Copyright

Facebook Takes Aim at the ‘Value Gap’

Facebook is developing a system to automatically identify copyrighted works posted to its massive social network similar to YouTube’s Content ID system, according to a report in the Financial Times (here’s Billboard’s rewrite of the paywalled FT story).

Word of the move comes just weeks after an op-ed by National Music Publishers Association head David Isrealite appeared in Billboard calling on Facebook to address a growing infringement problem on the network, particularly with respect to user-posted videos featuring cover versions of songs that were never properly licensed from the publisher.

“In a recent snapshot search of 33 of today’s top songs, NMPA identified 887 videos using those songs with over 619 million views, which amounts to an average of nearly 700,000 views per video,” Isrealite wrote. “In reality, the scope of the problem is likely much greater because, due to privacy settings on Facebook, it’s almost impossible to gauge the true scale.”

Up to now, Facebook has generally fallen back on the DMCA safe harbor to deal with copyrighted work posted without a license to its platform, removing infringing material when requested by a rights owner but not actively policing copyrighted content uploaded to its platform. According to Billboard, however, Facebook has begun discussions with the major record companies about licensing content directly, although those talks are apparently in the early stages.

Facebook actually rolled out a tool called Rights Manager last year to help rights owners keep their copyrighted works off the network, but that system was mainly designed to address the problem of video “freebooting,” in which Facebook users take videos from YouTube and other sources and post them to their walls, often generating millions of views without compensation to the rights owner.

According to this week’s published reports, the new system is aimed more at policing music use on the platform, and seems driven at least in part by Facebook’s desire to avoid the sort of sustained, naming-and-shaming campaign the music industry has mounted against YouTube over the so-called value gap.

What’s not clear from the published reports is what Facebook has in mind for what to do about the unlicensed content the new system identifies. But here’s hoping it doesn’t follow YouTube’s example too slavishly.

YouTube’s Content ID essentially offers rights owners a binary choice: take the content down, or leave it up and let YouTube run ads against it on terms set by YouTube. What YouTube doesn’t really offer rights owners is a means to effectively engage with users who are viewing or posting the content.

Facebook has an opportunity to offer rights owners a much richer environment to engage with music fans. If someone has gone to the trouble of covering your song and making a video of it, they’re probably a fan. And when they post it publicly on their Facebook wall you know exactly who they are. Even if the user shares the content only with his or her friends, Facebook knows who they are and it knows a lot about who their friends and other connections are.

More important, Facebook has the means to allow artists to engage directly with those fans and potential fans. Such engagement may have limited appeal to songwriters and publishers, but it could prove to be a boon to recording artists and labels by literally putting a face on their fans.

Even for songwriters and publishers, the type and volume of data Facebook’s new system could potentially yield on how, where, and how often their content is being consumed could be valuable.

In short, Facebook has a chance to bridge the value gap by offering rights owners more choices than simply take-down or hand-me-down monetization.

 

EU proposals could see news publishers paid by Google and Facebook 

News publishers would have stronger rights to demand payment from digital giants such as Google and Facebook in exchange for using their content, under proposed European rules that are designed to shore up the collapsing revenues of traditional media companies.

The measures are part of a series of reforms that the European commission plans to put out to consultation in September. They are designed to strengthen the rights of those who create and invest in original content, from authors and musicians to record labels, broadcasters and publishers.

Source: EU proposals could see news publishers paid by Google and Facebook | Technology | The Guardian

In Copyright Law, Computers and Robots Don’t Count

A century ago, the cutting edge in artistic robotics was the player piano. The Supreme Court heard a player-piano case in 1908 and held that the paper rolls “read” by the player pianos weren’t infringing. The rolls, Justice William Day reasoned, “[c]onvey[] no meaning, then, to the eye of even an expert musician.” Instead, they “form a part of a machine. … They are a mechanical invention made for the sole purpose of performing tunes mechanically upon a musical instrument.” The anthropocentrism is unmistakable. I’ve cataloged many different settings where copyright law finds ways to overlook copying as long as no humans are in the loop.

