×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

ASCAP Wants To Be Paid When Your Phone Rings

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the don't-even-think-about-whistling-the-beatles dept.

The Courts 461

gerddie notes a piece up on the EFF site outlining the fairly outlandish legal theories ASCAP is trying out in their court fight with AT&T. "ASCAP (the same folks who went after Girl Scouts for singing around a campfire) appears to believe that every time your musical ringtone rings in public, you're violating copyright law by 'publicly performing' it without a license. At least that's the import of a brief (PDF, 2.5 MB) it filed in ASCAP's court battle with mobile phone giant AT&T."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

461 comments

RIAA (5, Funny)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430143)

Even if ASCAP doesn't win, the RIAA will sue for your phone to see if you have any illegal downloaded ring tones.

Re:RIAA (4, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430297)

the RIAA will sue for your phone to see if you have any illegal downloaded ring tones

To the RIAA, I say fucking bring it. They can search my phone every way they want they won't find any illegal music on there. Some of us use our phones for - can you believe it - communication, rather than entertainment. Hell I'll save them the time, then can send me the money they'd pay their assmonkey lawyer and I'll send them my phone in exchange. Then I'll take that money and buy myself a newer phone and send them a thank-you card.

Re:RIAA (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430471)

Some of us use our phones for - can you believe it - communication, rather than entertainment.

Incredibly narrow minded from someone on a tech site. Cellphones aren't just phones anymore. My phone has 5 megapixel camera, opera mini as browser and full Java support. And it's not a high end phone.

I do use it to take pictures (including from political rallies to which I actively take part), SSH to my computer when I need to do something when on the road, check the latest news...

And believe it or not, I don't want anyone to search it without a permission from a court.

Re:RIAA (5, Funny)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430771)

My phone has 5 megapixel camera, opera mini as browser and full Java support. And it's not a high end phone. ... SSH to my computer ...

My phone has none of that. Stupid cheap plastic junk. It does, however, have dozens of probably infringing ringtones. My favorite is a redub of Aerosmith's "Eat the Rich" that goes "Fuck the RIAA". The meter doesn't quite scan, but the point gets across.

Re:RIAA (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430641)

Some of us use our phones for - can you believe it - communication

But at some point you probably sung Happy Birthday to your child over the phone. As an unauthorized public performance that allows the RIAA to sell your children into slavery. This is all covered by the brief filed in their case "RIAA vs. All of Humanity".

Re:RIAA (2, Funny)

Klistvud (1574615) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430865)

Geez, I should stop whistling popular tunes to myself while in public areas. Bad, bad habit! Some RIAA or ASCAP jerk may overhear me and sell me into slavery to the Third World. On the other hand, there I'll be allowed to whistle at least!

Begs an interesting question. (3, Interesting)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430437)

Even if ASCAP doesn't win, the RIAA will sue for your phone to see if you have any illegal downloaded ring tones.

Well, I think the case begs an interesting question: If this isn't a public performance [bitlaw.com] , then why not? Which exception [copyright.gov] governs it?

I'm not an IP law student or lawyer, but I don't see an exception that governs this case. I'd imagine that determining when and how to bill when your phone rings in a situation that's sufficiently public would be nightmarish, but it seems like their case passes the laugh test.

Re:Begs an interesting question. (2, Informative)

ChrisMounce (1096567) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430531)

You probably mean, "raises an interesting question". http://begthequestion.info/ [begthequestion.info]

Re:Begs an interesting question. (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430649)

You probably mean, "raises an interesting question".

http://begthequestion.info/ [begthequestion.info]

Nope, he's probably using it in the common usage of everyday language and not as a term of logical discourse. We all know what he means ...

Re:Begs an interesting question. (3, Insightful)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430675)

You think he means "raises an interesting question" because the historically accepted meaning of "begs the question" is the use of an unproven assertion?

That, is begging the question.

+1 Pedantry (2, Informative)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430729)

I did actually mean "raises an interesting question," but that's just too funny.

Re:Begs an interesting question. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430611)

At that length, "fair use" probably applies. But as it is a private phone, it's not a public performance - the other listeners are eavesdropping and don't count.

