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EU-wide Music Licensing Policies Published

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the pay-more-or-less dept.

The Internet 136

www-xenu-dot-net writes "To stimulate the online music business in Europe, EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy is recommending the elimination of territorial restrictions on the licensing and copyright enforcement of online music. Until now, so called licensing collection societies have enjoyed monopolies within their countries. (For online sales, the collecting societies typically charge 12 percent of the retail price today, compared to 9 percent on CDs.) EU Socialist Group leader Martin Schulz has called Mr McCreevy a "loose cannon whose arrogant opinions have provoked anti-EU feeling across Europe." That impression might not change with the new recommendation, as collecting societies in smaller European countries fear that they will lose out to larger rivals, potentially restricting the development of new music."

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136 comments

useless topic (4, Funny)

tolonuga (10369) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780171)

wow, two links that have nothing to do with the music.
was this item submitted by some random topic generator?

you people still just don't get it (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780183)

You aren't meant to click on the links or attempt to visit the sites quoted in any way.
Noob

Re:you people still just don't get it (2, Funny)

mu22le (766735) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780386)

What?!? You are supposed to open the links in background to slashdot them!
Where do you live? In kuro5hin?

This is good policy (4, Insightful)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780172)

I won't take the obvious route here and say "w00t! fr33 p1r4cY 4 411!"

This is good policy, because if the EU is to be taken seriously as a single bloc trading partner, then it must present a standardized set of laws and regulations so that it isn't just a loosely bound bunch of states. By unifying the law under a single EU regulating entity, they effectively present themselves as one country.

While this may hurt certain groups within the borders of the EU, the EU was never supposed to be about individual states or particular companies. It was meant to unify Europe into a large trading bloc that would rival the U.S. in trading and negotiating power.

This is exactly what the EU should be doing.

EU != state/country (1)

zonix (592337) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780261)

This is good policy, because if the EU is to be taken seriously as a single bloc trading partner, then it must present a standardized set of laws and regulations so that it isn't just a loosely bound bunch of states. By unifying the law under a single EU regulating entity, they effectively present themselves as one country.

This, I believe, has never been the intent of the "union". The intent was to create a trading community among neighbouring countries in Europe. A sort of friendship, really, to avoid further wars among said countries. Wars that through the years had kept the individual countries from evolving.

While this may hurt certain groups within the borders of the EU, the EU was never supposed to be about individual states or particular companies. It was meant to unify Europe into a large trading bloc that would rival the U.S. in trading and negotiating power.

Maybe with the current globalization and everything, that would seem so. But again, it was never meant to be that way.

z

Re:EU != state/country (1, Interesting)

bobbo69 (905401) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780325)

Perhaps it wasn't meant to be that way originally, but so what? Do you really think the vision of 50 years ago is useful now?

Successive treaties, agreed by the Governments of the EU member states, have taken us in a new direction. If you disagree with this direction, talk to your MP or vote. It's called democracy.

Re:EU != state/country (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780374)

Not, of course, that the EU/EC is any way constituted by a directly-elected representative body. So, yeah, if you don't like it, complain to your MP. How many Europeans actually like the EU these days anyway? Seems to me that in many key member states, a majority of citizens do not want to be part of the European Union as it currently is arranged. Their politicians, of course, do.

It's called plutocracy.

Re:EU != state/country (2, Informative)

bobbo69 (905401) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780435)

more Eurosceptic distortion: have you heard of the European Parliament? And who appoints the commission? Member States' Governments. And who has the final say? Council of Ministers, composed of Member States' Government Ministers.

If you hate it so much why don't you do something about it and stand as an MEP?

Democratic deficit my arse!

Re:EU != state/country (2, Interesting)

DingerX (847589) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780633)

...which is exactly what I said. Direct democratic representation does not exist; the reasons, I suspect are along the lines of what some of the other responses are: "the people can't be trusted with the power to govern". The United States Senate used to work this way too: state legislatures would appoint the senators. And the senate got known as "The Millionaires' Club". Four kinds of power exist over politicians: A) Money B) Other politicians C) The vote D) Popular uprising (cf. 'Bury the system/smash the state'). Most Citizens can only have direct access to C) and D) -- and I don't think anyone wants D. A "removed representation" system effectively puts the Citizens' control at a disadvantage in group B). At the higher levels of power (such as pan-european policy), this is a problem, hence why I called it a plutocracy.

I don't hate the EU/EC. More than once I've been a beneficiary of their questionable economic policies. But the facts remain as they are: it's not a representative democracy, and the majority population of many countries does not want the EU; probably for chaotic, confused and self-serving notions, but at least they're their own chaotic, confused and self-serving notions, and not those of a ruling elite.

Re:EU != state/country (2, Insightful)

mmjb (866586) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780469)

I think the EU is headed towards a single state. Whilst that will probably not happen in my lifetime, it is surely a logical move and I personally believe Europe will be better off for it.

In the meantime, the differences between member states on scores of issues and the frequency of changing (and changing back!) its rules provides EU citizens with a chaotic system within which we try to conduct our business. I've lived in 3 EU countries and the business/political framework doesn't seem to be making it any easier to work or live across its internal borders. (Quite the contrary!)

Whilst I recognize local identity, history and culture to be of great importance, I have little respect for blind nationalism.

As far as I'm concerned, the sooner people and their elective representatives are happy to recognise that a single state is a_good_idea_, the better. Maybe then, European law can be written for the benefit of Europe rather than trying to benefit individual member states at the expense of others.

