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BBC In Trouble Over Free Music

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the generate-money-from-spinning-corpses dept.

Music 651

Take a Byte Out of Crime writes "According to this article, British classical labels are claiming that the BBC giving away the these symphonies, which were performed by the BBC Orchestra for free, constitutes unfair government competition. Apparently all free music really is illegal these days, or soon will be, public domain be damned."

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Lets ask Beethoven (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13050663)

Time to get the Ouija board out and see what Beethoven has to say about all of this. He says...

"First post!"

Hmmmm...

Re:Lets ask Beethoven (1)

takeya (825259) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050888)

First posting aside...

Would anyone care to explain how something released by the BBC constitutes government competition? Maybe I'm missing something, but doesn't the BBC just get government money, they are not a government agency/office/bureau?

Re:Lets ask Beethoven (1, Troll)

Physician (861339) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050896)

Who is moderating the stupid 'first post' troll as Score 5: Funny?

Re:Lets ask Beethoven (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13050910)

People with a sense of humor?

Solutions. (1)

FireballX301 (766274) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050667)

IF THEY LISTEN TO REASON:
Claim prior art. You know, by Beethoven/Mozart/Bach/whoever.

IF THEY DO NOT LISTEN TO REASON:
Claim parody. Like Wierd Al does. I know its british, but I'm making the assumption here that there's a law protecting parody works in the big UK.

Intellectual Property terms (2, Informative)

The Amazing Fish Boy (863897) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050715)

Claim prior art. You know, by Beethoven/Mozart/Bach/whoever.

Prior art applies to patent law, not anti-competitive behaviour. Similarily, parody applies to copyright works, and not anti-competitive behaviour.

Re:Intellectual Property terms (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050760)

Prior art also applies to copyrights. If an older work is found that is similar enough, a copyright owner cannot claim that they own the rights to another work under the "derivative works" clause.

Re:Intellectual Property terms (1, Insightful)

toddbu (748790) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050825)

not anti-competitive behaviour

I hope that you were just repeating what the record execs said and don't really believe this crap. It's just like the big stink recently over the US government putting out weather data in XML format. Apparently, it's *always* anti-competitive for citizens to compete against industry as far as some folks are concerned.

Don't get me wrong - there's tons of stuff that's better left to private industry. It's tough to know where to draw the line sometimes. In a case like this it's pretty clear though - the government is just giving back to the public what it already owns. Nothing wrong with that.

Re:Solutions. (2, Interesting)

aneroid (856995) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050773)

that might work if they had something obvious that made it a parody before they were "In Trouble Over Free Music".

anyways, they (BBC) are giving stuff away for free that was performed by the BBC Orchestra. if it was someone else's product being discounted by the govt then it would constitute unfair government competition (imho).

and what does the "claim" mean? that if anything in any form ever had a cost, no one can ever give it for free? or just not the government? in either case, that's just sad (and VERY VERY stupid).

In related news (4, Interesting)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050775)

A French bus company sues cleaning ladies who carpool.

Guardian article here. [guardian.co.uk]

What is up with Europe these days? We were glad when they rejected software patents, but these sorts of legal actions? They make the US look like a country where nobody ever sues anyone without reason ever....

Re:In related news (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050844)

that is the single most absurd thing I've ever read.
-nB

Groklaw called it (4, Funny)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050868)

"The Stupidest Lawsuit since the World Began"

Re:In related news (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050901)

The problem does not occur when people start suing others for completely ridiculous reasons.
No , the problem occurs when they start to win cases!

Re:Solutions. (3, Funny)

hobotron (891379) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050780)


British Classical music IS parody

*ducks*

Proving once again (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13050668)

That no good deed goes unpunished.

first post is in trouble! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13050671)

slashdot be damned

What is with people these days? (1)

einstienbc (825770) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050674)

Cant anything good be free?

So I guess.... (1)

InsideTheAsylum (836659) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050675)

So much for going to a park now and listening to the musicians playing music there -- after all, they're producing unfair competition!

Re:So I guess.... (5, Insightful)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050730)

The difference is the governments aren't funding those people! Oh wait, Governments around the world routinely do things like that. In fact local governments often put a lot of money into funding symphonies etc.--without that funding the "Classical Labels" who are complaining in this case would have a much crappier talent pool to pick from. This same issue came up when some town was releasing its GIS data a while back... I don't see how it is even an issue if it has already been paid for (as with that data and these performances).

God forbid... (1)

pyro17 (748571) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050678)

...any one care about how copyright laws actually work...

The next logical step (4, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050681)

is that corporations will sue private citizens giving things away for free, claiming "unfair competition by [those people who damn well should be] the buying public."

