January 17, 2006  ·  Lessig

amv.jpg

I wrote this piece for the FT about the next war in copyright. If you’ve not seen AMVs, you should. Look here.

This will be the next big copyright war — whether this form of noncommercial creativity will be allowed. But there will be a big difference with this war and the last (over p2p filesharing). In the p2p wars, the side that defended innovation free of judicial supervision was right. But when ordinary people heard both sides of the argument, 90% were against us. In this war, the side that will defend these new creators is right. And when ordinary people hear both sides, and more importantly, see the creativity their kids are capable of, 90% will be with us.

I saw this first hand in the eyes of a father. From the FT piece:

But to those building the Read-Write internet, economics is not what matters. Nor is it what matters to their parents. After a talk in which I presented some AMV work, a father said to me: “I don’t think you really realise just how important this is. My kid couldn’t get into college till we sent them his AMVs. Now he’s a freshman at a university he never dreamed he could attend.”

These are creators, too. Their creativity harms no one. It is the heart of a whole new genre of creativity — not just with anime, but will all sorts of culture. If, that is, it is allowed.

Update: A relevant City of Heroes video on in-game IP.

  • Tom Barger

    The bluenoses think the problem of teen creativity to be a crisis to the extent of a front page article in Washington Post this morning. “Teens’ Blogs Alarm Area Schools.”

    We may add a new category to the Congressional flavor of so-called “intenet panic,” and call it “hatred of young people.” And reminiscent of the 50′s smashing of 45 rpm records.

    Hey, I smell money in it, and want to help young people express themselves. I don’t have kids myself, and my only response is for parents to be involved and committed to their own childern’s welfare and leave the rest of us out of it. Governmental nannyism is not required. Free Speech exists for children too.

    As you have mentioned before, Prof. Lessig, “We put these marvelous tools in young people’s hands, then tell them not to use them.”

  • poptones

    But look at the “culture” this is fostering. AMV’s are not selling Hollywood – they are propogating a culture that is almost the antithesis of western thinking.

    Hollywood is protecting itself into insignificance. And that can’t happen soon enough, or to a more deserving culture.

  • http://barillari.org Joe

    While I’m generally sympathetic to Lessig’s arguments about copyright,
    this strikes me as a particularly misleading example. An
    typical AMV contains several minutes worth of a movie or movies and
    the entirety of a recorded song. The defense in a
    copyright-infringement suit would face an uphill battle. But there’s
    no reason AMVs *have* to be distributed that way — it’s an issue of
    technology, not a legal issue.

    There is nothing about modern computers that prevents AMVs from being
    distributed not as an audiovisual recording, but as a set of
    instructions a computer program could follow to assemble the AMV from
    the source material. If you (the viewer) have all of the source
    materials on your computer, the program will reassemble and play the
    AMV; if not, you would have to get them first. Some media owners might
    still sue, but their chances would be considerably less likely (Galoob
    v. Nintendo, for instance, confirmed a user’s right to apply
    patch-files to media they own copies of.) As a bonus, the AMV files
    would be much smaller — a few kilobytes, instead of several
    megabytes.

    If the AMV scene wants to avoid copyright problems, technological
    solutions are well within reach.

  • anonymous

    Why overlook the obvious?

    If the AMV scene wants to avoid copyright problems, then they could
    *create* their own music (gasp!)

    Now that would be *creative* .

  • poptones

    What’s “obvious” is that neither of you have read the background material OR know the first thing about the AMV community. In japan, anime “rips” are one more part of the total voice. Indie dojin artists create new works using existing characters and the “original” creators do not fire off C&D notices and lawsuits over matters of title. the community recognizes that there are no truly “original” ideas and a work that introduces their character to a new audience – even if it’s not a work they themselves produce – is both good for them and good for the community as a whole.

    “Mashups” are no unoriginal nor are they infringement. I can quote substantial portions of Mein Khampf, for example, while creating a work that roundly rebukes the ideals contained within that work. That doesn’t make my work any less “original” than the work it may parody or critique.

  • Joseph Pietro Riolo

    It is a pipe dream to expect that 90% will be on your
    side. A more realistic estimate would be 25% or 30%
    or 35% or very unlikely 40%. Majority of authors would
    not agree with your position about the creativity based
    on their works even for non-commercial activities.

    (I am aware that 90% is only a symbolic number that
    stands for large majority.)

    Joseph Pietro Riolo
    <josephpietrojeungriolo@gmail.com>
    <riolo@voicenet.com>

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this
    comment in the public domain.

  • http://N/a The Internet

    Excuse me .. but joseph i think you are wrong about the support. He mentions a figure that although too high, is still closer to his estimate. I would say about 70 percent. Because not that many people are Authors. Anyway i have been around AMV’s a long time. I have to say that the music industry as well as hollywood will eventually die. They wont die because of piracy..they are killing themselves with alienation of their fanbase. Also.. as for the read only internet…That will be able to be hacked like any other system. They may get more complex,but whatever is made by a human will always be hackable or able to be copied.
    To think they will be invincible is as much folley as the man who built the titanic saying his ship was unsinkable.

  • AWJ

    Our “read-only culture”, in which the bulk of the characters, stories and miscellaneous memes that make up our collective experience are corporate-owned private property bearing “look but don’t touch” signs, is an aberration of the 20th century mass media boom. For most of our history, the “read-write culture” has been the norm.

    Most if not all of Shakespeare’s great plays would have been considered piratical derivative works under modern expansive copyright laws. Shakespeare, like today’s fanfiction writers, took existing stories and applied his own brush to them, reimagining the familiar characters and their motivations. And he created what are now considered among the greatest dramatic works in the English language.

  • Kalium

    There is nothing about modern computers that prevents AMVs from being distributed not as an audiovisual recording, but as a set of
    instructions a computer program could follow to assemble the AMV from
    the source material.

    If you stop and think about it for more than half a second, there are a number of technical hurdles. First, it requres that the viewer posses all the source material that the creater used, in an exactly identical form. This is highly impractical, especially since many editors do extensive visual processing before they even start editing. Beyond that, some things are out of print, rare, obscure, or otherwise difficult to get ahold of. On top of both of those, there’s the issue of different software. Off the top of my head, I know a half-dozen mutually incompatible programs used to do video editing. Anyone who wanted to watch a video would need to have all of them.

