|FRIDAY 24 FEBRUARY 2017||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Google has used the occasion of Fair Use Week to call on Australia to expand its narrower concept of 'fair dealing' into something more like America's fair use system; while US think tank the International Center For Law & Economics questioned the motives of those relentlessly bigging up fair use, for example by staging a thing called Fair Use Week... [READ MORE]|
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Google says we need more 'fair use', but ex-RIAA man isn't so sure
So yes, this has been Fair Use Week, a programme of events backed by an assortment of universities, libraries and lobbying groups, mainly in North America, designed to celebrate those elements of copyright law that allow people to legally make use of copyright material without a licence in certain scenarios, usually for educational, creative or journalistic, or maybe just practical, reasons.
Google has used the occasion to call on Australia to expand its narrower concept of 'fair dealing' into something more like America's fair use system; while US think tank the International Center For Law & Economics questioned the motives of those relentlessly bigging up fair use, for example by staging a thing called Fair Use Week.
Google's Senior Copyright Counsel William Patry was talking up fair use to newspaper The Australian. Such things are newsworthy in Australia just now because, as previously reported, the country's Productivity Commission last year produced a report for the Australian government proposing an expansion of so called copyright exceptions. That could possibly mean Australian copyright law, which currently has the narrower concept of fair dealing - like in the UK - adopting something more like fair use in America.
That would be a very fine development, says Patry, because current copyright rules in Australia hinder innovation and productivity. "We think Australians are just as innovative as Americans, but the laws are different", he told the paper. "And those laws dictate that commercially we act in a different way. Our search function, which is the basis of the entire company, is authorised in the US by fair use. You don't have anything like that here".
Arguing that, while companies like Google can do business in Australia, they couldn't base all their operations there, because of the country's copyright rules, Patry went on: "The Australian government should amend the Copyright Act 1968 to replace the current fair dealing exceptions with a broad exception for fair use. The new exception should contain a clause outlining that the objective of the exception is to ensure Australia's copyright system targets only those circumstances where infringement would undermine the ordinary exploitation of a work at the time of the infringement".
Meanwhile, over at the International Center For Law & Economics back in the US, Neil Turkewitz - who worked at the Recording Industry Association Of America for nearly three decades - and is now Senior Policy Counsel For IP & Digital Economy at the think tank, reckons that companies like Google too often embrace the concept of 'fair use' less because they care about copyright hindering creative expression, and more so they can make use of copyright material at minimal cost.
In a blog post on Medium, Turkewitz wrote: "In honour of Fair Use Week, let's begin by unmasking the false premise underlying much of the celebration of fair use - that is, that the basic objective of the copyright system is to achieve a balance between the 'public interest' on the one hand, and the interest of private copyright owners on the other. In this formulation, the 'public' interest is exclusively defined as the ability to get copyrighted materials as cheaply as possible, with free obviously being the best option".
Criticising groups that advocate stronger fair use rights - like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge - he goes on: "They say that they care about 'creativity' and that fair use is critical to the interests of society. Copyright owners agree, but unlike most declared champions of fair use, not only do we care about creativity as an abstract concept, but we actually care about creators and preserving the creative process".
Insisting that copyright owners recognise that certain exceptions are required for creative and practical reasons, he continues: "We recognise that the creative process indeed is an evolutionary one, and that present creators draw upon past expression for inspiration. But standing on the shoulders of giants doesn't require misappropriation, and anyone who tells you differently is selling something".
He then explains that fair use in the US actually has two distinct elements to it. Copyright limitations are excluded for: [a] "truly transformative uses given the understanding that the production of cultural and literary artefacts reflects the past and borrows from earlier expression"; and [b] "certain consumptive uses that are deemed to have marginal economic impact on the copyright owner". He argues that the fair use brigade often use the former to get public support, but then push for more exceptions in the latter category.
"Many of those that celebrate fair use draw upon the sympathetic environment for considering expressive/transformative uses (ie the use of protected materials in reporting, commentary, satire, parody or the production of new creative works), but apply them to consumptive uses that lack social value", he writes. "This results in championing economic inefficiency while using the language of freedom".
