Some information ethics videos

For anyone who doesn’t know, I recently finished a Masters program for Library and Information Science and one of my biggest areas of passion and interest in that field is information ethics.  Profs from UWMilwaukee, where I did the program, are producing some really excellent research invested in ethics.  Elizabeth Buchanon, who I was most fortunate to have mentor me a bit, would be chief among those numbers.  If you don’t know her work, sidle up to your favorite search engine, plug in her name and you will learn quickly.

My dad recently introduced me to the site questioncopyright.org which I’ve really been grooving on lately.  Just wanted to share three videos they posted having to do with copyright ethics.  And, if you want to read more about the videos or ideas, this link will let you browse through all the posts they included these videos in.

If anyone isn’t too familiar with the troubling complexities of contemporary copyright, please start a conversation in the comments box here and we’ll hash things out together.

Enjoy:

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10 Responses to “Some information ethics videos”

  1. Nick,

    After referencing the FAQ at that site, I can only hope you are trying to stir up controversy. Am I to believe that “sharing” someone’s record is ok as long as no else takes credit for authorship? That the author shouldn’t be entitled to recoup the costs of making that record? That the author shouldn’t be able to recoup because making music isn’t an original idea? Can I safely assume your book will be sans copyright page as well?

    Independent artists often fund their own projects. Not everyone waits to supported by “evil” corporate sponsorship. These artists rely on support from people who believe their art is worth “investing” in. It’s a simple idea. Lending a record to a friend is “sharing”. If a friend finds value in that work, that friend should pay for their own copy of the work.

    Still happy to support my fellow independent artists,

    [dt]

  2. WHAT? D.I.Y. son, that is where the money is at for artists who want to make a living. If you are counting on making a living by going through a major you might as well gamble your assets in Vegas (your odds are better).

    “The vast majority of musicians, writers, and artists will never see a dime of copyright royalties in their lives. For the small percentage who do, it will mostly amount to beer money — a nice consolation prize, but hardly enough to make a real difference in their lives, let alone to provide an economic incentive to create.”

    I am not sure where this site is getting their facts… I would say >20k, in a relatively short time period, is far more than beer money. This money was made from the use of three songs in one year. Copyright Royalties are one of the only major ways left for a musician to make a decent living these days.

    “The copyright lobby rarely talks about the majority of artists. It prefers to talk about the superstars: the tiny, tiny minority of famous artists whose works are backed by the marketing power of the publishing and record industries.”

    Look closer, most famous musicians (Mtv/ClearChannel artists) did not write their own material and therefore do not reap the royalty payments. Many major record labels choose to use writers who are often are paid as “work for hire” leaving the record label or publisher to collect the copyright royalties. Not the artist or songwriter. Secondly, if you look only at radio play royalties it is true the tracking mechanism is flawed so only major artists (or should I say their record labels/publishers) earn money.

    I haven’t read the whole site, but the FAQ is enough for me to understand that the facts are very inaccurate when speaking of the music business.

    [dt] is still receiving royalty checks for songs he licensed in 2005, and each check is more than beer money!

    Don’t destroy the means for independent artists to make a living.

    -Jen

  3. Hey Dave and Jen,

    I really appreciate you leaving these comments. I don’t know if you read the Montevidayo post I just put up last week or so, but it was basically about what a bummer it is that I’ve been encountering very few instances of anyone challenging anyone else’s thoughts (especially in book reviews), so these are some perfectly timed challenges. It’s almost midnight, so I’m going to bed, but I’ll try to respond more properly to your comments over the next few days. I’ll see if anyone else wants in on this conversation, too. In the meantime, could you let me know more specifically the songs and situation that is resulting in the royalty checks you’re receiving, Dave? And, if you know anyone else who also has had experiences that seem to disqualify what questioncopyright.org is arguing, please have them chime in on this so I can get as many perspectives on it as possible.

    Thanks and I’ll try to get back on this soon,
    Nick

  4. OK. I’m back. So let’s see if we can gain some common ground on all of this here.

    First off, let me again thank you guys for posting your comments. Though they were challenges, they were both really thoughtful and respectful and I don’t take that for granted. Good on ya.

    So the issue that my attention goes to first is that it seems like you both understand this website or these videos to be arguing for an all-out doing-away-with of copyright. Correct me if I’m wrong there. Either way, I definitely don’t think that’s the case. Maybe that’s already clear, since the site is called questioncopyright.org and not abolishcopyright.org or something. But, just in case, I think this differentiation is worth elaborating on a little bit.

