Posts in Law & Policy
Songs as Skills

Guest post by Benji Rogers Founder, dotBlockChain Media & Pledgemusic

“Alexa, please play the Moana soundtrack.”

That’s how my five-year-old daughter makes music play in our house (and yes, she says please).

Alexa then replies, “Now playing the soundtrack to the motion picture Moana by various artists on Spotify.”

Some version of this daily ritual is becoming more prevalent in households all over the world as voice control has become easier to use, and as Amazon, Google, and now Apple, march into the home.

What feeds the machine?

Twenty four years ago the music industry was blessed, or cursed depending on your point of view, with a digital music format called the MP3 (the WAV file format was introduced two years earlier). From that moment on music became files, and files go everywhere.

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Transparency is a hot topic this year in the music industry. With continued calls from creators for better compensation from streaming services, the legacy obfuscation by various intermediaries between consumers and creators appears to be in the crosshairs. The recent leak of the Sony-Spotify contract has only compounded the pleas for more fairness in the music industry, especially in a world where big data can track micro-payments and creators should be able to have greater access to information about who is listening to their music and how much it earns. What is really happening here?

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The Economics of Copyright

Copyright generates more than $1 trillion annually in revenue in the United States alone, and intellectual property activity contributes nearly 20% of America's GDP. Worldwide, copyright and creative works account for tens of trillions of dollars annually in economic activity, but in a in a world without borders for content, it's still amazing that copyright law remains a regional regime and very few are calling for global reform, or a substantive update to the Berne Convention

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A Perspective on the Complexities of Copyright and Creativity from a Victim of Infringement

Erin McKeown, a wonderful musician who has been very involved in some discussions on copyright and internet access — and who was especially helpful in the fight against SOPA — recently wrote the following thoughtful, heartfelt piece concerning the emotional roller coaster of having someone copy your work, and how all of this relates to copyright law.

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Culture vs. the Law: White House Encourages a SOPA/PIPA Middle Ground

This past Saturday, on January 14, 2012, the White House posted an official statement that it will not support SOPA or PIPA. These bills were crafted as a safeguard against the downloading and access of intellectual property without the U.S. copyright holder’s permission, specifically from foreign sites. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was written for the House of Representatives, with its counterpart Protect IP Act (PIPA) for the Senate. 

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