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ASCAP Starts To Act Like the RIAA

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the rebrand-as-ashattery dept.

Music 272

Scott Lockwood writes "Below Average Dave, a Dr. Demento style parody artist, has been shut down by the ASCAP. This collective, acting as badly as the RIAA, is now attempting to ignore the 2 Live Crew Supreme Court decision that parodies are new derivative works. Just like the RIAA, ASCAP seems intent on misrepresents the law. If you know anyone who can help BA Dave in his plight, please contact him." This artist doesn't have the resources to fight the ASCAP, even though the law is pretty clearly on his side. Anyone at the EFF or the ACLU interested?

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272 comments

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ASCAP? (4, Funny)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 5 years ago | (#27967653)

More like "ASSHAT".

Re:ASCAP? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27967905)

ASSCRAP

Re:ASCAP? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27968075)

Linux is an OS for faggots which is why most of the users live in the queerest state in the US: California.

Re:ASCAP? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27968265)

Windows is an OS for cretinous, inbred retards. That's why all of its users are east of New Mexico and south of Virginia.

Re:ASCAP? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27968327)

I use BSD, linux fag.

Re:ASCAP? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27969237)

Everything but Mac is shit!! Oh, and you're all faggots.

There, that about cover it?

Re:ASCAP? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27969337)

No, Macs are for people who are even more queer than linux fags.

Paging Ray Beckerman (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27967669)

If you know anyone who can help BA Dave in his plight, please contact him.

Number of certified lawyers that read Slashdot: 5.

Number who actually give a shit: 1.

Paging Ray Beckerman [slashdot.org] alias NewYorkCountryLawyer.

Re:Paging Ray Beckerman (0, Offtopic)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968501)

You know, there are other issues [deathpenaltyinfo.org] that can occupy a person's time.

Re:Paging Ray Beckerman (4, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968555)

I think if I was this guy, I'd just ignore the lawsuit completely and continue doing what I've always done. Cost: $0.00. Eventually due to my lack of participation the court case would probably be decided in ASCAP's favor, and I'd be fined a couple million dollars. Then I'd start calling folks like CNN, NBC, FOX, PBS to publicize the ridiculous nature of a law that fines average citizens a couple million dollars, just because they sampled a few seconds in a parody. It would embarrass ASCAP, get the attention of Congress, and lead to change.

Another outcome is that the Judge would simply throw-out the case. Again my cost would be $0.00.
And a final outcome is that if this thing drags-on, I might die of old age, then the whole thing is moot.

I wonder how Weird Al Yankovic feels about this case? He too is affected if it's decided parodies/samplings are no longer allowed. Who knows, maybe he's next in line to be sued. Well whatever. Dear ASCAP/RIAA/MPAA/Authors Guild: Fuck ye. And eat a bullet.

Re:Paging Ray Beckerman (2, Informative)

the unbeliever (201915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968631)

Weird Al gets the permission of the people who he is parodying. I believe that this gets around ASCAP.

Re:Paging Ray Beckerman (4, Informative)

Carnivore (103106) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968789)

Yes, but that's just to be polite. He doesn't have to, which protected him from Coolio when he proceeded with 'Amish Paradise' even though Coolio claimed that he had not granted permission for the parody.

Re:Paging Ray Beckerman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27968913)

And the wad of cash Weird Al sent his way. Because Al is a class act!

Re:Paging Ray Beckerman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27969161)

It's more complicated than that. The parody defense only works against the person or entity being parodied. For example, I believe Weird Al didn't need Michael Jackson's permission for Eat It since Eat It is a parody of Beat It. However, had Weird Al wanted to use Eat It to make fun of Rush Limbaugh instead of the song, he would have needed some sort of permission from Michael Jackson (I'm not sure how mandatory licensing plays into this.)

Of course in practice, it's usually a gray area because any use of Eat It to make fun of Rush Limbaugh would likely also be a parody of Eat It and hence protected.

Re:Paging Ray Beckerman (4, Informative)

DJ Particle (1442247) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968737)

B.A.Dave uses backing tracks supplied by Karaoke-Version.com, who has given him permission to use said tracks. I have the same agreement with them, myself.

Re:Paging Ray Beckerman (4, Informative)

shark72 (702619) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969455)

I checked out the FAQ on that site. They write (emphasis mine):

Use in public events

We are happy to allow the use of our soundtracks in public places and during events, commercial or not. However, and for your information, we'd like to remind you that you must receive an official agreement from your national music rights management office (MCPS in UK for example) to be legally compliant.