    Then there’s the issue of rendering time. A video with complex effects may take hours to render (one video comes to mind that took a total of 100+ CPU-hours to render, just for a 60-second introduction – plus much more video besides).

    Yeah, what you’re proposing is just a tad impractical, for a number of very good technical reasons. Most of us don’t want the hassle of replicating the computer setup of the original editor for a three-minute video. Most of us don’t have the money. It would be more practical to ask permission from the copyright holder at that point.

    If the AMV scene wants to avoid copyright problems, technological
    solutions are well within reach.

    Only if you don’t think it through.

    Don’t try to shackle creativity through technological measures. Don’t try to solve social problems through technological measures. Neither will work.

    Oh, FYI, I’m an AMV editor myself, and I’m moderately prominant in the community.

  • Joseph Pietro Riolo

    To “The Internet” (anonymous name):

    Unless you have concrete data to support your
    estimate of 70%, I still maintain that the
    majority of ordinary people would not agree
    with Professor Lessig’s position. They
    may think that it is exciting and fun to use
    other’s works to build their own creative
    works. But when they become creators -
    on their own works or based on other works,
    they usually change their attitude and would
    not allow others to use their works.

    I agree with you though that the current
    music industry and Hollywood industry would
    become extinct or become much smaller. That
    is not because people are finding new ways
    to infringe copyright but because authors
    are blessed with new technologies that
    will enable them to control their works
    (and profit from their works) without the
    dependency on big industries.

    Joseph Pietro Riolo
    <josephpietrojeungriolo@gmail.com>
    <riolo@voicenet.com>

    Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions in this
    comment in the public domain.

  • http://blog.freyguy.com Kevin Frey

    Why is the government continuously compelled to stamp down this kind of new development? I believe it is due to the lack of control (self-serving) and the fact that money has become too entrenched in our political systems (not just a U.S. problem).

    Within this system, wheverver money is to be made by turning thoughts into products and competition is considered somehow a Darwinian innevitability, we will have this kind of reaction. Lobbyists are, for the most part, hired by commercial entities to advance or steer the control that the government has over the marketplace (whether that marketplace is of ideas or of actual commodities). It is often (not always) in their collective interests to limit the scope and growth of ideas, but change of this magnitude is never fought successfully over longview timescales.

    History has a way of writing itself whether those that record facts take note.

  • gambitt

    The internet’s an anarchy. Us releasing AMVs is no better than a bot posting spam in random blogs. We’re just being quiet about it.

  • Chris

    You need to better check your facts for your article.

    I strongly encourage you and everyone that makes AMVs and most especially those that host them on their websites to go read the new web agreements for music performance rights on ASCAP and BMI’s websites.

    The host site just simply needs to stream the videos and pay performance royalties to ASCAP/BMI which total less than $55 a month so that they are covered to play entire songs. There is also SESAC however I have not seen any of their material in use on the site. But by virtue of the agreements they would be 100% covered for the music.

    The video and sync rights are covered in two ways, 1) the companies in the US have already encouraged their use and have even provided prizes at anime cons for making them -which has set clear precedence for their use and 2) since the video is used as short clips and is very “transformative” in nature the video and sync rights can likely be argued to be covered legally under “fair use.” (I am sure you are very aware of the fair use laws and they do need to be updated)

    However since the songs are used in whole without knowledge of the rights holders and without any editing typically, they clearly are not covered under fair use. Not paying the fees is simply not fair to other anime sites and others that are following the rules such as the anime radio sites like Keiichi.net and Japan-A-Radio.

    The laws and agreements are largely in place now so it defeats much of the premise of the article. The host site is very much aware that they are not paying the fees and have refused to update the site to reflect the changes outlined by the performance agencies. However, I would argue it is simply the cost of things and should be looked at similiarly to their internet hosting fees.

    As a law professor, people look to you to help teach the law. While your social commentary in the article was quite good -you fail to point out the real issues of the R/W internet. If you want to throw stones at the music industry then I suggest looking at the problem with mechanical copyrights and their insanely high prices such as offerred by the Harry Fox agency.

    There is your battle real battle of Read versus R/W. Things are easily in place for reading in this specific case streaming (which the hosts site has refused to do) and giving away copies in whole breaking copyrights.

    If you want a real debate of the issue, I would be more than happy to oblige as your article was very one sided.

  • poptones

    It doesn’t matter. Your argument fails here just like lessig’s because you base it, in part, upon “fair use” and “fair use” is not only vague, it has been rendered all but obsolete by the same technology that is threatening the essence of copyright itself.

    If I wish to produce and publish a video of original content I can do so – the only things stopping me are my own initiative, my ability to obtain a camera, my ability to produce the content… mostly barriers that have been substantially lowered by this new technology. When I go to publish it I can make it available in any form I like – if I wish to make it so the only way for you to see my video is by purchasing an encrypted player of my own design it is every bit my right. It’s unlikely I’ll sell much or be widely heard – but these are barriers I have erected myself, not barriers that have been put upon me by society.

    Weakening copyright weakens my ability to market any such device or content. However, if I wish to produce content and make it free to anyone who wishes to “consume it” I may also do that. And in that case a strongly enforced copyright not only gets out of my way, it also allows me to protect my content if, for example, I should wish to “protect it” from the clutches of the fellow selling the encrypted hardware players.

    The same technology that allows us all to violate copyright, on massive scale and at a whim, also allows each of us to more directly, and to greater degree than ever before, obtain benefits from a society that respects and protects a strong copyright system.

    In short: each of us, on a very personal level, have much to gain from a strong copyright system – and much more to lose from weakening that system.

    In the marketplace of ideas and ideals, copyright allows us all to compete with equal footing. if you are one who insists the old way is dead and our future lies in devising ways to profit from new and, presently, unforseen ways, copyright is not standing in the way of any original content “we” and those sharing “our” views may wish to offer. If Disney and Fox and Warner do not want to ride that wave into “the new way” then we, as their upstart peers, have no right to drag them, kicking and screaming, into “our” brave new world. Let them protect themselves into obscurity and we will all be better off for it.