Corporations = have rights.

Anyone/thing else = "with the terrorists."

Re:The next logical step (5, Informative)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050751)

is that corporations will sue private citizens giving things away for free, claiming "unfair competition by [those people who damn well should be] the buying public."

Funny you should mention that.

Check This story from the Guardian out [guardian.co.uk]

Re:The next logical step (2, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050893)

Thanks for that. I suppose it had to be.

There's certainly a sickening kind of ecstasy in realizing that logical extremes have become the unquestioned norm.

Re:The next logical step (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050793)

There's a big difference between the government giving something away, and a private citizen. The private citizen is spending his own money; the government is spending taxpayer dollars.

Governments are put in place to do the things that private citizens and corporations can't do on their own: enforce order, build roads, provide for the common defense, etc.

Wouldn't it suck to be in competition with somebody who's giving it away, and isn't even spending their own money to do it?

Re:The next logical step (5, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050836)

Governments are put in place to do the things that private citizens and corporations can't do on their own: enforce order, build roads, provide for the common defense, etc.

Says who? You deftly slide this by as though it's a statement of fact. How about:

Governments are put in place to do things that private citizens or corproations won't do, but that most private citizens wish somebody would do.

or:

Governments are put in place to make golf courses.

Just what "governments are put in place to do" is a central debate of modernity that has shaped much of the history of the twentieth century. It is what this entire story is about, and why it is so controversial.

I'd be just as happy with:

Governments are put in place to do whatever it is they do and to encourage and facilitate the near-free distribution of valuable works by long-dead people that can benefit the public at large.

Re:The next logical step (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13050883)

Won't wash. I pay the BBC about $100 a year; if I forget, they come and detect my TV and take me to court. So, it's not like the Government is paying these musicians.

I think it is brilliant that the BBC are using my money to hire musicians, play Beethoven, and give the result to the whole world for free.

Re:The next logical step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13050853)

Wouldn't it suck to be in competition with somebody who's giving it away, and isn't even spending their own money to do it?

That same someone is the one handing out the free 95-year monopolies that make the publishers' business viable in the first place. Maybe the publishers shouldn't bite the hand that feeds them.

Re:The next logical step (1)

ak3ldama (554026) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050835)

I hate to sound extremist/revolutionist/crazy, but this stuff really pisses me off. But what am I to do about it? Grabbing my guns and storming off to nowhere accomplishes nothing. The common person has no way to express him/her-self. Our politicians have let us down, and we have no recourse. It would seem at first that the traditional Lenin view of things is our only option, but history has not had favorable results with the proletariat trying to fix the problems with the structures of society, government, business. My initial hate toward society and all the other evil things started in high school. Following this I read some Marx, Lenin, and other works (including the Bible, as I was raised in a Christian home.) But there was really no answers. The view of the 'Communists' didn't seem to work in the real world since most people have this thing called 'Human Nature' which destroys all good intentions. And Christianity cares less about now and more about helping on person at a time and considering everything in the view of past, present and future. So I guess, in the end I don't know. And I don't think anyone else does either. How do we tell the people in power that we matter and that the @$#*ing Coorporations do not!?!

Fuck the record execs. (3, Insightful)

James A. D. Joyce (742507) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050682)

From the article: "There is the obvious issue that it is devaluing the perceived value of music. You are also leading the public to think that it is fine to download and own these files for nothing."

Gee, maybe I'm wrong, but aren't Beethoven's symphonies public domain? How dare the BBC introduce a great composer's copyright-free works to a larger audience! They're devaluing it! And by "devaluing the music", you mean "devaluing your stock value", right?

Re:Fuck the record execs. (4, Informative)

meowsqueak (599208) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050721)

It is the performances, not the score that is under debate.

No (1)

mtrisk (770081) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050777)

The BBC's own symphony recorded them. It's the fact that the government is giving them away that's under debate.

Re:No (1)

meowsqueak (599208) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050803)

Exactly. How could you interpret my comment otherwise?

It's not about what's being done with the score (like the OP said, it's in the public domain), it's about what's being done with the performances.

Re:Fuck the record execs. (2, Informative)

servoled (174239) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050732)

Gee, maybe I'm wrong, but aren't Beethoven's symphonies public domain? How dare the BBC introduce a great composer's copyright-free works to a larger audience! They're devaluing it! And by "devaluing the music", you mean "devaluing your stock value", right?

As far as I know the symphonies themselves are, but specific performances aren't (depending on when they were recorded).

Re:Fuck the record execs. (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050741)

Performances of Beethoven symphonies are not public domain. They are owned by the performer, same as any other recording.

