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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Google and Record Labels vs. Bloggers

This story is interesting. Google's Blogger shut down a couple of music-related blogs, for publishing links to allegedly copyrighted songs. It illustrates a few points I've mentioned before.
  • Intellectual property is not property. I've mentioned that several times.
  • The DMCA is a particularly evil law.
  • The DMCA is the result of lobbying by record labels. It's a clear example of a law set up to benefit a handful of people at the expense of everyone else.
  • Record label executives are behaving like jerkwads. They are State parasites. They are desperately trying to hold onto their monopoly, which the Internet is making obsolete.
  • If you're an amateur/independent/semipro artist, you're probably better off self-publishing rather than signing with a label.
  • Beginning artists are forced to sign a lousy deal with a record label, due to the State monopoly for funding and promoting artists.
  • If you're an amateur/independent/semipro artist, you should self-publish DRM free. Your biggest risk is "Nobody knows who you are!" and not "People will copy without paying!"
  • In this case, these were less-well-known artists who happened to have a deal with a label. They lose the rights to their own music. They can't give a blogger permission to promote their music.
  • The mainstream media creates an artificial scarcity of music, by promoting some artists and not others.
  • Google could shut my blog down. They could say that I'm committing a crime or advocating people commit crimes, when I write about agorism.
  • As a large corporation, Google has to follow the law. Not willing to risk their State-backed monopoly, Google's executives will err on the side of bending over for the record corporation executives.
Someone should make a database of copyright free music. If I start my own vlog, I'd want to only use music without restrictions.


dionysusal said...

I'm not surprised by that story, FSK. Based on my research, Google is a bunch of criminals. "Don't be evil" my butt. However, I still use their products because they're good. I suppose that doesn't say much for me. Eh, what ya gonna do???

Swinger said...

I play in a swing band and we have a few CDs out, available at, cdbaby, and sold personally by us at concerts.

We retain copyright on our work. The CDs are DRM free. Google searches reveal that our tracks have been uploaded in various places. Supposedly if we don't file cease and desist notices, we lose copyright protection. Despite this, we have not filed any such notices since we don't really have an objection to informal sharing. Selling we would have a problem with. Also we don't want CC licensing since it doesn't allow us to stop, say, the KKK, US DOE, or whatever other organizations we don't like from appropriating our pieces. I feel it is absurd that if you don't file lawsuits you can lose protection. It should be up to the artists to decide on a case by case basis what he wants to do.

And FYI, the CD sales barely break even for costs of manufacturing in small scale and distributing. There's no profit, but the CDs sell because the fans like to have something tangible that the band can sign, and a nice 8 page booklet with interesting photos and stories to look at while listening to the CD.

Anonymous said...

>Intellectual property is not
>property. I've mentioned that
>several times.

I don't think this is quite straightforward.

I develop software. The software takes a lot of thought, time and experimentation. I have to pay for development software and hardware.

So it is right I have legal protection in case some one steals it.

In reality I don't have the money for legal protection and it would be a big hassle.

So I use technical protection. What I use is not bullet-proof but for its size and income level, it is good enough.

If someone broke into my property and stole the source code, it should be classed as a crime. Or if someone hacked into my computer and stole the source code it should be a crime.

However in some circumstances, intellectual property should not be given legal protection.

If a comedian has a catch phrase or a series of jokes and sketches he developed himself, he should be able to use and adapt them all the time. They should not be property of maybe a television channel that aired his shows at the time. The separation between direct author and copyright owner should not be broken so much.

For example the creator of Thunderbirds is prohibited from creating a new Thunderbirds show or film, because the rights were signed away. There is something a bit wrong about this.

I'm not sure how these cases should be sorted out.

Intellectual property is property, but sometimes silly situations arise. Lawyers only care about winning and not about reality or what is morally right.

It might be better if authors should be given total ownership of their own work and that at most only shared ownership can be given away.

Suppose an author wrote a book. The copyright is signed away. Then the author writes another book. The content and themes are different, but as it is from the same author there are slight similarities. Can the author be sued because his two books are 1% similar? A slimeball lawyer won't care how silly it is. He will try to extort money with a threat of a bogus lawsuit.

The next case actually happened. A university lecturer was employed by a university to give lectures. He then wrote a book on the same subject as his lectures. The university sued him saying they owned the copyright of his book!!!! In this case the university lost the case. But this shows how gray this area is and that goons and slimeball lawyers will threaten and extort authors.

"Give me a bag of cash or we will waste years of your life with a bogus lawsuit. Do you have a few hundred thousand dollars to spend on a lawsuit? Because if you don't we will run you down. Do you have money for the appeals? Maybe it is better if you hand over your house and a big bag of cash now."

Even if you are legally right, you may lose the first case and then have to fund an appeal. I seen total absurd copyright cases won on the first round, but lost on appeal.

Did you know one court said a simple software menu system has copyright protection in software? Yep, just a list of names was given copyright protection. It was overturned on appeal.

Anonymous said...

In some countries there is no statutory law saying how small an overlap between two different works has to be, before copyright is broken.

For example consider the code snippet below:

bool running = true;
while (running)

Because running is such a general name and the code snippet so small, it is very likely just by random this code matches in a vast number of places around the world - on hard disks, in books, on web pages etc.

Saying that code snippet infringes copyright is absurd. However in many countries there is no statutory limit on how small an overlap has to be.

In does not matter how stupid the lawsuit, both sides' lawyers get paid anyway.

The court doesn't understand technical matters. Even if it did, it could play by the book and ask for expert witnesses.

You may need to pay a lawyer to research case law in similar cases to see if a judge in a previous case has set a limit on how small the overlap has to be.

No case law to back you up? Well then you are down s*** creek!

All the other side has to say is that the while (running) {} code snippet is in a core place and its weighting gets increased.

I've seen absurd IP lawsuits take 18 months to get resolved. For example a tea and sandwich shop in Richmond, England, UK called "The Tea Box" was sued for trademark infringement by a coffee shop chain in Germany with a TOTALLY DIFFERENT NAME. Their names weren't at all alike. But it TOOK 18 MONTHS TO GET RESOLVED. In reality as the shops were in different countries the chances of customers getting confused was impossible. The totally different names helped as well.

So all a lawyer has to do is find a slimy client and launch an absurd lawsuit. The lawyers get paid anyway. The case won't get resolved anytime soon. It will cause a lot of worry and wasted time for the defendants involved.

Kyle said...

Your property isn't property, see? Simply denying it will invalidate any claims you have for your so-called "property"

Call me a statist troll, don't complain when somebody calls you a statist troll the day you disrespect their freedom to rape and murder.

Anti-murder laws are the result of anti-freedom murder haters. Free people would never and should never agree to such laws. Because I've never agreed to them, I'm not subject to them!

Bas said...

We have to remember that :

"Wealth maximization is not the goal of law; rather, the goal is justice — giving each man his due."

Copyright protections exist to safeguard the income of the copyright holder. But where are the price protections for the consumer?

Also, "Fair Use" laws are kept intentionally vague, so they can nab you at any time. Copies for personal use are OK? Maybe, until a judge interprets "Fair Use" differently.

Copyrights are temporary monopolies violently enforced by the government. Is justice done by suing a mother of four for 1.92 million dollars?

You can't have it both ways. Either you choose a system linked to an irrational concept like IP and end up with completely arbitrary laws and absurd lawsuits; or you say NO to IP.

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