Re:EU != state/country (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780516)

True, but most citizens also want a completely unrealistic set of goals - i.e. freedom to buy cheap goods from any EU member state (and indeed imports from China, USA) - while somehow having their jobs magically protected from the consequences of cheap goods (and indeed their public sector protected from the reduced tax income, etc, that is also a consequence of increased free trade).

Along with the freedom to work anywhere else without having any immigrants - i.e. it's OK for British kids to go and have a summer job working in a bar in Spain, or an IT or building contract in Germany - but not to have Polish workers on British farms.

Save my job and no one elses.

Re:EU != state/country (1)

zonix (592337) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780468)

If you disagree with this direction, talk to your MP or vote. It's called democracy.

I was simply pointing out an error in the original comment. I'm not trying to fuel a pro/anti EU debate, though I can see now my chosen subject might make it appear that way.

And for you information, I always vote.

z

Re:This is good policy (0)

imr (106517) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780429)

Bullshit!
By destroying the internal rules that are well adapted to each local economy and presenting a carbon copy of the US lack of sane legislation as a "unified EU solution" you're giving away EU's collective ass to the US majors.
No thanks!

Unification? Yes, of course!
Desintegration? No way!

It was meant to unify Europe into a large trading bloc that would rival the U.S. in trading and negotiating power.
Read your history books about Europe.
Europe has never been meant as being a rival to the US.
Europe was meant for european countries to stop slaughtering each others in bloody senseless wars.
To reach this goal, economical goals were set up as a first step, and law unification will be another.
So yes, law unificcation is good and will happen, but law unification doesnt mean no regulation or no law and power to the rich only.
Sorry, we don't want no brainless politically corrupting majors, power shortages, illiteracy, poor and uneffective public school systems and what else.
Most european citizen want regulations as long as they are effective as a protection against social abuses.

Europe does exist.
She does not exist through a comparaison or an opposition with the USA, who also exist themselves by themselves.
It is just a matter of having Europe defined in relation to what is already there, not by destroying everything that seems a problem. Finding solutions is what will make Europe exist, and for that, we need politically courageous men, not braind dead sold out lobbyists.
And there are a lot in the european parlament.

And yes, if all this comes true, we will be a counter weight to the USA, but it will be a consequence, not a goal. And they need it too.

EU Politics (1, Insightful)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780179)

"loose cannon whose arrogant opinions have provoked anti-EU feeling across Europe."

Is the rhetoric usually this colourful in Europe, or is the Socialist just a hipocritical loose cannon?

Re:EU Politics (3, Insightful)

laurensv (601085) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780210)

No, Charlie McCreevy declared that the Scandinavian social model's collective bargaining offends EU rules on free movement of workers.
I'm happy that EU commissioners that try to undermine the solidarity between workers get called out.

Finnish music licensing (4, Informative)

Sulka (4250) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780366)

I'd be quite happy to get an EU-wide system though and I live in one of the countries you mentioned.

In Finland, if a musician want to get royalties on their music, they have to join Teosto [teosto.fi] . After you join, you waive the right to protect your rights to the organization and thus loose control over your own music. For example, the organization requires artists pay the royalties on their own productions if they want to distribute them for free over then Internet.

I have a couple friends who wanted to put MP3's of a couple songs that didn't make it to a CD to web to promote their new album but they couldn't do it since they would have had to pay Teosto for each download.

Teosto is also incredibly protective of the format in which you've purchased your music and was integral part in getting the new Finnish copyright law through which makes converting protected CD's to MP3 illegal. For non-protected music, they even try to get people to purchase a license to convert old recordings - DJ's are expected to pay 800 EUR / year for the privilege of converting old vinyls to CD's so they could play them in new joints that don't have an old-style record player.

And this is the organization which is supposed to protect the artist's rights! You don't get money if you don't join and if you do, they do a good job trying to protect you from yourself.

With this kind of organizations in control, I'd be happy to get a Europe-wide agency as it can't get _any_ worse than it is now and at least I'd be more likely to get a good selection of music to the local iTunes store.

Re:Finnish music licensing (2, Interesting)

tindur (658483) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780471)

With this kind of organizations in control, I'd be happy to get a Europe-wide agency as it can't get _any_ worse than it is now and at least I'd be more likely to get a good selection of music to the local iTunes store.
I would rather like to see all these organisations compete with each other in all EU countries. Didn't get a good deal from Teosto? Deal with the corresponing organisation i Slovakia instead.

Re:EU Politics (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780467)

"solidarity" in this instance meaning "f*ck everyone else - particularly our new brothers
from the east, we've got our snouts in the tough and don't want to make room for anyone
else". I'm glad to say that I live in a progressive EU country whose politicians ignored
the bleatings from trade unionists and the like to block a particular class of EU citizens
(Poles, Lithuanians, etc.) from moving here and taking up productive jobs. As a result
almost 5% of our workforce is now composed of Polish and other eastern europeans. Our
ecomony is growing faster than any in the EU and our unemployment rate is effectively zero.
And, not to mention, Polish and Lithuanian chicks are HOT.

So cling to your antiquated, xenophobic "Scandanavian" model with high unemployement and
stagnating economies.

Re:EU Politics (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780528)

So cling to your antiquated, xenophobic "Scandanavian" model with high unemployement and stagnating economies.

Our unemployment is what, 4-5%? Not more than it has to be to have a working labour market. Stagnating economy? I suppose that's why our stock index is up over 300% since 2003. Then again, we have oil unlike the rest of the Scandinavian countries.

