Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

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Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by MarkOne »

I watched Adam Neely's newest video this morning, pointing out some of the more absurd aspects of copyright as it stands today.

I don't agree with everything he says, but as always his video is well researched and well presented.

I'd love to hear some of your takes on this,

It's here
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Personally I think our copyright laws, particularly around music, are desperately due for a complete overhaul.
A lot of this comes down to what you think copyright is actually for. Because if you look at things like the Statute of Anne or the US constitution it's clear that a lot of people are starting from a false assumption.
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by sonics »

Thanks for the link. It was an interesting watch, but equally annoying for me.

The copyright system does not serve modern music at all well; technology has made things so much more complicated. I really can't see how his suggestion of a citation-based system would work.

If a new system were to impoverish any wealthy royalty recipients, how would it be made law?
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by MarkOne »

While I think Adam covers the problems really well, I too think the citation solution doesn’t work.

It probably does for him as a Barclay educated jazz musician and musicologist, Jazz players live by their ability to know and quote thousands of melodies, and their associated chord progressions. But as a mostly self educated musician, who finds things that work while noodling I would have no idea if I’m really being original or just happened to dredge up a memory of something from long ago.

I suspect I’m not alone.
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by worshiptuned »

sonics wrote: Sat Nov 12, 2022 9:05 pm If a new system were to impoverish any wealthy royalty recipients, how would it be made law?

I see copyright as one part of the issue, but not the main one. You are right, the main thing is that royalties are also paid fairly for small artists and not just insignificant amounts for streaming. We should find an international form of copyright-royalty collection that is simple and effective and force the web giants to pay a fair price.
And the problem of old songs and music quotes is true. Perhaps one could anticipate the moment when compositions become public domain.
My brother who is a jazz musician jokingly says to me: give me a couple of your song titles I'll put them in the set list of my concert tonight, instead of giving the money to Duke Ellington :lol:
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Drew Stephenson »

I agree with MarkOne. I'd struggle to make a citation other than 'the last 60 years of pop music'.
It's clear that he's much more aligned to the 'labour' idea of copyright so it's not surprising that his solution embodies that.
I think there is more value to be gained firstly by a wholesale reworking of the copyright system within its current form.

But either way I think it's good to have more discussion about the subject.
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Drew Stephenson »

worshiptuned wrote: Sun Nov 13, 2022 3:12 pm I see copyright as one part of the issue, but not the main one. You are right, the main thing is that royalties are also paid fairly for small artists and not just insignificant amounts for streaming. We should find an international form of copyright-royalty collection that is simple and effective and force the web giants to pay a fair price.

If, for example, copyright terms were reduced to their original length of 14 years with the option to extend to 28, then these 'web giants'* wouldn't need to pay out on the older portion of the catalogue so a much higher rate could go to artists currently producing music.

But, as sonics suggests, such a reform would never get past the vested interests and their lobby groups. At least I think that's what they're suggesting.

* Youtube is really the only web giant in this space. Spotify's market cap is less than half of Universal Music's for example. Deezer and Tidal are way, way smaller.
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by MarkOne »

I think what I find amazing, is Juries are being asked to adjudicate on cases based on a transcription of a song (almost certainly transcribed by someone, who wasn’t the songwriter) and to decide if transcription a is the same as transcription b.

All while almost certainly not being able to read music themselves.
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Cybernetic Noise Machine »

I haven't watched the video, but the short version is copyright has been purposely set in a state of confusion by corporate greed. The rules revolved around it makes people believe nothing can be used by anyone ever.
Things that are supposed to be in public domain are just not showing up. The original copyright material has a time limit and after that expires everyone is allowed to use it, any remake extends the copyright, but people believe that the original still can't be used when in fact it can. You just can't use the new version. [digital remastering, etc...]
There is also transformative use and for example you can copy, say, an entire drumbeat from any copyright protected song, make your own version of it and create a new song around it.
If the corporate world had it their way, you would have to pay royalties for using a drum beat that was played in 4/4 time, or not be able to use any cord progressions previously used. This of course is absurd, but I'm using it as an example to explain transformative use.
It's like the difference between saying you are influenced by certain music artists, vs I create music from stealing from certain music artists.
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Sam Spoons »

AIUI chord progressions and rhythms (or drum beats) cannot be copyright only melodies and lyrics. Samples are another matter as they fall under mechanical copyright rather than IP so you can't use a 'funky drummer' sample but you are at liberty to play it yourself.
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by RichardT »

Sam Spoons wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 9:58 pm AIUI chord progressions and rhythms (or drum beats) cannot be copyright only melodies and lyrics. Samples are another matter as they fall under mechanical copyright rather than IP so you can't use a 'funky drummer' sample but you are at liberty to play it yourself.