    The exemplary story of Dave benefitting with substantial financial gain from the copyright on music he’s written is really encouraging to hear. I’d love to hear more details on that situation. Stories about copyright protecting and benefitting the people whom it was originally designed to protect and benefit are all too rare anymore, in my experience, so I’m glad to hear we’ve got an example of the system working right here in Racine, Wisconsin. That circumstantial evidence aside, though, I think American copyright has been majorly perverted from its origins, as well as from how the general public usually conceives of it. I, at this time, in no way want to throw the concept of copyright out the window. I love the idea, as it started out. But so many changes in our culture have taken place recently, technologically and otherwise, and so many powerful corporations and institutions (Disney would probably be the most noted among them) have poured massive resources into lobbying for copyright legislation that will ensure their own well-being over a greater good that I feel the current state of copyright is not only theoretically rickety at this point, but also antithetical to the concept’s founding.

    I admit that even these videos I posted are oversimplifications of the topic. I guess that’s what you get when you try to make a cute, funny, one-minute promo about a super-complicated, involved argument pretty alien to mainstream thought. Specifically, I doubt even the people behind questioncopyright.org would concede that the Copying is Not Theft video is not a simplification of the matter. However, if we just judge the title as one aspect of the video, I think it’s making a really important, valid statement. Even if some copying still would be equal to a theft in the digital era, the argument that extreme copyright lobbyists have made about copying and theft being completely equal—one in the same in almost all circumstances—is clearly bogus to me. A “protection” of that nature reeks of over the top legislation. For someone such as myself, as you noted, publishing my first book of experimental poetry, I have a hard time thinking of any practical application of that copyright aspect. In fact, as a publisher, I’ve tried to work against that thinking. Nicholas Ravnikar and myself (under the imprint Racquetball Chapbook Tournament Press) not only published our first title (Nick Twemlow’s “Your Mouth is Everywhere”) as a staple-bound, physical chapbook, but we also posted it as a free pdf file on the press’s blog and people can go print it and make copies as they like, so long as they don’t try to make money from it or claim authorship of it (you can access it right here: http://racquetballchapbooktournament.wordpress.com/). Since we’re more interested in letting as many people as possible know what a phenomenal poet Nick Twemlow is than we are in making money off this endeavor (a dubious attempt, regardless), the free pdf file seemed like an obvious decision. So, in this circumstance, copying would not be theft, but would be helping us with our ultimate goal.

    Beyond that, the video that tries to illustrate the derivative nature of all art (and I would say culture, as well) seems completely on point, to me. To include language in copyright legislation that endangers “derivative” expressions is a bold-faced attack on culture. Such vague wording virtually illegalizes art across the board. Shakespeare didn’t come up with Othello. He just elaborately built off the idea. Early blues musicians didn’t always write the songs we credit them with. Sometimes they were field hollers that they just made their own. Folk and roots music in general is based on the handing down, the evolution or maybe even the devolution of antique tales and melodies. One quote I like a lot from questioncopyright.org: “The whole history of human culture evolves through copying, making tiny transformations (sometimes called “errors”) with each replication.” Disney being such a powerful lobbyist for copyright overkill is so ironic because half of the stories we associate with Disney now are, by the corporation’s own definition, “stolen,” whether it be from the Brothers Grimm or some other folk or fairytale tradition.

    This is a little all over the place, but hopefully it provides you all with something to further respond from, if you’re interested. I guess the biggest point I’d try to emphasize here is that I don’t think this website is advocating for copyright abolition, which it sounded like you thought it (or I) might be. I don’t know of any group, really, openly advocating for that (though I’m sure some must exist). As a side note, though, the scholar Siva Vaidhyanathan has recently made a kind of horrifyingly convincing argument that the Google corporation, recognizing the rickety foundation copyright currently stands on, is attempting to use its now massive weight as a company, in certain ways, to topple copyright as a concept, kind of push it over the edge, so that they may benefit and potentially monopolize the distribution of, well, thought? Is that going too far? So, if you want to get mad at someone for trying to crush copyright entirely, it seems to me like Google would be the best candidate for your ire. If you’re interested in more of Vaidhyanathan’s research on that, I think this is the article in which I read it: lawreview.law.ucdavis.edu/…/DavisVol40No3_Vaidhyanathan.pdf

    In addition, here’s another really substantial article by Vaidhyanathan on Google’s influence on institution’s of higher education: http://www.nea.org/assets/img/PubAlmanac/ALM_09_06.pdf
    As a matter of fact, we all just might want to read everything dude is publishing because he’s a pretty amazing thinker. So good luck to us all with that.

