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Software firms want copyright law rewrite

By Jaqui ·
A group of large software companies has taken the first step toward inciting a tussle with the telecommunications industry by asking Congress to rewrite copyright law so alleged Internet pirates can be more easily targeted by lawsuits.

The group of companies, which is known as the Business Software Alliance, counts as members Microsoft, Autodesk, Borland, Intuit, Sybase and Symantec, among others. The group released a general outline of its suggestions on Thursday in a white paper that effectively describes its legislative proposals for 2005. The companies say they fear a revenue-sapping future in which software programs are traded as frequently and readily on peer-to-peer networks as MP3 music files are today."

interesting concept, doubt even clarifying the laws will stop the piracy though.

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Of course

by Oz_Media In reply to copyright for business or ...

IF the software writer sells their code to the company and it is protected under the coders copyright. NO different that music.

The issues is, companies have already paid for the code, a residual income isn't possible unless contracted WHEN the person wrote it. Again just like music.

Record companies OWN artists outright, in North America. Everything that artists produces, I mean ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING, is the sole property of the record company, not the artist who wrote it.

That's why Prince became The Artist. If he sold a Prince album, written and created by 'Prince' it beonged to the label. by establishing a personal identity and recording and selling under that identity he was able to slip around the ownershop laws until his contract expired, now he is once again PRINCE.

It wasn't some freaky Michael Jackson wierdo thing as many thought at the time, it was a legal issue.
I though it funny how he changed hi name to The Artist though, in a contract he isn't referred to by his actual nam 'Prince', he is described as 'The Artist', so it was an ironic pot shot at 'The Company'.

So when you write software for a company and want creative licence for it, you MUST contract the residuals as such and take legal measures to copyright your work. Otherwise it is 100% the ownership of 'The Company'.

I designed a new company logo, color scheme and tag line for a large business a few years back, should I get residuals on the increased income generated by a new company appearance? When I no longer work for them do they have to pay me for the logo use?

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and the changes propsed

by Jaqui In reply to Of course

are designed to strengthen corporate copright as well as make prosecution easier.

it's why I don't actually want to code for other companies as an employee. by being independant, I have undisputed copyright to my code, and can negotiate recompense to suite myself, when a company wants to purchase code base for their own business to become vendor. ( hasn't happened yet, and may never happen )

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the logo formerly known as Prince

by apotheon In reply to Of course

Actually, you only almost got the story right (re: Prince).

Prince was trapped in a contract deal he didn't like. The record label was screwing him, basically dictating his "artistic direction", and he wanted out. When it came right down to it, the label had ironclad legal rights and he couldn't get out without basically ruining himself. What he could do, though, is change his legal name, because his legal contracts were actually under his legal name (of course).

He went to court and got his name changed, not to "the Artist" or to "Bob Whitmore" or anything else like that. He got it changed to a custom-designed, weird-looking, previously nonexistent logo. This didn't release him from any contractual obligations at all: he did it out of spite. When he did that, no new legal documents would be binding unless they used that symbol in reference to him. The label had to spend untold hundreds of thousands of dollars to change typefaces, make new copies of contracts, and so on, just so that everything would be legal. He kept that symbol as his name until his current contract ran out, at which time the label basically said "You're more trouble than you're worth, do what you want." He went back to court, changed his name back, and moved on.

Because nobody knew how to produce that wacky symbol of his, the entertainment media started calling him "The artist formerly known as Prince." His professional name, when he first changed it from the symbol, became "The Artist" in reference to that nickname he picked up in the entertainment news media, but after an album or two he changed it back to Prince, and now we've come full circle.

Andrew Eldritch of Sisters of Mercy fame did something entirely different when he found himself getting screwed by his label. They were using a contractual technicality to get out of paying him $40,000 they owed him. He dragged it out into a long legal battle until they finally settled on an abbreviated contract with him: He'd produce one solo-project album for them, and they'd take it as payment, sight unseen. He then proceeded to produce the worst crap he could compose, handed it over, and walked away without any further legal strings attached. The label got left holding the bag, and Eldritch took the Sisters of Mercy to a new label. Everyone lived happily ever after (until Eldritch kicked Switchblade Symphony off the stage for being "too Gothic" when they were opening for Sisters of Mercy).

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That;s right!

by Oz_Media In reply to the logo formerly known a ...

