Music Licensing Takes Center Stage at Congressional Hearing — On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on music licensing and the Internet Radio Fairness Act. At the risk of shameless self-promotion, I have a recap of the hearing over at the Copyright Alliance’s Idea/Expression blog.
Copyright Policy and Economic Doctrines— Robert D. Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation offers this fascinating paper looking at the influence of differing economic doctrines on copyright discussions. “Views on copyright policy are shaped in large part by the economic doctrine held by the advocate, scholar or policymaker. These differences in doctrine cause partisans to view facts differently and to focus on small segments of complex debates, leading to a breakdown of constructive dialog and much ‘talking past each other.’”
Why Are Cable Companies Forcing People to Turn to Piracy? — “Hint: they’re not. Also, they’re probably better at running their business than their many, many freelance marketing consultants among the digerati.”
Everything, Everywhere, All the Time — The Cynical Musician, responding to Rep. Chaffetz’s challenge during Wednesday’s IRFA hearings to name another successful internet radio service besides Pandora, describes why the internet only wants one of everything. “Once we have someone in this position, there’s very little other businesses can do to compete. They can’t sell something that the established power player isn’t selling, ‘coz he is. They can’t go for geographic advantage because there’s no issue of distance on the internet. They cannot hope to sell when the big guy’s closed, ‘coz he’s always open. Their only hope is either to compete on price, which is a race to the bottom (and one could argue that online everyone’s living in silt as it is) or on purchasing experience, which only becomes a factor if they can match the established player’s prices – tricky if you ain’t got the scale to make it up on.”
Deconstructing: Pandora, Spotify, Piracy, And Getting Artists Paid — Chris Ruen provides a detailed, in-depth look at IRFA and hot it fits into the context of the larger discussion of copyright’s vitality in a digital age. “The digital revolution has brought about a great many things. However, the obvious exploitation of artists — in knowing denial of their basic rights — remaining at such an industrial scale in 2012 is an embarrassment to that revolution; it is the cancer at the core of its lofty talk of “openness”; it is what child labor was to the Industrial Revolution.”
Congressional Research Service Memo on Constitutionality of IRFA Section 5— The Trichordist raised First Amendment concerns a few weeks ago about one of the lesser-known provisions of IRFA a few weeks ago, one that would create anti-trust liability for copyright owners who “impede” direct licensing efforts by internet radio services. The concerns stem from a recent lawsuit by SiriusXM against SoundExchange and A2IM that alleged just that, premised on blog posts the organizations had made explaining to artists some of the details of recent direct license offers. After an exchange with David Lowery at the Future of Music Coalition’s annual summit earlier this month, bill sponsor Senator Wyden passed along the concerns to the Congressional Research Service, which recently completed its analysis.
Music startups aren’t dead — they’re just changing — Former Last.fm exec Matthew Hawn responds to recent criticisms from Peter Kafka and David Pakman concerning the difficulties of finding sustainable business models for digital music startups. “Start-ups create the most value when they carve out new business models and transform the way we used to do things. They are less valuable (and thus less viable) when they just wringing the last drop of money out of old models. The truly great ones transform industries and build new opportunities, growing the market for everyone.”
Fair (?) dealing in Canada’s colleges — John Degen posts troubling video of members of the Writers’ Union of Canada being blocked from attending a series of seminars from the Association of Canadian Community Colleges about new “fair dealing” policies. “On November 12th, 2012, freedom meant writers were free to be removed by security, and access meant writers were allowed access only to the airport parking lot (for a fee).”
Myths and Facts about Copyright — More criticism about Derek Khanna’s recent policy brief published briefly on the Republican Study Committee’s website, this time from James DeLong at The National Review.
How Are Google’s Anti-Piracy Search Policies Working? — The answer, according to Vox Indie’s Ellen Seidler, is “not too well.”