NET NEUTRALITY FOR MUSICIANS: What’s all the fuss and which side should you be on?

Will the Government regulating the internet mean more or less money for the music space?  Internet Service Providers (ISPs) say the net will die if the Fed gets involved.  Content Companies say the opposite; the FCC will keep the net “free.”  Who should you believe?

Moses Avalon

The Google-Verizon deal (abbreviated “G/V” in this article) has been on countless front pages, blogs and RSS feeds in the still-free internet. Panic and anger is settling in as people in coffee shops everywhere are afraid that they will have to get real jobs and find dates by developing their human interaction skills.

The G/V deal has also come to symbolize the very essence of an elusive term, “net neutrality,” and completely confused what little many of us did understand about the issue. We hate government regulation, but we want a free net, but to have a free net it must be regulated.  Since when does free = regulated?  I thought regulation made things less free.  Can anybody explain this issue to me like I’m a five year old and tell me what side, as a music professional I should be on?

Yes. I’m going to do just that right now.  Get some coffee and free WiFi (while you can) and kick back.  It’s not a short read, but you know me, I’ll make it as entertaining as possible. (If you just want the answers and not my fun jokes, pokes and theory, skip to the last section.)

What the Heck is Net Neutrality?


Short answer:  no one person can say because it depends on who you ask.  If you ask Google they will say, it means whatever we damn well want it to mean, and today it means that we’re not responsible for how people behave when on-line. People are free to do what they want and we remain neutral about that.

But, if you ask most content creators and the FCC, it means keeping the net free from toll-keepers who would charge for “premium access.” Every URL and data dump should be neutral in the eyes of the net.   Notice how both philosophies employ a component of “free” and “neutral?”

The second answer is the one used most for the G/V discussions; currently there is only one data stream and everyone travels at the same speed on a one-lane freeway.  The G/V deal (and the other deals it would inspire) will create a net where some “premium” data/content gets to travel on a priority road with higher speed limits, if the content distributor wants to pay the ISP. What will “premium” content be?  No one knows that either yet, but you can be sure it’s the content that turns the most cash (or cache):  movies, music, etc. and that means it going to effect the music space in a big way.

Critics of the G/V deal say this “tiering” of the net would amount to hi-tech censorship gamed only by those who can pay fees to ISPs.  The FCC agrees and they want to stop the G/V deal and keep the net a neutral, one-lane, road.  Proponents of the G/V deal say regulation, or net neutrality, will stifle innovation and also, that this is patently unfair under the rules of free enterprise.  Why shouldn’t there be a way for the rich to have a better internet experience?


But all this is theory.  The key question for us today is, as a songwriter or artist, or someone who services them, which side of this issue should you be on?  To understand that we need to look at bit of history, because there isn’t just one answer to that question either.  It really depends on your situation and your politics.

What They Used To Say

From 1999 to 2005 ISPs like Verizon argued to Congress that they could not stop P2P theft of music because their technology did not allow them to differentiate between a music file and anything else, like an email.  Data was data and they were, to use their expression, “dumb pipes.” Like the electric company that has no way of knowing if you’re using the voltage they supply to turn on a light or power a bomb. Likewise, ISPs can not be held responsible for the criminal actions derived from their service.

This argument worked and one key result is the “safe harbor” provision in the DMCA that disallows anyone to sue an ISP for copyright infringement.  Would you hold the telephone company responsible if two people planed a crime using the phone?  No.

So, this safe harbor provision is why the RIAA was left with no other recourse but to sue the individual users of P2P instead of going after the big guns; ISPs were exempt from law suites of this kind.  All this because they claimed under oath to the government that they did not have the ability to discriminate between different types of files that use their “pipes.” (This was not the fault of the Bush administration, as a Huffinton Post writer claimed. The safe harbor provision was a hang over from Clinton.)

