Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
News Your Rights Online

Eric Baptiste Weighs In On Copyright Summit Issues 75

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the worldwide-control-bodies dept.
With the upcoming biennial summit of authors and composers in Washington DC, The Register has an interview with Eric Baptiste, head of the International Confederation of Authors and Composers Societies (CISAC), that touches on some of the hot issues. "There's no one-stop shopping anymore. We were working to put that in place in the Santiago Agreement [2000] which got struck down by the European Commission [in 2004]. It would put together all the world's repertory and enable one society to grant a worldwide license. That was a very bold move. It's a pity it was not appreciated at the time by the European Commission."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Eric Baptiste Weighs In On Copyright Summit Issues

Comments Filter:
  • We can bring together music, text, video, news, everything, to one agency, simplify things, save the economy a billion a year probably! I want 10%.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 05, 2009 @03:34PM (#28226599)

    "Put together all the world's repertory and enable one society to grant a worldwide license..."

    He's talking about torrents, right? ;)

  • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday June 05, 2009 @03:38PM (#28226641)

    When you move from this to nothing, to "everything is free", that's not a real economy. And nobody knows how to make the world spin with those rules.

    No, you don't know how to make your world spin with those rules. They seem to be working fine for software developers, for instance. And last I checked, Trent Reznor wasn't exactly living in grinding poverty.

    And it should be transparent. If you're a member of the public and you just want watch a movie or listen to a song, you shouldn't need to be a copyright expert. You shouldn't need to worry how much is going to the society, and how much is going to the real people behind those entities. We should find a way to make that disappear. It should be on a B2B level not a B2C level.

    Translation: "If you just want to stream content (notice it's about listen or watch one piece of media, not own a copy of) from some centralized repository that's maintained of your control, don't worry your pretty little head about whether the artist is getting anything, because it's all going to a 'society' or 'agency' with a bunch of letters in its name. We need to obfuscate it so nobody sees it. If it's B2B, then we can finally nip that Artist-to-Consumer thing in the bud."

    So there is also probably a greater unity in the content business at the higher level - we're in this together. How to agree on a licensing framework that is simpler for users of works - the users in this context being corporations.

    Again, the perspective whereby neither the people creating the music, nor the people listening to the music, are customers. They're the products. The user or customer is always some form of middleman, distributor, or licencing society.

    The proposal means if you went to a country with no copyright protection, you got zero. The EU is a big work in progress and you have countries that have sophisticated copyright protection from the 19th Century. Here in the UK, people understand what it is. But in many new countries the courts don't understand copyright.

    It makes it very difficult for the society to maintain the value of those rights. Of course all those users would go to the copyright havens - it's an irrational business for societies to allow such a system. They would be competing against each other to rip their members off. That's lunacy.

    "I don't like arbitrage. Arbitrage makes it very difficult for us middlemen to maintain the value of 'our' rights. All those users would buy it somewhere else, for cheaper. That's an irrational business for middlemen -- middlemen aren't supposed to compete against each other for customer dollars or artists' contracts. We're supposed to be a cartel, all of us working together, competing only insofar as to the degree as to which we can rip off the artists and listeners within our individual fiefdoms."

    Fuck that noise, Eric.

    • Fuck that noise, Eric.

      Here, here! Fuck that noise indeed, Eric! Fuck it indeed.

      And once you do, I'll be the first to call you a "noise fucker". Why? BECAUSE YOU'RE A SCOTT!

      Oh, how I love this Slashdot ribaldry!

    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday June 05, 2009 @03:52PM (#28226785) Homepage Journal

      No, you don't know how to make your world spin with those rules.

      Correct. What the Internet has wrought is extremely simple copying and distribution. What this does is make the RIAA and all their middlemen completely irrelevant. Hello, record companies: We don't need you. We don't want you. Go away.. Yes, there is room for promoters, but there is no reason why need record companies. We don't need records, hence we don't need record companies. It's just that simple. Record companies provide zero value add.