    And, before I end, let me address a few more peripheral points you all brought up, too: Dave, in reference to my book having a copyright page, I wasn’t consulted about that one way or another, neither did I bring it up to my publisher. I’m sure it will, but if you’re interested in alternative thinking about that whole set up, explore the organization Creative Commons or any of the works of Lawrence Lessig. CC has set up a multi-tiered, author-friendly system for creators to choose what level of copyright they would like to have applied to their work. For instance, if I wanted to use some of your song lyrics as an epithet for one of my poems and you had already copywritten your work through a Creative Commons agreement that would allow for that, I could just go ahead and do so and there would be no paperwork or legal mess to muck through in the process. I know of at least one independent publisher, Narrow House Press (founded by Justin Sirois), who is really proactive about Creative Commons agreements with the work that they publish, but I’m sure there’s plenty more (here’s the Narrow House blog link: http://narrow-house.blogspot.com/). Nonetheless, Creative Commons hasn’t altogether entered the mainstream’s consciousness and I hope their popularity continues to grow.

    And Jen, you joked with me in a facebook note about going back on preordering my book, because of the copyright stuff I was posting. While, of course, I’m super-happy if you do, indeed, order a personal copy of my book, I really do want to also encourage you—and anyone else who doesn’t want to spend their own money on a copy of the book—to consider just ordering it from the library. I’d be a hypocrite if I suggested otherwise. I read like a fiend…same with listening to music. But the frequency I buy books at is maybe 1 per year, at most? I think public libraries are among the most remarkable ideas America has ever instituted, and ours here in Racine is above the bar in many way, yet still there’s so many people who don’t take advantage of the resource. It’s ironic, since we’ve all already paid for it through taxes. Still, only some of us opt to reap the benefits. I have a lifetime goal to try and shift that mindset, at least a little. And, aside from all of that, remember you gave me two of Dave’s CDs for free. I didn’t even solicit you for them, you were just so generous that, the first time I met you, you shelled them out to me; one for me personally an one for the library’s collection (it circulates pretty regularly, by the way, so it was a smart investment). I don’t know exactly what that fact indicates in all of this, but when we start to acknowledge the gift economy that you and I are a part of (gift economy is pretty much the norm in the world of poetry), I think it complicates these copyright issues even more. The poet Cathy Wagner, along with some others, have really given me some things to think about in terms of the gift economy lately but, to be honest, I think there should be a little less emphasis on it in independent artist culture than there has been lately. That’s a whole ‘nother post, I guess. Perhaps I’ll get around to that sometime soon…

    OK. Enough out of me. I’d love to hear your further thoughts on this so keep them coming, when you have another second. And, as Johannes recently said on Montevidayo, thanks for thinking.

    Nick

  5. Hmmm. that first Vaidhyanathan link doesn’t seem to work. Just plug “the googlization of everything” into a search engine. you’ll pull up his blog, by that name (sort of his home base…real good stuff), as well as a pdf result. the pdf will be the article I was trying to link to.

    Happy hunting.

  6. Nick.

    I don’t have much time because I have to finish my final for school. I wanted to address a few points you just listed. Then I will come back and give you the details about Daves success due to how the copyright law protects his work… and there are many, many other who have used this as well. Do I know of any artists in Wisconsin personally, I don’t think so. I have consulted with several artist/bands who were interested in making money as Dave did; however, they never pursued this avenue of making money. I assume because it actually takes a bit of work/knowledge.

    “Stories about copyright protecting and benefiting the
    people whom it was originally designed to protect and
    benefit are all too rare anymore, in my experience, so I’m
    glad to hear we’ve got an example of the system working
    right here in Racine, Wisconsin.”

    Because you don’t hear them? I hear them all the time. That is how we learned to be successful with it. There are a ton of books on it, there are seminars on it. There are companies that will help you with it. I think this is more the case of: because YOU didn’t benefit from copyright, YOU think it is evil, and it should be abolished or changed. OR lets flip this maybe because I benefited from it, I think it should exist and that it works effectively. It does require that the artist is knowledgeable about it, or that the artist knows/hires someone who is.