What They Say Now

Starting in about the middle of 2008 you could see it coming, but by 2009 it was completely in our face: not only can ISPs tell the difference between deferent types of data, but they want to charge accordingly.  Media files, they claim take up a great deal of bandwidth and it should come with a premium charge.

Content companies were quick to respond: well, if you can tell the difference, and you are a gate-keeper and not just a dumb pipe, then what about blocking illegal P2P?

Oops.  ISPs got sorta caught in a lie and had to back-peddle a bit.

No, say the ISPs, that would not be constitutional because of freedom of speech and privacy issues. Suddenly they were defenders of liberty.  But besides, they said, P2P makes up such a significant portion of the Internet traffic that shutting it down just because a few people (might be) stealing music (depending on how you define the word “steal”) seems extreme, compared to the millions that don’t.  And also, we don’t have to because we were given safe harbor, remember, you agreed to it?  So, let us charge what we want to whom we want.

ISPs, now rich from their decade of success due to safe harbor, want to end all this crazy net-socialism and get into the capitalist distribution business, making themselves not just super smart highways but toll keepers for the faster roads.

But, a cause set in motion can be a difficult thing to change when it comes to government policy.   The US Supreme Court and Congress really bought the dumb pipes argument and now the FCC says, you said you were dumb and dumb you shall stay. ISPs are fighting back with claims of overreaching.

So, it’s clear what would make ISPs happy is if they got to be neutral when it comes to protecting copyrights, but selective when it comes to charging for delivery of them. Can ISPs have it both ways?  And should an artist side with them?  We’ll see is a second.

Why Have ISPs Changed Their Position?

It’s not hard to figure out.  Movies and music content delivery takes big bandwidth.  So why should Netflix pay fees for steaming a movie as when you or I can send an email for free.  ISP answer:  because they can afford it and its more essential to their business model, and they can afford it.  Oh, I said that already.

But it can be hard to make clients out of the people you have been victimizing for a decade or so.  So, now ISPs have started to make deals with their new BFFs, content companies, (specifically record companies) and because of this, ISPs have developed a greater interest in protecting copyrights over helping others “trade” them.

You cannot charge for a toll road if you’re not going to police the bandits hiding in the bushes.  Right?

But you can try to play both ends against the middle and say things like, we’re doing the best we can to help you catch these terrible P2P people (who are also our clients) but we can’t find them, but if you keep paying us we’ll help catch the really, really nasty ones.

From this logic you get the so-called “three strikes” or as its actually called, the Graduated Response Program, which gives illegal P2P file sharers who “trade” music three warnings before they get their service permanently turned off.

Music companies, beleaguered and somewhat brow-beaten by the public have caved to these crappy compromises.  They don’t have much choice.  But their big-bother movie companies have not. They are not lining up to make deals with the internet gods because they see the writing on the wall: once you let them charge a toll, the toll will only go up over time.

Haven’t the movie studios learned anything from the past ten years?  Not really. You can not negotiate with God.  Movie companies know this, but the problem is, the studios think they are God.

Film studios arrogantly feel that their content costs more to make, earns more revenue and therefore can garnish better leverage in deal making  Boy are they wrong.   They are forgetting that all data looks to the same to the pipes.  Movies and music all break down to ones and zeros.  As processing speeds increase it will soon be just as fast/easy to download a full length movie as it was to download an MP3 in 2005.  Where will their leverage be then?  Right were record companies were in 2008. In the P2P toilet.

Who will prevail?  Anyone’s guess right now, but it could depend on people like you, reading articles like this and what you deiced to do about it.

If more alliances form between ISPs and media creators it will increase ISP interest in protecting copyrights.  Then you’ll begin to see high-profile arrests and stronger penalties for trading music and movies.  In theory, music revenue will start to climb back up from its tortured 2005 position.  But it may not for reasons I give at the end of the this piece.

But, if content companies resist giving into the force that has plotted to weaken their grip on distribution for the past decade, then the war continues.  You’ll see more two-faced arguments like, net neutrality that delay a resolution.  So far, history shows that the long war favors the ISPs.  They can hold out and grow stronger while content revenues shrink.

