[repost] The Illusion of Free Stuff

Great article from David Newhoff’s blog The Illusion of More

The Illusion of Free Stuff (via www.illusionofmore.com)

Yesterday’s New York Times offers a very well-articulated editorial by media writer David Carr on the larger economic cost of free media.  Using an example of buying fresh fruit at a neighborhood stand, Carr questions his own instinct to undervalue…

Witty response to craigslist ad asking musicians to play for free

Funny response to craigslist ad asking musicians to play for free

Ad posted in Vancouver, Canada
Funny response.

(Whereas royalty free music is a term meaning the musician is being paid to license their music recordings with very broad usage rights, promoting your music, in the case of this ad, just means playing for free (or playing for the exposure or experience, all of which gets old very fast)).

DMCA needs to actually enter the millennium

The DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) of 1998 sought to give Internet Service Providers legal protection (a “safe harbor”) against copyright infringement claims should one of their users upload copyrighted material. The act made sense at the early stages of the Internet before broadband expansion lead to companies like YouTube and sites like the Pirate Bay.

The DMCA puts the burden of enforcement squarely in the hands of content providers by way of the “takedown notice” which is essentially a form sent to the ISP owner stating that there is some type of media or software on their site which they do not have the rights to be hosting. The takedown notice informs the ISP owner that further legal action will be taken if they don’t comply by removing the listed item(s).

The problem with the DMCA today is that content owners can’t keep up with the volume of takedown notices they have to file. YouTube has received over 100 million DMCA notices from the recording industry in just the last few years. Google’s own statistics show that 97% of these claims are valid.

The DMCA’s safe harbor is also the main defense used by pirate sites like The Pirate Bay, KickAssTorrents and Torrentz. These sites have earned millions by illegally hosting content for which they have no rights or licenses.

Unfortunately, rather than manage copyright, it [the DMCA] has provided a huge loophole through which a number of online pirate entrepreneurs sail blissfully through. Known as the “safe harbor” provision, this oft-abused language has served to shelter digital thieves at the expense of rights holders. ”Safe Harbor” has enabled the growth of a criminal cancer and it’s a cancer–that as of now–cannot be beaten, only kept (marginally) at bay. – See more at VoxIndie.org

The DMCA is Broken from fastgirlfilms on Vimeo.

Bitter Brew – Reactions to Keurig’s odd IP decision [David Newhoff repost]

One of my favorite writers about copyright issues is David Newhoff. His insightful blog, The Illusion of More, consistently removes the overreach and hyperbole that quickly clouds any discussion of copyright and the Internet.

I’ve posted (with permission) his complete post below. Here is a quote from the article that I think describes the current argument over ‘digital rights’ quite accurately.

I remain concerned that this utopian notion of “openness” is evangelized most ardently by the interests who stand to emerge as winners on a re-designed playing field. We need only look at the impenetrable dominance of Amazon to see how more interconnectivity can actually lead to a market that is anything but open.

Read the full post…

Bitter Brew – Reactions to Keurig’s odd IP decision. (via www.illusionofmore.com)

Here’s the latest java jive:  Green Mountain Coffee manufactures the Keurig, single-cup coffeemaker, and last week the company made the announcement that it would use a DRM-like technology to prevent customers who’ve bought their machines from…

Digital Thieves and the Hijacking of the Online Ad Business

In 2013, Digital Citizens Alliance set out to understand how content thieves operate and profit from the works of others. In an effort to determine how much bad actors earn through advertising, Digital Citizens commissioned MediaLink LLC to undertake a research project focused on the ecosystem’s revenues and profitability.

The findings, published in the report “Good Money Gone Bad: Digital Thieves and the Hijacking of the Online Ad Business” show that these sites are making incredible profits off of the works of others.

The highlights include:
• Content theft sites reaped an estimated quarter of a billion dollars in ad revenue alone in 2013.
• The 30 largest sites that make revenue exclusively through ads averaged $4.4 million in 2013.
• The most heavily trafficked BitTorrent and P2P sites, which rely exclusively on advertising revenue, averaged a projected $6 million per year in 2013.
• 30% of the most heavily trafficked content theft sites carried premium brand advertising and 40% carried secondary brand advertising
• The sites studied in the sample had a estimated profit margin of 80-94%.
This presentation includes screenshots from many of the sites reviewed by MediaLink.

