wrong with the Internet the way it is?  Michelle Bachman would be one to want regulate it while letting the Offense Industry run free.  Do you really want your ISP to keep a record of every web site you've visited for the last year?

As for software, I've published software for over 25 years.  I have some free software which draws people to my website where they learn of the full versions of my products and buy them.  And yes they've been pirated too.  But I don't want a police state just to make sure I get every penny I've got coming.  I do what I can to protect my software and in general it slows piracy down.  That's about all you can do anyway.  And to those who think they've broken by protection they often get embarrassed when they find out that when the DRM is removed the program doesn't quite work right.  It's obvious to those who know the field but not to the usual hacker.

I can conclude that you are of the Harlan Ellison school of thought regarding creative works?  (Met ol' Harlan once).


captbebops wrote:Thanks for

captbebops wrote:
Thanks for projecting your mis-perception of me.

Not trying to have a flame-war -- I think we will end up "agreeing to disagree."  So I am sorry if I go a little "hard in the yard" (basketball reference) sometimes.  This has been an interesting conversation.

Again what is wrong with the Internet the way it is?...Do you really want your ISP to keep a record of every web site you've visited for the last year?

That is a false choice.  The Arbitron and Nielsen Ratings systems work acceptably well, and internet-age empowerment should only add to that.  An accurate Billboard-style chart could realistically be drawn up for the "Click 1000" hottest webstreams every week without invading anyone's privacy.  Like I said in the last post, innovative minds find innovative solutions.

...That's about all you can do anyway.

I know.  Three cheers for the real world.  I live here, too.  That doesn't stop me from "Occupy-"ing, or calling Congress, or signing petitions.  Ideals and strong philosophical grounding are important to me.  And people, and societies, change.  Sometimes all you can do is put the ideas out there, like pebbles in a pond...the waves radiate a little and then dissipate.  Then you throw another.  Convictions are important.  I had similar discussions about the Iraq occupation and "Shock And Awe" with friends who were adamantly "pro" occupation...I am sure they have come around by now.  Maybe the world will never "come around" on its treatment of the artist class in the new era.  Who knows?  I think it's a hard one to grasp, and everyone wants to turn it into the contest of "who's the victim, or is it victimless, or what?"  It's not that -- it's a missed opportunity, and that's the tragedy.  That's what people by and large don't get.

I can conclude that you are of the Harlan Ellison school of thought regarding creative works?  (Met ol' Harlan once)

Just looked him up...great stories, but no.  I stated my case above: Think of it as a river crossing -- Don't make a ferry just for your friends, build a bridge and a (nominal) toll booth and INVITE people to cross it!  I don't want to limit commerce any more than you do.  And we all know that streaming media will be growing for a while, so small numbers now...

Humanity has a shot at a historical near-ideal with the New Media economy: Worldwide audience supporting creators, with (hopefully) a semi-transparent, non-biased network, doing its job and taking a small fee.  In 5,000 years of civilization, this would be a first.  Get it right, and we establish a self-sufficient, perennial "artist class" in the direct service of the people for generations.  This is not far-fetched.  It is already happening.  We just need to legitimize it so that it works for all parties.

Thom just "called out" Google

Thom just "called out" Google and Wikipedia's flexing big "corporate" power as being key to the knocking down of SOPA/PIPA -- his guest was going all "Power to the People" & saying "we" (internet users) brought down SOPA/PIPA...

I think his guest's viewpoint embodies the thinking that is happening in much of the general populace.  People really, truly think that search engines and Wikis and social networks are so responsive that they represent some "voice of the collective" or something, and on a point-by-point scale, this might be true to an extent, but in the big picture, these are MASSIVE CORPORATE BEHEMOTHS WITH VESTED INTERESTS.  They will throw their weight around, unjustly if need be.  And, like Berlusconi, if you and your friends own the media (or enough of it), you create the narrative.

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Keeping records of what web

Keeping records of what web sites you visit is in no way relatable to TV ratings so that is a non-sequitur.  I've done one of those books and it was so lame that it didn't at the time take into account rentals as most of my viewing was that and very little broadcast TV.

Snoop Lamar Smith is  back at it this time cloaking his latest abomination as being something to stop child pornography.  If you read the bill you won't find that many references to child pornography in it. But geez, who would want to be caught voting against a "child pornography" bill?  Well, this time we need to continue exposing this dork's bill because poor Lamar wishes he were born in East Germany about 40 years earlier so he could be part of the STASI.  You can read his bill here:

I cut another verse to my song which was about OPEN which is a bill that Issa and Wyden have proposed supposedly more sane and not trying to take away Internet freedom.  However I have my doubts any of these kind of bills will get passed this year.

Here's a cartoon that is very much on target as to why you find so much piracy on the Internet:

The execs at Time-Warner hold back stuff and I've posted here before what lame execs they must be.  They would argue they make more money that way but I would argue they simply don't know because they haven't tried it the other way.  Sony Pictures and Lionsgate don't bother with 28 day delays (Warner wants 56 days but many companies have turned them down) and nor do they mess with "rental" discs (ones with only the movie and no extras).

