Discussion: On Copyright

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  • Sacha,

    Rob, when you can sell the same litre of petrol more than once, come back to us with the Jayden story.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    come back to us with the Jayden story.

    oh you'll be hearing more from jayden, and his 2 brothers (hayden and shayden), possibly even their cousins shane, dwyane, and another name that rhymes with that lot)
    but I got to do work for the next few hours.
    till then, you'll have to wait.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Maybe make one of them a banker, which might provide some useful comparisons with leveraged lending and a regulated market advantage.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    Perhaps that might have worked yesterday, but today I'm here for the detail.

    ok, this is what I think will happen, and I feel I need to say its not what I particularly want to happen as I am presently really enjoying watching the 3rd season of dexter well before it will screen here all without ads which I think are the bane of society. I hate them.

    so far we've had a cat an mouse play off with media creators who don't want to be perceived as arseholes and media consumers who want to see what they can get away with.
    part of the game plan for free for all media consumers is to play on the 'don't want to be seen as arseholes' media creators cringe reflex. a perfect example of this is the lars from metallica fiasco where the dude simply tired to point out that he wasn't ok with people taking his music for nothing, to which people responded 'rich prick' greed greed greed etc and questioning his right to have the law enforced. so now you weren't in the right if the law says you were it was more to do with public opinion and how that 'made people feel'.

    so the music industry model collapses as does the film and tv models, and the answe to this is find another model, but there isn't another model cos our whole commercial society is based around the mak things, sell and stop people taking them for free model,
    but because a mass of people who are ill informed about the value of what they are taking for free form a mob and force the issue rule of law isn't enough, or maybe it is.

    so media owners have been treading carefully so as not to get 'lars'd' and being forced into a corner cos it they do nothing they'll go down. mostly they did nothing cos there seemed like nothing they could do. they couldn't get a workable drm and each time they fucked it up people got upset.

    they couldn't find media infringers initially cos the technology wasn't there.

    but now

    they know if you're downloading a lot cos of your data totals at the end of the month.
    They know if you're using software typically associated with media infringement ie peer to peer (known cos ISPs can see what program you're using, IE, Firefox etc).
    They know what sites you visit.
    They will be able to know the content of what your traffic is., if they don't already.
    given that it is possible to see who is doing what, the question is how far are they going to get pushed down that road before they say, yep, that's good enough.

    The issue is also how it is administrated and enforced.
    guilty until proven innocent seems pretty crap, its easy enough to prove guilty though. it will mean paying a visit with a warrant to investigate though. I'd prefer a warning kinda deal. There was an article linked further up of a study that said that most people would stop downloading copyright material if asked directly, ie if they got caught and a warning.

    Will this stop piracy?
    its certainly going to make it a lot harder to get away with, if all Internet providers play by the same rules you're basically forced to work by their rules as you are now with traffic shaping already in force on many providers.
    people can still visit their friends and share music and media like they always have but it makes it more personal, you actually have to see the person you're sharing with instead of the completely anonymous situation we now have.
    will media be less fun?, yes, but it was never going to last as it was anyway.

    are there better ways of delivering media. hell yeah.
    I'd happily pay a couple of bucks for an episode sans ads of my favourite program. If I like 5 programs a week that's $50 a month more or less. that's good income for a media content provider.

    same with music although I think mp3 is hardly a worthy delivery format for the good money they're asking.

    here's some figures for you. (approx for ease)
    if you sell a cd in a store for $29. (store keeps $12)
    $17 of that goes to the distributor, (distributor keeps $4)
    $13 of that goes to the label (label pays for pressing, recording costs promotion administration fronts the cash etc)
    after all that there's not much left over. but artists get a few dollars if there's anything left over.

    The record store takes by far the biggest cut.

    so if you cut out the distributor and store you're left with $13 to cover, meaning you could sell an album for roughly $1 a track, or less.

    it isn't labels or artists that are taking the biggest whack.
    don't really know what that's all got to do with copyright as a concept, more to do with copyright enforcement which there is f all of right now.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • jon_knox,

    they know if you're downloading a lot cos of your data totals at the end of the month.

    I could be downloading stuff that is legitimate. Shayden's kids (Blayden and LeDamian) might have been in the school play (Merchant of Venice) that one of the other parents taped & uploaded with permission. I could be downloading stuff from the BBC or any other enlightened content provider....Not downloading petrol from Royal Dutch Shell or Exxon Mobil.

    Belgium • Since Nov 2006 • 464 posts Report Reply

  • jon_knox,

    They know if you're using software typically associated with media infringement ie peer to peer (known cos ISPs can see what program you're using, IE, Firefox etc).
    They know what sites you visit.
    They will be able to know the content of what your traffic is., if they don't already.