Re:Fuck the record execs. (3, Insightful)

failure-man (870605) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050759)

And if the BBC paid for the performance and did the recording they can do whatever they want with it right?

Re:Fuck the record execs. (1)

einstienbc (825770) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050763)

Therefore it is their right as producers to make the recordings public domain.

Re:Fuck the record execs. (2, Interesting)

IronMagnus (777535) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050789)

To the above three posts, from reading the /. post, aren't the specific performances in question ones that were given by the BBC symphony for free? Thus, don't they have the right to release them for free?

Re:Fuck the record execs. (3, Insightful)

RedWizzard (192002) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050840)

Yes, exactly. Which is why this record exec is just mouthing off and is not suing.

Re:Fuck the record execs. (1)

Pollardito (781263) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050804)

"You are also leading the public to think that it is fine to download and own these files for nothing."
i agree with this part. they are leading them to believe that they can download and own those files for nothing, but BECAUSE THEY IN FACT CAN it's not misleading in the least

Re:Fuck the record execs. (1)

Ibanez (37490) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050861)

And in other news, British music-related corporations have gotten an injunction against the BBC for purportedly releasing these symphonies before the agreed upon release date.

Oh, wait, we're not talking about Canada?

I'm confused, what exactly does copyright mean? (5, Interesting)

mister_llah (891540) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050684)

Is it for the protection of the original ideas?

Or the protection of individual performances?

===

Can you play only public domain songs, sell it, and then have people trading your performances withouit purchasing them be pirates?

Does anyone know?

[I legitemately don't but would like to]

Re:I'm confused, what exactly does copyright mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13050696)

It's for the protection of money.

Re:I'm confused, what exactly does copyright mean? (2, Interesting)

x86eon (896508) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050743)

United States Copyright Office [copyright.gov]

Copyright Basics [copyright.gov]

What Copyright is [copyright.gov]

Kind of ambiguous... added questions (for anyone) (2, Insightful)

mister_llah (891540) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050765)

Quoth that source:
WHAT IS NOT PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT?

Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources)
===

Technically those symphonies DO have original authorship but are now public domain, correct? ... so which one takes precedence?

Is that original authorship a registered copyright, or is that just that it was created by a human and would have been protected by copyright (if they had applied)?

Re:I'm confused, what exactly does copyright mean? (2, Informative)

kauttapiste (633236) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050776)

Is it for the protection of the original ideas?

Not for ideas but for your work (of art). In the US, copyright means one's right to commercially benefit from one's work. In Europe, it's basically more about being recognized as the creator of some work. (moral rights vs. commercial rights)

In this case copyright applies to the compositions by Beethoven, Mozart, etc. For those works the copyrights have expired already so you can exploit those works for your own commercial benefit.

BUT, copyrights also apply to the music performed and recorded by the BBC Orchestra. They own the rights to their recordings.

Or the protection of individual performances?

As said, both.

Can you play only public domain songs, sell it, and then have people trading your performances withouit purchasing them be pirates?

No. The performance is also protected by copyright laws. You can't e.g. record a band's performance and then sell it (bootlegs) just because you recorded it. Same applies for something you get for free, you don't have the right to redistribute it. Unless, of course, the copyright holder explicitly gives you that right.

Re:I'm confused, what exactly does copyright mean? (1)

dfl (808355) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050800)

Copyright covers both musical compositions and sound recordings. The copyright in Beethoven's works has expired -- he didn't have the benefit of living under the benevolent rule of Disney Corporation -- but anyone who makes a sound recording gets a new copyright in that "phonogram." When the BBC makes a sound recording, it can do what it wants with it, for example, distribute it freely to the people whose taxes paid for it. (If the composition they recorded were covered by copyright, they'd have to pay a royalty.)

It's both (5, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050801)

So if you compose a song, it is protected under copyright. People cannot go and repreform that song without giving you royalties. Now in the US, reperformances, called covers, have statutory royalties, so the copyright holder doesn't have much say in it, but you still have to pay them.

However the performance is seperate, and also copyrighted. While osmeone can do a cover of your song, they can't just copy your performance without permissions.

This also means that though a given song may be public domain, a particular performance isn't. So all Motzart's works are public domain, you can post the sheet music on the net freely, without fear. However a specific performance of that music may be copyrighted. You can, of course do your own performance, or comission to be done, but you can't just (legally) copy their performance.

Both are seen as creative works. It is a creative work to create a song, but it is also a creative work to play that song. The musicians have a lot to do with the rendition of it, espically with classical music and I can say as a former classical musician, it's not easy.

