downloads - your feedback
cases for & against file sharing
is a major issue in the music world. There
are a number of readers who have views
on the subject expressed on this page.
Mike himself spent a couple of years personally
involved in the area. For Mike's background,
check this link: background
companies RIP - The life and crimes of the
Ray Hogan sent me this link to Simon
Napier-Bell's obit' for the late and unlamented
major record companies. It's from 2008 but
it sums it all up really. The only sad thing
is that after EMI landed up in the hands
of a complete (loaded) novice its now been
subsumed again and God knows what this means
for our back catalogue. Could be a good
not raiding CD sales
TECH Asher Moses 6.11.07
Hogan recently sent me this link that has
new (Canadian) research apparently showing
that p2p filesharing has a minimal impact
on CD sales. Which either goes to show you
can prove anything or that there is another
factor somebody's overlooking.
enforcement arm of the Australian music
industry has dismissed damaging overseas
research that found illegal music sharing
actually increased CD sales. read
suffers major defeat
this the beginning of the end? Or just the
end of the beginning? Whatever, the war
is heating up..
The US Supreme Court has
ruled that file-sharing companies are to
blame for what users do with their software.
The surprise ruling could start a legal
assault on the creators of file-sharing
networks such as Grokster and Morpheus.
an aberration with a limited future - by
Graeme Philipson 17.5.05
Tony Nirta sent me the link to this Age
article. The times they are a-changing alright..
Hi there, I just read this article (below),
my first thought was o..............k........,
but. So I read it again, and it needs to
be said that the argument is flawed, in
my view, and point out that if his point
attacked the medicine manufacturers, I would
be inclined to agree..
There has been a tiny victory in
the long battle against the forces of darkness.
A US Circuit Court of Appeals court has
ruled against the US Federal Communications
Commission's requirement that TV networks
should use "flagging", a signal
that would help prevent programs being copied,
in everything they broadcast.
The ruling means that digital material broadcast
by free-to-air TV stations can continue
to be copied. Flagging technology would
have made this more difficult, because it
would have mandated the inclusion of anti-copying
technology in consumer technology such as
digital video recorders.
Proponents of flagging - the TV networks
and the Hollywood studios - have criticised
the ruling and vowed to fight on, even if
it means making existing draconian copyright
laws even more severe. It is these people's
strategy to wear down their opponents with
endless litigation, bleeding them dry with
all manner of expensive lawsuits and appeals,
and changing laws on the run as technology
The industry, always ready to cloak its
self-interest in altruism, claims that the
ruling will make the so-called "digital
divide" deeper by creating two classes
of consumer, saying that the "non-secure"
broadcast medium will have lower-quality
programming than "secure" outlets.
Unfortunately, the rest of the story
Technician Who Lost His Faith
I was sent this by Brenden Mason, who was
sent it by Joe Creighton. It's not about
the issue of down-loading as such, but it's
very relevant, and manages to dispel a few
myths along the way - and it's not all doom
The closure of Sydney's Paradise
Studios in December, 2002 marked
the end of an era for the Australian music
recording industry. Built in 1980, this
once sought-after studio saw the recording
of many major Australian albums. It was
one of the few remaining "room within
a room" constructions, based on fully
floating concrete slabs in Sydney. The control
room was based on a Tom Hiddley "Westlake"
design. It had a both a "dead"
recording area and a two storey high "live"
room. It was a grand place, with plush red
carpets and polished brass door handles.
Its facilities included a sauna, spa, solarium
and a giant recreation room with cooking
facilities. It was the studio that inspired
the song "Breakfast at Sweethearts",
after the boys of Cold Chisel had spent
a long night recording there and walked
up to the 'Cross for breakfast. It is unlikely
that anything like it will ever be built
again in Sydney.