      • Your argument seems self-defeating. The primary goal of the record companies and their primary reason for existence is promotion; getting CDs to stores, in iTunes, on Amazon, etc; getting them played on the radio; making music videos and getthing those played, etc, etc. I imagine that actually pressing CDs is probably a trivial part of their business.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by twidarkling (1537077)

          Hardly self-defeating. You are aware that getting things on to iTunes or Amazon is incredibly easy if you're independent, correct? Even going through an aggregator isn't that difficult. And the RIAA et al aren't doing much in the way of promotion any more. Most artists don't get music videos unless the song's already popular, since the music video channels don't run many videos any more, unless the artist is popular. Most people don't listen to regular radio, but either speciality stations or internet radio

          • How does that invalidate my comment? They're there to promote what they know will make money. The actual printing of 'records' (CDs) is fairly trivial.

            • With apologies to Bill Clinton: It's the business model, stupid! The business model was based on the fact that musicians needed to a cut a record deal to get promoted. THe power of the RIAA was all about the fact that they were the ones that got music distributed.

              It's not needed anymore. Promoters should be hired by the artists. And since promotion can be done by the artists themselves, professional promoters should be consultants. And their fees should be comparatively a lot lower.

    • When you move from this to nothing, to "everything is free", that's not a real economy. And nobody knows how to make the world spin with those rules.

      No, you don't know how to make your world spin with those rules. They seem to be working fine for software developers, for instance. And last I checked, Trent Reznor wasn't exactly living in grinding poverty.

      I understand why you picked him, but he isn't exactly the poster child for that business model. As in, it is easy to give your music away for free and make money with concerts/merchandise/etc when you are already famous. It is harder to rationalize doing that when you are a poor artist trying to get a break.

      There was a /. discussion of the free Radiohead album release that went along these lines.

      • by ratboy666 (104074)

        How do performers become famous? I really don't know any who DON'T give away their music. Now, that music MAY become valuable, in which case there would be an "economy" surrounding that exact product.

        Honestly, it doesn't happen a lot.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by PitaBred (632671)
        So let's pick a niche band that is utterly dependent on piracy [techdirt.com] (their own words). It works for all types of artists, if you do it right. The trick is that you actually have to work and keep writing new songs and doing shows and such instead of writing one hit and sitting on your ass collecting a toll every time someone listens to it somewhere.
        • The trick is that you actually have to work and keep writing new songs and doing shows and such instead of writing one hit and sitting on your ass collecting a toll every time someone listens to it somewhere.

          Wait. Is that supposed to be the downside for the public?

          • Why should there be a downside for the public? Or the artist for the matter, unless they believe their music is worth more than those who listen to it do.. I'm sure there's a word for that somewhere.
    • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Friday June 05, 2009 @05:26PM (#28227747) Journal

      I agree. His cluelessness (or dishonesty) is deep.

      there is no business if everything is free

      Free? No. Far less expensive than in the recent past, thanks to technological advances, but not free. Storage space and bandwidth costs money. But content monopolists seem unwilling to share any of this bounty, this technology dividend. They also are unwilling to allow the technology to be used to its full potential, for fear of losing control they have already lost anyway. This severely limits its value to all of us. He can't see it. He'd rather rake in 90% or more of a small pie than 1% of a pie 1000 times the size, all the while whining that they deserve 90% of the big pie.

      in many new countries the courts don't understand copyright.

      He talks as if toll booths are the only way to make money. All this babbling about rights and value and licensing. And then this insulting talking down as if 3rd world countries don't understand copyright. As if he does. They understand it alright, far better than he. They know very well that intellectual property is a tool that rich nations used to wring even more from poor nations.

      • I looked, but I can't find mod parent -1 gibberish. Feel free to interpret as you see fit. (But i you find English out of that last sentence, I'm coming back to call you on it.)
  • by Silentknyght (1042778) on Friday June 05, 2009 @03:42PM (#28226665)
    I was actually pleasantly surprised to read his comment,

    Now it's like physics - value is never destroyed, it goes somewhere else.

    Unfortunately, the rest of his comments came across as clueless. He seems to waffle on any direction to take, and instead provides half-hearted statements about possibily, maybe, some-day, exploring something different. IMO, there's nothing else new here, but a general feeling that he wishes the copyright situation would just return to "normal."