Re:EU Politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780248)

Is the rhetoric usually this colourful in Europe,

If we would suck shit from every ass we would have "american circumstances", wouldn't we?

Re:EU Politics (1)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780255)

If we would suck shit from every ass we would have "american circumstances", wouldn't we?

Also known as "Australian circumstances" in this case. Very true, though... I think I'll move.

Not to mention ... (1)

Numair (77943) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780254)

collecting societies in smaller European countries fear that they will lose out to larger rivals, potentially restricting the development of new music.

Umm ... so artists will say "gosh, now that it's so simple for us to figure out how to set up pan-European licensing for our music, we're just going to have to stop making music"?? Where do these people get such wacky ideas?! Artists worldwide really need to start paying for their own, artist-focused lobby ... Too bad most of them are broke, and the ones with money spend it on frivolous nonsense ...

Re:Not to mention ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780276)

As I understand it, the basis for such rhetoric is that the local collection agencies dole out grants to local projects. Since there is a separate agency in every country, there can be no doubt that the agencies have very different policies with respect to what kind of culture they support, and this would probably change if the number of collection agencies in EU was drastically reduced.

I don't know much about the issue, but if you want to attack such rhetoric, the first thing would be to check how much they really do dole out in grants, and how significant those grants are to the cultural developments in different countries. I'm sure one could also arrange for local grants even in a single EU-wide collection agency, if that was deemed an appropriate goal.

Re:Not to mention ... (1)

Numair (77943) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780380)

You know, I didn't even think about this. Excellent point ... I wonder, however, if the bureaucracy involved in obtaining a grant offsets any gains created by it; also, one has to wonder how much of these licensing programs are set up to benefit large record labels above all others. Perhaps a much simpler, pan-European system that is a bit more fair would offer greater incentives for artists, even though a small minority would lose access to grants? Hmm.

Needs more research before any real answer can be determined ...

Re:EU Politics (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780361)

Whatever anyone may think about the pros and cons of this announcment you must also be aware of the voice that speaks it. As Irelands minister for finance, McCreevy made a bo***ks of our economy during the wealthiest time in our history. We're not poor by any strech if you take a look at our health or education systems they haven't improved since the eighties. It would make you cry looking at the missed oppurtuinities of the "Celtic Tiger". Do Not Trust This Man.

Rant over, sorry.

Hooray for Democracy... (3, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780180)

Don't worry, there's no way McCreevy is going to be re-elected...

(Which, technically, is true)

Re:Hooray for Democracy... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780434)

Commissioners are sponsored by their respective governments. This is usually a reward for long service or a means to eliminate a potential leadership rival at home. The money is good, the perks and pensions are great.

Charlie McCreevy is a typical Irish parish pump politician. He's pretty smart with money and gets a lot of the credit for reviving the Irish economy. He mouths off a lot, frequently without reflection. He doesn't care what people think and often tries to cut through red tape without undue sensitivity towards vested interest.

Re:Hooray for Democracy... (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780501)

He doesn't care what people think and often tries to cut through red tape without undue sensitivity towards vested interest.

Wow. He almost sounds honest. Almost.

SIAE are thieving bastards (5, Interesting)

DavidNWelton (142216) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780181)

Italy's 'SIAE' group are a bunch of thieving bastards who do much to detriment musical culture in this country.

It cost us something like 150 Euro in taxes just to have a duo play for a few hours at our wedding! To add insult to injury, because our wedding reception was in a different province, we *had to go to the office of these thieving bastards in that province* (open from like 10-12 on certain days) - we couldn't even pay their larcenous fees in our home town.

The taxes are so high that young, aspiring musicians like my wife's brother, who certainly isn't in it for the money at this point in his life, has trouble finding places to play because it's just too expensive in terms of taxes for everyone concerned.

Not only that, but these rats have successfully campaigned to tax the sale of blank CD's, "because they're all used for piracy anyway, right?".

What a bunch of despicable individuals.

Yes, I'm bitter and I just thought I'd get that off my chest.

Re:SIAE are thieving bastards (5, Informative)

MooCows (718367) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780241)

Here in the Netherlands, all blank media is taxed over 100%.
CD's which cost around E0,20 apiece without tax cost over E0,60 with tax.
The organisation responsible (Buma-Stemra) also has the power to seize all untaxed blank media being sold and then fine the seller. It has recently been discovered they have also been illegally selling off the seized media.

This organisation (given this 'privilege' by our government) brings in millions of euros each year, and nobody knows where exactly this money is going.
The poor starving artists get paid, right?

Re:SIAE are thieving bastards (2, Informative)

faragon (789704) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780259)

Where I live (Spain) we have a quite similar scenario, unfortunately.

Re:SIAE are thieving bastards (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780265)

The BUMA is the Dutch equivalent of the RIAA. They're trying to be just as bad, only they haven't tried sueing people yet, AFAIK. In Holland it is legal to download pirated music for your own use, however, it is illegal to put music on a P2P network. This makes suing random people a bit more complicated.

Re:SIAE are thieving bastards (1)

faragon (789704) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780333)

Spain seems to have pirated Holland legislation in this case too: it is legal to download pirate music but illegal to share it. Then, is it or isn't it completely non sense?! (wrong legislation... by defective construction!)

Re:SIAE are thieving bastards (1)

earthstar (748263) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780454)

So how about using the general method of buying goods withouty Bill/Receipt? That way it cant be (found out) taxed right? & the shop owner will only be happy to see more CD's with same profit.

I know this is not a great new idea....just thought this is a simple bypass..