Now in this case, you are allowed to trade the specific performance freely as well. The orignal songs are of course long out of copyright, and the BBC has chosen to give their work in to the public domain, which is their right.

The challenge is from greedy labels, not over copyright, but over unfair competition. They claim it's unfair that the BBC, which is taxpayer funded, is giving away works that compete with ones they sell. However the status of the copyright isn't being challenged. The BBC Orchestra performed it, and the BBC chose to relinquish the performance to public domain, that's a done deal.

Thanks :) (1)

mister_llah (891540) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050829)

Thanks for clearing that up, that is a bit more clear...

It's not "free music" (5, Insightful)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050686)

The people of the UK have already paid for it! Thus it isn't "unfair competition" either, unless the initial production of the music (not its later distribution) is unfair.

The complaint that this is unfair strikes me as being very nearly as absurd as the situation in the US where there are private companies complaining that only they should be allowed to have the data collected and generated by the taxpayer-funded National Weather Service, and that taxpayers should not be able to get the data directly from the government.

Re:It's not "free music" (4, Insightful)

einstienbc (825770) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050725)

but dont you remember? you're infringing on the rights of the corporations to make money as well as own everything!

Re:It's not "free music" (4, Insightful)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050731)

The people of the UK have already paid for it! Thus it isn't "unfair competition" either

Of course it's unfair. One group gets to force the citizens to pay for what it has produced while another group must rely on their voluntary purchase.

I doubt you would like to compete against a government that can simply take whatever money it needs from it's "customers".

Re:It's not "free music" (1)

The Amazing Fish Boy (863897) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050784)

I doubt you would like to compete against a government that can simply take whatever money it needs from it's "customers".

An elected government does not "simply take whatever money it needs" from it's taxpayers. They ask for it every term.

Re:It's not "free music" (1)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050817)

An elected government does not "simply take whatever money it needs" from it's taxpayers. They ask for it every term.

No they don't. What they ask for is votes and they can get them by promising money to the 51% that might vote for them while taking it from 49% the won't vote for them.

What you say might be true if taxes were apportioned equally, but they're not.

Re:It's not "free music" (1, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050823)

Fine, if you want to debate that, then go to your government representative and ask them to disband the BBC, if you think it's so parasitical.


What the corporations are arguing isn't that the BBC shouldn't exist--which is a defensible assertion, and one I might even be tempted to agree with--but that now, after that organization has been bought and paid for (we can only hope at the behest of the taxpaying public), and the recorded symphonies are to society a sunk cost, that the public who paid for them to be created should pay for them again.


The public HAS ALREADY paid for those symphonies. They have paid for them in their tax dollars, which their elected representatives chose to spend, via the BBC, on their creation via recording. That this payment is vastly more indirect than the payment a customer is used to making for a sound recording is obvious, but it doesn't mean that people who download the symphonies in question are in any way 'stealing' them.

While I don't agree with them in this case (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050827)

Lawsuits of this type aren't always without merit. The idea is that in a capatalism, the government isn't allowed to unfairly compete with private corperations. I mean the government can basically always win out in a price war if they want since they can cover costs through taxes, which people don't count in the price since they aren't a direct charge. Since in a capatalism it is undesirable to have the government run everything (wouldn't be a capatalism if they did) it is generally illegal for them to unfairly compete with the private sector.

Now I see this as very differnet. The government isn't competing, they are doing a public service. They aren't trying to have CDs put in stores next to other classical works but for a lower price, they are just releasing some electronic music to the masses. Private entities aren't precluded form competing, they can produce different/better versions of these symphonies (like a DVD-A or DTS CD or something). This is just record companies being whiny.

Personally I say distribute more classical music, or shut the fuck up. It's truly pathetic the selection of classical available. Record labels don't like it very much since it's fairly expensive to produce (an orchestra has a lot of musicians, all who need to be paid, usually up front) and it doesn't sell nearly as much as pop music.

Did they listen to the files? (3, Informative)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050711)

If these are the same ones I downloaded, they spent a few minutes chatting before they started the music. Not quite as bad as ads, but still, nothing that would cause folks who just played music anything to worry about.

Too bad - but made me take the time to rip a couple CD's for my MP3 player.

similar trends (1)

pamri (251945) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050716)

Not only the music industry, even the UK newspaper's are facing tough competition [ebusinessforum.com] from the BBC's news website.

Re:similar trends (2, Insightful)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050747)

Not only the music industry, even the UK newspaper's are facing tough competition from the BBC's news website.

The interesting thing about this is that the UK newspapers are being forced to support their competition through taxes.

They're forced to pay the government to dig their own economic graves.