Can You Have It Both Ways?

You can not have it both ways.  Even though the ISPs are spending millions in legal fees to try and end up with 1) an unregulated internet that also allows them to 2) charge different rates but 3) does not take any responsibility for infringement, they know in their hearts that they are not going to win all three points.

A likely outcome will be a two-tired system, one that is free and unfettered and one that is “for pay.”  And guess what, we sort of already have that.

In my cable/internet package I can pay extra for higher speed.  While this does not effect the internet content I receive, only the speed at which it will stream, let’s not kid ourselves, we are only a megabyte away from that option.  “Hi-speed content” it will be called, or “HD content” something like that; available only to those with TimeWarner Deluxe, or some such pitch.  It’s coming folks and there is no stopping it, but we might be able to regulate it.  But should we?

Which Side Should You Be On? Or:

Okay, You Explained Like I’m Five, Now Explain It Like I’m Drunk


It depends on your interests. (Good pro-con piece here)

IN GENERAL: If you’re a “tech-head,” a term I use to define those who have drunk the Silicon Valley Cool-Aid and believe everything that they read on Google News (these are also known as subscribers to Wired and Digital Music News) then you want zero enforcement of a free net. You trust VerGoogle to decide what you need to see and at what speed.  You think (deep breath) that copyrights are passé and all this debate about “censorship” is propaganda by music/film companies to extort money from ISPs–who just want to make our lives better–and gauge music fans, who are entitled to free music because artists don’t make real money from music sales anyway.

But, if you think like the Founding Fathers and believe in protecting copyrights, then you are opposed to a tiered internet.  You’d side with the FCC; government doing what it’s supposed to do, stopping monopolies and maintaining free enterprise.

There is no clear answer because no single solution will serve everyone.  However, if you’re making money in the music space there a few caveats. So, here are some guidelines to help you argue these issues while drunk:

1) ARTISTS:  If you are an artist who makes real and significant income from downloads on iTunes and other well known digital stores, (Napster, Yahoo,) or plan to in the future, then you’re against the G/V deal and other such deals.  Digital stores like iTunes are certainly premium content and they will be paying larger fees to ISPs which means lower profit margins for you.

2) LABELS: If you are a label you hate the G/V deal even more for all the reasons above, but on steroids.  All your revenue comes from recorded music sales and these will be effected harshly by bandwidth fee schedules.

3) SONGWRITERS: Mechanical royalties are paid at a fixed rate in the US, so you don’t care if the label/artist’s profit goes down on sales.  But, if you’re someone who makes your money from Public Performance licensing, like on radio, (right now that is mostly songwriters/publishers, but in the near future this will include producers, labels and artists) you favor the VerGoogle and LOVE this tiered concept b/c eventually all digital radio will likely be considered “premium” content and will have to pay BIG blanket license fees to PROs such as SX, ASCAP, BMI, HFA, etc.  (Right now it’s a piece-meal patchwork of payees.)This money will eventually trickle down to you.  But this is only how you really feel in secret.  Publicly you have to side with the artists favoring FCC regulation, or you’ll appear greedy, unsophisticated and end up with no music friends.

4) INDIES: If you give away your music and your model is built upon live show revenue, you are against FCC regulation and their desire to maintain the “dumb pipes” position.  You want “premium content’s” fees to go up and profit margins to go down, down, down.  Since you don’t care about sales of recorded music there is no profit margin for you anyway. And since the tiered system would not take away your fan base, that you have direct access to, G/V type deals would level the playing field a bit between you and your competitors, the major acts, who rely on viral marketing to feed their “grow or die” mentality.  They will have to pay more for that mentality in the G/V world.  But, be careful what you wish for.  Someday, if you’re successful, you will be in category 1 and 2 above and you’ll be changing your tune then.