  • Kalium

    I strongly encourage you and everyone that makes AMVs and most especially those that host them on their websites to go read the new web agreements for music performance rights on ASCAP and BMI’s websites.

    I’ve looked at them. Rip-offs, every one. I’m not getting any money for what I do, so neither are they. Besides, all those agreements are subject to them approving every specific instance, which means if they don’t like me, I’ve handed my ass to them on a silver platter. I’ll pass, thanks.

    The host site just simply needs to stream the videos and pay performance royalties to ASCAP/BMI which total less than $55 a month so that they are covered to play entire songs. There is also SESAC however I have not seen any of their material in use on the site. But by virtue of the agreements they would be 100% covered for the music.

    Are you aware of the technical complexities involved? Are you aware of the amount of bandwidth involved? Do you have any clue how impractical your proposal is? Here’s the reality: AnimeMusicVideos.org would keel over dead quite fast if we listened to people like you. We don’t want streams. We want to be able to download a video once and watch it repeatedly.

    Nevermind the accounting issues and the auidit clauses, and the fees which are calculated on a per-performance basis after a certain base amount.

    However since the songs are used in whole without knowledge of the rights holders and without any editing typically, they clearly are not covered under fair use.

    By placing the music into a new context, it is being transformed. Serious songs become scarcastic, ironic songs become light-hearted, and cheesy power-ballads become parody. If that’s not transformative, then nothing is.

    Not paying the fees is simply not fair to other anime sites and others that are following the rules such as the anime radio sites like Keiichi.net and Japan-A-Radio.

    Unbelieveably bad analogy. Does Pets USA or PetCo. or whatever suffer because the Humane Society is a non-profit? Not really. Keiichi.radio.net and Japan-A-Radio are, to the best of my knowledge, businesses. They’re out to make money. They don’t exist to showcase creativity without any profit motive. Might as well compare diamonds to books, for all the sense it makes.

    Things are easily in place for reading in this specific case streaming (which the hosts site has refused to do)

    No, not things are not. The bandwidth neccessary is not availible, nor the server farms, nor the corporate sponsership that would be required to fund the above plus liscensing fees plus make up for the drop in donations from users who aren’t willing to prop up a site that’s become a music industry puppet (like me). Really, you’re just wrong here, more than you likely want to admit or even contemplate.

    On top of that, the technical issue of transcoding thousands of videos from lossily compressed downloadable formats to streamable formats is hardly a trivial one. The sheer variety of compression schemes yields high order complexity, only compounded by the conversion to streaming format.

    giving away copies in whole breaking copyrights.

    If copyright inhibits “the Progress of Science and useful Arts” (check your closest copy of the Constitution: Article I, Section 8), then copyright is copywrong.

    If you want a real debate of the issue, I would be more than happy to oblige as your article was very one sided.

    You mean that someone like you didn’t get to inject their extreme and anti-creative viewpoint into the article. Be honest with yourself and be honest with the world.

    I’m not sorry to say it, Mr. Record Industry Shill, but I don’t feel like propping up your obselete business model. Read the writing on the wall already. Everone else has.

    Incidentally, you are aware than streaming is really no different from downloading, aren’t you? The only difference is that in the former case the client promises to delete the media afterwards, and the server trusts it to do so, lacking any enforcement mechanism. Streamripping is a great way to get music for those so inclined, and completely undetectable serverside.

  • poptones

    Unbelieveably bad analogy. Does Pets USA or PetCo. or whatever suffer because the Humane Society is a non-profit? Not really. Keiichi.radio.net and Japan-A-Radio are, to the best of my knowledge, businesses. They’re out to make money. They don’t exist to showcase creativity without any profit motive. Might as well compare diamonds to books, for all the sense it makes.

    tell that to the girl scouts. Why do you think you never hear anyone sing “happy birthday” on tv or in restaraunts anymore?

    The site hosting anime music videos is “in business” – it has to be in order to pay the hosting fees (even if it doesn’t pay a staff, which is unlikely). And when you publish a video you are both hyping the works you have transformed AND yourself. if you get fame, you are benfiting from that work. If you get a job offer because someone saw your work and liked it then you are directly profiting from that work. If you pirated the work you are benfitting from then you are no better than any other “pirate.”

    Shooting holes in copyright is putting th gun to your own head, my head – everyone’s head all at once and then pulling the trigger. I don’t need time-warner to live, and time warner doesn’t need me. If you make it so every “transformative use” is “fair” then who is going to protect the next upstart band hyping themselves on the web when some Warner or Sony artist decides to “transform” their work – remixing, reselling, but never renumerating?

    There are scads of ways you can publish “unfair” content without profiting from it. You can post it to usenet, seed it to bittorrent or limedonkeymonkeywire, or just leave cds laying around town and let others do the work for you.

    Crippling copyright so sites like amv can host derivative works against the wishes of the original publishers does not “further the progress of the useful arts” – any artist wishing to make their works freely available may do so and copyright will still protect their “right” to collect profit from their hard work when that work benefits others who may have more savvy, capital or other resources to promote that work. Enabling the greater of society to usurp the works of those who elect to abstain from “free culture” is every bit as wrong as refusing to defend the rights of those who elect to stay home from church, for example, or who refuse to stand, hand over heart, and robotically recite an oath to a flag.

  • Chris

    TO: Some of those that commented on my post above as a rebuttal,

    Here is the very simple point-> The copyrighted songs and audio are used in WHOLE and distrubuted on a widescale basis for free. The website has clearly broken the law by doing the distro. This is giving away merchandise for free -period end of statement. I am sure that Mr Lessing’s publisher would disapprove of free pdf file versions of his book being given away for free (I am talking about his non Creative Commons books). Oh but wait, I will add my own unique afterward and social commentary scribble in the margins so that it is now my creative work -yeah right.

    We know some of you approve of leeching and have no respect for any intellectual property so you can either just stop using copyrighted material or stop whining or best of all do something to change things. There is pleny of free material available to use. Your flat refusal to cooperate in anyway is hurting more than you know. I don’t think you have read the agreements nor have you called the performance rights companies since your statement shows no understanding of those agreements.