Re:similar trends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13050907)

This is nothing new. People have been forced to pay governments to do things that they don't agree with for thousands of years, and they will continue to do so for the remainder of human history. So what?

I fthis keeps going.. (1, Interesting)

jamesjw (213986) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050718)

They'll be banning MIDI in soundcards soon.. Cant have MIDI reproducing music without loss.. holy crap..

Its time to get your handbaskets organised people, cause we're all about to go to hell..

-- Jim.

Please Sue! (3, Funny)

elronxenu (117773) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050724)

... Then I can submit this to Groklaw in response to PJ's challenge to find the most stupid lawsuit ever.

Music as a commodity (4, Insightful)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050726)

At first I thought this was ridiculous because music isn't a commodity, it's not like the government is selling the same thing as the music companies. But when I thought about it some more, in ways, most classical music is a commodity. I mean, when you're looking for Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody #2, for the most part people don't care about who plays it, the just care that it's a recording of the piece they're looking for. That said, it's not entirely commoditized, I mean, there are differences between recordings, there are different arrangements, different qualities of recording, etc.

It seems very odd though that record companies dealing in classic music would be of the opinion that classical recordings are commodities or that even if they weren't of that opinion, that they would encourage people to think of it that way. It just seems like bad business.

Re:Music as a commodity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13050878)

I do think that most people who are interested in classical music would very much care about who performed the work, and even about the qualities of the interpretation in particular performances.

By what you indicate in your second paragraph, I suspect you've fallen into the trap of assuming that because classical music is a commodity to you(which is nothing to be ashamed of - I hold no great interest in or knowledge of the genre myself, and so, to me any performance of Lizst's Hungarian Rhapsody #2 would indeed be roughly equivalent to any other), it must be to everyone else as well.

Whiners (5, Funny)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050727)

If you not good enough to compete with the public domain, then it's time to rethink your career.

Re:Whiners (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13050813)

Absolutely. May I elaborate? The belief that music companies cannot compete because of the economics of filesharing/free music is misleading. A better reason record companies cannot compete is because their products are mostly rubbish. For almost a decade we have seen
movement towards cheap machine produced music propelled by marketing alone. During that time the industry has underinvested in its essential resources, local music culture, educating composers and performers, the prerequisite lifeblood of a healthy arts culture. Meanwhile technology has empowered the individual to create works of an equal or superior quality to that of the record companies. That is what these people want to stop. They dont care about filesharing of _their_ music, legally they think that's cut and dried, what really puts the shits up them is the idea of a healthy independent music culture with artists managing their own distribution. [disclaimer/context - I worked at the BBC as a producer for several years]

Buy/Share Independent music, don't support the crap.

There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch (1)

TheStonepedo (885845) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050728)

Here in Atlanta there are occasionally "free" concerts and even "free" symphonies. I have never been strip searched walking into an outdoor concert in a park. If the initial investment (organization, advertisement, etc.) has already been made and no recordings are going to be sold of a given concert/symphony, who is losing out? Those people who missed the "free" show are not harming other performers by listening to my bootleg of the show.

The show is not free at all, but rather gifted to the listeners and paid in full before the actual performance.

Then they'd better not broadcast any music either (5, Insightful)

newandyh-r (724533) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050729)

Is there any intrinsic difference between making the performances available for download and broadcasting the performances on digital radio.
If you have the right equipment (such as a Psion Wavefinder) and a reliable signal (not so easy for digital) you can record all the Proms at MP3 equivalent quality.

Does this mean... (1)

haakondahl (893488) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050734)

...I can deploy my private Army now? My shareholders have been itching for some action, and the government's got it all sewn up!

Re:Does this mean... (1)

hackwrench (573697) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050824)

I don't see anything legally stopping you except maybe for laws limiting your choice of weapon. In fact, I advocate this sort of thing.

They should keep in mind, though (2, Informative)

Andrew Tanenbaum (896883) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050737)

that the BBC isn't really run by the government. It's an independent Crown corporation like the CBC in Canada.

Unfair Competition? (3, Interesting)

sigloiv (870394) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050738)

constitutes unfair government competition

I don't understand how giving something away for free could be seen as competition. It's not like you can buy the exact same thing from a someone else. On the other hand, if this was something like Mozart/Bach/any|other|classic|artist where no one owns a copyright, then I guess giving it away while someone was selling it could be seen as an unfair buisness practice.

I still take the side of BBC on this one, though. They recorded the music with their own in-house orchestra and therefore should be able to distribute it any way they like. Period.

Re:Unfair Competition? (1)

mc6809e (214243) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050798)

I don't understand how giving something away for free could be seen as competition.

