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Day of Sharing - Save the Music?

katlaughing 25 Feb 09 - 04:04 PM
GUEST,leeneia 26 Feb 09 - 12:22 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 26 Feb 09 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,Ken J, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA 26 Feb 09 - 01:24 PM
Big Mick 26 Feb 09 - 01:43 PM
katlaughing 26 Feb 09 - 02:08 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 26 Feb 09 - 02:34 PM
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Subject: Day of Sharing - Save the Music?
From: katlaughing
Date: 25 Feb 09 - 04:04 PM

Thought some might be interested in this from HERE:

Can a 'Day of Sharing' save the music industry?
Composer Richard Gibbs's idea aims to highlight the problem of illegal music file-sharing.
By Daniel B. Wood | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

from the February 25, 2009 edition

Richard Gibbs talks with Pat Murphy of about music file sharing and how the issue impacts musicians as well as consumers.

Los Angeles - Richard Gibbs argues that holding an international "Day of Sharing" would be a radical gesture on behalf of the beleaguered music industry.

How would it work? "Order your favorite meal, eat it, and walk out," he cites as an example. "Test drive a car and simply keep driving. Fill your pockets with candy from the 7-Eleven."

If this freeloading sounds absurd to you, and you figure Mr. Gibbs must be some kind of nut, rest assured he has been called that already. The composer of film and television scores for titles such as "Dr. Dolittle," "The Simpsons," and "Battlestar Galactica" is forging ahead despite warnings that he could go to jail should anyone take him up on his odd idea.

Gibbs's goal is actually a sober one: Highlight the absurdity of people getting music free of charge on the Internet and urge lawmakers to make Internet service providers (ISPs, such as cable and telephone companies) financially responsible to creative artists.

Instead of paying for songs, today's file-sharer can go online to a service such as Spinner or Emusic, type in the name of a song, and choose from a list of songs provided by willing "sharers," who let their music be copied again for nothing.

"File-sharing has allowed the entire world to enjoy – without paying – the fruits of the labors of countless creators of intellectual property," Gibbs writes on his website, But his campaign doesn't target those who download or share music illegally online – it zeroes in on the companies that allow it.

Gibbs's dramatic crusade reflects the frustration of many other musicians. The music industry has yet to figure out a way to pay the creators of music in an Internet age of easy digital copying.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lists 45 sites where consumers can legally purchase songs over the Internet. But illegal downloads still outnumber legal buys by 20 to 1, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). About 40 billion files were illegally shared in 2008, the IFPI found.

Students make up the bulk of offenders, perhaps because growing up with file sharing has accustomed them to getting music free. Gibbs wants to change that perception.

"He can't seriously believe [the Day of Sharing] will happen," says Don Gorder, chair of the music management department at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Gibbs's alma mater. "But in the process of thinking about a day like this, perhaps the public will come around to understanding how musicians feel – that their music is going out there every day and people are taking it and not paying for it."

Music's online shift

Hard times hit the music industry with the birth of Napster in 1999 – a technology that allowed people to easily copy and distribute MP3 files, leading to accusations of music copyright violations. A generation of music consumers became used to downloading songs free. When the US Supreme Court shut down Napster in 2001, other sites popped up in its place.

Since then, music CD sales have precipitously declined, dropping 20 percent in 2008 compared with 2007.

At the same time, 2.4 billion songs were purchased on iTunes as Apple expanded into overseas markets.

Apple has said that it will remove by April anti-copying restrictions, known as digital rights management, or DRM, from iTunes songs and allow record companies to set a range of prices for them. Currently, iTunes consumers pay 99 cents per song, but encoding prevents them from copying the song more than six times. The new policy allows customers to transfer music to non-Apple music devices like MP3 players, computers, and phones.

DRM has been widely seen as ineffective, even a strong disincentive for people who would pay for music online.

Legal single-track downloads totaled 1.1 billion in 2008, up 27 percent from 2007, according to IFPI. These figures suggest that consumers are willing to pay for digital music downloads.

But the iTunes model won't really work without meaningful enforcement of piracy laws, says Gibbs. Another solution, he says, would be for ISPs to pay a flat fee per subscriber into a fund, which could then be apportioned to copyright holders according to the number of downloads or streams of each song.