Re:SIAE are thieving bastards (2, Interesting)

MooCows (718367) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780485)

The Buma-Stemra folks hunt for shops and individuals selling untaxed blank media. They then fine them a rather large amount of cash and take their blank cd's/dvd's.

Not many stores would take a risk like that just to earn more on blank CD's.

The only existing bypass is because of stores selling from germany. Those CD's are imported into the Netherlands and clears the store from having to pay the copy-tax. I believe the Dutch customer has to pay instead, but that's much harder to track. There was a ruling on this just last month. Ruled in favor of the German webshops.

Tongue in Cheek (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780292)

You know, when people start to rise up and revolt, death often happends to the oppressors. Now I'm not encouraging this kind of activity, but I'm really surprised something violent and deadly hasn't happened yet!!

Re:Tongue in Cheek (1)

Djatha (848102) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780330)

You know, when people start to rise up and revolt, death often happends to the oppressors.

Actually most of the oppressing elite would go up into the new revolutionairy elite which then turns out to be different but as bad as the previous elite.

I know, it is difficult to understand for young people, being idealistic and the like, but the world is a place in which `cynic realism' rules. Nonetheless, it is good to have ideals when young, just to keep them going in their adolescence period.

not much better in The Netherlands (2, Informative)

MonoSynth (323007) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780308)

I know someone who organized a concert of Status Quo. He payed lots of money to the band, and *still* some organization wants to have a certain (high!) percentage of that money to 'pay the artists'. The stupid thing is that the artists were already payed, and the money goes to the Dutch music industry. That's stealing!

When I read the title of this post I thought: "At least it can't get worse!". But I'm afraid I was wrong....

Fact about SIAE... (4, Informative)

orzetto (545509) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780323)

Milena Gabanelli [report.rai.it] 's Report [report.rai.it] on Rai3 (one of those transmissions so good you wonder how much time before they get censored) once had 2 hours about SIAE [report.rai.it] .

Turned out, the tune getting the most money from SIAE in Italy is the background music of Onda Verde [radio.rai.it] (traffic condition broadcast) on radio. If you never heard any music at all, that's because it's so low you cannot hear it. But you are paying for it, of course.

In Rome, there are some "musicians" who daily organise concerts where no one goes, only because they agree with SIAE that they are getting support for "cultural activities". It's basically your average white-collar mafia.

As a lot of things in Italy, thieves with the right contacts pull the strings and get rich doing nothing useful for society. This is the Italian development model after all. If you wondered, no, serious musicians don't get a penny. The 99 Posse [novenove.it] said they never saw a penny coming from SIAE, even if they wrote a song,Curre curre guagliò, that is in the soundtrack of Gabriele Salvatores' Sud [imdb.com] , that ran a few times on national TV. That might have to do with the fact that 99 are not exacly government-aligned.

If you don't like the way it works, pack up and leave. Serious, I did and never looked back—it's a panacea for your liver. But I'll take a trip to Stockholm to vote for Tonino [tabasoft.it] anyway.

Re:Fact about SIAE... (0)

ArAgost (853804) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780490)

Voting for a country you deliberately fled from may just seem something hypocrite, but making political propaganda on /. is really sad :\

Re:Fact about SIAE... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780717)

Voting for a country you deliberately fled from may just seem something hypocrite, but making political propaganda on /. is really sad :\

You must be new here! Welcome to ... umm ... ok, old joke.

But it is possible to love your native country while recognizing its flaws, and even try to help fix those flaws after you feel you have to leave.

Why is he a loose cannon? (2, Insightful)

nietsch (112711) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780182)

This really must be the summum in desriptive slashdot news. Three factoids that do not resemble to be related to each other...

Is this mister whatshisname a loose cannon because he wants to stimulate online music sales? how does that realte to the markup on the retailprice for online music?
Or has is this guy being paid by the collection societies to say such things? Are they desparate not to loose their monopoly?

Re:Why is he a loose cannon? (1)

laurensv (601085) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780192)

No, if you RTFA he called the other guy a loose cannon because
"Charlie McCreevy enraged the European Parliament's 219-strong Socialist Group by declaring that the Scandinavian social model's collective bargaining offends EU rules on free movement of workers."

Re:Why is he a loose cannon? (1)

hmmm (115599) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780310)

I suggest mod +5 Funny McCreevy for pissing off 219 Socialists MEPs in one go

The correct article..... (5, Informative)

kg4czo (516374) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780184)

I believe the actual article that this is supposed to be pointing at it here [eu.int] .

McCreevy no friend of geeks (5, Informative)

Sanity (1431) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780185)

This is the guy who dismissed anti-patent campaigners as being anti-globalisation, anti-big business, and anti-American (he stopped short of "communist"), and who has refused [ffii.org] to challenge the European Patent Office's practice of granting software patents even though this is expressly prohibited by European law.

I trust him about as far as a 3 year old child could throw him.

Re:McCreevy no friend of geeks (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780873)

Other interesting factoids about the Minister include that he was once a stauch opponent of the legalisation of condoms, and once shocked the entire Irish parliment into silence by implying another member of the house was frequenting toilet traders.

The primary reason for his nomination was to pack him off to Brussels and as far away from Irish politics as was feasibly possible. Ireland isn't a very godly country, but be assured that several prayers of thanks were said upon his departure.

He was however, a compatant Minister for Finance, in that he consistently delivered budget surpluses. However Ireland has one of the worst public infrastructues in Europe, so it's not to difficult to see how he did this.