    Yeah the ISP's can tell what application you're likely to have been using. This information is added onto the packet of data and is how your computer knows what this packet relates to...that's not to challenging, but it's a whole different world of pain to consider the data itself...they might be able to guess...this looks like music, or video, but they would have to go to a good deal of trouble to actually work out what it unequivocally is and then determining if it is legitmate or illegitmate data is a second parallel universe of pain. Costs suddenly skyrocket in a heart stopping manner for the parties charged with responsbility for identifying infringement. Who does the music industry seem to be looking to lumber/shaft/burden with that obligation? Chuck in the use of some foriegn proxy servers and bit of encryption and you're moving into the realm of stuff that only those brainy chaps at the FB-I crimelab with their supercomputers are stupid enough to do....Better off just hiding a bit of spyware on everyone's computers to see what they're upto....oh wait a minute they've already tried that. Sounds way too Orwellian already.

    Belgium • Since Nov 2006 • 464 posts Report Reply

  • jon_knox,

    are there better ways of delivering media. hell yeah.
    I'd happily pay a couple of bucks for an episode sans ads of my favourite program. If I like 5 programs a week that's $50 a month more or less. that's good income for a media content provider.

    Yeah the whole idea of bundling content or vertically integrating and the like are perhaps the way things are heading. There was a bit of a scramble a couple of years back in the telecommunications under the banner of 'convergence' (NZ example is Voda grabbed Ihug...but it was a big trend globally), which to some degree was that industry having a bit of a stab in the dark regarding where the future was.

    Walled gardens of content, don't seem to have worked either.

    Belgium • Since Nov 2006 • 464 posts Report Reply

  • jon_knox,

    ere's some figures for you. (approx for ease)

    Cool...I've been waiting for this info.

    if you sell a cd in a store for $29. (store keeps $12)
    $17 of that goes to the distributor, (distributor keeps $4)
    $13 of that goes to the label (label pays for pressing, recording costs promotion administration fronts the cash etc)
    after all that there's not much left over. but artists get a few dollars if there's anything left over.

    Physical stores are increasingly redundant. If you want liner notes or vinyl where do you order them? Online store takes a smaller cut as it has less physical stock to buy, less risk that the stock won't sell, less storage costs for the reduced volume, less need to have real estate on prime strips of retail property. Less risk, less reward. Radiohead have deomstrated that this can be made to work for the artist, but yeah they've got deep pockets and could afford to be stung on the outlay for infrastructure. Costs are coming down all the time and setting up an online shop doesn't seem that hard, plenty of people are doing that for themselves, or shopping around for service providers who will look after that part of the process. To me, that $12 says the retailer was bearing most of the risk of not being able to sell the product.

    (distributor keeps $4)

    Without the need to shift so much physical product, what are the distributors doing? Settting up the infrastructure to shift a digital product. This activity probably doesn't need to occur that often. Set it up once and just add new files/bands as required, maybe organise a revamp of content for a band when there is a new album to make some noise about. Provide an end-to-end service for artists who aren't into tech/DIY. Make sure the reviewers get told where they can listen and get any associated collateral in a timely manner, negotiate that people can provide some column inches/airtime to it. Much more of a promotions role. Again less risk associated with physical product, but increased risk relative to the cost of promotion due to (presumably) a lower per unit price/revenue. I'm not sure how much of the risk distributors were actually bearing back in the bad old days, but I suspect they were probably pretty efficent at passing it on to the musicians, or the retailers...or anyone else sufficently naive enough to let them do so.

    $13 of that goes to the label (label pays for pressing, recording costs promotion administration fronts the cash etc)

    Label for pressing. How much effort needs to be retained here? Most people are satisfied with a digital product (I'm not talking the shitty low bitrate illegal copies), if people want a physical copy, order online, perhaps have infrastructure set up to deal with orders like public address books. I know minimum order quantity and all that shizzle for the manufacturers, but that's niche rather than catering to the masses.

    Recording costs...yeah probably as valid as the musician and as I've said before, unfortunately impacted by the general perception of a drop in value for music sales.

    I didn't get an answer to the questions yesterday about how the recording guys already work.... Fixed price, it you want to try for volume and push stuff out at the minimum acceptable quality. Time & materials where people actually are happy to go on that journey. Recording people take on a bit of the risk if you want to, or need to. Is any of that tranferable to/from the software industry/accurate??? Costs of recording seem pretty well understood in recording and don't vary if the product sells 1 unit or a million units. Risks seem to exist about managing the performance of the musicians and keeping costs at a level that is acceptable.