Technology advances have been sited as a
big factor in the decline of the music recording
industry. Now it is possible for me to sit
at my home PC fitted with a A$70.00 sound
card and record in quality that I could
never have achieved running a half inch
2 track at 30ips! I have at my fingertips
plugins with parameters which can go way
beyond what any real analogue device could
ever do. Let's face it - the mixdown room,
brimming with racks of outboard gear, the
machine room with two locked up 24 tracks,
the 64 channel moving fader mixing console
that's so huge that you need a loudhailer
to get the attention of the guy standing
at the other end, all enclosed in a suitably
huge control room whose time delays render
the main monitors unuseable - these days
are over. There is now no reason why mixing
cannot be done in a much smaller computer
based room, at a fraction of the cost of
the equivalent analogue setup. (I can already
hear howls of protest drifting through cyberspace,
coming from those analogue freaks out there
as I write this, but like it or not, sorry
guys, this is what is happening!) Simple
overdubs can easily be done in tiny setups,
at a fraction of the cost. This means dramatically
reduced need for larger recording studio
facilities. On the other hand, this means
many more smaller facilities can do this
work. Technology and computers are not killing
our industry - they are simply changing
This really doesn't add to the file-sharing
debate much either, except it may help those
who are finding their CD collection isn't
quite as indestructible as the hype made
been reading the comments on the
CD issue - again we see the a few companies
trying desperately to hold on to their jobs...
or are they?
Anyhow, this might interest you or anyone
who has a legal, bought CD and it has unplayable
tracks (due to scratches). 3 steps. (Oh,
you must have a CD burner).
1.First try to do a direct copy of the CD,
2. If the above doesn't work, then 'Rip'
the CD. You'll need to download software.
A good free one I use is 'CDeX' and you
can download it at http:www.cdex.n3.net
(windows9x). When you Rip a CD, with this
program, fill in the "Artist"
and Album" names, and those folders
are in C:/My Documents/MP3....
3. Then check the offending songs. This
worked for me after I repaired my Free Fire
and Water CD, so good luck.
record company invective
I remember an interesting article
about how record companies have for decades
persisently and systematically ripped off
their own artists over payment of royalties.
I'll send a copy when I find it. I think
the downloading war and copy protection
to prevent are merely a last ditch attempts
to maintain high prices. High prices that
have an adverse impact on sales particularly
here in Oz.The other point about copy protection
is that it may actually degrade sound performance,
assuming the CD plays at all. To me, a hi
fi buff, this is the pits. High price &
lower quality!! A great deal. There never
seemed to be such a rabid reaction about
recording vinyl (or CDs) onto cassettes
and there were quite a few cassette decks
around. Why don't the record companies just
do what consumers want - provide "value
And furthermore (from a letter dated
16.5.04 which included the article from
Australian Hi Fi he mentions):
I reckon the record companies are trying
to protect their own interests first. Of
course, artsts are a consideration. If the
companies weren't so greedy in ripping the
artists off on one hand and charging the
paying punters too much on the other, there
wouldn't be an issue.
There is evidence to suggest there shouldn't
be an issue anyway, as the extent of piracy
(downloading) is nowhere near what the self-interested
companies claim. The real pirates are those
who copy CDs en masse in Asia and
distribute for commercial gain.
The record companies have now presented
us with the farcical situation of not knowing
a release we buy with the (unnecessary)
copy protection will actually play on any
device we own! If it does play - at what
cost to sound quality?
Another side of the argument sent by Paul
by David Rhoten from The
Effect of File Sharing on Record Sales -
An Empirical Analysis by
Felix Oberholzer and Koleman Strumpf link
We find that file sharing has only had a
limited effect on record sales.
OLS estimates indicate a positive effect
on downloads on sales, though this estimate
has a positive bias since popular albums
have higher sales and downloads. After instrumenting
for downloads, most of the impact disappears.
This estimated effect is statistically indistinguishable
from zero despite a narrow standard error.
The economic effect is also small. Even
in the most pessimistic specification, five
thousand downloads are needed to displace
a single album sale.
We find that file sharing has no statistically
significant effect on purchases of the average
album in our sample. Moreover, the estimates
are of rather modest size when compared
to the drastic reduction in sales in the
music industry. At most, file sharing can
explain a tiny fraction of this decline.