5) MANAGERS/LAWYERS: If you handle a major label act then you tell the singer that he should hate the G/V deal, but you tell the writer he should love it.  If they are both the same person then have the conversation twice at different times when they are on different substances so they can not remember what you said last time. As a lawyer, you have no side to take, because you’re in the acrimony business and as long as there are sides to take, you’re in business.

Bottom Line

What you’re about to read is the opposite of what most people will tell you.

I you’re an emerging artist trying to level the playing field then support the “no” effort for FCC regulation and yes for VerGoogle deals, because even though you will be traveling in the slow lane of the new web, the fast-lane fees will cost your competition more to maintain their supremacy.

But if you’re an established artist or label then support the “yes” effort for FCC regulation and no to VerGoogle deals, because if the deal goes down, your profit margins will shrink and garage bands will be able to more easily compete with you.

This analysis is by no means exhaustive.  Arguments could easily be made in the opposite of what I’ve written above.  I hope only to spark intelligent discussion in our space.  Although I am not often wrong in my predictions on industry trends, this is a very tough issue for which to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s anybody’s call.

What’s yours?  Respond below and be heard.

Moses Avalon

24 responses to “NET NEUTRALITY FOR MUSICIANS: What’s all the fuss and which side should you be on?”

  1. Rob Falk says:

    Shame on you, Moses. Shame. So cynical and short sighted. There is so much more to net neutrality than you have blathered on about.

    You didn’t explain it as if I were a 5 year old, you explained it as if you were a 3 year old. Me ME ME!!

    The V/G model is bad because the idea of private for profit companies regulating what content may pass and/or at what speed is bad for free people and free expression, period. When we take off our uniforms at the end of each day, we are all people.

    Your suggestion an indie artist should support tiered service because his slow down is less burdensome than the cost his competitors pay for higher speed would be laughable… Well, maybe it is laughable. You’re actually joking, aren’t you?

    • Moses Avalon says:

      [There is so much more to net neutrality than you have blathered on about.]

      Well, the piece was already 2500 words long, and besides, that’s what reader’s comments are for; to take it to the next level. Thanks for being a reader.

  2. TC Smythe says:

    Wish I had as many cool thigns to say as you but what I got from it was that the word ‘free’ can be co-opted to mean cost-free or restriction-free or even ad-free. Don’t know that you can have it all. English is a tricky language…

  3. T.Rob says:

    The problem with this is that it is a zero-sum game. The only way to speed up some content given finite bandwidth is to limit other content. There are malls who have their own ramp off the Interstate. Does that give them the right to impose speed tiers over the public infrastructure of the Interstate itself? My ISP controls the last mile between their switch and my house but why does that give them the right to throttle down some content in order to speed up some other content that perhaps I don’t even want? Especially when that content is traveling, for the most part, over infrastructure not built or owned by my ISP.

    Regardless of who you are and what your short term interest is, it is in your long term interest that private companies not be allowed to throttle your data based on a third party’s ability to pay. If my ISP allows *me* to profile my quality of service and I have the option to have flat-rate, single speed for all content then I’m all for it. But for my ISP to collude with a 3rd party as to what services I’ll get quickly at the expense of others is the Data Superhighway to Hell.

  4. Doug Osborne says:

    Regulation can make us more free. The constitution is regulation of our Rights, if you think about it.

    The FCC regulates the airwaves, which are a common, public resource. It allows everyone access in some way, with a lot of exclusive rights (rights with exclusions). It places, hopefully, reasonable limits on content, accessibility, etc., in hopes of making the airwaves free.

    The Internet is not clearly such a common resource, but I believe that it should be made into one. Free speech, and yes, free commerce, is a benefit to everyone except for the few already-wealthy who benefit from corporate control of ideas and business. If Verizon, ATT, etc. are able to control what we can access on the internet, calling any regulation Big Gubment and Job Killers, we as a nation will be much the worse.

