September 25, 2004

LA Weekly Takes On Big Music “Myths” [3:43 pm]

3 Myths About the Recording Industry Debunked [via p2pnet] — Notwithstanding the provocative title, a couple of interesting points. My favorite:

MYTH NO. 3: Musicians no longer need the record industry. The Internet and other new technologies make this a new era of “do it yourself.”

FACT: There are more opportunities than ever for musicians to find a niche in the industry, but “doing it yourself” — through the Internet or any other means — is harder than ever.

Technically, some things have gotten easier for artists over the past decade. Digital recording makes it more possible than ever to produce high-quality recordings on the cheap. The Internet makes it easier than ever to publicize music of any stripe. And judgment-blind yet heavily trafficked outlets like CDBaby.com enable literally anyone to distribute their work.

Unfortunately, all this really means is that now there’s an infrastructure to support everyone’s delusions of stardom. [...]

[...] Community is important to cut through the noise, and like it or not, those communities are often organized around the industry trying to make money off music — record labels, clubs, promoters, magazines et al. While artists know best how to make art, businesspeople know best how to build relationships and gain leverage. So unless you’re an artist with an already robust career or an admiration for the marketing savvy of P. Diddy and Malcolm McLaren, it’s more important than ever to figure out how to interact with the music biz.

See also Orlowski’s surprisingly thoughtful (rather than rant-ful) piece at The Reg’s Orlowski On Online Music Business Models

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Interesting NY Southern District Court Ruling [3:13 pm]

US judge strikes down bootleg law [via Slashdot]

Judge Harold Baer Jr, sitting in New York, dismissed charges against a Manhattan-based record dealer which had been brought under the law.

He said the law could not stand because it placed no time limit on the ban - unlike the limits placed on books or recorded music releases.

[...] A federal grand jury indicted Jean Martignon in October 2003 for selling “unauthorised recordings of live performances by certain music artists through his business”.

But Judge Baer said US law unfairly granted “seemingly perpetual protection” to the original performances.

[...] The Recording Industry Association of America criticised the judge’s ruling.

“It stands in marked contrast to existing law and prior decisions that have determined that Congress was well within its constitutional authority to adopt legislation that prevented trafficking in copies of unauthorised performances of live music,” spokesman Jonathan Lamy said.

Later: Donna’s got a link to the opinion, as well as more comments: Copyright Terms Must Have Limits, and Part II

Later: Scrivener’s Error makes a few other points: Markup Problems

The real problem with bootleg recordings is now, and always has been, designation of origin and quality of goods—that is, trademark. One need not try to figure out whether bootleg recordings are “fixed” or not. One need only note that actual sale of the recordings inherently impinges on at least three types of marks: The performer’s identity; the venue’s identity; and any previously made authorized recording’s identity.

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