This result is plausible given that movies,
software, and video games are actively downloaded,
and yet these industries have continued
to grow since the advent of file sharing.
While a full explanation for the recent
decline in record sales are beyond the scope
of this analysis, several plausible candidates
exist. These alternative factors include
poor macroeconomic conditions, a reduction
in the number of album releases, growing
competition from other forms of entertainment
such as video games and DVDs (video game
graphics have improved and the price of
DVD players or movies have sharply fallen),
a reduction in music variety stemming from
the large consolidation in radio along with
the rise of independent promoter fees to
gain airplay, and possibly a consumer backlash
against record industry tactics.
It is also important to note that a similar
drop in record sales occurred in the late
1970s and early 1980s, and that record sales
in the 1990s may have been abnormally high
as individuals replaced older formats with
CDs. Our results can be considered in a
broader context. A key question is the impact
of file sharing (and weaker property rights
for information goods) on societal welfare.
To make such a calculation, we would need
to know how the production of music responds
to the presence of file sharing. Based on
our results, we do not believe file sharing
will have a significant effect on the supply
of recorded music.
Our argument is twofold. The business model
of major labels relies heavily on a limited
number of superstar albums. For these albums,
we find that the impact of file sharing
on sales is likely to be positive, leaving
the ability of major labels to promote and
develop talent intact. Our estimates indicate
that less popular artists who sell few albums
are most likely to be negatively affected
by file sharing. (Note, however, that even
for this group the estimated effect is statistically
insignificant.) Even if this leads record
labels to reduce compensation for less popular
artists, it is not obvious this will influence
music production. ****This is because the
financial incentives for creating recorded
music are quite weak. Few of the artists
who create one of the roughly 30,000 albums
released each year in the U.S. will make
a living from their sales because only a
few albums are ever profitable. In fact,
only a small number of established acts
receive contracts with royalty rates ensuring
financial sufficiency while the
remaining artists must rely on other sources
of income like touring or other jobs. Because
the economic rewards are concentrated at
the top and probably fewer than one percent
of acts ever reach this level, altering
the payment rate should have very little
influence on entry into popular music.
Major label releases are profitable only
after they sell at least a halfmillion copies,
a level only 113 of their 6,455 new albums
reached.52 records account for 37% of the
total sales volume. Twenty-five thousand
new releases sold less than one thousand
copies in 2002.
I have to 'fess up now.
I have never used the Net to listen to or
even download music - such a traditionalist
when it comes to listening to music. On
the vexed question, I would view the music
being available on the Net as being a good
merchandising tool if only one or two tracks
from a CD was available. In such a case,
it would be nothing more than a glamorised
radio, but with an ability to reach a worldwide
audience quite easily. Conversely, if a
whole CD package of music, warts and all,
was available and thus all the material
able to be burnt, as a muso, I would be
greatly concerned. In such circumstances,
the financial losses may be dramatic. However,
if frequent and widespread downloads were
occurring, I'd suspect a lot of gigs may
result. I think people should pay for their
whole-packaged CD's with the muso's receiving
their rewards and not be downloaded from
the Net. One or two tracks over the Net
would be good advertising.
mind the Bollocks..
This next diatribe comes from Paul Culnane,
and whilst not strictly on the subject for
discussion, certainly illustrates the well
of resentment the current ambivalence generates.
go ahead and "burn" my email for
your downloading debate. I'm not entirely
sure I articulated my stance on this issue
adequately, but the gist is there. There
are, of course, three sides to every story
- yours, mine and the truth. And I'll look
forward to monitoring the debate on www.mikeruddbillputt.com
You can sign my name to it if you like.
Hugh Padgham is just a favourite producer/engineer
of mine, responsible as he was for the brilliant,
timeless sonics of a great trilogy of XTC
albums, along with a whole slew of other
seminal elpees. Dunno what his opinion on
this issue might be...