They're not giving it away for free. The government charges taxpayers for the music and they have no choice but to pay.

So you have two groups making money from making music. You have private orchestras that must ask people to purchase their performace and you have another "government" orchestra that charges everyone for their product whether those people want it or not.

It's pretty hard to compete against a group that forces everyone to buy its performance while you have to hope someone volutarily buys yours.

Re:Unfair Competition? (2, Insightful)

chefren (17219) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050854)

They're not giving it away for free. The government charges taxpayers for the music and they have no choice but to pay.


So in fact the whole existance of the BBC is unfair competition, then? It probably is. And in my oppinion the commercial companies will just have to manage anyway. The BBC has been giving away music over radio and tv for decades but now when its over the Internet is suddenly a problem?

Dead music for dead people (4, Informative)

poptones (653660) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050740)

Just more insight into why the recorded music industry is dieing.

I subscribed to BBC music magazine for quite some time - just for the music. Three bucks a month and it came with a CD attached to every cover. This isn't the first time the classical music fuzzheads have shown their cluelessness - when Sarah Brightman first started gaining popularity many decried how she was "corrupting the form." And when classical compilation CDs produced by small publishers (usually recordings of performances by east euro orchestras) many of these dying purists attacked them - again - for "diluting the value of these works."

This really is pretty standard fare for those old school classical publishers. It's not about copyright, it's about fox hunts and cardboard people and preserving their "high end" market image.

Re:Dead music for dead people (1)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050811)

when Sarah Brightman first started gaining popularity many decried how she was "corrupting the form."
Reminds me of punk rock and underground hip-hop. If you make music good enough to appeal to more than just the fans of your genre then fans of your genre don't like you anymore. Although I suppose no classical music snobs would never call you a sellout.

Re:Dead music for dead people (1)

StarWreck (695075) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050911)

when Sarah Brightman first started gaining popularity many decried how she was "corrupting the form."
That reminds me. *starts playing Sarah Brightman's cover of "Who wants to live forever" originally performed by Queen*. Yaay! Its like the song is new again.

This is not about copyright (1)

mi (197448) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050744)

Apparently all free music really is illegal these days, or soon will be, public domain be damned.
If the above is not a trolling flamebait, I don't know, what is.

It is free music, alright. The objection is to the government entity (BBC is a government entity) distributing it.

I don't necessarily agree with their objections, but timothy's shrieking is annoying. At least, Mr. Katz was funny...

Mod this how you see fit. (4, Interesting)

tetrahedrassface (675645) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050745)

This stinks for a number of reasons but here are few.

First of all the music industry is consipiring to strangle the very human instinct of music. It is in us, and we are genetically programmed to appreciate it.

The reason this industry is fighting so hard is greed. Pure and simple greed.

They have a way of life/business model that can't addapt to the quickly changing digital world around them so like vultures they are clawing at their food supply.. namely your dollars.

So whats to do? Namely the copyright holders of each song/piece of music ulitmately control if it is placed in the public domain. Currently most are being greedy.. or are just clueless.

Its pyrimid ponzi scheme of artistic and corporate collusion, and its only getting worse.

They are the music nazis, and if you want it you must join their party and play their game.

We need to continue to encourage folks to step up to the plate. Bands, artists, songwriters of all flavors should make thier stuff availible online with one CC stipulation.. It can't be sold/profitted from unless the copyright holder changes the license.

Most of the stuff from the big labels is corporate shit anyway.. the only reason folks buy it is they are told its cool.

So those of who do make music cause you frelling love it, and not because you want a damn easy check fight on.

Live it, love it, make it real.

Even if you suck its better than canned spam coming out yer radio.

Peace, D

Re:Mod this how you see fit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13050814)

"those of you who do make music..."

Hey guess what, you'll be next. Learning to play a musical instrument and make your own music deprives the music industry of income. Musicians they own and can profit from are fine, but what about all those terrorists out there just making music for free?! It's a scandal! It must be stopped!

If you are not bound up with a music industry contract, you should eschew all musical activity other than paying for music media (and re-buying the same music if you want it on different media). Consume. Consume. Consuuuuuuuume. And when you are done, consume some more.

Creativity is subversive and must be stopped.

Put up or shut up... (4, Insightful)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050749)

well, if they're objecting so much about this, perhaps they should launch a court case and see just how far they get

or could it be because they haven't got a leg to stand on and the BBC is perfectly within it's rights to have done this... having copyright anyway in the performance that they did, and therefore, they could dispose of it exactly as they wished, including making it available for free download so nya... nya...

