[Foundation-l] ASCAP comes out against "copyleft"

Gregory Maxwell gmaxwell at gmail.com
Sat Jun 26 02:47:30 UTC 2010

On Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 7:56 PM, Michael Snow <wikipedia at verizon.net> wrote:
> about the
> relationship between the fundraising campaign and actual lawmaking.
> That's not entirely your fault, since the writer threw in some filler
> about the activity of an administrative agency, apparently because this
> tangent gave him an opportunity to link to his previous reporting.


The event David was writing about was that the ASCAP sent out this
letter: (in two parts)


There is no connection obvious there with any particular lawmaking.

Nor am I otherwise aware of any of organizations in question
explicitly lobbying for the abolition of copyright though they may
have failed, at times, to denounce the claims by others that they were
for such an abolition.  What I've mostly seen is the advocacy that
authors choose less restrictive licensing, opposition to policy which
would reduce the current or future public domain, discouraging a legal
policy which creates larger punishment for copyright infringement than
other more social impacting crimes, and other such activity which
should be generally beneficial or at worst neutral to the economic
welfare of artists.

It would seems that the ASCAP has conflated the aims of these
organizations with those of movie pirates, arguably because doing so
is in the ASCAP's interest as the bulk rights collecting societies are
on the long end of a dying line of businesses and nothing short of an
dramatic expansion of copyright powers is likely to keep them alive.
Online distribution doesn't favor having a lot of middle men,
certainly not a lot of _profitable_ middlemen... but this detail has
little to do with the interests of _artists_ and music consumers that
the ASCAP claims to be concerned with here, and certainly doesn't have
much of anything to do with any existing law.

On the general subject of business-protection-laws hiding as
copyright-laws I would recommend listening to [[Eben Moglen]]'s
commentary on the DMCA from a panel at the 2001 Future of Music policy
summit at 15:15 in
http://myrandomnode.dyndns.org:8080/~gmaxwell/eben.ogg   he continued
these views on the positions of the 'music industry' at 31:36, "You
are listening to a conversation among dead business about how, under
certain imaginary conditions, if it only takes long enough for us to
recognize that they are dead they might come back to life".  If there
were a transcript, I'd link to that instead. But there isn't, and
Eben's points are really enjoyable, as usual.

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