This copy-protect on CD bollocks,
it's such a nuisance isn't it? Sometimes
these discs won't even play legitimately
in normal machines. Balls. Somebody took
'em to court recently, but it was thrown
out. It's a fetish of EMI, but other corporations
too; lately the new Radiohead, Blur, even
my Hendrix box set fer chrissakes! As it
is, my view is that I've bloody paid for
the disc, contributing to the earnings of
the artist. In my opinion (disagree if you
will), that CD is now MINE, and I can choose
to do with it what I want. Make an old fashioned
cassette, just play it for pleasure (sometimes
with this protect nonsense you can't even
do that), or use it for a nifty frisbee.
But, for what it's worth, here's how I've
successfully thwarted this monstrosity,
in order to burn for some pals: take an
analog line from your CD deck, if that can
be done, up into your MiniDisc recorder
(presuming you've got one). Largely, it
will still retain the track index points
but if not you can insert them yourself
manually, just the way you want. And it
still sounds brilliant if you carefully
control the process. Then burn back down
to CDR. Try it.
I for one am firmly against ripping off/exploiting
the artists who give us so much pleasure,
but then again, as I say, when I pay at
least 30 bucks for a fuckin' CD, that's
MY PROPERTY, and the artists get their royalties
anyway! Like, is somebody gonna pillory
me if I buy a pair of Levi's and then decide
to put a patch or embroidery on 'em? Who's
gonna take me to court if I leave skidmarks
on my own pair of pants? So, come on, this
is getting kinda silly. The new Blur has
a hidden track and a CD-ROM clip that I
can't access because of this ridiculous
prohibitive technology. It's all getting
But I display a smug grin when I get around
it. Albeit analog, but analog sounds warmer
anyway, and you can control your own volume
levels for mastering.
Oooh, how cool-ly technical am I?
Here's another entrant into the debate c/o
Paul Culnane from Sean Bower.
I have chosen this time to step
out of the lurking shadows and
throw my 2 cents worth in......
While illegal copying of CDs sucks, I think
record companies have overlooked a few legitimate
reasons people have for copying CDs. By
copy protecting CDs they will just be creating
bad feeling with the average punter who
buys the occasional album.
People will be annoyed because they won't
be able to burn a copy of the CD for the
car or just to keep the original in top
shape by not playing it (how many people
have had great CDs played to death or stolen
from their car?), they won't be able to
put the music onto their hard drives to
play in jukebox programs such as winamp
( i have made a few great discoveries of
bands from peoples random play lists on
their computers), and as has already been
mentioned they won't be able to use other
technologies such as MD to enjoy the music
they have payed for.
The record company paranoia is a little
amusing. I once read of reports of record
companies in the rock'n'roll days of the
50's being greatly concerned about their
songs being played on the radio. Why would
people buy records if they can hear the
music on the radio? i think it is pretty
safe to say the reverse is actually the
case and perhaps this is the same with new
technologies. If I hear great music i will
buy the album.... there are now more opportunities
to hear music before buying it but I don't
think artists should be too concerned about
that. In fact I think it could be an extra
opportunity.... look at the success of Apple's
i-tunes in the states with millions of payed
for downloads of MP3s happening each week.
The artist receives royalties for the downloads
and could also benefit from extra album
sales to people who took a punt on a single
MP3 and want more.
I think the benefits of new technologies
are actually greater for independant artists
who don't have the huge marketing budgets
available to present their music to the
public. It is possible for word of mouth
to spread much faster with a little help
from MP3s and online trading...... why be
scared of it, why whinge about it? If someone
rips your album and puts MP3s up on the
net more people are going to hear it which
could create more interest and therefore
more album sales.
it for ourselves..
Here's another thought or two from 'Michael'
via Paul Culnane. I guess if you want to
enter this particular debate direct, you
could always e-mail your thoughts to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Just adding my bit for
what it's worth on CD copying. I have just
ordered via www.cduniverse.com the new and
alas final CD by Warren Zevon. You can not
but it for love nor money from any music
shoppe in Townsville. They don't even have
it as an item in the 'Near Future Release'
aisle. I have also requested Wanted
Dead Or Alive by WZ (his
first solo release). You can not buy a CD
copy of The Envoy by WZ (is anybody picking
up on my Warren Zevon fetish..:) for any
amount of money. If it ever shows up on
eBay it is snapped up real quick. They simply
will not re-release it. So 'what's a poor
boy like me to do,
turmoil back in Moscow brought this turbulence
down on me' from the WZ Transverse City
album. I succumbed to dowloading a copy.