    And all the whining about it being too hard to convert from download to a streaming site and it would kill our bandwidth -boo hoo. You spend 100s of hours working on AMVs but don’t want to put in the elbow grease to make the site work and grow in a more legal way and add to the community and its future. Thats just lazy. I know you want to leech the AMVs and play it over and over again and that is owning a copy so you will just have to pay the price.

    Heck, I will be willing to help donate some time and money to the site to help with performance fee arrangements if the changes are made. Yeah as broke as I am right -I am willing to put my money and time where my mouth is. Come on guys step up.

    And as for being a record industry shill, oh what little you know about me. I have been working directly with record companies in my free time to promote artists and open things up and I am currently on no music companies payroll. It is a labour of love. I have been working against the big music giants to bring attention to the little guys and mostly overseas music. And more than once I have been burned badly. What have you guys done to help promote music besides leech from the industry? Show some true creativity and work to make the system better as your current behaviour is destructive.

    Honestly check out the agreements
    http://www.riaa.com/issues/licensing/howto.asp
    Changes are being made to open things up but they happen slowly. Pick up the phone, call them, work things out. The new web and interactive media agreements are actually not as bad as you think.

    Hmmm lets compare… which gets more hits… AMV’s website or the RIAAs… wow imagine that -AMV’s website is ranked much higher. They are already paying good money for bandwidth traffic and despite what anyone says it is a business whether there is a profit or not. And as such there is a cost of doing business. We are not talking about the AMV creators nor their rights here, we are talking about the site which is providing copyrighted media for widescale distro.

    What the article failed to hit on was the real battle which is for mechanical copyrights. Currently, these are the prohibitive measure to AMVs being downloaded. So until then streaming and embedding is the ONLY current solution that allows any type of legal protection. Read Only media versus Read/Write media has some good arguments although this article failed to get to them.

    I much preferred Mr Lessig’s Wired column on the subject
    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.07/posts.html?pg=7

    By not trying to comply with the law that is known to the AMV site and starting to get mainstream press like the FT.com article to draw even greater attention to their website, this is starting to put them in a position to draw further legal action.

    Taking no action now is a recipe for trouble.

  • Chris

    TO: Some of those that commented on my post above as a rebuttal,

    Here is the very simple point-> The copyrighted songs and audio are used in WHOLE and distrubuted on a widescale basis for free. The website has clearly broken the law by doing the distro. This is giving away merchandise for free -period end of statement. I am sure that Mr Lessing’s publisher would disapprove of free pdf file versions of his book being given away for free (I am talking about his non Creative Commons books). Oh but wait, I will add my own unique afterward and social commentary scribble in the margins so that it is now my creative work -yeah right.

    We know some of you approve of leeching and have no respect for any intellectual property so you can either just stop using copyrighted material or stop whining or best of all do something to change things. There is pleny of free material available to use. Your flat refusal to cooperate in anyway is hurting more than you know. I don’t think you have read the agreements nor have you called the performance rights companies since your statement shows no understanding of those agreements.

    And all the whining about it being too hard to convert from download to a streaming site and it would kill our bandwidth -boo hoo. You spend 100s of hours working on AMVs but don’t want to put in the elbow grease to make the site work and grow in a more legal way and add to the community and its future. Thats just lazy. I know you want to leech the AMVs and play it over and over again and that is owning a copy so you will just have to pay the price.

    Heck, I will be willing to help donate some time and money to the site to help with performance fee arrangements if the changes are made. Yeah as broke as I am right -I am willing to put my money and time where my mouth is. Come on guys step up.

    And as for being a record industry shill, oh what little you know about me. I have been working directly with record companies in my free time to promote artists and open things up and I am currently on no music companies payroll. It is a labour of love. I have been working against the big music giants to bring attention to the little guys and mostly overseas music. And more than once I have been burned badly. What have you guys done to help promote music besides leech from the industry? Show some true creativity and work to make the system better as your current behaviour is destructive.

    Honestly check out the agreements
    http://www.riaa.com/issues/licensing/howto.asp
    Changes are being made to open things up but they happen slowly. Pick up the phone, call them, work things out. The new web and interactive media agreements are actually not as bad as you think.

    Hmmm lets compare… which gets more hits… AMV’s website or the RIAAs… wow imagine that -AMV’s website is ranked much higher. They are already paying good money for bandwidth traffic and despite what anyone says it is a business whether there is a profit or not. And as such there is a cost of doing business. We are not talking about the AMV creators nor their rights here, we are talking about the site which is providing copyrighted media for widescale distro.

    What the article failed to hit on was the real battle which is for mechanical copyrights. Currently, these are the prohibitive measure to AMVs being downloaded. So until then streaming and embedding is the ONLY current solution that allows any type of legal protection. Read Only media versus Read/Write media has some good arguments although this article failed to get to them.

    I much preferred Mr Lessig’s Wired column on the subject
    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.07/posts.html?pg=7

    By not trying to comply with the law that is known to the AMV site and starting to get mainstream press like the FT.com article to draw even greater attention to their website, this is starting to put them in a position to draw further legal action.

    Taking no action now is a recipe for trouble.

  • Anna Rogozinska

    I’m speaking from a fan’s perspective here, so I generally agree with one of the previous statements regarding Hollywood doing themselves no good when neglecting their fanbase.

    The thing with AMVs and fanvids in general is that they use snippets of anime/movies and music that are copyrighted and it’s so easy to say that “they are breaking the law” because you can actually see other people’s work and perceiving it as re-interpretation and putting the original into another context is also a matter of interpretation.

    It’s even more difficult with fan fiction. In case you are not accustomed with it yet, go and visit http://www.fanfiction.net or thousands of other fan fiction archives you can find through Google. Fans are using the characters, situations, dialogues and so on from the “canon” (let’s say Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings books and movies) and write their own stories, re-telling moments they particularly liked or hated, writing prequels and sequels, interpreting and re-interpreting things. Now, even this kind of activity seems to be deemed a violation of copyright (I can’t give any details here, but there were several cases with companies like Warner Bros writing cease and desist letters to archive owners). Is it not absurd?

    Another absurd: MPAA contacted Fan fiction. Net as well as some other archives and told them to stop using the MPAA rating (NC-17, R, PG-13, PG) because it is also their property and no one can use it to categorise their own work.

  • Kalium

    Oh but wait, I will add my own unique afterward and social commentary scribble in the margins so that it is now my creative work -yeah right.

