A Challenge To Chris Castle – Chris – Who Do You Really Serve?

Chris Castle is a Lawyer who specializes in the Music Industry. Of the many lawyers who weigh in on copyright issues, Chris is the one I have the most respect for. Chris admits up front that he has a strong economic interest in the issue, unlike Barry Sookman, James Gannon, or Richard Owens, who pretend that they do all of their writing out of the goodness of their hearts.

While I respect Chris’ honesty, I often disagree with him on cultural and policy issues. One of Chris’s most recent blog posts bothered me. He misrepresents several things, and he shows a misunderstanding of what is really going on. I did leave a comment on the blog, but Chris has this habit of not approving of comments that he disagrees with, and since most of my comments point out the defects of his arguments, they invariably aren’t approved.

Ah, but Chris, I have my own blog. And after I post this, I’ll drop back by Chris’ blog, and let him know I’ve published this. He can then approve my comment or not. It will be interesting seeing what he does. Note that I’ve changed some things. I’ve learned a bit about Chris in the meantime (I wasn’t aware that he was a musician), and I’ve also thought through some of my arguments further.

Chris’ article is titled Ducks come to the Congress: Google finally shows up to answer for “aiding and abetting theft”

OK Chris – in your opinion. But first – you need to stop lying. Copyright infringement isn’t theft under the statutes of the United States or Canada, and it never will be. The RIAA, the MPAA, the CRIA, and all their member companies would fight any attempt to make copyright infringement theft to the death, because they are the biggest infringers. They aren’t going to take any chance with having their management wearing orange jumpsuits in San Quentin.

Second, – you’ve already admitted that your opinion doesn’t count. You are not a creator. You are a lawyer. You might be a musician of sorts. The claim is on your website. I don’t know. You have a bunch of claims there which cannot be verified. And let’s face it. If you aren’t an artist your opinion is useless.

Until Google decides to drop Music-Tech-Policy in their search results, at which time you’ll scream your fool head off when your visits disappear.

As a creator I’m perfectly happy to have Google help people find me. This is helped by the simple fact that there appears to be only one Wayne Borean in the entire world, or at least only one that Google knows about. Try it. Search on my name. You’ll end up at my site almost all of the time, and at a site one step away the rest of the time.

Search Engines are the best thing that the rise of the internet brought. They are gradually freeing artists from the entertainment conglomerates. Of course this will also free artists from entertainment lawyers to a large extent, which probably explains why you, Barry Sookman, Richard Owens, et al are fighting such an intense retrograde action against artist freedom.

The futurist in me is still working on putting this all together. Right now I have:

  1. No book stores in five years (except for antiquarians)
  2. Death of most of the publishing houses around the same time, maybe a bit later.
  3. Death of most of the large record labels in 5-10 years
  4. Growth of small specialty publishers (high quality, author signed books, collectors items)
  5. Growth of small recording labels to fill the same niche
  6. Growth of low budget video production companies with high quality capabilities will damage the MPAA in the next 5 years. See Star Wreck, Sita Sings the Blues, and Nasty Old People for examples. MPAA to fragment, member companies mostly dead in 25 years.
  7. Growth of digital delivery systems for all types of content, and other things. CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, Software, Books, Photos, Videos, Music, Art, Cartoons, Design Data, Telemedecine (long distance surgery using Waldos), 3D Printer Designs, literally the sky is the limit.
  8. The Death of the United States as a major financial cultural force in 15 years.

Now there are a series of implications tied into those projections. The other English speaking countries will see a flowering of culture. The United States will also see a flowering of culture, but it won’t be controlled by the corporations, instead it will be controlled by the artists. While the overall spending on culture will drop, the amount earned by the artists will climb substantially even though there will be an increased number of working artists, because the parasitic losses caused by the large profit driven corporations, the legal profession, and other hangers on who provide no additional value will no longer exist.

Artists will lobby Congress for laws protecting them against corporate control, like we are already doing in Canada, with our request that Copyright be made non-transferable except by inheritance. If a corporation wishes to use a copyrighted work, they can lease it for a limited period of time, with no automatic renewals allowed, putting artists in the drivers seat.

After all, this is all about the artists, isn’t it Chris. I distinctly remember you saying that the artists need to be protected. Here’s a way to do it. Why don’t you lobby your congressman or woman to enact it?

Of course I know that you won’t. I can guarantee that you won’t. You aren’t really interested in the welfare of the artists. You are interested in your own financial welfare first, and putting control in the hands of the artists, would lessen their need for your expertise.

Curiously though you are the one lawyer who could do well out of this. Because you do represent artists. Think about it.

Regards

Wayne Borean

Saturday April 9, 2011

 

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5 thoughts on “A Challenge To Chris Castle – Chris – Who Do You Really Serve?

  1. Wayne

    I think retail channel will shrink for many years, there is a need for the ability to buy something fast rather than wait for it to arrive a few days later. I doubt the bricks are going to completely disappear, sometimes they are very convenient.

    Otherwise, I believe you are the money about artist slowly gaining control via the Internet from the Labels. And as connection speeds increase I agree more content will be downloaded.

    1. But that’s why you go electronic – to get immediate delivery. No need to wait. No need to even leave your house. Far more efficient than a brick and mortar store.

      And it’s green. You aren’t burning fuel to reach the store, or for the delivery vehicle.

      Wayne

  2. Wow, I seriously disagree with everything in your post. These are seriously weak arguments that do not pose any kind of challenge to Chris Castle.

    “If you aren’t an artist your opinion is useless.”

