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Music Your Rights Online

Creative Commons Responds To ASCAP Letter 161

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-wouldn't-like-us-when-we're-angry dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Drew Wilson at ZeroPaid has a followup to the story about ASCAP telling its members that organizations like EFF and Creative Commons are undermining copyright. A spokesperson from Creative Commons said, 'It's very sad that ASCAP is falsely claiming that Creative Commons works to undermine copyright. Creative Commons licenses are copyright licenses — plain and simple, without copyright, these tools don't even work.' He also said, 'Many tens of thousands of musicians, including acts like Nine Inch Nails, the Beastie Boys, David Byrne, Radiohead, and Snoop Dogg, have used Creative Commons licenses to share with the public.' Many ASCAP members are already expressing their disappointment with the ASCAP letter over at Mind the Gap. Sounds like ASCAP will be in damage control for a while."
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Creative Commons Responds To ASCAP Letter

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  • DONATE (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @09:27AM (#32702240)

    Although the focus is on arists of media and music, the implications to the software industry are staggering. Imagine if GPL, CC, APL, and many other licenses were deemed to be invalid as a result of ASCAP and similar lobbying. All that work you and I have put into creating a free software ecosystem are for nought, because some some media execs want to get paid for performances by musicians who didn't sign with them.

    I donated to Creative Commons [creativecommons.org], EFF [eff.org], and FSF [fsf.org] for the first time today. You might not care about the media aspects but our industry absolutely depends on copyleft licenses and creative freedom, so I encourage all of you to do the same.

    • by JamesP (688957)

      Although the focus is on arists of media and music, the implications to the software industry are staggering. Imagine if GPL, CC, APL, and many other licenses were deemed to be invalid as a result of ASCAP and similar lobbying. All that work you and I have put into creating a free software ecosystem are for nought, because some some media execs want to get paid for performances by musicians who didn't sign with them.

      Then expect a huge flood of lawsuits from a multitude of OSS developers towards big users of free software especially those with connection to ASCAP

      It would be a MS wet dream probably, still

    • Re:DONATE (Score:5, Funny)

      by ccandreva (409807) <chris@westnet.com> on Saturday June 26, 2010 @09:32AM (#32702280) Homepage

      The ultimate irony will be if this letter does more to raise funds for EFF and Creative Commons then ASCAP

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If the posts in Boing Boing and Mind the Gap are any indication, they may have hit a nerve within their ranks that might do that.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      The senators from Microsoft and SCO get the above quoted.
      In 24 h its issued to Fox in talking point form.
    • Re:DONATE (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 26, 2010 @10:10AM (#32702500)

      In Czech Republic you actually have to pay OSA (they collect money for music usage) if you want to publish your own work (they actually claim that they will return you 70% of that if you sign with them).

    • Re:DONATE (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 26, 2010 @10:14AM (#32702514)

      I read the letter from ASCAP yesterday, and as far as I can tell they are just trying to keep copyright as is (or possibly make it stronger); it didn't seem like they wanted to invalidate copyleft. As for copyleft, I don't see what the big deal is. If somebody wants to use a restrictive copyright license, fine; if somebody wants to use a permissive copyleft license, fine. The two can (and should) coexist without any issues. If one side doesn't like the other side, tough titties; the artist should have the freedom to do whatever he wants. The only concern is the strength of copyright, which I think we all agree has grown too much; however, that is a separate discussion from copyleft vs copyright.

      • Re:DONATE (Score:5, Informative)

        by dgatwood (11270) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @12:48PM (#32703358) Journal

        I read the letter yesterday as I was getting on a plane to the 75th anniversary celebration for Foster Music Camp. I was not happy. By painting the CC as the enemy, they are supporting the chaos of incompatible one-off licensing for such uses prior to its existence. I wrote them a letter pointing out their mistakes.

        I concluded by saying that I would reconsider my membership if they do not stop these baseless ad hominem attacks on organizations that do so much to improve the rights of authors, content users, and those who license content created by others. I encourage other content creators who feel similarly to do likewise. The only way they'll ever "get it" is if we members keep driving home the point that absolute control of copyright is not in anyone's best interests, including content creators.