Turkewitz concludes by arguing that while it's right that fair use protects new creators inspired by previous creations, that's of no value if it stops new creators from being able to live off what they create.
"How about 'sustaining creativity week?'", he proposes at the end of his blog. "If we can succeed in allowing creators to earn a living from their craft, we will have greatly advanced the public interest, and produced a wealth of accessible cultural materials that enrich present and future generations. Now that would be something to celebrate".
Anyway, whichever Fair Use Week wrap party you decided to attend, I hope it's inspirational but not too infringing.
As Live Nation sees yet more impressive growth in 2016, analyst ponders whether Amazon Tickets will have a future impact
Though ahead of those figures, one analyst wondered whether - even if technology can't hurt live entertainment - what about a technology company? In terms of revenue growth in particular, Live Nation's ticketing business does more than its fair share, and - as previously reported - ticketing is an area where Amazon now has some pretty big ambitions.
To that end, BTIG analyst Brandon Ross earlier this week assessed whether Amazon could cause a slow down in Live Nation's impressive growth once it starts to properly roll out its ticketing business - which it has piloted here in the UK - worldwide.
His analysis noted some of the features that could help Amazon succeed in the incredibly competitive ticketing business, not least the fact it can target more casual consumers amongst this massive existing userbase, especially in the US, bundling tickets with other entertainment products. Though, at the same time, he conceded that Live Nation retains a big advantage in being artist manager, concert promoter and venue operator as well as a major ticketing platform.
To that end, Ross concluded that Amazon does not present a "near-time risk" to Live Nation's Ticketmaster business, but could nevertheless pose a long-term threat. That, in no small part Ross reckoned, depended on Amazon's ability to break into the US ticketing market. It's by no means assured Amazon can do that - given the synergies across the Live Nation business, not to mention the growing ticketing operations of its rival AEG - but the retail firm's big move into ticket-selling is definitely something to closely monitor in the coming years.
Though, actually, over at Live Nation, it's really Ticketmaster's secondary ticketing business that is scoring the most impressive growth figures, so it could probably take a hit on primary sales and still continue to grow overall.
This explains the live firm's persistence in the ticket resale sector despite the PR challenges it creates, given the growing animosity towards the big bad touts - and their enablers - within the artist community. Indeed, many artists, managers and indie promoters would argue that the live sector is, actually, "threatened by technology", because of the boom it has enabled in touting. But for Live Nation even that has "elevated" the business.
Pandora launches ad personalisation tools
The deal provides tools to serve advertising based on gender, age and postcode, with additional variables including user location, time of day and weather. Ads can also be delivered sequentially, telling a 'brand story' over a number of ad spots, which A Million Ads reckons is more effective than just immediately running out and shouting, "Buy our stuff, you shits!" It apparently works much better if you go "hello!" - song - "you shits!" - song - "buy our stuff". Let's just hope no one is out of the room during the first two spots.
"This is a natural extension of the best-in-class personalisation we bring to the music listening experience on Pandora every day", says the firm's Chief Revenue Officer John Trimble. "Our massive data set, combined with A Million Ads' ability to deliver tailored, data-driven audio creative in real-time, gives us yet another way to help advertisers unlock the power of audio".
A Million Ads CEO Steve Dunlop adds: "As the industry leader, Pandora sets the bar for digital audio advertising and consistently offers marketers solutions that harness the power of music to effectively reach millions of consumers. Together, we will revolutionise what listeners experience from an ad-supported music streaming experience and deliver new dynamic and personalised ways to capture attention and drive ROI for advertisers".
Concerned that the official press release had gone out without enough clichés in it, Pandora's VP Revenue Operations also got on the phone to Ad Week and screamed "PERSONALISATION IS IN OUR DNA" before dancing off into the sunset, pleased with a job done well.
Pandora has written a blog post about all of this, if that's the sort of thing that gets you off.