The silver lining? (4, Interesting)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430647)

If a ring tone counts as a public performance then does playing it so loud on your earphones that everyone sitting nearby can recognize the tune also count? If so could ASCAP come after them as well....please!

I recommend they come ask me in person. (0, Troll)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430147)

I look forward to breaking my wrist or knuckles.

Then I'll give them the address of the local biker gang's hangout so they can go there and enforce this rule.

If it is for the dopes that pay for ring tones, well that won't matter anyway--- I roll my own from 30 second mp3 cuts.

Re:I recommend they come ask me in person. (2, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430477)

Eh I don't know if you can really blame them. If they can successfully sue then it's entirely the law's fault (or the judge for badly interpreting it). If they have no legal standing then the case will be dismissed or the judgment denied. What's everyone so angry about? Anyone can bring a case, no matter how outlandish.

We can get really mad at the RIAA for scaring people and ruining lives [wikipedia.org] , but this group isn't suing teenagers. They're suing AT&T, with almost $300 billion in assets. Excuse me if I'm not terribly concerned about one of their legal teams having a little more work to do to fight off this frivolous lawsuit.

Re:I recommend they come ask me in person. (5, Insightful)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430685)

Sure, anyone has the right to their day in court. On the other hand, it is most certainly the fault of the law if the cost of failing in a malicious or frivolous lawsuit is so minor and the rewards of success are so great that there is every incentive to flood the system.

The system must protect itself if it is to fulfill its alleged role of protecting society. The moment corporations can DDoS the legal system for fun and profit is the moment the legal system stops protecting anyone.

What about radios, etc? (4, Insightful)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430157)

Does this mean if I have a radio with speakers in a public place I need to pay some kind of fee? I know that businesses which have radios that their customers can hear pay a license fee, but what about people, say, on the beach listening to a boom box? If they don't have to pay a fee, why should people with cell phones or their providers pay a public performance fee?

Re:What about radios, etc? (2, Informative)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430263)

Does this mean if I have a radio with speakers in a public place I need to pay some kind of fee?

Yes, it does.

I know that businesses which have radios that their customers can hear pay a license fee, but what about people, say, on the beach listening to a boom box?

Their situation is no different. The law doesn't distinguish between a business playing the radio and any other person playing the radio; you aren't exempt from the insane restrictions of copyright just because you aren't making money.

Pretty fucked up, huh?

The only reason that part of the law is (sometimes) enforced against businesses and never against people with boom boxes on the beach is that businesses are easier to keep an eye on and they tend to have more money.

Re:What about radios, etc? (5, Insightful)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430453)

Yes, it does.

No, it doesn't.

From 17 USC 110(5):
[The following is not an infringement:] except as provided in subparagraph (B), communication of a transmission embodying a performance or display of a work by the public reception of the transmission on a single receiving apparatus of a kind commonly used in private homes, unless--
(i) a direct charge is made to see or hear the transmission; or
(ii) the transmission thus received is further transmitted to the public;

Their situation is no different. The law doesn't distinguish between a business playing the radio and any other person playing the radio

Sure it does, beyond a certain point. At the low end of the spectrum, there's no need to make such a distinction, because all parties are exempt who follow the rules.

Once again, faulty and idiotic legal interpretations from the ignorant.

ASCAP just wants money from the carrier's commercial ringtone sales. It's got nothing to do with anything else.

Re:What about radios, etc? (1, Flamebait)

pbhj (607776) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430721)

(ii) the transmission thus received is further transmitted to the public;

In the hypothetical boom-box situation then the music is being further transmitted (as sounds waves in the air) to the public. Ergo, you've contradicted yourself here and the GP is correct that use of a radio with speakers in public is infringing activity.

Aside: Under UK law if you watch a movie (that you've a license to watch) in a school and the movie contains songs in the soundtrack then you're infringing the songwriters copyright (according to The PRS Limited). I think Copyright Law is my favourite type of idiocy.

Re:What about radios, etc? (1)

bipbop (1144919) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430765)

Oh god, that is the worst abuse of the word "transmitted" I've seen in the last twenty minutes. Um. Is the law seriously interpreted that way? That's twisted, if so.

Re:What about radios, etc? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430869)

Law is invariably "seriously interpreted" in the most absurd way eventually, regardless of intent. That's why you should try to avoid writing them at all.

