Music copyright has always been a contentious issue in the new music economy. With the advent of MP3s and Napster the whole industry was turned on it’s head as people scrounged to figure out a way to keep their millions. It was mostly record labels and huge superstars that saw a problem with it.
Music became ubiquitous – it was EVERYWHERE. But there’s no doubt that artists need to be paid fairly for their intellectual property and hard work. But even today, 15+ years after the explosion of Napster and MP3s, there is no solid ground for artists, fans and creative people around the world.
That was very evident this week in the news.
Remember the YouTube dancing baby? Me either.
But in February 2007 the video of a baby dancing to a Prince song went viral:
Here’s the breakdown of what happened:
Stephanie Lenz, a mother in Gallitzin, Pa., went on YouTube and uploaded a 29-second video of her toddler dancing while Prince’s song “Let’s Go Crazy” played in the background.
Prince’s publishers objected, Ms. Lenz filed a lawsuit, and for more than eight years the case has been symbolic of the clashes over copyright online.
Well I guess finally the courts allowed the case to go to trial because the use of the song could be considered “Fair Use,” which means a license is not needed for the use of the song in a separate creation.
So copyright holders of creative intellectual property must now consider “Fair Use” before asking YouTube to remove a video because their content is included in it.
But that’s not all…
In Europe, New Zealand is having trouble enforcing it’s tougher copyright laws. They instituted a 3-strike anti-piracy law targeting consumers who illegally download music, movies and other IP from the internet.
But it seems like it’s getting WAY too expensive to send out the notices informing consumers of the copyright infringement and to follow-through with the cases.
So expensive, in fact, that this year only one file-sharer was actually punished. Read more here.
So there still no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for artists, labels, publishers and other copyright holders. But something’s gotta give. And I have a feeling it will be the copyright holders.
You can’t fight technology and you definitely can’t fight the future.