June 07, 2013 · · Comments Off

This week in D.C. was the World Creators Summit, two days of discussion and debate about the challenges and opportunities facing creators around the globe. Reports on each of the panels (with video slowly being added) is available at creatorssummit.com. Especially check out the events I covered as an official blogger: Visions for the future – creators in a digital age, Can photographers get fair deals?, Orphan works – balancing access and creators’ rights, Piracy – the vision of a creator, The U.S. agenda – the perspective from the creators, and Re-connecting with the digital narrative.

Uncertainty, Copyright and Courage — One of the highlights of the Summit was this early morning keynote by songwriter and ASCAP President Paul Williams. Worth reading in its entirety.

In the digital economy, we’ll soon all be working for free – and I refuse — “For what is being eroded is not only actual wages but also the very idea that work must be paid for. Huge profits are being made from these so-called opportunities for our youth. But they are, in fact, the exploitation of insecurity. This is not about being anti-technology. It is about being pro-human.”

When did cover songs become annoying marketing ploys? — Thanks to concerns about the market power of the Æolian Company (remember them?), U.S. law provides a compulsory license for covering songs, permission from the copyright holder is not required. Many performers provide their own unique interpretation of other’s songs, but as Slate reports, there is a vibrant industry of mostly legal knockoff recordings that aim to mimic popular versions of songs as closely as possible in order to free-ride off their success. These copycats clutter streaming services — Slate reports there are over 600 non-Adele versions of Skyfall available on Spotify — and dupe music listeners.

Time for Silicon Valley to grow up and take responsibility for their online advertising business model — Is whitelisting the way to go for brands who don’t want to see their ads show up on scammy, porn-y, pirate-y websites? The Trichordist argues it is. “Blacklist systems too often put the burden on the victims or advocates for the victims while enabling brand advertising and Madison Ave/Silicon Valley profits at the expenses of others. Whitelist systems put the burden on those reaping the benefits: Brands, Madison Ave. Silicon Valley and Publishers. This is the ethical model.”

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