I hasten to add here that I do own a the
cassette, but with the squealing and the
noise and the hiss etc , well it just doesn't
cut it anymore does it? So I have already
techically paid for the product already,
just on a different medium.
The number of vinyl albums I own that are
not, have not even been recently or ever
released on CD is astounding, and time is
fleeting, my music madness is taking it's
Where I have already paid for a product
and though it may be worn to a frazzle,
I don't see much of a problem in me obtaining
a copy that doesn't have cracks, pops, scratches,
hiss, tonal attenuation loss, or lack of
horizontal integrity because it got a little
too much sun one
day. Geez I loved that ACDC album too...
I borrowed a friends copy of the new Marilyn
Manson album Age of Grotesque that he had
downloaded. The music is fantastic but the
quality was crap. I went out and bought
it. I'm fortunate enough to have the luxury
of finacially supporting my artists but
I am also aged enough to find what I call
quality albums of the past - such stuff
Rifles, Killing Joke, Church, Crosby and
or Stills and or Nash and or Young, Easybeats,
Roxy Music, Cream, Clapton (Richard or Eric)
etc in bargain bins and have fluffed out
my collection with stuff that is under $10!!
Homebrew summons and I must obey...
The ultimate solution comes from my Adelaide
friend, Geoff Miller. An oldie but a goodie..
RIAA BREAKTHROUGH - Music
Industry Unveils New Piracy-Proof Format
Music bosses have unveiled a revolutionary
new recording format that they hope will
help win the war on illegal file sharing
which is thought to be costing the industry
millions of dollars in lost revenue. Nicknamed
the Record, the new format takes the form
of a black, vinyl disc measuring 12 inches
in diameter, which must be played on a specially
"We can state with absolute certainty
that no computer in the world can access
the data on this disc," said spokesman
Brett Campbell. "We are also confident
that no-one is going to be able to produce
pirate copies in this format without going
to a heck of a lot of trouble. This is without
doubt the best anti- piracy invention the
music industry has ever seen." As part
of the invention's rigorous testing process,
the designers gave some discs to a group
of teenage computer experts who regularly
use file swapping software such as Limewire
and gnutella and who admit to pirating music
Despite several days of trying, none of
them were able to hack into the disc's code
or access any of the music files contained
within it. "It's like, really big and
stuff," said Doug Flamboise, one of
the testers. "I couldn't get it into
any of my drives. I mean, what format is
it? Is it, like, from France or something?"
In the new format, raw audio data in the
form of music is encoded by physically etching
grooves onto the vinyl disc. The sound is
thus translated into variations on the disc's
surface in a process that industry insiders
are describing as completely revolutionary
and stunningly clever.
To decode the data stored on the disc, the
listener must use special player which contains
a stylus that runs along the grooves on
the record surface, reading the indentations
and transforming the movements back into
audio that can be fed through loudspeakers.
Even Shawn Fanning, the man who invented
Napster, admits the new format will make
file swapping much more difficult. "I've
never seen anything like this," he
told reporters. "How does it work?"
As rumours that a Taiwanese company has
been secretly developing a 12 inch wide,
turntable -driven, stylus-based, firewire
drive remain unconfirmed, it would appear
that the music industry may, at last, have
found the pirate-proof format it has long
been searching for....
remember when I was young..
Copyright...mmm interesting issue.
I wonder how this all started. I seem to
remember copying LP's onto cassette in my
Uni years and swapping tapes with friends
to help reduce the cost of obtaining listenable
material. But there was an interesting side
effect to all of this. Instead of reducing
the number of LP's we bought, it actually
increased them. In those days a copy was
never as good as the original so you HAD
to have the vinyl version if you wanted
the"good stuff". But more importantly,
it gave us an opportunity to share and spread
the "good oil" on some band that
we had discovered and our friends had not.