If the event is private and non-commercial, use of soundtracks is, of course, allowed and not restricted.

Other use (Recording/Streaming/Broadcasting...)

Recording rights of our soundtracks (Whether it's on a specific media or not) is not included in the price.

Prior to any recording of one of our soundtracks, it is mandatory to file for a written authorisation. Any use of any of our available tracks, without prior agreement, is a violation in regards of French Law dated July 3-1985 and International Conventions. Be aware that Moral Copyright allows Songwriters/Composers to forbid any re-use of his work if he finds this use doesn't respect the original design.

I'm not sure about that "moral copyright" part (it may relate to jurisdictions outside the US) but the rest matches my understanding: karaoke-versions.com licenses for private, in-home use, but if you want to broadcast it or record it, you need to get additional authorization -- ie. ASCAP or BMI in the US.

This appears to contradict your statement. Do you have a more comprehensive contract with karaoke-versions.com which allows for recording and broadcast?

Re:Paging Ray Beckerman (2, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969095)

I think if I was this guy, I'd just ignore the lawsuit completely and continue doing what I've always done. Cost: $0.00. Eventually due to my lack of participation the court case would probably be decided in ASCAP's favor, and I'd be fined a couple million dollars. Then I'd start calling folks like CNN, NBC, FOX, PBS to publicize the ridiculous nature of a law that fines average citizens a couple million dollars, just because they sampled a few seconds in a parody. It would embarrass ASCAP, get the attention of Congress, and lead to change.

If you really think this would work, I encourage you to try it. Generally, if you don't show up for court, you lose and nobody is sympathetic in the least.

Re:Paging Ray Beckerman (3, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969357)

Thanks for the referral, eldavojohn, but I'm not in a position to take on additional nonbillable work at the moment. He should go to Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, they might be able to find him a volunteer attorney in a case like this one.

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969407)

In a case of this nature, the guy's best bet is, in my opinion, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts [vlany.org] or EFF [eff.org] .

Dr. Demento was a genius (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27967683)

Below average Dave is just kind of below average.

Starting? (5, Informative)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 5 years ago | (#27967755)

BMI and ASCAP have been thugs for a long time, threatening bar and club owners for licensing agreements for offering live music. For this reason, AS220 [as220.org] in Providence no longer allows musicians to perform any cover songs!

Re:Starting? (1, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968069)

BMI and ASCAP have been thugs for a long time, threatening bar and club owners for licensing agreements for offering live music. For this reason, AS220 [as220.org] in Providence no longer allows musicians to perform any cover songs!

Um, your link brings me to a photography blog. It does have a word doc [as220.org] that starts out with:

NO COVERS: AS220 has a STRICT ORIGINAL MUSIC ONLY policy! NO COVERS!
As of Nov 1, 2004 AS220 is boycotting BMI, ASCAP and SESACâ(TM)s Blanket License Policies. This means that NO music registered to any of these organizations may be performed or played on the premises. This applies to any sampled material as well.

Honestly, as a performer, I've been pleased with ASCAP. How I understand it is that a bar or establishment pays a modest price (like ~$500 a year?) and all artists can play covers without fear of legal recourse. Sounds like a great deal to me. Doesn't sound very thuggish, does it?

Your favorite bar doesn't think so. Good for them. Heck, even better for originals only bands. Too bad for bands like mine that like to work in Don't Let Me Down by The Beatles every now and then but it's not a deal breaker.

Re:Starting? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27968085)

I own a climbing gym, and they have been after my ass for almost two years. We play a radio station, which is already paying ASCAP and BMI. If I break down and pay ASCAP, BMI will come with their hand out, and a small business will be out at least $2000 per year. To play the fukcing radio! Everyone in the gym can have on headphones tuned to the same station and ASCAP won't care. It's a damn climbing gym! People don't "work out to the music" as the contend.

I contacted a guy, and there is a way around it: play music by artists not controlled by these idiots, and/or get written consent to play music from the creators.

Re:Starting? (4, Informative)

Misch (158807) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968263)

Get a Sirius/XM business account. The business account includes rights to play in your business.

$25/month last I looked.

Re:Starting? (2, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968679)

BMI and ASCAP have been thugs for a long time, threatening bar and club owners for licensing agreements for offering live music.

