Yet more examples of how copyright destroys culture rather than driving it [Updated]

One of the supposed justifications for the intellectual monopoly called copyright is that it drives creativity and culture. In the last few weeks alone we have had multiple demonstrations of why the opposite is true: copyright destroys culture, and not by accident, but wilfully. For example, the MTVNews.com site, along with its sister site CMT.com, …

First-mover advantage in the arts means copyright isn’t necessary to protect innovative creativity

One of the arguments sometimes made in defence of copyright is that without it, creators would be unable to compete with the hordes of copycats that would spring up as soon as their works became popular. Copyright is needed, supporters say, to prevent less innovative creators from producing works that are closely based on new, …

A French collecting society wants a tax on generative AI, payable to…collecting societies

Back in October last year, Walled Culture wrote about a proposed law in France that would see a tax imposed on AI companies, with the proceeds being paid to a collecting society. Now that the EU’s AI Act has been adopted, it is being invoked as another reason why just such a system should be …

How private equity has used copyright to cannibalise the past at the expense of the future

Walled Culture has been warning about the financialisation and securitisation of music for two years now. Those obscure but important developments mean that the owners of copyrights are increasingly detached from the creative production process. They regard music as just another asset, like gold, petroleum or property, to be exploited to the maximum. A Guest …

Of true fans and superfans: the rise of an alternative business model to copyright

One of the commonest arguments from supporters of copyright is that creators need to be rewarded and that copyright is the only realistic way of doing that. The first statement may be true, but the second certainly isn’t. As Walled Culture the book (free digital versions available) notes, most art was created without copyright, when …

Two important reasons for keeping AI-generated works in the public domain

Generative AI continues to be the hot topic in the digital world – and beyond. A previous blog post noted that this has led to people finally asking the important question whether copyright is fit for the digital world. As far as AI is concerned, there are two sides to the question. The first is …

A Swiftian solution to some of copyright’s problems

Copyright is generally understood to be for the benefit of two groups of people: creators and their audience. Given that modern copyright often acts against the interests of the general public – forbidding even the most innocuous sharing of copyright material online – copyright intermediaries such as publishers, recording companies and film studios typically place …

Good artists copy, great artists steal – and generative AI does the marketing for both

The attacks on generative AI started out claiming that it was all about protecting the creators whose works were being “stolen” in some mysterious way by virtue of software analysing them. In some cases, that high-minded stance has already degenerated into yet another scheme to pay collecting societies even more for doing next to nothing. …

Money talks in the world of copyright legislation, and that’s a big problem for ordinary Internet users

Copyright has always been about money. That’s why the copyright industry fights so hard to strengthen legal protections, in order to boost its profits. However, getting detailed information about how much money is involved, and who receives it, is hard, because there are so many small pieces to the overall copyright ecosystem. That makes a …

Brown noise spam is another reason why music streaming payments need a radical overhaul

There’s an interesting story on Wired about “functional music” – things like white noise and brown noise – which is widely available on music streaming platforms. These kind of streams are causing a problem that arises from the fact that the money earned by streaming platforms is allotted in a rather odd way. All the …

After publishers, now recording companies want to stop the Internet Archive from sharing culture

Back in March, Walled Culture wrote about the terrible ruling by US Judge John G. Koeltl that the Internet Archive’s Controlled Digital Lending programme was not a fair use. The Internet Archive has said that it will appeal against the ruling, but in the meantime it has jointly proposed with the publishers involved an agreement …

How long before all browsers are required by law to prevent users from opening allegedly infringing sites?

Mozilla’s Open Policy & Advocacy blog has news about a worrying proposal from the French government: In a well-intentioned yet dangerous move to fight online fraud, France is on the verge of forcing browsers to create a dystopian technical capability. Article 6 (para II and III) of the SREN Bill would force browser providers to …

Digital business models are changing: what are artists’ thoughts, hopes and fears in this new world?

The creative world is changing rapidly under the impact of digital technologies. That makes the lack of research into how creators are reacting to and working with new technology all the more urgent. One new report that helps to address that gap in our knowledge is The Networked Shift, available as a free download from …

Streaming services today sell musicians access to their own fans; SoundCloud shows a better way

Back in January, Walled Culture wrote about an interesting initiative by the German online audio distribution platform and music sharing service SoundCloud, with its Fan-Powered Royalties (FPR) approach. At the time, we noted that it was a kind of halfway house to the true fans idea this blog has promoted many times. We also pointed …

Ed Sheeran has won yet another copyright infringement case – and that’s outrageous

Ed Sheeran keeps on getting hit with accusations of copyright infringement. It’s partly his own fault, as he himself admits, reported here by the Guardian: in 2017, he settled out of court after songwriters of the Matt Cardle song Amazing claimed it had been copied by Sheeran for his song Photograph. Sheeran later said he …

Canadian musician Grimes shows how to embrace generative AI for fun and profit

Back in November last year, Walled Culture wrote about the growing panic in the copyright world as a result of generative AI programs writing music. Since then, the issue the entered the mainstream, not least with the following story, reported here by The New York Times: For Drake and the Weeknd, two of the most …

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