Re:What about radios, etc? (5, Informative)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430889)

In the hypothetical boom-box situation then the music is being further transmitted (as sounds waves in the air) to the public. Ergo,

No. Further transmission is retransmission, as defined in section 101 and clarified in the committee notes. "Sound waves" in the air are not transmissions; a loudspeaker is not a transmitter.

This is further clarified by Fortnightly Corp. v. United Artists, 392 U.S. 390, and Twentieth Century Music Corp. v. Aiken, 422 U.S. 151.

Please stop with the outlandish displays of ignorance.

Re:What about radios, etc? (1)

spacefiddle (620205) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430761)

(ii) the transmission thus received is further transmitted to the public;

Like a boom box on a beach? (Alas, Aliteration this Ain't.) How is blasting your tunes to anyone who passes by not "further transmitted to the public," unless they're talking about radio or cabled transmission only...?

Re:What about radios, etc? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430849)

So then why does ASCAP hit up small restaurant owners who bring a radio from home and play it at work?

Re:What about radios, etc? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430875)

Their situation is no different. The law doesn't distinguish between a business playing the radio and any other person playing the radio

Sure it does, beyond a certain point. At the low end of the spectrum, there's no need to make such a distinction, because all parties are exempt who follow the rules.

Offtopic and a little trollish: This lack of distinction at the low end actually got the U.S. in a bit of trouble at the WTO. It seems that the European Communities (along with Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and Switzerland) didn't think that an outright "homestyle" exemption was allowed under existing trade agreements, so they complained [wto.org] .

The United States lost.

Rather than changing the law (which Congress doesn't want to do), the United States agreed to make a lump-sum payment for a European performing rights society (see the 26 June 2003 Notification of a Mutually Satisfactory Temporary Arrangement) and make a bunch of pointless reports that all say something like "The US Administration will work closely with the US Congress and will continue to confer with the European Communities in order to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of this matter."

So why is the U.S. government willing to shell out money and waste time so that small businesses can play music royalty-free, but makes it possible for copyright owners to sue file sharers for $750 to $150,000 per song? Maybe it is because the small business owners ask more nicely.

Re:What about radios, etc? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430687)

Ever consider being a poster-boy for the "I am not a lawyer" fund? It's posts like yours, (and the morons who modded you up) that remind us all to stuff our foots in our mouthes.

Re: Constitutional Foundation... (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430541)

"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

I'm pretty certain that the Framers didn't intend for your ringtone to be covered by copyright -- seeing as there's no way it can be considered to promote the Progress of either Science or useful Arts...

Re: Constitutional Foundation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430683)

I'm pretty certain that the Framers didn't have any idea what an audio recording was, and that those Framers who went on to establish the first set of copyright statutes intentionally left the door open for future forms of creative works, including audio recordings.

Re:What about radios, etc? (2, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430549)

Wait, this might be a good thing -- wouldn't you like to see all the a-holes that drive down the road with the volume on 11 pounding out the bass so load it makes their mirrors rattle get fined by ASCAP for their "public performance"? I sure would!

Well.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430169)

Normally I might say something like come and try to get it. You're nuts! But in this case, seems how they want to charge AT&T every time my phone rings, I say get 'em ASCAP. I know my rates will rise as a result but work pays for my phone. Anyways, AT&T needs a little smack down once in a while.

Everybody wants to be rich... (0, Offtopic)

msantosn (1555417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430183)

I can't believe why everybody wants to be rich without doing nothing... Really, this is just going insane!

Re:Everybody wants to be rich... (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430619)

I can't believe everybody wants to get rich without doing a thing... Really, this is just going insane!

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Everybody wants to be rich... (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430707)

Well, when the media stop pumping into everyone just how special they are, how rich they will become and how little they will have to do to get it all, people will wake up and smell the roses. Until the time that people realize that wealth and power generally come from hard work or extreme talent (or normally both) they will keep clutching at straws to try to take the easy road to achieve the same end result.

Blame the media who is playing right into the hands of lazy people.

One cannot help but wonder . . . (5, Funny)

taustin (171655) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430195)

. . . why these people have not been struck by a meteor. If there were a God in this universe, there would be a meteor.

