How to save the newspaper industry (hint: not with snippet taxes)

There’s no denying that the newspaper industry is in trouble. In part, the publishing companies have themselves to blame. For too long, they have fought against the Internet, instead of embracing it. Even now, there are still misguided attempts to cream money off online players, as in the various snippet taxes around the world. Simply …

NFTs are mostly useless or worse, but here’s one important way they could help creators

As you may have noticed, the Internet is awash with hyperbolic claims about non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. From the volume of that discussion, and some of the numbers thrown around, it’s easy to assume that there must be something big going on here. There isn’t. NFTs are mostly elements in speculative bubbles that require a …

Microsoft tries to cosy up to newspaper publishers, forgets that for them, enough is never enough

A few months after the snippet tax was agreed as part of the EU Copyright Directive, Australia indicated it wanted to take the same route. The government there planned to make Internet companies pay newspapers for sending the latter extra traffic, by imposing something called the News Media Bargaining Code. In a blog post from …

Warhol should have said: In the future, every artist will be sued for alleged copyright infringement

A few weeks ago, a Walled Culture blog post looked at the spate of lawsuits over alleged plagiarism in the world of music. Since the root of the problem here is copyright, which seeks to establish a monopoly over even the tiniest elements of creativity, it’s no surprise that exactly the same issue crops up …

The ratchet strikes again: US SMART Copyright Act is even worse than EU upload filters

The EU’s Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market is bad news for many reasons. For example, it shows how the copyright industry has succeeded in obtaining yet more legislation to impose its outdated analogue approaches on the digital Internet. It was only able to do that by conducting a dishonest campaign about what …

Publishers seem to believe their outsized sense of entitlement should trump democracy

One of the striking features of the copyright industry is its insatiability. No matter how long, broad and strong copyright becomes, the copyright world wants it to be yet longer, broader and stronger. It seems companies simply cannot conceive of any point where there is “enough” copyright in the world. A good example is in …

Recorded music is thriving everywhere: so why keep pushing for yet more bad copyright laws?

Walled Culture has noted various signs that the recorded music industry is thriving, particularly the streaming sector. That state of affairs has now been confirmed officially by the Global Music Report 2022 from the IFPI – the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry – which represents the global recording industry. Here’s the summary: In 2021, …

Why the snippet tax of the EU Copyright Directive is pointless and doomed to fail

The EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market contains two spectacularly bad ideas. One is the upload filter of Article 17, which will wreak havoc not just on creativity in the EU, but also on freedom of speech there, as algorithms block perfectly legal material. The other concerns the “snippet tax” of Article …

Copyright concentration continues: Amazon closes its $8.5 billion acquisition of MGM

There are few more famous studios in the history of cinema than MGM. Wikipedia describes its early days: MGM was formed by Marcus Loew by combining Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and Louis B. Mayer Pictures into a single company. It hired a number of well known actors as contract players – its slogan was “more …

Copyright is indispensable for artists, they say; but for all artists, or just certain kinds?

One of the central “justifications” for copyright is that it is indispensable if creativity is to be viable. Without it, we are assured, artists would starve. This ignores the fact that artists created and thrived for thousands of years before the 1710 Statute of Anne. But leaving that historical detail aside, as well as the …

How a minor copyright squabble changed the course of scientific history, and not for the better

Anyone who reads scientific papers has probably come across “p-values“. The Wikipedia entry explains the idea as follows: In null-hypothesis significance testing, the p-value is the probability of obtaining test results at least as extreme as the results actually observed, under the assumption that the null hypothesis is correct. A very small p-value means that …

TikTok gets into the music marketing and distribution business

Last month we wrote about an increasingly important trend of digital platforms becoming more involved in digital production. Here’s another striking example: TikTok, best known for its short-form mobile videos, featuring things like dance, jokes, stunts and tricks, has announced the launch of the SoundOn platform, “designed to empower new and undiscovered artists, helping them …

A further spate of lawsuits demonstrate how copyright is antithetical to creativity

It is established dogma in the church of copyright that the latter is an indispensable tool for promoting creativity. A couple of recent lawsuits against top musicians give the lie to that idea. Here’s one of them, reported on the Copyright Lately blog: On Tuesday, Dua Lipa was hit with a copyright complaint by Florida …

Time for the copyright world to stop attacking the Internet’s infrastructure

Despite the impossibility of stopping people making copies of digital material, the copyright industry continues to launch ever-more extreme legal actions against outside parties in a desperate attempt to do just that. For example, back in October, this blog reported on an attempt to force a CDN – content delivery network – to act as …

Will analogue academic textbooks be the next to move to the Spotify digital licensing model?

Last December, a post noted that Spotify is a rising digital giant, despite its lack of profitability. As well as representing a concentration of power – something seen across the online world – Spotify is a good example of another important trend that the shift from analogue to digital has made possible: the death of …

Donda 2 or dongle 2.0? Why Kanye West’s $200 album + Stem Player combo is a smart move

Kanye West has just carried out a fascinating copyright experiment. That probably wasn’t his intention when he released his eleventh studio album Donda 2, but the launch has nonetheless provided some interesting insights regarding the music sector. As he revealed earlier, Donda 2 is not on “Apple Amazon Spotify or YouTube“. Instead, it is only …