I hate the BBC for this (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13050750)

I'm sure many of us understand how the BBC works, it's funded in majority by the license fee we Brits have to pay per household every year. I think I paid 130UKP last year (220USD).

The argument about value for money is a can of worms I'm not going to touch, however, it smacks a little bit of unfairness if my US based cousins can enjoy what is arguably the best part of the BBC (BBC Online) without having to contribute a penny.

BBC Online should be protected in-line with the rest of the BBC, the content should be un-lockable via entry of my license number.

The same goes for the recent deal done to broadcast Radio 1 on Sirrius. Presumably the profit goes back in to creating the BBC, however, I'd prefer it to go back in to my already stretched pocket.

Re:I hate the BBC for this (2, Insightful)

Master of Transhuman (597628) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050815)

"it smacks a little bit of unfairness if my US based cousins can enjoy what is arguably the best part of the BBC (BBC Online) without having to contribute a penny."

Well, last week's Live 8 concert was limited to the UK - except that some people managed to put up proxy servers that allowed people outside the UK to see it. So I got my fix of the Corrs - especially Andrea being very sexy (again) with Bono (again) on "When The Stars Go Blue". (Actually I didn't get it online myself, but other people did and recorded it, converted it to MPG and I downloaded it within 24 hours of the show.)

Personally I think if you don't like paying your government a license fee to listen to commercial-free radio, overthrow your government. Then you can pay Bill Gates and the music labels fees to listen to commercial-FULL radio. And I suspect you'll pay more than $220 a year on it once they get cranked up with DRM and the like.

As an aside, do you oppose BBC World Service on shortwave?

Re:I hate the BBC for this (3, Informative)

SamNmaX (613567) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050889)

The argument about value for money is a can of worms I'm not going to touch, however, it smacks a little bit of unfairness if my US based cousins can enjoy what is arguably the best part of the BBC (BBC Online) without having to contribute a penny.

BBC Online should be protected in-line with the rest of the BBC, the content should be un-lockable via entry of my license number.

Cry me a river. You don't lose anything having other have access to this music. While it might be officially setup as you paying for a 'licence', it's essentially a tax similar to all other taxes.

If the government wants to spend it's money providing it's citizens classical music, great. If it allows others outside it's borders access to it, that's great gesture of goodwill. It's not like you don't already benefit from the goodwill of others. Open source software is an obvious example of this.

I think it's about time that we get rid of crown (government) copyright altogether. Copyright as a rule limits who gets access to something, however when a government produces something their goals should be maximizing the public benefit, and that is not equivalent to maximizing their tax revenue.

Re:I hate the BBC for this (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13050890)

"my US based cousins can enjoy what is arguably the best part of the BBC (BBC Online) without having to contribute a penny."

Non-US servers providing bbc.co.uk and news.bbc.co.uk are paid by the Foreign & Commonwealth office, through the BBC World Service - not by the licence fee payer.

NAFTA (2, Informative)

Andrew Tanenbaum (896883) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050754)

In NAFTA countries, this kind of lawsuit would actually be successful, and the Government would be liable for all potential losses. In the US/Canada it's very common for Corporations to sue States/Provinces - surprisingly Canadians sue American states more than the other way around.

Value is in the eye of the beholder (1)

cerebraldebris (898818) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050764)

According to the @!&*head of one label:<br>
"There is the obvious issue that it is devaluing the perceived value of music."<br>
I guess we're only allowed to place a <b>monetery</b> value on music. To hell with any educational value it might instill.<br>
He continues... "You are also leading the public to think that it is fine to download and own these files for nothing."<br> ...ummm, a huge portion of the public already thinks that's fine.<br>
When will it end?

Re:Value is in the eye of the beholder (1)

cerebraldebris (898818) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050802)

Sorry 'bout that. I forgot to drop down HTML formatted. Looks like someone else already posted a quote from record exec anyway... so this should've been a subreply to James Joyce's post.

Anti-Trust (1)

jaguar717 (897583) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050774)

I wonder if their Anti-Trust laws work like ours...everybody's guilty, so it's left to the whim of whoever (*cough* anyone BIG *cough*) the bureaucrats decide to go after. - Charge more than your competitors...guilty of "price gouging" or "monopolizing" - Charge less than your competirors...guilty of "predatory pricing" or "unfair" competition - Charge the same as your competitors...guilty of "collusion" or conspiracy

Free from Copyright? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13050779)

I thought all the classical music works (Mozart, Beethoven, et al) was free from Copyright? I dont think Beethoven or Mozart ever copyrighted their work(s). If so, who legally "owns" these? Maybe thei families have a case on ownership. But if they have no problems, why are some a**holes bitching over this?