Re:One cannot help but wonder . . . (0)

jd (1658) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430705)

A meteor? That's so sick and twisted! It should be a comet, at least.

Suck it, ASSCRAP. (3, Insightful)

Mix+Master+Nixon (1018716) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430199)

Fine, you pricks. We'll stop providing you with free exposure for your shitty music. Happy now?

Re:Suck it, ASSCRAP. (2, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430289)

They probably won't be, but I know I will.

Keep that shit music to yourself. Phones should sound like phones.

Re:Suck it, ASSCRAP. (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430563)

Fine, you pricks. We'll stop providing you with free exposure for your shitty music. Happy now?

ASCAP is preparing a report that shows public performances of ring-tones has affected ring-tone sales causing a recent, drastic drop in units sold.

Legal Motivators at fault (2, Interesting)

Anenome (1250374) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430213)

Part of the problem is the doctrine that if something isn't actively and legally pursued and protected, you've given up your rights on it. This is what causes companies to send 'cease & desist' orders to fan websites and the like. That's what causes companies to sue the Girl-scouts.

The idea behind preventing public performance, and the like, is to prevent profiting from a public performance. There's no way that ASCAP can prove that someone's profiting from a cellphone ring-tone going off. They may be able to extract cash from clothing stores that play tunes while people shop, but this one is definitely going too far.

Re:Legal Motivators at fault (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430305)

You are obviously not an attorney and obviously have no legal training, so why don't you not comment on things you know nothing about. Only trademarks can suffer from genericide. Copyright holders can and do selectively choose what to enforce and it has no impact on their rights. A copyright holder could sit back, watch a million people infringe its work but sue you for it cause they felt like it. The only impact it possibly could have is on damages, but even then we have the lovely statutory damages anyways.

Stick to whatever profession you are actually trained in, thanks.

Re:Legal Motivators at fault (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430845)

Why so much vitriol? Apparently, in your opinion, one actually does need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. Here is brief [bepress.com] that might give you the pedantic opium you need so badly.

Re:Legal Motivators at fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430435)

The fact that trademarks have to be pursued and protected doesn't change the laws to make copyright and all other forms of IP follow the same law. Different forms of IP have different laws.

ASCAP is following the course of other seemingly good organizations, such as MADD: Start off with a reasonable idea and use their initial successes to become an ever-growing monster hellbent on taking control or ownership of every aspect of people's lives for which they can find even the slightest excuse for having an interest.

Re:Legal Motivators at fault (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430499)

The reason they are going after this one is not to extract money from the end users. Selling ring-tones is an extremely profitable business, and they want a (bigger) cut of that cash. If they can get this upheld in theory, they will then look to extract the fee from the ring-tone vendors, telcos etc. At least, that would be my guess.

Re:Legal Motivators at fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430695)

I think that it would be arguable that when you buy a ringtone, the extortionate fee for said purchase covers the fact it is played out loud - at least that is a reasonable expectation for the consumer. Probably why they're going after AT&T who presumably sell ringtones.

As for making your own ringtones, maybe these companies can just fuck right off and die if they want to go after people doing the natural thing with media. Copyright needs an overhaul from first principles to safeguard consumers.

Not My Phone (0, Troll)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430217)

My phone just rings. I know it sounds crazy, but some people (OK maybe just me) actually prefer their phones to ring like - well, phones. I don't want to hear the latest hit R&B jingle or other such shit. I want to know that my phone is ringing. And sometimes, when I feel wild, I'll change to a slightly different ring tone that sounds like a different phone.

If people who are stupid enough to pay for musical ringtones get sued, I say thats just fine with me. I never liked the music that most people play as ringtones anyways. If they start getting fined and sued maybe those people will think twice before turning their phones into random top40 samplers.

Re:Not My Phone (1)

IcyNeko (891749) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430399)

OH HO! But even that ringing may one day be construed as a public performance. Don't think they won't go there. As it is not a mechanical function of the phone's internal workings, the simulated ringing can be considered a performance, just like any ringtone!

Re:Not My Phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430495)

I simply use a normal ringer, but no one pays for ringtones. You take a song you own, and cut out 30 seconds. Set that as the ring tone.
That shouldn't be illegal.