Now I remember it all. What a clever mess it was. One thing you have got admit, he is one **** of a talent, mentally and musically. That boy can play guitar!

The Artist part is such an irony though as you can't walk up and say "hey wierd Symbol, can you sign this?" Thus like the unknown comic he adopted The Artist.

Artists have done all kinds of crap to escape contracts, that's why the commercial labels are getting smaller and smaller instead of bigger. The only way they retain size now is by amalgamation and networking themselves.

The rest of the world seems to be backing out of the "ownership" all together , they now simply co-produce music, pay for touring and offer distribution contracts based on small percentages of sales, instead of offering a few points on your own productm which in turn is eaten up by costs. It leaves the freedom, creativity and number of CD's released completely up to the artist.

You get real music this way and it works for everyone. The tide is slowly changing though, kids are starting to get pi**ed at the garbage they are force fed and expected to buy. They are showing it by not buying $100.00 concert tickets as readily, not buying $16 CD's for one decent track, file sharing etc.

Artists have still got a long way to go before getting a fair shake out here though!

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new trends

by apotheon In reply to That;s right!

What you're seeing as new trends in music is two separate phenomena.

1. The biggest moneymakers who have stayed at the peak of the industry for more than a couple of years, and are able to keep bringing in sales, are becoming more business-savvy and are learning how to play the game to their advantage. The record labels are given a choice between losing further business with a Big Name like Prince and signing with him on his terms. If they don't like his terms, they don't get a share of his profits. This has in large part started with the realization in the late '80s and early '90s by many well-monied artists that they can actually put some of that ungodly amount of money they've been making to use in creating an independent label if they don't like the raw deal they're getting. Customers buy the artists' names, not the labels' names, after all.

That's why boybands and other awful phenomena like that have become so much more prevalent. The labels are responding by manufacturing new success stories whose professional names they own, along with owning their music, their logos, their gimmicks, and everything else. A "band" is created, then members are recruited. This keeps the artists firmly under the labels' thumbs. Of course, since the so-called "artists" typically don't have any artistic vision, and are mostly pretty faces with a talent for following instructions, they don't really have any possibility of a continuing career outside of the labels' control (with rare exceptions). Thus, Madonna and Prince are more in control of their own careers and still making money, while new popular bands are mostly corporate shills.

2. At the middling to low end of the spectrum, a lot of bands that can't get signed because they're people with actual talent, non-mainstream music and image, integrity, and some business sense are becoming far more well-known. This is in part because independent labels created by more successful artists that are tired of being held over a barrel by big labels are signing bands the big artists like, but that's not as much of an effect as the Internet.

File-sharing is selling small-market bands' music like friggin' crazy. While it's not easy to make a substantial living at music without a major label putting posters up everywhere and buying you airtime on MTV and Clear Channel stations, there's a fair number of bands out there with a decent chance of making a modest living with music because they can sell out shows and self-distribute, often by hand. That wouldn't be possible without their music being available for free on the Internet, where people can actually hear them and associate a good tune with a band name. This pretty clearly shows the lie behind the RIAA's claims that copyright only helps the music industry by prompting artists to make more music for the motivation of more money. There's a sweet spot in the middle where the Internet has its best financial effect, and if your musical franchise is making more money than that you're going to start seeing negative effects on revenue. Of course, in order to get to that level you generally have to do your time as a corporate puppet. In order to even aspire to getting to that level without the label owning your music, you need the Internet to spread the word by spreading your music for free.

This is why file sharing scares the crap out of the RIAA and Clear Channel music monopoly. It can't be controlled within the current music industry profit model.

It's all just one more indication that "intellectual property" laws have the opposite of the supposedly intended effect. Of course, most copyright laws are in truth designed for no more practical reason than keeping as much control of the industry as possible in the hands of the biggest labels. With the major labels' marketing budgets, though, they've got most of the world convinced that trading music online is somehow "stealing" money from the artists. The truth of the matter is that it's putting more money back in the hands of the artists by taking it out of the pockets of the industry executives.

There have actually been studies done that show that spikes in filetrading activity causes increases in CD sales, as long as you aren't measuring only CDs sold by RIAA member corporations. All of the RIAA's studies, of course, use only its own member corporations' sales numbers as representative of the industry as a whole, despite the fact that their CDs tend to average about twice the cost of independently produced CDs and their music tends to be soulless, formulaic shite.

