Copyright and Censoring

You know what I hate?
The ever increasing "need" certain companies feel to block any and every kind of content they feel could harm their profits in some way. Especially since it - in most cases - does not, or has not been proven that it does.

Take for example this link. It probably won't work as you expected it to. Namely, it's a youtube video which contained two things.
* Video footage of the animated movie Final Fantasy - Advent Children - Great movie, I can recommend downloading it somewhere sometime.
* A music track by Machinae Supremacy called Skin.

The video footage consisted of clips / cutouts of "parts" of the movie, no more than 5 minutes of footage out of a 101 minute movie. About 5% of the movie, and 0% of their sound. Meaning only about 2.5% of their published content!
The music is a 5m25s track. 100% of the track.

Alas, This video contains content from Square Enix Co., Ltd., who has blocked it on copyright grounds.

So, who would you say has the greater claim whether that movie should be removed "in it's complete form", since that is what happened? Surely the party of who 100% of the material is used right? Especially since copyright allows one to make quotes or use snippets of an original work if there is a reference made to the original full work. Aside that, The party of who 100% of the material was used "does not mind" (in fact, approves) that their work is shown on youtube - they even upload stuff themselves so we can listen to high quality songs.

Meaning, in this example the actions of the party who claimed the video "and song" should be taken down from youtube, negatively affected the second party since there is now less of their content available for viewing. Personally, I'd be pissed. However, in this case Square is the "big bad company" with a lot of influence and youtube gets scared and afraid of lawsuits and takedown notices.

Arrr, there be pirates

So, what's the whole point of the copyright enforcement nowadays? Or the scare about piracy?
I'm sure you've read about MegaUpload having been taken down by the FBI in a raid, and it's owner arrested, all equipment taken away and confiscared. Also The Pirate bay being blocked banned and censored in dozens of countries.

A funny thing of the internet these days, is that as long as the site itself is still "in the air" any block can be avoided by proxies and other means. And with perhaps a few dozen "copyright hounds" who are going after the "misuse" of copyright material, and billions upon billions of users connected to the internet, how can they seriously, honestly believe that it's possible to stop every single case of copyrighted materials (no matter how small) being shared? It can't be done.

At the least they've figured out you can't get everyone anymore, but are mainly focusing on the big guys. Sadly they're still going after the occassional scapegoat mom who's son used limewire or whatever to download a bunch of songs.

Did you know, copyright in it's current form is already 120 years old? While "the internet" is barely 25 years old? (though development started about 40 years ago) Of course there have been some tweaks and modifications to copyright,. but the basics is that copyright law in it's current form is being applied to a medium for which it was not created - and with rules linked into it which can not be upheld. In fact, the current issue is that several companies are trying to uphold it through any means which is killing off valuable parts of the internet (you may dispute this obviously), and holding back innovation because copyright is being applied to "much more" than just music or books. It's being applied to every tiny little idea that they can possibly get an approved patent on.
Now, you may claim patenting and copyright are two entirely separate things, but some people seem to disagree and are brutally trying to enforce their ideas. From bouncing icons, to metallic phone borders, to rounded shapes or the number of buttons per row on a smartphone screen.

Apple sued Samsung and the jury claim Apple in the right, deciding Samsung should pay 1.049.343.540 dollar (nine freaking zeros) as compensation for the use of ideas patented by apple. I do agree the Samsung Galaxy 3 looks an awful lot like an iphone, but that doesn't mean nothing should ever look like an iphone ever again. A chair is a chair, a car looks like a car because it has 4 wheels, an engine, steering, chairs etc etc. And yet somehow nobody is getting sued over that. China is notorious about copying "working" ideas though,.. but enough on that. America's patent system is in a dire need for an overhaul along with copyright law.

Back to the music industry

If you are a music artist, writer, singer, in a band or in any way related to the music industry then you're probably familiar with the Metallica versus Napster story. Or how that ugly old dinosaur Madonna uploaded some "fake" versions of her new songs to discourage downloading. Or maybe the million dollar ipod story? (see bottom links)

Alright, got your attention?
Here's some food for thought:
* The internet is a HUGE free advertising network. Anyone sharing your music is spreading your name, your best qualities, in essence "promoting you" by spreading your calling card. Thanks to the internet many small groups have become known all around the world. Increasing in popularity, increasing their cd sales, increasing the number of heads showing up at their concerts. Without the internet, they'd still be small and unfamiliar nobodies playing in their own country.
* Companies like the MPAA(USA), Brein(Holland), Buma/stemra(Belgium) are tax funded companies who sue certain parties and individuals for copyright violation and claim they use this money to "help the artists". wrong. Only about 5% or less ever reaches the artists. The other 95% is used for ridiculously inflated salaries these companies give their seniors, as well as funding "important" claims and dragging more people to court. Another common method of getting people to pay is by threatening them to court. Most people can't face up against such terrorists (because that is exactly what they are, look up the definition. In turn giving your band a bad name, reducing sales and popularity, increasing piracy.
* How many cents do you get per cd sale? A pittance compared what the big boss up above gets. How much more would you earn if you could do 2-3 concerts a month extra if you were to lose a bit on cd sales?
* Here's the fun one: Movie rentals, cd sales, total number of people visiting concerts and so on have actually gone "up" over the last dozen years. Huh, up? But, piracy, illegal download etc? Yeah, despite that there's a lot being downloaded sales have gone up. Way up in fact. Because people are sharing and showing others what good music is. Now obviously the copyright terrorists will say "sales would have been higher if not for piracy", but this is a blatant lie / assumption on their part. It would in fact be a lot lower if not for the internet.

What do you think happened when Metallica sued Napster? An, at that time relatively small company. Indeed, it grew huge, for a short time. More people suddently found out you could download music for free and went ahead and did exactlly that. When Napster collapsed those people had their eyes opened and moved to different media. Even bad advertising, is still advertising. Often if you want something to stay small, it's best to ignore it. In essence, Metallica "caused" the whole anti piracy scare in the music industry, and it's not about to die down anytime soon.

Rich and well-to-do artists get told by their producer / contract whatever company the following: "OMG! Sales are down by 20% this year because people are downloading your songs illegally!".
What they are not told is: "Sorry we slacked down on advertising a little this year, or the people didn't like your new album so much", so we didn't make as much profit as last year. So, how do artists nowadays make money? By getting a lot of fans, doing concerts, you know "work for it", and be good. Simply making one or two songs in a studio, having the computer fix your mistakes, or worse sing the song for you. I think it's called auto-tune and it sounds absolutely dreadful. It also means you can never sing live on stage, only play-back. If you view "live" videos of a few groups on youtube you can tell (most of the time) which of them simply can't sing. The Pussycat dolls for example sound just dreadful. (Like neutered cats)

Honorable mention! Robbie Williams, Personally I don't like his music, but... He's among the few well-to-do artists that have seen the light and are actually "pro" file sharing. Cudos to the man for that. If only more of them would see the benefits of a free internet, we'd not have these copyright terrorists making the internet so restricted.

What do you think of the copyright act? SOPA, ACTA, and more?
Personally I feel it's the convulsions of a dying system desperately trying to stay alive in an ever evolving internet age. Sadly they're poisonous snakes, and a bite can and will kill you. I'm not saying you should promote piracy either, if you feel something is worth your money - buy it. But, be aware of what you spend your money on, where does your money end up, is it worth the money or could you help the artist better by other means - such as visiting a concert.

Great related stuff
* The 8 billion dollar iPod
* Why copyright is evil.
* Youtube video blocked in your region?
* The Pirate bay on Facebook
* Tor Project anonymous downloading.


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