This in turn seemed to create greater interest
in the artist with ultimately lead to more
gig attendances and vinyl sales. So I think
back in those days, flagrantly breaching
copyright actually worked in the artists
favour. Today, it's probably a different
story, though, as you have mused. There
used to be a lot of pride of ownership in
the possession of a 12" LP. The covers
were something that you could get excited
about and you could hold and fondle them
whilst the phonogram was doing its work.
Now, I think there is more kudos attached
to having a wallet full of pirate CD's (games,
CD's, DVD's etc) than there is to actually
owning the original. And besides, the copies
are as good as the originals. Therefore
I think the only way around it is to add
value to the original CD that is lost in
the copying of it. How do you do that...?
...now there have been some very sexy covers
of late (have you seen Steve Vai's latest
or even the packaging of some of Tools stuff?)
But other than that, I'm not sure what to
do, but somehow these things have a way
of working themselves out - perhaps artists
will stop producing because of the rip off
or a different medium with inherent copy
protection will have to be developed because
artists won't use the existing means of
recording and distribution anymore. Who
knows, but by the time they finally figure
it all out, it's more than likely that....I'll
be gone. PS I also play Jamaican Farewell,
not just I'll Be Gone ....and the
Volcano and Spill albums
get the odd thrashing too.
world according to Uncle Sam
These thoughts from Sam McNally, jazz fusion
keyboardist formerly with the legendary
Stylus. Check out Sam's website on www.sammcnally.com
The copyright issue is surely a
difficult one. As you've mentioned,
the music industry has to deal with the
fact that millions of propellor-head folks
out there believe it's their God-given right
to down-load anyone's music free of charge.
I believe THAT's the biggest single problem
in all this. The 'legitimate' music industry
had better be quick to agree on a copy-resistant
format that works properly, plus reduce
retail costs to make freebies-with-strings-attached
not so attractive whilst yet protecting
artists' royalties (mechanicals I mean)........
perhaps the multi's might consider reducing
their profits? Boy, a tough ask. The end
result will and probably already is.....
a type of chaos at work. Every man for himself,
where only the real smart will survive.
Perhaps someone will come up with a workable
solution, but they'd better be quick.
the majors brought this on themselves?
..With regards to downloading songs, all
I can say is 'what are we supposed to do
when there is no other way of obtaining
material that has long been deleted?' It
is shameful that record companies sit on
music for many years and refuse to release
it or to let others release it as in the
case of the music of Spectrum. When I learned
that you somehow managed to release Ariel
music by yourselves I rushed out and baught
it. Same as when Tamam Shud released those
rare gems. Before that all I had were some
mp3's that I somehow found on the internet.
I only recently found an interest in 70's
Aussie music and thus didnt have the vinyl
that others did. Another good thing about
internet downloading is thet you can get
a couple of songs to sample the band you
are interested in before you fork out your
hard earned dosh. Same goes with people
who sell bootlegs. I had no choice but to
buy a couple of bootleg Company Caine cds
because they were very hard to obtain having
been deleted long ago. Thats the dilemma
I know face with Spectrum music. Do I buy
Spectrum Part 1 and Milesago from the bootlegger
or do I wait for a release from you guys
or the record company?. I dearly want you
guys to get the money but if that doesnt
happen, then what do I do?
gets another mention..
are some thoughts on the dilemma faced by
artists and bands of Spectrum's vintage.
The fact that we're still around has got
nothing to do with financial security I
can assure you, but we feel strongly that
we still have something worthwhile to offer
and that, in some cases, we're doing it
better than ever. The industry is geared
to service the youth market and by doing
so I think they're missing out on an opportunity.
Anyway, here are some readers' thoughts..
.. Regarding EMI, I find it hard
to believe that they still hold
on to that Spectrum stuff for over 30 years
and do nothing about it. It boggles the
mind the things that record companies get
away with. After all, the Spectrum songs
are your intellectual property and they
are on lease to them. I know that with some
patented products that patents expire after
a certain number of years. Its high time
those songs were returned to their rightful
owner. Its ludicrous that there is no protection
given to ones that sign these contracts.
