Performance Rights Organizations

What are Performing Rights Organizations? from Christopher Sabec on Vimeo.

In this presentation, we give an overview of PRO’s (Performance Rights Organizations). Discussing the 3 major ones (ASCAP, BMI and SESAC), this is an introduction to the work that they do and the necessity of their existence.

5 Misconceptions Regarding Copyright Law

Christopher Sabec trichordist copyright misconceptions1)   If someone is defaming me, I can issue a DMCA takedown – If someone is spreading lies and taking about you without using your copyrighted material, then the Digital Millennium Copyright Act can’t be issued.

2)   It is illegal to write a story using somebody else’s trademark concept – Marvel and DC both own the trademark on the term “superhero,” so small time publishers may not use superhero in the title of their works, but it is perfectly legal for them to mention superheroes in their stories.

3)   Stories can not have the same plot a previously copyrighted story –  Copyright law protects the way in which the idea is portrayed, not the actual idea itself. You can have a masked vigilantly fighting crime in New York City, but if he has a fondness for bats, looks like batman, and is a wealthy Christian Bale character during the day, then the court can decide that this is Batman and violates copyright law.

4)   There is no reason to register your work as copyrighted material anymore – It is a lot easier for register your work as copyrighted material than it was 30 years ago. Before, it was mandatory to include a copyright notice if you wanted to register your work under copyright law. Today, any work that you create automatically belongs to you with or without the copyright notice. Registering your copyrighted material and obtaining a notice; however, deters people from copying your work and lets other know who to contact for licensing purposes.

5) Anyone can post a cover of a copyrighted song on YouTube – If you decide that you want to post a cover on YouTube of a copyrighted song, then you must acquire a synchronization license from the copyright holder.

Rightscorp Increases Revenue by 282% in Q3

Rightscorp, the copyright monetization company in Santa Monica has just increased the quantity of Internet Service Providers helping them combat illegal downloading of copyrighted material. At the beginning of the year, they had about 150 ISP participating in their cause, now they have over 200. This demonstrates a 33% growth in ISP participation for the company. Growth in ISP participation is a fundamental metric for company growth because an additional ISP represents thousands of potential copyright infringements that provide revenue for the company. Currently, Rightscorp represents about 15% of the Internet Service Providers in the country.

Copyright infringers take up a lot of bandwidth from their Internet Service Provider, so they have an incentive to fight copyright infringement using Rightscorp’s digital loss prevention technology. Rightscorp represents over 1.5 million copyright holders, partnering with platinum recording artists, major motion picture studios, award winning movies and authors, the country’s top TV shows, and many more. The company has closed well over 130,000 copyright infringement cases.

At the end of September, the company announced their third quarter earning results. Their three major metrics for growth are ISP participation, settlements closed and quantity of copyrights. The company announced that their year-over-year revenue growth was equal to 282%. The company was able to increase the amount of copyrights that their company held from 21,000 last year to 160,000 this year. The company closed 130,000 cases of copyright infringement cases, which was up from 75,000 last year. Considering the aforementioned increase in ISP participation, the company has well increased their three metrics used for revenue growth. With continued hard work and dedication to provide fair justice for copyright holders, Rightscorp is hoping to build on their most recent success and continue to grow.

Google is Linking its Users to Illegal Pirating Websites

Christopher Sabec Google Online PiratingIn a recent study done by MusicTechPolicy there seems to be some interesting connections between Google and online pirating websites. It seems that Google is helping these pirating sites by driving traffic towards the sites via Google alerts. Google alerts are emails that Google can send its users through data analytics. Users can set their Google alerts for whatever they desire, and when the alert appears, the option to share it to social media is readily available. In some cases, Google even send a link that might be relevant to the requested alert. In some cases, the link might even be to an illegal downloading site.

This could be coincidence because Google might not have the capabilities to know that the site it is endorsing is an online pirating site. There is more data to suggest otherwise. By looking at Google’s “Transparency Report,” one can see that in the last 30 days, Google has received more than 31 million Digital Millennium Copyright Act notices to disable certain links. One can even go more in-depth to see how many times Google has received a notice for the particular illegal website that they are sending to its users. Google has received and acknowledges 1,161,250 DMCA notices that the site that they are sending to its users violates copyright law.

Twitter and Facebook are also promoting these illegal downloading websites because they link to Google alerts. It is a tough battle for copyright lawyers out there as even the biggest search engine that seems to have a monopoly on online searches is promoting these illegal pirating websites.

These days, it is very difficult for artists to make any money online because of these pirating sites. The fact that Google, Facebook, and Twitter are promoting these sites only makes it more difficult for artists. Digital sales revenue is dropping in the music industry. Physical music product sales (like CDs and vinyl’s) are developing greater revenue.