Download Digital Citizens Alliance Report

Download More information (Media Packet)


Our favorite Film Festivals for 2014

It’s the new year and time for UniqueTracks’ listing of this year’s favorite Film Festivals.

The major festivals, like Sundance and Toronto, are not listed here. I’ve opted for a more eclectic listing of festivals that I’ve actually attended plus festivals where our licensees have submitted work (I’ve also attended the Toronto festival but this list is for smaller organizations).

My favorite local festivals are:
Brooklyn Film Festival
Coney Island Film Festival
Williamsburg Independent Film Festival
Urbanworld Film Festival

This is a great one and fun…
Chicago Children’s Film Festival

Chlotrudis Short Film Festival
Anything from 5 to 20 minutes films. Really creative

Please view the complete list here.

GoldieBlox Sues Beastie Boys [Repost]

Repost of an article written by David Newhoff for his blog The Illusion of More (a well written and highly recommended read)

GoldieBlox Sues Beastie Boys (via www.illusionofmore.com)

This is a brilliant video.  I’d seen it make the rounds on Facebook but didn’t know that it was at the heart of a new controversy regarding copyrights and fair use.  A promo for the innovative toy-making startup GoldieBlox, the video traces the…

Copyright Free Music

What is it and why there is so much confusion about it

The term Copyright Free Music describes any music where the copyright has expired. The music is considered “public domain” which means ownership rights now belong to the community at large, the music is no longer protected by intellectual property rights and can be used by anyone. Most of the great works of classical music – Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Brahms – are in the public domain.

Example of public domain usage
The works of Beethoven are in the public domain. If you love his Fifth Symphony you can record it, use it in a movie, or even add beats and turn it into a present-day dance track, all without paying any license fees or seeking any permission. You could not do any of that with a Bruce Springsteen song without first getting permission (and paying a fee) from his publisher to use the song.

If it’s copyright free music, why do I have to pay to use a recording of it?
You pay a license fee to use a recording because that recorded performance of the music is not public domain. The recording itself is copyrighted. There are two copyrights involved in any music licensing. The first is the song rights. The song – what you would see if you looked at the sheet music – that part is copyright free if the work is in the public domain. The second copyright, however, the actual recorded performance is not copyright free. So the license fee is to gain the rights to use the recording.

Another problem with the term copyright free music has to do with a common perception that it refers to stock music or what is also called royalty-free music. Copyright free music has, for some, become associated with the rights one receives when licensing stock music.

Stock music refers to recordings that can easily be licensed for use in media production works. The typical stock music license grants what are called Synchronization Rights – the ability to use the music as soundtrack “in synchronization” with your visuals – and Master Use Rights, which grants you a series of permissions to use the recording in various ways that are layed out in the stock music license agreement.

None of that is copyright free. Even where you license a classical music work, where the music is public domain, you are paying the fee to obtain synchronization and master use rights for the recording which is still copyrighted. For contemporary music that is not public domain, you are licensing the recording but also licensing the music itself to use in your media work.

Using the term copyright free music to describe stock music or royalty-free music totally confuses the customer (the licensee) about the type of rights they are receiving when they license a recording. It misses what stock music licensing is about.

Licensing a track from a stock music company doesn’t release the copyright, it actually gives you legal permission to use that copyright, that recording, in your media production. This is done by way of the synchronization and master use rights which are bundled in your stock music license.

It’s that word “free” that causes all the confusion. Copyright free, royalty free – it leads to the perception that there is no payment involved.

The best term for the type of licensing that UniqueTracks does is stock music licensing. Stock Music best describes the type of business we’re in. Stock, as in off-the-shelf, describes, in our case, a set of already composed and recorded music compositions that you can quickly license for use in your video or media productions. Royalty Free Music is also used to describe this but the word “free” tends to confuse a lot of people about what the license truly means and for some uses, television broadcasting for instance, the music isn’t really royalty free at all in that cue sheets need to be filed and performance royalties are collected.

Good information about the public domain
25 famous Public Domain classical music recordings

When royalty free music you’ve used in your YouTube video is flagged for copyright infringement…

UniqueTracks has recently received support calls from a few of our customers that have licensed music and then posted their video to YouTube only to have their video flagged for copyright infringement by YouTube’s automated Content ID system.

This seems to be affecting our classical music recordings primarily. Apparently the problem lies with multiple recordings of the same work. For instance, any recorded version of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, will trigger a content infringement flag at YouTube because a single recording of the work has been claimed using YouTube’s Content ID system. There are thousands of recordings of this symphony.