Think, would you prefer our highways to be toll roads too?





captbebops wrote:Keeping

captbebops wrote:
Keeping records of what web sites you visit is in no way relatable to TV ratings so that is a non-sequitur.  I've done one of those books and it was so lame that it didn't at the time take into account rentals as most of my viewing was that and very little broadcast TV.

Rentals are not ad-supported, so if the ratings book missed that, well, that's not their stock in trade, anyway.  The ratings are a major part of both sides establishing an agreed upon value for ad rates (and ads feed everyone even peripherally involved in creating the programming), and I said 1) they are accepted industry-wide as being adequate for that purpose, and 2) this could only be improved upon for internet media.

Snoop Lamar Smith...You can read his bill here:

You won't get any disagreement here.  Unless I am missing something, that does not look good on a lot of levels.

Here's a cartoon that is very much on target as to why you find so much piracy on the Internet:

Wow...where do I start with this one...OK, iTunes frame is WAY off: The cartoon caption says "for some free featurettes," but the iTunes ad page is built around the concept that it is a "Season Pass" (3 times in even this cropped page, including the FIRST WORDS in the overview and the "Description" -- they are not trying to hide this).  It even says clearly "current episodes will download immediately and future episodes will download as they become available."

As for the HBO frame, well, if they want to SIGN, FUND, and PRODUCE exclusive programming, do they have the right to give the consumer the choice of upgrading (and being among the first to enjoy the programming), or not?  I mean, this part is really insane.  Why do you think HBO, Showtime, etc. include those shows?  It's because movies aren't enough, so they create "event" television to get more subscribers -- and that "event" television ENTERTAINS AUDIENCES while creating CAREERS and JOBS.  That is supply and demand at work.  Is a job on "The Sopranos" desirable?  Why do you think that job exists?  They can make whatever "packages" they want -- the consumer can decide if the "deal" is OK or not.  This is TV, not health care or education.  But if HBO wants to make "Game of Thrones" its "franchise player" (sports analogy), I think consumers can complain to HBO and say "you are out of your mind" or "you are losing money/audience," but saying it is out of bounds is unfounded.

Besides, there IS an alternative -- the iTunes season pass (above) means "current episodes will download immediately and future episodes will download as they become available."  Anything beyond this would require a "working" crystal ball or time machine.

And this whole cartoon thing shows you just how pernicious these opposing arguments are when they get "blown up" in the popular sphere.  I think for every one person who notices that the caption in the iTunes frame of the cartoon you linked to is FACTUALLY INCORRECT, among other things, there are 100 who link to it on Facebook, email or, saying "f&*k the industry," or whatever.  I zipped through it the first time and didn't pick up on all the anomalies, either.

Do you remember 2002 right before iTunes?  The popular sentiment was "CD's are too expensive, and you can't sample the tracks before buying them."  Ummmmm, OK...10 years of inflation later, the effective price of CD's is 1/2 or 2/3 of what it was, and you can go on iTunes and hear 30 seconds of virtually ANYTHING on the market before buying it.  The industry is slow to adjust, but the "popular sentiment" is (and has been) nearsighted.  Neither really "get" the big picture.

As for Netflix, maybe they got outbid for first-run rights.  Is it a bad thing that that still means something?

Think, would you prefer our highways to be toll roads too?

We pay gas taxes for highway funds, which, it could be argued, are a per-use toll. But the premise of the "bridge" vs. the "ferry crossing for your friends" is an almost direct quote from a succesful technology creator who was faced with the choice of licensing to different factories (more distribution alternatives but diluted exclusivity) or going exclusive with one brand (build the brand -- partnership creating a value-added situation).  He chose licensing and told his story this way to point out that consumer choice worked in his favor.  In relating it, I was trying to show that I would be very much FOR an internet media model which shakes up the current balance of power a bit but which provides enhanced choice for audiences and enhanced opportunity for owners, producers, and players in the long run.

captbebops's picture
So Think, you're a

So Think, you're a libertarian musician?  I sure get that from your arguments.  You're also a Calvin Klein computer user? <laughing>

Yes, I know that premium channel productions cost money.  But if people don't have money to subscribe they won't have the money to continue to make them.  The execs are out of touch with the public and minds stuck in another time period. Their purpose is to entertain not to provide jobs.  If people can't afford them then they'll find less expensive alternatives.  And the jobs will go away.  But technology is also doing away with the "factory" approach to Hollywood which I've always felt stifled arts.

I asked a friend once why he had the game I converted for him priced so high on the Internet.  He told me because that was his "perceived value."  Thing is on another platform the price was 1/3 of his.  I think he would have sold more if his price were that too.  The company he had licensed the title from made the 1/3 priced version.  Obviously his perceived value was not that of the publics.  I think some people are just really bad businessmen but somehow manage to stay in business regardless.