Not licensing for live music, licensing for peforming someone else's composition. That's their job.

When you play a songwriter's composition in a way that makes you money (such as attracting customers), you owe that songwriter a cut.

While BMI and ASCAP may be bastards, the general principle of "share this song if you like it, but if you make money from it you owe me a royalty" is, IMHO, a good one -- indeed, it's the principle that ought to apply to all media. (Along with the understanding that such a royalty right applies for a limited time and only to authors, not their heirs or employers or assignees. It's ridiculous that someone still claims rights on "Happy Birthday" -- though the claim is dubious [wikipedia.org] , they still manage to squeeze money out of people.)

For this reason, AS220 in Providence no longer allows musicians to perform any cover songs!

A venue that encourages original music? Outstanding!

wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27967783)

2 Live Crew Supreme Court

"Yo you guys be trippin'. Motherfucking motion denied!"

Or am I misunderstanding the strangled grammar?

Re:wat (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27967837)

"2 Live Crew" "Supreme Court decision"

Re:wat (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27968051)

You're misunderstanding nothing. The 2 Live Crew was sued for a parody of Pretty Woman, and won.

If he'd cited it as Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. [wikipedia.org] , he might have done better in the letter.

Don't mess with the ASCAP (3, Funny)

cortesoft (1150075) | more than 5 years ago | (#27967807)

Once the animal rights people get involved, it's game over.

Starts to?! (4, Informative)

linumax (910946) | more than 5 years ago | (#27967829)

ASCAP has been in this much much longer [wikipedia.org] than RIAA.

Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed... (1, Insightful)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27967859)

I think there's only one more box left for dealing with *IAA types that are abusing the law for racketeering.

Would it really be so bad if someone started using mafia tactics on them since they're so fond of them? I think that wiring bombs to *IAA executives' cars and those of their slimy attorneys would be a good start. It's pretty clear that going through legal channels isn't working.

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27968099)

I'm never one to stand in the way of a murderous rampage (in fact I stand as far away as possible) but I think perhaps you're overreacting just a bit. Why not just boycott them? No one is forcing you to use them or any of their "properties". Just leave them to drown in their own cultural dregs.

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968155)

These cunts sue people and extort fees out of businesses for singing Happy Birthday. They're racketeers of the worst kind and they've paid off the lawmakers and judges. The only possible solution to this problem is by killing them and everyone that works with them. There is no other way out.

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (3, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968333)

There is no other way out.

I don't know, suicide worked pretty well for me - you should try it!

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968353)

I don't see how that will make them stop using the government to further a racketeering scheme.

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968683)

It won't, but it is definitely a way out.

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (2, Funny)

cbs4385 (929248) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969219)

As a great man, whom I can't be assed enough look up, once said:

any sufficiently advanced extortion racket is indinguisable from a government

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (2, Funny)

Zashi (992673) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968767)

Why boycott when I can "deprive" them of money through pirating?!

But then they sue over that too. Loose Loose. I give up. They can have my money. I'm sad now.

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (-1, Offtopic)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968277)

Only on Slashdot can a person get modded insightful for a comment encouraging murder in aid of IP theft.

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27968517)

Well, you obviously bought the *AA's bullshit line, by your reference to "IP theft", so maybe he should kill you, too. Piss off.

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (2, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968349)

It's easy.

STOP consuming their products. All of them.

Don't pirate (ANY support that keeps their products available is market chumming), don't buy, don't bother.

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27968467)

Is there anywhere a list of which artists or labels or watever "belong" to them?

For example, if I go out and look at a music cd, how do I know *IIA/ASCAP, whomever is involved?

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (2, Insightful)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968807)

Research the artist. Research the label. If it really means that much to you, take the time to learn who, by your definition, is a tool and who isn't*. Even a simple Wikipedia search might net you some information.

*: Note that this does not mean you have to learn who Tool, the band, is if you don't want to.

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (1)

Zashi (992673) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968845)

CDs usually have the logo of their music company. If its one you've heard of or heard of its parent company, you probably shouldn't buy it.

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (3, Informative)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968959)

Or you could just use this.

http://www.riaaradar.com/ [riaaradar.com]

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969021)

Try www.ascap.com for starters.

See also www.riaaradar.com for a search engine of records that are on RIAA labels.

