Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: High Noon

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  • Mark Harris,

    Perhaps I've misunderstood?

    No, I got that too.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Which would beg the question, why have Telecom, the TCF and others been so unsuccessful with lobbying *all* parties right up until this point?

    I can't answer that question, I'm just trying to work out exactly what Chris was saying which I think was pretty much what I said above. A lot has changed in NZ politics since last year too. Maybe, given NZ's rather precarious economic state right now, the voice of one of the nation's biggest taxpayers and employers might have some traction. To be honest Don, I don't know and I'm too far away to ring up Chris to find out. But my experience of the man (and it's extensive) is that he's brutally honest and I'd be surprised if deviously tossing another bogeyman into the mix is in character. He speaks his mind.


    @Mark: I'm really not sure what he's failed to disclose. He's pretty well known across the music industry and far further afield, as are his associations. He's also Chairman of the Bfm board. I'm sure Russell knew exactly who he was talking to ;)

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    He also displayed a distressing lack of insight into how the Internet might actually help artists.

    That's an interesting statement, here's Chris's web site www.amplifier.co.nz
    ie he pretty much started music on the internet in new zealand, but, please do go on, .....

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    bugger, simon and his spare time.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Maybe it is just his manner, but I haven't heard him say anything that would make me take him on as my lawyer

    well, when it comes to Music Law he's pretty much top of the pile in NZ. I used him for years (that's my disclosure) but not for a while, and he knows his stuff. He gets things done. And he's often brusque in his manner. Perhaps that's rude but I've never had an issue with it.

    That's not to say I'm agreeing with him here, just, if you will, defending his virtue or something to that effect and noting that, as always, he's speaking his own mind, nobody else's.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    He's pretty well known across the music industry and far further afield, as are his associations. He's also Chairman of the Bfm board. I'm sure Russell knew exactly who he was talking to ;)

    I'm sure Russell did, but do other people who are not in the music business? That's why I wonder about disclosure. Would his words carry the same weight as "Owner of an online music site that stands to make money" as they do from an "entertainment lawyer". We're conditioned to respect the utterences of lawyers, but the reality is that if you put 4 lawyers in a room and ask a question, you'll get a minimum of 5 opinions. And they can be wrong too. That's why we have judges ;-)

    I'm not doubting his ability as a lawyer, or his historic role in the NZ music industry. That's what makes the disclosure thing all the more puzzling to me.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    I'm not doubting his ability as a lawyer, or his historic role in the NZ music industry. That's what makes the disclosure thing all the more puzzling to me.

    wasn't the context of the discussion that it was on bfm where Chris is a regular host as lawyer and it is well known who he is and his interests.
    listened to as a link off PA it's out of context but in the environment it was broadcast .... he's known as much as people know who havoc is.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I'm not doubting his ability as a lawyer, or his historic role in the NZ music industry. That's what makes the disclosure thing all the more puzzling to me.

    This was on Bfm, where Chris is a weekly show guest and has been for many years. This was a call in to that show I think. If so, I'd argue that just about every regular Bfm listener knew exactly who Chris was. It was unnecessary for him to stop and make a short speech as to his business interests or shareholdings.

    Mikey Havoc was on too..should he have to disclose the fact that he used to be in Push Push who have tracks available for sale online? No, of course not. It's not needed.

    As to making money, I don't think Chris has ever made a profit from Amplifier, and it operates at arms length from his radio and legal jobs.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    you got me that time Rob!

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    bugger, simon and his spare time.

    Well he helped me to begin my Scallop entree, and make the marinade for the szechuan prawns because of his writings above.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Remind me not to have a dinner party ...

    Right. Chris is a good guy, and a friend, and the discussion was vigorous but never nasty.

    But he did immediately jump down my throat, and what he said I took to be indicative of what the other side of this argument are telling themselves.

    1. The first thing he said was that I was just trying to clear the way for piracy without consequences, or something. It was a silly and unhelpful thing to say.

    2. He did claim that Telecom, "the biggest lobbying machine in the country" had been putting pressure on the government and that was why John Key was jammed into reverse in his conversation with Mikey. The only thing to say about this is that it indicates Chris doesn't have a clue what's going on this week. What's putting pressure on the government is the flood of emails going into Simon Power's office. The idea that it's some black ops by Telecom is just plain wrong.

    But if I hadn't been driving on the motorway (and if I'd been able to get a word in properly) I'd have had time to lead Chris to a logical conclusion.