No money to people in suits != no new music (4, Insightful)

warmcat (3545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780190)

> collecting societies in smaller European countries fear
> that they will lose out to larger rivals, potentially
> restricting the development of new music


LOL... "new music" isn't dependent on collection societies. People driven by the desire to make art create 'new music'. Check out Jamendo [jamendo.com] or the podsafe stuff [podsafe.com] or Staccato [staccatomusic.org] for tons of great stuff outside the 'business'.

Does not sound THAT bad (4, Informative)

Transcendor (907201) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780191)

In Germany, there is the so-called GEMA (Gesellschaft für musikalische Aufführungs- und mechanische Vervielfältigungsrechte) [society for musicial performance and mechanical reproduction rights], which gets share of the prices on CDRs, music tapes... and the profit on Audio-CDs. The artists get their share of this money, no matter how often they've been copied or wheter it is still legal to copy a certain CD (Germany has made it illegal, not punishable, to circumvent technical copy restrictions...).
The problem is that this society is a) to expensive and b) far to complex for the small musician out on the streets to take advantage of. So, instead of getting money for being heard, he pays money for his own blank CDRs, while Sony etc keep getting the big shares.
On the other hand, that directive is really quite unsatisfacting, as it leaves holes for every big company to establish their own restrictioning system instead of making things easier and more reliable for both, listeners and creators.

---don't get bitten/r [linklike.de.vu]

Small artists (1)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780288)

Not every music stream is cut out to become big, not every artist (in any field at all) makes it big. So most people who do art in some way, pay pretty big money to be able to do so, compared to what they earn with their art (in response/respect for it, or cash). It is unfair though that the small artists, and anybody else using their recording devices in a legal (ie: not copyright infringing) way, to have to pay for it. The current charge on recording media, and in some countries devices, is totally ridiculous. It is like just fining everybody for speeding on an average price. For example: Last year 7mln speeding tickets were cited in the Netherlands, there are 7mln cars, so on average one per car, so lets just pay that ahead just in case you are one of those people speeding.

The problems from the music and film industry with copies should be solved by protecting them with a good copyright law, with copying maybe as a punisable crime. The record companies should loose any rights on being able to abuse networks like kazaa to monitor file exchange behaviour (They don't have the rights now to spy on people, but somehow the lawmakers/courtrooms except their intrusion in your privacy), and the lawmakers should use the standard way of looking for petty crime as what they do now in a shopping street: Patrol the music exchanges. Write a citation for not keeping the law (it is stealing as defined by the lawmakers, if opposed start & vote for the newly to be set up no copyright party with only one goal: abolish copyrights).

It is just time to normalize all the copyright issues and bring it under the standard way of business and goverment. The companies should appeal to the goverment to let some police patrol these digital exchanges, just like other people or companies have to do that when there is crime in their neighbourhood. Maybe then people will respect copyrights a bit more, prices will go down a bit on empty media, and small artists have a better chance since they can use stable file sharing networks without having to "worry" about the next network being taken down, and people having problems to find them again.

When will TV channels follow? (2, Interesting)

joostje (126457) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780195)

When will they do the same with TV channels? As it is now, the satellite TV provider gives me a card that will enable me to decode the Dutch satellite TV channels anywhere in Europe -- but to get the card, I have to sign a contract stating I am only allowed to actually use the card in the Netherlands.

The reason is of cource the same as with music: the copyrightholders want to sell each movie at different prices to each country. But not being able to see TV channels from other countries hinders european intergration more than not being able to by US music in the Netherlands at Spanish prices.

Re:When will TV channels follow? (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780214)

Hopefully: soon. The same thing happens with sport: a lot of pubs in the UK show English football on French TV because it's cheaper than Sky. Murdoch is understandably irate about this and has been suing people.

As far as I'm concerned, the single market, being pretty much the founding principle and purpose of the European Union, ought to trump copyrights and licensing. The principle that a European citizen ought to be able to purchase products and services unobstructed from any European member state is one that I, for one, very strongly support.

This will make things better... (1)

hreinnbeck (231674) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780202)

The smaller collection agencies scattered across Europe are for the most part filled to the brim with corruption. This will hopefully put an end to that.

Re:This will make things better... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780625)

Those collection agencies exists to help big monopolies, don't you think they have learned how to do it themselves by now?
All this will do is get the collection agencies making deals behind closed doors, and those deals will probably not make life better for the rest of us.

At last! (4, Interesting)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780203)

Does this mean that we in the UK can now pay the same for downloads as our dear friends on the mainland?

As it is, in the UK the usual price is 99 pence, whereas on the mainland the usual price, so I hear, is 99 euro cents. For US readers, a euro is a little bit more than a dollar, while a pount is a lot more than a dollar.

We're getting ripped off out here, and that's contrary to the whole point of the single market. Nice to see something getting done about it.

Re:At last! (1)

warmcat (3545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780219)

> 99 pence

Actually 79p seems to be the going rate in the UK...

http://www.tescodownloads.com/ [tescodownloads.com] ... if you are stupid enough to buy into the DRM turning your 'purchase' into an effective rental.

If you use GPL software, with the licensing benefits, why not look at the music the same way?

Re:At last! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780221)

If you want a single market, join the Euro brigade

Re:At last! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780224)

serves you right for wanting to keep the queen on your money = troll ( jkin)

Re:At last! (2, Informative)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780307)

We're getting ripped off out here, and that's contrary to the whole point of the single market.