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (5, Insightful)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969011)

Then, what should I do if I'm an aspiring musician, and I'd like to draw on some of my cultural heritage -- and yes, copyright lasts so insanely long that we are talking about cultural heritage here -- and these thugs come and sue me?

In other words: What do we do about The Grey Album [wikipedia.org] ?

For that matter, as part of my "boycott", should I stop singing Happy Birthday [unhappybirthday.com] ?

Fuck no. I will not spend my life avoiding our culture because it happens to be owned by a few corporations. I will continue to assert that this is our culture, not theirs.

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (1)

GospelHead821 (466923) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969359)

Oh, golly. That would be so inconvenient. I'm willing to whine and watch high-profile court cases about this stuff, but you actually want me to act like I believe what I'm saying? You're not one of those anachronistic weirdos that think that principles are worth sacrificing for, are you?

Re:Soap box, ballot box, and jury box have failed. (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969323)

Haha, good ol' pine box.

If you are right by the law... (1)

jsnipy (913480) | more than 5 years ago | (#27967861)

If you are right by the law, what can they really do besides putting fear in you?

Re:If you are right by the law... (4, Insightful)

TheRealFixer (552803) | more than 5 years ago | (#27967915)

Bankrupt you with costly legal fees. Which is why these conglomerates go after people who don't have the financial ability to defend themselves.

Re:If you are right by the law... (1)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27967959)

There's a legal term for this. It's called racketeering.

Re:If you are right by the law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27968361)

Unless you have vast funds to fight their games in court, you well eventually run out of time and resources to fight their petty games that can ruin lives. The US court systems needs a sanity check, and to make the companies pulling this BS pay 10x (or whatever) the costs have been to the person they pick on. When life is finite, what cost is your life worth per hour? Unfortunately, our courts are closed clubs who make exceedingly large sums of money by keeping the status-quo.

Re:If you are right by the law... (0, Flamebait)

DamienNightbane (768702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968427)

Which is why I suggest using another mafia tactic against them and simply assassinating both their executives and their lawyers. They can't use these organized crime tactics if they're dead.

Re:If you are right by the law... (3, Insightful)

gnarlyhotep (872433) | more than 5 years ago | (#27967955)

They can file a lawsuit. Do you have any idea how expensive those are, even if you settle before any substantial court apperances? Lawyers don't stop charging just because you're in the right.

Re:If you are right by the law... (1)

One Louder (595430) | more than 5 years ago | (#27967983)

If you are right by the law, what can they really do besides putting fear in you?

Sue you. Even if you win, you're still out the money and time it cost to defend yourself. If you're lucky, you might get awarded your reasonable costs, but that doesn't pay for the stress and time.

a little wet behind the ears (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27968401)

you are

Who's Next? (3, Interesting)

TreyGeek (1391679) | more than 5 years ago | (#27967863)

Will the ASCAP be targeting Weird Al now?

Re:Who's Next? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968331)

I think Weird Al usually sought permission of some kind. I don't know if he paid royalties, but I remember there being some kind of controversy over Amish Paradise because Weird Al's management said they'd gotten permission from Coolio, and then after the fact Coolio denied it.

Re:Who's Next? (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968475)

Which was hilarious as Coolio more than sampled Stevie Wonder for that song. The only thing he could be pissed about is Weird Al tying braids in his hair.

Re:Who's Next? (1)

westcoast philly (991705) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968911)

Wierd Al always asks the artists before doing a parody, and almost ALWAYS gets approval from them first. if he doesn't, he usually will not release the song. He does this all, even though he doesn't have to, because he respects the original artists. Now THAT is a man I can respect. ...sort-of.

(kidding, I love the man)

Re:Who's Next? (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968947)

Well, this is going off topic a bit, but apparently Coolio was mad because he took the lyrics of the song fairly seriously. He had intended for it to sort of raise awareness of certain kinds of social problems, and so he resented it being turned into a joke.

Re:Who's Next? (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968993)

I think you mean Lakeside, not Stevie Wonder. :-)

Re:Who's Next? (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969023)

Disregard my previous post, and my apologies - I was thinking "Fantastic Voyage", not "Gangster's Paradise".

Streisand Effect (1)

JJRRutgers (595466) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968461)

Hey ASCAP, go ahead and target Weird Al. You think hacking the Atlantic Records wiki entry was bad? Just you wait...

Re:Who's Next? (1, Informative)

robkill (259732) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968961)

No, for several reasons.

