FOE: Rethinking Copyright

Liveblogged. There will be mistakes..this was also a very lively and passionate panel, with some strong language

Rethinking Copyright: A discussion with musician, songwriter, and producer T Bone Burnett; Henry Jenkins, Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, Cinematic Arts, and Education at the University of Southern California; and Jonathan Taplin, Director of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California.

As the recent legislative battles have demonstrated, it’s becoming painfully clear that our conception of copyright is ill-prepared for regulating and making sense of a world where media content is fluidly circulated by most of a society. However, in an effort make content free to spread in the ways audiences find them relevant, what is the appropriate balance to ensure that the rights of content creators are preserved and that the incentive to develop intellectual property remains? Rather than continue a debate in which audiences and critics attack copyright while media companies cling to them, how might we cut through current tensions to collaboratively imagine what a new sense of copyright, appropriate for an era of “spreadable media,” might look like?

HJ: As I thought about how to frame this, go back to concept of a moral economy….underlying an financial system, there needs to be a moral economy., When there is a shift, a disruption, there needs to be a realignment, a process of building trust again. It begins with claims of legitimacy. The IP has been divided by different claims of legitimacy. It makes it difficult for players ot engage conversation. We have brought together people that have different perspective, to talk through and models ways to bring people to the table. Its part of a conversation that has been ongoing.

HJ: so what are you stakes?

JT: i think the frame is really critical. my first job was as tour manager for The Band, the band made amazing records for 6-7 years before breaking years. Those albums provided a decent income for the band. The drummer made 100-200k a year as work lasted. In 2002, about a year after Limewire, that just stopped. That just ended. in 2004, he realised he had throat cancer, could not pay for rent and medical. He had to go back on the road, with throat cancer. He died; they had to put on a benefit concert for wife to keep hold of the house. Never thought that the gov could sort this out, but come to conclusion that there is one thing that could be done, as a recent report from Google has shown, 86% of money comes from advertising….this means the big brands are supporting piracy. To the tune of 100s of millions of dollars. I think that needs to change. the Ad networks are like the Wild West, there is no moral economy. They are asked to give impression, they give them. That needs to change

TB: devoted my life to recorded to music. Recorded music is the same as wine to france., It is part of national identify., Artists have lead the country, one of the reasons the counties have remained innovative, IN the arts, there are regions, the Mississippi delta, the mountains. We have spread our culture all over the world with recorded music, it has been our cultural ambassador, It has been cut in half. It is as significant as if the french vineyards had died. This is a national tragedy that we are facing; I came here to ask for your help,it is immoral, unethical, it is stupid fo rthe science and tech community to attack the arts. It is incumbent for them to protect them. It is a whole infrastructure that has been destroyed, It is the stores, the concerts, the little clubs, it affects everyone one in the world. Those who do not look at it squarely, to take a look at the arts, are going to subsume the arts in the country.

HJ: we are hearing a crisis on copyright…but also in Fair Use. IP arose when freedom of press only existed for those who had a press. ANy solution we provide has to factor in the growth of creators, those who remix and build on things. Ultimately those who enhance the creative economy, but only if we understand it. Looking at a piece of research from Poland, most do not consume content, those who do, mainly pirate. But those who pirate most actually buy most. People do both. The choices are about moral obligation to those that care, but market failures, the content is not there. Also about how C7D has been used to shut down transformative work and produce hostility, Can we build something to protect artists…

JT: I don’t think it is exclusive to each other. Did a book, on itunes, has video clips throughout, Worked with Fair Use Attorneys to get it right. Fair Use is well documented. But there is a difference between me quoting 30secs and downloading the movie for free. that is different. I have to object that it is a market failure. It is on itunes..all is there. but itunes is only 27% of music, the rest of it is stolen. It is impossible to compete with free. As long as people can make money of the free stuff, that is a moral failure. Not chasing grandmothers (the MPAA and RIAA were idiots), but what is wrong is letting Ukranian criminals make money.

TB: Money is being sucked out of economy to eastern europe criminals. This is organised crime. I’ve benefited greatly from infrastructure but the door has closed behind me. I have several 20 years who can’t get a job. In respect for the people who came before me, who document the reality of what music was and caring for the people who come after me, I;m going to hold the door open

JT: if google changed it’s behaviours it could change the whole thing. If it stopped selling ads on pirate sites. It is not censorship, it is money. Google had to give back 500m for selling Canadian Viagra ads. If they made 500m on Canadian viagra ads. How much money on pirate sites.