Well, one of the points of the Euro was to make pricing differences between countries transparent to consumers. The UK didn't join the Euro and so don't get the benefits of it.

Re:At last! (1)

SeanJones (858119) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780368)

The pricing is transparent. We now know for certain that we are being ripped off. That's as much transparency as we could nee.

What the Euro does not do is slap about the greedy w**kers who are ripping us off. That takes consumer pressure or regulation. As the later is unlikely becuase the regulators are being lobbied non-stop by those who are benefitting from the system that just leaves consumer pressure.

I'll be sure to stop buying music ... but maybe just one more Kylie download before I give up.

Re:At last! (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780393)

The pricing is transparent.

No it isn't. Which would you prefer, 500 pounds or 800 euro? I expect the answer isn't immediately obvious to you. And what about the man in the street in the UK - do most people even know what the Euro/Pound exchange rate is?

With price transparency comes customer pressure. Of course, it doesn't help that markets are locked so that for instance you can't buy from the French itunes store in the UK. But one of the main functions of the EU is to remove that kind of market barrier.

Unfortunately the UK often blocks proposals that would make things cheaper for UK consumers. Did you know that the EU proposed to remove market barriers to alcohol sales in the EU, i.e. you would be able to order a box of your favourite wine directly from the vineyard with great savings. Personally I think that would be great. Guess who opposed and derailed this measure? That's right, the UK...
 

Re:At last! (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780494)

Give me the Euro. I think an awful lot of people in the UK are well aware of the exchange rate between the pound and the euro, most of us take enough European holidays nowadays to give us an idea of the differences.

Trade barriers are a slightly different issue to relative pricing and something the EU should work more on breaking down.

The reason the UK Government opposes market barriers on alcohol is because they would lose the large amounts of tax they gain with the present system, most of the UK population would be right behind such a move.

Bringing the UK into the Euro simply in order to make it easier for consumers to relate what they pay in the UK to prices on the continent is uneccessary and would also result in far more negative consequences than are worth it for something which most people don't need any help with in the first place.

Re:At last! (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780492)

Actually, as the other poster pointed out, the common cost of a song is £0.79 in the UK. At current exchange rates:

$0.99 = £0.565 = 0.822

At Apple's exchage rate:

$0.99 = £0.79 = 0.99

While the real exchange rates give:

£0.69 = $1.192

£0.79 = $1.385

As you can see, those in the UK are ripped off by twice as much as those in the rest of the EU. Of course, this is only for music. For video, Apple's exchange rates are: $1.99 = £1.89 = 2.49

While the real exchange rates are:

£1.89 = $3.314

2.49 = $2.998

Again, we are ripped of more in the UK, by a greater amount in absolute terms although the rest of the EU is a bit closer to the price we pay.

fear and jealousy (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780212)

as collecting societies in smaller European countries fear that they will lose out to larger rivals, potentially restricting the development of new music.

Doesn't parse. For all I know, the amount of collected money that goes to new music, i.e. startup bands, young groups, etc. is so small that for all practical purposes you can treat it as being zero.

On the other hand, the amount that stays with the collecting societies to pay for "expanses" and "overhead" is considerable.

Sounds like someone seing his protection racket, uh, sorry, "business model" being washed away, nothing else.

EU (4, Interesting)

Auckerman (223266) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780213)

It sounds like the EU is going through the same problems the the US did when it tried a confederate system. When we figured out it wasn't going so well, we moved to a federal system. This is just another example.

Having a single copyright authority for Europe sounds like a good idea. Smaller countries need to realize that under unified economic policy, they will benifit from the wealth of the larger states more than they will suffer from less power.

The creation and playing of music won't suffer because you don't have your own licensing board, it will suffer if the fees associated with said process are so high that the common man can't afford them.

Re:EU (3, Interesting)

novus ordo (843883) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780345)

Only in Europe you would only have a few of states that actually understood the president. Language barrier is a hard obstacle to overcome, not to mention cultural, ethnic and religious differences. The only reason EU exists is because of economic reasons. It's like trying to get the Noah's ark animals to produce the entire works of Shakespeare in Mongolian.

Re:EU (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780497)

Language barrier is a hard obstacle to overcome

Not really. Give it 20 or 30 years and English will be the primary language throughout the EU. Even France has admited already that English is the lingua franca[1] of the EU bureaucracy.

[1]: insert your own irony here.

Re:EU (1)

Raphael (18701) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780693)

Even France has admited already that English is the lingua franca[1] of the EU bureaucracy.

Yes, that's probably why France passed a law ten years ago requiring all documentation related to conferences held in France to be written in French and only optionally translated to other languages, including if all speakers and participants in the conference speak English and if only a few of them are French or understand French. Depending on who organizes the conference, it may also be required to provide translations in French during the presentations, if the presentations are in English or some other language.

See article 6 of the (in)famous "Loi Toubon", Loi n 94-665 du 4 août 1994 Relative à l'emploi de la langue française [www.aacc.fr] (in French, of course).

Re:EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780826)

You're not from EU, are you? If you were from EU or knew a bit more of the EU history (including the creation of Benelux, EEC, etc.), you would know that although the EU exists mainly because of economic reasons, its citizens have much more in common than you think. And they don't have problems undertanding the president, the comission or the proposals of the parliement because everything is translated for them. But hey, at least your comment sounds funny, even if it incorrect and contains a flawed analogy.

Re:EU (1)

dajak (662256) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780724)

Smaller countries need to realize that under unified economic policy, they will benifit from the wealth of the larger states more than they will suffer from less power.