1.) Having recorded for nearly 30 years, Al knows the ins and outs of what's legal, what he can easily fight, and what he can't.

2.) The original songwriter is credited on all parodies (and polka medleys) meaning Al pays royalties to the original songwriter on all songs recorded on CD or receiving airplay. ASCAP and the original artist are making money from Al.

3.) Al gets permission from the artist before recording a parody, even though it isn't legally necessary. In the case of parodying James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" (as "You're Pitiful") the label (not the artist) withheld permission after recording, so instead of releasing it on the "Straight out of Lynwood" CD, he put out an mp3 from his website. Other parodies for which he doesn't have artist permission, he will perform live in concert, but will not record.

More details at his Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] page.

Is This Anything New (4, Interesting)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | more than 5 years ago | (#27967867)

I can't say I'm surprised, from the limited knowledge I have on the subject, these guys along with BMI have been on the bullies for years. For a good example from a couple years ago, check out The Richard Phillips vs BMI Story [woodpecker.com] in which an independent artist, who only performed his own music (no covers, etc.), which he owned the copyright to, was pushed out of a job.

don't think he'll ASCAPe the charges (2, Interesting)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 5 years ago | (#27967931)

ASCAP charges both for lyrics and melodies. If you make an instrumental version of a song, you have to pay, and if you create alternative lyrics over that instrumental, I don't think it changes anything. I suspect Dave isn't going to avoid the bill.

Re:don't think he'll ASCAPe the charges (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968031)

Exactly. When Weird Al puts his lyrics over someone else's tune [wikipedia.org] , the original songwriter is definitely getting paid.

Re:don't think he'll ASCAPe the charges (2, Informative)

JoeRandomHacker (983775) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968485)

Actually, I believe he asks permission out of courtesy, but if he were less polite he could just do a parody without asking.

Re:don't think he'll ASCAPe the charges (1)

shark72 (702619) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968823)

Correct -- but the songwriter is still paid.

Below Average Dave believes that he should not have to pay the songwriter. This is based on his apparent misunderstanding of the laws regarding parodies.

Re:don't think he'll ASCAPe the charges (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968471)

Yes, that's kind of what I came in here to say. I'm not familiar with the 2 Live Crew Supreme Court decision mentioned in the summary, but there are multiple issues when talking about musical copyrights: the musical composition, the lyrics, and the actual recording.

Even if they change the lyrics, if they're using a derivative musical composition, I think it's a derivative work. Parody is a form of protected speech, but IIRC doing a parody isn't enough to get you off the hook for copyright infringement. There a rule like, you have to be parodying the actual copyrighted work, not just using the copyrighted work in your parody. I'm fuzzy on the details (IANAL), but I think maybe you can't use parody in a defense here unless you're actually parodying the musical composition itself.

He needs to do it himself (2, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968007)

The guy needs to contact the EFF himself. They don't often just pick up cases because they get reported on Slashdot. They might take a look if he contacts them though. It doesn't take much effort to do so: http://www.eff.org/about/contact [eff.org]

Incidentally, the ASCAP has a long history of doing dumb stuff. Back in the mid 1990s they got a lot of public flack for trying to sue the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/communications/ASCAP.html [umkc.edu]

Re:He needs to do it himself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27968549)

What's the deal with the Boy Scouts? The Post Office went after them too.http://www.lostrepublic.us/blog/archives/877/ [lostrepublic.us]

Why Is the Music Industry So Messed Up? (2, Interesting)

SlashdotOgre (739181) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968123)

Why is it that the music industry seems to be so corrupt? I mean, I'm sure crap goes on in all industries, but the music industry in particular is just blatantly messed up. You've got groups like the RIAA suing their customers, all major venues are pretty much owned by Ticketmaster who add ridiculous fees to shows, while ClearChannel controls the airwaves, and then you have groups like ASCAP/BMI who push licenses on small business owners because the alternative are law suits where the minimal fine (or just lawyers fees alone) would drive them out of business. To make matters worst, the artists who are the base of the industry are frequently getting short end of the stick despite in many cases providing the largest contribution which makes the whole industry possible.

Re:Why Is the Music Industry So Messed Up? (4, Insightful)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968453)

They grew that way because its so durned easy to hum a tune, write it down, and then expect to make a lifetime income off of that melody you came up with when you were on the crapper. Once people became hooked on a lifetime of income for a few days work, it became expected and their representative groups took up the fight against all threats, legal or otherwise. Seeing as the end consumer doesn't care about where the music comes from, its up to the RIAA and ASCAP and company to make the consumers care.