    “changes in our culture have taken place recently,
    technologically and otherwise, and so many powerful
    corporations and institutions”

    Oh Hai! Bingo! Good job. You have identified the problem.

    Too bad the site wants to change the copyright law to no longer protect the writer instead of correcting the corporations.

    “For someone such as myself, as you noted, publishing my first book of experimental poetry, I have a hard time thinking of any practical application of that copyright aspect. In fact, as a publisher, I’ve tried to work against that thinking.”

    Again, I don’t understand the book side very well. I understand the music side. Is the copyright the issue or the agreement you had with the publisher the issue? You would have to explain your situation/side which I think is fair since you are asking me to explain David’s.

    In music one who is more interested in make a living, versus getting ones name out, or being able to boast that one gained acceptance by a major (or an effective indie) is where the difference lies. There are many many examples of musicians who signed legal agreements to give up their rights just so they could gain this glory. I do believe that many of these artists just don’t understand the system and they believe that by having the support of the major corporation they have hit it big, they will be successful, they will make money. If art is your industry you should learn how the “system” works. You need to understand the laws, the contracts, find people who have been successful (and by successful I do not mean famous, unless fame is all you are seeking) and ask how they did it.

    “Since we’re more interested in letting as many people as possible know what a phenomenal poet Nick Twemlow is than we are in making money off this endeavor (a dubious attempt, regardless), the free pdf file seemed like an obvious decision. So, in this circumstance, copying would not be theft, but would be helping us with our ultimate goal.”

    Is the copyright law hindering you? There are clearance documents that you should be getting/creating that prevent this from being stealing. For example. David has given several of his songs for use to student and/or independent film makers for use for free. When Red Harvest contacted David to use one of his songs they requested that we sign a simple legal form stating they could use the song for free. There are form documents available on the internet for this, I would suggested getting a legal handbook before signing or using one of these forms. (yes, I have a legal handbook that isn’t much fun to read but it helps me to truly understand the rights). Here is a lovely link from this situation that even plays Davids song: David was in the band “The Dammitheads”, you will see credit at the bottom that says “music written and performed by The Dammitheads”. http://www.livevideo.com/video/Undeadable/8E550E4806A141E99F32616B452161CA/projekt-red-harvest-product.aspx

    As far as derivative works… everything is derivative. This is and always has been a complex situation. Unless we intend to move into a beautiful utopian world this will continue to be a complex situation. This is far too much to explain over the internet, it would be better discuss in person.

    I do know a tiny bit about the google thing. MAny corporations are evil and they all try to take advantage of the system for profit. It may be hopeless, as many Americans do not care so much about the greater good of anyone other than themselves and maybe their immediate friends and family. We can see this clearly with the evils of Walmart and the people who choose to support/shop there because it saves them a dime today.

    Also, real quick… I don’t understand the motivation behind the site. It appears they do not want to pay for art, they want to be able to copy it… the whole file sharing thing. They don’t explain how an artist SHOULD make $$. The donation idea is weak, if it were that easy corporations would do it. Why don’t they suggest using the library instead of just file sharing? There is a difference between using a library and keeping something you like forever. I didn’t see anywhere on the site where they suggested expanding the use of libraries as a solution. It’s a great solution. Perfect solution. I wonder why why why they didn’t suggest this?

    And the sad example they used of the independent film maker who has to pay evil for the music she choose to use in her film, two things… her bad for not understand the law and just using the music, her bad for not seeking out artist who are willing to let their music be used for free, there are millions of them. If she did know and understand all of this then why is there crying now?

    “Nonetheless, Creative Commons hasn’t altogether entered the mainstream’s consciousness and I hope their popularity continues to grow.”

    Ummm really? Because my photographs are used pretty regularly (once or twice a month) under a Creative Commons copyright I publish/distribute via the very popular site flickr. You can see my photographs and their copyright on my flickr site. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennifertomaloff

    Popular users of CC also include:
    The White House
    Wikipedia
    Public Library of Science

    Why are you not sharing the CC site instead of this site?
    Is it because this question copyright spoke of the frustrations over misunderstanding of the CC? Because that same frustration lies in the normal copyright as well, hence them being butt-hurt about having to pay for the music they used. We need to educate the people don’t take away the rights of the artist.

    The attack should not be on the copyright which protects the artist. It should be on those who are looking for the loops holes. Is this site just butt-hurt over not understanding the law, using someone else work and finding out they have to pay for it? I got that impression, though I admit I am an ass and didn’t look over it closely… and I am not sure I will as I don’t have the time to spend on it.