    I take people’s opinions based on the weight of their arguments, and Chris Castle makes very articulate arguments.

    “Search Engines are the best thing that the rise of the internet brought. ”

    Search engines are great, but Google’s entire business model is based on content creators giving away their stuff while Google profits. Surely Google should be smart enough to figure out a way to profit from a search engine without ripping off content creators? Evidently not, so far.

    It’s ridiculous that you would call Chris Castle’s work “an intense retrograde action against artist freedom”. He doesn’t claim that people should not be free to give away their work. He just doesn’t want it to be compulsory that they give away their work for Google’s profit. If you think that is an artists choice whether to give away their work for Google’s profit, read http://musictechpolicy.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/news-from-the-goolag-as-evil-as-they-wanna-be-does-google-adsense-drive-piracy/

    You say “Why don’t you lobby your congressman or woman”. I think raising public awareness of this issue is important so I’m glad he’s doing what he’s doing. And lobbying congresspersons is not exactly an easy task when the tech companies are spending so much on lobbying them.

    Your list of ‘futurist’ predictions are particularly laughable. I’ll deal with 4 thru 7:

    “4. Growth of small specialty publishers (high quality, author signed books, collectors items)”

    You seem to be pushing the same tired old “give away digital goods and sell physical goods” nonsense that Google pays so many proxy organizations to propagate.

    “5. Growth of small recording labels to fill the same niche”

    Are you imagining they are going to get by on only physical goods? Nobody is going to invest in music unless they can get some kind of profit from their investment and the primary product with music is completely digitizable. Ever heard of a venture capitalist investing in music? No. Ever heard of a venture capitalist investing in a platform to give people’s stuff away for free or nearly free? Yes, of course you have, because it happens all the time.

    Guess what. Every time someone like you propagates the myth that it’s totally fine for tech companies to rip off content creators because they give us goodies like search engines (which they can’t seem to be able to monetize without piracy) a venture capitalist has a little chuckle about how incredibly stupid the public is. And then he trots off and counts his money.

    “6. Growth of low budget video production companies with high quality capabilities will damage the MPAA in the next 5 years. See Star Wreck, Sita Sings the Blues, and Nasty Old People for examples. MPAA to fragment, member companies mostly dead in 25 years.”

    How are these low budget video production companies going to pay their grocery bills, housing costs, health insurance? The only thing that currently makes money is some guy yelling at a video camera (e.g. ridiculously low production costs – even your ‘low budget’ vision of the future can’t cater for that if there is more than one person involved in the production).

    “7. Growth of digital delivery systems for all types of content, and other things. CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, Software, Books, Photos, Videos, Music, Art, Cartoons, Design Data, Telemedecine (long distance surgery using Waldos), 3D Printer Designs, literally the sky is the limit.”

    Without monetization, content will wither and die. It isn’t held up by magic.

    You really have some strong convictions about Chris Castle’s ulterior motives which I simply don’t get from reading musictechnologypolicy.com:

    “Of course I know that you won’t. I can guarantee that you won’t. You aren’t really interested in the welfare of the artists. You are interested in your own financial welfare first, and putting control in the hands of the artists, would lessen their need for your expertise.”

    Sure, if the creative industries die, he would have less work. But frankly I’m glad he’s doing what he’s doing. And the fact that he’s doing what he’s doing does NOT mean that he’s doing it only to sustain his own work.

    And when you say “putting control in the hands of the artists” – that SHOULD mean the artists ability to decide how their work is used, to decide whether they want to sell it or license it to advertisers, BUT currently Google decides all of that for the artists. So what control would they have? None, when it comes to monetization. Again, if you think that artists DO have a choice about what happens to their stuff, go and read http://musictechpolicy.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/news-from-the-goolag-as-evil-as-they-wanna-be-does-google-adsense-drive-piracy/ and many other posts on Chris’s blog.

    If you want to give your stuff away for free, that’s great, I encourage you to do that. I’ve no idea how you’ll make a living from it, but that’s fine, because it’s your choice. But please stop criticizing people who are just trying to help the content creators have a future by pointing out that it should be their choice, not the choice of Google or PirateBay or some other for-profit entity that has never invested in their work. Only profited from it, by creating a system that is almost impossible for the artist to get their work taken down.

    1. Tim,

      Chris’ arguments are incredibly weak. That’s why he doesn’t allow discussion on his website/blog.

      Now, let’s take your arguments one at a time.

      Google – ask Apple how much they mind getting traffic from Google, and how much money it makes them. Or Dell. Or HP. They all love traffic.

      Nor does Google require that things have to be “given” away. Ask Apple. Dell. HP. Toyota. Coca Cola. IBM. Ford. Absolut. Molson-Coors.

      I was being facetious with the lobbying comment. Guess you missed that.

      Comment 4 – since I’m a “Small Specialty Publisher”, I’ll disagree with you. It’s all about the money.

      Comment 5 – Nope. Most of the artists I know make far more off iTunes than they do off CDs.

      Comment 6 – Quite easily – watch Iron Sky some day. You can download copies from iTunes, or buy the DVD at WalMart….

      Comment 7 – Most of my stuff is digital. Same with a lot of other people. Hard copy is dying.

      Without monetization, content will wither and die. It isn’t held up by magic.

      Exactly! And Chris Castle doesn’t know how to monetize anything. The man is a hopeless moron.

      The DMCA could have killed the new business model. In some ways I’m really surprised it didn’t. Because the new business model, has no place for the big boys. It gets rid of the middle man, and let’s the artist deal directly with the fan.

      Which is a real revolution.

      Wayne

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