    • by Swanktastic (109747) on Friday June 05, 2009 @03:45PM (#28226695)

      Now it's like physics - value is never destroyed, it goes somewhere else.

      He hasn't gotten to the chapter on entropy yet... It's going to blow his mind.

    • by ThosLives (686517)

      That's actually a markedly wrong statement anyway. Value can be and is created and destroyed all the time. It's not like energy or charge or mass or momentum.

      Consider - what is the value of an orange? If you just had a big meal, it's pretty small. If you haven't eaten in a week it's very large. Now if you have an orange and are starving, but just before you eat it someone offers you a four-course meal instead (and only if you do not consume the orange), the value of that orange is instantly and dramatically

      • I suppose that's an issue of subjective vs. objective value. The orange never changes; it's value to you is decreased, but if you're starving again its value 'increases'. If you put a starving person and a person who's just eaten a four-course meal in a room with a single orange, the orange's value to the starving person will be much greater than to the person who's just eaten- but this has nothing really at all to do with the orange.

        I think what he's saying is that we all have things that we value; and thi

        • by ThosLives (686517)

          What you call 'objective value' I would call 'wealth' - that is, the intrinsic quality of the object. The orange has (unless it rots, is destroyed, etc.) the same nutritional, visual, physical, and flavor properties regardless of people's current state of desire (the 'value') of the orange.

          The way I look at it is: the 'wealth' of an object is related to what the object is, the 'value' of an object is related to what someone is willing to trade for an object. (Note: services have value, but I would not say

        • by segur (1066520)

          I suppose that's an issue of subjective vs. objective value.

          There would have to be some objective notion of value first, of which I'm not currently aware.

          The orange never changes; it's value to you is decreased, but if you're starving again its value 'increases'. If you put a starving person and a person who's just eaten a four-course meal in a room with a single orange, the orange's value to the starving person will be much greater than to the person who's just eaten- but this has nothing really at all to do with the orange.

          Probably the closest thing to "objective value" we have is expressend in how much are peaple willing to pay for it (and this being rather vague definition). And such value changes pretty easily—you can create it if you grow oranges or make a chair, you can destroy it if you eat the fruit or destroy the item. In fact the object does not have to change itself to change its value, that can by achieved for exampl

  • by zyklone (8959) on Friday June 05, 2009 @03:46PM (#28226707) Homepage

    What is it with these 'copyright holders' that makes them think they're supposed to live forever of one weeks work.

    Wouldn't it be better for the community if they worked their entire life producing new stuff for whoever wants new media.

    • Yes, it would. But in order for there to be incentive for them to produce, they have to be recompensed for doing so (whether this recompense needs to be monetary or not is debatable and depends on the artist).

      Copyright is intended to secure that recompense. The open question is what balance is most efficient for society as a whole; which balancing level of copyright produces the right amount of artists and the right return into the public domain of their work.

      I am dubious that that number is zero copyright,

      • Really, however, on the whole you are seeing a relatively short span for copyright; 75 years, for example, is much closer to zero than it is to infinity.

        I like your logic! Let me use that. 'Really, however, on the whole you are seeing a relatively small amount of death; 6.7 billion, for example, is much closer to zero than it is to infinity.'

        • There aren't an infinite number of people to kill. As a proportion of the theoretically available 'space', 6.7 billion people is very much closer to 'all' the people than it is to 'none' of the people. Seventy-five years is very much closer to 'none' of the time than it is to 'all' of the time.

          • by bentcd (690786)

            There aren't an infinite number of people to kill. As a proportion of the theoretically available 'space', 6.7 billion people is very much closer to 'all' the people than it is to 'none' of the people. Seventy-five years is very much closer to 'none' of the time than it is to 'all' of the time.

            Actually, there are only about 80 years of time (give or take). 75 years is therefore much closer to all time than it is to zero time.

          • My thanks to bentcd for already making the key point you seem to be missing. I would like to clarify further that there are only 6.7 billion people at the moment. Much like the current average life-span is only 75 years. If we lived forever then you may have a point although I would imagine living forever would make it rather moot.