    Ok seriously, I have to finish my final.
    Then details about Daves success, and how he got there… and how MILLIONS of other artist use it.

    -Jen

  7. Oh… and I should say. It isn’t perfect for musicians, the whole radio play where an artist should make money. That mechanism is flawed and does not work.

    More later…

  8. Nick,

    Jen spoke eloquently enough, so I won’t rehash. The truth of the matter is that you are a long way from understanding how indepedent artists make money through the licensing of their work. There is nothing wrong with being uninformed but there IS something wrong making it sound as if you are and throwing a big utopian blanket over the works.

    It is true large corporations will often take advantage of things….that’s what they do. Should we take away my father’s right to make money because Wal-Mart is greedy? I don’t think so. All skills are rightfully considered arts – derivative at that – so where do we get to draw lines on which ones people should be compensated for? If a chair is derivavtive, should the woodworker toil only in hopes for your generous donation? This is madness.

    I am well aware of Creative Commons and use it where applicable. I copyright my works and this gives me freedom to do with them as I choose. When I licensed a song to MTV for Real World or to the TV show, Invasion, or the TV show, Good Girls Don’t, I did so with the agreement that I would receive monetary payment for the use. Conversely, when I licensed songs to Daft Films for their Table Tennis Documentary, or the company that did the BMX Series, or the company who made the zombie film in Germany, I did so with the agreement that the use was free to them as long I received credit….they were super low budget companies I was happy to be involved with. The overall point here, Nick, is that in all cases, how my material was used was determined by me.

    You said: “Dave, in reference to my book having a copyright page, I wasn’t consulted about that one way or another, neither did I bring it up to my publisher.”

    You signed or agreed to something somewhere in the process, so you knew what rights you were agreeing to. If you did not, you would have sought legal counsel.

    Furthermore, regarding your book being available from the library, that’s great….but not everyone’s book or CD is….nor could it possibly be. While the library is a great resource, it is not an all-inclusive one.

    The bottom line is free choice, Nick. There are plenty of instances where folks have been screwed, but there always will be an any system. The best we can hope for in any system, though, is that we may retain our individual rights to own our work and use it as we see fit.

    What is it that is so wrong with the copyright itself? Not corporations or misuse by individuals, but the copyright itself. I fail to see what, if anything.

  9. OK. More responses. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, Jen, Dave and I (and the writer Lisa Adamowicz Kless) all hung out after BONK! For a few hours drinking tea, eating baked goods and talking about all this stuff in person. So the conversation may be at a slightly different point than the blog comments suggest, but I’ll try to keep it so that I don’t stray too far from what’s been posted here. I’ll address Jen’s new comments first. Much of this we already discussed in person, but I just want to reiterate it publicly with this response:

    Yes, clearly, if my experience has not included many (or any) encouraging copyright stories, it’s at the very least because I haven’t heard them. The question is why I haven’t heard them and you seem to be suggesting that it’s not because they don’t exist, but because I am just maybe not pursuing them adamantly enough. Or maybe the suggestion is (and this one I’d at least be initially inclined to agree with) that because we respectively inhabit somewhat different micro-cultures in more than one way, I may just be from a culture that tends to see copyright’s failures whereas yours would see its successes. For instance, I’m coming at this thinking mainly of publishing poetry, you from publishing music Neither of these, though, seem to be cultures obsessed with copyright failure, I’m just pointing out that difference. However, I’m coming out of the academic information ethics culture right now, which is pretty much the only place where critical discourse on copyright seems to get prominent air time. Except for, apparently, on this blog now : )

    And I wouldn’t ever say I haven’t benefitted from Copyright. If that’s what my response sounded like it was claiming, then I miswrote I’m aware that I benefit every time I publish anything, whether it be the book next month, or just in any online journal…hell, even this blog response. But I’m benefitting in more passive, de facto and ambiguous ways than you and Dave seem to be. You guys have the concrete evidence of cash to show how you’re being protected and benefitting. I just kind of have a vague sense of peace of mind, which I can take for granted when I’m not focused. And I don’t mean to say I’ve never financially benefitted from my poetry and the fact that copyright protects it for me. It just sounds like it’s on a much less noteworthy scale than you guys, which seems to be the case in general for poetry versus music. Music has the potential to make money in our culture. Poetry too, but in strange, different and indirect capacities that don’t seem to parallel the music world too well.