On the one hand, this makes perfect sense. Copyright is designed to encourage human creativity for human audiences. If a book falls in a forest and no one reads it, does it make an infringement? It seems like the only sensible answer is “No harm, no foul.” On the other hand, there’s something strange about a rule that tells technologists just to turn the robots loose. It encourages uses that don’t have much to do with human aesthetics while discouraging uses that do.

Source: In Copyright Law, Computers and Robots Don’t Count

Blockai’s new tool combines tweeting and claiming copyright 

Blockai is supposed to help photographers and artists defend their intellectual property. Now it’s launching a new feature to make that process easier — or at least better-integrated with Twitter.

Previously, Blockai users would go to the startup’s website to upload their work, creating a record in a public database (namely, the blockchain) stating that they’re the creator. However, CEO Nathan Lands said, “We don’t imagine artists are sitting on Blockai all day,” so it’s also trying to integrate with other tools, starting with Twitter.

Source: Blockai’s new tool combines tweeting and claiming copyright | TechCrunch

This Kobalt-managed fund has spent $200m on music rights in 5 years

Kobalt Music Group, the company that’s relentlessly disrupted the music industry since launching at the turn of the Millennium, is still very much based on the principle that its clients – across publishing, label services and neighbouring rights – get to retain their own copyrights.

“Kobalt’s mission has always been to take the music industry into the digital age as a service provider to rights-owners,” Kobalt CEO Ahdritz (pictured) tells MBW. “That’s what we are and what we always have been.”

Source: This Kobalt-managed fund has spent $200m on music rights in 5 years – Music Business Worldwide

So… do new artists really need to sign to a record label? 

Kobalt boss Willard Ahdritz has never been shy about proclaiming his company’s model – that of artists and writers holding onto their own copyrights – as the future of the music business.

Now a new film from The Economist delves into the pros and cons of musicians disregarding the traditional label deal – ie. receiving advance money in exchange for a lifelong portion of their royalties.

Source: So… do new artists really need to sign to a record label? – Music Business Worldwide

YouTube: 50% of Music Biz’s Revenue on Site Comes From Content ID 

The music industry has been complaining that YouTube doesn’t do enough to combat piracy. But Google says record labels are making millions from YouTube’s Content ID copyright-flagging system, and that the process is used 50 times more frequently than DMCA takedown notices.

In a report released Wednesday, “How Google Fights Piracy,” the Internet giant says that when music companies find copyrighted material they own on YouTube with Content ID, they choose to monetize more than 95% of those claims by opting to leave the content up on the platform to generate advertising (rather than blocking it). Indeed, 50% of the music industry’s YouTube revenue comes from fan content claimed via Content ID, according to Google.

Source: YouTube: 50% of Music Biz’s Revenue on Site Comes From Content ID | Variety

LBRY Wants to be the HTTP and DNS for Digital Content

disaster500Since the days of Napster, rights owners have bemoaned the tendency for illegitimate sources of content to crowd out legitimate sources online. “You can’t compete with free,” is the age-old cry.

But a blockchain-based startup called LBRY believes it has come up with an approach to distributing digital content that could re-balance those scales.

Wagging Music Publishing’s Long Tail

Bill ColitreLast week’s announcement that the U.S. Copyright Office had successfully accepted a bulk submission of notices of intent (NOIs) for compulsory mechanical licenses in electronic form marked a major milestone, both for the Office and for Music Reports Inc., which delivered the NOIs on behalf of music streaming service Guvera.

Music Reports has been working with the Copyright Office for more than a decade as part of the Office’s fitful, and at times halfhearted, effort to upgrade the creaky, pre-digital process for submitting and accessing music publishing information to at least 20th century standards if not quite 21st. Last week’s successful test run on the Office’s new, electronic submission system, involving about 100 tracks, is believed to be the first such hand-off.

“We’re now ready to start doing this at scale. It’s a big, big step,” Music Report’s VP and general counsel Bill Colitre told RightsTech.com.

But it was only one step toward solving what Colitre says is a much bigger problem: the vast and fast-growing amount of music being released on digital platforms today for which publishing information is not available, if it was ever collected in the first place.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter!
Get the latest RightsTech news and analysis delivered directly in your inbox every week
We respect your privacy.