Re:Free from Copyright? (1)

DaCool42 (525559) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050816)

Ummm, the BBC owns the recordings they made. The only difference is that the BBC doesn't have to pay royalties to anyone in order to make their recording.

Re:Free from Copyright? (1)

penix1 (722987) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050834)

The works themselves are "public domain" but the performance of those works is covered by copyright. Remember folks, copyright covers the expression of ideas where patent covers the whole idea.

Next up, the BBC itself. (2, Interesting)

edunbar93 (141167) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050788)

Since the BBC (radio and TV) broadcast their programming for free and without advertising, all their works, past and present, constitute "unfair government competition."

Nevermind that they are essentially the vanguards of British culture the world over. That's not important at all.

Submiter should have... (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050795)

Submiter should have put a warning, Caution slippery sloaps ahead.

red tape (1)

pintomp3 (882811) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050797)

the govt is constantly giving this stuff away, should 3M file a lawsuit? seriously though, unless the govt is signing artists and setting up their own promo/disto channels, i don't see how they are competing with them. I would actually be against the govt doing so, even if they gave the music away for free. makes censorship that much easier. but giving away a few free songs? i wonder if we will send the US DOT after them too. Orrin Hatch probably thinks the british govts computer system should be put on fire.

byteme@riaa.com? (1)

n.e.watson (835126) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050810)

interesting who submitted this post...

So There are other places... (5, Informative)

mitsuhama (587060) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050821)

to get your free http://hebb.mit.edu/FreeMusic/ [mit.edu] classical music.

The moronic logic of the music industry (4, Interesting)

ahodgkinson (662233) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050843)

The music industry is grasping at straws because it fears it is dying. It is another example of the inappropriate behavior of an industry that is unable to offer something that customers are willing to pay for.

Laughing aside the argument that giving away something provides a justification(1) for stealing, lawyers could argue the following:

So, is this like when Microsoft first gave away Internet Explorer, in an attempt to shut down Netscape, which ultimately succeeded. What happened to them? Well, the Justice department decided that Microsoft was a monopoly and was unfairly using its monopoly powers. In the end, in spite of being found guilty, no punishment was enacted and the give away of Internet Explorer continues to this day.

This argues that BBC should be allowed to give away music.

Your opponent might then argue that BBC is a government entity and that private music producers have to compete against an entity giving away product subsidized by taxpayers money.

You could then counter and compare it against the situation where a government gives away medicine in an attempt to wipe out a disease affecting its citizens. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't know of any cases where giving away medicine in such circumstances has been prohibited. There are even case of patent violations where countries have copied drugs (I seem to remember this has occured in South Africa and Brazil) in order to reduce the cost.

In this case you might argue that the drug is music and the disease is modern culture.. but let's not start up that old argument.

In any case, this also argues that BBC should be allowed to give away music.

-----

(1) Think about the free product samples you see in stores occasionally. Do you think that this makes people believe that they can take home large packages of the same product being offered for sale without paying?

A disease on capitalism? (4, Insightful)

CyricZ (887944) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050856)

I fear we are beginning to see the problems of diseases on capitalism really rearing their heads these days. The greed recently is overwhelming! Perhaps it is because most Western nations have lost their tangible manufacturing base to countries like India, Taiwan and China. Now instead of manufacturing goods, all that Western companies can do is manufacture "intellectual property". Since such "property", be it movies or music, isn't tangible in any way, it is often quite easy to reproduce and distribute. As such, these corporations and groups must resort to legalities to make a living.

Indeed, what we are seeing is a disease on capitalism and the free market. Our capitalism has been infected with intangible goods that are being treated as if they were tangible by the forces of law. The free market is not being allowed to work, and trouble is the result. Indeed, one cannot have an effective capitalistic society without a free market. Our free market has become diseased with intellectual property legalities, and as such fails to work to the benefit of society.

And in other news... (1)

StonedRat (837378) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050858)

BSKYB is claiming that the BBC broadcasting TV shows for free, constitutes unfair government competition.

The BBC's disclaimer: 7-day, non-exclusive licence (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 9 years ago | (#13050917)

BBC has these interesting Terms of Use here. Obviously they can't enforce these Terms, so I wonder what their purpose was:

From:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/beethoven/downloads.sh tml [bbc.co.uk]


The BBC granted you a 7-day, non-exclusive licence to download this Beethoven Experience audio.

You may not copy, reproduce, edit, adapt, alter, republish, post, broadcast, transmit, make available to the public, or otherwise use this audio in any way except for your own personal, non-commercial use.
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