    Another poor analogy. Will these never end?

    We know some of you approve of leeching and have no respect for any intellectual property so you can either just stop using copyrighted material or stop whining or best of all do something to change things.

    How about no, no, and yes in that order. Also, as a record industry person, you’re really in a great position to talk about leeching. Douglas Adams was right about the record industry.

    There is pleny of free material available to use. Your flat refusal to cooperate in anyway is hurting more than you know. I don’t think you have read the agreements nor have you called the performance rights companies since your statement shows no understanding of those agreements.

    There’s no way that I’m going to let anyone, you or other people, control what I can and cannot express.

    Fact is, I have looked at the agreements. I still consider them ripoffs.

    And all the whining about it being too hard to convert from download to a streaming site and it would kill our bandwidth -boo hoo.

    Look into the technical details a bit. It’s decidedly non-trivial problem. You can’t handwave them away.

    You spend 100s of hours working on AMVs but don’t want to put in the elbow grease to make the site work and grow in a more legal way and add to the community and its future.

    You mean “I spent 100s of hours working on AMVs but don’t want to subject my creative work to someone else’s approval and kill the growth of an art form”. Get it right.

    Thats just lazy. I know you want to leech the AMVs and play it over and over again and that is owning a copy so you will just have to pay the price.

    No, it’s practical. I’d rather not thorougholy incriminate myself by attempting to apply for a liscense. It’s far easier to force you people to come to me, and far more satisfying for me.

    Besides, given current practices in the music industry, I would be required to pay an exorbitant amount for a DRM’d WMV that’s completely unportable and both looks and sounds bad. Really, I would “own” nothing. If I’m not going to “own” anything, why should I pay? For the “warm fuzzies” I get, knowing that I’m supporting a corrupt cartel?

    And as for being a record industry shill, oh what little you know about me. I have been working directly with record companies in my free time to promote artists and open things up and I am currently on no music companies payroll.

    It doesn’t make you any less of a shill, it just means you aren’t good enough at shilling to get paid for it.

    I know who you are (Chris Simonds), and I know how you found this article (ACML). I also know a bit of your reputation. I know more than you think.

    It is a labour of love. I have been working against the big music giants to bring attention to the little guys and mostly overseas music. And more than once I have been burned badly.

    That’s nice. Working to bring the total exploitation of the major labels to artists who live from their work. How altruistic of you.

    What have you guys done to help promote music besides leech from the industry?

    What have I done? I’ve exposed people to artists they never would have heard of otherwise. Yes, for free. Since you do promoter work, you should be aware of just how powerful fan activity is. Here’s an interesting little factoid for you: at AnimeMusicVideos.org, we’ve had a lot more bands show up and post some material in the explicitly expressed hopes that someone will make an video than musicians show up and complain.

    Do you have any idea how many albums I’ve bought after hearing the music in an AMV? Here’s a hint: these albums compose the lion’s share of my music collection.

    Show some true creativity and work to make the system better as your current behaviour is destructive.

    We do show true creativity. That doesn’t involve paying someone else to approve what we do.

    Besides, ever heard of this little American tradition called “civil disobedience”?

    Honestly check out the agreements
    “>http://www.riaa.com/issues/licensing/howto.asp

    Still as exploitative and draconian as I remember.

    Changes are being made to open things up but they happen slowly.

    Tell me when they finish, I might be more charitably inclined then.

    The new web and interactive media agreements are actually not as bad as you think.

    I’ve looked. They are quite bad, far worse than any other media form for no good reason. “Greed” is not a good reason.

    Hmmm lets compare… which gets more hits… AMV’s website or the RIAAs… wow imagine that -AMV’s website is ranked much higher.

    Imagine that, a place that’s: 1) creative, 2) hasn’t earned the hatred of the public, and 3) offers the prospect of a community is more popular than one that has none of the above. What a surprise.

    They are already paying good money for bandwidth traffic and despite what anyone says it is a business whether there is a profit or not.

    That much is true, I admit. It’s one of the few clear facts you’ve stated.

    And as such there is a cost of doing business.

    It is the cost of existing. Important difference. Not every website is a business.

    We are not talking about the AMV creators nor their rights here, we are talking about the site which is providing copyrighted media for widescale distro.

    Like nearly any other website in existance?

    What the article failed to hit on was the real battle which is for mechanical copyrights. Currently, these are the prohibitive measure to AMVs being downloaded.

    That’s true. However, the real issue is the mindset of you and your ilk. You want to control our creativity and get paid for our work. It’s not happening.

    By not trying to comply with the law that is known to the AMV site and starting to get mainstream press like the FT.com article to draw even greater attention to their website, this is starting to put them in a position to draw further legal action.

    Oh good, exactly what the record inustry wants. More strongly negative press. Do you people want to be hated by your customers, or do you just have a deathwish?

    Taking no action now is a recipe for trouble.

    No. It’s a call to arms to defend creativity and expression.

  • poptones

    The copyrighted songs and audio are used in WHOLE and distrubuted on a widescale basis for free. The website has clearly broken the law by doing the distro.

    No. You claim to be working to change things and you don’t even know how copyright works? Now I understand why some might call you a shill – you are spreading the same one sided hype as the rest of the shark skinned suits.

    The material is owned by the copyright holders, not the government. I can own copyright on my work and give it away to the world but still refuse to allow or disallow its redistribution as I see fit. This website – any website that distributes derivative works – has only broken the law if one of the owners of a work they are distributing says they have broken the law. It is not up to the govenment (or you) to speak for the owners of these creative works in such blanket fashion.

    The AMV scene is one where derivative works are commonplace. Such works are part and parcel of “the culture” it’s the way things have been done and decades of growth in japan and in the US have proven the effectiveness of this “advertising model.” If the owners of yuyuhakusho or dragonballzee want all their derivative works pulled from places like AMV then it is their task, first of all, to say so. I suspect, however, the folks who “own” these characters and the commercial works based upon them know they need the support of that community a lot more than the community needs them… a very simple lesson that will, apparently, forever escape the grasp of mainstream hollywood (or their counterparts on that other coast).

