David Kirkpatrick

February 5, 2010

The recording industry, RIAA and intellectual property

Filed under: Arts, Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:05 pm

In a Daily Dish post titled, “Copyright and Incentives, Ctd.,” which covers a much more broad concept behind copyright, intellectual property, patents and trademark issues, a Dish reader provided a very succinct view of how and why the RIAA and music industry have gone completely wrong in battling their customer base over digital recordings:

The record companies’ problem is that technology — the internet on the distribution side and the laptop and other personal recording technologies on the creation side — has made the record company’s traditional role as financer and distributor of works increasingly irrelevant.  They are using the intellectual property laws to protect a distribution model that is largely outdated.

I’d say you could even argue the RIAA is abusing intellectual property laws and slowly killing itself and the entire existing recording industry in the process.

February 6, 2009

The digital world and the entertainment industry

Filed under: Arts, Business, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:59 pm

I’ve blogged on the battle betweendigital media and the entertainment industry (link goes search for RIAA, but both RIAA and MPAA are equally stupid on this topic. The RIAA is just a little more stupid) and how futile this fight is for the dinosaurs.

In fact, the war is over and the industry has lost. Lost credibility, angered customers and is now way behind a curve that could have been used as a slingshot into the future. Instead both the RIAA and MPAA are floundering.

I don’t the MPAA is going anywhere, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the RIAA either ceases to exist, or continues in a radically different form within five years. I can see the major labels pulling away from an organization that increasingly acts like a cornered, dying beast.

Here’s a story on how “digital pirates” are blowing past every blockade Hollywood movie studios throw in the way.

From the link:

On the day last July when ”The Dark Knight” arrived in theaters, Warner Brothers was ready with an ambitious antipiracy campaign that involved months of planning and steps to monitor each physical copy of the film.

The campaign failed miserably. By the end of the year, illegal copies of the Batman movie had been downloaded more than seven million times around the world, according to the media measurement firm BigChampagne, turning it into a visible symbol of Hollywood’s helplessness against the growing problem of online video piracy.

 

The culprits, in this case, are the anonymous pirates who put the film online and enabled millions of Internet users to view it. Because of widely available broadband access and a new wave of streaming sites, it has become surprisingly easy to watch pirated video online — a troubling development for entertainment executives and copyright lawyers.

Hollywood may at last be having its Napster moment — struggling against the video version of the digital looting that capsized the music business. Media companies say that piracy — some prefer to call it ”digital theft” to emphasize the criminal nature of the act — is an increasingly mainstream pursuit. At the same time, DVD sales, a huge source of revenue for film studios, are sagging. In 2008, DVD shipments dropped to their lowest levels in five years. Executives worry that the economic downturn will persuade more users to watch stolen shows and movies.

January 6, 2009

RIAA afraid of light of day

Filed under: Arts, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:39 pm

One more reason to oppose the losing battle the RIAA seems determined to keep fighting. I love the recording industry and hate to watch what this dinosaur in its death throes is doing in terms of public relations and sector growth.

At this point the RIAA needs to be euthanized and the labels ought to get together and create something that works in the 21st century. The old guard had its try and failed miserably.

From the Boing Boing link:

Campaigning law prof Charlie Nesson wants the whole world to see how the RIAA shakes down students, so he’s asked for the proceedings to be webcast. The RIAA wants to hide under a rock:

A Harvard Law professor representing some students sued by the recording industry for illegally downloading music has filed a motion to broadcast online the proceedings of two cases being heard by the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts.The professor, Charles R. Nesson, argues in the motion that to stream the court proceedings over the Internet — or as the students put it in their request, ‘admit the Internet into the courtroom’ — would help the public understand the legal issues at play in the industry’s lawsuits against thousands of computer users, many of whom are college students.

October 25, 2008

Associated Press facing real heat

Filed under: Business, Media — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:18 pm

It’s about ‘effin time. The “Anachronistic Press” has been so brain dead about everything internet it’s sad. Reminds me of the RIAA and MPAA’s futile and doomed efforts against this digital world.