Re:Not My Phone (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430671)

Just because the ringtone you are using may have been created by some computer guy playing with beeps rather than a professional musician, doesn't necessarily change whether it's covered by ASCAP or not.

Hell, if I was the engineer that came up with that tune, I'd be suing the telephone companies for just the basic ringtone fee so fast...

Perhaps.. (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430219)

Perhaps they should realize they already sold 'ringtone rights' and that the very term 'ringtone' denotes a public performance in their eyes..you can't tell someone they need x license to do y, but then say that x license is invalid for the purposes of y.

Re:Perhaps.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430441)

This is not legal advice, IANALQITJ, etc.

But that's a good point. A damn good point.

If it's a ringtone you bought as a ringtone, you already have a license for that purpose from the copyright-holding artist or copyright-holding or licensed publisher, and thus you do not need a compulsory licence. As for mechanical copyright, they already got their cut from the sale. Covered.

Public performance of a ringtone would be entirely implicit in any such specific 'ringtone' licensing. If it isn't, that's ASCAP's fault, because they were certainly in on it when the contracts were being drawn up, and if they didn't say anything then, there may be estoppel in them trying to submarine it.

They're pulling a ridiculous power-grab here, but it's likely to bite them back hard.

Good news (1)

jimshatt (1002452) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430225)

This is good news right? Every time some greedy company or organization does something stupid like this in public, they take a (small) PR hit. At least, hopefully. They get away with it because it's not widely known yet, but I have the feeling people are starting to know more and more about this kind of thing going on.

What else is there to say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430227)

They're a bunch of ass-hats. Or caps, as it were.

Flashback... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430229)

I remember joking about this around the time of Napster's downfall. What a horrible age we live in.

No Ringtones (3, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430243)

Yet one more reason to avoid ringtones.

Not saying they are correct, just that I hate being forced to listen to someone's obnoxious music every time their phone rings.

Besides, even if it does count as a performance... doesn't selling a license to a song as a ringtone imply the right to use the ring tone without paying each time?

Re:No Ringtones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430569)

Perhaps - but buying a ringtone rather than just using an existing mp3 file implies being a dumbass.

- currently using Kate Bush - Wuthering Heights because it's so obnoxious

Re:No Ringtones (1)

shrikel (535309) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430839)

doesn't selling a license to a song as a ringtone imply the right to use the ring tone without paying each time? --

The problem is that it's not ASCAP who sold you the ringtone. The carrier that sold it to you has no authority to grant you rights to public performance of that ringtone.

What ASCAP wants is to get a piece of the money from the sale^H^H^H^H licensing of that ringtone.

Slippery slope on "public performance" (1)

Basilius (184226) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430251)

They gonna come after me when I've got my car stereo cranked and the windows down?

I know the people driving around me probably should, but is that really a "public performance?" A ringtone is no different than playing a stereo. It just goes off when you're not expecting it.

Re:Slippery slope on "public performance" (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430317)

I wondered who that nigger who keeps driving past my house is. Turn it down or fuck off home, you black bastard.

Re:Slippery slope on "public performance" (2, Insightful)

Lunoria (1496339) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430501)

They gonna come after me when I've got my car stereo cranked and the windows down?

I know the people driving around me probably should, but is that really a "public performance?" A ringtone is no different than playing a stereo. It just goes off when you're not expecting it.

I really would prefer it if you people could just turn your music down. I don't care if you want to destroy your eardrums listening to crap. I just don't want to hear music so loud it drowns out normal conversations from people on the street.

Copyright law... (2, Interesting)

Manip (656104) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430279)

Copyright law needs a review across the board. By which I mean on an international level.

Here is my short list:
  - Licences across borders has to be easier
  - Software Patents should be revoked (in the US et al)
  - Patents should be 70 years or 30 years after the creator's death
  - Public performance should have "fair use" exclusions
  - Heck, all copyright should have "fair use"
  - Damages should be limited to value (e.g. 100% of damages, not 10,000%)

I'm sure there are other things. But frankly the copyright system as it stands is broken. When web-sites have to buy highly expensive licences in dozens of states and companies are winning millions for a few MP3s something is wrong.

Re:Copyright law... (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430391)

Copyright law needs a review across the board. By which I mean on an international level.