  • Chris

    To postpones- You are correct on “copyright holder” and copyright laws have been infringed (minor nitpick though). The problem is that the music is not derivative and is indeed whole. When a copyrighted work is distro’ed in whole despite being bundled with other content, you are simply giving away that material and you do not have that right unless it is given to you. Copyrights exists for a reason.

    To Kalium- No sense in trying to explain any more solutions as your arguments have nothing to do with your ability to express yourself. Go ahead make any AMV you want -just don’t distro someone elses work like its yours. We call that plagiarism in addition to violating copyrights. So you know who I am -I know your name too. I didn’t hide behind a internet handle and I have been willing to come forward and take the heat. I wasn’t trying to win a popularity contest when I did this and I have been called much worse than shill. I have been working on solutions to keep the site from getting shut down. All I have heard from you is a bunch of whining about how you don’t like things and how the music industry is a “corrupt cartel” The only persons corrupt are those that are deluded into thinking everything is free and those not having respect for the rights of others.
    And “civil disobedience,” makes me laugh since you have nothing to lose as the material was never yours to begin with. It is not your civil liberties being violated. If you are so hearfelt about your beliefs -do something about them and make a difference. I have stepped up to work for the art form that I love -if you know who I am then I don’t need to list my accomplishments in the community. Even though I don’t agree with your beliefs, step up and make a real difference. Thats what this country is about.

  • poptones

    The problem is that the music is not derivative and is indeed whole. When a copyrighted work is distro’ed in whole despite being bundled with other content, you are simply giving away that material and you do not have that right unless it is given to you.

    How many ways does this need to be explained to you? It is upon THE OWNER OF THE CONTENT to decide what is and is not allowed. It is not upon you to say “they are distributing entire musical works and therefore that is illegal” – I have on my hard drive HUNDREDS of musical works that I may redistribute because the owner has said so either through (n)action or through contract.

    this site alone has thousands of works owned by rights holders who would welcome their use in quality AMV productions.

    Did you even read the background article? It clearly makes the point that, when sent notices by rights holders who do NOT want their content repurposed in this way, the site removed access to any infringing works. Yet, you are characterizing this site as “illegal” in some way when you have absolutely no rights in the stake – for if you did you would be sending them notices instead of complaining here about someone else not playing fool to your folly.

    It’s not a surprise that the entertainment industry should try tactics such as you are employing here – by ignoring the role individual rights holders have in this argument and pretending “all rights over everything” are being usurped you play upon the ignorance of those who have never before had cause to think of themselves as “creators.” Unluckily for you there are, more than high minded lawyers and educators in ivory clad classroms, plenty of loud mouth SOBs like myself, to better inform them.

  • Chris

    “this site alone has thousands of works owned by rights holders who would welcome their use in quality AMV productions.”

    Which it has done so in clear violation on the copyrights of the rights holder and has made absolutely no attempt to contact the rights holders. Additionally, it is a willful infringement which carries higher penalties under the law.

    When presented with a way for roughly $60 a month to contact the rights holder and get permission to continue to use material with the assurance to not be sued, the idea was flatly rejected by the community as being too hard and too much work.

    It is up to the rights holders and their agencies to persue action for enforcement. However, when this is done the artists are villified for protecting their rights. This is hypocritical to try and promote creativity and have no respect for rights of the artist to own the creation.

    I have fought hard to promote promote artists to come over here from Japan to perform and release materials for reasonable costs. But when I look at this site and see so many of those artists that I work with have their material given away for free and see firsthand the lackluster sales from any effort to release materials in the US. It saddens both me and the artists.
    (For those that are not aware there are a large number of Japanese artists songs available for download on that site)

    The site promotes the idea that this is OK to give away the music with no respect for copyright. As for the video, the anime companies knowingly look the other way (while giving you all prizes at conventions) as they are getting free advertising. You are not giving away their material in whole but rather making advertising for them. But if you were to give away the full shows -they would most assuredly come after you. The music community is not tied into the anime community and you are doing the music world no favors in giving away their materials in whole.

    The anime fansub community of old broke copyrights laws but did so with a code of ethics designed to promote the shows being released in the US. When the material was made available, distro was discontinued. Additionally, there was considerable effort that was made to contact the Japanese anime studios.

    What is frustrating and wrong with much of the AMV community is that there is no code of ethics to promote musical artists and no respect of the musical properties. Wind Up Records contacts you and you paint them villians. There is no effort or respect to the rights holders. The attitude of having them come to you, not only is disrespectful but invites legal action.

    I am more than willing to volunteer my time and money to assist in repairing this disfunctional relationship. And I am being loud about it and taking the heat for it -but I want to see this artform continue and grow. Your actions will probably get the site shutdown and sued. And becoming self righteous martyrs is going to do nothing to make changes for the better.

  • poptones

    Which it has done so in clear violation on the copyrights of the rights holder

    Wrong, wrong, WROING! YOU do not own those fucking rights – the rights holders do. Have any of them designated you as their representatives? Let’s hear some names and some specific cases of infringment which the site has refused to corect. You cannot – absolutely cannot, under any reasonable argument that reflects the actual spriti and mechanism of copyright – claim they are doing thes ethings against the will of the copyright holders unless you are one of those rights holders.

    It might piss me off if Belkin sells some new internet appliance whizmo that uses the linux kernel while refusing to share with the community the source code as required by the terms of the gpl – but unless and until I have actually contributed code to the kernel – until I have become a rights holder with a stake in that code – I have absolutely no claim to make against them. And if no one who actually does retain those rights speaks out against them for their infringement, what argument do I have to make? It clearly states in the GPL that authors may also make versions of their work available under other licenses, so unless Belkin is petitioned by one of those rights holders they have broken no laws and violated no contract.

    This is no different. AMV is not napster or grokster – they are not hiding and saying “we have no control.” If a rights holder has a claim to make against them they have an address to send that claim, and AMV has shown a willingness to respond. Even under the very strict DMCA their service is not in violation of the law.

    and has made absolutely no attempt to contact the rights holders.

    AMV is a host, not a creator of works. If you resent people using unlicensed works without permission fromt he artists your beef is with the producers of those works, not with the people running the server.

    When presented with a way for roughly $60 a month to contact the rights holder and get permission to continue to use material with the assurance to not be sued, the idea was flatly rejected by the community as being too hard and too much work.