HJ: Top question, didn’t the music industry drive it underground?

TB: yes. we can go back.

JT: yes, they were idiots. There is no use of sueing a kid in a dorm. We are not talking about that. we are talking about the organized crime aspect of doing this. John Mellancamp writes on HuffPost talking about this he gets his hat handed to him. They don’t say that to the tech companies. It is strange that musicians have become the enemy.

AudQ: we have had a long standing debate, why are we still have the debate at this level, and not about licensing….to get creators paid and get get the music wanted. Radio have run this system, this gets paid out to the content creator

JT: agreed. But because people won’t do it/ It is not the musicians. It is Baidu. I have raised it with trade representatives etc, there are ways we can track this. This scheme worked for music song writers – eg public music writers.

TB: lets extend analogy. Here’s the way that it worked. Broadcasters agreed to share with artistic community, I’m asking google to do this.

AudQ@ but google are not the broadcaster?

JT: the ISP does not make a sent from the advertisers..

Aud: People are paying the ISPs every month, to access the net. They are paying for comcast, the ISP, to access content. They want access to the amazing stuff. I am suggesting that we pull money from ISPs that are making money and that money goes to a large pool to be paid out to content creators. YOu align all of the incentives, to get content spread,

TB: I don’t want that

JT: that is one potential way of doing it (and suggest in my book). But the problem, is ISPs will tell you that the bandwidth hogs are the worst customers. The people who are really making the money are the ad networks. The Google is the gorilla, there are lots of others. Just look at market cap. Look where the money is

Audq: the telcos are making more money that advertisers

TB: the idea of us picking on google in first place is hilarious. GOogle bills 30b in advertising. 10% is music driven. that is the second category under weather. 10% is driven by music and they are sharing none of that with music industry.

JT: lets talk about Fair Use. Is it a real problem right now, to use small piece to remix or attribute etc.

HJ: we are in a period of enormous uncertainty. Most teachers think they have limited Fair Use in classroom, they have been intimidated too much . Most fans probably have more rights than they believe they have. There is a lot of uncertainty about what is protected and what is not. I think companies are backing off from C&D letters, but law is not being rewritten., It is good will and that can change overnight.. We have companies that enforce it, than they were more entitles too.

TB: transactions rights is what we have to move to.

AudQ: a lot of the panel..the facts are in dispute. We would agree that musicians should not lose livelihoods, even when we have a different point of view.

TB: we have to move to transaction, if you are making money you need to share it

AudQ: does not forward conversation to focus on mob bosses….when I send song to friend, I get worried about that

TB: when I make money of stuff, I make sure people get paid..but I send stuff around

JT: what HJ is after is a clarification about what you can do and a set of best practices that the advertising companies etc could adhere to. So if we could do these two things, none that would need a law, just clarification from Copyright Office. The big brands and the ad networks could really clear this up.

HJ: this is an educational issue. In both directions. There are realities that are not understood by professional proiducter etc. How do we get progress if public does not have a seat at the table? The Copyright Office is called the Mickey Mouse office. It is big industry. If between recording and silicon valley, how does the public get a voice. How do we get a public voice in this.

Aud: it’s called Congress….

HJ: but corporate citizens still speak a little louder. And SOPA was a good example, but not a lot of good examples.

Aud: To people like Mr Burnett, if it was important enough o put in first amendment..copyright was about people granting the right to make money off invention..so question is where is someone like ASCAP, that represented the songwriters in early 1900s…(more comments lost track). So when SOPA the next, how can ASCAP be seen on equal level to someone like Disney who basically pervert the law to save their income. Now it’s not we the people but speciality lawyers. How do you change the conversation to go back to ASCAP model, and use tech so there is a reinvigoration…

JT: so I come in to it form artist, so that the artist can make money. So Jefferson introduced a system for artists to get paid. DO I think extension to support Mickey Mouse is a perversion, yes, I think it is. There has to be a point when things go back to public domain…but until that, the artist need to get paid. And that is not happening. The only place artists get paid is through ASCAP etc, the public licence.