That was traditionally how it seemed to work, but some recent cases have changed that. It now seems that copying a style or feel can land you with a copyright violation. Nobody really knows what’s safe anymore.
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Sam Spoons »

Utter madness :headbang: (not that I'me likely to have a problem given my lack of creative output...)
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Drew Stephenson »

RichardT wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 11:08 pm
Sam Spoons wrote: Fri Jan 20, 2023 9:58 pm AIUI chord progressions and rhythms (or drum beats) cannot be copyright only melodies and lyrics. Samples are another matter as they fall under mechanical copyright rather than IP so you can't use a 'funky drummer' sample but you are at liberty to play it yourself.

That was traditionally how it seemed to work, but some recent cases have changed that. It now seems that copying a style or feel can land you with a copyright violation. Nobody really knows what’s safe anymore.

Blurred Lines Decision, I'm looking at you. :evil:
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Folderol »

This sort of thing just encourages people to not even try to 'do the right thing' (tm) and just wing it - which benefits nobody in the long run :(
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Drew Stephenson »

It's also legally nonsense. The law is really specific about what is covered by copyright and none of the factors in the Blurred Lines case met those requirements. That court unilaterally decided that copyright covers something that's not set out in law and I really can't understand why it wasn't appealed further.
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by N i g e l »

As an aside - when reading modern manuals, even the bit at the front forbidding use near a swimming pool, Ive noticed a new copyright clause in digital synthy gear..

I presume this is meant to stop sample pack creators from copying the sounds directly over the USB audio.

for e.g.

Image
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Yep, it's basically saying you're free to use the samples in your own composition but you can't copy them all an repackage it as a sample set for sale.
Which seems pretty fair really. :D
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by N i g e l »

well yeah, fair enough, its just that it had never occured to me before..... Even though my DAW was once under the control of Roland and had some authentic 808 etc sounds in the bundled GM synth...There might have been some legal blurb around that but I might have not got around to reading it :o
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Sam Spoons »

This just turned up on my facebook newsfeed https://www.facebook.com/annegabrieledo ... 500551026/

For those not on fb here is the text of the post :-

Anne- Gabrièle Douce Pianist Bassist

16 different labels are claiming my BACH’s practice video for copyright infringement..
This is getting ridiculous! I am tempted to stop posting again Bach or Beethoven pieces for a while as I am getting tired to have to dispute the claims and then wait for ages for them to reply.. It took them 6 months to resolve my dispute for a Beethoven’s practice video.
These composers are public domain. NO ONE owns Bach or Beethoven music's rights. This is MY playing and .. full of mistakes.. This was supposed to be the first video from a series showing the evolution of a piece with practice.. It will apparently be the last one as well..
They have to change the copyright algorithm for classical music. Because they might end up cancelling amazing composers as Bach and Beethoven if we hesitate playing them for this reason..
UPDATE: Already 2 majors (UMG and Redeye Dsitribution) labels lifted the restrictions on the video. 1 other label just claimed the video again.. So there are still 15 labels pretending owning Bach.. And I can't dispute anymore the claims.. The app blocked this option for this video. This is outrageous..
I am deleting the video now as it makes me sick to think that the money from the views on my page ( certainly just few dollars) is going to these labels. You can still watch it on my IG account.
REUPDATE: Sony refused the dispute and so now it's removed in many countries on IG.. Also, my new Albeniz video ( practice again.. me playing. ) is also claimed by 9 labels... What can we do..? 🥲
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Drew Stephenson »

There are so many compounding problems here I'm not surprised she's having no luck.
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by merlyn »

I doubt the labels sit monitoring every video that's uploaded. I would think it's an artificial stupidity algorithm that's flagged this up.
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Sam Spoons »

Undoubtedly but Sony have rejected her appeal despite there being no valid reason to do so :headbang:

I wonder if anybody on here has had similar issues with 'out of copyright' classical pieces?
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Sam Spoons wrote: Wed Feb 01, 2023 4:15 pm Undoubtedly but Sony have rejected her appeal despite there being no valid reason to do so :headbang:

I suspect the flow is something like this:
- Sony outsources copyright enforcement to third party and provides them with a list of pieces covered.
- 3rd party's bot tags the video and sends automated DMCA.
- Youtube bot matches a couple of data points (possibly text only) and implements demonetisation / copyright strike.
- User appeals.
- Appeal is automatically passed back to Sony (or third party). Same matching process as triggered the initial report is performed again. Same result. Appeal is rejected.
- User either has to suck it up or try to get an actual human at Youtube to consider the case.

16 times.

It's bots all the way down.

:headbang:

A key question would be whether the list of protected property from Sony specified the rights to both recording and composition. And subsequently does the 3rd party make any such distinction with their own software.
I suspect the problem is more likely at the 3rd party end.

Theoretically there are punishments for raising false DMCA reports (they are, technically, a legally binding document after all) but I'm not aware of any major label content producer ever receiving any kind of rebuke.
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Sam Spoons »

I had assumed it was an automated system that is to blame and it can only be that it thinks a mechanical copyright (i.e. a recording) that is being, supposedly, infringed... Must be massively frustrating though...
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Drew Stephenson »

Indeed, a cascade of bots and a collective shrugging of responsibility.
Copyright has long drifted from its original purpose.
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by merlyn »

Corporations abusing a lack of regulation? How surprising. In this anecdotal example it seems Sony can do what they like.

'Absurd' is maybe overly polite. 'Corrupt' may be nearer the truth. Sony get away with anything because they've given Google a bung. All perfectly legal, you understand. Sony spend a lot on buying advertising from Google, and Google let them do what they like.

Logically this Bach example doesn't make sense. If there were fifteen labels claiming ownership, why aren't those labels making claims against each other?
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Drew Stephenson »

merlyn wrote: Thu Feb 02, 2023 1:27 pmIf there were fifteen labels claiming ownership, why aren't those labels making claims against each other?

I'm assuming this is a rhetorical question, but for anyone not familiar who's reading along: issuing a DMCA take down is a deliberately simple process (so often automated) that has very small consequences for making an incorrect declaration (which are very, very rarely enforced), and can be targeted directly at end users who will rarely have the influence or resources to challenge it.
Challenging the copyright ownership of another organisation means lawyers and evidence and actual effort. And the consequences of perjury are much more significant.
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by merlyn »

Wrapping it in jargon doesn't make any more sense of this. You seem to be operating under the delusion that there is anything reasonable about this system. We're well beyond that. Who said anything about DMCAs? This is Youtube's internal copyright check.
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by Drew Stephenson »

To be clear, I'm not defending anything here, just explaining the likely process.
I don't think there's much of anything reasonable about our current copyright laws.
It's not clear from the original post whether it's DMCA or ContentID related, but the fact that there are multiple claims make it more likely to be the former rather than the latter. As far as I'm aware ContentID works on a 1:1 basis with any subsequent splits being down to the registered agent to settle. They might have updated this but not in the way that's being shown here.
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Re: Copyright absurdity - An interesting perspective

Post by merlyn »

First of all the salient fact here is that Bach is public domain. In case you missed it -- Bach is public domain.

blinddrew wrote: Thu Feb 02, 2023 5:02 pm To be clear, I'm not defending anything here, just explaining the likely process.

You do seem to be making excuses, like :

blinddrew wrote: Wed Feb 01, 2023 8:55 pm ... a cascade of bots and a collective shrugging of responsibility ...

You make it sound like an accident. There is bad intent here, on the part of Sony and fourteen other labels, facilitated by Google. The bad intent is to profit from claiming copyright on public domain music.

blinddrew wrote:I don't think there's much of anything reasonable about our current copyright laws.

The unfortunate fact here is that even though the law is massively tilted in favour of corporations, they still want more. They're not sticking to the law by trying to claim on public domain music.

blinddrew wrote:It's not clear from the original post whether it's DMCA or ContentID related, but the fact that there are multiple claims make it more likely to be the former rather than the latter.

Google's algorithm can pick up cover versions, so I'm not sure what you're talking about there.

Cui bono -- who benefits? or in the modern world -- follow the money.
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