    What “rights holder?” You keep talking of these entities as if they were one single person. There are thousands of “rights holders” when it comes to songs – probably even millions.

    What you are doing is insisting that these people play into the hollywood game. They have every right to refuse to play that game, and so long as they continue to respond to take down notices they still have violated no laws and are acting within the letter, if not the spirit, of the DMCA.

    And, as the people of that community see certain artists removed, those artists will lose favor and popularity within that community. let them protect themselves right into obscurity – it’s a fate they well deserve. Much better that than to force the artists who favor that community to subsidize their presence through fees to anonymous “rights holders” in their ivory towers along the coastlines.

  • Kalium

    Go ahead make any AMV you want -just don�t distro someone elses work like its yours. We call that plagiarism in addition to violating copyrights.

    I know what plagiarism is. I also know that when I state, openly and honestly, what sources I used that it’s not plagiarism.

    I have been working on solutions to keep the site from getting shut down.

    Considering my position and who I assocatie with on a fairly regular basis, you’ll have to forgive my skepticism.

    So you know who I am -I know your name too. I didn�t hide behind a internet handle and I have been willing to come forward and take the heat.

    I’m not exactly hiding either. I’ve given you enough information to find out quite a bit about me, should be be smart enough to put the pieces together. Can’t make it too easy, after all.

    The only persons corrupt are those that are deluded into thinking everything is free and those not having respect for the rights of others.

    Oh? Check with Courtney Love on that one.

    And �civil disobedience,� makes me laugh since you have nothing to lose as the material was never yours to begin with.

    There is such a thing as Fair Use. It covers my rights to use someone else’s content without asking in any manner. There’s the Public Domain. I have plenty to lose.

    It is not your civil liberties being violated.

    Given the recent trend of shameless piracy of the Public Domain, I have plenty to lose. I also have my creativity to lose, since you would rob me of it.

    If you are so hearfelt about your beliefs -do something about them and make a difference.

    I do. I donate money, I call my Congresscritter’s office, I talk to voters. Regularly, on the latter two.

    Even though I don�t agree with your beliefs, step up and make a real difference. Thats what this country is about.

    You’re preaching to the choir.

    But when I look at this site and see so many of those artists that I work with have their material given away for free and see firsthand the lackluster sales from any effort to release materials in the US.

    Do you really think their sales would be better without any piracy at all? What about Metallica, or the Grateful Dead? How about any number of modern bands who only gain popularity through piracy, which drives sales? Do your homework. Study after study has shown that people that pirate more buy more music. If you do find a way to kill off piracy (not possible), then you’re gong to kill your sales.

    The site promotes the idea that this is OK to give away the music with no respect for copyright.

    Oh no! We’re being creative, and it happens to be subversive along the way! Too bad. You can’t stop it. Smash a bead of mercury with a hammer and all you do is scatter the droplets.

    What is frustrating and wrong with much of the AMV community is that there is no code of ethics to promote musical artists and no respect of the musical properties.

    You really don’t pay attention, do you? There’s a code of ethics. Not one you would agree with, likely, but one nonetheless. It exists, and has a number of adherents. A sizable number of skilled editors active in the community defend it regularly.

    Wind Up Records contacts you and you paint them villians.

    They’re killing our creativity. Of course we paint them villains. They earned it by their actions.

    For the record, I really don’t care for anything Wind Up puts out, but any chance of me buying anything of theirs is now gone. Lost sales, and nobody to blame for it but them.

    There is no effort or respect to the rights holders.

    Again, why should they control what we do? We are the ones doing it. Besides, respect has to be earned, and they’ve done nothing to earn it and plenty to lose it.

    The attitude of having them come to you, not only is disrespectful but invites legal action.

    Not so. First off, ‘disrespectful’ implies that someone is being shown less respect than deserved. This is not so. I’ll thank you to note that compliance with Wind Up’s request was prompt and is enforced as strictly as humanly possible. Second, it doesn’t invite legal action. Nobody is going to file suit against what they don’t know to exist.

    I am more than willing to volunteer my time and money to assist in repairing this disfunctional relationship.

    If by “disfunctional” you mean “perfectly acceptable at the current time”, yes.

    And I am being loud about it and taking the heat for it -but I want to see this artform continue and grow.

    Of course, with ironclad logic, you propose to help it “grow” by chaining it down. There’s a logical fallacy in here somwhere.

    Your actions will probably get the site shutdown and sued.

    I sincerely doubt that. Really, I do. I’m neither the first to adopt this viewpoint, nor the most vocal. Just the one here right now.

    And becoming self righteous martyrs is going to do nothing to make changes for the better.

    Yup. Getting the Org shut down would be an excellent way to make clear to the nation how copyright has been perverted. Remember the Grey Album? It got named Album of the Year for a reason.

    And, as the people of that community see certain artists removed, those artists will lose favor and popularity within that community. let them protect themselves right into obscurity – it�s a fate they well deserve.

    Very valid point. More than one person has pointedly not bought CDs over this.

  • Chris

    If you are in the right, then why take down Wind Up Records content? The answer is that you had to or face further legal action because you violated their rights. COPYRIGHT -The Right to Copy. We are not talking about your right to create or express yourself, we are talking about your right to distribute the work of others -giving away those copies is a right you clearly do not have. You are wrong and the law is on the side of the true creators and not yours. If you are so right, then why is it your policy to take down material when the rights holders request it? You all are hypocrits saying you will only obide by the law when the rights holder comes foward and then when they do -you make them out to be the bad guys. And since the law is not on your side and the musical creation not yours and you fail to listen or work for a reasonable solution, I will end this discussion and leave you in the hands of the law.

    If you change your mind and actually want to work with the rights holders and do the right thing, I am still willing to help as I do know many artists, publishers and rights holders -who not surprisingly do not share your views on how their work should be distro’ed. -Chris

  • poptones

    Study after study has shown that people that pirate more buy more music. If you do find a way to kill off piracy (not possible), then you’re gong to kill your sales.

    Another great argument for DRM. If metallica wants to publish their new stuff only in DRM format, no one is going to be able to create derivative works with their music – the works will never be created so they will never have to be taken down. Meanwhile, people who want music for AMV and machinima soundtracks will have more incentive to actually shop around for artists who willingly support them.