YouTube has been ramping up efforts to take copyright infringement on its site seriously. However, its automated audio detection system does incorrectly flag recordings that have been legally licensed.

What should you do if your legally licensed music gets flagged by YouTube’s Content ID system?

  • Dispute the infringement claim. Go to your account on YouTube. Now go to your Video Manager section and click the video that has been flagged by YouTube for infringement. You dispute the claim by choosing the link “I believe this copyright claim is not valid”
  • At the prompt, check the the option that says, “I have a license or written permission from the proper rights holder to use this material”.
  • Submit your response. During this process you will have a chance to write directly about your case and at that point you should say that you have legally purchased and licensed the music from the UniqueTracks Production Music Library. You can give your order number and purchase date.

Unfortunately, YouTube does not let third parties get involved in copyright infringement disputes. UniqueTracks cannot argue your case with YouTube. The video owner has to dispute the claim.

UniqueTracks support

To try to help you with your claim, we have created a private section on our site where, with your permission, we post your actual license as a pdf file. We create a direct link to your license with your full contact name, company name, video name and then the full text of the license. The license is then signed by our director, John Bickerton.

We encourage you to submit this link to YouTube with your dispute. The folks at YouTube only have to click the link and up pops your full license on our site (our URL) showing your purchase and legal rights to use the music.

So far, this has worked very well and no one that has come up against copyright infringement claims using UniqueTracks recordings has lost a dispute.

Contact us directly if you come up against this problem with YouTube. It mostly affects our classical music recordings.

More Information
Using Background Music For YouTube Videos – What you should know

YouTube Content ID site information

Six new Stock Music album releases

Our first releases for 2013 are out. So far we’ve released 6 albums (over 100 tracks). Styles focus on cinematic, big Hollywood action-adventure tracks as well as upbeat, happy moods targeted towards corporate, advertising and industrial projects.

Listen to Retro Groove & Disco

Hollywood Action Hero, Vol. 1 Hollywood Action Hero, Vol. 1 brings you the soundtrack style of the giant Hollywood mega-blockbuster movie. Thundering orchestral hits and bone-crushing sound effects power these majestic tracks. These tracks have been designed for use in feature length movies but also work well with pro sports, corporate branding and breaking news headlines. This is the sound of action adventure, of the Iron Man, Spiderman, Batman/Dark Knight, 007, Fast & Furious movie franchises.
Retro Hollywood Movie Soundtracks Hollywood Action Hero, Vol. 2 continues the powerful, thunderous soundtrack style featured in Volume One. The music is written in the big studio, Hollywood action adventure style. It’s loud, aggressive and supports suspense and thriller type subject matter. This volume is slanted slightly more toward the spy and detective film genres than the previous volume one.
Media, Broadcast & Advertising Inspiring, uplifting, and grand, majestic soundtracks are found on UniqueTracks’ Media, Broadcast & Advertising album. The album’s focus is broadcast news, advertising, sports programming, industrial film, product infomercials, really anywhere where a celebratory, exhilarating mood is needed. This collection is great for underscoring achievement, success, bold vision, and motivation. Great for TV production, CEO presentations, management strategy, new product releases and news segments.
Smooth Dreams Relaxing smooth jazz and upbeat new age textures create the sound of Smooth Dreams. From floating piano dreamscapes to mellow chill out grooves, the music here will give your production a modern, casual, carefree quality.
Action, Suspense, Horror, War Movie Soundtrack Kit The 48 themes included in the Action, Suspense, Horror, War Movie Soundtrack Kit will add a stream of rugged, forceful energy into your production. The full gamut of the action adventure/thriller genre is covered. There’s Hero music underscoring bravery and courage; there’s also brutal, chilling, eerie music emphasizing the evil of the villain The music creates tension and pulse and will give your production a strong, dramatic impact.

We call it a movie kit because complete main themes with fully orchestrated melodies are paired with shorter transition music that is good for bridging between scenes.

Dramatic, Modern Textures The 37 themes in the Dramatic Modern Textures collection provide you with a select kit of contemporary soundtracks and underscores. The music is emotional and dramatic conveying feelings of sadness, optimism, calm, wonder, fear, happiness, loneliness. Unique to this collection is a series of brief Interludes or bridges, each written in a different emotion, that you can use for introductions, scene transitions or outros.

Listen to Retro Groove & Disco