Sunday, April 30, 2017

"Exploit The Work Of Others And Don't Pay Them"

This author does not recommend it... but it is, arguably, why the "P.F.A G.S." companies are making a financial killing... and Wall Street rewards them.

Will politicians continue to reward, encourage, and protect the "permissionless innovators", too?  HR 1695 passed in the House of Representatives, but passage in the Senate may not be easy.

HR 1695 addresses the question, "Should the Librarian of Congress (whose job description does not include a requirement for any kind of sympathy for copyright owners or any experience with copyright law) be the boss of the Register of Copyrights and The Copyright Office?"

Maybe about as much as a bean counter should be in charge of quality... or a proverbial fox should be in charge of the hen house.

Music Tech Policy's Chris Castle opines on the politics of librarians.

So does The Trichordist, with comments

As the Authors Guild points out in a recent article, the interests of Librarians and Copyright Owners are not the same. Librarians wish to disseminate as much information and entertainment as possible to the maximum audience, at the least possible cost.  OTOH, Copyright owners are enormously encouraged and incentivized if they are paid.

To digress on the topic of being paid, or of being *not paid*, read the Eccentric Eclectic, who quotes Karen Springen's estimate that in 2014, over $80,000,000 per year is lost to ebook piracy (and illegal file sharing)

For a balanced view on *not being paid* check out the vigorous debate in the comments section of:

(This author uses "balanced" with tongue in cheek.)

In case you are wondering, "P.F.A.G.S." are Pandora, Facebook, Amazon, Google, Spotify. The order of their initials is dicated entirely by a requirement that the acronym can be pronounced.

Chris Castle explains the abuse of "address unknown" compulsory license filings, what the loophole is, and five ways it could be plugged:  (Initially, I used "scandal" but changed it to "abuse", because something is only a scandal if a lot of people are talking about it.)

These companies are allegedly exploiting a loophole in the law (I assume with a nod and a wink if not active collusion from the current Librarian of Congress) to avoid paying musicians and songwriters any royalties at all... for older releases, and also for the newest releases.

According to Tech Music Policy, Congress could put a stop to this rank injustice. One would think that the Librarian of Congress could put a stop to it without waiting for Congress. But, the interests of Librarians are not congruent with the interests of artists and writers and creators.

For authors, this "address unknown" exploitation has echoes of "orphan works" (remember the "Hathi Trust" case, where libraries and a search engine alleged that they could not locate eminently locatable authors of works they wanted to exploit?)

As for compulsory licenses, there are few authors who refuse to create and sell ebook versions of their own print works, but there is an audience that believes that owners of Kindles or computers or smart phones have an absolute right to an ebook version of any work they wish to read.

Finally, for authors newly discovering that they may be pirated, perhaps by online so-called libraries, Robert Stanek provides advice and a good template of a DMCA notice:

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

1 comment:

  1. I think it's important that true "orphan works" have a mechanism to be made available -- stories whose authors have died, perhaps many decades ago but still within the copyright period, leaving no discoverable heirs. Keeping these works tied up helps nobody and severely hampers literary historians and scholars, as well as anthologists who would like to rescue good stuff from obscurity. But the scam you mention of making little effort to find rights-holders and then claiming they aren't findable -- !! Before the Internet, I got into a Lovecraftian anthology published by Chaosium when the editor happened to have come across a story I'd had accepted by Lin Carter (no relation) but not published before the latter's death. The editor of the Chaosium anthology found me by calling on the old-fashioned telephone. And I was far from a well-known author; I still consider myself rather niche and obscure. Nowadays, WITH the Internet, anybody who wants to find a living or recently dead author has no excuse for claiming they can't.