Peter's Original Post:
That was a great spread of information and personal stories about copyright in this digital age presented in the videos. Copyright is something that has been constantly with me through the years and something I’ve looked at closely in Australia and America. Being a songwriter I am constantly reminded of copyright issues as I consider the melodies I create and, as a performer, I am reminded of the idea of paying for what you use and respecting others work as I would have them respect mine.
Back in the early 90s I was a product demonstrator at Mac World in Sydney for a product that was the first version in what would be later known as Protools. I remember that there were two types of people coming to my stand. One type would be marveling at the technology available to manipulate sound to create new music, the other would be furious at those same abilities used to steal other’s creations (or manipulate their songs without permission). I had more than one person literally screaming at my Mac II and me that I was the beginning of the end of music and should be ashamed at my part in it.
I think it affected me so much that, since that time (until Garageband and even then I try to only use percussion and add my own live instruments) I would create my own percussion loops rather than sample someone else’s songs even though I had the gear to do it.
That’s why the Good Copy/Bad Copy video was quite personal to me and those same issues that faced me twenty years ago are still being faced around the world.
As a registered songwriter in Australia I still receive a very small amount of money every year from the performing rights association, not for the royalties of my music being played on TV or radio but from an amount that is paid to this same association (and then distributed to its members) by the Chinese government because they do not keep records of the sale, distribution or airplay of copyrighted music. This is one way in which governments are recognizing their responsibilities to artists but it does nothing to change the situation in that country.
I also loved the list of Brad Templeton’s copyright myths. I have heard every one of those come from the mouths of friends, colleagues and people who claim to be in the know and some of them very recently. Certainly number one is huge. Even though copyright is automatic, however, it’s easier to take someone to court if you have a piece of paper from the copyright office rather than a self addressed, sealed envelope with your CD and a fading postmark to prove that your wrote it and when.
I have to say, a positive thing about the course we are doing is that this knowledge about copyright and where to find creative commons and public domain material is going to help save us (and/or our bank accounts) in this digital age as we continue to create materials to help us deliver more effective education to our classes. We don’t know where it’s going to end up or who’s going to see so we better have all the creative bits locked down legally.