[ARW readers are familiar with the excellent work of Hugh Stephens and this post is no exception.  Mr. Stephens calls attention to the pincer attack on creators by the forces of evil  that sure bear a striking resemblance to the anti-artist yearnings of a certain ginormous advertising company based in Mountain View.]

 

As I write we are in the depths of the COVID pandemic. Each day brings new and more frightening predictions of what is to come, what we all need to do to “bend the curve”, and how it is affecting people globally from both a health and economic perspective. The pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime challenge….

[I]t is extremely disappointing to see special interest groups taking advantage of the COVID crisis to push their personal pre-COVID agendas. In the case of copyright, this consists of using the crisis to attack the fundamentals of copyright protection, namely the right of creators to control distribution of their work, and thereby to earn a return on the sweat equity they put into the creation in the first place.

In the case of copyright, the first shot was fired by the Internet Archive which declared that it would make its collection of 1.4 million copyright-protected books freely available through its online Open Library, using the COVID pandemic as the pretext. The Open Library’s self-professed goal is to make all works ever published available in digital format. To do this, it scans any works it can get its hands on, and inventories them in its digital library. While it has over 2.5 million public domain works in its catalogue, it is not too particular as to whether a work is in copyright or not; it’s all grist to the Open Library’s mill.

Read the post on Hugh Stevens’ blog: COVID is Not an Excuse to Throw the Accepted Rules Out the Window: Copyright as the Canary in the Coalmine. — Hugh Stephens Blog

@cushac: Bootleg Podcasts Are a New Frontier for Unlicensed Music on Spotify

[Editor Charlie sez:  Welcome back to the Super Bowl of Whack A Mole.  This is a huge issue and shows again how little the services pay attention to infringing content because of the fake “DMCA license”.]

Spotify and other major platforms like Apple don’t publicly disclose their processes for ranking podcasts, but industry experts believe the calculation involves a combination of factors like play count, number of subscribers, and listener ratings. The regular appearance of apparently pirated material on the music podcasts ranking raises the possibility that a song like “In My Feelings (Spanish Version)” is a minor hit that isn’t being formally accounted for.

Read the post on Pitchfork.

We’re All in it Together: @USSupreme_Court Friend of Court Brief in Google v. Oracle by @helienne, @davidclowery, @theblakemorgan and @SGAWrites

[Editor Charlie sez:  The Oracle v. Google case is going to be the most important copyright case in a very, very long time.  Oracle won the case on appeal twice and Google got the Supreme Court to review.  The case is about two issues being copyright in software and whether Google’s taking of Oracle’s code is fair use and permissionless innovation.    Because of the fair use argument, this is not just some battle of tech companies because no one knows better than us that Google will take any win on fair use and push it even farther.

So all artists, songwriters, photographers, film makers, authors–all of us–are in the same boat with Oracle on this point.  Sure Oracle is a big company, but Google is an even bigger company with a trillion dollar market cap and Google is trying to roll over Oracle the same way they roll over us.

In a must read “friend of the court” brief, Helienne Lindvall, David Lowery, Blake Morgan and the Songwriters Guild of America make this case as independent artists, songwriters and labels all harmed by Google’s policies that are out of touch with the market starting with YouTube.

SCOTUS Brief Cover Page

As Beggars Group Chairman Martin Mills put it, “[P]olicing the YouTubes of this world for infringing content is a herculean task, one beyond all but the largest of companies. For my community, the independents, it’s a game of whack-a-mole they can only lose.”

Helienne, David, Blake and the SGA put that case squarely before the U.S. Supreme Court in this must-read friend of the court brief.]

Independent creators rely on copyright protection to safeguard their works. This is true not just of songwriters and composers, but of countless creators, including recording artists, photographers, filmmakers, visual artists, and software developers. Copyright is, in fact, of existential importance to such creators, who would be utterly lacking in market power and the ability to earn their livings without it.

Google’s business model is a prime example of the need for strong copyright protection. Since Google’s founding, Amici have experienced, observed and believe that Google has used its unprecedented online footprint to dictate the terms of the market for creative works. By tying together a set of limited exceptions and exclusions within the U.S. Copyright Act and analogous laws in other countries, and then advocating for the radical expansion of those exceptions, Google has amplified its own market power to the great detriment of copyright owners. Thus, where fair use is meant to be a limited defense to infringement founded on the cultural and economic good for both creators and the public, Google has throttled it into a business model.

Read the brief on the Supreme Court of the United States.

 

Must Read: @Unite4Copyright Creator Interview with @TheBlakeMorgan on #irespectmusic

[Editor Charlie sez:  Read this interview and it will but some beauty in your day.”

It still comes as a shock to some people that The United States is the only democratic country in the world where artists don’t get paid for AM/FM radio airplay. Stations are allowed to broadcast my music, without my permission, and without paying me. I’m not sure what your definition of “stealing” is, but that’s mine.

My best advice is to remember that copyright is a human right, supported by reason, history, and the United States’ Constitution. That like all human rights, it’s worth fighting for––even in the face of seemingly hopeless odds. The corporate and unethical forces applying downward pressure on artists’ ability to make a living may seem invincible at times, and the downward trajectory may feel inevitable. But it isn’t. Their side is only fighting on behalf of greed. We’re fighting on behalf of justice, and truth, and for an elemental part of what makes each of us human.

Read the post on Unite4Copyright Creator Spotlight with Blake Morgan