The RIAA has begun working with ISPs as an alternative to its recently abandoned strategy of suing individual file-sharers, according to Kevin Parks, a copyright attorney at Leydig, Voit, and Mayer Ltd. in Chicago.

File sharing violates intellectual property statutes and eliminates an important stream of revenue for composers, artists, and musicians, says Tom Lee, president of the American Federation of Musicians. "Richard's proposal would place the matter right in front of the American public. Perhaps then, those who choose to illegally download would understand its damaging impact on those in the artistic, creative community that is vital to our society."

More than a stunt

Not everyone is enamored with Gibbs's idea. He may be treading on dicey legal ground by encouraging larceny. But if Gibbs wants to draw attention to his cause, getting arrested may actually be a good result for him, says David Fagundes, a professor of law at Southwestern School of Law in Los Angeles.

Others suggest that the tactic is out of touch with reality. "Students just don't see file sharing as stealing," says Michal Strahelevitz, a professor of marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

Students make a distinction between common thievery and file-swapping, she says. "They are not walking into a store and taking something physical out without paying for it," she says. "So it doesn't feel like a crime to them."

Which, of course, is the point of "The Day of Sharing" – to argue that free file-sharing is stealing.

To many, the way forward still looks murky. Music labels have been unsuccessful in stopping downloading with lawsuits, notes Berklee's Mr. Gorder, adding, "The genie is already out of the bottle."

Sitting at his Yamaha piano in his southern California studio, Gibbs insists that the "Day of Sharing" is not a stunt. He's even settled on the day: Nov. 27, 2009, the day after Thanksgiving.

"The busiest shopping day of the year ­should provide many opportunities for 'sharing.' "

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Subject: RE: Day of Sharing - Save the Music?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 12:22 PM

Where are ASCAP and BMI while all this goes on? Isn't this their purview?

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Subject: RE: Day of Sharing - Save the Music?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 01:14 PM

"He maybe treading on dicey legal ground by encouraging larceny"
There's no maybe about it, Richard Gibbs is treading on very dodgy ground with this stunt of his.
We alrady know how illegal downloading is.
There are artists, and Billy Bragg comes to mind here, who don't mind a person downloading their work, as long as it's not used for commercial purposes. THough it's always seemed to me that it's the corporate record companies (the majors) who do most of the screaming and yelling.

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Subject: RE: Day of Sharing - Save the Music?
From: GUEST,Ken J, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 01:24 PM

Nice to see the CSMonitor libelling Emusic -- completely authorized, the #2 or #3 authorized site, and a pretty major folk music source too as they deal exclusively in independent labels -- and Spinner. I am less familiar with Spinner, but they appear to be part of the Time-Warner-AOL empire and to serve up sponsored streams, again totally legit.

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Subject: RE: Day of Sharing - Save the Music?
From: Big Mick
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 01:43 PM

Rifleman, I have a record on this forum for a number of years of yelling and screaming about this. The fact that Billy Bragg says its OK just makes the point. It's OK, BECAUSE HE AUTHORIZED IT. The music is not some free commodity that you can just pass around. It is up to the artist to authorize it, or not authorize it. Anything done without the permission of the artist amounts to theft. You can dress it up, put makeup on it, teach it to walk sexy, but it is still theft. Pure and simple.


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Subject: RE: Day of Sharing - Save the Music?
From: katlaughing
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 02:08 PM

I was reminded of this while listening to Fresh Air in NPR, today. They were discussing the Shepard Fairey case; the artist who used the freelance photographer's image of Obama for the now famous artwork Fairey made of it. There is an interesting segment with a law professor, the link is at the bottom of the text story. He mentions a couple of cases concerning "fair use" of music.

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Subject: RE: Day of Sharing - Save the Music?
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 26 Feb 09 - 02:34 PM

Did I actually say I supported the downloading of music? I don't believe I did, so don't wet your knickers. I was using the Billy Bragg example to illustrate the very point about downloading.

And my one question is: Is Big Mick's record available for download on itunes?

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