UTA to host rally for civil liberties and refugees in place of Oscars party today
Explaining that decision in an email to staff earlier this month, CEO Jeremy Zimmer said: "On Sunday morning I was up early reading the paper. I read a few sad stories about Syrian refugees, then more stories about the impact of the 'non-ban/ban' on immigration. My next task was to go through my contacts and make sure the list for our Oscar party included everyone. Eventually, my eyes landed on the name of our client Asghar Farhadi".
"As everyone knows, Asghar is nominated again this year for his extraordinary work, 'The Salesman'", he continued. "Yet he will not be making the trip from Tehran to Los Angeles in protest of the proposed ban on travel to the US from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Staring at our invite list, I shook my head at Asghar's situation. Then I realised: It's not 'his' situation; it's our situation. UTA has always been a family - our artists, our buyers, our colleagues. This is essential to who we are as a company. And, now is a time to be true to our DNA and stand up for our family and the issues we face across our society".
So in place of a big Oscars knees up, UTA will block off the street outside its Beverly Hills HQ at 3pm this afternoon for the 'United Voices' rally. The event will feature speakers from the worlds of politics and entertainment, plus performances from artists on the UTA roster.
On top of the $250,000 handed to the ACLU and IRC by UTA, the event will also be raising further funds. Those unable to attend can add some money to the pot here.
Ride release first single for 20 years
"'Charm Assault' is a pretty straightforward expression of frustration and disgust at the people who currently run our country", says frontman Andy Bell. "The [reunion] tour in 2015 was a good way of reminding us what we were good at in the first place and 'Charm Assault' feels like a natural continuation from our peak. When we started writing together again we tried to imagine we'd kept on making music all this time, and this was just the latest one".
Erol Alkan adds: "'Nowhere' and 'Going Blank Again' were big records for me and my friends when we were growing up. I've vaguely known Andy for a few years through his brother-in-law but we didn't actually meet until a couple of years back. I had an email from them asking if I'd like to collaborate with the band, and once I'd heard the demos, I was 100% in. Andy's very well versed in electronic music, so we had a common bond in that as well as alternative music. The new music contains all the great elements you want from Ride - great songs, loud guitars, beautiful harmonies, powerful rhythms".
Arca announces gory new album
"Here's my voice and all my guts: feel free to judge it", says Arca of the album. "It's like a bullfight: you're watching emotional violence for pleasure. So this is a character who, almost as a mockery of the transaction, goes uncomfortably deep, into self-mutilation. 'You want gore? Here's gore'".
I'm not sure I do want gore, but let's see. Here's the first track to be released from it, 'Piel'.
The album release will be followed by Arca's biggest headline show to date, at the Roundhouse in Camden on 28 Apr. Tickets for that are available now.
The Bug and Earth announce collaborative album
"Dylan's a master at amplifying the flavour of America, but not the side we see in this Trump climate", says Martin of working with Carlson. "The American dream is like a nightmare under Trump [but Dylan captures the] best side of that dream, a utopian openness. I hear the writing of Cormac McCarthy in his music. His playing conjures deserts, and wide open spaces".
The newly minted duo will be playing a few live shows in April too, hitting Heaven in London on 12 Apr and the Belgrave Music Hall in Leeds on 13 Apr.
Rihanna named Harvard's Humanitarian Of The Year
"Rihanna has charitably built a state-of-the-art centre for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados", said Harvard Foundation director S Allen Counter, explaining the decision to give Rihanna the prize.
"She has also created the Clara and Lionel Foundation Scholarship Program [named for her grandmother and grandfather] for students attending college in the US from Caribbean countries, and supports the Global Partnership For Education and Global Citizen Project, a multi-year campaign that will provide children with access to education in over 60 developing countries, giving priority to girls and those affected by lack of access to education in the world today".
So, yeah, that's quite a lot of stuff isn't it? I gave someone a tenner for Movember though, so let's not forget that.
Past winners of Havard's humanitarian accolade include youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, anti-child labour activist Kailash Satyarthi, and no less than four UN Secretaries General - Ban Ki-moon, Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Javier Pérez de Cuéllar.