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not in all cases / genre

by Jaqui In reply to new trends

the rap genre has somehow gotten several artists that have the money to run thier own label.
there is at least two that are actively looking for new artists and setting them up with an album, tour, videos and training them in performing.

in my own opinion, artists is not really the correct term, but it is the polite term, for this genre

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by Oz_Media In reply to not in all cases / genre

Try more than two hundred. It is the way they can control their mass income independantly and avoid the government, while still making money.

This is exactly what i am getting at, the industry is SLOWLY following teh European market, but only as the labels start to loosen grip just enough to let a few grains of sand slip trhough at a time.

They did it many years ago too though and it was again bastardized, enter Motown Records and Roadrunner records. Coroprate America won again though and retained control until it is getting out of hand.

Also, don't think for ONE second that the artists you are referring to are not intent on building massive comglomerates money making machines out of their independant labels. It's just a way to protect their own music, not other people's.

Just look at what major RAP artists have done with their wee little labels already, turning them into multimillion dollar corprations.

Don't buy into the idea too deeply though, while it mimicks a free, fair and open market, nothing's free here and nothing is done without personal gain being the motivator.

The other side of the pond, I have had several hundred thousand dollars worth of production work donw by known indeustry experts for a few hundred pound. Just to build their resume so they can build a small prduction company by themselves to pay the rent and not much more.

Famous musicians will offer their own home recording and production studios, incuding their OWN time, in order to help produce independant work at a VERY low cost.
This isn't to beat the labels or build an empire, but just because they want to actually work between touring and believe in musical artistry being devloped. This is also with very little or no residual income expected,unlike Nelly, LLCool J and Puff Daddy have done whil etryng to appear as if they want to develop and help build an independant scene for the little guy to get a piece of the pie too.

When it comes down to it, they also own radio stations, venues etc. and are promoting their own self interests, just on a smaller, yet rapidly growing scale compared to 'the big four'.

Anyhow, I am supposed to be taking this month off after the chaotic holidays, I get too wrapped up in he poitics and it seems I can't escape it, even here on a tech forum!!! AAAARGHH!!

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That's the surface

by Oz_Media In reply to new trends

Well I do agree that that BASICALLY outlines the business midneset behind a good deal of the North American insudstry, it is far from true elsewhere in the world, and certainly not quite as simple as that really. This goes into deep so many aspects of theindustry that I will only offer some very basic surface on SOME of the issues that lead to the results we have today.

The only REAL problem that forced so many European acts into North American for more than 25 years was taxation in Europe.

Distribution contracts have changed a lot since I began working with them 15 years ago. I used to get sent 36% coproduction offers (which was standard)which are now down at 15% due to taxation forcing artists to either distribute independantly or work in North Americs. They are begging to work with people there and bring what the fans really want to the table.

In essence the labels want less.

Another example can be found in signing bonuses. Whereas it is not abnormal to see a $300,000.00 signing bonus in North America, you will see $8-$35, 000 in Europe.

The majority of UK Studios are private and run by former artists (as you noted) and they actually are more interested in helping talent develop than trying to 'redevelop' it, they have less of a stake in it and less interest in mainstream sounds, which really don't sell well over there anyway.

There is less need for overhead and a young band can earn a fair living with a little coprdouction and disribution support, and without the need to pay off a $300,000.00 advance before collecting a few measly points on sales, plus any additional touring costs.

The artists here are looking for ways to avoid signing period, no label, no matter WHO owns it. The problem is that four almalgamated companies run the show, owning the TV and radio stations, the record stores etc. So the possibilty of airplay, no matter how mainstream you are, is vurtualy nothing, most can only legally play solicited music to begin with an dprogram directors do not choose music anymroe,m they simply coordinate it with the labels. Gone are the days of the DJ bringing his own box of albums to tha station. They have a rotation schedule and seeing as the label owns the artist AND the station, there is little room for new music outside of what they are peid to rotate.

Distribution in North America is the same, you can't get prime store positioning and marketing as the 'expensive' floor space is literally owned by labels,I mean they "literally" own that piece of the floor in the store. It's like a real estate investment for them.

Venues: Vancouver, New York, L.A. etc. used to have a lot of privately owned Venues, now they are simply investments for record labels so they can showcase their own artists tours and pay less for venue use.