    Moving on–Have I not made clear that I don’t think copyright is evil and should be abolished? For sure, I don’t think either of those things at all. Quite the contrary, I love what copyright is set up to do, but am angry at certain perversions that have been forced onto it in recent years through vehicles like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. I may need a whole different post to go into those, I guess. One example: it is my understanding that, under current copyright legislation, the copyright on, say, Mickey Mouse could potentially be renewed until forever. If that’s accurate this long after the death of Walt Disney, then I’m very dissatisfied with that current aspect of the law.

    One other major thing I think I misrepresented: this site, questioncopyright.org, is not preaching a gospel I by any means 100% support. In fact, I’ve explored it probably less than you and Dave, at this point, and will only explore it further because this raucous discussion popped off about it. I posted those three videos because I found them interesting, cute (I thought the one on derivation was pretty innovative in its own derivative way) and because they were addressing a topic that I feel like isn’t getting any kind of treatment in mainstream discourse. I couldn’t be happier at the fact that not one but two people actually took me up on a conversation about it. You asked why I didn’t feature the Creative Commons site instead of this one, which is a good question and, honestly, in retrospect, would have been a better option maybe. Because 1) I know much more about their mission and 2) it seems to be much more in line with my thoughts on copyright (really the folks at CC probably had a huge part in influencing my thoughts on copyright). Basically, I just posted this website’s link up because this blog, for me, is very much a “Hey, this is what I looked at today” kind of deal; a very immediate resource. After all this, though, I will probably think harder before doing so because I can see how “I’m posting info on this organization because it’s kind of interesting to me” quickly can be translated online into “I’m posting info on this organization because I wholeheartedly support everything they say.” Seriously, though, that doesn’t apply to this post. Or probably any other one I’ve ever made.

    Now, in terms of the Twemlow chapbook and your question “Is the copyright law hindering you?” No, not at all. But the de facto copyright, the one that, as you suggested, would be in place if we just published the work without pursuing something through Creative Commons or the clearance documents you mentioned, would be hindering others from spreading and distributing it in the way that we’d like to encourage. CC is one option, the documents you mention, apparently, would be a similar option, we just kind of cut to the chase in a way that is hoped to be more convenient for readers by making the digital version available and readily printable for free online.

    This brings me to the point that we have all seemed to be arguing for the same ideas and somehow missing each other on them still. Yesterday, I think it struck me as to why (it was really the biggest revelation I had while we were all talking yesterday): when I reference “copyright” and you reference “copyright,” the semantics don’t match; it’s like we’re signifying two completely different concepts. Somehow, there’s a rift between what each of us thinks of when that term is brought up. You guys seem focused on the positive aspects of protection, ownership and power of authority when you bring it up, all aspects I recognize, but am maybe downplaying too much in these posts? The downplaying doesn’t feel inappropriate to me, though, just because those aren’t the current copyright aspects I want to address. I’m interested and, in these posts, solely focused on, issues like infinite renewability, ambiguous legal language defining derivation and the lobbying power of corporations that have gotten aspects like these into place. I’m interested in cleaning tthose aspects out, the aspects you guys don’t seem focused on, so that the aspects we all seem to be in favor of—putting decisions about the work into the hands of the author, for instance—are better streamlined.

    My favorite quote from your last post, Jen: “Also, real quick… I don’t understand the motivation behind the site.” Apparently, neither do I. I honestly have still not looked beyond the videos and the three pages I posted links to. You all have at least looked at the FAQs page…From what you tell me, though, it sounds like they would not be interested in putting decisions into the hands of the creators of the work. I look forward to exploring that more on the site itself, soon. But I also can’t relate to that mentality, anyways.

    Another point of yours I wanted to emphasize: “her bad for not seeking out artist who are willing to let their music be used for free, there are millions of them.” I think this is a really important point. If someone doesn’t know of a bunch of artists who would be happy to let her use their stuff on some very reasonable terms, if not for free, then I suspect that person is not devoting enough time to investigating the people creating in their geography or the underground artists out on the grind beyond. As you’ve said about some other things, Jen, this doesn’t happen without substantial effort…we’re not being barraged with billboards and TV commercials, constantly, about Dave Tomaloff or Nick Demske, for instance. But if a person wants to jump in that double-dutch, wants to enter the world of independent film making maybe, then priority number one, in my opinion, should be familiarizing yourself with a buttload of other people with similar aspirations and learning from them in any way you can.