    There is the ever present risk of any of the players in this game getting sucked into over-capitalising/spending money you don't need to....if you're simply doing it for the moo-lah.

    I think there is plenty of incentive for the industry to come up with a winning formula that doesn't require masses of red tape elsewhere.

    I'd love to know what the figures for the digitial music sales industry are. I'd suspect iTunes being the apparently hip market leader are probably doing really quite well out things and using their position to push their costs down quite aggressively. I'd also love to know what their costs/profits ranges are. Will the fixed price subscription model that is rumoured to in the pipeline come about and what sort of impact does it have on revenue to artists?

    How many muscians in the past have gone down the path of starting their own label, just to get their music out there. The means of travelling down the path may have changed a bit, but I think the path is still there.

    Belgium • Since Nov 2006 • 464 posts Report Reply

  • jon_knox,

    A lot of this stuff, says to me that the market part of the chain is the part that has been broken, as much as anything by the internet.

    It's about building a preference for your product in the market and the willingness to pay. It seems that for the moment it is so much easier to go down the illegitimate route rather than the legitimate route. I spent an hour unsuccessfully trying to buy a track last week, that I could get via bittorent in 5 minutes. The economics of that transaction do not add up at all. Trying to spend an hour of my time to spend $2 for a track. If the legitimate route can be made to appeal, then that's the better mechanism for me.

    Belgium • Since Nov 2006 • 464 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    I could be downloading stuff that is legitimate.

    you could be, that's true. but 90 gigs every month is possibly something else. its probably not music though, its film and tv, and a little music, and film and tv have a lot more money and muscle to put pressure down.

    I think it would be very hard to determine whether someone is downloading music just from the amount of traffic they generate as a few youtube video watches will amount to the same traffic, but a side benefit of grabbing film and tv piracy is you probably spook a few music downloaders too.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • jon_knox,

    Online store takes a smaller cut

    Sorry this should read "the risk-reward model suggestes that online stores should be taking a smaller cut".

    Belgium • Since Nov 2006 • 464 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    Costs are coming down all the time and setting up an online shop doesn't seem that hard, plenty of people are doing that for themselves, or shopping around for service providers who will look after that part of the process.

    yes and no re costs. They're pretty table now and everyone's out for a cut still. want to get it in an online store. many of em charge a flat rate to set up your stuff, regardless of it selling. its a good way to bleed some cash out of hopefuls I guess.

    shopping carts are easy but online commerce is a little harder.
    I've found it really hard to make a simple click and auto buy system. you can buy the software and pay credit card fees etc but it requires you to have a decent monthly turn over to make it worthwhile as there's a monthly fee on top of the per transaction fee. its not slight either.

    To me, that $12 says the retailer was bearing most of the risk of not being able to sell the product.

    with local content surprisingly not. they would insist on taking it on sale or return so the artist or label took the full brunt of the risk.
    they pulled this a lot with bigger labels too, and if you want to sell stuff in a store you have to have a visible presence so you agree to let them have 50 to load up a shelf

    itsa double egdged sword though cos if you bear the cost then the store has no real incentive to push yours over something they actually paid for up front.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    Who does the music industry seem to be looking to lumber/shaft/burden with that obligation?

    music, film, tv, software and game industry. there are a few parties interested in seeing ISP's monitor their traffic.and its not shaft/burden etc, its enforce a law, and it is a law, good, bad or inconvenient, that's how it stands.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    Without the need to shift so much physical product, what are the distributors doing?

    distributor relates specifically to physical product.
    The digital equivalent is an aggregator, like amplifier.co.nz who present your music to itunes etc and take a good cut for the service.
    Itunes won't deal with individuals so you have no choice, like many stores wouldn't stock indie labels.
    I guess aggrgators work as half label half distributor although they bear no cost of recording the original work so that's where the parallel ends.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    Label for pressing. How much effort needs to be retained here?

    in music a labels role is often to make it happen. you may not have noticed but many musicians couldn't tie their own shoelaces, let alone pay for the shoes, although they can write and play pretty tunes.

    a label will make a record happen, arrange recording studios, graphic artists photographers, etc etc, get the whole thing done, and then work to see that people who would appreciate the finished product get to hear about it. as much maligned as the label part of it is its bloody hard work, apparently quite thankless sometimes, (ask simon although he's too much of a gentleman to admit it,) and the rewards a a bit ethereal as opposed to a bands reward in the process which is adoration.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    I'd love to know what the figures for the digitial music sales industry are.