Good luck with the whole process and I hope
sanity and decency prevail quickly.
sure what this has to do with it, but I
In light of the recently 'Mike-generated'
on the downloading of recorded music I'm
writing to suggest the following for possible
discussion in Mike's 'Pith and Wind'. 'We'
can't venture out together too often but
the other night 'she' took me to see John
Paul Young. Now his material doesn't excite
me too much but his voice was in great shape.
Many of the over 40's (which we are) began
dancing (sic) and then yelling 'Rock n'Roll'
requests! What is wrong with people in this
country? Why are so many of our greatest
talents (Spectrum, Morris, Keays, Brod.Smith,
Cadd, Ryan, almost the entire 'Long way
to the top' cast et al) 'relegated' not
only by venue(s) but in people's minds?
In places other than Aus. artists with similer
track records are feted, if not by record
companies then certainly by the populace,
and chart entries aren'the only measure
of their on-going success. Here the majority
tend to treat our musicians with ambivalence
and disregard. I'm sure I'm not the first
person to pose this question; it must be
discussed by Aus. musuicians on a daily
basis, but I would really like to know why
it is and what the solution might be.
boss has a word on the subject
And for the view from the top..www.apra.com.au
Music industry professionals agree: change
private copying laws
"Music copying happens. It's time to
support the view that the simple, elegant
solution is to give the public the right
to copy for their private purposes and to
provide for payment for that copying by
imposing a blank CD levy that is distributed
back to music creators and copyright owners,"
say Brett Cottle, CEO of the Australasian
Performing Right Association (APRA) and
Ian James, Chairman of the Australian Music
Publishers Association Ltd (AMPAL).
APRA collects and distributes royalties
to composers, songwriters and music publishers.
It licenses radio and television stations
for their broadcast use of music. It also
licenses concert promoters, cinemas and
venues that provide any form of live or
recorded music. The licence fees are distributed
to writers and their publishers around the
world, based on survey data provided by
Cottle was commenting on the findings on
the recent "Music - The Business, Law
& Technology Report" conducted
by IMMEDIA! At the 6th Australasian Music
Of the 200 artists, managers and record
company staff who anonymously responded
to the survey, over three-quarters owned
CD burners and almost half used them to
illegally burn copies of CDs they had purchased.
A large majority - 81 percent - believed
that the Copyright Act should be changed
to allow personal copying of purchased CDs
(but not borrowed or downloaded music).
"Even music industry professionals
recognize there is a need to extend private
copying rights. It's time to do away with
the fiction that private copying is unlawful
and doesn't occur, and to support the payment
of a built-in royalty through a blank CD
levy," said Cottle.
Simon Lake, Chief Executive of Screenrights,
supports Cottle's comments. "Most Australians
would be shocked to know using your VCR
to record programmes is illegal," he
said. "How can the law be so out of
practice with the reality of what is happening
in virtually every living room in every
house in Australia? The government has to
catch up with the reality that the law is
out of step and needs to be changed to enable
copyright holders to get fair payment and
for Australians to be able to copy legally
for their home use."
Screenrights is a non-profit organisation
that links rightsholders in film and television
to the people who use their work.
Macainsh (!) has his say - remember Skyhooks?
This is a letter sent to PPCA members by
fellow rock legend and PPCA Artist Representative
Director, Greg Macainsh. I think it has
some pertinent things to say about the copyright
argument, so I've reproduced it here.