From the BuzzMachine (first) link:

So now Tribune Company has given the AP notice – two years’ – to cancel, joining the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Bakersfield Californian, Idaho Falls Post Register of Idaho Falls, and Yakima Herald-Republic and Wenatchee World. These are more than shots across AP’s bow. They are shots at the AP, which has to reinvent itself. More on that later.

October 13, 2008

RIAA losing battles and already lost war

I’ve done some blogging on the RIAA and MPAA copyright battles. I love the entertainment industries, but these organizations are doing much more harm than good suing ordinary people and flailing about in death throes.

And even the base strategy is a losing propostion. I think the war is long over even if both are still fighting.

From the second link, a New America Foundation analysis:

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been taking a lot of people to court–basically, harassing folks in an attempt to curb file-sharing. The $220,000 verdict against Jammy Thomas got a lot of news (and probably worried a lot of folks). However, on appeal (i.e., after a new court not cherry-picked by the RIAA to try the case looked things over), the RIAA lost… again. ZDnet covered the verdict.

At its heart, the verdict reaffirms that simply making a copyrighted work available is not the same as actually distributing the work. In other words, copyright holders actually have to show harm before they can sue the pants off of people. More importantly, it lends yet more weight to the notion that our copyright laws are woefully out of date and that the RIAA has systematically overstepped the legal bounds of its authority under existing copyright law.

October 11, 2008

If you have an interest in online copyright …

… piracy and what can be considered fair use, go read this essay by Lawrence Lessig at the Wall Street Journal.

I’ve blogged on the idiotic crackdown by both the RIAA and the MPAA on online file trading. There are arguments on both sides — there is some real piracy out there and there’s lot of fair use, with a bit of actual piracy thrown in that actually increases sales by giving consumers a taste of the product.

The fact is the recording and motion picture industries have already lost this war, even as they occasionally win one of their one-sided-legally battles. You could think of pre-digital files as the age of the dinosaur and this new era of data storage and selling/trading/sending as the dawn of the age of the mammal. We know how the original end of that metaphor turned out.

From the link, but do go read the entire piece:

In early February 2007, Stephanie Lenz’s 13-month-old son started dancing. Pushing a walker across her kitchen floor, Holden Lenz started moving to the distinctive beat of a song by Prince, “Let’s Go Crazy.” He had heard the song before. The beat had obviously stuck. So when Holden heard the song again, he did what any sensible 13-month-old would do — he accepted Prince’s invitation and went “crazy” to the beat. Holden’s mom grabbed her camcorder and, for 29 seconds, captured the priceless image of Holden dancing, with the barely discernible Prince playing on a CD player somewhere in the background.

Ms. Lenz wanted her mother to see the film. But you can’t easily email a movie. So she did what any citizen of the 21st century would do: She uploaded the file to YouTube and sent her relatives and friends the link. They watched the video scores of times. It was a perfect YouTube moment: a community of laughs around a homemade video, readily shared with anyone who wanted to watch.

Sometime over the next four months, however, someone from Universal Music Group also watched Holden dance. Universal manages the copyrights of Prince. It fired off a letter to YouTube demanding that it remove the unauthorized “performance” of Prince’s music. YouTube, to avoid liability itself, complied. A spokeswoman for YouTube declined to comment.

August 15, 2008

A chink in the RIAA’s legal armor?

Filed under: Arts, Business, et.al., Media — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:59 pm

I love the music industry. I even have a vested interest in the music industry succeeding. It’s just the old system no longer works. Digital files, and their inherent purity through virtually unlimited copies, have changed the entire ballgame.

The RIAA either does not get it, or more likely doesn’t like the fact their psuedoextortionist racket no longer rules the land. The major labels didn’t get it for the longest, but I do think these behemoths realize accommodations have to be made in order to remain viable, ongoing concerns.

I’ve blogged on the evils of the RIAA and the troubles facing the music industry here, here and here.

Now there’s some decent legal news on the asinine lawsuits the RIAA continues to file against ordinary people who get caught up in their quasi-legal dragnet.