    As it is, it’s hard enough to derive any revenue from your art if you are not aligned with the top corporate entities who control 80% of the flow of our art. If these corporate entities continue to buy elections, directly pay our Executives, Legislators, and Justices, and write the very legislation that benefits them at the expense of us, the 80% of us who split 20% of the revenue will be eliminated from participating at all.

  5. bobby bobo bullets says:

    “If they are both the same person then have the conversation twice at different times when they are on different substances so they can not remember what you said last time” – for the readers that stuck out the whole article. you sick bastard.

  6. Aaron Luis Levinson says:

    I love you man! Funny and smart if you were actually a girl I’d be sending you flowers by now

  7. Roland N. Tumblin says:

    Uuuhhhh…thanks (I think) for pitting me against myself — drunk or whatever.

    I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired of corporate raiders and scumbags, like G-Don’t Be Eeevile and Verbotten, ripping us off because they can. Ever since 1973, when Big Oil staged it first gas “shortages” and realized they could get away with it, corporate America has found its modern business model.

    Remember 1982 or so, when ASCRAP prez Hal David wanted to impose royalty fees on blank cassette tapes because he thought we were “stealing” music off the radio? I do. I was an ASCRAP writer at the time, and I still told him to stuff it. As an emerging artist, I knew damned well I was never going to see a penny of those fees. What I also knew was that established artists would reap a windfall they didn’t really need or deserve.

    This is no different. Somebody with no business in my business wants to make a killing off what has effectively become a vital public resource. Am I going to get a bigger piece of the action because they charge others more to play? DMMFL!

  8. matt says:

    Re Constitution: The Constitution neither regulates nor grants us our rights. The Constitution sets limits on the government’s ability to mess with our rights.

    It starts with the assumption that as human beings we are entitled to ALL rights, and then defines the ways in which our government is allowed to restrict them for the overall benefit and stability of society.

    And yes, this is WAY off topic!

  9. allen wentz says:

    Net Neutrality = Doublespeak in its purest form. Orwell was only off by 30 years.

  10. JJ Biener says:

    First, the Constitution GUARANTEES our rights. It neither grants them nor regulates them.

    Next, net neutrality comes down to a decision about who will regulate the internet, the government or the free market. In a free market, if you don’t like how your ISP regulates traffic, you can go to another ISP. I believe any ISP who acts contrary to the desires of its customers will find those customers leaving in droves.

    If we let the government regulate the internet, we have no recourse if we don’t like their decisions. It’s not like the FCC has done a great job to date with the things they already control. Look at the restrictions they put on broadcast TV for a preview of what they would do to the internet if given the chance.

    The internet community has been fighting for years to keep the government out of the internet. Let’s not give in to government regulation because someone is trying to scare us with a corporate boogeyman. The last 15 years has shown us that the free market on the internet works just fine. If we lose control to the government, we will never get it back.

  11. J. says:


    You need to consider the value of different types of content and the groups of people who illegally download them. (Movies vs. songs; fans vs. compulsive hoarder/downloaders)


    Movies–hits and bombs alike–continue to earn money on t.v., cable, rentals, streaming, DVD sales years after their release.

    Songs–only popular hits or songs by popular or famous artists–earn substantial money when released and later.


    Most entertainment fans want to listen to the songs they like and watch the movies and shows they like. They don’t need to collect every song and movie in existence just because they can download them for free.

    When Napster 1.0 came out, it was user-friendly, like iTunes, so a rash of people started to load practically every CD ever released onto their hard drives. They became compulsive collectors because suddenly seemingly overpriced $14.99 content was free at the click of a mouse. It was like a media crack epidemic.

    To see a movie in a theater with popcorn and parking, it’s $20. So, how much trouble will people go through to steal the newest $100,000,000 blockbuster online? Some trouble. But how much time will they spend to steal movies online, one at a time for the delayed gratification? How much is one’s time worth? You can buy bootleg DVDs in front of the grocery store for $5.