    real world example, really really bad. and I've heard that from a lot of other people too. I think some genres do well, like r and b but my personal experience of digital downloads is they pail in comparison to solid media. like 1/25th the sales of standard cds. yes that bad.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    If the legitimate route can be made to appeal, then that's the better mechanism for me.

    or if the illegitimate is made very unappealing.
    definitely delivery mechanisms need to be fixed. I don't have the time for either. bit torrent can be a lot of work too.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • jon_knox,

    as much maligned as the label part of it is its bloody hard work, apparently quite thankless sometimes

    I don't doubt this. But there are actually plenty of jobs which are pretty or entirely thankless....you'll clean my toilet/remove my rubbish and be grateful you have a job.

    Plenty of other industries where they have a physical product and the retailer and intermediaries take the lion's share of profits for merely facilitating the marketplace. Horticulture and farming for example. Talk to farmers about how much they get for a lamb and compare that to the price that lamb retails for. Out of uni I did a stint working an engineering supplies distributor. Our cost to suggested retail price was roughly a factor of 10.

    Belgium • Since Nov 2006 • 464 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    actually I won't be cleaning your toilet at all jon, I quit!
    my commenting on the label thing is in view of the often touted comments directed as evil labels taking all the profit etc.I was hoping to illuminate you on their actual role in the process and how much they get, perhaps balance the picture. farmers aren't often referred to in the same light, as evil as they may be.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • jon_knox,

    Cheers for the illumination.

    Am just a little unclear on that digitial revenue figure.
    Do you mean that the artist is getting approx 1/25 of the value of the sale (eg $0.60 on a $15 download), or 1/25 of the (few dollars) of revenue that they would have got for a CD sale? (eg $0.08 of $2 if there was $2 left once all the others had taken their cut on a $25 CD).

    Belgium • Since Nov 2006 • 464 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    Am just a little unclear on that digital revenue figure.

    just my personal experience of selling through download, over the space of almost 3 years the income from digital downloads was approximately 1/25th of the income generated from normal cd sales, even less since the download site also sold hard copy and a good chunk of their tiny sales was hard copy. ie hardly worth the effort.

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    Rob, when you can sell the same litre of petrol more than once, come back to us with the Jayden story.

    as you're aware most examples fall apart if you push them hard enough, but I'm sure you got the point i was making.
    its interest that you see media as 'the same litre of petrol' when i is infact small segments of the cost of that litre of 'petrol' shared over multiple instantiations of it. if it was merely "one litre of petrol' then the cost of that litre would hold the full cost of production, ie many thousands of dollars.

    you be interested to know that the boys hayden, jayden, shayden, cousins wayne dwane shane, and patricia (don't ask) are all getting their cars converted to full electric. that way when they 'liberate' fuel they don't feel so bad about it cos its not something you can hold. they just bowl up to an unguarded power point and 'pirate' it. no bodies hurt in the process, right?

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    most examples fall apart if you push them hard enough

    Uh, I don't think that's pushing particularly hard. As others have pointed out upthread, there's a fundamental difference between selling something that is all used up in the sales process and something that is not depleted at all.

    I agree with you that the cost is shared over many units, but that also applies to most other industries where there are fixed investments alongside per-unit costs. The risk that you won't recover all costs is part of pricing, along with market characteristics.

    Recent technological changes have altered that equation dramatically for your industry in particular. The detail of where the income is split was useful, thank you. From reading Jon's response alongside yours, perhaps the marketing function may be shifting away from the production companies?

    Like I say, make one of the whanau a banker instead and see where that takes you.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    I don't think that's pushing particularly hard

    no but you got the points about fans of the product, hated mega corps and doing something as long as you can get away with it so it served its purpose, even more so with the snazzy electric car angle. you can't see electricity, there for it mustn't be property.

    make one of the whanau a banker

    a banker who steals petrol (or electricity as the new model has it)?
    ok, patricia's a teller for trustbank who likes to take her car out down moorhouse ave on a friday night. she's got one of those james bond revolving number plates. that doesn't really help though. what angle are you looking for on this banker thing?

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    As a sort of addendum: I *NEVER* sign off/giveaway audio or electronic rights...5 times this year I've been politely hassled (by Microsoft and the Booker Komiti- let's call 'em that tho' they arnt actually) to sign extremely detailed contracts while being assurred that such signatures didnt waive any rights (except possibly, just in these minutely-detailed accords, stuff that possibly could be construed as pertaining perhaps and *only* (except for a 100 clauses)
    in these circumstances - spread your legs/arse- sign here)-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

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