    OK. Almost finished. In regard to Creative Commons being in mainstream consciousness or not, despite the points that you bring up, I would still maintain that it is not. I do not consider those who run the White House, Wikipedia, or even you and I, really, very mainstream. I’m more thinking in terms of, if I held a survey on a street corner here in Racine, asking passersby their knowledge about CC. And I don’t think it would result in very much.

    The last point that I think is important for us to keep discussing: “The attack should not be on the copyright which protects the artist. It should be on those who are looking for the loops holes.” Again, while I think your and my views on this are pretty parallel, my concern is more with the fact that “those who are looking for the loop holes” have swung their power into the courts enough, by now, that they have built new, scarier loop holes into copyright itself. That’s what I mean when I think of copyright now. The concept itself has been corrupted. I don’t want to change it so Dave can’t make financial gain off his music. I want to change it so that Mickey Mouse becomes a piece of the public domain like he should have before the DMCA.

    Dave, I’ll try to get to your comments later today, but stuffs real busy, so it might end up being a day or so more, if not. Either way, thanks again for contributing, guys, and I’ll try to cover everything soon.

    Nick

  10. Ok. Last comment, I swear.
    Dave, just wanted to at least acknowledge the last comment you left on this post, though I suppose I crossed over to your points when I was answering Jen’s comment. As far as me being “a long way from understanding how indepedent artists make money through the licensing of their work,” I don’t think I’d necessarily disagree with you. That sounds perfectly plausible. But, if it is, I’m going to need people like you and Jen to keep reflecting my own ignorance to me, for me. Otherwise, if I’m ignorant of something, I’m sure I won’t be able to recognize that on my own too easily. So hopefully this will be the tip to a big iceberg of dialogue on the subject of how independent artists make money through the licensing of their work–well into the future. I’ll see if I can get others to weigh in on it and you do the same, if you can.

    And I think you and I are expressing the same frustrations with ambiguity in legislation for “derivatives.” You seem to be upset that the legal definition of “derivative” is too inclusive. I am, too. But I don’t believe that it should be shrugged off, then, as something there will never be a solution to. Even if it can never be perfected, I think it’s clear that the current breadth of that term in copyright legislation is too all-encompassing, enabling powerful corporations to have some legal standing on what previously might have been considered outrageous, or at least invalid, claims. I think that’s something that needs to be corrected, currently.

    And that might also speak to your final question, “What is it that is so wrong with the copyright itself?” I pretty much agree with the sentiment you express in your conclusion. However, because the corporations and lobbyists we keep bringing up have already influenced many dramatic changes in copyright legislation, I do, definitely, see problems with “copyright itself.” Now, if I should be reading that question more as “What is wrong with the original, foundational theories and practices of copyright,” I don’t think I would have any kind of answer for you, really. So maybe I’m just misreading the question.

    And, again, in regard to the comments on my book–yes, I knew it would be protected by copyright; I generically knew what my rights were and what they are when publishing any piece of writing. When I said I wasn’t consulted about the copyright of the book, I had meant to indicate that the publisher and I did not discuss any alternative options (like Creative Commons agreements) other than the de facto copyright. My bad there. Hopefully that clears things up.

    Again, in general, I basically agree with what you’re saying and I’m glad that we both feel passionate about the rights of keeping decisions in the hands of creators. The one last comment of yours that I would like to highlight, though, is almost tangential, but very important to me. When you say “regarding your book being available from the library, that’s great….but not everyone’s book or CD is….nor could it possibly be. While the library is a great resource, it is not an all-inclusive one…” you’re absolutely right, but I would like to encourage all of us to re-envision what a library is and what it is supposed to do. If we’re focusing on independent authors or musicians here, for instance, I agree with the point I think you might be implying that people working in libraries need to put more effort into having those independent artists represented. I also want to emphasize responsibility on the other side, though. For instance, Jen made sure to give me a CD of yours so it would be included in the collection. Since then, as I’ve already mentioned, I’ve noticed it has circulated pretty significantly…a smart investment on your and Jen’s parts. I guess all I’m getting at is I hope independent artists start thinking of public libraries as places where their material should be included and I hope more start taking active steps, like you and Jen, to make sure they’re not omitted from library collections in the future.

    Well, I think I’m spent on this subject. But if you all have any more to add, I’ve really been enjoying the discussion so far, so please rock on until you’re sated.

    Good night, homies.
    Nick

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