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Re: Stallman calls for an end to file sharing war

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Stallman calls for an end to file sharing war
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 2010 16:02:10 -0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.0.50 (gnu/linux)

terekhov <> writes:

> See
> for distribution of such levies in Germany.
> Note that GEMA is not a branch of government and the system of levies
> does not undo the system of copyright (that is what Stallman wants).

Effectively, it is rather close to undoing the system of copyright: the
standard GEMA contract (and unless you are rather special, you'll not
get anything else) binds the rights of _all_ of your output for a rather
large minimal time span (2 or 5 years, don't remember which) to the GEMA
forever.  So if you hope to make _any_ serious use of your copyright,
you have to sell it away completely.  Not just for a single work, but
for all your output.  Neither you nor your heirs regain control of it
for anything that gets published ever again.  You do get royalties, but
the control has been bartered away for good.

_If_ you want to market your works off commercially, there is no real
alternative to a system that essentially takes your copyright stock, lot
and barrel, in exchange for royalties.

Taking a record label as an intermediary tends to restrict you even
more: you can't market your works off yourself anymore.  If the label
decides you are not interesting as an artist for them, they'll just can
your output and not market it, and won't have to pay significant
royalties as one consequence.

So the lack of control that a governmental regulation would mean to the
artist is not so remote from the factually established ways of the music
industry.  Including, by the way, the astonishingly small percentages of
royalties ending up with the artists themselves.

There _are_ some artists choosing to ignore the record industry
altogether and marketing themselves off on the internet.  While they get
rather poor percentages of payments in relation to the amount they get
paid, what is left to them by the record companies the "regular" way is
often not more.  Even if they are rather successful, the companies not
rarely manage to invent conditions where the artists themselves get net
payments below zero: being successful and getting debts as a reward.

That a governmental system is going to be more sane is not guaranteed.
But "don't put something under control of the government that is
sufficiently borked already under control of the free market" sounds
more cynical than anything else.

David Kastrup

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