The Constitutional and Historical Foundations of Copyright Protection — Debates over copyright have been in vogue recently in DC. This week, the Center for Individual Freedom released a paper from legal heavyweights Paul Clement, Viet Dinh and Jeffrey Harris exploring the origins of copyright in the US, which unfortunately have often been obscured in these debates. As the paper explains, “copyright was seen not merely as a matter of legislative grace designed to incentivize productive activity, but as a broader recognition of individuals’ inherent property right in the fruits of their own labor.”
Music and Copyright in the Digital Era: DAVID BYRNE in conversation with CHRIS RUEN — Last week, the New York Public Library presented a conversation between Talking Heads frontman and author David Byrne and Chris Ruen (whose new book, Freeloading, is out now and who contributed guest posts this week here). Audio of the fascinating discussion is currently available, with video expected soon.
The “Common Law Property” Myth in the Libertarian Critique of IP Rights (Part 1) — Legal scholar Adam Mossoff responds to a certain critique of copyright that claims copyright is somehow different from other forms of property because copyright was established by statute while other property arose organically through the “common law”. On the contrary, many of our most fundamental forms of property were created through statute, like the Statute Quai Empotores of 1290, which hastened the end of feudalism by creating freely alienable title to land. Mossoff follows up with a Part 2.
How music recommendation works — and doesn’t work — Brian Whitman, co-founder of music data company the Echo Nest, presents an excellent overview of music recommendation, the current state of the art, and what lies ahead.
Attorney Don Passman on the Future of Digital Music — ASCAP’s Etan Rosenbloom sits down to chat with Don Passman, author of the widely popular and useful All You Need to Know About the Music Business, which was recently updated to its eighth edition.
Mythbusting Part 2: How Important is Income from Live Performance? — The Future of Music Coalition presents data from its study on artist revenue streams to dispel a common myth. Many assume that touring and live performances make up the bulk of musician income, but the FOMC has found that, on average, this revenue stream only accounts for about 28% of income. According to the FOMC, while some artists reported higher percentages, touring is rarely the sole source of income for any musician. The non-profit group adds, “Touring itself has its own caveats; touring costs money, it’s not very scalable, and it requires constant output. And, for some musicians, playing live is simply not part of their career structure.”
Invasion of the cyber hustlers — “Disruption”, “openness”, “crowdsourcing”, “sharing”, “social”. Author Steven Poole, writing at the New Statesman, critiques the “cybertheorists” who endlessly spout these buzzwords. “What sells, to the cyber-fanatic’s intended audience, is ludicrous utopian fantasy, silicon Panglossianism.”