      • Re:DONATE (Score:5, Insightful)

        by LordVader717 (888547) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @01:35PM (#32703658)

        Music collection societies are the seediest groups in the copyright industry. They bully and exploit their own members, and fight free culture with all earnest. Thanks to them we have blank media levies, and their members are forced to anti-competitive licensing agreements. They usually have monopoly status in their respective markets, so they wield an incredible amount of power.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Noughmad (1044096)

          Music collection societies are the seediest groups

          I have never thought of torrent seeders as "music collection societies", but I suppose the term is quite fitting.

    • Re:DONATE (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @10:18AM (#32702542) Homepage

      Imagine if GPL, CC, APL, and many other licenses were deemed to be invalid as a result of ASCAP and similar lobbying.

      The ASCAP letter is throwing an awful lot of FUD around, but in essence it comes down to the freedom to engage in legal contracts. Open source and CC licenses are not unconscionable or obfuscated, they're some of the most well analyzed and straight forward IP licensing agreements there are. They're generally given as a voluntary offer, and are in no way coercive or presenting you with terms after the fact like an EULA. Those who agree to these terms are generally professionals who have to deal with IP laws in their general line of business. In short, those that agree to the terms have no reason to cry foul.

      If there's one thing that would be un-American, it's to limit what people can agree to. Compared to us here in Europe I'm surprised at how poorly consumers can be treated and how easily companies can get rid of problematic customers who things they don't like, for example using the advertised bandwidth. Why? Because you're free to enter almost any contract short of slavery, no matter how poor it is for you and how unequal the parties are. To seriously reach at the heart of open source and the creative commons, they would have to impose a whole new doctrine of only allowing contracts that are good for the country or the economy or whatever. It's as unlikely as snowball fights between flying pigs.

      • Re:DONATE (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @10:23AM (#32702562) Homepage

        ASCAP is built on lies and bullying. How many small businesses have been put out of business because of ASCAP and BMI coming in and fining them tens of thousands of dollars because they had an FM radio playing for the customers.

        Yes, If your business has an FM radio playing then you are a DIRTY STINKING MUSIC THIEF and you must be punished.

        This is how scumbaggy ASCAP is. Every person alive should hate and despise them.

        • Re:DONATE (Score:4, Informative)

          by rjlieb (1714418) * on Saturday June 26, 2010 @11:22AM (#32702882)
          I don't agree with what ASCAP is doing in this case. But, the information in the post above is simply wrong. Based on the information found here (http://www.ascap.com/licensing/licensingfaq.html), only businesses greater than 2.000 sq ft and more than 6 speakers installed need to worry about a license.
          • Re:DONATE (Score:4, Informative)

            by WCguru42 (1268530) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @12:07PM (#32703118)

            I don't agree with what ASCAP is doing in this case. But, the information in the post above is simply wrong.

            Based on the information found here (http://www.ascap.com/licensing/licensingfaq.html), only businesses greater than 2.000 sq ft and more than 6 speakers installed need to worry about a license.

            2,000 sq ft is not as big as you think it is. And it's not hard to get up to six speakers, hell, most boom boxes are pushing that now, especially if you consider the woofer and tweeter as separate components on the same mold.

            • by AtariKee (455870)
              Where I work (a new bar & grill that opened a month ago) received an ASCAP letter during the remodeling of the building, reminding us that we have fees to pay if we are to broadcast music. The letter was VERY vague with regards to the SOURCE of the music. We had a local amusements operator install a fully-licensed (by them) jukebox, and we also had Sirius installed as well. We now await the followup letter from ASCAP so that we can conveniently tell them to go fuck themselves.
              • by X0563511 (793323)

                Unfortunately both the amusements operator and Sirius have already paid there share to ASCAP. All you did is shift the bullshit onto someone else.

                • Re:DONATE (Score:5, Informative)

                  by bennomatic (691188) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @02:44PM (#32704118) Homepage
                  Not only that, but ASCAP may come asking for a triple-payment. They may assume that the owners don't understand that fees have already been paid twice.