            • Why are you using 'lifespan' as 'all the time'? It's rather conclusive that time runs for a lot longer than your mere existence. Or is there something out here I'm not following?

              Copyright is for a 'limited time'. The period encompassed by 'time' is an infinitely large number. Zero is the smallest period of time. (well, perhaps dirac time, but you get the idea). 75 is very close to zero on the scale from zero to infinity.

              • Geez, you're really trying to defend the logic of your post by attacking the logic of a parody of your own post? Well I guess by helping you with the logic of my parody I am in some way helping you with the logic of your own post so here goes.

                For a start, 'all time' is a matter of perspective meets semantics. While you could argue that there is only one definition of 'all time' you may as well argue that they sky isn't blue. Really, you could say that all time could be in different contexts both a mere mome

      • But it's not 75 years. It's life of the artist + 70 years. If copyright is supposed to compensate the artist for the energy and effort put in to making their work, why should it go past the life of the artist at all? Why does a record company get to benefit from the work of a dead person more than half a century ago?

        And what right do the artist's children have to collect new money on the effort of their ancestor? If a company was started and handed down, it's still making money because effort is still being

        • I was using 75 years as an example, not a hard date.

          The other questions are part of the equation I have mentioned as to determining the relevance of copyright; they are not determinative in and of themselves. (One could argue there is incentive to create for economic stability for one's children, for example).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Eric would like you to believe that, "there is no business if everything is for free.", which is not simply true, and not really the issue. In fact, there were a lot of successful artists and art long before copyright ever came along. Copyright is a good thing, but not when it's been corrupted and misused by corporations and non-contributing freeloaders. The real truth is that an artist could do quite well with the seven years of being the sole legal owner of the right of reproduction of their art. The foun

    • by PitaBred (632671)
      He's actually right. There is no business if everything is for free. But nobody is suggesting that everything be free. Only the things that make sense to be free. When the incremental cost of duplication is nothing, then the price should logically be free. Assuming that you understand supply and demand economics. So what you do is you use your free content to entice people to pay for something. Hell... look at all those free flyers in the supermarket... and they cost money to print! This talking about letti
      • That's a fallacious argument, to be sure, that because the cost of duplication is zero, then the price should be free. The way that equation works is that the number of copies approaches infinity, the price of each individual copy approaches zero. But each individual copy is never free, because there is always a) an incidental cost per copy, and b) a cost to create the first copy.

        For your postulate to hold, the incidental cost must be zero, and the original copy must cost nothing to produce. What is really

        • by PitaBred (632671)
          No, it's not a fallacious argument. You just don't understand economics. If the cost of duplication is zero, then there is no way to charge for each incremental copy other than by artificially controlling and distorting the market. Note how I NEVER said that because the PRICE was free that the value was zero. Those are two very different things. The incidental cost has no bearing on the duplication cost. It's a sunk cost, and investment, a write-off, if you will. You use it as the basis, the investment, to
          • No, it's not a fallacious argument. You just don't understand economics. If the cost of duplication is zero, then there is no way to charge for each incremental copy other than by artificially controlling and distorting the market. Note how I NEVER said that because the PRICE was free that the value was zero. Those are two very different things. The incidental cost has no bearing on the duplication cost. It's a sunk cost, and investment, a write-off, if you will. You use it as the basis, the investment, to

            • by PitaBred (632671)
              The copies should be free because the economics work that way. Just like grass should be green. Sure, there are a few exceptions, just like you can sell some copies, but those aren't the rule. You're not an idiot for sinking a cost without expecting a direct return on that product. You're an idiot for sinking a cost with no thought about how you're going to use it to make money. Do you expect to get a return from buying a computer by reselling the parts? Or do you expect a return from the work that the comp
    • by cdrguru (88047)

      Before there was copyright the primary way an artist was "successful" was to have a wealthy patron. Often a king or other noble. The problem was, as Mozart found out, if you do not deliver what your patron wants you stave pennyless and die a tragic, early death. Clearly, art was the domain of the nobel class and no others.