    Movie and music profits depend on the Superstar system. Without red carpet movie premieres, CD sales, music videos and mass radio play (instead of iPod single-downloads)
    –we’re dependent on American Idol and reality t.v. shows creating our stars. (And these shows took hold when media tried to cut costs by cutting out the writers of scripted show.)

    And don’t forget the determination of the All Information Should Be Free folks. If there is a two-tiered internet, they will find a way to make the premium content stealable on the slow lane of the internet.

  12. Jazz Cat says:

    Hard to add much more to the many insightful comments posted so far. But a few key points: Every packet on the internet is tagged with its sender and its recipient, so ISPs could stop P2P, torrents, etc. right now if they wanted to and had to. But, like the oil companies, they’re selling every bit of product (bandwidth) that they can provide. We really don’t have unlimited bandwidth and any perceived “shortage” incents customers to pay a premium, whether that’s for premium speed, premium content, premium access, or premium reliability. Thus, net neutrality is absolutely important on every level discussed thus far, and on one more: geographically-equal access. The PUC-regulated telcos are cherry-picking the easy sales of broadband in urban areas and virtually ignoring everyone else when it comes to providing access. I live fifteen minutes outside of Silicon Valley and cannot get at any price the broadband speed that my Valley neighbors get for 20 bucks a month. I have two ISPs that charge me a LOT of money for bandwidth that barely qualifies as broadband. Not only does the net need to be “neutral” it needs to be “equally accessible to all” and it won’t be till the Feds make the telcos, ISPs, and cable/satellite operators pony up the bucks to replace the thirty-year-old phone lines in my neighborhood with fiber-optic cable.

    Another point, Mo, is that using the phone to plot a crime actually is punishable. Its just harder to prove than using the phone to actually commit the crime, and that also is punishable. In the case of ISPs facilitating the theft of copyrighted content, both are happening and the ISPs have successfully played dumb about it to the RIAA and the FCC.

    The trickiest problem to solve has to do with the fact that the Internet is global. Coming up with the perfect policy in the US and enforcing it rigorously does not stop someone in the Far East from stealing and redistributing content.

  13. I am in the works of creating a new search engine and ISP exclusively with the entertainment industry, onboard are the Movie Studios, Major Record Labels, several Large Magazine/Newspapers & Book Publishers and some very wealthy private investors thus Pulling Most of this content Away from existing ISP’s and search engine types. ATT, Google, Time Warner, Comcast, Verizon etc…who will no longer be able to stream any of this content unless THEY PAY A Sizable FEE to do so…with this because we have 1000’s of existing distribution points (locations) throughout the U.S. Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, etc…we will also be supplying the techs and hardware to bring this service into your home…and where we don’t have them we are currently in negotiations with several Television Networks to bring to you through the airwaves (because or their existing infrastructure) broadcasting of this content on digital station(s) which can be brought to you with the purchase of a digital receiver purchased at many local retailers for $4.99….Our three Satellites will be launching after Christmas 2012 to begin another distribution angle. We are also working with the Worldwide Movie Theater Association to join in bringing you an exclusive yearly membership (specs: single $39.99 / family $149.99) for selective early releases of movies, albums, and books, etc…Concert promoters have expressed an interest in participating for ticket give aways, sales, etc)…it’s a brave new world 😉

    • Moses Avalon says:

      And what exactly will you do if the ISPs refuse to pay but continue to allow infringement via YouTube, P2P, etc? Sue them? Opps can’t do that, they’re protected and a judge just ruled that Goolge/YouTube can steam all the restricted content they want as long as they have plausible deniability that they were infringing. How will your people deal with that?