                  In fact, I'm not certain of the rules myself; it's my understanding that even if the source is a regular broadcast radio--and those stations have most certainly paid to play the music--businesses are still "required" to pay ASCAP fees.

                  Funny thing is that once upon a time, ASCAP was the artist's friend. Folks like Little Richard had their music stolen and used for profit by mega-moguls like Disney and others, and didn't see a cent of it. ASCAP was built to protect against that, and it's slowly devolved into a group of thugs that go after Girl Scouts doing public performances of the Macarena dance.
                  • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                    by Anonymous Coward

                    Well, ASCAP wasn't the friend of every artist. There were some race and class issues that led to the creation of competitor BMI in 1939, who licensed a good deal of R&B artists that ASCAP didn't touch.

              • by jesset77 (759149)

                "You're getting brutal, Sark. Brutal and needlessly sadistic."
                "Thank you, Master Control"
                -Sark and the MCP

                Bwahaha, probably the best thing about this quote is that it's just David Warner talking to himself. EPIC!

            • Re:DONATE (Score:4, Interesting)

              by NekSnappa (803141) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @03:33PM (#32704458)

              A local singer that I play bass for on occasion was scheduled to play his own music at an antique store around Christmas last year.

              The gig was advertised in local media, and websites. Two weeks prior the antique store was shaken down by BMI/ASCAP for a ridiculous amount. I don't recall how much at present, but seem to recall it being in the neighborhood of $1000.

              This is a small shop in the square of the county seat in a rural area, and they want all this money for one of their own members to play his own music in a friends store.

              Asshats!

          • Re:DONATE (Score:5, Insightful)

            by WNight (23683) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @12:20PM (#32703176) Homepage

            Yeah that makes sense, penalize a lumber yard and ignore a small store.

            No, it's monopoly abusing, rent-seeking behavior. When we pass laws making shit into property we get do-nothings seeking to exploit it. They'll happily sit by while their shit is shoved onto the airwaves and then penalize anyone who decodes it.

          • by N0Man74 (1620447) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @12:34PM (#32703266)

            Do realize that 2,000 sq ft is less even a 45 x 45 feet? The company I work for has a warehouse that big, which is about half our total size. We're a pretty small business, with usually about a dozen employees (or less). And 6 speaker? That's not hard to reach... Some PCs have more than that these days.

            I'm not sure if it's your understanding of the word "only" or the measure of "2,000 sq ft" that is faulty here.

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by rjlieb (1714418) *

              Okay, I get it. I really didn't want to sound as if I was defending ASCAP. The post I responded to said that a small business owner could be fined tens of thousands of dollars and be put out of business by turning on a portable radio behind the counter. That simply isn't true.

              There are plenty of bad things that ASCAP does that I don't think we need to resort to exaggerations like that.

              • Thus, portabe radios are ok. You need a microsystem to get in trouble.
              • by Lumpy (12016)

                The post I responded to said that a small business owner could be fined tens of thousands of dollars and be put out of business by turning on a portable radio behind the counter.

                No it did not. You ASSUMED that.

        • OTA Broadcast radio is fine as long as the content is unchanged. It's playing records at a volume louder than adequate for that employee's enjoyment that is what they'd go after you for.
          • by catman (1412)
            Our version of ASCAP - TONO - wanted businesses to pay a fee for every company PC that was equipped with a sound card ... all they got was "see figure 1".
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by djdanlib (732853)

          As easy as it is to "hate the man" in potential ugly situations like that, I've never heard of that scenario where a small business was put out of business by ASCAP + BMI fines, so feel free to cite some sources on that one.

          However, as a part time DJ, I am aware of the licensing fees and obligations on the part of both the DJ and the establishment. It's expensive to deal with them.

          And as a friend of lots of musicians, I am aware of the royalty fees that ASCAP can bring in to its members.

          It's kind of a love/

      • by Kirijini (214824)

        The ASCAP letter is throwing an awful lot of FUD around, but in essence it comes down to the freedom to engage in legal contracts. ...To seriously reach at the heart of open source and the creative commons, they would have to impose a whole new doctrine of only allowing contracts that are good for the country or the economy or whatever. It's as unlikely as snowball fights between flying pigs.