BTW, the Oatmeal cartoon missed the real alternative and that HBO is licensing to Vudu (owned by Walmart).   You can get past seasons there though "Game of Thrones" is not on "Coming Soon" yet. But you pay to "own" not "rent" and really I don't care about "owning" and would still pay (though it would be less) just to watch the episodes.  It's like the execs are marketing to their fans that are series junkies.  I also noticed that they will start offering older Warner Classics on Vudu, I hope to rent and not to "own."

Part of the problem of our discussion is that I've been in the tech industry for over 25 years and part of it's evolution so I see things from a different perspective.  One business journalist I heard interviewed said that Hollywood studios are "incumbent" business and feel threatened by the new technologies.  The problem is they are "too big" to be flexible and jump in and use new technology as a distribution method.  So instead they want to kill it.

You also disdain companies like Google.  I have a problem with Google but it is not the same as yours.  The problem is they are running like one of those dragons in a Chinese New Year's parade trying to stay ahead of the competition.  In doing so they are sloppy and amateurish.  I call them a "lemonade stand" because it is a bunch of kids operating with no "adult supervision."

The whole problem with the recording industry is they should have jumped on board when Napster was prevalent rather than killing it.  Jack Holtzman of Electra even suggested that back then and the Neanderthals running (or is it ruining) the companies didn't listen.






Narrated 30 min PowerPoint that breaks down the "cyberlocker" revenue model.  Filmmaker (Ellen Seidler) is co-producer/co-director of "And Then Came Lola."  She sent takedown notices and also dealt directly with Google, whose AdSense ads were the primary driver in allowing owners of cyberlocker sites to directly exploit user-uploaded media.  Some users were directly PAID by cyberlocker sites to link to their uploads through "sharing" ($30 or more per 1000 movie views to the third-party uploader).

I watched the whole thing.  I feel that this testimonial points out a "smoking gun" -- propaganda war (Google, Chilling Effects organization/EFF), willful blindness and profiteering on the part of Google, and a fully operational, AUTOMATED "black market" out in the open with just enough questionable "cover" from the DMCA/"safe harbor" protections.

Note that Google profits on multiple facets of this information exchange, from the initial user search to both sides of the AdSense transaction.

After watching this, I don't believe any sane individual with a reasonable grasp of the overall situation would argue against the need for the DMCA and safe harbor/P2P to be rolled back.  The question is how and how much.

captbebops's picture
Okay I watched the

Okay I watched the presentation and not surprisingly I found the author a bit naive.  This often happens when I talk tech issues with film makers and musicians.  They lack the technical expertise and only have a "vague" idea about how things work in the tech world.

First of for a small indie film with a niche market it might have been better to start with streaming rather than DVD/BD.  Gotta stay up on the trends or your lose.  Then make discs available with extras on them.  They could have started with Netflix or other places like Amazon or Vudu which are PPV.  The ad pictures probably had people downloading the movie expecting some softcore porn.  Maybe not the best way to advertise your film unless it's that way.  And how many downloaders would have bought the film?  Of course they finally did late in the game make the video available paid streaming.

Also what were their distribution channels for the disc?  Could I buy it at Best Buy or Fry's?  It might not make it into Walmart (though maybe on Vudu).  Or were they just selling it online?  Note that I recently posted about "Life and Debt", a documentary about the IMF's effects on Jamaica.  I rented it on DVD over 10 years ago.  Someone posted a link to YouTube saying it is available there but it is blocked in the US.  Seems to me a film like that would make more money if these days if it were available streaming.  I think a lot of people would watch the film on Netflix or even YouTube Movies (their PPV section).  Again this seems like the film maker may be unaware of such opportunities or understand them.

Contrary to what the slideshow says every time I've visited an upload site there is a notice NOT to post material you don't own rights to.  Sure it's to cover their butts but the notice was there.  I also disagree with her assertion that "people like to make money illegally." 

It also doesn't appear that the author ever tried to do some investigation by applying for an AdSense account.  One might get a picture of why with millions of ads on the service why it would be practically impossible for them to ride herd over what is placed.  Let's be real here.

I also doubt if the author sent out 1000s of DMCA takedown notices.  Better to do a sequel and move on .  Be smarter the next time about distribution (easier to rip discs than streams).

I've published computer software since the mid 1980s.  Sure my stuff got pirated but some of us just figured the answer was to get what revenues we could in spite of the piracy, do things to slow piracy down and continue to make more content.  I highly doubt that our losses EVER exceeded 10% of profits.

I think the winners in the content world will be those who understand the tech world and medium.   Unfortunately this woman's presentation would probably garner laughs if you showed it to a convention of techies.  She should present it at one and learn.  They will be happy to provide real ideas rather than turn the world over to a bunch of police state copyright cops.

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Max Keiser on the "Copyright

Max Keiser on the "Copyright Dictatorship":

The actual duration of a copyright was still 28 years (as it was in 1971) and one 28 year renewal allowed for a total of 56 years.   Source are the certificates I received in 1971 and through 1977 for my copyrights. I believe it was in 1977 or 78 when you no longer needed to file.