HJ, on the back channel, wasn’t recorded music a bubble..why is it important. SO asking TB, about music players. So what have we learnt from that

TB: You can ask why is painting, It is a medium to record the world. Everyone in this room has been deeply affected my music that has been recorded…everyone has been changed. It is the deepest part of who were are, its the realisaton of Johnny Appleseed and Paul Bunyan. It spreads the ideas of equality, ,love and freedom around the world,

JT: it is up to each artist to decide to give away music away for free. But that choice is now being made for you. If you want to play free concert, then go to it. I just don’t think it is someone elses choice, that if I have spent 100k making a record that YOU decide my music should be free

TB: if the result of their disambiguation is that people start playing in their houses again..that would be good. I’m not opposed to the audience as an artist. I treat the audience with the utmost respect, I bring everything to bear on what I am doing for the audience, but I don’t give a flying fuck about what they think about me, I don’t care, I can’t care. I’m not interested in crowdsourcing, we have network tv which is crowdsourcing, i’m more interested in cable, where each makes their own. Im not asking people not to put music on the internet, I’m asking them not to steal mine

HJ: ASCAP separated control from paying, you don’t control where it is paid. My sense that if you could lose control but gain the revenue.

HJ: no one tells the restaurant what they can play, but whatever they do play, the songwriter gets paid. The songwriters, because of smart people in 30s organised themselves to get paid. The guy who sings or plays the drums, has nothing, he is screwed, the day the record comes out. If we say the only way you can get paid is by closing the doors and putting someone there, in a digital age..you only way to get paid is to be in the same room as people, how stupid is that?

HJ: so what about the report that p2p buy music

TB: people doing p2p are not pirates…there is a big shift in the culture…

JT: probably it is true that obsessive fans consume more culture than people who don’t care. Does not stop that a lot of content is on the sites and being monetised…for big fat guys and I’m sick of it, and that is what I want to stop. We are not going to solve it and that is a start. So a question is asked about what is google incentive is? So if they want to do no evil, they should consider not wrecking another industry, they have wrecked the newspaper and want to wreck the tv and movies..what will they link to when it is all go

BT: recorded music is an art. I can do it here, but it is about reflection….about reflected sound and acoustics etc, devoted 60 years to it. you can have pro-tools in bedroom and that is part of the shift and I want to have people share and listen together, if that is they want to do, then that is great. Not asking any artist not to do anything.

AudQ: My grandfather is the Brazillian shakespeare….it is his centennial..the family is only making money by creating new solutions…no one talking about solutions, just what to blame..what about what the people want. The system changed, no-one brings the solution….

TB: you have to stop now…i fought the record industry, not defending any fat cats..I want to give the audience my very best…I treat them with the greatest respect, I;’m not giving my finger to the audience…you are the one stuck in the past. Internet 1 is a clunky medium, not designed with an ethical framework, not designed to stream music or video.

AudQ:the wine industry invested….the music industry has not

JT: itunes and spotify are bringing a solution, but those solutions cannot fight free. It is not a business model issue, as long as there is something there for free…the free will always win. So all I am saying is, a simple solution, make it a little less possible for people to put up pirate sites, it is part of the solution, not the whole solution…so if ISPs charged, that would help, help me get that to politicians…

AudQ: we are not discussing changed in copyright lws

TB: I did, talking about transactions…

AudQ: wanted to speak to the image of Johnnie Cash, when Cash was not supported by Nashville industry. There is some degree of antipathy to the recording industry…when they did not support the arts, but you can’t stay they did no role. FOE focuses on language, and we talk about Piracy…look at YouTube and Viacom, about piracy, did not distinguish from the community of YT and the company. What we need to figure out is how to develop a more nuanced languages, to sort out what is allowed, get common ground and get to a solutions based approach…

JT: The reason we agreed to come hear that we all agreed that the FoE consortium was perfect forum to continue to try and find solutions. We are not here just to moan about Google. In defence of TBone, when he was starting to do O Brother where art thou, he was told by everyone he was stupid. He sold 18m, more than all, and he just stuck to his guns. We understand that we have to support the art…he gave a whole other career to people, that lasted for 10 years. All we are trying to do is trying to get the clash between tech and content and academic where we can evolve solutions that include fair use, remix rights and that people got paid.