        I see what you're getting at, but I think there's actually a really easy (as in, technically easy - definitely not legislatively easy) way for ASCAP to get what it wants. And get what it wants in a big way. And without really abridging people's contracting rights.

        ASCAP could totally kill open licensing by requiring all licenses and transfer of copyright to be exclusive. I.e., no more nonexclusive licenses.

        That's probably way too radical to ever happen, but a similar result could be obtained by tweaking s

        • So all of a sudden ASCAP owns 60 senators and 50%+1 representatives? I know they lobby, but I didn't think they lobbied that much... Or are you suggesting another 1976 copyright act fiasco (in which a person authorized to spellcheck the law (and nothing else) added the "audio recordings are works for hire [and belong to the record labels]" language to the act behind everyone's backs, and was then hired as a high-payed lobbyist by the RIAA)?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Kirijini (214824)

            What you're talking about is the technical amendment to the 1976 Copyright Act that was passed in the Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999 - specifically, in Public Law Number 106-113, app. I, sec. 5005 (which can be found here [gpo.gov], but you'll have to search for "sound recording" - it's near the bottom). Semi-contemporary coverage of this can be found here [salon.com]. The legal ramifications of that attempt at stealth-legislation are discussed in David Nimmer's Sound Recordings, Works for Hire, and the Terminat [ssrn.com]

      • Re:DONATE (Score:4, Insightful)

        by HiThere (15173) <{ten.knilhtrae} {ta} {nsxihselrahc}> on Saturday June 26, 2010 @04:32PM (#32704854)

        I wish I believed you, but they own both of my senators body and soul. If they told my senators to vote to ban the use of the word small, they would. Or to vote that up was down.

        These people (ASCAP, MPAA, RIAA, etc.) are vicious parasites on society who should be bankrupted immediately. Actually, I feel they deserve worse, but making that legally possible would probably entail handing even more power to the feds. If the old institution of outlawry were still on the books, I would suggest that for every director and every member of management of those institutions. Possible with a sizable reward for each of them. Say, whatever they asked for in their last baseless copyright infringement lawsuit. Or possibly the one they filed against the person who'd been dead for years. (I should look that up, but it's not significant.) But I don't think "Dead or alive" is appropriate. Just have their heads brought in.

        (You may gather that I do not like the organizations. I've been boycotting them for around a decade now.)

    • Your EFF donation link is broken. Instead, use this link [eff.org]. I am a bit worried that I was the first to point this out...
    • by pugugly (152978)

      Just as a useful tip: I, personally, am lazy and cheap.

      My bank has the usual pay bill options set-up - eminently useful for making sure credit cards and so on get paid on time, but more importantly, you can *also* have it send to an address.

      Set-up your addresses to include whatever charity you want, and they will happily send $5 a month to whoever you feel needs it, and if you are *really* so tight the $5 makes a difference that month, you can skip it without guilt. I haven't *promised* anything, I just hap

  • by http (589131) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @09:45AM (#32702370) Homepage Journal
    Dear ASCAP,
    Please don't spread lies. The people behind EFF, CC, PK et alia, are smarter than you, and easily ruffled by people getting the facts wrong.
    You're in for a schooling.
    http
  • I just can't help but laugh at the complete lack of understanding of what Copyleft really is. Here's my stuff, you may quote it, keep a copy for yourself, pass copies along to your friends, but include attribution to the source. What the heck is so damned difficult to understand?

    • by X0563511 (793323) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @01:38PM (#32703672) Homepage Journal

      The part where no money is taken/received, apparently. The people in charge of this mess are scrooges. They subscribe to a very bad form of morals:

      1. If it results in profit, it is moral.
      2. If it does not result in profit or loss, it is pointless (or immoral)
      3. If it results in loss, it is immoral

      I forget the name of this system, but it's a real system that sociologists study. I think you could substitute profit for gain, as profit is a subset of gain.

      Honestly, I wish such people would wise up or die in a fire.

      • by Tellarin (444097)

        I'd rather have them die in a fire. Especially if it's one that will get them nominated to the Darwin Award. :)

    • by HiThere (15173)

      You're assuming they're being honest. Why do you doubt that they understand what it says? They're pretending it says something it doesn't say because it strengthens their case, and makes it palatable to the ignorant and uncaring.