  14. Did I mention we are global?

    HADOPI law -is rewritten and will be reintroduced, Ireland is there the UK will follow, other countries right behind…The legal, political “axe” is being laid to the the ISP trees, the chips are flying…RIAA win, win, win, against P2P – We’ll be walking over to the ISP’s in America -axe in hand…Googles arguments in China’s courts will be weakened -as we are in negotiation to deliver suitable content through Baidu,…and continue to have access for band touring, mp3 sales, movie theater chain development, etc- !Also a Fast Food Chain deal to offer just more than popcorn….the Chinese love, love, love all things entertainment -and as China goes thus goes the rest of Asia…

    …next time you’re in town try Gilles Custard, right down the street from camp Hal…cheers!

  15. Ol Goob says:

    Thanks for your insight, Moses. Don’t know what I’d do without ya.

    Is there any parallel to be drawn in HOW they are going to manipulate the language with the way Internet radio (live 365 etc) was slapped around with legislation?

  16. Kevin says:

    The net needs to be kept just as it is. The US Congress needs to deal with bigger issues, like teaching the Dems how the economy works! I agree the artists should profit from their music and the songwriters should profit from said song, this should be where a contract comes into play. The morons running the music industry have very little to be proud of they have screwed the pooch more times then not. Individuals dubbing ( as it was called in the old days) has been around for at least the last 30-40 years. The labels and musicians need to stop throwing a temper tantrum and give consumers a reason to buy their CDs (cd, jewel case, art work.) They keep following an old business model that doesn’t apply anymore. Their are at least a hundred different ideas on how to market cd sales better. The problem is the morons at major labels are too old, too stubborn to think outside of the box.

    Can I put my money where my mouth is? You bet! I am currently working on a business plan that will promote indie music and pay them through sponsorship using creative ideas or even old school marketing ideas in combination with the internet. The US Gov’t needs to stay out! Remember musicians “if you give them an inch they will take a mile”.

  17. Don Coyer says:

    I didn’t read all the comments, but my knee-jerk reaction is that copyrights must be protected. Allowing these ISPs to get away with an argument that has been proven to be a lie is akin to the government slapping major corporations on the wrist for poisoning our water and air, etc.

    Bottom line is this. We are in the information age. Without intellectual PROPERTY, there is no information age. No one can afford to create for free, that’s slavery.

    This is an over-simplification in a lot of ways, but that doesn’t make it less true. For instance, we know that slavery is wrong, and back when this issue was being debated, I’m sure there were what appeared to be valid arguments for/against it. But there IS such a thing as right and wrong. Stealing people’s copyrights is wrong. Work around that. (the slavery analogy was just an example to clarify the absurdity of this situation…though we do appear to be headed back to slavery, not on a racial basis, but on a class/finance basis.

  18. Don Coyer says:

    A slight reply to Jazz Cat’s note…

    Having a “perfect policy” and enforcing it in the US should still be a priority, regardless of what other countries do. It’s the same obstacle that the performing rights organizations such as ASCAP, BMI, etc, have to deal with. They manage to deal with different situations in different countries, different royalty rates, etc. It’s at least workable.

    But if we don’t set a precedent here in this country regarding these issues, we can’t expect much from anyone else. Protect intellectual rights first and worry about everything else after that.

  19. Ritch Esra says:


    Your Google Theory is very interesting, but if Google REALLY wanted to own a Music Company Trust me, Vivendi WOULD LOVE NOTHING MORE THANK TO SELL OFF UNIVERSAL to ANYONE BIG ENOUGH to buy it. Sadly, the only problem is none of the tech companies who could easily afford the labels
    over the years were ever interested in buying them – That’s the dichotomy!

    The sad reality is that ONLY BMG had the true commitment to walk away from their Major Label for as little as $600,000,000 when they sold it to Sony a few years ago – (a company as you know they had invested over 3 Billion in (Jive & RCA) not 6 years earlier – THAT’S HOW DESPERATE THEY WERE TO GET OUT!

    Of course all of this depends on whether or not Google TRULY wants to be in that business (Records) and as you know – at that level THAT’S A VERY BIG IF! – Even for someone of Google’s financial clout.


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