Originally Posted by rkomar
I can see that digital sampling in music probably should cause copyright regulations to be revisited in that industry, but I still don't see how cheap and easy production/distribution should affect copyright terms in the book business, since it seems that very little of the business is based on creating derivative works. However, that's my problem. Thanks for explaining.
I'm not sure what if any copyright reforms would be needed for ebooks (VAT on the other hand...) however other forms of creative content I can see some easy examples.
Take music. At the moment if I hear a song on the radio or a cd, I can play my own version of that song (cover) and go sell it on iTunes (assuming I was good enough, which I assure you I am not
To do the above legally, I just need to inform the artist I'm covering their song and using a mandatory mechanical license, which they cannot refuse. Then I pay them something like 9 cents per copy I sell*
However, the internet has brought about amateurs wanting to record themselves and let the world here them _for free_. Amateurs from the beginners to quite accomplished musicians who want to record their playing or singing and pop it on youtube with no commercial motives.
That's where the problems begin. Under existing copyright laws, each view regardless of the fact you're giving it away, would require a payment of the mechanical license rate, but worse than that, because you've video'd your performance you also need a sync license and those cannot be forcefully obtained at a fixed price. Instead you'll find artists demanding 5-15 thousand dollars for a sync license.
People are just ignoring those laws and posting their non commercial playing on youtube anyway. Google is trying to give the copyright holders ad revenue if they flag such content rather than take it down, but neither of these options is a good one imo.
Sync licenses should be obtainable in a similar forceable way as mechanical licenses if the video is to go with a cover and ideally no fees should be required if the result is freely distributed and not used in a commercial way.
Now, when it comes to taking an existing piece of music and using it as a backing track, again if it's non-commercial, I think there should be a way to either license the usage for free or a small amount. If the usage is in any way commercial such as sold or used for promotional purposes, then you pay the asking price and recoup it through the course of business or find other music.
I don't have a solution, but I do think copyright in general needs revisiting and the exceptions for when you can/cannot legally do something need revising to account for ways the public would like to use material that would not have adverse impact on the content producers.
tl;dr it's legally more viable for me to record my own version of a popular song and sell it on itunes than it is for me to record myself practicing a popular song and show it off to people for free on youtube. Seems backwards.
* I'm not 100% on the exact amounts of payment but ball park that's good enough for this example.
** I'm not a lawyer so this entire post could be a total fabrication, besides which it's not written on paper so isn't real and if it's isn't real advise then I didn't really give it so no attempt to blame me if it's totally wrong