      To say that they are shysters is to defame shysters. To say that they are liars is to defame most liars. They don't give a rat's ass about honesty or truth. They're counting on political pull. This may be enough, because they've got lots of political pull. Any politician runn

    • by spitzak (4019)

      I am wondering more if this is in fact an attempt to get the term "Copy Left" redefined in public perception to mean "The Pirate Party". One of the letter writers in this page:

      http://www.artsjournal.com/gap/2010/06/the-right-balance-on-copying.html# [artsjournal.com]
      (search for Sarah Baird Knight)

      Seems to be actively trying to redefine the two sides in the argument as the terms "Copy Right" and "Copy Left" to be what I think most people would call "The RIAA,etc" and "The Pirate Party". This is despite many responses from mus

  • by Apple Acolyte (517892) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @09:49AM (#32702398)
    With ACTA looming and governments already planning how to implement it, it seems that unless something else completely disruptive occurs there will be a battle over two competing rights models: individual rights versus copyrights (and other intellectual property rights). I respect intellectual property - to an extent. I believe in copyrights that help spur creativity in arts and sciences, but the original plan for copyrights as endorsed by the US Constitution was for them to grant limited time monopolies to creators. That model has been rejected because of the special interest corruption from multi-national corporations, and now the media cartels are working to make the federal government their handmaiden and servant on the Internet. If you haven't read it yet, the current draft of ACTA calls for action against copyright offenders at the inchoate stage, before the infringement has even been committed. It calls for the creation of an "impending infringer" task-force with a broad mandate to prevent copyright infringement that hasn't even taken place yet. Media reports are claiming that under ACTA it may become illegal to search for the keywords "Metallica album download," even if no infringing material is downloaded. If true, it would destroy the Internet as we know it, and we also know that once government gets its "nose under the tent" that will be just the beginning of its regulatory and enforcement regime. So, as I said before, while I have limited respect for intellectual property and believe it is morally wrong to enjoy another's work by copying it without approval, I believe in individual rights over copyrights. And moreover, I believe in maintaining a relatively free Internet with a certain level of copyright infringement going on if the alternative is clamping down on freedom online in a draconian way to discourage infringement. As the New Deal, the War on Poverty/Great Society, War on Drugs (and some may also argue the War on Terror) have shown us, the government cure to what ails society is usually far worse than the disease.
    • by copponex (13876) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @10:32AM (#32702606) Homepage

      As the New Deal, the War on Poverty/Great Society, War on Drugs (and some may also argue the War on Terror) have shown us, the government cure to what ails society is usually far worse than the disease.

      Just one point: don't confuse bad governance with government. The reason ACTA is being passed is because the public at large is failing to do anything meaningful about it. Yeah, the media is shilling for corporate interests. But you decided to play a video game instead of doing anything about it. Instead of organizing your government, you went shopping or watched another hour of tv.

      Piss and moan all you want, but anyone living in a democracy needs only a mirror to see who to blame.

      • by kent_eh (543303) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @02:40PM (#32704086)

        Just one point: don't confuse bad governance with government. The reason ACTA is being passed is because the public at large is failing to do anything meaningful about it.

        It's hard to get people motivated about something that is being actively hidden from them.

        Citizen: "ACTA is bad. Please Mr. Politician, stop it"
        Politician: "which specific parts of ACTA are you talking about. Plese quote me chapter and verse"
        Citizen: "But you won't let me see it. You won't even acknowledge it exists"
        Politician: "So you have no idea what you're talking about.. Good day sir. Don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Part of the hardcore faithful who believed in Apple long before it was cool again to do so

      OT, but the Apple that I once believed in published their schematics and firmware source listings in the back of their reference manuals. I don't know what rough beast slouches around One Infinite Loop these days, but it's not Apple anymore.