    If I accept his contention that the law is fine but it relies on the TCF draft code of conduct, which needs fixing -- and agreement on that seems months rather than weeks away -- then in what sense can it possibly be wise to bring the law into force?

    It's possibly the single strongest point. The law doesn't work without the code, and the code isn't there. So why would you enact the law next week?

    I don't want much. I'll settle for a six-month delay on Section 92A so the idea can be properly assessed. In the circumstances, I think that's a very logical position.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    There's a post on Yahoo!Xtra about how the RIANZ wants to educate us about copyright

    Recording Industry Association CEO Campbell Smith says they are making good progress with ISPs in their quest to create a code, which outlines a fair process parties must go through before any action is taken.

    Which is a little at odds with what he was saying the other week.

    Still, RIANZ and APRA have at least got their "it's about education" mantra straight, as Ant Healey showed this morning.

    And speaking of spokespersons, what was Arthur Baysting on about on 3News tonight - "around the world wide net 80% of the music is being used illegally" (01:37)

    Where did that figure come from?

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    @Simon and Robbery
    Yeah, I know this was on Bfm and it's his regular show. But it's not the first time he's made representations on this as "an entertainment lawyer" and never once mentioned any pecuniary interest that he might conceivably have due to ownership of Amplifier.

    And if Amplifier is not at least breaking even, he'd be a bad business man to keep it going.

    I don't know the man personally but what I know of him, from him, is not encouraging. I appreciate that your (plural) relationships with him cause you to hold different opinions.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    And if Amplifier is not at least breaking even, he'd be a bad business man to keep it going.

    Sometimes Mark, esp. in the music industry, we do things for other reasons than making money. Amplifier is such a project. It's long been subsidised by Chris' work as a lawyer.

    I released countless records over the years before making a cent, quite the opposite. I know why we do it, but it ain't good business.

    The first thing he said was that I was just trying to clear the way for piracy without consequences, or something. It was a silly and unhelpful thing to say.

    But no more unhelpful than the oft repeated line that all copyright owners expect to make a living from their work. Few do. But agreed, it was a silly slap and I imagine he regretted it the moment he spoke.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    outlines a fair process parties must go through before any action is taken

    "Any action"? But the law says the action will be terminating the connection, not some menu of other options. Disingenous.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Where did that figure come from?

    I agree, and my feeling is that none of that sort of bluster helps anyone, least of all the labels and the musicians. Then again I think that none of what is happening in NZ right now is helpful at all in the bigger picture to the anti-stealing (or whatever it's called this week) lobby. It simply pisses people off more, makes people dislike record companies more than ever, and adds a weird haze of legitimacy to piracy in the minds of many.

    They really are their own worst enemies.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    Remind me not to have a dinner party ...

    Nah, just make sure everything can be eaten through a straw (I was going to say "with a spoon" but do you know how much damage those puppies can do?) ;-)

    But he did immediately jump down my throat, and what he said I took to be indicative of what the other side of this argument are telling themselves.

    Yep. See post above. I'm mildly curious who's writing the songsheet.

    The first thing he said was that I was just trying to clear the way for piracy without consequences, or something.

    Classic Bush "for us or agin us" - if you get to define your opposition as "bad people who want to do bad things", they have to go on the defensive which makes it harder for them to get their message out.

    He did claim that Telecom, "the biggest lobbying machine in the country" had been putting pressure on the government and that was why John Key was jammed into reverse in his conversation with Mikey. ... The idea that it's some black ops by Telecom is just plain wrong.

    Diversionary tactic, makes it easier to claim that the problem with the CoP is all the ISPs' fault, engineered by Telecom, the company everyone loves to hate.

    If I accept his contention that the law is fine but it relies on the TCF draft code of conduct, which needs fixing -- and agreement on that seems months rather than weeks away -- then in what sense can it possibly be wise to bring the law into force?

    I accept his point that Judith Tizzard unfairly kicked for touch by not developing and implementing the necessary Regulations (which are specifically mentioned in the Act), and leaving it to the "industry" to sort out. But, in 6 months, the "industry" hasn't sorted it out, and don't look like doing so any time soon. Hence the new "education" mantra.

    It's possibly the single strongest point. The law doesn't work without the code, and the code isn't there. So why would you enact the law next week?

    It's pretty crazy, alright. I feel really sorry for the ISPs who are stuck in the middle.

    I don't want much. I'll settle for a six-month delay on Section 92A so the idea can be properly assessed. In the circumstances, I think that's a very logical position.