The wealth of the larger states? The smaller states neighbouring larger states in the EU are already wealthier [finfacts.com] . Predatory economic and fiscal policies (Luxemburg, Switzerland, Netherlands Antilles) and other advantages from being able to use legislation as a competitive instrument are a major contributor to that wealth. A unified economic policy benefits the larger states, while the smaller states benefit mostly from not being bullied by the larger states and not having the larger states close their borders to them.

France has been demanding unified economic policy of its smaller neighbours since the 16th century, and England also has a history [british-civil-wars.co.uk] of war [www.zum.de] over economic injustices [wikipedia.org] before it started posturing as a free trade champion.

The entertainment industry is a very specific problem. Language areas are of radically different sizes. If you sell a song or a movie to a few percent of a population that makes you a millionaire in the Anglosaxon language area, while you still need a day job in small language areas. The effect is that Anglosaxon movies for instance outcrowd local products even if people consistently prefer movies in their own language. Here in the Netherlands it is basically impossible to raise more than two million budget for a movie, even though they usually make about half of their turnover in foreign film houses (besides a guaranteed top ten position here) and they won some best foreign movie Academy Awards over the last two decades. This type of budget limits the kinds of movies you can make, and people will still go and see Hollywood movies to see more than five actors on a screen at once. This also explains why we are mainly interested in American movies involving battle, science fiction, fantasy, etc.

A 'unified economic policy' in entertainment will be perceived as opening the gates to 'cultural imperialism' completely. I believe the current combination of fees on blank media and allowing downloading through p2p tends to work in the favour of local artists because foreign products are easier to download, while the money is repartitioned based on sales and performances.

The end of an old joke... (2, Funny)

cardpuncher (713057) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780225)

If the British collection society should disappear, it would be the death of an old and venerable joke which goes back as least as far as Morecambe and Wise:

Are you from the Performing Rights Society?

Well, tell these musicians they aren't performing right.

It sounded better in black and white...

Wow, what a surprise. (4, Interesting)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780227)

A bit of perspective, for those of you who are not EU citizens:

  1. Jose Manuel Barroso, the former Portugal Prime Minister and now the current President of the European Commission was fairly unpopular in his own country [eubusiness.com] , just before he was (conveniently?) named to the top EU job.
  2. He chose people for some of the top jobs in Europe who quickly alienated European Members of Parliament with their ultra-conservative positions [timesonline.co.uk] and had to withdraw their candidacy [bbc.co.uk] .
  3. Predictably, he has supported the wackiest pro-big-business policies, to the point that it threatened open-source and free software and favored the european equivalent of the RIAA (look it up on google or /.)


So, today, we have another piece of legislation -- written by the same arch-conservative people -- that seems to support big european businesses, at the expense of the 'consumers' and smaller EU firms. Big surprise.

As long as the top jobs in the EU are discreetly decided by powerful, rich white people in remote smoke-filled rooms, without any input by European citizens , that type of bullsh*t will continue. Get mad and get involved.

Re:Wow, what a surprise. (4, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780263)

As long as the top jobs in the EU are discreetly decided by powerful, rich white people in remote smoke-filled rooms, without any input by European citizens , that type of bullsh*t will continue. Get mad and get involved.

Right, let's put forward a proposal to abolish the direct appointment of unelected commissioners, increase the importance of the Parliament, and have a directly elected president (as opposed to the joke that the presidency is now, rotating from country to country). Democratise the EU, give the people their say.

Result: popular outcry. Superstate. Federalists. Treason, they're selling out our country! Churchill spinning in grave! Where Hitler Failed They're Succeeding Without A Shot Fired!

The EU is never going to get anywhere this way. At least one country is always going to throw a tantrum if it doesn't get its way, and it'll usually be the same one country. De Gaulle was right from the beginning; for the sake of the union, throw us out, NOW.

Re:Wow, what a surprise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780309)

Don't know which "one" country you could be refering to.

Britain, France and Germany are all pretty good at throwing tantrums for political effect at home. The enthusiasm of the French in particular seems to wax and wane in proportion to how much power they think they will gain over the rest of Europe.

Re:Wow, what a surprise. (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780322)

De Gaulle was right from the beginning; for the sake of the union, throw us out, NOW.

So that USA readers understand what you are saying you should make clear that you are referring to removing the UK from the EU.

Re:Wow, what a surprise. (1)

hazee (728152) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780445)

The irony here being that it was the French who scuppered the EU constitution, rather than the UK (although the UK would probably have done the same, if they'd ever been given the chance.)

Re:Wow, what a surprise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780328)

Well, I, for one, am willing to give it a shot.
You could write a draft while I can work the needed translations and we'll see what it becomes.

The result can be dealt with later :P

Re:Wow, what a surprise. (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780508)

You're right it isn't so it should concentrate on what it was set up to do originally which is to enable free trade amongst it's members rather than attempting to turn it's self into an all powerful political entity.

Re:Wow, what a surprise. (1)

zpok (604055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780511)

"The EU is never going to get anywhere this way. At least one country is always going to throw a tantrum if it doesn't get its way, and it'll usually be the same one country. De Gaulle was right from the beginning; for the sake of the union, throw us out, NOW."

Funny, here I was thinking you meant the UK, who don't seem to want the EU evolve into anything beyond a free trade zone ;)

It'll be interesting to see if the enlargement of the EU will enhance the cacophony or make individual candidates less important.

Re:Wow, what a surprise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780658)

De Gaulle was right from the beginning; for the sake of the union, throw us out, NOW.

