[clug] 'Rip!' on SBS, last Tuesday night

Ric de France rdefrance at gmail.com
Sun Jan 10 16:59:10 MST 2010


2010/1/10 Paul Wayper <paulway at mabula.net>

> Well, it's about $1000 per sample if you ask permission beforehand, and
> probably about that per sample if you don't and get sued.  So maybe the
> copyright owner of "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie - which of
> course isn't those entities - isn't being so unreasonable.  But why is it
> $1000 to use a two-second sample from a song, and $19.95 to buy the whole
> album?  Why is it free to listen to that song played repetitively in
> shopping malls, on TV, on radio, in taxis and restaurants and often places
> that we'd wish to just have some peace and quiet?  Why have clubs and
> restaurants recently seen a 1000% increase in the cost of licensing songs to
> play - what sudden apocalyptic event caused the price of those songs to jump
> so ludicrously? Would it be copyright infringement if I went and recorded
> playing the 'dum dum dum da-da-da-dum' riff of "Under Pressure" myself, and
> if so why?

About the radio thingy (and I'm guessing it applies to other mediums too),
they pay royalty costs. I know a guy who wrote some "new age" music, and he
gets a small payment every year whenever his riff / tune gets played on the
radio as a filler in between segments. You can listen to it for free, but
someone pays for it at the end of the day. I think they're targeting the use
of it, not the listening of it (slight distinction).

> There are all good answers to these questions, but the simple view is it's
> crazy.  A song goes into the popular culture, a book or a movie becomes part
> of the zeitgeist of the age we live in, and people quote them and play games
> with them and use them in ways the original inventors never thought up.  If
> we had to pay a fee or ask permission every time we sang "Happy Birthday" -
> if it was physically impossible to sing it without doing so - then it would
> cease to be the popular song it is.  When does its copyright eventually
> expire and "Happy Birthday" become part of the public domain, or are we
> going to see it perpetually "evergreened" and passed from holding company to
> licensing front and kept as a private thing that restaurants must pay a
> license fee in case someone sings happy birthday?

If you've watched The Corporation (
http://www.thecorporation.com/index.cfm?page_id=46 ), that song collects
royalties every time it is used on a commercial medium - eg. TV, radio,
movies. Apparently it is OK to sing it at home, and you don't need to pay
anything - but it is a copyrighted song, even though everyone knows it and
probably does sing it every so often.

At the end of the day, is the original concept of copyright good? Yep - well
I believe so - feed the starving artists so they can produce more good
music, pictures, art, etc. Has copyright always been applied with the
original concept in mind? Nope!! Corporations have screwed people over in an
attempt to protect their revenue streams. I believe copyright was originally
for 7 years allowing the artist / designer to make some money off their
invention. It was never thought of originally to extend to 99 years + more.
Similar story applies to patents in a way...

Ric de France
Ph: +61412945554 (international) or 0412945554 (Australia)
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