Recently I had cause to visit the
realms of my analog past. More
specifically I needed to find a one-inch
tape machine to listen to some old eight-track
recordings. After making countless calls
to studios in Melbourne and Sydney, most
of which could offer endless varieties of
digital multi tracking facilities, I finally
found a machine and engineer equal to this
historic task. A further incidence of nostalgic
synchronicity occurred when I realised that
the antique tape machine and its proud owner
operated from the same building in which
I had recorded an album some twenty-six
Entering the portals of this sacred space
I was transported back to a time when the
art of recording was practiced by a chosen
few, those fortunate enough to be privy
to the world of 24 track Ampexes, Neve desks
and valve Neumans. Where access to this
enclave was via the funding of a record
company who believed in what you were creating
to the extent $100 per hour. Where the end
product was a piece of black vinyl that
wobbled the diamond stylus to produce sufficient
euphoria.that ultimately might result in
the shipment of platinum.
My mission was to bridge this gap in time
and make digital copies of some old masters
for potential restoration and perhaps release.
Nowadays I have a computer at home that
records 32 tracks of better than CD quality.
And so do many musicians. The world of high
quality recording is no longer strictly
limited to artists who have a benevolent
sponsor. As such recording has been de mystified
and it is a game that is getting easier
to participate in. And so is the distribution
of one's art. In my early recording career
I visited a warehouse belonging to the distributor
for our record company. Not only did it
contain boxes of vinyl discs but also leather
goods and sundry other products which the
company also delivered. Nowadays the internet
is obviously the delivery system of the
very near future and even the CD may be
consigned to the second hand collector's
stores in the way vinyl has been.
However the one constant in these decades
of change in recording and distribution
mediums is the principle that the creators
of sound recordings and musical works have
the right to control where and how their
art will be utilised. Along with this is
a right to fair and equitable remuneration
for relinquishing these rights.
I always am perplexed at the attitudes of
somecommentators who maintain that the consumers
of recorded music 'own the music' when they
purchase a CD. Perhaps they overlook the
'all rights reserved' notice in their excitement
to participate in the ambience of their
favourite artist's work. It's a bit like
saying that because I have paid for a lease
on an apartment that I can freely dispose
of it however and to whomever I like. When
a quasi - government body inadvertently
posted some indigenous artworks on their
website, freely downloadable as 'wallpaper,'
there was understandable and totally justified
outcry, the works being swiftly removed.
However when there is massive unauthorised
downloading of songs or a collection agency
demands reasonable licence fees from nightclubs
for the use of sound recordings the response
is somewhat muted or even antagonistic.
Perhaps couching the essence of what a recording
artist creates in the language of rights,
and more specifically copyright, is becoming
problematical. Nowadays the rhetoric of
rights is used to justify all manners of
often counter positions. 'The right to work',
'the right not to work', 'the right to free
trade', 'the right to a level playing field',
'the rights of children', 'the rights of
parents' .. .etc...
When the language of rights are evoked the
user expects to trump any of their opponents
arguments simply by expressing the assertion
they have a right: e.g. I as a musician
have a 'right to decide what happens to
my creations' versus' I have a right to
copy what ever music I like from any of
my friends CD collections or that of faceless
individuals or servers on the Internet.'
This language of rights doesn't contain
a device for resolving such clashes. Utilitarian
philosophy says that what produces the greatest
happiness for the greatest number should
prevail even if it is at the expense of
the individual. In the right to copy or
right not to have my work copied without
consent debate it may be said that in the
short term copying music for free will result
in much prevailing happiness.
But this will only be temporary... If artists
cannot make a satisfactory living from their
endeavours then they will spend their time
in other ways. There is a level of excellence
that comes from making one's passion one's
profession. It enables development, refinement,
expertise and an element of quality that
comes from the investment of time and capital
into one's creations. The music lover and
purchaser of recordings ultimately benefit
from this. Trawling the myriad of demos
on the Internet is testament that quantity
is no substitute for quality.
In short the right to control what happens
to a musical recording is a recording artist's
lifeblood and should be vigorously defended.
It also protects the consumer from inferior
products and from a restricted selection
of recorded music. If copyright is severely
eroded then it will only be the megastars
who will make any money at all from recording.
As such niche artists, those who have merit
other than gargantuan sales capability,
will not be able to benefit from recording
and we will all be worse off. . ..
By the way the analog to digital transfers
turned out fine but somehow the sound of
tape it just has that extra.. ..well.. ..mystique.