    Sounds reasonable

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    But it's not the first time he's made representations on this as "an entertainment lawyer" and never once mentioned any pecuniary interest that he might conceivably have due to ownership of Amplifier.

    Just as an aside his was quite clear in his role as owner of Amplifier when on Nat Radio discussing copyright last year. I think it's probably more relevant in underling that he does understand digital music rather than any potential massive conflict that needs disclosure.

    Then again, the NZ industry is so small that not having substantive conflicts of interest is the exception. I'm not gonna go any further on that one.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    Then again, the NZ industry is so small that not having substantive conflicts of interest is the exception.

    True, and there's nothing inherently wrong with having a conflict, as long as it's disclosed.

    Okay, I'll leave it there too

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    I'd have had time to lead Chris to a logical conclusion.

    you flounder a few times and I only hope this is because you were concentrating on driving safely while using your mobile phone and you better have been using hands free.
    But essentially Chris lead you to a logical conclusion in the end, rather than you him, and you were talking over him as much as him you.
    He also got you to say you don't have a problem with the concept downloading is illegal. you clearly answered no you don't.
    yet we have you giving people directions on how to download
    copyright material that is easily available from web stores.

    you said you don't file-share box-office movies or music then say you downloaded an NZ band specifically The Terminals album and from people you could easily contact if you needed to.
    if you're going to be a spokesman for media issues you're going to have to get your story straight.

    So why would you enact the law next week?

    what do you think that really means?
    nothings going to happen till the code is up and running so essentially it a law in waiting, its completely ineffective so what's the point in getting offended by it. Chris is right. its completely based on what the code of practice is.
    what do you think is going to happen next week. paint us a picture of how you see next week going down, or the week after that.
    Do you think they're going to start handing out notices? how's that going to happen when they haven't even figured out at isp level how to manage this. its going to be a long time till anything gets up and running. A big non event.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Haven't seen a link yet, so heeeere's Simon, with a guest appearance by a certain teeshirt:

    Then came Napster and it’s aftermath. It was the beginning of an extended period where the largely faceless automatons who now controlled the shrinking number of labels decided to not only bite, but quite viciously attack the hand that feeds.
    ...

    I can almost understand the remnants of the majors in NZ fighting tooth and nail to preserve what they have but the Canute-ism of it all is rather unavoidable and it is, in every way possible, as big a public relations disaster for the labels (at least on a NZ level) as the law suits against kids were in the USA, and thus is equally as self defeating as those ludicrous legal missteps.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    He also got you to say you don't have a problem with the concept downloading is illegal. you clearly answered no you don't.

    To the extent that it would permit a claim of an infringing copy in civil law, no I don't. That right exists for a reason. Reasonable people will argue as to by what mean and to what extent it should best be pursued and how that should nudge into actual criminal law,

    I might also point out that my proposal was for for a low-cost copyright court, modelled on the Disputes Tribunal, so Chris could pursue a claim there, rather than incur the expense of going to the High Court. I wasn't saying he shouldn't be able to pursue a claim. The copyright lobby's current position is that the ISPs should bear the cost of its claims, which I don't think is reasonable.

    I'm also of the mind that it's not reasonable that 92A mandates a penalty -- disconnect from the internet -- that no court or tribunal would.

    yet we have you giving people directions on how to download copyright material that is easily available from web stores.

    You've put quite some time into this, haven't you? Graeme was wondering whether a PBS TV jazz series would ever actually appear in Region 4 so he could pay money for it. The DVD you pointed to is Region 1. I wasn't really encouraging anyone to download it, and I didn't do so myself. The point was the weirdly broken business model.

    you said you don't file-share box-office movies or music then say you downloaded an NZ band specifically The Terminals album and from people you could easily contact if you needed to.

    Should I really have to write to every band I think might be good? I heard about that album and tried to find it on every download service I could think of, including Amplifier (they're on a tiny American label). I tried at Real Groovy. And then I bought it at first opportunity. I'm not sure that makes me the bad guy.

    But what's you personal stance, Rob, in light of your own admitted copyright infringements? This argument quickly becomes pointless. Do you think all the people who argued against format-shifting actually don't copy music to their iPods?

    Once again, reasonable people can disagree -- and argue on the radio -- about this. Gotcha isn't really an argument.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    System copies indiscriminately

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Dodgy hotel wi-fi.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Whereas I have no excuse..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

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