    I doubt anyone wants to rob you of your creativity. Some, however, may not want to be a part of your particular creative pursuit.

  • Kalium

    If you are in the right, then why take down Wind Up Records content? The answer is that you had to or face further legal action because you violated their rights.

    It has nothing to do with that, and everything to do with wanting to avoid clashing with a well-funded and well-lawyered corporation in civil court. Think about it for a minute.

    We are not talking about your right to create or express yourself, we are talking about your right to distribute the work of others

    Expression exists to be observed. A great painting that sits in a basement and rots away to nothing is meaningless. Art exists to be beheld. By inhibiting distribution, and thus removing audience, expression is effectively inhibited.

    You are wrong and the law is on the side of the true creators and not yours.

    It hasn’t been tested. At all. Don’t make claims about a the legal status of something that is completely untested.

    If you are so right, then why is it your policy to take down material when the rights holders request it?

    It’s not my policy, I just assist in enforcing it. Mostly it’s due to the same reasons that there was no legal clash with Wind Up.

    You all are hypocrits saying you will only obide by the law when the rights holder comes foward and then when they do -you make them out to be the bad guys.

    I fail to see the contradiction. Really. Avoiding an expensive and lengthly court battle has absolutely no connection to the hypocrisy of a record label suppressing creativity and originality.

    And since the law is not on your side and the musical creation not yours

    Again, this hasn’t been tested at all. Has it occured to you that perhaps this is because any attempt to test it holds the potential for it to be rules valid Fair Use?

    work for a reasonable solution

    You have a very skewed definition of “reasonable”. Most people would define it to be some form of compromise, not bending over and lubing ourselves up for the record industry.

    leave you in the hands of the law.

    Fair enough. I leave you and your ilk to the judgement of history and society, much harsher judges than can be found in any court.

    If you change your mind and actually want to work with the rights holders and do the right thing

    And yet, sometimes, the two are mutually exclusive. Funny, that.

    I am still willing to help as I do know many artists, publishers and rights holders -who not surprisingly do not share your views on how their work should be distro�ed.

    I could care less about what the publisher think. I might as well ask the buggy-whip manufacturers what they think about cars. As for “right holders”, well, that’s quite nebulous. And as for artists… some of them disagree with you. Ones like Amy Lee. See, your support base can’t even agree on what it wants.

    Next post:

    Another great argument for DRM.

    There are no good arguments for DRM. As an idea, it is inherently flawed and thus doomed.

    If metallica wants to publish their new stuff only in DRM format, no one is going to be able to create derivative works with their music – the works will never be created so they will never have to be taken down.

    Nice, in theory. In practice, if I can hear it or see it, I can pirate it. This is why DRM fails. It all gets broken, sooner or later, because of that simple principle.

    Meanwhile, people who want music for AMV and machinima soundtracks will have more incentive to actually shop around for artists who willingly support them.

    Again, nice in theory. In practice, this limits the choice of creators, which is something many will flat-out reject, including myself.

    I doubt anyone wants to rob you of your creativity.

    Some seem hellbent on making my chosen form of expression illegal.

    Some, however, may not want to be a part of your particular creative pursuit.

    Too bad for them, really. Does one band have to ask before covering another’s music? Does the band being covered have any say in the process at all? The answer to both is “no”, and the process of covering a song is much less creative than the one in question here.

  • poptones

    There are no good arguments for DRM. As an idea, it is inherently flawed and thus doomed.

    Some of you keep saying that, but it’s pretty obvious from the venmous reaction most of those same people have it’s pretty obvious there’s plenty of fear there. If it is “doomed” then there is nothing to stand against as it simply won’t work.

    Fact is, it will.. and I think most of you know it even if you won’t admit it. Will it work 100%? Nope, but it doesn’t need to. The US mint doesn’t work 100% of the time either – that’s why we have laws against counterfeiting.

    Nice, in theory. In practice, if I can hear it or see it, I can pirate it. This is why DRM fails. It all gets broken, sooner or later, because of that simple principle.

    It’s not a matter of whether or not you can pirate it – it’s a matter of whether or not it is worth your while, and what sort of quality you can derive from that act. This is why we have metal strands in twenty dollar bills and why there will be watermarks in the new media. Fact is it’s already in there – new DVDs have it and pretty much every high definition dvd audio format is watermarked. People are still buying players, and still buying the recordings.

    Meanwhile, people who want music for AMV and machinima soundtracks will have more incentive to actually shop around for artists who willingly support them.

    Again, nice in theory. In practice, this limits the choice of creators, which is something many will flat-out reject, including myself.

    What are you talking about? That’s exactly my point – if you “flat out reject” DRM systems then you will have only illicit, lower quality access to certain works or you will have no access to them at all. Thus you will not be serving the hype for those bands who “protect” themselves. If you truly believe in all this stuff you’re talking about that should be a welcome turn of events for you – it means the people who employ DRM in their works will become less popular. Why would you even want to access those works? By helping distribute them you are supporting the very system you claim to despise.

    Some seem hellbent on making my chosen form of expression illegal.

    Sorry, that’s a failed argument from the start. If you need music visit magnatune and look around – there’s scads of great music there and the artists are ready and willing to have their work hyped by others. Again, if you truly believe in all this stuff you wouldn’t need me to be telling you this – you’d already be doing it.

    Some, however, may not want to be a part of your particular creative pursuit.

    Too bad for them, really.

    Uh, nope. too bad for you if you infringe their copyrights. Piss and moan all you like, I’m sure they’ll cry for you all the way to the bank.

    Does one band have to ask before covering another’s music? Does the band being covered have any say in the process at all? The answer to both is “no”

    Bzzzt. Wrong. If they’re not registered with one of the rights organizations then licensing is not compulsory. Elvis Costello learned this the hard way when he tried to prevent Linda Ronstadt from recording Allison: because he had essentially signed away his rights to BMI or ASCAP or whoever, he couldn’t prevent it. Had he not signed away those compulsory rights Linda Ronstadt never could have released his song – or even sang it in concert – without his approval.

    and the process of covering a song is much less creative than the one in question here.

    Oh really? Then where does that put AMV?

    People who stow thrones…

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