HJ: JY keeps saying that you can’t beat free. But bottled water beats free? In some ways it is a marketing and education thing and also understanding of audience. If the same people who pirate and buy means they move from free to paid regularly, we have ti understand those modes not exclude them .We understand the industry and artist has issue, the audience is seeking something new, the challenge is to make sure the audience is heard. Young people who sample music could be about sampling, about finding new things. It is hard to find interesting music without having capacity to try things.

JT: every single itunes has 30secs…(argument that itunes does not have everything, not goo dto listen)

AudQ: I’m the evil guy (shut down napster etc). Most people can’t understand an artist as they are not an artist., People will see things differently when they are being charged for their memories, all of these pieces that have been put on the web when facebook and Youtube own the copyright…

TB: you are tight, people don’t know artists,,,there is a lot of disinformation. ALmosts everyone in the arts are nice middle class people
JT: I think what Jay said was right on, you will all suffer the loss of your personal property at some point with Facebook claiming they own your stuff. these issues will become personal and that is what may switch it.We are all creators and the question of how you can make a living, or share it should be your choice and not someone elses

TB: Radio played music and shared revenue, internet 1 plays music and sells ads. It is not a new model, it is a model that has worked

JT: don;t know if anyone is old enough to have a great turntable and an amp and speakers and out that first Jimi hendrix and had an experience that was warm and powerful and then the MP3 was invented and they took out all the highs and lows. And we are still living with the MP3..music has actually gotten worse in the digital age, I tis not the same and that is another thing we would like to tackle.

TB: I thought I could do a sound demo, for you. Dylan’s first records has been remastered..I compared to an internet recording…the audience is getting robbed of hearing the experience, of hearing great music. At the shop, we are analog, we convert and use for some stuff, but use analog as it sounds better, we listen carefully. MP3 is a 20 year tech that is so outdated…MP3 is a broadcast medium, fine with that, fine with sharing…the problem is that other people are making money and that is not fairness, it is not a question of hurting the audience or bilking them out of more money…in 1963, the beatles record was 4.95, about 30 in todays money…so what we ask is not a lot. Look at music, if you look at piracy, the music industry has trippled, piracy opens markets…but it has to be brought into the lay. That is not attacking the audience, that is out of respect to the audience. Why have we stopped developing analogue tech, why are we not looking for greener more transferable analog media….

JT: or a digital media that sounds like analog

TB: there has been a complete collapse of standards. We use a 60 year old standard. We try and make things sounds the same, the clarity etc…tech has dragged music to an unlistenable state. When I talk about an attack on the arts…it is not tech. This whole notion of free grew out of a culture of acid-freaks deadheads. The Dead were on ebands, it does not work for all.

HJ: as not a music fan rather a media fans. so at what point does it…an individual vs a company. If I look at TV, the flow of TV produces constant market failures, or film, maybe we can come up with a solution that may work for music and not for others.

JT: as broadband tech increases…I’m going to Chattannooga after that, they have 1GB broadband to all houses. If the film goes to the cloud, there is no reason why you could not have access to everything in a cloud and the problems you describe in market failure will have to be addressed. These are issues that the movie industry will have to address, about making content available in cloud at reasonable price. I believe the music industry is the leader…if you can download a song in 30s, you can download a HD movie in 48 secs…this is a world..it is in Korea, everything that has affected the music industry and we need to figure it out

TB: there is not one solution, we can come up with many. Higher quality of part of the solutions for the art. A better internet, one architected for the arts…a walled garden like apple, you know the provenance, that everything is authorised…a safe place that is just one solution….

JT: is there a a way to see this group could have a continuing dialog to rethinking copyright etc…

HJ: we have the mix in the room that we would want to have that conversation, to push beyond the blame game, the pointing fingers…we have made progress, clearing some myths, laying out the stakes, proposing some solutions, I would love to continue the conversation. There have been heated parts but needed to clear the air. Just because we are not listening does not mean we are hard of hearing..it may start as a discussion list etc…

HJ: one last question for TBone…we have had discussions about curations, and i think of Oh Brother as a real curation. What role did you have in this

TB: it was transmedia, I believe the curatorial function is the future. I am a curator, a freelance poet, i have not had a job, no insurance etc, a freelance poet and being able to live here and work with all these extra-ordinary people I see my job as a curator, i think we need curators, I try and be a reliable source.

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