What was the quote? Evil is what happens when good people do nothing? Well nobody did anything, so evil happened.

Re:Why Is the Music Industry So Messed Up? (4, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968455)

Why is it that the music industry seems to be so corrupt?

  1. A property which is both intangible and easily reproducable. That's not at all conducive to the artificial scarcity necessary to make a buck.
  2. Money. Lots of money. A tradition of lots of money. And now that money is at risk. The artificial scarcity is taking a serious beating, and now the middleman's essential role of getting between the creator and the consumer is becoming much less essential, so that sweet sweet moolah is crossing their palm less often.
  3. Success. Because the entertainment IP dinosaur still has influence, the law (both legislative and, to an extent, judicial) is swinging in their direction. Success in lawmaking and litigation encourages more of the same, even if an outside observer would call the process "corrupt". Cuz, you know, "corrupt" or "not corrupt" doesn't matter; "successful" and "moneymaking" is the only standard.

I think that's why it seems worse. Because, to some degree, it is.

Re:Why Is the Music Industry So Messed Up? (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969365)

Because they are essentially government endorsed extortion companies, just follow the money and see that a lot of legislators directly and indirectly make shitloads of money with these schemes. These companies are almost costless to setup, no R&D, no hard investments, just hire some office space and some hard goons.
They will protect their lousy income even if they have to hire very nasty people.

Sorry.. (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968131)

If you're going to go up against the big bad guys, make sure you have at least one of the following:

1) Money
2) Huge popular support.

2LC had both. This guy seems to have neither. I know, I know, first they came for the lame DJ I didn't care about and I said nothing, then they came for all the DJs, then they called me a DJ. Call me a procrastinator, but I'll wait for stage 3.

Not all parodies are legit (4, Insightful)

pines225 (1413303) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968217)

... ignore the 2 Live Crew Supreme Court decision that parodies are new derivative works

What the Supreme Court said was that if a parody was sufficiently transformative, this would operate in its favour when weighing up the fair use factors. BA Dave is taking the position that because he created a parody, fair use applies, but the Supreme Court stamped on that theory pretty sharply:

"Like a book review quoting the copyrighted material criticized, parody may or may not be fair use, and petitioner's suggestion that any parodic use is presumptively fair has no more justification in law or fact than the equally hopeful claim that any use for news reporting should be presumed fair."

Now I've no idea how transformative BA Dave's parodies are, but this quote should at least show him that he needs to do a little more than cry "parody" if he's going to convince them to back off. Let's hope he can. And let's be grateful he is in the US where parody is given some recognition as a fair use. In the UK, for instance, it's viewed as being no more legitimate than any other form of copying.

Re:Not all parodies are legit (5, Interesting)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968673)

It also depends on what the parody song is about. Is it parodying the song itself, as Weird Al does, or is it using the melody of the song to create a parody of something else. I'm not a lawyer, and I've never heard of Below Average Dave before so I've no idea if this is the case (or even true) but if the song is not parodying the original song but just using the melody to parody something else, then using the song is not fair use. The Penny Arcade guys ran into this when they ran a parody of American McGee's Alice which used Strawberry Shortcake.

Completely unbiased! (3, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968235)

What a totally unbiased article summary. It doesn't automatically take a position or make assumptions about anything. I expect a fully qualified, objective discussion to follow presenting both sides in a fair and factually-based light.

Re:Completely unbiased! (0)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969245)

I know that replying to a sig is a faux pas however I have to say I like it and agree with it whole heartedly.

Re:Completely unbiased! (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969305)

What clued you in? Was it the "Posted by kdawson" line, or did it take longer than that to figure out.

Kdawson is a poor editor, even by /. standards. /. would be much improved by his absence.

Change the fucking law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27968279)

If someone takes you to court and YOU win, it means they had no reason to sue you in the first place.

They should pay not only for YOUR lawyers (no trouble finding lawyers if you got a winning cause), but also for the time and stress of being wrongly sued.

That would stop a LOT of "I'll sue your ass" bullshit currently happening in the USA.

Re:Change the fucking law (1)

Debug0x2a (1015001) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968415)

That implies you have the money to even make it through the duration of the suit. If you settle out of court all bets are off.