Yup. When I see cases like the one posted above I start thinking that the middle ages were quite liberal when compared to what some copyright holders are asking for.

Re:Copyright law... (5, Interesting)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430537)

-Patents should be 70 years or 30 years after the creator's death

How about not? Make them 10 years. You have 10 years to cash in on your ideas. You want to screw the whole world over in a fit of selfish "VIEW ME AS THE ARTIST I AM!" tantrum, enjoy your 10 years, but the government should not support you after a decade of your decadence. This isn't the industrial revolution or some atomic age. This is the information age where ideas are a dime a million. Today, unlike 20 years ago, everyone has access they need to sell an invention within a few days. Exposure is almost instant, and someone will do it better than you did in one year or less, anyway.

Re:Copyright law... (2, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430677)

Patents should be 70 years or 30 years after the creator's death

There is no justification for patents (or copyrights) to last an instant past the inventor's death.

Obligatory (5, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430315)

The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufacture, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens. The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.

-Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

What a crazy world (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430337)

Seriously who comes up with this idiotic nonsense. All that will happen is that consumers will spend less money on their music.

ASCAP is one step away... (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430343)

...from hustling stopped motorists for change in intersections. For what it is worth, I would like to collect everytime I hear my coworker's Nicklback ringtone.

Hold on, ASCAP != RIAA (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430363)

I'm an independent musician, and hate the RIAA, but ASCAP is more of a musician's union than anything else. They are one of the only groups that truly helps artists get paid for their work, in situations where money is already supposed to be set aside for the artists themselves. I have made a fair bit of cash in royalties from tracks that have appeared on networks like VH1 and A&E -- that is money that would have never been reported to me otherwise. If some network wants to use my track in some show, and generate advertising money off of it, then I think the artist deserves their rightful share. FYI: I am not signed to a major label, and I don't have the resources or connections that those acts have. They also help in situations such as radio reporting in places where I don't even speak the language -- as one example, they discovered my music playing on a commercial radio station in eastern Poland, and were able to retrive the royalties I had earned.

So, please don't instinctively tar them with the same brush as the idiots at the RIAA. I don't agree with everything ASCAP does, but in general they are a positive force for trying to help the actual creators of content, not the big labels and corporations.

Why am I not surprised... (2, Interesting)

Photo_Nut (676334) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430381)

This has got to be the dumbest thing I've heard.

Next, they will sue any device capable of making sounds in public. Phones are just the beginning, how about iPods, car makers, "boom box" (portable stereo system) makers. While I'd love it if the guys blasting their audio in their car would stop the noise pollution when I'm in their vacinity, I don't think suing them for publicly performing a copywritten work will effect change... And I don't think AT&T is to blame here.

Copyright is a temporary monopoly given to content creators on their works so that they can earn money without being ripped off. It is not intended to be used to stranglehold any company making a device which can play a sound to pay an extortion fee to a group representing content creators.

iTunes Ringtone Fees (1)

Cboyd0319 (763684) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430401)

Theoretically, if I purchase a song from Apple, and then I would like to make that into a ringtone, I have to pay Apple for that right. Where does that money go? I assumed that they were paying a portion of it to a third party for different playing rights.

The issue is moot, of course, since http://www.iringer.net/ [iringer.net] is free, which makes my ringtones the same.

I don't mean to be ridiculous but ... (5, Funny)

electricprof (1410233) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430447)

I once fell down the stairs and the next day I recieved a bill from ASCAP and RIAA for performing a Lars Ulrich drum solo ... ok, maybe I do mean to be ridiculous.

They're Absolutely Right! (4, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430489)

Initially I thought they were on crack. Then I realized what would happen if they actually won. Consider the implications for a minute or two and then see if you don't agree...

The most dangerous animal is the middle man (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430517)

As far as I can tell, this is simply a temper tantrum because the middle men are not getting their cut. The dollar ring tones seems to be the primary method in which catalog tracks can make money, now that no one has to replace worn plastic. Someone really should have figured out a way to pay off the these people. It is just like renting music. The RIAA does not really care if anyone makes any money off it, as long as they get their cut. And when someone seems to making too much money, the come in to find out why.