In Vancouver there are still a few facilities that are government owned that can be rented for less than $100,00/night but the costs of police traffic control (mandatory for three worthwhile venues there), chair setup (unionized), ushers and ticket takers (unionized), special security etc.(unionized)etc. the list is endless, is just not feasible,so people are reduced to 'second' largest venues, which are opeated across North America by companies like The House of Blues. Vancouver's Commodore ballroom (for an example) is the same venue as always but with a completely different calibre of music played now since Drew Burns 'amalgamated' into the loop. Now people aren't even gigging there anymore, which used to be a very disireable place tohave a great show and make some good money.

SO people out here are stuck looking for corporate labels to get on tour, at the artists expense in the long run of course. There are some places like the BC Touring Council that actually help young people with tours and venues but only in a more cosultative/helping hand approach, wchich just doesn't cut it here. (not to minimize their hard uphill stuggle against 'the machine')

This is where flavour of the week is practically forced upon people, if you want to really make it here, you HAVE to have major representation, in which case your music is dictated and owned.

Just look at Nickleback!

When they recorded locally they were a COMPLETELY different sound, after signing, the rehearsal room started to sound VERY different. Now, even as Chad Kroeger admits, he has found the MAINSTREAM sound that sells. They have completely rebuilt what they used to be into a sales and marketing machine, evemn though they have control. They got REALLY lucky with thier contract as they were not seen to have longevity at first and were given minimal options for distribution, which was all they needed really.

But even as a band with artistic control, they have resorted to selling what sells and not really who they are/were.

This is all foreign to European and Japanese bands. The major issue is taxationnot ownership, they have complete freedom of expression, even in the studio, they ae trated like kings by the venues , fans and local promoters, instead of the label, thus reducing operating costs and overhead.

The saga goes on forever, but in essence, North Americans are catchign on. THey don't buy garbage anymore, they just get what they want for free. Kids are starting to demand they be allowe dto listen to what they CHOOSE not wat they are force fed and labels are starting to look at other countries to see how they are so successful as small entities.

Labels are dying fast out here, they simply bunch up as there is strength in numbers but the people buying the music will win at one point not too far in the future.

There may be hope still, lets just HOPE people stand firm with their wants and needs,

As for file sharing, yes it is true as you said , again in North America, bands want to be shared here now in order to have people demand stations play them, which more than often is falling upon ears that are not allowed to listen to fans anymore. If it's not paid for it isn't played, it MAY create demand for a label to address though.

Europe and Japan are all about WORK. Bands PLAY music all the time, anywhere they can. Given that England has the greatest pub density in the world, there it is easier to get the word out through the pub scene that on P2P networks. People there spend more time in the pub or clubs than on the internet for the most part. Same with Germany, Sweden, Spain etc. People are still interested in going out to see bands play, big or small. That opportunity is completely lost here due to ownership and the fact that clubs out here showcase DJ's not bands, pubs play the radio.

Everyone is so starved of good live music that theu pay uhundreds of dollars to go watch Britney or Christina once a year just to see SOME live music. Remember when there were two or three BIG concerts a month? I meet kids that are 16 and have NEVER seen a concert! In contrast I think I went to at least 16 concerts that year in my life.

IN short, it's a farce here, for the consumer and the artists, yet it is slowly changing. Just not fast enough for anyone's benefit yet as labels slowly start to loosen their grip but are still scared the money will slip away from their grubby paws.

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Don't learn quick do they

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Software firms want copyr ...

You'd have thought the antics in the music industry would have given them a clue. Has n't worked since someone figured out you could chisel someone else's runes on your own stone tablet.

P2P is unstoppable. You can kill the guys who wrote the software, but once a viable network is up, the only thing that kills it is a more viable network.

There's a law in the UK, that's says you are allowed to tape tv programs but you have to wipe them after 30 days are up. Damn stupid, made us a nation of criminals, come to think of it...

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US World Cop?

by stevebuck In reply to Software firms want copyr ...

It sounds to me like another attempt by Congress or the Administration to play "World Cop". Does anybody in Washington have a clue how we come off as the big bully, stepping on everyone's turf doing our "cowboy thing"? How can the Justice Department enforce Congressional laws on the rest of the world? The answer is as plain as the nose on your face; they can't.
The best way to get people to buy software instead of pirating it is to make it more accessible by offering it at reasonable price and engineering it reliably. That is the advice that BSA should give its members.

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