      Sure, there were various minstrels and the odd performing troupe here and there, but I wouldn't call them successful unless you count "not starving to death" as being a success. I'm su

      • The patron system had some advantages, to be sure, but as you point out, it really depended on your patron. If your patron was wealthy and willing to wait, you got some marvelous things, like the Sistine Chapel. The problem is, there are relatively few of those; copyright attempts to extend at least some measure of protection to the entire populace to ensure a much wider spectrum of creators.

        Which is, as I think we agree, why that system went out of style 400 years ago..

        • by e9th (652576)
          400 years ago? Are you saying that Bach, Mozart & Beethoven weren't dependent on patrons?
      • by bentcd (690786)

        I'd say the "new business model" that keeps getting touted is exactly where we were 400 years ago.

        Except that the patron of the 21st century is the public at large or, as an economist might put it, the marketplace. The artist can now have a direct, unfiltered feed directly to his customers rather than go through cumbersome expensive middle men. The only reason an artist may not want this unprecendented power is that someone has been feeding him misinformation about it. No prizes for guessing who that someone might be.

  • Paradox (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nathan s (719490) on Friday June 05, 2009 @03:52PM (#28226793) Homepage

    This content is worth nothing without an audience, and our intention is to make it widely available - but at the right price, a price that rewards the labour of people who are producing those great works.

    I like this line, because it sort of encapsulates the paradox of trying to force your audience to pay for content when they are pretty clearly demonstrating a willingness to either "steal" it or jump to other content that is provided for free if you make it at all expensive or inconvenient for them. Your content has no value without them, but you want to be able to screw them over at the same time, essentially. Seems like a pretty clear case of trying to have your cake and eat it too.

    Now, granted, I'm only an amateur artist/writer/composer, but I am pretty content just to have the audience. As a thousand other small content creators have said on Slashdot in a thousand similar comments before, this notion that people are going to stop creating stuff just because they aren't getting paid for it is demonstrably false. A lot of us do it because it's fun, like fixing motorcycles or watching television is to other people. You can make some sort of argument that the existing system provides "valuable" gatekeeping and quality control if you want, but then you are getting into the murky waters of subjective tastes and preferences, not to mention the vested interest in not having to compete that the "established" artists and composers who are the membership of these societies possess.

    The short of it is that the old business models just won't work anymore and these guys are kicking and screaming on the "artists'" side in the same way that the various publishing/distribution associations are. This guy points out himself that concerts and live broadcasts are still doing pretty well. These are clues about the sort of thing that have actual monetary value now; it will take more experimenting and time before new models are worked out and clear paths are found to monetizing content that does not require some sort of physical presence to experience.

    I don't think anyone actually has all the answers yet. I have some friends who are semi-professional content creators (musicians, mostly) who are grappling with this more directly, and even they don't have all the answers, but they seem to be doing okay performing locally and giving away their recordings essentially as advertising to fill seats at gigs. For my part, I'll just keep making stuff and throwing it online. I figure if the audience gets big enough, I might be able to eventually do it full time, which is enough of a dream for me.

    • by mdmkolbe (944892)

      This content is worth nothing without an audience, and our intention is to make it widely available - but at the right price, a price that rewards the labour of people who are producing those great works.

      Your content has no value without them ...

      Sounds like standard economics to me. The product you sell has no value except by the fact that people are willing to pay for it (i.e. there is demand for it). You want to charge a high enough price to make it worth your while, but also a low enough price to not destroy the demand.

      • by nathan s (719490)
        I realize you're trolling, but to be clear, I didn't say you have to give your content away. I am saying that if it's priced outside of what your audience is willing to spend (something iTunes got right, it seems, while a lot of other people got it wrong) or somehow inconvenient (i.e. DRM), you can't expect them to just fork over the cash when there are a dozen other people itching to take your place in the provider chain and give them content for less.
        • I don't think he was trolling. It really is standard economics. The system will only support the price people are willing to pay, in the form people are willing to pay. But if no one pays, then nothing's likely to be made, as few people are willing to work for free consistently.

          For example, simply because you open a shop selling something doesn't mean that product has an inherent value. Just because you've said your shiny coaster is worth $20 doesn't mean it is. It's only worth $20 if people actually start

    • I think the problem is twofold.

