Artists shouldn’t love corporate copyright

Every once in a while I bump into ‘artists’ (and I use that term loosely, quite often they are corporate shills, indie chancers or pretty new to the industry) who defend copyright laws, extensions and corporates. Happened again recently…What I find strange is that the enforcers of copyright (corporates, labels, media companies) don’t actually love them, just like those who voted Tory in the last election who are struggling now finding their tax credits on the block. It’s strange when people act against their own self-interest, but it’s not rare.

As the video says above, pirates are not only the best consumers, but according to many academic research studies the Copyright War isn’t working or at all responsible. What does happen is, for one instance – Sony tries to claim your stock video as it’s own then doesn’t see a problem when you revoke the license.

False DMCAs and matches are rife, and used to silence people in their freedom of speech, and often claim videos or songs of artists are infringing on their own channel (ask Psychemagik about that one, or Sony forcing Madeon off Soundcloud or ask Hardwell or Plastician or Dario G with Shirley Bassey (!) having tracks they produced and owned removed…there are many many more!) And ‘poor starving artists’ can’t make those claims, only media companies can…it’s a very uneven playing field.

And then you have YouTube Red – where YouTube is shaking down independent video creators, giving them a my-way or the highway deal – it’s not a new strategy for them at all, just the latest one…they want that revenue, and don’t like consortiums that they’re not involved with. But hey, they have your interests at heart, don’t they? Don’t they? :-p

And that’s all legit stuff without even going into mashups or bedroom/unofficial remixes – which have a grey area legality now in the UK and US which has never been tested in the courts (yet)…but those are being taken off Soundcloud in droves too. Not really sure telling people ‘naughty’ and slapping their hands for non-commercial creative work is the way forward? But the pro-copyright-as-pension apologists see it that way, or say these cases are ‘few and far between’ or ‘friendly fire accidents’.

Well…ask Danny Quirk about Rebel Heart! This short list of artists ripped off by the likes of Madonna, Lil’ Kim, Sara Bareille, Ma$e, Moschino and designer Jeremy Scott, Kendrick Lamar, T.I…. the list goes on, but you get the idea. Obviously ripping off artists is wrong, but I don’t see the current copyright system helping artists create or share profits/credit at all? Nor helping the ‘little guy’ fight these battles when people do rip things off completely. It’s the worst of both worlds (unless you’re corporate).

Wedded to copyright? Well it seems the marriage is very one-sided and you need a large chequebook to play.

I have been ripped off several times by the record industry…annoying but I don’t have the money to go suing people, especially as they hide behind small labels (but big/major distro deals) and evasive online presence. I’ve even found people selling my mashups on Amazon! I can’t even flag that, because ‘I don’t own it!’. It’s silly. So I find the defence of copyright as it is from artists – who always steal in some form or other, they’re lying or not very good if they don’t – very strange, because unless you are Madonna or Lady Gaga, you aren’t getting any of that trickle down at all, but most likely will be ripped off by someone bigger. Bigger fish eat little fish…Sorry. The system is screwed for all except the very rich.

Here’s part 2 of Pirates Are the Best Consumers (both via Boing Boing) – a sentiment that is backed up by research. Stop suing your biggest fans, for the people who will jump through hoops and dodgy malware encrusted Russian sites to get your shit are pretty devoted, or wouldn’t buy it anyway. Most of the anti-piracy rhetoric is pissing in the wind, since copying isn’t really the same as stealing, hard to argue it is when nothing has been lost, only a ‘notional’ unprovable loss. What has been proved again and again is that sharing and Creative Commons actually seems to increase sales, like with freebie books or albums, people actually buy even the previously free works later, but increase in sales in future products/gigs too.

Ask the ‘poor’ ‘starving’ Run The Jewels about that one! (yes I downloaded their free albums – but then saw them on tour. Kerching!)

I do find the machinations of the industry and artists odd too – many times I’ve wanted to buy something to be told ‘not in your area’ ‘that’s out of print’ ‘you need to buy the whole album/box set’ ‘wrong region’ – many times I’ve looked for a Bandcamp site for an artist never to find one…I want to support good artists, but I’ll be fucked I’m making Apple, Sony or EMI executives (who have tried to Cease and Desist me twice) fat. I want most of the money to actually GO to the artist, which is why I favour DIY/small labels, Bandcamp, direct sales, and the like. Maybe you all should stop moaning at Spotify and start looking closer to home?

Oh and related probably – Radio Clash has been taken off Apple iTunes Podcast store, seemingly for ‘copyright infringement’ – dunno if I got flagged (asked Apple if there had been a complaint, silence so far), or maybe they just woke up to what my podcast was made of after 9 years (?)

So if you want to subscribe as I do post my mixes on there, then use this URL. Digital Debris, even though that show was podsafe, creative commons and orphan works is also off iTunes Podcast Store also, so you need to subscribe/download here. If you want to download the old shows you either have to do it manually here or check out my Mixcloud where it’s all legit, they license it for you and pay royalties.

They get it, so why is it so hard for everyone else?

I’ve never made a single pence off the show, never taken ads, it’s all for promotion of the music (some of which sent to me by bands, podsafe, or un-licenseable like mashups/remixes etc)… and it’s stored on my server not Apple’s, but hey I’m the bad guy sharing music I love to people who do actually go out and buy it. I know they do, they tell me. Labels should be paying me! (Fat chance).

No, all I get is grief that I’m tearing the food out of the mouth of the starving artist’s babes (protip: maybe don’t have kids or don’t be an artist if you can’t afford to raise them?) which actually isn’t true. I’ve never seen any cash, nor credit, and neither will you without alternate non-corporate distribution methods like streaming, podcasting, social media et al…but Disney and Warners and Sony and EMI et al WILL get fatter and fatter off our backs. Especially if you play into their ‘divide and rule’ propaganda.

Relatio Clash

One Comment

  1. BenY
    October 27

    I have bought music after listening to your podcast that I would have never come across otherwise.

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