& Piracy in the Digital Age
The Attic, Parr Street
3rd May 2012
Panel - Joscelyn Upendran: Creative Commons, Maria Farrell: Open Rights
Group, Ian Prowse: Musician, Chair: Dan Lynch.
Unfortunately the 'Sharing and Caring' Pirate Party, who advocate for
more free content through things like reduced copyright and were booked
to take part in the panel, cried off and went to a Hue and Cry gig instead.
Therefore it was mainly people wanting to 'tighten up' the free for all
that the internet currently is speaking out.
I personally gave up buying CD's when I discovered that many record companies
like EMI invested their profits in the arms industries. That was over
20 years ago, before the free downloading frenzy was available so easily
I'm not sure people nowadays download for free due to feeling strongly
about cruise missiles but plenty of people have no concept of ever having
to pay for music and films. Is that maybe why there were more people documenting
the event than watching? It was in the plush surroundings of the
Attic on Parr Street that we listened to each individual speaker 'trying
to make sense of the digital age'.
Josceleyn Upendran explained how has six licenses in the public domain including 'non commercial',
which allows anyone to share unless it is for profit. It is about giving
creatives a choice on how to control their work. Josceleyn said people
do go out and buy what they've heard for free. Apparently Trent Reznor
of Nine Inch Nails released an album on Creative Commons in the US and
it went to the top of the charts.
Maria Farrell is lobbying Parliament as one of the 1,500 strong group
members. It was set up to make sure it's members are 'encouraged and properly
rewarded' for the work they do. We were informed that in a recent survey
when asked, 15% of people thought it was okay to download for free and
only 9% thought it was wrong after being told it was illegal!
Ian Prowse talked about how the old days of major record deals was over.
The goalposts have changed as, after you got a deal, you would get a publisher
and an agent but nowadays you can make music on laptops and get it on
YouTube, Spotify and itunes instantly. Ian felt strongly that he deserved
to get paid for his songs, which he feels are like his children."I
want to get paid, other people don't work for free".
He told us how record companies now take half the merchandising money,
own your websites and own some of the money made from adverts. Ian sees
the internet as a ''double edged sword for musicians..you have to be like
a business. There is a disruption of business models at the moment so
artists have to think of new ways of making money''.
Josceleyn said the UK collecting Society for Royalties is dysfunctional.
A documentary filmmaker in the audience explained how he had to pay £10,000
fees for five theatre showings when he used some clips of various artists'
Ian had also asked his record company not to put his new album on Spotify
for eight weeks as it affects record sales. They ignored his request and
put it up. He said "The splits need to be changed.To earn £1,000
on Spotify you need 4,000,000 plays".
There was some talk of ideas like 'Slice the Pie' for new bands. You
put a demo up online and ask your fans to pledge money to make an album.
If you get the cash you get the album made. The band Cast got fans to
pay for the making of their latest album.
The future? As free file share websites like Pirate Bay get the government
closing in on them I personally think there will always be more to take
it's place. I also feel that hackers like Anonymous will continue to hack
into websites to shut them down when they get ruffled over government
legislations. We are already seeing this happening regarding the Stop
Online Piracy Act (SOPA) where their website has been brought
down. We will just have to wait and see how this all unfolds.