Independent Record Labels vs. Youtube: The Fight for Money

Christopher Sabec YoutubeIn a recent article by Billboard Biz, Youtube might “take down” music from independent music labels. This is all in light of Youtube’s recent subscription service launch. If the rates that Youtube is offering are not fully compensated for the paid subscription service then Youtube will not be “supporting” them any longer on Youtube’s ad-supported streaming service. A service that pays hundreds of millions of dollars a year to labels and publishers. Not only will this hurt the independent labels that use the site to promote their artists and videos but Youtube will keep the videos up on the site without backing the label with advertisers.
In order to defend themselves, Youtube will stand by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and will only take down the music when they are notified by the rights owner. The independent labels either can take down their music or leave their music on the site with no compensation from Youtube. It is a tricky situation. After the service launch, there have been many independent labels complaining about the way Youtube is handling the situation and they are trying to get government regulatory agencies to look at Youtube’s businesses tactics in the way they set up the subscriptions service. However, not all indie labels are upset with Youtube. Other online streaming services, such as Spotify, don’t give labels the option to be on the premium service rather than the ad-supported part of their model. Labels state that Youtube is “going backwards” with their business model. This means that Youtube built and developed the “free” part of their model first and then figured out how to make money by converting the site to an ad-supported model. On the other hand, other streaming services have offered indie labels lower rates than other established labels. Moving forward, hopefully something can be done to help indie labels not have to suffer when big names like Youtube and spotify want to turn a profit on their content.

Mark Weatherly on Cutting Off Add Revenue to Illegal Downloading Sites

Christopher Sabec on Online PiracyIn a recent article by Music Week, The Prime Minister’s IP Advisor Mark Weatherly believes that ‘cutting off ad revenue to illegal sites is key to the recent piracy battle.’ In a new recent report, Weatherly suggests a number of actions that need to take place by government rights holders, ISP’s and search companies. Some of his recommendations include: increasing funding for the police intellectual property crime unit (PIPCU), exploring the advertising monitor software to ensure compliance of advertising codes, and lastly, requesting the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) look into what additional legislation is necessary to require pre-emptive action by advertisers and payment providers. According to Weatherly: “Following the money is the key to shutting down the vast majority of websites that host illegal material.” The recent report highlights a number of issues surrounding the piracy debate and Weatherley hopes it will spark discussion in the UK and other parts of the world.

Weatherly goes on to comment that since he is the Intellectual Property Advisor to the Prime Minister, he feels like it is his role to shed light to this issue and how damaging it can be, to even the UK economy. Online piracy is a form of stealing not only from the music makers, but also the country that they owe taxes to.  Steve Head, the head of economic crime at City of London Police states that he welcomes the points noted in Weatherley’s report and agrees with him in many ways. He goes on to say, “It is my firm belief that we will only make truly significant inroads into reducing this type of criminality by having a credible and effective police deterrent.” Time will tell if the UK and other countries put an end to online piracy.

This blog post is based off of this music week article posted by the Trichordist blog.
 

 

A Fight Against The Pirate Bay and Illegal Downloading

Christopher Sabec The Pirate BayIn a recent article posted by The Trichordist a website whose mission statement is “artists for an ethical and sustainable internet,” music pirating and how it affects artists is discussed. Lindy Morrison recently received the Ted Albert award at the APRA Music Awards in Brisbane for her contribution to the music industry. She was deeply honored that her work had been recognized, including her work as an advocate musicians’ rights. Morrison has worked for many years to ensure that music creators’ rights have been safeguarded and that they receive compensation when their work is used by others. She states that people want to know all the time “what it takes” to work in the industry. She replies by discussing the length of time is takes to build the skills it takes to create and record songs, the discipline in takes in rehearsals and lastly the management skills in order to keep bands on the road and the constant support and tenacity the bandmates will need throughout the years to keep making music.

In addition to discussion all of these skills, she also asks them to think about copyright laws and how they could affect musicians in protecting their music. She urges her proteges to make sure they are paid, know what their rights are, knowing how their payments are collected and passed  back to them and lastly how to know when their work has been taken without their permission. However, it is difficult, especially for artists in Australia to know/find out when their work has been taken away from them without their permission. It is difficult because it is constantly being done on the internet everyday. Morrison explains that she does not hate the internet, in fact she loves it when people discover her band, the Go-Betweens on the net but that instead of illegally downloading artists music, discovering their music through licensed websites that give back to the artists. In Australia, there is very little a musician can do in order to stop someone from illegally downloading their music. The scamming websites make a lot of money through advertising and don’t give any of it back to the artists.Morrison feels upset when she says her friends and fellow musicians being scammed by these kinds of pirating websites. It is time that people start drawing their focus on how copyright laws can improve and help artists in the future. Morrison believes that more people should support musician’s rights because she wants to see people’s rights being protected in “practical and meaningful ways.” Moving forward, time will tell if this will actually happen.

This blog post is based off of this article.