      Firstly, content creation and delivery has gotten much easier in the past 150 years or so. It's possible for someone, in their spare time, to create content and distribute it widely; and because they are doing it in their spare time, they can also afford to distribute it for free and care only for eyeballs.

      That said, however, there is a problem. The amount of time required to become masterfully proficient in something is impressive- on the order of at least 10,000 hours of pra

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nathan s (719490)

        I don't entirely disagree with you. I take no offense at the implication that I lack masterful proficiency at creating art - although this is a separate conversation full of discussion about how much of the work of "polishing" content to make it appear "masterful" - from music to movies - is now done by individuals other than the actual content creators or originators of the ideas. This is another can of worms entirely, albeit a relevant one since it's unclear whether any one person can really be an "expe

  • Manages to contradict himself!

    "It happened with YouTube here in the UK.

    We have a dialog with them to try and understand what they need - because they are very relevant. But based on what I know, when they decided to pull all the UK premium content - despite the PRS not requesting that - that was not helpful. It gives the impression that rights societies are difficult to work with and willing to withdraw works from the public. But nothing could be further from the truth. This content is worth nothing without an audience, and our intention is to make it widely available - but at the right price, a price that rewards the labour of people who are producing those great works."

    and a little further...

    "We need to rely on a mix of understanding licensing terms, and being able to experiment, and if the business has no turnover the rights owners should not subsidize the business by giving the content away for free. If you don't pay your electricity bill you'll get cut off."

    I guess that HE wants the power to turn it off, but doesn't want to let others make the decision. But I just love the direct contradiction.

    And I just love this -- in reference to ISPs and the pricing of broadband:

    "That's another aspect of the destruction of value. If you wanted to price them at fair value you would at least need to be an order of magnitude higher than it is now."

    So, I guess my broadband should be $400 a month, and $360 of that should go to him?

    Wow, just... wow... Unbelievable.

    • They do seem to pick poor analogies to make pro copyright points.

      if you don't pay your electricity bill you'll get cut off

      Yeah.. but they don't need the law to be able to do that. If people stream music then the person streaming the music can cut them off at any time, that would be the right parallel to draw with his analogy. I don't get my electricity taken away for not paying for it.. the supply gets stopped.

      When you use analogies to show an actual comparison between what they want and what normally happens you get something completely different. My current fav

  • by Krneki (1192201)
    In the name of most EU Internet users: Fuck off!

    We will pay for a proper service, not stop wanking and deliver something worth buying. When P2P service is easier and faster to use then yours system, you got a problem.

    I can cry with you if you want, but since the dawn of Internet, piracy was never easier and there is absolutely no reason for this to change, ever. Cry, pray, scream, it ain't gonna work.
  • More hot air ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 05, 2009 @04:30PM (#28227239)

    And it should be transparent. If you're a member of the public and you just want watch a movie or listen to a song, you shouldn't need to be a copyright expert.

    Then why not let people use the media they bought how they wish?

    You shouldn't need to worry how much is going to the society, and how much is going to the real people behind those entities.

    So he wants the content industries to be able to screw the artists without anyone ever finding out?

    It would put together all the world's repertory and enable one society to grant a worldwide license.

    And who gets to set how much does a license costs? Eric? Governments? The UN? The content industries? Whoever does end up setting the costs, it wont be the artists themselves or impartial members of the public.

    If they want to have a global society then do it properly and with realistic limits.

      . Set copyright to 20 years on ALL works.
      . Stop requiring massive licenses for every 15 second piece of media played in a video/movie.
          Maybe something like a standard rate of x% then for each additional piece its 50% more.
      . If the copyright holder is not the person who created it then the copyright ends when they die.
      . If you're going to have a single global society then content companies cant restrict where you buy your media.
          No region codes & no country specific limitations.

    • If the copyright holder is not the person who created it then the copyright ends when they die.

      Like hell. 20 years or when they die, whichever is shorter. Period. Corporations do not need "special" protection.

Our business in life is not to succeed but to continue to fail in high spirits. -- Robert Louis Stevenson

Working...