But then where would France get the money it needs to cover its subsidies under the CAP?

Don't kid yourself. The UK is one of the largest and strongest economies within the EU right now. Throw us out? Beg us to stay, more like.

Re:Wow, what a surprise. (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780691)

The EU is never going to get anywhere this way. At least one country is always going to throw a tantrum if it doesn't get its way, and it'll usually
is never going to get anywhere this way. At least one country is always going to throw a tantrum if it doesn't get its way, and it'll usually be the same one country. De Gaulle was right from the beginning; for the sake of the union, throw us out, NOW.


Not just the one. Lots of the older members have "special deals" with EU. Hell, Norway is member of lots of EU projects (EEA, Schengen+++) without even being a member. I'm in the UK now and still pay with Pound Sterling, the Swedes and Danes don't use euro either. The only way the EU has been "evolving" these deals has really been to include lots of new members and require that they accept all the new EU incentives, no deals.

The biggest problem to the union is what power countries want it to have. On one side, people want the economical advantages of being one bloc the size of Europe, on the other side people fear losing their independence. Basicly, you want to have your cake and eat it too. Add to that, that most people don't know where EU is going. Our country has been well defined for a thousand years, and stable and independent for over 100 years now (not counting WWII). The EU is constantly evolving, taking up members, expanding into new areas and noone quite seems to know where it'll end up. Is it a "United States of Europe", and the better question, should that be the goal? I'm not sure that it should.

Re:Wow, what a surprise. (1)

bullitB (447519) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780509)

top jobs in the EU are discreetly decided by powerful, rich white people

Uh. It's Europe. Aren't they (nearly) all white people to begin with?

Re:Wow, what a surprise. (1)

l-ascorbic (200822) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780649)

You really think that the European Council cares about domestic portuguese politics? Barroso was chosen through long and painful negotiation between the member states, mostly made difficult by France's strange idea that somehow most presidents of the commission should be ENA-educated Frenchmen. As for Rocco Buttiglioni: you realise the commissioners are chosen by their home countries, not by the president of the commission? He just decides which portfolio they get. Buttiglioni wasn't unpopular for "ultra-conservatism" (whatever that means). It was for plain and simple homophobia. The crisis was only resolved when Berlusconi was persuaded to nominate a new candidate.

Barroso is unpopular with the French because he doesn't pander to the absurd protectionist model of the EU that is popular in that country. God forbid that there is some reform to the common agricultural policy, which takes up half the EU's budget and costs consumers even more in increased prices, not to mention perpetuating poverty in third world countries through dumping and trade distorting policies. And all for the benefit of a few farmers, mostly in France, who just happen to be more vocal than other industries. For having a view of europe that differs slightly from this bloated, corrupt (I'm looking at you, Santer) behemoth, Barroso is branded an "ultra-liberal" (Or is it "ultra-conservative" - both seem to be bandied about to mean the same). This appears to mean "not an extention of the French civil service".

What?? (3, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780301)

This story is proof that the Slashdot editors don't even bother to read the links of the stories they post.

The linked articles have nothing to do with the subject of the post.

Come on Slashdot editors, wake up!

Re:What?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780316)

This story is proof that the Slashdot editors don't even bother to read the links of the stories they post.
The linked articles have nothing to do with the subject of the post.
Come on Slashdot editors, wake up!

And what do you think the probability of your post being read by an editor is?

HA! (3, Insightful)

bigHairyDog (686475) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780312)

From TFA:

"collecting societies in smaller European countries fear that they will lose out to larger rivals, potentially restricting the development of new music"

That's like KFC claiming that they need protection from McDonalds or it might "potentially restrict the development of new food"

Re:HA! (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780506)

When was the last time you heard a good song out of (for example) Poland? I can understand the Poles worrying that a unified european authority would only fund French pop and German techno and young Polish bands wouldn't get anything.

Hang on a minute... (4, Insightful)

monktus (742861) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780357)

AFAIK, this is already the case. I was under the impression that for the past couple of years the likes of record companies have been able to use collection societies from other EU member states. The whole point was to eliminate the monopolies that organisations like the MCPS/PRS have, and they were getting worried about losing business; I seem to remember one of the majors were going to defect to SABAM (Belgium).

Huh? (1)

zpok (604055) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780479)

A major defecting to SABAM? Meaning a label defecting to a copyright collector? I don't get this at all, but am very intrigued. I hope you don't mind explaining this in more detail to me, would love to know more! Sorry if I'm slow to catch on, I promise I will drink that second cup of coffee before I read your reply :-)

Cheers,

"DUPE!" and Comment (3, Informative)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780375)

First off, this article appears to be a dupe; although the fact that the link poinst to the wrong bill masks that. The earlier story is here [slashdot.org] , and here [slashdot.org] is what I had to say at the time.

Confused (1)

Cytlid (95255) | more than 8 years ago | (#13780426)

Am I the only one who read the title wrong and thought it said:

  EU-wide Music Listening Policies Published

Sensible suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13780840)

McCreevy's suggestion seems rational. IMHO EU-wide licencing should apply not only to music, but also movies and other copyrighted entertainment. The ugly truth is that here in Europe online shopping is nonsignificant compared to US. Mr. McCreevy's suggestion could create more business, more jobs and more revenue in entertainment business in EU. And one more thing, as a citizen of a smaller EU country I feel discriminated by Apple because there's not an iTunes store for my country. There should to be only one iTunes webstore for the whole EU - with the possibility of searching the music by country of origin and different languages and currencies, of course.
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