      • That Apple died a very long time ago - some time around 1984. Then there was NeXT, which aimed to create the perfect computer (or, at least, the closest approximation possible with the technology that existed at the time) and came pretty close. This company wasn't known for its openness (see the history of GNU Objective-C), but was known for producing technology that was far better than anything their competitors were shipping. When the old Apple started to decay, they tried to trap the spirit of NeXT in
  • by jetole (1242490) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @09:53AM (#32702422)
    While the spokesperson for creative commons may or may not be right, I would like to know that tens of thousands is an accurate number and where he got it from. I hope he is right but I am skeptical that this is a real figure. I know all the artists he mentioned have used creative commons ("including acts like Nine Inch Nails, the Beastie Boys, David Byrne, Radiohead, and Snoop Dogg"). In fact Nine Inch Nails is my favorite band and I was excited when Trent Reznor made that decision for Nine Inch Nails and it's being followed through with his new band How To Destroy Angels (lead by his wife Mariqueen Maandig). I felt these were strong acts in supporting Creative Commons which has served me and many others very well in our business and personal lives. None the less, can someone please point me to a site, registry, document or anything that says tens of thousands of musicians in a reputable manner as the spokesperson has claimed?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 26, 2010 @10:46AM (#32702668)

      Off the top of my head, you've got all the artists on the newgrounds audio portal, as well as artists on soundclick, mp3.com, last.fm, jamendo, and loads of smaller niche portals like them.

      If you don't limit it to just musicians, then you've also got Youtube (obviously), Deviantart, most webzines (such as slashdot itself, and arstechnica), a lot of the projects on moddb, not to mention thousands of independents on services like livejournal and blogspot. CC is a *huge* part of the internet and its culture, and it's worrying that someone like ASCAP can even consider attacking it. The only way you could realistically fight a CC license would be to radically redefine copyright law - and I'm pretty sure that if someone tried that, the approach would also kill off the Apache license, the GPL, , or even just the busker on the street corner trying to give out demo tapes. Even broadcast TV could go down the pan - after all, you receive it on an implied license. End result? Essentially, a complete shutdown of the internet and culture as we know it.

      Not a world I want to be a part of. Thankfully, I don't think ASCAP can affect copyright legislation in the UK and Europe, and the EC seems sane enough not to let something like this happen.

  • Subtle distinction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gilroy (155262) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @10:25AM (#32702576) Homepage Journal

    ASCAP is (almost) correct. While copyleft doesn't undermine copyright, it does undermine the copyright cartel. If artists begin to license worthwhile, popular, and (monetarily) successful works under copyleft -- if artists succeed while granting people more rights than they, strictly, have to -- then consumers might begin to wonder why more artists -- and big companies -- don't do that. Using copyleft could become a competitive advantage. And then how will Big Music justify restricting users?

    If the sheep wake up, the whole industry -- as currently organized -- falls apart. And that's what ASCAP is worried about.

    • Using copyleft could become a competitive advantage

      I very much doubt that.

      Music doesn't become popular because it's free to use or anything like that. It becomes popular because it's "catchy", and catchy has nothing to do with cost.

      • by DinDaddy (1168147)

        Not nothing. Free music can be spread (caught) more easily. So if you have alternative mechanisms to monetize in place (concert tour for example), you may reap more profit from free music than non-free music.

        • Music is sort of built in. If we like it, it will spread. Even if we hate a piece of music, it will hang on forever if it's catchy.

          See "Around the World" by Daft Punk and "Macarena" by Los del Río as examples.

      • by Xtifr (1323) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @03:11PM (#32704328) Homepage

        Music doesn't become popular because it's free to use or anything like that. It becomes popular because it's "catchy".

        Catchy music is a dime a dozen. Music doesn't become popular because it's catchy (although not being catchy can hinder its popularity). Music becomes popular because it's promoted, normally by large companies with plenty of money to throw around, who promote it in return for a (generally obscenely large) share of the profit.

        Releasing (some of) your music for free is a form of promotion! It may be a lot less effective than a massive media blitz and payola, but if you can't persuade (or don't want) the big companies to buy your soul in return for some more traditional promotion, it may be one of the most effective forms of self-promotion available to you. So yes, copyleft could become a competitive advantage. Not only does it increase your exposure by providing a broader potential audience, it also increases good will, making it more likely that people will think you're the kind of artist they want to support.