Re:Change the fucking law (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968669)

This would stop a lot of suing. Loser pays guarantees that you would be stupid to attempt to go up against anyone with greater means.

Re:Change the fucking law (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969051)

Wait, there's a law for that? I have been grossly misinformed about F-bombs.

Re:Change the fucking law (2, Insightful)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969287)

If someone takes you to court and YOU win, it means they had no reason to sue you in the first place.

Or it could mean that you had better lawyers, or had enough money to pay off the judge, or that the judge was ignorant of the law as it applied to your case, or any number of other things that happen in a courtroom that have nothing to do with whether you're right or wrong.

Why (1)

anonieuweling (536832) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968507)

Why oh why is all the bad stuff (corporate related) happening in the USA first?

Color me shocked (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968551)

Who couldhave imagined that an organization with a name like ASCAP could be acting like an an ASS HAT.

Re:Color me shocked (1)

gaderael (1081429) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968971)

Posting to remove mod. meant to be funny. ---is stunned

okay, they're scumbags, but... (2, Informative)

Moebius Loop (135536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968565)

One distinction I would like to point out is that ASCAP is *not* like the RIAA -- ASCAP actually pays the artists they represent when they force someone to pay up for licensing purposes.

I don't agree with their stance on this particular issue, or their attempts to charge people who are playing radio (stations that have already paid the ASCAP fees).

But it's an important distinction that they are actually defending the rights of artists, even if those rights are overblown. It's a far cry from the RIAA who will never be handing down a penny of the handful of successful lawsuits they've filed.

The reality of the situation is that there is basically no such thing as a Composers' Union in the US, so ASCAP/BMI association is the only way a composer or songwriter can get reimbursed for the use of their works on an international level.

Re:okay, they're scumbags, but... (3, Insightful)

shark72 (702619) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968973)

Very well put.

I think the zeitgeist on Slashdot is this: we dislike record labels, but we like artists. We want artists to make money directly -- and that's why actions like pirating the music and then "going to a concert" or "buying a t-shirt" are acceptable, as more money goes to the artist.

In short, we like it when artists make money directly, without record labels being involved.

And that's exactly what ASCAP is -- a collective of songwriters and lyricists, creating a revenue stream that's largely untouched by the record labels. It provides artists a way to do what they love and get money for it, even if they're not signed to a label or selling CDs.

We want them to have rights. We simply don't want them to get all uppity and enforce those rights. You artists can have all the rights you want, but if claiming your rights gets in the way of us doing something with your music without paying you -- such as recording a new song using your melody -- then the proper response is to sit down, shut up, and know your place.

It's quite sad, really.

This was predictable (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27968567)

I've been referring to ASCAP in the same breath as the RIAA, MPAA, and IFPI for some time now. I hadn't actually heard of any specific misbehavior on its part, but it was inevitable that it would emulate its siblings and try to expand the reach of its extortion. Now I have a specific instance I can quote finally.

abuse of process? (1)

bugi (8479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969053)

Isn't there some sort of penalty for abusing the legal process?

Even if the bar's set stupidly high (like for perjury) surely some of the SLAPPs should qualify for some pretty extreme penalties.

Re:abuse of process? (2, Informative)

shark72 (702619) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969351)

There sure are, but that's not germain here.

I think you (and others) may have been tripped up by the "the law is pretty clearly on his side" text in the summary. The submitter apparently took what BA Dave wrote at face value.

What BA Dave apparently doesn't understand is that 2Live Crew ended up paying royalties.

Thankfully, you can create a parody without getting permission from the original author -- the law gives us this right, although court cases usually come down to what's defined as a parody.

However (and this is the crucial point that BA Dave and the submitter missed), if you use a melody written by somebody else, then you must pay a license. This is accomplished through what's known as a "blanket license" or a "mechanical license," which means that you need not get explicit permission from the particular songwriter.

Parody etc. (2, Informative)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969209)

Actually parody only covers the words that you change. If you use the original music you must pay for that privilege. Weird Al has gotten permission from the artists to use their music and when he didn't he ceased and desisted from performing that song. This is a considerably more dicey challenge than simple pirating.

fuck a Hom^o (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27969229)

irc.easynews.com Of all legitimate for succeesful sorely diminished. driven out by the Violated. In the

Help him? (1)

AnAdventurer (1548515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27969297)

Like make his songs funny? No I can't do that. Help him, like with a lawyer? No, I won't do that.
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