Rihanna will accept her prize at Harvard's Sanders Theatre on Tuesday.
Lana Del Rey, Frank Ocean, Future, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Lana Del Rey has tweeted a mysterious sequence of dates. "At the stroke of midnight Feb 24, March 26, April 24, May 23", she writes. "Ingredients can b found online". Well, the first has passed now and nothing obviously Del Rey has happened. It seems she was actually trying to get us all involved in this campaign to cast spells on Donald Trump.
• Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean and Migos have released new track 'Slide'. Listen on Spotify here.
• Future has released a video for 'Draco' off his new album (the one he released last week, not the one that's out today).
• Zedd and Alessia Cara have released a new track together, 'Stay'.
• Anohni has released the video for latest single, 'Paradise'.
• At The Drive-In have announced that they will release their first album for seventeen years, titled 'Interalia', on 5 May. From it, this is 'Incurably Innocent'.
• Girl Ray have made available a new song, 'Stupid Things', which will be officially released in April.
• Coheed & Cambria will play Koko in London on 18 Jun, performing their 'Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV' album in full.
• If you've ever wondered what you might look like with an untended bleeding nose, Andrew WK has released his own smartphone app.
CMU Beef Of The Week #344: Falling House v Left Shark
It was the year when the UK didn't accidentally vote itself out of the greatest political union in human history. And when Donald Trump was still the comic outsider for even the Republican nomination, let alone the US presidency itself. But the greatest thing about 2015 was Left Shark. Left Shark really highlighted the innocence of the time.
Katy Perry was the headline performer at that year's Super Bowl halftime show, but it was really Left Shark's night. During one section of the performance, behind Perry on stage stood dancers dressed as palm trees, beach balls, surf boards and, of course, two sharks. One of them - Right Shark - stuck to the rules and did the dance moves they had rehearsed in time with the music. Some of the time Left Shark also did that, though Left Shark also spent parts of the performance flailing around out of time or simply wandering off looking lost.
The performance could be seen as an allegory for those times, really. Everything was brightly coloured and idealistic. And when one rebellious little shark went against the commonly agreed rules of the day, it was edgy and exciting, or at least somewhat amusing.
Then came Falling House - the Left Shark that 2017 deserves.
Katy Perry's performance at this year's BRIT Awards could be seen as an allegory for these times we find ourselves in now. Mainly because that's exactly what it was supposed to be. The Katy Perry of 2015 was an optimistic, bugglegum popstar who literally once released an album that smelled of candy floss. The Katy Perry of 2017 is disillusioned with the world, penning songs about how you've all let everything go to shit, probably because you were distracted listening to bubblegum pop.
The BRITs stage set mimicked that of her Super Bowl show two years previously. Except this time there were no bright colours or smiling palm trees. She arrived on stage dressed in dark purple, lost in a see of identikit white houses. Later, giant skeleton effigies of Theresa May and Donald Trump danced for a room of drunken music industry executives.
Like all those fun, cartoon-like props of 2015, the houses were not just there to dress the stage. Each contained a dancer, who got up and swayed ominously, to further drive home how doomed we all truly are.
Then disaster struck. Like Left Shark before them, one of the houses went on an impromptu wander part way through the performance. But it was not a fun wander, like when Left Shark did it. This dancer going off script couldn't just be enjoyed as a delightful break from an otherwise carefully honed performance. Oh no, this was much more sinister, as the wandering house crashed off the stage leaving you shouting, "Shit! I hope that dancer's career isn't destroyed now that they've got two broken legs!"
Thankfully, a rep for the BRITs has since insisted that the house - or, more importantly, the legs inside it - are all fine. But is that really the point? Ultimately, who cares if the house was OK? No one, because no one in 2017 cares about anyone.
These are dark times, where we may never see the like of Left Shark again. Little did we know back in 2015 that one happy-go-lucky rebellious dancing shark would come to symbolise the end of something special. Perhaps the end of many things. Perhaps the end of everything. Because today, we are all Falling House.