        Here's an exercise for you: two bands, both play fairly similar music, so they're competing for the same audience. Both have a modest audience that likes them about equally. Then one begins releasing some of its music for free. Which one is likely to start growing its audience?

        Here's another exercise. Two musicians who refuse to leave their parent's basement. One posts his music on the Internet, the other one is only ever heard by his parents and his cat. Which one is likely to find some fans?

        Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go serenade the cat. :)

  • by TwineLogic (1679802) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @10:36AM (#32702626)
    Boycott ASCAP members. Email your favorite ASCAP artist and let them know why.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by manicpop (1342057)
      The e-mail could go something like this: "You're one of my favorite artists and I love your work! Now I won't be supporting you because of the position your performance rights organization has taken. I hope you can continue to create wonderful music without my financial support, not that I'll be enjoying them." I'm all for copyright reform, and I abhor the positions of groups like ASCAP and the RIAA, but I don't think boycotting the artists is the right step to take. For example, let's you love a great
  • by RobertLTux (260313) <robert@laurencemartin. o r g> on Saturday June 26, 2010 @10:43AM (#32702644)

    1 copyLEFT needs copyRIGHT to actually "work" (you go on the hook for copyright violations if you break a copyleft license)

    2 This "Brilliant" act by ASCAP gives the Copyleft folks something they can always use
      A COMMON ENEMY

  • by drfireman (101623) <dan@NOspam.kimberg.com> on Saturday June 26, 2010 @11:01AM (#32702764) Homepage

    How about this instead:

    Hey, ASCAP, why do you think you should have the right to do what you want with your stuff but we shouldn't have the right to do what we want with ours? If you don't like Creative Commons licenses, don't use them. Don't tell us what licenses to use for our works. They're our works, not yours. That's what copyright means.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by toriver (11308)

      Or

      "To improve our understanding, please identify the class of organization the ASCAP belongs to:

      A: Protection Racket (mafia)
      B: Guild (trade monopoly)

      Awaiting your reply."

    • You forgot something: a big, fat "fuck you, assholes!"
  • by David Gerard (12369) <slashdotNO@SPAMdavidgerard.co.uk> on Saturday June 26, 2010 @11:08AM (#32702790) Homepage

    ASCAP's aim in the original letter was to stop people releasing their own works under copyleft licences. This would effectively ban Wikipedia, the entire text of which is CC-by-sa. Does ASCAP really want that particular fight? (I've already suggested on foundation-l that WMF respond to this issue.)

    • I'm sure I'll get modded down for saying this, but I'm not too sure I want Wikipedia brought up as the shining example of Open Source licensing. People had been contributing under the GFDL, only to have Wikipedia and GNU work together to subvert that and convert everything to the Creative Commons license. Agree with the license change or not (I personally do, I believe CC is a better fit!), the way they did it was still pretty fucked up.

      • You'd only be modded down for being stupidly wrong and hitting your head on every step. The licence was GFDL 1.2 Or Later, the man who determines what "Or Later" means is RMS, RMS was all for the change.

        Bluntly: if you didn't want your changes released under "GFDL 1.2 Or Later", why the fuck did you add them?

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Tell me what legal right Wikipedia even has to change licensing in such a manner. I licensed my contributions to them under the GFDL, not CC.

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      If that's true, this page [wikipedia.org] could become interesting.
  • It has nothing to do with copyright principles or any clever agenda.

    Copyleft cuts ASCAP style enforcers out of the money loop. Plain and simple, it hits them where it hurts: the business model. The letter is just FUD to scare up lobby money - though anything they could accomplish that would effectively halt copyleft licensing would be damaging to the US IT industry.

  • by kimvette (919543) on Saturday June 26, 2010 @06:30PM (#32705602) Homepage Journal

    Uh, No ASCAP, RIAA, MPAAA, and BSA. If you read the Constitution of the United States of America, you will instantly recognize that the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act undermines Copyright.

    What is the purpose of copyright? To encourage artists to create more useful arts which after a limited monopoly turn over to the public domain.

    By encouraging creative commons and similar licensing schemes, the original intent of Copyright as defined in the Constitution is actually being fulfilled.

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