If a new trial is granted for Jammie Thomas, the RIAA may find itself in a very difficult legal position going forward. And hopefully an actionable position from those it’s already railroaded with frivolous, punitive lawsuits.

From the WSJ link:

Judge Davis told the jury that making songs available online for distribution to others was copyright violation and that the record companies did not have to prove distribution took place. He has since learned of a federal district-court case in Phoenix that ruled that making songs available was not copyright violation. He is weighing granting Ms. Thomas a new trial.

If one is granted, one outcome could be a higher bar for what record labels need to prove to demonstrate that copyrights have been violated. For example, evidence that more than a handful of songs on a shared file folder were distributed to others may be needed.

“It’s going to be more difficult for them to prove” if they can’t simply rely on showing that songs were in somebody’s shared file folder, says Brian Toder, a partner at Minneapolis-based Chestnut & Cambronne who is representing Ms. Thomas.

March 4, 2008

Seth Godin lectures the music industry

Filed under: Arts, Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:48 am

Seth Godin did a presentation on the music industry for recording executives. Here’s a link to a transcript of that talk.

I’ve blogged about the recording industry, the RIAA and some solutions being bandied about, and I think Godin has some interesting things to add to the conversation.

From the transcript:

The next thing we talked about, this technology wasn’t as good as we hoped when we started. And it’s had a lot of side effects, the biggest one of course being it’s digital. And once you make it digital, all of a sudden the math changes. Because, it used to be if I gave you my record, I didn’t have my record anymore. And now, it’s if I give you my record, I still have my record. And that’s different. I’m not saying it’s better, I’m not saying it’s worse. I’m not saying it’s moral, or immoral, I’m just saying it’s different and we got to accept that. And, one of the side effects of that is that something has fundamentally shifted here. Now, I’m going to give you a little bit of a preview which is, I think the internet is the new radio. And I think we’re needing, in the record business, people in the record business are going to have to think about the fact that, that might be a really good thing, not a really bad thing. And, we’ll come back to that in a minute.

The next idea is this idea that American Top 40, Casey, I don’t even know if he is still alive but its doesn’t matter so much anymore. And the reason it doesn’t matter is because of something called the long tail. I don’t know if you’ve read this book, you should go out and read it right now, you can read it in 45 minutes. And what Chris Anderson [author of The Long Tail] pointed out is this, if I look at Netflix, what I see is that Netflix rentals, half of them are products Blockbuster doesn’t even carry. If I look at Amazon sales, half of Amazon sales are products that are unavailable in any Barnes & Noble store. If I look at the iTunes music store, half of iTunes sales are titles that you could not buy if you went into any record store. What happens when you give people an infinite number of choices in any genre, polka, doesn’t matter, they spread out. And two things occur. One, they go down the tail and start finding what’s just right for them, and two, sales go up. And so what this means is that the very structure of “how do we force as much attention as we can to the top 40” is actually the opposite of what leads to more consumption.

And then the last one, you’ve seen it before, is this idea of suing the very people you’re trying to talk to is unfortunate.

(Hat tip: Boing Boing)

March 1, 2008

The RIAA is really looking out for the artist

Filed under: Arts, Business, et.al. — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:53 pm

The RIAA and recording companies are certainly doing a bang-up job of protecting the artists creating every work named in every lawsuit.

Oh, you mean they’re only protecting their money, not the artist?

From Hit & Run:

Surprise! Actual musicians have gotten diddly from the $370 million copyright infringement settlement between record companies and Napster et al.

Artist managers are girding for battle with their music overlords over when their clients are going to see some of the dough negotiated last year in copyright-infringement settlements with a host of Web sites….

“Artist managers and lawyers have been wondering for months when their artists will see money from the copyright settlements and how it will be accounted for,” said lawyer John Branca, who has represented Korn, Don Henley, and The Rolling Stones, among others. “Some of them are even talking about filing lawsuits if they don’t get paid soon.”

Way to encourage and reward innovation, intellectual property law!