Out fo court settlement. Throw them a crumb just like one would with any other bugger.

Re:The most dangerous animal is the middle man (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430697)

As far as I can tell, this is simply a temper tantrum because the middle men are not getting their cut.

Almost. Swap in "in house attnorneys" for "middlemen" and you're a lot closer. Several such agencies are held hostage by attorneys claiming they have to pursue every tiny possible infringement. The fact is the decision is being made by those who stand to earn pay on action taken whether they win or lose.

I draw the line at..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430525)

their belching and farting patents. The dairy farmers are freaking out as are the ball parks.

Would this apply... (2, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430553)

Would this apply even if your ringtone is an illegally downloaded MP3 (like with my, uh, friend's phone)? It's kind of Al Capone having to pay taxes on money he got from drug trafficking.

(Actually, strange as it may sound, in the US one is supposed to pay taxes on illegitimately acquired income)

ASCAP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430587)

More like ASSHATS

Capitalism at its best (2, Interesting)

al0ha (1262684) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430595)

I for one think this is a very clever approach to earning more money off of a single product in a purely capitalist society.

Bogus; but clever.

Can I charge them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430607)

I don't ever want to hear an ASCAP licensed ringtone performed in a public place. Can I charge them whenever I hear one?

If I were a plumber... (2, Interesting)

mikeselectricstuff (556110) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430629)

If I were a plumber, and I installed a toilet, I don't get paid every time someone takes a dump. If I designed a toilet, ditto. If I own a patent on some new-fangled kind of super-toilet, ditto. So do other creative professions seem to think that they deserve to get paid every time their work gets used...?

Anyone Interested? (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430661)

How about I write and record a song with a chorus of "Fuck you ASCAP, lamest member of the mafIAA". Then I'll cut out the chorus, make it available as a ringtone. People can download it, others can hear it and notify ASCAP. If they choose to pursue, we can waste a great deal of their time and money before I decide it's public domain. If they choose not to, they'll be pursuing selectively, disproving their standing as supporting any song writers.

Wang :/ (1)

DavidR1991 (1047748) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430679)

Surely, for the sake of reason, "Public performance" constitutes use by a commercial body of some form? (e.g. shopping centres, radio stations etc.) Otherwise there are millions of possible scenarios (which are completely inane from a copyright/licensing POV) where it could inadvertently happen - loud music from someone's car, a person having their MP3 player music very loud and hence audible...

If the court / legal bodies "buy" this kind of thing as being a violation, it's going to open the floodgates for a whole new wave of stinking turd - the world is already paranoid about liability, this kind of stuff just pushes us to the brink of practically "denouncing" others for supposed 'public performance'. Crazy, completely crazy. This is a said day for the world :/

missing tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430759)

Where is the "insanity" tag? Seriously.

ASSCAP demands payment when your phone rings (2, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#28430783)

(to be posted on NotN [today.com] tomorrow, probably)

The American Super-Society of Composers and Performers has filed a brief in a lawsuit against AT&T arguing that its members deserve payment every time a mobile phone rings.

The owners of the musical compositions are already paid for each ringtone download, but this does not cover ASSCAP public performance royalties.

"The musicians and songwriters are the true creators of objective value in society," said ASSCAP spokesdroid Ayn Rand. "They deserve your support. How would civilisation survive without Crazy Frog or the Nokia Tune?

"To this end, we are bringing suits against those individuals who, having purchased RIAA-licensed ringtones, do not then silence them when in public. Statutory damages of $80,000 should have a salutary effect on our coffers and, of course, our public image."

Further lawsuits will then be brought against those who silence their mobile phones. "4'33' by John Cage is a copyrighted work. Without the money going to his estate, he may never write another measured piece of silence again."

Does AT&T get credited for ring tones in songs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430823)

Several modern songs include standard cellular "ring" tones such as the infamous nokia tone within their songs. Shouldn't music companies have to pay for the right to include these ring tones in their songs and pay AT&T for their use every time their song is played by anyone in the world where it is remotly possible said song may be overheard by unlicensed ears?

I propose..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28430853)

That anytime someone publicly comes up with an assinine idea like this, that they get commited to a mental hospital and given a full battery of tests to determine their mental stability. All results should be on public file.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...